Tuesday, July 31, 2007

UN acts on Darfur, where is America's action - 7.31.2007.3

Finally we see the start of some action. Finally leadership has arisen and taken a stand. Sadly it was not the United States that has been the bold leader that our nation can be, and often is. Even so, I am happy to spread this news.

The United Nations has announced that it will be sending 26,000 peacekeeping troops to stop, or at least stem, the mass murder in Darfur that has claimed some 400,000 lives and left 2,500,000 homeless. I have been speaking about Darfur for a little while now, inspired by the words and actions of Mr. Don Cheadle.

Still the resolution has its flaws. Since the troops will be comprised of African Union and U.N. troops it will take months to organize and implement. Additionally there is no sanction component that can cause a dampening effect on the ruling government, slowing its efforts to commit genocide. This sanctioning is a needed component as is food aid for the area. It is an abysmal fact that the major industrialized nations of the world, including America, have sat on their collective asses in this matter.

As I mentioned previously HR 180 IH, has sat in Congress without action all year. In 2005 the members of the G8 summit sought to address the issue, and after few words that hold as much impact as the soundbites politicians use for most every situation these days, did nothing. So I have mixed emotions right now.

There is the start of actions to improve the lives of millions of Africans, a start but that is all. American businesses continue to support and by their inaction fund a genocide that has been on-going since 2003. Politicians have failed to act on resolutions presented to them. The news media has virtually ignored the situation. This is insulting.

I place myself along with the major media, up until recently. We can all do better and more. The stories on the vapid and imbecilic Paris Hilton can wait a bit. The comments on the rantings of Ms. Rosie O’Donnell will still be there later. BET will still provide the second-rate, debateably exploitative programming which can be protested against while they ignore their obligation to provide news and substance to the very target group the cable news channel is named for.

Fox News, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS et al. need to forget that this is happening in Africa and treat this matter like it was in Europe. I strongly feel that were this happening on a separate continent, with people of a different color, more would be done. Well it is happening and they are human beings and we can do more.

And politicians can take the simple amount of time it takes to act on HR 180 IH, Darfur Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007, forcing companies to admit if they are supporting the regime that is murdering women and children for no reason beyond the fact they exist. I dare even one politician to provide a reason that is logical that explains why this has not passed yet. To explain why this simple act has yet to be passed after 7 months seems inplausible to me. That only 151 Representaives have backed this is sad. How many lives will it take to move forward and act?

America is a great nation, I believe that without hesitation. We have helped and defended millions across the globe for decades. We stand for freedoms and rights that no other nation can claim to give so completely. Because of these reasons we cannot fail to act when the need is so dire.

This is what I think, what do you think?

Labels: , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

The slippery slope of religion in America today Part 2 - 7.31.2007.2

Continued from The slippery slope of religion in America today Part 1...

America is becoming more divided these days. The divisions that have existed since the birth of this nation, based on race have never healed. Adding to that infected wound is now religion and the infection is enflamed. Yet this nation was equally based on the freedom of religion as well as that of individuals. If this is not resolved it will tear us all apart. That is my fear.

Forty years ago, even 15 years ago there was no question of religion in the election of the President of the nation. There was some question for President John F. Kennedy but it was hardly the degree of debate that we see posed to Mr. Romney, or hinted at Senator Obama.

How long before we re-enact the missteps of history? How long before this religion or that one feels so persecuted, in America, that they lash out? I’m not talking about fanatics who are so blinded as to act out in actions that violate their own belief systems. How long before we see divisions between those that believe and those that do not, those that believe in God by this name and not that.

Today the anger has been directed at Muslims, because of the fanatics that committed 9/11 and wish to do more. Tomorrow it could be the atheists, or Jews or Lutherans. Religious intolerance is like the boulder on a hill, next to impossible to stop once it starts rolling. That is what I fear.

We are doomed to repeat the lessons of History if we do not learn from them. That is a quote, though I forget from whom. They are true words. Millions, perhaps billions over the existence of Mankind have yet to learn. We seem to be sliding, forgetting that for all the technology, the ability to learn, we can follow those same footsteps as well.

Every religion believes it is wrong to kill. Every religion believes we should love one another. Every religion believes God made everyone. Yet we cannot live side by side. This isn’t about blame, there is more than enough for every side and religion. It’s about what we can do to not see the atrocities and suffering that has happened so many times before.

This is what I think, what do you think?

Labels: , ,

Ask for ad rates

The slippery slope of religion in America today - 7.31.2007.1

Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences. No one can eliminate prejudices - just recognize them.
Edward R. Murrow

Muslims pray before getting on a plane and the passengers get them removed. A man at Pace University, angry that a movie was not going to be shown because of Muslim requests, takes a Koran from a common area and flushes it down a toilet, twice. A University in the Mid-west decides to install 2 foot basins to allow Muslim students the ability to wash their feet, using taxpayer funds to do so.

You may have heard of these stories. Generally you have only heard a piece of the story, possibly presented from one side or another. I will not pretend to be able to explain both sides of the arguments involved with these issues, nor will I claim one view is better than another. I will state that they are all related in that they are part of the growing religious divisions found in America today.

It doesn’t matter whether you think that a person praying, in a manner and language unlike the usual televised religious ceremonies constantly on airwaves for the past 4 decades at least, is a concern. Nor does it matter that the foot basins could be paid for by others than the state government. What is important to me is that it brings to light the fear of a religion that is not the most populous in America today. That is a dangerous situation, and will be deadly if not addressed.

Religion has been responsible for more deaths than any other factor in human history. Not food, or shelter, or even greed. The existence or not of an omnipotent being/entity that has this or that name inflames more people than there are raindrops in the sky during a thunderstorm. The Romans vs. Christians, Egypt vs. the Hebrews in Ancient times, The Spanish Inquisition, The Crusades and that’s just the European – Mediterranean area. Throughout time this has gone on and on. And today it is even worse.

Palestinians vs. Israel, Al Quida, Iran vs. Iraq (1980’s), Sunni vs. Shiite, the Holocaust, David Koresh vs. the U.S. Government, Jim Jones and so on. There is no end. I truly doubt that there ever will be an end to it. But how is that connected to the earlier statements?

The more fear is used to explain or punish or repress any group of people the less free all the people are. Listen to the anger that is expressed when news reporters discuss many cases that involve Muslims. Hear those that had (and have) fears of Senator Obama based on his name alone. Remember the outrage that resulted from Representative Ellison swearing into Congress with the Koran. See the distrust placed on Mr. Mitt Romney as a Mormon. None of that is healthy.

Continued in Part 2...

Labels: , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Monday, July 30, 2007

Religions place in the 2008 election - 7.30.2007.1

The separation of Church and State is one of the fundamental tenants of our nation. No one questions that. Yet in reference to the Presidential candidates there is no question that religion is linked to each of them. It may be most notable in the questions asked of Mitt Romney, but it exists for each candidate to varying degrees. So I have to ask why?

What is it that makes a candidate better or worse? Is the particular deity they may or may not pray to make that much of a difference? I have read and understood most religions on the face of the earth today. I am no expert, but I do understand the basics and in that understanding comes a conclusion. Every major religion on the earth today espouses love, understanding, and penalizes greed, murder, and hate. Every religion believes in the sanctity of life. Beyond that the issues really become what name you call the deity and how you pray. Those 2 things have caused more wars and bloodshed than any other reason in the history of Man.

Does it really make a difference if the President of the United States is Jewish, Christian, Muslim or Buddhist? In my view the President must act in the benefit of the nation, even when that might conflict with their religious views. I am unaware of a President that has not acted in the best interest of the nation due to their religion. So I see no precedence for such concern.

Perhaps I am more concerned than I should be, but if religion becomes a central part of the Presidency then I am sure battles between all the religions within this nation is not far behind. It is like dominoes, once they start to fall the whole line falls.

But this is what I wonder. Am I seeing this correctly? Am I missing something?

Labels: , ,

Ask for ad rates

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A very important YouTube question, that no one answered Part 2 - 7.25.2007.2

Continued from A very important YouTube question, that no one answered Part 1...

We sent troops to Bosnia, though almost at the end of the conflict. We had a no-fly zone and sanctions for a year or 2 prior as I recall. That wasn’t working and we sent in troops. They were part of U.N. force s, but were predominantly ours, as usual from what I recall. And the number of troops was over 2,500 for us alone. That war, which had it’s own ethnic cleansing – genocidal mass murder really – lasted 3 years and had about 100,000 dead and lasted 3 years.

In the Sudan there has been fighting for 4 years and counting now. The U.S. has yet to figure out how to get economic sanctions going. There are states and mutual funds investing in the Sudan, effectively funding this war. For those liberals against war at all costs, you may be funding it right now. And the Congress can’t even bother to pass a law forcing companies to even tell you they are invested there. [For those that would want to blame this on President Bush, HR 180 IH was brought in by the Democratic led Congress, this year, and has been sitting around since January with no real action.]

I’ll say it again, 200,000 are dead. The killing is still going on. And Congress has been satisfied over the last 4 years to merely mention that we don’t like this. We haven’t divested money (which we finally did to South Africa after decades of Apartheid), put in a mostly useless no-fly zone, or anything of serious importance. They have investigated how officials that serve at the pleasure of the President were fired though. For the better part of this year they have wasted tens of thousands of dollars looking for a conspiracy – which has no basis in law – and read through some 40,000 pages of information. Meanwhile people are dying.

Try to equate this. Several people, whom the President can fire at will, without need of reason and completely legal, were fired. No law was broken. There has been a continual hunt for evidence of a conspiracy. To my knowledge, even if one did exist it still does not break the law and those fired remain fired. Yet no facts or actions have been found to suggest what is being searched for. So Congress decides it needs to search more, wasting our taxes and their time.

On the other side of the equation, in this example, roughly 33,000 people have been killed (estimates claim that the number could be 50% higher or more) and 410,000 have lost their homes and possessions in that same time. That’s more than most towns and many cities in this nation.

So why was Bosnia so much more important than Darfur? Neither country is truly significant in virtually any manner. Strategically, economically, militarily and so forth. Why was America willing to defend the innocent coif one nation; and are willing to allow the deaths of others now?

For those that disagree with war, or murder, or genocide I ask you how does it feel to know that you may be indirectly supporting these things.

In a nation as rich and powerful as we are. To see how little we are doing, and the things we are wasting our time with, is quite insulting.

This is what I think, what do you think?

Labels: , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

A very important YouTube question, that no one answered - 7.25.2007.1

Some may recall that I recently raised the question of what is happening with HR 180 IH. You may not recall the name it has in the House of Representatives, but it’s also known as Darfur Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007. This is one item of several that are sitting in Congress waiting for some action to be taken by the nation. Not everyoe is aware of this but at least one person had his YouTube question presented to the Democratic candidtates in their recent debate.

Only 4 of the Democratic hopefuls were given the chance to respond. They were Governor Richardson, Sen. Biden, Senator Clinton, and Former Senator Gravel. In my opinion none were satifactory answers, though they were decent soundbites.

Former Senator Gravel only blamed the foreign policy of the nation. How that helps or resolves anything I have no idea.

Governor Richardson suggested economic sanctions and political pressure from European nations and China. Which is something, though that is exactly what HR 180 IH suggests, and it has been sitting in the House without any action since it was created. How can we ask ANY nation to do what we will not?

Senator Biden took a different tack. He compared the situation to Bosnia, and suggested a no-fly zone in addition to 2,500 American troops on the ground. I will get to the comparison in a moment, and the no-fly zone, but I cannot believe that in an area where over 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million are refugees a mere 2,500 American forces can stop the bloodshed. That is unrealistic and stupid in my opinion. It will take more than that, that’s obvious.

As for Senator Clinton, she got a bit of all the best answers and combined them, mostly. She agreed on the need for sanctions. She agreed on a no-fly zone. But she would not agree to place ANY troops on the ground.

Senators Dodd and Obama (as well as Biden and Clinton) co-sponsored Senate Resolution 559 (introduced on Sept. 7, 2006), which encouraged President Bush to work with NATO and the UN in establishing a no-fly zone.

Ok, first off a no-fly zone just does not work. Not in England (Germans during WWII), Viet-Nam, Bosnia, Iraq nor Darfur. It may add some difficulty but OBVIOUSLY things happening on the ground cannot be stopped by planes in the sky. Any suggestion that states this is the main involvement of the United States is doomed to kill innocent civilians. Let’s remember, overwhelmingly most of those that have died in the last several years are civilians. Stopping a plane flying overhead does not stop AK-47 and machete wielding troops from killing people.

Economic and political pressure is one option, but like a no-fly zone it does not stop anything. Cuba, North Korea, and Iraq have all had (or have) sanctions for years if not decades. Yet North Korea has nuclear weapons, Cuba still is a Communist dictatorship and we attacked Iraq. [Iraq may not be the best example, yet they still had a large army – one of the strongest in the region- and the abuse of Kurds and others was not abated by prior political pressure].

Face it, it takes troops. Just like it did in Bosnia.

Continued in Part 2...

**I want to thank Mary-Lea Cox for her writing on the YouTube question from the Presidential candidate debate**

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What is your top question from the YouTube Presidential debate? - 7.24.2007.1

I missed the Democratic Presidential debate last night, though I have heard a few comments about it. I’m wondering what were your favorite questions and answers?

I heard from one friend of mine that Senator Obama was asked what he would do for Blacks even though he was not “technically black”. Right, and I’m Casper the Ghost. What kind of a question is that? Since when are you technically any race? It sounds like the rules used during slavery to determine if you are white or black. It’s ridiculous to me. Senator Obama wakes up and looks in the mirror and sees a Black man just like I do. He’s like his life with reactions to him as a Black man, just like millions of us do. Do I need to say more?

The other question I heard that really perked up my ears was the fact that only one Presidential candidate backs reparations for African Americans. This is a big issue for me. I’ve spoken about it in-depth many times. While there are some in this nation that still refuse to acknowledge Slavery or it’s repercussions, none can debate the impact that slave made to building the infrastructure and economy of this nation.

Simply put, America would not exist without African Americans. All the labor that was done was not paid for. Everything we have today is a direct result of that work. It’s just that simple. Build a house without a foundation and watch what happens when a wind blows.

“Estimates of the value of the unpaid labor and/or the above mentioned land has been placed from $9.7trillion to $24trillion, with other estimates slightly lower and many higher. Such estimates only confirm the absolute value and impact slave labor had on the formation of this nation”.

And of course there are plenty of examples of America providing apologies and reparations to others we have wronged. Like the American Native Indians and the Japanese-Americans that were interned in camps during World War II.

So to hear that Kucinich stating that

“The Bible says we shall be and must be repairers of the breach. And a breach has occurred.
We have to acknowledge that. It's a breach that has resulted in inequality in opportunities for education, for health care, for housing, for employment. And so, we must be mindful of that.
But it's also a breach that has affected a lot of poor whites as well.
We need to have a country which recognizes that there is an inequality of opportunity and a president who's ready to challenge the interest groups -- be they insurance companies or mortgage companies or defense contractors who are taking the money away from the people who need it.
Yes, I am for repairing the breach. Yes, I am for reparations.”

It makes me want to know more about the man, and why everyone else avoided answering the question. As I understand it even Senator Obama failed to give a straight answer. Am I correct in understanding that?

So what parts did you like?

Labels: , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Monday, July 23, 2007

Comments on the National Intelligence Estimate Part 2 - 7.23.2007.2

Continued from Comments on the National Intelligence Estimate Part 1...

But that would ignore the benefits I received. Beyond the improved health and fitness that was an immediate result were the less obvious benefits. My self-discipline was heightened and has helped me every day since graduating the Island. My attention to detail has allowed me to perform my work more efficiently. I have greater self-confidence thus helping me succeed in careers I never thought I would take on, like becoming a successful stockbroker, or working overseas in import-export in Moscow. My determination to excel has lead to me building a business that now comprises several divisions.

Such are the benefits of actions that happened 20 years ago, that an outside observer at the time would imply were negatives.

Such is a similar point made by Senator Bond.

“Your news analysis asks, “Are we safer?” The answer is emphatically yes. Our efforts to combat terrorism worldwide have prevented Al Qaeda from attacking the United States since Sept. 11, 2001, and have disrupted known terrorist plots to carry out further attacks on American soil.”

In any path there are hardships and loss. The goal, if worthwhile, is always difficult to attain in the simplest description. But when politics are used to incite emotion, and to interpret results the results will never be the best.

The war on terror has worked. The fact that we have not lost thousands of lived of average citizens proves that. 300 million Americans sleep safer today because of the efforts of our Armed Forces. That is a fact proven not in some flashy ad, or neat accounting numbers, but in the least glamorous ability of waking up and going to work routinely.

Could there have been better decisions? Yes. Could the Iraq and Pakistani governments be more helpful and effective? Absolutely. Is there a danger to the average citizen if we quickly retreat from Iraq?

“It [the NIE] makes clear that the threat from Al Qaeda in Iraq is not just to Iraqis — it’s to the U.S. homeland as well.”

Forget the politics. Don’t think of who will be the next President. The current issue is what we are doing now, and how that will affect us in the future. Rushing headlong into a situation is not an answer. Acting on emotion, whipped up because of one political preference or another, is foolhardy. And in my opinion any that would promote action without thought of consequences is foolhardy, even if they might think their action beneficial.

Without delving for implication, the NIE states there is good and bad in regard to our actions in Iraq. The best course of action is the planning and implementing of actions that improve the bad and continue the good. It may not be good for a soundbite, but it is good for the nation. Partisan politics are a great thing, in peacetime. Effective plans of action are best now.

This is what I think, what do you think?

Labels: , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Comments on the National Intelligence Estimate - 7.23.2007.1

I missed a recent news analysis by the New York Times, and the response by Senator Kit Bond. I thank Mr. Keith Burgess-Jackson for his post bringing both to attention. Essentially the subject at hand is the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and what it has found. Depending on the POLITICAL motivation of the reader the NIE says good or bad things.

To say that the New York Times presents a bias in this issue is an understatement. By the second paragraph it is clear that they found the NIE report to be a screaming statement that the United States and our allies have wasted our time, money and the lives of our armed forces. They state that the conclusions they go on to describe, are IMPLIED from the NIE report. My understanding is thus that an implied message may not be the actual one.

“…the threat of terrorist violence against the United States is growing worse, fueled by the Iraq war and spreading Islamic extremism.”

That is the conclusion that the New York Times claimed was implied. This is a good thing to derive if you wish to support and hasten the retreat of American troops from Iraq. There is nothing more powerful than mothers enraged at the deaths, or potential deaths, of their children. Stirring emotions clouds facts and thought, but elicits action faster than most anything else.

I want to interject a memory I had from back in the Marine Corps basic training. After a very trying day, and several trips to the sand pit, Senior Drill Instructor Sgt. Williams took a moment to enlighten is tired, sore, yet dedicated ‘rocks’. He mentioned that moms of America don’t want their sons to sweat in training. They don’t want it to be harsh in learning to be a Marine. That there was a huge list of things that could not be done to us, and that their eyes were all on Paris Island. Senior Drill Instructor Sgt. Williams went on to say,

“The more you sweat in peace, the less you will bleed in war. Boys, I don’t want you to bleed so I will do whatever it takes to make you sweat. Your moms love you but they don’t know. I love you and I do.”

Senior Drill Instructor Sgt. Williams (yes, this is how I always refer to him, out of due respect and fear) had previously lost 2 strips after appearing before Congress and questioned about his training practices, so we were later told. Some would imply that aspects of the training I received was inappropriate, harsh, unnecessary and brutal. Others would focus on the changes in my life and thinking that the training, and my time in the Marines brought about. Some would label these things as negative.

Continued in Part 2...

Labels: , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Friday, July 20, 2007

Iran and the 2008 election - 7.20.2007.1

Well here is something that has me wondering. The Presidential candidates and other noted political figures have all made statements about the nuclear program in Iran. Let me correct myself, several of the candidates, not all. But the fact that any have commented is interesting.
See what the Presidential candidates have been asked and their response.

This occurred at the press conference hosted by The Israel Project (TIP). The goal is stated as increased sanctions and pressure to cause Iran to end their nuclear efforts. Which is a pretty strong stance for several candidates, especially when the efforts to retreat from Iraq are considered.

This is important to think about because Iraq is directly connected to this. The connection is that Iran is helping to create instability in Iraq. Because of that the foreign policy of the next President may dictate how the Middle East will be over the next decade.

Consider this. If America retreats from Iraq, and pressures Iran with sanctions, Iran must try to absorb parts of Iraq (or effectively control them) to avoid the economic pain. At the same time, Iran can use the disenfranchised to bolster anti-American sentiment – promoting terrorists that would seek to attack Americans world-wide. On top of that, there is no guarantee that Iran would stop its nuclear ambitions.

That is scary, terrorists with nuclear weapons.

On the other hand, if America stays in Iraq and continues to fight Iran will still continue to support instability in the region. Not as much as without a U.S. presence, but still all the same. The economic pressure cannot be offset (or is minimized) by gaining access to Iraq. Fewer terrorists can be trained and any continued efforts of nuclear weapons can have the added fear of a pre-emptive strike by American forces. The cost of all this is American soldier lives. Not tens of thousands, but thousands per year.

Neither situation is foolproof. Nor will either make the U.S. public happy. It will cost American lives either way. And the Middle East will continue to be in turmoil for a decade at least.

Which effort is best? Which outcome is most likely? There is no answer. There is also no answer on what plan is the best from ANY of the Presidential candidates. One of the candidates must come up with a plan and let us know what is going on. Obviously any plan will not satisfy the whole of America. But a plan is better than none at all. I think everyone will agree on that.

So the question is, to prevent/persuade/deter Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons, what do we do in Iraq?

Labels: , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hypocrisy in discussing Presidential candidates - 7.19.2007.1

In discussing the Presidential candidates and the election in 2008 I have read large volumes on both sides of key issues. I have read the comments of pundits, bloggers opinions and facts they have dug up, and the comments and information on the candidates’ websites. Often there is conflicting information on the same issue, or the writer injects their viewpoint on the subject.

I have tried to be neutral in this matter. I want to present both sides fairly. That is not always easy. But there is a difference between what I do and what others claim is a fair comment. I’ll give you an example, because it just annoys me to no end to read something that claims to be an even discussion and in fact is a one-sided slam.

“I'm upset with both parties and particularly the brainless media that's obsessed with catering to the right. There's no striving to set the crooked straight. It seems nobody cares about what people care about.”

In just one sentence we get the disconnect. I like most are upset with both parties. Neither is really doing anything except getting donations and trying to look more Presidential than the other. The major media is only promoting this aspect, unless you believe that an issue like the retreat from Iraq or what to do about the impending shortfalls in Social Security are issues that can be answered in 30 second soundbites. But to say that the media caters to the right tells me several things.

One is that the above quoted writer does not understand what the left and right represent. To say the media leans right is absurd. Pick up virtually any newspaper or watch virtually any news program, listen for a discussion or case about immigration. When the media speaks about immigrants that have entered the nation without following the law see how they phrase it. Undocumented workers and immigrants are a common reference, not illegal immigrants. That’s one example, but recent polls show most of America recognizes that the media leans LEFT. So you know the above quoted writer is about to bash the Republican candidates.

And bash is what happens. The Republican Party is cited as doing nothing but committing errors, Senator McCain is called out by name as a leading bovine. The President of the United States is insulted and ridiculed.

Then we get to hear about the ‘savior’, the left.

“…liberals who seem to be doing a good job of focusing on the dishonesty of our politics…”

Get real. There isn’t a Party in this nation that doesn’t include dishonest politicians. I believe that being arrested for accepting bribes, and having $90,000 in a refrigerator qualifies as dishonest and that was a Louisiana Democrat. The writer continues to mention the great healthcare program that the top 3 Democratic candidates have. Hogwash. Not one candidate in either party has a plan yet. None of them. They have ideas, and good soundbites. A plan would mean they could answer where the money for the program will come from, what incentives will be made available to motivate further medical innovations, and how to avoid the pitfalls of national healthcare that every other nation has currently.

I severely dislike the hypocrisy disguised as concern some present. If you pick a side, then discuss it. If you think one Party is better than another say that. But to say there is equal problems that need to be addressed do not hide an agenda inside the message.

I’m not picking a side, I’m highlighting hypocrisy. The writer is no better than the Presidential candidates and political Parties. We cannot have an improved nation or a good President if partisan arguments are used to promote one side or another. Social Security, immigration, terrorism, the wars, education and more are serious issues facing the nation. The next President will be crucial in defining the direction America takes for the next 10 years. Bias and emotional preferences will not help get the best choice elected.

Both sides have problems. None have given a good answer on the issues. None have given plans to resolve the issues. We deserve more. But to negate one side or another as the writer above has doesn’t help. We need to be aware of that.

This is what I think, what do you think?

Labels: , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Do celebrity endorsements help Presidential candidates? - 7.18.2007.1

Politics and Hollywood. These 2 go together like white on rice, and are separate like oil and water. It’s something that is a big deal if you have it and not a big issue if you don’t. At least among pundits.

For those that are more Democrat, and/or liberal, Hollywood and the entertainment industry it represents are flag bearers of causes such as the environment or retreating from Iraq. To a smaller extent the more centrist views are held there as well with few (though often powerful) conservative or Republican issues as well. Because of this, and the fact that Hollywood support means large money donations and lots of faces with access to the media touting your candidate, most would enjoy having the top of the Hollywood elite joining their side.

One of the most powerful, Picture found at http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-et-cause18jul18,0,7926476.storyMs. Oprah Winfrey, is making the most of this. Ms. Winfrey joined others in support of Senator Obama in April. Her public declaration carries a lot of weight in most subjects. A book or movie that can boast her thumbs up can often be assured of success. Now we will see if this translates into the political world as well.

Possibly the first example of that transition may be in an up-coming fund-raiser at Ms. Winfrey’s home. Already invitations have been sent out to various entertainment figures, and there is limited space. Each RSVP includes a $2300 donation to Senator Obama, with dinner and time to get personal for those that get combined donations of $50,000 or more.

It’s a lot of money potentially, and obviously a lot of media attention. It gives pause to the Senator Clinton political machine that had previously held the lead on Hollywood endorsements.

But is that really important? Besides the tons of money that ensures advertisements and fliers, and makes the candidates beholden to the interests of big donors, what else is there? Do people with less than extreme fervor really care if celebrity XYZ likes this politician or the other?

While Ms. Winfrey is a coup for Senator Obama, being the first she has endorsed and is pushing to support, does that really equate to voters? I can see her causing more books to be sold, or a movie to get higher ticket sales, but votes? Do people trust ANY entertainer to tell them who is the best politician, especially when it comes to the Presidency?

It’s an interesting question. One that will soon be found out. There is no doubt that a great deal of attention will be paid to who shows up for this fund-raising event. More than a few celebrities and entertainers will be questioned about their endorsement, both tacit and explicit. But what will it matter?

I wonder if Senator Obama, or Senator Clinton, or even Mr. Rudy Giuliani as examples were endorsed by Snoop Dogg if that would help them or hurt them. Does that change in any manner the quality of the candidate? If it does, why?

This is what I think, what do you think?

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Presidential candidates only speak to one side of the fence - 7.12.2007.1

What’s wrong with this – the National Education Association (NEA), NAACP, National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) all invited the Presidential candidates of both parties to speak before them, in each only one Republican candidate appeared. Why would that be?

While each group is considered ‘liberal’ that is not an absolute fact. To take the NEA, it’s 1/3 Republican in its membership. Mike Huckabee appeared and was well received by the group which had 10,000 members attending. Considering the 3.2 membership in the NEA, this was a big coup for Mr. Huckabee and one that no other Republican was able to share in.

See what the Presidential candidates have been asked and their response.
Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo was the only Republican to appear before the NAACP. At the NALEO event, Representative Duncan Hunter of California made the only showing. They were the only ones. Why?

I understand that the ‘understanding’ among pundits is that these organizations are all Democrat-leaning and that they are liberal groups. I understand that the focus at the moment is to gain the win at the Primaries of each party. But I have to believe that one of the most important goals for any Presidential candidate is to be able to win the Presidency of the United States. If the public is for a candidate, then what party would stop them from going forward?

I hate to see political math in action. It annoys me. I may have used the recent actions of Republicans here, but the same is true of Democratic candidates in the reverse. All because there is a theory out there that gaining the best electoral math determines the winner. That just makes me come to the conclusion that none of the candidates feels they are strong enough to appeal to the majority of the American citizenry.

I mean, if you believe you have the right position to move America forward, why would you be afraid to explain your plans to those that have a political viewpoint that is not the same as yours, and are likely unaware of your stance on the issues? It’s one thing to preach to the converted, it’s another to convert those that disagree. But a President should be able to do that. At least in my opinion.

I find it insulting that ANY candidate presumes that talking to any group of Americans is a waste of time. If you wish to lead this nation, you must be willing to speak to this nation. The President is the leader, but only so far as the public wishes to go in one direction or another. I think far too many candidates and pundits forget that. The public elects the President (yes, through the convoluted electoral election process) and the public backs the decisions the President makes. For the public to elect the best person we need to know what they stand for and what their plans are.

Dodging this group or that is not Presidential. I see it as a weakness. I said the same of the Democrats that turned down a debate sponsored by Fox News. If ANY candidate can’t answer tough questions for their political opposites, how good could they be at answering Al Quida? Or any nation that opposes the United States? Or achieving the goals they state are their agenda?

Speaker Pelosi is an example of this I think. She talked a great game speaking to her supporters, but due to her failure to convince her detractors the 100 day plan has failed, the Congress wastes time and money on fishing expeditions on matters where no crime exists, and the American public is angered. As low as the President’s approval rating may be, the Speaker and Congress are even lower.

The candidates need to step up. So much has been said about the women’s vote in this upcoming election. A lot is being said about African Americans and Hispanic/Latino Americans as well. Any candidate that assumes that these groups will or will not vote for them, without speaking to them creates a self-fulfilling wish, and that may not be the best thing for the nation.

I would hate to have to write a post 3 years from now saying, ‘I wish so and so stepped up and spoke more about this or that. We might be in a better place today if they did.’ I don’t anyone wants to be living in that situation, do you?

This is what I think, what do you think?

Labels: , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Apple Iphone, everywhere but Puerto Rico - 7.11.2007.1

Yesterday I received some interesting news. There has been a ton of news on the Iphone, the media has covered the lines awaiting its sale and people breaking them open. The lack of service, the cost to use the Iphone. Yes there has been a huge amount of news about Apple’s new little device.

One thing that seems to have slipped by the news media is that if you live in Puerto Rico, you can’t buy one. Yes, in Puerto Rico you cannot buy an Iphone. When I was told this I was surprised. I had to check it out for myself.
Picture found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puerto_Rico

I spent quite a bit of time on this. Cingular verified that the frequency the Iphone uses is the same as mainland America. Though the rates would probably be roaming for many, but Cingular does cover PR. The international department for AT&T verified that several people have used Iphones in Puerto Rico. At that point I was questioning if my source was correct.

Then I spoke with Apple. While I could not get a comment, I did verify that it is not possible to buy the Iphone in P.R., and I have been told it will not be shipped there. I would like to say this was completely confirmed, but as of this post I still have not heard back from the public relations department of Apple.

So why is this not available? From what I have been told from sources outside of Apple, Puerto Rico is not recognized as part of the United States by Apple. This does not affect the other products that Apple sells in Puerto Rico, just the Iphone. For some reason the area codes for Puerto Rico, 787 and 939, will not be accepted by the product. The Cingular service is seamless with P.R. and mainland America

So the team developing the Iphone either ignored Puerto Rico, don’t recognize it as part of America, or didn’t want to include it. None of these answers is a positive thing. If the people responsible for the Iphone ignored, either through innocence or need for deadlines, the existence of Puerto Ricans I’m upset. 4 million citizens of America deserve to be remembered. At the very least Apple has excluded a target market. Moreso I think they have insulted millions of Americans who work, live and die for America the same as any other individual in Michigan, or Ohio, or New York.

If those at Apple that are responsible don’t recognize P.R. as part of America, then I would have to think they are some of the brightest dumb people I have heard of. This is basic geography. It’s basic American history. It’s so prevalent and obvious a fact as to be taken for granted, which millions in the nation do every day.

Perhaps most troubling is if they didn’t want to include the commonwealth of America, the leading economy of the Caribbean, citizens by birth entitled to all rights the same as any other American. I don’t understand the reasoning. The GDP of Puerto Rico is $74 billion, there have been Puerto Ricans fighting in virtually every war America has had, and still do today. Is there some reason why I as a former Marine, a United States citizen, a productive businessman and positively contributing member of this society cannot buy their Iphone product in P.R.?

I don’t think that when my father volunteered for Viet Nam, where he was injured and lived the rest of his life afflicted with Agent Orange and other issues, he wanted to allow a company to imply that he was meaningless or worthless. Such is the implication I draw from the exclusion Apple has made.

Perhaps I am overreacting. I imagine that this is not what most in Apple believe. But considering I have yet to hear a response from the company, and I have heard that this is what is going on, and confirmed that the only cause would be from actions by Apple, well I’m left to think that some must have that thought.

Of all the freedoms that I and my family have at different times joined the military for, this is not one of them. I really would love to hear Apple’s response on this.

This is what I think, what do you think?

Labels: , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

As time before the 2008 Presidential election diminishes - 7.10.2007.4

This is turning out to be quite the Presidential race. With this early start we the public have been given the opportunity to delve deeper than ever before about each of the candidates. The news media have taken time to make sure we know exactly what is going on.

So far we have heard hard hitting news on hairstyles, best television episodes, and suntans at the beach. We have been reminded of how many times a candidate has been in drag, who is quitting smoking, and who won’t win at American Idol.

The depth of what we know is massive.

Yet who can tell me what exact plan each, or any candidate has to exit Iraq (or to stay there)? What coverage has been heard of exactly who will pay for national healthcare, or how the pharmaceutical industry will remain motivated to seek out new drugs to cure diseases plaguing our aging populace? Where did the Presidential candidates outline their planned efforts to manage the economy?

I can tell you how much the various homes of the candidates cost, how much money they have raised on the internet or by corporate donors, and how much of a carbon footprint their private jets leave.

But what do we know about HR 180 IH? Has one candidate even mentioned it? For that matter, how many things that affect the daily lives of Americans have actually been mentioned by the candidates? I don’t mean the recent (they all started talking about the environment about 1 month ago, just as it got more attention in the news media) hot topic, I mean how schools will be improved. How about transportation to get you to work, or infrastructure that will get cheaper, higher quality cell phone service to those in Middle America where it doesn’t exist. What about ensuring that terrorists are assuaged from entering the nation from our northern border that never gets discussed.

With all this extra time, to find out so many details, why don’t we have actual answers? Why is it that we have plenty of pat, rote, 30 second soundbites that are virtually the same along party lines for each candidate?

"If HIV/AIDS were the leading cause of death of white women between the ages of 25 and 34, there would be an outraged outcry in this country."

Nice line. Really pumps up people. Of course it was only mentioned to a specific target group, and does not answer what to do about the problem. Why do the candidates, with all this extra time, not mention a plan to resolve these issues. The above quote could have been made to the public, in one of the various interviews or via the internet (like on YouTube), so that Primetime America could hear that HIV/AIDS is still killing people in THIS nation. A plan could be outlined saying that X dollars could be spent to organize a governmental directive to lower the number of new cases by year 200X. That nothing less than reducing the 1.3 million cases known in this nation to 1 million in 2 years was a goal. That protecting the nation from diseases like this is why we need national healthcare.

Any one of the candidates could have said that. None have. None have said anything effectively. So why all the extra time.

If the Presidential race is only about who was divorced, who got cheated on, who looks good, or who can rattle off the most effective 30 seconds of fluff, WE have the wrong candidates. If the election is about the improvement of the nation, backed up with plans and goals, then we will have a better America.

Don’t you think so?

Labels: , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Discussing retreat or fighting in Iraq Part 3 - 7.10.2007.3

Concluded from Discussing retreat or fighting in Iraq Part 2...

There is no simple solution to this situation. Blame covers virtually ever member of Congress and the Executive branch. The reasons for enacting this war, no matter how questionable today, have been supported by more than the majority of Congress up until the 2nd quarter of 2006. Even until the end of April 2007 the general consensus has been in support.

Partisan bickering has not resolved any of the issues involved. No effective plan has been offered as a counter to the existing one. No plan currently includes the probable outcomes 2 years or more down the road.

Anger at various officials has overshadowed the actual events ongoing. If President Bush were to be replaced by ANYONE at this moment, there still would be no better plan in place than what exists at this moment. In fact there would be less of a plan in place (based on the exact plans declared by virtually all the candidates to date) thus promoting chaos.

Emotion must be removed, as well as partisan election games, to reach an effective middle road. Extremes are ineffective and costly. Lack of planning is terrifying. We are America, better can be done.

This is what I think, what do you think?

Labels: , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Discussing retreat or fighting in Iraq Part 2 - 7.10.2007.2

Continued from Discussing retreat or fighting in Iraq Part 1...

Looking at the other side of this issue, we see those that wish to fight until all opposition is removed. Such an action requires the building of a colony or commonwealth. It would involved the complete takeover by the United States. Iraq would cease to be independent and fighting would continue for about 2 generations. This plan would require that America rebuild the entire nation. A new infrastructure, buildings, economy and education system would need to be created. Military bases would have to be installed. The cost to America would be enormous, with any return on the investments there not being seen for 5 years to a decade.

An immediate problem would be the response by moderate and liberal nations in the world. France as an example would likely be outraged by ‘actions in America that harkens back to imperialist empire-building.’ During the first 10 years at least there would be constant attacks on Iraq, with several nations (notably Iran) claiming that this was an attack on Islam. The loss of soldiers would increase roughly 10-fold over the first 10 years.

Given history, it would be expected that assimilation would begin after the generation raised with improved facilities (hospitals, schools, running water, ect) reached the age of 25, and began families of their own. By the second generation internal support of America would be high and the improved quality of life would draw more moderate individuals from neighboring countries. Stateside, there would be fewer attacks but they would be more severe, as the emphasis would be on destabilizing Iraq. Liberals in America would be enraged, and strong divisions in both political parties would emerge. Taxes would increase to offset the investment in Iraq, but economic returns would improve roughly 7-12 years after the start of this program.

As neither of these extremes is attractive, or viable, what alternative exists? There is no plan offered currently other than that of continued fighting. The current plan requires Iraq to stabilize it’s government, which is not happening. The near civil war in Iraq will likely take about a decade to resolve, with continued U.S. support. Current strategies will continue the slow loss of American soldiers and high cost of fighting. Within 2 years taxes will have to be increased to cover the cost. The strain on the economy will be increased, and corporations will seek to gouge business in Iraq to make up for the risk and protracted cost.

Without U.S. support, actual civil war will occur, with Iran and several other nations supporting various groups in the fighting. The Middle East will have higher tensions, oil prices will go up. Hundreds of thousands will die. Likely an autocratic if not theocratic government will be formed and tens of thousand will be jailed in response to having aided the U.S. efforts or those of other groups. The children that lost family, as well as grown adults will be convinced that America was the cause of the current ills, and that they are worse than the subjugation of Saddam Hussein and the Baath party. Within 7 years, recruits to Al Quida and similar groups will triple to a 5-fold increase. Within 2 years of a gradual loss of U.S. support, without a strong central government, America will have a major attack, with several minor attacks similar to those that have occurred in England happening before and after the main attack.

Continued in Part 3...

Labels: , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Discussing retreat or fighting in Iraq - 7.10.2007.1

Not long ago there was a battle in the Congress to bring troops fighting in Iraq back to America. This was lead by the Democratic party, based in part on the results of the 2006 mid-term elections where Democrats ran on the platform of change in Iraq policy. The Democrats failed to force the President to withdraw immediately, the only concession being the establishment of a timeline where the status of the new surge policy would be evaluated in September 2007.

Today there is renewed efforts to bring the troops back home. While the initial push for this same policy was a partisan effort, largely, 5 months ago this new effort is more bi-partisan. Some are stating they are unwilling to wait to learn the results of the strategic change, and are demanding the troops return. Without regard to political affiliation this is a serious issue with ramifications that will affect America for decades. As such some need to pause and evaluate what we are doing, and attempting to do.

Looking at the extremist views, in particular on the left, there is a call to leave Iraq immediately. Those that have this view seek to turn and run from Iraq. Semantics aside, that is what immediate withdrawal means. Let’s consider the implications of such an action. I will guarantee that upon news of an immediate withdrawal several things will happen. The first is that the news will be broadcast over Al Jazira (an Arabic equivalent of CNN or other cable news networks). Many of the most extreme militant groups in the Middle East watch this program regularly, and would learn of this act immediately. Within hours news of this would reach Afghanistan and Iraq, or more particularly those who are fighting American troops. EVERY nation in the world would see this as a loss for America, and in the Middle East anti-American groups would be dancing in the streets.

Within days of that news, attacks on American troops would increase. That is not a guess, it’s basic military strategy. The opponent is turning their back to flee, which means any aggressive action will have greater effect. The higher level of direct attacks, plus the demoralizing effect on American troops (no one likes to lose a fight, and as a nation that is the strongest in the world, losing to a few small groups is a smack in the face) would be devastating. Any student of military strategy will tell you that attacking retreating forces will cause them to have greater casualties, and confusion. Of course that does not include the fact that opponents of America will rally to Iraq, being in on the winning side is either a matter of self-preservation in a post-war country or a bragging point.

Going beyond the immediate increase of enemy forces, increased attacks, and the change in morale is the question of what happens stateside. Sleeper cells in the United States would be emboldened. New cells will seek to enter the nation. Within 6 months, several attacks will occur in several major cities. This is not random speculation but highly probable actions determined from the stated goals of militants that we are currently fighting, military strategies, and the rush of new recruits to organizations that will claim they cause America to ‘cower in fear and run away’. Looking across the world, and throughout history this always happens to nations that flee a fight of this nature.

Continued in part 2...

Labels: , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Monday, July 09, 2007

Commenting on the July 8th NY Daily News editorial - 7.9.2007.1

I’m so pleased that the New York Daily News has made an editorial piece yesterday, challenging the Presidential candidates to provide answers to several questions that are critical to the future of America. I salute them in their attempt to get clear answers. I applaud the fact that they want to know where the plans are, and who has them. I just want to ask them one question, what took you so long?

When I say that I mean it. I started asking significant and serious questions of the candidates back in December 2006. I highlighted the fact that the comments from the Presidential candidates of both parties were obfuscated with 30 second soundbites and little else.

“There is also the fact that for a majority of the voting public, information and opinions are formed from the various televised soundbites found on news broadcasts whether they are local or on a 24 hour cable channel.”

I surmised that there have been no clear plans on any currently hot or politically significant issue back in the first quarter of this year.

“Yet, in my opinion, less information is known about the views, and in some cases the voting records, of these individuals.”

Only now has the New York Daily News caught on that the public has yet to learn anything that would motivate us to elect the next president of the United State, much less consider their potential for the position.

“Considering the thought that many are gaining their insights on potential candidates from 30 second blurbs, edited and presented to match a political preference of whatever corporation may own the broadcast, this is unacceptable. Even the few debates that are held contain little real information; rather they are extended soundbites that are framed to capture the attention of selected target groups without actually defining exact parameters or plans.”

In the past I felt that it was the fact that I am not as famous as say Mr. Bill O’Reilly, Ms. Michelle Malkin, Mr. Larry King, or Ms. Rosie O’Donnell. I also considered that the staff of the various candidates were too dependant on the televised looks of the candidates to provide answers to serious legitimate question, even when they were asked by a constituent of one of the Senators. But it appears that even the Daily News was rebuffed by some of the candidates.

Why is this the case, that it’s so difficult to get answers from those that wish to guide the nation at this crux point in time. Why is it that after 7 months, only the New York Daily News has been observant enough to notice the failure of the candidates to provide the public details? Why did it take so many months, and several debates, for the news media to mention that such inadequacies exist?

I may not have the massive staff, the fame provided by an organization with decades of existence, or the revenues funded by millions of readers (yet); but I was aware enough to start asking for more than mere soundbites in 2006. I have difficulty understanding how major news media could not come to the same conclusions. Either way the Presidential candidates are obligated to provide more to the public, and the news media are obligated to make sure they do.

I’m glad a challenge has been placed before the candidates, and saddened that some failed to take up this crucible. But until all who wish to be considered can be precise, without relying on the crutch of soundbites and pat answers, the challenges must be demanded regularly. That is the stick, with the carrot being the Presidency. I can think of no better motivation.

This is what I think, what do you think?

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Presidential candidates say national healthcare sure, but HIV/Aids no ideas - 7.5.2007.1

In the recent Democratic Presidential debate held at Howard University, an interesting question was brought up. What are the candidates going to do about HIV/AIDS. The question was posed to specifically address the fact that it is the leading cause of death for Black women age 25-34. But considering roughly half of the estimated 1.3 million people infected in America today are not African American it is a question that EVERY American should be concerned about.

With over a decade of knowledge and research posed on this one subject, most would expect that the government would have a defined plan in place. Goals and targets set, with periodic reports of status towards those goals. Yet none exist. Nor does a single candidate of either political party have an answer.

Probably the most powerful comment came from Senator Clinton

“If HIV/AIDS were the leading cause of death of white women between the ages of 25 and 34, there would be an outraged outcry in this country.”

That may be a true statement, but we have learned a few things. HIV/AIDS is not a gay issue, nor an African American issue. It’s not something that is exclusive to the poor or uneducated. This is a medical problem that affects the lives of our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and children. That does not even touch upon the epidemic nature of these diseases in the rest of the world.

If we compare it to Viet Nam, which affected the entire nation, and is often quoted as affecting every 5th American in some personal manner, there were 58,209 reported dead, 305,000 reported wounded and 2,000 still considered missing. Right now there are at least 500,000 that have been killed and 1.3 million infected today. Viet Nam tore the heart out of America, and HIV/AIDS is killing us.

The fact that not one Presidential candidate has a plan, of any type, is remarkable and incredulous at the same time. This is an issue that does not go away in time or if we do not speak about it. If we do not act on this in a structured manner, it will grow and become more of an issue. If I were to compare it to a cancer, if you do not do anything about it it will kill you.

It’s not enough to hear a nice soundbite, that grabs our emotions on this issue. It’s not enough to make a statement that everyone can agree is true. We need a PLAN. We need LEADERSHIP. Isn’t that what the Presidential candidates are supposed to be presenting in these debates?

I’m glad that the issue of HIV/AIDS is more understood today than it was in the past. I’m happy that the rampant fear that came with the recognition of the disease has toned down a bit. But I’m not happy that there is no leadership in place, or seemingly forthcoming, to deal with this disease. Hiding our collective heads in the sand is not an answer.

Speaking in a Presidential manner is great. Looking Presidential is wonderful. Being a leader that can hold the position of President of the United States requires a bit more. Part of that is having plans for issues that affect 1 in every 300 Americans, and potentially could affect 1 in 10. And for those that think it’s not so bad the National Cancer Institute believes there are 8 million Americans with cancer today, that’s roughly 1 American in 150, and the second leading cause of death in America.

Don’t you think that an issue of such a magnitude deserves attention? Shouldn’t any potential President of America not only be aware that this issue exists, they should have a plan. One that takes more than 30 seconds to explain and get cheap votes on?

This is what I think, what do you think?

Labels: , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

What are Democratic Presidential candidates saying about Scooter Libby? Part 2 - 7.3.2007.2

Continued from What are Democratic Presidential candidates saying about Scooter Libby? Part 1...

Mr. Edwards stated,

“Only a president clinically incapable of understanding that mistakes have consequences could take the action he did today…”

If this was a mistake, then the crime was incidental. Therefore the punishment should not be as severe. Even so, there are consequences that are being enacted on Mr. Libby. Unless losing the career that was the basis of one’s life is inconsequential.

Senator Obama stated,

“This decision to commute the sentence of a man who compromised our national security cements the legacy of an Administration characterized by a politics of cynicism and division, one that has consistently placed itself and its ideology above the law…”

Mr. Libby did not commit treason. He was convicted of saying he spoke to people he told the FBI he did not speak to. National security was never an issue or question and was never considered in the charge against him.

Gov. Richardson is quoted,

“There is a reason we have laws and why we expect our Presidents to obey them. Institutions have a collective wisdom greater than that of any one individual. The arrogance of this administration's disdain for the law and its belief it operates with impunity are breathtaking….”

President Bush followed the law, commutation is one of his priviledges. The President did not reverse the collective wisdom of the jury, there was no pardon. The one individual he did modify was the judge who imposed the punishment. I do not see how this is disdain.

Senator Clinton said,

“Today's decision is yet another example that this Administration simply considers itself above the law. This case arose from the Administration's politicization of national security intelligence and its efforts to punish those who spoke out against its policies. Four years into the Iraq war, Americans are still living with the consequences of this White House's efforts to quell dissent….”

This is an interesting person to be speaking about a commutation after the well publicized pardon of Mr. Mark Rich that President Clinton made. Even so, again the President (Bush) was well within the law in commuting PART of the sentence. Again, there has been no connection to a cover-up or politicizing of national security in over a year plus of this case. What one man lying to the FBI about who he spoke to months prior has to do with the Iraq war is beyond me.

I have not written this as a pro-Republican view, nor is it against the Democratic candidates. I seek to work through the soundbites and rhetoric to reach the actual fact and comments being made. Politicians love to evoke emotion to obscure the facts of an issue, or to divert the conversation to a subject they prefer to speak about. That is not good enough for ANY candidate that wishes to be President of the United States in my opinion.

Perhaps I am alone in this thought, but this seems to have been a waste of the governments funds. The use of our taxes has a better use than a multi-year snipe hunt, the capture of one individual in a lie that affects nothing, and rhetoric from candidates that is meant to whip up emotions for the exclusive benefit of the politicians themselves.

I felt it was a waste when President Clinton was being persecuted for lying to the nation, on live television, about getting oral sex, I think no different now. There are far more important issues that need to be discussed, in depth, and far better uses of our money.

Just something to keep in mind as you hear the Republicans and Democrats waste our time and your donations speaking (or making ads) about this issue.

Labels: , , , ,

Ask for ad rates

What are Democratic Presidential candidates saying about Scooter Libby? - 7.3.2007.1

Well the big news among the Presidential candidates today is all the buzz about Mr. Scooter Libby getting a commutation of part of his sentence. I have not seen comments from the Republican candidates, but I will comment and provide what I found on the Democratic candidates.See what the Presidential candidates have been asked and their response.

First of all, what is commutation of a sentence? It is part of the powers of the President. It is similar to a pardon, but it is not that. Pardons nullify a sentence, effectively removing a juries decision. A commutation lessens the punishment for the conviction, effectively modifying a Judges decision. I want that to be clear as many pundits, besides the candidates, are wording their responses as if this were a pardon. Another example of soundbite politics, trying to confuse or obfuscate an issue in order to sound better to voters.

Let me also clarify why there is a mention of this case in the first place. Mr. Libby was convicted of lying to the FBI. After tens of thousands of dollars were spent looking for a conspiracy in the leak that might have revealed a covert agent, this was the only charge made. Depending on your political leaning Mr. Libby was either lying on purpose or lied as a consequence of a bad memory on events several months prior. The conviction was 30 months in jail, $250,000 fine, and a loss of his ability to act as a lawyer – forever.

President Bush removed the jail sentence. That’s it. Mr. Libby still has a conviction on record, still cannot practice law, and still must pay the fine.

Now as for the comments, Senator Biden said

“…I call for all Americans to flood the White House with phone calls tomorrow expressing their outrage over this blatant disregard for the rule of law.”

The rule of law says that the President can commute or pardon any federal prisoner. Where is the law disregarded?

Senator Dodd said,
“…The only ones paying the price for this Administration's actions are the American people.”

It was the Democrats in the Congress that claimed and pursued a conspiracy, that was never found, which happened to cause this event. If there was no pursuit of a conspiracy that no news media in the nation could find, Mr. Libby would be working today.

Mr. Edwards stated,

“Only a president clinically incapable of understanding that mistakes have consequences could take the action he did today…”

Continued in part 2...

Labels: , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Monday, July 02, 2007

Can you find Presidential candidate's answers on issues? Part 2 - 7.2.2007.2

Continued from Can you find Presidential candidate's answers on issues? Part 1...

Am I shocked by this news? No. Long time readers of my site are aware that the Presidential candidates, in both parties, have seemingly avoided answering questions I have posed to them. They have ignored the copies of my letters sent by readers just like you, so far. Questions asking the very same type of things that they don’t have on their websites. Answers that I others believe are important for the next would-be President of the United States must have.See what the Presidential candidates have been asked and their response.

To find out that a study has found that all the candidates won’t provide these answers is not a surprise, it’s a shame. How can any candidate ask you for money yet not tell you what they plan to do with the nation? Fear of not getting the candidacy just means they are too weak to lead the nation in the first place. If a candidate is afraid of how the public, or any part of it, will respond to an answer, then it probably not the right answer for the NATION. At least that is how I think.

The American public is not stupid. We can understand more than a 30 second answer. We realize that solutions to the issues affecting us today and for the next decade are more involved that explaining the economy to a fifth-grader. Like Mr. Carl Reiner’s character in the original Ocean’s Eleven film said

“So are you going to treat me like a grown-up and tell me what’s going on?”

Well when are the candidates going to treat us like adults? Will we get some answers only after a President gets sworn in January 2009? Do we have to wait until after the primaries and our choices have been whittled away?

42% of people can’t get answers, and the candidates aren’t speaking. Well I’m still asking. Take a look at the letters I have sent the candidates of both political parties. If they seem like sound questions you would like an answer to, copy it and send them to whomever you would like an answer from. When those answers come in, and they will, I will post them unaltered.

Your vote counts, your voice is loud. Let’s remind the Presidential candidates that no matter how many corporate or lobbyist donations they get, we still elect them.

This is what I think, what do you think?

Labels: , , ,

Ask for ad rates

Can you find Presidential candidate's answers on issues? - 7.2.2007.1

With half the over, and pundits as well as candidates crowing about how much money they raised, I have prepared to release the current results of my poll on who might win the 2008 Presidential election. Before I mention who is leading my informal poll I want to bring up something far more important. It’s not the question of how much money is coming to each of the candidates from the healthcare lobby (which is substantial – Senator Clinton leads on that) or other corporate donations. It’s not how the candidates have used the internet to gain funds from the general public (which even with the record breaking numbers raised by Senator Obama pale to the lobbyist and corporate donation). I’m not even looking at how pundits are so focused on the issue of money raised they discount anyone who has not raised enough money (like Mr. John Edwards and Senator McCain). No, the issue is that while every candidate has a website, roughly 42% of the public can’t find answers about the issues.

According to a iCrossing study, 42% is the number of people searching for information on issues and candidates only to find nothing is there. This includes websites for the candidates themselves. You might say well if those Americans that are say 45+ are looking they are not as familiar with the internet and computers, so it might be a mistake on their part. If you did say that yoou are wrong. The emphasis of those looking online for information are between thwe ages of 18 – 35.

Forty-seven percent of those who go online for information about candidates and issues use search engines to conduct their research, equal to the 46 percent who do not.

Of potential voters who are looking for election information online, 61 percent of 18 to 24 year olds and 55 percent of 25 to 34 year olds seek answers on user-driven content sites such as blogs, YouTube and Wikipedia.

Issue- oriented searches dominate over explorations of candidates' voting and personal histories by a margin of nearly two to one; yet nearly all candidates rank poorly for issue-based search visibility.

I want to emphasize that last part, nearly all candidates rank poorly for issue-based search visibility. Why is it so difficult to find answers about issues on a Presidential candidate’s website? They want to tell you how friendly, joe-average, just like you, they are, but they won’t speak clearly and definitively about say national healthcare. Or what is their exist strategy for Iraq, or what happens after we are gone. Information gets fuzzy about social security, or providing an education to ALL the children of the nation. Not even a straight answer on what they want to do about illegal immigration.

Let me be clear, I’m not saying that they have a soundbite; I’m talking about a plan. A beginning, middle and end. A structured outline that anyone who can read can understand or at least follow. You can easily learn why Mr. John Edwards paid $400 for a haircut, or that Senator Obama quit smoking, or how many times Mr. Rudy Giuliani has appeared in drag. But do you care? Is any of that more important to making sure that when you go to sleep at night, or your loved ones go to work, that you won’t have to fear a terrorist attack? How does the information they give compare to whether they can ensure that the American dream of your children living a better life than yours will be a reality?

Continued in Part 2...

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Ask for ad rates
Ask for ad rates