Archive for the ‘Rudy Giuliani’ category

How Religion Gets in the Way

April 30, 2008

Tuesday’s New York Times carried an article quoting Cardinal Edward M Regan that Rudy Giuliani had “broken” an understanding that the Rudy and the Cardinal had.  What could that possibly have been?  The answer turns out that because Giuliani is on record as supporting a woman’s right to choice, Egan had said Giuliani could not receive communion any more (or supposedly face greater penalties).  I wonder whether Egan has heard of the separation of church and State?

Cardinal Egan’s actions must be viewed as an invasion of the public sector in behalf of a “for profit” religion.  Some estimates inidicate that at least 1/2 of America’s Catholic population support a woman’s right to choose.  The estimate is much higher for the use of contraceptives which the Church also opposes.  And lest we not forget, Giuliani is on this 3rd marriage and that seems to not raise the ire of the Church like denying a woman her rights.

At a time when the Catholic Church is trying to recover from the disgrace of child abuse, Cardinal Egan’s comments seem so out of place.  Time is long over due for priests to marry, priests to be woman, and while it is perfectly ok for the Church to recommend against abortion, they should be accepting of those who responsible decide otherwise.

It Will Be a Long Race II

January 30, 2008

With the Florida primary completed, the Republican field is narrowed to probably 2 with a third positioned to be the “king” maker.  Sounds a lot like the Democratic situation.  The best part of the Republican primary is that there is no candidate that pleases all those who call themselves Republicans, but retaining the White House might cause Republicans of all kinds of colors to join behind one candidate.  But which one?  Here’s some advice for the candidates:

1. Mitt Romney, keep your focus on the middle and emphasize the economy.  You are at least qualified to speak about domestic issues and the more you talk of that, the less time there is to talk about homeland security and the war.  If you really had courage, you would move decisively towards the side of bringing home the troops.  You could say the job is done, we won, and all that.  But more than anything, you could use the war money to fund “no child left behind” or setting up a program to document all those living here who lack documents.  You could also tell the Pat Robinsons of this world that you are a Mormon and it will be a cold day in hell before you will kiss their back sides again.  You could apologize to the gay and lesbian community for having acted so “unchristian” in the early stages of your campaign.  In short you could really move to the center and hope to appeal to moderates from both sides who want experience and someone with business sense.

2. John McCain, why do some people hate you so much?  I am absolutely without explanation why someone would build a web site that shows 20 reasons you should not be elected.  The site, posted supposedly by David K Fuller is ridiculous but it it may only be the tip of an iceberg of opinion.

If that is the case, you will need to broaden your message and ease up on this war.  Americans can be scared (as so well done by Rove and Bush) but sooner or later, they will see through this.  You are a war hero yourself and that’s enough.  What the moderate voter wants to know is that you will run a fiscally sound government, you will act reasonably towards those who need help, and you will do your very best to bring together all Americans and not throw some on the junk heap.  You have a real appearance (not plastic like Mitt’s) and American is not looking for another born again or preacher, so don’t go kissing Pat Robinson’s back side.

3. Mike Huckabee there is no chance.  No chance to be the presidential nominee but there is a chance to become the VP nominee.  You too would benefit from less volume on God and more towards using your faith for your own strength and let the rest of the nation and world think about God their own way.  You have a lot of practical executive experience running a State.  This would be an asset for either Mitt or John.  You should end up with enough delegates that your support will be critical to one of them.  Save your money, enjoy the thrill, and meet them at the convention.

4. Rudy, Rudy, it is all over and you can get out without spending a lot more.  You will make more money in the months ahead than you would have syphoned off as President. 

Who ever the Republican nominee ends up being, they will need some answers to the following and hope that the answers separate them from the failed Bush Administration. 

  • The economy is a mess
  • Consumer confidence is low
  • Global warming is real
  • Bush said no to Kyoto Protocol
  • The ABM treaty lays by the wayside
  • Our anti-missile missiles do not work (and have no purpose)
  • The Russians won’t help if we keep shoving a sharp stick in their eye
  • Iraq War was a war of choice
  • There were no WMD
  • There was no link with Hussein and al Qaeda
  • Abu Ghraib happened and soiled our Country’s reputation
  • Guantanamo and extreme interrogation methods do not work, put the US in the poorest of light, and need to cease
  • Science is needed to bring about real progress, intelligent design should be trashed
  • There should never be another Terri Schaivo episode

There will be plenty of chances during the Presidential campaign for who ever the candidates are to make a clear distinction between themselves and these examples of failed policies and behaviors.  You too can be pro-choice and make it clear that you will not repete any of these Bush transgressions.

The Last Act

January 29, 2008

President George W Bush delivered his (thankfully) last “State of the Union” address last evening.  He allowed that the economy was going through some tough times but insisted that things had improved in Vietnam, I mean Iraq.  I guess there is not much else he could have said but of course it is only partially true, and the parts he omitted are the important ones.

1. With respect to Iraq, it is far more important to know how we got there and to recognize that we are there now because we have a responsibility to fix something we broke.  You can argue whether the surge is a good strategy or not, but the need to re-establish a stable Government after the US had destroyed the former Iraq legitimate and stable Government is clear (we may not have liked Hussein but the Iraq was stable).  But don’t overlook that this was a war of choice (Bush is for pro-choice!), and our experience to date has shown it to be a blunder.

  • There were no WMD
  • There was no connection with 9/11 al Qaeda
  • Over 4000 Americans have lost their lives
  • We are closing in on $1 trillion dollars in cost
  • We took our eye off Afghanistan and it has deteriorated
  • We are now tied down in Iraq and can not respond to trouble in Afghanistan or Pakistan
  • We are no closer in finding a settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis
  • We have little respect or trust left with our allies or other important nations

In short, rejoicing over progress in Iraq does injustice to the verdicts history will write.

2. With respect to the economy, Bush fiddled while Rome burned.  Bush presided over an Administration whose “tone at the top” was greed.  Prudent regulations or special taxes on excessive and obscenely high bonuses could have brought the private sector to their senses.  Greed always leads to a decay in order and how institutions were intended to work.  There is likely several problems with the economy that will need Presidential support

  • There was far too much stimulus for the housing industry and it is normal to catch our breaths.  You can build houses faster than you can find people who can afford them
  • There are a lot of shoes waiting to fall in terms of mortgage defaults.  Too many people were coaxed into taking mortgages that they could not afford that it will be inevitable that they will have to walk away leaving the banks with a lot of real estate
  • When a Merrill Lynch or a Citibank need to write off over $20 billion between them, we must conclude that big banking/investment business has had a crisis in governance (will or capacity). 
  • One day we will wake up and see that the jobs that have left for China or where ever are not coming back.  The jobs that are being created (and there are new jobs) are jobs that pay less, much less.  Our country has an apatite inherited from when we were more prosperous and now has an earning power that simply can not afford the past rich style of living.  This has happened on Bush’s watch.

Bush can not blame these problems on the Democrats.  He can not blame the gays or lesbians either.  The undocumented workers are not the cause also.  Teaching intelligent design won’t fix it either.  And abstinence will not cure these problems just as it did not help AIDS. 

If you are not worried by now, you should be.  President Bush has been a one song guy with a “poverty of imagination” (credit to Thomas Friedman).  The most important recession medicine is what it takes to gain confidence in the Country’s future and that is usually aligned with confidence in the President.  Forget about it happening with Bush, so now we must look to the 2008 candidates for hope.  What do you see?

It Will Be a Long Race

January 27, 2008

Barack Obams’s clear and decisive victory in the South Carolina primary was very impressive.  He clearly awoke many African Americans and they went out to vote.  But that was not all.  He motivated a large group of younger, dissatisfied voters who were mostly non-black and they enthusiastically supported Barack.  Here are some observations:

1. Hillary watch out.  Your campaign’s continued use of “bad mouth” accusations does not reinforce your image as a leader who can unite.  Without capturing the imagination of young Americans, the rest of your message and your competence is lost in the dull roar.  You must remember that about half the voters are women while only 12% are African Americans.  If you believe that Obama has little experience, then let it show by his own actions.  Focus your attention on convincing Americans that you can lead for everyone and forget about Barack.  The final decision will most likely come at the convention and that’s where the fight needs to be.  Besides, he would make a great VP.

2. Barack, congratulations on an outstanding victory.  You are managing to stay above the gutter and this will stand you well.  The “change” message is going to wear out soon.  You need to be more clear on change from what.  Bill Clinton’s years were actually quite good ones for the Country and our economy.  Most Americans can look back and see that they were better off after his terms than before.  The “change” should be from the policies of George W Bush and his failed Presidency, and the likely 2008 Republican candidates.  You need to be clear that you won’t be a George Bush nor a Mitt Romney, John McCain, or Mike Huckabee (and why). 

3. John Edwards, the future is much clearer now.  You will not be President but you could be the king maker.  If there is a remote chance of getting nominated in a dead locked convention, you must use your time to stay on the high ground and broaden your message to be more inclusive and less cutting.

Economic Stimulus

January 24, 2008

The Fed surprised most everyone with a 3/4 point decrease in interest rate and the market responded. Most people thought this was great news and that there would not be a recession. Nobody, especially the candidates, want a recession and this aggressive Fed action seems to be what the doctor ordered. What if:

1. The subprime issue is not really that tightly connected to the potential recession? Suppose instead US homes are already stuffed with enough junk (junk being the products now being offered)? Suppose the average consumer’s propensity to purchase is dented because he has lost faith in his government, especially his President? Suppose that the average consumer is earning less money now than in 2000 (inflation adjusted) and just can’t buy anything unless he goes further into credit card debt?

2. The depth of the subprime issue is not yet known and that our premier financial institutions, in their individual pursuits of greed, have some really rotten skeletons in closets yet opened? Could this hurry up move by the Fed actually be a big financial institution bale out?

3. The productive juices of the US are still sinking and many are tied to a slowly decaying infrastructure? For the past 7 years the Bush Administration has looked the other way as long as there were enough votes (to stay in office) and their main contributors had enough money in the public troth to digest. What if those good times looked like they were going to go away?

Stay tuned to the news and do not be surprised that the economy does not boom and remain healthy for a historically reasonable period of time. There simply has been no adequate explaination of how big the hole is.


January 23, 2008

It seems that neo-historians are already at work rewriting the past 7 years and putting more lipstick on the Bush appearance.  In “Tough Calls, Good Call” in Tuesday, January 22, 2008’s edition of the Wall Street Journal (Opinion page), J.D. Crouch II and Robert Joseph have taken a stab at justifying the Bush years.  They point to what others would label failures, misjudgements, or plain disasters.

They begin by pointing out that about 1 year ago, George Bush, against most all advice, raised the stakes in Iraq and introduced us to the “serge”.  They claim George did this because he did not want the US to “lose” in Iraq.  (It will be a long time before anyone knows the true outcome of this Bush escapade into Iraq and “win/lose” are emotive terms and used for political purposes.)  Crouch and Joseph propose that this time it is “mission accomplished”.  (We can debate that point at another time.)  They then offer that the surge decision, although tough, was somewhat easier because George had made so many tough ones before.  They suggest dumping the ABM treaty, restarting Star Wars, and then deploying new missiles in the face of Russian opposition was a tough call.

But this has not been enough, reason these Chicken Hawks.  They recommend deploying a third site for these anti-missile missiles in Europe.  Then arm them with “multiple kill vehicles” so that the Iranians and North Koreans can be defended against.  Crouch and Joseph then want the US to beef up the Navy assets and while we are at it, let’s improve our long range missiles.  (What war are thinking about fighting?)  And lastly, and not to overlook a new frontier, they want the US to arm space.  (I wonder whether they think al Qaeda will get there first?)

All this because George Bush (read Dick Cheney) had the insight to make the tough calls early on.  If you had been asleep for 20 years and just awoke, you would think the cold war had never ended.  What are they thinking?

1. Iraq is a mess and a terribly costly one.  Some estimate have it going from $1 trillion to $2 trillion while our homeland gradually decays.  The 4000 lives and even greater number of severly wounded service men and women simply are not worth the Iraq escapade.

2. Star Wars remains unproven technology with no value towards an enemy employing asymmetrical tactics like al Qaeda.  Star Wars should not be expected to work, either, against a conventional military threats presently due to technology limitations.  From a dollars and cents perspective, investing in soft deplomacy and rebuilding our economic strength would be much more cost effective and likely to make the US more effective internationally, and all Americans better off ay home.

3. China and India represent the largest threats to our economic strength and continuing to do everything possible to anger the Russians (a possible ally) is backward’s thinking.  Both China and India can be managed more effectively through economic competition accompanied by a sensible foreign policy.

4. Crouch and Joseph are the first of many who will hail Bush as a national hero and propose we build the future upon his magnificent accomplishments.  We must see these neo-historians for what they are, chicken hawks who have not progressed from the cold war.  We should remember Bush for who he was… no Kyoto Protocol, Terri Schaivo, invading Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, forget the Geneva Convention, a holiday for due process, and good-bye to habeas corpus.

5. We should also watch which 2008 Presidential candidates salute Crouch and Joseph’s words.  The words “four more years” will mean just this type of failed presidency.

State Sponsored Terrorism

January 22, 2008

There are news reports that the anti-abortionists are readying a new wave of assaults on American women.  This, at a time when there are so many other important issues facing Americans, is perplexing.  As you look behind these activities you find the loose confederation of evangelicals and fundamentalists organized by “for profit” churches.  Their goal is to reverse “Roe v Wade” at the minimum and at best, to make it illegal under any conditions for a woman to end her pregnancy.

Georgia is considering an initiative that will define life to begin with fertilization.  Logically then anything that would end the pregnancy would, in effect, be an act of murder.  I wonder if they have thought about:

1. How many “PP” (pregnancy police) they will need to spy in each bedroom to see if copulation has taken place and then run spot checks (like athelete  who take urine tests) to see if the woman is pregnant?

2. What means of electronic earsdroping will be used to determine if a woman leaves the state and returns, whether she had had an abortion?

3. Could the State pursue a woman into another State on the suspicion that the woman was pregnant and might consider having an abortion?

These ridiculous situations may seem unreal but given the pending laws, they are the logical extension of thinking that chooses to subjugate a woman’s right to her reproductive health.  But what is behind this?

1. In running any religion or ideological group, it is always easier to gain consensus when you present the people with an enemy.  With religions, where you are dealing with faith and belief (not logic or facts), to imply that an abortion is analogous to killing, you get a quick response…”thou shalt not kill”.  Just like Jim Jones, it is them against us and we have to win or they will destroy us.

2. I would certainly not categorize most of the modern evangelical and fundamentalist leaders as Jim Jones types.  I would simply call them what they are… they are shrewd business men and women.  They are feeding their flocks something that makes the unthinking feel they are better than others.  For this people turn over buckets of dollars to these religious leaders.

3. American was founded upon the inalienable rights of individuals to personal liberties.  Through out our history we have seen an enlightenment that these rights apply to everyone regardless of race, creed, or gender.  (We are working on sexual preference now).  How then can we protect the woman’s right to choose?

4. I suggest we fight fire with fire.  Let’s begin a drive to tax all religious institutions that choose to try and influence the public agenda.  I have no beef with churches that teach people how to pray or see nature as beautiful, or even how they think they should live.  I react when these churches try and tell me how I should live.  So, let’s tax them like any other corporation.