Day: August 22, 2009

Barack Obama, The Scottish Justice Minister, And Pan Am Flight 103

I am as outraged as anyone by the Scottish Justice Minister releasing a convicted Libyan terrorist, who brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in December, 1988, killing all 259 people aboard and eleven on the ground. Even if he has terminal cancer is no reason to have released him, allowing him to go back to Libya, to a hero’s welcome, by a government which promoted terrorism and is still in power today under Colonel Quaddafi after 40 years of dictatorship.

But President Obama, unfortunately, was much too tame in his response. Deploring the development, but doing nothing else behind the scenes and in public during the period when this occurrence was being contemplated, is a tremendous mistake by the President. Contacting the Libyan government and asking that this terrorist not be greeted, as he ended up being received, was a total disaster.

I think the answer is to condemn publicly how the Libyan government has handled this situation, and the renewal of Libya on the list of terrorist nations. George W. Bush decided to remove Libya a couple of years ago because of so called “cooperation”, and supposed giving up of all nuclear material that could be used in weapons.

I always had doubt about the wisdom of Bush’s move, and I think this action by Libya requires a harsh response, even if it undermines relations with the Arab and Islamic world. If we do not take a strong stand against a mass murderer and the regime that sponsored him, then we are in deep trouble in regards to national security in the future. Such a development would tremendously undermine any possibility of serious Obama success during his Presidency.

Two Losses To Journalism: Don Hewitt And Robert Novak

This week saw the death of two major figures in journalism: producer Don Hewitt of Sixty Minutes on CBS, and Chicago Sun Times and CNN journalist Robert Novak.

Hewitt was associated with CBS for sixty years, and worked with the greats, including Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite and numerous others. His production of Sixty Minutes from its inception in 1968 until his retirement in 2004 was masterful, and Sixty Minutes is still recently rated number two in television audience, and has long had a loyal fan base, and is one of the longest lasting news shows on television.

Robert Novak had a fifty year career with the NY Herald Tribune of old and the Chicago Sun Times, and was for many years the conservative protagonist on Crossfire on CNN, and also on the Capitol Gang on that cable network. He infuriated many liberals and independent minded people with his views, including myself! 🙂 But he was always interesting and stimulating and thought provoking. He could make fun of himself and call his memoir in 2007 “The Prince of Darkness”, with tongue in cheek!

Both men added immensely to the field of journalism and will be missed. They are part of the generation of newsmen beginning in the 1950s and 1960s which educated, entertained, and informed us. It is always to be mourned when we lose such giants of news coverage!

50th Anniversary Of Hawaii Statehood!

Fifty years ago at this time in August, Hawaii became the 50th state of the Union, the only one NOT in North America, and about 3,000 miles from California and the Pacific Coast.

Hawaii has come a long way in those fifty years, and its two Democratic senators have played a major role in American politics, particularly Senator Daniel Inouye, third longest serving senator after Robert Byrd and Ted Kennedy, now finishing his 47th year of Senate service and still going strong, unlike Byrd and Kennedy, who are both ill.

Hawaii is, of course, very important in our defense structure, and is a true example of a multiracial society that has worked. If has the reputation of having the best weather anywhere in America, including San Diego! 🙂

It would be very nice if only we could educate ALL Americans to realize that Hawaii IS a state for the past 50 years, and that, therefore, Barack Obama WAS born in that state when it was barely two years old. In fact, even if Hawaii was not yet a state when Obama was born, the fact that it was a territory since 1898 qualified Obama to be able to run for President.

So let’s celebrate Hawaii’s 50 years, and may the so called “Birthers” cease and desist their ridiculous, insane, moronic, and demagogic accusations that our President is an illegal immigrant!

Hillary Clinton And Women’s Rights

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has long been an advocate of women’s rights, from her days as a college student, law student, top notch lawyer, wife of the Arkansas governor, First Lady of the nation, and US Senator. She is not about to stop now, in her position leading American diplomacy around the world.

She went to eastern Congo to condemn mass rape and has made it clear she will speak up actively for the equality of rights, and fair treatment of women all over the world.

While the conditions of women in the United States have dramatically improved over recent decades, women in third world countries still face horrific treatment from husbands and family members, and an inequitable justice system.

While Hillary Clinton speaking out may not bring about everything she and we would desire, she has enunciated the view that exposure of wrongs, and advocacy of rapid change, will force a lot of reform in many nations. She is taking the high moral stand, and we should all applaud her for her courage and outspokenness.

It adds another dimension to the need for morality in American foreign policy, and we can only hope for its progress in many foreign lands!

Howard Dean, Public Option Health Care Advocacy, And President Barack Obama

Former Governor Howard Dean of Vermont, at one point leading for the 2004 Presidential nomination until his sudden collapse in the race, and more recently Democratic National Chairman, responsible to a great extent for promoting a “50 state strategy”, which led to the Democratic gains in 2006 and 2008, has become a major advocate and critic on the health care reform issue.

A supporter of the public option, Dean has become one of the leaders of the so called “liberal” wing of the Democrats, calling upon President Obama to back the public option affirmatively, rather than tentatively, as Obama has done in the past ten days.

Some see Dean’s activism as resentment because he was passed by for the position of Health and Human Services Secretary, which he was certainly qualified for as a Medical Doctor. Had he been in that role, rather than former Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, who while an effective Governor is seen by many as a too moderate choice for her cabinet post, it is possible that the whole course of the health care debate might have been different.

It is time for Barack Obama to clarify his position on health care, and to utilize the campaign techniques he successfully used to win the Presidency, to turn the tide on this most crucial issue of his administration. The key amount of time for this transformation is the next two months.

If Obama fails in gaining most of what the administration seeks on health care, then he may be judged a failure in his first term. That cannot be allowed to happen. A fighting President, similar to Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Lyndon Johnson is now the requirement demanded of Barack Obama!

Governor David Paterson And Andrew Cuomo’s Future

It is highly unfortunate that David Paterson, the Governor of New York by succession after the sudden resignation of Governor Eliot Spitzer due to a sex scandal, has tried to make his low popularity rating connected to the fact that he is African American.

This is a sign of his desperation as polls have indicated that he has an extremely low rating for his performance and his plans to run for reelection in 2010.

His attempt to appoint a Lieutenant Governor, Richard Ravitch, to be in line of succession, went against the NY State Constitution, and after just 43 days, a state court has ruled that the appointment was illegal under state law. It only adds to the sense of futility that this Governor can do anything correct or successful.

Every indication is that Paterson could not defeat a Republican opponent for Governor, were he to run for a full term. The hint is that former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani would be likely to run if Paterson is the nominee, and that Guiliani would defeat him easily. Even if former Congressman Rick Lazio (who lost the Senate race to Hillary Clinton in 2000) were his opponent, the indications are that Lazio would easily defeat Paterson.

Under the circumstances, the best result would be Paterson’s decision to decline to run for a full term, and there are hints that he is considering doing just that.

If Paterson does not voluntarily back down, it seems highly likely that he will lose the nomination for Governor to Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, son of the former Governor Mario Cuomo. The Attorney General has established an outstanding record in his office, pursuing corporate corruption on Wall Street and showing evidence of his commitment to basic reform in many areas of public policy.

Cuomo has a background of having been Housing and Urban Development Secretary under President Clinton. Every poll makes it clear that he would win a landslide victory in a Democratic primary against Paterson, and would easily defeat either Guiliani or Lazio for the Governorship.

With him on the ticket, along with Senator Charles Schumer, it would also guarantee a victory for appointed Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who was a controversial appointee by Paterson to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate. Despite a lot of opposition to her appointment, and the likelihood earlier of one or more members of the NY Congressional delegation challenging her in a primary, her switch from being a more conservative Democrat for her upstate district to adoption of more liberal positions on many issues has led to her being lucky enough to avoid a primary. But if Paterson was on the ticket as Governor, he would probably bring her down with him, so Cuomo guarantees a straight Democratic ticket at the top of the ballot, and the likelihood of legislative gains by the Democrats, who desperately need to gain a clear majority in the State Senate, which was subjected earlier this summer to total gridlock and deadlock for a month, presenting an image of total chaos and anarchy, and making NY state government appear to be one of the most dysfunctional in the country, no easy feat! LOL

To top it off, it can be expected that IF Andrew Cuomo is elected Governor of New York, we could easily put him on the long range list for possible nomination for President in 2016. By that date, he would be 59 years of age with a record of serving a President, and being Attorney General and Governor of the third largest state.

It is about time that New York recovered from what has been a disaster under Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson, and that Andrew Cuomo be nominated and elected Governor, and restores the image and reputation that his father had as Governor from his election in 1982 to his retirement in 1994.