Good Morning…I’m going to blog today…I’m going to blog today… I have started to write the last few days but haven’t finished so this will be a compilation of a few days news. I’ve tried to stay away from writing this if I don’t have anything to say. I hope it will be better to have fewer posts that are more filled with content, than more posts with repetitive or uninteresting content.
Jumping to Conclusions
The Sudden resignation of Gen David Petraeus was shocking to some people and a few even questioned why an extra-marital affair was cause for the CIA Director’s resignation. He’s the CIA director and deals with the most secret information our Country is involved in. An affair opens him to extortion threats. Beyond the moral failings that Petraeus cited in resigning…It’s that simple. The Pandora’s Box that opened as a result of this investigation is a tall cup of crazy. I’ve told a lot of friends who live on The East Coast or in bigger cities…they live in a completely different world. The idea of a woman whose life revolved around throwing lavish parties for military couples… a pseudo-relationship with the Korean Consulate that had her believing she was some sort of diplomat…and credit card debt that reportedly topped $100,000 and had creditors after her; just wouldn’t fly in Iowa…We look at people like that and shake our head…think it’s crazy. On the East coast…that’s just the odd reality. We haven’t heard the last of this for sure. And in the middle of all of this will anyone remember that Gen. Allen is going to end up being cleared of any wrongdoing? It’s too bad there was a lot of speculation and not more patience with this story as it unfolded in its early days.
General Petraeus will be testifying in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee today about the attacks in Benghazi Libya. Republicans are making an effort to make this a political problem for the President…and it may be. The President’s claims that the Republican complaints are overblown are ridiculous. The Ambassador to the UN went on Sunday talk shows days after the attacks and claimed it was sparked by an Anti-Muslim video on the Internet. None of these surrogates go on these Sunday shows without the White House laying out EXACTLY what they are going to say…so it is plausible that Republicans are right when they say Ambassador Rice either A. went totally rogue in her explanation of the Libya attacks or B. Was instructed to say exactly what she said. In the first case, it’s fair to question Ambassador Rice’s judgement. If she is to be the Secretary of State, her voice must be in step with the Administration. If she was told to blame the attacks on the Video, it is fair to ask who, inside the White House, told her to do that…and did the President know? If there’s another explanation, I’d like to hear it. So far the Administration isn’t saying enough. Having said all of that…watching Republicans jump up and down trying to hold back their pure joy about the potential screw up is, I think, what makes a lot of people dislike politics in general, and Republicans in particular.
Speaking of Not Enough...
University of Iowa has clammed up again during PR firestorm. We are reminded again that when the University needs our help to promote something positive it’s doing; they are as open and helpful as they possibly can be. When it’s anything that approaches negative…we get nothing….except, the occasional indignation at any reporter who asks questions. It’s as if we are somehow being disloyal to the state if we ask questions about a state-run institution. Why is it so hard for people who get themselves caught in a situation like this to realize, it’s much better to be open…answer questions quickly and honestly and ride out the storm. If you don’t know the answer….say so…and say you are investigating the situation…which you are. When you stonewall you invite people to think there is more to the story than there might really be. And…oh yeah,….YOU WORK FOR US!!!!!
And… Will it Ever Be Enough?
The State of Iowa’s largest employee Union begins its negotiations with the State of Iowa today. I’ve said before…it is simply unrealistic for any worker to believe that their employer should pay for all of their healthcare. State revenue looks good right now and the Iowa economy seems headed in the right direction. I see no reason AFSCME workers shouldn’t get a small wage increase in exchange for their picking up part of their healthcare costs. South of us in Kansas City this morning, some of the 19,000 Hostess workers are out of a job because a Company and its Union couldn’t come to an agreement on a contract. Healthcare costs were a huge issue in that negotiation. I’m not suggestion the State of Iowa should ask for an 8% salary cut or a 30% reduction in benefits but there has to be a middle ground. Maybe finding it more often over the years at Hostess, they wouldn’t have ended up in this position. See, it’s easy to say…that greedy company won’t pass along its profits to those poor workers…but it’s not that simple. It never is. The argument that Union workers in some way deserve free or nearly free healthcare coverage doesn’t compute with so many people who are paying $500 or $600/month for coverage that doesn’t hold a candle to what AFSCME workers get.
Back to politics. I’ve heard a lot of Republicans come up with a lot of reasons they didn’t win the election….in fact why they lost ground in the House, the Senate…The Iowa House and couldn’t take the equally divided Iowa Senate. Republicans tried to stay away from social issues…they just couldn’t avoid them. Someone I talk politics with on a regular basis said these issues were nothing more than a smoke screen for Democrats to scare voters. The problem is that Republicans gave voters no reason to look through the smoke…in fact they gave voters reason to question the overall judgement of Republican candidates. Bob Vander Plaats emailed supporters to let them know that the majority of Iowans who voted to retain Justice Wiggins were simply living their lives in the dark.
“Iowans know judicial activism when they see it and 560,000+ educated Iowa voters responded with a collective voice that said, “Judicial activism has no place in the courts of Iowa.”
The problem with that is that a majority of Iowans including the largest collection of Law School graduates in the state don’t see it that way. But to BVP we’re just “not educated”? Not smart enough to see your point of view? BVP went on to say the people who opposed this initiative made their arguments “about him”. Well I have a question. If it’s not about you….quit. Stop taking money from The Family Leader. The organization will obviously thrive on its own. If this is really a movement that has the momentum and life that you claim it does…then TFL can stop paying you a salary and use the money to further it’s initiatives. Every independent and measurable indication is that The Family leader’s views represents a shrinking minority of Iowans. Votes in three states affirmed the rights of same-sex couples to marry. A Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage was rejected by Minnesota voters. I’m half on board with he idea of holding the same vote here so we can simply put this question to rest. If your respect for or the value you put on the “Holy” part of your Matrimony is in some way lessened by the fact that two other people can call themselves married in the eyes of the state, it sounds to me like you don’t have much faith in your belief system to begin with. Is it so dependent on what others think? Can’t you just be married…be a good example to others…no matter their belief system? Marriages don’t fail because of what someone else is doing. Marriage is between two people…ultimately it’s success or failure rests with the commitment of those two. This vote, and votes around the country don’t infringe on the religious freedom of any group. They simply affirm the right of other people to believe different things than I or you might believe. That’s the way it should be in our imperfect Representative Republic. That example here in Iowa is a microcosm for Republicans nationally. I would bet if you dug deeper with a lot of voters you would find conservative tendencies among a lot of groups that voted in large numbers for The President. They probably believe in traditional marriage and wouldn’t choose to have an abortion. They probably like lower taxes and support small business. But, I bet you would also find that those voters couldn’t stomach to tenor of The Republican message on social issues, the way they approach the Economy etc. The President won Polk and Dallas Counties combined by about 18,000 votes. Tom Latham won those two counties by a combined eight thousands votes! What does it say to you that one of the most liberal parts of the state chose one of the most conservative members of Congress to represent it and then voted to re-elect the President?
I’ll stop now. I hope these thoughts bring up good discussion among your family and friends. As always I am open to the idea that I am misinformed. Let me know if I am. Have a good one