24 November 2010
Sarah Palin- Republican Icon of the American
I believe that Karl Rove and his cabal do not want Ms. Palin as a political candidate. They know they really made a mistake on several levels back in 2008. The biggest mistake was to shatter the unity of the Republican Party by giving a voice to a populist, reactionary group that became the Tea Party. Despite regaining majority status in the House, the Republican Party leadership knows it will have its work cut out to control the Tea Party members. The Democrats have the same though lesser problem. Another mistake was to think that Sarah Palin was astute enough to be a national level politician. Never gonna happen, so can she still be of use?
The assignment given to Republican strategists is to reconstitute the Party as it was in the 1950s. I think the Discovery Channel program, Sarah's reality show, is an effort to turn her obvious public celebrity presence into a living symbol of basic American, middle class values. An icon of the ordinary American and American family. The question is: will she take the role?
23 November 2010
In our merchantile, globalized world of business, I fail to see how an agenda of the G20 can proceed as if international politics, U. S. foreign policy, has no place at the table. This club of presidents and prime ministers seems to feel the need to meet way too often. Ever since Greenspan and Summers came into their prominence during the 1980's and 1990's, Wall Street, Treasury and the Fed put the public spotlight on matters about international finance, national or sovereign debt, and discussions about the dollar remaining the international trade currency of reference. I think our government believes we care about the G20's agenda and how it affects America's domestic economy. The Obama Administration, like its predecessors, uses the Secretary of the Treasury as its point man. Did not the November election raise a flag that the voters are sick of government bureaucracy and decision-making about things only a tiny percentage of Americans understand? No wonder the Democrats lost so many seats. If the evening news is consumed with international trade or financial situations, and I am afraid I will be laid off soon, is it any wonder that the public feels completely left out? If Wall Street is so important, then why hasn't it created more jobs and made consumer lending easier?
I think that the Administration should step back and think real hard about what it plans to do for the next two years. I have some suggestions to offer:
1. The President should inform the Congress and the nation of the two or three domestic policy goals he plans to champion. The State of the Union speech should contain this. Also, he needs to change his style. More often, Mr. Obama seems as if he is functioning as an Arbitrator for resolving conflicts, rather than seeing himself as a leader, proponent, champion of the nation.
2. The Cabinet should have its departments reorganized to reflect modern governance. There are too many generals at the President's table, metaphorically speaking.
- First, I would transfer the Trade Office from Treasury to Commerce and State. Do governments ever separate trade issues from political issues? No. So why does the U. S. Trade Representative report to the Secretary of the Treasury rather than to the Secretary of State? Isn't Commerce about business and the economy? Then Commerce should have the functions in its portfolio. Further, Commerce should have a separate office for administration of the internet, wi-fi, and other means of electronic communications. (Or, consolidate all electronic communications, infrastructure and licensing into a new Cabinet department).
- Reassign offices and functional responsibilities of Labor and HHS to Commerce so one Secretary of Commerce can provide more balanced staffing as equal to the Secretaries of State and Treasury.
- Streamline the Department of Defense by moving duplicate offices and functions into other departments. For instance, there is no true justification for the Army to have medical research that could be done by NIH in HHS. Cut back overseas deployment of our military for non-combat duties. Use the Navy and Air Force for first response and keep combat troops on home soil until needed.
- Merge the Veterans Health Services and Tri-Care into Medicare for better coverage. The Veterans Administration can continue to operate its outpatient, specialized clinics for combat-related mental health treatment, rest and recuperate and train new veterans for re-entry into civilian society.
- Merge Medicaid into Medicare. Let the states take charge of the social services eligibility and provision.
There, Happy Thanksgiving to All!
15 November 2010
What is Wrong With This Picture?
President Obama met his July 2010 deadline for removing all combat troops from Iraq. Non-combattant military personnel remaining number slightly over 56,000 men and women. Won't this end the US occupation of Iraq?
Iraqi matters are now the responsibility of the State Department, as part of its foreign policy portfolio. By the way, WAR is an integral, unique aspect of foreign policy though in America, we charge the Department of Defense, formerly War) with conducting this violent form of foreign policy.
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, in a recent funding request to Congress, has asked for additional monies to pay for the estimated 111,000 military/security contractors who she has decided are needed to secure US diplomatic locations throughout Iraq. During her unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic Party nomination in 2008, then-Senator Clinton (D-NY) was against the military by contract that many refer to as mercenaries. The New York Times reported on August 19, 2010, the following State Department plans for its diplomatic mission to Iraq:
Around 2004-5, contractor military personnel were earning around $100,000 per deployment. Just saying that were true, and without overhead costs, the Defense Department would have been paying $11,100,000 to Haliburton subsidiary KBR and Blackrock. None of these reports contain information about facilities construction and maintenance for the State Department's objectives.To move around Iraq without United States troops, the State Department plans to acquire60 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, called MRAPs, from the Pentagon; expandits inventory of armored cars to 1,320; and create a mini-air fleet by buying three planes toadd to its lone aircraft. Its helicopter fleet, which will be piloted by contractors, will grow to29 choppers from 17. [http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/19/world/middleeast/]
Keeping The Constitution Up-to-Date
Periodic publication of an up-to-date Constitution should be the responsibility of the Library of Congress.
Neo-Con Court Activism
I understand and appreciate a prohibition of giving aid and support to an enemy of the United States. Nevertheless, the list maintained by the Department of State depends on current politics and unusually broad definitions of "material support." Does a donation to an American university's endowment constitute "material support" if the faculty or students of that university have demonstrations and stated positions decrying actions by the federal government? Would SNCC, Viet Nam Veterans Against the War, Cairo University, Bir Zeit University be illegal under this recent provision? There are valid arguments and living examples to define educational institutions as the breeding grounds of terrorists. What input would the FBI have? Will this prohibition exclude domestic organizations?
The definition of 'terrorist' or 'terrorism' is not self-evident to all persons. When is a person's action defined as 'riotous', 'hooligan', 'insurgent', 'freedom-seeking' from some perspectives defined by others as 'terrorist'? Would a donation to the Fraternal Order of Police Officers of Montgomery County [a fictional name] in 1968 fall under the actions now prohibited as providing "material support" to a terrorist organization? Oh, but the police are not terrorists? Please explain why not to the Blacks of Montgomery County in 1968.
I hope this issue returns to the Congressional agenda very soon. The SCOTUS activism should receive Congressional scrutiny and revised legislation, if that is Congress' intent.