Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bush/Cheney cancel GOP Appearances for Gustav

Hurricane Gustav prepares to make land fall on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana or Mississippi

In what seems like a stroke of bad luck, President Bush and Vice President Cheney are canceling their appearances at the GOP convention in St. Paul Monday night to deal with Hurricane Gustav. Many GOPers see this as a tragedy because that basically guts all of their star power from opening night. The McCain camp however may have been hoping that something would keep the President away.. some reports claim that there was a plan in place for the President to suddenly cancel due to any kind of "crisis". Unfortunately for the McCain campaign, Hurricane Gustav reminds many Americans of Hurricane Katrina of just three years ago.. and John McCain stands to lose the most from that memory.

Let's rewind to the fateful day of August 29th, 2005: An enormous hurricane has barreled past Cuba and is heading right up the coast at Mississippi. It is hurricane season and President Bush leaves Washington DC aboard Air Force One headed out to Arizona with FEMA in the hands of one of his incompetent friends, Michael D. Brown. President Bush arrives in Arizona to enjoy a birthday celebration for Senator John McCain, cutting the cake in front of Air Force One and enjoying a private party along with many GOP supporters and fundraisers. Hurricane Katrina batters New Orleans, Louisiana and the coastal regions of Mississippi as well.

Now, that story alone should give some pause to John McCain to take hurricanes lightly because Katrina certainly left a very bad taste in many people's mouths and may have led to a major part of the reversal of the Republican's fortunes in the 2006 elections. So, while the hurricane ensured that a President with near-record low ratings does not speak it also puts the pressure on a Republican Administration to help a Republican Governor in a redo of 2005. Will there be a big difference? Will even the slightest error give Democrats a lead and ruin the "bump" of the Republican convention? Will President Bush take the blame for Katrina's response as he did in 2005? Can Bobby Jindal prove he is the new young face of the Republican party with a stellar performance in dealing with Hurricane Gustav?

All great questions! Do you have the answers? If you do, comment... show us what you've got.

Iraq and Her Suiters.. Cheating on the US

When you take your eye off the ball chances are you are gonna get a pitch thrown right into your face. When the cat is away the mice will play. Ah... you get the point.

The United States is beginning to lose its grip.. in the past couple months we've seen that allover the world things are happening that wouldn't happen at any other time except Election season in the US. You think Mugabe would be beating up his rivals, Georgia could be invaded and then partially-occupied, Serbians would muscle their neighbors, or Iraq would be openly cavorting with Iran if the United States was at full strength in terms of foreign relations? Probably not.. or at least not as openly as they are doing it now. I've said it before.. I'll say it again, this President Bush has undone so much of what his father did its like one Bush wiped out his father's legacy and then dragged it through the mud. Sad.

Back to the issue at hand... Iraq... and China. Now what would China want with a bunch of sand and Arabs? Perhaps they want one-humped Arabian camels to complement their two-humped ones? No.. perhaps they want a bunch of goo that is beneath the sand and is one of the major supplies needed to run a regional or global superpower? Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! That's right!

Iraq signed a three billion dollar ($3B) oil contract with China to export crude and service one of their oil fields as a continuation of a deal made with Saddam Hussein in 1997. The Chinese national oil company will first import oil at a laughably low amount then eventually more than quadrupling that amount. China is the first country (besides the US) to sign a deal with Iraq on oil fields and exports since the Iraq War began. Scary. It seems the best way into the "loyal" Iraqi government's heart is a whole lotta green paper. The oil contract according to officials and sources on both sides is just the tip of the iceberg with China looking to drain every drop of oil out of Iraq as quickly as it can to feed its exploding demand for the stuff. China has turned up its foreign policy charm since 2005 in the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia trying to get its hands on natural resources to keep the dragon at home satiated as it grows at a phenomenal rate - an average of 9.9% since 1978! China had approached the Iraqis before but the Iraqis backed off at the last moment about the oil issue because of problems with the oil revenue sharing plan and US pressure to keep all the oil contracts coming their way (or at least to Halliburton.. which is now Headquartered in Dubai). China, however, is relentless when it sees something it wants.. even if it means waiting until the perfect moment when the US have their sights all set at home instead of abroad.

If you've read this blog in the past you might accuse me of just repeatedly attacking the Iraqi government or perhaps the Chinese one.. this is not the case. The Chinese government has every right and logical reason to seek to secure resources as it vies to become stronger and perhaps a superpower... however it is the role of the United States to if not deter competition to keep up and stay far ahead for their own national interests. The Iraqi government deserve my complaints and ire because they are seemingly getting a free pass only because they were installed by a country that just happens to have 130,000 troops around and it would look really bad to throw them out after you hailed them as modern saviors to democracy and Thomas Jeffersons of the Middle East.... they are more like Benedict Arnolds, and even he had more honor and dignity.

Iraq has taken advantage of the loss of American focus to sign deals with Iran, Russia, China, and a withdrawal plan with the US. Sounds like someone is ready to move out.. and play with the big boys. Some call the US an empire and Iraq a colony but it looks like this colony is already cheating with our adversaries.. and all it has left for the US is a flirty "good bye!"

China hails three-billion-dollar oil deal with Iraq - AFP
China, Iraq reach $3 billion oil service deal - AP

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Palin: Rubber.. meet Road

Sarah Palin... what can I say that hasn't been regurgitated, repeated, editorialized then regurgitated in the media in the past couple days?

Sometimes it is better to just take a little while to think (a foreign word to many pundits and shouting-heads). Thinking and pondering as it turns out allows a person to form their opinion based on a larger collection of facts and a little mind-check for logic and meaning. Although it is still early I'm ready to start analyzing her and her entry into the race a little..

First, the election's tone and attack points have changed drastically because of the pick and second, she is going to either be a huge dangerous liability or a home-grown gem for John McCain based on how she deals with the sudden massive scrutiny of the nation and media...

1) How does this change the election? First off, the experience and racism/sexism cards have been taken off the table. You won't be hearing as extensively the attacks from the McCain camp about Obama's "lack of experience" because Sarah Palin has... pretty much close to zilch and Obama now has Biden to back him up. You won't hear a whisper campaign from the Democratic Party about McCain's views on women. Same does for the Republican Party appartatus whispers of Obama as a young black extremist surrounding himself with young angry blacks. You will hear a lot about the connections of Palin and the McCain campaign to oil and gas companies and their disagreement on drilling in the Arctic.

2) What does Palin bring to the field? She definately has spunk, confidence, and character. Palin also has inexperience being in the national limelight or as an object of major scrutiny by the lower 48 states. Something either troublesome or inspiring about Palin is that she only met McCain once and according to quite a few sources did not meet him again until he had basically decided she was going to be his VP pick. She is also suppose to be working hard on bringing in disgruntled Hillary supporters but in the two days shes tried.. so far nothing is really materializing. I hope McCain did not pick her just because she is a woman because that would be an insult to females everywhere.

You know that story of a little town girl who suddenly makes it big in the city... well Palin is going to decide if this is a depressing drama that ends up with her moving back in with her little town or a romantic comedy that ends with a fadeout of her moving into the Dirksen Office Building, the Eisenhower Executive Suite, and the West Wing of the White House.

I'm sure there is more to her than we are hearing about... and I'll be right here to analyze and report on it when it arrives. So until next time.. stay safe.

Strong Moderate

P.S. Major Kudos if you caught the veiled reference to Oil, Arctic drilling, and High gas prices in the title of this post...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Barack Obama accepts Democratic Nomination


That is the first word that can be used to describe the events of Denver this evening, Thursday August 28th, 2008. Truly history in the making. No matter your political leaning or affiliations, no matter your wealth or poverty, no matter your standing in society, the nomination of the first African-American biracial individual to a major party for the office of President of the United States is a moment to stop and ponder just how far this nation has come and how its ideals have endured.

On to the speech... apparently Barack woke up on the wrong side of the bed because he came out swingin'! The speech had three main themes: 1) Attack John McCain/link him with the "failed policies" of George W Bush, 2) Work the highlights of all his previous speeches into one super-speech, and 3) rehash and rework the past 50 years worth of presidential nomination speeches of both parties.

1) Barack Obama sounded like he was trying to hurl a Category 5 hurricane of criticism at John McCain and linked him many times with certain failings of President Bush. The change in tone came as a response to the notion that he has gone soft on John McCain so far and that it was "going soft" that lost the election for Democrats in 2004. There were quite a few good jabs but some were just plain ol' ridiculous. For instance, he cited statistics and anecdotes about the problems with economy but then he cited McCain for stating that to be poor one had to making less than 5 million, a comment which was clearly a joke! I don't think its wrong to attack a person based on their views, policies, or beliefs but to repeatedly bring up an innocent joke and try to turn it into his platform is really just "old" dirty politics.

2) Barack also tried to stitch together his highlight reel of quotes and soundbites from former speeches. For people who have been watching the campaign (like me) or even have incidentally heard the news in the past 19 months, it was like having deja vu. I ended up yelling out places, dates, and events when Obama first said the quotables. He used his "father" speech, his "one America" speech, his "religion" speech, his "race" speech... I felt like he was recycling! Given he was recycling some great stuff.. but it didn't feel original or new to me which was a bit of a let down.

3) Obama then touched on all the past nomination acceptance speeches since Eisenhower to make his bid for Independent voters, dissatisfied Republicans, and Democrats. He used Kennedy liberally (oh my.. I crack myself up..) to speak about service to country and youth. He used Reagan/H.W. Bush to talk about a re-awakening of America to a new tomorrow full of hope. He used Reagan/H.W. Bush again to speak about self-reliance and rejecting Big Government when it doesn't work. He used George W. Bush to deliver the message that "Eight is enough!" referring to eight years of the Bush Administration just as Bush had in 2000 referring to Clinton. He talked about the refusal to hand over the country for a "third" Bush term for McCain as W. did in 2000 referring to Gore. He came across all "rural America" and seemed almost about to choke up when he talked about economy woes just as Clinton did in 1992. He even threw in a touch of peace and prosperity a-la Carter 1976.

All in all.. it was pretty good and I suggest you go out and watch it in its entirety so you know just what Obama is talking about later. I'd give it a B overall.

Strong Moderate

McCain's VP choice is...

UPDATE: It is official, Senator John McCain has indeed picked Sarah Palin to be his running mate

Well, just as an update, it does look more and more likely that it will be Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (which I had previously predicted would get the nod). According to CNN a private jet from Alaska arrived in Dayton, Ohio under cover of secrecy. Later today in Dayton the announcement will take place in from of 15,000 supporters.

John McCain's campaign and outside sources have already crossed Minn. Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Arkansas ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee and NYC ex-Mayor Rudy Guliani off that list. Still possible besides Gov. Palin are Florida Governor Crist, Mitt Romney, Tom Ridge, or Joe Liberman.

We will keep you posted on the latest so keep checking back or better yet subscribe to our feed by either clicking here --> <-- or finding an appropriate subscription for you in the left-hand bar under Subscribe Here.

Happy Birthday John McCain

Today is the Senior Senator from Arizona's Birthday.
Happy Birthday John McCain!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

McCain has chosen VP, will announce pick Friday

Oooooh, my McCain campaign senses were tingling like mad.. and here's why: Sen. McCain has chosen a Vice Presidential candidate and he is ready to unveil his pick on Friday in front of fifteen thousand (15,000) people in Ohio, a battleground state.

First, some sad news for the McCain camp about that last sentence, fifteen thousand people is about three times the largest crowd that has ever showed up to a McCain event. That is just sad. I know, I know.. McCain's supporters claim that that is because he is a Town Hall, up close and personal kind of guy.. but perhaps his campaign manager(s) should have told him that making LOTS of people vote for you is the key to winning an election not just making sure a bunch of small groups really like you. Their votes only count once no matter how hard they hit the lever, touch the screen, fill in the bubble, or poke out the chad.

Well.. more information should be coming by the end of this week.. and then I expect to post the VP pick on Friday (which also, by the way is Senator McCain's birthday!)

Dems Round Up: Part One

So, the Democratic Convention has been going on for a couple days and it has been a nonstop rhetoric-spewin' Obama-lovin' party as to be expected. There have been a few memorable speeches and quotes so far. I'll give you the highlights!

Michelle Obama: Pretty damn good. She showed a different side of Barack Obama as a family man. It was a well delivered speech even considering she is not a politician and isn't probably use to delivering speeches to convention centers packed with people. She had some fire and passion and set up a great opening for Democrats to begin to get the word out on Obama the man to independents.

Hillary Clinton: It sounded great. She said all the right things. Something though... was missing. That something was sincerity and true emotion. I know some of you think I just criticize her constantly but it is true. her speech felt like just that.. a speech. She could have been a housewife who had just been given a few thousand dollars to give a speech on Economics. There was no passion or even a feeling of true belief in Obama, her party's candidate. Guess someone is a bitter, clingy, and self-described gun-toter... and it sure isn't middle America.

Dennis Kucinich: Wow! Seriously... Dennis is crazy, even his supporters know it and will admit it after five minutes of discussion of the cartoonish character that is Congressman Kucinich but he delivered a great spirited speech. His refrain of "Wake up, America!" was repeated after every attack on Republicans. Whether you agreed with the rhetoric or not you had to admit it was a pretty engergizing speech and it got people crazy excited. Now if only he was sane the other 96% of the time....

Mark Warner: Yawwwn, even a day later I'm still bored just hearing his name. His speech was just a bunch of "hope" and "change" without any passion or energy. If this is the Democrat's next big thing.. then look forward to a Republican victory in the future. Oh yeah - Dude.. Mark, tone down the makeup, your face looked like it was made of putty.

Jimmy Carter: Boy.. talk about slow. The only reason Jimmy Carter made it to this list is because he is a former President.. otherwise, it was just a disinteresting sidenote.

Memorable Quotes:

"No Way, No How, No McCain"
"Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsuits"
-- Hillary Clinton (D-NY)

“Between now and November, I predict that the oil companies will hold out on oil prices a little bit... you know, to try to get the Republicans the ticket.”
--Former President Jimmy Carter

"Four more months"
"That's not a maverick, that's a sidekick"
-- Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Political Music Wars: Pop Liberals vs. Hip-Hop Republicans

Hip-Hop music and musicians are usually pretty much flaming liberal. Pop musicians are much the same. As for country unless your group has the words "Dixie" and "Chicks" in it they are usually Republicans. So this week something kind of strange happened, there were two endorsements by music figures that were a little bit strange.

Madonna the Mad

First off, Madonna thinks that Senator John McCain has a lot of similarities with people like Hitler while Senator Barack Obama is more of a Gandhi. Both extreme to say the least. Ok, VERY Extreme. In a video montage behind her she showed the pictures of both candidates and cycled through some pictures she associated with each.

Now.. Ms. Madonna, I think that comparing the figure of a Senator of the United States (no matter his or her party) with a figure like Adolf Hitler goes beyond the realm of disrepect and into that of pure insult. John McCain was a POW who was tortured worse than than what Nazi troops were doing to American and European POWs during World War II in most accounts.

Barack Obama and Gandhi? Seriously?! You believe Obama, a first-term Senator is on the same level with a guy that brought down the British Empire through countless years of harassment and imprisonment? It is really hard to equate the two. In fact it is nearly impossible.

If Madonna's purpose was hyperbole or perhaps even satire then the latter case would be fine by me but equating a US Senator with Hitler is outside the realm of reason or respect. [[C'mon Madonna, you are JEWISH! Do you really think McCain wants to take out thousands of people in a maniacal genocide?]]

Daddy Yankee the Oilman

The other odd piece of news was the endorsement John McCain by Hip-Hop and Reggaeton star Daddy Yankee. Now, you may not know this about me but I love all kinds of music and I have Daddy Yankee's albums on heavy rotation on my computer - so, speaking from a semi-educated position I can say that John McCain should have probably said "Thanks.. but No Thanks!" Daddy Yankee told a packed Pheonix Gym at a High School that John McCain stood with Hispanics and had a strong position on immigration that Mr. Yankee agreed with. That's fine and dandy no doubt for McCain who is desperately trying to keep his Hispanic supporters and rouse younger voters who feel he is out of touch with popular culture. (Note: He is now waffling as to whether he knows how to use a computer or understands the internet... not a good sign for the under-25 crowd.)

Daddy Yankee is best known for his hit "Gasonlina" which I might venture to guess someone on the McCain campaign thought was about Offshore drilling or the need for lower gas prices, it is about niether of those things. Most of Daddy Yankees songs are about one of the following topics or some combination of them: prostitutes, the "dope game" (drug dealing), doing drugs, violence, gang life, odes to criminals, and general street life. Those aren't exactly the talking points of the McCain campaign.. in fact most of his support goes to doing just the opposite however I guess he felt the need to throw that out in place of a Hispanic-American Hip Hop star's endorsement. Really sad.

In conclusion, Madonna still has no class and will do anything to get into the news and McCain is acting like a total sell out for Hispanic votes. Off to watch more convention coverage!

Please comment on what you think!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Democratic Convention Coverage

The Democratic Convention this week in Denver, CO will be a collection of liberals and media personnel getting drunk in the Mile High City 24 hrs a day for 5 days. There. If I didn't say another word that ought to be the boiled down straight talk version of the event... but I don't want everyone to hate me, so I'll give it a little more flourish.

The purpose of these conventions, both Democrat and Republican, is to get together and energize the party base and activists while holding a coming out party for the Presidential candidates. The convention is like a handover ceremony, from now until November the Presidential candidates are in full control of their parties in every way. Forget the sitting President, their respective party chief, high-profile politicians, or even common sense. Whatever the candidate says.. is what the party says. Oh, and what better way to have that ceremony than having a huge party in Denver or St. Paul?!

In addition to the ecstasy that each party experiences when they all congregate in one place, the media is treated like royalty and often are just as inebriated (that is drunk) as everyone else. For the media it is like taking a wonderful vacation, all their talking points are fed to them from either party releases or opposition groups and they get all kind of perks. Think about it, when else do TV anchors get to cover 5 day long circuses complete with a big top, balloons, confetti, parrots, monkeys and hooligans? I know I wouldn't miss it for the world!

Enough about that, though. I'll be keeping you updated if anything really interesting happens outside the alcoholic pomp. Stay Tuned.

Kick Russia out of G-8? Bad Idea

Big Bad Russia. The New Russian Empire. The Crazy Bears. Sovietskis. The Cold War is Back.

All these things are currently being said about Russia in the continuing aftermath of the Georgian invasion and South Ossetian conflict. We've learned something about the character of today's Russia that we previously suspected but didn't have solid actions as proof for: Russia is being reborn and it is hungry. The Russian Bear is ready to tussle with anyone who gets in its way. Currently the Russians are keeping it local and safe, preying on breakaway provinces and nearby neighbors who aren't a part of NATO and aren't too close to China or the US.

So... how do we punish Russia? Senator Lieberman (I-CT) and Senator Graham (R-SC), both surrogates for Sen. McCain's Presidential bid, are advocating removing Russia from the G-8. Hmm.. seems reactionary and not very well thought out. This is the kind of politics that could have worked eighty or more years ago but nowadays you need to do like the mafia and keep your friends close and your enemies closer. We need to basically be sleeping with Russia (and China) so we can monitor them and be able to influence their actions more. I know that for you academics out there it sounds like I've taken a liberal (in the Kantian use of the word) position however my realism is still intact, worry not.

One of the many lessons taught to us by the successful foreign policies of the Reagan Administration was that engagement doesn't have to mean capitulation or even compromise. When Reagan and H.W. Bush met with Gorbachev it created a personal connection that kept a dialogue open and both sides were open with their criticisms of the other. Much the same must exist for the Russians and Chinese. In Russia's case it was a lack of effective dialogue and a distracted Administration that allowed the Georgian Crisis to come to a head without US intervention of any kind. In the end French President Sarkozy looks like a hero brokering the peace deal that exists. The US did not even send an serious diplomatic mission or a contigent of Senators until long after the deal was agreed to on both sides. Sad.

Kicking the Russia out of the G-8 is not just a terrible idea, it's also impossible. Try to get the other members to agree to expelling Russia, not going to happen. First off, let's face it - Russia is sitting on an oil well and they can pump it out faster than any other country in the world. They may not have enormous reserves but they sure do have the infrastructure to get it out of the ground and into a barrel quickly. No one wants to mess with an oil country right now... especially now. Second, everyone else in the G-8 is a part of NATO. Kicking Russia severs an important international forum for Russia and NATO to keep the dialogue running. Lastly, It is just waaaay to rash. It is as if the US is throwing a tantrum whenever things in the international area don't go it's way. Just because we can't control things like we used to doesn't mean we need to go out and lose our heads. Keep your cool and try to figure out how to get back on top or maybe just further up then anyone one else...

Smart Foreign Policy will lead to a Smarter and Strong America.


Lieberman: Kick Russia out of G-8 - Think Progress

Saturday, August 23, 2008

CNN: Obama Picks Biden for VP

CNN, MSNBC, and the AP are reporting that Barack Obama has picked Delaware Senator Joseph Biden to run with him as his Vice Presidential candidate. Joe Biden is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and is a respected member of the Senate for many years (he is in his sixth term). Sen. Biden himself ran as a Presidential candidate this cycle but dropped out shortly after the Iowa results came in. Barack Obama should announce this decision at a rally in Springfield today(Saturday August 23rd)

UPDATE: 12:35PM CT - A protective detail of secret service agents has been dispatched to Sen. Biden's Lake House in Delaware where the Bidens are currently at. This would be in addition to reports of at least one, possibly two, police cars parked in his drive way and patrols by local law enforcement which has been stepped up within the past half-hour.

More information as it becomes avaliable.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Obama VP Rumblings...

Well the Obama campaign could make their big announcement anytime now... the Vice Presidential pick... They have precious little time to do it especially since the VP candidate will have to speak on Wednesday night at the Democratic convention in Denver, CO. So.. there is a countdown until they find the right way to break the news.

Well, after looking after all of my posts I found that I've never brought up Barack Obama's possible picks for running mate outside of the the context of Senator Chuck Hagel however those posts focused on why Hagel would not be the a good VP pick for Obama. So.. although making predictions so close to an announcement is pretty stupid.. here it goes.. the top two contenders are: Indiana Senator Evan Bayh or Virginia Governor Tim Kaine. [Some would wonder why I left out Senator Joe Biden.. he ruled himself out, so I say adios to him and good luck with the Senate Foreign Affairs committee, maybe next time ol' pal.]

Senator Evan Bayh:

1) From Indiana, a swing state
2) Is popular amongst whites, rural voters
3) Can speak pretty well about the economy
4) Attacks Republican rhetoric very well
5) Is a Centrist Democrat
6) Is on the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affair, Committee on Armed Services, and Select Committee on Intelligence
7) Known to have a 100% rating from NAACP and other civil rights groups

1) Scandal! Possible inappropriate relationship between his office and his wife's business interests
2) Is a Centrist Democrat
3) Co-sponsored the Iraq War authorization resolution (along with Senator John McCain)
4) His father was Senator, he "inherited" the position

Governor Tim Kaine:

1) White, popular with rural and blue-collar voters
2) Virginia is a swing state that Obama is targeting..
3) Knows Spanish
4) Is Catholic, which could help ease worries about Obama's concern for conservative Christians
5) Gave the Democratic response to the 2006 State of the Union Address (I watched it.. he did a pretty good job at delivering the rhetoric)
6) Is "Green"
7) Says he is against Abortion
8) Opposes Same-Sex Marriage
9) First public figure outside of Illinois to endorse Obama's candidacy for President (and that goes a long way my friends.. a loooong way)

1) He's Catholic
2) Virginia is a little too close to the Beltway
3) Young
4) Inexperienced outside of being the Mayor of Richmond, Lt. Gov, then Gov. of Virginia
5) Says he is against Abortion
6) Opposes Same-Sex Marriage

Oh yeah.. and Obama could pick Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius but that's for another day... ;)


Speculation, anticipation as Obama's VP announcement nears - CNN
Obama: I've decided on my running mate - CNN

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Snap Bomb

The name.. is strange, the promise is good. Every once in awhile I get a little off-topic on this blog and talk about something besides politics (like cars.. or loons). This time I want to take a minute to talk about a blog opportunity called Snapbomb. Snapbomb is a website that is free to join and offers money for posts, pure and simple.

The difference between this service and all the other obnoxious pay-4-post services are pretty big. First, they let you write the post.. not a pre-written "first hand testimonial". Second, you pick the product or website to post about. Third, they let you write your own opinion and you get paid no matter what you write about. Fourth, they help you out a little bit by suggesting some words that might be helpful although you aren't generally required to use them. This blog marketing style helps people work up their products' buzz. I guess they figure that any press is good press, which is partially true, especially on the internet. Finally, it is actually pretty easy. I have a life and I'm sure at least some of the people who read this blog do too, so you are probably looking for a little extra money without loads of complicated technical finagling or tedious processes. Snapbomb is simple it just calculates how much you will be payed based on your traffic then gives you opportunities based on your blog topic and you can accept the opportunities at your own leisure. Also nice is the fact that there is no minumum payout and the money is sent by paypal monthly so you don't have to wait forever.

All around I would call it a pretty cool opportunity and if and when I post something from an opportunity from snapbomb I'll let you all know through a tag titled Snapbomb. Thanks for listening!


Find your own opportunity - Snapbomb
Homepage - Snapbomb

McCain's VP Pick: Moderation is the Key

Dear Senator John McCain,

As a military man you know the new guy in a squad is always the target of criticism but mostly adapt to their comrades. The "new guy" is also a topic of speculation and mystery when a position needs to be filled. Obviously I'm talking about your pick for a Vice-Presidential candidate... Here's a couple names that have been floated that just plain won't work: Joe Lieberman and Tom Ridge.

Here's Why: If there is one thing that has united the Republican Party through thick (Reagan) and thin (Nixon), it is the focus of the Republican Party on conservative social values. I'm talking about the biggies here: abortion, death penalty, and gay marriage. The Republican Party's answers to those issues have been No, Yes, and No, respectively. Now, of course, different brands of Republicans have succeeded in reaching the country's highest elected office but they have all shared those values. Some Presidents have had new or different views of domestic policy or foreign policy or both and the media as well as political commentators have chided each as "breaking" party unity or "gutting" the party's core, so far they haven't really quite got it. There are many simple people who just want to vote based on one thing, God. They believe that as long as the President doesn't like abortion, likes the death penalty, and is opposed to homosexual marriages nothing can penetrate or corrupt the invincible American fortress. You and I know that these people are wrong but these people vote and sometimes you gotta give the people what they want.. especially if you agree with those positions.

Back to the Vice-Presidential pick, both of the politicians I mentioned are not pro-life, Lieberman is neither anti-death penalty nor anti-gay marriage. In fact if we rewind just eight years there is a plethora of sound bites, articles, quotes, interviews, op-eds, and press releases stating those positions very strongly and attacking George W. Bush for supporting these conservative values. Now I don't agree with you at all about the way you believe the War in Iraq should be run or where the course of US Foreign Policy is headed but as a person who gives a great deal of weight to values.. you've stayed in tied as my top choice for President (the other being Senator Obama). If you decide to choose either Lieberman or Ridge my confidence in your ability to stick to your own morals will be shaken and possibly completely broken. I would rather have a person with a strong character that I respect than a politician with a weak character in the White House. It is character after all that is truly tested in trying times of crisis.

Many people who are in politics are mere politicians, those people who make plays for power, and some are statesmen and stateswomen who do what is best for their country given all the information they have. These statesmen and stateswomen don't come from a specific party but they share many character traits amongst them a firm understanding of when to change their positions based on facts and reality and when to stand tall and stick to their ideology no matter how popular it is. Picking someone who is pro-choice to attract centrists and blue dog democrats would be a clear example of being a politician first and a statesman last. Please do not do this.

Thank You,

Strong Moderate


Conservatives upset over abortion rights VP contenders - CNN

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Medvedev to World: I'm just imitating Bush!

One thing you might learn about in Law School is a little something called 'precedent.' According to the American Heritage Dictionary, "Precedent" is an act or instance that may be used as an example in dealing with subsequent similar instances and according to it is any act, decision, or case that serves as a guide or justification for subsequent situations. This isn't an English lesson though, its just a clarification. When you do something and declare that it is legitimate then in the future when someone copies you it is difficult to object without looking hypocritical. Case in point: Georgia/Russia and Iraq/US.

Both Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin are claiming that the invasion into Georgia and the subsequent bombing campaign are very much in line with the international precedent created by President Bush in Iraq because they claim they are only protecting the people of provinces South Ossetia and Abkhazia from "oppression and tyranny" of the Georgian government. Hmm... at least those two are sticking to that story instead of concocting some intelligence about a nuclear program. What can President Bush say to that? Not much.

President Bush, along with political leaders and thinkers from the Right and Left, are very worried about this military strong-arming into the Caucuses Region by Russia. The problem paritally contributed to the fact that the United States has always been looked at as a progressive leader in Human Rights and International diplomacy (which was good) and then now it seems that even with diminishing global reach we have created a precedent in a world that we are less able to control. Twenty or even ten years ago when the US wanted something to be stopped.. I mean seriously wanted an international action to stop, it could have its magic hand and threaten beligerants with something that would really hurt. Nowadays the US is mired in two international conflicts, talking about a third one, has a housing/banking crisis, dealing with record high oil prices, and has seemingly lost its grip of international organizations. Reapetedly discrediting the UN in 2003, the Bush Administration unwittingly shot itself in the foot, losing one of the best legitimizers of American power and instruments of Western foreign policy.

While the US stagnates its power (and loses some as well) the rest of the world are racing to get just a little closer to the hegemonic level the US has achieved. Russia is resurgent, China is booming, India is growing, the EU is consolidating and expanding, but still there is no greater power than US foreign policy... unfortunetly we have set a terrible precedent and it will take at least five years to undo the damage.


Georgia-Russia: Medvedev speaks to the world - CNN
Overview of Georgian Conflict - Wikipedia

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mark Penn: Consider me Great

Mark Penn, former Hilary Clinton Strategist, soaking up the spotlight

It is always disgusting watching someone praise themselves, boast endlessly, and then give themselves a big pat on the back... if it is all undeserved and quite ordinary. Mark Penn, Hilary Clinton's former chief political strategist is just one of those people. Obviously anyone who works for Hilary Clinton is suspect... but this guy keeps taking the cake, time after time.

This time Mr. Penn has decided the best course of action would be to open his mouth and talk about John McCain. One would guess that a Democratic consultant of such stature would be able to offer some pretty blistering attacks.. but Nooooo, Mr. Penn was admiring and praising McCain's recent ad targeting Obama's "celebrity status." Hmm.. it's like he's a little bitter..

If it wasn't bad enough that he's out there praising his opponent, he then goes out and claims that his 3 A.M. ad, like the McCain Paris Hilton/Brittany Spears ad, is among the very best in terrible but effective ads. Here's what he says:

"Fair or not, as advertising it did its job: It used humor, stuck viewers withmemorable images and created a debate, just as Lyndon Johnson's 1964 'Daisy' ad,Walter Mondale's 'Red Phone' spot 20 years later and Hillary Rodham Clinton's '3a.m.' commercial in 2008 did," Penn wrote.

Super. Now this guy has got to be amongst the dirtiest of all campaign strategist. He basically claims that if the tactic is effective, then should be used. Obviously, Mark didn't take a rudimentary course in ethics and lost his moral compass long, long ago. Using scare tactics, misleading claims, and straight up lies is the work of desperate politicians who are willing to do anything to get into and stay in power. (Remind you of anyone... HRC)

Mark Penn, You disgust me.

Same to You, PUMAs, but that's for another day....

Strong Moderate

Hagel: No to Veep Job

Well.. the fantasy is over. Just as I predicted earlier (and here), Senator Hagel has said no to the Vice Presidential candidacy with Sen. Obama. He also related that he will not be endorsing either candidate. I guess he's keeping his options open so either one of them can pick him for their cabinets when the time comes.

Jonathan Stark gave a very tidy comment to the USA Today (after replacing previous Communications Director and current Chief of Staff, Mike Buttry.) The response from Stark came as Jim Leach, a former Republican congressman from Iowa, said during a gathering of GOPers for Obama that Hagel would be a great VP for Obama.

Some blogs and websites are already jabbering about the possibility of a "fallout" between Hagel and Obama or a "deal" with McCain so he wouldn't join forces with Obama, this is all rubbish. The facts are pretty simple and anyone with a political mind can tell you that Hagel, a Senator that was more in line in 2006 and 2007 with the Republican baseline (outside of the issue of Iraq) than any other Senator would have clearly been a bad choice for Obama. Senator Hagel is a straight talker (similar to the pre-2002 version of McCain) and would not shy away from his positions such as pro-life, anti-gay, or anti-Universal Healthcare. Hardly a good Vice-Presidential Candidate.. for a democrat.

Well, naive democrats, the dream of a Obama-Hagel Ticket are gone.. unless Obama comes to his senses on domestic and moral issues in 2012...

And now a gem from Senator Hagel during an interview in Business Week on December 4, 1998:

We have got to focus on a positive agenda so we can govern, or the American public will turn us out... Every colleague I've spoken to is scared to death about that.

--Strong Moderate

P.S. Some inside information on the Hagel office may be coming soon...

Sen. Hagel won't be endorsing a presidential candidate - USA Today on Politics Blog
Hagel won't endorse McCain or Obama, Spokesman says - CNN
A Talk with Senator Chuck Hagel, Busnisess' Wunderkid - Business Week, December 4, 1998

Monday, August 11, 2008

Does China Regret Olympics?

It seems you cannot read a newspaper or spend more than a few minutes online without getting inundated with negative press on China and their Human Rights abuses. First it was political strife, the Tibet, then Human Rights abuse, then speech and protest censorship, then Internet censorship.. and the list goes on. The question we ought to be asking ourselves is, Does China regret pursuing the Olympics bid and then trying to use the Olympics as a coming out party?

The Spin: Press

Let's start out with the press who is hounding China on these claims of abuse. Obviously with all this coverage of the Olympics it wouldn't be complete coverage if they didn't cover China's government and their actions. That being said, China should have expected a historic retelling of their rise from 1959 to today. China also could expect, like Greece, before it that the press investigates every misstep and will sensationalize anything - especially civil strife - to create a good story. China hasn't exactly been apologetic, either. They can control their own press and information but not the foreign press and so they should have known that the boys down at FOX are always fishing for a Human Rights abuse scandal (as long as its not being perpetrated by Americans.)

Freedom: Where to go?

Where is China really in terms of Freedom? According to Freedom House, China ranks a 7 and 6 (with 10 being the worst) for Civil and Political rights, respectively. That's not so good. The good news is that for the first time since the Communist Revolution major reforms and overhauls are being done. That means a lot more economic freedom and then a lot more civil rights freedoms. The Chinese government isn't doing these things out of the kindness of their heart though.. or from outside pressures, they are changing their ways mostly due to a threat from civil unrest. So, on the "Freedoms" front, while things are not so great right now they are definitely heading in the right direction. A few to dos include: allowing opposition parties, freeing political prisoners, working on corruption in government, and effectively dealing/compromising the Tibet and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Regions.

Subtlety or Bravado

The Chinese obviously were overjoyed when they received the Olympic bid but a lot of work was to be done. Back when the bid was awarded in July 2001 China was a long ways away from hosting a huge international event. The effort that went into getting everything ready early (unlike Athens) and then testing and retesting every little thing to make sure things went off without a hitch was really a herculean effort. That along with the amazing economic growth and cultural revitalization of China are note-worthy and admirable without a doubt. It is also clear that while China is straining just as hard as they can to show off their goods they are trying to be subtle in pushing their image. Subtlety however has never been a strong suite of the Chinese and what was suppose to be a glorious coming out party has become an explosion of Chinese Nationalism and an ever louder beating of the drum to the tune of China's growing military, economy, and influence.

Strong Moderate

Please share your opinions on this!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Georgia invaded by Russian Military

Save the Peaches.. ok, but seriously this is a problem.

Since the mid-nineties the break-away country of Georgia has been at odds with the Russian Empire Federation. The dispute has been about an region called Ossetia, whose people believe that they are more Russian than Georgian and thus use Russian currency and speak Russian. Since their call for independence from the newly independent Georgia problems have been brewing...

This flare-up should really send a message to the Global Community, especially the European Union, that "New" Russia is just "Old" Russia with a PR department. Remember back in the day (or perhaps you've just studied it, like me) when the ol' USSR would decide it needed to crush a thorn in its side it would just roll in the tanks and claim it was just taking care of a problem in its "sphere of influence" - that was the old way... The new style of Russian foreign policy is just a little tweaked but basically the same. Let's walk through it together:
  1. Russian Leader wakes up... there are problems allover the place (mostly created by his own corrupt regime and mafia control)
  2. Russian Leader decides that he ought to solve a problem, scare all his rivals at the same time, and give the people something to cheer about in a nationalistic way
  3. Russian leader points the a surrounding country on a map where there have been some problems and tells his military leaders to invade it
  4. Russian leader and his foreign ministry fabricate a story about said tiny country's efforts to "abuse" the human rights of Russians or "interfere" with Russian interests
  5. (If possible) Tie that country in with the War on Terror
  6. Issue strict ultimatums and impossible conditions and call it all 'diplomatic talks and failing to find a diplomatic solution due to a lack of cooperation on the opposite side'
  7. Remind people that all Russia is doing is just protecting its people and their interests
  8. Russian Leader waits for the opportune time (preferably while everyone else is watching some kind of global spectacle) to launch the invasion
  9. Invade
  10. Try to block out the news, deny anything wrong is going on, , and then ignore foreign criticisms
  11. Repeat claims of protecting interests
  12. Continue blasting the living daylights out of target country
  13. At some randomly decided time: stop, declare victory, and have a massive military parade through Moscow
There you go! The "New" Russian model for invasions of neighboring sovereign countries. In the USSR you just had steps 1, 9, 10, 12, and 13.

The truly sad thing about this new Georgian incursion is that Russia has been harassing this poor little country for years including cutting off their gas and oil supplies. That's harsh! In the age of live coverage and hyper-media reactions it seems the Olympics have acted as an override switch to the news of hundreds, possibly thousands, of villagers and civilians being slaughtered by nearly round-the-clock bombings of civilian and military targets. The airports and roads have been crushed and a long line of at least two hundred tanks and armored personnel carriers have been seen entering the country according to recent reports but hey... I'd rather talk about Micheal Phelps or that Chinese hurdler! I guess Russia still knows when to orchestrate an attack when no one will care about some 'insignificant' country... sad. Very sad, indeed.

I will try to keep track of this story and keep you all posted if possible.

Whelp.. I guess I'll just sit around here and wait for the KGB to come and eliminate me. Until next time, please leave some comments for you comrade in arms.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

W decides maybe it is time to pull-out of Iraq

Folks, I gotta tell you, it is a confusing crazy world in politics. I guess that's just the nature of politics but keeps getting crazier and crazier.

There are just so many crazy stories today about Iraq, the Iraq War, and US foreign policy in the region that it almost boggles the mind that we have an administration that is so at odds with reality and itself that it seems to contradict and sabotage itself at every corner. It is as if the delusions of this Bush Administration have come to a head.. unsure of what to do or how to do it they have become desperate for some kind of action without regard to party platform, sane policy, responsibility, or ethics. (Although one could argue that they have never cared about the last three items)

Here are the Headlines that grabbed my attention.. and when you put them altogether you realize what kind of a desperate lame-duck sham we are being treated to:

  1. Iraqis: Agreement near on US troop withdraws
  2. Cleric al-Sadr may end cease fire if no US withdrawal timetable released Friday
  3. McCain: Obama wants to 'forfeit' war
  4. Former Bin Laden driver given lenient 66 month sentence
Ready? Here we go.

Let's start with the first two headlines. First, it may come as a surprise to you that the Bush Administration is about to complete something they call a "Security Agreement" (although it is quite the opposite) whereby the US promises to remove all Combat troops by October 2010 and the rest of all by 2013. Very, Very Surprising... That's not what you'd call a "time horizon" or a "series of benchmarks" that's what you call a strict TIME LINE. The pact also includes strict dates for the hand-over of the Green Zone (end of 2008) and the removal of all troops from cities (June 30, 2009). Talk about switching from full-speed ahead to full reverse! I know that some of you are jumping for joy at the sudden move to pull out entirely.. but it does come at a considerable cost to our long-term security, the stability of Iraq, and the balance of the Middle East. I felt like President Bush just threw up his hands and said "OK, fine! We'll do what the people want!" without really thinking it through. Even the most liberal and sane politicians who are experts on foreign policy and international relations (I'm not looking at you Kucinich! Biden step up, man, you deserve it) talk about creating time-lines without such strict dates, adding loads of benchmarks with conditional statements galore. This pact according to sources at the Baghdad Embassy and reports from the Iraqi Foreign Ministry has one big clause that basically says if the security situation changes much then the deal is off. Let me tell you: Iran, Iraqi PM Al-Maliki and various other Shi'ite politicians are going to swear everything is perfectly OK until the American Troops leave completely then they will decide to have their way with their own citizens a la Saddam. The fact that Cleric, political leader, and militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr is lobbying and threatening both Iraqi and American officials with violence should be a sure sign that something is a little rotten about the deal. If the Bush Administration does agree to this deal whoever the next President and his Secretaries of State and Defense should work to totally overhaul it within their first month in office.

Onto item #3, McCain calling out Obama on 'forfeit[ing]' the war through his timetable plan. Look McCain, if you should be scolding someone it should be the Dubya! He's the one who is saying one thing (for 5 years) and then doing the complete opposite! Then 'W' is stabbing you in the back by taking the decision right out of your hands.. its like he has absolutely no confidence in your winning the election! At least Obama's plan (which I've talked about before) includes talk of benchmarks and the security environment instead of the simple-minded rigidity of the current Security Pact. Oh, and Obama - you shouldn't be happy about this either. If both sides agree then you go in and change it or review it, it makes you look really petty unless you have a super-PR plan in place.

Finally, item #4. In the AP report and their headline "Stunningly lenient sentence for former bin Laden driver" it gives the impression to the reader that the bin Laden driver, Salim Hamed, is getting off easy. He isn't. The tribunal convicted him of supporting terror by driving Osama around and occasionally acting as his body guard and found him innocent of planning anything or purposefully harming the United States. Given that, he does need to be punished. It is never enough to say "Oops, I didn't know my boss was a bad guy." Ignorance does not equal innocence however, given the fact that this man has been held without his human rights, tortured, and treated as though he is sub-human I consider this man to have already served his time. His sentence according to the judge was 66 months, the defendant then received permission to speak and apologized to the court and the American people claiming he had no idea whatsoever that Bin Laden was planning something like that. The Judge then said that the sentence could be completed in as little as 5 months if the defendant is cooperative. Of course, that set the extreme right-wingers right off their rockers... but let's face it, lets say someone is held without bail or being notified of their rights or what they are being charged with for say... SIX YEARS and then a trial finally occurs and that someone is then told they are guilty.. but not as bad as previously thought... then sentenced for 5 and a half years. If it was anywhere in the US we'd be asking at the very least how this guy can get those extra 6 months of his life that were robbed of him back. Oh yeah.. and don't forget, even after this fella finishes his sentence he probably won't be released! Shame.. Shame on us. Remember, this nation was built on the promises of Liberty and Justice... not Revenge or Vindictefullness.

Strong Moderate (with a little help from Flaming Moderate)

Iraqis: Agreement near on US troop withdraws - AP
Cleric may end cease fire if no US withdrawal timetable released Friday - AP
Stunningly lenient sentence for former bin Laden driver - AP
McCain: Obama wants to 'forfeit' Iraq war - AP

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Found Innocent? Get back to your Jail Cell!

[I figured I should probably get back to posting something.. every once in awhile, so here it goes]

America use to stand for things like "Land of the Free" and "Innocent until proven Guilty".. you know that stuff Superman and your 4th grade teacher taught you. It seems that America is gone and is being replaced by a much uglier America. An America where what we believe to be true is truth and what we feel like doing is the right path. This is neither the America I want to live in nor is it the America we should let develop.

While discussing the charges against Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's driver, the Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said that even if found innocent of all charges the military believes it would be too "dangerous" to release detainees. Hmm.. that sounds about as Un-American as a Religious Re-education Camp.

He also relayed to reporters that another 20 detainees were looking forward to the military tribunals and most of those defendants would also be kept for "some time" after their trial if found totally innocent of all charges. All other detainees not be tried or released although there is an "effort" to return those detainees (that there is no evidence against) to their home countries so that they can be released or incarcerated.

Hmmm.. wait.. twenty detainees have a trial.. what about all the others? Don't they deserve to be tried for their alleged crimes? Shouldn't they at least have the chance to prove they are not guilty and did not commit the crimes that they are accused of? Shouldn't we, the public, have a chance to exact justice on those who are truly guilty? Instead of letting both innocents and guilty people rot doesn't the public deserve to know that criminals, killers and terrorists are being brought to justice? Shouldn't we have the chance to know that those guilty of the most heinous crimes are being put to death for their transgressions? Is it really too much to ask!

I hope that I've been clear. I want Guantanamo shut down not because I think everybody out there is a perfect little angel but because I believe in Justice. Justice for all. Release the innocent. Punish the guilty. Give these people fair and speedy trials so that they may find their place along side the free and their families or to be condemned and punished with the guilty.

Give Justice a Chance.

Flaming Moderate [If you wish to contact me, I also read strongmoderate's email account, just address the e-mail to me.]

Gitmo detainees subject to detention even if acquitted: Pentagon - Raw Story

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Someone at Toyota must have heard...

I know my main topic here is politics but sometimes auto-related stuff (my other passion) gets thrown in for good measure, this is one of those instances.

In one of my previous posts, I discussed laws that concerned the Pruis and other electric cars having some kind of alert system for pedestrians because they ran so quietly in comparison to other cars. I brought up the Fisker Karma which has a speaker system outside the car that imitates the sounds of a combustion engine running at the approximate speed and RPMs of the electric engine.

Toyota who make the Prius, my main concern, are doing something about it! Toyota who is under suit because someone in a Pruis hit a kid in the street who claimed he didn't even hear a car coming at all. Obviously there are a lot of facts of this case that aren't available yet because it could have been the kid's fault for being in the street.. but I digress. Now Toyota has announced a joint project with Lotus to put 300 Watt speakers just behind the car's grill that mimic a flat-6 or V8 engine sound to warn those in front of them of the hybrid's impending arrival.

I'm glad that the auto industry is finally updating their ways considering that although Hybrids may help the environment in various ways (although that is questionable.. part 1, part 2, part 3) the creation of hybrids also creates new problems. Although I am not a fan of government regulations because they usually bungle it, the federal gov't should definitely start talking regulation to ensure saftey if the industry is so slow to adopt safety measures.

Autoblog story - here

Monday, August 4, 2008

Happy Birthday Barack Obama!

Today is the Junior Senator from Illinois's Birthday.
Happy Birthday Barack Obama!

Obama Trip Report Card (Part 2)

Of course we couldn't let the Obama-thon World Tour go without analyzing just a little bit... So we officially present to you:

The Obama World Tour Report Card

In the interest of not re-hashing everything that has been on every cable-news channel and news report for the past two weeks this will be a quick strike report card. Quick, clear, and fair. What did Senator Barack Obama want out of his destination, what he got, where that got him, and a Grade. An overall grade is given at the end.


What was the objective: Meet with Palestinian (West Bank) President Abbas
What actually happened: Met with Palestinian delegation, Almost zero coverage of the trip
Problems: Little to no media coverage
Grade: B/D-, Obviously meeting with the embattled Palestinian leadership is a touchy issue so either by having no media coverage purposefully he shielded himself from criticism or he hid the fact that he spoke to both sides about a conflict between both sides...


What was the objective
: Show Europe that as President he would mend the EU-US relationship
What actually happened: 200k show up to listen to his speech at Berlin's Victory Column, he meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Problems: Being hugely popular in Germany doesn't necessarily mean you'll get votes in the US, speaking at a "Victory" Column is a bit premature, the Victory Column is a monument to Germany's military victories.. something the US sorta fought against not too long ago
Grade: B, Obama standing in front of hundreds of thousands of adoring fans, halfway across the world, is a truly empowering image for the Obama camp but also provides video fodder for so many McCain ads


What was the objective: Met with French President Sarkozy
What actually happened: Hold joint press conference, looks very presidential and refuses to criticize Bush directly, Sarkozy calls him a "buddy"
Problems: well.. Sarkozy called him a "buddy", slightly hypocritical to criticize Bush all year long within reach of the global media but then refuse to because you are in France
Grade: B+


What was the objective: Meet with British leaders to strengthen ties to current allies as well as lost ones
What actually happened:
met with Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom, as well as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Conservative opposition leader David Cameron.
Problems: none really.. sort of an easy wind down exercise
Grade: A, smooth as can be with a long-tie ally

What was the objective: Pump up the foreign policy credentials of Obama, a man who although studies international relations does not have a lot of foreign experience outside of his childhood, especially when matched up against McCain
What actually happened: Mixed bag really.. for Democrats, Obama was just affirming what he had; for Republicans, Obama was on a world wide rock star tour
: That Victory Column shot is going to be used over and over again to create the message that Obama is an arrogant rock-star politician who gives one hell of a speech but can't connect to the "average" American
: B, sure it shut down a lot of criticism from the McCain campaign about his 2-year absence from the Middle East and Southeast Asia... but it also affirmed that he is hugely popular world-wide which on the face of it seems good, but the true question is: Is what the world wants also what America should want?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Hagel to Keynote Democratic Convention?

Back to some news for Nebraska.. which has been very politically predictable.

This is from Meet the Press on NBC, August 3rd, 2008:

MR. BROKAW: Who's going to be the keynoter at the Democratic convention?

MR. TODD: Oh, my money's on Chuck Hagel. And I, I think it would be a Republican. That's the message that Obama wants to send. I mean, the whole idea of the Democratic convention, I think, is going to be two parts. One is you are going to see them be more aggressive on McCain than John Kerry was on Bush. I mean, I talked to an Obama person, and I asked them what they thought of that 2004 convention as a whole, was it too soft on Bush? And immediately said, "Oh, absolutely." So expect--in fact, don't be surprised if Obama starts ratcheting up rhetoric against McCain this week. Forget the convention. But I've always--my money's always been on Chuck Hagel as the, as the keynote. But it's not--you know, technically Hillary Clinton may dominate that night because she's, she's the, she's the big speaker that night. But you send a message with your keynote, and I think we may have seen the other keynote on this, at this desk.

Wait.. what did you just say? Chuck Hagel.. keynoting the Democratic Convention?! Isn't that slightly.. you know.. insane?

Chuck Todd is an analyst for NBC and a former writer for the National Journal. He brought up Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) as a possible keynote for the Democratic Convention. The idea of bringing someone from the opposite party to keynote is nothing strange... the Republicans did it with Zel Miller in 2004. The big question mark is of course Chuck Hagel. There have been rumors of a want (or need) to bring in someone from across the aisle or an independent to do the keynote to boost the chances of Obama capturing important swing votes. More than a few big names that have come up such as Hagel, Colin Powell, NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, or former Sen. Sam Nunn.

Chuck Todd thinks that Hagel has the inside track to keynote but a lot of problems exist.... First thing is, when you pick a keynote speaker it is generally a good idea to be sure that the speaker can go on for quite awhile and really articulate the message you want to send. If the Convention is pretty much geared towards having a War Hero talk about the blunders in Iraq then they have their man otherwise.. they are really asking the wrong guy. Hagel owns one of the highest conservative ratings from any thinktank asked according to his votes on everything but the War in Iraq. Seeing how the economy is shaping up to be the big issue of this election (and the failure of promise of 2006 Democrats to end the War in Iraq) maybe using Hagel to hammer the facts home wouldn't be such a bright idea.

What do you think? Post a comment.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Fareed Zakaria is wrong on Turkey

Fareed Zakaria and I are good friends.. ideologically. I love his book, The Post-American World, which you can (and should) purchase - from Amazon dot com for a heavily discounted price (40% off). As I was saying, he is one of the few political minds that appears on TV that actually makes sense most of the time and uses facts to justify his point, something sorely missed from most other commentators and pundits.

However.. he is just plain wrong about Turkey. Every time he gets the chance to talk about Turkey he does.. and he keeps complimenting them and showering them with his praises. I find all these adulation misplaced.

In his most recent talk on this subject he touts the Turkish Supreme Court ruling that disallows the banning of the ruling party based on their adherence to a religion. (Which I agree is good) Then he goes on about how all the Middle East could really "learn" from the "only Islamic liberal democracy." This is where he is exactly wrong.

Turkey, like France, are too secular to be democracies. Let me explain, just like Christianity or Islam can affect a democracy, state or society so can ultra-secularism. The cult of ultra-secularism treats religion not as an integral part of people's lives but as a threat to liberty. Now, there are some religious types who see the same of secularism but in a true democracy all people must be protected from both. Both the religious and secular wish to influence others with their way of seeing the world and it is the role of a true liberal democracy (of which Zakaria refers) to allow both options to exist and not threaten the other. Neither side should over-power the other without the protections of the State and both view-points should exist within the marketplace of ideologies that exist within these liberal States.

Therefore, it should not be the place of the governments of France or Turkey to allow or disallow any amount of religiosity on the part of an individual or group either by overt or covert means. There is nothing that is inherently anti-French or anti-Turkish in wearing a scarf, yarmulke, or cross. Both countries especially Turkey are guilty of betraying their pledges to liberalism when they take secularism to an extreme where it infringes on the liberties of people to express their beliefs. This is a problem in the Western World that is continuing to create problems as immigration and the free flow of information change the structure and nature of societies throughout the world. Just as Religious Terrorists throughout the world strike out against secular targets, so does the ultra-secularists strike against any overt sign of religion.

Fareed Zakaria, my friend, now is the most important time for liberal democracies to exist in their truest form so that they may be a model of tolerance and peace between parties in the face of extremism and totalism.

Strong Moderate

Please Feel Free to Share Your Opinions!!


The Post-American World - Fareed Zakaria --

Zakaria: Islamic world should learn from Turkey court ruling --