Saturday, May 12, 2007

Saturday Papers

Lives Ruined. driver of car that killed David Halberstam is accused of negligence. Looks like the university will get sued.

Are the Homeless and Parrots birds of a feather?

Information Week offers a review of Apple iPod gadgets you may need. They also have a good review of the 2.6 lb Fujitsu Lifebook Looks like a lot of computing for little weight.

Facebook is taking on rivals such as Craigslist, eBay and the newspaper industry with a new service that lets its users post free classified ads. They are setting up a MarketPlace section of the site that lets members list jobs, housing and items for sale.

Facebook members can decide whether they want to show the ads to just their friends or to a wider network. The theory is that the ads will be more trustworthy than anonymous postings. Gee, no more waiting for the flakes that never sow up. No more negotiating a price with strangers who decide that they didn't want it. No more requests to deliver it across the state and up two flights of stairs? What will we do without the adventure? Can My Space be far behind?

Giving "Irrational Exuberance" a green name, the SJ Mercury News reports that Tesla Motors has raised $45 million. Its green, its cool looking, the reports on performance are inspiring... Dear Santa, I've been a good boy this year.

"Clintonian Dirt Digger" to lead her California Campaign... Ahhhh The political season never ends in the Clinton world.

As with any successful political opposition researcher, most of Smith's best work needs to arise anonymously with few -- other than his clients -- recognizing who found it.

Smith's arsenal of ammunition includes an encyclopedic memory of political trivia and facts and an ability to speed-read a 5-foot stack of daunting legal documents -- a talent that has come in handy for locating the mines that have blown up campaigns of opposing candidates.

I suppose having an opponent refuse to run from some "bomb" would take the fun out of it. But that's like asking the media not to act like school children. Adults in media and politics are exceedingly rare. Information is one thing; context and perspective is another. Our political process and media seem to delight is avoiding either.

Speaking of perspective and context; the DOJ Attorney firing scandal-over-nothing will shift into a higher gear next week. Supposedly the Congress will learn that the President did not trust prosecutors who cheated on their spouses and who were loyal Democrats. This is much ado about nothing and only shows that Democrats are not serious about running the country. We are at war. There are people who wish us dead and we have no safe place to hide after we surrender. We have 12 million undocumented residents. We have a medicare/social security bill that is eating up all our tax revenues and they are focused on show trials for non-crimes. The troops need some funding, but Congress has put so much of the budget on auto-pilot that they lack the wiggle room to cut here or there even for a short term emergency. That leaves them with their favorite alternative; More Taxes-!....

Oh Good...One Third of California's high school seniors failed to graduate. Now what will they do? Their employers will face problems hiring them. Society will face problems with drugs, promiscuity, unwanted children and life long poverty. The best welfare program in this nation is a high school diploma. The basic keys to success are high school diploma, steady job, serial monogamous relationships wall of which lead to less drug use, less violence, fewer gang entanglements... We can do better.

The World Bank-Wolfowitz scandal makes the bank look bad and Wolfowitz come across as a victim. Is this really what George Soros and Gordon Brown want? I think its time the World Bank went out of business. So does George Will.

Is this bad news? Seems that anything which distances us from Chavez is a good thing. He is in a spiral that will crater soon. The question we should be asking is "What do we do then?"...

Art, solipsism, self indulgence
, political statement, waste of time?

From a WSJ ad:

Of the 77 million baby boomers planning to retire in the next 10 to 15 years, 75% are hurtling toward unexpected financial difficulties, including having to go back to work. Unfortunately, many people won't realize how ill-prepared they are for retirement until it's too late.

We have 12 million undocumented residents, we have monster unfunded liability in social security and Congress is re-arranging the furniture.... Time to go mow the lawn


PEOPLE LIVE LONGER, and yet: "The average retirement age is now 62, not 65. Indeed, only 27 percent of Americans retire at age 65 or later, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute."

Glen Reynolds finds that amazing.

The boomers are gonna keep running around annoying people for a few more decades

Friday, May 11, 2007

Running for President

I am not a lawyer. I am not a candidate for President.
I did harbor some mild fantasies of politics once upon a time. Like dating Playboy bunnies, I got over the desire when I walked thru the small details it would take. I have never played a lawyer on TV nor before a Senate or House Committee. I have never played a Presidential Candidate on TV.... BUT thanks to the guys at Wizbang and Boortz I got the idea to play one here... The following is a transcript of the questions asked of the Candidates at the MSNBC Debate that nobody watched... Questions are in italics. . I answered this as tho I was running... I'd love to see some candidate take the media and put them into the game. They pretend they are standing on the sidelines, but they are involved in the spin-crafting of images, choosing of pertinent facts and supporting the al Qaeda/Hamas/Hezbollah view of America.

  • In the NBC-Wall Street Journal poll, just 22 percent believe this country is on the right track. Mayor Giuliani, how do we get back to Ronald Reagan's "morning in America"?

When Reagan left office his polls were at an all-time low. He has been resurrected as the public has seen him in comparison to Bush Senior and Clinton, especially Clinton. America is still that "shining city on a hill". We are still the beacon of hope for many in the world. We are a nation founded on a philosophy and ideals that we take seriously. Because we believe in them other also believe in those principles. We are the only nation to have a goal of personal happiness as a founding principle. We live better, longer, healthier and happier than most nations around the world. The question is not "how do we get back?" but rather "Why do we not believe we are doing well and can do better?" Why do the American people say we are doing poorly in a time or prosperity and plenty?

  • Most of the public pessimism today has to do with Iraq. How -- what would you need, as commander in chief, to win the war in Iraq?

The current battle in Iraq is just that, a battle. The war against terrorism has many fronts. The terrorists hide among the population and excite those who seek to use them to advance their own causes. Iraq is a fight against an enemy that kills civilians and hides from us. This is the only time in history that an invading army has been called to defend the natives from the local chieftains, warlords and small group of terrorists. I find it amazing that we, the American invaders are trusted to defend the children, women, weak, old and infirm from their own citizens. Would any other nation respond as we have? Would any other enemy use the invaders humanity against them? When the Iraqis realize that they cannot win by choosing to support the terrorists or choosing sectarian sides and that we will not leave them weak and exposed, they will bond and form an Iraqi nation. Our history in Vietnam and Somalia was studied by Saddam and Osama. They realize that America can be defeated by a PR war even tho they would not stand a chance militarily. Why is our media supporting their propaganda against our military?

  • Recent polls in the Islamic world reveal a sea of hostility toward the United States, feeding what General Petraeus calls the central front of al Qaeda in Iraq. How do we win this war if every dead terrorist is so easily replaced?

The Islamic world works on a perception of power. When we appear weak, we will attract enemies. This is a PR war as well a a military war. Your ballgame-scoreboard mentality is the wrong way to look at this war. Look at the millions who have not joined al-Qaeda. Look at the millions upon millions who wish for a better life. Look at the nations whose citizens have fled to the US; how many more would come here to become citizens if the gates were opened? Your war-of-attrition analogy more befits WWI and Vietnam this is a war of maneuver and perception. This enemy does not have unlimited manpower who believe in their goals. They are drawing those who see weakness and a chance to be a hero and win a share of the spoils. They have no idea what the spoils will be. Afghanistan did not attract millions when the Taliban ran the nation. They have no ideology besides death and no economic vision of the future.

  • How do you deal with the problem, revealed in a recent Zogby poll, that in countries that are moderate, you mentioned -- like Jordan, Morocco, Turkey, another Islamic country -- 10, 12 percent of the people support us; the rest are angry at us. Doesn't that create a sea of recruitment opportunity for our enemy? And how -- I'm just asking, do we have to reduce that temperature of hatred before we win the war, or simply continue to fight the terrorists?

We work with the moderate nations to build their economies. When a mother or a young adult looks at death by jihad as opposed to working and having children, meals in the evening or at weekend with the extended family, better health, better clothing, greater prosperity, death loses in comparison. We need to encourage the moderate Muslims to speak up and to shun the death dealers just as they shun the drug and alcohol peddlers.

  • I'd like to get your views about how you balance loyalty and accountability. Would you have fired Don Rumsfeld before last November?

I don't have the details of what was promised and what was delivered. What was painfully clear was that Rumsfield was going to spend the next two years resounding to increasingly rancorous hearings. The Democrats have made it clear that they care not about responsibility or outcome. What they wish to see happen is a larger majority and possibly taking the white House. Rumsfield has served this nation long and well. His decision to leave took many headlines away from the Democrat victory. The removal of several generals was more about accountability and responsibility. The Pentagon still exists in a post WWII-Big Military-Big Forces-Big Enemy mentality. That is unlikely to happen. We are far more likely to face unbranded terrorists and rogue states using unconventional weapons and tactics to disrupt and destroy. We face an enemy with no national home, no ideology, no economic vision, no goals except a return to a romantic period of the past. The Pentagon needs to be transformed from Big and Bureaucratic to a faster and more nimble response. The lower ranks have done magnificent jobs in responding and adapting o the enemies tactics and weapons. Too many upper middle military leaders have a garrison mentality. These are people withing sight of their retirements and playing politics. They need to go.

  • Do you think a general shake-up in this administration's Cabinet right now would be good for the administration?

It would be good for headlines. A Democrat Congress would never replace people who would serve this President in ways that would fulfill the promises he made before he was elected. This cabinet, like all cabinets could do better. However, changing faces for the sake of your news ratings or newspaper sales is not a good way to serve the American people during this time of war.

  • Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson said that Iran has already committed acts of war. Do you agree? And secondly, as part of that, what's your trip wire for a U.S. strike in Iran?

Iran has yet to commit an outrageous act that will prompt the public in the US or Europe to support a military response. We watch in dismay as the Europeans and the UN accept any plausible excuse and meager answer to Iran's provocations. At this time the conditions do not exist that would allow any preemptive actions. This may turn into a larger conflagration than we wish. Alternatively, the Iranian people may take action to change the course their leaders seem to be pursuing.

We face a similar situation in Darfur. The American people care greatly about the disasters around the world. However, we cannot rush in to save people from their own governments any time a TV crew and movie star shows up. Somalia showed what happens when we try to do good as opposed to looking to our narrow national interests. We expend our treasurel, deplete our military and lose the goodwill of the world. Few rememebr that we went to Somalia to save the citizens from the bands of outlaws who were robbing the foreign aid and killing indiscriminately. Osama has said that our retreat from Somalia showed that Americans can be made to run.

The UN is an imperfect body but it is the best one for these solutions. We may bemoan their slowness and their corruption and their inadequacy to perform the mission. However, until the world steps forward to change the situation it is not wise for America to try to be the world's policeman, welfare agent, and nanny.
  • Imagine you're president of the United States and this is a likely or possible scenario, certainly plausible. You get a call from the prime minister of Israel, the prime minister of Israel, who's now Ehud Olmert, saying Israel's about to strike Iran's nuclear sites and he wants U.S. help. What do you say?

"Tell me why" I would want to know what information he possesses that such an action is necessary and urgent. What has changed? What does he need? Will his plan succeed in achieving the goals we desire? After all, if we are involved we must agree the threat, the goals and the tactics. This is the same response we would have to any ally. We are responsible for our actions. We must know the details, and agree the actions, the tactics and the goals.

  • When speaking about Osama bin Laden last week, Governor Romney said, quote, "It's not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars, just trying to catch one person." Senator McCain called that naive. Who's right?

They both are. Governor Romney is right to be fiscally concerned in the overall scheme of the war. Senator McCain is right to be concerned with the PR-Propaganda victory that his capture and trial would have on a global basis.

  • Sarah (sp) from Arlington, Virginia, wants to know if you would comfortable with Tom Tancredo, a staunch opponent of illegal immigration, as head of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

I believe that Congressman Tancredo is best at serving his constituents and should remain at that position for many years.

  • Should we change our Constitution which we believe is divinely inspired -- -- to allow men like Mel Martinez, the chairman of your party, born in Cuba, great patriot, senator from Florida, and Arnold Schwarzenegger to stand here some night?

"Divinely Inspired" by the national press? I didn't think you guys believed in the divine. We have millions of capable, qualified and wonderful people in this country. I don't think it necessary to change the US Constitution.

  • Daniel Dukovnic (sp) from Walnut Creek, California, wants to know: What do you dislike most about America?

The American Way is not the only way, but it has been very good for many. We Americans adapt, adopt and change. If there is an American Way it is filled with optimism and hope for a better tomorrow. I am impatient for change. We led the world in so many aspects, but we can do better in so many ways. I want to see more, better, faster.

  • Do you believe global warming exists?

I believe that global warming exists. In the 1970s I believed that the earth was getting colder. I do not believe the scare mongering that has turned into an industry. There is much money to be made in the global warming business. Many will prosper from the current cycle, just as they did from the onslaught of an ice age that was promised. I am not certain that humans are the cause of the current cycle. We have had cycles of greater warming before and we lacked the level population and industrialization. We are adaptable and innovative. The most amazing thing about humans is our ability to change quickly. we should watch and evaluate as we gather more information. The conservation causes are past due but they fit nicely in our present economy. We must make sure that people have jobs, housing, recreation and an opportunity to earn their vision of prosperity. We must keep them safe from killers.

  • David Diamond from Memphis writes in, "Do you have a plan to solve the shortage of organs donated for transplant?"

This is primarily a role for Congress. You, the citizens need to elect people who will respond with legislation that you believe in. I would like to find a solution to save more lives at a lower cost. I am not running for king nor am I amagician with a wand.

  • Maggie from Highland Park, Illinois, wants to know if you consider yourself a compassionate conservative, like President Bush.

Compassionate Conservative is an awkward phrase. Most Conservatives are compassionate. We believe that teaching a person to fish is better than a lifetime of waiting for the fish to be delivered. Is that compassionate? we do believe that people can change and will respond to incentives. Help should be temporary and in response to rare events such as accident, disaster, health etc. The government is a bad nanny. All it can do is warehouse people and shuffle necessities to them. People can take care of themselves much better. Is that Compassionate and conservative?

  • If you were president, would you work to phase out the IRS?

We need to reform our tax code. It is a tangled mess that nobody understands. It is too complex, too cumbersome. We need a simpler way to charge and collect the money the government needs. Congress has made it needlessly complex by responding to special interests of every stripe. They have provisions for religion, for unions, for this business and that business, this type of investment and that type of eventuality. We need it to be simple, easy and free of social rewards and punishments.

  • Would the day that Roe v. Wade is repealed be a good day for Americans?

Roe v. Wade is an intrusion of the courts into an area that the politicians have refused to enter. The proper place for this debate is in the political arenas of 50 states and Congress. Roe v. Wade encouraged more political adventuring by the courts. This has turned the courts into a lottery where paying an inventive lawyer means a greater chance of winning. We need to have laws simple, simply enforced, simply judged and clearly reported so that we all can know the rules and predict the behavior and the punishment.

  • Would you support the use of public funds for abortion? [edited]

I think that a woman and her doctor can make that choice. If the doctor is providing her medical care under a government program, then this would fall into that category. I do not believe that abortion is a cure for poverty or an alternative form of birth control.

  • We're in the house of Ronald Reagan. Every cab driver in America knew what Ronald Reagan stood for: defeat communism abroad, reduce big government at home. Can you restore that kind of unity of purpose?

When Reagan left office, you, the media could not wait to see him leave. When a President is elected, every person in the nation knows, or should know, what they stand for. After years of negative reporting and political reality, all visions from election day will get tarnished. America stands for Freedom, Democracy and Liberty... We will help those who strive for those ideals. We will not help those who oppose them. Given certain circumstances we will oppose those who oppose them. Will you, the media, support a vision of America as force for good in the world?

  • How do you unify the country the way Reagan did, a good portion of the country?

By standing up to our enemies, identifying and speaking about what is good and great about America, by defending our honor and our word, by responding militarily to our enemies as necessary.

  • How do you reconcile this moral -- moral leadership kind of role of conservatism with the very libertarian strain of conservatism, the Barry Goldwater conservatism that you represent? How do you put together what he just said with what you believe in a unified national purpose?

Libertarian ideals influence the Conservative Republican Party. However, we are too many years and too many small decisions to wrench away from the many progressive social programs that have become a part of daily American expectations. What we can do is look to the ideal and then at the current and find a path that shifts more responsibility back to the individual. However, we must also develop systems of economics and processes of law that do not leave people adrift or in harms way. We have an obligation to all members of our society. The exact definition will vary by generation and by locality. We have 50 states and one federal government. 51 cauldrons of ingenuity, imagination and experimentation. We have a strong democratic process for following thew ill of the people and trying new things. Some work well, some only work in certain places with certain people and some will not work at all. Let us celebrate our ingenuity and imagination by urging each state to try new ideas. One size does not fit all or even most... We are Americans we can do better. The game is not over. There is not a perfect, for all times and all places, solution.

  • What do you say to Roman Catholic bishops who would deny communion to elected officials who support abortion rights?

I say very little about their positions or doctrine. I do so for two reasons. The government shall make no laws respecting the establishment of religion. It is their religion. If their members do not wish to follow it they are free to walk away. The President should never involve himself in the internal affairs of any religion

  • Congressman Hunter, Governor Schwarzenegger -- who is here tonight -- has won the state twice by downplaying partisanship and taking centrist positions on the environment, immigration, abortion. Is that the way to win for Republicans?

California is a very-very Democratically controlled state. The politics of San Francisco and Los Angeles dominate the state. Both cities are so vast that the only way to reach the voters is via television. Most ads only play for 30-60 seconds. To be successful in california one must have a message that is readily understood and accepted within 30 seconds, facing an oppoing immediately thereafter. The requirement to communicate via TV in 30 seconds does not allow balanced or reasoned argument. The public in California is under great pressure from economic forces. They respond to threats to their economic livelihood. They react vigorously and quickly when threatened. ov Swartznegger has moved to the center so that he can achieve something more than saving the state from the excesses of the past. Unfortunately, he is term limited and cannot run again. California works best when it has a governor of one state and legislature of another. One party rule in California has been a disaster for the state.

  • Do you want to keep [Karl Rove] in the White House if you get elected president as the president's chief political operative?

That is a silly question. Karl Rove is a media boogie man. He exists only under your bed to frighten Democrats. He has been a political advisor to a successful President. He will continue to offer his advice and perspectives to the Republican Party. The next President will want to be surrounded by his people. Afterall, that is why they fight with him.

  • Has the increased influence of Christian conservatives in your party been good for it?

The Christian Conservatives have been good for the Republican party in that they have brought people to understand our political process. They have been exposed to new ideas, new ways and other views. The Media Hype and to the extent that it is true, that the Party is a hand maden to a few preachers has been good fund raising fodder for the Democrats. We welcome all people of every faith who share our beliefs and values. We want people who see a greater America, a brighter economic future, a healthier life with new technologies, new inventions and new ways to live.

  • What's with your party and all this corruption?

The Republican Party found itself unable to resist the corruption that is endemic to Washington. The party found that whenw e act like Democrats the public prefers the real thing. we lost our way in the bid to do good for the many we found ourselves doing well for a few. The public has spoken. The Party has been punished by losing power. Have we learned our lesson? we must regain the trust and that will be hard. The corruption remains, there are just different people who haven't been caught. The Press has been too busy running from one press conference to the next to truly do its Constitutional job of exposing corruption and revealing the corrupt.

  • A through F, how would you rate the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq war?

Mistakes were made. The President and the Generals have shifted gears, changed tactics, changed faces, changed equipment to respond. We were not told it would be quick or easy. Our generals and the terrorists have studied Vietnam and Somalia. They have seen our mistakes and chosen to fight on several fronts at one time. Bush has been true to his word and tre to his troops, our allies and our enemies. To put this in perspective, please ask all candidates to name the mistakes they will make during their term as President. A mistake is something that turned out differently from what was anticipated. Your question implies that we knew things would go badly and went ahead. You underestimate the enemy and you underestimate the role that media has held in shaping this fight.

  • Is racism still a problem in our society? And can a president do anything about it?

Racism is a problem because it is still a source of discriminaion and a way for some to achieve an unfair advantage over their opposition. Racism is a big business in America. There are many who have become millionaires from this industry. we have government departments, lawyers, PR people, NGOs and lobbyists who make a very good living from racism. It will not go away until all forms of discrimination are wrong. When one race is favored by virtue of their race and another is driscriminated against for the same reason, it is wrong. Until we judge people by the content of their character and the merit of their abilities we will have racism. The President should speak out against all forms of discrimination at every sighting. The laws should be enforced equally for all who discriminate against a well as those who discriminate for a perso's race. America is a land of opportunity. We need all the talented people we can find usng their ingenuity and enterprise. Discrimination is a luxury from another time and another economy. That is the past. We cannot live in the past nor can we change it. we can change the future and we will live there.

  • David Kim (sp) from here in California wants to know, beside yourself, who do you think should be the Republican nominee for president of the United States, and why?

That is for each citizen to judge. Each person must examine the character, the history, they challenges, the vision, the strength of belief of the person seeking you vote. You must then ask "Do I trust thi person to do what they say? Do I believe that they will act in a manner that I would respect and approve? Do I share their vision for America?" Then hold your nose and vote for the least of two evils... Democrat or Republican

  • Anyone with disagree with the strong anti-illegal immigration position?

Yes. The problem with illegal immigration is not that theya re here. the problem is that we do not know who they are. We need to have as ystem of identifying, investigating, and controling the bad guys. We need a simple system that will allow an employer to hire a person to do work. we need a simle system that will keep the bad guysa way from areas that may do harm. We need to eliminate he underground economy that smuggles them (and drugs) into the country. We need to eliminate their fear of the police and get them protection from those who prey on them. We need to capture their taxes and set aside their social security for their retirementhere or at home. We need to get them covered by workers compensation. Those who wish to remain and become citizens should be put on a path to that goal. Those who merely wish to visit or to work should have that privilege without fear of arrest. Those who wish to harm this nation or its citizens should be prevented if possible, captured and punished otherwise. We need to remove the sea of illegals wo mean us no harm as a hiding place... This debate does not do us any good as Americans. We can do better.

  • Kenyu Thomas (sp) from Honolulu, Hawaii, wants to know if you watched Al Gore's environmental documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth."

No. Is it any good? Given the Power Point Presentation origin and the expertise of Al Gore as a climatologst, I felt my time would be spent better watching "24" or "American Idol". Now that the reviews are in, it seems to be a flight of fantasy. The world was warmer 1,000 years ago than it is now. The world was a prosperous place for the first time ins everal hundred years. The prophecy of melted ice caps has never been sustained. Even the UN experts predit a sea rie of only 17 inches. There must be some good that will come from global warming. Will we grow more crops, will we have warmer winters and use less fuel to heat our homes, will our crops be bigger, will the trees grow taller and larger? We have so few headlines about the good that one would think Al Gore is the modern Jor-El predicting the end of the planet.

  • Bob Hussey (sp) from Minnesota writes that perhaps the most important skill a good president must have is the ability to make good, sound decisions, often in a crisis situation. Please cite an example when you had to make a decision in crisis.

No one is ready for a nuclear attack, an outbreak of plague, the attack by aircraft. The best that any President can do is to surround himself by people who are both imaginative and realistic. Good information is crucial to good decision making. Assessing the situation, getting analysis and suggestions from several different voices and then making a decision that is in concert with the character of the person and their vision of the future is the best path. This is a good job applicant question. However, in looking into a President it is misleading. The president is a powerful position with few check or limitations upon their abilities to do great harm in mundane matters. You must look to the character. Can you trust that person to make good decisions? Decision of a type and scope that have never appeared before.

  • This question comes from Malika (sp) in Washington, DC. Women are the fastest growing prison population. Most are mothers who are non-violent, first-time offenders. What will you do to address the issue of mothers behind bars and the children left behind?

This is an issue for Congress and your state legislature. I agree something must be done. It is not a good situation for the mother or the child. We have 50 states and a federal Congress. These 51 cauldrons can experiment and find ways to serve the needs of the community as well mother and childen.

  • We have Mrs. Reagan here. The camera will not focus on her, but I will tell you, it will now focus on you. Mrs. Reagan wants to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Will that progress under your administration?

What I would ask Mrs Regean and everyone else "To what end? IF this is such a good area for such imminent success, why does it need federal dollars?" As basic science we have done a lot to examine and map the human genome. we now have private companies who have patented human genes. Adding more money in competition with private investment does not seem the best use of taxpayers money. If the benefits are nigh then let those who dare to risk take the reward. If the government does the research, we have not shown to be adept at converting basic science into useful products. Provate enterprise has more money the the federal government. They have fewer politicians influenced by special interests directing that money. They know how to reap the rewards. Why should we compete with them?

  • I want each candidate to mention a tax he'd like to cut, in addition to the Bush tax cuts, keeping them in effect.

Cut capital gains and eliminate the death tax. we tax income as it is earned. We should not tax the success of the residual as it is invested or tax it again as the person dies. We could eliminate a lot of the tax code and tax consulting as well as a lot of lawyering to establish trusts, foundations and legal hidey holes if we let people keep what they have earned. we would reduce the need for IRS enforcement, reduce the criminal case load, eliminate much of the funding from conspiracy groups.

  • Senator McCain, you said you plan to appoint a Democrat to a major Cabinet post. Tell us some of the Democrats you've got in mind. We'll give you bonus points if you give us a name other than Senator Lieberman.

Democrats in the cabinet? I would have Sen Reid at the Department of the Interior. Senator Clinton at Health and Welfare...She seems to have a great understanding of the topic and concern for people.

  • Ryan from Los Angeles wants you to name one thing that the federal government does really well and one thing that it does poorly.

Military does an excellent job in protecting the country. They also do a wonderful job of showing what a color blind meritocracy should look like. The US Government does a bad job of spending your money. They take it and create careers for people who watch it, count it, account for it, spend it, measure how it was spent, write reports on the spending, appear before Congress to testify on how it was spent and then ask for more.... Lifetimes are taken up doing what can be done by the individual. Read the budget and see where your money goes and then look at how many people it takes to monitor and control that money.

  • Do you believe in evolution?

As opposed to? Its a theory. It keeps getting refined and reviewed. When strong evidence to the contrary comes along it will change. It is predictative of the future... Scientific Method was taught in school. It works as a tool to understanding and should be used to examine scientific inquiries, such as global warming.

  • Robert Dietricht (sp) from Towson, Maryland, wants to know which Cabinet official would be at the top of the list of those you'd like to carry into your administration if you're elected.

I don't have a name or anyone under consideration. Fresh eyes will see anew. A new broom sweeps clean. Tthe world has changed these past eight years. We need new ideas, faces, voices and energy. Our Divine Constitution was not imagined as a life peerage. We work best with part time people coming to serve the nation then return to live among us. We do not need a Political Class to run this nation. We need more involvement by citizens who have other lives, interests and talents.

  • He wants to know, what is the difference between a Sunni and a Shi'a Muslim?

One believes that the mantle from Mohammed fell to one person and the other believes that it fell to someone else. One sect is more violent than the other. One sect dominates Iran and funds terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah. The other sect dominates Syria, Saudi Arabia and funds al Quaida... Wikipedia has a lot more details.

  • Carrie (sp) from Connecticut asks, do you trust the mainstream media?

Yes. I trust them to do what is their best interest. They have adopted the role of participant in govrenment in many cases. They have a bias. Does that reflect their audience or do they lead their audience is a good question. They are all losing readership, viewers and listeners. The internet allows more people to find news and views of their own interest. The future of the mainstream media is uncertain and unknown. A disruptive technology is changing their future. They are a business and have their own needs to look to first and foremost. Expecting anything else is naive.

  • A reader wants to know if your personal religious beliefs influence your foreign policy thinking.

I find comfort in prayer. I go direct to the boss and ask for guidance when facing a big decision. I believe in the Golden Rule. That principle has been found in every society in every age. It is good business and good government. Not all nations are religious, not all are Christian or Muslim. we can find a path to meet our common goals.

  • Jessie (sp) from Madison wants to know, what do you consider to be your most significant weakness as a candidate for the president of the United States?

I may begin to believe in my own importance. Luckily, I have a wife, children, maturity, the press, Congress, and the citizens to remind me that I am just a man and that I can do better

  • In light of the scandals plaguing the current administration and its allies, involving corruption and cronyism, which mistakes have you learned not to repeat?

Toss out the scoundrels. Call in the cops and arrest the really bad. Stand by those who are merely taking political flack for my decisions. Congress will continue to fabricate scandals to have something to investigate. This gets them TV time and scares lobbyists into donating. It also allows them to get new legislaion that makes everyone feel good but accomplishes very little. You have cited Regean several times, but you have not mentioned Iran-Contra. What was that about anyway?.

  • Will you work to protect women's rights, as in fair wages and reproductive choice?

All discrimination should be abolished. Those discriminated against should have the full power of the government to protect them.

  • I want you to explain it and defend it: a national tamper-proof ID card.

BankAmerica and Citicorp issue them by the millions. Photo ID, encoded strip with certain info, Internet reference site that can be used to verify the card the face, the file. we need to know who people are. We hand out our social security number on almost every form for every agency, every application, every school admission. It was never supposed to be a national citizen ID number, but it now has become one. We have lots of fraud that needs to be stopped. A national ID card could also be used to distribute govt benefits in a manner similar to a debt or credit card. Don't you want to be sure that the company that is installing your bg screen, that is delivering you medications, that is hauling your freigt knows who their employee is? Don't you want to know that the TSA has checked the person who is flying the airplane and sitting beside you? Don't we want to capture the tax revenue from those visitors who are working in our country? A national ID card is an inevitability. We are close to one now with drivers licensing. The concerns about citizen privacy are the same as those voiced against the social security number over 70 years ago. What protects the public and our privacy is a vigilant community. We have had abuses of privacy by individuals. They have been caught and punished. There is no reason to not continue.

  • Do you think Scooter Libby should be pardoned?

For what? His appeals have not been exhausted. His case is a good example of why people are reluctant to come into government. What was his crime?

  • Let me ask you a question which has grabbed a lot of Americans personally, the Terri Schaivo case. Again, it was a question of whether the United States -- the U.S. Congress should have intervened and passed a law to advise the appellate court whether to act or not in this case, the district court it was. Terri Schaivo, should Congress have acted or let the family make the decision, the husband?

This is an inside the beltway question. Most people don't care. The laws of the state of Florida were applied by the courts in Florida. The Supreme Court agreed.

  • Seriously, would it be good for America to have Bill Clinton back living in the White House?

To do what? The only good reason to have Bill Clinton as a resident of the White House is to shore up his wife who is incapable of doing the job alone. Bill Clinton had his time and has served his country. Why not bring Jimmy Carter back? Or G.H.W. Bush? We have seen the Clinton vision. We have fought the Clinton wars. It is time to move on. There are many qualified people in this nation. There are more families than the Bush's and Clinton's. Bill Clinton has served as a valuable advisor to the Senator from New York. He has clearly helped to craft her message and raise her funds. What is uncertain to me is who exactly is running for President? Can the Senator become a good President on her own? Are we getting the two-for-one again?

  • How will you be different in any way from President George W. Bush?

I'm not from Texas. I am not married to Laura. I didn't go to Harvard and Yale. I do not have an MBA... We are very diferent people in many aspects. We are much alike in our love for this nation and its people.

Neil Boortz adds a few of the questions he would have asked if were given the chance.

  • The government of the country of Angola has an official representative in Washington. The government of the State of Arkansas does not. Do you see this as a problem? Could this be a contributing factor in the immense shift of power we've seen from the local to the federal level?

Two Senators, several Congressmen, several lobbyists for Walmart, J.B. Hunt and several large corproations. Arkansas is well reproesented.. The power shift comes from teh ability to buy, bully and influence so many so efficiently in one place. Greater regulation, greater influence on laws and the opportunity to meet and form alliances with enemies makes Washington a great place.

  • Can you speak for sixty seconds on the "Irish Miracle?"

Low taxes, high literacy, pragmatic government no longer playing social re-distribution, economic incentives for foreign investment... It happened in Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, Malayasia, Indonesia, India and Latin America. Its no miracle. Its true "capitalism" that happens when you leave people alone. That it happened in Europe is a minor mirace. I guess the Irish got tired of the same old-same old policies that have failed so many places and times. Faced with open borders, they could lose their talent or they could be attracting talent... What would you do?

  • Estimates vary on the cost of tax compliance in this country from $300 to $500 billion a year. Do you have any plans to reduce the burden our present tax system places on our economy?

Simplify the tax code. Too many rules, too many exceptions, too many schemes to reduce the liability means too many enforcers to wade thru all the schemes and evasions... Make it simple and make it easy to pay. Then it will be easy to audit.

  • What percentage of all federal income taxes are paid by those in the top 1% of income earners? What percentage of the total income do the top 1% earn?

I believe that the top 1% of income earners pay either 37% or 47% of all taxes. Its a large amount of the total paid. Total income? Do you mean all earned income or are you including earned income tax credit amounts? I think that we need to find a way to fund the government that does not punish the successful but balances the load on all segments of society.

  • Are you familiar with the FairTax? If the FairTax were passed by the congress, would you sign the bill?

Lets get the bill and see what it is. Fair Tax is a good sounding name for a bill. But we have a lot of legislation that sounds good but is bad law. I am not familiar with that legislation. BUT I would first ask "Fair to who?".. We are too many years into class warfare for me to accept that "fair" is truly fair to everyone... Can we reasonably expect Congress to pass tax leislation that is truly "fair"?

  • The competitive forces of the free marketplace have led to improvements and innovation in virtually every area of commerce. Why, then, wouldn't competition in our educational marketplace return the same rewards?

It would. It should. It could. However, those who oppose competition will oppose any changes to the monopoly. The fight goes on, state by state and district by district...

  • What would you do to decrease the power of government employee unions?

Re enact the Hatch Act. Get govt employees out of the political process. They have safe careers wiith little competition from the private sector. The govt is not going out of business. They do not need to be actively and agressively choosing who shall be their bosses. The "evolution not revolution" mentality combined with "administrations come and go. we are here" is why it is so hard to change things in Washington. "Slow rolling" is a fine art. Nobody ever opposes anything proposed by a political appointee or administration official. They just take forever to examine and evaluate and report on their findings. Freeze hiring, deploy advanced technology, contract some functions and services. Those would be the best places to start. The biggest way to reduce the size and power of govt is to close departments and agencies. Stop funding them. This is the role of Congress. he President can lead or participate but the Congress has the power of the purse.

Since this topic has existed all my life; it is fair to ask "Do the American People Really want less government?" They have not voted for a Congress that will act to reduce the size and power of govt.

  • Do you believe that our founding fathers intended for this country to become a democracy?

It seems that way. They specifically avoided a republic with limited franchise. I believe they had a great faith in the American people. The foundation of our national philosophy is that all rights originate with the individual. Only those specific and limited rights delegated to the federal, the state and local government may be used by government. Those not delegated reside with the individual. A subtle difference, but an important distinction. we have not had a court test of the Tenth Amendment. Perhaps we should?

  • I'm not so interested in whether or not you know the difference between Shi's and Sunni Muslims as I am in whether or not you understand the difference between a democracy and a country based on the rule of law. Can you explain that difference?

Rule of Law puts the law above all the citizens. Nobody is above the law or beyond its reach. Democracies are the voice of the people. Most choose a representative form of democracy with the people choosing and replacing their representatives according to an agreed plan.

That's it for this round. More questions and answers next week...