Friday, August 12, 2016

The Presidential Election of 2016

In power, responsibility.
In responsibility, opportunity.
In neglect, loss of power.
In disdain, loss of all.

To relax does not infer going to sleep. There is a line between acceptance and carelessness. Most of the time, relaxation invites sleep. Remaining relaxed with awareness is an act of consciousness.

Worry and fear reduce awareness and limit consciousness.

Donald Trump is not qualified to be president of the United States.
He believes in the power of might; that the strong survive, whoever has the biggest club wins. Come what may.

Maybe people believing in Trump can fill in what eventual worldview this thinking leads to. Maybe not. Maybe there is no thought to go that far. It is a difficult position to be a public figure. So much scrutiny, every inadequacy there on the billboard. Who makes a good leader in times of instantaneous global communications? Maybe someone who does not wander in second thoughts. This a world where second and third thoughts, with their implications come quick.

Donald built a fortune in money based on traits with small regard for second thoughts. Perhaps we can appreciate this as a skill so patterned in practice, it is automatic. A reflex. It is necessary to see the many sides and dimensions of a civilization at the scale of global village to lead it. If there is a person in that position it would be the president of the United States. Today, anyway. A tough character makes no custom for formality. Donald Trump appeals to many as that. Diplomatic?
Not even close. Sometimes we discard diplomacy in time of crisis. Sometimes. If we are wrong, the train won't stop on a dime.

At this moment in history we need to embrace something more than quasi-affable hubris. Trump's ambition is not for public service but proving opinion in an ocean of right and wrong. His reward would be tenure leading the greatest political and military power ever known.

We need to learn from experience like the World Wars.
I'll use an example from this timeline in my point. Today the large majority of military experts agree Truman's decision to use nuclear weapons against Japan in 1945 was not necessary. Least of all, a second bomb at Nagasaki. At the time, it was a tested decision; there was political pressure and emotional inertia pulling the trigger. I do not have resentment toward Harry Truman. But I use the fact of military might sadly distraught in it's ultimate consequence as food for thought today.

George Bush is personally responsible for the decision to have invaded Iraq in 2003. We know today there is ample evidence that decision was not made based on necessity, or a clear plan. Least of all,  however we meter the count of Iraqi's who have perished in it's wake, what a sad moment in the human saga. Life in Iraq is still in turmoil. Day by day, week after week still hundreds die as collateral damage following an inept decision chiefly driven by emotion, a politics of economics, and implausible advice by advisors who did not appreciate the full effect of toppling Saddam Hussein. That was their answer to the quagmire imposed by reliance on Mid-East oil.  We were told it was about freedom. To this day some people still believe that.

This however, is the power invested in the office of the president of the United States, in a liberty invested by it's citizens, for better or worse. To be able to pull these triggers and sway these tides, impacting a community of nations. This is the power about to be given to either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. I cannot say entirely what Hillary's abilities are to lead this country. I personally thought Bernie Sanders would have made a great president.

I do know at the same time however, to leave it with Donald Trump will be a tragic mistake.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

On the McCain campaign for the Presidency

"Dear Mr. Obama" - McCain ad at Youtube; -

What is sad for me about this commercial is the mistake young Joe Cook voices about the purpose for the war in Iraq. He also has confused Barack's characterization of the war for the position that once we were there, the effort the soldiers have had to maintain was in any way to be questioned. No one, and certainly no one would rationally challenge the need for the soldiers there to do their job once on the ground. That McCain alleges Obama meant that as his point insults your intelligence and mine.

The campaign ad does not include adequate word about is the appropriateness of choice Joe Cook's commander in chief made in sending him to war. George Bush's reason for going into Iraq is what Barack is calling a mistake. It is an outright lie to say it was to bring Iraq freedom. It is an a derided conclusion to say we are coming anywhere near accomplishing it. Perhaps a democracy will survive in Iraq, but what Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain do not admit is the cost and damage of assuming it could be brought to these people by removing Saddham Hussein from power. History will indeed tell the tale. People must look and be honest about where we get our information and what we seem to know. Is it enough to turn to big news media or the White House for insight? Remember what the Bush administration used as information to justify going to Iraq. To a detail, the reasons were proved to be fabrications and unsubstantiated, mere months following the invasion. The White House wasn't interested in knowing what they claimed as reasons for doing what they did. The truth is it has all been about securing control over Mideast oil.

America has to wake up to the fact individuals with personal agendas of power and greed will lie to us without regard, and send our military to war with no respect for what our soldiers think they are doing. If Americans can't wake up to the truth they have been manipulated, lied to, and used over and over in the name of this love for this country; this nation will continue to crumble as a society.

Freedom is a much deeper and invested privilege, than can be secured by war. There are certainly moments that we defend our territory to preserve that privilege, but the freedom itself comes from a diligent appreciation of wisdom and responsibility. Wisdom is gained through the restraint of resort to violence. Using force to pretend we can give people the gift of democracy is a deep misunderstanding of how democracy thrives. It thrives through communication, relationship, education, and the choice for peace. Peace is not created through war.

This campaign ad continues to convince me John McCain represents short sightedness, resorting to the willful manipulation of perspective. This is the same atrocity George Bush imposed through the years of his presidency. Bush seriously jeopardized America's role and credibility for playing a part in the process of peace and freedom across this planet. John's catch phrase reads: "The day we loose our will to fight is the day we loose our freedom." -and so sadly reflects a terrible impotence. No, John. Freedom is the legacy of acceptance and cooperation.

Friday, May 25, 2007

America's choice for War

The largest obstacle to bringing an end to the war in Iraq is our reluctance to come to the understanding we are each responsible for the basis of need to be there. We each choose our perspective, yet that is not a common appreciation. Our world is made of human beings who share the same need to be fulfilled and to be happy. The notion of evil is an oxymoron, where no one included in the conversation really believes life on earth is a saga unfolding defeat or victory between ourselves. The uncertainty is an ignorance of who human beings are. We are all born in a beauty and meaningful presence. That is ignored in the justification for ending lives. We ignore the truth of our own existence wherever we rationalize a purpose to kill for any point of ideology, politics, or perhaps even survival. Certainly not economics. This whole thing started with an American perception that, for untenable reasons terrorism had crept to our shores, and the Presidency saw effective response as searching out the individuals responsible and eliminating them.

The New York Times ran an editorial May 13, 'See You in September, Whatever That Means'. The Times points out that in Washington where the billions of dollars that fund this war must be carefully justified in clear fiscal terms, no one is grappling with how to measure progress in the campaign.

From the article:

"No one knows how to define progress in such a mixed-up situation," said Representative Jack Kingston, Republican of Georgia and a member of the subcommittee that overseas military spending. "We're having trouble measuring it. Imagine building a house without a ruler."

"Jason Campbell, a scholar at the Brookings Institution who is a co-author of something called the Iraq Index. The Iraq Index is a huge compilation of data tracking life in Iraq - everything from the monthly car-bomb rate to how many foreign nationals are kidnapped to how many Iraqis have electricity and Internet access. It is long on numbers and short on analysis, though the latest report, dated April 30, includes a brief, and somewhat gloomy, summation in which the authors write that "on balance, the picture in Iraq has some signs of hope, but continues to present more grounds for worry than for confidence."

"Michael O'Hanlon, the lead author of the Iraq Index, is skeptical. He says metrics are "important grist for a fact-based debate," but history shows it is dangerous to rely on too few of them. "Metrics were used in Vietnam, and we had the wrong ones, and in my opinion they did net harm to the debate," Mr. O'Hanlon said, adding, "I'm afraid that Congressman Kingston is going to continue to be frustrated, because we can't be exactly precise about which indicators are the conclusive ones."

It is no surprise to hear about this dilemma. The enemy we pursue changes faces with each passing incident of struggle to fill the political vacuum created by the removal of Saddam Hussein. In the cultural and economic outrage unleashed by the US invasion, appreciation and tolerance for what the Iraqis need drifts further away. The interests of the United States, or more importantly the cartel of a multi-trillion dollar petroleum industry is all that appears to have benefited. George Bush would have us believe in the egalitarian motive of bringing democracy and it's benefits to Iraq. Mr. Bush has little understanding of what freedom, for a society, must rest on. He adds to his justification the imperative for defending the American people from the evil of radical Islam, al-Qaida, sworn enemy and hater of our freedoms. We should watch where this purpose hinges on their hating us because of our freedoms. The truth is their movement is a natural response to the frustration caused throughout the Middle East over the Western world's disregard for culture and autonomy exploiting the fabulous wealth of oil below the sand. It has perpetrated a covert imperialism.

The American people have yet to grasp what is happening in Iraq, or throughout the Middle East. The American people and President Bush have yet to think what the end result of our strong arm tactics forcing the world of nations into harmony with our vision, supporting our 'needs' will be. It is the same absence of clarity our Congress has just agreed with the President to endorse once again, approving the money to fight this war. We will not consider a time line, but 'benchmarks' to hold the fledgling government of Iraq accountable. Ask yourself, in September if these benchmarks are not met, will Congress demand withdrawal of our troops? Not hardly. The people who believe in this war will fight it until there is no money or soldiers to walk the ground. They will keep control of their oil, and keep their endless battle with their enemies. They will preclude their appraisal of what is happening in Iraq, they will manipulate the American people into continuing to believe the campaign is necessary at any continuing cost. Because Americans live comfortably in a relatively amenable life, they will accept again the words of their Congress and President. This war will continue until they wake up and recognize the problem is in believing force can serve world peace.

Perhaps that is the real conflict, a distance within ourselves where we have yet to realize what we want.


Wednesday, January 3, 2007

What Have We Done?

With the execution of Saddam Hussein, the pure irony of violence as a response to a political issue is glaring. For some, it may feel justice is served. For others the late dictator's hanging speaks volumes in commentary on the futility of an act that served so little. Saddam Hussein lived by the very ideology that placed him in the gallows to meet his death. That he arrived there surely seems fair. But how does this prevent further injustice? Is this one quick moment of pain and surrender of a life at all sufficient to heal the misery he was responsible for through his regime? The answer is clearly no, and his people continue today on their journey of securing peace and civility in their lives, which will never be the result of injury inflicted on anyone.

What have we done to believe democracy is served with this man's hanging? Saddam Hussein was so distantly removed from any possibility of return to power it could easily have remained a plausible outcome for Iraqi society to know he sat powerless in a prison cell stripped of his authority. Perhaps by their standard of justice this execution was inevitable. But for George W. Bush to frame this as 'an important milestone' in the process of bringing Iraqi people democracy only demonstrates an ignorance of what freedom must truly be based on:

"Saddam Hussein's execution comes at the end of a difficult year for the Iraqi people and for our troops. Bringing Saddam Hussein to justice will not end the violence in Iraq, but it is an important milestone on Iraq's course to becoming a democracy that can govern, sustain, and defend itself, and be an ally in the War on Terror."
-- President George W. Bush
December 29, 2006

Mr. Bush acknowledges Saddam's execution will not end the violence Iraq suffers, but does not offer an answer that will. In fact, it was his choice to depose Saddam and be involved in Iraq militarily that catalyzed and perpetuates the condition Iraq faces today. It is unfortunate Mr. Bush remains our president unable to face this 'War on Terror' with no solution but his conviction in these continuing acts of violence that would seem to isolate or control the presence of the perceived evil of the world.

I wonder how he reconciles his philosophies and policy with the unmoving position of the Christian mind, clearly stated in the Vatican's response to Hussein's death through their spokesperson Federico Lombardi:

"A capital punishment is always tragic news, a reason for sadness, even if it deals with a person who was guilty of grave crimes. The position of the Church has been restated often. The killing of the guilty party is not the way to reconstruct justice and reconcile society. On the contrary there is a risk that it will feed a spirit of vendetta and sow new violence. In these dark times for the Iraqi people one can only hope that all responsible parties truly make every effort so that glimmers of reconciliation and peace can be found in such a dramatic situation."

What have we done to celebrate this as a moment in history that we took Saddam Hussein' s life to secure justice or democracy? We have created a perpetration of legitimacy in violence, almost an abysmal failure to come to terms with what really brings it to the world. We have ignored the real impact of breaking ourselves into quarters of good and evil where the evil can somehow be controlled or destroyed with same instrument of it's senselessness. There is far more to gain through understanding than suppression or denial. There is far more to learn while our answers continue as these pitiful charades.

What we have done is postpone our responsibility.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Our purpose here is to share ideas developing awareness of political and cultural issues that impact the quality of life here in central Florida, through our state and nation, and the world.

That whatever the reasons are in the choice for war, we speak for sanity and the truth that at no time is violence necessary to secure the benefit of greater good.