Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The trap that Democratic Presidents get drawn into

It is a historic trajedy that Democratic Presidents often get drawn into conflicts or convinced that they must further prosecute wars rather than rising to the call to be peacemakers! That is the condundrum that the Obama Administration seems to find themselves in when it comes to Afghanistan. They say they are taking a comprehensive and thorough review of what we are engaged in, yet immediately declare that withdrawal is not an option. That is a disengenious act and belies that the review is anything but complete and thorough! Is it the timidity, you can insert gutless, that conventional wisdom says we Democrats have to saber rattle, expand a futile war, and prove we are strong on Defense and Security?

Kennedy followed through on the Eisenhower/CIA plan for the Bay of Pigs, Johnson escalated the war in Vietnam to the end of his presidency, now Obama seems on the edge of a pathway bound to lead him into the quicksand of Afghanistan.

What would I suggest. Three things that are common sense. End all preferred no bid contracts to the FOC [Friends of Cheney] that are still being paid to the tune of Billions being poured down a rat hole! These bids should be offered worldwide as nations are more likely to send troops where they also have an economic interest. Solicit military support from Islamic countries such as Indonesia, and others. If tomorrow so to speak the troops assisting in stabilizing a country bowed to Mecca five times a day; an entire layer of christian/islamic conflict would be diminished. This would improve Iraq, and possibly Afghanistan. Lastly admit that this quicksand that helped topple the former USSR, was a thorn in the side of the British Raj, and is historically a no win area of the world, is not a place to kill young men and women, either American or Afghani!

Counter insurgency didn't work in Belfast where you had streets and a partially sympathetic population; and it definitely won't work where you have isolated canyons, mountains, and valleys and a non supportive population. They may fit on a timeline as primitive in their lifestyle and technology. But they sure can use RPG's, Stingers, and the all too effective AK-47's with deadly accuracy. The President of Afghanistan, who is really no more than the Mayor of Kabul, is a weak and ineffective ally with a percieved record of corruption and a possibly stolen election!

The time to get out is now and it can be orderly but not escalated. When President Clinton was involved with Kosovo, Serbia and Croatia the military actions were studied, deliberative and they ended. Of course he had General Wesley Clark, which may be another missing factor.
At the end of the Day, Obama must end this folly in Afghanistan before we prepare ourselves to welcome a new President in 2012!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Quick Note Re: Obama Speech...

As most of y'all know by now, last night President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress regarding health care reform. Personally, I thought it was an excellent speech. I didn't agree with everything in it -- mainly the requirement to carry health insurance. I understand the sentiment, but requirements such as this usually bring fines and the fines I've heard discussed seem pretty hefty and outside the budget of the average American. Also, my friend Eric brings up an excellent point regarding Obama comparing health care insurance to auto insurance. And while I'm more for single-payer or universal health care, making sure there is at least a government-run public option for those who cannot afford private insurance or whose jobs do not (or cannot) provide it is a step in the right direction. I just hope that it's only a first step and not a plateau. I also hope the passed bill takes into account those who are under-insured due to hefty deductibles. Any bill without at least a public option is laughable (co-ops would be a total joke, as would placing a trigger).

However, I do have a major concern: that Obama will not be able to get Congress to do the work it needs to do in order for the bill to be passed. I've never thought it would ever be a truly bi-partisan bill - the Republican Party in its current form is too busy flying off the crazy cliff. But even with a Democratic majority in the House and Senate, there are conservative Democrats who seem determined to tag along with the GOP in their mid-air flight. That could very well sink the bill.

Plus I'm still leery after Obama's refusal to at least place a moratorium on Don't Ask Don't Tell until a full repeal can be implemented. I understand that health care is near and dear to the president's heart whereas ensuring equal rights for all American soldiers doesn't seem to be. I also understand that equal access to quality health care affects far many more people than ensuring that qualified members of the military continue to serve their country. I just feel that there has been a precedent in the Obama's presidency that makes me leery. Because of this, I still have reservations.

I hope that my reservations are unfounded.

P.S. Re: the Joe Wilson kerfluffle - those who say the Democrats did it first may be referring to the moans which Democratic lawmakers uttered during Bush's 2005 State of the Union address in which he spoke about Social Security. Moaning and muttering "No" is not the same as calling Obama a liar when he is, in fact, telling the truth.

(Crossposted from just an ordinary goddess...)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

the roar of the lion...

...has been silenced.

Last night, Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy died at the age of 77, after a year long battle with brain cancer.

I found out when my boyfriend called me last night just as I was starting to drift into sleep. I fired up Twitter on my cell phone to see what others had tweeted and found only one news report, then realized it was much later Points East of Los Angeles. This morning I listened to President Obama's words on Kennedy as I readied myself for work.

There will be much written about him today. No matter how much is written, it could never do justice to the Lion of the Senate. Some have said that, while he was never their senator, they felt that he was America's Senator. This is a sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with.

My heart goes out to his family and friends in their grieving. But I also find that I'm grieving for myself and for the United States. Being human, he wasn't a perfect man, but he was one of the best and brightest of us and his loss will be felt keenly. Especially at a time when he is needed most. May someone of his strength, courage and convictions stand up to take his torch. Let the roar of the lion be heard again.

Requiescat in pace, Senator Kennedy.
You will sorely be missed.
Requiescat in pace, Senator Kennedy. You will sorely be missed.

(Crossposted from just an ordinary goddess...)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Matter of two waivers

Back when the California State Assembly and then State Senate passed AB-32, co-authored by then Assemblywoman Fran Pavley, and Speaker Fabian Nunez; California set what is an International Standard for standards for cleaning our air and stronger emissions standards. We had to wait almost six years until a new Administration and EPA would grant the federal waiver to allow stiffer state pollution standards then the federal recognized standards. This waiver was sought year after year from the Bush White House; and we only now can go forward on these key standards for a cleaner standard and to fight Global Warming.

We now face an equally strong campaign to pass federal Health Care reforms that must have a public option. More importantly for those of us who are committed to a Single Payer system; we must have a waiver allowing states to enact more comprehensive health care beyond that which we sadly can pass through congress currently. What many of us fear is that with the cooperation of Big Pharma and a coalition of Hospitals to support the Obama Health Care proposals; we may get some sort of public option that is tied to existing insurance and without a waiver for us to pass the Leno Bill for Single Payer in California.

The Conyers bill in the House currently allows for a limited waiver for enumerated states, and we face a potential conflict between the Senate Finance Bill and the H.E.L.P. bill of Senator Kennedy's in the US Senate. At the end of the day we must have a waiver in the law that allows for California to go forward. That is for now the story of two waivers.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

POTUS is not timid on Iran. Obama is intelligently supportive of the Iranian people. Freedom is a right!

In Eire [Ireland] we have a term "Soirse" which is Freedom in Irish! Interestingly the color wrist ban is also green as is the color of the Iranian movement within Iran for a resolution to the recent election results.

Our President has been accused by some conservative republicans of being timid about Iran. That is blatantly short sighted. In this case, our President is being intelligently supportive of the Iranian people and their desire for political & social freedom. This does not mean a western democratic solution necessarily; it means an Iranian solution to an Iranian problem. We must not continue our intervention in the affairs of a nation that goes all the way back to ancient persia. Don't forget that it was the US who helped topple a legally elected government to put the Shah on a repressive, but western friendly Peacock Throne!

The US record of subversion, intervention, and corporate "gun boat diplomacy" mars a century of intrusive actions in both Central and South America as well as in post colonial Africa and Asia!

The successful movements for a new governance by mediation and support of local solutions for local problems can be otherwise highlighted as in Post Apartheid South Africa, and the continuing progress in a six counties Post Good Friday agreement in what is sometimes called Northern Ireland.

The US must now be a honest broker, not a force of Bush-Cheney war mongering and initimidation by threat of force. We must stand for our better selfs and be an onlooker promoting self determination not Western style Democracy without any recognition of the wishes of the local people in a country.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

First Step for Full Federal LGBTQ Equal Rights

During his presidential campaign, Barack Obama said that he supported the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and called for the repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT).

Since becoming president, Obama and his administration has, for the most part, been curiously silent on the subject, saying little more than, "These things take time." A recent legal brief from this administration's Department of Justice has merely fueled the fire of those criticizing Obama's inaction on LGBT issues, especially since the Senior Legal Counsel on the brief received a Distinguished Service Award from Alberto Gonzalez for his work on the constitutional challenges to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.

Today Obama signed a presidential memo granting same-sex partners of federal employees some federal benefits. Unfortunately, this memo does not go so far as to grant health or retirement benefits.

Critics of Obama's LGBTQ inaction are likening it to a token thrown at the LGBTQ community, saying,"Tokens are not enough."

These critics are correct. Tokens are not enough. While there is no way of knowing for certain, it is very likely that Obama would not have signed the memo had it not been for the recent outcry against his DOJ or the constant pressure from LGBTQ groups and individuals.

However, we also have to recognize that this is a positive first step towards full Federal rights for LGBTQ people. There is still a long way to go and a hell of lot of work to do. It's unfortunate that Obama needs to be pushed to keep his campaign promises. Yes, he has a lot on his plate trying to fix the extraordinary mess left behind by Bush and Friends. But a simple executive order placing a moratorium on DADT until a full repeal can be implemented would go a long way towards showing that he really is a staunch advocate of full equality.

Still, we must keep the pressure up. Equality is a matter of time - there is no turning back. Obama will see that as well.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Consistency is troubling when it is contradicted

President Barack Obama, under growing criticism for not seeking to end the ban on openly gay men and women in the military, is extending benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.

This AP story was posted earlier today and it does highlight the inconsistency of a White House who has backed away from ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". Worse is the Justice Department defending DOMA, The Defense of Marriage Act!

We must have a consistent moral position on a human rights question that candidate Obama was clear on; but his White House is not! We will have to see if our friends in the LGBT community are supported or betrayed in the give and take within the beltway?