December 2006 Archives

Ford: Healer or Corrupter?

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President Gerald Ford is being remembered today after passing away last night. Much is being said regarding his legacy of healing the nation during a time of great turmoil, inheriting the loss of the Viet Nam War, wrestling with an impeached President Nixon, and riots and demonstrations in America's streets. His legacy is laudable on many fronts. His ill-considered pardon however, damaged America and continues to do so.

Gerald Ford chose Alan Greenspan to fight inflation. Ford was instrumental in making inflation job one for the Federal Reserve. Pres. Ford had the wisdom to refuse the Fed Chairman's appointment every 4 years with each new president; thus removing in part, the political partisanship that would have damaged economic monetary policy far more than it occasionally does. Pres. Ford took the responsibility for removing our troops from the roof tops of Viet Nam and closing down that civil war without end, as long as we remained.

It is no longer publicly acceptable to be racist. Just ask Senator Allen who lost his election bid for a racist remark. As racism recedes from public acts, another deeply entrenched discrimination of very long standing is rising to the fore for attack, belittlement, and reform. Classism, or discrimination based on economic class, is becoming the new politically incorrect behavior to overcome.

From medical care, to education, to housing, to job opportunities, those of the wealthy class get better treatment and favor than others of less affluence. Harvard, one of the costliest universities, has tuition assistance for the non-wealthy. But, the average income of families receiving tuition assistance for Harvard is over $100,000 per year.

Of Peace and Bounty

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This holiday season most Americans are fortunate. Though a few hundred thousand of our soldiers and their families will experience some anxiety and separation this holiday season, mixed with their love and warm thoughts of loved ones, the vast majority of Americans enjoy peace and civil calm here at home. We should give thanks.

Though a few hundred thousand in America may die for lack of shelter, or go hungry for lack of food, or lack awareness of it even being a holiday season for lack of psychiatric care, the vast majority of Americans are bountiful in creature comforts and wealthier than most in the world today. We should give thanks.

We were told the 2006 Defense spending part of the budget would be $453 billion, advertised in the bill, H.R. 2863. What did our President and Congress actually spend? Try 200 billion more than the figure above. How about the upcoming Defense appropriations bill for 2007 (beginning July 2007 fiscal year)? Adding the reported numbers up, it comes to between 566.9 and 586.9 billion. This doesn't include unanticipated emergency supplementals.

Are we engaged in a vicious cycle of self-fulfilling prophecy here? Is it possible, that the more we spend in preparation to engage the rest of the world militarily, the more conflicts we must engage in, and the more we must increase our military spending to do so, ad infinitum?

In parting remarks, exiting Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld warned of weakness being provocative. What he was saying is that perception of weakness invites war. Regretfully, that ideology was grossly misapplied in this new age of terrorist enemies.

Rumsfeld's argument is that it is not enough to sit atop the world's largest nuclear arsenal or the most advanced military capacity the world has ever witnessed. His argument implies one must use it to prove one is not weak. But, I would argue that Rumsfeld is wrong. As a Lt. Cmdr. in the movie Crimson Tide says, "You don't put on a condom if you aren't going to screw". In other words, contrary to Rumsfeld's argument, having invested in the largest, most capable military on the face of the earth, is in fact, sufficient evidence to all reasonable persons, that one is willing to use it if attacked.

Roy Beck, President of NumbersUSA, boasted victory late in the night proclaiming his organization and other Americans beat back all attempts by Republicans and some Democrats to increase immigration in this country for highly sought after, but, very expensive education, type jobs.

Beck reports that Sen. Kay Baily Hutchison's (R) last ditch attempt to import 100,000 immigrant nurses next year failed. Sen. Cornyn's (R), also of Texas, attempt to increase immigration of programmers and engineers also failed. Friday's Viet Nam Free Trade agreement finally, was absent free visas for Vietnamese; as Beck says:

If we're right, this represents quite a milestone: A free trade agreement that deals with movement of goods without forcing the movement of foreign workers into U.S. job occupations.

Iraq: More Quagmire

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The Congressionally commissioned Iraq study group headed by Baker (R) and Hamilton (D), produced nothing new. They confirm that Iraq is out of control; we have insufficient resources to get it under control on our own; and given that our presence is exacerbating the widening war in Iraq in some ways, they advise we should look to withdraw most of our forces by 2008.

Here is the quagmire in a nutshell. The best outcome America can hope for now, and the vital goals the President cannot, and will not, yield on are; preventing the Iraqi Government from dissolving, and preventing Iraqi oil revenues from being funneled or, otherwise falling, into terrorist group hands. These are interdependent goals. If either fails, the other follows.


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This page is an archive of entries from December 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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