Archive for July, 2007

Romney – The New George Bush?

With the front runner being pro abortion, as far as the Religious Right are concerned, you have to wonder at the sudden popularity of Mitt Romney? While he isn’t a darling by any means, and his credibility is definitely suspect, (see commentMitt Romney Opposing Gay Rights, Again, Maybe‘) it seems like he could be the one the so called ‘conservatives‘ will line up behind.

Frankly I have no problem with people having different views on issues like abortion, like gay rights even. What I have a problem with is their need to force that view on me, irrespective of my rights. This alone should preclude people like Mitt Romney from being a nominee, though you have to give him credit, he’s certainly shrewd in how he’s campaigning. Still you also have to look at the Religious Right, and how they are so wound up about abortion and gay rights.

James Bopp Jr., an influential conservative lawyer and general counsel to the National Right to Life Committee, said, “For the Republican Party to nominate a pro-choice candidate would be very destructive of the party.” Mr. Bopp, who has signed on as an adviser to the Romney campaign, said that a Republican nominee who supported abortion rights “would essentially be at war with the base, and that would manifest itself in a lot of different ways.” (source)

He is like George Bush in so many ways. (see commentRomney – The New George Bush?‘) I mean does anyone still assume Bush is sincere in his policies, or statements? Yet in the past, he certainly talked a good game. Enough to convince the Right to support him and get him elected to President for two terms. Question is, can his clone Mitt Romney do the same?

One minute, Romney supports Gay Rights, even advocates the rights of those seeking an abortion, until two years ago, when suddenly he became a firm advocate of Pro Life. A convenient switch, in time to make his run for President, but I wonder if the candidacy of someone like Fred Thompson would upset his apple cart? Sam Brownback certainly hasn’t, but then he isn’t as well known, or as well heeled. Thompson on the other hand is known, and has a charisma that just might pull it off, though Romney certainly has the bucks.

And that also makes one recall George Bush. Bush had the backing, the funds to wage his campaign, just as Romney does. This is what helped Bush outlast his opponents, as well as deflect their concerns. Something Romney has learned quite well. The way he uses his money so aptly, to position himself, to defend himself. The mere manner in how he attacks others, labeling them, belittling them, is very similar to George Bush.

For myself, the scary part in all this, is that people are willing to decide a President, based on whether or not he will support what is basically a matter of conscience. Abortion is something each woman has to decide, for herself. To force that decision, to turn the clock back is not about protecting the unborn, but is more about forcing one’s own religious views on the majority. It didn’t work in the past, and it won’t work today, but what does it say about a candidate who is willing to sacrifice his morals, his values, in order to appeal to a select group, as Mitt Romney clearly is doing, as George Bush clearly has?

Can the United States stand another term of a George Bush type President?

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Mitt Romney Campaign Site

Fred Thompson Website

Sam Brownback Campaign Site

John Edwards – Peace Maker?

John Edwards, sitting in a dismal third place among the Democrats, chided both Obama and Clinton for their recent spat about meeting with enemies like Iran, Syria, etc. Funny, because he called it a spat, likening it to what is happening in Washington, instead of dealing with the real issues. In fact, it sounded more like Bush attacking Congress over whether the Attorney General is a liar or not, instead of doing serious work of the Nation. (see commentWhen All You Have Is Lies‘)

(St Louis, Missouri) Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards on Friday chided rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama for feuding over whether or not to meet with leaders of rogue nations, saying the spat was distracting Democrats from tackling real problems (source)

I find it difficult to equate this with something not serious. It highlights a major difference between Obama & Clinton. It shows that Clinton is old guard, stuck in the mind set that America is still the Greatest Democracy Ever. It shows her being unwilling to understand that there is a second opinion, that might not be America’s opinion. Her inability to openly engage in dialog with those nations that oppose the USA, shows she is unwilling to accept new ideas, new concepts.

On the other hand, Obama’s willingness to meet, to talk, is a new direction for America. For too long the USA has threatened, bullied other nations, to the point where now there is a serious threat to the entire world, from nations like Iran, Venezuela, and others. It is from being unwilling to talk, to learn from others, that right now the United States pretty well stands alone in the world. Obama isn’t talking about negotiating here, he is merely talking about doing just that, talking.

One added reason of why he should. It is helpful to see first hand the people you are in opposition to. It can help give you insights on how to deal with them, how to formulate policies to protect yourself from them, or persuade them to drop their anger. It is a way to learn, to gather first hand information. That in itself is priceless, and it can help lead to real policies, rather than just shooting from the hip, or worse, in trusting those in the CIA or such. After all, look at how good a job they did with Iraq.

John Edwards on the other hand, drops a notch I think, when he makes light of how important it is to have dialog with one’s enemies. If you are unwilling to consider dialog important, how then do you expect to reach a compromise on issues? Never mind, with just other nations, but with those in your own party, or in opposition to your party? John Edwards is making light of what really is a serious debate.

I think Obama, in not backing down is showing some character. On the other hand, the comments by Senator Clinton, show she is old guard, old school. Her vast experience as being an insider is showing, though I doubt that is what she had in mind when claiming the role of being the experienced candidate. Her tiff with Senator Obama however, shows that she might be a skilled battler, it also shows that for her, new ideas, new approaches, are not something she encourages, or embraces.

Edwards is showing why he is in Third. He might be hard working, might be a champion of those fighting big Insurance even, though frankly I tend to be skeptical about that. Still, his priorities of what is important or not is a bit skewed. When he talks about sticking to issues, surely how to approach one’s enemies is an important issue facing the next President.

I mean seriously, isn’t it mostly enemies that are out there these days? After all, after nearly 7 years of Bush, there sure aren’t many friends left, so the next President needs to have some plan, on how to cope and deal with those nations that no longer call the USA Friend. John Edwards might lash out at big business, and his economic plan seems rather interesting too, but he loses when he tries to make light of what really is an important difference.

Why shouldn’t candidates from the same party highlight those differences? Seems that if all Edwards wants is for candidates to belittle Bush or the Republicans, he is missing the point. A real leader is about their ideas, their vision, and not about how the other guy doesn’t have one. I think the battle of words between Clinton and Obama is good, as it takes the debates into a higher plane.

It is an issue, one worth discussing.

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Senator Obama’s Campaign Site

Senator Clinton’s Campaign Site

John Edwards’ Campaign Site.

Say ‘Seig Hiel’

Under an agreement reached with the EU, the United States will begin collecting data from all inbound passengers starting August 1st. It is under the guise of Security, but when you read what is required, you first off have to wonder a few things. For example what does the ‘sexual orientation‘ have to do with security? Then how about your union membership?

On Lou Dobbs last night, July 27th, this matter was discussed, and while it was just one of many stories, one has to wonder at the need for such information, and that it will be held for 15 years. Seems to me that the United States is quickly moving towards the same type of Police State that Adolph Hitler created in Germany in the early 1930’s.

Reading the transcript over again (click on the July 27th text for the complete show transcript, scroll down to find ‘ KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over)’ to read this segment.) It is absolutely amazing that the EU would agree to such a deal, as in my mind, this clearly violates any sane countries privacy laws, including the USA. I mean okay, sure you need to know the name, and all that stuff, but what about all the rest?

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The new agreement with the European Union requires airlines traveling from Europe to the United States to give the Homeland Security Department a broad array of passenger information. Currently, name, address, phone, e-mail contacts, itineraries, credit card information, and current hotel reservations are shared and analyzed at the National Targeting Center. Now airlines, if they have the data, will also be required to pass on passengers’ racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, and data on health, traveling partners, and sexual orientation. (source: Lou Dobbs Transcript)

Can we say Nazi Germany?

Political, religious, philosophical beliefs? I mean if that isn’t against the privacy laws, what the hell is left? I am all for protection, security, but come on, to need to know about my traveling partners, my sexual orientation? Like what, if I am into gay sex, does that somehow make me a terrorist? Does it increase the risk or lessen the risk that I am a terrorist? How about that I am Jewish, does that now mean I am a target so a risk to fly? How about if I am a supporter of say the Green Party, does that somehow make me more of a risk to being a terrorist? Does it now make me a potential bomber?

For what reason is my race or ethnic origins got to do with shit? If the Police are unable to use racial profiling, then how can Homeland Security use it? Is this an attempt to lump together people who are Muslim, Jewish, or what? This is what HITLER did and it led to the state rounding up people it disliked, and MURDERING THEM EN MASS.

Is that the next step for the USA?

Senator Obama, likened Senator Clinton to Bush-Cheney-Light, and to paraphrase him, is the United States of America attempting to be Hitler-Nazi-Light?

The wire taps, the misuse of administrative warrants by the FBI, and now this insane drive to collect highly personal information on people, seems to me, like a drive towards Fascism, and Hitlerism. This is scary stuff, and yet it amazes me, how so few seem concerned by this. It should be an outrage, and perhaps the ACLU and other litigation groups should begin to start worrying. Would seem to me, that while they rush to sue cities who pass ordinances against Illegal Immigrants, that they should be looking more at the Federal Level, and begin to Protect the LEGAL CITIZENS just as forcibly as they protect the ILLEGAL ones.

Given how even the records of Veteran’s hasn’t been kept secure, how they have lost immigration files by the thousands, does anyone seriously believe the US Government is even capable of keeping this information private? And what agencies are going to be allowed access to the information? IRS? FBI? Political Parties? WHO?

The US Government can’t even process passport requests properly, can’t even secure the Mexican USA Border, but they will safely store all this information for 15 years? Will protect it from misuse? Yeah, and Osama really doesn’t intend any harm to the Western Societies.

This is a direct assault on Freedom itself. Under the guise of protecting us all from Terrorists, we are slipping gradually into a dictatorship, where eventually all of our freedoms will be stripped away. The Terrorists don’t have to win any large battle, nor even small ones, as we are giving them the Victory ourselves, when we seek agreements like this one. It gives them the win, as any erosion of our rights, our freedoms, is a victory for them, a defeat for us.

The lines are so blurred these days, that I wonder if we haven’t lost sight of what makes us different than those we are fighting? We are at War, but the cost of Victory seems to be our own identities. It seems, that the more they threaten us, the more we react by stripping away the very ideals, morals, that make us different. The open use of torture, the support for it even, is a clear indication of where we are headed. Secret Prisons, and Tribunals are nothing new, it was how Hitler kept millions in fear, how he MURDERED MILLIONS, and also how STALIN did the same thing. This is now the future of the United States, thanks to George Bush and his Republican Conservatives. The Religious Right have unleashed a Pandora’s box of evil, all under the name of GOD.

Just as Adolph Hitler’s legacy was one of deceit, of corruption, of murder, of war, of HATE, George Bush’s legacy is rapidly becoming nothing more than the end of Democracy in the United States.

Naive or Arrogant?

At last some fireworks between candidates. I love it when you get to see beyond the 20 second sound bites, as to the real character behind a person, and this could be a good one too. You have Obama who Clinton portrays as being inexperienced, and her, who is wise and sage. Yeah like I buy that crap.

While Obama hasn’t been a Senator long, you don’t get to that status from being naive, or stupid. You don’t arise to that rank by being idealistic, and unable to get your point across. Hilary Clinton might have been around a lot longer, but unlike Obama, she didn’t just rise up. She married well, and has ridden the coattails of her popular husband, and now comes crunch time. She claims that mantle of being experienced, and so let us see how much experience she has.

Was she the one who came up with ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’? How about the HMO crap? Or better yet, did she read the fact sheets prior to voting in favor of going to war with Iraq? Was it her decision to fire off missiles during the hearings into Bill’s impeachment? Was it her who decided to NOT eliminate Osama all those times prior to 9/11?

Senator Clinton talks about national health care, but yet when she was the person in charge, she called such a plan Un American. She even ridiculed Canada for it, alluding to us being nothing more than some third world country, and yet now here she is, touting National Health care. So how come, as the wise and experienced negotiator she claims to be, was National Health not implemented when she was in charge?

If she is so afraid of being used for propaganda purposes, why then did she vote for the War? Surely someone as intelligent as she claims, as experienced as she claims, would have seen through that tissue of lies, as Jean Chretien and many OTHER WORLD LEADERS did. The facts do not support her claim as being more experienced, or more able to act. She didn’t act with Iraq, still hasn’t actually, but instead attempts to make out like she does. How is that any different than Bush’s mantra of staying the course?

Obama on the other hand, wasn’t there to vote for the war. He wasn’t there to support HMO’s over National Health, and he is willing to at least talk to those who oppose the USA. That is certainly a huge difference from Bush and Clinton, and isn’t it time that there was a real change in how the USA acted abroad? I mean for all these decades, its been nothing but threats, and it sure as hell hasn’t worked too well, now has it? Even Reagen was willing to talk to the Soviets, and pre conditions weren’t publically made known. So was he naive too? I mean he did get the Berlin Wall to come down, so maybe it is time for some of that naiveties, instead of hard nosed arrogance?

“We responded to her in this situation, and I think there is a genuine difference, if there isn’t a difference, then Senator Clinton should explain it. I think that we should talk to everybody. That ultimately is what’s going to create the environment in which we can reduce some of the threat levels we are facing. To fail to do that is the same conventional Washington thinking that led many including Senator Clinton to go ahead with the war without having asked adequate questions.” (source)

Talking is what it is about. How can any leader know what the other side wants, if it doesn’t sit down and talk? The issue isn’t about giving anything away either, but about a willingness to listen. This is perhaps one of the biggest faults many outside the USA have with America, it’s inability to listen.

If it is experience, well George Bush has been President for 7 years now. Using Senator Clinton’s rationale, he is more experienced that her, and shouldn’t she be listening to his views over her own? She seems to think she knows more than him, but he has more experience at being President than her. He was also a Governor, and I don’t see that in her resume either.

Experience can help, but it can also hinder. If there is not a willingness to listen, to change even, how then can compromises be reached? By setting conditions, one taints the dialoge, it puts added pressure on the meetings. Obama has the right attitude, in that someone wants to talk, you go listen and talk too. If there are no expectations, there is less pressure to come away with something, and that does lead to real negotiations.

Something perhaps Hilary should learn. If she wasn’t so intransigent, maybe she wouldn’t have voted for the War in Iraq?

When All You Have Is Lies…

Once more, Alberto Gonzales, the Attorney General can’t seem to understand, the more you lie, the harder it is to keep track of the lies, and you get caught. Now most school children know that, and you would think someone who has risen to become the Attorney General of the USA, would know it, but guess not. (see commentGonzales In Hotseat‘) Once more the man has been caught out in lies, and not in a press conference, but under oath before Congress.

“It has become apparent that the attorney general has provided at a minimum half-truths and misleading statements,” four Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote in a letter to Solicitor General Paul Clement. (source)

Naturally the White House is attempting to downplay the whole matter, though there are a couple of issues on that. To begin with, seems to me that a man who uses ‘I Can’t Recall‘ over 60 times in his testimony, (see commentCan’t Recall‘) should at least be able to keep track of his lies a bit better than he has. Or maybe he needs to seek medical help, for his memory problems.

It is also scary to think, that even when he takes time off to brush up on the facts of the issues at stake, he still has severe memory lapses. I mean this guy really does need to consult a doctor for this condition.

The other issue being that the White House seems to think that isn’t important. Now I don’t know, but tampering with Justice seems it should be right up there in the important stuff category. Then too, lying under Oath to Congress, I mean that certainly should be right up there in what is and what isn’t important. How can you pass or decide on any major legislation if the people giving you the information are lying?

In response, White House spokesman Tony Fratto said, “Every day congressional Democrats prove that they’re more interested in headlines than doing the business Americans want them to do.” (source)

Seems to me, that if you need to decide on important legislation, such as say Immigration Reform, or Border Security, or Invading a Country, you would kind of like to know that those giving you the importants facts are actually telling you the truth. Be nice to know that if they say that passing a bill would mean an increase in taxes, an improved security, that you could believe it. This is why getting to the bottom of the lies, of the deceit is far more important than passing other legislation.

So much is dependent on what these government officials say to support or oppose the legislation. If those comments are nothing but lies, it does alter things. It does matter, and frankly, it is of paramount importance to know. If someone like the Attorney General lies about this, is he also telling the truth about other issues? Such as how many spies are in the country, or the truth about how safe are the nation’s secrets? What about the effect of Gang Violence? Can he be trusted that what he says is true, or not?

Sorry, but telling porkers, under oath, is serious business.