Monday, April 28, 2008

Are you ready to exert your power in this Election?

They say Barack Obama is caught between a rock and a hard place regarding the weekend comments by Rev. Wright at the NAACP meeting and other media events. They want us to believe that even though Barack has admonished his former pastor's comments, the American people will blur them together including each of their positions with no distinction. When they still haven't made up their mind who to vote for, they will acquiesce and vote for Hillary. If that is so, then the American people will get who they deserve for President.

It is my firm belief that there is at least 30% of the American people who don't think at all. Those are the ones who still approve of President Bush's policies in Iraq and here at home. They are not worth discussing any issue with as they have drunk the Kool-Aid and now are zombies. Then there are about another 15-17 % that will vote for John McCain because he is a Republican. That gets John McCain to 45-47%. The Democrats have given a majority vote for Barack which gives him about 28% and Hillary has about 24%, with Independents the final choosers in the Fall Election. Many Independents have joined with Barack, as they see a new hope not seen since John F. Kennedy.

The only question that truly remains is the following: Are we going to let the media dictate the issues we talk about during the next 6 months? If so then we will decide the election based upon associations and distractions, rather than substantive issues like the war in Iraq, getting a better Energy policy that helps liberate us from the dependence on Middle East Oil and our own Oil companies, giving tax breaks for Middle and low income people and increasing the tax on the wealthiest, helping to solve the Social Security financial crisis by ensuring it is there for our next generation, paying down the National Debt, solving the home foreclosure and subprime loans problem for so many Americans, passing a GI Bill to help support the troops who have given so much for their country, and so many other issues on foreign policy to help restore America's greatness in the world. This is up to us, not someone else. Change the channel of your TV when you here anything that isn't real issue oriented, with the emphasis on the word REAL! When the media ratings drop, maybe they will do something better, like cover real issues. If you speak to others about the Primary, discuss issues, not distractions. Start speaking out about what you want this election to be about or we all lose. And when we lose, the rest of the world does too. Remember, only we can give power to Swift Boat ads when we listen to them and alter our positions as a result.


I almost forgot this action. Anyone, in the remaining States to still hold their Primary, should help end this folly, by voting overwhelmingly for Barack Obama. That will at least stop the rhetoric till September.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pennsylvania voters: You blew your chance to make history!

The Pennsylvania today is not the Pennsylvania of yesterday or of our forefathers. There was a battle between the politic of the recent past and a politic of our Founding Fathers. The old politic was brought to you by those who never vote their real interests but get caught up in the issues that keep them financially subservient to Corporations and that are similar of the politic of the Clinton's, and earlier Presidential hopefuls of both parties. The new politic was that of Barack Obama and closer to the politic of our Founding Fathers and the generation that built this country where the individual voted for what was best for the Country in the long run. That group of voters are made up today by the younger voters supporting Barack. They are a movement and no matter what happens in this election cycle, could prove the foundation of an ever growing chorus for changes in our political system. It could spawn a new political party or just change the Democratic Party by increasing numbers. But one thing is for sure, change is in the air and this flame will not be doused anytime soon.

One other thing I must say here, there is an element of bigotry going on in Pennsylvania as was true in New Hampshire as well. What support do I offer for this? Look at the pre election Polls. They showed Barack closing the gap to within 5 points. But when the process concluded there was a 10 point difference. People will say they will vote for a Black person, because it is the politically correct answer, but in the secrecy of the voting poll, they can vote their real feelings. I am surprised this has not been discussed by the media. But there were enough polls that had Barack very close in the final days. And how can people really be undecided when so much had gone on in the six weeks before the election. Those folks also just might not want to say why they are not voting for Barack.

Pennsylvania you had your chance and missed it when you had a chance to be in the history books again as you led this Country in our early years. Now those of you who voted for the politic of the past will have to relegate yourselves to obscurity. New voters of Pennsylvania, help lead your State and Country. Don't give up on the political process. Stay involved, as yours is a noble path.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Open letter to Pennsylvania voters: This chance of a lifetime may never come again!

That's right. I have heard all the reasons why Hillary should be your choice in the Primary tomorrow. Many say Barack Obama isn't ready and others say Barack will create change. Well, Barack has changed this election in ways not imagined a year ago. He has attracted a new generation to get involved, register to vote and will vote tomorrow, many for the first time. If that isn't change, I don't know what is. He is singly responsible for the renewed interest of the youth of our country. If he can do this he can cross the aisle and get bipartisan support for the changes that need to be made in our government. Help us get rid of the politic of the past. Help us save our country tomorrow and vote for Barack Obama.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Iraq war about to get ugly again and cost more U.S. soldiers lives

Things are indeed looking grim in Iraq today. Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr gave a "final warning" to the government Saturday to halt a U.S.-Iraqi crackdown against his followers or he would declare "open war until liberation." Al-Sadr was responsible for the cease fire over the last 6 months which significantly reduced the violence in Iraq. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, also a Shiite, has ordered al-Sadr to disband the Mahdi Army, Iraq's biggest Shiite militia, or face a ban from politics.

I have said here many times that when one examines all the variables that seem to best correlate to the reduction of violence such as the "surge", buying Sunni loyalty with U.S. Dollars over Al Qaeda, and finally Cleric Al-Sadr's cease fire. It is the cease fire that correlated the best to significantly reduced levels of violence. Now we face a return to the previous violence levels which were the highest in 2007 over all the previous years. This will certainly be bad news for our troops who already have served too many deployments. It ultimately is also bad for John McCain's position on the war and good for Barack's who was opposed to the war all along.

To read the news today on this topic click here.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

McCain announces his Economic agenda for when he is President but there's one problem.

Senator John McCain today put some substance on his economic agenda today by offering suggestions as to what we will see when he is President. One area on his agenda is cutting spending by the government but cutting earmarks. Another idea he has is to cut gasoline taxes, another is to help homeowners facing foreclosure. The problem with all of these ideas as well as those of the Democrats is that we can't wait another year for any of these ideas coming into fruition. It will take President Bush getting out of office and a cleansing of his incompetent appointments from our government. If a new president takes office at the end of January 2009, it will take at least 3 months to fill all the necessary positions with new people, then another 3 months minimum to put forth new policy in the form of legislation. My friends we are deep in this mess with no hope of relief for at least a year, so brace yourself for continued frustration and more bad news all this during a Presidential election process. There will be some very angry voters in November. All of this brought to you by the incompetence of President Bush and Vice President Cheney and an Administration of incompetents! God help us all.

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Nine months to go before Bush is replaced. Democrats need to get united quickly!

Democrats are so busy fighting themselves over how Hillary is going to steal the election away from Barack, that they all are taking their eyes off the prize, waging a battle for the hearts and minds of the electorate because they have better ideas for the future of America. With food prices rising at a dramatic rate, some say because 25% of all corn is going to be used to produce ethanol, and no clear proposals for how to deal with Energy costs, we are going bankrupt as a country. We need this time to forge policy in a whole host of areas. It's about how to end the war in Iraq, helping secure Afghanistan, developing an Energy policy that is on the scale of the Manhattan Project or the Apollo Space program using Wind, Solar, Geothermal and possibly Nuclear.

In the meantime, this President still has enough time to cause big trouble with Iran militarily and the Senate needs to be on record against any military actions inside Iran. Hillary's support for calling Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist group, may be just the cover this Administration needs to pursue a military strike against Iran and cause enormous problems for the next President.

We need to focus on job creation here in the U.S., relief for Homeowners faced with foreclosure, increasing taxes on the wealthiest, and the consideration of Community service by youth to gain credit to offset college costs. We need to consider year round schooling for Grades K-12 and increasing salaries for teachers commensurate with working full time in a profession most important to our Nation's future.

Dare we dream and hope for major change or are we doomed as the citizens of this country have been drugged by the rhetoric coming from this White House the past 7 plus years. Much is possible if we unite as a Nation now, because, over time, survival is going to be the mantra of many of our citizens and getting them behind change is going to be difficult at best.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Polls are misleading the American people

That's right, the media is misleading the American people and not one person has made a case to refute the current numbers comparing the outcome of a Barack/McCain match-up versus a Hillary/McCain match-up. Here's the fallacy in their reasoning. They have the results of those polls as almost a dead tie, no matter which match-up occurs. Here's why.

Imagine there are 300 people going to be polled and 100 are supporters of Barack and 100 are supporters of Hillary and 100 are supporters of McCain. When they are asked who they support in the match-ups they will see 50% for Barack and John McCain and the same for Hillary. But what isn't taken into account is the sheer numbers of new Democrats registering to vote. In this case there are 200 voting for a Democrat and only 100 voting for McCain. Do the math.

So don't believe the current match-ups as equal. They aren't and the Democrats have a very large advantgae by all the new registered voters.

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What's right with China and lessons we can learn from them

Headline reads: Ex-Party Boss in China Gets 18 Years. The former Communist Party boss of Shanghai, Chen Liangyu, was sentenced on Friday to 18 years in prison for taking bribes and abusing power. This may not sound like much of a big deal but it is. You see the Chinese government does seem to take actions against incompetence and corruption, as this former Party boss observes first hand. We have similar problems here with the Bush Administration, but our politicians don't do the same. I guess they all figure that they have also been guilty of incompetence and corruption, so why call one of their own on it. Someday it may happen to them. So all is forgiven. WRONG!!!

Yesterday, it was learned that Vice President Cheney convened a group of "Principles" including Condi Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft, George Tenet and Colin Powell, to approve and review specified torture techniques to be used on selective enemy combatants. This is in violation of the Geneva Convention. This report was first published by ABC News. As President Bush has admitted, he approved the new "techniques". According to reports, they got a couple of lawyers in the Justice Dept. to write letters in support of the changes in interrogation techniques. Those letters and findings were later pulled back and nullified by the individuals writing them. But nevertheless, they went ahead with the torture techniques, like water boarding, on those prisoners. If this isn't enough to start impeachment hearings, I don't know what is. Is there no backbone in this country? Is there one brave soul who is an elected official willing to confront this President and Vice President?

Getting back to China for a moment, according to the article which you can read by clicking here, "Mr. Chen, who before his arrest in late 2006 was also a member of China’s ruling Politburo, is the highest ranking government official to be stripped of power here in over a decade.

His sentence was handed down Friday at the No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court in the northern city of Tianjin, where he had recently been on trial."

I know it is hard to believe but it appears we can learn something from China.

Therefore, I am adding a new Poll. The only question: Would you like the House of Representatives to initiate Articles of Impeachment for both President Bush and VP Cheney even if it goes beyond their term of office? I do! If we let their actions go unpunished, we risk losing our democracy and shredding our Constitution for our sons, daughters and grandchildren as well as other generations to follow.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

McCain asserts right to preemptive strike

John McCain today would not rule out the use of a preemptive strike against another country if he were President. McCain is quoted as saying, "If someone is about to launch a weapon that would devastate America, or have the capability to do so, obviously, you would have to act immediately in defense of this nation's national security interests."

This comment makes no sense as the United States had Nuclear Missiles pointed at us from the Soviet Union during the cold war, and we didn't use a preemptive strike against them. The strategy employed during those years was that if they were stupid enough to launch a weapon against us, we would retaliate with overwhelming force. This strategy called MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction, kept the peace and the same reasoning could be used today if he could stop being a war monger and look for ways to live in peace with the rest of the world. But then again, McCain won't change. So let's hope Obama becomes President.

To read the article and more of McCain's comments click here.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

More on Gen. Petraeus testimony

General Petraeus used the argument today that it is in the U.S. interest to prevent Al Qaeda from having a safe haven in Iraq and that the U.S. couldn't allow for Iraq to become a failed State. I raise several points relative to the General's comments. First, it wasn't until we went into Iraq that Al Qaeda ventured into Iraq. Secondly, much has been made that the cost of this war in blood and treasure has been worth it, because we eliminated the tyrant Saddam Hussein who terrorized his own people. Well guess what, we replaced Saddam and in his place brought instability and a Civil war. Thirdly, we don't want to have a safe haven in Iraq but we have allowed for 5 years a safe haven in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan and we continue to underfund this effort and don't have the troops to go after them there because they are tied up in Iraq. Why you ask? Because there is Oil in Iraq and it always has been about the Oil.

One last comment. Many say we will lose all we have gained in Iraq. Let me be perfectly clear. We have gained NOTHING in Iraq. Anyone that tells you otherwise, Republican or Democrat, is smoking something. Ask any American if we have gained anything in this misguided venture into Iraq and see what they say to you.

Any other questions?

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Gen. Petraeus testimony today and the fallacies in reasoning

General Petraeus testified today that the cost to the war while expensive has been worth it. He also said he was not in agreement with Al-Maliki about the military actions against Al-Sadr's militia in Basra, as in his view the planning was not done adequately and that he was only informed a day before the actions were taken. The big question for me for the day is why is it that that Al-Sadr's Militia doesn't need similar training that other people in Iraq seem to need? Can anyone explain that? Is it because Iran is doing their training? If so, can't we outsource this job to Iran? I jest. :) But see my point. The arguments don't make sense by our Generals and political figures.

Ambassador Crocker thought that we had a strategic interest in being there (for the long haul). He said their was going to be a Status of Forces agreement between Iraq and the U.S. signed by President Bush in a bilateral agreement between the two countries.

There is a reasoning by both Petraeus and Crocker that suggests we can't and shouldn't leave Iraq as chaos would ensue and the gains made would be reversible. That is the same kind of argument that went on with ending the Vietnam war. In that war many suggested that the entire area of Asia would fall under Communist rule if and when we left. It didn't! Today Vietnam is a trading partner and it took less than 25 years to do it. Looking forward, I don't see Iraq being any different, UNLESS WE STAY! As the demonstrator said at the hearings, "Bring them home! Bring them home!"

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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Who's responsible for the Banking mess today?

The answer to that is the Republican Congress that was under the helm of Newt Gingrich and Senator Phil Graham and the passing of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999 which removed a lot of safeguards and regulations into a single Act called the Glass-Steagall Act. These were put into place after the 1929 Stock Market crash. This Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act was approved by the Republican led Congress in 1999 and signed into law and supported by then President Bill Clinton. Seems like a simple action would be to repeal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and reinstitute "new regulations" on Banking. Hmmm, isn't this what Barack Obama recommended as a solution? McCain says "let the free markets work their will." By the way, John McCain has, as one of his top economic advisors, former Senator Phil Graham, the architect of this mess.

On another topic somewhat related, Senator Hillary Clinton and President Clinton, released their tax returns yesterday from the years 1999-2006. It turns out they have earned $109 Million dollars in that period, and paid $33 Million in taxes. The financially poor Clintons don't seem so poor any longer do they. Hmmmm, I wonder who paid for Bill Clinton to give those expensive speeches? Do you think some Banking groups? It's payoff time, big time!

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Insights into the Bush Administration's interrogation justification

I came across this news item and thought it was worthy of posting it in its entirity. Read it and see if you do too. It's rather amazing to see how our government can justify any action it takes.

Pentagon releases memo on harsh tactics
By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon on Tuesday made public a now-defunct legal memo that approved the use of harsh interrogation techniques against terror suspects, saying that President Bush's wartime authority trumps any international ban on torture.

The Justice Department memo, dated March 14, 2003, outlines legal justification for military interrogators to use harsh tactics against al-Qaida and Taliban detainees overseas — so long as they did not specifically intend to torture their captors.

Even so, the memo noted, the president's wartime power as commander in chief would not be limited by the U.N. treaties against torture.

"Our previous opinions make clear that customary international law is not federal law and that the president is free to override it at his discretion," said the memo written by John Yoo, who was then deputy assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel.

The memo also offered a defense in case any interrogator was charged with violating U.S. or international laws.

"Finally, even if the criminal prohibitions outlined above applied, and an interrogation method might violate those prohibitions, necessity or self-defense could provide justifications for any criminal liability," the memo concluded.

The memo was rescinded in December 2003, a mere nine months after Yoo sent it to the Pentagon's top lawyer, William J. Haynes. Though its existence has been known for years, its release Tuesday marked the first time its contents in full have been made public.

Haynes, the Defense Department's longest-serving general counsel, resigned in late February to return to the private sector. He has been hotly criticized for his role in crafting Bush administration policies for detaining and trying suspected terrorists that some argue led to prisoner abuses at the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Yoo's memo became part of a debate among the Pentagon's civilian and military leaders about what interrogation tactics to allow at overseas facilities and whether U.S. troops might face legal problems domestically or in international courts.

Also of concern was whether techniques used by U.S. interrogators might someday be used as justification for harsh treatment of Americans captured by opposing forces.

The Justice Department has opened an internal investigation into whether its top officials improperly authorized or reviewed the CIA's use of waterboarding, which simulates drowning, when interrogating terror suspects. It was unclear whether the Yoo memo, which focuses only on military interrogators, will be part of that inquiry.

The declassified memo was released as part of an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit to force the Bush administration to turn over documents about the government's war on terror. The document also was turned over to lawmakers.

Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said its release "represents an accommodation of Congress' oversight interest in the area of wartime interrogations."

Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU's national security project, said Yoo's legal reasoning puts "literally no limit at all to the kinds of interrogation methods that the president can authorize."

"The whole point of the memo is obviously to nullify every possible legal restraint on the president's wartime authority," Jaffer said. "The memo was meant to allow torture, and that's exactly what it did."

The 81-page legal analysis largely centers on whether interrogators can be held responsible for torture if torture is not the intent of the questioning. And it defines torture as the intended sum of a variety of acts, which could include acid scalding, severe mental pain and suffering, threat of imminent death and physical pain resulting in impaired body functions, organ failure or death.

The "definition of torture must be read as a sum of these component parts," the memo said.

The memo also includes past legal defenses of interrogations that Yoo wrote are not considered torture, such as sleep deprivation, hooding detainees and "frog crouching," which forces prisoners to crouch while standing on the tips of their toes.

"This standard permits some physical contact," the memo said. "Employing a shove or slap as part of an interrogation would not run afoul of this standard."

The memo concludes that foreign enemy combatants held overseas do not have defendants' rights or protections from cruel and unusual punishment that U.S. citizens have under the Constitution. It also says that Congress "cannot interfere with the president's exercise of his authority as commander in chief to control the conduct of operations during a war."

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said the memo "reflects the expansive view of executive power that has been the hallmark of this administration." He called for its release four months ago.

"It is no wonder that this memo ... could not withstand scrutiny and had to be withdrawn," said Leahy, D-Vt. "This memo seeks to find ways to avoid legal restrictions and accountability on torture and threatens our country's status as a beacon of human rights around the world."

The article was copied from this link.

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