A Voice of Reason: Sane Views for a Crazy World

May 4, 2007

GOP Debate: Forget “Who Won” – Who Lost? Answer Fred Thompson

Well, the snapshot GOP debate is over and rather than mull over who are the winners I’ll go out on a limb, and disagree with many blogs when I make this assertion, Fred Thompson is the Big Loser. You may argue, how could he lose, he wasn’t there. If you did that, you just gave the reason. His absence here was notable, and it will hurt him.

The adage of out of sight out of mind must be remembered. There will be some likely shifting in the polls from the debate. My feeling is that Romney will pick up a few points from his anemic 10%, but where will it come from is the important question. There are a few sources, but there is no bigger source than the non candidate Fred Thompson who is around 15% in most polls, and Former Speaker Newt Gingrich who has about 8%, but I don’t think Newt is a viable candidate and he’s smart enough to know that he can’t win. He’s far too polarizing a figure.

So, that makes Fred Thompson as the most likely source to lose support, and it will go to Mit Romney who spoke articulately and clearly on a number of positions. I also think that when the dust settles, it is not likely that Giuliani will lose any ground, and will probably pick up a few points. Senator McCain is also hard to figure. On the one hand he spoke his voice, but he also seemed edgy and a bit too agressive for the format. He constantly went over his time, and I have a feeling that the base, that isn’t too enamored with him as it is, and is looking for reasons to vote against him, which may be unfortunate, I see him staying pat, but Romney closing in, and possibly losing ground to Giuliani. He could find himself in third place after this debate, which would be a disaster for his campaign.

However, former Sen. Thompson’s non participation and non announcement reinforce a perception about a dispassionate person, who does not feel a fire to run. That doesn’t bode well, as people want a Chief Executive who wants to be there.

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Survey USA Poll: Giuliani Beats Opponents in Debate

A poll of 317 viewers watching the debate were asked to rate the performance of the candidates:

Rudy Giuliani 30%
Mitt Romney 12%
John McCain 11%
Jim Gilmore 8%
Duncan Hunter 7%
Sam Brownback 4%
Mike Huckabee 4%
Tom Tancredo 4%
Ron Paul 2%
Tommy Thompson 2%

UPDATE: Drudge report is having an interactive poll, but it does allow for multiple voting, so pretty worthless.

The Debate: Who Won and Why?

You see the title; what is your answer. I will reply after I think.

Updated: Well I thought and I will now take out my teacher’s red pencil and give each a grade in no particular order.

Rep. Tom Tancredo – Looked frustrated at times. I think part of it is that his campaign is struggling for air, and the format hurt him as he tried desparately to get out his views and distinguish himself, particularly on immigration. I also think that people saw that frustration and it didn’t help. Grade D

Rep. Duncan Hunter – Was clear, concise, and strong in many of his answer. One area that may hurt him was he was the most aggressive on Iran, and to a country that is not at all happy with Iraq, showing this posturing towards another nation in the area, one that does make everyone nervous may hurt with many even among Hawks. His trade and pro-worker solutions were noteworthy. Grade B-

Mayor Rudy Giuiliani – He was strong on war on terror and framing himself in his model of Conservativism. The questions on abortion won’t help with the base, and will help him with those who are softer on pro-life/pro-choice. He stumbled on that area, but did make his case with his time as NYC Mayor. I still support him. Grade B-

Sen. John McCain – Anyone who said that he lacked vigor got the reply in spades, he was energetic, perhaps too much so, to the point of aggressiveness in tone and body language. He also really had a problem keeping to the time, and wasn’t held to the time limits strictly. He didn’t hurt himself, but I don’t think he helped himself too much. He came out fairly strongly against President Bush, with saying numerous times, “The war was mismanaged”. He seemed passionate and assertive, but perhaps too agressive. Grade C+

Gov. Mit Romney – Of all the candidates the former Bay State Governor stood out. I am not a big Romney fan, but if I had to declare an overall winner, it would be him. He was able to frame his “flip flop” on abortion, and gave a reason that was credible. He also was well versed on the issues and inviting. Grade A

Gov. Jim Gilmore – Did very well tonight too. He was able to state that he was the “consistent Conservative”. He also did well to elicit his positions. However, there are few moments that make him stand out, and he probably won’t see his coin rise. Grade B-

Gov. Tommy Thompson – Did very well on many areas, but there was one area that may hurt him, and that was the question about firing people due to their sexual practices. I also believe that there was a pause that would have allowed him to nuance his position, and his silence was pregnant. This will be picked up. I don’t know if this is a valid reason to terminate an employee in the private sector, other than religious organizations, such as a parochial school, which are exempt from such restrictions and understandably so. His Iraq solution is interesting and deserves a look. Grade B-

Sen. Sam Brownback – Made some good points tonight, and particularly in his stressing the need for the political process to have a more dominant role in the process. His stands on abortion will help only with those who don’t know him, as they are well known. He also held up his credos to the bases fondness of evangelical base. Overall he may have helped himself, but like so many in the second tier is so far behind. Grade B-

Rep. Ron Paul – Made his stand as the maverick in the field. He also came across as passionate, principled, and had a good wit. However, his views on foreign policy are going to hurt him in the end. As much as America may wish to go back to isolationism, that ship has sailed. He advocated himself well, but his views won’t hold. Hard to grade with this dynamic, but based on his performance, and not his substance B.

Gov. Mike Huckabee – He had some good moments, and probably the biggest yuck of the night with his joke concering “The Governator”. He came across as genuine but may have suffered from the format as his positions are hard to define from some of the others, and nuance of his stands may be lost in the shuffle. Grade B-

Overall big winner has to be Romney. He did very well, and being slotted first, by the draw helped him. I think the big loser was Tom Tancredo, and this is not a slight, but he seemed frustrated and this won’t give him much of a bump.

I think that the only shift will be Romney moving up, but the question is who will pay for this hike Giuliani – who probably won’t lose support, McCain or maybe the non-announced candidate, who will also miss South Carolina’s debate, Fred Thompson.

If I had to be like a reality show and only promote five I think these five will likely be in SC.

Giuliani, McCain, Romney, Rep. Hunter, and either Sen. Brownback or Gov. Huckabee.

Then again, I could be wrong.

May 3, 2007

Where You Stand Politically

So, you want to  know where you stand and how you can get that cool little icon like I have on my blog?

Well, just go to this site and take the quiz.  I would put no opinion if you are not sure about something.

Please post your results, and you get BIG TIME BONUS POINTS for reasonableness if you score Moderate, Conservative or Liberal!  I “hope” I have constructed a place where divergent views are allowed and where we gain from seeing each other’s perspective.  I also hope that sometimes someone will say, I see your point, or something like that.

So often politics are too personal, so maybe this would at least bring back agreeable discussion and dissent to the forefront.

I’m posting this on all topics to hopefully get maximum participation.

IF you wish to take the quiz it is here.

Thanks!

April 2, 2007

The “What the Hell On Terror”

Great post, by My Errant Mind

In this post he really hits some nails on the head.  What the WOT is becoming is another euphemism, akin to the War on Poverty and the War on Drugs.  Until this nation shows it is taking this “war” seriously, it will have many problems, and will lose support, as it does even today.  Wars are not euphemisms.

To sum up his points:

What Is Wrong With The Global ‘What The Hell?’ On Terror?

  • The war is being paid lip-service.
  • Action is not being taken to win the war.
  • Unnecessarily expending the lives of good fighting men.
  • Needless social trauma that can and should be avoided.
  • Cowardly failure to identify the enemies clearly and comprehensively and stick to that definition.
  • A concerted effort to prolong the war by the military-industrial complex.
  • Weak governments let international opinion dictate action instead of their security needs.
  • Sovereignty of nations is being weakened.
  • Values are being compromised to secure aid from dubious governments we should be at war with.
  • We allow inept and cowardly generals and politicians to continue breeding.
  • We are not holding our leaders accountable.
  • None of our leaders are truly worth following.

It is long past time to either fight this damn war the way it needs to be, or call it quits. The longer it continues, the more we are sowing the seeds of future wars.

That is, however, just what the military-industrial complex wants.

I would add securing our borders as another thing that is wrong with the “WOT”

March 20, 2007

Humanity in the Balance?

As one reads the various blogs, as one watches the news from around the world has there ever been a time of such stark and shifting contrasts?  Imagine if you would, a room awash in gasoline, and there are matches spread about just waiting to be struck.  Will someone willingly strike the match?  Has the match already been struck and we are in this moment awaiting for the engulfment of flames?  Much has been written of course, from both sides concerning the role of fanatical Islam and the reactions that have been brought about.  In a post at Woman Honor Thyself, the author writes in striking terms about the fear that many in the Free Democracies, mostly typified by the West have towards the possibility of offending the practitioners of Islam.  This fear is understandable, and should be based on the proper sense of “humanism” that the Western Democracies have developed over thousands of years, but I fear it is not.  Through the elevation of the human spirit, and a guiding principal, typically shown, with some horrific detours thankfully the exception and not the rule, the estate of man has risen, dramatically.

The  point raised, that we – of Western culture –  are scared of them – Islamic culture – is so true.  I wonder if it is that we are scared of them, or scared of what many of us, and even myself at times wish to do with those people.  While I do not blame all Muslims for the acts of 9/11, for the car bombs that blow up all over in their region, so typically directed against the practitioners of democratic governments, At times the virulent anger that I feel towards the movement of Islam is palapable, and while one can never excuse excesses, and remain civilized, it brings understanding of how such horrific atrocities can occur.

Sadly, those people, have little remorse, and seem to glory in such acts of barbarism. We see this every day a bomb goes off, we see this in the training of children to carry on the will of their God, which is to actively promote wanton destruction.  I would postulate that this is a very different God from the other branches in the tree of monotheism.  What I fear is in fact the reality.

What is that reality?  A great many of those people wish nothing but to wipe their feet upon the ashes of our humanity and our culture. While I don’t know an exact percentage, and probably no one does know, the number is certainly sizeable.  In a very real way they pose a clear danger to not only the security of the United States and other liberal democracies, but to the ethos of Western Civilization itself.

The questions which must be asked by every member of democracies which place a proper “humanistic” value on the right to life, the right to participate in self-government, the right to worship God as one pleases, even to ignore or discount, the right to live without fear, is what are we as individuals, as member of societies where government is placed squarely on the hands of the people prepared to do if this view is commonplace among those people. Do we dare risk our correct liberalism with views of tolerance and respecting differences by taking on the face of distrust and of not believing that inside every human being is a spark that wishes to burn not in hateful flames, but in the warmth of reason and moderation? 

In a Free Society, there is a tacit understanding that our differences – if we share the common ground of loving the concept of liberty – as a part of our citizenship more than the concept of devotion to the an individual cause which is allowed only because of that free society.  Yet this other society demands conformity and the bended knee to their view of God.  While in the West, even amidst the rhetoric of religious and non religious, people who are of faith are not threatened by those who do not share that faith.  Indeed, a civil discourse, filled oftentimes with good humor and concern from the common strands of humanity we share, however they got there, are a part of the compact we make with society.  I accept you, even if I don’t agree with you, and I value your right to be what I am opposed to, because in that I protect not only you, but eventually myself.    This concept of community, is sorely lacking in those people.

Perhaps the lines are being drawn. Perhaps they have been drawn for longer than many of us would like to admit.  Perhaps this is the climactic struggle of the ages, where history lies balanced on a thread, freedom and light contrasted by domination to a code enforced by the tyranny of evil men. All of our fathers and mothers of history look to us from wherever they lie. Never in the mind of mankind has an age of prosperity and the candle of liberty burned so brightly within our species. Yet, perhaps never are the consequences to guard that light so important.

Sadly ironic that so much of this struggle in concerned over oil.  Oil, which in the literature of both cultures plays a soothing role, a role that is shown to be linked to thoughts of light, and peace, reflection upon God.  The miracle of the Macabees for the Jews, the indwelling of God, the Holy Spirit for the Christian.  And yes, in Islam oil is seen as being the cures for many ills, and is given in tradition in preparation for pilgrimages.  Yet, oil, may be the crux or the agent which fills the room, ready for the match to strike. 

We must all ask ourselves, what am I prepared to do.  It would seem that a dark chasm fills the days ahead.  Ask yourself, do you see things getting better or worse in the next thirty years.  Consider the rapidity of the rise of this conflaguration.  Recall the happiness that the vast majority felt when two leaders worked together and seemingly the nuclear nightmare that had blanketed this planet for a generation was lifted.  How lifelong enemies became concilatory, cooperative and working towards friendship.  And yet, in the midst of that time perhaps an even greater danger to the world was arising.  What is life like today, compared to that time?  What do you feel life will be like for your children and by mercy, your grandchildren.  What type of world will they awake into.

At times like these I can understand the cries from the Psalmist who envisioned a day that enemies by nature would lie together.  I can understand the cry from the  heart of mankind to have a time when justice and peace shall reign, and the worlds swords will be changed to bring tools of harvest.  And yet, that moment, at this particular time seems more illusory to my own eyes than it has ever in the short time that I have lived on this planet.  At times I see hope, and then I see the gathering of clouds. 

It may well be that humanity is in the balance.  Is there light?  Does anyone see it? 

“For sleep one needs endless depths of blackness to sink into; daylight is too shallow, it will not cover one”.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Oh how I yearn to be awake in the sun.

March 9, 2007

U.S., Brazil Sign Deal to Expand Ethanol Production

PBS reports, “an agreement between the United States and Brazil, signed Friday, would promote alternative fuel technology in an effort to expand international production of ethanol and reduce reliance on oil imports.

This would seem to be good news, but as soon as it was announced radicals from both the Left and the Right start to decry this move.  Some organizations are concerned that the reliance on sugar cane, which is what Brazil uses to produce ethanol, will result in larger deforestation of the Amazon rain forest.  In the US concerns have been rising over the cost of corn for food and its unintended impact upon the cost in raising cattle.  Currently, the US and Brazil supply 70% of the world’s ethanol.

In my mind I just can’t help but seeing a sheik and the prototypical oil tycoon thrashing away at a keyboard to FAX these disturbing “unintended consequences” to a public who are ruled by fear and have a knee jerk reaction of “Oh, my God” to any news other than things are A-Okay.  On the other side of the divider is a leftover relic from the 1960’s with a tie dyed tee shirt and a bong under his desk with his wild eyed fanatic lover (not gay lover, just 60’s freak, permanently mind deranged by LSD type “lover”) chanting the mantra of the extreme green left, while they say a prayer to the spirits of dolphins, pandas and all the animals without the fortitude to change breeding habits so they can survive through the millenia.

Now, ethanol, which is a relatively new technology is not a panacea, and has its drawbacks, one of which being a relatively low bang for the amount of fuel which needs to be burned.  However, this technology is in its infancy, and improvements can be expected in the performance of this alternate form.  Others castigate the low performance of alternate forms of energy such as solar, geo-thermal, oceanic-current, and of course many are understandably frightened by the alternate form with the most bang, no pun intended, nuclear energy.

However, all of these forms of energy, despite concentrated offensives levelled by current energy providers, what a surprise, and often being blocked by legislatures who get nice big kickbacks, errr, lobbying efforts from these same conglomerates.  They are also condemned, sadly by the ideologues of the Hard Right.  If you want to view a thread, that shows the ignorance of ideologues, where I even had to use my worst epithet of “Stay in your ignorance”, check out this thread.

However, if you are of a reasonable mind, let’s look at some of the possibilities of alternate forms of energy:

Wind farming increased by 27% in 2006, and is expected to grow another 26% in 2007.  That is an amazing statistic.  A recent study in Minnesota found that 25% of this energy can readily be incorporated into an Electric Power System.

Geo-Thermal

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has rated GHP’s as among the most efficient of heating and cooling technologies.

Thousands more megawatts of power than are currently being produced could be developed from already-identified hydrothermal resources.  This is being investigated by many industrialized nations through scientific studies that add water to create more steam and increase output.  The US is not among these nations.

Ocean Current:

The ocean currents are driven by wind and solar heating of the waters near the equator, though some ocean currents result from density and salinity variations of water. These currents are relatively constant and flow in one direction only.

Water is more than 800 times denser than air, so for the same surface area, water moving 12 miles per hour exerts about the same amount of force as a constant 110 mph wind. Ocean currents thus contain an enormous amount of energy that can be captured and converted to a usable form. It has been estimated that taking just 1/1000th the available energy from the Gulf Stream would supply Florida with 35% of its electrical needs.

The United States and other countries are pursuing ocean current energy, including Japan, China, and some European Union countries; however, marine current energy is at an early stage of development. There are no commercial grid-connected turbines currently operating; to date, only a small number of prototypes and demonstration units have been tested.

Unreasonable comment: WHY!!!!!

Here is a link done by the nefarious liberal organization, the US Department of the Interior which gives much more information than I do here.

I’m avoiding the elephant in the room, and am not going to address nuclear energy, or the horrific practices by us.  Yes, we American citizens and the everyday DUMB things we do which result not only in bad stewardship of the resources we posses, but also make energy issues worse.

While this has of course become a political football for both the extreme left and right, I think most Americans are reasonable.  At least I pray they are.  Now, what we need to remember that the cure for America is more democracy.  Let your state house and Congress know what the people think.
 

March 7, 2007

Kidnap and Rape Victim to Receive Public Flogging

Yes, you read that correctly.  Fox News reports that a 19 year old Saudi woman who was beaten and gang raped by seven men, who then took photos of her, and threatened to kill her was sentenced today to 90 lashes for being alone with men not related to her. 

According to the woman, who is only named as “G”, she was blackmailed into meeting a man, who had threatened to accuse her of having a relationship with him out of wedlock.  She met the man, and they drove off.  Later on men with knives and meat cleavers met the couple and proceeded to rape and photograph the woman.  Five of the rapists have received sentences of 10 months to five years, and the woman is to be flogged for being in a car with a man.

If there is one reason that America needs to be energy independent, and there are many, it is to keep ourselves from being beholden to “these people” of Saudi Arabia.  On any level, America needs to take every step possible towards this goal so we can truly be honest brokers in the Mideast region, and not have to tolerate working in partnership with the “Eddie Haskells” of the modern world.

This is a cause that the American public, left or right of the aisle can agree on.  While the Saudis are a sovereign people, and have the right to run their country as they see fit, America also should disassociate itself from this nation.  While we are at it let’s add China, a country that makes Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia look like Disneyworld – add up the math of the deaths since the “Cultural Revolution”, which effects are still being felt today.  Who you associate speaks volumes of who you are.  Would any of you tolerate a person in your house that would practice genital mutilation upon teen females?  Would any of you, regardless of your stand on abortion, have lunch at your table with a person that stuck a needle filled with poison into the skull of a child while being born – at the order of the state for being a second child?  While corporations and politicians, who are often their benefactors, talk about the need for interaction with these nations, I have my doubts that the good people of this country would willingly associate with people who commit such atrocities on a daily basis.  Such acts, whether done by individuals on their own, or by nation states, are indeed acts of terrorism.

The United States correctly disassociated itself from business with South Africa and Rhodesia due to their horrendous apartheid policies.  Clearly, the abuses against basic human rights is more than equalled by these two tyrannies.  As a nation we must be willing to maybe take the hit in the wallet and stand for moral principle.  If not, if we as a nation turn a blind eye to the excesses performed by the governments of these nations we are little better than they, and in fact bankroll their atrocities.

Morality has a place, and this is one place where as a nation we must decide with our wallets, if the concepts of progressive democracy, characterized in our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution apply only to those lucky enough to be born in this nation, or if in fact they are gifts to mankind as stated by the Founding Fathers of our Republic.

“The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in time of moral crisis preserve their neutrality.”  It is time for we the people to get off the fence.

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