Friday, December 04, 2009


I'm still a strong supporter of Barack Obama, but disappointed in many aspects of his presidency. He didn't have his stellar economic team control and direct the stimulus plan. (They and their predecessors let him down in not imposing conditions on bail out funds and letting AIG pay off contracts at full price). And it seems that he did not sufficiently direct the health care reform plan. Also, some Bush-like decisions, delay on DA/DT and DOMA, and a few others.

But these reservations pale in comparison to the real impediments to good, effective government of our country. The root of all evil is money, the money needed to run for office. Since money has been linked to free speech, we don't seem to be able to control the influence of political contributions. As illustration of influence, note the attempts to weaken regulation of financial companies by members of Congress whose campaigns were heavily funded by financial companies. Then, we had the endless health care negotiations led by Senators from small, unrepresentative states where insurance companies are able to have disproportionate influence through political contributions. And the Republican performance has been disgraceful, trying to delay and defeat health care reform.

Positive legislation would be possible if Democrats supported their president. So-called moderate Democrats are radically hurting our country. Some support the abortion poison pill; others oppose even a moderate cap and trade making it difficult or impossible for our president to negotiate world-wide climate change agreements.

If we can't stop the influence of money, we could mitigate it if we had government financing of election candidates that could not be avoided. If this is not legally possible, we could at least improve the situation for Representatives. Change the terms to four years so there is some breather from fund raising. While at it, reduce the Senate's cloture number to 55 votes. These could be a help, but won't happen.


So it's 30,000 more troops. Probably an OK decision; all choices were bad. The strategy is more important. I don't think we can reasonably try nation building here. It seems that we will be more sensibly attempt to secure and improve regions.This is similar to my thought that we establish at least one area where we can have a base for continued assistance for the security of both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Monday, November 30, 2009


Obama’s Speech on Afghanistan to Envision Exit

No matter what strategy he chooses, he'll be wrong. Not his fault - there is no good option. I reject the thought of rebuilding Afghanistan (we have had enough trouble rebuilding New Orleans) and trying to institute a decent government for the whole country unless the major nations of the world truly cooperate and share the burden.

I tend to favor a troop increase and somehow to establish a regional base there that will help us prevent the threat of a terrorist base and the disruption of Pakistan. If, in the meantime, the Afghan government, army, and police force show effective improvement, we should support that.

"Swiss Ban Building of Minarets on Mosques"

Swiss: Go back to making watches. What if Germans voted to ban the Star of David, or synagogues?