Nuking Iran…or Not

On April 22, 2008, the day of the Pennsylvania primary, Hillary Clinton appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America”. Among other issues, she was asked about previous comments she had during the previous political debate with Barack Obama regarding “massive retaliation” against Iran should Iran attack Israel. You can watch the ABC Good Morning America interview HERE. When you listen to it, note that she specifically narrows the response to the scenario of Israel being attacked by Iran with nuclear weapons.

For those whom prefer to simply read the response, here it is:

QUESTION: …Does massive retaliation mean you would go into Iran, you would bomb Iran? Is that what that’s supposed to suggest?

CLINTON: Well, the question was, if Iran were to launch a nuclear attack on Israel, what would our response be. And I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran. And I want them to understand that, because it does mean that they have to look very carefully at their society, because at whatever stage of development they might be in their nuclear weapons program, in the next 10 years during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel we would be able to totally obliterate them. That’s a terrible thing to say, but those people who run Iran need to understand that, because that perhaps will deter them from doing something that would be reckless, foolish and tragic.

You can read it for yourself HERE.

A loyal reader of “We the PEOPLE!! send a link to an editorial in the Boston Globe dated April 27, 2008, which you can read HERE. The editorialist stated:

“AMERICANS have learned to take with a grain of salt much of the rhetoric in a campaign like the current Democratic donnybrook between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Still, there are some red lines that should never be crossed. Clinton did so Tuesday morning, the day of the Pennsylvania primary, when she told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that, if she were president, she would “totally obliterate” Iran if Iran attacked Israel.”

Now, that’s not the same thing, is it?

 

There is no question that some folks would attempt to make the most of any effort to twist facts against someone they do not support. Witness the mountain being made out of the molehill that is Reverend Jeremiah Wright vis a vis Barack Obama. Obama has repudiated the pastor’s comments in clear and unambiguous terms, and yet there are those that are still trying to spin the issue as reason to condemn Obama and hurl him to the Sodomites. It’s just plain wrong, but unfortunately it is also effective with those voters that don’t do their homework or view the larger pictures when these issues come up.

 

With that backdrop, go back to Hillary Clinton and her statement on Good Morning America regarding Iran.

 

 

What else would We, the PEOPLE!! have the president of the Untied States tell Iran regarding an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel, which, by the way, is the USA’s only true and reliable ally in the middle east? That we would just stand by and propose sanctions against Iran should such an attack occur? That we would embargo Iran as we have Cuba for over 50 years? Or would we get some mileage out of letting Iran know, in no uncertain terms, that its use of nuclear weapons in an attack against another country would result in the absolute gravest of consequences for itself, i.e. it’s obliteration under a counter nuclear response from the country being attacked?

 

After all, this is the exact philosophy that guided both America and the Soviet Union every day from the 1950’s to the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989. It was called Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), and as ugly as it was, it accomplished its clearly stated goal of ensuring that just because both countries had nuclear capability to destroy each other, that didn’t mean that either had to, or that either would benefit from a preemptive nuclear strike against the other. It worked, and our continued existence on earth is the ultimate proof of that.

 

It is also understandable that Clinton would send a clear, well-worded message to the lunatic leadership in Iran to let them know that just because she is a woman, doesn’t mean they can push her around the way they push their own women around.

 

 

It is a bit bothersome is that a reputable and world-respected newspaper like the Boston Globe would print an editorial which used incomplete facts and out-of-context comments as the basis for its argument. This editorial did not seem to be up to its usually high-quality standards.

 

 

But in the real global perspective of human events, it matters little. In the insane event that Iran chose to ignore every shred of logic and common sense in the universe and launch a nuclear attack on Israel, the Israelis themselves would response with a massive retaliatory nuclear counter-strike against Iran. The Persian country would cease to exist in any recognizable form, while the US was still dusting off its launch code documents.

 

 

After all, Israel has possessed nuclear weapons for over thirty years.

 

One wonders why the Boston Globe neglected to include that little fact.

The Battle of Gettysburg: A Second Turning Point?

In 1863, during the second year of the American Civil War, the confederacy was thought by the most informed people of the time to be winning the conflict. General Lee’s rebel army had won most of the battles up to that point. They had penetrated far north of their own territory and the confederate army was poised at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania early on July 1st of that year to defeat the union army and thus effectively win the war.

After three days of the bloodiest fighting of the American Civil War, the underdog United States union army was victorious, and the losses suffered by Lee and his army changed the course of the war. You can read more about this famous battle and historical turning point HERE and HERE.

One hundred and forty-five years later, another Pennsylvania battle with a surprising result may have again changed the direction of history that many thought was already practically written. However, this time it was fought not with firearms, but with votes. It was more familiarly called the Pennsylvania Democratic Primary.

In true underdog fashion, Hillary Clinton pulled out a remarkable victory against the presumed (by many) future nominee of the Democratic Party, Barack Obama, by beating him 55% to 45%, or ten full percentage points.

While it is still too early to definitively know the ultimate winner of this presidential nomination race, it is interesting that the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg and the 2008 battle of “Gettysburg and everywhere else in Pennsylvania” shared some significant parallels. Some of these parallels, in fact, point to some basic factors in play in this election cycle which many people have avoided admitting to, or have even emphatically claimed do not exist.

One of those parallel factors is race. In 1863 the confederacy was fighting the northern states known as the union for, among other reasons, the so-called “right” to maintain slavery in the states that practiced such a heinous thing, and to ensure that new states entering the union would be allowed to practice slavery if they wished. These slaves, of course, had originated in Africa centuries before, having been brutally and inhumanly kidnapped from their homes and families by unprincipled, greed-motivated white slavers.

Many have been downplaying race during this primary season. But beginning in South Carolina earlier this year, Obama has been picking up an inordinate percentage of the African-American votes in contest after contest. In the ghost of Gettysburg known as the Pennsylvania primary, fully 92% of the African-American vote went to Obama, who is himself half-Black.

Obviously, African Americans understandably see a vindicator in Obama for the centuries of abuse they and their ancestors have suffered. But what this huge Black vote also indicates is that many, if not most of them are only looking at Obama’s skin color, and not necessarily at his credentials.

Conversely, Hillary Clinton picked up an inordinate percentage of the Catholic vote, the white vote, the senior citizen vote and the women’s votes, for perhaps no other reason than Obama’s association with a certain Protestant minister, and as a backlash to the high percentage of African-Americans who support Obama.

But back to the parallels…

The 1863 Battle of Gettysburg was the turning point for the union known as the Untied States. The tide finally turned for the north with that battle. In similar fashion, one has to wonder if the tide has turned for Clinton in the race for the democratic nomination for president against Obama. Though it is very early in that turning point of history, if it even is a turning point, Clinton raised $10 million in the twenty-four hours since her significant win last night in and around Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. That certainly is an auspicious beginning to this turn, if it even is a turn of events.

Less than two weeks from now, these two candidates will meet again in battle in the North Carolina and Indiana primaries. While Indiana is presently competitive, the North Carolina primary, with its large African-American population, appears be shaping up as another big win for Obama, in a seemingly African-American effort to elect one of their own people, regardless of any other consideration. That fact alone does not bode well for Clinton, who is almost certain to lose North Carolina by at least the same margin that she won the Pennsylvania primary.

But then, even as the remains of General Lee’s defeated army was limping its way back to Virginia after the pasting they took, and the union army was celebrating their victory in that bloody battle at Gettysburg, many folks still thought the South would ultimately win the Civil War.

Funny how history has a way of laughing at humanity when we least expect it.

 

 

McSame? McBush? Or Does It matter?

As most of you already know, the twenty-second amendment to the US Constitution prohibits a president from running for a third term of office. You can read the amendment HERE.

Many folks believe that electing John McCain, the presumptive republican candidate for president of the US, would be akin to a third Bush term. While it is fair to believe that McCain is an honorable man, he gave a speech yesterday (April 15th, 2008) at Carnegie Mellon University that truly raises the question about whether the republicans have learned anything from the failures of the last seven and a half years of the Bush Administration.

It is no secret that “We, the PEOPLE!!” favors a universal health care system. Adequately funded and correctly implemented, such a system would enhance longevity while reducing costs through wellness programs and the elimination of “middle-man” private profit-motivated insurance companies who tell patients which prescription drugs they can take, and which they can’t.

A few years ago, America took a very cautious step forward in passing legislation known as “Medicare Part ‘D’”. This plan, although inadequate, at least was a starting point for senior citizens to begin being able to buy affordable prescription drugs through private insurance companies.

The “Medicare Part ‘D”” plan is horribly flawed, in that private for-profit insurance companies are administering the program, with subsidies from the US government, which by law is NOT PERMITTED to negotiate for the lowest possible drug prices with the pharmaceutical companies.

Interestingly, the Canadian government IS permitted to do so. This explains all of the offers anyone with email receives every day for Canadian-government-negotiated cheap drugs from Canada. And by the way, these drugs, for the most part, are imported into Canada from the American pharmaceutical industry. But that’s another story.

Enter McCain, who has proposed to limit and restrict Medicare Part D to only the poorest Americans. You can watch this HERE. The problem, of course, is that he doesn’t define who the poorest Americans are, or where the personal income line would be drawn. But if history is any teacher, it would probably be similar to the line drawn for folks who either qualify or not qualify for Medicaid, the government’s health care system which is only available in the US for the very poorest senior citizens.

If Medicare Part D matches the Medicaid income requirements, then only the poorest Senior citizens will qualify for it, effectively forcing millions of other seniors to pay full price to the pharmaceutical companies for their necessary medications. In other words, a further move AWAY from universal health care, which the Bush administration believes is the devil incarnate.

After all, Bush vetoed bills TWICE that would have continued the SCHIP program (State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which you can read about HERE), claiming that it would move health care in the US in the wrong direction, namely, toward universal health care and away from privately funded, profit-motivated, expensive private health care insurance, administered by the companies who profit from dictating your health care needs to you.

But back to the original subject: Medicare Part D. John McCain (McSame?) wants to roll back some of its eligibility, making sure that the pharmaceutical companies can sell their drugs to uncovered senior citizens at US (vs. Canada) retail price, enhancing their profits. Effectively, this moves away from universal health care, continuing a tenet of the Bush Syndicate. When one couples this with McCain’s (McBush’s?) embracing of making all of the Bush tax cuts permanent (when he originally opposed these cuts), one is left with the conclusion that McCain, by any name, represents more of the same: Bush’s policies.

If you are one of the 28% of Americans who still approves of the Bush presidency and its policies, then you have reason to be encouraged and cheered if McCain wins the presidency.

But if you’re one of the 65% to 70% of Americans who believe the Bush Administration has been nothing short of a disaster…then you have reason to be EXTREMELY concerned with a possible McCain victory in November.

And therefore, you have reason to support the democratic candidate of your choice, starting right now, and ultimately the democratic nominee for president.

To do any less could cost you dearly when you need help the most.

Think about that.

The GW Bush Legacy – Part One

With only a little more than nine months left in his eight-year presidency, the time is ripe to begin organizing the events, accomplishments, successes and failures of the administration of the current president of the USA.  

After all, we have all lived through these past eight years and for better or worse, the events are history in the making. 

Legacies are best written and judged by people with an affinity for and knowledge base of history.  Legacies are meaningless unless they provide a frame of reference.  In the case of Bush, that frame of reference is the legacy of the other forty-one presidents whom have served the United States.  And who better to be able to compare all forty-two presidents than professional historians, such a professors and teachers of history?

The History News Network (HNN) recently commissioned a study of professional historians regarding the legacy and ranking of the GW Bush administration in comparison to the other forty-one presidents.  The article with the summary of the study can be found HERE. 

In a survey of one hundred nine professional historians, fully 61% of them rated Bush as the worst US president in history.  Some of the historians’ comments were what you might expect if you’ve been following the performance of the Bush presidency.

Another 35% ranked Bush within the ten worst presidents out of the 42 whom have served.  Some of those put him at number 41, just above James Buchanan.

One historian wrote, “No individual president can compare to the second Bush. Glib, contemptuous, ignorant, incurious, a dupe of anyone who humors his deluded belief in his heroic self, he has bankrupted the country with his disastrous war and his tax breaks for the rich, trampled on the Bill of Rights, appointed foxes in every henhouse, compounded the terrorist threat, turned a blind eye to torture and corruption and a looming ecological disaster, and squandered the rest of the world’s goodwill.  In short, no other president’s faults have had so deleterious an effect on not only the country but the world at large.”

Another wrote, “With his unprovoked and disastrous war of aggression in Iraq and his monstrous deficits, Bush has set this country on a course that will take decades to correct.  When future historians look back to identify the moment at which the United States began to lose its position of world leadership, they will point—rightly—to the Bush presidency.  Thanks to his policies, it is now easy to see America losing out to its competitors in any number of area: China is rapidly becoming the manufacturing powerhouse of the next century, India the high tech and services leader, and Europe the region with the best quality of life.”

A third wrote that “the paranoia of Nixon, the ethics of Harding and the good sense of Herbert Hoover” are what will make this presidency the lowest in history, akin to the bottomless pit of performance.

One has to believe that Bush is aware of all of this, since he does have the most expensive advisors that tax money can buy.  But ol’ GWB is a stubborn, arrogant man.  He thinks that history is on his side.  Nonetheless, as yet another historian noted, “Bush’s “denial of any personal responsibility can only be described as silly.”

After all, this is a man who, when questioned by the press about his legacy just two short months ago, replied, “As far as history goes and all of these quotes about people trying to guess what the history of the Bush administration is going to be, you know, I take great comfort in knowing that they don’t know what they are talking about, because history takes a long time for us to reach.” You can read the entire transcript HERE: George W. Bush, Fox News Sunday, Feb 10, 2008.

For the rest of the country, and the rest of the world for that matter, it seems more people will believe what yet two other historians noted:

“George Bush has combined mediocrity with malevolent policies and has thus seriously damaged the welfare and standing of the United States,” wrote one, and

“Bush does only two things well. He knows how to make the very rich very much richer, and he has an amazing talent for f**king up everything else he even approaches.  His administration has been the most reckless, dangerous, irresponsible, mendacious, arrogant, self-righteous, incompetent, and deeply corrupt one in all of American history.” 

And you thought Nixon was bad!

There is a bright side to all of this, though:  whichever candidate wins the White House in November can’t help but absolutely sparkle brilliantly in comparison to his or her predecessor.

 

 

Bush & Big Oil: A Match Made In The Oval (Board) Room

According to today’s CNN (4-2-08), the average price of regular gas in the USA is US$3.29 a gallon, up 60 cents from US$2.69 a gallon a year ago.  When you factor in the recession-like state of the US economy, it makes for miserable times for a lot of Americans, many of whom struggled this past winter just to heat their homes.

While many folks can tell that the price of oil products is outrageous, few actually know what the breakdown is of each dollar they spend for gasoline.  Again according to the news article referred to above , that breakdown is:

Gas station:  7-10 cents;
Transportation:  26 cents;
Taxes:  22 cents;
Refinery:  24 cents;
Cost of crude oil itself:  $2.00-plus!

The one big variable in the above scenario is the price of crude oil.  As the price goes up, so, too, go our costs and the oil companies’ profits.

Crude oil is what is pumped out of the ground by the oil companies.  Exxon-Mobil is presently the largest of those companies.  Last quarter, Exxon-Mobile posted a net profit (after expenses and taxes) of US$11,660,000,000!  That’s 11.66 BILLION dollars!  In three short months!  Put another way, that’s over $97 million a day.  Over $4 million a minute.  Over $67,400 a second!  Profit.

And keep in mind, that’s just one multinational oil company.  There are many others making tons of your money as well.

So it baffles the mind of any reasonable person to contemplate why these oil companies are still receiving monetary subsidies from the American taxpayer to the tune of $18 billion a year.  In fairness, these subsidies were put into place in the early 90’s to encourage oil exploration when the price of a gallon of regular gas was 99 cents a gallon, and the oil companies were operating under a glut of oil on the market.

But at this juncture, this is like giving Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, two of the world’s richest people, food stamps!  One would think that every politician in Washington would want to be a hero by repealing such an unfair waste of taxpayer money.

That’s exactly what the US House of Representatives has voted to do, not once, but twice.  In fact, they want to redirect that money into research and development of clean and renewable energy.  You can read about it here.

Although the bill has passed the house, the senate has yet to act on it.  Part of the reason for that is that GW Bush has stated that he will veto it.  The senate doesn’t want to waste time on a bill they cannot get past Bush’s veto, and the republicans in the senate will not break ranks with Bush in sufficient numbers to override a Bush veto.

Bush does not want to take this unfair corporate welfare away from his oil company buddies, nor does he want to give anyone proposing to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, pumped by these oil companies, a fair shot.  After all, these oil companies need that extra $18 bullion to help defray the cost of doing business while they are racking up enormous profits for their stockholders.  And they’ll be damned if they’ll let a little thing like economic crisis at the citizen level in the US divert them from their daily billion dollar profits!

What is most disturbing is that Bush was elected to represent the people of the USA, not the oil companies of the world.  But represent oil companies is exactly what he is doing.  To rob the American taxpayers of money to give to the oil companies to augment their utterly unimaginable profits, while turning a blind eye to the millions of American citizens who are struggling daily in the present economic meltdown is not representative government;  it’s unconscionable!!

So next time you fill your gas tank and it costs you $60, $70, $80…remember that almost two thirds of that money is going directly to Exxon-Mobile and its cohorts…and so is that tax money that you pay at the pump and elsewhere.  And, think about how Bush is insuring that the tax money just keeps flowing.

After all, we wouldn’t want to the oil companies to suffer in any way…would we?