Friday, February 12, 2010

I Still Support Obama

In the WSJ, Peggy Noonan says Democratic congress-persons should abandon Obama because he is serious about being a one term President. I think that Obama is putting the United States ahead of his political ambitions, which is very rare in Washington. Peggy Noonan does not understand that, nor do the Republicans in Congress, who see "success" as totally blocking the legislative process.

I should like Peggy Noonan. She seems like a very nice lady. She may be a polite WASP, a rarity in the political world today. But I don't agree with her.

On health care, I think the situation is like the following: Problems with private health care, Medicare, and Social Security are like long-term, chronic diseases. They are not going to kill you now, but they might in a few years. So, the Republicans during the Bush Administration took the United States and ran it into a wall, like a catastrophic auto accident. With two wars and tax cuts bleeding the national treasury, the Republicans now cry, "You can't do anything about those chronic diseases, we have people lying the street bleeding to death." The Republicans did wreck the US economy by tax cuts and failed regulation of Wall Street. But the question is: Can we continue to ignore the long term problems. To do so would be irresponsible. Obama knows this and says so. The Republicans would destroy the United States in a few years in order to win an election next year. They scream that Obama is breaking the budget, but that's because they cut taxes during prosperous times under Bush, and then created a financial disaster requiring deficit spending to survive.

One of the most hypocritical Republicans is John McCain, who used to be a responsible maverick, but is now a right-wing hack. He has become a bitter old man. Unfortunately, he showed he does not intellectually understand economics, when during the campaign he cancelled the Letterman show to focus on the economy and then had no clue when he went to the White House meeting on the economy. Does he get a pass for being stupid? No, the situation is too perilous to allow him to muck it up just because we feel sorry for him.

Unlike McCain, Obama has America's best interests at heart, whether he gets a second term or not. He may not be doing everything right, but he's trying, and he's not getting much help. I can't help him, but I can support him for having his heart in the right place, which is unusual in Washington these days.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Republican Cowards

Newt Gingrich's recent appearance on Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" illustrated the cowardice of Republicans in dealing with national security issues. The Republicans are afraid to grant civil trials and constitutional protections to anyone they suspect of having terrorist leanings, most recently demonstrated by their fear of having terrorist trials in New York. Jon's reply to Gingrich that he was not afraid to hold such trials was a lone voice in the media, but one that reverberated with me. How can we trust cowards like Gingrich, or George W. Bush and Cheney (who dodged the Vietnam draft), to defend the US? Somehow Republicans have the reputation of being strong on defense, which maybe they are, because they are so scared. They fear everybody, strange lights, noises in the dark, anything that might potentially threaten their ill-gotten wealth. These are the people who defend their "private property" by shooting trespassers on sight, even children, and asking questions later. I am ashamed for America. But the good news is that they don't represent all of America. Even if they make big gains in the next election, there are a lot of people who won't vote for them.

I suspect that a lot of the military is Republican, but I don't know for sure. It makes some sense, because Republicans support the troops in general, because they are so fearful that they want somebody to go out and fight for them. But Republicans are also in favor of low taxes that may leave the troops without the support they need. Bush and Rumsfeld sent troops to Afghanistan and Iraq without the best body armor or Humvees, the army you have, not the army you would like to have. Then rather than raising taxes to support the wars, they said just to go out and shop. They certainly made no effort to increase the size of the military to fight two wars; that might inconvenience some of their wealthy friends, whose children might have had to go.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Iran's Nuclear Program Continued

Iran threatens to expand its nuclear program, with yet another reasonable justification, if we could believe them. We've found some significant discrepancies, but we haven't really found a smoking gun that would warrant military action. Economic sanctions are pretty ineffectual; so, it doesn't really matter whether we get some imposed despite China's resistance, or not.

Nobody is talking about the real problem, which is that Israel has many atomic bombs, and we have basically turned a blind eye to bombs developed by India and Pakistan. Arguably, the Pakistani bomb offsets the Israeli bomb, but Pakistan is fast becoming a failed state; so who know what will happen to the Pakistani bombs. They could fall to al-Qaeda, or the US military could take them over to prevent al-Qaeda from getting them. So, Iran is working working on a Muslim bomb that it can count on to counter to the Jewish bombs.

Unless the US does something about Israel, it's unlikely that it can do anything about the Iranian bomb. It's not clear that the Iranians really want to build a bomb; they may just want to be able to build a bomb if they feel the need for one. But they are a lot more likely to feel the need for one as long as Israel has many.