Politics


I just found out the U.S. has a little extra cash in its checkbook to assist with almost $1,000,000,000,000 new debt.

First a small history lesson to add to the vast amounts of trivia stored away in my grey cells. Guantánamo Bay Naval Base at the southeastern end of Cuba has been used by the United States Navy for more than a century, and is the oldest overseas U.S. Navy Base and the only one in a country with which the United States does not have diplomatic relations. Since 2002, the naval base has contained a military prison, the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, for persons alleged to be militant combatants captured in Afghanistan and later in Iraq.

Originally the bay was offered to the U.S. on Febraury 23, 1903 by treaty, giving ultimate sovereignty to Cuba but complete jurisdiction and control to the United States for “coaling and naval station purposes.” A 1934 treaty reaffirming the lease granted Cuba and her trading partners free access through the bay, modified the lease payment from $2,000 in U.S. gold coins per year, to the 1934 equivalent value of $4,085 in U.S. dollars, and made the lease permanent unless both governments agreed to break it or the U.S. abandoned the base property.

Since Fidel Castro came to power in 1959, the Cuban government has refused to cash all but the very first rent check as a sign of protest. Supposedly the first check was an accident due to turmoil in the newly formed government.

I can’t tell you in what month the U.S. writes its annual check to Cuba, but it appears we have close to 50 years of uncashed checks sitting in the former desk of Fidel Castro.

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I thought I posted something on ‘the economy’ a few months back but I cannot locate the original post. As I recall my assumed post asked the general question “What’s the problem with the economy?”

Sure gas prices have been rising steadily for the last 5+ years and other related costs as well, such as food and anything that needs transported between two locations. The new unemployment filings has cycled up and down, but always within a range, for decades, so I don’t put a lot of stock into that until it hits abnormal highs. The housing market has tanked and worse. Major lenders are failing. The bursting dot com bubble preceded these events and ended an era of unreasonable speculation and major corporate corruption. It’s not surprising that the economy, which was on sluggish footing, is grinding down even more as unreasonable speculation permeated the financial lending markets. It all seems like a natural progression to me.

But now it’s official, we’ve been in a recession for a year.

True, the looming financial crisis could sent huge ripples throughout the world if it’s not closely managed. But BEFORE all this came to light a few months back we were told time and again that the “economy is in the toilet.”

In the midst of the current economy we were warned by the media that Black Friday (the busiest shopping day of the year) would be the doomsayer of our poor economic times. Black Friday came and went. It saw a boost in sales of 3%-7% year over year. Those figures don’t bode well as a doomsayer of our times, so let’s say how these confusing numbers are no longer the indicator we thought they were.

Come on, either they are valid or not. I have no problem with the validity of any given statistic changing over time. But get real. If the statistic was valid one week ago it’s valid today. It’s convenient how something that is espoused as a fact can be overlooked or minimized when it doesn’t match the point trying to be proved. Of course the point I am referring to is proving how bad our economy really is. It’ll make the “recovery” even more dramatic!

Keep it up media, maybe you can actually start the panic you’re trying to incite and we can see “a downturn to rival the great depression.”

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I’ve been looking into defining respect over the last few weeks. Tuesday evening John McCain gave a most awesome example of what respect looks like in action.

My friends, we have — we have come to the end of a long journey. The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly.

A little while ago, I had the honor of calling Senator Barack Obama to congratulate him … on being elected the next president of the country that we both love.

In a contest as long and difficult as this campaign has been, his success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance. But that he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving.

Let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth.

Senator Obama has achieved a great thing for himself and for his country. I applaud him for it, and offer him my sincere sympathy that his beloved grandmother did not live to see this day. Though our faith assures us she is at rest in the presence of her creator and so very proud of the good man she helped raise.

Senator Obama and I have had and argued our differences, and he has prevailed. No doubt many of those differences remain.

These are difficult times for our country. And I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.

I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.

Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans. And please believe me when I say no association has ever meant more to me than that.

It is natural. It’s natural, tonight, to feel some disappointment. But tomorrow, we must move beyond it and work together to get our country moving again.

Tonight, more than any night, I hold in my heart nothing but love for this country and for all its citizens, whether they supported me or Senator Obama — whether they supported me or Senator Obama.

I wish Godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president. And I call on all Americans, as I have often in this campaign, to not despair of our present difficulties, but to believe, always, in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here.

Americans never quit. We never surrender.

We never hide from history. We make history.

Thank you, and God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you all very much.

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Once again divergent ideas and heated debate gives way to concession for the greater good. A transfer of power from one ideology to another begins.

Let hope that the next four years create more unity rather than division. It’s the division that has more chance of tearing this republic apart than ideologies and opinions.

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Article One, Section 3, Clause 4 says:

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

This provision is typically seen as one of the “checks and balances” built into the U.S. Constitution, whereby the 3 branches of the federal government (Congress, President, and the courts) are given the ability to influence the others. In this case, the Vice President’s ability to preside over the deliberations of the Senate and (more importantly) break tie votes, presumably in favor of the presidential administration’s preferences, allows the Executive Branch to influence the behavior of the Senate (and, consequently, Congress).

Sarah Palin, for the second time, has claimed broad powers for the role of the Veep. In the most recent occurrence she explained the role to a group of elementary school students by saying the the Vice President is “in charge” of the U.S. Senate and “can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes.”

ABC News says the claim is “more expansive role for the vice president than the U.S. Constitution outlines.”

Article One, Section 3, Clause 4 is FULLY quoted above. That is ALL the constitution outlines. It specifies that the veep is president of the senate and has no vote, that’s it. The word president is pretty broad if you ask me. A president is one that presides over an organization, the chief officer, the highest executive. Who’s definition of president means a powerless puppet? Granted, the role has typically been one of non-interference with the day-to-day activities of the Senate with the exception of John Adams (the first V.P.) BUT contrary to what ABC News represents this IS NOT what the constitution outlines.

Now to wear another pair of shoes for a while, it is obvious by both the concept of separation of powers clearly outlined in the Constitution of the United States as well as the “non-voting” specification that the executive branch should not rule over the legislative branch. In a clear matter of principle the executive branch is not “in charge” of the senate.

It seems to this non-law scholar that the principle our founding fathers intended was that the executive branch would have a representative in the senate to advocate the executive branches agenda as well as ensure order in procedures as a facilitator only of the same senates activities. As facilitator there would be no real power to effect change except to help processes flow smoothly. So in a limited sense the veep is “in charge” but in a broader sense they are only in charge of ensuring things are happening and in a deadlock step in to break the tie.

Here I go again … Why does everyone have to tell us what someone or something says? Why can’t the lemmings of the world get up and find out for themselves. YOU should be seeing red flags and hearing warning bells when Palin says, she’s “in charge” AND when the media tells you that the role is “more more expansive than the U.S. Constitution outlines.” YOU should be saying, “hmmm neither sound right on the money, let me check it out MYSELF and discern the facts.”

Come on, we don’t need an instruction manual when we buy a new telephone! How many decades did an earlier generation communicate using that device and have NO MANUAL whatsoever? We’ve been duped into thinking that we can’t think for ourselves. Don’t buy it, you can check it out yourself, really, it’s not that hard.

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I don’t know if this poster says it all, but it says most of it.

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USA Today reports a judge rules that paper money should accommodate the blind – click here to view article.

I won’t comment on my thoughts about the basis of this ruling so as not to dilute the real focus of this post. Read the following quote which comes from the end of the article.

Government lawyers said they plan to argue that Robertson does not have the authority to interfere with the Treasury’s printing responsibilities.

The judge said he’d consider the argument but quipped that, if he didn’t have authority to require changes, how was he supposed to enforce the ruling? What would the court order say, he asked, “Go out and have a good time? We’ll see you when it’s all over?”
USA Today online – September 4, 2008

Does anyone but me see a problem here? A judge enforce his ruling against the federal government? Isn’t that the job of the enforcement branch of government? It’s been a while since I was in an American government class but I seem to recall that there were legislative, judicial and executive branches each having their own authority and power.

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