New Blog

I am no longer posting on this blog. I have a new political blog called The Burning Itch, which is updated regularly.

November 16, 2005

Should America Leave Iraq?

Recently my liberal friends have been raising their voices about getting America out of Iraq. I myself was against the war in the first place or at least against rushing to war. However, pulling troops out of Iraq at this stage would be like pulling a first-string quarterback out of football game in the fourth quarter just because he is sweating. It’s just bad strategy.

The Iraq war was poorly planned and executed; most people would agree with that I think. Unfortunately we are in the war and we cannot change that. You cannot go into reverse when your car is already going 60mph in drive. You could put the brakes on and wait for the car to slow down before going into reverse but if you slam on the brakes too fast the car behind you might hit you. That is how the war in Iraq is. We need to put on our brakes and eventually go in reverse and allow Iraq to be a sovereign nation. Leaving too quickly could be a cure that is worse than the disease.

Becoming a sovereign nation that can run itself is not going to be an overnight job though. It will take time. No one is sure how long it will take and that is why setting up timetables for leaving is backwards thinking. But becoming a sovereign nation also requires the people to take part of the government and control of their own military. They have taken great strides in doing this but there is a lot of work ahead and progress has been impeded by continuing insurgency.

One of the main things that need to happen is to get the international community involved in Iraq. This is not a new concept, but nothing is being done to get the world involved. If we allow the entire world help in the rebuilding of Iraq it will be a strong push against insurgents showing them that it is not just the US and UK who is behind all of this; the whole world is.

Another concern of mine is the amount of money being put into Iraq. What happened to the idea that Iraqi oil would pay for all of our troubles? Somehow the government has to find a way to balance fighting a war and paying for war. The best way to do this would have been to get the international community involved in the first place to share some of the costs of rebuilding. Of course America has the money to do all of this, but is it really worth it to the American people? To continue our campaign in Iraq we need to find secondary sources of funding since the original ones are not working. The question is whether or not the current administration will be able to accomplish this task.

So the obvious fact is that there is no simple solution the Iraq problem. But I do find that it is obvious that we should not pull out of Iraq before they can run their own government. To do so would create more problems then solve. My only hope is that our current leaders can get this job done right and bring our troops home.

November 15, 2005

Letters to Political Parties

I have never been apart of any political party. Although most of my friends and family would call me a liberal, I have never joined a liberal political party. I have decided to go straight to the source of the political parties and ask them questions that might give me an answer to which political party I would want to affiliate myself with. I am starting with the chairmen/chairwomen (not sure if there are any chairwomen) of each political party I can find.

My first target is going to be Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee. Bellow I have included a letter that I am planning to send to him via snail mail (I feel actual mail to be much more effective when trying to get responses from politicians then E-mail or fax). Feel free to tell me what you think and if I should add and/or omit anything from it. Keep in mind though this is a first draft so there are probably some grammatical and spelling errors I have not caught yet.

ATTN: Ken Mehlman
Republican National Committee
310 First Street, SE
, DC 20003

Dear Chairman Mhelman:

I am currently writing a nonpartisan piece on varying political parties in the United States and their goals and views presently, and for the future. My goal is to hear from each chairman of these political parties and their personal views on certain matters at hand.

As you are probably well aware of, the American budget deficit and debt has grown quite large in the past several years. There are understandable reasons for some of these deficits, but how does the Republican Party plan to pay off these debts? If Republicans stay in control of the House what plans will be put into place to compensate for increased spending of the federal government?

In America there is currently a debate on Intelligent Design and its place within our public schools. What is the RNC’s stance on this issue? Should the federal government become more involved in the issue?

Abortion is a hot topic at the moment especially with President Bush’s current Supreme Court nominations. What is the RNC’s official position on this matter? Should the federal government limit abortion further or should it leave it be and let the courts handle it?

According to the polls President Bush’s approval rating has hit record lows as of late. Why do you think this is, and how should President Bush increase his standing with the public?

What is your prediction on the outcome of the 2006 midterm elections? Will Republicans keep their lead over Democrats in the House and by how much?

As an independent I would like your best reason why I should join the Republican Party.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response.


Jon Fowler

My next letter will be to the Democratic Party. I do not plan to stop there though. So far I have contact information of the Green Party, Libertarian, and Socialist Labor Party. If there are any other parties that you would like me to write to please tell me and give any contact information you have on them.

To keep up-to-date on this letter writing campaign you can visit my blog.

November 13, 2005

Bush’s Humor Becomes Tiresome

There was a time in which I thought having George W. Bush as president wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Well, not such a bad thing for comedy that is. In truth Bush’s humor ran out four or five years ago. Every time this man speaks he says something funny, but it’s becoming predictable and bland. Please Mr. Bush, get some new material. I mean you do have some of the best writers working for you.

It became more apparent this Veterans Day during Bush’s speech that he needs a new comedy writer. You know when you hear a joke and you know it’s funny, but you’ve heard it so many times you can’t laugh at it anymore, that’s what his material has become.

My favorite joke from Friday’s speech was the one about baseless facts. You all know how that one goes. "These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will." I know I should be laughing at this, but I just can’t bring myself around to doing it anymore. It’s just not funny anymore.

Take another example, "It is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began." Now this one did make me smirk a bit, but I should be laughing my ass off.

Maybe I’m just becoming too depressed of the fact that none of this is actually a joke. This man is serious. The fact that he is serious about what he says used to add to the comedic factor, but nowadays I find myself barely acknowledging the humor behind what Mr. Bush says.

I used to also think that this whole war thing that he’s been building on was just part of an elaborate act, but I haven’t seen the joke behind it yet. Maybe it’s one of those Andy Kaufman types of jokes where you don’t realize it’s funny until later. I sure do hope that punch line is coming up soon.

Perhaps twenty or thirty years from now we’ll get the joke. I mean we’re still waiting for the punch line form the Vietnam War and that thing ended a while ago.

November 9, 2005

Washington I-901 Passes With Flying Colors

In the local Washington State election voters passed I-901 which makes illegal to smoke within “public” places. This includes privately owned establishments. I’m not a smoker myself, but I believe in a free market. I voted I-901 down and I implored other to do the same. It is one thing to limit where people can smoke but to completely illegalize it in places that are not truly public is going too far. I think DJ No Name on local radio station 107.7 The End put it best. He pointed out that everything in Seattle is so close together that this law would make it very difficult to smoke even outside. Another point is that businesses that want to make non-smoking sections, but don’t have much room to do so under the 25 foot rule have to completely ban smoking in their establishment. The fact is that a free market will take care of this problem of indoor smoking. If there is market for having smoking free establishments, then the business will take care of it. Something like 75% of restaurants and bars in the state of Washington already have banned smoking and most that still have smoking have non-smoking sections. I think this initiative went too far and I’m sad to see my fellow voters decided to pass it.

On a positive note I-912, I-330, and I-336 all were voted down. At least Washington voters decided rationally on most of the issues.

November 8, 2005

Poor Saddam

With the murder of another defense lawyer for Saddam Hussein the question arises whether or not Saddam can even have a fair trial while he is still in Iraq. If America wasn't behind the trial they might have been able to get it to go to the International Criminal Court. But we all know the American government hates justice on an international scale. So maybe if we can't get a just trial for Saddam we can just throw him intro the street and allow there to be mob justice. We could get Fox to tape it and then everyone in America can watch this awesome new reality show. Now there's some good TV.

2008 and Partisan Politics

As President Bush becomes more and more of a lame duck after only a year of office in his second term shift begins to focus on the 2008 election. Speculation over who will be running for office and whether or not Republicans will retain control of the executive and legislative branches has been thrown around, especially as of late. The problem that I see is that everyone is still thinking in a partisan fashion. It seems that the problem with politics in modern history has been due to partisan politics and the ruin they have had on democracy.

The news media never covers this, but what happened to having more than two parties actually having a chance in a presidential election. With all of the corruption within the parties, especially Democrat and Republican parties, the best solution would be to elect someone who is independent.

The main problem with this is that the little guy has a hard time competing against the corruptions of corporate contributions and lobbying. So whenever someone small wants to even try to become big time they have to soil themselves by playing dirty politics. The question then comes up, is there any way to have a fair election without infringing on the rights that are outlined by the Bill of Rights? I don’t see a solution in sight.

As a proponent of near absolute free speech and free media, I don’t want to hinder what the candidates can do or say. I also support capitalism and free market for the most part. That throws campaign contributions out the window. Or does it? Should corporations really be able to contribute to a candidate? Well, legally a corporation is considered a person so they can. But the truth of the matter is that corporations are not legal citizens of the United States in the sense that they cannot vote on a candidate. So perhaps we should just outlaw the financial contributions of corporations in political elections. The problem that arises from this is that then the corporations can funnel money to executives and workers with an implication that they contribute it to a corporation. Although this is possible, it still makes is more difficult for candidates to get corporate contributions, but doesn’t really solve any problem in the long run.

So what can we do to fix partisan politics? Well without infringing on rights, I don’t see how it can be done. Does that mean that we are doomed to live with a corrupt political system, where true democracy cannot thrive?

Well all hope is not completely lost. Americans can be quite resourceful if they want to be. If the majority of voters decided not to back anyone who took in a corporate contribution or affiliated themselves with a party then maybe there is some ray of hope in all of the corruption.

As Madison said in Federalist Paper #10, “The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government.” Without faction, in the theory of pluralism, democracy cannot truly thrive. But if you only have two factions running the government pluralism doesn’t work. Many factions need to contribute otherwise stagnation occurs and the idea of a republican government fails. To fix this we need to break down these factions farther than just Democrat and Republican otherwise you will get what Madison feared with a tyranny of one faction controlling the majority of the government, i.e. Republican control of Congress and Executive branch.

November 7, 2005

Torture, an Art of Secrecy

First off, if you're going to lie be consistent about it. The Bush Administration likes to say that "we don't torture", and then tries to block any legislation that limits and outlaws torture under the US.
Seriously though, what is the big deal about limiting torture? What ever happened to the good ol' days when you never openly tortured people so no one could point at you about it, but everyone knew it probably happened. The truth is, if the US wants to get information out of someone they will do whatever is necessary, which includes torture. The point is that you do it discretely and professionally so that is doesn't become a public debacle.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not condoning torture. I think it is a grave issue that should be dealt with, and that no one should have the legal authority to do it. But the fact of the matter is that it's going to happen if higher-ups think it needs to happen whether or not there are laws in place. So why is Camp Bush putting the spotlight on themselves by openly rejecting anything that limits torture by the US government?

My advice would be to let this one go and completely get behind anything that goes against something that is a violation of everything that the majority of America stands for. Torture is wrong Dubya, no if's, and's, or but's, so bite the bullet and sing along, 'cause we all know that in the end if you want to torture you'll probably do it.

Tribunals Get Their Day In Court

Over the last few years the Bush Administration have had their troubles with Guantanamo Bay and their military tribunals. Now the US Supreme Court will finally take up the case of whether these military tribunals against Al Qaeda suspects are legal.

A federal judge ruled last fall that Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni citizen could not be tried by a military tribunal without violating the 1949 Geneva Convention. Unfortunately in July a federal appeals court panel, which included now Chief Justice John Roberts, voted that the president could legally go through with the tribunals despite the implications of the Geneva Convention.

The real question is whether or not these military tribunals are necessary, and why is the Bush Administration so adamant about using them? What's so wrong with using a civil federal court for these matters. The very fact that 500 law professors urged the Supreme Court to take this case should be sign enough that there is something seriously wrong with the way the government is handling the situation.

I just wish that the Supreme Court would rule unanimously against these tribunals so that the administration gets a punch in the face for it's policy regarding detainees. Chief Justice John Roberts has recused himself for this case, which means there is possibility of a 4-4 vote on this issue. This should be an interesting case to follow and could determine the future policy of how we handle POWs and other detainees.

Republicans != Conservatives

When I was growing up and studying political science I always equated Republicans to being conservatives. Although I generally fall into the liberal spectrum of politics I find that conservatism is a great ideology in many respects. I have always believed in fiscal responsibility, especially when it comes to the government. Unfortunately nowadays if you try to attach Republicans to conservatism you lose that responsibility completely. You can blame Democrats all you want of past and present, but with Republicans controlling both the legislative and executive branches of government America has tumbled towards financial ruin.

Congress would like you to believe that they are trimming the budget in this upcoming fiscal year, but sadly it's really all for show. America spends $2.5 trillion a year and Congress has promised to cut spending by $35-50 billion over the next five years. And what's worse is that the gross nation debit is estimated to be more than $8 trillion. Just in fiscal 2005 there was a $319 billion budget deficit.

Now it is understandable with events over the past several years, along with recent events that there would be some debt and deficits going on. The problem is that there has been no conservation or responsibility when it comes to dealing with the nations finances over the last few years. My concept when it comes to money is that if you need to pay for something find a way to do it. What the government is doing currently is equivalent to charging your monthly bills to a credit card, and then not paying the credit card bill in hopes that the bank will just forget about those charges and let you live your merry little life. Unfortunately this is the real world and those tactics do not work in a capitalist society.

So how are we going to pay for our money woes? Simple answer is raise taxes, cut spending. I have never been for raising taxes unless they are necessary. The idea is fiscal responsibility. Okay so we need to pay for a war. Well if the war is so important then we need to find a way to pay for it. If the war on terror was detrimental to society then I think people would be willing to pay taxes to defeat the great evil. Unfortunately the majority of Americans don't believe in the war and they definitely don't want to spend their hard earned cash on it. This leaves quite a pickle for the government to deal with. So what are we supposed to do? Congress thinks making tax cuts permanent will some how help us deal with these problems.

Eventually though all of these financial problems will come back and bite us in the ass. Depending how far the problem goes there could be far reaching economical lapses. Another recession or depression is becoming less and less unlikely for our children and/or grandchildren. It's time for America to bite the bullet and stop sidestepping this issue. America needs a solution and I don't see much leadership from the top on this issue.