Silent Archimedes

Posts Tagged ‘Biden’

A Letter to America

Posted by silentarchimedes on November 3, 2008

Dear Fellow Americans,

The land of the free and the home of the brave...

The land of the free and the home of the brave...

Tomorrow is one of the most important days in recent American history. It is a day that will affect the short term prospects of America and the standing of America in the world for the next century. The events and actions of the past eight years have accelerated the damaging path the country has embarked on for the past thirty years. The irresponsible actions have left America crippled economically, politically, morally and psychologically. Both parties have been hijacked by the special interests of corporations, ideological groups and personal interests. The values in which America was founded on have been distorted. The decision made by America tomorrow will go a long way in determining if we continue this egregious path of self-destruction.

The debt at the national, local and consumer levels are not only due to the actions of the past eight years. The decision by the Supreme Court in 1978 (Marquette National Bank of Minneapolis vs. First of Omaha Service Corp.) to deregulate interest rate caps at the state level was the precursor to the inundation of credit cards and the mortgaging of personal futures for the present. Although Reaganomics has been credited with bringing the country out of the vitriolic stagflation of the late 1970s, it has had a long term effect that has eaten away at the fiscal responsibility of the federal government. At the core of Reaganomics was reducing tax rates by reducing government spending which in turn was achieved by reducing costs associated with regulation and social programs. However,  unexpected costs from the burgeoning Cold War resulted in large trade and federal budget deficits. In order to cover such deficits, the government began borrowing heavily both domestically and abroad. This decision to mortgage the future of the country for the present instilled a belief that debt is good, even to other countries, such as China, Japan and India. America became a borrower nation instead of a loaner nation, which it had been for decades during its prominence.

The deregulation of these two critical issues are the main causes of the current economic problems. It instilled bad habits at all levels of society. Although quality of life continued to increase the past thirty years, it was mostly at the cost of the future. Both politicians and individuals began feeling entitled to such luxuries and expected it to last forever. However, as analyzed by Pulitzer Prize winner Jared Diamond (Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed), it is this infectious mindset that causes great societies to fail. This country is at that critical juncture. Do we reinstate the values, sacrifices and hard work that made this country great or do we continue down this destructive path?

In addition to the present economic and ideological problems that endanger the quality of life of America, there are many massive elephants in the near future that can derail any sense of comfort in the nation. A fundamental restructuring of social programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid is required in the next one or two presidencies before the effects of the baby boomer population cripple the flow of aid from the system. The high quality of life has left Americans lazy, fat and indifferent, and the medical costs associated with treating related diseases and health issues threaten to destroy the already broken health-care system. The super-highway system that supported the rise of American power is also the bane of the country’s dependence on foreign oil and its lavish automobile lifestyle. Furthermore, the infrastructure of America is crumbling and poses a danger to the lifeblood of a large country like America. A massive government infrastructure initiative is required within the next twenty years. The only question will be where does all the money come from? As globalization continues to redistribute the wealth and power of the world, the education system and America’s ability to compete are also being tested. American children  continue to fall behind other countries at all levels of education, from middle school to college to graduate school. This country has been able to sustain its technological competitiveness partly through the immigration of top-level students from countries such as China and India. However, the current backlash on immigration coupled with the increasing prestige of other countries’ higher education systems, begs the question of how America will sustain its technological edge? Corporations and special interest groups as super-humans continue to eat away at the fabric of America. Their selfish narrow-minded view of profit and ideology permeate all levels of society, from individuals to the government. Ideology has especially polarized the country into two hardened stances, secularity versus ideology. The effects of this has left the country fearful and suspicious of each other. Finally, the effects of the internet and other entertainment-related technologies cannot be understated. Although they have created luxuries beyond anyone’s belief and increased the free flow of information, they have also created a schizophrenic society of 24 hour media frenzy and questionable freedoms of morality. The neutrality of journalism and the mental well-being  of society are at stake. Coupled with the constraints of global warming and moral responsibility, the above problems must be faced responsibly.

These problems will definitely be difficult to face and resolve. Most of these have been simmering for years, but have been effectively ignored. However, what has always made America great has been its ability to come together as a country and sacrifice for the greater good of the country and the world. The sacrifices by this country during the Civil War and World War II for the greater good cannot be forgotten. Although society was simpler and less polarized then, the country must come together once again to face the unprecedented wave of issues that threaten to send America down the road of self-destruction.

Tomorrow begins that choice. Tomorrow the country decides which path to take, one of sacrifice for the greater good or one of continued wantonness. Tomorrow begins the day where America can begin reinstating the values that made this country so great. A country of uniqueness not found anywhere else in the world. A melting pot that protects individual rights and helps others at times of need. A constitution so strong that the thought of a revolution is unfathomable. The land of opportunity and openness. A land of thousands of parks and natural resources. The separation of church and state and the freedom of religion. The land of the best medical care and higher education system. A land of tolerance and hope. And the land of the free and the home of the brave…

Whomever you vote for tomorrow, please think openly and clearly. Without any bias of age, race, religion, and fear, think who will be better for America. Who will lead America towards a path of redemption and strength. A path that requires sacrifice but cherishes American freedoms. A candidate that realizes that what America needs now is a problem solver with pragmatism and humility, and not one fixated on idealism, intolerance and fear mongering. Look closely at your choice, and know that when you go home afterwards, there will be a better America tomorrow. A better America for yourself and your family, and also for its great citizens of today and tomorrow.

America’s tomorrow begins now…

Thank you.

Silent Archimedes

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Political cartoon: The strategy and tactic of the final 30 days of the presidential campaign

Posted by silentarchimedes on October 7, 2008

The Obama Strategy vs. The McCain Tactic

The Obama-Biden Strategy vs. The McCain-Palin Tactic

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Excellent Newsweek Cover Story – The Palin Problem

Posted by silentarchimedes on October 6, 2008

The Six-Pack Faces of Sarah Palin (Newsweek)

The Joe Six-Pack Faces of Sarah Palin (Newsweek)

The latest cover story of Newsweek titled “The Palin Problem” is an excellent article. It explains in pretty basic terms why Palin’s argument for why she is a great VP candidate because she is a Joe Six-Pack or a Hockey Mom is so illogical and completely absurd. The problem facing Washington is not that America wants a regular Joe Shmoe in the office, it wants an exceptional person that looks out for the interests and fights for the Joe Six-Packs and the Hockey Moms of America. We don’t actually want one in office. Seriously, I definitely do not want a beer drinking, pot-belly scratching smelly Joe Six-Pack as Vice-President. I also don’t want a Hockey Mom in office either! When I go to a bar to watch football, I don’t see a single person I want as potential President of the United States.

Palin needs to focus more on what she has done as Governor and what she has done for the middle class of America. We want our leaders to strive for excellence, and to have a history of excellence. We expect more from them, and that’s the current problem with Washington. Does John McCain, with 7 houses and 11 automobiles really understand the problems facing the middle class? Does George Bush with his huge Texas ranch and political and elitist family connections really understand what the average worker in Pennsylvania is going thru? We haven’t had an exceptional leader who understood middle class America in a long time. Sarah Palin is not the answer. She might understand what middle class America is going through, but she doesn’t have the experience or history of striving for excellence to do what is right. Obama at least offers us that hope. Even Biden and his history of traveling to and from work every day and middle class connections has more of it.

Say no to Mrs. Hockey Mom and Mrs. Joe Six-Pack. So sick of hearing those words.  Can’t she come up with better phrases and arguments…And she needs to stop saying she’s a Washington outsider. She’s way too much of a Washington outsider. Seriously, I can’t imagine her as president. It is a really scary thought to think if she is President what she would do to fix the huge economic crisis…

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Obama beats McCain in first presidential debate

Posted by silentarchimedes on September 27, 2008

A quick list of my observations of the debate last night:

Presidential Debate

First Presidential Debate

1. McCain was too high on himself – Everyone knows that McCain is more experienced than Obama when it comes to foreign policy. I was more interested in what he was going to do with that experience when he becomes president. However, he kept referring to the past and his record. He must have said that he was proud of himself at least four times during the debate. Although more experience usually indicates better judgment, it becomes a negative when your long track record is inconsistent and is associated with the negatives of the past eight years. McCain made it seem like that his experiences should be the sole reason to vote for him and not Obama. We know what you have done. The question is what will you do for change.

2. McCain was very condescending towards Obama – This is related to the first point. If Obama had failed miserably in his foreign policy answers last night, McCain would get a pass at sounding condescending and patronizing towards Obama. However, Obama definitely held his own last night. The result is McCain seemed like an old man scolding a young man. He would speak in this higher pitch whisper when he was in his “I’m smarter and more experienced than you” rants. What made it worse is that in his quest to show that Obama was dumber than him in foreign policy, McCain made several incorrect assertions. He made fun of Obama for not knowing the difference between tactic and strategy when in fact he was the one that was wrong (as explained by many analysts on the news networks).

3. Obama was too nice – Obama is too nice of a man. He must have said “John is right” in some form or another at least eight times during the debate. McCain gave him several openings for Obama to throw a strong punch, but he resisted. When McCain asked Obama what was his definition of rich, Obama should have responded, “someone who has 12 cars and 7 houses.” Even as McCain continued his condescending rants, Obama stayed nice and imperturbed. Sometimes one would like to see a little more offensive emotion from him. We are sick of political ploys, lies and trying to pull the cover over the public.

4. Where was Palin?? – After the debate was over, both the VP candidates, Biden and Palin, were invited by the major television networks to give their assessment of the debate. Biden accepted all the networks invitations. However, Palin was nowhere to be seen! She declined all invitations. Instead, surrogates like  Rudy Guiliani were used to represent her. All it reminded me was how inexperienced she is and that even if McCain was indeed better than Obama on foreign policy, I would rather vote for Obama  and Biden then know that Palin is one heartbeat away from becoming Commander in Chief. She has been pretty incognito since her RNC bounce. I personally treat that as an insult. America is in the heart of a major election campaign and one of the major VP candidates is being kept away from the public for obvious reasons.

5. Did McCain even know Obama was on the stage with him? – Not once did McCain look at Obama during the debate. Obama engaged McCain, Jim Lehrer and even spoke to the camera and the public. McCain spent the entire debate talking directly to Lehrer. Even when he lambasted Obama or the rare times he talked about what he would do, it was towards Lehrer. Even when Obama was talking to McCain, McCain always looked down at the podium. Show your opponent some respect. The tactics, and yes, I mean tactics, used by McCain have been dishonest, condescending and downright conceited. Here is a funny comic about this.

Conclusion

Overall, I think the general public feels the same about me as most polls showed Obama slightly winning the debate. It wasn’t a knockout blow by Obama. It might have even been a tie because Obama was too even-keeled. However, when the topic is McCain’s specialty, a tie is considered a win for Obama. Obama was professional, suscinct and knowledgeable. McCain sounded like what has been wrong with America the past eight years; the I’m better than you mentality. Next week’s vice presidential debate between Biden and Palin should be even more interesting. The question is does Palin show up or one of her surrogates?

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When should a family be off-limits for a politician?

Posted by silentarchimedes on September 4, 2008

The Palin Family

The Palin Family

This whole public vetting of Sarah Palin has lead to a discussion on whether a family should be off-limits to the media and public in determining if she is a good candidate for the vice presidency. The opinions range from completely off-limits to everything should be on the table as public figures to in-betweens like only if it affects her as a candidate. However, the in-betweens are the ones that are subjective and difficult to determine. To determines what is allowed or not? Are children allowed? At what age are they allowed?

Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber

Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber

History has shown us that just because you are related to someone does not mean your personalities and actions are related to each other. Take the Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski, for example. It was his brother, David, who turned in his own brother, albeit reluctantly. Although their similar genetics led them to have strong intellectual careers (David went to Columbia University and Ted went to Harvard and had a PhD from UMich), their personalities and reactions to society (David was a praciticing Buddhist and a vegetarian while Ted was, well, the Unabomber) were night and day.

However, history has also shown that blood relationships can lead to very very similar careers and lives. As a matter of fact, this has been very apparent in the presidential history of the United States. John Adams, second president, is the father of John Qunicy Adams, sixth president. And, we can’t forget the George Bushes and their similar presidencies.  Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd president, were fifth cousins, but that relationship is too far removed to include here.

Jamie Lynn Spears

Jamie Lynn Spears

What history has shown us is inconclusive. What we need to do is look at a more recent phenomenon of public figures and families, Hollywood. As we know, the paparazzi is incessantly looking for any skeletons in the closet of public figures. Families are completely game. One very recent example is the revelation that Jamie Lynn Spears, the 16 year old younger sister of Britney Spears, was pregnant. On first glance, one can say that her pregnancy is her own life and has nothing to do with Britney Spears’ life. However, when you couple the pregnancy with Britney’s own two children at a young age, and Britney’s dramaticfall from fame, one can’t help but notice that Britney must have had a strong influence on Jamie Lynn, whether directly or indirectly. Also, one can’t help conclude that the parents either did a horrible job raising them or they lost control of them.

What the paparazzi has taught us is that society is infatuated with the personal lives of public figures. The death of Princess Diana is a prime example of the paparazzi going to far. However, the problem with the paparazzi is that the public figures they are usually focused on are actors and actresses, most of whom are morally liberal to begin with, and have no bearing on the personal lives of the general public.

Teen pregnancy

Teen pregnancy

However, when it comes to politicians, I believe it’s fair to investigate the skeletons in their closets, even if it means the immediate family members’ closets. The reason is because they represent society. They make the decisions that influence our daily lives and the lives of future generations. Politicians already have stereotypes of corruption and abuses of power. It is premature to say that family is off-limits. Obviously, if a major politician’s daughter committed murder, society should know and it should have an impact on how we view the character and background of the politician. However, if a politician’s daughter becomes pregnant at age 17, is that legitimate news? Should this have an impact on how we judge the politician’s character? To me, that is up for the public to decide. I do not believe it is the media’s job to determine that. They report the news. In other words, don’t shoot the messengers. All I know is if I had a daughter that became pregnant at 17, I would be judged unfavorably by my peers. I also know that in my old high school, students that became pregnant were also looked upon very unfavorably. The pregnancy is another piece in the puzzle of how I judge a politician. Obviously, if the daughter received a D in her Biology class, I would consider that too inconsequential to the character of the politician. But a teen pregnancy?

Palin Family at RNC

Palin Family at RNC

What I find hypocritical about the whole Palin situation with the teen pregnancy and Down Syndrome baby is the parading of the kids on stage at the end of her speech at the convention last night. Or the video they showed of the 7-year old daughter on their website. If family is off-limits then they too should leave the family out of it. If they decide to introduce the family to the public, then they too become public figures, and are thus game.

This is what makes politics so frustrating. Even though Obama and Biden publicly say that family is off-limits, I’m sure internally they are jumping for joy at the skeletons coming out of the Palin family closet. Both sides appear hypocritical at the expense of trying to take the higher ground.

Bush signs the Patriot Act

Bush signs the Patriot Act

In this day and age of the internet and 24-hour media, nothing is off-limits. Whether right or wrong, this is what both parties want. The flow of information, either good or bad, is deemed being one of the most basic democratic values. Otherwise, our freedom of speech would be impinged. Otherwise, pornography on the internet would be illegal. Otherwise, we would become a big brother state like China or Russia where information is monitored and limited. Is this what we want? The past 8 years has seen the passing of the Patriot Act, which has increased big brotherhood in America. In the end, it is up to each and every individual to decide what to believe and what to read. For example, the US government can make recommendations, such as film ratings, but it is up to the parents and children to decide what they do with that information.

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Initial Reactions: Sarah Palin’s Convention Speech

Posted by silentarchimedes on September 4, 2008

As I’m listening to Sarah Palin speak at the Republican National Convention tonight, I can’t help but think how polarized this country is, and how Palin actually makes it more divisive. There was so much rhetoric and attacks at Obama and Biden, there were several times during her speech that I hated politics. Just two weeks ago, she was a complete unknown for most Americans. What has happened since then for her to show such hatred for Obama? Did you notice she never referred to him by his name, but only by the “opponent”? What gives her the right to spew such vitriolic words at someone she probably has never met? There wasn’t one sentence from her that really said anything about what she’s going to do to help America. I‘ll give it to her, she doesn’t seem afraid to attack, although I find her high, whiny voice really really annoying. Also the way she ended her sentences with a weird tone, sometimes I didn’t know if the sentence was over. There were times when the audience didn’t know either and waited a second before applauding.

I still don’t understand how she is a good pick and how she invigorates the Republican base. Why are they so happy tonight? Seriously, am I missing something? To me the speech seemed pretty amateurish, almost like a student council speech. “Vote for me! Vote for me!” Like a popularity contest. The reason her pick makes this country so divisive is that half the country has no idea how she is anywhere close to having credentials to be a VP, let alone be one heartbeat from being president, and the other half of the country being so invigorated by her. What’s going on??

In any case, based on the initial reactions of her speech by Charlie Rose and some others, they seem to like her speech.  Her major test will still be when she faces the media in a press conference, or on the election trail, or in debates against Biden.

I am starting to hate politics…

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Initial Reactions – McCain picks Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, as VP choice

Posted by silentarchimedes on August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska

Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska

My initial reaction of McCain picking Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, was, “Wow, who the hell is she?!” After reading more about who she is, I’d have to think that the McCain camp is really making a risky choice in picking her. Here are my initial reactions:

1. Experience – Palin’s total experience? Two years as governor of Alaska! She was mayor of Wasilla (population 5,470 in 2000) in 1996, and ran unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor in 2002. She became governor in 2006. Are you serious? All this time of McCain attacking Obama having no experience to become president and he picks Palin as VP choice? She is one step from becoming president of the United States! And McCain is no spring bunny here! That was McCain’s strongest point against Obama and now he can not use that again. Actually, with Obama picking Biden, the Dems ticket seems a lot more experienced and formidable than the Republicans.

2. Purely a Political Move – I’m not sure what Palin really brings to the table that the other potential VP candidates would have brought. Romney, Lieberman, Ridge or Pawlenty, all bring a lot more to the main Republican base. Palin is known as a maverick, but having only two years of experience is tough to justify as having a career of independence. One last reason he might’ve picked her is the oil play. Listening to her on CSPAN after the speech, she rambles stats and stats about Exxon Valdez and Artic drilling. It seems like this is a strategic move and not a who’s best for the job move. She is female and seems like McCain is trying to pick up the Clinton supporters that are still unwilling to support Obama. He is also trying to run the anti-Washington reform card.

OK, so reading more, it seems like she was chosen also to try to invigorate the evangelical vote. She is strongly pro-life and an NRA lifetime member.

3. Harmony – I don’t see how McCain, 72, and Palin, 44, can work well together. He is from Arizona and she’s from Alaska. He’s a senator, she’s a governor. How much does he really know her? The longest he must have known her is two years. There’s no chance he knew her when she was mayor of a small town in Alaska. How would they work together if in office? He could be her father? Would she be too intimidated by him?

4. Alaska – Nothing against Alaska, but it has not had good press the past few years. First the bridge to  nowhere, and then the senator Ted Stevens being indicted on seven felony counts and still wins the primary race? Or Rep. Don Young having legal/ethical troubles as well. Don’t forget former Senator Mike Gravel’s hilarious attempt in the Democratic primary race. To me, it seems like they are pretty disconnected to what’s going on on the continental US. Life there is much different than what is happening on the main land. Palin’s spent her whole life in Alaska, so how much does she know what is happening to the middle class for the majority of America? What do people think of when somone mentions Alaska? Cold. Exxon Valdez. Wasteful earmarks. Nice in the summer. No sunlight in the winter. They wanted an outsider? They got the most outsider you can be.

It’s funny. In her interview with CSPAN in February, she talks about Wasilla as one of the fastest growing areas in Alaska. Wanna know the numbers she’s referring to? Population in 1980 was 1600, in 1990 was 4000, in 2000 was 5470, and references to it being around 9000 now. Wow. This makes it the fastest growing areas in Alaska?? Hehehe… I think more people than that travel to and from NYC in less than an hour.

5. Maverick – McCain is overplaying the maverick card. Palin is known as a reformer and independent thinker, but it’s definitely much easier to make such changes in Alaska. Look at Gravel! How did he become senator? If McCain wanted to make a splash, he could’ve picked Lieberman, or someone with more experience and appeal.

6. Palin not without controversy – Just a month ago, she dissed the VP job as being unproductive! She was on the Kudlow & Co. show, and she replied, “I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day?” In February, on CSPAN she replied that she doubt McCain would ask her to be his VP choice. Additionally, there is controversy about a firing she did in her office. An investigation is being done into whether she did that as relatiation for her relative being fired earlier.

7. Can’t wait for the VP debates – There better be some debates between Biden and Palin. They are going to be amazing. Biden will eat her alive. That might be bad for Dems though, as many people might feel sorry for her. But the experience of Biden will be hard to overcome by her.

I just don’t understand this pick. It seems like a desperate move. Reminds me of the Dem’s Mondale-Ferraro ticket in 1984 and the Bush-Quayle ticket in 1988. Let’s pick a young newcomer to motivate the base voters. I think this pick will completely blow up in McCain’s face.

This year’s election is so different than what anyone would’ve thought. It was supposed to be Clinton and possibly Guiliani. Who would’ve imagined Obama/Biden vs McCain/Palin two years ago! Wow, gotta love the American political process.

My other link:

Further Reactions – Sarah Palin as VP choice

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With McCain now leading, Obama must pick Hillary to revive and unite party

Posted by silentarchimedes on August 20, 2008

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama

The presidential race has not been as exciting as the Democratic primary race between Obama and Hillary. With the public inundated with Obama news the past 3 months, there are signs of Obama-fatigue in the public. This has allowed McCain to take the first lead ever in the Reuters/Zogby poll. McCain’s 46% to 41% lead over Obama is more about Obama-fatigue then McCain making a huge comeback. This is dangerous territory for Obama. What has always been his strength is the excitement he has brought to the political arena as a newcomer and bringer of change. However, if the public starts seeing him as “old news”, then he must find some way to invigorate the party and independents. His best and possibly one of his last chances at doing that is the upcoming vice-presidential selection. Names such as Biden, Kaine and Bayh would help in certain demographics but would not provide the excitement or unity that the Democratic party needs so bad. The only name that would do that is Hillary Clinton. Although there is still bad blood remaining from the primary race, making such a move would mean so much to the party. It would unite the party and bring the remaining Clinton supporters off the sidelines or out of the McCain camp and back into the fold. It would also show that Obama really is about making the right changes and is not afraid to select anyone. Hillary still seems like a long shot, but Ralph Nader, the independent, believes that is exactly what will happen.

With rumors of McCain possibly picking a non-typical Republican, such as abortion-rights supporters Joe Lieberman or Tom Ridge, the view of McCain as a maverick might be evoked once again. Although McCain might turn off the strong evangelical Republican base if he does that, he would attract independents and even Hillary supporters. Obama must go on the offensive now, after a month of McCain attacks.

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