Posts from — October 2008
My wife, Sandra (photo at right), and I have added our two votes’ worth to history in the making. For days we had worried that our votes would not be counted, that we would be turned away because our picture ID did not match our voter’s registration. We wondered if our names had been purged from the rolls under Florida’s “perfect match” law. I noticed that my driver’s license had “George Wilmot Graham,” and my voter’s registration card had “George Graham.” Not a perfect match! I searched the Internet, trying to find a list of voters in Polk County, Florida, so I could make sure my name was still there – but no luck. However, I managed to find a list of early voting sites and saw that a library near our home was included. So, to end the unbearable suspense, we decided to vote early.
“Early Voting Here” signs ushered us into the library parking lot, which was jammed. But as destiny would have it, a minivan pulled out just as we pulled in and we had a parking space. A line spilled out of the library and snaked along the sidewalk beyond the shadow of the canopy and into the bright sunshine. We rummaged for our voter’s registration cards and driver’s licenses and had them at the ready as we waited.
The line (similar to the one pictured at right) edged slowly forward as we chatted with a lady who lives not far from us. We talked about this and that but not what was really on my mind. I was desperately curious about whom she would vote for but I bit my tongue. I felt it would be rude to pry. I didn’t think I needed to ask how the majority of the people at the library would vote. They were overwhelmingly African-American and I concluded this would be an Obama crowd. To my surprise, however, I noticed a sticker on a van, full of African-American voters, that proclaimed “Soy Republicano.” Hispanic? McCain supporters? Or Obama supporters getting a ride to the polling place from a Hispanic McCain supporter? I would never know.
Finally, after an hour or so, we arrived at the end of the line. As there had been outside the library, there were volunteers ready to answer our questions and guide us in the voting process. Sandra was summoned first, but it wasn’t long before I, too, was in a short line in front of a table manned by poll workers.
The lady in charge of my line said “Next,” as the man in front of me walked away clutching his ballot. I handed her my driver’s license and voter’s registration card, but she waved them away pointing to a small machine that looked a lot like those ATM doohickies they have at stores. You would think that by now, I would know how to swipe, but this time I messed up. I guess my swipe was too tentative. With an indulgent smile, the poll worker took my driver’s license from me and swiped it more masterfully. An image appeared on the little screen showing my name and address and asking me if it was correct. I took a pen attached to the machine and punched the “Yes” box. The lady handed me a long sheet of paper with typing on both sides. On page one, a message informed me that I was to fill out both sides. The lady handed me a pencil and told me I was supposed to fill in the blank ovals next to the names I wanted to vote for.
Armed with this information, I scurried over to a tiny cubicle and started penciling in the little ovals. I was very, very careful to fill in the entire oval and not go over the line. I did not want to take a chance on spoiling my ballot and I know (from the Florida fiasco that ruined the 2000 elections) how picky computers can be. I filled in the Obama-Biden oval, of course. There were also several local positions to be filled, about which I didn’t know that much. But I forged ahead, voting for the Democrat, whenever I saw one. For one county seat, there was no Democrat, just a Republican and a space to write in another name if I wanted. I thought briefly about writing in the name of my dog, Maxi, but in an abundance of caution, resisted the urge. I left that oval blank. However, after filling in all the ovals I was responsible for – voting against a constitutional ban on gay marriage, re-electing a bunch of judges I had never heard of, and voting “no” on a variety of incomprehensible county-charter amendments – I wondered whether my ballot would be disqualified if I left anything blank, so I forced myself to pencil in the oval next to the Republican county commission candidate. I read and re-read the ballot, making sure all the ovals were perfectly filled in and that I had not (horrors!) carelessly voted for McCain-Palin. Then I took it over, still in its blue folder, to a machine guarded by an imposing looking gentleman with the gravitas appropriate to his position. He pointed to a slot at the top of the machine and I stuck the tip of the ballot into it. The machine greedily swallowed the sheet of paper as I held the blue folder just so. No way was I going to risk ruining my vote at this late stage. After the ballot disappeared, a lady next to the imposing gentleman took my pencil and folder and handed me a sticker, which I attached to the lapel of my coat.
I exited the library and stood in the sunshine waiting for Sandra, who apparently was being even more careful. She joined me within minutes, brandishing her sticker, her brow furrowed. “I filled in the space next to Barack Obama so hard that I may have gone over the line,” she worried. “Do you think I should ask if I can do it over?” But I didn’t think a little thing like that would spoil such an important vote, and she finally conceded I could be right.
Sandra looked at the sticker attached to the tip of her finger. “It says, ‘I voted early,’ ” she declared happily. “I’ll have to keep this. It’s a historic souvenir.”
October 31, 2008 4 Comments
You hear it – and read it – all the time. Congress is doing a lousy job. Its approval rating is the lowest in history, down in the mid-teens. Disapproval is up to 75 per cent. Television commentators smirk and shake their heads and sneer at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, blaming them for a “do-nothing” record.
What they usually neglect to mention is that the Democratic majority in Congress has been unable to pass legislation because of Republican filibusters in the Senate and George Bush’s presidential veto.
With Democrats clinging to a 51-49 advantage (including that turn-coat, Joe Lieberman) and Bush stubbornly wielding his veto pen, the Senate has become the place where legislation goes to die. The way the system works, a minority of 41 in the 100-member Senate can block legislation before it even gets to the president. And since the Democrats narrowly won the Senate two years ago, Republicans have used the filibuster a record number of times. Just in the past session, there were 92 (Republican) filibusters.
If Barack Obama wins the White House, the filibuster would be the last obstructionist weapon left to the Republicans. That’s why the party is desperately trying to keep Democrats from gaining 60 Senate seats in Tuesday’s elections. A filibuster-proof Senate would make real change possible, and that is the thing Republicans fear most.
They’ve had it pretty good these past eight years – and even in the past two years since the nation voted out the Republican majorities in the House and Senate. With Bush in the White House and filibusters in the Senate, Republicans have been able to undermine civil rights and Constitutional freedoms, erode social programs, whittle away at environmental protections and drag out an endless, pointless and ruinous war in Iraq.
I’m sure you know how important it is to keep John McCain out of the White House. But that is not enough. It is also vital that we elect Democratic senators. If Democrats fail to attain that 60-seat majority, the programs that Obama proposes will be sabotaged by filibusters. We cannot allow that to happen.
October 30, 2008 No Comments
One of the most frightening evils that would come with a Republican administration is being overlooked in the final days of this presidential campaign because of the nation’s understandable obsession with economic problems: With McCain-Palin we could expect nothing short of total disregard for the environment. I am not thinking only about Palin’s animosity toward polar bears and wolves. I’m also thinking about the threat of global pollution and reckless devastation of national parkland.
Palin gave an energy speech this morning, and I was surprised at how normal she sounded. Gone were the “betchas” and the “doggone-its.” She spoke regular English for a change, and her tone was sober. This was no hockey mom from Wasilla. This was a woman to be reckoned with, a woman with a mission, and it wasn’t just “drill, baby drill.” It was the urgent and untrammeled exploitation of American resources.
Her husband works for an oil company and I bet she got some of her talking points from him. But it was obvious that she sincerely believes protecting the environment is silly – if not downright un-American.
She takes the short-term view that the environment must be sacrificed to economic objectives. Her reasoning goes something like this. If a pipeline across Alaska would provide natural gas to the lower 49 states, what does it matter if a few polar bears (photo at right) die in the process? And if offshore drilling will some day increase the world’s oil supply and possibly lower gasoline prices, who cares if marine life and beaches are trashed? And why shouldn’t we sacrifice some of that pristine wilderness that was set aside for future generations to enjoy? And sure there’s global warming, but are we really, really sure that humans have anything to do with it? And if they do, so what? Hey, if you want to make an omelet, buddy, you gotta break a few eggs, right?
It’s a terrifying point of view to anyone with an imagination. And it’s a point of view McCain did not share. But he has adopted it in this campaign as a gesture to the Republican base. With Palin at his side, you can bet he will continue along that track if he becomes President. It’s one of the many Bush policies that would be pursued in a McCain-Palin Administration.
Meanwhile, Bush is hastening to do as much harm as he can before his term ends – just in case. Fearing a Barack Obama victory at the polls, he is busily dismantling environmental safeguards in the interests of his Big Business pals. The most recent example is his direction to the EPA to weaken pollution regulations for power plants, allowing them to increase emissions without adding controls. And he wants it done quickly because rules finalized more than 60 days before the administration leaves office are harder for the next administration to undo.
When Obama says Americans cannot afford four more years of Bush economic policies, he should add that four more years of Bush environmental policies would cause even more misery – in the long run. And with McCain-Palin, you can bet your boots that’s what we would get. In spades!
October 29, 2008 No Comments
The McCain campaign will do anything to win this election. It doesn’t matter how sleazy, how shameful, or even how dangerous it may be. You may have thought that American politics had moved beyond McCarthyism. If so, you were wrong. John McCain is (falsely) branding Barack Obama “a Socialist,” and Sarah Palin is absurdly suggesting that an Obama presidency would usher in Communism. A Republican Congresswoman named Michele Bachmann recently called for an investigation to unconver “anti-American” members of Congress. And yesterday, a TV anchor in Orlando – the wife of a Republican strategist – suggested Obama is a Marxist.
If you thought America had moved beyond the Willie Horton-style politics that Republicans used against Michael Dukakis, you were wrong. McCain’s direct-mail and “robocall” campaigns accuse Obama not only of associating with “terrorists” but also of being “soft on crime” and of putting children at risk. The campaign also raises the specter of another attack on American soil if Obama is elected.
The McCain campaign’s tactics have been so treacherous it has aroused suspicions throughout the world. For example, Syrian officials are speculating that yesterday’s invasion in which U.S. helicopters killed and wounded civilians in their country was an attempt by George Bush to create an international incident that would boost McCain’s chances of being elected.
But the campaign’s most dangerous and shameful tactic is its incitement of racial hatred. Palin’s insinuations and “code words” – and the seething cauldron of right-wing bloggers – have stirred such vicious emotions that threats have been raised against Obama and police have uncovered two plots to assassinate him. You will remember that, back in August, police thwarted a plan to shoot Obama as he addressed the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Now, authorities have arrested Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn., (photo at right) and Paul Schlesselman 18, of Helena-West Helena, Ark., white supremacists who allegedly plotted to go on a nationwide killing spree, shooting and decapitating black people and ultimately targeting the Democratic presidential candidate.
In all, the two men, whom officials described as neo-Nazi skinheads, planned to kill 88 people – 14 by beheading, according to documents unsealed in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Tenn. The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the white supremacist community. The spree, which initially targeted an unidentified predominantly African-American school, was to end with the two men driving toward Obama, “shooting at him from the windows,” the documents show.
This kind of lunacy should surprise no one. The tone of the McCain campaign is so divisive and incendiary that it would be surprising if it did not incite racial violence. One recent example of the precipitous path the campaign has chosen was provided by a man named Peter Feldman, McCain’s communications director for Pennsylvania. Feldman fanned the flames of racial bigotry by peddling a story about an attack on one of his female, white “volunteers” by a big African-American man who supposedly carved a “B” into her cheek because she had a McCain sticker on her car. Conservative propaganda outlets like Fox and the Drudge Report ran with the story, and a horde of maniacal bloggers and right-wing radio commentators jumped on the race-baiting bandwagon.
It turns out that the 20-year-old white woman made up the story, and that Feldman embellished it for racist effectiveness. The woman – Ashley Todd, a Young Republicans campaign worker – confessed to police that she scratched the backward B into her own face and that there was no big, black attacker. Also, Feldman has had to backtrack on his description of her as a volunteer. The young woman is a paid phone bank worker for the McCain campaign, and I wonder whether it was Feldman who prompted her to perpetrate the hoax. After all, it was Feldman who told reporters that the “B” obviously stood for “Barack,” and that her attacker had noticed a sticker on her car and yelled: “Oh you’re with McCain . . . you’re with the McCain campaign? I’m going to teach you a lesson!”
That Feldman continues to work for McCain speaks volumes. This campaign has no shame. And worse, it has no concern for the consequences of its hatemongering. We can only hope that there are enough decent Americans who reject this kind of behavior to keep McCain-Palin from being elected. And we can only pray that God in His mercy will protect Barack Obama and his family from harm.
October 28, 2008 No Comments
It looks as if the U.S. stock market is about ready to start recovering. This may not be the absolute bottom but, if not, it’s close. With the moves governments around the world are making to end the economic crisis, I see a ray of hope. If markets keep on plunging, it will probably mark the collapse of the global economy as we know it, and I won’t let myself contemplate that possibility. So I choose to be optimistic.
The way I see it, a prudent investor could make profitable investments in today’s stock market. I won’t tell you which stocks to buy. Do what Warren Buffet does, study the company, research its management, consider the price-earnings ratio and its stock trading history, then invest in the ones that seem the safest. Think of the long term, and think diversification. Your grandmother told you not to put all your eggs in one basket, and she was right, as usual.
One reason for my optimism is that I expect Barack Obama (photo at right) to be elected President of the United States. And if Obama wins, a wave of optimism will sweep the global economy, bolstering stock prices, loosening credit and re-energizing the American housing market. Confidence will return to grease the wheels of commerce. I expect all this to happen before he implements a single policy. Hope is one of the strongest forces in nature. Another is relief.
The world will be so relieved to get rid of George W. Bush that it will celebrate exuberantly. Money will start changing hands again. People are weary of Bush’s constant belligerence, his capricious behavior, his attacks on Constitutional freedoms, his plotting and scheming to subjugate and undermine other countries, and his reckless disregard for the lives and livelihood of human beings. The end of his administration will be like a sunny morning after a stormy night (photo below).
And I believe Obama will make the most of this honeymoon period. His policies are reasonable, his temperament is reliable and his advisers are the best available. Of course, there will be bumps in the road. As Joe Biden took so much flak for suggesting, Obama will be tested. There are forces in the world that wish America and world capitalism ill. They will do their utmost to derail a recovery. But I believe Obama – and his team – will be able to meet this challenge.
What if John McCain gets elected? I cannot imagine a more terrifying prospect. It seems from the polls that many Americans are too blinded by their prejudices and preconceptions to see how disastrous a McCain Administration would be. They are apparently obsessed with racial or religious bigotry, or driven by gratitude for his military service. But the rest of the world’s people look on in trepidation. From a distance they can see McCain for what he is – a jingoistic ideologue with a dangerous agenda of world domination and disdain for working people.
So, if you plan to follow my advice and take a chance on the stock market, you’d better make sure to vote for Obama.
October 27, 2008 No Comments
Watching MSNBC do its fair-and-balanced thing, I couldn’t help laughing yesterday when John McCain’s dimwitted spokesman, Tucker Bounds, started frothing at the mouth in righteous indignation. What was he outraged about? Barack Obama had just promised in a speech to rein in spending in Washington if he is elected President. How dare he do such a thing, Bounds wanted to know. Everybody knows that reining in spending is McCain’s strong suit! O.K., Tucker Bounds, say no more. Let’s just take a look at the two pictures below. One shows McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, who has spent $150,000 on fancy duds (from campaign donations, according to the Republican National Committee) in the past two months. The other shows Obama’s worn-out shoes, which he already has had resoled at least once. How much has the Democratic National Committee spent to dress up Obama and his running mate, Joe Biden? The grand total so far is zero, Tucker – zilch, nada, nothing. So who do you think is more likely to rein in spending, Tucker?
October 26, 2008 No Comments
There is a lot of hogwash on the Internet about the benefits rich people bring to society. The theory, which is akin to alchemy, posits that the rich magically turn lead into gold by some special gift only they possess; and without their talents society would wallow in eternal poverty.
In a world where children are taught to write letters to Santa Claus, hunt for Easter eggs laid by a rabbit and look under their pillows for Tooth Fairy money, I suppose it is not surprising that many adults might believe such nonsense. After all, people send millions – maybe billions – of dollars to television preachers who promise to give them health, wealth and happiness in return.
If you accept the theory that the rich have special powers, then you might support John McCain’s plan for the future of America. McCain is branding Barack Obama “a Socialist” because Obama has proposed a modest increase in taxation for families making more than $250,000 a year to fund a tax break for 95 per cent of America’s taxpayers.
The Bush Administration – with support from a Republican controlled House and Senate – cut the top income tax rate to 35 percent from 39 percent. Obama would eliminate the tax break for people in the top two brackets – about 2.5 million taxpayers out of 100 million-plus. People in those top tax brackets would also see the tax rate on their capital gains rise from the current 15 percent to 20-28 percent. As I understand it, the 39 per cent rate would not affect the entire taxable income. There are six tax brackets, ranging from 10 percent up, so Obama’s proposed increase would affect just the top portion of a taxpayer’s income. If my math can be trusted, a family making more than $250,000 in taxable income would have to hand over something like $60,000 to Uncle Sam – unless, of course, they invested a chunk of their income in a tax-deferred retirement plan or tax-free bonds or debentures.
Channeling Joe the Plumber, McCain rants against the graduated income tax, telling cheering crowds that they should be allowed to keep their money and not be required to contribute to the welfare of others. He doesn’t say there should be no income tax – in fact, he proposes to tax employer-provided health benefits for the first time in U.S. history. But he seems to suggest that everyone should pay the same tax rate – unless your income is derived from stocks and bonds, when your rate would be cut to seven and a half percent.
You would think that anybody who does not make $250,000 a year might welcome Obama’s plan. But according to Gallup pollsters, that’s not necessarily so. Americans are divided on whether government should tax the rich in order to benefit the rest of us. “It’s a complicated area to try to understand American attitudes,” said Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of the Gallup Poll. While the majority of Americans – 51 percent in a poll by Gallup this past April – said they support “heavy taxes” on the rich to redistribute wealth, the rest oppose the idea. “Most Americans hope to some day be wealthy and as a result, the idea of kind of redistributing income is not as popular as (government policies resulting in) making a bigger pie so everybody does better,” said Dennis Jacobe, chief economist for Gallup. In McCain’s world, making the rich richer would create that bigger pie. Why? Because they have the Midas Touch, I guess. He thinks they can wave their magic wand over a pile of currency and make it grow like Jack’s beanstalk.
Meanwhile, the gulf between America’s rich and poor keeps widening. “The income gap between the rich and the rest of the U.S. population has become so wide, and is growing so fast, that it might eventually threaten the stability of democratic capitalism itself,” then-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said a few years ago.
The question you might want to ask is, “Where does wealth come from?” Do you think that a stockbroker creates wealth? In a country where money represents wealth, it is the government that creates it. Only government minted money is legal currency. The government prints the money and hands it to the banks to distribute among the population, according to a multitude of complex criteria. You get your share because of rules established by the government. If you don’t believe me, try farming or manufacturing or some “productive” line of work. You will find that no matter how hard you try or how much you produce, it is government policy that will determine your success or failure.
As one of the wisest men of all time said, “The race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong but time and chance decide all things.” Of course they didn’t have lobbyists in King Solomon’s time. Today, time, chance and lobbyists determine who gets rich.
October 26, 2008 No Comments
In a country of more than 300 million people, there are bound to be some who reflect humanity’s darker side. And it seems that John McCain’s campaign has attracted many of these sickos. The most recent example is Ashley Todd, a McCain campaign worker who made up a story of being robbed, pinned to the ground and having the letter “B” scratched on her face by a big, black Obama supporter. The 20-year-old college student from Texas admitted Friday that her story was fabricated, and police said she would be charged with making a false report.
Todd (photo at right) told investigators she was attempting to use an ATM when a man approached her from behind, put a knife to her throat and demanded money. She said she handed the assailant $60 and walked away. According to her report, the man then noticed a McCain sticker on her car, became angry and punched her in the back of the head, knocking her to the ground and telling her “you are going to be a Barack supporter.”
She said he continued to punch and kick her while threatening “to teach her a lesson for being a McCain supporter.” He then sat on her chest, pinned her arms with his knees and scratched a backward letter “B” into her face with a dull knife, Todd said.
But, confronted with inconsistencies in her story and video scenes from the ATM site that showed she was not even there at the time she claimed she was attacked, Todd broke down and confessed she had concocted the report and scratched the “B” into her own cheek.
This story would prompt more pity than anger, were it not for the way in which the McCain campaign attempted to make political use of it. The campaign pounced on the fantasy, evoking one of the oldest myths in America – the violation of white womanhood by a primitive black male. Ultra-conservative bloggers and media outlets, including the Drudge Report on the Internet and television’s Fox News, played up Todd’s tall tale, eager to paint Obama and his followers as savages unfit for decent American society. And buying into this improbable story, both McCain and Sarah Palin personally called to console Todd.
This is just one example of the incendiary course the McCain-Palin campaign is taking as the presidential election draws near and the polls increasingly favor Obama. I received a flier in the mail accusing Obama of being “soft on crime” and consorting with terrorists. Robo-calls are repeating the same fiction. Palin claims that Obama “pals around with terrorists,” and McCain warns that Obama is linked to voter registration fraud, which threatens “to destroy the fabric of democracy.”
Shouts of “terrorist,” “traitor,” “kill him” and “off with his head” are heard at their rallies, and Palin emphasizes in her speeches that Obama “is not like us.” Surrogates accuse the Democratic presidential candidate of being anti-American and stress McCain’s appeal to the “the real America.” McCain is claiming that Obama is a “socialist” and is planning to “take your money” (presumably to give it to poor, black people).
This kind of divisive demagoguery inevitably stirs up racial prejudice. I saw a man carrying a monkey with an “Obama” hat at a televised Palin rally, and Obama monkey dolls are offered for sale on the Internet. Poll after poll suggests that a portion of the white electorate will vote against Obama because of his race.
The most virulent fabrications are on the Internet, where every aspect of Obama’s life is under attack. Among other accusations, he is painted as a Muslim (even though nothing in the Constitution bars Muslims from American politics), a native of Kenya – or Indonesia – (who would then be disqualified from becoming U.S. President), and a black-liberation agent who was recruited and trained by revolutionaries. A lawyer named Philip J. Berg is suing to block Obama’s presidency on the grounds that he is not American by birth. And a perennial political gadfly named Andy Martin asserts that Obama is afraid to show his birth certificate because his real father was a civil rights activist named Frank Marshall, not his mother’s Kenyan husband.
This ugliness is more than distasteful. It is incendiary. With only days remaining in this historic – and at times repulsive – campaign, we can only pray that the seething racial hatred now coming to the surface does not boil over into physical violence.
October 25, 2008 1 Comment
It looks as if this crazy old world is in for a wild ride. The financial system on which the global economy rests is crumbling. Stock markets around the world are dwindling as panic-stricken investors seek a safer haven for their money.
There’s plenty of blame to go around. It all started with a man named Adam Smith (picture at right), a Scottish economist who lived two-and-a-half centuries ago. Disciples such as Ronald Reagan persuaded Americans to trust in the mythology of Smith’s “invisible hand.” The theory is that when individuals pursue their selfish ends society as a whole benefits because some natural force controls the “free market,” leveling its peaks and valleys.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the “free market” concept has prevailed throughout most of the world. Russia became an aggressively capitalistic nation. And as the illusion of wealth blossomed, even China succumbed to a kind of capitalism. India has developed a more vigorous economy, and throughout Asia prosperity seemed to be spreading.
The concept of a planned economy was derided. In the United States, advocates of economic planning were shunned as anti-American, and the country’s leaders eagerly embarked on an orgy of deregulation. But by unleashing untrammeled greed and cupidity, political leaders let loose a rapacious horde of looters who have plundered the wealth of the world and destroyed the true force on which capitalism depends – investor confidence. Not surprisingly, Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” did not show up.
John McCain is among the most ardent supporters of this economic approach. He advocated – and voted repeatedly for – deregulation. As chairman of the International Republican Institute he has used fair means and foul to force his brand of unfettered capitalism on other countries. Even now, his prescription for America’s ailing economy is to slash taxes for the rich and powerful while cutting back Social Security, Medicare and other programs that help the old, the infirm and the disadvantaged. His argument is simply that by helping the rich get richer, the government encourages job creation, which benefits the nation as a whole.
This argument is so flawed that I won’t insult your intelligence by refuting it in detail. I would just point out that even if McCain’s approach created jobs, there is no assurance those jobs would be available to Americans. With the “free-trade” frenzy that has overtaken the world, most of the new jobs would be created in countries with cheaper labor than the United States.
If McCain (at left in photo) is elected Nov. 4, I see America – and the world – plunging into an abyss if despair. Not only are his economic policies disastrous but also his hawkish foreign policies are certain to antagonize the rest of the world. This is important because America’s economic problems cannot be solved without international cooperation.
I believe Barack Obama (at right in photo) can set us on the path to recovery. I am encouraged by his proposals to embark on massive development of alternative energy resources, to rebuild the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges, to invest in the education of our youth, and to safeguard the health of our population. In the short term, these initiatives will provide a welcome infusion of capital into the economy, creating jobs and opportunities for entrepreneurs. In the long term, the country will reap such benefits as independence from foreign oil; cost-efficiencies resulting from improved infrastructure; and a more sophisticated and healthier work force.
However, those are not the only gifts that I see Obama bringing to the table. What gives me the most hope is his apparent reasonableness. He seems willing to listen and able to understand divergent points of view, and to evaluate various proposals without preconditions. This seems much more promising in a complex and conflicted world than McCain’s ideological fanatacism.
I believe that by enacting modest revisions in the U.S. tax code that would give a hand up to the middle class, an Obama Administration would create an impression of fairness, which the world would find reassuring. And by his apparent respect for the opinions of others, Obama would encourage international cooperation and reduce the domestic conflict that has led to political gridlock.
An Obama presidency would offer hope to the world and it is that very hope that I see restoring the confidence on which the global economy depends. The fate of the world is in our hands. We cannot neglect to vote. Not in this election.
October 24, 2008 1 Comment
Jamaicans might address him as Sir Colin. Yes Colin Powell (photo below) is not only a United States General but also a British knight. He is one of the most honored sons of Jamaica, and one of America’s most respected leaders. A former secretary of state, national security adviser and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he is the first black American to serve in any of those positions.
The son of Jamaican immigrants Luther Theophilus Powell and Maud Arial McKoy, he was born in Harlem and reared in the South Bronx. He earned a degree from City University of New York, joined the Armed Forces and rose rapidly through the ranks. He became a military assistant to Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger in 1983, national security adviser under President Ronald Reagan in 1986 and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under the first President Bush during the 1991 Gulf War.
Powell once considered running for president (as an Independent – not a Republican). But his wife, Alma, said she would worry about his safety.
He is a sober, careful person who does not give his endorsement lightly. And he has unequivocally endorsed Barack Obama. This should put to rest any lingering doubts about Obama’s abilities or qualifications. And it should end once and for all the nonsense about Obama’s “associations.”
It is amazing to me that Obama still has to defend himself against baseless accusations and innuendos. What sane person could imagine that Caroline Kennedy would campaign for someone with “terrorist links”? And Ted Kennedy? What about Bill and Hillary Clinton? Would anyone accuse them of “palling around with terrorists”? And what about Obama’s endorsement by arch-conservative Christopher Buckley, William F. Buckley’s son? And the Chicago Tribune (the “newspaper of Lincoln”). It’s the first time in the paper’s long history that it has endorsed a Democrat for the presidency of the United States.
But for those doubting Thomases who still wonder about Obama, Powell’s endorsement should be enough to erase any lingering doubts.
October 23, 2008 1 Comment