a Someone should care, maybe not you....: January 2008 .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Someone should care, maybe not you....

My thoughts on many things including the army, war, politics, the military corrections system, chaos, life, books, movies, and why there is no blue food. Feel free to comment on what I say. Feedback is nice.

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40+ year old former teacher, linguist, interrogator, soldier, and lastly convict. We all do stupid things every once and awhile. I am an economic conservative and a firm believer in civil rights. Starting a new life now and frankly not sure what I am going to be doing.

30 January 2008

Nader attacks the Clintons

Impressive read......Nader

28 January 2008

American politics

Back to American politics; the kind where the losers in an election don’t start shooting people in the streets. At least not yet.

The south Carolina Primaries are both over and done as we all know and Obama beat Clinton while McCain beat Romney, Huckabee, and the others.

Let’s start with the Democrats.
This is down to a two person race with Edwards tagging along trying to mix things up. The pressure on him from the Democratic establishment to drop out has to ratcheting up exponentially with each passing primary. I am not at all sure what he is pushing for unless it is a hope that there will be a contested convention and he gets the nod as the compromise candidate. This is unlikely but it would certainly be exciting. IT is too bad the Green party latched on to that joke named Cynthia McKinney so soon. Edwards would have been a much better candidate for them. He would have actually drawn voters. Actually, thinking about it, he is hoping to win a VP spot by throwing his support behind one or the other of the two leading candidates at the right time. A risky move but a bold one.

Clinton. This is getting interesting. She has got to be really unhappy with the way things are going but it is way too soon to count her out. I expect she will pick up enough wins/delegates on Super Tuesday to stay right in the thick of the race. There is a lot of muttering from folks all over the place about what Bill is doing and saying. This interests me. Is he doing and saying this stuff as part of a plan they have created together or is he just off the reservation and running wild? I suspect the first but it seems like a strange plan and one that obviously didn’t work in SC. I am curious as too what his role would be in the new Clinton White House. I can’t see him sitting around being second fiddle to Hillary so I am not sure what she will do with him. Secty of State maybe? Or have him shot and buried in the Rose Garden. IT will be interesting to see.
I am also quite amused/fascinated that Clinton is being touted as the candidate with “Experience”. She is a one and half term Senator and a former Presidents wife. Other than that she hasn’t done all that much. Certainly nothing on an executive Level. That is not a resume to inspire confidence.

Obama. I’ll be honest is saying Obama worries me. He is a great orator but he tends to not fill out the details when he is orating. He catches people up in his Grand Vision (Illusion??) but other than saying he will bring people together I haven’t heard any details of that vision. He is certainly in a good spot politically right now. He has gained enough support in the Primaries that members of the democratic establishment feel comfortable in coming out to support him. The press is busily trying to paint a tidal wave of support around him. As I said in the Clinton paragraph, I really don’t think this thing is anywhere near over yet.
I guess what really scares me about Obama is that he seems to be an idealist. Idealists tend to get caught up in their grand vision and not notice reality. This is not a good thing in a political leader. It tends to created chaos and death. His plan to immediately pull all the troops out of Iraq will create huge amounts of both. But I guess he can just blame that on Bush.

Of the Dems, as much as I hate to say it I’d have to say Clinton is the best bet. I don’t like her. I don’t trust her. But she is a political realist who will be absolutely desperate to have a successful Presidency to seal her legacy. (and I think that will be more important that most other things to her) As such she will be the most likely to actually compromise and do political things to get stuff done. I just don’t trust idealists.

On the Republican side it is still a Battle Royale right now. The press is heralding the return of McCain and with his SC win he looks pretty favorable right now. But it is a long way from over here too.

Let’s start with Huckabee. Huckabee came on strong in Iowa and has been fading fast ever since. Frankly if he couldn’t win in SC with the vast numbers of people who vote their religion there I don’t see him pulling it out and winning anywhere else. As previously posted, his fading doesn’t really upset me much though. We’ll see how he does in Florida. I don’t see him winning there but if he were to get second, or even third it would keep him up. But of course, right now he is polling about fourth...

Romney. Romney is the Republican that can’t get no respect. He draws well in a lot of the primaries. In fact he has one of the highest actual number of delegates so far. But when he wins there is sort of a universal shrug and when he doesn’t win everyone predicts his collapse. NPR had a commentator talking the other day about how the other campaigns actually HATE him. I don’t know if it is true or not but if it is it is sad. He does have good experience. He was Governor of Massachusetts, and he has successfully run a major corporation. He has a good track record. None of the talking radio heads approve of him (which maybe a plus). I just don’t see him winning. I could see him as a potential VP though (although not for McCain or Huckabee and as for Rudy, well more on him in a bit) He could still pull it out but I doubt it. Currently polling first in Florida, but withing the margin of error.

Rudy G. America’s Mayor (what a foolish title) has run an interesting race. I rather suspect that he is regretting not putting in at least some time, effort, and money in states other than Florida. It can’t be good to keep losing to Ron Paul. He is currently polling third if I recall correctly in Florida which does not bode well for his efforts. I haven never really liked him as a candidate. He has always seems a bit to shrill and too eager to drape 9-11 around his neck. Yeah, he stepped up and kept an orderly front during a huge crisis which is a good thing. And he cleaned up Times Square which many swore could never be done. But I just am not that impressed. Romney and he would make an interesting ticket though. But I don’t see it happening.

John McCain. Once pronounced dead by all political pundits he is back and is on top at the moment. I personally though he would never get it because of his unrepentant support for the war in Iraq and if he gets the nomination that will be what the Democrats will howl about the most. Of course getting the nomination is still very much up in the air here. The BIG TALKING HEAD of the Republican right, Rush Limbaugh, despises McCain. The smaller talking heads don’t like him much either. They all like to say he has a temper and is soft on immigration. That he works with Democrats and won’t hold fast to “Conservative Ideals” Meh. It is his race to lose right now but if the heads have their way he will lose it. And if he wins, will they turn against the Republican candidate? As a further note, I expect that if he gets the nomination Joe Lieberman will be his running mate. (you saw if here first)

Ron Paul. I man I have to admire for his sheer tenacity. That and. except for his Libertarian lunacy of a foreign policy, I like a lot of what he says too. I rather suspect we will see him running in November on the Libertarian ticket.

Oh yeah, the Lost Candidate Fred Thompson. He certainly was the darling of a lot of the conservative pundits but apparently no one else. He made a huge and fundamental mistake. Someone convinced him that if he came in everyone would flock to his banner and he could waltz to victory. (sort of what Bush thought would happen in Iraq) Unfortunately he believed this myth too and it tanked for him. He didn’t even seem to start campaigning until SC and that was a bit too late for him. I kept hearing people say he was the true conservative but nobody seemed impressed by that at the polls.

So who do I favor? McCain. I liked him better than Bush back in their first run and was angry that he pulled out after SC then. I think McCain is a pragmatist with a proven ability to actually get things done in DC. Unfortunately, if he wins it will almost like having a third party President. There will be a large number of Republicans who will hate him, a large number of democrats who will hate his and an endangered set of moderates from both parties in the middle working with him. Unless of course voters get smart enough to vote out the hardliners in the congress soon. In the last election they went the other way and voted out moderates across the boards. But Congress is vastly unpopular right now so maybe there is a chance.

24 January 2008

Back to Africa....

Abandoning my reviews of the American political system I now return you to coverage of those oh so friendly Ugandan rebels, The Lords Resistance Army.

They are desperately trying to clean up their image and get people in Uganda to forgive them. Why? Because their leadership has suddenly realized that the international community is fairly serious about this "War Crime" stuff and they could end up in a small cell outside the Hague if they aren't careful.
So they are sending ambassadors out to the villages they formerly terrorized to have prayer meetings and ask the locals to forgive them in the spirit of African brotherhood. Good luck there.

Additionally they are purging their ranks. They have just confirmed rumors that Vincent Otti the second in command has died. what they don't tell you is how he died.
According to documents shown to the BBC, Mr. Otti was invited to Joseph Kony's house back in October. When he arrived he noticed that there were a lot of Kony's guards around. Being a veteran of the backstabbing nature of of the movements he promptly called Kony on the phone and was assured that all was well and to come on in. When he did he surrounded by senior commanders of the movement who told him he was "under arrest". He was bound and striped of his shirt. Otti than began to cry and ask what he had done. He was hauled outside and shot while begging for his life.
Considering the LRA's well earned reputation for murder, rape, mutilation, and "inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury and suffering" it probably couldn't have happened to a better person. Well, that's not true. It could have been Kony up against the wall. And he deserves it more than Otti did.

17 January 2008

Huckabee has lost me

Gov. Huckabee has lost me as a potential supporter. I had always been a bit leery of him but he came with some good recommendations from people I trust. I was linked to him by one of those "which candidate should you support programs" that float around the net. And then to top it off he came out in support of the Fair Tax which is an idea I like. (one that would cost me money but I like it anyway.

But he has lost me now. When he starts saying thins like the Constitution should be re-written to conform with God's word he is right out the door as far as I am concerned. MY problem is that I know too many Southern Baptists. Nice people for the most part but their organization keeps coming up with statements that my religion of choice is not Christian. (I am a Mormon) Even in Romney (who I don't support either) started talking like that he would be out my door just as fast.
the Constitution is religion neutral and it needs to stay that way. Just because you, or I, or even the majority of the people in the country feel one way does not justify changing it. The Constitution is the fortress that should protect the minority from the oppression of the majority. (This is one of the reasons I support the ACLU even if I don't support everything they do.)
Huckabee is gone as far as I am concerned. IF he becomes the candidate of the Republican Party I will be supporting the Libertarians again.

16 January 2008

Kabul Attack

Day before yesterday in Afghanistan three heavily armed men attacked a luxury hotel in Kabul. (I suppose part of what boggles me here is the concept of a luxury hotel in Kabul. I have to wonder if it is really new or if it is “luxury” by some different standard than expected. I certainly didn’t know of any such thing when I was there) Several people were killed and several were wounded. Various witnesses reported that one or more explosions took place followed by lots of gunfire. It seems that guards killed one of the attackers before being slain themselves and at least one of the attackers blew himself up. A Taliban spokesman said that there were four attackers wearing explosive vests and they were going to take the building out.

Now, I haven’t looked around the blogs of despair (as I call those bewailing our imminent defeat everywhere but I am sure they will cite this as a sure sign that we are doomed in Afghanistan. I will again decline to join them in their wailing. Four guys attacking a hotel does not constitute our defeat. In fact, if they were all wearing suicide vests as the Taliban spokesman said, this really reflects poorly on their dedication since only one of them apparently blew himself up. (And I have to wonder if he was an Afghan or a foreign fighter. Afghans generally seem to be more of the “He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day” style than the “I’ll take a few with me when I go” type.) Four heavily armed suicide attackers, one of whom gets killed, two of whom change their minds, and only one who succeeds in his mission of dying for his cause; and the hotel is still standing. Not the most successful attack I have seen.

Now of course it is quite possible that more information will come out abut these attacks and we will see this whole thing in a different light but that is how it stands now.

I’d still be willing to go be a tourist in Kabul. There is some nice shopping to be done there.

04 January 2008

Iowa is done

And I am sure that everyone who lives in the state is giving a huge sigh of relief and are going to enjoy not having computers call them every night with an "Important message from (insert candidate here)"
And what have we learned? Not much. Except that the media in its usual frenzy is declaring people doomed in a national election because they didn't do well in Iowa. Iowa. Good Lord folks what is with this nonsense. Why on earth are we allowing Iowa and New Hampshire to decide who gets to be President of the United States? "Analysts" are saying that Guilinai is doomed because he hasn't worked hard in either of those states preferring to concentrate on larger states that come later. This morning on NPR, Edwards was asked where he would have to place in New Hampshire to continue running. Two Dems, Biden and Dodd, withdrew after doing poorly (really poorly) in Iowa. There are 50 states, what the hell is the big deal about these first two tiny little states? Especially if you consider how weirdly Iowa runs it's caucus on the Democratic side. It is an exercise in Peer pressure and Intimidation. Actually I have to kind of admire the way they pull it off. No secret ballots here. Go stand there and if enough people don't stand with you you have to move to another candidates spot. And impressive exercise in social dynamics.)

I can see why the parties might like this early winnowing for the field, it keeps the conventions from being contested and enables them to be pep rallies instead of a political battleground like they used to be. But why the press? The media would get so much more coverage and stories and people tuning in if there were a contested convention where someone didn't win in the first ballot. That would be High Drama. It is almost evidence that those conspiracy folks who say the media is controlled by the parties are right. (Or is it the other way around?)

It just boggles me. While I really don't much care for Guiliani as a candidate I actually hope he does really well in Florida and the later states where he has been concentrating, Richardson in the western states, and they put a stake in the heart of this particular phenomena. Unfortunately I rather suspect that if the press keeps going on about how he is out of it and how it is between Romney, Huckabee,and McCain (he's back) on one side and Clinton vs Obama (with Edawards scampering along)on the other, the American sheep will just fall right into line and vote accordingly.

Baaaaa baaaa....

On a lighter note I have come up with yet another fantastic (IMO) food combo. Ginger snaps (or to be more specific in this case Sweetzel's Spiced Wafers) and Cranberry sauce. (whole berry preferred over jelled) Just take a cookie, and put a spoonful of cranberry sauce on it and enjoy. The flavors mix marvelously. I could eat my way to obesity on these......