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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Illegal Immigrants Get Free Pass

Here is another example of what is going wrong in our society. Police in San Francisco will no longer impound cars of first time drivers pulled over without a license. The reason being is that most unlicensed drives are illegal immigrants. Its a little bit more then bizarre to me.
Instead of making it more difficult for illegals to live here we are actually accommodating them which encourages and raises the hopes of these immigrants to stay here illegally.
Most unlicensed illegal immigrants also don't have car insurance. Does that mean the police will also ignore no insurance also? Also what will happen when these drivers hit someone and injure them with no insurance? Someone's going to have to pay and it probably won't be the driver without insurance.
What is more absurd is that a unlicensed driver gets another free pass if he isn't stopped again in six months. A driver gets stopped today for no license and gets stopped again after six months they let the driver go again. So the city loses money in license fees, ticket fees and more then likely there is no insurance involved. I guess San Francisco is doing well enough not to need these fees.
Carol Grifford, public relations manager for AAA Carolinas said “unlicensed drivers are among the greatest safety threats on the highways” with 807 fatal accidents just in South Carolina between 2001-2005 to have involved unlicensed drivers.
Here are some examples of the tragedy of unlicensed illegals driving:

Here is a excellent article from a police officers viewpoint on the unbelievable problems he's had in trying to get unlicensed illegals off the street. Police Officers View
I'm just not against illegals driving without a license (even though arresting illegals for driving without a license would be a good tool to combat illegal immigration) but anyone driving without a license. We say one thing in wanting to curb illegal immigration but we say another thing when we accommodate and encourage them.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

General John Kerry

Here's a news flash: President Obama just announced he won't be rushed into making a decision on whether to send additional troops to Afghanistan. That's a relief since it's only been longer then a month since his commander requested help.
President, Take your time, maybe address the UN again or start campaigning for the 2020 Olympics. Those combat troops in Afghanistan can wait. Heck, take yourself a vacation and relax maybe a vacation will help you think. There isn't a rush.
General John Kerry also just announced that President Obama's Commanding General in Afghanistan is moving too far and too fast in regards to his plea for additional troops. In the Same breath Kerry warned that the United States cannot risk a shift in strategy that would narrowly focus on hunting terrorists.
Gee, seems to me if General McChrystal doesn't get the troops he requested then the mission will have to shift to a more narrow focus. I mean at this point he's not getting the troops he requested to regain the initiative. Gen. McChystal is advising his President he doesn't have enough troops but Kerry doesn't want the mission in Afghanistan to downsize. Do the math, Kerry.
Gen. McChystal probably never thought he would have to deal with a Commander-in Chief that injects so much politics in trying to make military decisions. It almost looks like Obama is looking at the polls and seeing which way the wind is going to blow before he decides on his commander's plea.
Wouldn't surprise me if McChystal just throws his arms up and resigns.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Troops in Afghanistan need a Commander-in-Chief

President Obama has gone weeks without sending the additional troops to Afghanistan that were requested by his handpicked commander Gen. McChrystal. This delay was before the disputed election in that country. No matter. President Obama is now using that disputed election as a reason to continue the delay in sending help requested by his commander.
Mr. Obama, the troops on the ground couldn't care less about who wins what election. They are fighting for their lives and their commander has requested more troops now (Actually that now has been well over a month).
While Obama has playing politics back home his troops on the ground in Afghanistan are in trouble. Act like a Commander- in-Chief and send the requested troops or get them out of there. Seems to me the troops on the ground are being left out to dry. Why choose your General to command your troops but when he asks for help he's not heard? Tell you what, just fire this General as you did the previous one. Keep appointing new Generals until you find one that tells you what you want to hear.
Moral within the military has to be fading fast with a Commander-in-Chief that refuses to respond to his General's plea for help. Maybe Obama will end up sending more troops but when and will it all ready be too late?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Credit Card Companies Gouging Customers

Credit card companies are gouging their customers with as many fees and higher interest rates as they can shove though before credit card reforms take place in February. If you have excellent credit your just as libel to get additional new fees and higher interest rates as those with lower credit scores. In fact if you carry little or no balance you may get hit with new fees for not carrying a balance or because you don't use your card enough. It's kind of a catch -22.
These credit card companies remind me of the businesses that gouged their customers right after 9/11 when they raised their gas prices to astronomical highs feeding on the fear of customers and squeezing as many dollars out of said customers until their window of opportunity closed.
In this economy people need their credit but all these credit card companies see are dollar signs and they are going to milk this situation for all it's worth. I have written in the past about JPMorgan Chase closing accounts of good customers but sadly they are not alone. Bank of America will start to charge some customers a annual fee of between $29.00 to $99 dollars while Citigroup will start charging card holders a annual fee if they don't charge a certain amount on their cards in a year.
The government went after those businesses that gouged customers after 9/11. I would like them to do the same to these credit card companies.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Obama's Olympics, Foreign Policy Views Naive

I swore I wasn't going to write about the Olympic blunder in Chicago until I received my Sunday Chicago Tribune on the 4th of October. I was sipping coffee and going through page after page of the front section of the paper and I didn't find any articles about health care, wars in Iran and Afghanistan, or the economy. I would estimate 95% of the front section of this major American paper was all about the loss of the Olympic bid Chicago put forward.
The only reason President Obama went to Copenhagen was to increase his political capital. It was a educated gamble. He thought the odds were in his favor when he made his plea to have the 2016 Olympics go to Chicago.
I'm not blaming President Obama for trying to bring the Olympics to Chicago but I am blaming him for the naive, wide-eyed expectations he had. This is very troubling because the administration runs their foreign policy in much the same way. Being a bit too naïve. Specifically trying to engage Iran among others on issues such as curtailing nuclear weaponry.
The International Olympic Committee no matter how they profess to be free of politics is basically an organization where politics dictate everything. Just having the best bid doesn't win. It's another way countries can snub the United States, much like the United Nations does.
How can you take the United Nations seriously when in the past they have had countries such as Syria, Libya, China and Saudi Arabia being on the United Nations Commission on Human Rights? I understand for political reasons you have to share the seats with countries with bad human rights records but that doesn't mean it's a legitimate Commission in dealing with serious issues. I mean what is Sudan going to say about human rights violations in Libya or vice versa?
The Olympics over the years have been plagued with cheating on both the players and officials sides.
While Obama took off to Copenhagen the question of sending more troops to Afghanistan was left answered. It is going into the middle of October and he is still undecided. I realize he needs time to make his decision but how long? A week? Two weeks? A month? He is surrounded by military and civilian advisers and I'm sure by now they have given him all the information he needs.
As he sits undecided Americans are being killed almost daily in Afghanistan. He fired the former commandeer and hand-picked his present one who requested more troops.
I don't think his indecisiveness is hurting troops now but what happens if he does decide to send more troops? It's going to take time to get his new plan in action. Whatever plan he decides on pursuing could have been started weeks ago and the worst part is Robert Gates, his defense secretary, announced it may still take weeks for Obama to decide thus delaying implementation of any plan he decides on.
Very soon this “aww, shucks let me think about it” attitude may start harming our troops.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Obama, Don't leave the troops out to dry

At first when reading articles about the top U.S. Commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChyrstal, I too thought he may have been out of line when at at a speech in London he appealed for more troops in Afghanistan but that all changed when I heard remarks by Obama's defense secretary Robert Gates.
Right after 8 American's got killed in a remote Afghan outpost (there is thoughts by many in the military that the troops were stretched too thin) Gates announced it may still take weeks to decide whether to send more troops to Afghanistan or not! Come on Obama has already had weeks to decide and the troops over there don't have the luxury of waiting while Obama is taking trips to such places as Copenhagen on behalf of Chicago for the Olympics. Somebody needs to take his plane away and sit him in that oval office and don't let him come out until he makes a decision.
American's are dying in Afghanistan and their top commander, hand picked by Obama, is asking for help with more troops.
Give him the troops or get them the hell out of there. Don't leave them out to dry while your trying to make up your mind.
The more I think about this controversy with Gen. McChyrstal the more I believe he knew exactly what he was doing. You don't become a four star Gen by being stupid. Maybe the situation is so dire in Afghanistan that he felt a fire had to be lit under Obama's ass to get him to decide which way he wants to go.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Powerful movie for our times - Local Marine Killed

I wrote this a couple of weeks ago but I'm posting this now because of a good friend's son that was killed in a training accident while preparing to deploy to Afghanistan.

Lcpl Zachary TenBrook USMC Middlebury, Indiana
April 12, 1988-Sept. 30, 2009
Middlebury, Indiana

Being a former Marine I may be a bit biased when I say the the HBO movie “Taking Chance” is simply one of the best war related movies I have ever seen. It's not a war movie in the traditional sense. There is no gunfire, explosions and only one death. PFC Chance who died in Iraq. . The whole movie is based on a true story by Lt. Col Michael R. Strobl who escorted the young Marine's remains back to his small home town. It is very unusual for a high ranking officer such as Lt. Col Strobl to escort the remains of a low ranking enlisted Marine but the Lt Col thought the body was going back near his hometown and volunteered to do this service. The viewer sees how PFC Chase is treated with respect and honor throughout the long process of going home. As his body passes during the different phases of the trip we see everyone from construction workers to airline employees taking a few minutes to take off their hats and pause with a minute of silence. This movie is in the same mold as “Flight 93” the excellent movie that was based on the true actions of the heroes of flight 93 that stopped the terrorists on 9/11 from crashing their plane into the supposed target of Washington DC. In that movie there were no big names because the producer wanted everyone to see the heroes of that flight as the common man, people just like you and me that arouse to the occasion in horrible circumstances. “Taking Chance” has only one recognizable name, Keven Bacon who played the Lt. Col who was nominated for a award for his performance. The movie isn't trying to get any political point across. You can be for or against the war in Iraq. It doesn't matter. What you will experience is the traditions of how the military treats their dead and the kindness of strangers to someone they have never met. Here is a link to a excellent first hand account by Lt. Col Strobl on his journey taking Chance back home. Story . We live in a fast paced, busy world but I wish people would take an hour and half out of their lives to sit back and watch a powerful movie such as this. Most people are never aware of the behind the scene events that make up such a trip to return the remains of war dead back to their families. No detail is too small. It starts with the recovery of the dead on the battlefield thousands of miles away to lowering the casket in the ground back home. This HBO movie also has been nominated for numerous awards. Some accounts have Chance being a Lcpl others a PFC. I think what happened is Chance got promoted posthumously to Lcpl.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Let's fly to Cuba!

I used to be outraged when I was younger over the old Soviet Union who denied their citizens the ability to travel outside their country. A government should not be able to tell their own citizens where they can and cannot go. Freedom to travel I believe is a fundamental right of everyone.
In this day and age I cannot believe the United States restricts Americans from going to Cuba. Want to go to North Korea, China, or Iran? No problem. How about the tiny island nation of Cuba laying 90 miles off the cost of Florida? Don't even think about it.
Actually people do think about it and Americans that are determined to see Cuba usually go through Mexico or Canada. Once in Cuba immigration there will look at your passport and see your an American and usually won't stamp your passport so you don't get in trouble when you return to the United States.
The don't go to Cuba restrictions were put in place back in 1963. Maybe, just maybe someone in the government here can wake up and realize that these restrictions that deny Americans the right to travel to Cuba haven't worked in ending the communist rule there. All they have done with this policy has made us a joke in the eyes of Canadians and Europeans who have the freedom to travel and enjoy what Cuba has to offer.
I resent our government restricting my freedom. Cuba may not be everyone's cup of tea but those that would like to travel there, then why not?
There is a bill called “Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act” that was introduced to to congress in February 2009. It was read twice then referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. I doubt its going anywhere.
To the critics that want to continue this ban because of Cuba's suppression of its people I say so what? If we would put a ban on every country that suppressed their own people then half the world would be off limits to us.
Right now Cuba's government routinely blames the American embargo and travel restrictions as reasons why their economy is failing. What excuses would Cuba's government give to their people if we ended the embargo and travel restrictions?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Why you should be able to defend youself with a gun in Chicago

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge on the 27 year old gun ban in Chicago. It's about time. The gun ban was put into effect to curb urban violence which it has failed miserably to do.
I know liberals will see this as a tired old cliche but it is as true as ever. The gun ban only keeps hand guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens. If you follow that logic then gun violence is not committed by law abiding citizens that should be able to own a gun.
Study after study has shown that licensed gun owners commit a miniscule amount of gun violence compared with unlicensed gun owners. Could it be again that registered gun owners are law abiding citizens?
Actually I think this whole gun control issue should be a liberal cause in favor of “freedom of choice”. If I choose to have a hand gun that should be my right. I'm not hurting anyone unless I'm threatened with bodily harm.
This whole insane idea of withholding handguns from law abiding citizens must really embolden criminals. They know there is little chance a private citizen can defend him or herself.
Let those people without violent criminal records have handguns and those that are caught with a unregistered gun or commit a crime with a gun get stiff jail time. No plea bargain. Example: robbing a gas station with a gun, two years for the robbery and 10 years for using a gun in commission of a crime. No plea bargain. It shouldn't be a crime just to own a gun that's in a private home laying in a drawer.
I wonder how many of those against handgun ownership would change their minds if they lived in some of the most drug, crime ridden parts of Chicago?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Man up Alan Grayson

In this day and age people throw around the word holocaust for shock value because of course the first thing that comes to a person's mind is the WWII holocaust that killed over 6 millions Jews.
Rep. Alan Grayson knew this when he called no health care “America's holocaust” after he made the announcement that “Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick”.
Well I consider myself a Republican as is a very large percentage of the people living here in the United States. So I guess Grayson was referring to almost half of the population wanting to see sick people die.
I haven't heard Obama or any other democratic leaders rebuking this man. Some people are comparing his remark to Joe Wilson's shout at President Obama “you Lie” during the President's speech. It was a bonehead thing to do. Joe Wilson apologized for the remark that should never have been made while the president was speaking. It was to say the least boorish behavior.
Alan Grayson on the other hand went beyond boorish behavior when he said Republican's want to see sick people die. He knows, I know and every reader knows he don't believe what he said. Grayson in trying to tie the health care debate to the holocaust demeans and belittles the 6 million Jews killed during the “real” holocaust.
Man up Alan and give the millions of us that are Republican's an apology. Funny when the democrats use inflammatory rhetoric and throw around words like holocaust and killing to put down the other party all we see are smug smiles from the democratic leadership with no apologies.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Polanski you can run but you can't hide

I found a interesting twist to the whole Roman Polanski melodrama. His mother died in a Nazi concentration camp and though Polanski is no Nazi criminal he is nevertheless a criminal that pleaded guilty to sodomy and rape of a 13 year old girl. To those that say let bygones be bygones since 32 years have passed for Polanski I wonder if those same people would say the same thing towards a Nazi criminal that was caught 32 years after world war II ended?
Consider the comment by the French Foreign Minister in defense of Polanski “A man of such talent, recognized in the entire world....all this just isn't nice”. What isn't nice is this man gave a 13 year old alcohol and slipped her drugs then raped and sodomized the girl while she pleaded with him to stop.
What if this man was not a world renowned film Director? Say he was a unemployed bum? Would the French Foreign Minister still announce that the whole episode “isn't nice”?
Polanski struck a plea deal which would have put him in jail for only 42 days. He decided to not do the 42 days and fled the country. He escaped punishment of raping a 13 year old girl and continued directing movies and living in a rich and famous lifestyle. He acted like he was untouchable because of that fame and money and it seems a lot of people agree with him that yes, he should be left alone.
Criminals always must know that they can't just run away from the legal system and after so many years all is forgiven. If that was the case it would diminish our whole legal system, not make the system a solid respected structure.
Polanski you can run but you can't hide. You should have done your 42 days. Now here's hoping its 42 days and much longer for the evading justice charges.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rape case on Notre Dame Campus?

I came across a interesting article concerning two Notre Dame students in the South Bend Tribune Aug 28th 2009. Patrick Augustyn age 20 was accused of raping an intoxicated female student in his room. Maybe he did or maybe he didn't but just by reading the story in the South Bend Tribune I found it ridicules he was ever arrested. I'm not trying to make light of rape but just basing my opinion on what was in the newspaper story. You decide.
Police were called to investigate a partially dressed intoxicated female student sleeping in the hall of a men's dorm. The shirt she was wearing happened to belong to Augustyn. Hmmm. When the police found Augustyn in his room he admitted the two had met at a party and “hooked up”. I would guess that they were both drinking and “hooking up” and having sex I think is not too uncommon for young people especially when alcohol is involved.
Oh oh the intoxicated female student who had a alcohol content of .13 said she doesn't remember much of what went on that night and would never have consented to have sex with him. She probably doesn't remember much of what went on that night but then again if I was found passed out half naked in a dorm hall I think I would have said the same thing. I don't remember much.
So I guess if Augustyn didn't freely admit he had sex with her then everything would have been ok since she didn't remember anything. I wonder why then he freely admitted to having sex with her if he knew it was rape.
What I have never understood is when you have two people of opposite sexes drinking only one person is held responsible for their actions. The Man. I understand if she was passed out and he forced herself on her. Yes I see that as rape but if she gets so drunk and consents to sex then later says she would have never have consented to sex I don't see that as the same thing. I guess I just see it as a responsibility issue. I like most people have done a lot of things that I have regretted after drinking.
I also don't know too many rapists who give their victims a shirt after raping them.
His plea deadline date is set for Oct. 23 and tentative trial date Jan,. 25th.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Navy Sub Killer Idea

So the United States Navy wants both sexes on Subs. Great idea. Where else in the world would you think it would be a good idea to have 150 people of opposite sexes in the same space as a three bedroom house? Throw in months at sea with most of that time underwater and the stress of very long days and the worry of enemy action and you have a boiling pot ready to spill over.
As a former Marine stationed on both Marine and Navy bases there were always one or two major cases involving sexual harassment or perceived sexual harassment, adultery, or improper relationships such as higher ranks dating lower ranking personal. Does this make our military look bad? Of course not. I don't care how much discipline you have human nature will always win.
Another worry that critics stress is the big disparity of retention rates for females versus males in the Navy. Males are much more likely to reenlist then females and since the submarine force is relatively small (3,600 officers and 16,000 enlisted) this could lead to gaps in the submarine personal force.
Besides the lower retention rates the Navy already allows female sailors a year on land after the birth of a baby. Imagine having 50% of sub personal being female who have a much lower retention rates and pregnancy issues that can put them on land for a year and you would see the already small personal submarine force at risk of being seriously undermanned (no pun intended). Then on top of those issues you have the passion and friction of opposite sexes in very small quarters under stressful conditions.
Adm. Mike Mullen chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is giving this idea a ringing endorsement. I wonder who under his chain of command will tell him this idea is absolutely nuts?
I'm sure most liberals would consider me a sexist and would bellow that this is discrimination. In my defense I would reply let common sense prevail and don't undermine the military in protecting our country.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Beware of JPMorgan Chase

I kind of took it personal when Chase canceled my credit card after acquiring the card from Washington Mutual. I needn't have worried though because after very little research I found countless examples of Chase screwing their good customers and this is after Chase was granted a $25 billion bailout from the government.
Here are the facts. I have several credit cards and have never been late on any of them, ever. I pay more then the minimum each month on every card. I thought there may have been a mistake but nope. That's the way Chase treats their customers. As recently as last week Chase was cited in a front page USA article on how the company is canceling credit cards of good customers. One, Mary Lou Reid of Arcadia, Ca had a perfect payment record and was a financial planner. Chase closed two of her accounts.
Other disturbing accounts show up all over the web, details an account of a Chase customer who had his cards canceled and couldn't get through to a supervisor. I can relate to his problem. Most of the chase reps spoke poor English and one of them flatly denied me the chance to talk to a supervisor.
Speaking of the language skills of their reps here is a interesting fact. After receiving a 25 billion government bailout JPMorgan has continued to outsource jobs to India with contracts totaling almost 400 million for 2009 Here is a link to this information Chase outsourcing jobs .
At a employee-only confrence call a question was asked how the government bailout would be used. JPMorgan Chase chief executive, Jamie Dimon admitted that the massive 25 billion dollars given to it by the tax payers will not be used to free up credit and make new loans but to acquire other companies. Here is the full story in the New York Times
Full Story .
Here is another link to a slew of complaints about JPMorgan Chase who were mostly customers with Washington Mutual which Chase acquired Consumer Affairs .
I have other credit cards so the only way this is hurting me and other people who have been treated like shit by Chase is the effect of your credit score getting lowered by FICO because with the cancellation of your chase card you now have less credit available.
Other web sites that have numerous complaints against chase are Complaints board and horror stories at watch your chase card .
My Chase account online still shows I have over a 1,000 dollars available credit even though my card was canceled. Is this a scam to get you to use your canceled card then you get charged fees?
What our the options available to us? I for one I'm sending a link to this blog posting to anyone that has a email address at JPMorgan Chase. Basically they took out money through taxes (25 billion worth) then shut your accounts down as they proceed to buy other companies. Another example of how big business and government use your money and give you very little in return.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

G20 protesters or Taliban in Disguise?

I think the G-20 protesters in Pittsburgh this past September have much more in common with the taliban then the average man in the street. Consider this: You have self-described anarchists wearing dark clothes and bandannas carrying black flags and smashing windows of businesses and shouting slogans such as “No hope in Capitalism” while banging on drums and throwing rocks.
What do these people want? What do the Taliban want? They both seem to hate Western governments, have no use for structure in peoples lives and they both have as many “causes” as their fanatics can come up with to justify their behavior.
The Taliban on any given day tells us that they justify their actions because there against democracy, women's rights, Christians, infidels on Muslim land, against certain other kind of Muslims, the list goes on. Now we have the so called self -described G20 anarchists. They want to abolish capitalism (like the Taliban wishes), rejection of corporate subsidies, global warming, different types of child-labor laws, no more corporate bailouts and African debt relief among other far ranging causes that they use to justify their anarchy.
I'm not exactly for corporate bailouts either but a lot of these G20 protesters
profess they are for the poor people, the small guy. Where do they think these low to middle income people will be once businesses like GM and Chrysler close down? Then you have the trickle down effect of people making minimum wage that supply parts to these companies and other surrounding businesses who cater to the employees of these companies such as the restaurants, mom and pop stores and such. Do they consider where these people will be without the bailouts?
What is also interesting is how they can justify African debt relief but not corporate bailouts. They want to bailout a African system that has fostered corruption, war, greed and human slave trade on its own people year after year. Isn't that what enablers do? Lets do away with their debt to help prop up these corrupt power systems in Africa.
These G20 protesters need to get a life and if they want to help mankind then go find a good charity where they can donate their own money and leave the world's problems to the mostly elected officials voted in by their own population, the common man, of the G20.


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