Saturday, October 2, 2010

What to do about Afghanistan

As time goes on, Afghanistan has become Obama's war. Barack Obama has been totally honest with the American people. While he was running for President, he clearly stated the need to pick things up in Afghanistan and begin a withdrawal process from Iraq. He has met his promises regardless of what some progressives are saying about the Afghan war.

Now nearly 2 years into his administration, Obama rightly fears a trap if he is left without an exit strategy. Obama should have trouble sleeping at night. Afghanistan is not some country; it is a collection of tribes and families that will never unite in this decade, this century, or this millennium.

How can Obama begin to shake things up? The real fear here is Pakistan and the risk of deteriorating relations with this country. Let's face it, Pakistan is not really our friend. This country continues to hide Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network. How can Pakistan be our friend? As time goes on, al Qaeda's influence in this region will continue to grow, putting at risk the very nation we wish to partner with.

Enough is enough! I feel strongly that the United States has an option here, although I'll grant you that it is a risky option. I believe that the U.S. needs to move on the diplomatic front and challenge Pakistan to produce the criminals within the al Qaeda network. Pakistan needs to arrest and deliver Osama bin Laden to the United States. I would give Pakistan 6 months to bring bin Laden to justice.

If Pakistan does not deliver, I would begin to provide advanced military technology to India, Pakistan's mortal enemy. Let's face it, if Pakistan is lost to terrorists, India is going to need a stronger military. I would promise Pakistan 2 things. 1). I would promise Pakistan no military aid and no aid what-so-ever if they do not deliver the criminals within the next 6 months. At the same time I would promise to make India the second most powerful military nation in the world. 2). If Pakistan were to deliver the criminals, the U.S. should promise to ensure that all military aid to the region would be balanced. Any aid given to India would also be given to Pakistan.

Somehow the U.S. needs to put some fear in the hearts and minds of Pakistani leaders that are not in pursuit of justice. India holds the key and may be the only solution. Leave Afghanistan to the disparate tribes of the past.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Donald Carcieri and his Tax on us all!!!!!

Sitting on the deck of a popular East Greenwich restaurant with East Greenwich Bay in the background, I look out over a "sea" of recreational boats. The toys of the rich. Our proud Governor smiles at the thought that these great folks deserve no taxes, sales tax or excise tax, on these "very necessary" cornerstones of our society. I don't fault the wealthy for playing in Narragansett Bay, if I had the money, I would proudly own one of those 42 footers. Why in the world should taxes be excused on these toys when the middle class citizens in this state have to pay all applicable taxes on their camping vehicles. Is not camping a viable component of our economy?

I'm sick and tired of the Republican mantra - "fight for the rich". The rich are not paying their fair share in this country and I can't point to one f____g job created in this state with that strategy. Somebody please explain to me why the Rhode Island budget grew 9% last year ($7 billion to $7.8 billion) at a time when our state is bleeding? Please explain to me how this can be when the state has eliminated 3000 workers, slashed pensions, and furloughed remaining state workers? Please explain to me why aid to cities and towns have been cut by millions of dollars when the budget for the state has grown by 9%? Please explain to me why the wealthiest among us are seeing their taxes slashed yet again; when the last time Carcieri did it, our unemployment rate continued to spiral out of control? Please explain to me why anyone buys the argument that the only way to job growth is to cut taxes on the wealthy? Somebody please explain to me why Donald Carcieri is still governor? Also, somebody explain to me why the conservative "nut job" radio commentators support this idiot and his idiotic financial policies?

Most of all; somebody explain to me why middle class, well meaning citizens don't get it? Why are so many supportive of such destructive fiscal policy? Can't the middle class draw the obvious conclusion when they see their vehicle excise taxes skyrocket across the state?

Four more months of this tragedy of leadership in our state; and as he's going out the door, he's giving away another sweet heart deal to a political pal, Curt Schilling. That's a $75 million dollar sweet heart deal that won't change a thing.

I have answers to all of the questions I posed; however, I think asking the questions is more important. If people of Rhode Island want some thought put into how this government is run, they need to vote for a person who thinks with his brain and not his bank account! Linc Chafee is the candidate of choice from my perspective. He has not been afraid to call outrageous public policy, "outrageous". Donald Carcieri and the Republican philosophy in this nation is outrageous.

I think it is finally time for the "Big Audit"! Rhode Islanders will know what I'm talking about.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Few Thoughts to Ponder!

Where the hell is T Boone Pickens when you need him?

Those readers outside of Rhode Island are probably not aware of the antics of the RI Commissioner of Education, Deborah Gist, even though she was named by Time Magazine as one of the top 100 influential people. She supported the firing of the staff of Central Falls High School because of poor classroom performance. She needed to make a name for herself so why not cause a national incident? Obama should be ashamed of himself for supporting the decision. It's not that change is required, its just that a Central Falls diploma is now downgraded by every college in this nation because of the negative publicity. Talk about a disservice to the students!!! Well, our little Republican Commissioner is smiling broadly at her new found fame and saw that it was necessary to pay a speech writer $10,000 to prepare her 15 minute speech to the RI legislature. Now that's Republican thinking. Please; anyone that is listening, I will write your speech for $5000!!!

The problem with the military's position on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is that it really eliminates the possibility of future drafts during national emergencies. Anyone could easily avoid the draft by simply saying; "I'm Gay"!!!

They have finally done it in Rhode Island! Our Governor Donald Carcieri has been trying for 8 years to lower or eliminate taxes for the wealthiest citizens. The top taxation rate has been reduced from around 9% down to around 5%. What this means is that all of the middle class citizens in this state will be paying the bills for years to come while the millionaires reduce their taxes by thousands each year. Further, Carcieri's reductions in community support will cause the middle class to pay higher property taxes. I'm smart enough to see the stupidity. Unfortunately, all of the radio talking heads and a lot of the middle class are just too dumb to understand. When their taxes skyrocket, they will blame Obama. Of course the RI Democrats played right along so I have to lay the blame squarely in their lap. The Democrats had the numbers to say "no"!! The Democrats are just greedy little fools; those in power are very well off!

For all of you Republican libertarians out there that hate big government; did you see Orin Hatch's latest proposal? Mr Republican wants to keep government off of your back so now if you are unemployed, he wants to drug test you. Now that's what I call "freedom and liberty"!!! How about "justice for all"!!!!!!

I enjoyed the Democratic reception a few weeks ago here in RI for Governor Tim Kaine from Virginia who is the national Democratic Party Chair. He does know a little about forestry as I spoke to him about forestry in his state.

I helped Linc Chafee move his office from Pawtucket to Warwick a week ago Friday. I had a great time and I like the way he goes about getting a job done. Deborah Gist would have put out a contract and paid $50,000 for the move.

Don't forget; I'll write your speech for you - $5000 for 15 minutes if you are a Democrat - $10,000 if you are a Republican. Come on Republicans, you will really enjoy my speech

Keep smiling if you think the Republicans are on your side.


Monday, May 17, 2010

The Catholic Church and Justice

I had a really great night last Thursday, May 13, when I was invited to attend a reception for Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia, the Chair of the National Democratic Party. That story is going to take a back seat to what I want to talk about now! Apparently, a Catholic nun has been rebuked by the church in Phoenix, Arizona for allowing a severely ill women to have an abortion at 11 weeks in order to save her life. This story unfolded at a Catholic hospital. The rebuked nun did the right thing; we can only guess how many times the wrong thing was done at the expense of the mother within these Catholic hospitals.

This story is nothing new. There has been a standard practice by the Catholic Church for years to kill off the mother in favor of the fetus. What a tragedy!! What bothers me most about this story is the ability of the Catholic Church to escape prosecution for what is truly manslaughter. So what if the mother in question has x young children at home that need her? She just needs to suck it up and die!!!! Funny thing; it is always men that are making these decisions.

Why no prosecutions for willful neglect leading to an unnecessary death? The Catholic Church has a magic pass in this country. How many Jehovah's Witnesses have been arrested and convicted of manslaughter for refusing medical treatment for their children because they do not believe in medicines, blood transfusions and other more invasive medical treatments? There are over 900 court cases of parents that refused to consent to life saving blood transfusions for dying children because of their personal religious beliefs.

How long will this society put up with manslaughter based on an antiquated religious hierarchy of men (the Catholic Church)? The fact is that abortion is legal in this country. A woman denied an abortion to save her life is murder. That's right, Bishops of the world, I said murder!!! If the women decides to give up her life for the fetus, so be it. If a life saving abortion is performed; that is legal and absolutely appropriate. If you deny the abortion because of your stupidity, you are a murderer and you should be appropriately dealt with through the legal system. Bishops that are calling the shots should be charged with conspiracy to commit manslaughter or even murder!!

Of course we can't forget that Catholic priests are use to escaping the rule of law when it comes to raping little boys. How many priests have actually been incarcerated for their disgusting crimes against children? Not many!!!!

I have always supported prosecutions of parents that deny children medical treatment based upon some religious voodoo. The next time some poor Jehovah's Witness gets collared for following their beliefs - we need to take a step back and look at the medieval practices of the Catholic Church. Why are Jehovah Witnesses going to jail and Catholics excused?

Hopefully my next post will be about the reception for Governor Tim Kaine, right here in Rhode Island. I just had to get this story out of me because this kind of manipulation from the Catholic Church needs to stop.


Monday, April 19, 2010

The Mock Interview with a Tea-bagger!

Sorry for my absence! It seems like the United States is going to hell in a hand basket woven by the Republican Party. At any rate; through all the non-sense, I am intrigued by the misguided energy of the tea-baggers. I would love to interview a few and I think this is how the conversation would go.

Tomtoak: Mr. Tea-bagger, could I ask you why you call yourselves the Tea Bag Party?
Mr. Tea-Bagger: Didn't you ever hear of the Boston Tea Party? We're a tax protest just like the Boston Tea Party.
: Mr. Tea-bagger, the Boston Tea Party was about taxation without representation. I don't see a parellel. Barack Obama won the election by 6 million votes and won in many traditional Republican states. You have representation - you lost.
Mr. Tea-bagger
: So what! I want my taxes lowered.
: Well Mr. Tea-bagger, are you aware that President Obama has lowered taxes on 95% of the citizens as he promised during his campaign?
Mr. Tea-bagger
: He's a Muslim. This country is going to hell and we're headed for financial ruin and Obama is to blame.
: Mr. Tea-bagger, did you forget that this country was headed for another depression unless drastic steps were taken to calm the financial markets and do you realize that the Dow Jones average has improved by almost 4,000 points since Obama took office? Do you realize that this significantly improves every one's financial situation?
Mr. Tea-bagger
: Obama is like Hitler, he's leading us down the path to socialism and no good can come from him!
Tomtoak: Do you realize Mr. Tea-bagger that the rest of the world has been quite impressed with our last election and U.S. foreign policy is far stronger because of Obama's leadership. Obama even won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Mr. Tea-bagger:
Ya, if that is so great, why is he getting our boys killed in Afghanistan and he hasn't done nothin yet!
Tomtoak: Mr. Tea-bagger, I admit that even liberals don't like the war, but lets be fair; President Obama promised action in Afghanistan all through the election as this country's primary target must be the al Qaeda network; and haven't you noticed that there has been far better cooperation from Pakistan in seeking to bring these terrorists to justice? Did you not read about the recent disarmament talks with Russia and the treaty that will lead to a verifiable reduction in nuclear warheads between the 2 countries?
Mr. Tea-bagger: Are you trying to insult me? I can read; you're trying to knock Sarah Palin aren't you.
Tomtoak: Me, knock Sarah Palin; no, she does not need help from me to look like a fool, she is capable of doing that all by herself and constantly, I might add.
Mr. Tea-bagger: Obama has done nothing about growing jobs in this country and we need the Republicans to straighten out this mess.
Tomtoak: You know Mr. Tea-bagger, this is one topic that truly confuses me. I've heard all of the Republican leadership say that "Government never created one job", and now, the Republicans want to focus on jobs. Why don't they just tell the private sector to go create jobs and keep the government out of it?
Mr. Tea-bagger: It's all about taxes; cut taxes and there will be plenty of jobs.
Tomtoak: Mr. Tea-bagger, are you taxed when Exxon-Mobil raises the price of a gallon of gas from $2.50 to $4.50 in a matter of weeks? You see, insurance companies and businesses that approach monopolies in this country can tax us at will. I guess that is OK with you!
Mr. Tea-bagger: And that's another thing, I don't want to pay for the health insurance of a bunch of illegals and Obama is making us all pay.
Tomtoak: You have been paying all along my friend. Health care legislation protects you against the whims of the insurance industry and outlines a process by which everyone can assume responsibility over their health care (A Republican idea I must say). It's not the solution I wanted, but progressives need to be willing to compromise.
Mr. Tea-bagger: Compromise nothin!!! Obama is not even American. We need to take back this country!!!!
Tomtoak: Take back this country from whom? From Me? I'm an American and I'm very proud of this country. When one person determined who our 43rd President would be after he lost the popular vote by 500,000 votes, I was devastated. I did not go around this country claiming that George Bush was a Nazi. I suggest that you thank God we have an intelligent leader that cares about our future and that is capable of doing more in 15 months than George Bush accomplished in his entire life.
Mr. Tea-bagger: We'll see about that! Sarah Palin will beat that n_____!
Tomtoak: Oh; and I'm sure that race has nothing to do with this. Keep the faith Barack!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Political Disaster in Massachusetts

Yes; Massachusetts was a political disaster. The ground literally shook throughout the state as Ted Kennedy's seat fell to the Republicans. Was this a case of the Republicans being smart or was this a case of the Democrats being dumb. I think I chose the latter.

While the Republicans gloat and the Democrats point fingers, both parties are demonstrating how incredibly dumb they really are. First, the Democrats. I have never seen such arrogance and ignorance displayed in a campaign as was displayed in this case. Martha Coakley was not only a bad campaigner, but her lack of instinct has to be legendary. At least Sarah Palin has some political instinct. To arrogantly state that she should not have to stand out in the cold at Fenway Park, shake hands and ask folks for their votes cost her the election. That stupidity not only cost her hundreds of thousands of votes, it caused large groups of minorities to lose the will to vote. Coakley lost this election because she simply could not turn out her base. Frankly, I'm surprised that the election was as close is it was.

Now to the Republicans (Please note that this section has been changed from its original posting because of the correct comments from a frequent reader)! Republicans will have to work long and hard to start to chip away at minority voters. You can't begin to do that by defeating health care. Four years from now when there has been little or no change, Democrats will be able to lay blame on the opposing party. Western Massachusetts was totally blue in this election for Coakley. There have been many elections in the past when this rural territory looked red. Western Massachusetts supported William Weld and Paul Celluci but was not warm to Mitt Romney. Many communities in this part of the state voted over 70% for Coakley and gave little consideration to Brown.

This election told me that voters are mad and apathetic. The Democrats were largely apathetic while the Republicans are just plain mad. The anger is aimed at both parties and the election was not a positive step forward for anyone.

If Scott Brown wants to make a real impact in politics into the future, he should negotiate with Democrats and not join the party of "No". Scott Brown should start the party of "Know". People want significant change to health care in this country and if Brown provides the roadblock, he will pay for it.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Linc Chafee for Governor

Lincoln Chafee announced his intention to run for Governor of Rhode Island yesterday. I'm sorry I missed the official kick-off, but I had a long time friend spending a few days with me. Linc chose a most unusual way to announce his candidacy. He spoke directly to the people of Rhode Island. You won't find others in the race that will speak honestly.

Linc started his campaign by outlining a sales-tax plan that will result in more goods being covered by a two-tiered sales tax program. He was right when he suggests that people can make personal decisions to buy things, but increasing the property tax in this state leaves people without choices. Practical, honest and sincere are words that come to mind when reading the news of his announcement. Linc will be far more able to achieve this structural change than the right wing plans designed to end government as we know it. I think Linc Chafee will be able to get some things done.

What Rhode Islanders constantly hear from the Republicans in this state is that Rhode Island has the 2nd highest sales tax rate in the country. What Republicans fail to tell you is that most states have sales tax on a much wider variety of goods than does Rhode Island. Maybe Linc can actually get some sales tax out of the state's richest citizens that line Narragansett Bay with their yachts.

The Republicans will continue to tell us that government needs to be smaller. They have an uncanny ability to never look at the big picture - the bottom line so to speak. While the Carcieri crowd has attacked state employees and now municipal employees as being the problem, they continue to grow the budget in unprecedented ways (9% increase this year). Republican spending is all about putting our money in the hands of their few connected friends. Once again, I will reflect on the bottom line of the state's budget. Carcieri's budget called for $7.8 billion, an increase of almost $1 billion from the previous year. The entire cost of paying state employee salaries, benefits, pensions, etc. is approximately $1.3 billion annually, a mere 17% of the entire state budget.

So to you Carcieri lovers out there that think that he knows what's wrong with government, think again! There's plenty of cost savings to be found, but don't expect the Republicans to find it because they are not going to take it away from their well connected friends that spend half the year in Florida. Lincoln Chafee appreciates the work of state and municipal employees and understands the need to balance government's needs with the needs of those that pay the bills.

Lincoln Chafee for Governor!