House Unathletic Activities Committee

The Republicans have turned the House Committee on Governments Reform into the House Unathletic Activities Committee. They wasted nine billable hours on St. Patrick’s Day trying to find out whether steroid-using baseball players would be fined or suspended. That time and money could much better have been spent on government reform of the policies that enabled the Bush administration to kidnap an innocent Canadian citizen at Kennedy Airport and fly him at taxpayer expense to Syria, where he was handed over to Syrian operatives who tortured him for nearly a year. And that is just one of hundreds of cases of similar violations of human rights by our government. Congressional injection inspection is just a distration from real government reform.

Destroying Social Security

The spectacle of raucous Republicans at a Bush rally chanting, “Hey-hey, Ho-ho! Social Security’s Gotta Go!” makes clear that it is the aim of the Republican Party to destroy Social Security. Honorable Republicans ought to be ashamed.

World Ignores Genocide

Reprinted from The Providence Journal/Evening Bulletin Feb 19, 2005

Shame on the United Nations for its hypocrisy!

During its commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps, those present chanted, “Never again.” Yet since 1945 the world has ignored, or been extremely slow to deal with, the genocides of Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Milosevic’s Yugoslavia, Rwanda-Burundi, and, today, Darfur.

How can someone say, “Never again,” and then fail to stop the slaughter of innocent people being killed simply because of their ethnicity and/or religion?

RI House leaders need to catch public spirit

Reprinted from The Providence Journal/Evening Bulletin Feb 5, 2005

I found it ironic that on Jan. 24, while Rhode Islanders spent the day helping other Rhode Islanders after the blizzard, one of the lead articles in The Journal was “Musical chairs have some House members singing the blues.” This is exactly the behavior that gets Rhode Islanders, regardless of political leanings, frustrated with our government: people arguing about where they sit.

Meanwhile, in my neighborhood as well as many other neighborhoods, people called to check on their older neighbors, owners of snowblowers took care of driveways, people dug out each other’s trash cans and brought newspapers directly up to doors, and some who couldn’t shovel cooked for those who could. Could we capture this spirit and send it to Smith Hill?

On the Democratic Party (Part I)

May 2004
Image result for senator kerry 2004
For better or worse, the Democratic Party has done it again. Are we resurrecting “President” Dukakis or President Kennedy? Senator Edwards has dropped out of the Presidential race and John F. Kerry is the presumptive Democrat nominee. Sen. Kerry is a successful politician and a great American. He would make an excellent President of the United States, but can he win? Electorally, what does he offer as a candidate?Massachusetts would vote for any Democrat. (Remember when Massachusetts was the only state to stem a Nixon sweep in 1972?) Senator Edwards, on the other hand, would have offered the Democrats the chance to alter the Electoral Map: make North Carolina a “blue” state instead of a “red” state and swing 15 Electoral votes into the Democratic column. That would give the Democrat 275 to Bush’s 263. That would give the Democrats victory. Can a Democrat from the Northeast be elected? Sure, it’s been done before…. 44 years ago!

President Kennedy was the last Northern Democrat to be elected and, of course, he slipped in with a 119,450 vote difference. Why? Because we are living in times of party de-alignment and neo-sectionalism. In order to win the Presidency, the Democrats must run a candidate from an area Republican strength and/or sweep the Midwest and Florida (Carter/1976, Clinton/1992, Clinton/1996).
Similarly, it has also been 44 years since a sitting legislator was elected President. Since JFK, we have had four governors (Carter, Reagan, Clinton, G.W. Bush), two Vice-Presidents (Nixon and G.H.W. Bush) and four incumbents, (Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton) elected President of the United States. Not one single legislator has been elected President in nearly a half-century. Why? Because legislators leave legislative paper trails; it is too easy to attack a legislator’s voting record. Although President Kennedy was a legislator with six years in the U.S. House and eight years in the U.S. Senate, he spent a significant amount of time in the hospital. Furthermore, the Kennedy election was arguably the last of the old-style political machinery elections. And even Kennedy barely won…one of the four closest elections of all time (1824,1876,1960,2000).

John Kerry has been a legislator for 18 years, but there are no corpses from Cook County Illinois to vote for him; John Kerry does not have a Boss Tweed or a Tammany Hall to carry his campaign, and John Kerry does not have the South voting for him. I hope I am wrong. I pray I am wrong. In November, I will vote for John F. Kerry to be the next President of the United States. He will make an excellent President and I wish him the best, but what color will North Carolina be: red or blue?

For better or worse, the Democratic Party has done it again

For better or worse, the Democratic Party has done it again. Are we resurrecting “President” Dukakis or President Kennedy? Senator Edwards has dropped out of the Presidential race and John F. Kerry is the presumptive Democrat nominee. Sen. Kerry is a successful politician and a great American. He would make an excellent President of the United States, but can he win? Electorally, what does he offer as a candidate? Massachusetts would vote for any Democrat. (Remember when Massachusetts was the only state to stem a Nixon sweep in 1972?) Senator Edwards on the other hand would have offered the Democrats the chance to alter the Electoral Map: make North Carolina a “blue” state instead of a “red” state and swing 15 Electoral votes into the Democratic column. That would give the Democrat 275 to Bush’s 263. That would give the Democrats victory. Can a Democrat from the Northeast be elected? Sure, it’s been done before…. 44 years ago!

President Kennedy was the last Northern Democrat to be elected and, of course, he slipped in with a 119,450 vote difference. Why? Because we are living in times of party de-alignment and neo-sectionalism. In order to win the Presidency, the Democrats must run a candidate from an area Republican strength and/or sweep the Midwest and Florida (Carter/1976, Clinton/1992, Clinton/1996).

Similarly, it has also been 44 years since a sitting legislator was elected President. Since JFK, we have had four governors (Carter, Reagan, Clinton, G.W. Bush), two Vice-Presidents (Nixon and G.H.W. Bush) and four incumbents, (Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton) elected President of the United States. Not one single legislator has been elected President in nearly a half-century. Why? Because legislators leave legislative paper trails; it is too easy to attack legislators voting record. Although President Kennedy was a legislator with six years in the U.S. House and eight years in the U.S. Senate, he spent a significant amount of time in the hospital. Furthermore, the Kennedy election was arguably the last of the old-style political machinery elections. And even Kennedy barely won…one of the four closest elections of all time (1824,1876,1960,2000).

John Kerry has been a legislator for 18 years, but there are no corpses from Cook County Illinois to vote for him; John Kerry does not have a Boss Tweed or a Tammany Hall to carry his campaign; and John Kerry does not have the South voting for him.

I hope I am wrong. I pray I am wrong. In November, I will vote for John F. Kerry to be the next President of the United States. He will make an excellent President and I wish him the best, but what color will North Carolina be: red or blue?

9/11, Kerr, Clinton, and Saddam

Mr. Stone’s Letter to the Editor on 7/14/03 is an affront to human decency and logic. First of all, I find it despicable to imply that a PJB journalist is an adulterer simple because Mr. Stone disagrees with Mr. Kerr’s opinion (“But I’m sure you… would rather hide in hallway anterooms with young interns.) Unfortunately, it is always easier to argue emotionally rather than logically.

To score emotional points, it’s easy to link pro-Saddam groups with terrorists who “look forward to strapping on 10 pounds dynamite to blow themselves” up (Stone 7/14/03). It would be more difficult to actually study the situation logically and to understand Middle East politics and religion. If one spent the time, one would realize that the pro-Saddam elements of Iraq are wholly secular and even anti-religious. Saddam’s Baath faction was in competition with the fundamentalist elements of Iraqi society prior to the war. Fundamentalist terrorists have always been a threat to Saddam’s Baath establishment. That is precisely one of the reasons that President Bush (41) left Saddam in power in 1991, to play these groups off of each other. If there is any connection between these two segments of Iraqi society, it is because the recent war pushed them together. On their own, they are religious and political opposites.

I am also so tired of right-wing extremists using President Clinton as a scapegoat for every evil in the world (“…the previous administration probably helped usher in 9/11”). Need I remind Mr. Stone that it is the current administration that has been “Stone”-walling the 9/11 Commission?

Of course, whenever logic fails, try to score another emotional point by bringing up Clinton’s adultery when defending the muddied situation in Iraq (“Bill Clinton’s philandering with an intern is so much ‘better’ than sending people off to fight and die.” Again, I am tired of these default attacks on Clinton and, again, I apparently need to point out the facts. While one of the two biggest complaints about Clinton is infidelity, the icon of family-values, President Reagan, “got away” with his out of wedlock affair (Reagan’s daughter Patti was born in 1952; a mere seven months after his marriage to Nancy). The second common complaint against Clinton is that he lied. We could make an endless list of Democratic and Republican presidents who lied, but let us only mention Watergate for this argument.

Bill Clinton’s two offenses are not unique to him, so let us drop the emotional attacks on Clinton and Kerr and attempt to use facts to discuss the current administration’s failings and the current problems in Iraq.

[This was in response to the following:

Regarding We’re in for the fight of our lives, Bob Kerr’s June 18 column: Yes, people are still getting killed in Iraq. Gee, I guess that must mean the liberal slant you want to portray is somehow more worthy of consideration than the Bush administration’s position. Bill Clinton’s lying about his philandering with an intern is so much better than sending people off to fight and die. Wow, what powerful insight! What persuasive logic!

Bob, even you should have enough common sense to admit that there continue to be fanatical members of various Muslim groups who will remain pro-Saddam and anti-Israel and anti-America no matter how much education and acceptance of differences we have. They look forward to strapping on 10 pounds of dynamite to blow themselves and the enemy of Islam into their version of paradise.

Despite liberal protestations to the contrary, the previous administration in Washington probably helped usher in 9/11. Ironically, the notion of a country so morally corrupt that its leader engages in numerous episodes of extramarital sex leads the fanatical Muslim to believe we should all be (at least) castrated.

But I’m sure you and others of your ilk would rather hide in hallway anterooms with young interns, instead of facing the horrors of stopping a mad dictator, his fanatical followers and other terrorists. Perhaps you think some form of appeasement would bring us peace.

DOUGLAS STONE
Warwick]