I'm a Pundit Too

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Two Faces Of Hillary

The expedited campaign season has become quite entertaining, especially when the topic turns to Senator Hillary Clinton. Senator Clinton has, for at least the past 7 years, been positioning herself as the media favorite for the presidency. Well, at least CNN’s top pick for the White House in 2008.

Take a short trip down memory lane to the October 30 debate hosted by Tim Russert. Russert posited a simple question of Senator Clinton. His question asked where Clinton stood on the proposal of New York Governor Elliot Spitzer to enable illegal immigrants to legally obtain New York state driver’s licenses. The Senator had a difficult time explaining her stance. So much difficulty that her debate opponents seized the opportunity to point out her hypocrisy of taking both sides of the issue in her brief but confusing answer. Her campaign’s response was to attack Russert for engaging in personal attack questioning. Over the ensuing days she took positions on both sides and even on top of the driver’s licenses issue. Too her credit, she eventually took a definitive stance against issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. Her campaign then put out a warning to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Wolf would be wise to refrain from the personal attacks that Tim Russert had launched against the presumptive Democratic nominee. On November 15, CNN televised the debate hosted by Wolf Blitzer. When the hot button issue of driver’s licenses came up, and Clinton’s answer was a simple “No”, there was no follow up questioning her new position.

On November 28, the Republicans held their Youtube debate, which was again broadcast by CNN, but hosted by Anderson Cooper. The format was simple, “independent” voters were to record themselves asking the candidates questions and then submit the video to Youtube for CNN to hand select the questions. Retired Brigadier General Keith Kerr submitted his question and then was contacted by CNN to attend the debate. Kerr’s question was aired and then Cooper turned to Kerr to ask if he was satisfied that his question was answered. Kerr said he was not and then asked follow up questions. The scandal is that the retired Brigadier General is a member of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. CNN claims not to have known Kerr was affiliated with any campaign. There was a press release 6 months ago stating Kerr’s affiliation with Clinton. Kerr has been a guest on CNN in years past as an advocate for gay rights. How can a news network fail to check on the credentials of an “independent” voter that they requested he attend the debate? By the way, several other “independent” voters whose questions were hand selected for last night’s debate, have been found to be not so independent.

Senator Clinton has made some wild claims over the past several months. She has claimed that because she spent 8 years in the White House as first lady, that she is best qualified to be President because she has been there before. That seems a bit odd to me. My wife is an artist, so by default I should be an artist as well because I have lived with her for 6 years. Surely I must be able to recreate the works of the Masters. Does Mrs. Clinton believe that the wife of cardiologist is qualified to perform open heart surgery? I am sure she will assert that she was deeply involved in the operations of the country during her husband’s presidency. She claims to have engineered the failed health care reform plan in her husband’s first term. When Obama pointed out that she failed and now she wants to go back and try the same thing again, the former President came out and claimed that Hillary was not really all that involved in the failed health care reform plan.

Hillary Clinton has been on every side of every issue since she started her campaign in 2000. She is clearly Pro-abortion, but depending on which crowd she is talking to, she can switch to a candidate that is working towards the day when no abortions are performed. She has been fiercely supportive of the war on terror, but as soon as the wind changes direction, she transforms into a staunch anti-war critic. She was a huge supporter of NAFTA, which was signed by her husband, but recently she flipped to opposing NAFTA. One thing has remained clear throughout Clinton’s desperate run for the White House, she will always lick her finger and stick it into the air to see which way the wind is blowing before taking a stand on anything.
Senator Hillary Clinton has not proposed any legislation in her 7 years in the Senate that has been passed into law. She claims to have years of experience, but has absolutely nothing to show for it. She is under the false assumption that she has all the same charm that enabled her husband Bill to change positions on issues and extricate himself from sticky situations. She has all the drive and determination to complete a run for the White House, but she lacks a certain aspect that helped her husband 15 years ago. She does not appear as a very likable political figure. Consistently polls have shown that she has around a 50% unlikable rating. I was never a big fan of Bill Clinton, but even I have to admit that he has a very charming personality that enabled him to achieve a great deal of success. Hillary just does not have that type of personality. She can try to become more personable and charming, but the truth will always shine through. Celebrity status will get her attention and a few votes, but as the campaign wears on, and she continues to contradict herself, voters will inevitably see her for who she really is. A motivated, driven women who will do or say anything to make you feel as though she is on your side.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Season of Sharing

Conservative minded people believe that the best way to help the poor and downtrodden in society is to give them a hand up but not a never-ending handout. They believe that the best resource for providing that hand is the private sector, definitely not the government. It has been more than 40 years since President Lyndon Johnson declared “war on poverty”. Since that time the poverty level has dropped but poverty, by American standards, has not been eradicated. Thanksgiving is upon us and Christmas is following closely behind. During this holiday season I think we all should remember those less fortunate than we are.

Operation Christmas Child is a program that collects shoeboxes that you and your family fill with toys, hard candy, hygiene products, and various other small gifts for either a boy or girl. The organization then ships your shoebox to a child in a third world country. This is a Christian organization that is run by Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham

Convoy of Hope is an organization that offers hope and help throughout the world. Whether it is in New Orleans following Katrina, or in New York City following 9/11, Convoy of Hope is on the scene to help the victims of disaster. They are also known in the U.S. for community outreach functions where they go into some of the poorer neighborhoods and give groceries out, health and dental screenings, haircuts, and lots of fun and games for the kids.

Freedom Alliance is another great organization that awards scholarships to the children of our men and women in uniform that have paid the ultimate price in defense of our country. They have many events throughout the year to raise money and awareness, but the biggest event is the Freedom Concerts that talk radio host Sean Hannity sponsors.

The Salvation Army has a program that enables you and your family to sponsor a family in need at Christmas. They supply you with a wish list from the family and the ages of the children. You then go shopping for gifts and Christmas dinner for the family. They also have their famous “Angel Tree”. Parents who are unable to buy gifts for their children put their child’s name on the tree and you can go pick a name and buy a gift for the child.

United Way is probably the most well known charitable organization in the U.S.. They offer a wide variety of charities to which you can donate. The Red Cross provides help during disaster, as well as blood for hospitals.

Many churches in your area offer a complete Thanksgiving dinner to families in need. Our church, Trinity Assembly of God, provides 75 families with a complete Thanksgiving dinner as well as enough food for a week. They also have a food pantry where families can come and pick up a weeks worth of groceries. Our church is not unique in this respect. There are thousands of churches from all faiths that offer help and hope to those in need. Not only throughout the holidays but also throughout the entire year.

One other idea is to send a few extra Christmas cards out this year. Send a few Christmas cards to some troops recovering from their injuries at one of the military hospitals. Here is the address for Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
A Recovering American soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue,NW
Washington,D.C. 20307-5001

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for all that we have been blessed. Christmas is a time that we exchange gifts to our friends and families. Please take this time to remember those in need around you. Even a small gesture goes a long way to someone who has nothing. We are all very blessed to some degree. Share your joy this holiday season.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Have you thanked a veteran today?

Veterans Day will be observed on Monday, November 12. Sadly for many in the population, Monday will be just another day that the banks and post office will be closed. Most offices will be open for business and the main reminder of what day it is will be the local car dealer will be advertising their annual Veterans Day sale. In our busy lives it becomes easy to forget that men and women have served, fought, and died for the freedoms that we enjoy.

Veterans Day was originally celebrated as Armistice Day. It commemorated the 11th day, of the 11th month that fighting had ended between the Allies and Germany in 1918. The Armistice Day was unofficially remembered until 1926 when November 11 officially became a national holiday. In 1954, Congress officially changed the name to Veterans Day to honor veterans from all branches of service.

Out of the 4.734,991 U.S. troops that fought in World War 1, 116,516 were killed. In World War 2 we had 16,112,566 troops, of which 405,399 died. In the Korean War there was a total of 5,720,000 servicemen, 54,246 did not live through the conflict. During Vietnam, we had 8,744,000 troops and 90,209 died during the war. The Gulf War saw the U.S. troop numbers at 2,225,000 with a total of 2,094 deaths. The above numbers also include deaths not related to combat. Their sacrifice is not lessened by the circumstances involved in their deaths. The U.S. military lists 4,294 deaths since the War on Terror started in October of 2001. These numbers show that nearly 1.2 million servicemen and women have died during wartime since World War 1. This does not take into account the time spent away from loved ones in during times of war and peace. The self sacrifice of these brave men and women of our Armed Forces is truly worthy of hero status.

Some will always squabble over the logic behind any of the wars throughout our history, but the men and women who went and fought should never be forgotten. Every one of the men and women in Iraq, Afghanistan, or anywhere else around the world that they may be stationed, have volunteered for this duty. They have willingly put themselves on the line for the sake of freedom. They do not serve for glory or money, they serve for freedom and honor. All those who serve now or have served in the past are part of a rich heritage of heroic sacrifice. Military life is not easy by any stretch of the imagination, and all of our veterans deserve the recognition and honor that our culture normally bestows upon the self righteous entertainment industry. Over this weekend and throughout next week, search out the veterans in your family and your everyday life, and thank them.

One final note, Saturday, November 10 the United States Marine Corps will celebrate its 232nd birthday. The marines are some of the bravest and toughest men and women on the face of the earth. Semper Fidelis to all of the marines, both past and present. Your nation owes you and all veterans a debt of gratitude for your service. Thank you.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Greed or Jealousy?

In Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge is known as the town miser. The wealthiest man around who cares for no one but himself and the vast wealth he has accumulated. One of his memorable remarks to the plight of the poor at Christmas was, “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses? When the response to his questions came back that many would rather die than to go to such places; Scrooge’s reply was evermore heartless. “If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.” Many in our society today see anyone of wealth in the same light as old Ebenezer.

Recent years have treated us to a litany of perfect “Scrooge” examples. From Enron to Worldcom, we have seen the rich and powerful brought down because of their greed and lack of moral compass. These corporations, and others like them, have become the rallying cry against corporate greed, but they have taken it further to include any corporation that shows a profit. If you watch the economic news and see that the economy grew at 3.9% last quarter, beating all “expert” projections, the naysayers quickly interject that it is only the tea and crumpet crowd that are doing well. The poor peons like us are really suffering while the rich get richer. Is this analysis true? Or is it that there those among us that see a dark cloud on every horizon?

Anytime I have written on the benefits of capitalism over socialism, I am bombarded with statements laced with jealousy and rage. Statements such as, the wealthy only became wealthy by exploiting those around them. The CEO’s all make too much money while the workers are barely scraping by on minimum wage. My personal favorite is the blind rage sparked by the mere mention of Walmart. They don’t pay a living wage. They don’t provide proper benefits. They are the devil. Are any of these assertions true?

Do the rich exploit those around them to get ahead? There is no denying that some break any law and step on anyone in their way while on their quest for more money. That scenario is the exception, not the rule. For years Bill Gates was vilified because of his wealth. Lately though, the chorus of catcalls has died down. Could it be that since Gates and his wife pledged to give away billions to promote better health around the world? Is the wrath over wealth tied to political ideology? Why isn’t George Soros hated for his wealth? Bill and Hillary Clinton have made millions since leaving the White House 7 years ago. Why is there no angst over their “greed”? Is it only rich conservatives that deserve the hatred?

The politically left leaning among us like to point out that capitalism is causing millions to starve around the world. Why are there more starving people in communist Cuba than there is here in capitalist America? Why was the Soviet Union doomed to failure if their economic system was so superior to ours? The rant on the election trail has been that the rich aren’t paying their fair share in taxes. The top 50% in terms of income are paying almost 97% of the taxes in this country. The top 25% pay almost 85% of the taxes. The top 1% pay more than 35% of the tax revenue every year. What percentage of the revenues should they paying? Should we make the top 1% pay 50%? Why stop at 50%?

Those who follow this line of thinking believe that the rich have too much money and it should be redistributed to everyone else. It is only fair that we should all have the same amount. If my neighbor makes more than I do, then he is greedy and should give me some of his paycheck so that my feelings don’t get hurt. It is becoming a common theme of my articles, but I feel it is necessary to admonish the little children among us. Grow up and realize that your neighbor makes more because he did the extra work to make more money. If you don’t like your current financial situation, you have 2 choices. You can do what it takes to improve your situation. You can go back to school, find a better job, start your own business, move to a different area with more opportunity. Sadly, the spoiled little brats in our society would rather blame everyone else for their plight. They want the government to go and forcefully steal more money from everyone else and give it to them so they don’t have to do anything more than necessary to survive.

Anytime a politician promises to give you something, remember he has to take it from someone else. That may be fine with you as long as you are on the receiving end, but what happens when big brother has to come and take from you to give to someone else? Does your thinking change then? Billionaire Warren Buffet was recently quoted as saying that he believes that he does not pay enough in taxes. I would like to remind Warren that no one is stopping him from writing a big fat check to the Internal Revenue Service. They will gladly accept it. If Mr. Buffet really believes that he needs to pay more in taxes, he would write that check. Since he does not follow through on his bizarre statement, one can only surmise that it is all for political purposes in an election season.