Bookmark and Share

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Immigration solutions

For a great article on immigration --and potential solutions--check out this article.

I sent out an article today on the ties to the kidnappings of Americans in Mexico by drug gangs --and how U.S. policies are generating hundreds of billions to international gangs. The link to the article is at:

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Mayor's Plan on the Homeless

I heard Local 2 news report tonight that Houston has 14,000 homeless and that it would take “$25 million to solve homelessness in Houston.”

The reporter said that number is “impossibly high” to reach and only $1 million will be invested. Really? Now $25 billion would be impossible. But we spend more than $25 million on pet food in this city. If we can solve homelessness for that modest investment, then private and public cooperation should make it so--now. Mayor White, to his credit, has a plan that calls for using abandoned apartments etc for this effort. It should be pursued.

If you haven’t had to sleep on a street or in your car, then maybe it doesn’t matter to you. It matters to me because I came close to homelessness in the bust of the 80’s. It matters to the families living on the street. If we are to be truly civilized, making this modest investment is a plus for our community.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Raining in Houston as President Circles the Planet el al

It’s raining in Houston and the President is in Estonia, the first U.S. President to visit. Bush is becoming an internationalist finally. Meanwhile, the Iraqi leadership is meeting the Iranian Prez. Iraq is falling apart and a regional war is very possible. In the absence of American leadership talking to the Iranians, Iraq’s leaders are doing the right thing. They are looking into the abyss of a civil war that is already happening, whether we admit it or not.

Actually, this is something the Iraqis need to be doing instead of having the U.S. trying to do it for them. But we still need to talk to these countries one on one as well. We have issues with Iran in nukes and Syria on insurgents coming across the border intent on killing American soldiers as well as their brother Muslims, so we still have a vested interest in our President’s team meeting with these countries among others. Lebanon is close to sliding back into hell, mostly due the Syrians.

While all of that is unfolding, I spent a good part of today trying to get a new desktop computer to talk to the printer at the office, while the laptop refused to connect to the wireless. Phones were acting squirrelly also and I had no umbrella handy when the skies opened up. Mondays after a holiday aren’t Iraq, but they are hell in their own way…lol.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Nov 22 - Reminder of JFK. We need another one in 08

I still remember what I was doing on this day in 1963 – the day JFK was assassinated and our world changed forever. I was a 14-year old student in class in Rockwell, Iowa. We were stunned when the news came – that the President had been shot and killed. One kid laughed, but only one. I’ve since learned that some people laugh inappropriately when nervous. All I knew then was how mad it made me to hear someone laugh. All of us were in shock. The whole country went into shock that day. I always remember all these things, and JFK, every November 22. It’s one of those special dates that is branded in your brain, like the day in April when my father was killed in an auto accident just before finals at UT.

Remembering November 22 also reminds me how pitiful our leadership has become. Politicians have replaced statesmen. Respect and intelligence have been replaced with dogma and picking loyalists over competence. I miss having a JFK in office. He represented someone vastly smarter then us – smart and witty at the same time. I no longer feel our leaders are smarter than us, or witty. JFK brought us hope and color visions of space and community. Today, it’s all about fear and refusal to talk—while the Middle Class is abandoned. Even Ronald Reagan talked to the Soviets, the axis of evil at that time. Our leadership has wrecked our budget, allowed lobbyists to double in two years after more than 200 without them, and has put too many incompetents in key positions that are costing too many innocent people their lives. One example: Mr. Bremer was sent to Iraq but no one bothered to read former Sec of State James Baker’s (Baker Institute) paper on how to run post-conflict Iraq. If he had, he would have NOT fired the Iraqi army -- and sent them home with their guns to kill our own troops. Apparently not even the President read it. If he had, why did he allow it? The President has attacked Syria over the latest assassination in Lebanon. Yet he says nothing about Russia’s Putin -- who is doing the same thing as journalists are killed along with his critics and private enterprise and American oil investments are being confiscated by the State Look into his eyes again George. He’s still ex-KGB, and he didn’t fall off a turnip truck.

I feel like our team is still sitting in the turnips. I miss JFK. In 2008, we need another leader of that caliber. We need a fresh, global Presidential team with a real strategic plan to address the burning global issues that affect our future. I want to hear McCain’s plan, Mr. Giulani’s and Mrs. Clinton’s, etc.

I want to know who would be on their team and what they can do to correct the mess we are now in, now that we are trillions in debt and trapped in Iraq…Who is the next JFK for America?

Monday, November 20, 2006

President 2008 - Only those with Global Expertise Please...

I think it has become evident from 9 11 and events in Iraq, Iran, Korea, etc. that our next President will need global experience before taking the office.

We cannot afford to have another President finding out about how the world works “on the job.” One doesn't learn much about the planet in a motorcade. One sees the world differently --realistically--when you've been across the negotiating table in venues around the world.

It was those global trips for a Fortune 500 company that introduced me to Saddam in 1979 and the evolution of China. Which brings me to the next point: The next administration needs to have a global strategy – not just a domestic one. And no more just “making it up as you go.” In other words, what will the next President do to expand trade and reduce global tensions? World events are as much of being President as dealing with tax policy and domestic issues.

What we don’t need is someone who is guessing what Russians, Chinese, Koreans, Iraqis, etc. are really like and following advisors theories. We don't need paranoids on the right nor blind optimists on the left. The NeoCons made assumptions about Iraq that any international negotiator who has made deals in the Middle East would never make. Because Mr. Bush had never been in those countries before taking office, he believed his advisors and their (flawed) theories. He has paid a high price for it.

To the contrary, his dad, Bush 41, HAD been "out there" and has a realistic view. That is what we need back in office. We, as the most powerful country in the world, cannot afford to elect a new "Captain of our ship of State" in 2008 --Democrat or Republican-- who has never sailed the global seas before taking office. As we have seen,the learning curve is too steep, too expensive and too prone to cause dramatic failures and a loss of U.S. image when our top officials are strangers to the world in which we live. The same can be said about our Congress reps.

Keep that in mind when the hordes of (Presidential) candidates emerge... It's the global, 21st Century and we'll need global, 21st Century Presidents for the rest of this century, and beyond....

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Finding Nukes on a Laptop

An unemployed U.S. Citizen was arrested in Detroit after they discovered over $70,000 in cash on him – and a laptop with nuclear information. He had been in Nigeria and came back via Amsterdam, and was heading for Phoenix. How weird is that?

I’ve been to Amsterdam and Nigeria – not your normal nuclear hotspots. Very strange. It is the spread of nuclear technology that poses the greatest risk to all of us. A few years ago I did a TV program which talked about people from Columbia being discovered with nuclear material in Germany. There is a global black market that our government needs to monitor very closely.

I see where our temporary Congress rep, Dr. Sekula Gibbs, had seven aides quit today—all who had been employed with Mr. DeLay, who resigned after an indictment. They said she was “mean” – and she says they may have destroyed files. A soap opera doesn’t get any better than this. Stay tuned for more strange news from Texas...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Getting Security - From airport to Iraq

When I came back from Iowa, my “Old Spice” cologne was confiscated at the Minneapolis Airport check in. I am now watching local TV tell me how they stopped seizing liquids. UMMM. Someone didn’t tell the folks in Minnesota.

The BIG question now is what to do to “fix” Iraq. Baker’s group is about to release their report. A major course correction is a certainty. It will be a tough row to hoe since sectarian violence (Muslims killing Muslims more than Muslims killing American troops) has become the bigger problem.

Expect regional negotiations, including Syria and Saudi, to be called for – that’s my guess.

Setting a specific time to pull out is risky but the troops will have to come home at some point. The trick will be defining it.

Robert Gates is a great pick to replace Rumsfeld.

The President should also replace UN Ambassador Bolten. Again, I wish it could someone like James Baker. It wouldn’t take much to be an improvement over Bolten. Imagine you had a neighbor that told everyone how awful they are, then came around demanding respect and support. Doh! Bolton apparently missed the Dale Carnegie "How to Win Friends and Influence People" but seems to have a degree from the Saddam Hussein School of Diplomacy...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Lessons from this Election

As a former candidate for District 22 who ran against DeLay before it was fashionable, it is my opinion that this election has the following lessons: Voters hate extremes and the sad truth is that the GOP has been dominated by extremist partisans like DeLay for too long.

The GOP has forgotten the middle class and regular people. It focused on the top 10%, the lobbies and the so-called Christians like Mr. Haggard, who condemned gays while being one, and Mr. Robertson, who called for assassinating a foreign leader and called for a bombing of our own State Department.

We are a nation of many colors and many religions - not just one. It is time for common sense Centrists to be in leadership. The Democrats were the wise ones who moved to the middle - as centrists. If they stay there, the people will prosper and we will finally address critical issues like the greenhouse gases killing our global home, prescription drug costs, etc. that were ignored by the GOP majority.

I ran as a Centrist Republican had lost, even after Mr. DeLay was indicted. What kind of denial is that? What kind of values? I ran as a Centrist independent, which dropped DeLay to 55% in 2004 and started his downhill run. Until the control of the GOP moves back to the moderates and they start selecting Centrists instead of extremists, I will put my trust in centrist Democrat candidates in this and future elections. This GOP has no tolerance for Centrists or moderates, so they might as well switch to Democratic party. We don't need one subgroup of one religion running the GOP (as it is) and our country like they do Iran. We don't need a personality cult in the White House that only listens to 'yes men' nor do we need any one religion running our government. America was founded to get away from that in England.

I supported and voted for Nick Lampson as one of those fair minded centrists that are missing in the DeLay type GOP. He was picked by voters. The GOP candidate was picked in a back room instead of the voting booth this year, thanks to Mr. DeLay.

Voters around the country felt the same. That is the lesson in this election...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Brave New World

It’s a brave new world folks.

The amazing thing about American democracy is how well grounded the public is. They automatically pull politicians back from the extreme. They are the Captains of this American ship of state. Extremes left or right are not tolerated. It is as if they are the ballast that keeps us on an even keel.

On election day I was at a lunch listening to Colonel Kim Olson at the World Affairs Council describe what happened when she was with Gen. Garner in Iraq – when Mr. Bremer came in with orders to dismantle the Iraq army, etc. That act created an instant insurgency of hundreds of thousands of angry, unemployed men who were discharged with their weapons (and they knew where all the ammo dumps were). Gen. Garner was so angry, he said: “You’ve just bought 2,000 body bags” and walked out.

He was right. We’ve lost over 2,000 so far. Mr. Rumsfeld’s resignation is a step in the right direction.

I wish Mr. Gates good luck. Col Olson felt that there is still time to “save” Iraq. Let’s hope so…

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Election & Conviction of Saddam

I’m glad the political ads are about to go away. There comes a time to stop the campaigning and just VOTE to see what a majority of the people want to do. I predict BIG changes tomorrow, in many unforeseen ways as well. Change can be good -- and is often necessary to break out of a rut.

I went to my stepfather’s funeral this weekend, in Iowa. When the military honors team handed my mom the flag, I could see the emotion in that man's face. I knew that Pete had been part of their team for many years, doing this same thing for countless others. I could tell that it was not just an official statement, but a personal one that each of those men felt. They had lost a friend. They saluted his casket on his final trip. Pete was a great role model as a stepfather. He shall be greatly missed.

The trip also provided time to visit my 98 year old grandmother, Lydia, who lives in nearby Garner –everything in Iowa is 10 miles away, without traffic. I couldn’t believe how nice that was. Grandmother will be 99 in February and looked really great.

On Saddam’s death penalty: Big surprise. But if they execute him, as much as he deserves it, I believe it will further divide Iraq. It already is widening the rift between Sunnis and Shiite, guaranteeing a civil war and a failed state.

If they want to start the reconciliation process between Sunni and Shiite which will be necessary to get a stable country back, a compromise will need to be worked out --perhaps life in prison without possibility of parole.

No question that Saddam deserves a cruel death, but there is already plenty of that in Iraq. We also need to take into consideration that it was our own government that helped create this monster – we supported Saddam in his 80’s war against Iran (during the Reagan administration) and sold him weapons, some of which he turned against his own people. Mr. Cheney was visiting Saddam as late as 1998 on behalf of Halliburton. Killing him won't make our guilt less or solve the problems in Iraq. Besides, we should worry to be on the same side as the Ayatollahs of Iran, who have called for Saddam's execution, overlooking their own brutality, such as sending boys as young as 5 to walk the minefields as a way to clear the path for their tanks in that war... No one has clean hands...

But Saddam's fate is the Iraqi peoples’ call, not ours. Our role is not to be world dictator. But they need to find a way to reduce the anger. Further alienating 20% of the population by executing Saddam won’t stop the bloodshed. In fact, it could increase it even further as things spin out of control by bad decision after bad decision….Go ahead. Don't believe me. They didn't listen when I talked about terrorism coming to the U.S. in the 90's either.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Goodbye Pete

My stepfather, who was 81 and a very fine man, passed away yesterday. Pete served in WWII and married my mom after my dad was killed in a car wreck when I was a junior at UT Austin. I know he is with God and with Henri, our beloved dog.

With all the deaths in the family in the past couple months I have paid little attention to the political campaigns (when you are no longer a candidate the thrill is gone). I believe the Democrats will end up with control of the House--due to Iraq--and that both sides will have to find common ground in the middle. But the only ground I will be covering is a funeral in Iowa tomorrow for a WWII vet who was a great role model as a stepfather...