Posts Tagged ‘McCain’

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THE BIRDS

September 22, 2013

Some may remember this very scary movie from the 50s-60s but little did we know those birds would grow up, run for US Congress and become what I refer to as the ANGRY OLD BIRDS…living, judging, and preaching in the past….turning our world into one of horror-just like the movie.

But this past week, that put one of the point men for the flock migrating right into what can only be called a hilarious situation.

Our favorite KBG man and now leader of Russia wrote an Op-Ed for the NY Times where he scolded Americans as though we were misbehaving chicks in the nest.  We read it; some of us were irritated; some of us laughed; and most of us just passed it off as Russian propaganda for the 21st century….you know, reach the audience by using the media source in which they live/use/have a presence.  When we do that, that audience engages, interacts, and is often moved to action.

And boy, did Putin score BIGTIME – as he chattered loudly, scolding the chicks in the US nest and taunting McCain into one-ups-man-ship!

Angry Old Bird # 1 was mad!  He wanted a chance to throw a little sand in that box he perceived Putin had put HIM in…so he figured out how he could retaliate in kind through a responding OP-ED in Pravda.

Unfortunately, our Angry Old Bird from Arizona – still stuck in another era – had missed a key point.  Pravda was the tool of the Cold War , and yes, in the olden days, it was THE instument of propaganda for a US enemy known as the USSR.

However, although some elements of the USSR have survived – like a KGB man becoming the leader of Russia, Pravda was not as lucky as Putin…it fell on bad times.  In fact, in terms of media popularity polls, it now ranks 535th on the list of media read in Russia today.

But we all know McCaim. HIS ideas are the RIGHT ideas.  Agree or you are wrong…so his carefully crafted response is now floating around Russia in a publication much like those “rags” we find at the grocery check out counters.  Remember?  The trash we loaded up on as we headed  up to Wild River for our annual camping trip with the Meetings folks?  It always gave us a few laughs…and certainly a few big flames around the campfire.

So rather than clipping a few wings, the world is chirping about McCain’s mistake…and I’m sure Putin is roaring with laughter as he scored a BIG ”GOTCHA”!

 

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OBAMA AND SYRIA

September 11, 2013

I woke up this morning thinking…why am I still conflicted on Syria; why can’t I seem to be as strongly  “YES”  or “NO”  as everyone around me?  I made my coffee, unfolded the paper, and read the headline ”Obama Backs Diplomacy; Keeps Strikes as Option”  and decided….I need to sort this out in my own mind – everyone else I know has.

Who is the man named Barak Obama?

Obama is anti-war in general; as a senator, he voted NO to the Iraq War…one of the few at the time that, like me, was not drawn into the neo-con nonsense.  I had watched 7.5 months of the Bush campaign and preparations to go to war against Iraq that started the day he was inaugurated; and I was leery.  I believed then, and I still believe, that the Neo-Cons manipulated Little George into a position of war to show up his father and finish a job that George Sr. did not finish.  And then 9-11 happened; masterminded by a man NOT from Afghanistan; but by a man that  took refuge there; so despite the fact history had just shown us the difficulty of winning a war in Afghanistan-based on the Russians then recent long attempt- we went to war without Congressional approval…..a war that is 12 years old and still continues.    So yes, Obama voting no to war was a good signal to me.

Obama was concerned about the Syrian civil war but clearly drew the line on entering a war and putting Americans at risk.  The US offered aid when it could be assured that aid would not end up in Al Qaida hands.

 Of course, that put Republicans against him; united in the belief that he is weak in foreign policy…because it does not follow the bluster of the second half of the 20th century; but then, SO FAR, it has not yielded wars that drag on and on and on…think Viet Nam; Afghanistan; and Iraq.

Most Americans were relieved we were not jumping in; many of us were still troubled that through the longest war since Viet Nam, the Bush Administration had given NO THOUGHT to what war in the 21st century would be like….NO THOUGHT to the kinds of injuries that would be incurred; NO THOUGHT to increasing veteran services to accommodate returning wounded soldiers – both physically and mentally.

All that was left to Obama; along with the slow process of ending the Iraqi War, working through a plan to extract us SOMETIME soon from Afghanistan; and trying to play “catch-up” with getting help for all the GIs that followed the Bush command to go to war. And let’s not forget to add to the list that in 2006, the Bush Administration started stockpiling cause and money to extend our wars in the Middle East to include Syria as well…Had McCain won the Presidential election in 2008, I have no doubt we’d be in the thick of that war as well – with similar disastrous results.  Fortunately Obama won.

Seriously, folks, do you really think what he inherited made him a war-monger?  Come on; get real!

Take a deep breath and think of the timeline.  The most recent chemical bombings happened on August 21 and were well-documented.

For some amount of time the battle of what to do raged inside the White House.  How many times did we hear Obama say “I’m still undecided”; and how many times did you hear the Press criticize him for that?  How many times did you hear your favorite commentator say:

“He’s ready to bomb; can’t he just wait for the UN inspectors to get out?”

or

“What is he waiting for?  The battle ships are in place.  If he doesn’t do it this weekend, we will lose the advantage of surprise?

Really folks, do you REALLY think anyone interested in the world wasn’t listening in on your constant evaluations?  Even in pre-WWII days, the world knew a debate was happening in the US so you can be sure, the world was tuned in to the blathering Press this time around.  But maybe the blathering  gave good coverage for the President to work through the possible action steps.

Nevertheless, through all that, I was hesitant and confused.

  •        I voted for Obama twice because he thought differently than our 20th century leaders.
  •         He was a man that believed leadership was reaching consensus through discussion-not unilateral decisions based on “power”.
  •          He filled his Cabinet and advisory positions with a mixture of folks- both Republican and Democrats that were experts on the task     at hand.
  •          I voted for him as the best representative of an emerging USA of the future.  For me that meant:

 

    1.    No ingrained philosophies of the good old boys; he was an independent thinker
    2.    A strong belief in consensus building through collaboration-something I know from experience on a smaller scale yields GREAT results, but is very “messy along the way
    3.    A first step in US leadership that reflects the USA of 2040 – multiculturalism
    4.    He was not an “angry old bird” from my generation trying to protect a myth that those of us who came into adulthood by 1970 “KNOW BEST”

So in spite of doubts, I reminded myself to watch the signals- he was doing exactly what I should expect.  He was preparing for retaliation, but he was struggling- as war goes against everything he believes in, and he was sharing that with the American people.  Over and over, he said he was undecided.

This brings us to the weekend before the G20.  The Press had already decided war was beginning that weekend as he had to do it before he left for Europe.  What?  Would any responsible President start a war on Sunday and leave for Europe the following week?   Well, obviously had the Press been in charge, we would have been foolish enough to do so.

Remember Andrea Mitchell bitching about the cost of repositioning the warships if they were not going to be used, and What was he doing playing golf on Friday with a war starting the next day or so?!!!

So that weekend, I went back to the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize and the discussion of “Just Wars”.  I read again the yeahs and nays and was reminded once again why I voted for Obama twice.

He is not a man of the world in which I was born, grew up, and formed my beliefs.  He’s a man suited to leading us in small steps to a better world of the 21st century.

I will not always agree; I do not have the same perspective.

But I believe his hesitancy was real; his actions were based on assessment of divided views within his advisory groups; and that it was well worth the delay that weekend to give diplomacy one more chance to work as he put a hold on action and tried one last time to work out an equitable plan with Putin at the G20, while Kerry continued discussions with his own Russian counterpart.

Personally, I think they fooled the Press…one more time…and now we have a reprieve-short as that may be.

Of course the naysayers and the Press will continue to shout WRONG – the wires were burning with Andrea Mitchell’s attempt just this noon.  She even did a whole segment on Nancy Reagan running the government as she questioned why Obama mentioned Michelle.

 No Andrea, I think most of country heard him say:  This is really hard and I know most people do not want war – I do not want war; Michelle does not want war.  THAT is totally different than the spin you are putting on things because of your own personal opinion…and forever more, I will think less of you for your presumption that as a reporter you know more than the President of the United States.

But as I look at what’s unfolded and how…I’d say one more time, his country underestimated a man of the 21st century.   As we continue to judge him against old standards that obviously did not quite make our world a better place for all.  Today’s 12th anniversary of 9-11 is certainly a testament to that as are the resulting wars that still continue with or without us in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the incredible debt piled up for starting  and paying for those wars on a credit card.

Obama is the first to try to blaze this new trail into a whole new world where no precedents have been set and for which there is no tested playbook.  Will he be right all the time?  Probably not, but will he have done a better job than all the Angry Old Birds including McCain and Andrea Mitchell?

I think so; so I’m sticking with him.

 

 

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BENGHAZI – WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

November 30, 2012

This past fall, four US citizens including our ambassador were killed in Benghazi.  It was a sad, tragic event that demonstrates the downside of US world leadership and dominance.

For all time historically recorded, similar incidents can be recalled…initiated by warring factions whether that be (by or towards) the ancient Greeks,  The Holy Roman Empire, the Catholic Church, the Union Jack, the USA, or any civilization in between.

We need not look too far back into our own history to find many an example…most recently- terrorist incidents in the Clinton Administration that expanded under Bush to 9-11, two wars and the loss of hundreds of thousands of Americans, NATO allies, and Iraqi/Afghan citizens.  One only had to view a recent PBS documentary on events leading up to and including 9-11 to recognize the misinformation, missteps, and confusion as that tragedy unfolded.  And yet, as a country we came together in support.

An innocent’s death should be mourned by all whether it is American or not, and certainly Benghazi is a tragedy that should be reviewed and learned from…not to blame, but to improve.

Instead, we have moved into a new realm, however, as Benghazi became politicized by two angry men.  I would so like to believe it is genuine concern, but their means of drawing attention to the incident speaks more of hubris or perhaps the recognition that their own powerful spheres of influence are diminishing….and a need to be in the spotlight one last time. Since we most often come together in the face of such a tragedy as Benghazi, we would do well to stop, examine and learn from this erratic reaction.

Is it because of a lost election (or two), a perception of loss of power, the racial and gender undertones long familiar in the business world now moving into government as well, or the constantly bubbling undertones beneath the surface that point to white male footholds now balancing on a slippery slope as we move into a new American era of multiculturalism?  Have the rules changed and this is what should be expected going forward – no matter what party is in office?  I only know if it were me, I would NOT want this to be my parting legacy, but then again, I am not an old white man.

Whatever the reason, it saddens me – first because Susan Rice has been made a scapegoat by these men in order to strike at Obama; and second, because these men leading this attack by using methods they have chosen, are not being viewed as American heroes, but are self-destructing…and casting doubt on those many great things they have contributed to this country.

They are better than this; we as American citizens deserve better than this; as do the Americans who sacrificed their lives for us in Benghazi.  Review the incident, of course.  But let’s not try this case via grand-standing for the press.

 

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THE 2012 ELECTIONS…TEN DAYS LATER

November 17, 2012

MAYBE a ray of hope…..this past week, have heard some good thinking from once out-of-touch Minnesota Republicans – lamenting their OWN actions for election loss in Minnesota. I think they are transferring too much of the blame to the amendment fiasco, but it was encouraging to hear:

“We have to spend less time trying to vote people off the island and more time figuring out how we can work together behind common goals.”

Well….dah! Personally, I think a new second party would serve Minnesotans better than a new dress on a tired old out-of-touch elephant….especially since what I have NOT heard yet from them or their national good old boys counterpart is a recognition that we cannot RE-LIVE the 20th century.

Let alone those that have yet to learn the lessons of the 19th century – and still do not understand they cannot secede – that is exactly why thousands died 150 years ago. (This one is hard issue for me, since for many years, I have wondered WHY we insisted on keeping at least the South a part of the US….and often think we should re-evaluate Lincoln’s stand….so I’m including the movie in this weekend’s activities – hoping it prevents me from rallying to a new cause of LET THEM GO…..:-)

Before I am willing to take another look at the Minnesota bunch, they will have to show me evidence – not only of collaborating with DFL to get MN issues addressed, but they need to support their cries nationally of “business” with one who’s made it in today’s global, digital, collaborative world…not a veteran of the very time in business that created Sharehold Value as top priority, rather than consumer and employees.

AN INNOCENT ELECTION VICTIM…Lennon Cihak is a far better person than I am……as he was denied the sacrament of confirmation in the Catholic Church because of a picture of him holding a Vote No to ban same sex marriage, and yet, he pleads for people to understand his church rules.

Meanwhile, I fume because of what that means in his parish and perhaps the whole diocese…..If you voted no, you may be voted off the island and denied the comfort of faith in which you were raised……That just opens so many issues and arguments, I know better than to comment further and have been arguing with myself to remain silent.

Unfortunately, I am a historian at heart…so I know marriage as a sacrament in the Catholic Church did not begin with Christ making Peter the first head of the Church….indeed, marriage remained a civic act only and did not become a sacrament in the the Catholic Church until SEVERAL HUNDRED YEARS later – when the church, motivated by financial difficulties, adopted it as a sacrament – allowed to church members for a fee!

So I’m glad I am of a different faith and live in the USA where I can say….the treatment of this 12 year old boy may be an isolated incident…OR it could be a signal of that unbending self-rightousness that led to the devastation of the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition..and eventually, to the rejection of that Church by many..

On a more rational and less emotional level, I’m tentatively optimistic….I think Obama learned in the first term, that until all the “elder” statesmen are voted off the island, he cannot govern totally by collaboration and consensus. His positioning of his “mandate” from the election signals to me that as he needs to, he will indeed use power and a few old tricks from the 20th century. That is a sad state of affairs, but to me, reflects more on the elders in Congress than it does on Obama….we shall see as we now LEAN FORWARD to join the rest of world in a century of promise that lies before us.

That is, if we survive the die-hards that did not get the message…that are trying so hard to make Benghazi into a crisis that exceeds the importance and devastation of 9-11.

Of course, I do not mean to imply that thousands of deaths in our own country from a terrorist attack , followed by 100,000s of deaths of Americans and Iraqis/Afghans CAN be compared to Benghazi-in either case, Americans died, there was considerable confusion as what happened was sorted out, and both ultimately were tragic  incidents in American history.

But even though I myself  did not support the second retalitory action – the Iraq War- there is NO COMPARISON to Elder Deomocratic Statesmen support of President Bush and the country to the ANTICS of McCain and company on Benghazi…led initially by Romney.   Patriotism, not Politics should be the principle that comes to the fore ANYTIME we as a country are attacked and citizens of the USA are killed.  It is a travesty to see McCain…and Graham to some extent…try to make this a POLITICAL ISSUE especially when McCain in particular has been honored all his political life for serving his country in a war that had more than its share of hiccups and mistakes.

But all in all, ten days later, I am proud to be part of the American public  that voted YES to four more years of Obama- a citizen who recognizes that men are fallible and I have yet to see (or to have studied) either party or representatives of parties that came before Lincoln rule without criticism, mistakes, misunderstandings and deep emotional debates among the masses.  So, I am taking a deep breath as here we go again…