Monday, May 28, 2007
On Politics - One of the Most Lucrative Jobs in America - Part 3
The truth of the matter is that being a politician in America today is one of the best paying jobs a person could have despite their supposedly low wages compared to corporate executives.
I bet there are corporate executives in America who wish they were making $16 million a year like Giuliani.
The tragedy of all of this is not that a Republican is being discovered, tried and convicted in a news report, but that the same can and will be done to a Democrat by some other news reporter hell-bent on trying to pass off their brilliance as actual news rather than accusatory garbage.
If you do not know that the vast majority of politicians lie, cheat and steal as necessary to get elected and stay elected, you do not understand much about politics in America today. It is real difficult to practice integrity when your pants are down.
The best job most national politicians do is helping themselves get rich legally at the expense of the electorate they are supposed to be representing.
It is never too soon to vote themselves another raise, perk or benefit, or cut an out-of-sight deal to line their pockets, and it is never too late to bail out on legislation that might offend a big campaign contributor.
This is politics in America today: you buy and sell votes like a common prostitute in the red light district of your city; you try to do it legally, and if you cannot, you hope to hell that you do not get caught.
Who exactly do you suppose politicians are protecting when they will not pass legislation to protect innocent children against child predators? This is the world we live in today.
No payoff is too great to not be swept under the carpet.
It is difficult to sidestep the cow pies when your are mired in a crap field.
When something good is done for the people at large it is more likely to be done today by accident than by design. Politics and the business of politics are simply that bad.
Some politicians ignore children who are innocent victims as not even being worthy of the same rights they enjoy, and then make it a badge of liberal honor to try and rehabilitate predators who are no better than yesterday's garbage. Usually it is these same politicians who do everything in a fit of righteousness (their rightness at your expense).
Man is the only animal on the face of the earth who preys on his own species. Man is also the smartest animal on the face of the earth and the stupidest at the same time. We would rather kill each other than live in peace.
I believe Ambrose Bierce had it right when he defined politics in his Devil's Dictionary as: "Politics, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage."
Bierce first published his Devil's Dictionary in 1911, a time some would consider more genteel. Today's political parties and politicians have raised lying, cheating and stealing to an art form.
When I say cheating I mean both of money and extramarital sex. Some of our married politicians at the national level are so horny they need to be romancing their secretary or an intern young enough to be their daughter or granddaughter. A few even fancy themselves as incredibly attractive Lotharios masquerading as chick magnets. They might be able to pull this off as long as their photo-opts are straight on; the side views may be problematic in print.
Bierce was an interesting guy. He was an American editorialist, journalist, short-story writer and satirist who wrote for a number of newspapers, including the San Francisco News Letter, a financial magazine founded by Frederick Marriott in the late 1850s.
Bierce was the 10th of 13 children, all of whom had names starting with the letter "A", as in Abigail, Amelia, Ann, Addison, Aurelius, Augustus, Alameda, Andrew, Albert, Ambrose, Arthur, Adelia and Aurelia. His dad's name was Marcus Aurelius Bierce.
Ambrose Bierce fought at the Battle of Shiloh on the Union side in the Civil War. He would later write about the experience. He is most remembered for his lucid, unsentimental style that created the Devil's Dictionary which offers up reinterpretations of the English language which lampoon cant and political double-talk.
Bierce was born in Ohio in 1842, grew up in Indiana, moved West to San Francisco, worked as a writer, and died in Mexico. His actual date of death is unknown, listed only as possibly 1914 (June 24, 1842-1914?). There was no question mark about his work; his writing lives on.
If you ever find a better definition of politics than the one offered up by Ambrose Bierce, you let me know, and I will buy you lunch.
(Editor's Note: This ends Part 3 of a 5-Part Series)
Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Thoughts on Who I Read and Why, and on Politicians, Pundits and Predators - Part 2
When reading Charles Krauthammer, I am reminded that Henry Ford said "the hardest thing to do in the world is to think, and that is why people do so little of it." This is especially true during Presidential elections which start about a year too early and end about a year too late.
It is often hard for me to decide which is wearier, the droppings of a contentious person or a Presidential election.
We have 18 more excruciating months to go in this one and will probably be no better informed on the day we vote. This is because we are going to be inundated with lies, misrepresentations, hateful remarks, character assassination, snide remarks and insults, and there is not a nickel's worth of difference between the bickering parties and candidates.
Ann Coulter, in her book How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must), points out that "When Democrats make an accusation against Republicans, newspaper headlines repeat the accusation as a fact," like "U. S. Law Chief Failed to Heed Terror Warnings," or "Bush White House Said to Have Failed to Make al-Qaida an Early Priority."
"But when Republicans make accusations against Democrats" says Coulter, "the headlines note only that Republicans are making accusations," to wit: "Ashcroft Faults Clinton in 9/11 Failures."
The second story I read on Giuliani was an Associated Press piece on May 15, 2007 with this headline: "A President Giuliani Could Face Ethical Web." Was this another example of Coulter's observation? You decide.
The boldface subhead and introduction to the story said this: "An Associated Press review of Rudy Giuliani's law and lobbying firm finds it would spell ethical trouble for him if he won the presidency."
This is exactly what Coulter was pointing out.
This is the kind of crap we get for news in newspapers today: the writers weave an elaborate trail of "facts" arriving at a conclusion of wrongdoing without the reader even having to think.
The writers of this piece of tripe—Sharon Theimer and Devlin Barrett—are trying to convince me that they have uncovered some brilliant piece of investigative reporting when what they have really done is present their own prejudiced views and convicted Guiliani of some wrongdoing.
These writers are masquerading as news reporters but are actually political hacks that do not even recognize how misguided they have become. They probably think Giuliani is as stupid as they think they are smart.
It is probably true that Giuliani made more than $16 million in earned income during the past 16 months, so what is the big deal? Do they think he is a trained attorney and a former prosecuting attorney who is now pig-slopping his way though deals to make income?
Heck, virtually every candidate running for the presidency who could possibly win is at least a millionaire.
John Edwards reported $1.25 million in earned income last year and has listed assets of at least $5 million. Heck, even newcomer Barack Obama knocked down more than a half-million in royalties for one of his books and an advance on another. I believe he earned at least $900,000+ in income last year.
They could investigate Giuliani until they are blue in the face and fine nothing illegal has been happening.
You can bet that any of the presidential candidates, regardless of party affiliation, are not going to be doing illegal moneymaking deals that could ruin their shot at being elected. They would likely wait for a more opportune, less media exposure time to cut a back room deal that would line their pockets.
They may have some moral indiscretions along the way, but will likely cover their heinie in their financial dealings while running for the presidency.
The AP story cites example after example of how Giuliani could be implicated in his lobbying and other money-making activities, and covers all of the supposed conflicts of interests arising from lobbying efforts, like every other candidate has not had any dealings with any government agency since becoming a politician.
Good grief, all politicians make money hand over fist in all kinds of dealings, hundreds of which never become a matter of public record. So what? If any politician really screws up today, he or she is likely to be found out, right down to the money in the cooler.
Virtually every politician at the national level has had their hand greased at one time or another, directly or indirectly. Almost any political candidate who takes campaign contributions of any kind could be shown, upon examination, to have rewarded the contributor with a timely vote that could be justified as legal, moral or honest.
Lyndon Johnson did not make squat when he went into the Texas legislature as a schoolteacher and was a multi-millionaire before he was a President, all on a politician's wages.
(Editor's Note: This ends Part 2 of a 5-Part Series)
Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley
Monday, May 21, 2007
There is an Interesting Phenomenon Occurring
There is something very interesting happening on the web. There is a grass root's effort to have Al Gore run for president. It started in California (according to the first few that 'signed') and is spreading like a wildfire across the country. The draftgore site has more than 80,100 signatures (over eighty thousand one hundred as of this writing) from people of almost every state, writing and begging him to run for President. The only states I did not see represented were - Alaska, North and South Dakota and Wyoming.
There are die-hard republicans who have never voted for anyone other than a republican, now asking him to run and promising they, and their voting family, will back him. There are people from other countries saying they are applying for American citizenship so they can vote for him.
"I have been a republican for 60 years but you will have my vote if you will run. Our nation needs you. The world needs you. Our planet needs you" - this is a direct quote.
Many are furious with the corruption and disregard for the constitution this administration has shown. Many are begging him to run so their grandchildren will have a world to live in. Many are volunteering, now, before he even says he will run, to help his campaign.
I find this interesting because, even though we have censored news, the average American seems so disgusted with what news is leaking out, and the propaganda being fed to us, that they willing to commit a personal effort to change it. They feel he is the only hope for this country and this world. They feel he will restore Americas' true image and instead of the rest of the world hating us, they will welcome us back into the world community.
Anyone interested can go to the draftgore site and read the comments for themselves.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Should We Grant Amnesty To Illegal Aliens?
Amnesty is not an option in regard to illegal aliens because it is more than likely that a good portion of those illegal aliens committed a crime within our Country and was never caught. In reality, it's not really amnesty, but a pardon. You know, like the pardon Richard Nixon got from his fellow Republican, Ford. We all know that Republicans always were faithful to business people.
In order to prosper, big business needs a whole lot of new customers to mortgage to the hilt and drown in an ocean of debt. Banks and lending institutions prosper from tens of millions of interest dollars they get from those people.
Then again, how in the World are we ever going to be safe walking on the street, or even within our homes if violent street gangs are allowed to continue as they have since Puerto Rico was given a chance for Statehood way back in 1959. Well, that Country, after several votes by its population, still hasn't approved it. But they get to come here free and clear of any immigration laws.
Believe it or, that's not the only Country to reject Statehood. The Philippines also rejected Statehood after we freed them from Japan. The big difference is that those people made many positive contributions to our society, and they didn't force themselves into our Country any way that they could like the people from South of our border have in the past and continue to do.
Since that time the gang mentality set in and nothing good was a result. Who in their right mind would grant a pardon to people who have brought illegal drugs into our Country and/or sold that poison to our children? How many of our children are beat up, stabbed, killed or otherwise threatened by those gang people?
Then too, how many of our senior citizens are victims of street crimes because that terrible situation is allowed to continue? What about the tens of billions of dollars of damage caused by such violent people? How much grief and suffering did they cause to our society? I know many people who were truly hurt and amnesty won't ease the pain of those people. Compared to this problem, the Arab Terrorist problem is nothing in terms total damage and victims.
The only real difference is that the Arab Terrorists' victims were rich or very well off, and we victims of gang crimes are just average working people who expect their Government to also see to their safety and welfare.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
German Memory- US President Gen Dwight D Eisenhower in the German POW Crisis
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States (1953–1961) who was in charge of the Allied Forces during the Second World War, made the controversial decision to reclassify German prisoners of war (POWs) in U.S. custody as Disarmed Enemy Forces (DEFs). As DEFs, they could be compelled to serve as unpaid conscript labor. An unknown number may have died in custody as a consequence of malnutrition, exposure to the elements, and lack of medical care.
Canadian author James Bacque in his book "Other Losses" heavily criticized Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower for his involvement in treating the German prisoners of war. James Bacque's comments in "Other Losses" were widely discussed on American and German televisions and received a mixture of excitement and anger.
The reason for the reaction was the author's conclusion that Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, as head of the American occupation in Germany in 1945, deliberately starved to death German prisoners of war in staggering numbers. Bacque holds that "the victims undoubtedly number over 800,000, almost certainly over 800,000 and quite likely over a million. Their deaths were knowingly caused by army officers who had sufficient resources to keep them alive."
Eisenhower's method, according to Bacque, was simple: he changed the designation of the prisoners from "Prisoners of War" (P.O.W.), which required by the Geneva Convention to be fed the same rations as US Army's, to "Disarmed Enemy Forces" (D.E.F.), which allowed him to cut their rations to starvation level.
Bacque says the D.E.F. were also denied medical supplies and shelter; because of that they died by hundreds of thousands. Their deaths were covered up on Army records by listing them as "other losses" on charts showing weekly totals of prisoners on hand, numbers discharged and so forth.
Bacque was quoted in a wire service interview as saying, "Americans should take down every statue of Eisenhower, and every photograph of him and annul his memory from American history as best they can, except to say, 'Here was a man who did very evil things that we're ashamed of."
But the critics exclaimed if there were a million dead, where were the bodies? Did Eisenhower have such vast power that he could order starvation on a mass scale and keep it a secret? Was the undoubted suffering in the camps, especially the transit camps along the Rhine, the result of Eisenhower's policy or the result of the chaotic conditions that prevailed in Europe in the spring and summer of 1945?
Historian Stephen Ambrose criticised James Bacque for having had no previous historical research or writing experience. James Bacque himself admitted in his introduction to the book "Other Losses": "Doubtless many scholars will find faults in this book, which are only mine. I welcome their criticism and their further research, which may help to restore to us the truth after a long night of lies."
Some time back, the Eisenhower Center at the University of New Orleans invited some leading experts to examine the charges. The conference participants, including historian Stephen Ambrose came to the first conclusion that James Bacque had made a major historical discovery: "There was widespread mistreatment of German prisoners in the spring and summer of 1945. Men were beaten, denied water, forced to live in open camps without shelter, given inadequate food rations and inadequate medical care. Their mail was withheld. In some cases prisoners made a "soup" of water and grass in order to deal with their hunger. Men did die needlessly and inexcusably."
Their second conclusion was, "when scholars do the necessary research, they will find Bacque's work to be worse than worthless. It is seriously - nay, spectacularly - flawed in its most fundamental aspects". They accused that, "he misuses documents; he misreads documents; he ignores contrary evidence; his statistical methodology is hopelessly compromised; he makes no attempt to look at comparative contexts; he puts words into the mouth of his principal source; he ignores a readily available and absolutely critical source that decisively deals with his central accusation; and, as a consequence of these and other shortcomings, he reaches conclusions and makes charges that are demonstrably absurd."
The final conclusion of historians was that Eisenhower was an enthusiastic supporter of denazification, but not because he hated the Germans or believed in collective guilt. On the contrary, he believed that there were Germans who were committed to democracy and that the task of the occupation was to find them and bring them to the fore.
In a speech in Frankfurt in 1945, he declared, "The success or failure of this occupation will be judged by the character of the Germans 50 years from now. Proof will come when they begin to run a democracy of their own and we are going to give the Germans a chance to do that, in time."
Historians exclaimed, "This does not sound like a man who simultaneously was directing the death by starving a million of young Germans."
Sunday, May 13, 2007
The Reality with Humanitarian Efforts
So often folks give money, volunteer or travel half way around the world for a cause - of course I am not naive to the world and also realize our national interests, which must coincide with and compliment the humanitarian aspect. My thinking is that with proper planning you can do both and all. You can help people and fix the real problems while simultaneously keeping an eye on national security interests too.
One thing which often bothers me is that once we start bribing two-bit dictators they learn the extortion game and keep asking for more money. If we keep paying them, the inflation of payment amount continues and they never spend the money on anything that they should? But what can you expect from Machiavellian thieves, liars and dictators?
Since the world works on guns, drugs, arms, human trade, diamonds, gold, oil and cold hard cash some of this BS, is unfortunately a pragmatic choice that makes you cringe, yet in reality there often is no other way. I often do not like the World we live in, or most humans, but the reality is there indeed.
Of course if you open your mouth or get too much attention, they will intervene. In the end a system which is so set on control of the pie will have less and less of it. If the pie is expanded giving up some control will actually make the pie bigger and the slice you control more. It is a catch 22 game of protectionism and control VS. opportunity and innovation.
If the game were played at a higher level, we could solve all the problems, without compromising our values too much. It is not my job to make excuses for anyone or the the NGOs of the World or the nations who send money and aid, you see I am retired. I know these things go on all the time; it is not a pretty world out there.
Indeed, I believe that the humanitarian efforts if done correctly do serve a greater purpose. I also believe greater cooperation ought to be in place so the end result is the best for all concerned. I only care about solving problems, but if no one wants the problems solved, then why waste the time. Are you interested in writing about how to fix the situation there?
Friday, May 11, 2007
Is Senator John Mccain Overrated?
Sen. John McCain, once praised as a maverick, has shown himself to be just another political hack. McCain the septuagenarian in the 2008 presidential race brings the grandpa factor front and center. Older should mean wiser, which unfortunately isn't the case with Mr. McCain, if his unwavering support for George Bush's failed war policies are any indication. Despite having his first run for the presidency derailed by the Bush crime family, McCain genuflects whenever he's in the presence of that son of a Bush. Though McCain clearly is the elder statesman in the race, he distains age being mentioned.
Ronald Reagan was older than McCain when he ran for president. For much of his presidency, unbeknownst to you and I, John Q. Public, Mr. Reagan was in various stages of Alzheimer's disease. Mr. McCain's is the picture of good health, now that his cancer is in remission. His insistence that this latest surge be given a chance does make one question his judgment. The war in Iraq cannot, that's right, I said it, cannot be won militarily. It requires a political solution. The war on terror, like the war on drugs is an oxymoron, a romantic farce, out of the John Wayne school of thought. It is clear that we must respond to the terror threat. A preemptive strike against a country that had nothing to do with the terror we faced isn't even close to the solution. Mr. McCain apparently thinks that it is, if his vociferous support for that son of a Bush is any indication.
Make no mistake about it; John McCain has served his country in exemplary fashion. Like his predecessors he has a distinguished Navy career. He was shot down out of the sky over Viet Nam and became a five-year occupant of the infamous Hanoi Hilton prison camp. For most of that time, various forms of torture were applied. Given his experience in Viet Nam you would think that he would be staunchly against torture. Initially he was, but in short order, caved in under White House pressure. Mr. McCain appears extremely malleable under White House pressure. I can only speculate as to what Satan, I mean Dick Cheney has on him. As it relates to the war in Iraq, the most critical comment you can get out of him is that the war wasn't properly executed.
According to McCain, he has always believed that more troops should have been employed. He now argues that the Bush surge is our last chance for a military victory in Iraq. Again, one must question his judgment. What might have worked at the outset of the war has little chance of succeeding at this juncture. Our troops are in the middle of a civil war that we have no stake in. All concerned want us gone. Shia, Sunnis and insurgents are of one mind when it comes to this. McCain wants us to give it one more try. April has proven to be one of the bloodiest and costliest months since the war began. What is McCain's answer to the carnage? Stay the course one more time.
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