Tag Archives: John McCain

Afghanistan: Our Next Big Challenge by Gregory Hilton

Afghanistan will be our next big issue. In two weeks our commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, will send his report to the White House. He is expected to recommend three options: 15,000, 25,000 or 45,000 additional troops. If Obama and the Joint Chiefs says this is necessary, Sen. McCain will support the request for more troops. Their mission will be doubling the Afghan police and army forces to a total of 400,000.
Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Bernie Sanders (D-VT) have already said they will lead the opposition, and 14 House Members have signed a joint letter to Obama pledging to work against any additional troops. The Senators will appear at the DC premiere of a new anti-war movie, “Get Afghanistan Right,” and a left wing coalition is being formed. Our terrorist enemies live in Afghanistan, and this week’s vote proved the people want democracy. The Taliban attacked polling stations and cut off the fingers of some voters. The left wing always attacked Bush by saying Afghanistan was the necessary war. We will soon know if they really meant it.
Adm. Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” this morning and said he was worried about declining public support for the war on Afghanistan.
The Taliban claims to be a religious organization but they take credit for spraying battery acid in faces of little Afghan girls. They are intent on stopping the education of girls, and the Taliban has already destroyed 478 schools. Many schools have been set on fire or endured attacks from mustard gas rockets. The cruel Taliban attacks will continue, but they are not going to win.
In 2001, only a million Afghan children were enrolled in school, all of them boys. The education of girls was banned. Today, approximately 7 million Afghan children attend school, of which 2.6 million, or roughly a third, are girls. All of the children receive a free school lunch from U.S. AID. There are 23 year old young women in elementary school because they never were given that opportunity earlier in life. Practically all of their parents are illiterate, but change is slowly coming.
A Washington Post/ABC News poll this week reveals that a majority of Americans now believe that Afghanistan is not worth fighting for — and only 24% back a troop increase. While 45% say the American troop commitment there should actually be reduced. For over two years Barack Obama has often said: “The real war on terror is in Afghanistan,” and I hope he will be able to convince his supporters of the importance of the U.S. and allied mission.

General Motors Bankruptcy Could Result in an Additional 1 Million Unemployed by Gregory Hilton

The Sinking of the Once Mighty General Motos Has Been an Enormous Blow to the American Business Community

The Sinking of the Once Mighty General Motos Has Been an Enormous Blow to the American Business Community


According General Motors own auditors, the world’s largest automaker is on the brink of collapse and bankruptcy. General Motors and Chrysler have received more than $17 billion in government loans and the new U.S. auto task force is now in Detroit to determine if they should receive additional funding. The holders of GM debt would most likely receive 30 cents on the dollar if bankruptcy is declared. Parts suppliers would receive a major blow and retires would see health benefits cut back drastically.
House Republican Leader John Boehner (OH) and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) have both said chapter 11 bankruptcy is the best option for GM. Boehner said GM has avoided tough choices during the past 3 decades and now it should work with employees and creditors to plan a stable future. Anything short of that would be “throwing good money after bad,” he said. GM lost $31 billion in 2008, and it needs $30 billion to stay afloat.
I recently wrote an in-depth analysis of General Motors, and three weeks ago I was asked if GM was a good buy because the stock had fallen so low. Many other corporate icons are in a similar position, and last month I wrote the following:
“We have a saying in venture capital,’The people who make the big bucks are the ones who have the most guts.’ I definitely do not have the guts for a GM buy.
“GM has lost 95% of its value since 2000, and that includes $73 billion in the past three years. The bailout funds should keep GM in business, but if they do go bankrupt shares that are purchased today would be worthless. Even if they stay in business that does not mean the stock will rise. If GM is acquired by another company the stock would be exchanged and it might not be a good deal. The new GM products: CTS, Enclave, Acadia, Silverado, Malibu, and the Hybrids are all hits, but I would not recommend the stock.”
Many analysts are now predicting GM will file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, meaning that it will be forced into liquidation, not reorganization. GM is experiencing its worst sales slump, and according to Bloomberg, if GM fails, Ford and Chrysler will not be far behind. The total GM loans are in the neighborhood of $50 billion.
The collapse of the big three would eliminate three million jobs, and the loss of just GM would mean a minimum loss of one million jobs. The repercussion to the economy are incalculable. GM has said Chapter 11 bankruptcy — under which the automaker would continue to operate while holding its creditors at bay and overhauling its finances — is not an option because that would scare away customers.
Some industry analysts say doubts about the company’s chances of survival have already driven away would-be buyers, who worry that their warranties might not be honored or that they might not be able to get replacement parts. Chapter 11 bankruptcy may be of little use anyway, because GM may not be able to get the necessary financing to reorganize itself. That could lead to Chapter 7 liquidation, in which the automaker’s assets would be sold off piecemeal.

On Terror Suspects and State Secrets Obama Administration Now Agrees With Bush by Gregory Hilton

President Obama Signs an Executive Order Closing Guantanamo Bay Prison

President Obama Signs an Executive Order Closing Guantanamo Bay Prison

On Terror Suspects and State Secrets Obama Administration Now Agrees With Bush by Gregory Hilton–The treatment of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention center in Cuba was a significant issue during the 2008 presidential campaign. Concern for the detainee’s treatment was frequently cited as an example of the sharp differences between the two political parties. It was portrayed as an example of how real change would be brought to White House with Barack Obama’s election.
President Obama frequently made this claim and on his second day in office he signed an Executive Order calling for Guantanamo’s closing within a year. The national news media described the action as a complete reversal of past policies, but so far the differences appear to be minute.
During the past two weeks the intense partisan debate over Gitmo largely evaporated on Capitol Hill. Attorney General Eric Holder, Solicitor General-designate Elena Kagan and CIA Director-designate Leon Panetta all endorsed policies implemented during the Bush era. The detainee issue was raised during the presidential debates when Obama said “what we have is a flawed system.” His campaign web site said: “Barack believes we must protect the principles which have created and sustained our freedoms for over two centuries because we cannot truly protect America without preserving the Constitution, the writ of Habeas Corpus, and the Bill of Rights.”
The Obama campaign’s foreign policy spokesperson was Susan Rice, who is now the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Speaking of Bush’s policy on detainees, Rice said the “Administration has for seven years pursued a stupid and fundamentally failed policy. The way you deal with it is not to hold somebody in violation of our Constitution, indefinitely in detention and never convict them.”
Senator John Kerry (D-MA) said Osama bin Laden should have habeas corpus rights if he were captured and sent to Guantanamo Bay. Both Rice and Kerry quoted arguments developed by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is now considering Elena Kagan’s nomination to be the new U.S. Solicitor General. She is currently the Dean at Harvard Law School, and many believe she will eventually succeed Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.
In sharp contrast to the 2008 debate, Kagan and Attorney General Holder both say the government can hold suspected terrorists without criminal charge or trial as war prisoners. They opposed the position of the American Civil Liberties Union and said they were in agreement with the Supreme Court case of Hamdi v. Rumsfeld which recognized the power of the government to detain unlawful combatants until the cessation of hostilities.
Attorney General Holder also promised Senators he would not bring prosecutions against Guantanamo interrogators. CIA Director-designate Panetta went even further by saying some al Qaeda detainees are “too dangerous to stand trial.”
During last year’s campaign John McCain also supported the closure of Guantanamo, and President Bush advocated the same thing in 2006. Bush said “I would like to close Guantanamo. … We are a nation of laws. Eventually, these people will have trials and they will have counsel and they will be represented in a court of law.”
The Bush Administration was not able to close Gitmo because some of the detainees’ homelands refused to take them back. Those who were willing to do so would not provide credible assurances they would take steps to prevent the detainees from returning to terrorist activities. Another major problem was bringing to trail detainee cases where there was a lack of admissible evidence because of national security concerns.
Of the detainees who were released from Gitmo, 62 out of 550 returned to terrorist activities. That figure does not include those who only engaged in propaganda.
The Obama Administration is clearly beginning to appreciate the dilemmas confronting their predecessors. The Obama campaign website contained a “Plan to Change Washington.” It said “the Bush Administration has ignored public disclosure rules and has invoked a legal tool known as the ‘state secrets’ privilege more than any other previous administration to get cases thrown out of civil court.”
In a case before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Monday it was the Obama Administration invoking state secrets and supporting Bush’s position regarding torture abroad. The Obama attorneys said state secrets and national security would be put at risk if the court allowed the suit to proceed. No part of the case was allowed to be litigated “without risking a national security breach,” said an Administration spokesman. They were in effect saying national security concerns trump the due process of law.
Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the alleged terrorists said: “This is not change. This is definitely more of the same. Candidate Obama ran on a platform that would reform the abuse of state secrets, but President Obama’s Justice Department has disappointingly reneged on that important civil liberties issue. If this is a harbinger of things to come, it will be a long and arduous road to give us back an America we can be proud of again.”