Thursday, November 30, 2006

Quote of the day by President Bush

"We're going to stay in Iraq as long as the government wants us there!" Can you see what is wrong here? Read it again!

First of all, notice that it has no mention of what the Iraqi people want. In recent polls 75% of Iraqis, both Sunni and Shiite, want us to leave Iraq. Secondly, as long as the current government has our protection in the Green Zone and can't go outside the walls without fear of execution or torture, the government is never going to ask us to leave.

And those of you reading this Blog that voted for this President, are you pleased with his response and where we are now in Iraq? Yes, you say! Then why are you here and not there, say I? Those of you that voted for him and are now frustrated, don't blame him. He has been the same person throughout the past 6 years. Nothing has changed. Then maybe a self-examination is in order to determine how could you have made this mistake and how will you prevent it from happening again. Now for those that are gloating that you didn't vote for him and are therefore blameless, I say how come your message didn't get through to voters or how come you didn't get more to the polls. In any event, we are all responsible for this including me! But I am learning where I made mistakes, are you?

Will Bush embrace the bipartisan Baker Commission findings?

Those that think President Bush is open to new ideas on Iraq haven't been paying attention to his language and policy over the past 3 years. The Baker Commission will be verbally accepted, as was the 9/11 Commission, but dismissed except in small insignificant ways. You see when someone with an addictive personality has somehow managed to control his addiction, they will not risk changing their behaviors or their thinking on something. They are entrenched, as it is a survival issue for them. So take comfort that we will all be frustrated for the next 2 years, but then it will be over as his term ends.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Gingrich's call for curtailed Free Speech. Not on my watch!

Now he's done it! Former Speaker Newt Gingrich tries a little inflammatory rhetoric, which has serious consequences for all Americans, saying that Free Speech may have to be curtailed in order to fight terrorism.

Here we go again, the use of fear to motivate Americans. Don't Republicans have any other methods to motivate voters? I for one am getting a bit tired of this cheap way to get attention and start an expected run for President in 2008.

Mr. Gingrich, don't waste your time or your money in even thinking of a possible run unless you want more Democrats to unseat Republicans. We need more hope in America, not fear. Maybe you should read Senator Barack Obama's new book, "The Audacity of Hope". It has motivated me into looking for candidates that are willing to have some courage rather than more use of fear. That's the problem in America today. Think about how the lack of hope has resulted in so many Americans on Drugs. It's all about escaping the reality of a world that has gone somewhat insane and used aggression against others as a means of coping.

With the Iraq war we have now lost almost as many citizens as we lost on 9/11 and there are almost 10 times that many seriously wounded in a war that we went into because of fear and Ego. Many Americans say things like, "This is the best country in the world!" I use to say that too. But over the last 6 years I have concluded that we "use to be" the best country in the world.

We seem to have lost our conscience and our bravery as a people to stand up and fight for our real liberties and real freedom right here at home. We are breading a younger generation that will rebel similarly to those that did in the 1960's. The country and the world will be better off when they do and even though I am in my 60's, I will join them. In part, that is why I use my own real name in all my posts rather than hiding behind the use of Anonymous in postings elsewhere or behind a screen with an alias name because I am afraid someone might know me and know what I object to. I see who reads my Blog and know I had a visitor from this week. But I am willing to be counted as a force to reckon with when it comes to telling the truth and hanging on to our freedoms. Don't tell me Mr. Gingrich Free Speech should be curtailed to fight terrorism. If anybody's free speech should be curtailed Mr. Gingrich it is yours. You should get on your knees and thank those that have given their lives so you could make such an asinine statement!

Moqtada al-Sadr has over 60,000 in his militia!

Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr reportedly has over 60,000 in his militia according to CNN reports today. According to the report, the army was trained in Iran and many joined the fight in Lebanon via Syria.

If there is any doubt left that Moqtada al-Sadr is not a force to reckon with, they are mistaken. In a sense, he has an active militia 1/2 the size of all U.S. forces in Iraq. This is why it is so important for us to leave Iraq. Let Sunnis and Shiites fight it out and hopefully a leader of the Sunnis will emerge and maybe then there can be peace for Iraq.

Colin Powell in the pre war days warned President Bush and VP Cheney, "If you break it, you own it!" There is no doubt it is broken and there is no question the fault lies with both of them. Let this be President Bush's main legacy for his $100 million dollar Presidential Library. I can't think of even one reason another American should die there. Will Democrats have the guts to demand what's the only way out? Bring the troops home!

UPDATE: Nov.29, 2006 at 6:00am PST

Well Moqtada al-Sadr has kept one promise. Those loyal to him have pulled their support for Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and left Parliament. This could result in Maliki being removed or a collapse of the entire Maliki government. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Nov. 29, 2006 at 6:45am PST

Moqtada al-Sadr's office has asked Prime Minister Maliki to provide a timetable for all US troops and multi national forces to leave Iraq. It is humorous and could be something you might see on Jay Leno's opening comedic preamble, that now it is clear that on both sides of this issue (Democrats and a few brave Republicans like Senator Chuck Hagel) want our troops home. Let's show real courage as Americans and admit a mistake was made going into Iraq and that we will be making a bigger one by staying there. I wouldn't want my kids fighting over there now and can't imagine the stress other families face each day with their kids there.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Can Iraq regain balance in its society?

What does the Universal Principle of Balance have to do with Iraq today? Simply that there isn't any Balance nor is their any hope for any.

The Principle of Balance infers that in order to have a stable relationship between 3 groups or individuals, you must either have all 3 relationships positive (+) with each other or, if there is any relationship that is negative (-) to either of the other individuals, then one of the other relationships must go negative for balance to emerge. Some examples are in order to bring clarity.

Think about a family of three, a mother, a father and a child. As long as the parents are positive to each other, the child relationship has stability. Even in that circumstance where the mother or father has a negative relationship for a period with the child, the other parent will be negative to the child as well, as long as he/she has still a positive with the other parent. If on the other hand one parent goes negative on the other, it usually means that the child goes negative on one of the parents too. The idea here is to have all three people positive (+) signs with each other. If that is not possible, then 2 negatives and one positive is also a balanced triangle. (Remember your algebra that 2 negatives make a positive when multiplied together. This provides for stability and the relationship to continue this way indefinitely or until imbalance is created again.)

Taking this to the Iraq situation we have the most unstable of all possible situations:
1) The Sunni's are negative to the Shiites and vice versa.
2) The Iraqi people by a 75% majority, do not want the U.S, to stay and that includes Shiite and Sunni Iraqi's

By any account you have 3 negatives going on here and stability cannot happen unless something changes. What could change to alter the situation? Here are some possibilities and the outcomes that would ensue:

1.) We add significantly more troops in the order of 30,000-50,000. What would happen is that it is possible BOTH Shiite and Sunni find our presence and control more alarming than their own struggle and they unite against us and also join forces with Al Qaeda. That creates Sunnis and Shiites more positive with each other but significantly negative towards us. Eventually we leave Iraq and they continue the fight with each other as it has been for over 1000 years.

2.) We leave and let them fight each other until a leader emerges on each side that could negotiate a settlement while we stay positive to each faction and continue our limited relationship and dialogue.

3.) We and the EU, bring into talks Syria, Iran along with Iraq, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia and the relationships more formally alienate each other and the entire region becomes a flash point for a much larger conflict. Or they decide temporarily how to divide the "spoils".

Oh I'm sure there are more options and possibilities but these are the ones being contemplated as I write. The best of all of these is #2 in my humble opinion. What's yours?

Another dumb idea floats around Washington on Iraq

The latest idea floating around Washington about what to do in Iraq is again missing the mark. What is being floated is the idea of embedding some key US soldiers within the Iraq Army to help them be able to stand up and take over the job from us. That idea is incredibly stupid in my view. When you can't tell the good guys from the bad guys, having US soldiers splint off in smaller numbers to join with the Iraqi's, puts our guys at greater risk and definitely more in harms way. They can be picked off like flies, kidnapped more easily and held for ransom or betrayed and tortured along with other Iraqi's. It is just another dumb idea floated by this even dumber Administration, which has taken Denial to a whole new level.

Izzat Ibrihim Al-Duri - Is he negotiating for Sunni and Baathists?

Izzat Ibrihim Al-Duri, Saddam's #2 man and the King of Clubs in the deck of wanted Iraqi leaders is still alive and leading the Sunni insurgents according to Missing Link. Could this be the other half (Sunni/Baathist leader) of the negotiating team needed to start peace talks in the region? Could Al Sadr sit and negotiate in good faith with Al-Duri? Could any Shiite and Sunni of power sit and negotiate in good faith a peace and do so for the betterment of the innocent people on both sides affected by the violence? I don't think it is possible even though I pose a hypothetical situation as to who the leaders are on both sides. This problem will not be solved even by the regional powers getting involved of Syria, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. C'est impossible!

That is why the hope placed on the Baker Commission recommendations is all hope and hype and a delay tactic, as no one knows what will work. But Democrats know the only real solution, our LEAVING, will brand them as the cut and run party. It is too much for the Presidential hopefuls to go along with. You see there is politics everywhere and suffering by all involved and no one willing to put others needs ahead of their own narrow ones. We are so imperfect. Even animals don't behave like this. But then again, we know they are better than us and forgive us daily for any transgressions we may have made against them.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and the Shiites in Iraq

Well it looks like anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr thinks he is the leader of the Shiites. If this were true, which I think not, it would mean we have one leader to sit at the table to negotiate with. Now if they can produce a Sunni of similar fame and clearly leading the Sunni militia, we would possibly be able to negotiate. The real question is whether cleric Moqtada al-Sadr speaks for Iraq, Iran or himself. This should be apparent in the weeks to come.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Net Neutrality made simple to understand

I watched Bill Moyers PBS Special last night on Net Neutrality and was convinced many people don't understand the topic nor what is at stake. I have posted, in my margin, a link to Save the Internet, so more can support this precious asset, the Internet. See Bill Moyers video clip by clicking here and clicking on WATCH "THE NET @ RISK where you learn in plain language how the telephone companies and cable companies are working to be a roadblock to the internet for their own profits. It will change our very democracy. Luckily, my 2 Senators, Feinstein and Boxer support Net Neutrality but many Republicans don't. This is an issue where the business interest of a few monopolies must be subservient to the needs of the people and our country, as our very economic growth as a nation is at risk and in many areas because of the Global economy we are losing our leadership role as the creative force in technological advancement. Countries such as Japan have internet speeds using Fiber Optics that are almost 50 times the speed of our current Cable feeds. We are 10th in standing on speed and use of the internet of the world's leading countries. We need to build out the Fiber Optics that telephone companies had promised to get tax breaks but have not delivered on their promises and we find ourselves almost 10 years behind as to where we should be.

This should not be a partisan issue. The engine behind our economy is small business. We need to keep the Internet as a commodity like electricity. No one tells us what we can and can't hook up to our electricity or charge us extra money per month for hooking up a TV or appliance to our electricity. Get involved and find out where your Senator stands after you have seen the Bill Moyers video, by clicking on the link above my clock in the margin to Save The Net.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Republicans- Coming out from the shadows of defeat

Republicans have a chance to reinvent the Party, after the stunning defeat in mid-term elections. What America needs is two or more political parties which address the real concerns of all Americans. We need a Republican Party which is truly fiscally responsible but socially conscious to our needs. We can have differences but let them be well articulated by those we respect from both sides. Moral questions need not divide. The focus can be on the debate rather than demonizing those that advocate different views. From any point of view we need to understand how our choices affect others. It should be a part of every debate that those advocating a position articulate where and how their policy positions could impact others negatively. They could offer remedies for any impact their policies might have on others, as a part of the solution they propose. It would show understanding of the issues and weighing the consequences for all to decide. It is time the two political Parties educate the voters and start looking for the best solutions for most Americans while protecting the rights of the few.

We need to elevate the discourse. And the media should help by truly being critics and asking the tough questions but going for real answers, not spin. The media is a part of the problem and they need to be a part of the solution. There is hope but it will take all of us to really be solution-minded instead of focusing on thinking "we're right" and "they're wrong". We need to value the debate and not necessarily the specific outcome. If we have good debates we might make better choices. I see some of that emerging in the media. You know I watch Chris Matthews HARDBALL most every day. Chris does work at having a good debate. He can and does disagree with his guests and more importantly looks for answers to questions we all are thinking. When he is successful we all win. It is time we demand a change and participate in ways that unite, not divide Americans.

Blame the Generals for Iraq too!

Yesterday, on Chris Matthews "Hardball", retired Major General Batiste was the guest. Chris listened patiently to the retired General try to articulate to the audience why we needed to stay in Iraq. Chris asked who we were fighting there? Batiste's answer was, "It doesn't matter as we are in a protracted war against jihadists. Chris pushes again, "But General who are the guys we need our guys to kill? Is it Al Qaeda? They are only 5% or less of the problem. Is it the Shiite's? Is it the Sunni's?" Batiste answers again, "They all look alike to our troops, it makes no difference!" Chris says, But General, they are fighting a Civil War. Do you want our troops to be fighting in a Civil war? What side should we be on? Who should we be fighting?

You can see that the General really didn't have any good answers except to keep fighting and we will need to for decades! Boy am I glad he is retired. This guy has no clue about what he is saying and the implications and yet he led our troops in Iraq. As I have stated many times here before, don't blame the troops for not being successful, blame the Generals and this one particularly!

See the video yourself and get the complete interview by clicking on the section titled Video: What's next for Iraq?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Presidential powers to Pardon

I have listed all the abuses of power from Bush and Cheney in previous posts. But today, as I was driving home in my car and listening to the news on the radio, I heard something that enraged me. I know I shouldn't be surprised by these two any longer as they have reached beyond my wildest dreams of arrogance and abuse of powers by the Executive Branch. But today, they went even farther over the line, so I thought.

The CBS anchorman reported that the President, using his Presidential powers, granted two pardons today. As the words were spoken my mind raced ahead. At first, I thought of possibly a pardon for Scooter Libby. He doesn't deserve it for lying under oath. But the commentator said there were two pardons. Then I thought immediately, how dare he grant himself and VP Cheney a pardon! It's premature and the Democrats won't even assume their official duties untill January. Then I remembered, it was Thanksgiving tomorrow and the news commentator was talking about 2 "other" turkeys; the ones really deserving a pardon. I guess I need a well-deserved rest from this political season. I'll promise to take one, if you do too. Happy Thanksgiving! :)

Border Security and Homeland Security hypocrisy

What hypocrisy! The Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary, Michael Chertoff, has announced that they will require virtually all air travelers entering the United States after Jan. 23 to show passports- even U.S. citizens. Could someone take Mr. Chertoff to the U.S Mexico border and set up shop there. What are they thinking? Can they be so stupid to think that anyone of devious intention would actually try to come to the U.S. by air, going through tightened security and having to show a passport, when all they have to do is fly to Mexico, get some bottled water and cross into the U.S. with about 1 million illegal immigrants. Seems like that is all the cover they need to get here. Lou Dobbs is going to have a blast with this stupid idea. It's time to get rid of Mr. Chertoff. Add your voice to mine and call for his ouster.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

The issue front and center after the election isn't Iraq. It's the Democratic agenda and their convictions. In April I wrote a piece on this topic and have only altered what I wrote based upon the realities of the Democrats winning both the Congress and the Senate. What I stated then has merit today. I encourage you to not only read the offenses I claim that have been violated but also the evolution in definition of High Crimes and Misdemeanors. Here is the repost of the April 2006 argument. (Nothing really has changed):

"Let's examine if these offenses by our President and Vice President would warrant an impeachable offense:

1. Deliberately not enforcing Border Security with Mexico
2. Illegal wire-tapping of domestic telephone calls of Americans without authorization of the FISA Court and in deliberate evasiveness of the law imposed by Congress, even though Congress allowed for retroactive filing with the Court.
3. Review of the Torture Ban as agreed to in the Geneva Convention, looking for loopholes and authorizing the use of torture of prisoners and citizens of the United States held as "enemy combatants".
4. Authorization of the leaking of the name of a CIA operative for political reasons to stop dissent
5. Outsourcing Port Security to a Middle Eastern country
6. Failure to act with all the resources of the U.S. while being warned by the FEMA Director about a pending worse case scenario in the face hurricane Katrina and the levee breaches.
7. Cherry picking Intelligence to gain support for a planned war of choice in Iraq.
8. Giving massive tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans while increasing the National Debt to Trillions of dollars and bankrupting this Nation.
9. Changing the Rules for Enlisted service people to rely on a small clause to keep them indefinitely in the service, while reducing benefits for their families at home. All this while not listening to the advice of the military as to number of troops needed and no planning for an insurgency and no exit strategy.
10. Windfall profits for the Oil companies and the executives that manage them ($400 Million dollar bonus packages for Exxon CEO)
11. No bid contracts in the 10's of Billions of dollars to the former company where you were CEO and still obtain financial gains based upon the company's financial performance.

The question that comes front and center after the November elections and Democrats win back both of the Houses of Congress will be whether the President and/or Vice President should be impeached. To understand this debate and before all the rhetoric begins, you will first need to understand what is an impeachable defense and what does the phrase "high crimes and misdemeanors" mean. Let's start by reading C-Span's historical answer regarding the definition of these terms as stated below:
Capitol Questions:
The Constitution says a President can be impeached for "high crimes and misdemeanors," but it doesn't define the term. Who decides what that means?

The Congress decides the definition: by majority vote in the House for impeachment, and by 2/3 vote in the Senate for conviction. The Framers of the Constitution deliberately put impeachment into the hands of the legislative branch rather than the judicial branch, thus transforming it from strictly a matter of legal definition to a matter of political judgment. Then Representative Gerald Ford put it into practical perspective in 1970, when he said an impeachable offense is "whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history."

"High crimes and misdemeanors" entered the text of the Constitution due to George Mason and James Madison. Mason had argued that the reasons given for impeachment -- treason and bribery -- were not enough. He worried that other "great and dangerous offenses" might not be covered, and suggested adding the word "maladministration." Madison argued that term was too vague, so Mason then proposed "high crimes and misdemeanors," a phrase well known in English common law. In 18th century language, a "misdemeanor" meant "mis-demeanor,"or bad behavior (neglect of duty and corruption were given as examples), while "high crimes" was roughly equivalent to "great offenses."

Lawyers and historians are still arguing about the exact meaning of "high crimes and misdemeanors," dividing into three schools of thought about the appropriate definition: (1) serious criminality evidenced by breaking existing law; (2) an abuse of office, and (3) the Alexander Hamilton standard (Federalist 65) of "violation of public trust."

In (one of) our most recent experience(s) with presidential impeachment -- Watergate in 1974 -- the House Judiciary Committee strongly argued that the case for impeachment need not be limited to actual violations of criminal law. In its report, Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment, the Committee argued the definition should go beyond actual breach of law, citing Blackstone's phrase, "an injury to the state or system of government," Justice Joseph Story's phrase, "offenses of a political character," and Edmund Burke's statement at an impeachment trial that the official on trial should be judged "not upon the niceties of a narrow jurisprudence, but upon the enlarged and solid principles of morality." The Committee further stated that historically, Congress had issued Articles of Impeachment in three broad categories: (1) exceeding the constitutional bounds of the powers of the office; (2) behaving in a manner grossly incompatible with the proper function and purpose of the office; and (3) employing the power of the office for an improper purpose or for personal gain."

You can see by the above interpretations that our leaders violated all possible interpretations put forth. It takes courage to start the process of impeachment of both President Bush and VP Cheney knowing it might take 1 year of the 2 years remaining. Based upon recent writings, it doesn't look as though the President is going to change course in Iraq substantially. It will be smoke and mirrors under the cover of the Baker Commission. But I strongly believe in accountability. This President and VP need to be held accountable to the country and the families who lost a loved one.

Friday, November 17, 2006

We'll succeed," Bush added, "unless we quit."

Here's other versions I propose, for that above Bush quote, regarding Iraq:

Pick one you are most comfortable with Mr. President:

1. "I've failed and I can't and won't admit it!. For those that don't know, it's called the first step of the 12 step program."

2. "I'm a Uniter not a Divider and I offer our enemies as supporting evidence."

3. "I have no clue what I'm doing but it's comforting, as apparently nobody else does either. I made a real mess there, huh huh. Boy, can't wait to hear Jon Stewart and Bill Maher's jokes."

Outrage over Taser use at UCLA campus

Horrifying, disgusting and very sad; these were the first words that came to mind as I watched the video clip of the student who was Tasered for not showing his ID card to UCLA police. They must have given him at least 3 separate shocks, any one of which could have killed the student.

Is this what we've become? Has violence become the first reaction to civil disobedience? It used to be that if a student did something like not wanting to show an ID card, they would carry the person out of the building. Now we have become a society of fear mongers. I can't imagine what the UCLA police feared that they were willing to use a Taser on him. The students only weapon was maybe the computer screen he was watching or sitting at and apparently working, when the UCLA police approached and asked the student for his student ID.

He was probably removed from the building and because of the increased powers this Republican Congress gave this President, they may have declared the student an "Enemy Combatant" and whisked him off to GITMO. Shame shame and more shame. We have brought this upon ourselves by allowing fear to occupy every conversation the past 6 years. Now even campus police worry in an exaggerated way and respond accordingly.

See the video clip here yourself and make up your own mind. I warn you the video clip is disturbing, but not as disturbing as these were actions of the UCLA police. God help us.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The OJ Simpson book, " If I did it"

Here's what you do to help this man, who apparently hasn't had enough attention. YOU DON'T PURCHASE THE BOOK!!!! Enough said on the matter. Don't want to waste another single word on him.

Iraq: The only real Option

I was challenged yesterday by a client and friend. He said that I have written a lot about Iraq but haven't given any solution to the problem. So here, in clear language, I rise to the challenge and will give a clearer statement of what I believe we should do now.


As I have stated in my recent post on the Baker Commission, there can be no solution until both Shiites and Sunnis have leaders who have the support of their people to negotiate a settlement to this Civil War. Yes, I said Civil War. When the good guys and bad guys are indistinguishable in Iraq, it's time to get our good guys and bring them all home.

I have heard in past few days that Sen. McCain and others are calling for more troops being added. I have written why this will not be done. We would have to institute a DRAFT and no one has the guts to do that, Republican or Democrat, President Bush, VP Cheney, Dr. Rice, Stephen Hadley or Donald Rumsfeld.

For those who say things will get worse in Iraq, they are correct. But this is how true leaders emerge. Someone decides enough is enough and puts their life on the line for their beliefs and their country. Right now we have neither in any leadership in Iraq. It should have been obvious to everyone 3 years ago that if the "freely elected government of Iraq" must live and exist in a protected Green Zone indefinitely; this is not really a free government. We are their codependents, and I know you know codependent relationships are dysfunctional. There I said it. An intervention is needed.

Call it "tough love" if you like. But we must stop enabling cowardice and truly allow freedom a chance. We may not like the outcome but I still believe in survival of the fittest. And only those fit to govern Iraq deserve to have the job. You can say what you like, but Saddam ruled Iraq and there was no question about that. And yes, we may get someone worse to rule than even Saddam, but let's remember who is to blame for that. According to the well respected Colin Powell, if you break it you own it. So blame Mr. Bush and ensure that legacy is part of his Presidential Library records. Yes, it is President Bush and VP Cheney who are the ones to blame and no one else. So let it be written, so let it be done.

I hope it is now clear where I stand.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Who should be Republican Senate Minority leader?

Who should be Senate Minority leader? The 2 candidates wanting the job are Trent Lott and Lamar Alexander. Trent Lott has been the leader of the Senate but stepped down after making inappropriate comments at a dinner honoring Sen. Strom Thurmond. The comments referred to a past time and segregation in the South and Thurmond's strong support of segregation.

I have forgiven Trent Lott for the comments. When he was the Republican leader he did operate in a bipartisan way. Lott has been humbled by his past comments and had enough suffering, as his house was destroyed by hurricane Katrina and I would endorse him returning to a leadership role. Lamar Alexander has been more reclusive and not engaged as much in the national discussions of recent years on Cable news shows and talk shows. Besides, Lott and President Bush have had their disagreements in public and for that alone I would choose Senator Lott. Who do you think the Republicans should choose?

UPDATE: Nov. 16, 2006

The internal battle is over and Senator Trent Lott has won. He will help create more bi-partisan engagement between Democrats and Republicans and that's good for America too. Good luck Senator Lott. Maybe President Bush is now sorry he forced you out in the Frist place. :)

Classification of Earthquakes here

The earthquake occuring in Japan as first reported is a 7.8 quake. This is considerd a Major quake. The Classification of quakes are as follows:

Micro 0-3
Minor 3-3.9
Moderate 4-4.9
Strong 6-6.9
Major 7-7.9
Great 8 and higher

Are you prepared for a disaster? Get prepared by attending local CERT (Community Emergency Responsiveness Training) and checking with your local Fire Dept. as to classes in your region. The best gift you can give your family this holiday season is to learn how to respond in an emergency. You will learn how to survive Earthquakes, Wildfires, Floods, Hurricanes, Tornado's Blizzards and other disasters common in your local area. The training is geared to known disasters in your area.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Baker Commission and wishful thinking

In a previous post I commented on what a mess there is in Iraq. It's worse than the Wild West was in our country, It's worse than the environment at the beginning of our Civil war. Between the new Iraq government and our own ineptness in managing the post war security, we have created the conditions on the ground that yields only a few possibilities.

The conditions are ripe for the emergence of a strong individual to lead Iraq. The person would have to be ruthless, unequivocal in his decision-making and he would need to strike fear in those around him. He would need to have some support from those willing to die for the cause and daring to do the dirty work of "unification". Those that have hypothesized a solution to this problem by getting regional interested parties to come together and work out a decentralized central government fail to see the 800 lb. Gorilla in the room. That fact being that there are no real Iraqi leaders, which mean no agreements, can be made. Until that basic problem is solved there can be no "solution" to the problem centralized government or decentralized government. It doesn't make any difference.

Cleric Sistani was involved in post war discussions in trying to make a government work. He had supported our attempts to stand a duly elected government. Concessions were made by Sistani with the hope of a united Iraq. Because we failed to deliver on many promises this Administration and our Generals made to secure the country, he has pulled back his support. We push the Iraq's to heal the militias. The only semblance of leadership in the Shiite region is Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr. There is no comparable cleric in the Sunni areas as there needs to be if there can be a settlement.

The Baker commisssion will fail if they don't provide for a plan to get real Iraqi leaders at the table and that they take a stand for Iraq. Hey, maybe they should offer Saddam the job as a way for a greater punishment than death.

Iraq: Definition of a real mess!

When the bad guys look like the good guys, can you trust anyone? This is the problem in Iraq. Today, in broad daylight, a group of 80 insurgents wearing police uniforms, attacked a government building and kidnapped between 100 and 150 government workers. It was the most brazen move since the start of this phase of the war. When the bad guys look like the people who are suppose to protect the population, can there be any hope left for Iraq. Our good guys need to get out of this terrible mess and we shouldn't be listening and acting counter intuitively at suggestions from people like Senator John McCain who calls for more troops to be sent to Iraq.

The American people have spoken by their vote, change the course and it doesn't mean get more involved! Wake up!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Freedom: post election reality or fantasy?

There is a famous quote by Goethe, "None are so hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." Prior to the mid-term elections I knew we were all enslaved. After, many feel freed by the Democratic victory. But the quote still may be true.

We are all relieved there is hope again, but is the hope real or the emotional release that comes with any change?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Agenda for Democrats- Dare to Dream!

On this very special Veterans Day, I pay tribute to the honor of all those who have given their lives to our country. Each unique in their beliefs but all believed in our country and what we stand for. Therefore with so much riding on how we go forward as a nation, I have thrown down the gauntlet to the newly elected Democratic majority in Congress, to rise to this moment in history and to commit to restoring the best of America which has been tarnished in recent years.

I believe the Democrats have a chance to capture the Presidency in 2008 by setting an agenda as if they had already won in 2008. They need to be bold and capture not only the American public, but this must also capture World attention and admiration. Some topics that should be put front and center are:

1. Engagement and settlement of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict by active diplomacy and regaining status with the Palestinians as an honest broker for peace. This will take a stand more forceful and demanding of concessions by Israel.

2. A bold initiative for peace in Iraq where the neighboring countries of Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia, and all the members of the U.N. Security Council create a working group to bring peace to Iraq and deal with Iran's Nuclear ambitions.

3. A reversal of the U.S stand on Global Warming and a statement of support by the Democrats for the Kyoto Protocol.

4. A reversal of the recent bill approved by the Congress on the President's power in defining what is and what isn't torture.

5. A rejection of John Bolton as US Ambassador to the UN.

6. Passing a Minimum Wage Bill.

7. Agreeing to Secure the Borders with a Fence and increased manpower for the Border Patrol and US Customs Agents before determining what action to take regarding the million of illegal immigrants already here. There should be no talk of amnesty until the fence is built. And there should be approval of lengthening the fence to cover the entire 1800 mile border with Mexico.

8. A Marshal Plan for becoming Energy Independent within 10-15 years. As a beginning step, require all new homes built in the Southwest to have Solar Energy. Institute Federal Tax credits for rebates for some of the costs. In addition, institute Federal Tax credits to cut the costs in half for existing homes to install Solar. Ask the States to institute laws to pick up half of the remaining costs.

9. To ask the Supreme Court to define the limitations of "Presidential Signing Statements" as it pertains to separation of powers and to rule on whether a President can require Federal workers not to obey the laws he has signed into law.

10. To increase tax burden on the wealthiest Americans to share in the sacrifice to pay down the National debt incurred by this Administration so that our children and grandchildren have a chance at a better life beacon of hope for the World reestablishing our leadership role working for the good of mankind.

And, if courage be there, dare we honestly look to right many wrongs. It must be determined if we have cause and responsibility to bring accountability to President Bush and VP Cheney through the impeachment process and whether any others in the Administration may have violated our laws and our Treaty obligations with respect to the Geneva Convention. How do we want to be as a Nation? The whole world is watching and waiting for our answer! What will we tell them?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

2008 Presidential Hopefuls- Mini Poll

For the past year and a half, I have been conducting a mini poll on who American voters want to see run for President. With the mid-term elections over I have summarized the results of that data and have cleared all the data so that we can make new choices or reaffirm old ones. I will update the summaries every 6 months going forward so that trends can be observed over time. So here are the results of the poll:

Senator Evan Baye 1%
Senator Chuck Hagel 4%
Al Gore 7%
Mitt Romney 5%
Senator John McCain 18%
Senator Hillary Clinton 21%
Rudy Giuliani 18%
Senator Joe Biden 18%
Senator Diane Feinstein 5%
Senator George Allan 3%

Al Gore, Evan Baye and Chuck Hagel were all only added in past few months, as others were removed such as Bill Frist and VP Cheney.

Let's see what the mood of we The People are as time away from the election lengthens. VOTE YOUR CHOICE AS MANY TIMES AS YOU LIKE. It's the only election you will have a chance to make your voice really heard disproportionately from every one else. It's what makes American Idol so popular. Sorry I can't provide you with some entertainment as well. :)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Now what for Democrats?

So they won the election in a big way. So now what should they do or not do? I'll tell you. First, they need to learn the lessons the Republicans are now learning. Corruption will be weeded out. Don't lie and cover up or defend wrong doing or you will be subject to a similar fate. Be willing to hold accountable anyone whose wrong doing is apparent. Take equally tough stands on Democrats as you would on Republicans. Gain our trust and don't assume it is never ending. Deserve our respect and you will have it. Disappoint us and you will also be subject to our wrath.

In this election we don't vote FOR you as much as we voted AGAINST President Bush/ VP Cheney, the policies of this Administration and especially Karl Rove and his incorrigible tactics. This is not a free pass. You must earn our respect by acting differently. Don't assume we are all on board as to your current top list of Presidential candidates in 2008. We are smarter than you portray us in your calculus. Treat us like you would want to be treated. Be a little bit humble rather than portraying your hubris. Hillary is not the answer but the problem. Her best service could be made as a smart Senator focused on issues and moving the party towards successes with the American people as majority leader, not Presidential candidate in 2008.

Readers help Democrats become responsible leaders. Give them some advice in your comments. Also feel free to share what the Republicans need to learn here too.

Thank you America for restoring faith in our country

For anyone visiting my Blog for the past year and a half and have been influenced by my writing to vote in this election, I thank you. For anyone voting for change to attempt to stop the abuse of power by the Executive branch, I thank you. For anyone voting to change the House of Representatives and the Senate to the Democrats, I thank you. You have restored my faith in the American people and especially, the Silent majority. You have restored faith in our country by millions of people all over the world and gained part of America's image back. But the battle is not over, as several key States are recounting votes. Americans must be vigilant, as it is in these late hours were dirty tricks are played out. Recounts must be taken and whatever the will of the people must be followed.

It has been a long journey too. But today is the first day of a new beginning.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Why the polls are now wrong when they say the gap is closing!

The reason the polls are wrong, in implying the races are getting closer across the country, is because anywhere between 20% to 40% of votors have already voted absentee! Maybe they think negative ads are working. I say the public is sick of it all. I know I am!

Who lost the Iraq war? Finally some backbone!

There is plenty of blame to go around on this war effort or lack thereof. Now the Army Times Newspaper has called for the removal of Rumsfeld. Blame, blame, blame! Blah, Blah, Blah! Isn't there anyone here who is going to take responsibility for the poor showing of our leaders, both Civilian and Military ones. Sure the President says he's responsible for the war. So be it. But the waging of the war clearly falls on Rumsfeld AND the Generals. Now the Army Times feels it is time to speak out on behalf of the Generals and other leaders who feel obliged to salute, after having shared their opinions with the Secretary, and will not to disagree in public (until they "retire").

I feel compelled to repost my thoughts of Oct. 8th in, "Who's to blame for America's many problems and a betrayal of our trust?" Here it is:

Oct. 8, 2006

Looking back at the elections for President in 2000 and 2004, I have wondered how many people were fooled as to what type of person they were getting for President by electing Bush. Without understanding these shortcomings, we as a nation have come to understand that we are destined to repeat the same mistakes in the 2008 presidential campaigns.

The job of discerning who the candidates really are, often falls to the media and to the candidates themselves. In the case of George W. Bush, his mastermind was Karl Rove, who not only defined who Bush was, but also successfully defined the opposition. In 2000, that was in defining VP Al Gore, and in 2004 it was in defining John Kerry.

Some phrases during the 2000 Presidential campaign that still can conjure up those campaigns vividly are:
"I am a uniter, not a divider"
"I will restore honor to the White House"
"We will ban abortion"
"I'm a compassionate conservative"
"Jesus Christ is my favorite political philosopher"

Some phrases during the 2004 Presidential campaign:
"He's a flip-flopper"
"I'll go after the terrorists"
"They're weak on Defending America"
"I voted for the war before voting against it"
"I'm a war President"
"I'm the decider"
"Bring it on!"
"We'll get the Evil-Doers"

Were we paying attention to those words spoken during these campaigns? Did they provide insight into the man we were getting as President? Looking back, were we duped, or did we want to see the best side of those comments? Whose problem was it? What has this taught us and what must we learn?

Let me start with the last question. There were many flags we should have paid attention to before anyone supported this President. These flags were revealed during the past 6 years, and have cost America dearly. We should have learned after the first 4 years, that the country was as divided as it has ever been, with the exception of America's Civil War. We have become a Nation of people who allowed fear to scare us into wringing our hands and hiding our courage to stand up and declare, "Your policies aren't working, Mr. President and your rhetoric must stop. You have lost the trust of the American people. Start anew by being a uniter as you promised, not just of the Republican party, but of all Americans, Mr. President. You have failed us miserably!"

We were aided in our deception by the media. I can remember that after 9/11 the media gave George Bush a pass, as we were united as a country. But when we were building up for and followed through with the invasion of Iraq, the media failed to ask probing questions.This came out of fear of challenging this President and Vice President, who were quick to charge people with being unpatriotic. The media was silent in the dialogue about the details of the Patriot Act. Much is still not known of the powers of this President and Administration, to the detriment of both parties. Some day there will be a Democratic President with these powers now law. We saw our Constitution slip through our very hands with unauthorized and illegal wire-taps, and when challenged at all, being labeled as siding with terrorists. We saw this Administration abandon the high ground by allowing torture, in violation of the Geneva Convention. It has only been in recent months that the media has felt it was OK to attack these positions. Where was it early in the process?

We are angry and want to blame this President, VP and the Republican leadership for everything, from that deep place of anger. But we should be angry at ourselves. Those who did not vote in the last election should accept the fact that they are responsible for what has happened to America in the intervening years. Those who did vote Republican and now have regrets should accept the fact that religion and politics should not mix. Faith in God, or not, is a personal matter. With more experience in these matters than our generations have, our Founding Fathers warned us of the unintended consequences when we do not separate Religion and the State, when the two are mixed. Do not forget the emotions the Terry Schiavo interference had on this country, when political leaders got involved.

The entity responsible for where we find ourselves as a country today is you and me! The only question that remains is the following: Are you going to accept the responsibility, correct the matter and restore America as a beacon of hope for the world, by voting next month for change? If not, don't look to anyone but yourself to blame. It is true that we are not replacing a President this mid-term election, but we have an opportunity to restore checks and balances on the Executive Branch, which have been missing for 6 long years.

Election eve thoughts and comments

This is not a political statement, but reflections on a stimulating new book just out.
This weekend I had a long drive. As I was coming back from Sedona, I listened to Senator Barack Obama's new book on tape, "The Audacity of Hope". I bought the book, as much has been made recently about the Senator and his possible consideration to run for President in 2008 and I wanted to hear his words first hand about his political life and family. I was also impressed with his commitment to doing his homework as a constitutional scholar.

I was surprised at how honest he was about political life, and what it takes to run for office. His disclosures gave insight into life with his wife and children, along with difficulties they have had with this choice to be a politician, with its heavy travel commitment. It was refreshing to hear his intelligent and articulate descriptions, written in an eloquent, educated. honest and self reflecting manner. I was particularly interested in his discussion of the process of trying to stay true to himself and the reality of having to raise enough money to compete and not selling yourself out when you must take contributions. He described the process of cold calling to raise money from those had contributed to other candidates, with which every sales person is familiar. He talked about the appeal of traveling on private jets, versus the lessons he was able to learn when traveling by car or commercial plane. Those everday people he met along the way shared their stories which fueled his political determination.

But that wasn't the whole story of the book. Nor was it Senator Obama's courage in his disclosures portraying him as a man of conscience. The points which struck me were about the sacrifice his family, especially his wife, is making for him to pursue his passion of political office. Michelle is described as a strong woman, at least his equal intellectually, who has put aside her law career ambitions to support her husband's goals by being home to raise their children. This echoes similar choices made by "stay at home" Moms all across America. But in this case I concluded she is making a larger sacrifice and worthy of our admiration. No wonder many good people won't sacrifice what it takes to run for political office of either party. Thank God some do. I salute you Senator Barack and particularly, your wife Michelle, and your children, Malia and Sasha. And all other politicians who have the courage to run for office and sacrifice so much.

Yes, there is much to criticize about all politicians and their political ads during this mid-term election campaign, as they fight for their survival to retain their jobs. Some will hopefully lose in this one while others will retain office for another political cycle, only to repeat the process again in a few years. In this much maligned political season and on the eve of the election, thank you all who have sacrificed for your country. But especially thank you to the families who sit at home and watch on the sidelines, as they truly are the unsung heroes -- just like Michelle Obama.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

President Bush's authorization to post Nuclear secrets on the web is an impeachable offense!

Add this to the list of reasons why President Bush and VP Cheney should be impeached. According to former weapons inspector, Mr. Kay, revealing Nuclear bomb making secrets is against the law, and President Bush's authorization to post such info on the web surely is an impeachable offense. The amazing thing is that Republican leaders are probably complicit too, as they have not performed their function of oversight to this Administration. This fact should not be lost on voters Tuesday. It is up to you to protect your family and your country. This President and VP have done more harm to our country than any in history. This blatant act of still wanting to prove that their was justification to go to war in Iraq, is beyond comprehension.

If there is anything that can be done at this late hour, it is to vote to change both Houses of Congress and vote Democratic in this election. If the Democrats prove a disaster, we can more balance the Houses of Congress by electing more Libertarian Republicans in 2008. Please VOTE Democratic, as your country needs you to do so and so do those that love America. We need checks and balances on this Administration over the next 2 years as the President could take us into another war, this time with Iran, as the stakes couldn't be higher for oversight!
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