Thursday, September 30, 2010

Meg Whitman Accused of Hiring Illegal Worker for 9 Years.

Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate for governor of California, looked the other way for years while employing an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper, a prominent California attorney representing the housekeeper alleged Thursday. At a press conference in Sacramento Thursday, former Whitman housekeeper Nicky Diaz Santillan said she was treated like "garbage" during the nine years she worked in the Whitman household, from 2000 to 2009.

She says she was paid for 15 hours per week while working longer than those hours, was threatened with being fired when she became pregnant
, and was finally fired when she asked Whitman for help in securing legal status for herself, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Accompanied by lawyer Gloria Allred, Santillan told reporters that Whitman's husband "yelled" at her after she opened up about her immigration status last year. The former housekeeper said Whitman consulted with a lawyer over the matter, and then told her, "From now on you don't know me, and I don't know you. You have never seen me, and I have never seen you. Do you understand me?" Whitman's former employee says the candidate knew of her immigration status and chose to look the other way. In her statement (PDF, courtesy of TMZ), Santillan said a letter arrived from the Social Security Administration in 2003 warning the Whitmans that Santillan may be working illegally because her Social Security number was a mismatch. The Whitmans, Santillan alleges, never followed up on the claim.

TPJ: This scandal couldn't have come at a worse time for Meg Whitman in her race for the governorship of California as she just yesterday spoke out for a crackdown on employers hiring illegal immigrants!! Corporations like Ebay, (the one Whitman founded and operated) whose managements are dominated usually by Corporatist Republicans have long taken advantage of cheap labor by illegal workers. Yet, at the same time demean them and will do everything to prevent them citizenship. So, they can keep benefiting from the labor without having to pay them well because if they were given citizenship then they'd have to pay them a fair, living wage.

The other side of this coin are the Tea Party types who are vehemently anti-immigrant and in the middle of purging the Republican Party of politicians like Whitman who straddle the line and play both sides of the fence. The Tea Party conservatives aren't going to like this one bit. Unfortunately, however, the real losers are the illegal workers who are stuck in limbo because of people like Whitman who gladly take advantage of their hard work but don't do anything to help these immigrants decide their status in America once and for all. That's the worst kind of politician; one who won't stand up for either position but who takes advantage of both sides by pitting them against each other. The Tea Party claims they are tired of faux conservatives; well, then how can you support Whitman?

I hope there aren't any Latinos voting for Whitman because she really doesn't seem to have your best interests at heart. I'd say a large chunk of the Republican party has shown over and over that they not only despise illegal immigrants but see the Latino culture as inferior and treat them like animals. It's sick, un-American and must stop, which is why the Liberals and Democrats are trying to get comprehensive immigration reform done, which is a compromise to do what's best for ALL people living here in America.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Another O'Donnell Lie, Jim DeMint as Dictator and Sharron Angle's Hypocrisy.

In another move that will raise further questions about Christine O'Donnell's embellishment of her education record, she claims she studied at the University of Oxford -- but a look at her actual record shows this is at best an exaggeration and at worst an outright falsehood. O'Donnell's LinkedIn bio page lists "University of Oxford" as one of the schools she attended, claiming she studied "Post Modernism in the New Millennium." But it turns out that was just a course conducted by an institution known as the Phoenix Institute, which merely rented space at Oxford. By itself, O'Donnell's Oxford claim might not matter too much. But the larger context is that O'Donnell has already been nabbed fudging her education record not once, but twice.

TPJ: This woman isn't just embellishing. This is systematic dishonesty at a time when honesty and trustworthiness are at a premium in this country. The last thing we need is another politician who has a problem with the truth because that is a politician who can easily be manipulated by other politicians (and special interests) to lie and engage in corruption. Especially in O'Donnell's case where she also has engaged in financial deception in her personal life. In other 2010 campaign news:

Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) raised eyebrows on Monday when his office emailed GOP aides to let them know that he would block all legislation that he and his staff have not personally cleared until the November elections.

TPJ: This is exactly the kind of unbending attitude that the Republicans have used to keep the peoples' business in Congress from moving forward--even on issues that traditionally Republicans have supported. In another example, "The same Republicans in Congress who mentioned small businesses eighteen times in their “Pledge to America” voted against the Small Business Jobs Bill in the House on the same day...that’s right..they voted against a bill that would potentially benefit the very small business where they rolled out their agenda."

It seems to me that the Republicans are more interested in seeing Obama and the Democrats from getting anything done than in helping America move forward. The Republicans attempt to stymie progress in the Congress is a cynical bet that Americans will tire of inaction so much that they'll vote Republican out of frustration. That's not a positive vision for America--that's just "dirty pool." The final news item for today:

Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle's staunch opposition to federal involvement in health care -- or pretty much everything, for that matter -- was contorted Tuesday with recent news that she and her husband receive government provided health care.

TPJ: This is typical of the conservatives these days; they oppose anything having to do with the government but when it comes to their own lives they don't live what they preach. Just like a lot of Republican members of Congress who rail against social security won't refuse social security benefits!! Or the Republicans who rail against homosexuality but later come out to be gay themselves. I'll be the first to admit that the Democrats haven't always made the right decisions since Obama has been in office but at least they're trying to get things done for America, which is more than you can say for the "Grand Obstructionist Party"--the Republicans. Obama and the Democrats have only had FULL power for just under two years. Of course they've technically had control since '06 but they didn't have a filibuster proof majority--meaning they didn't have enough control to stop the Republicans from stalling tactics to keep them from making much head-way.

And Obama has certainly only been in power for a little while, and I know we're all impatient--me too, but this is the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression. So, it's going to be a bit longer until we fully recover. That's not entirely Obama's fault--that's just how bad things had gotten by the time he rolled into office. So, please--give him until the end of his elected term, (2012) and if things haven't improve by then; vote him out. And Democrats, I know you're mad about the watered down attempts by Democratic politicians to move forward but it's the best game in town. If you're going to "stay home" and not vote because you're upset that the Democrats didn't try hard enough; I hear ya but letting these Tea Party wackos into office is only going to make things worse for everyone. So, PLEASE!! GET OUT AND VOTE!! AND VOTE EARLY!!

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Poll: Americans Wish Obama Health Care Plan Went Further by 2-to-1.

President Barack Obama's health care overhaul has divided the nation, and Republicans believe their call for repeal will help them win elections in November. But the picture's not that clear cut. A new AP poll finds that Americans who think the law should have done more outnumber those who think the government should stay out of health care by 2-to-1. "I was disappointed that it didn't provide universal coverage," said Bronwyn Bleakley, 35, a biology professor from Easton, Mass.

TPJ: For too long the media has bombarded us with the news that Americans oppose Obama's health care. So naturally many dishonest Republicans spun America into believing that they opposed it because they didn't want any change to their health care. While it is true that they didn't like the plan; they don't like it because it doesn't go far enough!! And why doesn't it go far enough? It's because the Republican Party fought against a stronger plan at every opportunity they had.

They stalled, they lied about what the plans would do, they said "no" to every compromise offered and otherwise obstructed Democrats in making it a better plan. That along with some spineless "conservative Democrats" voting against the final bill was what kept the plan from improving. And now some Americans want to give the Republicans power again? After so little time of having Obama in office? Give him and the Democrats at least a full presidential term to improve things given we gave Bush 8 years to get us in this mess in the first place!! Remember that the only party between the two to even try to reform health care in a major way for a majority of Americans would be the Democrats. Please remember this poll when going to vote this fall.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Republican "Pledge to America" is Recycled, Failed Ideas.

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TPJ: Meet the new Republican Party...same as the old Republican Party. Their "new" ideas that are supposedly in this "Pledge to America" are the same ones used in the Bush days. Apparently they think that the problem with the Bush agenda wasn't that the ideas sucked but that they didn't push it further than they did!! YIKES!! Their claim to everyone was that they were "humble" after the 2008 and were going to come back with fresh, new ideas and so when John Boehner said in this clip, "And the point we make in this preamble, to our pledge, is that we're not going to be any different than what we've been." Wow. If you fall for the Republican pledge and vote for them because of it thinking it's "real change" than you are a fool. A sucker who'll buy a chunk of swampland down in the Everglades.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Borderline Mentally Retarded Women to be Executed.

A woman with learning difficulties is set to become the first female to be executed by the US state of Virginia in nearly a century. Teresa Lewis has been on death row for eight years after being found guilty of hiring hitmen to kill her husband and stepson.

TPJ: Yet the issue that everyone is talking about is that she's a woman--not that she's borderline mentally retarded. I am morally, religiously and politically against the death penalty in any case. Still, I don't think it will be abolished anytime soon but if it is to remain than it should apply equally to both men and women criminals. I find it disconcerting that many seem to think that women shouldn't be put to death simply because of their gender. If murder gets you a death sentence then why should it matter if you have female reproductive parts? It sends the wrong message to society that we stand for equality between the sexes; except when crime is involved.

That's not equal justice. I'm sure there are plenty of men in prison who'd like to be sparred death. We as a society can't claim to be equal between the sexes if penalties for crimes are different between men and women. Women can't have it both ways--either we treat you with the same brutality of the prison system that we subject all prisoners too, or we reform the justice system for all people.

I sympathize though with Ms. Lewis because I think mentally retarded people regardless of sex or race shouldn't be executed. She didn't even fire the shot that killed her husband and yet she's get the death penalty whereas the shooter isn't!! Also, the self-confused head of the plot wrote a letter stating she was manipulated into going along with the murder plot because this ring-leaders said he knew she was slow and could thus easily be manipulated. So, yes, she shouldn't be executed but not because she's a woman. That's just silly. This is the 21st century--either we're equal across the board or not. This is all a moot point though in a way for me because I think the death penalty itself is barbaric and a relic of an uncivilized people.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ken Buck Wants to Privatize Veterans Health Care.

Ken Buck wants to privatize veteran’s health care, which would submit our veterans to a system that would guarantee their benefits will rise and fall with the whims of the market. Having their health care associated with the VA allows them to have a guarantee that coverage will always be there. Apparently Buck thinks veterans haven’t earned a guarantee. But, besides that the VA hospital system is one of the best health care systems in America according to Washington Monthly and veterans themselves:
"A 2005 Washington Monthly article called it “the highest quality care in the country.” A head-to-head comparison in 2003 between Medicare patients who were free to choose their own private doctors and veterans who were covered by the Veterans Health Administration, the New England Journal of Medicine found the latter “significantly better” on all 11 measures of quality. In addition, a 2006 survey found that veterans are significantly more satisfied with their care than civilians who received private care.
Yet sadly, this is just the latest in a long line of statements from Ken Buck that show him to be too extreme for Colorado, which while traditionally more conservative it has been increasingly become centrist. He's against abortion even in cases of rape and incest, he says Liberals are more of a threat to this country than terrorists, and now he wants to throw the health care stability of our veterans into flux. As they come home and try to heal from their wounds, the last thing they need to worry about is changing insurance programs. They deserve a guarantee and Ken Buck is gambling with their care.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fiscal Conservative? Christine O'Donnell's Financial Problems.

(Above: Christine O'Donnell looking like even she didn't expect to win her primary. Her body language says it all, "How did I con enough people into voting for me?!").

Christine O'Donnell has been getting a lot of attention for her past involvement in Satanic rituals but I'd like to write about her financial past. She claims to be this staunch fiscal conservative and says that debt is immoral and yet she herself hasn't had the best personal, financial record. Yet she had trouble paying for her own debt in failing to meet her mortgage payments according to the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). CREW is a non-partisan watchdog group who states that their mission is to, "promote ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials regardless of party affiliation who sacrifice the common good to special interests." A lot of people have fallen on hard times and had problems paying their mortgage but most people would then run for public office and go on to rail against the Democrats for borrowing money to spend on getting us out of this recession.

Her own campaign manager has said that she's a "complete fraud" in part because during her 2008 campaign she didn't appear to have any other source of income than the donations to her own campaign!! According to CREW, it's been years since she's had a steady job and now she wants a government job (despite railing against what government does) and she wants you to pay her salary. Her house payments were picked up by a Mr. Brent Vasher who charged her $750 a month in rent but when she was unable to make those payments she used campaign funds to make the rent. She recorded those rent payments that came from campaign funds as "expense reimbursements" on Federal Election Commission forms, which is illegal. She also used campaign funds for other personal expenses such as: gas, meals, and even an outing to a bowling alley!!

That's not all. She claims to stand for Christian values and yet has lied for years about her college history. For years she claimed to have gotten her degree from, "Fairleigh Dickinson University; in reality she finally received her diploma a scant two weeks ago." In addition, CREW shows that O'Donnell claimed to have won two counties against Vice President Senator Joe Biden in that 2008 election mentioned above. In reality, she won none. So, if you think by voting for her you'd be getting a fiscal and social conservative in her then you've been duped by her charm. She represents for many the moment that the Tea Party "jumped the shark." O'Donnell is the poster child for just how extremist and deceptive the Tea Party is. They use nice, American sounding labels such as, "patriot" to describe themselves while draping themselves in the American flag to distract you from their true extremist agenda, which is nothing short of dismantling social security, Medicare and a lot of other regressive polices.

I'm angry too but we need to be careful to watch out for voting out of desperation thinking that even though those in the Tea Party sound a little wild and weird that they'd be better than the Democrats. It's easy to feel frustrated with the Democrats right now because they are in power but we are making progress on the economy albeit slow. Do you really want to risk interrupting that progress and momentum by electing a completely untested group of candidates in the Tea Party who promise to undo what little progress we have?

Even though we're all frustrated about the slow pace of the recovery, I don't think we want to wake up one day and find social security, Medicare, the Department of Education and regulations that protect our drinking water, etc. gone. These folks aren't here to co-operate--they're here to undo the America we've known since World War II. They'd take us back to the Robber Baron days where people were completely on their own with no worker rights, no wage protections, no safety standards and little help from outside their own family. That's what's at stake and if you don't believe me; just look at the platform of people like Christine O'Donnell, Rand Paul, Joe Miller and Sharron Angle to name of few of the Tea Party candidates.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Alcohol Lobbyists Fighting Marijuana Freedom in California. Don't Let Them Decide for You!!

Typical corporate lobbying bullshit to prevent competition. These people talk a good game about the free market but when it comes to straight up competing on a level playing field they do everything in their power to stack the deck in their favor. It's no longer capitalism based on democracy. It's corporatism based on the power and money being in the hands of just a few "Robber Baron" type tycoons.
According to a recently filed campaign finance report, the campaign to defeat a marijuana legalization initiative in California is receiving substantial funding from the alcohol industry. Now marijuana advocates are fighting back, calling on the opposition campaign to explain why it is working with Big Alcohol to keep marijuana illegal. But why does the No on Prop. 19 campaign share? Big Alcohol's goal of an alcohol-only society? It seems odd that a group that purports to be committed to enhancing public safety wants to ensure Californians can only drink and cannot use marijuana as a safer recreational alternative.

After all, every objective study on marijuana has concluded that it is far safer than alcohol to the user and society. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol use alone contributes to more than 35,000 deaths each year -- including several hundred from overdoses -- whereas marijuana use does not contribute to any deaths and has never resulted in a fatal overdose in history.
Handsome B. Wonderful: If you live in California and support marijuana freedom then don't sit this election out thinking there will be more than enough supporters that will vote. We need everyone, single, vote we can get out on election day. It's time to take the power of medicine back into the hands of the common man and return to the days when marijuana was seen as a sacrament and a great, healing, divine, herb.

-hbw

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Republicans are Blackmailing the Middle-Class.

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TPJ: Democrats win on taxes. The Republicans are preventing Obama from giving the middle-class tax cuts unless the rich get them too. Isn't that blackmail? Yeah!! There's a positive message for November (sarcasm). They are holding the middle-class hostage until they get their cut like a mobster perpetrating a kidnapping scheme. The Republicans claim tax cuts for the rich are going to bring back the jobs. But that non-sense when you realize that America lost jobs under Bush after he first enacted the tax cuts to the rich.

He left this country's economy and job market in shambles, and now the Republicans and Tea Party want to blame Obama for not fixing 8 years worth of economic disaster fast enough? Just like it took awhile to turn the Titanic around, so too will it take longer than we would like, to see our economy fully turn around, but it's turning. So the last thing we should be doing while it's starting to ratchet back up is reverse that by voting for the Republicans who have promised to dismantle all that progress.

I know, I know Democrats. I'm disappointed too that we couldn't get more done so far but perhaps we let ourselves get too idealistic about the reality of how much change can be done in such a short time. Especially with a Republican Party that said, "No" to everything like a petulant child. It sucks but the last thing we need are the Sarah Palin's of the country running our economy!!

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Republican Newt Gingrich: Obama Has a "Kenyan, Anti-Colonial" World View.

Fueling the myth mongering that Barack Obama is not a natural-born U.S. citizen, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said in a recent interview that the president may follow a "Kenyan, anti-colonial" worldview. "That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior."

TPJ: O.k., enough is enough. Republicans and conservatives need to stop playing games about the president's race, nationality and by extension his loyalty to America. America is hurting, the economy is struggling but starting to recover and the Republicans want to play games?? The Democrats may not be doing everything right but at least they're trying and I'm sick of these clowns on the right questioning the presidents' "Americanness." They're not serious about helping the country it seems. There plans seems to be divide Americans, exploit the fissures and conquer. This is not how serious minded politicians work.

The Republicans are too extreme and radical to elect at this point. Don't reward them with power simply because they are the "other guys." They haven't learned from their mistakes during the Bush decade. They don't seem serious about doing the hard work. The Democrats are slugging away, trying to get bipartisan co-operation and making slow progress to be sure but progress none the less. And all the Republicans seem to know how to say is, "No, no, no." Like a child.

They still want to cut taxes for the rich, which require borrowing despite their criticism of the Democrats for borrowing. The difference is that the borrowing the Democrats have done is for the rebuilding of the middle-class, which is the true engine of the American economy. Whereas the tax cuts the Republicans want and the Bush policies they will continue help only a few elite. They get these tax cuts but don't spend them. They usually invest it, which helps the stock market but how many people have enough money in the market these days to benefit from it like the rich are/can?

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Koran Burning Not Comparable to "Ground Zero mosque." Republicans Fan Flames.

This nut job "Pastor" (I see him more as a false prophet) in Florida who wants to burn a stack of holy Qur'ans is being compared by top Republicans (Sarah Palin/Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner) to the building of the mosque near "Ground Zero" in New York City. A mosque is a common expression of faith seen around the world for Muslims. It is the center of faith for any Islamic community. It is hardly controversial to build a house of worship where people pray and learn to be better people. A book burning of a sacred text is an uncommon expression of intolerance, hate and intimidation. While it is legal to torch Qur'ans, (just like the building of the the mosque) it is not widely seen as being essential to worship for Christians as having churches and mosques are for practitioners of both great religions.

The building of a church isn't widely seen as offensive to those of other faiths because it is simply a natural extension of their faith. But if a radical leader of a mosque were to burn a stack of Bibles then clearly I think most of us would say that the burning of the Bible was more offensive than the building of that church. So, if it's normal to build churches and synagogues on private property in America and around the world then why not mosques?

Yet the most disappointing aspect to all of this radical behavior in America today is how the Republican politicians have stoked it. They fueled the Tea Party with attention, which gave them credibility in the minds of some despite their offensive signs about Obama's race, nationality and religious beliefs. Talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck fanned the flames of doubt that Obama was in fact a radical Muslim not born in America. Glenn Beck gave cover to racists in his party to come out when he said he thinks President Obama has a deep seeded hatred for white people or the white culture.

Then came the hatred stirred up and exploited by Republicans over non-radical Muslims wanting to build a mosque in New York City. Newt Gingrich compared it to allowing Nazis to place a sign next to the holocaust museum despite the fact that many Muslims died on 9/11 too. Sarah Palin and many others echoed with similar statements. This all created the fertile environment for this crazy, Pastor Terry, "Yosemite Sam" Jones to come out of the woodwork and create this worldwide frenzy to burn the holy scriptures of a billion people. Even America's top general in Afghanistan asked this pastor to not burn the Korans because it can endanger our soldiers lives!!

This the kind of reckless talk whips up the conservative political base in America but it doesn't do anything to help our soldiers fight terrorists without being seen as fighting all of Islam. And certainly it does nothing for our economy. It's dangerous to whip up the crazies as so many in the Republican Party have been doing since Obama's election. That's because while the crazies might be convenient minions to use to win back power; they're hard to control and can quickly create violence. As well as tear our country's unity apart. You don't let the lunatics take over the asylum and if the Republicans want to get in bed with such radical, nut-jobs then they aren't serious about helping America deal with it's real problems of the economy.

They'd rather play games with crazy, radicals over race, religion and nationality. The Democrats are trying to get the car of the economy out of the ditch that the Republicans drove into over the past decade or more, and instead of actually helping they say "No" to everything and complain the Democrats aren't doing it fast enough. As well as hurl racial, religious and other insults or accusations at us in the meantime. Not very helpful. For one, turning an economy around the size of ours is like trying to turn the Titanic around--It takes time. So, if you're serious about working step by step to rebuild this economy then I think the choice is clear--stick with the Democrats. We've helped the auto industry come back, the stock market has stabilized and we're slowly but surely rebuilding the economy. Why throw that hard earned progress away and have to start over with voting in these radicals like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich who are just going to do the same thing they did under Bush?

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Do Not Extend the Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthy.

President Obama is seeking to boost the economy with tax breaks/credits for businesses. The plan would give businesses until 2011 to write off 100% investments in machinery or other capital expenditures. Of course the "Party of No" (the Republicans) is against them even though in the past this is exactly the kind of proposal they'd go for. They want to extend the Bush tax cuts to the rich, which they claim will help increase jobs but there's a problem with that theory. Bush gave tax cuts to the rich in his 8 years, and yet, it didn't prevent the beginning of this "Great Recession."

How can tax cuts get us out of a recession when they didn't do anything to prevent a recession? President Obama DID cut taxes for those in the middle incomes, and wants to extend that part of the Bush tax cuts but in order to pay for additional tax cuts to the wealthy we'd have to borrow money. And yet the Republicans have been screaming for awhile now not to borrow anymore money. So, which is it? It tells me that Republicans aren't that serious about their economic criticisms of the president because if they did then they'd be consistent on spending.

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This is the Obama I Voted for and Have Missed. Tell it Louder and Often Mr. President.

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TPJ: Above is President Obama talking about boosting the economy with greater infrastructure projects to spur jobs. Below is Obama telling it like it is, which is the Obama I voted for and have been missing.
So I hope he keeps this up. Burn through America Mr. President and get America back to work and improve our economy, so that when we emerge out of this "Great Recession" we'll have an economy stronger than ever. I like what I hear about high-speed rail, a green, smart grid, solar jobs, etc. I believe it is in technology and the green collar industry where our next growth sector will advance.

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Thursday, September 02, 2010

Karzai Brother Calls for U.S. to Bail Out Afghan Bank.

As depositors thronged branches of Afghanistan's biggest bank, Mahmoud Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a major shareholder in beleaguered Kabul Bank called on Thursday for intervention by the United States to head off a financial meltdown. "America should do something," said Karzai in a telephone interview, suggesting that the U.S. Treasury Department guarantee the funds of Kabul Bank's clients, who number about a million and have more than a billion dollars on deposits with the bank.

"If the Treasury Department will guarantee that everyone will get their money, maybe that will work," said Karzai, who holds 7 percent of the bank's shares, making him the third-biggest shareholder. Karzai, who spends most of his time in Dubai - where he lives in a waterfront villa paid for by Kabul Bank - rushed to Kabul on Wednesday to join efforts to salvage the bank.


TPJ: He's right. America should do something--LEAVE THAT CURSED LAND!! End that war and get out of the whirlpool that is Afghanistan--NOW, before it becomes the "hundred years' war" of the 21st century. In any case, Mahmoud Karzai has been accused for getting sweetheart business deals by his fellow countrymen because of his relation to President Karzai, his brother. Some of that money for those business deals has surely come from U.S. taxpayers. So, why should we bail them out with additional money when they haven't shown they can manage the original money we sent them? bailout

As we know, Afghanistan is a narco-state in that a large part of their economy is from the opium trade, so how much of that money in this Kabul Bank is drug money? It doesn't seem like a stretch to assume that a lot of it is since so much of the economy is in drugs; and since less than 5% of the population has enough money to even open an account. That most likely leaves a handful of rich elites, (who probably got a lot of their money from corruption given the news reports out of Afghanistan) salaries for the Afghan army that doesn't seem capable of fighting and the ill-gotten gains of drug lords and war lords.

So, if President Obama decides to intervene in this affair, and bail them out while keeping troops there; I can tell you right now that I might just sit out the 2012 re-election campaign and not vote for Obama. I'm already leaning toward voting for our Green Party candidate in the upcoming November 2010 elections here in Colorado because of my anger, frustration and impatience with the Democrats in Washington D.C.--including my own senator up for re-election. I don't like the Republicans but my hope in voting Green would be that if the Democrats in D.C. get smacked down in this mid-term election, maybe they'll get scared enough to wake up by 2012 and treat their base better. I'm just really, really disappointed in Obama who seems to track further and further to the right with each passing day. I knew he wasn't some, "secular Messiah" (nor did I want that) and couldn't change America over-night but I have really been amazed at how weak and watered-down the "change" is that he has gotten done--and I'm a Liberal!!

And, it only makes it worse to hear them slap us down in the liberal base constantly while they fall over themselves to cave into Republican demands. Republicans have simply said, "no" to everything the president has offered. It's as though Obama has developed Stockholm Syndrome. And then the White House wonders why the base is upset with them? The righties claim he's a "Socialist" but how can that be if his Liberal base isn't even happy with him?!! If he was being a big lefty then don't you think us lefties would be excited and enthused rather than dispirited and angry?

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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Surge in Iraq was a Failure.

As America draws it's forces down in Iraq it is wise to look back at, "the surge." If you recall, in 2007 former President George W. Bush ordered 20,000 additional U.S. soldiers into Iraq to try and stop the tide of violence. His stated goal of "the surge" was to establish, "...a unified, democratic, federal Iraq that can govern, defend, and sustain itself and is an ally in the war on terror." The military did it's job in reducing the violence; along with the former Sunni insurgents that worked with them in what was known as the Sunni Awakening. The violence wouldn't have reduced without the support and assistance from these Sunni leaders/fighters. It must be noted, however, that there has been a recent spike in violence with two consecutive months of over 500 civilian deaths. However, reducing violence was merely one part of the goal of, "the surge."

Essentially the reduced violence was supposed to bring about the ultimate goal of, "the surge" which was to establish a functioning government. That has not happened. It is true that a government exists (tenuous as it may be) and was elected but they are hopelessly dead-locked. It's been six months since the last election and yet there is really no such thing as a functioning government. The current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is largely seen by Iraqis to be lacking legitimacy, which is in part because he seems to be embracing the old sectarianism of the civil war.

"In fact, reports emerged last week claiming that Maliki insisted on the Iraqi prime minister being a Shi'a, a move that would push Iraq towards a confessional system like that of Lebanon." The bickering and political gridlock amongst politicians and sectarian leaders has left average Iraqis desperate for basic services and control, which is a dangerous situation. This is made worse by the reality that the "Sons of Iraq" militia (estimated to be around 50,000-90,000) who were apart of the "Sunni Awakening" have yet to be brought into the government and/or given jobs. That's a large group of people without work, who have guns and have too much time on their hands.

This kind of power vacuum is exactly how dictators take power in violent coups; and, or how civil wars begin. Maliki is himself dangerously close to becoming that dictator. This inaction and political in-fighting could also lead to a further increase in violence. "The death toll is rising as the political vacuum forces people to embrace a blunter form of dispute resolution. There are 15.2 deaths per day now – a dramatic increase from the first six months of the year, which averaged 9.2 killed a day." The stagnate economic and lack of jobs overall is a sign that the economic goals of, "the surge" have also failed. Our military has done more than enough and we are proud of their accomplishments but I still maintain that it was a stupid war. Iraq never had weapons of mass destruction, Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11 and while he was a dictator the current Iraqi crop of politicians aren't much better.

Of course I was happy to see Iraq free of Hussein but there are countless dictators in power around the world. In Burma, Equatorial Guinea, The Gambia, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Turkmenistan, China, Belarus, Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Venezuela to name a few. We can't afford to go around and depose all these dictators. Invading a sovereign country because it might be led by a bad guy isn't (and wasn't) a wise use of life and treasure.

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