The Commonwealth Comment

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Hangin' Around

Saddam Hussein, the former dictator of Iraq was executed yesterday at approximately 10:00pm Eastern Standard Time on December 29, 2006. He was hanged

In March of 2003 the United States formed a coalition of the willing to fight Iraq and bring down Saddam Hussein's reign. In December of 2003, United States forces found Hussein hiding in a "Spider Hole" near his hometown of Tikrit. It has been considered one of the few highlights for the military fighting in Iraq.

Saddam was charged with crimes against humanity in the summer of 2005. A long, controversial trial ensued, in which several lawyers, and judges were replaced, and Saddam removed from the courtroom on numerous occasions. He was found guilty on November 5, 2006 of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging. He was convicted of ordering the murders of 148 Shi'ite villagers in 1982 after an attempted assassination.

On December 26, 2006 the Iraqi Court of Appeals upheld Saddam's conviction and sentence. They said that the execution would take place within 30 days. It would be only 4 days later.

President Bush warned that Saddam's execution is not a solve all problems solution. "Bringing Saddam Hussein to justice will not end the violence in Iraq, but it is an important milestone on Iraq's course to becoming a democracy that can govern, sustain, and defend itself, and be an ally in the war on terror."
Many Iraqi-Americans are thrilled with the results. According to the AP approximately 200 Iraqi-Americans gathered outside a mosque and chanted "Now there's peace, Saddam is dead!", in both English and Arabic.

My Opinion: A true victory for the Iraqi people. Whether or not Saddam got a fair trial no one knows for sure. But, does that really matter? Did he give anyone a trial at all in Iraq? I'm happy for all those families that finally know justice after 24 years of waiting.

But, as good as his execution is symbolically and psychologically, it is equally bad in reality. I fear that his death will spark new outrage and determination in the insurgents. I fear that there will be more attacks on Shi'ites and American troops in Iraq. While Saddam is gone, justice and innocence are still at risk.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Supreme Court Makes Mitt Cry

Ok, so he didn't cry. But, the court did refuse both his proposals to the court regarding the Massachusetts legislature's refusal to vote on a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would ban same-sex marriages in the only state that currently allows them.

In November the legislature ended it's constitutional convention without taking a vote on that controversial issue. This sparked anger from several anti-gay marriage groups and Governor Mitt Romney.

He went before the court and asked that they force the legislature to vote on the issue, and if they refuse to that they should go over the senate and house's heads and put it on the 2008 ballot. The court, which decided in 2003 that same-sex couples have equal marriage rights, declined both of Romney's requests.

In an 11 page report the court says, "Beyond resorting to aspirational language that relies on the presumptive good faith of elected representatives, there is no presently articulated judicial remedy for the Legislature's indifference to, or defiance of, its constitutional duties." So, basically there's no power for the court to take any such action. The report went on to say that "Those members who now seek to avoid their lawful obligations, by a vote to recess without a roll call vote ... ultimately will have to answer to the people who elected them." The court did say that the legislature should vote on the matter.

The legislature meets again on January 2 for its last day of session. If the amendment is not voted on that day then it dies. If that happens, then the earliest the issue could be on a ballot is 2010.

My Opinion: This story made my day, because I do not like Mitt Romney. In 1994 when he ran for Senate against King Ted Kennedy he was for the expansion of gay rights. Today he stands on the steps of the State House as governor chanting "Let the people vote!" And people attack poor John Kerry for flip-flopping.

Romney said that the legislature is violating the people's right to petition the government by not voting. That's not true. They petitioned, the government saw it, they don't care to vote on it. I also love the fact that no one mentions the fact that thousands of signatures were collected outside supermarkets all over Massachusetts. People asked to sign a petition for wine sales in supermarkets, and then asked to sign a second copy, the anti-gay marriage petition. That makes this whole process seem real legitimate, only not so much. Wine Petition?

Can someone explain to me again about the sacredness of marriage in the United States? You know the country with the 50% divorce rate. Oh yea, then there's that part about equal protection under the law, and all men are created equal. Geez that Constitution can be a real downer!

I apologize. I don't mean to ramble on and on, but is this really an issue here anymore? It has been 4 years and we still go about our daily lives as always. 8,500 gay couples have been married in Massachusetts and the sky hasn't fallen and the Charles River isn't flowing with the blood of the innocent.

No discrimination in the Constitution of Massachusetts. The legislature doesn't have to and should not vote on this matter. Let it die on January 2nd. When the anti-gay movement collects signatures of the majority of Massachusetts residents then it should be considered the "will of the people". 150,000 signatures? That's just a the whiney kid that doesn't like to share, in this case equal rights.

You know what the real problem with Massachusetts is?! Mitt Romney is still Governor until January 4th. But, its ok. He's not around enough (212+ days out of state in 2006) for the people of Massachusetts or himself to realize it.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Oldest President Dies

Earlier this year Gerald Ford became the oldest living President of the United States. On Tuesday, December 26 he passed away at the age of 93.

Ford became president in 1974 after the resignation of president Richard Nixon. Ford is the only non-elected president in the history of the nation. He is remembered for his controversial pardon of Nixon, whom was never convicted of a crime. The United States pulled out of Vietnam, and celebrated its 200th Anniversary. Many people consider him to be the man that helped guide the nation through one of its most trying times with the Watergate coverup.

Two would be assassins attacked Gerald Ford within 17 days of one another. Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme tried to shoot him, but her gun didn't go off. Later, Sarah Jane Moore also tried to shoot him, but she proved to have poor aim.

In a statement his wife, Betty said "His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country."

George W. Bush called him a "great man" and a "true gentleman".

Ford is currently the oldest president, followed by Reagan, Hoover, and John Adams.

My Opinion: Whenever a president dies a nation must stop a pay its respects. For his politics do not matter in the end. He was a great man despite his policies, or anyone's opinion of him. He is a special man because he was a brave person who chose to serve the people of his country. He has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution and make the United States stronger than it is. This simple fact that this person has volunteered their time and effort into their country is an admirable characteristic. With the passing of Gerald Ford there will be as there should be national recognition of his contribution to the United States.

Monday, December 25, 2006

"Does anyone know what Christmas is all about?"

I apologize for a lack of posting in the last few weeks. I've been busy with final exams. Yet, during the busy holiday season I did find some time to reflect on what the Christmas season is all about. I did this while watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas", it is in fact quite insightful.

My good friend, Linus answers the question of poor Charlie Brown, who has become concerned without the commercialization of Christmas.

In the film Charlie Brown shouts "Does anyone know what Christmas is all about?!"

The lights fade and a spot comes up on the young man with a red shirt and light blue blanket, Linus. He responds with a quote from the King James Bible.

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. That's what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown."

While I don't mean to force religion down people's throats, I do want people of all faiths to realize that Christmas is more than decorations, elves, and presents. It is about the birth of Jesus. While all the other stuff is a part of the Christian tradition, it is not all commercial, although it may seem that way at times.

So, I ask that today you (if you celebrate) take a page from Linus and the gang and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Report Released on Iraq

The Iraq Study Group released their highly anticipated report today. They presented the report to President Bush this morning. The Iraq Study Group is an independent bipartisan committee made up of 5 Democrats and 5 Republicans. The chairs of the group are former Secretary of State James Baker and former Representative Lee Hamilton.

The group had a total of 79 recommendations for the Bush administration and congress. They have labeled the situation in Iraq as "grave and deteriorating". The report calls for a "diplomatic offensive", which includes direct talks with Syria and Iran. "If we don't talk to them, we don't see much progress being made. You can't look at this part of the world and pick and choose which countries you're going to deal with," said Hamilton. President Bush has refused talks with the two nations in the past, he has also called Iran a member of the "Axis of Evil".

Another controversial and debated recommendation is the withdrawal of U.S. troops by early 2008. The report did not lay out a specific timetable for a withdrawal from Iraq. However, it did say that the United States cannot "make an open-ended commitment to keep large numbers of American troops deployed in Iraq." The group also suggests that the military be used for training the Iraqi police and military, rather than combat in the country.

"We no longer can afford to stay the course," Baker said. "If we do what we recommend in this report, it will certainly improve our chances for success."

President Bush said, "We will take every proposal seriously, and we will act in a timely fashion."

Full Text: Iraq Study Group Report

On a side note...President Bush's nominee for Secretary of Defense, Bob Gates was approved by the Senate today as well. He is replacing Donald Rumsfeld, who resigned on November 8th.

My opinion: I like what I've heard about the report thus far. I hope that the newly elected Democratic congress will pressure Bush to act on the group's recommendations. I'm interested to hear Mr. Gates' take on the report and the course of action he will be taking based on it.

Monday, December 04, 2006

This Means War!

This is an opinion piece.

It has been noted by conservative groups that there is a secret conspiracy in the world. A secret threat to our very existence. A threat so deadly and frightening that people break out into hysterics at the mention of it. I am speaking of course, about the War on Christmas.

You read it right. I said the War on Christmas. Can you believe that? To think that there are people out there who actually believe that there is a conspiracy against Christmas and Christianity...

Cut to Fox News (where else?). We see the usual "Fair and Balanced" stories followed up by the usual grumpy, irretable, angry, sad, sad, man Bill O'Reilly. O'Reilly believes in his heart (if he had one) that there is an attack on Christmas.

Here is part of the transcript from The O'Reilly Factor from November 2005. Bill is interviewing John Gibson, a Fox News host and now author of The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought Yeah, I know the title needs some work.

Here's where I got the transcript: Media Matters
GIBSON: -- by refusing to say the word "Christmas." And what I've noticed is the way this appears in schools, for instance, is we now don't call it the Christmas break. It's the winter break, as if people worship winter. And there wouldn't be a winter break if there wasn't Christmas at that time of year. So once you call it -- change the name. You won't use the word "Christmas," then you go to "winter," you can sort of push the Christmas thing out of public view.

O'REILLY: See, I think it's all part of the secular progressive agenda --

GIBSON: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: -- to get Christianity and spirituality and Judaism out of the public square. Because if you look at what happened in Western Europe and Canada, if you can get religion out, then you can pass secular progressive programs like legalization of narcotics, euthanasia, abortion at will, gay marriage, because the objection to those things is religious- based, usually.

GIBSON: You have France or you have -- or you have Holland, you have legalized prostitution, you have drugs. All those things come in which religious organizations tend to oppose. Once you start taking out even the secular symbols of religious holidays -- Christmas trees, Santas, so forth -- refuse to use the word "Christmas," you can shove this religious stuff indoors, out of sight.

O'REILLY: Yeah, because no kid is going to come home and ask Mom what winter break is.


O'REILLY: But a kid might come home and say, "Hey, what's this Christmas thing all about? Who is this baby Jesus guy?" You know?

GIBSON: Right.

O'REILLY: So look, that's on a very intellectual level, and it's behind the scenes. But these retailers are killing -- they're shooting themselves. I mean, they're killing themselves, because millions of people are just not going to shop in these places.

Wow....who let them on TV? Who let John Gibson publish this book? Who really believes this stuff?! Do they really think that any child living in the cutlure of the United States of America will grow up and not know the name of Jesus Christ...especially if that child celebrates Christmas?!!? What the hell are they thinking?!

Let's take a look at the facts:

The American Family Association called for a boycott on Wal-Mart last year. Usually I would be thrilled with a Wal-Mart boycott, but it was over the retailer's decision to say "Happy Holidays". Wal-Mart still gained money last holiday season, and is still the largest, most profitable retailer in the world.

Type "Christmas" into a product search and you'll find over 19,000 matches. They say "Happy Holidays" too!

Hundreds of radio stations nationwide have been playing Christmas music since Thanksgiving or earlier!

According to, over 76% of the United States' population is identified as Christian.

I'm amazed to hear about these poor persucuted Christians. God forbid they be forced to recognize the other 24% of the population that don't celebrate Christmas. Maybe someday, somewhere in the world there will be a Christian president...or maybe even 43 Christian presidents in a row. Give me a break! These people don't live in Rome, they're not being fed to lions. I can't walk down the streets of Boston without passing a church at least every other block! They just have to accept everyone for who they are and they don't wanna. So, they blame the Democrats and the liberals and cry about how their way of life is disappearing. Only its not.

I want to reveal now that I am on the "War on Christmas" Intelligence Committee. I've found something remarkable while spying on the conservatives. Those of them that believe that there really is a "War on Christmas" have no intelligence.