Wednesday, October 28, 2009

President Barack Obama; I Wonder if the President Thought About What He was getting Himself into When He Campaigned for this Job

Please readers have patience with this post, because it will cover a lot of ground. Let's start with prioritizing what's on the President's plate from my perspective.

(1) The economy, which means job creation to the vast spectrum of Americans who find themselves out of work due to events out of their control. With that said, let me acknowledge up-front that I realize some people just don't want a job no matter what; I'm speaking of those who do want a job, "DESPERATELY"! All of the Republicans and some Democrats who just want this President to fail, are championing the phrase, "Anything the government control, is destined to fail." Now let me get this right, the President is the apex of the government in America, like it or not, that's our system. The Republicans and some Democrats are hell bent on rejecting any and everything government controlled, but these same people want the President, who is the apex of the government, to create jobs for citizens of the government. Is this a misnomer, oxymoron, or what? There are polls citing that 52% of Americans are opposed to the direction the country is going, this is definitely due to Americans out of work and not being able to find employment. I'll be truthful with you, I believe if the "Eight Hundred Billion Dollar" plus stimulus package awarded to the fat cats that was too big to fail, would have been distributed to the general public and working class people, the economy would be showing a positive comeback. The real point is this, these people (Republicans and some Democrats) want the President to fail, "By any means necessary."

I want to share my views on the Health Care Reform debate that's going on in the Congress and the Senate. Before I get started on the big picture that touches all Americans, please allow me to share something personal that occurred with my family in regards to health care. My twelve year old daughter is currently sickened with the H1N1 Swine Flu Virus as I post this blog. My daughter was also born with a severe case of Asthma, during her early years, my wife and I spent more time at the hospital than at work due to her Asthma attacks. Thanks to the professionalism of the Children's Hospital of Oakland California and the due diligence of my wife, my daughter seemed to grow out of the severe attacks of Asthma. If one is questioning why it was my wife who had to do the due diligence of caring for my daughter, at the time I was earning far more money at my job than my wife, so we both made the decision that she would be the one to spend most of the time at the Children's Hospital with our daughter; but I cried everyday, because I felt helpless to come to the rescue of my daughter while she suffered with her battle with Asthma.

OK, back to the H1N1 Swine Flu Virus that infected my daughter. This is what touches everybody in America, whether you're covered by an insurance company or not. My family is covered by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of California, when my daughter was stricken by the swine flu virus, the doctor who has taken care of her pretty much since birth wrote a prescription and told us to keep her out of school for at least a week. The medicines to fight the virus cost upwards of $1000.00, we looked to pay the co-pay and just administer the medicine to our daughter; to our dismay the insurance company told the doctor, "The medicine is the right medicine, but it cost too much, so therefore the insurance company will not pay for the medicine for my daughter." This is an insurance company that we've been paying into for the past 15 years, now that we need them to cover us at our time of need, they cite the medicine cost too much. This happens to every person and family who are insured by the big insurance companies, but we have these Republicans and some Democrats who are being funded by the insurance industry to keep them in office to block coverage for Americans who have paid into an industry for years, only to find out that we are not covered. At this very moment we have elected officials making sure their political career stays intact rather than making decisions that are best for the country; some are even willing to lie.

Sen. Joe Lieberman has vowed to stand with Republicans to filibuster the Democrat sponsored Healthcare Bill. While running for re-election on July 6, 2006, Sen. Joe Liebermann promised the voters of Connecticut the following: "I can do more than my opponent for you and your families to get something done to make health care affordable, to get universal health insurance with a public option for the voters of Connecticut. On Oct. 23, 2006, Sen. Joe Liebermann told the same Connecticut voters that he had already offered a comprehensive program that includes small business health insurance reform. The Senator went on to say, "I have two programs, MediKids and MediChoice. MediKids will cover all the children in America on a sliding fee basis up until the age of 25. MediChoice will allow anybody in our country to buy into a national insurance pool like the health insurance pool that federal employees, and members of Congress have." Sen. Liebermann also promised to cover 95 percent of those who are not covered now, and reduce the pressure on rising health care insurance costs for all the millions of others. With Sen. Joe Liebermann siding with Republicans to filibuster the Healthcare Bill, any clear thinking American can plainly see, the Senator outright lied to the voters of Connecticut.

(2) Security: Homeland and Abroad, I have to admit, even I didn't know this, the majority of Americans according to a recent Gallop poll view cyber-crime as the number one concern to Americans. Terrorism and murder are less of a worry for Americans these days than identity theft. I even got a story about identity theft that happened to a friend of mine, if it would have happened to me, perhaps I would have a different perspective in regards to priority. The person I'm talking about is a Marine brother of mine, which digs deep into my heart, because I'm a Vietnam Marine veteran (9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division). My friend had his identity stolen, and it took him to the brink of losing his home. Not because he failed to pay his house note, but because his bank and his debtors didn't believe he was the person that owned the property. It took him five years to prove that he was the victim of identity theft. Although I sympathize with his plight, I still believe security rank above identity theft. Readers please remember, I said at the beginning of this post, I am prioritizing this from my perspective of what's on the President's plate.

Back to security, some of the things that really bugs the hell out me, are the people who are so gong-ho for war and branding the President as a ditherer for taking the time and making sure he makes the right decision in regards to sending more troops to Afghanistan. First of all, some of the soldiers who will be sent to Afghanistan are on their third and fourth tour to a war zone. The military men and women who have been on their third and fourth tour to war zones haven't even had the joy of seeing their children grow-up, not to mention the skyrocketing divorce rate among them. I hate it when the media says, "This is President Obama's war." Although I disagreed with pretty much of all President Bush's decisions, I hated when the media would say, "This is President Bush war." Whenever our military goes to war, it suppose to be America's war. What the hell happened to the America we had during World War I and II? During those wars, all Americans participated in some way. Now, if we don't have a loved one in the military, the majority of Americans could care less what's going on with the war; especially the Obama haters. The military mission was to go to Afghanistan and capture or kill the people responsible for attacking us on 9/11, and they were well on their way to accomplishing the mission. But Dick Cheney, the guy who applied for and received five draft deferments to avoid the Vietnam war, along with the Bush administration, snatched the victory our military was on the verge of achieving away by lying about Iraq involvement with 9/11 and weapons of mass destruction. I'm willing to bet, 95 percent of the cowards who are calling for more troops to Afghanistan would do the same thing Dick Cheney did if the Selective Service Board would re-instate the draft.

I agree 100 percent with Matthew Hoh who recently resigned as a Foreign Service Officer over the Afghan war. Mr. Hoh wrote in his resignation letter, "I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States' presence in Afghanistan. I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end." I suggest anyone whose interested in what's really going on with the war in Afghanistan, to read Mr. Hoh's resignation letter; the man hit the nail on the head in regards to the war. The strategy now is to stabilize Afghanistan, in which every General agree would take between 5 to 10 years; so instead of the troops being on their third and fourth tour, they'll be on their sixth and seventh tour. Next year this time, we will have spent the exact amount of time the Russians spent in Afghanistan. It's as if we're trying to prove that we can get more of our troops killed in Afghanistan than the Russians. Another thing all the Generals agree on, is that the people responsible for attacking us on 9/11 are not even in Afghanistan. This means our troops are caught in the middle of a civil war, being killed by Afghan tribes and clans branded as insurgents. These people hate the government we support in Kabul, so they're killing our troops because they view us as an occupying force fighting them in behalf of a corrupt government. So if President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and others are convinced those responsible for attacking us on 9/11 are in Pakistan, and view bin Laden and Al Qaeda as our No. 1 security threat, then what the hell are our troops dying in Afghanistan for?

(3) Education, I would have put Health Care Reform, but I believe Healthcare and the economy go hand-in-hand. While we're patting ourselves on the back for being the richest and the most powerful nation on earth, we fail badly when it comes to educating our youth. As of 2006, America ranked 35th in mathematics and 29th in science out of 57 countries assessed; and most experts agree, things are getting worse instead of better. According to UNICEF, 40 years ago America had the highest graduation rate in the world; now we're ranked 19th, and losing ground fast. Many believe science has always been what has propelled America economically, above other countries. We maintained competition with Russia during the race for outer-space expeditions; Russia launched Sputnik, we landed on the moon. This occurred because of the enormous amount of talent in science America had to offer, this is no longer the case; and according to those who track the progress or lack of in America's education, this is what has led to America losing the lead in regards to education.

The reason for America's decline in education is open to debate among many people; however, suggestions has been made it's because of the "No Child Left Behind" law. The law required students to be tested on reading and math, which lead to schools dropping science courses to devote more time working on reading and math. Some blame the decline on our changing culture in society. Before we can begin to fix our education problem, we must first identify what led to the decline in our education system. I believe writer Mary Faler put things in proper perspective when she wrote the following:

Why is being considered a nerd, a bad thing. When someone says "nerd", "scientist", "chemistry", "physics" , or "biology" the imagery that automatically comes to mind is one of dreary old men in boring white lab coats discussing something equally as mundane as their appearance. The next thing that jumps into people's cognizance would be how society views those that choose science as a career path; in a world focused on sex, drugs, rock and roll, hip hop, and rap, finding joy in learning new things falls very low on the "cool" meter. Consequently, the population's minds are turned off, and grades suffer.

Studies have shown in middle schools, 40 percent of science teachers and half of math teachers lack a major or minor in the subject. As recently as last year, my daughter 7th grade teacher taught both science and math; but didn't have a degree in neither. Before President Barack Obama pledged to focus on math and science in our schools, some believed America's leaders were no longer focused on education. Science advisor to the President no longer attended cabinet meetings, and the Office of Technology Assessment was abolished in 1995. Ms. Faler wrote, "The root of the problem appears to be the values of today's youth; celebrities are popular, MySpace rules discussions, and Weird Al sings about being "White and Nerdy".

One thing most education experts agree on, there is no one thing that will fix America's education problem. However, there are a few things if done together, will go a long way to curing America's ailing education system. Few factors affect students' performance more than the quality of their teachers. Studies have shown, good teachers improve the progress of students by 80 percent; the problem with that, quality teachers cost a lot more than what teachers earn today in our schools. President Obama has proposed a program called, "Pay for Performance". Teachers will be payed in accordance with the progress of their students, teachers who haven't shown progress in two years, are out.

For years America's education philosophy has been bigger is better, especially when it came to high schools. In the '50s, educators advocated to eliminate small schools and build large schools, this led to most urban high school students attending factory-like schools with 1,000 students or more. Today, many have become cauldrons of violence, piteous achievement, and high dropout rate. It's time for education planners and administrators to make a change; new construction should favor small neighborhood schools, with 200 to 500 students. This will allow teachers and students to form closer bonds. Some cities, such as New York and Chicago has already implemented the downsizing of schools.

The President has suggested the creation of Community Outreach Programs, which entails graduate students from local colleges establishing a homework and tutoring program for high school students. In return the government will pay a portion of the college students tuition costs. One thing is certain, technology, more money, or more and smaller schools are in no way a panacea for the ills of America's classrooms. But if deployed with other reforms, it embraces promise of helping to close the yawning gap between schools in rich and poor communities.

Whew! That was wordy, but I honestly believe when people are presented with the facts, it usually leads to intelligent decisions being made.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dick Cheney Accuses President Obama of "Dithering" on His Decision to Send More Troops to Afghanistan

First we hear President Obama is trying to do too much. Now we hear the same people whining after only nine months in office, about the President not doing enough. Former Vice President Dick Cheney is at it again. This guy just won't go away, here's a man who got everything wrong during his eight years in the White House; now he has the audacity to reprimand the President for taking his time and putting some critical thought into his decisions. Former Vice President Dick Cheney accused the President of dithering and afraid to make a decision in regards to sending more troops to Afghanistan. Most Americans now believe an overabundance of dithering was in order before sending our troops to Iraq. Without Dick Cheney participating in any dithering, we now have close to 5,000 American troops dead over a lie that a bit of dithering may have prevented.

Let's take a look at who was afraid, and how Dick Cheney's eldest daughter, Elizabeth Cheney, owes her very existence to her father's avoidance of the Vietnam draft. The following timeline by, Timothy Noah of

Aug. 29, 1964: Dick and Lynne Cheney marry.

May 19, 1965: The Selective Service classifies Dick Cheney 1-A, "available immediately for military service."

July 28, 1965: President Lyndon Johnson says draft calls will be doubled.

Oct. 26, 1965: The Selective Service declares that married men without children, who were previously exempted from the draft, will now be called up. Married men with children remain exempt.

Jan. 19, 1966: The Selective Service reclassifies Dick Cheney 3-A, "deferred from military service because service would cause hardship upon his family, " because his wife is pregnant with their first child.

July 28, 1966: Elizabeth Cheney is born.

Jan. 30, 1967: Dick Cheney turns 26 and therefore becomes ineligible for the draft.

Obstetricians will notice that Elizabeth Cheney's birth date falls precisely nine months and two days after the Selective Service publicly revoked its policy of not drafting childless husbands. Let's just assume the Cheney's were planning to have children at some point. However, it definitely seems that the Cheney's seized with an untamable passion the moment Dick Cheney became vulnerable to the Vietnam draft; and acted on it. I know some will say all of this is just a coincidence; only one person know if it was a coincidence or not, and that's Dick Cheney. Seems like Carpe diem to me.

Since some may view the above mentioned actions by Cheney as just coincidences, let's take a look at some of Cheney's actions that was not coincidences.

During the Vietnam War, Cheney applied for and received five draft deferments. While citing his attempt to earn a college education was the reason for seeking his Vietnam draft deferments, Cheney was busy getting drunk and picking up two driving while intoxicated (DWI) convictions. When asked about his draft deferments, Cheney replied, "I had other priorities in the '60s than military service. I guess he did, seems like his other priorities were breaking the law and jeopardizing the lives of others.