Archive for December, 2011

12/28/2011

Climate Change: Let’s Teach the Facts

Climate Change cannot be confused with day-to-day ups and downs in the weather. Being hot one day, and cold the next, or rainy one day, and clear the next, has nothing to do with it. A below-zero day in January, during a Green Bay Packer football game, proves nothing. Climate Change instead refers to differences measured over a minimum of 30 years.

Scientists started seeing temperature changes in the 20th Century, and particularly since 1975. They determined the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal for industries, and fuel oil for motor vehicles, created greenhouse gases, which warmed the atmosphere. They found the oceans warmer now than at any time since record-keeping started 130 years ago. They noted a sea level rise of more than a half a foot in the 20th Century. They now predict unless changes are made, warming will accelerate in the 21st Century, as average temperatures will likely climb another 5 degrees F.

Glaciers that cover 80% of Greenland, which descend below the surface up to two miles, and have existed since the Ice Age, are now melting, due to global warming. If all the ice on Greenland melts, it would be a serious problem, as the oceans would rise 23 feet. Even if only some evaporates, scientists say if nothing changes, the sea will rise about a half of a foot to two feet, by the end of 21st Century.

Other glaciers throughout the world on mountains are also melting and shrinking. Glacier National Park in the U.S., where there has been ice for 7,000 years, will be dry by 2070, if no change occurs. The Alps in Europe have lost more snow and ice in the past decade, than in the previous 150 years. The same was observed in the Andes of South America and the Himalayas of Asia.

Global warming will eventually flood coastal areas, sink islands, and trigger droughts. These changes will in turn adversely affect agricultural food supplies and drinking water. They will lead to starvation, great migrations, and refugee issues. The warming of the oceans will further increase storms and hurricanes.

To address global warming, scientists and instructors must teach the subject to Americans who have no particular interest in it, which means dumbing-down presentations to fifth grade levels. Americans must in turn ignore the ignorant people on Fox News and right-wing radio, who deny science, and make fun of the issue.

Politicians and voters must confront special interests in the coal and oil industries who have vested interests in keeping things just as they are. The federal government must work with other nations towards a global solution. Washington has to strictly regulate carbon dioxide, impose carbon taxes, and eliminate subsidies and tax breaks for fossil fuels. Alternatives to gas combustible engines must be promoted, such as mass transit. Wind and solar has to be developed. Americans must become more efficient with energy and start respecting the earth. It’s the only one we have.

12/27/2011

Health Care Law in Plain English

After reading a Health Care Law article by attorneys Skindrud and Cleary in the Wisconsin Lawyer (12-11), I translated it into a plain English version for ordinary Americans.

“Obamacare,” as Republicans put it, was not written by President Obama, it was drafted by lobbyists, enacted by Congress, and handed to the President on March 23, 2010, for his signature. It is actually two laws: the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” and the “Health Care Education Reconciliation Act.”

The purpose the new legislation is to cover most Americans with private health care insurance, and to reduce taxpayer subsidization for ER services, provided to the growing number of uninsured.

The law contains an individual mandate, requiring the purchase of health insurance. The idea of forcing people to buy insurance is not new. For nearly 100 years in Wisconsin, businesses have been under a government mandate to acquire Workers Compensation Insurance, from private carriers, to cover employees in the event of accidents at work. Employers also contribute to the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) to provide for laid off employees. They must further pay the Social Security-Medicare system, under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA).

What is different about the new health care law is the individual mandate to buy insurance, as opposed to one requiring businesses to do so. The new Act raises Constitutional issues as to whether it exceeds the Congressional power to regulate Commerce, a question that will be ruled upon by the Supreme Court. While states have long mandated the purchase of automobile liability insurance or at least proof of financial responsibility, the opponents of the health care law may be able to show legal distinctions between auto and health.

For the most part, the new law does not kick in until 2014, when individuals must have “minimal essential coverage.” If they do not, penalties may be imposed for each month they went without it. The punishment will be based on a percentage of income, as reflected in annual tax returns.

Although most Americans will see no tax increase as a result of the new law, those earning $200,000, or more, will contribute a certain percent of income to help finance the new Act.

The federal Medicaid program for the poor, administered by states, but paid largely by Washington, will extend coverage in 2014 to those under 65, who are not disabled, if they earn 133% of poverty or less.

Each state will open up Health Insurance Exchanges in 2014, as a place for individuals, and businesses of up to 100 employees, to find affordable insurance. Larger employers must wait until 2017. Individuals and businesses will pay a portion of the premiums, up to certain caps, and to insure affordability, the government will pick up the balance owed to the insurance industry. Those at the poverty level will pay 2% of income in premiums; those at 400% of poverty will pay 9.5%.

Private insurance companies will be required to provide coverage for “essential health benefits,” without lifetime caps. Co-payments and deductibles will disappear in 2014. Children will no longer be subjected to pre-existing condition exclusions, and are now able to stay on their parents plan through age 26. Adults have to wait until 2014 to be free of the pre-existing condition exclusion.

To control health care costs, the government is pushing health care providers through Medicare reimbursements to abandon the fee-for-service system, reduce ER visits, eliminate duplication, and end unnecessary procedures. Payments for excess readmissions for conditions like heart failure will be reduced. The plan is to cut Medicare re-imbursement rates by 30% in 2012.

Although the goal of coverage to all is a noble one, the current conservative majority on the Supreme Court may in a 5-4 vote find the individual mandate unconstitutional. If the law is upheld, some previously without coverage will benefit, but the biggest winner will be the health insurance industry, since the federal government will subsidize their unregulated premiums. The government will probably also lose the struggle with the health care industry to lower reimbursements. While a single-payer system would have been better, and more efficient, we can only wait and see what develops under this law.

12/22/2011

Republican Debate in Iowa (12-15-11)

PAUL ON IRAN: What is happening regarding Iran, Paul said, is no different than the 2003 propaganda as to Iraq. There is no proof Iran has nuclear weapons. There is no UN or IAEA report with evidence. Why do we have 900 bases in 130 countries? Why are we flying drones over Iran? Why do we bomb so many countries? They may want to harm us, because we bomb them, not because of what we believe. They would not attack Switzerland or Sweden for what they believe. Sanctions are an act of war. They could lead to economic calamity, if oil is kept from Europe. The greatest danger is Presidential overreaction and a bombing of Iran. Even Israel’s Head of Security said it wouldn’t make sense to bomb Iran. While we don’t want to see Iran with nuclear weapons, it’s dangerous to declare war on 1.2 billion Muslims. Paul said when he was drafted in 1962, the world was dangerous, but as nuclear missiles were sited in Cuba, Kennedy talked Khrushchev down, and we avoided a nuclear exchange. We lived through the Cold War with 30,000 missiles pointed at us, and we shouldn’t jump the gun now. We just don’t need another war, Paul said.

OTHERS ON IRAN: Romney called Obama weak regarding the spy drone incident. Perry would have destroyed or retrieved the drone, but Obama did neither. Bachmann believes Iran will use nuclear weapons to wipe out Israel and attack the U.S. She believes an IAEA report says Iran is just months away from obtaining the bomb. Santorum thinks Iran has been at war with us since 1979. They tried to assassinate a Saudi Ambassador, and they make IEDs that kill our soldiers. He called them a radical theocracy. If they had nuclear weapons, it wouldn’t be like the Cold War, since they believe in martyrdom. He made the ridiculous argument: “they don’t hate us because of what we do, or the policies we have, they hate us because of who we are, and what we believe in.” He said we should work with Israel ro plan strikes against their facilities. Gingrich said the Iranians plan to close the Straits of Hormuz.

FOREIGN POLICY: Paul would adopt a pro-American foreign policy, which is the opposite of policing the world. Huntsman wants a policy driven by economics, which leaves the Cold War behind. Perry said we should assert the Monroe Doctrine as to Iran, Venezuela, and Mexico, like we did in the 60s with Cuba.

CHINA: Huntsman was questioned about a 22% tariff China imposed on U.S. sport utility vehicles, but he sidestepped it saying we need shared democracy, human rights, and religious toleration.

IRAQ: Bachmann said Obama intentionally chose to lose the peace, and Iran will now become a dominant influence in Iraq.

LATIN AMERICA: Santorum said Obama embraced Chavez and Ortega, and thinks jihadist training camps are working with drug cartels in Latin America, planning assaults on the U.S.

MILITARY: Romney wants to increase the number of Navy ships built each year from 9 to 15. He said we need another 100,000 military troops, but he did not explain how he would get them.

SYRIA: When Perry was asked if the U.S. should intervene in Syria, he said he supports a No-Fly-Zone, because he says they are attached at the hip to Iran, and we need to stand with Israel.

ISRAEL: Gingrich said 200 missiles were fired at Israel this year. He neglected to say how many strikes Israel made against others.

UN: Gingrich called the UN a corrupt institution that beats up on our allies. He would not fund it and would dramatically reduce our reliance on it. He claimed UN camps are training grounds for terrorism, and their textbooks are funded by the UN. Huntsman said the UN serves useful peacekeeping-humanitarian purposes, but noted they have anti-American and anti-Israel sentiments.

IMMIGRATION: Romney promised an ID card for legal aliens to use when applying for jobs, along with E-verify checks. If employers hire without the card, serious sanctions would apply. He would send illegals to the back of the line. Perry said the El Paso border is not safe. Gingrich suggested a loss of tax deductions for those who hire illegally. He would drop the lawsuits against AZ, SC and Alabama. Huntsman would not pander to Hispanics, adding illegals are down due to the economy. He reminded us legal immigration is a growth engine.

JOBS: Romney said 25 million Americans are out of work, but the government doesn’t create jobs, the private sector does.

MANUFACTURING: Romney said manufacturing will come back to the U.S., but he did not explain how. Santorum thinks manufacturing is not competitive and tax rates should be lowered to zero and regulations should be repealed.

VULTURE CAPITALISM: Romney claimed he successfully ran Staples, Bright Horizons Children’s Centers, and an Indiana steel mill. Some of the 100 different businesses he was involved with laid people off, but they also added tens of thousands of jobs. When Obama took over GM, he said, dealerships were closed, and he had the same experience. Gingrich accused Romney of making millions by laying off people and bankrupting companies. He appeared confused when he suggested electric coops and credits unions are government sponsored institutions.

HOUSING: Bachmann accused Gingrich of taking 1.6 million from Freddie Mac to influence Republicans into keeping the scam going. Gingrich did not deny earning 1.6 million and he said he liked “government sponsored enterprises” like Freddy Mac, because they made home ownership more affordable. He thinks it’s a conservative principle to help families buy homes. He now would break up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Paul said government sponsored enterprises received excessive credit from the Fed under the Community Reinvestment Act. Money comes from taxpayers, and when they go broke, we bail them out. Huntsman complained of banks that are too big to fail.

ENERGY: Romney said we have energy resources and should give out permits to drill for natural gas and oil. Gingrich said the Keystone Pipeline from Canada to Houston will bring oil to the U.S. and create 20,000 American jobs. If not, the Canadians will send it to Vancouver, where it will be shipped to China. Huntsman wants to use natural gas to get rid of our heroin-like addiction to imported oil. Bachmann criticized Obama’s moratorium on Gulf drilling and supports Keystone. She thinks Obama opposes it, because he would lose the support of radical environmentalists.

HEALTH: Huntsman said he delivered on health care reform in his state, without a mandate.

BUDGET & TAXES: Paul said the budget is out of control because of earmarks, which he never voted for. He said there are two factions; the warfare group that wants cuts in welfare; and the welfare group wants to cut warfare. He would eliminate 1 billion in spending from the federal budget in the first year. Romney said the debt is now 15 trillion, and the President racked up as much as all others combined. Huntsman as governor delivered on a flat-tax, and refused to sign a no-tax-hike pledge. Perry supports a Balanced Budget Amendment and wants tax policies that help business become competitive. Bachmann pledged no new taxes, because we’ve been taxed enough. We cannot spend more than we take in.  Gingrich claimed to have balanced the federal budget and paid off 405 billion in debt.

JUDICIARY: Gingrich would subpoena judges before Congress as to controversial decisions and would impeach them. He said the courts have become dictatorial, too powerful, and arrogant. Jefferson abolished 18 of 35 federal judges in 1802. He thought it absurd to view the Supreme Court as supreme. Lincoln repudiated Dred Scott in 1861. Bachmann said the Founders wanted courts to be the least powerful branch. They do not have power to make law. She would appoint only judges who believe in the original intent of the Constitution. Paul said Congress can get rid of courts, but he questioned Congressional authority to subpoena judges, as this would violate the Separation of Powers. When Romney was accused of appointing Democrats to be judges in Mass., he said a 7-member council made the appointments. He promised to appoint prosecutors. He said Congress should not oversee judges, because they have less credibility. Perry’s favorite justices were Alito, Roberts, and Thomas. Romney added Scalia. Gingrich and Bachmann liked all four. Huntsman limited himself to Roberts and Alito. Paul said all of them have good and bad features. Perry called for a part-time Congress and a 50% cut in their salaries.

GAYS: Romney opposed discrimination against people based on sexual orientation. He also opposed same-sex marriage. Santorum said Romney issued gay marriage licenses, but Romney explained the Mass Constitution required him to do so.

GUNS: Romney signed an assault weapons ban, but is now pro-gun.

ABORTION: Romney changed his mind on abortion, saying he was a pro-choice governor, but realized he was wrong when he vetoed an embryo bill. He is now pro-life. Santorum, who is 100% pro-life from conception to death, said Gingrich could have defunded Planned Parenthood, but he chose not to. Gingrich insisted he has a 98.5% pro-life record. He said life begins at conception, when embryos are conceived. They should be regarded as life and not experimented with. He opposes partial-birth abortion.

RELIGION: Gingrich complained of a 9th Circuit ruling that said “one nation under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional. He called the judges anti-American.

12/20/2011

Iraq: Bush’s War Was A Total Waste

After nearly nine years, the War in Iraq ended, with the names of 92 Wisconsinites who died there, printed in the Wis. State Journal. While 89 returned in body bags under President Bush: 9 (2003); 23 (2004); 18 (2005); 16 (2006); 15 (2007); and 8 (2008); three died while Obama was President: 2 (2009) and 1 (2010).

The War in Iraq (2003-11) actually started with the Gulf War (1991) surrender document, which required the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction. UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter, a former Marine Corps Major, and his team, searched for, and destroyed weapons, over a seven year period (1991-98). When Ritter resigned in 1998, he announced Iraq had been disarmed.

Despite the disarmament, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Pearle, and 15 others wrote a letter to President Clinton in 1998 saying the removal of Saddam Hussein through a pre-emptive strike “needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.” In response, Clinton announced the U.S. cannot allow Iraq to acquire nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons, as he declared a regime change policy, and started bombing suspected Iraqi sites.

Under President Bush, a Defense Dept. strategy for pre-emptive War in Iraq was approved in Aug. 2002. Despite a National Intelligence Estimate, dated Oct. 2002, which reported: “Iraq does not yet have a nuclear weapon, or sufficient material to make one,” Bush declared at a State of the Union in Jan. 2003: Iraq tried to acquire uranium for nuclear weapons from Niger. He said: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

Although Bush conceded on March 12, 2003, there was no evidence to link 911 to Iraq, officials constantly implied there was a connection, leading the NY Times to report 42% of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was personally responsible for 911.

Bush’s team scared many uninformed Americans in March 2003 by conjuring up images of a “mushroom cloud,” and by spreading the ridiculous notion Saddam Hussein had rockets capable of delivering chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons to the U.S.

The disciples of Bush whipped up crazy ideas, like Iraq could be defeated in one week. Richard Pearle, chair of the Pentagon Defense Policy Board, said in 2002: “Support for Saddam will collapse with the first whiff of gunpowder.” Less optimistic Defense officials predicted the war may last for “months.”

The Bush Administration argued Americans would be welcomed. Vice President Chaney said on Meet the Press on March 16, 2003: “We will in fact be greeted as liberators.” Military planners said the occupation will result in “flag-waving crowds hugging British and American soldiers.” Rush Limbaugh repeated the propaganda.

Bush’s people believed a large ground force would not be needed, as Rumsfeld said we could invade with relatively few troops, supported by air support. Rumsfeld rejected advice from senior military officials, who said a larger army would be required.

Congressman James Moran of Virginia, one of the few to speak the truth as to why the U.S. was about to go to war, said on March 13, 2003: “If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for war with Iraq, we would not be doing this.”

Bush tried to obtain UN Sec. Council Resolution to make his war look legitimate, but the level-headed Jacques Chirac of France wisely threatened a veto, as others also voiced opposition. Bush finally abandoned his attempt to gain UN approval on March 17, 2003.

Cowboy Bush nevertheless went it alone, and issued an ultimatum on March 19, giving Saddam and his sons 48 hours to leave Iraq, or face war. He amassed 210,000 U.S. troops: including 150,000 in Kuwait, 10,000 in Saudi Arabia, and 50,000 at sea. American teams studied plans to find hidden weapons of mass destruction (WMD), as Halliburton, a company run by Cheney from 1995 to 2000, looked forward to making billions on post-war contracts.

Once the war started, the search for WMD became a top priority. Gen Tommy Franks said there were 2,000 to 3,000 possible weapons sites. When no hidden stockpiles were found, the military initially said some areas were not yet accessible. Gen. Myers reassured us on March 31: “there is no doubt they have chemical weapon loaded in artillery shells.” Chief Warrant Officer Gonzales, a member of a weapons team, said on April 16: “we’re not going to find just a smoking gun, but a smoking canon; it’s just a matter of time.” “It’s going to take time,” Rumsfeld repeated, on April 19, fabricating a story “they buried things,” and “used underground tunnels.” Later, Rumsfeld admitted Iraqis will have to find them, because “the inspectors didn’t find anything, and I doubt we will.” Bush nevertheless reassured Americans on June 10 he was convinced Iraq had WMD, and proof would be found. Press Sec. Fleisher advanced the ridiculous argument those who say Iraq does not have WMD have the burden of proof.

Meanwhile, Scott Ritter re-appeared in April 2003 to say I told you so: “I don’t see how these weapons could exist,” because the unconventional arms Iraq possessed were destroyed or degraded. Joe Wilson, a former Ambassador, came forward in July 2003, to say for 8 days in 2002, he was in Niger investigating reports of an attempted weapons sale, and found nothing but forged documents and fraudulent intelligence. British Prime Minister Tony Blair finally admitted on July 11, he no longer believed WMD would be uncovered, causing Bush on July 12 to shift blame to others, suggesting CIA Director Tenet approved the Jan. 2003 reference to obtaining nuclear weapons materials from Niger.

David Kay, the man who headed the U.S. weapons search, told Congress on Sep. 29, no WMD were found and we were all wrong. Ritter wrote a piece on Feb. 6, 2004 entitled, “Not Everyone Got it Wrong on Iraq’s Weapons,” challenging Kay’s assertion “we were all wrong.” Rolf Ekeus, another weapons inspector, declared Iraq was fundamentally disarmed as early as 1996. Hans Blix, the UN weapons inspector just before March 2003, said his team found no evidence of WMD. By 2004, it was clear Bush had relied rumor, speculation, exaggeration, and falsification to lead the U.S. into war. Florida Sen. Bob Graham said Bush knowingly did it.

If U.S. troops had vacated Iraq after the Statue of Saddam Hussein was knocked down in Baghdad on April 10, 2003, or when Bush declared an end to hostilities on May 1, or when he landed on the Aircraft Carrier Lincoln near San Diego on May 2, or as soon as Hussein was captured on Dec. 15, 2003, perhaps the war would have been easy, but Bush made the additional mistake of occupying Iraq.

When 10,000 Shiites and Sunni Muslims joined hands through the streets of Baghdad on May 20, 2003, to oppose the U.S. occupation, fair warning was given. U.S. officers soon reported unexpected resistance, while Americans were bing lied to and told Iraq would not become another long 8-year struggle, like the one in Vietnam.

It did not take long before the brass changed their story as to how long the war would take. Gen. Myers said:  “Nobody ever promised a short war.” Deputy Defense Sec. Wolfowitz said it would take at least 6 months to create a new government. Ari Fleisher said they were a year away from turning over control.

Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, then triggered a guerilla war by issuing a decree on May 20 banning all Baath Party members from public sector jobs. Rumsfeld had to admit in July 2003 “we are still at war,” as he predicted attacks against U.S. forces would grow more vicious. Not enough troops were available to maintain order, or to guard supply lines, and once again Rumsfeld had to admit he might need more than 147,000 troops.

Instead, tours for enlisted men were extended indefinitely. Our troops became tired of patrolling hostile Iraqi streets in the extreme heat in search of an invisible enemy. It became unsafe for them to venture off post. Many accused the Pentagon of dishonesty with regard to their length of stay and mission. Finally, Rumsfeld adjusted the duration of the war saying: “We will be there as long as it takes.”

Well, we stayed nearly 9 years. We lost a lot of lives, and took a lot more. We destroyed a lot of property. We spent billions. After 9 years, it is really not a stretch at all to say, Bush’s war was a total waste.

12/19/2011

North Korea: Kim Dead; Time to Reunify

The People’s Republic of North Korea fell silent today, because their leader, 69-year-old Kim Jong II, passed away, following 17 years in command. He had assumed power when his father Kim Sung died, after ruling for 46 years, from 1948 through 1994, during a term that included the Korean War (1950-53). With the passing of Kim II, the North now has a chance to move away from a family dynasty, reunite with the South, and formally end the Korean War, which only stopped in 1953, due to an armistice.

Over the past 136 years, Korea has gone through change. As a Chinese Province, trade treaties were forced upon them by Japan in 1875, before Tokyo invaded, in the Sino-Japanese War (1894-95), and simply seized the entire Korean Peninsula. When Russia tried to wrestle Korea away, Japan humiliated Moscow in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05), and proceeded to industrialize the region, under the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty (1910).

In the last days of WWII in 1945, as U.S. troops were poised to enter South Korea, the Soviets quickly declared war on Japan, and occupied North Korea. Korea remained partitioned at the 38th Parallel in 1948, when the Soviet Army withdrew, giving rise to the North Korean People’s Rep., and the U.S. Army ended their occupation of the South, giving birth to the Rep. of South Korea.

Just two years later, the Korean War (1950-53) erupted, as troops from the North invaded the South, in what they believed was a mission to reunite their nation, artificially divided by the U.S. and Russia. The UN instead determined the conduct was a “breach of the peace,” and resolved to take collective military action.

UN forces, led by the U.S. Army, landed near Seoul, and drove a wedge through the North Korean supply lines, forcing them to withdraw from the South. As they were pushed back, nearly into China, Chinese volunteers entered the war in Nov. 1950 on the side of North, and drove the UN troops back down into the South, by March 1951. Shortly afterward, President Truman fired Gen. MacArthur for making insubordinate comments about the war. The Korean conflict then dragged on for two more years, until a ceasefire was signed in July 1953. Korea would remain divided, with a 2½-mile De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) between the two states.

While the Kim family firmly controlled the North for 63 years, dictators, propped up by the U.S., ruled the South, at least initially. Following the 1987 South Korean elections, the two states started talks as to re-unification. Progress slowed in 1988, when the North was labeled a terrorist state, for allegedly selling missiles to Iran, but despite this, and speculation the North was building a nuclear bomb, both Koreas joined to the UN in 1991.

In 2000, progress towards reunification advanced when the two Korean leaders shook hands, but it slowed again in 2002, after 911, when President George W. Bush labeled the North part of an Axis of Evil. With the start of Six-Nation Talks in 2003, hope re-emerged, as some travel between South and North was allowed, and passenger trains started crossing the border in 2007, but progress slowed again, when the train travel stopped in 2008.

Now with the death of Kim II, the UN is should be poised to bring about change, particularly since Ban Ki Moon, a South Korean, has been serving as Secretary-General since 2006. The UN has the right leader to dismantle the De-Militarized Zone, and to finally end the Korean War. President Obama could help by re-deploying to other locations, the 30,000 U.S. troops we no longer need in South Korea. The time is now to reunite the two Koreas.

12/16/2011

Gingrich-Republicans Wrong on Palestine

Former Congressman Gingrich incorrectly suggested the word “Palestine” was not commonly used until 1977, Palestinians are an “invented people,” and their “right of return” to Palestine, now illegally occupied by Israel, is based on a false story. Other Republicans have also harbored twisted views on the Mideast, including Santorum, who thinks, “the West Bank is Israeli land,” Romney who believes it’s wrong to criticize Israel for illegally erecting settlements in occupied Palestine, Perry who said the Palestinian request for statehood is a travesty, and Bachmann who complained when Obama said Israel should return to the pre-1967 borders. All of these Republicans need to learn some history.

Palestinians have continuously lived in Palestine for thousands of years. The Gaza Strip, West Bank, and Israel are all on land previously known as Palestine, an area ruled by the Turkish Ottoman Empire for 402 years (1516-1918). Only 30,000 Jews lived there as of 1880, and as of 1893, 95% were Arab. In WWI, as the Turks were about to surrender, former British Prime Minister Balfour issued the Balfour Declaration (1917), without first consulting the Palestinians, in which he promised a homeland for the European Jews in Palestine.

Once WWI ended, the League of Nations gave Britain a formal mandate to govern Palestine (1920). They in turn gave the Jews of Europe permission to start settling among the Arabs of Palestine. As the percentage of Jews in Palestine grew from 11% in 1922 to 29% in 1939, opposition from Arab Palestinians grew.

After WWII, upon the disclosure of the atrocities inflicted upon the Jews of Europe, momentum developed for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. UN Res. 181 partitioned Palestine into two areas, one Jewish, and one Arab (1947). Because the Jews were only 33% of the population, but received 55% of the land, the Palestinians rejected the plan, triggering a civil war (1947-48).

Meanwhile, terrorist attacks by Jewish militants, caused the British to give up on Palestine. As they were leaving the country, Israel declared independence, which caused the 1st Arab-Israeli War (1948-49). The Arab nations around Palestine tried to stop the formation of a new Jewish state, but failed. Israel proceeded to destroy 420 Arab villages, and seized lands that had been assigned to the Arabs, as 700,000 Palestinian refugees fled to neighboring states. Homeless Palestinians lived in caves and makeshift tents, in the winter of 1948-49. Following a 1949 Armistice, the UN recognized Israel as a nation-state, but many Arabs, at least initially, refused to accept Israel’s UN based right to exist.

U.S. foreign policy under Republican President Eisenhower (1953-61) took a middle course, as Israeli requests for military equipment were denied. Israel was persuaded to return to the 1949 borders after the Suez War (1956), by a U.S. threat to cut off aid.

Israel’s occupation of the Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula (Egypt), Golan Heights (Syria), East Jerusalem, and West Bank (Jordan), started in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, as Israel launched a surprise attack on Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq. The UN Assembly censured Israel (99-0, 20 abstentions), and the Security Council found their seizure of lands illegal. The UN ordered a “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict” (Res. 242). To this day, Israel has never fully complied.

Following the 1967 war, Israel ignored international law, and started building settlements in Arab East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza. The UN warned Israel in 1968 against changing Jerusalem by conquest (Res. 252). They reminded Israel in 1971, it is illegal under international law to expropriate land, or forcibly remove civilians (Res. 298). In a 14-0 vote, the Security Council directed Israel in 1971 to relinquish control over East Jerusalem.

The U.S. made a major foreign policy change in 1972, when they started vetoing UN Resolutions critical of Israel. The shift in U.S. policy came about through campaign contributions supplied by the Israeli Lobby to both parties. Without the help of the U.S., the Arabs tried to take back the occupied territories in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, but failed, as Israel had superior firepower supplied by the U.S. The UN continued to demand withdrawal (Res. 344).

Progress was made in 1978 following talks between President Carter, Israeli Prime Minister Begin, and Egypt’s President Sadat, as Israel withdrew from the occupied Sinai, back to the pre-1967 Egyptian border, under the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty (1979).

When the right-wing Likud Party however gained power in 1980, they reversed the process, by escalating settlement construction on Arab lands. As they imposed Israeli law in the occupied Golan Heights (1981), the UN declared it null and void, as a violation of civilian rights, under the Geneva Conventions (Res 497).

Arafat, the leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), said as early as 1985, he would accept Israel’s UN right to exist, if only they would return to the pre-1967 borders.

President Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Rabin, and Jordan’s King Hussein, made progress with another agreement in 1994, but the process stalled in 1995, when an Israeli extremist assassinated Rabin, and Netanyahu lifted the ban on new settlements in 1996.

Israel also damaged the peace process by building a Wall in and around occupied East Jerusalem, which now separates Arabs from each other. The International Court of Justice ruled the demolition of Palestinian homes, and the deportation of civilians by Israel to construct the Wall, amounted to an annexation and a violation of international law, under the 4th Geneva Convention (2004). Although Israel was ordered to remove the Wall, they ignored the court, and declared it their new West Bank border (2006).

While Israel finally withdrew from Gaza in 2005, they closed off all land, sea, or air access to that Palestinian territory, and made prisoners of the 1.5 million Palestinians who reside there. Today, Israel maintains strict blockades around Gaza, and continues to occupy East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights.

President Carter, a person we should all listen to with regard to the Mideast, correctly said the U.S. squandered international prestige, and intensified global anti-American terrorism, by unofficially condoning Israeli confiscation of Palestinian lands.

President Obama also showed leadership in 2011, when he asked Israel to stop building illegal settlements and to end their longstanding occupation of Palestine, by withdrawing to the pre-1967 borders. He said Palestinians suffered the humiliation of occupation, and have a right to govern themselves in a sovereign state. He requested a “full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces.” “The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed swaps, so secure and recognized borders are established for both states,” he said.

Although Netanyahu agreed: “The Palestinians…should enjoy a national life of dignity as a free, viable and independent people in their own state” and the solution is “two states for two peoples: A Palestinian state, alongside the Jewish state,” he rudely lectured Obama, saying Israel cannot defend the old 1967 lines. The truth is the current borders are the ones that caused nothing but conflict and violence for 44 years, and are the lines that are indefensible.

The problems in the Mideast will never be solved as long as aspiring American leaders ignore the truth of what has happened there over the past 94 years. They at least have to get the facts straight. This Republican crowd, running for President in 2012, has an awful lot to learn about Palestine and the Mideast before they could even begin to be ready for the White House.

12/13/2011

Republican Debate in Iowa (12-10-11)

Six of the remaining Republican candidates, with the notable absence of Gov. Huntsman, debated in Iowa on Dec. 10, 2011.

CANDIDATE HARDSHIPS: Romney admitted he didn’t grow up poor. If people are looking for that background, he said, he is not their man. He said his father taught him hard work, by making sure he had jobs, such as serving overseas for his church. While debating health care, Romney however showed how out-of-touch he is with normal people, by offering to bet Perry, not $10, but $10,000, over the content of his book. Perry explained his family didn’t even have running water, until he was a 5-year-old. Paul worked his way through college, saying they didn’t have much. Bachmann got a job at age 13, when her mother divorced, and her family dropped below the poverty level. Gingrich’s father was in the army, causing him to move about a lot. Santorum was happy to have lived in a modest setting with a father and a mother.

FOREIGN POLICY: Paul would stop being the policeman of the world, allowing us to cut billions from overseas spending. He said we don’t need another war in Syria or Iran. We pretend we are leaving Iraq, he said, but we still have 17,000 contractors there. He would get rid of the new embassy in Iraq that cost 1 billion.

IRAN: Perry thinks Obama could have retrieved or at least destroyed the Drone recently downed by Iran. He believes China and Russia now have the Drone’s highly technical equipment.

SPACE: Romney disagreed with Gingrich’s idea to establish a lunar colony to mine minerals from the moon. Gingrich said he only wanted to prompt kids into dreaming of going to Mars.

PALESTINE: Paul correctly explained: when the Ottoman Empire ruled the Mideast, neither the Israelis, nor the Palestinians, had independent states. He suggested letting the people in that region deal with their own problems, as we cannot be the policeman of the world, or settle their disputes, because we are broke. Gingrich, ignorant of history, called the Palestinians an “invented people.” He labeled all of “these people” terrorists. He accused them all of teaching terrorism in schools. He exaggerated, suggesting Israel was getting rocketed every day. He believes the Palestinian “right of return” to their homeland, now illegally occupied by Israel, is based on a historically false story. He incorrectly suggested the word “Palestine” did not become a common term until after 1977. The Chief Palestinian negotiator correctly observed Gingrich’s statements will give Bin Laden like extremists, ammunition for a long time. Romney agreed with “most of what Gingrich said, except the Palestinians are an invented people.” He criticized Obama for wanting to go back to the 1967 borders, as he thinks this would only make things more difficult for Netanyahu. Our disagreements with Israel, he said, should be conducted in private. Bachmann went to Israel in 1974 and worked on a kibbutz. Before she would make any statements about Israel, she would first call Netanyahu to seek his permission, by asking him “would it help if I said this?” She thinks all Palestinians teach their children to hate Jews. Santorum said “the Israelis have a right to determine what happens on their land,” but incorrectly believes, “the West Bank is Israeli land.”

IMMIGRATION: When Gingrich was asked how many years an illegal alien would have to live in the U.S. to get special consideration, he said the issue would be turned over to local review boards, who would consider whether they had been a good local “citizens,” or belonged to a church, before granting residency, not citizenship. He doubted there are 3.5 million who have been here 25 years. He wants severe penalties for employers who hire illegally. Romney said amnesty would give rights to education and health care. He does not want to encourage another wave of illegal immigration and would make them get in the back of the line with everyone else who wants to come here. Perry would enforce the immigration laws already on the books. He would not do catch and release, or sue states like Arizona.

WALL STREET: Bachmann opposed the Wall Street bailout, as they made foolish decisions, took profits in good times, but when things went bad, their losses were socialized. Paul said the Middle Class is being destroyed, and things are only going to get worse.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Perry accused Obama of defunding Social Security through a payroll tax cut. We can’t fix the Trust Fund by taking resources away from it. Either you care about Social Security, and you fund it, or you don’t, he said.

HEALTH CARE: Bachmann said Gingrich advocated for an individual mandate for over 20 years, and Romney implemented socialized medicine in his state. Perry also accused Romney and Gingrich of favoring the individual mandate. Gingrich said the mandate idea arose in the 1990s in response to Hillary Care. Newt said he fought Obamacare every step of the way, incorrectly arguing if Congress can make you buy insurance, they could make you buy anything. He said the whole third party payer model, public or private, has become difficult and expensive, suggesting we return to a doctor-patient relationship, with Health Savings Accounts, so people are involved in their own health care costs. Santorum opposed the mandate in 1994, while a Senate candidate, and supported Medical Savings Accounts. Romney authorized the mandate in Mass, because three of four supported it. He said Obama’s plan does three things Mass. did not do: 1) raise taxes 500 billion; 2) cut Medicare 500 billion; 3) take over health care. Obama’s plan, he said, is wrong, and should be repealed, because it cuts Medicare and raises taxes. He thinks the Supreme Court will declare it unconstitutional, as it violates the 10th Amendment. The right course, Romney said, is to let each state experiment.

JOBS: Gingrich thinks he will create jobs by lowering taxes, repealing regulations, and developing energy. Romney said jobs are not created in Washington, but in the private sector. He would do seven things to create jobs: 1) lower tax rates; 2) change regulations; 3) alter trade policy; 4) use energy resources; 5) curtail the NLRB; 6) use human capital; and 7) limit government spending. Paul thinks jobs are related to financial bubbles, caused by excessive credit, stimulated by the Fed. The debt, he said, inhibits economic growth. Instead of liquidating it, it was dumped on the American people. Paul said the culprit is big government spending. Bachmann thinks she would create 1.4 million jobs by legalizing American energy. She would cut Obamacare, as she believes it will cause a loss of 1.6 million jobs. Santorum said 21% were employed in industry, but now it’s only 9%. To revitalize it, he would eliminate income taxes on manufacturing.

LABOR LAW: Romney does not agree with Gingrich’s idea to abolish Child Labor laws, or have kids clean schools. He said those laws don’t need changing. Gingrich thinks kids should learn to work at an early age, saying janitors in New York are paid twice as much as teachers, and children should take their jobs.

HOUSING: Paul said Gingrich supported TARP, and received a lot of taxpayer money from Freddie Mac, which is essentially a government organization. Gingrich denied being a lobbyist for any government agency. He said he was only paid to give advice. Paul reminded Gingrich he took taxpayer money.

ENERGY: Gingrich said he testified against “cap and trade” and helped defeat it in the Senate, the same day Gore testified for it.

TAXES: Gingrich would eliminate capital gain and death taxes, and would lower corporate income tax rates to 12.5%. Perry wants a flat tax of 20%. Bachmann would abolish the entire Federal Tax Code, and replace it by lowering tax rates for individuals and businesses, and increasing them for the poor, by making sure everyone pays. She said 47% pay no federal income tax. She opposed the payroll tax cut for ordinary Americans, because she called it a gimmick that took 111 billion from the Trust Fund, forcing us to go to the Treasury for the difference. Romney called the payroll tax cut a Band-Aid.  He repeated his desire to help the rich, by eliminating taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains.

FAMILY: Perry said if you cheat on your spouse, why wouldn’t you cheat on anyone? Santorum would not go so far as to say character is a disqualifier, since people make mistakes, but said it’s a factor. Gingrich admitted, as a 68-year-old grandfather, he made mistakes, but went to God for forgiveness, and the question now is whether he can be trusted. Bachmann declared herself an unashamed and unapologetic Christian. Paul, married for 54 years, said marriage vows are as important as the oath of office. If we took our oath seriously, he said we would get rid of 80% of government, have a balanced budget, not be the policeman of the world, not have a Fed Reserve, and not invade the privacy of citizens under the Patriot Act.

12/09/2011

Ron Paul: Still Best Foreign Policy

Since Texas Congressman Ron Paul has by far the best foreign policy of any candidate, including President Obama, as he consistently opposed our military adventurism around the globe, those who agree, regardless of political affiliation, should pull his lever in states with “open primaries,” (where party identification is not required) knowing full well the Democrats will nominate Obama anyway, and even if Paul won the general election, a very unlikely scenario, Congress will block his domestic agenda.

MILITARY: Paul correctly sees our financial condition as the greatest threat to National Security. He rightly pointed out there is a lot of waste in the military budget. We should not have an empire with 900 bases in 150 countries, he argued, adding we would actually be safer if we weren’t in so many places. He asked why we have troops in Korea, Japan, and Germany, 66 years after WWII, and 58 years after the Korean Armistice. It angers foreigners, he said, when we occupy their lands. He asked why we need more weapons than all other nations combined, enough to destroy the world 25 times over. He said America’s wars have cost trillions, and we have to stop spending so much. If budget cuts are going to be made, the military must be on the table.

DECLARATION OF WAR: The Constitution, Paul noted, requires Congress to pass a Declaration of War. Since they have not done it, we are not legally at war. He said our unconstitutional interventions abroad have done nothing but undermine our prosperity, curtail our liberties, and add to budget deficits.

TERRORISM: Paul criticized the so-called “War on Terrorism,” warning against a careless use of the word “war.” We pretend we are at war, he said, but terrorism is nothing but a tactic. He explained we were attacked on 911, because we had troops in Saudi Arabia, and we side with Israel, even when they violate international law. We should negotiate with terrorists, he said, noting even Reagan talked to Iranian militants regarding hostages.

CIVILIAN COURTS: Paul said we should not give up so easily on the rule of law. If the hijackers who committed 911 had lived, they could have been convicted in criminal court. Over 300 individuals charged with terrorism have been convicted in civilian courts. The system has worked, as they have been sent to prison.

TORTURE: Paul correctly pointed out torture is illegal under our laws and international law. He doesn’t attempt to sugar coat water-boarding, by attempting to label it anything but torture. He said its use is an uncivilized violation of the Geneva Conventions.

PATRIOT ACT: Paul reminded us we can have security, without sacrificing rights. Our Founders, he explained, would not have sacrificed liberty. He warned surrendering freedoms may lead to a police state. Timothy McVeigh, the white Oklahoma City bomber, is an example of why profiling will never work, he said.

AFGHANISTAN: Paul favors an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan, criticizing weaker politicians who duck the issue by deferring to the generals. A withdrawal would save billions. He reminded us the Soviets were brought down by their intervention in Afghanistan, and if we stay, the same will happen to us.

IRAQ: Paul explained it has already cost us 1 billion to build one U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, adding we are wasting money overseas. He would pull our remaining troops out of Iraq, now.

ISRAEL Paul would not support an unprovoked unilateral and illegal attack by Israel upon Iran. He noted Israel has 200 to 300 nuclear missiles, and they can defend themselves. If they want to bomb Iran, it’s their business, and they can suffer the consequences. He asked: why we should endlessly commit our kids and money to support Israel? Paul would cut their aid.

IRAN: Paul explained Iran’s neighbors, such as Israel, Pakistan, and Russia, already have the bomb, and it is only natural that Iran would want to join the club for defensive reasons. He correctly pointed out Iran, half way around the globe, is no threat to the U.S. What is going on right now, he said, is the same type propaganda used in the build-up to the Iraq War. He warned sanctions didn’t work in the past against states like Cuba, and they will only increase the risk of war. It would not be worth it, he said, to go to war to try to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

SYRIA: Paul said the Syrians need to deal with Syria. While it is a tragedy many rebels died, we would only get in trouble if we got involved in their dispute. Just support self-determination, he said.

CUBA: Paul said it is time to end our 50-year old trade embargo against the island-nation, since it never worked against Castro.

WAR ON DRUGS: The war on drugs, Paul argued, has been a total failure. He suggested drugs should be controlled like alcohol.

FOREIGN AID: Paul argues the Constitution does not authorize Congress to provide foreign aid. With regards to military aid, he correctly said we spent billions pumping up dictators, which makes their peoples hostile to us. Paul goes too far when he says all foreign aid is worthless, and when he says all we do is take money from our poor, and give it to the rich in poor countries.

IMMIGRATION: We need to bring our National Guard units home, Paul argued, so they can man our borders. The Texas House member said our government should not provide benefits to illegals. If amnesty is made easy, we will get more illegals.

12/08/2011

Romney’s Economy: For Rich Insiders

Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, often called a Republican front-runner, should not, on issues regarding the economy, receive the vote of most Americans, because: 1) his tax policies would favor rich individuals and corporations; 2) his Free Trade policies would kill more manufacturing and U.S. jobs; 3) his promise to eliminate Public Broadcasting would reduce the flow of reliable and objective information; 4) his financial policies would save only the big banks and Wall Street; 5) his housing policies would do nothing for underwater homeowners; 6) his energy plans would ignore wind and solar, but would promote oil, gas, and nuclear special interests; and 7) his health insurance mandate idea will yield private insurance windfalls at the expense of taxpayers.

TAXES: While Romney said he wants to repeal tax breaks, he would in fact give more of them to the rich, by eliminating taxes on dividends, interest, and capital gains. He also wants to lower the corporate income tax rate from 35% to 25%. He appeared willing to tax the poor, when he said everyone should pay, regardless of income, though he did oppose Cain’s 9% national sales tax, which would have hurt the poor the most. Although Romney favors an expanded military role abroad, he opposes raising revenue to pay for it, because he thinks more taxes would only kill jobs. While he has said he wants to cut spending, he would run up even more debt, by staying in our unfunded War in Afghanistan. Although he said we should not pass massive debt on to the next generation, he was not sincere, since he will not stop wasting money on foreign military entanglements.

TRADE: Although Romney promised to issue an Executive Order identifying China as a currency manipulator, because they let the prices of their goods fall below market levels, and he pledged to sue them in the Dispute Resolution Body (DSB) of the World Trade Organization, to win the right to selectively impose tariffs, he has no intention of turning back the clock on Free Trade, or the WTO policies that have led to the death of many U.S. industries.

AUTO: Romney said the government should not have loaned money to GM or Chrysler, even though the act successfully saved thousands of American jobs. He would have let them go bankrupt.

JOBS: When Romney was asked to explain why people were laid off from the companies he acquired, he had little to say. He was however clear about his desire to fight unions, and his criticism of the National Labor Relations Board, for taking action against big business. He called corporate profits good, as he believes they trigger new hiring. He called Wall Street protesters people engaged in: “dangerous class warfare.”

FIRST AMENDMENT: While little harm would be done if Romney succeeded in abolishing the Endowment for the Arts, his desire to eliminate Public Broadcasting is a serious threat to the free flow of information, and an affront to those who respect the First Amendment. Those who routinely follow the PBS News Hour and BBC America, searching for reliable news from objective sources, find his desire a real threat to democracy, since we need PBS and the BBC to be informed citizens. As to faith, he correctly said the Founders appreciated the Freedom of Religion, and wrote a Constitution that respected all beliefs.

BANK CRISIS: While Romney said Fed chair Bernanke pumped too much money in the economy, he would not remove Fed power to do so, as he does not want Congress in charge of the currency. He defended President Bush for taking action to keep the banks open, adding we must prevent another contagion. When asked what he would do if the economies of the entire world were collapsing, he promised to take action.

HOUSING: Romney said the housing crisis was caused by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as they gave loans to people who could not afford them. He said slowing down the foreclosure process, buying up troubled homes, or giving a couple thousand towards the purchase of a new home, won’t solve the problem. He predicted home prices will not return, until the free market works.

ENERGY: Romney suggested developing our own oil, gas, and nuclear energy, to achieve energy independence. He said little about putting a new emphasis on solar, wind, or clean energy.

HEALTH CARE: Romney has been the greatest lobbyist the health insurance industry has ever had. He said a problem arose in his state, where 8% of the people had no health insurance, and they sought emergency room care, which shifted costs to taxpayers. He argued everyone has a personal obligation to buy health insurance, an idea he said he got from Newt Gingrich. He enacted a personal mandate and forced everyone to purchase coverage from private carriers. Although subsidies were provided for those who could not afford it, the Mass. plan did not create a more efficient government-run health care plan, like the single-payer system used in Canada. As to the U.S., Romney said Americans were not and are not satisfied with the status quo, because premiums are out of control. Many of Romney’s critics called the new National Health Care law signed by Obama, basically the same as Romney’s state plan. Romney tried, but failed miserably to convince them they were different. He argued the Mass plan was for one state, while the President’s, one-size-fits-all plan was for the entire nation. He argued Obama’s plan raises taxes and spends trillions. He promised a repeal of what has been called Obamacare, claiming we could save 95 billion a year. In a contradictory statement, he offered only to give the states waivers, so they could opt out. He also took both sides of the individual mandate issue, by first saying everyone should buy insurance, but then by arguing mandates are unconstitutional. In the event Obama’s law is repealed, or declared unconstitutional, the question arose as to what to do next. He acknowledged health care costs are disconnected from patient awareness, and people need to have a stake in the cost of health care. He accused the government of having too heavy a role. He advocated co-insurance for patients, but sounded like he did not realize most Americans already had that. Romney said he would turn Medicaid and Medicare over to the states and let them run health care.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Romney called the Social Security retirement program essential, and said it must be saved, not abolished. He called the use of trust fund money for other purposes criminal, and agreed to make the system sound. As to the unfunded prescription drug program, started by President George W. Bush, Romney would not repeal it.

IMMIGRATION: Romney wants no amnesty for illegal immigrants, a fence with agents to secure it, and an elimination of the magnet caused by states that give tuition breaks, and employers who hire illegal aliens. He would implement the federal E-Verify program. He said 4.5 million want to come here legally. He would admit those with degrees in math or science.

12/07/2011

Romney: Weak Foreign Policy President

Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, like George W. Bush, would be another weak foreign policy President, since he is not going to stand up to the special interests, but will instead continue the War in Afghanistan, and perhaps start another conflict in Iran, or in some other place the Israelis want us to deploy our troops.

VIETNAM: Romney, who is not a military veteran, would freely send the children of others into combat, even though he did not serve. Born in 1947, he came of age in 1965, just as the War in Vietnam was escalating. He was exposed to the draft throughout the war. He first obtained a 2-S student deferment, as a freshman at Stanford (1965-66). He then used Mormon missionary exemptions, while in France, from July 1966 through Jan. 1969. Curiously, he stayed in Europe, out of the reach of his local draft board, for a half year beyond his normal two-year Mormon hitch, which should have ended in July 1968. Upon returning to the U.S. in Jan. 1969, he added more deferments, by promptly enrolling at Brigham Young University, and by getting married on March 21, 1969. In the first military draft lottery, held in Dec. 1969, he luckily drew number 300. After finishing at Brigham Young in May 1971, the hawkish Mitt could have enlisted, but he played it safe, by enrolling at Harvard Law School. By the time the U.S. War in Vietnam ended, and the draft was abolished in 1973, he had successfully avoided military service for 8 continuous years.

ISRAEL: Romney sounds weak, like George W. Bush, because he would allow others to control our foreign policy. Not surprisingly, he said his first foreign policy trip would be to Israel. Although Israel continues to illegally construct settlements in occupied Palestine, Romney panders, claiming it’s wrong to criticize them.

MILITARY: Romney wants to appear tough, like John Wayne, by also pandering to the military.  He said in no uncertain terms he will not cut any defense spending, even though it is a major source of our national budget deficit. He seeks military support by complaining about proposed cuts for the F-22, Air Force bombers, and delays in new Navy aircraft carriers and cruisers, but he irresponsibly never suggests raising taxes to pay for these things.

FOREIGN AID: While Romney would somehow find money for guns, he has nothing for butter. He said we spend more on foreign aid than we should, and we should let China do it, because he said it makes no sense to borrow from China, to give aid to others.

ASSASSINATION: Romney incorrectly thinks it is legal for a President to order the death of Americans suspected of terrorism. He said if an individual allies himself with a group that declared war on the U.S., and bears arms, it is fair to simply execute them.

AFGHANISTAN: Although the U.S. has been in Afghanistan for 10 years, Romney cowardly fails to show any courage, by refusing to pledge a withdrawal, at any time before 2014. He instead promises to defer to the generals and conditions on the ground, code for staying indefinitely. He uses slogans from the Vietnam Era, like we cannot “cut and run,” or withdraw precipitously. The truth of course is we can, if we just did it. It would be easy. While Romney said he will not deal with the Taliban, because he does not negotiate with terrorists, he contradicts himself by saying the Afghans are now free of the Taliban, due to our efforts. Romney dupes unknowing Americans into believing we need to “train” Afghan Security Forces, as if they are utterly stupid, and learned nothing over the past 10 years.

PAKISTAN: Romney wants to make sure Pakistan allows us to go after the Taliban and Haqqani Network, but laments that only 12% of Pakistanis approve of us. He admits we aren’t doing a good job. He thinks Pakistan is fragile, nearly a “failed state.”

IRAN: Romney believes it is unacceptable for Iran to develop nuclear power for energy purposes. He worries they would obtain a nuclear weapon, if Obama is re-elected, and thinks the President should have clearly said we will take military action to keep that from happening. Romney will do what Israel wants, by imposing crippling sanctions against Iran, even though the Iranians have done nothing to the U.S. While it is ok to support the dissidents who took to the streets, and to encourage regime change, if that fails, Romney would make the mistake of using our military to illegally intervene in the internal affairs of Iran.

SYRIA: Romney correctly supports the rebels fighting Syria’s dictatorship, and favors sanctions and covert action to bring down Assad, but instead of justifying his position on democratic principles, he unnecessarily links Syria to Iran. He seriously thinks Hezbollah is at work in Latin America. Get real Mitt.

SAUDI ARABIA: Instead of calling for the end of the absolute monarchy in Saudi Arabia, Romney, a weak person, says we should support the backward kingdom, because they support us.

EUROPE: Romney’s ability to speak French is a definite plus by global standards, but a skill that will certainly raise serious suspicion among Tea Party wing nuts. While Romney believes the Europeans should take care of their own problems, he contradicts himself by saying if the economies of the world were collapsing, he would take action. When asked about U.S. contributions to the International Monetary Fund used to help the Euro-Zone, he said the U.S. must focus of our own deficits, but then he contradicts himself saying we need to prevent a contagion from affecting U.S. banks. So, no one really knows what Romney thinks, or what he would do, except perhaps speak French while in France.

RUSSIA: In one debate, Romney sounded like he considered Russia an enemy, as he accused Obama of giving them what they wanted. It was a strange, because the Soviet Union dissolved 20 years ago, and we’ve been allied with Russia for many years now.

America would be better off with Obama, than a man willing to send others into battle, despite his own avoidance of the draft. Romney is far too eager to do what Israel wants. The U.S. needs a strong President, willing to resist the Israeli Lobby. We need to withdraw from Afghanistan, a place where our troops have no winnable mission. Yet Romney promises to stay. We need to avoid additional conflict in Iran, but again Romney is not man enough to keep us out. Romney should not become our leader, as he would be just another weak foreign policy President.