Embryos, Fetuses, Babies: When Do They Become Human?

Embryos, Fetuses, Bzbies: Today’s society has reached a level when it is obvious to most that life begins at conception. Even the presidential candidates were cornered on this issue on Saturday, August 16, 2008 by Pastor Warren of Saddlebrook Church in California. To many their responses were to be expected. John McCain immediately gave his polictical reply to a Christian Pro-life audience that life begins at conception. However, he stopped there. He smiled and changed the subject. If life were really so precious to him it would not appear to many that his true God is the military and war.

 On the other hand, Senator Obama attacked the quesiton head on. His answer may not have been so politically righteous considering his audience but it was obviously well thought out and honest. I respect his concern for the life of the mother and that her life must be considered when abortion is discussed. That is not to say that would consider abortion a viable option when women and men can choose to be careful and use contraception or opt for adoption in lieu of killing an unborn child. On the other hand though I did respect his argument that more needs to be done to prevent unwanted pregnancies and to offer support to those who would choose to keep their infants if they could afford to do so. On his side he also suggested that our adoption laws are too difficult when there are so many children who need good homes. I agree.

 I think that adoptive parents should be well screened so that they are not a danger to the child that they are adopting but I know of many qualified individuals who have been turned down due to health issues or age. I think one should remember that any child could be born into a home where these issues exist and one can only hope that they make the people involved more loving and closer.

Another point that Obama made was that this issue was above his pay grade. The Supreme Court justices, whom are appointed, are the ones that determine how Roe vs Wade will be implementede. He even went on to say that there are those who are sitting on the bench that he may not have chosen.

To move on from this point I want to discuss the issue from a personal stand point. I am a cuddle therapist at my local hospital. What is a cuddle therapist. It is a person who is blessed with the privilege of entering the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NCIU) with the express purpose of comforting sick infants whose parents are not able to be there.

In this position I frequently encounter wanted babies who were born as early as 20 weeks and weight a mere pound or just over. These infants fight diligently for life. In their fight they endure nasal-gastric tubes down their noses so nourishment can be provided, IVs to monitor and administer enzymes and other life-sustaining fluids, forced air masks, cardiac monitors, and blind folds to prevent ultra violet light from damaging their eyes. Many of these tiny infants are in the NCIU for up to 5 months at which time they have reached a normal birth weight and have developed to the point of survival on their own.

So, while these wanted baby’s lives are fought for others whose mothers have decided that they are just tissue masses are allowed to die. Think about it just 20 weeks and these babies have all of their fingers, toes, ears, eyes etc and believe me they feel pain. I have yet to encounter one of these small human beings who doesn’s cry their little hearts out when they are jabbed with a needle or otherwise hurt.

It must, however, be commented on that many of these poor infants who are born so sick or early are the result of drug or alcohol abuse by their parents. Nicotine withdrawal is also painful for these babies whose mothers refused to stop smoking during their pregnancy.

So, is an embryo just a mass of tissues or is it a real live human being whose cells are in the process of growing just the reverse of what happens to us as we age? Is a fetus nothing more than a tumor growing in a mother’s stomach? When does that Baby a new mother holds take on the distinction of being human? My answer is that this is determined by the selfishness of those making the decisions from the Supreme Court right down to the mother involved. Again I emphasize that I believe that their must be an exception made when the life of the mother is in jeopardy or in the case of rape or incest. Other than that I really don’t see how anyone, especially someone who claims to be religious, can justify the early termination of a pregnancy for convenience sake or most especially the termination of later stage pregnancy where the doctor must make a decided effort to take the life of the newborn.

Obama Offers Hope of Restoring America to Greatness

Because of all the hubbub and media circus surrounding Senator Barack Obama and his (too) early presidential campaigning I began to investigate this man’s credentials and decided to determine for myself if he was all hype or truly had something to offer to the American people and the world.  

Since that time I have been bombarded by family, friends, and acquaintances with articles about him showing him in a negative light. However, being the dogmatic person that I am I do not believe everything that is sent to me via email or that I read on the net. For that matter I don’t believe most of what the news media tries to shove down our throat since I believe a lot of it especially in political campaigns is nothing more than propaganda.  

That being a given I discarded much of what I read and heard and looked into Senator Obama’s stance on the issues that mattered to me. These matters included, but were not limited to, his stand on health care, the economy, the infrastructure, foreign relations, and the war in Iraq. Throughout the many hours I spent researching this man’s stand I came to respect him and admire him as a thoughtful and eloquent American with a compelling story.

One of my first looks at the man came through reading his best-selling book,  The Audacity of Hope. While I realize that this book would be slanted in favor of the senator I wanted to know who the man thought that he was. In his book, the Senator conveyed a seemingly heartfelt optimism about changing business as usual in American political discourse. Throughout my reading I discovered a man who was not afraid to discuss his faith and values and to articulate why and how his faith causes him to think and act in the way that he does. 

There were areas that I disagreed with his position, especially on the issue of his “pro-choice” stand, but I couldn’t help but recognize how respectful and gracious Senator Obama was towards those that disagreed with him.  

Since my reading of the book my respect for the man has only increased as I have watched the way that he has handled the massive mud-slinging that has been thrown at him by first Clinton and now McCain. In no instance have I found Obama to in turn target those who attacked him with malice. Instead he has concentrated on getting his message out to the American people in a positive and constructive way. My feeling is that the mudslinging is being done because his opponents have nothing to offer and they know their only hope is to discredit a man whose only motive to make America a better place to live.  

If one thinks about it intelligently and not out of fear of the unknown does it make sense that McCain would try to blame Obama for the rising fuel costs. Remember Senator McCain was in office for twenty-five years. During that time did he ever offer or suggest a law to cut America’s dependence on foreign oil. Remember he took office shortly after the first oil crisis when we were all subjected to odd/even fill-u0p days. Yet, during all of this time nothing was done to prevent today’s current crisis. Instead, American’s were offered bigger and more fuel guzzling means of transportation, rail services all over the country were shut down, and in many metropolitan areas there is no dependable bus service.  

During McCain’s years in service was there any improvement to our infrastructure or are we now suffering from a shortage of electricity to meet our growing needs and bridges that are failing due to poor maintenance? 

Obama is a fresh face, like J.F. Kennedy, who has only been in office for a season but already he has stepped out and made a name for himself. Until this election I had never heard of him or of Senator McCain, other than their positions in office, but doesn’t it make more sense that one should have heard of Senator McCain given that he has already spent so much time in office.

Then, too to this point, the only thing I have really heard from Senator McCain is that the surge is working. I am thrilled that more and more innocent Iraqis and American troops are dying every day in this ludicrous, unprovoked war but give me a break please talk about those issues close to every American. These issues include how we are going to get to work, feed our families, and get the needed health care.  Then too, Obama’s charisma reminds me of Ronald Reagan, one of the few presidents, who inspired American’s to feel good about themselves. This same charisma has already won Obama respect around the world with people throughout the world wishing he running for president of their country. It has been amazing to me that even the steadfast war monger G.W.Bush must have learned something from Obama since he is now willing to make a pretense of listening to foreign leaders before he runs off to start another war.  

I believe that if just a fraction of the tax money that we pay were spent on the needs at home instead of on the huge war machine we could solve the many problems that we are facing. So, while I may not agree with Obama on some issues I do believe that he will address those issues that are critical to those of us who live in the good old U.S. of A. If he succeeds in his bid for the presidency, I believe that Obama has a real chance of restoring America to greatness in the global world that we now find ourselves in.

New Yorker Cover Of Obama – Offensive Or Not?

If you have not seen the current cover on the New Yorker magazine, it pictures Obama in Muslim garb, his wife shouldering a AK-47, an American flag burning in the fireplace, a picture of Osama bin Laden hanging over the fireplace, all of which appears to be taking place in the oval office of the White House.

This alleged satire is supposed to show the politics of fear that is being spread about Obama and his family. It is not meant to be an allegation about anything that Obama is or is not. But unfortunately it can be taken either way. One newspaper stated:

The Obama campaign, as well as the campaign of Republican rival John McCain, slammed the cover as offensive:

“The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Sen. Obama’s right-wing critics have tried to create,” Obama spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement, reported by Politico. “But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree.”

“We completely agree with the Obama campaign, it’s tasteless and offensive,” McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said in a statement.

I commend Senator McCain and his campaign for condemning the cover as being in poor taste and as offensive. I am sure Senator McCain would not wish to see himself nor his family put through a distasteful situation such as this.

What do you think? Putting your political feelings aside, do you think the New Yorker cover was appropriate or not?

Comments welcome.


Obama Challenges America: Where Are You?

On July 7, 2008 Barack Obama challenged the American people to vote their heart. If they were satisfied with the way the country has been run for the last eight years, under the Bush Administration, he told the citizenry that they should vote for John McCain. If they weren’t happy, however, then they had the opportunity to vote for change.

That statement alone would give me pause to think long and hard about the choice I will make in the November 2008 presidential election. Another thing that Obama had no hand in that gave me pause was an Internet joke that asked if you wanted to vote for a lawyer, who was married to a lawyer, who was being supported by lawyer or if you wanted to vote for a military man, married to a beautiful lady with big breasts, who just happens to own a beer distributorship. Think about it, a military dictatorship where the huge war machine continues to eat up our valuable tax dollars in the aimless quest to find deadlier and more dangerous ways of annihilating the human race or an administration where the economy, infrastructure, and equality are focused on?

Americans, it is up to you. You can say enough is enough. Let’s put the big brains of NASA onto solving the problems of America. What are they? How about finding an affordable source of alternative fuel or a way to stop global warming? These great minds are being wasted. Who cares if there is ice on Mars if there is no affordable food on Earth to feed the masses? I surely don’t. Who wants spy satellites that cost billions of dollars if we can’t afford shoes or education for our children? I don’t. How about you?

Please don’t listen to the rhetoric being slammed down your throat that is aimed at controlling your vote through fear. Obama is not the anti-Christ. Obama is not Muslim. Obama is not a terrorist just waiting to destroy America or that he is going to send all of our tax dollars to Africa. Most of us don’t want to think that we are racist and we do want to consider followers of Jesus’ teachings.

If this is true look at the comments I have just made and ask yourself if you have heard them during this campaign. Now ask yourself if they are why you are afraid to take Obama at his word. He has run a clean campaign that has been financed not just by black Americans but many like myself who desire change. Where are you? Remember, if you are satisfied the way things have been run over the course of the last eight years you should vote for John McCain. If you aren’t satisfied then you do have a viable alternative to vote for Barack Obama.

Today’s Sinking Economy: Predicted a Half Century Ago

In the 1950s Khrushchev banged a shoe on a lectern and vowed that America was going to destroy herself from the inside. Now a half a century later his prediction is on the verge of being fulfilled. The Middle Eastern countries have also sworn to destroy the United States but lacking the military power to attack us directly have left it in the hands of their extremists and oil magistrates to do for them.

If you doubt these facts just look around you. First we have oil companies who cry that they are only making a 7 percent profit and do not care that 7 percent of a billion dollars far surpasses a 7 percent profit for a company only making a couple of million a year and totally eclipses the 2 percent the average American can count on for an annual raise. Then you look at the government who since the 1970’s oil embargo has failed to act responsibly and build more oil refineries, to refine the crude oil we receive, or even better use the funds that they waste to seek alternative sources of fuel that would liberate us from the need for foreign oil. So, given that what do we face today?

This morning oil on the open market reached $141.00 and CNN reported that they expected that amount to reach $170.00 a barrel before the end of summer. $170 a barrel equates out to $5.00 a gallon at the pumps. This was then minimized by stating that this would not be the end and that we could expect to see gasoline reach $7.00 a gallon by the year 2010. That is only 18 months from now. If this trend does continue we must fact the fact that the price of fuel, on which our economy thrives, could well reach its breaking point of $10.00 a gallon sometime in the next 4 to 5 years.

Why do I use $10.00 a gallon as a critical measure? It is because economic analysts have stated that if oil reaches this benchmark the American economy cannot survive. This is because the price of food, heating, cooling, clothing, video games, everything would go up accordingly and it is unlikely that wage increases could even begin to come close to this precipitated rise. That in turn means that people, who are already finding ways to cut back, will cut their spending back on extras even further thus causing the closure of restaurants, manufacturing plants, and retail outlets in a never before precedented way.

This last week alone this trend has been seen in the cancellation of some 180+ flights a day by American Airlines in an effort to curb costs that could force them out of business. GM and Chrysler found themselves devalued to junk bond status as they borrow more money to try to stay afloat and tried and true Dow Jones Chemicals announced another 40% increase in the wholesale price of their products which follows a 20% increase just last month. Scary? You’re right it is scary. Who is to blame? We the American people must accept a large portion of that blame. It is we ourselves who have been unable to tame the greed for more and better of everything from cars to computers to video games. We are the ones who think we must drive a huge SUV that could hold nine just to drive our daily commute from destination A to destination B. We could never have been satisfied with driving that little 4 banger. After all only the poor drive such vehicles.

Our selfishness aside, it is also the fault of the current administration’s war mongering policies that have forced us into a national debt so huge it will take years to recover. As a result, of that there are no extra reserves in the treasury to help bail out our economy and each of will be forced to learn how to survive without the extras that we take for granted as our right. We could even find ourselves in a worse state than the country was during the 1930 great depression. If so we will find that our country has been forced to its knees not by terrorist bombs but by their control of the oil that our country needs to survive.

What is my point? It is simply this, the predictions and hatred by our enemies may well bring America to its knees but we don’t have to lose hope. Our country was founded on faith in a God who is bigger than we are, who holds our destiny in the palm of His hand and who knows the number of hairs on our head. It was also founded on a principle of working together for the common good.

So, while it may be too late to prevent the current mortgage crisis, the credit crisis, the soaring cost of food, etc. from hitting us hard it is not too late to work together to find a solution that will limit the duration of the pain that we are all sure to endure. I really don’t think that it much matters who we elect as our next president, even though I will vote for Obama, because there is just too much that needs to be corrected. However, according to news reports around the world it seems that other countries will look more favorably upon Obama than they will McCain. They view Obama as a moderate who is willing to use diplomacy to solve world crisis whereas they view McCain, who vows to stay in Iraq for another 100 years, as yet another warmonger along the same lines as our current president.

Given that alone I pray that Obama can really make the difference he would like to make. If not, don’t give up the faith folks, let’s just put our heads together and find a way to decrease our dependence on foreign oil and restore our economy to a world wide force to be reckoned with.

Rising Costs, Medical Concerns and You

To those in the medical field it has long been known that stress is the enemy of good health as it raises blood pressure, gastrointestinal disease, and tends to exacerbate mental conditions. Given that it is only a matter of time before the struggle to make ends meet, on a limited income, will result in a rise in medical conditions that cost each of us even more.

Recurring stress is where the real problem is. Each month as the cost of fuel, food, and medical care increases it is tougher for families to make it and one knows that as these costs rise consumers are forced to tighten their belts. When this happens it is to be expected that a slow down in the economy will result thus triggering a spiral of job loss and increased economic woes that put a further strain on the over ready overburdened taxpayer to meet the needs of those without work.

So as gasoline has already reached historic levels throughout the country, which in the heartland means we are paying $3.69 a gallon for gas and $4.55 a gallon for diesel, and milk and eggs have doubled over last year the blue collar worker is struggling to stay afloat as they watch their savings dwindle. This is turn is forcing home and new construction foreclosures at an unprecedented rate. Are you stressed yet?

Well, consider this scenario. Truck drivers in England are already paying Near $2,000 A week to keep their trucks on the road. Even in France the price for diesel has reached $10.00 a gallon forcing delivery truck drivers in both countries to pull their rigs over in protest. There is no way that these drivers can continue to deliver the good consumers need without passing the increase in fuel costs on. As it stands they are paying more out in fuel costs than they earn. If this continues skyrocketing costs are destined to bring down our economy as we know it and we could well be faced with a depression that will make the 1929 one look like a piece of cake.

However, across the country the financial crunch is affecting more than people’s wallets. While it will take time to see the affects on people’s physical well-being it is taking an immediate tool on people’s mental health. According to social workers and mental health professionals they are seeing increasing numbers of patients who are suffering from extreme anxiety and a host of other emotional problems as they find themselves caught between rising costs and unpaid bills.

According to Brooke Ash. A community social worker for Community Partnership of the Ozarks, there are an ever increasing number of crisis calls coming in to their office. By that she is talking about people like single moms who call in tears because the high cost of gasoline is keeping them from being able to purchase enough food or pay their rent if they hope to be able to travel back and forth to their jobs.

Unfortunately, financial stress tend also tends to bring pre-existing mental-health issues that may have previously been hidden since studies show that there is a strong connection between financial distress and emotional distress. The emotional side will be shown through anxiety, depression, insomnia and/or migraine headaches. According to Melissa Haddow, C.P.O.’s executive director those symptoms can in turn make managing finances even more difficult. She added that “A big topic of conversation is speculation that things are bad and getting worse.” And that in turn “makes families already in a tough spot financially frightened and fearful of what’s going to happen next.”

This in turn has resulted in an increasing number of relationship issues that are causing couples to break up increasing the number of single parent households. So the problem spirals downward from every angle.

Are you stressed yet? Hang on because there is no answer thanks to our elected political officials. I truly believe that these issues should have been addressed back in the seventies when the first fuel crisis hit and we were all forced to sit in odd/even license plate lines to fuel our vehicles. Our infrastructure should have also been addressed long before now. Rather than granting money to the arts who defame our flag; or to specific groups that lower our moral fiber; or to an unjust war in Iraq these issues could have been dealt with in a manner that would have made our country stronger.

So, if you want change there is only one candidate in 2008 that you can vote for. I truly believe that a vote for either Hillary Clinton or John McCain is a vote for more of what we have experienced in the last 20 years of the Bush/Clinton White House. However, a voter for Barack Obama gives Americans a chance to change our society for the better. For once we have a candidate who is not owned by Big Business or Lobbyists and who understands the needs of Americans for a reliable fuel source, for a renewed infrastructure, and for honesty in government.

While the change will take time and will not immediately solve the stress issues that are being caused by our current economic crisis a vote for Obama will provide hope that there may be a solution to the issues that are currently plaguing us.

Obama Should Not be Judged by His Pastor’s Opinions

If you are eloquent and powerful you may be able to match Barack Obama’s inspirational oratory unless you are a thorough redneck. If you are then I am sure you are going to side with Hillary Clinton as she continues to pound away at what Obama’s ill advised pastor had to say.

On the other hand, while you are free to choose where you worship and who shepherds your flock I for one am the first to admit that there are things said from the pulpit that I disagree with. However, that does not mean that I have any intention of leaving my church. I agree with the vast majority that is preached, especially the parts directly from the Bible and I love the fellowship of the other people who attend. I believe that same to be true Obama. He is a man who is neither black nor white and he was born at a time when race, ethnicity, or national origin should have nothing to do with his qualifications to be president.

You may ask why Obama stayed in the church, or why didn’t he speak up, when he heard the anger in the Pastor’s voice. The answer, I think, is that he did. He is speaking up in running for president. Offering a different approach than his pastor to the injuries of race and class is what his campaign is all about. So, while it is obvious that this church and this pastor has played an important role in Barack Obama’s life as a black American one cannot forget that he is the son of a white mother who was raised by white grandparents. I believe that Barack seeks an understanding of his black roots through this church and wants to understand the injuries that others of those roots have suffered.

I myself, met a young black woman this last week, which is unusual in southwest Missouri. She was from Florida and taking part in a Urban Solutions. I found her courage and determination to make something of her life a real inspiration. This woman was not looking to blame others for her past errors but wanted to be able to return to the inner city to mentor confused and misguided youths from making the same mistakes that she did. If only white America could get past their own fears of diversity I believe that life would improve dramatically for all of us. This is just one thing, that as a white American, I think Obama has to offer us.

That, to me, is clearly why the church was so important to Obama that even now he views his pastor as the uncle with whom he might disagree but never disown.

But if the church taught him about the pain and injuries of race, made clear what it was like to grow up on the wrong side of every line dividing privilege and access from poverty and denial, what it, and its minister, did not teach him was how to deal with those injuries. His minister’s response has been as all the awful excerpts reveal, tinged with bitterness, anger and resentment. His minister has embraced the very victimization and demonization that Barack Obama, in his speech and in his campaign at its best, has denounced.

The case for Obama, and ultimately he has to be the one to make it, is that there is a different answer to the injuries of race than the one his pastor offered to their congregation The answer is not to denounce America, but to embrace it, not to embrace victimization, but to denounce it.

Obama doesn’t want to denounce his pastor, his uncle, but in a way, he already has, both by running for president and by the way he has run. He just needs to say that loud and clear, and not because whites want him too, but because his failure to do so obscures a strength of his campaign for which he deserves credit.

[tags]Obama, race, presidential campaign, Barack Obamal, Hillary Clinton, Obama’s speech, Urban Solutions, [/tags]

Obama – A Man Who Can’t Be Bought by Special Interests

I am endorsing Senator Barack Obama because I believe his presidency has the best chance of restoring our nation to the greatness that many of us feel George W’s Administration had destroyed forever. Given that I must admit that never before have I contributed to a campaign for any political office but with Obama I have made an exception due to my firm belief that he is what this country needs. My donation was made for one major reason and that is Obama’s refusal to accept any funds from lobbyists and other special interest groups. The only donations he is accepting are from citizens like you and me. To me that said a lot when one only has to look at all the millions the other candidates have accepted from these sources so while my donation was minimal it was a big step for me towards showing my belief in Obama’s candidacy.

With Obama I believe that there is a chance, though be it slight, of returning the power to the people by restoring our infrastructure, returning jobs from overseas to our shores by denying tax benefits to those companies who chose to use overseas workers, and tending to the needs of our average citizens. This I believe can only be accomplished when the rich and powerful in Washington are shown that they are no longer at liberty to vote themselves tax benefits that continue to erode the living capacity of the middle and lower classes and when CEO’s of big corporations are forced to forfeit the illegal profits they garner when their companies implode.

I need a President who understands that we cannot wait.  I want a leader who willingly stands in the gap understanding the urgency of our current domestic and international crisis even if it is inconvenient to do so. This does not mean that I agree with him on every issue because I don’t but I do know that once committed to a stance Obama doesn’t stagger. This is seen on his stand regarding the issue of pro choice. While for myself abortion would have never been an option I would have considered I do believe that like everything in life individuals have to make decisions that they can live with and that those choices are between themselves and their God. Obama also understands that. He feels for the poor woman who already has four children that she is struggling to support and the teenager who got carried away with emotion knowing that these women are being faced with difficult choices. I also believe that given the choice himself, he would most likely choose life.

I say this because while a senator from Illinois Obama was faced with several extreme anti-choice measures designed to paint pro-choice legislators into a corner. In these situations Illinois allows a senator to vote “present”. These votes are counted in the official roll call of the bill, and they DO affect the outcome. For all intents and purposes, they are a vote against the bill. In these cases Obama stood with his colleagues and voted “present” to protest the politicization of the health and safety of Illinois women. Again something he believed to be women’s best interests.

However, Senator Obama’s healthcare plan is not only about reproductive choice. His plan instead would ensure healthcare coverage for all Americans by making it more affordable. Healthcare should not be a privilege for only a few Americans, it should be a privilege for all Americans. It is time that we honor our commitment to the young, the old, the silent who have not had a voice to ask for what is their right as a fellow human being. With Senator Obama’s plan, we will finally have an opportunity to honor that responsibility.

Regarding the Iraq War, Senator Obama was one out a few that had the insight, judgment and courage to speak out after 9/11 against invading Iraq. This brave act cannot be minimized or negated. Everyday we as Americans live with the tragic consequences of the decisions made by others who did not stand up for what was the truth.

In addition, Obama has the charisma, like Kennedy and Reagan before him, to galvanize the people to force these changes on the tenured senators and Congress Representatives knowing that if they do not work with him the people will not hesitate to oust them come the next election. So, while others talk about greatness, may even utter the right words, only Obama brings those words to life in a manner that can pull us along together.

Thanks to Obama, many like me, who had basically given up the hope that politics would ever again hold ideals of equality, dignity, and justice instead of being corrupted by the political hunger for money, power and prestige are reengaging. Others who had grown tolerant of the intolerable are now ready to demand more ­ and not just from themselves but others. If you want more of George W. Bush go ahead and vote for Hillary, John, Mitt, or Mike but if what your heart is crying out for is change you only have one decent choice and that is Barack Obama for president.

[tags]Obama, Barack, Barack Obama, clinton, Hilary, George W. Bush, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Mike Hucklebee, health care, grassroots, donations, lobbyists, special interests, abortion, anti-choice, pro-choice, Illinois senator, Washington, Kennedy, Reagan, Iraq War, [/tags]

Obama Offers an Opportunity to Create a Government for the People

Sadly, if you live in southwest Missouri it was inevitable to hear racist remarks regarding the ability of Barack Obama to lead this nation but fortunately there are enough open-minded, intelligent people that listened to Obama’s message and helped him gain the majority of the state’s popular vote. To me, the opportunity that Obama offers to change the good boy policy of Washington politics is long past due and his statement that “I’m asking you to believe not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington — I’m asking you to believe yours” is strongly reminiscent of JFK’s “Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather ask what you can do for your country.”

Like Reagan, Obama appears to have the charisma needed to restore our faith in ourselves and in our country something that the other candidates seem to be sadly lacking in. Admittedly, my opinion has changed over the last several months since I first threw my support to John Edwards and then Ron Paul.

Now, however, having carefully listened to and reviewed Obama’s stand on the issues I can’t help but believe that he is what our country needs. First and foremost he promises change in Washington and I can’t believe that, unless you are a part of the rich and powerful families, that have unsuccessfully ruled this country for generations, you are not ready for this change. Secondly, and equally important is the fact that Obama has raised his money through grass roots donations, often of just $10 or $20 at a time. He has not sold himself to special lobbyists, nor is he owned by corporate America.

One thing that must be noted are the lies that are constantly being spread among the church people that Obama is Muslim, funded by Al Qaeda, and set on taking over America from within and returning us to the dark ages. First of all, his religious beliefs should not even enter into his bid for office but even if they did he adamantly denies that he is Muslim stating instead that he has actively worshipped Jesus for the last 20 years. Even though his father was a Muslim who I am sure wanted his son to follow in his footsteps this is not hard for me to believe since I was raised in a non-religious background during my earliest years, educated in a parochial school, and then raised in an assortment of churches during my teen years. Today, I have made my choice to be open-minded to all religions though I choose to affiliate myself with the Methodist denomination.

If I can do that why can’t Obama? Then, Obama has to deal with the racist remarks, even on the news stations, about him being black. Who cares? I certainly don’t. I just want to know that the man is capable of getting us out of the mess that Bush has gotten us into. We need our troops sanely withdrawn from Iraq. We don’t need to go to war against any other country. We need our infrastructure fixed. We need our economy fixed. We need jobs returned to America. We need affordable healthcare and affordable energy. We need our schools restored to a place where all children are offered a safe and affordable opportunity to be all they can be so that they can be competitive in a global economy.

Can Obama accomplish all of this? I don’t know. All I know is that if anyone can, I believe he can especially if pressure is put on the tenured senators and House representatives that would force them to work with him.

To reiterate, Barack Obama is funded entirely funded by grassroots supporters and unlike Clinton he does not accept money from special interest groups and Washington lobbyists. Therefore, Obama owes nothing to the health care insurance industry, to the oil industry, or to the weapons industry. This means that his only obligation is to the American people and doing what is best for America.

Like me, there are many citizens out there who believe in Obama which was obvious with his wins in thirteen of the 22 states in Super Tuesday’s primaries with some of his wins coming from such unlikely states as Alabama, Utah, and Missouri. There is no way that Clinton can claim that his win in these states were the result of purely black vote since I am white and many of those in Missouri that I know who voted for him are also white.

Given this win and his strong showing in the other states I think that Obama has shown that he can win the support of Americans of every race, gender, and political persuasion in every region of the country. With that in mind one must give him serious consideration as the one Democratic candidate who actually has a chance to defeat John McCain in November.

Military Trying To Stop The Spread Of Obama Email

Needless to say that this year is going to be a year when political rhetoric and distortions are going to flow around the Internet. If you haven’t received the email which makes several derogatory remarks about Sen. Obama, I’ll provide you with several of the allegations that have proved false. In the email it claims that the senator is a Muslim when in fact he is a practicing Christian. It also claims that when he was sworn into office that he took the oath on a Koran when it fact it was the bible.

It now appears according to an article over at the Boston Globe that the military is clamping down on this email being sent by government owned computer systems. The article states:

 The military has warned soldiers not to use official computers to forward a chain e-mail that falsely accuses Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama of being a Muslim who attended a radical Muslim school, saying distribution of the information is a violation of Army regulations and constitutes unlawful political activity.  


The memorandum, dated Thursday, went out after the discredited claims about Obama’s background were sent from an Army computer to what appear to be thousands of Army personnel worldwide.

“Currently there is a Chain Email floating around with the Subject line: ‘Who is Barack Obama,’ ” states the official warning, which was sent to all personnel who work for Army Medical Command, based in Fort Sam Houston, Texas. “Like virtually all chain e-mails this one is false.”

Further, the official warning adds, distributing the e-mail using military computers is a violation of several Army regulations that state that government communications equipment must be used only for official purposes and that their misuse could be punished under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Hopefully all of us will check out the facts as well before distributing any false information about any of the political candidates.

Comments welcome.

Full article is here.

[tags]email, obama, political, candidate, false, accusations, military, computers, government, us,  [/tags]

Mired in Broken Campaign Promises – Hold Elected Officials Responsible

With the political soup getting as thick as peanut butter as we approach the 2008 elections one wonders if the voters are ready for all the rhetoric. It currently seems that the war of the sound bytes and gaffes of the modern day American Presidential elections began as soon as George Bush took his second oath of office in 2005. Today that means you might as well avoid CNN unless you want to hear who Hillary is allying with this week or whether Obama is managing to keep his fundraising on par with his rivals.


With the all hoop a la one can hardly help but wonder to whom the candidates are playing this week. In other words, which demographic group have their analysts advised them to address in order to win them over. Of course, we know that this tactic only leads to another debate between candidates to try to derail any points that one or the other has won. Given that, I have basically given up hope in the candidates ever offering us anything that they truly believe in. Since 2000 it has become obvious to many of us that all we are going to hear from those running for office are a pack of false promises that tend to overtake the truth and keep us all teetering precariously on the edge of oblivion, as was seen in the Florida debacle when George Bush stole the presidency from Al Gore.


However, while I can appreciate voter’s apathy in relationship to national elections where they feel that their vote rests in the hands of the electorate and has little significance that does not excuse voters from getting involved in their local races. Contrary to national races where we know that the candidates have no intention in living up to their campaign promises and allow themselves to be choked out by the machinery of big business and corruption local officials can be held accountable by the locals that they represent. Some of these elections while seemingly less important to many are for alderman or city councilman who determine things like where you can build a house, where you can eat, and whether you will have adequate police and fire services if there is significant growth in your area.


Simply put, now is the time for you to make a decision to be involved in your community. If you are 18 years of age, you are legally able to run for local offices in most communities and you don’t need to be wealthy or hold a specialized degree to do so. What you do need is a desire and willingness to serve your community while realizing that it is often going to require hard work and resolve to work through the tough issues. With that said, I challenge you to not only support your elected officials but also to consider serving as one if you are needed. If you are unable to serve it is still your responsibility as a citizen to keep track of those ordinances and decisions made by your local government to ensure that they are making intelligent and well thought out choices that are sure to affect all the members of your community.

[tags]Campaign Promises, Elected Officials, local government, Florida elections, national elections, presidential elections, George Bush, Hillary Clinton, Obama, political corruption[/tags]

Law & Order's Fred Thompson Auditions For The Biggest Role Of His Career

Frederick Dalton (Fred) Thompson, with his candidacy to be declared just after Labor Day, is described by Republican pollster Frank Luntz as the “Six-million-pound gorilla” of the Republican primary race. At 64 years, Thompson is best known for his role as New York CityDistrict Attorney Arthur Branch on TVs Law and Order series. However, he is also a well-known politician having served in the U.S. Senate as the Representative from Tennessee from 1994 to 2003.

While his career is quite diversified, his heart is in government where he is still actively involved in the Council on Foreign Relations, specializing in national security and intelligence.

Fred Thompson born in Sheffield, Alabama, was the first member of his family to go to college where he earned an undergraduate degree in philosophy and political science before going on to earn his J.D. degree from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1967. His early credentials then show that him admitted to the Tennessee State Bar where he worked as an assistant U.S. attorney from 1969 to 1972 before becoming the campaign manager for Republican U.S. Senator Howard Baker. Baker primarily worked as an attorney until the early 1990s during which time he served as a special counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Intelligence.

During his time in practice he was appointed as minority counsel for the Watergate hearings and according to Fox News was responsible for getting Senator Baker to ask “What did the President know, and when did he know it?” This question is one that led directly to President Nixon’s downfall. According to historian Stanley Kutler, Fred Thompson and Howard Baker “carried water for the White House, but they were watching out for their interests, too… they weren’t going to mindlessly go down the tubes” for Nixon.

As early in his career as 1977, Thompson exposed corruption of Tennessee governor Ray Blanton when he took on the case of Marie Ragghianti the chairperson of the Tennessee Parole Board who was fired for refusing to release felons who had bribed aides of the governor. With the successful completion of the case, Blanton was found to have arbitrarily fired Ragghianti and was ordered to reinstate her with back pay. Thompson’s success in this case resulted in Blanton being toppled from power.

When control of the Senate passed from Republican to Democratic in 2001, Thompson became the ranking minority member of the Committee on Governmental Affairs.

In March 2003, Thompson was featured in a commercial by the conservative non-profit group Citizens United that advocated the invasion of Iraq, stating: “When people ask what has Saddam done to us, I ask, what had the 9/11 hijackers done to us — before 9/11,” and he has remained supportive of that invasion. In 2006 Thompson served on the advisory board for I. Lewis (“Scooter”) Libby, Jr., who was convicted of lying to federal investigators during their investigation of the Plame affair. Thompson was convinced Libby was innocent and set out to raise more than $5 million to help finance the his defense, even going so far as to host a fundraiser for the Libby defense fund at his home in McLean, Virginia.

Fred Thompson believes that federalism provides a basis for a proper analysis of most issues and considers each vote on the depth of government involvement and as to if it is a matter that should be decided on the federal, state, or local level. Endorsed by U.S. Senator Alfonse D’Amato of New York and fourteen other current members of Congress Thompson is well on his way to be a contender in the Republican primaries. However, Thompson is not controversy free, most notably his pro-choice lobbying, allegations of utilizing his political action committee to benefit his son, and finger-pointing accusations that he worked as a White House mole during Watergate.

Another controversial factor is Thompson’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), a form of cancer and whether it would affect his performance as president. However, according to Thompson, he is in remission and currently experiencing no symptoms from the disease. Thompson’s cancer is reportedly the lowest of three grades of NHL. Overall, there is a lot to be said for Thompson who has led a full and successful life as not only a politician but also as an actor. In my opinion, he has many things in common with former President Reagan but is probably a better actor. For him, his acting career could be an advantage as it gives him instant name recognition and if you top that with his political credibility, you could be looking at a really viable candidate.

Also in his favor according to Tom Bevan at RealClearPolitics is that two of the top-tier candidates on the Democratic side (Obama and Edwards) currently have eight years in the Senate which is exactly the amount of time that Thompson has belonged to the Senate. Additionally, in his favor is the fact that in today’s political arena the aura that a candidate sends off is nearly as important as experience and Fred Thompson projects both strength and seriousness, which makes people feel comfortable in trusting him. In other words, Thompson would never come out looking like a lightweight if he is put in a debate pitted against Obama, Clinton, or Edwards. Given that, it will come down to how grueling a schedule Thompson is willing to commit himself to over the next several months since he going to need to fight for the nomination if he really wants it. As for myself, I think that America could do worse than Thompson since he is enough in the center to possibly enable him to draw together members from both parties. Given my perfect choice, though, I would still prefer Ron Paul because he is man who will not be swayed by mediocrity or lobbying efforts.

[tags]Frederick Thompson, Fred Thompson, Law & Order, Presidential campaign, 2008 candidates, Republican, Ron Paul, Ronald Reagan, Edwards, Obama, Tom Bevan, Scooter Libby, Watergate, RealClearPolitics, mid stream conservative, conservative, pro-life[/tags]

Governor Bill Richardson, Democratic Presidential Candidate, Calls For War's End By January 1, 2008

Fifty-nine-year-old Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson has over the last 25 years proven himself to be a reliable leader serving not only seven terms as a congressman but also as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Secretary of Energy, and as a two-term governor of New Mexico.

Richardson is basing his long-shot bid for the Democratic presidential nomination not only on his thick curriculum vitae and mainstream political views, but also on his knack for the kind of personal campaigning that’s sacred to New Hampshire. He is hoping to perform so well in the New Hampshire polls that he will be able to change the consensus of political experts who have placed him as a second-tier candidate, lagging behind Clinton (33 percent) and Obama (25 percent). Nationwide, Richardson’s support is hovering at 3 percent, according to Pollster.com, which publishes an average of several polls. When it comes to so-called retail campaigning, however, Richardson may have an edge in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary, which is set for Jan. 22.

Discussing how he might bridge the gap in the polls Richardson compared his strategy to that of Jimmy Carter’s 1976 campaign, when as a largely unknown persona outside of his home state of Georgia, he managed to win the presidential seat. During his campaign, Carter scored a victory, with 28.4 percent of the vote in the New Hampshire primary and then rode those coups to success in later primaries after virtually living in Iowa and New Hampshire for months. If Richardson were to win or make a surprisingly strong showing in Iowa and New Hampshire, it would set him up for a win in the possibly 20-state-plus sweepstakes on Super Tuesday, February 5.

On the major plus side for Richardson the debates show that Richardson has the strongest position on getting all of our troops out of Iraq. This is shown in the consistency between his statements at both the Democratic Presidential debate in Charleston, South Carolina, and then again in the YouTube debate on 7/23/2007. During both instances, Richardson declared his position regarding the Iraq War with the following comment: “we should bring all of the troops home in six months with no residual forces”. He then added that “the lives of our men and women are more important than George Bush’s legacy,” and that “this war is a quagmire. We have to get all of our troops out now. No more politics.”

However, with Congress still unable to pass legislation setting a strict timeline for the removal of troops from Iraq, Governor Richardson’s frustration was noted, on 7/24/2007, when he stated “We need to remove all American troops from Iraq by the end of the year.” Adding that not only do the American people want us out the Iraqi people want us out.” If both countries are in agreement then why are we still there?

While Richardson’s stand on Iraq is critical to his campaign it is not his only focus as was seen in the presidential debate where the strongest positive reaction came when Governor Richardson responded to a question about whether he would keep or do away with the Bush administration’s No Child Left behind program. To the question he without hesitation answered, “I would scrap it. It just does not work, the worst thing it does is take the funding away from nonperforming schools that need it the most and where it should be used as an incentive to increase teacher performance. He further emphasized that both science and math should be made priority subjects for our youths and qualified/motivated teachers rewarded with a wage that is worthy of their contribution to their field.

Other high points during the debate included Governor Richardson’s strategy for restoring U.S. government to a leadership role in the world by addressing the need to stop the genocide in Darfur, as well as, to how we can better respond to homeland emergencies such as Hurricane Katrina.

Richardson’s biggest challenge will be to raise an additional $30 million by year-end if he hopes to compete in the race with Clinton and Obama who have garnered more than $100 million each. Although Richardson has said that he expects to have enough money to compete effectively, the front-runners’ lopsided financial advantage is already obvious when you compare Edwards staff of 40 people in eight regional New Hampshire offices, to Richardson’s campaign staff of 14 with a single office in Manchester. To top the quagmire, however, is the difference that the candidates have invested in Missouri where the top contenders have already opened offices across the state while Richardson has yet to open one.

In the end it comes down to Richardson’s actually having the best resume for the job and his desire to use the office to bring our troops home which is the major priority of most Americans. It is also notable that Richardson’s sensible approach to the issues, his record and background along with his basic knowledge of the issues make him a viable candidate to be considered in the primaries. Besides, for those of us who cringe at the thought of Hillary becoming our next president, Richardson shines like a beacon from afar.

[tags]Bill Richardson, Democrat, Presidential hopeful, Democratic candidate, Iraq War, Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Carter, New Mexico, Governor Bill Richardson, No Child Left Behind[/tags]

Obama and Giuliani Move Up in Polls

While David Axelrod, Barack Obama’s chief strategist, states, “National polls are not all that relevant in a process that is largely sequential” current polls showing Obama tied with Clinton are consistent with what is being seen on the ground. Fortunately, the increasingly huge crowds that are showing up for Obama’s appearances may indicate that Clinton is not the unconquerable juggernaut that her strategists have suggested.

At this point most polls show that Clinton and Obama are virtually tied among Democrats for the presidential nomination with Obama ahead in polls that include former Vice President Al Gore and Clinton leading by a mere 1 percentage point in those polls that don’t include the former Vice President. So while it is still to early to get a clear indication of who might win the nomination next year these polls clearly reflect whose messages are beginning to work and whose are not getting through.

Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani has moved up three points since an earlier poll in mid-May and now leads the Republican race at 32 percent with his nearest competitor being Senator John McCain at 19 percent.

So who will win in November of 2008? It is still too soon to tell, but keep your eyes on Obama and his message. If he continues to be true to himself and America he may just be the answer to stopping the massive war machine that Bush has maneuvered into being.

[tags]obama, Giuliani, Democratic contest, presidential race, Clinton, Hillary, McCain, November 2008, Democratic nominees, Republican nominees, Standing in presidential polls[/tags]

Immigration Reform Will Cause Taxes to Skyrocket… Basic Services to be Stretched Beyond Capacity

On May 17, 2007, an agreement reached between Democrats and Republicans regarding immigration reform has changed nothing about the underlying politics behind immigration reform and is likely to meet a similar fate as the bill proposed last year. In fact, this time around some of the biggest players have less incentive to cut tough deals with the presidential election approaching, and with Congress locked in battle with the White House over Iraq.

According to presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, this latest overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws backed by GOP primary rivals Senators John McCain, (R-Ariz), Ted Kennedy, (D-Mass), and President Bush — focuses on the creation of the so-called Z visa. “I don’t know whether the conferees in this discussion realize that we are authorizing a new visa class, the Z visa which would say to everybody who’s here illegally that they can stay indefinitely,” amounting to a form of amnesty. In fact it would give people who are here illegally a very substantial advantage over those who’ve been standing in line in their home country.

Additionally, James Rowley from Bloomberg’s reports that the top 2008 Democratic hopefuls state that,: Senator Barack Obama, (D-Ill.), he is “still concerned;” Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, (D-N.Y.), she is “worried about the creation of a new underclass”; and former Senator John Edwards, (D-N.C.), he doesn’t like the “poorly conceived guest worker program” suggesting that none of them are comfortable with the reform. Given that, Senator Ted Kennedy, (D-Mass), “may have a tougher time selling the plan to fellow Democrats than to Republicans” forcing Bush to deliver 60 or 70 Republican votes in the House for the compromise to have a chance and I personally don’t think he has that kind of juice any more.

To make the immigration reform viable, Los Angeles Times reporter, Richard Simon states: “In any job program, the bill should contain the following restrictions:

If a U.S. employer wants to hire Mexicans, the employer must:

  1. advertise for them in Mexico
  2. NOT pay less than minimum wage
  3. must assign the job to the prospect before the prospect can come to the U.S.
  4. pay all benefits to the Mexican employee that he would pay to an American employee including
    1. Income Tax
    2. Medicare
    3. Health Benefits with no decreased benefits for lower paid employees.”

Overall, I think that this new agreement means America will suffer from overcrowded classrooms and emergency rooms and experience overwhelmed police and fire departments. I also think that it could hasten the insolvency of the Social Security System, Medicare and welfare programs, as well as, cause taxes to skyrocket. It’s a gloomy scenario that could become reality and according to Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation “It is the most expensive public policy choice seen in Washington in a quarter-century” since you’re essentially granting illegal immigrants eligibility to Social Security, to Medicare, to other welfare programs for the elderly like Medicaid.

So, while acknowledging that many of the illegal immigrants currently in our country are viable members and fulfill a real need the strain on some services is already being felt. The Texas Hospital Association alone reported a 30 percent increase in emergency room visits between 1997 and 2005, partly due to the flood of illegal immigrants, many of whom have no health insurance and are unable to pay for services.

The problem is multifaceted, however, with compassion favoring dealing gently with illegal immigrants but common sense pushing for a crackdown on the same. This is seen in an ABC/Post poll that found that three-quarters of Americans say the United States is not doing enough to keep illegal immigrants out of the country. Additional opposition comes from seventy-four percent who support the idea of sending the National Guard to patrol the border with Mexico, a suggestion which President Bush proposed in a national address just a few days ago.

One must also note that the current reform proposal doesn’t play fair when there are millions of people around the world with skills and experience that would contribute to our way of life and are told no because the 12 million illegal immigrants, many without any marketable skills, get to stay. However, my major concern is our supposed war on terrorism and the need to protect ourselves from those who desire to harm the American citizenry. How can we determine who should be deported or not allowed to enter if every one here on expired visas like the terrorists who were behind 9/11 are granted amnesty? It seems crazy to me to even consider the possibility of granting potential terrorists, killers, rapists, gangsters, etc. amnesty if our desire is to protect our sovereign republic from those in the world who wish to harm us.

[tags]Immigration Reform, Ted Kennedy, Taxes, Illegal Immigration, Z visas, Border Patrols, Obama, Clinton, Bush, Edwards, amnesty, terrorists, Social Security, Medicare, Overcrowded Classrooms, overwhelmed Emergency Rooms, current events[/tags]