Would a President Romney consult his predecessor on an international crisis? Plus, Pawlenty sells out

September 25, 2012

Just read some newly-released excerpts from secret tapes from John F. Kennedy. On one of them the Democratic president consults former Republican President, and General, Dwight Eisenhower. Kennedy fills him in on the then current situation in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Two statesmen. Opposite political parties. But what they had in common was that their number-one concern was doing what was in the best interests of the American people (Okay, especially in the case of Kennedy, I’m talking on-the-job concern).

And they both had military experience.

Eisenhower retired from the Army as a five-star general and was Supreme Allied Commander during World War II.

Kennedy served as the skipper of a Navy PT boat in the Pacific theater during the war.

Eisenhower had to work with the various allies with their competing interests and petty jealousies in order to keep the coalition together to whip the Axis enemies.

Then, after the war, one of our allies, the Soviet Union, became our enemy in the ensuing Cold War, which reached its peak during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

(Vietnam of course was a hot war proxy for the Cold War.)

While the Republicans and the Democrats had differences in how to run things here at home in the United States, they both agreed on the threat of the domination of the non-democratic system of communism as practiced by the Soviet Union and in the nations it conquered or influenced, as well as Communist China (Red China, as it was called, was a communist rival to the now defunct Soviet Union).

Today we have two men, on the Democratic side, President Barack Obama, and on the Republican side, challenger Mitt Romney.

Somehow I don’t see a President Romney calling Obama about some foreign policy or national defense crisis (although he might).

But he’d have to call someone. Romney has no real experience in foreign policy and no military experience (of course military service is not a formal requirement for the presidency). Obama had no experience in either himself — it’s been all on the job — you be the judge on that.

I was heartened to read that before the United Nations today President Obama declared that the United States will do whatever it must do to make sure there is not a nuclear-armed Iran. Enough said, I would think.

And on a related subject, now that the Obama administration has gone on record against anti-Islam hate videos, I think enough has been said on that. No more apologies or assurances that we are not the ones spewing hatred necessary.

I did read that the president urged leaders in the various nations to be more tolerant of dissent, something vital for true democracy. Amen to that.

I consider myself a political moderate. I am just as uneasy about the Obama approach of demanding that we all hold hands and share as the Romney approach of whatever is good for the super rich and super rich wannabes and other than that, basically, you’re on your own.

Somewhere there has to be consideration for the vast majority of us working folks who would prefer to keep as much as we can from our efforts and who accept that there must be some social safety net for common decency and for the idea of but there but for the grace of God go I, and that in some cases, pure capitalism has to be modified in order to best serve the people, such as perhaps public utilities and maybe medical care. We also don’t want to leave everyone out on their own, what with job layoffs and the elimination of whole areas of work due to the evolving technology.

And how do we keep the lobbyists from running the government?

Tim Pawlenty, a once much talked about potential Republican candidate for president, has decided to take a multi-million dollar lobbyist position. His true loyalties apparently were to the almighty dollar. If that is where our potential leaders owe their true allegiance, then we know why we are in trouble.

ADD ONE:

And here is an add to what I said about Pawlenty, former Republican Minnesota governor,who apparently has the appropriate name, that is “pawlenty” of money was enough to make him reverse his views on bank bailouts and the greedy banking industry. He is going to be a lobbyist for the banks. And he has no experience in the field, but I suppose like all good politicians he has connections and access is worth lot of money (this is almost enough to make me sign up for the Tea Party. I mean who really controls our government? Certainly not the people). Here is a link to a story about all this: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/09/24/about-face-for-bankers-new-lobbyist/


Telling truth not always a good policy for candidates; Republicans in disarray…

September 22, 2012

When President Barack Obama was just a candidate some four years ago he made the same type of mistake Mitt Romney made — forgetting that in this internet/You Tube age there really is no such thing as privacy for public figures or at least you cannot count on it.

Obama told some wealthy elites that when some of the common folk are unnerved by hard times they cling to their guns and God. But he got away with it and the rest is history. We got our first black president.

But I think Mitt Romney may not be as lucky. He called almost half the American people, 47 percent, lazy and ignorant loafers and said he had written them off as potential voters from himself. Same type of setting. A gathering of the well to do that was supposed to be exclusive — ahhh but Mother Jones Magazine sneaked a video recorder in and got it all on tape and then later shared it on the worldwide web.

Personally I’ve pretty much written Romney off as taking the presidency.

Today’s polling seems to show it is still basically neck and neck with a slight advantage to the president. But from what I hear and read, Romney is done for and for the most part he has done himself in.

Obama got away with his remarks for many different reasons. One, there was an element of truth to them. For another, the vast majority of Americans are not gun toters and are not religious zealots (not meaning that people are not religious or do not believe in the Second Amendment). And, to those who do cling to religion and guns, maybe there was no offense taken (just stating fact) and they would not have voted for Obama anyway. But just like Romney, it was unwise for Obama to write anyone off.

I just read something that one pollster observed, that is the political elites think that the common people are too ignorant or ill-informed to know what is best for them. There probably is a lot of truth to that, but there is little to be gained from candidates proclaiming such.

A free and democratic (little d) society has its good points — freedom, empowerment — and its downside — the ignorant have a lot of power if they choose to use it. 

So, anyway, the Republican Party seems to be in disarray. There is a struggle between the Republican establishment (which is not all that dissimilar to the Democratic establishment) and the lower factions which heretofore it has been able to use (and abuse?) to win elections. The lower factions are rising.

Richard Nixon’s strategy of gathering up all the bigots to win elections and then ignoring them for the most part is beginning to backfire.

P.s.

I should not have implied that the comments made by Romney and Obama were accurate. What I meant was what each man said had elements of truth. They just perhaps overstated for rhetorical effect.


Mitt may have talked his way out of victory, but his comments at least point out that something is wrong with our tax system…

September 18, 2012

UPDATE:

I originally composed this post last evening but did not post it until this morning. Meantime, other comments Mitt Romney made about the Palestinians not wanting peace and a quip that he would have a better chance for the presidency if his ancestors had not just lived in Mexico but if he were actually Latino may spell his doom, many pundits seem to be saying today. Yes, I am about ready to say, stick a fork in him; he’s done. One questioned where his vaunted organizational skills are with his campaign in such seeming disarray. Of course the partisans will say this is all negative reporting and that he is in good shape. Well  I wonder what bad shape looks like.

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If some 47 percent of Americans don’t pay income taxes then there must be something wrong. I say this in reaction to a Mitt Romney charge made at a private fundraiser where he said there are 47 percent of the voters who would not vote for him no matter what, adding that they pay no taxes and expect the government to take care of them as an entitlement.

The story I read said that he must have been referring to the 47 percent of Americans who pay no taxes because their income was too low and/or they qualified for various tax breaks. Well actually that might include some fairly well to do folks and certainly some corporations who pay no taxes at all due to various loopholes.

Romney implied (there was a video with this story) that anyone who votes for Obama is dependent upon government — which of course is crazy, depending upon what one means by dependent, anyway. The video was supposedly shot secretly at a meeting of Romney supporters.

Well I might, I say might, vote for Obama and I am not dependent upon government, although certainly the government has helped me in so many ways. Well let me back up, actually to some extent nearly all of us are dependent upon government in some way, if for no other reason than it is what stands between us and total chaos or anarchy.

But if it is really true that 47 percent of the people don’t pay taxes, well no wonder we are in such financial straits.

Probably this is mixing apples and oranges or something. But I imagine it is true that a relatively large number of low-income people do not pay taxes, and when you add the plethora of tax breaks for the rich, and the middle class, that home mortgage deduction, you begin to see that there is something wrong with our tax system.

We need a much simpler system and a much more equitable one where nearly everyone takes part.

There is some appeal to a national sales tax, but it is seen by many as being harder on the less well off because they (we) would be paying a larger, much larger, proportion of disposable income than someone with way more than enough money for the basics.

I guess the nice thing about the national sales tax would be it that it would be directly tied to the economy. If times were good, there would be money and if not there would not and government would have to get by.

But then again, the income tax should be like that, but of course the main culprit, besides not enough people paying in, is the over borrowing by government to make up for any shortfalls in revenue.

As I have noted previously, one of my most popular posts, one that gets called up every day many times, it seems, is the one I headlined: “Why does the government borrow money…?” I did not supply an answer and have not received one yet. I keep waiting.

I think Mr. Romney has it wrong, though. While some people do see government as something that must pay them entitlements, I think a whole lot more just believe in the efficacy of using government as agent to promote the social welfare of its people (and I should have thought of a better phrase, lest the likes of Romney and his supporters jump on “social welfare” and start talking about welfare queens driving around in Cadillacs (borrowing from Ronald Reagan).

Successful people like Romney often abhor the idea of anyone getting help from the government, that is unless it is themselves. Now I won’t go so far as to say what Obama said: “you didn’t build that (your wealth, Mr. Romney), but I have to imagine Mr. Romney or his businesses benefited from the largesse of the taxpayers.

P.s.

I watched the snippet of tape that was posted on the internet of Mr. Romney’s 47 percent remark, and then later an explanation by him on the apparently bootlegged tape. I give him a pass because I think he was taken out of context, the tape not showing what led up to the remark. Romney explained that he was speaking off the cuff and was just trying to make a point about the fact that many people would not vote for him because they have a different idea of the role of government.

If you do some fact checking, you will probably find that the 47 percent of the people not paying taxes (directly) is fairly accurate, as far as that statement goes.

P.s. P.s.

I recall my late father telling me that before World War II most people did not pay income taxes. But money was needed for the war. And when people suddenly found out they had to cough up money for Uncle Sam they rushed out and borrowed money to pay their taxes. Today we wage war off the books and then the government has to borrow money, primarily from China, to pay the bill. Something is wrong with that too. If citizens had to pay directly for war, how much do you want to bet they would pressure their congressmen to stop it all?


Eagerly awaiting debates to flush out Romney…

September 15, 2012

I’m eagerly awaiting the presidential debates, the first one scheduled for Oct. 3. I would hope they will bring some clarity to the campaign, particularly on the GOP side. I mean I know they hate Obama, but that is hardly a reason for me or anyone else to vote for Mitt Romney.

Romney is vague on so much. He’s going to repeal Obamacare. He’s going to save parts of it. His campaign says, no, whoops, he’s going to repeal all of it (he really ought to consult with his advisors before he says anything). And it seems to be a leap in logic that he is against Obamacare when he was essentially the architect of it with his own Massachusetts plan when he was governor there.

And then there is this assumption that we are all supposed to buy into that Romney is some kind of economic guru because he supposedly pulled some economic miracle and saved the Olympics when they were in Salt Lake City and that he started from nothing (hardly) and became a millionaire, some say billionaire, when he and some friends developed something called Bain Capital. Well there are a whole lot of rich businessmen but that in and of itself does not qualify them or mean that they would be a good president.

I do think, though, that Romney could have an opening in the area of balancing the budget — I’ll get back to that.

We don’t know much about how Romney would handle foreign policy. And while at a time of economic crisis at home the concentration among the electorate is no doubt on domestic affairs, we have seen via the events over this past week (and ongoing) that what happens in the world has consequences. The Islamist (or so-called Islamist) extremists are out there and will use anything, such as a hate film produced by a scoundrel, to attack us and raise general havoc (the ambassador and three staffers killed in Libya; riots all over the Islamic world, and even Australia (this just in from CNN)? Yikes! Demonstrators in Australia are said to be chanting: “Obama we like Osama…” and calling for the beheading of anyone who insults their prophet.  As I said in my previous post, while sometimes good old-fashioned pre-World War II isolationism appeals to me, it does not work because we depend upon world trade and always have since the founding of the U.S.

Oh I hate to say this, but maybe George W. Bush was correct in that we are in a perpetual war with extremist Islam (I wish I had a better name for it; I hate to denigrate anyone‘s religion, but the bad guys hide behind the veil of Islam). If we just simply ignored things, the extremists would take over and then have power to really threaten us, economically and physically.

But how we handle this seemingly perpetual war is the question. We cannot fight full out on multiple fronts all at the same time.

The Republicans don’t seem to have an answer. You will recall that they almost simultaneously criticized President Obama for not sending troops into Libya, when rebels began their push to depose Gaddafi, and at the same time for doing anything there. And I think I just read that Romney was one of those who had conflicting ideas at the time.

The Republicans are ambivalent about democracy when it comes to other nations. They say they promote democracy world wide, but they seem to be more comfortable with dictators (and the Democrats have been guilty of this too over the years) when they provide stability needed for business transactions and in the past to protect against communism. That is why the GOP was and is a little wary of the so-called Arab Spring (democracy movement).

And as I also said in my last post (do I ever say anything new? I try to), when you push for or support democracy in other nations you never know what you will get. You might get a weak government that is susceptible to pressure from our enemies or who outright supports our enemies.

At any rate, it is all very confusing and complex, that is why we need candidates to spell things out better.

Back to an opening for Romney:

If Mr. Romney really is the economic guru, then maybe he could lay out a plan to balance the federal budget and pay off or down the national debt. But there would need to be some specificity. I don’t think President Obama has a clear plan, except that by some wild projection that it will be done after he is gone.

It would take guts for a candidate to face the American people and tell them what has to be cut and how much they might have to pay for our nation to remain solvent — and while I am not well schooled in economics, I am sure that we cannot survive much longer with the ever-mounting red ink.

Then again, honesty, such as I will raise your taxes, does not lead to election victory: just ask Walter Mondale.


In all of this Islamic tumult Hillary comes out best, I think…

September 14, 2012

In all of this frenzy of demonstrations and riots and killing of four Americans, to include our ambassador to Libya, and of charges by presidential contender Mitt Romney of the Obama administration being too apologetic and not tough enough it seems to me the one who comes out looking best is Secretary of State (and maybe President come 2016) Hillary Clinton.

(As I am writing all of this, the news is that there are anti-U.S. and/or anti-Western protests all over the Islamic world today.)

I  think her statements over the past couple of days have been the clearest and most logical (President Obama has done well too). Now that I have had a day or more to think on it I can’t blame Romney for wanting to chime in — he is in what appears to be a close race. But when you read over what he and his Republican Party people have said on foreign policy, particularly Libya, in the past, well it has been all over the board. It is easy to see they are just against anything Obama does, not matter what.

It is also clear that all the demonstrations and rioting are a result of a combination of things. While some of it may be true anger over the internet dissemination of what probably could be described as a hate video or anti-Muslim propaganda piece, made by some obscure film maker, it is also the result of anti-West rabblerousers who want to stir up the masses for their own desires of power. Also, apparently a lot of people in other parts of the world have little to do — I suppose they are poor and unemployed and uneducated, and therefore they use up their energies in these demonstrations. In addition we have to accept the fact that free speech is not a concept shared all over the world.

Another thing we should realize is that while we like to promote democracy, we never know what we will get. Right now we have a weak government in Libya after the deposing of the dictator Gaddafi, which we supported. When it became apparent that our long-time ally in Egypt, the dictator Mubarak, was going to be deposed, our government jumped on the bandwagon of the Arab Spring as a democracy movement. But then they put in the Muslim Brotherhood, who has ties or sympathy with Islamic extremists who are anti-America/anti-West.

To jump around here, today the German embassy in Sudan is under attack. Some say it is over that film and the fact that far-right, neo Nazi groups in Germany have insulted the Islamic prophet Mohammad and that a few years ago German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave an award to a Danish cartoonist who drew cartoons insulting Mohammad (I did not read what specifically the award was for).

Getting back to Hillary:

While Romney got antsy and cancelled an embargo on a prepared statement (in other words not say what he wanted to say about the deaths of the Americans and Obama’s response until the anniversary of 9/11 had passed) and accused the current administration in Washington, well Obama, of apologizing rather than condemning the acts (not exactly true by the way), Secretary of State Clinton calmly issued a statement or statements both condemning the infamous video and the violence that followed (and so did Obama himself).

Much later, after being roundly criticized as shooting from the hip, or as the president said, “shooting first and aiming later”, Romney tried to say that really both he and the current administration were in agreement. He said Obama had backed away from earlier, pre-death of the Americans (the rioting having started before that) statements regretting the video, which the U.S. government had nothing to do with.

In an address to one group (according to a news story I have read), Mrs. Clinton said (paraphrase): All religions have been subjected to insults. The response to such insults is what separates those of true faith from those who would use religion as an excuse to commit violent acts.

In my original post on all of this I erroneously wrote that an American preacher who had earlier gained notoriety for threatening to burn copies of the Koran had produced the infamous video (which, incidentally I have not seen). Upon further reading, I guess it was that he showed the video or was going to or something like that to an audience. Some people make money on hate. The real producer is believed to live in the Los Angeles area and may not go by his real name and at last report was asking for police protection now that he has managed to stir so many people up and perhaps indirectly cause the death of the Americans. Actually there is suspicion that the Libyan incident was a coordinated attack by a group associated or sympathetic to Al Qaeda, purposely timed on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11.

Writing about things having to do with breaking news is always difficult and fraught with danger of getting everything screwed up. In my original post I was on my truck driving job (stationary at the time) playing the unloading waiting game. But I am a news and opinion junkie and I could not help myself — I had to say something, maybe kind of like candidate Romney (he has more at stake).

I am not necessarily a fan of the Obama foreign policy, but right now I certainly feel more comfortable with his administration’s approach than the seemingly wild and sometimes incoherent or contradictory line of Romney and the GOP. Actually, Romney up until now has not emphasized foreign policy. 

Sometimes something akin to isolationism appeals to me, but I then realize that the U.S. depends upon world trade (it has from its very beginnings) and that it is the world’s superpower and if we let that go the void will be filled by another power and we are probably toast.

I would prefer a foreign policy where we try to do good, don’t get too carried away, and say very little.

One more thing: There is a whole industry on radio of so-called right-wing talk show hosts, who basically make a living out of sounding off about anything against what they call liberal or socialist (and sometimes they equate this with environmentalism) and anti-capitalist ideas. Right now their thrust seems to be anything anti-Obama. Some of these people may have some relationship to the historical conservative movement in the nation, but for the most part I think they are commercial opportunists who have found out you can make big money running down people by calling them anti-American. And in some cases, I get by their tone, they were incensed in college by other students or professors who seemed to espouse ideas counter to their own upbringing. It is often uncomfortable to be around people who may not think as you do.

Anyway, the other day on the Laura Ingraham Show she played a tape of what was purported to be an open microphone at a Romney press conference before it got under way. If I understood things right, the reporters were discussing among themselves the need to ask Romney if he had been a little hasty in releasing a written statement against the Obama administration’s reaction to the crisis in Libya when events were in the midst of unfolding. She suggested the “liberal media” was conspiring against Romney. Well, it does kind of sound like pack journalism. But as long as they do the same to the other side, I guess that is the way it goes (but of course she does not think that they do).

What follows is my previous post on all of this:

UPDATE (9-13-12):

Well, it appears that in my own haste to get this posted I either misread or read an erroneous report about the source of the infamous video that some say got all those people stirred up in the Mideast and Northern Africa. Right now there does not seem to be a clear identity, although there are stories on the web. So anyway, I deleted that reference in this updated version of this post. Right now I’ll let the rest of what I said stand. I need to read more about all of this (my real work just seems to get in the way). I’ll probably post more within the next 24 hours.

“Slate”, the online magazine, provides a timeline for the events: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/map_of_the_week/2012/09/libya_u_s_embassy_attack_an_interactive_timeline_of_the_violence_in_the_middle_east_.html

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I didn’t blog anything about the 11th anniversary of 9/11 because I was too busy at my paying job that puts food on the table and provides shelter and so on and I was tired too. I felt like I ought to say something. But sometimes it’s better not to say anything — that’s what hapless GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney may have found out.

He is being roundly condemned for jumping the gun and going way overboard in his criticism of his opponent President Obama over the dreadful killings of our ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three staffers, which came as mob violence rocked Libya and Egypt on the 9/11 anniversary. An attack on our embassy in Libya may have been planned by terrorists, American authorities are speculating.

Both Obama supporters and non-supporters have condemned Romney (I’m sure not everyone thinks he acted wrongly). He broke his own vow to stay silent on politics for the day in commemoration of 9/11 and he also broke a taboo of stretching politics beyond the water’s edge (which I imagine is broken all the time).

Romney accused the Obama administration of apologizing as its first act in the crisis. Actually what he was criticizing was a statement or statements made before the deaths of our people, which he characterized as apologetic. The Obama administration tried to assure people in the region that we deplore intolerance of others’ beliefs. But, as I understand it, this was before the deaths or before they were reported (although I’m sure we still deplore the intolerance, seeing as we were affected by it).

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UPDATE:

Since posting this I have read more. In  a New York Times story there seemed to be some indication that the Obama administration had not approved conciliatory statements made by the embassy and that even the embassy staff had second thoughts.  I think maybe the Obama administration favors diplomacy when possible, whereas a Romney administration, by Romney’s own indication, might prefer a tougher approach. Although I must say the continuing fighting in Afghanistan and the killing of Osama Bin Laden seem like fairly rough stuff to me. Oh, and all those drone strikes too. Doesn’t seem too apologetic to me.

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As I understand it, the outbreak of mob violence was in reaction to the posting on the internet of a video critical of Islam. I have not seen it, but I understand it is full of hate. UPDATE:  (9-13-12)To make matters worse, there are now reports that the sound was dubbed without the actors even knowing what the film was going to say. 

Many observers, on the right and left and middle, I have read, feel that Romney’s too quick and clumsy reaction shows that he is out of his depth in foreign policy.

He may have done a good job at saving the Olympics all those years ago and he may have made millions, billions at Bain Capital, but he sounds dangerous when it comes to diplomacy and foreign policy.

Barack Obama may have been a novice too (he wanted to sit down and talk to that crazy Ahmadinejad in Iran). But Obama has Hillary and she seems to be one clever lady when it comes to foreign relations.


The presidential candidates need to address Afghanistan and in some detail…

September 10, 2012

I hope that in the upcoming presidential election debates that President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney will address the continuing war in Afghanistan and state clearly what our purpose is or should be and what each one of them plans to do about it in some detail, rather than vague language or platitudes (I don‘t mean give away military secrets, or course).

I was dismayed (although not surprised) when the president in his nomination acceptance speech seemed to curtly dismiss the war with the announcement that we will be out of there by 2014. And when Romney failed to mention it at all.

I am not being flip or sarcastic when I ask: if we know now that we will simply quit by then, why not quit now and save lives and money? There is no human way we can know that we will have prevailed by then, and actually I suppose the truth is that we can never prevail or at least not by way of the fashion we have handled things so far. Things are a bit confusing because in our modern approach to war we do not seem to strive for old-fashioned victories with a vanquished enemy and surrender ceremonies and such. We are not fighting those type of territorial wars against established forces who actually wear identifiable uniforms.

The problem may be that Obama bought into George W. Bush’s or Karl Rove’s or Dick Cheney’s and all the rest of the neocons’ version of perpetual war against not just one entity or group but terrorists in general or maybe not even against people at all but a concept: “terrorism”. Thus we forever pour our blood and treasure into a war against evil.

While we always have to guard against evil, funding ongoing military actions in far-flung places will eventually bankrupt us — or maybe it already has.

We as a nation need to rethink Afghanistan and such actions and reassess what our goals should be and if it is a worthwhile cause.

What prompted this post was Obama’s simple assertion that we would essentially quit Afghanistan by 2014 and a story I read a few days ago that said the American public is numb to war and pays little attention, except for the minority who are in it or who have loved ones in it.

The story said that so far this year we have averaged one dead soldier a day. Not a big count by world war standards when the losses could be in the thousands in one day or by Vietnam (and don’t forget Korea and other places) where we had nightly news reports of hundreds of combat deaths (and grave injuries as well), but a tragedy nonetheless, especially since I doubt most of us could articulate what it is we are trying to accomplish there, beyond platitudes, such as freedom is never free. That may be true, but nation building in far-off Afghanistan poses no promise to preserve our own freedom, and may be impossible anyway.

I mean it is true if we could build a world where everyone wanted to live in peace and freedom that would be wonderful. But it hardly seems that the ongoing fight against the insurgency (aided by outside forces as it may be) in Afghanistan gets us there.

Eventually, by 2014, I guess, we will pack up and come home.

I think maybe when Obama proclaimed we would be out of there by 2014 he was at once trying to please those weary of war and to remind the corrupt government there, that is supposed to be on our side, that it may be on its own soon, as well as somehow imply we have or will shortly attain good old-fashioned victory. Too bad we have to telegraph to the enemy the date we plan to give up.

If there really was something worthwhile to do or left to do there we would all be involved somehow, with oue children in the war, with higher taxes to pay for the war (I mean is not that “supporting the troops”), and other sacrifices here at home in order to optimize the availability of the supplies for war.

But in a form of political chicanery to avoid the delicate subject of taxes and hard debates on policy and to please opposing factions at the same time and to preserve the defense contracts for private industry the congress does not budget war. It is fought off the books, with the congress voting every so often to appropriate more money. Because the actual cost is not considered, the federal government finds itself short of money and has to borrow more, thus the staggering $16 trillion national debt. You see, if we admitted the cost we would have to tax ourselves enough to pay up front, but we just charge it and pay the interest forever, and the interest mounts (we pay interest on interest) — just like a consumer credit card. It would have been more cost effective to budget the money and tax accordingly and would have forced us all to make better decisions (and that kind of also answers what happned in 2008 to consumers, doesn’t it?). 

I feel badly for those who have been killed and for those who have been injured and for their family members. If we can still make this into some kind of worthwhile endeavor that would be good, but we would have to have the proper leadership. I have not seen that either from the White House nor from the military leaders. Maybe I have watched too many movies (yes I have), but it seems to me most of the brass today are in it to get their ticket punched, get the promotion, and then retire, and they try to lead from the rear (not that I would actually expect them to be out on patrol dodging enemy bullets).

I have in the past written my congress person and U.S. senator on this subject. That is all I can do besides write these blogs (I am 63 and did my time in the Army, safe from harm’s way in Germany. Hey that’s where they sent me.)

But I wish other concerned citizens would at least do that, write their congress people and senators (and the president), that is.

Even those who claim to be gung-ho on this war or war in general have to be dismayed at the half-hearted, way too cautious approach our leaders take.

I say always avoid the use of force or war, but when it is unavoidable don’t hold back. To let a soldier die in an effort where you make the military fight with one hand tied behind its back — remember Vietnam?  — is immoral.

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CORRECTION:

Did it again with numbers: this time in my original post on this I used billion instead of the correct trillion, as in $16 trillion (plus) national debt.

 


Obama speech a stretch, but he got back at Romney’s sarcasm, with his own sardonic comment on Romney/Ryan foreign policy aptitude

September 8, 2012

Better late than never, I suppose. I’ve been busy with my real job but I wanted to comment on President Barack Obama’s acceptance speech Thursday night at the conclusion of the Democratic National Convention:

It seemed to me he had to play loose with the facts and get quite creative in listing his accomplishments, even though he admitted he was not satisfied and was simply asking for more time to get it all done.

But I think he probably fired up the base enough that they might come out and vote for him and not stay home. But both he and his Republican opponent Mitt Romney need those undecideds.

For now I will not speculate on how either one might have drawn in any undecideds.

Just some things I noticed in the Obama speech, which I heard on radio while driving down the interstate:

His cleverest moment is when I think he got back at Romney for Romney’s sarcasm about Obama promising to stop the rise of the oceans — you know when Romney made that swipe and then smirked.

Well Obama said Romney and his sidekick Paul Ryan are “new” to foreign policy, and he sardonically clipped the word new, making it sound even shorter than it is. He joked about Romney and Ryan listing Russia as the number-one enemy rather than Al Qaeda, suggesting they were stuck in the Cold War. And he noted that Romney insulted our closest ally (England) when he went to the Olympics (questioning their security).

Awhile back I accused Romney of pulling a Nixon by promising that he had a plan to do something but keeping it a secret — I forgot what it was.

But I thought Obama pulled his own Nixonian trick by proclaiming that he now has much experience — HE IS THE PRESIDENT.

If you’re old enough you’ll remember the Nixon re-election campaign ran on the re-elect the president theme, rather than even mentioning Nixon’s name or that he was a candidate — he was THE PRESIDENT.

But just as I thought Obama had to play loose with the facts to tout his own record, I saw nothing in Romney’s presentation to convince me that he had what it takes. He always touts his business experience. When was it that people decided that running a country is the same as running a private business? Their missions are not the same. For one thing, the mission of a government, at least our type, is to serve the people. The mission of a private business is much narrower, that is to serve the interests of the investors or owners. 

But it is true that our government needs more business sense to stay solvent and that winds up being quite a conundrum.

But then the problem is not so much with the president, or at least just with him. Congress passes bills that always call for spending money but never worries how all of it will be paid for. There seems to be no mechanism for that.

But they are supposedly following the wishes of their constituents, although I think congressmen give more weight to special interests with their financial resources and power to blackmail than the common man.

You can write to your congressmen or senators. But they are looking for numbers and money. I get form letters back that are generic in nature. Of course I don’t know how a congressman would possibly answer every letter personally. But if they get enough correspondence on an issue and there is a clear trend, I imagine there is some incentive to do something for the people.

Before I forget, I thought the best speech at the Democratic convention was given by that dirty old man Bill Clinton. He’s a master.

Oh, and did you notice? Toward the end of Obama’s speech he seemed to go into the mannerism and dialect of a black evangelical preacher.

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CORRECTION:

I admit my mistakes. In my last post I listed the national debt as $ 3 trillion. It is $16 trillion. During my so-called career in journalism we were warned to stay away from numbers.