Monday, December 22, 2008
Barack Obama got his start in politics in Chicago. Everyone knows that Chicago is corrupt, the commentators say, and this latest event proves that Obama must be corrupt also. Along the way someplace Obama must have rubbed shoulders with the errant governor and therefore he is guilty of the same sin.
Guilt by association is all they have on the President-elect and they are making the best of it. From my perspective, conservatives should forget trying to find something bad about Obama and cooperate with him as he prepares to lead the country. They lost the recent presidential election so conservatives should get over it. It is going to be a long four years for them.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
From my perspective, with such an obvious bias nothing they say will have much credibility. They could at least wait until he is in office a few months before they condemn his program. But, that’s not the nature of ultra-conservatives. They tend to be ideological to the core and just plain don’t understand nor can they accept anything outside the parameters of their strict philosophical beliefs.
Monday, December 15, 2008
I find such behavior appalling. Evidently the Iraqi press has not learned that in a democracy there are appropriate ways to express opposition to leaders. Violent action is not among them. The reporter should be reminded that under Saddam he would have lived only a short time after such an act. His life would have been spared only for purposes of sadistic torture.
Like George Bush or not, he is still President of the United States. From my perspective, in that office he is deserving of respect both as an individual and as representative of our grand republic. Certainly the Iraqis owe us that regardless of their view of the war. The same is true for those of us who disagree with his politics.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
And, finally President Bush has admitted that he had it wrong in the run up to the war in Iraq. In a recent interview he was asked if he had any regrets regarding his eight years in office. He said he regretted the bad intelligence he got about Iraq and the WMD’s prior to the war. However, he did not say that he would not have gone to war if he had gotten accurate information.
It is not much of an admission, but it is a huge change from the arrogant, self assured leader who taunted the enemy with "bring em on!" at the beginning of the war. It is the closest thing we are going to get to an apology for the tragic blunder which led to the needless death of 4000 brave service men and women plus many thousands more who have returned home with bodies torn apart. From my perspective, it is a sad legacy Bush has left for our fair republic.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
We are aware of some tactics they have used in the past to suppress the Democratic vote. First is dirty tricks such as passing out fliers in heavy Democratic precincts telling voters that the election day has been changed to Wednesday. They also try to misdirect people to the wrong polling place or give out false information about voting such as the threat that anyone with an unpaid parking ticket will be arrested if they try to vote. There are all kinds of such dirty tricks the Republicans have used in the past and we expect to see them all again along with some new ones.
There are even more direct attempts to block people from voting or just plain steal the election. Since the election machinery in this part of the state is firmly under the control of the Republican party, they tend to challenge the eligibility of a large number of potential voters in heavily Democratic precincts. Also the vote counting machines can easily be manipulated at the beginning of the election day to record a number of votes before any voters even arrive at the polls. It is very difficult to catch them at this thievery.
Democrats have only a limited number of poll watchers and it is impossible to constantly watch all the precincts for unusual occurrences. In the last election, one precinct recorded an unusually high number of votes right after the Democratic poll watchers left the voting site. And guess who won in that precinct by a healthy margin!
Lets hope we get a reasonably accurate count in this election. So Democrats, be ever vigilant!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
In our own United States, fear of the other brought restrictive laws, as well as private action, discriminating against Jews, Blacks ,and Catholics. Members of these groups were much feared, especially in the South. At one time laws were enacted forbidding anyone to teach a person of color to read. Once they get educated they will be a real threat to the rest of us, it was feared. Current "others" such as Gypsies in Italy, Muslims in France and Polish in Great Britain are a source of much fear in those countries.
From my perspective, Governor Palin has tapped into a long standing source of fear when she labels Barack Obama as not like us. He is one of those others who are ever a point of anxiety to the rest of us. How effective will instilling fear of the "other" be as a campaign strategy? It has worked well throughout history and has already had an influence on the thinking of many people. It remains to be seen if fear will be a determining factor in the final outcome of the election.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
For those who have not reached an advanced age, the law requires those who have set up tax deferred retirement accounts invested in the stock market to take a certain amount out in the year they turn 70 and ½ years of age. Doing so now, when the market is down, would result in a big loss for those who are retired. So, McCain’s idea would be a real benefit to those of us who have saved over the years for our retirement. Maybe hard work and frugal living has some benefits after all!
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
When a candidate for elective office makes such a reckless charge against their opponent it is usually because they have lost hope of winning the election by honorable means. From my perspective, both John McCain and Sarah Palin are too good of people to stoop to this kind of dirty politics. Certainly they have something better to say to the American people than to utter such a ludicrous statement.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Why should ordinary taxpayers pay for the sins of the elite New York bankers? Certainly the smart guys who run America’s business can find a solution to this problem that doesn’t turn our country into a welfare state for the greedy.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
The Russian Empire collapsed in 1917 only to be replaced shortly thereafter by the Soviet Union which was a Communist empire. This union was dominated by its largest entity, Russia. At the end of the Second World War the United States and the Soviet Union emerged as the two great powers in the world. This was a throwback to the 19th century with its contests among several great powers, especially within Europe. Both Russia and the United States jockeyed for influence throughout the world each carving out its own sphere of particular interest. They did not want to confront each other militarily because each had the power to destroy the other. It was referred to as MAD or Mutually Assured Destruction.
The war that raged between the two superpowers was referred to as a Cold War. Eventually in the last decade of the 20th century the United States won and once again the Russian Empire collapsed with many of its components declaring independence. The Russia that emerged was weak militarily, economically, and in matters of governance. The United States, the proud winner, boasted more than a little that it was now the one great power in the world and it seemed that no other nation had the resources to challenge its status. Russia struggled to develop an effective governance structure. Its lack of experience with democratic institutions made that effort very difficult.
Meanwhile, America got fat and lazy. The easy life was good indeed. We were busy assisting the remnants of the Soviet Union in developing democratic processes and an affinity for the American way of life. Several of them wanted to join with other European countries in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). We were glad to have them, while Russia, in its weakness, chafed at the thought that their former enemy was encircling them. The United States went on a spending spree piling up debt at an unprecedented rate with little to show for the expenditures.
Russia, dabbled with democracy but mainly found economic institutions to build its own wealth and strength. Recent events in the tiny republic of Georgia have been a wake-up call to the Americans. Georgia has been our strongest ally in the Iraq war, and we were ready to let them into NATO. When the Georgian military began to bombard the Russian population of one of its own breakaway enclaves, the Russians said "no thank you." They moved their military, not only to defend their own people, but invaded Georgia itself. The Georgian leadership looked to their great friends, the Americans, for help.
President George Bush huffed and puffed. He snorted and pawed the ground and kicked up dust everywhere demanding that the Russians leave Georgia. The Russians smiled and continued their occupation of our beleaguered friend. In response, President Bush dispatched his Secretary of State, the stern faced Dr. Rice, to take care of the situation. She did more huffing and puffing with the same result. The Russians giggled at the suggestion that they should relinquish their quick conquest. Their response to the American efforts sends a clear message, the Russians are back.
From my perspective, America has dithered away its strength while the Russians have quietly built theirs. Now there is a new superpower on the planet and unless the United States quickly reverses course and rebuilds its financial institutions, its weakened economy, and it’s exhausted military they will leave us in the dust of history. I made a similar statement in my last commentary and one of my friends challenged me: " Where will America get the money to do all this? No politician will suggest that we raise taxes and eventually we have to quit borrowing money from the Chinese, so how are we going to rebuild American strength?"
My friend is correct. Neither one of the candidates for president would dare suggest that we raise taxes to pay for rebuilding America. That would be a political kiss of death. However, unless the American people are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to reconstruct the infrastructure of America , revitalize our weakened financial structure, and rebuild our military, they will have to get used to the United States being a secondary power in the new world order. The Russians are back and we better learn to live with that fact.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Now we await the Republicans in St. Paul. They also need to accomplish three things: heal the rift between McCain and the ultraconservatives of the Republican Party, define McCain’s campaign agenda, and differentiate it from the Bush legacy. It will be interesting to see if they are successful in accomplishing these things
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I am having a great time following the Democratic convention. However I am disturbed about the way the media keeps trying to find a controversy between the Clintons and the Obama campaign. No matter how strong a statement Hillery makes in support of Obama, the media keeps looking for the slightest little pause or inflection in her voice that might indicate that she really doesn't support him.
Clinton fought a hard campaign although it was a bit flawed in strategy. She has every right to be a proud of what she achieved, but now it's time to move on and pull together in unity. I think that's her intention but the media needs a controversy to sell their stories. I hope America doesn't buy.
And that's my casual perspective on the convention.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I’ll Huff and I’ll Puff and I"ll. . . .?
I have for many years been fascinated with children’s stories and their application to adult life. One favorite that comes to mind is the story of the three little pigs and the big bad Wolf who threatened their very lives. In building his domicile, one little pig made it out of straw because it was so easy. Another pig made his dwelling place out of sticks because they were so readily available, while a third little pig, giving considerable thought to his personal security and the dangers that lurked nearby, built his house of brick.
Now comes the big bad Wolf. Not giving heed to the dietary restrictions found in the Hebrew Scriptures, Mr. Wolf decided to feast upon pork chops for his evening meal. With visions of a succulent roast pig dancing in his head, he confronted the first little pig, who scurried to his house made of straw. It was an uneven contest, for the Wolf huffed and puffed and blew the house down. However, the wolf did not find satiation with one pig and sought another, whereupon he confronted the house made of sticks. He huffed and he puffed and he blew that house down too.
As big bad wolves tend to do after tasting easy success in mismatched combat, our wolf became filled with pride and arrogantly sought out a more challenging venue to display his prowess. He confronted the little pig in the house made of brick. "If you don’t come out I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down," he threatened. The little pig laughed to see such a sight as the big bad Wolf huffing and puffing with little effect upon this house which, constructed according to the local building code, could sustain winds far greater than what the wolf could produce. In the end, the big bad Wolf was vanquished and the little pig live happily ever after.
I was thinking of this story last week as news broke of Russia’s brutal invasion into the tiny country of Georgia located on its southern border. This little bit of a country was once part of the Soviet Union and before that a part of the Russian Empire. Since the fall of communism Georgia has declared independence as a sovereign nation and become enamored with the benefits of close friendship with the United States. It is one of the strongest supporters of our war in Iraq.
What a shock it must have been to the citizens of Georgia that, having cast their lot with America and the Western democracies, Russia should be so bold as to invade their sovereign nation without fear of reprisal from the one great superpower left on this earth. Strangely enough, the American President George Bush was sitting side-by-side with the Russian Prime Minister, Mr. Putin. If you remember, Putin is the man whose soul was subject to close inspection as George Bush looked intently into his eyes while they were together on his Texas ranch some years ago. Bush saw an honorable man. I wonder what he saw this time when he looked into his eyes at the Olympic Stadium there in faraway China?
The Americans put on a nice diplomatic display in response to the Russian’s rough handling of our Georgian allies. That did not seem to do any good for the Russians not only invaded the disputed province’s but also their tanks and armored vehicles roamed at will through the Georgian countryside bringing death and destruction to any who got in their way. Eventually, the American President, George Bush, tired of diplomatic niceties and reverted to the role of tough talking Texan with which he finds more comfort.
President Bush showed barely controlled anger as he threatened dire consequences if the Russians did not immediately withdraw from the sovereign territory of our Georgian friends. He huffed and he puffed but there was no real attempt to blow the Russian house down. Mainly, he threatened to keep the Russians out of the rich boys club and denied them entry into international meetings.
The Bush administration insisted that the territorial integrity of Georgia be respected. The Russians laughed at the suggestion. Doesn’t Bush know the time-honored formula at the conclusion of all wars? To the victors go the spoils! Unfortunately, the Russians know that Bush really can’t do anything in response to their thuggery. America is financially broke, economically shaky, diplomatically weak, and totally dependent on foreign commodities to maintain its current standard of living. Further, our military is exhausted from the long protracted wars in the Middle East.
From my perspective, about all Bush can do is huff and puff in response to the Russians military adventurism. Let that be a lesson to the next president; America must rebuild its strength on every level if it wants to continue as a superpower in the 21st century. We cannot confront the Russians, or any other power bent on building an empire from a standpoint of weakness. If we are to be a beacon light of democracy in this world, we must rebuild America and make it strong once again. Hopefully, our two candidates for president will realize that necessary task ahead and rise to the occasion.