Day: August 25, 2009

Barack Obama And Israel

President Obama has been pressuring Israel to stop the development of West Bank settlements as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians, and is trying to get Arab willingness to accept Israel as its neighbor.

The fact is that the Arabs have been implacable rivals since the inception of the Jewish state in 1948, and there is no guarantee that any settlement requiring the giving up of Israeli settlements and the creation of a Palestinian state will bring peace and guarantee the territorial security and integrity of Israel.

Obama is trying to open up to the Arab and Islamic world, but there is no way that we are going to be able to do that in a form that protects our one democratic ally in the Middle East–Israel.

Therefore, Obama is creating problems for Israel’s survival, and playing with fire in his belief that we can trust any Arab nation in its future intentions toward our friend and ally.

I look at it this way: How would we feel if other nations in Europe were trying to pressure us to give up our territory won in war? How would we react if we were told we had to sacrifice our national security in order to appease the desire of our neighbor, Mexico, to seize land we won many years ago?

When we are ready to give back to Mexico land we won in the Mexican War of the 1840s (California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas), then we have the right to tell Israel what to do. Since we are not about to do that, President Obama needs to cease and desist in his pressure on our loyal friend and democratic ally, Israel!

Rudy Guiliani As Candidate For NY Governor?

The word is out that former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani, who had a total collapse of his Presidential campaign in 2008, is mulling the idea of running for Governor of New York.

Guiliani has been out of office for eight years now, and has become very prosperous in two different capitalist ventures, and it is hard to imagine his willingness to give that all up to run for the thankless job of becoming governor of the third largest state, one of the more dysfunctional state governments of late.

While it is true that if Governor David Paterson runs for reelection, Guiliani would have an excellent chance to win the office, it is much more likely that Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, with a very high visibility and extremely high public opinion rating for going after Wall Street, is likely to run and would easily swamp Paterson, and would make mince meat on Guiliani.

The question that arises is what would Guiliani run on? To campaign on 9/11 as he tried unsuccessfully to do in his 2008 Presidential campaign would not work, but what else is new regarding Rudy Guiliani?

And the hint is that he might still be interested in the Presidency for 2012–that he did not get the message that the GOP is not attracted to him as an Eastern Republican. But would New York wish to elect a man who would have one eye on the Presidency immediately after being elected the executive leader of his state?

The best scenario is that Andrew Cuomo is the Democratic nominee and Rudy Guiliani goes about making money and continuing to talk about 9/11! 🙂

“Reconciliation” And The Senate Finance Committee

A group of six members of the Senate Finance Committee, often called “The Gang of Six”, is trying to draw up a bill on health care that will be acceptable to the whole committee and to the Senate, when it returns in mid September.

The three Democrats in the group are Max Baucus of Montana (the chair of the committee), Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, and Kent Conrad of North Dakota.

The surprising news coming out is that Baucus and Bingaman are now willing to consider “reconciliation”, to support the passage of a “public option” by a 51 vote majority of the Senate, overcoming the danger of a filibuster.

So far, Kent Conrad has been reluctant to go that far, and has promoted non profit coops as an alternative, but it is seen as possible he might come over to the view of his two Democratic colleagues.

Were that to happen, it would be a major step forward toward adoption of a public option, even if not one GOP member in either house backs it.

While this is not the preferred way to get health care legislation through Congress, the refusal of Republicans to show any support for reform is forcing this possible direction on the debate.

The Record On Presidents And Torture

Dick Cheney has condemned President Obama as unwilling to defend the nation from terrorists. He is furious that the Justice Department is proceeding on investigating “enhanced interrogation techniques”, better known as torture, by CIA operatives.

Dick Cheney and George W. Bush and their colleagues try to justify torture as if it is part of our history, which it is not.

Torture is against international law, but more important even than that is that no President of the United States ever endorsed torture, even in crisis times–including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Neither did President Eisenhower, when he was leader of the Allied invasion of Europe in World War II.

As John McCain has stated, torture is not a good method to gain any information, as one will say whatever you want to avoid or end the torture. It also promotes, as justifiable, the utilization of torture by the enemy, and while it is true that the other side might do that, do we really want to get down into the muck with them and lower the American standard of morality and idealism that has made us a shining example over the centuries to many people around the world?

History and principle require us to reject torture as a tool of national policy, and for a full accounting of the responsibility of our past leaders for what has happened in our names!

Reappointment Of Ben Bernanke As Federal Reserve Board Chairman

President Obama’s reappointment of Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke for another four year term is a good move at this time of slow economic recovery.

An acknowledged expert on the causes of the Great Depression, Bernanke demonstrated a steady hand in the financial crisis of a year ago, and it is wise at a delicate time like this that he be reappointed to run the banking system of the nation. It is very likely that had he not been in charge last year, that we would now be in a greater economic crisis than the Great Depression, and would not be calling what we are going through the Great Recession.

Of course, for those who want to believe that the Federal Reserve Board is a conspiracy, this is a bad development, but we are not going to base our future on conspiracy theories, now are we? 🙂

John McCain, Health Care, And “Reconciliation”

Arizona Senator John McCain has come out against any “public option” in the health care debate, and has condemned any thought of using “reconciliation”, the concept of having the Senate pass legislation with a simple majority of 51 senators.

This would bring about a drastic change of method in how the Senate operates, McCain declared.

Hmmm, this is very interesting. It is enough to pass a bill with a majority of members of the House of Representatives, but doing the same in the Senate is unfair, heh?

Seems to me MANY many times throughout the history of the Republic, we have had legislation pass by a bare majority of the Senate, and sometimes only passing after a 50-50 tie with the Vice President breaking the deadlock.

Apparently, it is more democratic, (not the party, but the idea), to require a 60 vote majority, which is three fifths of the Senate. This is what we call the filibuster, a tactic which has been used many times in history to BLOCK something the majority wanted, usually something that benefits the country at large, but can be prevented by a determined, obstructive minority.

So this is more fair, Senator McCain? I say, NO, it is UNDEMOCRATIC!