Archive for February, 2011

Newt’s Remarks at CPAC 2011

February 17, 2011

Walk a Mile in my Shoes

February 14, 2011

Walk a Mile in my Shoes

By Joe Barbosa

(A Semi-Review of Decision Points written by George W. Bush)

In our information age, George W. Bush has been one of the most demonized presidents of the United States of America.  The “Memoirs” of the 43rd president of the USA allows the reader to “walk a mile” in his shoes.  One feels the emotions that existed at the time the president had to decide what to do with the knowledge available which was almost never sufficient or certain.  At the same time, decisions must be made regardless of available knowledge to properly discharge the President’s duties.

The book written in the first person singular in a conversational style is a document that should guide historical research for future American Historians.  As one who witnessed the way the war was defined by the political pundits, I was impressed by Bush’s explanation of the rationale that led the USA into the War with Iraq.  The fourteen chapters and epilogue compressed in less that five hundred pages are readable and pretend to encompass his two terms in the White House without being superficial.  Sensational headlines that misinformed continuously while our troops were achieving miraculous change in a country that had been under a dictatorship for decades were diminished or ignored to attain circulation or rating by abusing the freedom to negatively criticize the Administration without any accountability due to the Press being a Sacred Cow of a republican democracy.

Political figures cannot be judged properly at the time they are performing or soon after they have finished their participation in a nation’s public actions.  Therefore, the book should only be read for the knowledge it provides so as to keep in mind when time has allowed for a better perspective.  However as one reads without disconnecting completely from the current political controversies, the continuity of issues from the 43rd president to the 44th becomes evident.  For example, the passage of the Health Care Reform that caused controversies and occupied the first two years of Obama’s presidency comes out dramatically in the middle of the narrative as follows: “The rising costs bankrupting Medicare affected the whole health-care system.  America’s health spending had doubled from 7.5 percent of GDP in 1972 to more than 15 percent in 2002.” (p. 282).  Bush realizes that as things stand, there is no real competition among private health insurance firms which is not the market control his party advocated.  He tells the reader:” What the system lacked was market forces. There was no sense of consumerism or ability to shop around for the best deal, no competition for customer’s business, and no transparency about quality and price.” (p. 282).  Thus, it brings out the fact that what has been pejoratively called “Obama Care” is an attempt to solve a problem that existed long before the 44th president took office.  In the same manner many of Obama’s accusations against Bush, were realities that would have to be solved by whoever occupied the Executive Chair. Another example of unjust accusations is all the thought that went into planning for what to do at the end of the Iraq war.  Obama accused the Bush administration of starting the war without thinking what would be done after the war; the narrative demonstrates how that accusation is unjust. (pp. 247-250).

President George W. Bush is undoubtedly a principled politician whose Christian faith is involved in every decision he made by balancing his faith and his duties under the Constitution. Many times the two guiding principles could be contradictory and  in those cases his conscience would make decisions very painful, but the decisions had to be made and he did the best he could to satisfy both the Bible and the Constitution.  9/11 proved that “sometimes the most demanding tasks a president faces are unexpected.” (p. 136).  Furthermore, it changed the whole direction of his presidency and destroyed many of his plans and hopes.

The morning of September 12th, 2001 was one of those instances in which decisions were imminent and unavoidable.  He tells his readers that he “drew strength and solace from reading the Bible, which Abraham Lincoln called the ‘the best gift God has given to man.’ (p.140).   However, no one can foresee the future when a decision is imperative; the only thing to do is to decide under the accompanying circumstances and hope for the best.  President Bush had the comfort that he was supported by an outstanding family and initially by an almost unanimous bipartisan Congress, by a coalition of nations that understood the traitorous blow America had suffered without provocation.  As days grew into years the support of the Congress was weakened and some of the Allies wavered. He tells us, “some Allies wavered, Tony Blair never did.” (p.140).

As far as planning Bush’s goals were the following: “First, keep the terrorist from striking again.  Second, make clear to the country and the world that we had embarked on a new kind of war.  Third, help the affected areas recover and make sure the terrorists did not succeed in shutting down our economy or dividing our society.” (p. 140).  Evidently, he did not succeed completely but he knew what to do at the right time and must be admired for being careful on how to do it.  Many of the accusations were hurled by people who had the uncanny clarity after the fact.  As it is known, hindsight is always better than foresight.  In the case of this war and of all the others the same thing can be alleged by the commentators.  Whether it was the right decision or not, time will probably guide the historians to approximate the truth.  One thing is quite evident ten years later, the terrorists were not able to hit the USA again, therefore, Bush must have done some things right.

The book helps in understanding the complexity of an Executive position that includes responsibilities even greater than those of the leader of a nation of 310 million people according to the last census.  Personally I was impressed with George W. Bush’s frankness and good intentions.  Those intentions were typical of those who call themselves, “born again Christians” who can be extreme but in the president’s case his love for country and for humans in general, made for moderation.  No matter how a reader judges Decision Points, in the long run, a fair assessment of the second president Bush will have a very clear source of historical facts together with sensible opinions of a man whose modesty is appropriate of a man who has been to at the top of the political power as a member of a political without becoming cynical.

If you read these brief comments as a sample of what the book could elicit, it may encourage you to read the reflexions of a man who joined the exclusive group we know as former presidents of the USA.  As anyone could expect, the Bush phenomenon must be evaluated from many perspectives and policies, social, economic, domestic and international points of view.  In judging his presidency one should start by reading about his motives while understanding what life has taught us all, the best intentions can go awry when trying to apply them.

As many have said “Only in America” could such a man succeed whether you ascribe to the idea of American Exceptionalism or not.  He had to deal with phenomena that included the unprecedented access to communications 24 hours a day, seven days a week, that is, constant communication in the whole world.  Leaks that once were minor inconveniences could become major obstacles overnight.  Consequently his administration developed a tendency to embrace secrecy which in turn, produced a wave of negative criticism and opened a flank for the standing antigovernment sentiment that is so pervasive in the USA.

In the last three chapters of Decision Points, the president deals with his final challenges the Surge to correct weakness in the Iraq war and the Financial Crisis.  By the end of his second term, a majority of the people were disgusted with the war that almost all had approved at the beginning.  The financial crisis had become impossible to ignore while the corporations were paying Executive Officers millions of dollars in spite of the fact that many were close to bankruptcy.

The Surge – The president as Commander in Chief can not accept failure of his Armed Forces in the way it was accepted in Vietnam.  Therefore, when he was convinced that more soldiers were needed to turn the tide in Iraq he reluctantly but firmly sent more soldiers and appointed the general that had operated with the greatest degree of success, General Petraeus and at the same time, bolstered the support for Prime Minister Maliki who was officially the leader of Iraq’s elected government.  For example he tells us: “As part of the surge, we deployed four thousand additional Marines to Anbar, where they reinforced the tribal sheiks and boosted their confidence.  Many of the al Qaeda jihadists fled into the desert.” (p.383). That particular tactic was employed nation wide and changed the probability of victory, which now required Iraqis to assume the responsibility of governing and providing security to their own people.  Eventually, the overall effect was successful and one could foresee a dignified way out of Iraq which would free our attention toward Afghanistan where neglect had affected the initially successful incursion.

Freedom Agenda – Although most commentators did not think “victory” was defined by the president, in his second inaugural speech there was a good hint for Americans to interpret positively a conviction that freedom was a universal desire as well as a need.  He spoke as follows to the people of the USA: “We are led by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands.  The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world. … So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.” (p.396).  However, his conviction which came to be known as the Bush Doctrine, was slowly but surely depleting the immense economic resources of the USA, even though one cannot blame the Doctrine for all the economic ills at the end of his second term in office.

Financial Crisis “Mr. President, we are witnessing a financial panic.” (p. 439).  Words uttered by non-other than the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke!  It is this chapter (pp. 439-472) that many historians and economists will quote in future descriptions of the so called “Recession” at the end of George W. Bush’s second term.  It is a very candid description of how many economic Sacred Cows were destroyed by the greed of Wall Street and the irresponsibility of politicians such as Democrats Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Chris Dodd of Connecticut to say nothing of the pampered corporations that were outsourcing American industries taking jobs away from the USA and making millions on the backs of underpaid foreign workers.

President Bush does not mince words when he describes some of his mistakes and financial maneuvers to alleviate the dangers of plunging the country in a Depression.  The specter of the Great Depression of 1929 was beginning to grow in the minds of many including the president’s economists as Viet Nam had been kept in mind during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  By September 2008 Hank Paulson laid out a plan to place Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into government conservatorship.  He tells the reader, “…I decided that the only way to prevent a disaster was to take Fannie and Freddie into government conservatory.” (p.455). Therefore, the thoughtful reader realizes that when Republicans accuse the Obama Administration of Government take over they are being as unjust as the Democrats were during the Bush Administration.

Finally, the book ends with an Epilogue that should teach citizens humility.  It relates how on Tuesday January 20, 2009, he finishes it with these words: Whatever the verdict on my presidency, I’m comfortable with the fact that I won’t be around to hear it.  That’s a decision point only history will reach.” (p. 477).

La Soberanía Nacional

February 13, 2011

La Soberanía Nacional

Por: Ismael Castro Negrón

Hace apenas unos días les indique lo siguiente en lo que titule; Las peripecias del independentismo.

Esto es lo mismo que tanto ha cacareado desde el PIP desaparecido para todo efecto práctico. Pero que más consulta que las mismas elecciones donde el pueblo determino lo que es un resultado contundente. Rubén no puede cambiar esa situación. De hecho desaparecieron como partido en esa plena Democracia de participación que ahora reclama. ¿Hay que crear  qué  crisis y a quien?

Vean  Mis amigos lo que dice el Sr. Francisco Ortiz Santini, quien es Abogado de profesión Independentista  confesó y quien  le bajo duro al independentismo, a la identidad cultural y a la misma expresión  de Independencia en el siglo 21. Esté letrado le recuerda a nivel de una página, en el Periódico El Vocero, del  4 de febrero de 2011, a los “Skeleton  crew- independentistas”  de Puerto Rico, que su propia irrelevancia teórica y física se fue con Lolita Lebrón y Con Juan Mari Bras, en el 2010.

Va más lejos cuando habla de que no existe relevo generacional en el liderato de esa formación. Describe al el PIP como un terreno erosionado y si vemos la foto de archivo encontramos cuatro caras que nada inspiran, de un cuarteto que cada vez pierde más masa electoral.

El discurso es obsoleto desde hace mucho tiempo. Desapareció el fogoso PSP, Marxista y Lanistas y con apoyo de la dictadura Comunista decadente de Fidel Castro Ruz. Los medios de difusión pública que con  tanta cantaleta y propaganda abarrotaba en los años 70 y  80lo mismo que el ministro de propaganda de Irak. Pura demagogia y filfa.

De hecho compara todo con la ecología mundial y el discurso de países que tiene grades riquezas y grandes intereses lo torpe y deforme del provisionalísimo del siglo 18. Esos cuentos de panfletos, que se distribuyen como piezas de Museo Europeo y modelos de fantasía de lo que para los Independentistas, es la Cultura de Puerto Rico, ante los ojos de nuestras nuevas y retrogradas generaciones. Realidad que sale a flote.

Lo interesante es dándose cuenta de la realidad integracionista y de mutuas relaciones y tratados y los múltiples intereses por materia prima. El Sr. Ortiz Santini da como ejemplo a China con Brasil. Le espeta al independentismo Boricua, una sustancia sin denominación y les indica que  dejen de hablar de Independencia y se concentre en hablar de Soberanía.

La vuelta atrás y al principio de que la Soberanía. Estaba en España y tiene base firme legal que él entiende, conoce su alcance internacional y no habla de su Ciudadanía Americana, la que le  integra con firmeza  y es sostenida por La Constitucional de los Estados Unidos. Sin entrar en detalles filológicos u históricos. Este es un territorio bajo la soberanía Americana. Esa soberanía que el entiende es su objetivo del siglo 21.

Regresa al principio de Muñoz y del PPD con los soberanistas, se olvida por completó de su mismos panfletos de historia y de su educación Universitaria y claro esta de José Celso Barbosa. Nada que el “Skeleton crew” sale del “Armario” y se deshace sin traje de baño. Léalo usted mismo a página entera. Los   Estadistas no debemos pasar por alto este detalle, de hecho  todavía no hablan de soberanía en manos de la incorporación  como un Estado con todas la obligaciones y principios filosóficos. Tampoco se retoma como lo hiso Ronald Reagan, los caminos de un gobierno con soluciones simples. Idioma claro y enfocado en su libertad contra la opresión de carácter serio y con norte especifico si miedos.

Me reitero en decir: Debemos  seguir con esa retorica de escopeta y que repita esa insurrección del siglo 21. Si el pueblo desolló al  1% p  y aun  menos, de este chorro de parejeros con títulos y socialistas,  que además  desean los subsidió de los USA y ayuda exterior para su fanatismo de  República socialista, lo próximo será el uso del  capital del estado para sus oficiales de partido.

Retorica sin  explicaciones pragmáticas y reales proyectando  una economía decreciente, y  18 grupúsculos independentistas  fragmentados, que quieren diferentes métodos de enfocar eso que patrocina el  izquierdismo separatista. Es risible lo de una Constitúyente y ¿Con el visto bueno del Congreso?

Six Reasons Why the Capital Gains Tax Should Be Abolished

February 13, 2011

Desmenuzan impacto del “Obama care”

February 3, 2011

Desmenuzan impacto del “Obama care”
Carlos Antonio Otero, EL VOCERO

Representantes del sector de la salud destacaron que el impacto de la llamada reforma “Obama care” podría lesionar los beneficios de la población Medicare Advantage en la Isla.

Durante el Puerto Rico Health & Insurance Conference 2011, celebrado ayer en San Juan por la Cámara de Comercio y la Universidad de Miami, algunos deponentes plantearon que el plan de llevar fondos de Medicare a Medicaid para atender a la población indigente estadounidense, debería manejarse con un trato distinto en Puerto Rico.

En un aparte con EL VOCERO, Julio F. Juliá, presidente de la aseguradora MCS, dijo que el plan Obama tiene sentido en Estados Unidos porque le hace justicia a una población de 50 millones de indigentes sin cubierta médica, pero en la Isla ese segmento es de apenas 200,000 lo cual se considera una cantidad conservadora.

Explicó que la reforma de salud federal le podría restar servicios a los beneficiarios de planes Medicare Advantage en Puerto Rico, como la cubierta dental y la compra de espejuelos, entre otros. Juliá indicó que destinar fondos de Medicare a Medicaid no beneficia significativamente a ningún sector a nivel local.

Los beneficiario Medicare Advantage son personas de 65 años o más o menores de esa edad con discapacidad.

En sentido económico, declaró que al ser mínimo el grupo de indigentes descubiertos en la Isla, los fondos que le quiten a Medicare se perderían y eso tendrá un impacto adverso para la economía local y para los pacientes.

Tanto Juliá como otros proveedores y los hospitales, mantienen un fuerte cabildeo en Washington –unidos al comisionado residente Pedro Pierluisi y el gobierno- para lograr un cambio en cuanto a la reforma para la Isla.

Jaime Plá, presidente de la Asociación de Hospitales de Puerto Rico, igual planteó que los indigentes beneficiados con el “Obama care” serán menos aquí si se toma en cuenta que el plan Mi Salud del gobernador Luis Fortuño proyecta capturar a unos 65,000 de dicha población para que reciban la cubierta de salud del estado.

De acuerdo con Plá, la nueva reforma de salud federal necesariamente tendrá un efecto económico en Puerto Rico ya que “la industria de la salud es la única que no ha mostrado decrecimiento y la llegada escalonada de la reforma se hará sentir”.

“La fragilidad nos puede tocar en cualquier momento y hay muchas organizaciones de salud que están apretadas y podríamos tener más consolidaciones en instituciones hospitalarias”, adelantó.

Durante el evento realizado ayer en el hotel Conrad Condado Plaza, también hubo disertaciones de Jaime R. Torres, director regional del Departamento de Salud federal, para el área de Nueva York, quien habló de las oportunidades para la Isla en la nueva reforma. “Esta Administracion esta dedicando $15 millones para la prevención en los próximos 10 años.  Para eso se ha empleado un concilio en la nación, que estamos visitando los Estados para ver qué es importante para la prevención en todas nuestras regiones.  Tenemos que estar seguros de que ese dinero se va a distribuir y se va a utilizar de tal manera que sea sensitivo para cada región, estado o territorio”, destacó Torres.

Dijo que fondos como Medicaid Cap se han triplicado hasta 2019, incluso “los que van a Puerto Rico para mejorar la salud que todos anciamos para nuestras familias”.

Caliphate and Global Jihad

February 1, 2011

The term caliphate (from the Arabic خلافة or khilāfa, TurkishHalife ) refers to the first system of government established in Islam, and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah (nation). In theory, it is a constitutional republic[1] (see Constitution of Medina), meaning that the head of state (the Caliph) and other officials are representatives of the people and must govern according to Islamic law, which limits the government’s power over citizens. It was initially led by Muhammad‘s disciples as a continuation of the political system the prophet established, known as the ‘rashidun caliphates’. It represented the political unity, not the theological unity of Muslims as theology was a personal matter. It was the world’s first major welfare state.[2] (Although this is also claimed by the Mauryan Empire, 800 years earlier)[3]. A “caliphate” is also a state which implements such a governmental system.

Sunni Islam dictates that the head of state, the caliph, should be selected by Shura – elected by Muslims or their representatives.[4] Followers of Shia Islam believe the caliph should be an imam descended in a line from the Ahl al-Bayt. After the Rashidun period until 1924, caliphates, sometimes two at a single time, real and illusory, were ruled by dynasties. The first dynasty was the Umayyad. This was followed by theAbbasid, the Fatimid, and finally the Ottoman Dynasty.

The caliphate was “the core political concept of Sunni Islam, by the consensus of the Muslim majority in the early centuries.”[5]

Global Jihad One of the clearly stated goals of the jihadist group al-Qaeda is the re-establishment of a caliphate.[49] Bin Laden has called for Muslims to “establish the righteous caliphate of our umma.”[50] Al Qaeda recently named its Internet newscast from Iraq “The Voice of the Caliphate.”[51]According to author Lawrence WrightAyman al-Zawahiri (Bin Laden’s mentor and Al-Qaida No.2 in command), once “sought to restore the caliphate…which had formally ended in 1924 following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire but which had not exercised real power since the thirteenth century. Once caliphate was established, Zawahiri believed, Egypt would become a rallying point for the rest of the Islamic world, leading the jihad against the West. “Then history would make a new turn, God willing,” Zawahiri later wrote, “in the opposite direction against the empire of the United States and the world’s Jewish government.”[52]