Ok, not a whole lot of research today nor anything to post on my favorite subjects of Iraq, the middle east, Islam vs. Other Religions, or Kerry and Vietnam. I've just spent the last few nights looking at the convention and thought I'd post a few thoughts on it.
In a little reversal of review, I want to start out with the Edwards/Kerry post convention, midnight rally. Go to the inner sanctum if you care to read.
As a conservative democrat who still harbors some feelings for my lost party, watching them tonight was nearly painful. Interestingly enough, I thought Edwards gave a better speech, although, honestly, it was just a rehash of his usual stump speech. But at least it was smoothly delivered. Something a little funny, later, CSPAN showed the speech and the voice track did not match the video. I mean, their lips were moving, but you could tell the words were playing before they actually spoke them. It gave a kind of eerie feeling to the episode. Almost like watching Milli-Vanilli sing, except they were better at hiding their lipsinking.
Honestly, I don't remember much about their speeches except Edwards talking about John having worn the uniform of the military (ie, must, therefore, be more capable of leading the military), having served in Vietnam and still had shrapnel in his leg to prove his bravery.
Ok, another honestly, his Vietnam service doesn't do a thing for me. I've studiously avoided discussing his medals and actual service for that very reason. The more he talks about it (and I counted it mentioned 18 times during Edwards' and Kerry's speeches), the more it sounds like he is desperately trying to prove his heroism. It's a little creepy. I understand this is in response to the SBVT attacks, some. But the reality is, he (Kerry) made it part of his...No, not "part"...a MAJOR portion of his campaign. In some ways, a soft attack on the Presidents National Guard service. This pretty much opened the door for the kinds of attacks he received. From Vets. Not the Republican party.
Now, I am not so naive as to think that some in the party aren't happier than pigs in mud about the SBVTs taking up an attack that they were pretty much barred from due to the desire to keep the President's alleged ducking of Vietnam service in the National Guard or Cheney's five deferments out of the debate.
Frankly, having read all the information about each persons service, I'm inclined to think that the persons who did or didn't go, in our little political brouhaha, was simply the luck of the draw. Just like the draft.
Bush was in the National Guard. When you are an officer in the Air Force National Guard(hey, I know, my brother is in the Air National Guard and also served active duty), you aren't exactly choosing your station. What happens, when you're an officer, is that certain "slots" are available after your commission. You go before a board that is selecting persons to fill those slots. You take written tests and then present in an oral atmosphere before five or so peers or superiors. You answer their questions and give general answers why you would be the best candidate for that position. You can certainly apply for multiple positions. If there is no position in a combat bound unit, you are taking another position. That doesn't mean that your unit won't get called up (just ask the NG guys currently serving in Afghanistan and Iraq).
In this case, based on the information I have seen, it appears Mr. Bush had a capacity for multi-tasking (contrary to current opposition belief). His test made him eligible and capable of flying the complicated F102 which had some units serving in Vietnam. The slot he was able to attain was with a non-combat unit in the US. Further, upon attaining that slot, he was not eligible for a combat slot until he had a certain number of flying hours. I was trying to look it up, but I couldn't find the original link. Suffice it to say, that the training time and flight hours would take a little more than a year to complete. That is AFTER he completed basic flight school which was over a year and that was AFTER he completed OCS, which was over a year. So, fully two years before he could be actually certified for combat duty.
Basically folks, he was not combat eligible until 1971. Anybody know what happened in 1971? Besides Kerry testifying before the Senate? By this time, the government is already starting to draw down it's forces and plan to hand things back to the South Vietnamese. IE, Bush wouldn't have gone, whether he went National Guard or straight Air Force.
To some, the issue is that Bush went into the National Guard instead of the actual Air Force. News flash for all of you that want to bash him, it wouldn't have mattered. Bush still would not have been combat ready in the regular Air Force at that time. If he signed into the regular Air Force and wasn't sent, would that still make him a "dodger"? Foolish questions.
Basically, Bush was never going to see service in Vietnam. He AND Kerry both received early transfers to "inactive reserve" because the Vietnam military force was being drawn down and the US no longer needed them. This is the military folks, not the enlisted's problem.
You know, my brother was once offered a bonus to re-enlist and he took it. He was later offered early discharge because the military was reducing it's forces. That's when he went civil service and joined the National Guard. This was during the Kosovo period. This year, he was on stand by to go to Iraq. The slot he was to fill was over posted by the Air National Guard and another LT went instead. My brother wasn't sent. So, if later in life my brother decides to run for public office, is some asshole going to say that, since he didn't see combat service in any of the 10 little military conflicts we had during his service time, he is some how a "dodger"?
Did you know, even the enlisted take aptitude tests to determine their best placement? If you qualify as mechanically or electrically able, but there are no slots available, your second qualification might be where you end up. If you seem best suited for the infantry/rifle platoon but there are no slots available, you will be assigned to your second aptitude (if slots are available) and so on and so on. This is how the military fills the necessary positions. If later, your preferred slot comes open, you can ask for a transfer. If it's something you didn't do "A" school (training school) for, you will have to do that right after you are in that slot. So, if you might be a "rifleman" or a "signal man", before you can take that open slot, you have to complete that training. Which means, you might not see combat right away, even if the unit you are to be assigned to is over in the muck already.
I guess I'm saying that this can be seriously confusing to civilians who think that men and women sign up, go to boot camp, get sent to a unit and that's that.
Cheney's deferments. I was just reading several articles on the subject and it cracked me up. Seriously, every one of them acted like Cheney getting married and having a baby were planned in direct association with the time line of potential draft opportunities. I've got a little news for you. Life doesn't stop because there is a war on. People get married and have babies and go to school and do all sorts of things. Read this Did Cheney Dodge.
This guy pretty much indicates that Cheney got married and had a baby JUST to dodge the draft. What an ass. You know, I can see the school deferments coming up as questions, but we're talking about a guy that's been married to the same woman for over 30 some years. If the marriage was for that alone, they would have been divorced by 1970 something. Marriages of convenience don't last for over 30 years. That sort of implication is just stupid.
In regards to deferments, Kerry had his own deferment while he was in Yale. The problem was, he didn't have a plan for what he was going to do after college. He wanted to go to Paris to study for another 12 months and attempted to get his own "second" deferment. Because folks, that's what it would have been. Deferment number two. What nobody brings up is that the guy had to have had a first deferment in order to keep from being drafted while he was in Yale. That goes for the President, too.
The only difference between all of these guys is that Bush did not seek a second deferment after graduation, but had actually signed up for the National Guard BEFORE graduating from Yale. Bush National Guard Timeline. Kerry leaves Yale, tries for a deferment, which is refused by the draft board. Anybody know why? If you are interested (and I've read a ton on the subject), the board had changed it's policies regarding overseas study considerably during the draft period from 1966 to 1970. In the early period of the draft, over seas study was considered viable for deferment. The problem was that too many men would go overseas to study and not return or would continue to sign up for courses and submit absentee deferment requests. The draft board wasn't stupid. Eventually, they got wise to the situation and cancelled deferments for over seas study.
And, hey, I'm not claiming that was Kerry's plan. I'm just telling you why his deferment would have been kaiboshed at the time he asked for it. Since he did not have any graduate studies in line, he basically had little choice. He would be drafted into one service or the other. His best bet, and he took it, was to enlist and CHOOSE the service he would go into. In this case, the Navy. And that's ok. Enlisting was a good idea. I think, in retrospect, his major problem was in not planning very well.
Now, back to Cheney. Looking over the time line provided by the "bash Cheney" guy, all Cheney's deferments for college seemed to be well BEFORE the major war protests began in 1968. According to the time line, he became too old for the draft right around the time he had his eldest child. So, all this "draft dodger" stuff is a bunch of crap. Seems like they were all doing their best to keep from being drafted.
Does anybody care? If getting deferments and not being drafted for Vietnam makes you ineligible for public service, then the 8 years of Clinton wouldn't have happened. Frankly, I voted for Clinton so I guess I didn't really care.
I don't care about Mr. Kerry's Vietnam service either or his medals. They are very nice. But seriously, this guy keeps saying it like it's some sort of talisman. Like he HAS to say it to make himself eligible. Why? Because, as I've been telling you for posts and posts on this subject, his POST Vietnam actions make him a dove or peacenik or an isolationist and he is trying to become a wartime President so he NEEDS that hero status to negate the stupid crap he did the moment he returned from Vietnam and the last 20 years of Congressional service. He needs it badly because his record clearly shows that he believes the US military to be an evil tool of an evil empire seeking country.
You have only to read his 1971 testimony before the Senate; his 1986 speech and activities regarding Nicaragua; his vote to freeze nuclear weapons build up during the final years of the cold war; his votes against military spending; his votes for the decrease in military budgets; his vote against Granada; his vote against Cuban embargos; his votes against Gulf War I; his votes against funding the current Iraq operations.
I could go on and on and on. Why do I find his continued "Vietnam" chant so damn offensive? Because he keeps saying it, over and over and over. Like a braggart I once knew in the Navy who tried to tell everyone he had joined the SEALs, but had been hurt during a combat mission and was discharged. His story was always bigger and better the next time around. It wasn't long before friends of ours in the Navy called us to warn us the guy was AWOL and was nothing more than a second class Petty Officer in ship maintenance assigned to the USS Constellation in dry dock in Philly and the brace on his leg was borrowed from a friend. Our friends told us that, if we saw this guy again, we should tell him to get his ass back to the ship before he was 30 days AWOL and, thus, considered a deserter. He spent 2 months in the brig and was dishonorably discharged. There is a longer story to that, but I'll save it for later. Suffice it to say, whenever somebody starts talking up their service, I start wondering why.
Back to Kerry and why his constant "I was a Vietnam Vet" is so offensive to me. Because I know what Kerry did when he came back and how he voted the last 20 years and all his little speeches in Congress. They all have an eerie "anti-military" "anti-defense" pall over them. Because he is now trying to claim his heroism from his Vietnam service after he denied that same heroism to hundreds and thousands of his brother vets by insisting that the military was consistently committing war crimes.
The SBVT thing would have died an easy death had he simply issued his records and said "that's all folks". But he didn't. He actually took some of it of his website in an attempt to keep from having to reframe his stories because they didn't match. And guess what? Now the Navy is investigating his medals because, like all foolish braggarts before him, he wasn't smart enough to stick to the truth of his service. He had to bang it around and ad lib a few times to make it sound really good, when the reality of his service would have been enough if he had anything close to a the kind of voting and congressional record he would need to serve as a war time President.
Mr. Kerry, you asked for it and now you've got it. Your Vietnam service is now THE issue. Now you can try to trot out the Bush/Cheney deferment gaggle that won't hold water because these guys already have status as war time President and Vice President. I guarantee you, this is too little too late and you should get back to issues you might be strong on, like the economy or healthcare, etc.
In the meantime, you had best pray that you or some other foolish campaigner for you, didn't "upgrade" your military records before posting them on your website. The Navy says it doesn't issue "V" for combat on silver stars. These are generally issued with bronze stars. They are issued with bronze stars as a sort of "upgrade" to silver when the medals are won under combat situations. Silver stars automatically define the action as "under combat" and that's why the "V" is not provided with those medals. Neither is it given for gold star winners for the same reason. Automatically assumes meritorious conduct under fire.
If it was simply you accidentally putting the "V" on the wrong medal when you display it or wear it, that is a simple and easily rectified mistake. However, since the form you are sporting on your website says the "V" was issued with the silver star, either you are a liar and "fixed" your records or the Navy made a mistake in issuing it. You had best hope for the latter, because, even though medals don't make a damn for me, if you LIED about it, that whole thing changes and there are going to be some serious repercussions.
Further, his website is sporting FOUR citations for bronze stars and the Navy says your naval record only shows TWO bronze stars for TWO campaigns.
Mr. Kerry, your medals didn't do a damn thing for me, but now, with two issues at stake here, I am really questioning whether you are a LIAR and a BRAGGART and a FAKE on top of your record of appeasement and anti-defense voting which are my major concerns.
To finish up on the post-convention Kerry rally, Kerry was ill prepared. I know this sounds disingenuous after I just hammered the guy about the new medal issue, but I'm serious when I tell you that I have some small flame of hope still in my heart for my old party and this guy is killing it along with the other crazies they've latched on to. He stumbled around and made bizarre connections about getting us away form foreign oil dependency while at the same time reminding everyone that we only have 3% of the worlds reserves while simultaneously NOT saying what he would do to replace that dependency although he made some vague reference to doing it in such a way that it created new jobs to replace the lost jobs. Any idea?
There is none because there is none. No other viable source. Even if the government went completely crazy and invested in fuel cell research, that technology would not be viable for another 10 years at least and has a number of draw backs. At most, government can pass some really restrictive laws about vehicle fuel efficiency and hybrid vehicles which are more expensive to produce and would mean car manufacturers would have to seriously re-tool to meet these demands and common folks, like you and me, would have cars that would be phased out in a few years and force us to buy new ones that met the standards because they would no longer be able to pass the inspections. And, because the manufacturer would have to pay for the immediate re-tooling of it's factories, we are going to pay for it. We're going to pay for it one day anyway, but it would be nice if it was a slow upgrade and not a forced immediate upgrade that raises the price past the current economic growth of the country.
So, what exactly is his plan to replace this dependency? Anybody know?
By the way, I love all this stink about loss of manufacturing jobs to overseas. You know what kind of manufacturing jobs we're talking about? Anybody? Why are we losing them?
Because, our economy base is changing. From the American Street:
The problem is severe and painful. The BLS does a survey every 2 or 3 years of displaced workers workers who lost their jobs due to plant or company closings or moves, insufficient work, or the abolishment of their positions or shifts. Of the 1.32 million manufacturing workers who were displaced over the period 1999-2001, 25.5% were still unemployed as of January 2002 (thats the most recent data available). And of those who found new jobs, only 35% found new jobs that paid higher than their old manufacturing jobs, while 65% moved into lower-paying jobs
Folks, please note the years listed. 1999 is the beginning study but that doesn't even begin to show the picture. According to this study, manufacturing jobs have been going away since the 1950s.
We need to be clear about one thing from the start: we cant stop the overall process from happening. The loss of manufacturing jobs is not new; its been happening for decades. The chart below shows manufacturing employment as a fraction of the labor force since 1950. The US economy has been steadily moving away from a manufacturing economy, and toward a service economy just as 100 years ago it was moving steadily away from an agricultural economy toward a manufacturing economy. In both cases the general decline in employment is the result of changing technology. (International trade has contributed a bit to the loss of manufacturing jobs, but as Ive written about previously, this is effectively just a different type of technological improvement.)
Hello! I've been saying that in my own posts about changing economic basis and major trading. If you're smart enough to figure this out, this is why the President is making such a major push towards improved performance in education for math and science. Because, we need to get on the bandwagon for changing technology. We need math and science majors to lead the way. We need business majors. We need people who study space exploration, space travel, nano-technology, etc. This is what the US is good at and can make money and jobs from. Inventions of new technology and we are currently leaving that in the hands of our Asian competitors.
You don't need low paying manufacturing jobs when your people are educated enough to get high paying research and development jobs. Then you create new manufacturing jobs from the new technologies. It's the old stuff, like textiles and microwaves, etc that are getting outsourced. We need to wrap up the market on the new technologies so we have 25 year patents that are retained and manufactured here in the states.
The Democrat platform isn't telling anybody this. They are just quoting the statistics, using "manufacturing job loss" language to scare the crap out of people and saying they will do something about it. What? What are you going to do when our current population does not have the requisite number of science and math majors to make this happen? When we don't have the market cornered on new technologies?
The Democrat platform is not about progressing. This is what scares the hell out of me. They are about "protecting" the existing jobs. You can't. Nobody can. We need new technology and new markets. Just like a business. When your old market dries up, it's time to get a new game plan and go after a new slice of the market.
Go look at the site so you can see what the graph looks like on loss of manufacturing jobs since 1950
If you read the rest of the site, it is basically a plea for government protection of wages when this happens. I don't agree with that. Unemployment needs to be improved, but I don't agree with wage protection. That just complicates the matter and puts more tax burden on you, me and existing companies. What we need is the second part of the Presidents plan which is better job training programs to get people ready for the new jobs in services or new technology. Better education assistance programs for people to go back to school and get a degrees in a technology based program.
I know. To some of my conservative friends, this still seems a little too socialistic. That's why the true "republican conservatives" have some issues with the President's platform. People wonder where the money is going to come from when we are carrying a deficit.
As Karen Hughes told Wolf Blitzer, "in a budget that is 2 trillion dollars, I think we can find room for it". In other words, people, some things are going to get cut to make room for the new plans. Not just adding it on to the budget. Which makes perfect sense when you are running a business (the President is a business major). Having looked at some of the budget line items, I can tell you, there is some crap that can be cut.
I once read a list of pork barrel spending that included a million dollar grant for the study of how long teenagers spend watching TV. Do we really care? Like we don't know? Please explain the use of this study. I know, it's a social issue, but seriously, why isn't that funded by big media who would like to know what their target audience is watching anyway?
A million dollars would pay to re-educate at least 25 workers to get a math or science bachelor degree. A million dollars would pay to re-train 100 manufacturer workers for technology manufacturing jobs.
That's where I'm at on this issue. We need to re-align our assistance programs to jive with the current world market and get off the old train and on to the new one if we want to continue to be THE wealthiest country in the world.
Finally, the last comment on Kerry/Edwards post convention rally: these folks should have planned it better. Their speeches sucked. Basically, Kerry started whining about the attacks on his character and started PERSONALLY attacking the President and Cheney with Michael Moore talking points. I mean, he went after the Halliburton connection (which I've already disproved); Cheney's alleged reimbursement from them while in office (which I've already disproved); the Bush family Saudi connection for oil pricing (which is a ridiculous conspiracy theory); Bush/Cheney service records (which we just discussed); etc. Then they said, "We can do it better."
The guy went into total melt down. I mean, using Michael Moore's conspiracy theories as talking points? I am so freaking embarrassed for my old party. They are totally ignoring the War. As if not acknowledging the war will make it go away. They know they can't win on that platform. And this stupid, "we can do it better" without saying how the hell they will do it, just shows you they do not have an agenda worth crap or it's too damn scary to actually tell people about because they might lose the center voters or the uninformed "I vote democrat because I always voted democrat" people.
In regards to the republican platform. You know what I could have done without? The marriage defense act comment. The one that got vetoed and is supposed to keep marriage as strictly between "men and women". The problem I have is that, trying to pass a law on the subject automatically makes it subject to scrutiny and challenge by the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court rules this thing "unconstitutional" then it automatically opens the door for gay marriage. You make a law, the law is open for debate or to be broken.
Further, I don't have a beef with gays getting married. I know. I am shocking the hell out of my really conservative friends, but I have got to tell you that I don't feel threatened by this small part of our population. Further, I don't see it eroding the "family", but making it stronger by protecting families of ALL makes. Banning it seems right up there with banning inter-racial marriage.
Recognizing marriage between same sex couples means that some folks might take advantage of it for things like economic relief or health or life insurance coverage, etc while not truly being a loving couple looking to consolidate your relationship. But, that probably happens in heterosexual marriages now.
I also worry about same sex couples adopting children and it's effect. I know people have already done it and people claim there is no effect on the children, but, I haven't seen enough studies about it to make any claim one way or the other.
Basically, this feels like "soft bigotry" and I am against discrimination. I personally know two gay couples that have lived together for almost 15 years and 10 years respectively and both of the couples are made up of professional people that are well educated and well established. Is there something wrong with them recognizing their relationship?
Let's talk about religion. My beliefs tell me that it is God's place to judge these people, not me. By making laws based on religious beliefs, are we any better than the crazy bastards that want to kill us? The only difference might be that we don't go around trying to kill our "deviants". So what? So we don't kill them physically? Are we so damned narrow minded that we can't recognize this thing has been around for thousands of years?
What about protecting children from predators? In case anyone has not seen the latest studies, homosexuality does not equate to pedophilia. There are plenty of pedophiles that prey on the opposite sex or both without ever displaying a homosexual tendency. All we have to do is make a federal law regarding the age of consent (yes, take it away from the states that have crazy shit like 16 or 14 year olds as consenting adults). This will keep some sick person from preying on the children and insure only mature people who have had the chance to explore their conscious and determine their true nature, enter in to these relationships. Geesh...We need that now because I know some 16 year old girls that married 30 something and older men. That's simply insane in this day and age.
So, we need to stand back from the issue a little bit and take it like adults and not scared children who think this is an assault on our way of life. Two guys get married, it's not going to change how I act. It certainly wouldn't change the number of straight men available, so what difference does it make?
Second issue with the conservative platform. I am pro-choice. Now, like my favorite candidate to hate, let me nuance that a little. I would never have an abortion unless I was about to die and the fetus I was carrying was going to die, too, because of complications from the pregnancy. Having said that, I don't think the government should make any laws about my body. Period.
Other thoughts: the problem with trying to assert certain laws on the subject is that you get into the discussion of "when life starts". Since this enters into the realm of science, the government has seen fit NOT to make a law that determines this. If it made such a law, it would open it up to discussion about birth control (ie, the pill or condoms). Almost along the lines of medieval Catholicism which stated that a man's seed (semen) should not be ejaculated outside of a woman's body (ie, no masturbation or rhythm method), because this was the beginning of life. Then you also open the doors on the debate of a woman's eggs and what can be done with that. What if somebody wanted to make a law against freezing women's eggs for invitro fertilization treatment because it violates the sanctity of life created through "normal" means?
How about somebody has an accident in a car and the pregnant woman loses her baby? Do we start charging that person with vehicular homicide because a 2 month pregnancy was accidentally terminated? What if it was a one car accident and the woman driver lost control and hit a guard rail, causing injuries to herself and losing the baby? Is she charged with vehicular homicide?
Does that sound crazy? Yes, it does. But, if you open pandora's box, you don't know what you will get, so I think it's better to stay out of that arena.
Wisely, the government has kept out of those debates. Once they start regulating that (the start of life), we have totally lost control of the government and it becomes the government controlling the people and not the other way around.
I know there are things that bother me, like partial birth abortions on late term pregnancies. Yes, I think this should be for medical (I mean, you are going to die and so is the baby) type issues. But frankly, I don't see how we can regulate that without opening pandora's box, either. This ought to be a Medical ethics question, not a constitutional law.
Yes, I also believe that children under the age of consent should have to have their parent's permission for any medical procedure and that includes abortions. I had a feminist friend arguing with me about how that could preclude teenagers that were assaulted or victims of incest from coming forward. Frankly, I thought the last argument was just stupid. If the victim of incest hadn't stepped forward and complained to legal authorities, it's highly unlikely that they will be showing up at a clinic for any assistance, either.
However, let me say that I think this is a medical ethics issue, too, and not a debate for constitutional law.
Those are my two main issues with the Republican platform. Is it going to stop me from voting Republican? Hell no, because they have sold me on the main topic. Security. Taking the fight to the enemy. Recognizing we are at war.
My party was too busy doing politics the last 3 years and hasn't served me. Remember my previous post? The only Democrat I would vote for was Zell Miller and he gave one hell of a speech Wednesday night that summed up my feelings exactly. My party left me. They called our troops "occupiers" and not "liberators". They claim the US is after "empire" and not "fighting the enemy on their territory". They are fronting a candidate that is anti-military/defense with a bunch of anti-war supporters and rhetoric that it makes it impossible for me to believe they are serious on this matter.
Further, they insulted my country in front of the entire world by calling our President a liar and a baby killer, just like Vietnam. They claim my country went to war for political/economic/military-oil complex instead of security. They claim they are patriotic when they do this because our constitution supports their right to dissent. All the while undermining our ability to fight the enemy.
To the New Democrat Party: Screw you!
Did I tell you that I stopped watching movies because I refuse to put money in the pockets of UN-PATRIOTIC assholes? I threw away my Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Rhaitt, John Cougar Mellencap and Dixie Chick CDs and I won't be replacing them.
Hey! News Flash! We're at war people! We were attacked. Multiple times and you want us to make nice with the world.
Let me repeat: Screw you!
I am the Democrat party's worst nightmare. A conservative Democrat who will be voting Republican for the first time in my life. And they only have themselves to thank.
Friday, September 03, 2004
Ok, not a whole lot of research today nor anything to post on my favorite subjects of Iraq, the middle east, Islam vs. Other Religions, or Kerry and Vietnam. I've just spent the last few nights looking at the convention and thought I'd post a few thoughts on it.