Aug 30, 2008

Gov. Sarah Palin - Experience Needed?

Gov. Sarah Palin is clearly well-liked by the people of Alaska because she has an 80+ percent favorable rating. But does she have adminstrative and foreign policy experience? Clearly, Gov. Palin is a very competent administrator, with more leadership experience than Barack Obama and Joe Biden put together. Here's an abbreviated list of past and current leadership duties of Gov. Sarah Palin:
  • Managing the extensive resources of State and City personnel and offices
  • Appointing qualified people to carry out the laws and direct the policies of Alaskan city and state government
  • Conducting public relations campaigns to manage and market Alaskan resources
  • Evaluating and signing (or vetoing) bills passed by Alaska legislators
  • Serving as the commander-in-chief of the Alaska National Guard
  • Preparing and delivering reports on Alaska to the Legislature and to other interested parties
  • Estimating the amounts of money required to be raised by taxation, preparing and recommending City and State budgets, and holding firm to her goal of financial balancing of income and expenses
  • Assuring the Alaskan people of honesty and ethics in State government
A comparative list of experience and achievements between Palin and Obama is given here. Moreover, I don't worry about whether Vice-president Sarah Palin has a lot of experience in foreign policy, because all administrators of complex institutions rely on knowledgeable advisors and consultants. U.S. foreign policy decisions always are preceeded by well-studied proposed policy documents, followed by meetings with key advisors whose differing perspectives create the necessary background for a final decision by the President. [One of my distant cousins is one of those policy advisors, in that some of his documents dealing with the Middle East have made it to the desk of the President.]

Gov. Sarah Palin already is quite knowledgeable about China and other PAC-RIM countries that buy the majority of Alaskan products. She also is highly concerned about new Russian interests and impacts, including near the North Pole. Alaska has recently been impacted by unauthorized Russian flights that intrude into U.S. airspace.

My personal belief is that McCain's four-time bout with melanoma eventually will become a five-time bout and he will not survive his complete term. That would put Gov. Sarah Palin into the White House. Here's what our oldest son wrote about Gov. Sarah Palin:
"She appears to be the most 'likable' of the four major Pres/Vice Pres candidates. This may have been a stroke of genius on the part of McCain, time will tell. The democrats' reaction strikes me as confused and ridiculous so far. I don't think they were ready. She is not the type of person you can attack head-on and walk away looking very good. I'm feeling better about the Republican ticket's chances in November already. Looking toward the future, I'd give her a greater possiblity of being President of the United States someday than Hillary."
Vice-president Sarah Palin will need to select good advisors, just as President Reagan did in the 1980's. For starters, I'd recommend Pat Buchanan who seems to have some of the best insights on foreign policy, including Russian, Chinese, and Middle East problems.

Aug 28, 2008

Demagogy, Change, and Utopian Promises

H.L. Mencken was right when he defined a demagogue as "one who will preach doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots." I might change that definition a little: "one who makes promises he knows can't be fulfilled to TV viewers he knows to be forgetful idiots."

I listened to part of Barack Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention and suggest people should read his speech, rather than just listen to it. Obama promised everything but the moon to the American people, and I was reminded of Fidel Castro as he came to power many years ago.

Obama is a fantastically good speaker whose impassioned public speeches appeal to the emotions, fears, and expectations of many people. Here are a few excerpts of promises made tonight by Obama--unrealistic Utopian promises. Notice that Obama mostly uses the personal pronoun "I" in his promises for change. [Do people no longer remember the old saying, "Out of the frying pan into the fire!" meaning to go from a bad situation to one that's even worse?]
So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am president...

I will cut taxes -- cut taxes -- for 95 percent of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class. [How does Obama define "working families" and "middle-class." "Economy like this" also gives him an 'out'. ]

And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president: in 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East. [Yes, but please tell us how much less energy our country will be using at the end of ten years?]

I'll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I'll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy -- wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and 5 million new jobs that pay well and can't ever be outsourced. [This paragraph should be re-read a third time! Does Obama have plans to unseat Congress, control wages, run businesses, and add 5 million new jobs to the federal payroll?]

Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education... [If w-c implies the best education that money can buy, not every student can or will absorb a w-c education.]

I'll invest in early childhood education. I'll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support.... [What's wrong with current teachers? Does Obama really mean an ARMY of new teachers drafted into federal government service?]

Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. [Just like in Canada, where my friend's father would have died because it takes months to get Canadian permission for open-heart surgery. Instead, he came to San Antonio for the surgery.] If you don't, you'll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. [Get ready for more medical tourism.] And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for a sick child or ailing parent. [Who's going to pay? Private companies already are struggling to stay alive while competing with India, China, and other developing countries.]

Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses.... [Translated: Bankruptcy laws need to be more lenient so that people who have spent themselves into deep debt can be relieved of their promises to pay what they borrowed. Uninsured medical expenses will be used to justify the easing of bankruptcy laws, although the changes will apply to every debtor who simply bought too much using their credit card.]

Aug 25, 2008

Kansas City Air Show

It's been many, many years since I attended an air show, and I was certainly impressed with this 2008 display of planes and aerial acrobatics at the Downtown Airport. The show started at 10:00 am and we didn't leave until after 4 pm.

I told one of our sons that the plane I was most impressed with was the jet-powered sailplane owned by Bob Carlton, a rocket scientist in Albuquerque, NM. The sailplane's two small jet engines were designed for smaller radio-controlled airplanes, but Bob mounted the engines in a retractable pod on top an Italian Alisport glider. The engines are powered up whenever the plane takes off or performs aerobatics near the ground.

The grandkids were most impressed by the NOISE of the military jets, including a U.S. Navy F-18 that dived and soared with thunderous blasts to bend, if not break, your eardrums. Yes, we used earplugs, but it's hard keeping them in young grandkids.

The best aerobatics had to be Sean Tucker in his Oracle Challenger II. I've never seen anything like the movements his plane performs in the sky. The bright red plane was doing stunts that are very difficult to do because the plane is designed to be quite stable and it resists being put into certain flight configurations, such as tail-down falls or slow forward movements with the nose up (continuous stall?) to make the plane appear to act much like a helicopter.