Monday, March 29, 2010

Suicide Bombings in Moscow

MOSCOW – Two female suicide bombers blew themselves up Monday in twin attacks on Moscow subway stations jam-packed with rush-hour passengers, killing at least 37 people and wounding 65, officials said. They blamed the carnage on rebels from the Caucasus region.

The blasts come six years after Caucasus Islamic separatists carried out a pair of deadly Moscow subway strikes and raise concerns that the war has once again come to Russia's capital, amid militants' warnings of a renewed determination to push their fight.

Chechen rebels claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing late last year on a passenger train en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Last month, Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov warned in an interview on a rebel-affiliated Web site that "the zone of military operations will be extended to the territory of Russia ... the war is coming to their cities."

From Yahoo Double suicide bombings kill 37 on Moscow subway

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ayotte McCain Talk to NH Citizens

Senator McCain came to New Hampshire this weekend to co-host a town hall meeting with Kelly Ayotte the former New Hampshire AG. Senator McCain is supporting Ayotte's bid to fill the empty Senate seat being vacated by Senate Republican Judd Gregg. The first question was to Kelly Ayotte about her recent trip to the VA. Ayotte, whose husband is an Iraq war veteran, voiced her support for a VA hospital in New Hampshire. The second question was to Senator McCain asking if the current health care bill was passed could it be repealed. While Senator McCain said that the passage of the bill would trigger a nationwide movement to repeal the bill, he also stated that defeating the current bill was far better option. He urged people speak up and speak out against the bill as strong opposition by the American people (our representatives constituents) is now what is most likely to influence the House and Senate. The questions that followed were in large part about the either health care, the huge amount of government spending, the skyrocketting national deficit, or some combination of these issues.

Some of the points made by Ayotte and McCain included:

  • The health care bill will collect money from tax payers for four years before offering any benefits in a rather blatant budgetary gimmick.

  • The huge amount of government spending is an act of generational theft, leaving future generations with a massive debt to pay off.

  • Cuts in payroll and corporate tax rates would be far more effective in stimulating economic growth than government spending.

  • The process involved in formulating the health care bill has revealed the broken promises of the Obama adminstration in terms of transparency, bipartisanship, and backroom political dealings i.e. Cornhusker Kickback, Louisiana Purchase, Gator Aid, etc.

Senator McCain was back in his element hosting a town hall in New Hampshire, and Kelly Ayotte had a solid performance too stating that she would regularly conduct town hall meetings as a NH Senator. Representative Hodes, her likely Democratic competitor, has been highly reluctant to hold town hall meetings. For another take on the McCain Ayotte town hall NECN filed the report, McCain: Ayotte the 'next generation' of leadership
McCain Stumps for Ayotte - Health Care and Spending are Hot Topics

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Independent 2008

In picking a candidate, my early qualifiers for Republicans were, do they believe in climate change and will they do something about it? Do they support stem cell research? Do they oppose the constitutional amendment making gay marriage illegal? Do they oppose torture? For candidates in both parties, my main question was, what will they do about Iraq and foreign policy? This was a top-level question for me because I believe the way we handle ourselves in Iraq, as well as other areas, could affect us as a country for decades to come. I lean to the right on fiscal matters, so my main question for Democrats was, how would you pay for all the services you are promising, and is it really the role of government to provide them?

I basically consider myself more of a history person than a politics person. I hesitate to say that because I’m towards the bottom of the barrel in terms of knowledge among real ‘history people.’ However, that is the basis of much of my interest, and that influenced my perspective on Iraq. I’m certainly no foreign policy expert, but I have read enough to know that wars and conflicts can impact a region and a country’s relationship with that region well after the situation is resolved. While I was not happy about how the U.S. went into Iraq, and particularly disappointed that the claims that the government knew where nuclear weapons were located turned out to be false, I was more concerned about what the U.S. would do next versus what they had already done. Also, my questions about foreign policy were not as ideological as they were practical. ‘How do we fix this?’ and ‘How do we keep from making these mistakes again?’ were the type of questions to which I was most interested in hearing a response.

The issue that DQ’d most of the Republican candidates for me was torture. This issue made me crazy throughout the primaries. During the South Carolina Republican debate, the candidates were all asked to state their position on torture, and the only one to oppose it decisively was Senator McCain.

While I generally agreed with the Republican position on Iraq (not how we got there, but what to do now that we’re there) more than the Democrats’ position on Iraq, it would have been very difficult for any other Republican to win my vote during the general election due to their inability to see torture as wrong. Some debate about what torture is, and what methods of interrogation are appropriate, is not completely without merit, but for the whole line of Republicans on stage not to simply state that torture is wrong, I found disturbing.

Independent Criteria for 2008 #7

An Indpendent Call by Katherine J. Morrison available at Amazon.

Romney and the Early Primary States – Exerpt #6

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Biden in NH

I also saw Senator Clinton, Senator Biden, and Governor Romney in person. While I wasn’t able to see Senator Clinton in a town hall format, she and President Clinton had a rally in Manchester that I attended. It is not as informative a format as a town hall, yet throughout the primary process what came through with Senator Clinton is that she is a professional. She doesn’t have a real weak area topically, and she performs consistently, regardless of format or circumstance. In time she became my second choice for president, as I was convinced that she would be competent, and she was more of a centrist than the other Democrats.

Senator Biden I had the privilege to meet at a house party hosted by state representative Jim Webber. If I have any regret in voting Republican, it is that Mr. Webber was so kind in welcoming me into his home; he introduced me to people who generally knew each other, but not me, so I almost felt obligated to vote Democrat – almost.

It was a thrill to meet Senator Biden. I’ve known of Senator Biden for as long as I’ve known that Senators exist, so while I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit it, he sort of took my breath away when he walked through the door. Something about Senator Biden just makes me smile; don’t know what it is other than that he is very likable and very, very outgoing.

Senator Biden was the only other candidate besides Senator McCain that addressed Iraq in specific detail. While his plan didn’t seem to add up the same way Senator McCain’s plan did, he gets big points from me on being direct and forthcoming. He stated how dangerous the region was, and that if we didn’t leave the region properly, the Iraqi people who had helped us would be killed.

I was right up front during Senator Biden’s talk at the house party. Senator Biden is a ‘close talker;’ he looks people right in the eye and stands just inches away from them. I however, am not, and had to keep reminding myself not back up and fall backwards out the Webbers’ screen door. When he was done he turned to the lady standing next to me and said, ‘How are you? Tell me about yourself.’ At which I thought, I need to get out of here; I can’t think of one thing about myself. However, after I left the room, I realized I’d kick myself later if I didn’t shake his hand. So I went back to the porch where he’d have to pass in order to leave, and shook his hand. He was delightful. I was happy that I remembered my name, and fortunately I’m equally happy to say I did not embarrass myself. Senator Biden made a comment about my standing up front being similar to being stuck in the first pew of a church. I was amused to hear him use that line a week or two later when one of his events was televised on C-SPAN.

Meeting Senator/Vice President Biden

An Indpendent Call by Katherine J. Morrison available at Amazon.