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Saturday, July 30, 2005

Proposed Solutions

A reader named Matt made a legitimate point in his comment. He said people need to know more than that I don't like the incumbent (why else run against him, right?).

Fair enough. That is why this blog exists.

You'll find that I focus on solutions and bridge building. I'm a trained international negotiator (starting with the Fortune 500). You don't form agreements without it.

An example of that is today's release how to change NASA strategy to continue operations yet avoid another crew loss. It is at my Global American yahoo Group site.

If you join you'll find plenty of articles on different issues. I try to provide the pubic with insight on complex issues around the world that affect all of us. I would do the same as Congressman.

I am a fiscal conservative and always strive for fairness and justice. I believe it is better to think ahead and avoid the tragedy rather than dealing with the pieces after the train wreck. It's better to change direction of the Titanic than to hit the iceberg.

That is why I wrote to NASA.

And that is why, if I had been the majority leader, I would have created an energy bill that actually did something for our future and help avoid the shortages we experienced in the 70’s instead of merely lining the pockets of DeLay’s friends who are already making record profits. This bill will provide no energy security, unfortunately. Where does it cut consumption, ramp up renewable energy sources or raise car mileage standards?

It is raw pork not substance. Is that leadership? We continue to guzzle our way towards another energy shortage iceberg. More on that and other issues later.

In the meantime please join me to pray for the safe return of the Discovery crew... Comments on my proposed NASA solution are welcome.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Space Leadership?

NASA is in District 22 as well as most of Clear Lake where the astronauts live. I'm a pilot and have closely followed NASA since I was a kid attending a soapbox derby when Neil Armstrong first landed on the moon.

The Shuttle is almost 25 years old - it first took off in 1981, three years before Mr. DeLay was elected. It is supposed to continue flying until 2010 when it would be almost 30! It runs on 1970's technology for the most part.

So here is my question. If NASA and its people are part of your district, and you are the "most powerful" Congressman from the majority party, then why are our astronauts being sent up into space in 25-year old shuttles? How many of you are driving 1981 cars?

My idea of leadership is planning ahead. Had I been Congressman the last 21 years I would have pushed for a second generation shuttle decades ago.

I recently wrote an article that said we should ground the present fleet and focus on rolling out a replacement vehicle before 2010. No one listened. Discovery barely missed another hit by falling debris that could have doomed the crew - and this is after 2 1/2 years of trying to fix 30 year old technology.

Remember the old bible saying that says "Don't put new wine in old wineskins"? Why? Because the old skins would break. Trying to fix an old vehicle to soar into space is the same.

This is not NASA's fault. For years Congress has starved NASA of the funds needed to develop a new vehicle and continue its other exploration activities. It is a failure of Congressional leadership.

That failure has cost dearly. It has cost us time and billions in trying to make the old technology work after three decades of use. NASA spent over $1.5 billion trying to fix the fuel tank that, despite the work, shed a potentially deadly piece of foam that would have doomed Discovery if it had hit the wing like the one that hit Columbia. We'd have astronauts stranded at the space station --and Atlantis would have been grounded and unable to launch a rescue mission. What then?

This is the 21st Century. We need a new generation shuttle flying long before 2010. We need new leadership that would have insisted on it long ago.

In the meantime, I say that we park the shuttles at the Smithsonian and let NASA focus 100% on returning to space with 21st Century technology. I am not willing to ask another astronaut crew to risk their lives on 1970's technology....

If they fly the old shuttle again, I think the Majority leader who let this happen should be on it. If it's good enough for astronauts, it's good enough for him to risk his life in it also.

And while DeLay is riding the old Shuttle, I suggest that we enlist private industry and Burt Rutan, who built SpaceShipOne which successfully took a man to the edge of space, twice. I say we give Mr. Rutan up to $1 billion --less than that that spent by NASA trying to modify the Shuttle fuel tank--to produce an orbital vehicle that will go to the Space Station and beyond. What have we got to lose?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

From Congress to Lobbyist

Two interesting facts - the number of lobbyists in Washington have DOUBLED since 2000.

Now there are over 35,000 of them! They are multiplying like a virus...

Second fact. In a story in the Washington Post, over half of the our Congress representatives who leave office become--lobbyists!

So if you are a DeLay supporter, look on the bright side. If he loses next year, he can become a lobbyist and earn a lot more than the $180,000/year+ (not including his wife's PAC income) he is currently making...

Monday, July 25, 2005

21st Century Strategy and skills

If I run and am elected I would be our Texas District 22's first globally experienced Congressman who also has terrorism expertise along with small business and entrepreneurial skills.

Or the district voters can retain the present 22 year incumbent whose 20th century experience was in the pest control business -- and who has been demanding money from people just to meet with him ($25,000 just from Westar).

If I run (and am elected), I have a 21st Century Strategy and the skills needed to help our country build the global economic and security bridges we need for success...

I have a plan to reduce terrorism, which I can implement only if I beat Mr. DeLay. My warnings about terrorism being a threat to the U.S. fell on deaf ears before 9 11. My suggestions for post 9-11 improvements are falling on deaf ears. I can act on them only if I have a seat in Congress.

But I'll only run if enough people want it badly enough to donate to my campaign –small amounts are OK. $100 times 500 people is enough to start a campaign.

If you want to fight against corruption, pork barrel politics, intolerance and want a fresh face in Congress who is not for sale, then send Mike a donation -- and get your friends to do the same.

Donate $200 or less and your name will be kept anonymous. Why wait? The future of America depends on it...

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Wrong Person Killed in London - Bad Policies Create Terrorists

The London police now say they shot a man who was not connected to the bombers. He had the wrong face, in the wrong place, at the wrong time. It turns out he was a Brazilian. They have called it a tragic mistake.

It was. Worse, if he had been a terrorist he would have yielded vital information on his team if captured. Killing him kills the information London police desperately need right now, especially when the real terrorists are still at large. So it was a bad move -- and makes it easier for Al Qaida to recruit more angry young men who want to kill westerners and Muslims alike(unfortunately, the Iraq war has had the same result, spreading to the Egypt bombing and worldwide). And if the person proves to be innocent, we avoid these tragedies.

No one race has a monopoly on good or evil. Tim McVeigh was a terrorist and he had a white face. Does that make all whites terrorists? No. I recently met a Muslim who had applied for U.S. citizenship after being married to an American woman for ten years.

A homeland security official visited his home and seized photos of him with the Mayor of Houston! Then the agent said it was “suspicious” that he had high political contacts. What? This country runs on contacts. It made Mohammad feel awful. I was able to get Mohammad’s photos with the Mayor back. But damage had been done. He was angry that a country he loves could treat him this way.

Like the man who died in London, our society could pay a high price for false assumptions and reacting with intolerance towards an entire race. That will create terrorists where none existed, and we will pay a high price. This same disease of intolerance happened to the Japanese in the U.S. after Pearl Harbor. The Chinese were the target of hate and Internet attacks when one of our spy planes was forced to land in China before 9 11 (no one over-reacted in the China incident and no one died.

We can't condemn all for the acts of the few, be it Tim McVeigh or Osama bin laden. Attacking all Muslims for the acts of a few is throwing gas on Osama's fire. If less than 1% are involved, why punish the 99% who aren't?

We need to focus on all extremists of every color, domestic and foreign -- and insure that our policies don't create terrorists where none existed.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Congress and Terrorism

The second bombing in London in two weeks has brought terrorism back to the front page.

So where are we now, nearly four years after 9 11?

According to members of the 9 11 Commission, Congress has left us vulnerable by failing to follow all their recommendations:

1. Congress still has not passed a law so that First Responders can talk to one another on different communications systems. So the police and firefighters at a scene can't talk.

2. We are doing little to secure nuclear materials worldwide.

3. We still don't have a single "Watch" List - (so immigration may not know they just let in someone the CIA considers high risk)

4. Billions are being wasted by spending money protecting low risk targets instead of applying the funds where the risk is (Houston's port gets less money while some little town that Al Qaida couldn't find on a map gets more).

The 9 11 commission members said it best: "Congress has failed to make the tough choices required on priorities."

I think Congress has, once again, ignored the obvious.

Congress does what the major leader dictates -- playing pork barrel politics with our security and failing us on priorities, border security, securing nuclear material, etc. The American public will pay the price for this shortsighted is dangerous.

This same "leadership" failed to see 9 11 coming - DeLay focused on impeaching a President when Al Qaida bombed American targets in 1993 (WTC the first time), 1996, 1998 and 2000....instead of requiring the CIA and FBI to share their watch lists with immigration, etc.

I wrote an article on how to address these bombings at my Global American yahoo site yesterday:

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Supreme Court -John G. Roberts Jr.

From none other than the Washington Post:

"Mr. Bush deserves credit for selecting someone with the potential to attract broad support."

I would have preferred a woman, but I agree with the WP on the President's choice...

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Future Vision

My vision is simple.

Keep democracy alive by keeping incumbents facing challengers so they are forced to listen to the American people they represent (not the lobbyists).

Replace incumbents like Presidents - every 8 years, to avoid corrupting the American republic. 20 years in office is too long. "Absolute Power does Corrupt Absolutely." Just look at the headlines.

Fresh representatives bring fresh perspective - (in my case it is knowledge of the global economic and cultural systems that the U.S. is intertwined with in an inescapable global economy and worldwide terrorism.)

My vision is a fair, free and just America with a strategy for solving pressing domestic and global issues.

Give me a chance to show you how we can get there without staggering deficits and lobbyists filling our Congressman's pockets...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Westar admits paying $25,000 for Golf with DeLay

Kansas based Westar has admitted in court documents that it paid $25,000 to play golf with Mr. DeLay.

It is the first admission of wrongdoing in DeLay's "pay to play" abuse of power. It is the worst form of Washington corruption.

In my opionion, DeLay is damaging the image of the GOP nationally as a direct result of his fast-and-loose ethics. I want to change this.

Isn't a Congressman's job to meet with companies and individuals without demanding a fee? I thought so.

But then maybe I'm just too old-fashioned because I believe in ethics and playing by the rules instead of DeLay's game of "how close to the edge can we get without falling off?"...

According to Westar, DeLay has fallen off.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Terrorism's New Face - Requires New US Strategy

I keep hearing people talk about a military solution to terrorism. That conventional wisdom died in the London bombing.

London proves that we won't defeat terrorism with armies when the bomber is someone living as a citizen in London or Paris or New York, etc. with not so much as a traffic ticket on their record.

Never before has there been a suicide bomber in Europe. This is incredible. Even the Irish IRA avoided subways in their bombings.

It's clear that we have entered a new era and we need people capable of thinking outside the box on a national/global level to deal with these complex, 21st century issues.

Despite the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and terrorist bombings of U.S. targets in 1996 (troops in Saudi), 1998 (US Embassies in Africa) and 2000 (USS Cole) --all before 9 11-- Mr. DeLay never introduced legislation ordering the FBI, CIA and immigration to work together and share information on global suspects coming to the U.S.

In 1994, I produced a TV video which aired in Houston. My guest on the program was Dr. Ron Hatchett, a weapons expert from the Reagan administration. The program was entitled: "Potential Terrorism in the U.S."

No one listened...

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Judicial independence and Karl

Who would have thought that a court, forcing a reporter to reveal a source about the leak of an undercover CIA agent, would result in a surprise regarding the source named --Karl Rove, Presidential kingmaker.

That puts the Prez and GOP in a tough spot - Mr. Bush has always said he'd fire anyone who "outed" a secret agent.

Personally, I have opposed courts locking up journalists for refusing to reveal their sources. That seems to fly in the face of freedom of the press in my opinion. It reminds me of something out of the old Soviet Union.

Having an independent court yields some big surprises sometimes, but it sure beats having a dictatorship that controls everything. I see this as an opportunity.

I would support keeping Karl on the job in return for a new law protecting journalists from being locked up for not giving 'big brother' their confidential sources. Fair?

Monday, July 11, 2005

London Terror Attack - What Next?

My deepest condolences to the families of the Londoner's killed or injuried on the 7 7 attack.

I wrote about it in my Global American series at:

I think it is article #95.

Oddly, I had just talked to a Rotary Club about this issue, and global business developments, a few days before the attack. Some looked quite shocked by what I said - and that was before the attack.

The U.S. is still acting like a blind giant on Homeland Security. Congress has turned spending into pork barrel politics instead of using the monies where it is needed the most.

Giving money so little towns in Iowa or Alabama can buy traffic cones for "homeland security" instead of Houston chemical plants, etc. is ineffective, shortsighted and guaranteed to generate billions in waste. And it won't protect us.

I recently heard the Sheriff of Ft Bend County speak to a GOP ladies group about it. He said the federal government gave him a bunch of money and a shopping list. The Sheriff told them (the feds) we didn't need any of it –they had already bought what they needed with prior funding.

But the feds insisted he "take it or it goes to someone else." So he had to take it.

All I could think of was "a Republican government forcing people to take gov't money or lose it." Whoa! I thought the GOP was supposed to be different from the big spending Democrats? Now it is a distinction without a difference. This is the way of DeLay.

DeLay’s Republican leadership has lost its way when it forces pork barrel waste over substance in homeland security. The bill is all fat and no protein. Mr. DeLay's consent to these superficial laws that waste huge sums while still leaving us vulnerable just don't make sense to me -- London won't be the last target.

Read the Global American article if you want to see "the big picture" on some solutions that are not pork barrel.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Terrorism and Houston's Chemical Plants

Today an article appeared in the Houston Chronicle concerning the possibility of a terror attack against a U.S. chemical plant and its severe consequences.

Texas has the vast majority of chemical plants, which are toxic bombs if a terrorist attacked one. I did TV terrorism reports since the first Gulf War and on 9 11. I put us very high on the terrorist hit list. With Houston, a terrorist (even a domestic one like Tim McVeigh) could generate toxic clouds that could kill thousands, and even damage the nation's refinery capability.

Yet Congress has allowed chemical companies to police themselves. Sorry to say, it's not working.

To quote from the article:

... Homeland Security Acting Undersecretary Robert Stephan told congressional committees that "it has become clear that the entirely voluntary efforts of these companies alone will not sufficiently address security for the entire sector."

So why does Congress always have to wait for the next Titanic to act?

BEFORE we have another terrorist attack, Congress needs to require security upgrades at our chemical plants. Right now the plants don't even have to test their security measures. Reporters have walked into these plants undetected, meaning anyone could. We’ve been lucky more than smart.

An Iowa cornfield is not a meaningful target; a Houston area chemical plant or refinery is.

But so far, Congress has done nothing about it. This isn't really helping either citizens or the chemical companies themselves.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Congress: Historic Deficit Worth another Pay Raise?

If I were in Congress I would have voted last week to suspend further raises for members of Congress until the budget is balanced.

Instead, Congress just voted itself another pay raise, led by Mr. DeLay in the middle of historic deficits and people struggling with historic high gas prices and a lackluster economy. With this latest increase, Mr. DeLay will be earning $183,000/year! ("Majority leader" gets more than a "regular" Congressman).

That doesn't count another $120,000 or so his wife and daughter will rake in this year via the PACS. Under Texas community property laws, DeLay is now making about $250,000/year when you add in Christine's pay.

Sweet deal, if you believe in nepotism. I think it is another form of corruption of our process under his leadership.

This pay raise comes after Mr. DeLay voted AGAINST money for vets (a vet told me DeLay once told a group meeting he attended that he'd shut down every VA hospital in the country if it were up to him). This is after he voted against teachers (their earned pensions were cut last year). And this is after he voted against letting the government negotiate for lower drug prices to hold down costs, etc., etc.

So why is Mr. DeLay and the rest of Congress deserving of a pay raise? For doing a great job taking surpluses and turning them into debts?

Or is it just more selfishness and hypocrisy. Congress should have the guts and leadership to suspend its pay increases until it gets the deficit under control. This is a deficit it created! The people certainly didn't do it, but they (we) pay the price.

Welcome to DeLay’s DC “Alice in Wonderland" where logic is backwards and common sense is upside down.

It is this kind of relentless hypocrisy that makes me consider another GOP primary run against this type of self-serving leadership. This is NOT my idea of the government that George Washington, Ben Franklin and John Hancock envisioned when creating the Declaration of Independence 229 years ago today.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Prez Bush: Appoint Women to Supreme Court

It's official - we are losing our first woman Supreme Court justice, Ms. Sandra O'Connor.

While most argue about whether the next justice should be conservative or moderate, the real point is that the next justice should be a woman, for one very good reason.

Of 9 justices, only 2 are women - in a population that is over 50% female. Having 8 men and 1 woman on the court dilutes the voice of women on critical issues that concern us all.

So, I request President Bush appoint a woman to replace Justice O'Connor.

Future Presidents should keep appointing qualified women to the court until there are at least four, or five, female justices -- to reach parity with the males that make up only one half of the population.

If I were President, I'd replace Ms. O'Connor with one of the many talented women judges out there...

NASA Investigator: "Shuttle too Dangerous"

Today in an article in the Houston Chronicle an investigator for NASA stated that the Shuttle is "too dangerous" even with modifications -- and needs to be replaced ASAP. The safety of a lot of our astronauts is on the line because the next flight is scheduled a few days from now.

Although NASA has done what it can with what it has, I oppose sending our astronauts up in the Shuttle again - until there is a 21st century replacement.

The Shuttle is 24-years old! How many of you are driving a 24-year-old car? Do you remember the Hawaiian airline flying an old aircraft several years ago when the top of the cabin peeled off above the passengers in flight? The Shuttle is operating on 1970's technology (it first launched in '81).

I still vividly remember the explosion of the Challenger in 1986, two years after Mr. DeLay was elected Congressman of this district that has always included parts of Clear Lake, NASA's base.

So if our Congressman is such a "space nut" why are we flying quarter century old Shuttles when he’s been in office nearly as long?

Mr. Griffin, NASA’s new administrator, is a major improvement from having a “bean counter” in charge of a high tech enterprise. A new Shuttle replacement is his first priority after getting the Shuttle flying again. But the investigator says that even 1 more flight of these antiques is extremely dangerous.

Mr. Griffin just took office. He hasn't been in charge of funding NASA and its priorities for the last two decades. This is the leadership we have - perfectly content until the situation has become a Titanic crisis and overdue for a change (like our roads and commuter rail development, etc.).

Do you remember the Columbia crashed in 2003? I spent the day at Fox TV watching those horrible tapes as their “aviation expert” (this space nut pilot was all they could get on short notice). My Civil Air Patrol teammates flew hundreds of hours in the recovery effort, looking for the remains of 7 astronauts.

I do not want to do that ever again – it was too painful. Even more painful was NASA’s admission that they never looked for the hole in the wing after the launch “because we couldn’t do anything about it anyway.” Fortunately, with Mr. Griffin that attitude is gone (we hope).

If I had been in Congress the last 20 years and had the influence Mr. DeLay has had, our astronauts would already be flying second-generation space machines instead of these death traps. The remaining Shuttles aren't due for replacement until 2010 - when they are 30 years old! They should already be at the Smithsonian.

Our astronauts are too valuable to risk on another Shuttle disaster, which is as avoidable as a crash of a 24-year old computer.

We are the richest country in the world, so why are we asking people to risk their lives going into space with 70’s technology? I oppose sending our astronauts up in the Shuttle again until there is a replacement. We have had a failure in (funding) leadership that makes it too great a risk.

We don’t need a third Shuttle crash for Congress to wake up and act.