Posts from — March 2008
O.K. We’ve heard from Pastor Wright over and over and over. And we’ve heard from Hillary Clinton that she would never belong to a church where the pastor said the things Pastor Wright said. So, once again, “shame on you, Barack Obama!” (At least that’s the implication we are invited to get.)
So isn’t it time we heard from Hillary’s pastor?
But we’re not likely to hear much from that quarter. Clinton belongs to a secretive Capitol Hill group known as “The “Fellowship,” also known as The Family. The Family’s American branch includes such powerful right-wing politicos as Sam Brownback, Ed Meese, John Ashcroft, James Inhofe and Rick Santorum.
Clinton fell in with The Family in 1993, when she joined a Bible study group composed of wives of conservative leaders like Jack Kemp and James Baker. When she ascended to the Senate, she was promoted to the Family’s “most elite cell.”
Clinton has written of Doug Coe, The Family’s leader, that he is “a unique presence in Washington: a genuinely loving spiritual mentor and guide to anyone, regardless of party or faith, who wants to deepen his or her relationship with God.”
According to an article in The Nation, “The Family’s most visible activity is its blandly innocuous National Prayer Breakfast, held every February in Washington. But almost all its real work goes on behind the scenes–knitting together international networks of right-wing leaders, most of them ostensibly Christian. In the 1940s, The Family reached out to former and not-so-former Nazis, and its fascination with that exemplary leader, Adolf Hitler, has continued, along with ties to a whole bestiary of murderous thugs.”
The Nation quotes a piece that appeared in Harper’s in 2003:
“During the 1960s the Family forged relationships between the U.S. government and some of the most anti-Communist (and dictatorial) elements within Africa’s postcolonial leadership. The Brazilian dictator General Costa e Silva, with Family support, was overseeing regular fellowship groups for Latin American leaders, while, in Indonesia, General Suharto (whose tally of several hundred thousand “Communists” killed marks him as one of the century’s most murderous dictators) was presiding over a group of fifty Indonesian legislators. During the Reagan Administration the Family helped build friendships between the U.S. government and men such as Salvadoran general Carlos Eugenios Vides Casanova, convicted by a Florida jury of the torture of thousands, and Honduran general Gustavo Alvarez Martinez, himself an evangelical minister, who was linked to both the CIA and death squads before his own demise.”
Get the picture?
Now, do you understand why Hillary is so complimentary to John McCain? And why she hates Barack Obama with such ferocity?
March 29, 2008 1 Comment
I have a simple solution to the American mortgage crisis. Trouble is I’m afraid it’s so simple that I must be overlooking something or surely the government would have come up with it by now.
So tell me what’s wrong with this idea:
The government should empower one of its agencies to buy up mortgages when the mortgage holders founder. Simply pay off the lender and give the homeowner a new mortgage at an affordable rate.
That would save the homeowners from losing their homes and create a new revenue stream for the government. The loans would be backed by real estate, which cannot fail to rebound in value. And the lenders would be protected from disastrous defaults.
There must be a hole somewhere but I can’t think of one. Otherwise, I am sure our wise leaders would have implemented such a plan by now. If you can see the flaw in my reasoning, please let me know.
March 27, 2008 No Comments
When I told my brother, Bill, about the latest amazing discovery concerning aspirin’s ability to stave off heart attacks, he smirked knowingly and commented, “Bayer is a very big company.”
The implication is that being a very big company, Bayer can pay for studies that prove anything they want them to prove.
Would scientists sell their honor? Many of us would say yes.
We live in a world where no one is above suspicion, where the highest officials in the land are accused of making fortunes from a war in which nearly 4,000 of our finest young men and women have given their lives. What could be a worse betrayal than that?
We used to trust doctors. No more. Today, we’re more apt to sue them.
We used to trust our spiritual leaders. No more. Too many of them have turned out to be frauds.
We never really trusted politicians. But who would have believed them capable of the shenanigans they’ve been up to lately?
With this pervasive loss of trust, how can we still trust each other?
And I am sure you will agree no relationship can survive without trust. When we lose that we lose everything.
March 23, 2008 No Comments
Are you wondering why the media has seized on that video of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright screaming curses at America? Are you puzzled at the amount of airtime devoted to this sideshow when vital issues are ignored? The answer lies in the ownership of the media.
With global corporations controlling the airwaves, politicians like Barack Obama who advocate government for the people instead of for corporations can expect vicious and relentless attacks on television and radio. And this is facilitated by the concentration of ownership in international media.
The global media market is dominated by seven multinational corporations: Disney, AOL-Time Warner, Sony, News Corporation, Viacom, Vivendi, and Bertelsmann.
And the trend is accelerating. It would be naïve to expect fair treatment for Obama in these circumstances.
Watch for even more vicious attacks on the black senator from Illinois. They will often be disguised as “in-depth” reporting or even as a defense against “critics.” But in reality they will be thinly veiled excuses for showing the same damning video clips over and over and over and over…
March 20, 2008 No Comments
Everyone in the world should watch this video over and over. I wish I knew how to copy and paste it here but all I can do is provide a link to one of the many sites where it appears.
The sentiments embodied in the video apply not just to the people of the United States, but to all people in all countries. Especially at Easter, when we commemorate the greatest sacrifice of love ever made, it is fitting for us to pause in our daily lives and meditate on the possibilities of another four-letter word — HOPE.
And I hope everyone tuned in to Barack Obama’s speech on race this morning. The man is an intellectual and moral giant. I can only hope that his speech has started a conversation that needs to be had, openly and without rancor, in order for us all to move beyond such superficial divisions as the shade of our skin.
March 18, 2008 No Comments
It has taken me a long time to admit it, but my parents were right. The secret of success is hard work and self discipline. It’s helpful to have a little talent, of course, but talent alone won’t cut it. The tortoise wins; the hare loses. It’s as simple as that.
Those thoughts came to mind as I watched American President George W. Bush telling TV viewers how badly the economy is doing and reassuring them that all will soon be well again. As one remedy, he cited the “tax rebate” we’re supposed to get in May.
Now, you and I know that’s nonsense. Pouring money into the economy is no answer to the nation’s problems. It might provide a short-term boost but in the longer term, the most likely result is increased inflationary pressure.
Ask Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding for a more sensible approach, and he’s likely to mention stepped up research and development. Golding recently bemoaned the lack of applied research in the island, and The Gleaner suggested editorially that he should provide tax incentives to boost development of ideas generated through research. We hope the prime minister read the editorial. It’s very good advice.
There is only one way of increasing wealth and that is to increase productivity. Improved technology is one way of doing that. It helps us work smarter. And technological advances come from research and development.
If you don’t produce anything, you have nothing to sell. You buy and buy without getting any revenue in return. That’s a formula for disaster – for individuals and for countries.
With so many factories moving overseas, America is producing a lot less than it used to. And it is buying a lot more.
So, Mr. Bush, listen to little Jamaica. Do something dramatic to encourage research and development. Showering the voters with dollar bills won’t solve the country’s economic problems.
The way to economic success is not that easy. To achieve real stability, Americans (and Jamaicans) are going to have to produce more and consume less. That means working smarter – but that’s not all. It also requires self discipline, deferring gratification and studying subjects we might nor find enjoyable (like Math). It means hiding those credit cards in a drawer somewhere and buying only those things we can pay for. It means putting aside a few dollars every week – “one-one coco full basket.”
And it means less of the “high life,” less eating out, two beers instead of three (for us men), wearing last summer’s bathing suit (for the ladies) …
But you know what I’m talking about. Your parents told you. And they were right.
March 14, 2008 1 Comment
So the Fed is going to pour $200 billion into America’s faltering economy. That means 200 pieces of printed paper that you and I will accept as payment for goods and services. But what does a dollar really represent? America long ago abandoned the gold standard, so it is not equal to a set amount of gold – or anything else. It seems to me that the dollar represents faith. A dollar is worth something because we all believe it does.
Back in the old days economists wrestled with the problem of valuing money. Some suggested a unit of currency should be equivalent to a bushel of wheat, for example. For reasons beyond my grasp, that idea didn’t fly. Then came the gold standard. But, as I recall, Britain abandoned the gold standard after World War II, and other countries, including America, followed suit.
Now, I suspect that a group of immensely rich speculators manipulate the currencies of the world. A British politician called them “the Gnomes of Zurich” but I doubt that they all live in Switzerland. Of course governments also have a massive impact on the value of currencies. If China, for example, buys up a lot of dollars, the value of the dollar is likely to rise. If Saudi Arabia sells dollars and buys Euros, the dollar’s value is likely to fall and the Euro’s is likely to rise.
What’s the point of all this? I guess I’m trying to figure out how that extra $200 billion is likely to affect America’s economy – and the rest of the world’s. It has to create inflation, right? I mean if suddenly you have all this paper floating around without a corresponding increase in goods and services, it stands to reason that the goods and services will cost more. And, by the same reasoning, it has to have a negative impact on the dollar’s exchange rate. That means imported goods will cost more. And most of the things Americans buy these days are imported (including oil). Also, with credit loosening up, Americans will have the opportunity to get even deeper in debt.
So in the long run, the $200 billion will do nothing to make life better for the American consumer. It will most likely make things worse.
But that argument doesn’t faze my wife, Sandra.
“I just wish I had some of that paper,” she said wistfully.
March 12, 2008 No Comments
I am uneasy about that “dream ticket” being touted by some Democrats. Bill Clinton, for one, argued recently that Hillary and Barack Obama would be an “almost unstoppable” combination. The way he sees it, Hillary would attract all the poor, unschooled white folks and Barack would attract the college crowd and African Americans. He didn’t mention Hispanics but by now everybody knows that Hillary’s got the Hispanic vote.
I predicted a few blogs ago that the Denocratic Party brass would try to rig a ticket with Hillary for President and Barack for vice president. The concept is simple: Hillary gets eight years, Barack gets eight more and the Democratic Party gets 16 years in the White House. Whoopee!
But maybe not so whoopee. If Barack went for a deal like that, skeptics (like me) would smirk and shake their heads. They would see it as evidence that Barack’s call for a new kind of politics was just so much hot air, that he was as much of an old-style politician as the Bush-league crowd he’s trying to replace.
And Hillary would be proved right. Barack would be nothing more than a charming speech maker, in the tradition of the great snake oil salesmen of yesteryear. That’s the guy she wants as vice president? The one who would be “a heartbeat away from the presidency”? We skeptics might decide not to vote, after all.
Besides, while the Hillary-Barack combination would have twice the appeal of either candidate, it would also have twice the liability. The ticket would turn off both the anti-woman voters and the anti-black voters. And, please don’t try to tell me there aren’t a lot of those voters in America.
March 10, 2008 No Comments
Is Hillary Clinton a “monster” as a top Obama adviser said recently? I don’t think so. A more plausible explanation of her campaign style is that she has decided to switch parties and run as John McCain’s vice presidential choice.
In the space of a couple of days she praised McCain three or four times, citing his “lifetime of foreign policy experience.” In contrast, she said, Barack Obama “gave a speech in 2002.” Asked on 60 Minutes whether Obama is a Muslim, she said “not as far as I know,” leaving the door open to those persistent rumors. Yet she knows with certainty that Obama is a Christian.
What’s going on?
Strange bedfellows abound in politics. Who would’ve thought Joe Liberman capable of endorsing a Republican? Yet there he is, grinning broadly, at McCain’s side.
So it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that the Republicans have struck a deal with the Clintons. Some glittering reward may await them for not only putting the Bush team back in power but also for destroying the Democratic Party.
How else would you explain the emphasis on race and gender, which pits whites and Hispanics against blacks, and women against men?
The only other possibility is that the Clintons are so power hungry that they are prepared to leave the Democratic Party in ruins rather than lose the presidential nomination. Like Samson pulling down the temple of the Phillistines, Hillary is apparently engaged in a gesture of suicidal defiance.
March 7, 2008 No Comments
Call me paranoid if you like, but I suspect Canadian officials deliberately leaked the memo that may have cost Barack Obama the state of Ohio. It is highly unusual for the media to get hold of diplomatic inter-office mail and I find it very fishy that a Canadian television reporter would stumble upon the memo written by an official in Canada’s Chicago consulate.
The memo from Canadian consulate staffer Joseph DeMora suggested that Barack Obama’s threat to withdraw from NAFTA should be viewed as “political positioning.”
It was written after a meeting between Obama adviser Austan Goolsbee and Canadian Consul General Georges Rioux.
“Noting anxiety among many U.S. domestic audiences about the U.S economic outlook, Goolsbee candidly acknowledged the protectionist sentiment that has emerged, particularly in the Midwest, during the primary campaign,” the memo said. “He cautioned that this message should not be taken out of context and should be viewed as more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans.”
It was just the kind of ammunition that a desperate Hillary Clinton needed to keep her nomination bid alive. Was it a lucky break for her and a bad break for Obama? Or was it something more sinister?
Think about it.
It is no secret that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a devoted disciple of U.S. President George W. Bush. It seems plausible to me that Bush and his buddies would get a helping hand from Harper’s guys.
I doubt the memo resulted from a deliberately set trap, although that scenario is not improbable. But I am convinced the leak was no accident. My theory is that Canadian officials saw a chance to derail the Obama campaign and jumped at it.
Republicans are eager to run against Hillary Clinton this fall. The party attack dogs have been stockpiling character-assassination material for years in anticipation of that conflict. And party leaders see Clinton’s nomination as the only development that could bring the conservative faction back into the Republican fold. Also, they figure that if Obama does not get the Democratic nomination, many of his followers will lose interest in politics, resulting in reduced turn-out in the general election.
Therefore, it would not be surprising if Bush (through Harper) gave the Clinton campaign a friendly nudge.
Did you notice how John McCain defended NAFTA in his speech the other day? I see that as a sign the conservatives are closing ranks across the border. If the Canadian neo-cons scratch Bush’s back, American Republicans will return the favor.
March 5, 2008 No Comments