Archive for the 'Election' Category

Nov 16 2008

Jesse Jackson – Open Mouth, Insert Foot

Published by under Election,Thoughts

Once again Jesse Jackson has managed to open his mouth and insert his foot. It seems that the two are magnetically attracted to one another. While I don’t necessarily attribute much to the New York Post, this piece caught my attention.

As Jackson put it the most important change in American foreign policy will be the end of “decades of putting Israel’s interests first” (Taheri, Amir, “The O Jesse Knows“, The New York Post, October 14th 2008) and that “‘Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades’ remain strong, they’ll lose a great deal of their clout when Barack Obama enters the White House” (Taheri, Amir, “The O Jesse Knows“, The New York Post, October 14th 2008).

Now, Obama’s campaign has already made it quite clear that Jackson does not speak for or advise Senator Obama. It is quite clear from the quote above that the good Reverand is still as anti-semitic as he has always been and goes so far as to bring back the spectre of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” in his quote. He is trying to portray American Jews as being a fifth column in America and using our supposed power to guide American foreign policy.

Normally I would discount the Rev. Jackson as being a has-been and a wacko…but I, as a Jew, do worry about the untested Obama. My hope is that Biden’s experience will temper Obama’s lack of it in this area and will result in a continued strong support for Israel. I have no immediate problem with Obama’s willingness to speak with Iran and other enemies of the United States. Both Generals Petreaus and McKiernon believe that we should pursue dialogue before military actions and I feel that they have some experience in this matter…clearly the Bush doctrine hasn’t gotten us anywhere but mired in Iraq.

My biggest concern is that an Obama administration will be overtly hostile to Israel and pro-Palestinian given the fact that Senator Obama has relied on the likes of Daniel Kurtzer, former Air Force Chief of Staff “Tony” McPeak, and Anthony Lake as advisors. However, I believe that Senator Obama is smarter than to take the advice of this group seriously. I feel that Senator Obama is still the better choice as he can help put America back on track…and a strong America is the best support for Israel. As it is, we will have to wait and see on November 4th.

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Nov 16 2008

New Barack Obama Video

Published by under Election

Excellent video from the Obama campaign. It sums the situation quite well.

John McCain and Sarah Palin would simply be a continuation of the past 8 years of Bush/Cheney policies — and America can’t afford that anymore.

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Sep 11 2008

Was she for it or against it?

Published by under Election

Of all the things I have to say annoys me about politicians is how they will stretch the truth in order to make themselves look good. In the case of Sarah Palin…it’s pretty much an outright lie. At the GOP convention last week Sarah noted that she opposed the “Bridge to Nowhere”

““I championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress “thanks, but no thanks,” for that Bridge to Nowhere. If our state wanted a bridge, we’d build it ourselves”

(KCTV, “Full Text: Palin Accepts Nomination“, KCTV5.com, Kansas, City, KA, September 3, 2008 )

Unfortunately Sarah’s not telling the truth. The facts are that she supported the “Bridge to Nowhere” (a project to link Ketchikan, AK with its airport on Gravina Island) while campaigning for the post of Governor of Alaska. So much so that in a debate as a gubenatorial candidate she said that she would fight for the earmark to build the bridge (Bernton, Hal and David, Heath, “Palin’s earmark requests: more per person than any other state“, The Seattle Times, September 2, 2008 ). Not only that but she supported many other earmarks for Alaska both as Governor as well as Mayor of Wasilla, AK. As governor she requested $499,900 to assess halibut harvesting as well as money to light airports in the Alaskan bush. All these earmark requests were coming at a time when the Federal deficit was soaring under the Bush administration and Alaska’s coffers were overflowing with money because of soaring oil prices and a major tax increase which Governor Palin signed into law in late 2007! (Bernton, Hal and David, Heath, “Palin’s earmark requests: more per person than any other state“, The Seattle Times, September 2, 2008 )

As Mayor of Wasilla she hired Washington Lobbyist Steven Silver, a former aide to Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, to represent the town. After Silver was hired the town received earmarks from the Federal government for several projects including:

  • $600,000 for a city bus facility
  • $1.5 million for a local water and sewer project

(source: Hamburger, Tom, “Palin relied on earmark system she now opposes“, LA Times, September 1, 2008 ). The total amount of earmarks which then Mayor Palin received amounted to a total of $27 million dollars!

Now claiming on the campaign trail that as Governor of Alaska she has slashed earmarks from $550 million dollars down to just under $200 million dollars (a reduction of two-thirds!). Unfortunately that also is a lie. In 2007 Alaska requested a total of $254 million dollars in earmarks for an actual reduction of around 22% — not the 66% that Governor Palin claims. (Bernton, Hal and David, Heath, “Palin’s earmark requests: more per person than any other state“, The Seattle Times, September 2, 2008 ) And for 2009 it continues (and here she is out on the campaign trail decrying the earmark system) some of the earmarks that Alaska has requested from the Federal government include $25 million dollars for “Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery” and $3.2 million dollars for seal and sea lion research. (Hamburger, Tom, “Palin relied on earmark system she now opposes“, LA Times, September 1, 2008 ).

In the end it appears that not only is Governor Palin lying about her record she is also what the Republicans call a “flip-flop” — one day she’s for it, the next day she’s against it. Will the real Governor Palin please stand up?

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Sep 11 2008

Sarah Palin — Hockey Mom or Pit Bull?

Published by under Election

So it seems that everyone on the Republican side is mesmerized by Governor Sarah Palin from Alaska. Here’s a woman, the first one on a GOP ticket, who no one knows about except that she can tell them the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull — lipstick. No one seems to be bothered that this woman, who is vehemently against abortion — even in cases of rape and incest — has no problem announcing that her 17-year old, unmarried daughter is currently pregnant. Didn’t she teach her daughter about abstinence?

But that’s not the focus of this opinion. The focus here is the question of whether Gov. Palin is for or against the first amendment. My question arises from the fact that the good governor, when she was simply the mayor of sleepy Wasilla, Alaska questioned the town librarian as to whether the she (the librarian, that is) would be comfortable with removing “questionable” books from the town library should she be asked to do so. A few months after Mary Ellen Emmons, the well liked town librarian, told Mayor Palin that she would definitely not be alright with such an idea she

got a letter from Palin telling her she was going to be fired. The censorship issue was not mentioned as a reason for the firing. The letter just said the new mayor felt Emmons didn’t fully support her and had to go.

(White, Randi, “Palin Pressured Wasilla Librarian“, Alaska Daily News, September 4th 2008 )

Palin didn’t ask Ms. Emmons just once on a whim but several times — 3 total. Once before she was sworn in as the Mayor of Wasilla, the second was in October of 1996 during a city council meeting. As related by Anne Kilkenny who attends city council meetings occasionally

“Sarah said to Mary Ellen, ‘What would your response be if I asked you to remove some books from the collection?” Kilkenny said.

“I was shocked. Mary Ellen sat up straight and said something along the line of, ‘The books in the Wasilla Library collection were selected on the basis of national selection criteria for libraries of this size, and I would absolutely resist all efforts to ban books.'”

(White, Randi, “Palin Pressured Wasilla Librarian“, Alaska Daily News, September 4th 2008 )

It seems that Sarah Palin has a problem with the first amendment in terms of freedom of expression. It remains unanswered as to which books then Mayor Palin wanted banned but the fact that she asked the librarian three times — once in a city council meeting — and that indicates that this wasn’t just a passing fancy. The interesting thing is that now that items like this have come more and more to the surface I’m no longer sure whether there really is any difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull.

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Aug 29 2008

The Difference Between Republicans and Democrats

Published by under Election,Thoughts

Last night’s acceptance speech by Barack Obama as the Democratic Party nominee for president of the United States was excellent. Senator Obama did what he needed to do — define himself and counter Senator McCain’s claims that he’s elitist and out of touch with Americans. The Democrats have done quite well for themselves this week and it was good to see Bill Clinton come out unabashedly in favor and in support of Senator Obama. If anyone is out of touch with the state of America and Americans it’s Senator McCain and the Republicans.

Consider that Senator McCain and the Republicans have been chanting the tired old mantra of “Drill Here! Drill Now!” for several weeks — knowing full well that drilling “here” and drilling “now” will do absolutely nothing to lower energy costs here in the United States in the near or mid-term future. It’s all a matter of producing a platitude that resonates with the fears of Americans rather than their aspirations. The Republicans are way off the mark and out of touch with Americans these days and it represents a dramatic difference in perspective. Paul Krugman in his latest op-ed piece in the New York Times notes

Democrats say and, as far as I can tell, really believe that working Americans are getting a raw deal; Republicans, despite occasional attempts to sound sympathetic, basically believe that people have nothing to complain about.

(Krugman, Paul, “Feeling No Pain“, The New York Times, August 29, 2008 )

As Krugman outlines in his opinion piece the census of 2007 shows that Americans are worried about the direction this country is taking. And that was in 2007 — before the financial crisis really tightened its grip on the economy and made it’s impact known. Median incomes for American families fell between 2000 and 2007, poverty was up, health insurance down. And even with all these indicators pointing to significant problems the Bush administration puts its head in the sand and proclaims that the economy is “basically sound” and there are no problems. At least no problems that tax cuts for businesses and the rich won’t cure.

On the health care side we are facing a looming crisis. Health care costs are increasing faster than the rate of inflation in the United States on a year-over-year basis. Employers, facing an economic downturn, are looking to cut costs whereever they can to stay profitable. That means cutting the health care benefits of workers or pushing more of the costs of health insurance onto workers who are seeing the power of their paycheck decline already due to the skyrocketing costs of gas, food, and electricity. As these individuals face declining health care the Republicans can only repeat their tired old mantra of “tax cuts for businesses will cure the economic ills.” Many Americans don’t even have health care insurance.

visiting the emergency room in a medical crisis is no substitute for regular care. Furthermore, while a hospital will treat you whether or not you can pay, it will also bill you — and the bill won’t be waived unless you’re destitute. As a result, uninsured working Americans avoid visiting emergency rooms if at all possible, because they’re terrified by the potential cost: medical expenses are one of the prime causes of personal bankruptcy.

(Krugman, Paul, “Feeling No Pain“, The New York Times, August 29, 2008 )

As for health care coverage, President Bush and Senator McCain seem to think that the emergency room at the hospital is “affordable” health care. In fact President Bush stated so last year: “I mean, people have access to health care in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room.” (Bush, George W., HealthCareTalk.net,July 10, 2007).

It’s hard to sympathize with the plight of people when you don’t even connect with their problems. And therein lies the Republican’s dilemma. How can they relate to voters when they don’t even recognize their problems. The disconnect is so bad that former McCain economic advisor, the former senator Phil Gramm, described America as a “nation of whiners.” (“Dr. Phil Gramm knows what ails America“, LA Times, July 11, 2008) How out of touch can you be?

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Aug 28 2008

More Nation Building at Home

Published by under Election,Thoughts

Tom Friedman’s column yesterday, “A Biblical Seven Years,” highlights his experience and thoughts during the closing ceremony of the Olympics in Beijing. The focus is not so much on how the China has outclassed America but rather focuses on the reality that we need to do nation building here at home. Over the past seven years since the Chinese were awarded the Olympics they have invested dramatically in their infrastructure while we have spent our resources fighting terrorism. Their threats are small and primarily domestic; ours are significant and international in scope. Still, this year we need to make a choice — a choice between someone who offers a continuation of the failed, mishandled policies of one of the worst (if not the worst — he’s truly giving Jimmy Carter a run for his money) presidents in all of American history and someone who is untested and “unknown.”

There’s an old saying “better the evil you do know than the one you don’t.” In this situation I think we are better off with the evil “we don’t know.” Barack Obama represents, hopefully, a sea-change in the direction this country is taking. John McCain offers us more of the George Bush doctrine (if only he were capable of articulating a doctrine). We need to refocus our energies and our resources back here at home to tackle the hard issues facing us: our crumbling infrastructure, our dependence and addiction to foreign oil, the pollution of our environment, education, and global warming. We need to stop sending our money and our resources overseas and rebuild a great nation. Otherwise, as Tom Friedman said in his column, “Start teaching your kids Mandarin.” (Friedman, Tom, “A Biblical Seven Years“, The New York Times, August 27, 2008 ).

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Aug 27 2008

President Bush and the Constitution

Published by under Election,Thoughts

There are people in America that believe that if the election for the President in 2008 does not go to the Republicans then President Bush will “cancel” the elections in one fashion or another. Consider the following YouTube video

Here the poster brings about all sorts of arguments that elements which President Bush and the Republicans have put into place will allow him to suspend the Constitution and cancel the results of the election. Personally, I think this is very far-fetched and that Bush and his cohorts would have more to lose by trying such a tactic. However, don’t think that Bush has much respect for the Constitution. Consider back in 2005 it was reported in the Capitol Hill Blue that when the Patriot Act was up for renewal an argument ensued between President Bush and Congressional GOP leaders. As told by Doug Thompson of Capitol Hill Blue

GOP leaders told Bush that his hardcore push to renew the more onerous provisions of the act could further alienate conservatives still mad at the President from his botched attempt to nominate White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

“I don’t give a goddamn,” Bush retorted. “I’m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.”

“Mr. President,” one aide in the meeting said. “There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.”

“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!” (emphasis added)

(Thompson, Doug, “Bush on the Constitution: A ‘goddamned piece of paper’“, Capitol Hill Blue, December 5, 2005)

So, a document which George W. Bush has sworn to uphold, a document that has defined the basis for the law of this land for over two centuries, a document which has withstood the challenges faced by Lincoln during the Civil War and Roosevelt during the Great Depression…this document…the U.S. Constitution…is nothing more than a “gaddamned piece of paper” to George W. Bush.

When I think about this sort of perspective by the highest government official in the U.S. it makes me shudder. Here’s a document that represents and defines our system of government and is the very foundation for our government and George W. Bush shows such derision and disrespect for it. How this man ever got to be President of the United States is beyond me. It is time to make a change…we need to make sure President Bush, Vice President Cheney, the Republicans and their cohorts understand that you cannot take the Constitution for granted and you cannot actively work to undermine the rights and liberties that are guaranteed by it. It is time to vote these people out of office and return our government to what it should be — a “government of the people, by the people, for the people” (Lincoln, Abraham, “Gettysburg Address“, November 19 1863)

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