Tuesday, February 28, 2006

New CBS Poll Puts Bush Public Approval At A Mere 34%, Leaving Supporters Feeling Defensive And Powerless

It is only a natural reaction, but the rapidly declining poll numbers for Mr. Bush are leading to a "seige mentality" among some supporters who are acting in denial, and others lashing out or others feeling powerless and defensive. This new decline has created more denial based features on Republican and conservative leaning Websites and blogs, with the philosophy that the broad mainstream media does not present an accurate world view. A view that news reports cannot possiby be right, but one's own opinions certainly are. It is a sort of self-delusional "true believer" complex by some.

CBS puts the latest public support for Mr. Bush at a mere 34%, with a 59% disapproval of his policies. While some will argue about the methodology, taken during the weekend among all adults, not just likely voters, and after the worst of Iraqi violence and concerns about the UAE MidEast government DP World port dealings, it still illustrates a typical trend of the second term blues for a President whose White House is not very well managing second term challenges.

In 1964, Lyndon Johnson was able to win with 61% support. Richard Nixon won by a similar large margin in 1972. But both found their second terms to be entirely destructive of their presidential ambitions. Johnson did not seek re-election in 1968. And Nixon resigned in August of 1974.

In 1984 Reagan won a broad 59% landslide, but poor second term issue management of Iran-Contra Scandal and other issues eroded the support down to just a 54% win for Vice President Bush in 1988. But further poor issue management of the economy and other issues further eroded this support down to just 38% in a three way loss of Bush to Democrat Bill Clinton in 1992.

The mounting problems present an issue management problem for the Republican White House and for strategist Karl Rove. But for Democrats to be able to actually capitalize off these problems is also a problem. But so far, it seems that Democratic opposition to the UAE government DP World port dealings are putting some new issue distance between Democrats and Republicans, and allowing Democrats to erode the one area where Republicans have fared well in polls, on questions involving national security.

While the true gauge of support for Mr. Bush or Republican policies is always in real elections, the only one true poll, still a trend is clear. The second term blues are hitting the Bush White House hard and whether thay can effectively battle back and reassert public support is yet to be seen. It is still months before the 2006 elections, and even longer before the 2008 election cycle. Anything can happen at this point for either party with shrewd issue management by either party.

The public also has a short memory. Next week's issues may be radically different than those this week and could break either way, or for every party. For the rest of 2006, a week by week issue oriented political environment is likely to exist with fortunes rising or falling for both parties.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Mardi Gras Illustrates The Difference Between Race And Class After Katrina

In a September 15, 20005 White House presss release, President Bush made broad promise of $60 in aid for Katrina disaster rebuilding efforts, plus other broad promises to rebuild the business community in New Orleans, as well as other Southern states hit by "enterprise zones" and other means to restore places of work and jobs. Yet six months after the Katrina disaster little substantial has been done that can be seen.

In Congress, conservative Republicans pushed for $40 billion in social service cuts to Food Stamps, child support enforcement, student loans and other programs to supposedly help to pay for the Katrina relief, but instead pushed for a new $70 billion dollar tax cut for the wealthy of the larger U.S., and the federal relief and support to New Orleans has gone largely unnoticed by real victims of the disaster.

Very few of the homes have been rebuilt in the heavily damaged 9th Ward. Garbage trucks haven't even pickedup all the debris of homes and damaged property in broadly destroyed neighborhoods that still remains on the ground and streets a full six months after Katrina. Even very few of FEMA trailers have been delivered. And those who live in these find life very uncomfortable with very little room to barely have a life even close to the normal life before Katrina.

And since very little damage to the French Quarter where much of the main Mardi Gras celebrations occur each year, then the normal events of elaborate parades, public drunkeness, women exposing themselves for beads, public urination, vomiting from too much drinking, and drunken fist fights seem to carry on as normal.

In the heavily Black neighborhoods, the Indian celebrations are noticeably smaller as many of the Black residents are gone because of the Katrina disaster, or their elaborate costumes were destroyed. In the days of slavery in the deep South, many Blacks struck up kinships with Native American Indians, and the Indian celebrations carry this on in smaller less formalized parades.

Of a large city of over 415,000 persons, only around 110,000 now live in new Orleans. Of 81,000 businesses once in New Orleans, now only about 42,000 operate. There are real problems reopening many because there is so little available housing in New Orleans. And only two hospitals are fully functional in the city. Even Rev. Pat Roberts who operates the Operation Blessing charity stated that these hospitols only received just a few insulin supplies from the Federal GOvernment, while his religious-oriented charity donated thousands of insulin supplies as well as 80,000 pounds of medical supplies. Religious organizations did so much, while little of the Federal aid can be found.

The Bush address to the nation after the Katrina disaster promised so much. Yet so little has been done. It seems as though the only intent of the speech was simply to pacify the nation at the time and to avoid more well deserved criticism of the very ineffective and do nothing White House.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Don Knotts, The "Barney Fife" Comic Legend Is Gone

During my childhood I always greatly admired comic actor Don Knotts. It seemed like the old Andy Griffith Show was always on TV when a new show, or as reruns, or as DVD whenever one wanted to take trip back to this peaceful little town of Mayberry where people were always decent and friendly.

Don Knotts was a major part of this wonderful little imaginary town of Mayberry. As the funny and bumbling deputy, Barney Fife, Don Knotts became a beloved part of my early television history.

In other roles, Don Knotts, was funny, but he never really could match his Andy Griffith Show role. In THE GHOST AND MR.CHICKEN, THE RELUCTANT ASTRONAUT, or teaming with Tim Conway in THE PRIVATE EYES, or as the outrageous landlord in THREE'S COMPANY, Don Knotts was always the funny and bumbling nerd, but never quite as good as Barney Fife it seemed to me.

But maybe that's the way it is with legends. They are remembered for one great role more than any other. To me Don Knotts will always be the lovable Barney Fife.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Long After The Collapse Of The Soviet Union, The Communist Party USA Lingers Along And Sells Some Interesting Baseball Caps & Things

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 following the failed coup against Mikhail Gorbachev by hardline Soviet Communists, world Communist organizations found themselves as political orphans as the political homeland of international Communism in the Soviet Union disappeared as a guiding force of direction or leadership. Instead it pretty much became a matter of survival and every man for himself for a dying movement of individual state organizations.

Today in 2006, where is the Communist Party USA? Besides being in a weak membership condition compared to the highpoint of strength right around the 1930's Great Depression, the organization only seems to champion just a few class concious causes, and only comes across as a organization a little to the left of many of more liberal Democratic Party activists.

On the CPUSA Website, the really brave can purchase baseball caps, T-Shirts, bumper stickers and other items with CPUSA slogans, emblems or Karl Marx images. But it seems like few would want to wear such items in a climate of wiretaps and other snooping into the private lives of Americans, where Uncle Sam may be listening at any time. Yet the strange flipside of this is that it was indeed the Bush Administration that appointed the Secretary of the Iraqi Communist Party to the transitional governing council of Iraq before a more permanent government was elected in Iraq.

This is a strange paradox. While the Soviet Union was viewed a great foe and Cold War adversary before 1991, today the U.S. has massive trade with Communist China and the Bush Administration appoints the Secretary Of Iraqi Communist Party to the transitional government council in Iraq.

Now that a Communist Soviet Union is no longer a threat, and the domino principle of Soviet backed guerilla wars undermining governments friendly to the U.S. seems to be no longer a threat, many world Communists are now content to be like the Chinese or Vietnamese and sell basketball shoes, tools, toys, housewares and everything else to the U.S. as born again capitalists, and the CPUSA, once the great fear of Senator Joseph McCarthy has been reduced down to a mere level of selling baseball and T-shirts with slogans or images few would dare wear in public.

From a position of a major rival ideology to the U.S., to a small-time T-shirt and baseball cap vender, few political movements have fallen quite as far as the one of the Communists. Or to make this more understandable to the more venture capitalistic: If world Communism was like a Wall Street stock, the value has fallen so low, that it is now like a "delisted issue".

The modern confrontation appears to be with radical Islam and the Western world, and this clash of cultures has a wildly unpredictable outcome that seems to lack the mutual fears and restraints of the old Cold War issues between the U.S. and former Soviet Union. And it seems like it will be a long time before the rival Al Qaeda organization will be only content to sell Osama Bin Laden T-shirts, rather than challenge the Western world in more overt and outrageous ways such as attempts to destroy the Western economies with attacks on Saudi Arabian oil supplies.

Once again the Western world is in for another long challenge.

Predatory Loan Business Uses Lovable Mascot Suit To Give Exploitation Of The Poor A "Soft Side"

In Portland, Oregon, a chain of predatory payday loan businesses are using a lovable kangaroo costumed mascot to present a "soft image" to the ugly business of exploiting the poor.

Oregon is becoming dotted with predatory loan businesses as Oregon's legislature is loaded with lawmakers who routinely accept campaign donations from the predatory loan lobby. Frank Shields, a Christian minister who is a Democratic member of the state legislature has had no luck at controlling interest rates for car title loans that can soar to as much as 300-500% annual interest rates. Along with the big tobacco lobby, the predatory loan lobby is one of Oregon's most agressive lobbyies.

In Portland, the City Council and Mayor's office recently found themselves greatly limited in restricting these predatory loan businesses as Oregon lawmakers actually prevented cities from limiting the interest rates of predatory businesses in order to protect this loan shark industry that exploits the poor. Only some disclosure and 24 hour opt-out rules could be enforced against this industry by the City Of Portland, as any meaningful attempts to force this industry not to victimize the poor were protected by mainly conserative Republican Oregon lawmakers.

During the 2004 Republican National Convention, a magnate who owns a huge chain of payday loan businesses, and who has donated $1 million to various Republican Party candidates and organizations, was treated like royality in New York, and brought by charter to Cartier Diamonds to pick out a jewelry gift in recognition of all the money he donated to the party from the blood of the poor.

This is part of the daily class warfare that the poor face as businesses such as predatory loan businesses are protected by wealthy politicians who constantly seek campaign donations from shady lobby and donation sources in order to stay in office. Without any moral backbone, or sense of right or wrong, evil like this will likely continue until the level of shame can be raised for any politician for contributing to this grinding of the poor.

Not even a lovable kangaroo mascot suit can do much to hide this face of outright evil.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Lobbyists In Congress Outnumber Congresspersons And Senators By Nearly 32 to 1 Margin.

There currently registered 16,000 lobbyists in Congress right now. They outnumber the members of Congress buy nearly a 32 to 1 margin.

Even with the DP World dealings, the UAE government has hired former Republican Presidential candidate and Senator, Robert Dole as a paid lobbyist to promote the deal. Madeline Albright, former Clinton Administration official was also hired as a paid lobbyist by the UAE government to promote the DP World deal.

In Oregon, Governor Ted Kulogoski today called for a tobacco tax to help to provide all children 19 and younger with health care including dental and mental health. But in the state legislature, big tobacco lobby money was used to fight a proposal to prevent an average of nearly 900 grass and forest fires each year by mandating the sale of self-extinguishing cigarettes. After big tobacco lobby efforts, Republican Speaker Of The Oregon State House of Representatives, Karen Minnis, refused to even allow the cigarette bil to even come up for a vote. You can bet that between the health needs of Oregon's children or the power of a big lobby such as tobacco, who will come up the big winner.

The UAE Government May Have Contributed $100 Million To Katrina Relief To Influence The DP World Port Deal

In a possible effort to influence the UAE government owned DP World port deal with the Bush Administration, the UAE government contribued $100 million to Katrina relief to the Bush Administration only weeks before proposing to purchase the port management.

Just like the efforts of master Lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who found a way to the hearts of politicians by either donations to their favorite charity or to their campaign as donations, the UAE government may have made the Bush Administration "an offer they can't refuse".

This may have saved the U.S. government $100 million on the surface, but it may have been been intended to put pressure on the Bush Administration to "ironclad" promise that such a deal to sell port management could not be turned down.

Mr. Bush even promised to veto and Congressional opposition to the deal, as though it is a done deal.

But it may appear that the UAE has learned much of the ways of Jack Abramoff and other big time lobbyists. You buy your way on big deals by doing favors or giving charitable donations.

And who ever thought that Washington was a "culture of corruption".

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Iraq Edges Closer To Civil War

With growing mutual violence growing in Iraq ignited by the terrorist attack on the golden domed Shiite Mosque, Iraq is entering a critical phase of breaking down into outright anarchy and civil war.

This will only serve to strengthen the debate in the U.S. about U.S. involvement and will strengthen both the arguments of those who argue that U.S. peacekeeping efforts are more vital than ever as well those who favor a U.S. withdrawal, by claiming that the situation is no longer manageable or salvageable for the U.S.

Both arguments are now stronger. On one hand Iraq seems hopeless, and U.S. soldiers are only likely to become victims in a nasty crossfire of sectarian violence, on the other hand efforts to prevent ethinic violence, restore order and attempt to salvage the nation are also of vital importance. A policeman never walks away from an area simply because crime or violence exists, they attempt to restore order. The U.S. seems forced into this difficult role ethically, although the prospects for a stable Iraq are far less likely than ever.

For whatever poor reasons that the U.S. entered Iraq, and for whatever destabilization and harm that we've done to the region, there still seems to be a moral obligation of the U.S. to prevent more violence and killing.

The mutual destruction of so many houses of worship, and the senseless murder of a popular female journalist and her newscrew only beg for both the U.S. and international community to work hard to restore some semblence of order to Iraq.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Important Memo About This Blog

Thanks so much to all my loyal readers. I appreciate your support. My internet provider JUNO is having some changes made with their connection to the Microsoft Internet Explorer for some reason. And this greatly hampers my ability to be able to update this Website for the next few days.

But I promise to maintain the quality of this blog as well as possible over the next few days until the problems between the connection of JUNO and IE are worked out.

This is a strange problem and absolutely unexpected, with JUNO offering little warning of this problem. But JUNO is sending out a disc to subscribers to correct this situation. I'm very pleased with JUNO as a service provider. Their service is both reliable and reasonably priced and I encourage those in the market for Internet service to consider JUNO. However this current service problem with IE connects is a bit surprising to me.

Keep the Peace.

The War On Houses Of Worship

This morning's outrageous attack on the beautiful golden domed Shiite Mosque in Iraq is the latest outrage against houses of worship. In Alabama, 11 Baptist churches have been set on fire in recent weeks.

Political extremists are using assaults on God's own home to express their political extremism. This is absolutely unacceptable. All houses of worship whether they be Christian, Jewish or Muslim should be absolutely off bounds to politically oriented attacks. All religious houses of worship deserve great respect due the house that is the dwelling of God.

It is indeed a real low in human conduct when any house of worship is made a political target. All right thinking people can only express great sorrow and sympathy for the sad attack on the Mosque in Iraq in which the final Iman was expected to appear at end times. It is also hoped that authorities will soon bring down the elements who are destroying Alabama Baptist churches and soon stop this senseless and outrageous violence.

In Iraq, the cleric Ali al-Sistani is urging retraint on the part of Shitte community, not to respond with violence or attack Sunni religious sites. Ali al-Sistani is a good and moderate religious leader. All in Iraq would be wise to follow his example and resist the urge to more violence or even the worse prospect of full blown civil war between the ethnic and religious factions.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Bush Call For Energy Independence Fails To Take Note Of Problems With Alternate Power Sources For Automobiles

It might appear to be a populist effort for Mr. Bush to act as a champion for efforts to develop alternate energy sources for automobiles and reduce the U.S. dependence on foreign oil. For some this many be seen as extrordinary for a Texas oilman to be discussing efforts to alter the oil consumption industry. Yet there are many sobering facts that are not often publicly discussed.

For whatever excitement than Mr. Bush has created about ethanol, hydrogen fuel cells or even biodiesel, serious problems remain with each technology.

For example, Toyota strongly feels that fuel cell automobiles which use hydrogen are unlikely to be viable due to serious problems, and see the hybrid, gas-electric automobiles as the most dominant automobile power source types in the near future. Toyota is pinning their hopes mainly on these type of automobiles and are spending little in cash to explore the fuel cell technology automobiles. On the other hand, GM, which is severely cash strapped and is facing plant closings and job layoffs is the main U.S. corporation exploring hydrogen fuel cell automobiles. Besides temperature storage problems with hydrogen, there are temperature concerns where cold weather tends to destroy sensitive membranes used in the conversion process with fuel cell experiments. This has led to $1 billion dollars in mainly unsuccessful experiments by GM, instead of development of automobiles that could compete better with high selling import models right now.

And ethanol and biodiesel both currently involve the need for more energy to produce the fuels than the fuels themselves will produce.

For now, only biodiesel made at home from old french fry oil discarded from fast food businesses has proven viable as a cheap source of alternate fuel.

Using old french fry soybean or vegetable oil, some homemade or purchased units allow for home production of biodiesel where a chemical conversion process using methanol and lye is used. First a minibatch must be created to judge the pH level of the soybean oil, and the amount of lye and methanol required for the chemical conversion process. This minibatch experiment takes the better part of a day. Then once the pH is determined, then calculations are required to determine how much lye and methanol are then used in the chemical conversion.

The lye forces some molecules from the soybean oil to attach to the methanol molecules, and then harmless and nontoxic glycerine drops to the bottom of the processing tank as harmless waste than can be used as liquid handsoap, or boiled into bar soap. The resulting top mixture in the main processing tank is a fuel that is usable in any diesel powered engine and produces less pollution than normal diesel, but is not cost effective for large scale corporate production.

The problem is that ethanol and biodiesel both involve far more in energy output than they produce for large makers to profit from. This makes no economic sense to them or to serious scientists unless this can be changed somehow. And fuel cell powered automobiles have proven to largely be failures with GM experiments. Only foreign maker, Volkswagon has expressed some interest in biodiesel, but they are also financially challenged. Toyota has seen many years of wise judgement. Their opinions on hybrid technology rather than fuel cell or other alternate energy automobiles may well be correct.

Unless some significant breakthroughs in technology can make any of these alternate energy sources cost effective and viable, then these are merely dreams that can only be fulfilled by small experiments or by high school or college kid experiments for science fairs or small time alternate energy events.

CIA Moves To Reclassify Documents In The National Archives

The CIA has been reportedly involved in a secret seven year program to reclassify more than 55,000 documents that were opened to public view in the National Archives. Yet, in many cases there seems to be no real national security issues at stake, but many cases seem to only point to CIA efforts to cover-up examples of grossly wrong judgement calls in past critical situations.

In one example, American intelligence sources wrongly concluded on Oct 12, 1950 that Chinese forces were not likely to enter the Korean War. But only two weeks later, a force of 300,000 Chinese soldiers invaded Korea and entered the war.

In other examples, many Cold War and other documents, which are very old and seemingly nearly worthless except to historians or authors, are now being reclassified as "secret" and "classified" once again.

There is no national security concerns at stake in old documents dealing with foreign policy situations long past in a quickly changing world that has altered dramaticly with so much trade with China, democratic reforms in former Communist states in Eastern Europe and other political landscape changes.

It only seems like a cult of secrecy continues to surround the CIA, who seem to guard the fact that their judgement calls are often wrong is at issue. They failed to prevent the probable transfers of 38 plane fulls of WMD chemical weapons to Syria in 2002 by Iraq, according to information given by General Georges Sada, the #2 general in Iraq's Air Force. They misjudged postwar conditions in Iraq and the strength of the insurgency.

It would be far better for the U.S. and for the CIA to be seen as often wrong in past judement calls, and for public critical opinion to force the CIA to better be able to judge the critical issues of national security importance.

Yet it is difficult to see any benefit to the CIA seeking to hide past examples that they ever absolutely wrong on judgement calls on Korea in 1950 or with the Cold War. Most normal people learn from their mistakes, not make a massive effort to hide those mistakes.

The fact that the CIA often makes terrible and bad judgement calls and opinion errors seems to be the biggest secret subject to cover-up.

The Unmaking Of A Governor

In Oregon, the Democratic Party is facing new critical divisions between party moderates and the more liberal wing just like in many other areas of the country months before the very crotical 2006 elections. This weekend such tensions reared themself when incumbent Democratic Governor Ted Kulongoski failed to garner the endorsement of the Multnomah County Democrats, an organization largely dominated by the more liberal wing of the party.

By all standards, Kulongoski has been a very reasonable Governor. He managed to maintain existing social programs while not raising taxes during months and months of high unemployment resulting after economic problems after the 9/11 attacks and other economic turndown conditions during the Bush Administration. Kulongoski has attended every funeral of every service person who died in the Iraq War from Oregon. And Kulongoski worked as well as he could given the political reality of the state House under Republican control with Republican Speaker Of The House, Karen Minnis, blocking legislation that she did not agree with from even being under consideration.

Yet like many states, there is a brewing attempt by the more liberal elements of the Democratic Party to challenge the more moderate elements and to unseat Kulongski by members of his own party, including by the first Black elected to statewide office, former Oregon State Treasurer, Jim Hill, who has accused Kulongski of "acting too much like a Republican".

Yet it seems like the alternative of Democrats seeking to undermine their own governor are filled with real danger.

The most likely Republican nominee is Republican Party Chairman, Kevin Mannix. Mannix came very close to defeating Kulongski a few years for governor, despite many years of strange baggage that follow around Mannix. In 1972, Mannix, was a liberal Democrat who was even a George McGovern delegate to the 1972 Democratic Convention. Since that time, Mannix gradually drifted to the political right, became a Republican, and was involved in some political activity that is very strange.

Mannix became an attorney and in a celebrated case, defended a mayor of a city charged with public corruption charges. In the state legislature, Mannix, helped to weaken, not strengthen, state officials ethics laws.And Mannix formed several committees that put up right wing ballot measures to set mandatory minimum sentences for a wide range of crimes called Measure 11. He also championed unsuccessful efforts to weaken Oregon's Free Speech Protections and recruited former crime victims such as a father whose little 3 yearold son was murdered by a young Vancouver child predator, who falsely claim that pornography was somehow responsible for the crime, even though there was no connection whatseoever to pornography, and the only book found in the home of the convicted murderer, Westley Allan Dodd, was a copy of the Bible. Mannix's committee profitted from such absurd and false claims, as donations rolled in from supporters of Mannix's right wing effort.

Mannix has found that raising money through setting up campaign committees, and allowing persons connected to his campaigns to make blatantly false statements, which routinely go uncorrected by Mannix, has raised real questions about Mannix. To his supporters, Mannix is some sort of a populist, but to his critics he is always way too close on unethical conduct and a real poster boy that seems wrong for the Republicans to run for Gobernor when Democrats are likely to make the "culture of corruption" a main campaign theme this year. Yet no wise person should count Mannix out.

Mannix may seem politically wrong for Oregon. And his ethics may seem outrageous such as allowing person's connected with his ballot measures to make false statements go uncorrected, that bring in donations and funds to Mannix run campaign committees. Yet Mannix may be able to win with a divided Democratic Party. The very conservative Victor Atiyeh was able to win two elections for governor some years ago. And this is despite the fact that his wife refused to wait in a doctor's waiting room with the "common people", and expected to have a room ready for her the moment she arrived in the office. Even this "Marie Annoinette" type arrogance and lack of respect for the average Oregonian was not enough to keep Atiyeh from the Governor's office.

But like other states, such as Ohio, where antiwar Iraq war vet, Paul Hackett, was forced off the ballot by pary regulars who were circling the wagons of support around a candidate the party officials thought was their best prospect to defeat the Republican nominee, a real fight between party regulars, moderates, and more liberal antiIraq War liberals is beginning to mirror the Democratic Party problems of 1968.

There is plenty of danger in so much party division among the Democrats, only months before critical elections. But just like 1968, another war, and opposition to that war is fueling a strong left wing of the Democratic Party to pull the party to the left, just at a time when moderate candidates who appeal to a broad cross section of voters is probably more likely to present a stronger challenge to the Republicans. Democrats may be sowing the seeds of their own defeat right before a critical opportunity to regain power in Washington, or to become very close to becoming a permanent minority party, or even worse, going the way of the defunct Whig Party.

In 1964, after the massive Goldwater loss, Republicans looked very close to hanging out the "going out of business" signs. But they were able to rebound. However, they have always had far better party unity than Democrats. Division among Democrats in many elections since 1860, has left Democrats often looking outside the window at Republicans who often took advantage of such party divisions and won elections, sometimes with only 39% of the vote with Democrats losing because of their divisions.

Conservatives and moderates together no doubt form the largest group of voters in the U.S. Liberals simply do not have the numbers to split their ranks and still win elections. Democrats must find unity among liberals and moderates, as well as draw in independent voters, and Republican disgusted with the Bush or Washington leadership. Otherwise Democrats simply throw away another election opportunity once again.

Kulongski's problem in Oregon is typical of the 11th hour problem that Democrats are creating for themselves right when they don't need it. A perfectly decent Democratic Governor is being undermined by a antiwar left unwilling to compromise a few values to win an election and now give the Republicans some hope in a blue state in which they should have no hope.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Happy President's Day!

Today two great American presidents are honored.

George Washington was a very tall man in a time when few Americans stood at six feet. He had a dream for independence from England, which would allow for the free worship of religion in America. But his small army was poorly equipped to withstand the highly trained and well equipped British forces. Washington had only 5,000 troops to command.

Haym Solomon, a Prussian born Jewish American businessman also had a dream of religious tolerance for Jewish Americans as well who faced many years of discrimination in Europe, long sanctioned by both governments and the church. Haym Solomon arranged no-interest loans to Washington's military from wealthy European Jewish families to buy guns and uniforms and to hire 7,000 mercenary soldiers to supplement the 5,000 American troops that Washington was both the first General and also Chaplain of.

With a keen respect for the free exercise of faith, and the goal of establishing nation free of a state run church, Washington eventually became the first American President.

Abraham Lincoln was perhaps the closest to a saint or Biblical figure that the U.S. ever had as a leader. As a boy he learned to read with only a copy of the Bible in his humble home. In 1860 he won the sharply divided election with just 39% of the vote as the first candidate of the new Republican Party as the Whig Party collapsed, and Democrats were split into three factions that year.

His intense faith in God, rooted in his sincere and deep knowledge of the Bible gave him strength to be a long suffering figure similar to Job as well as a leader like Moses to keep the U.S. together as a union and to abolish the great evil of slavery.

Today the U.S. honors two great presidents who brought great values to this nation that often seem to go ignored. Washington's dream of a state where the sincere private practice of religion is respected, and there is not an establishment of a state church seems to face some challenges by both the far left and far right. And the dream of Lincoln of a land in which all men are equal are put to the test when a Black Athlete wins gold at the Olympics, but faces segregation and racism from his own allWhite team. Many of the dream's of these great American Presidents are still somewhat unfulfilled.

The U.S. needs to do more than simply honor these two great Presidents. But to honor the values that they stood for.

Black Athlete Wins Gold, But Faces 1950's Style Segregation From U.S. Team Racism

The life of Shani Davis has never been easy. But against all odds this incredible Black athlete has won the gold medal for himself and the U.S. on Saturday. But no one from the American speed skating team has bothered to even offer a kind word or some sort of congratulations.

Instead Davis is facing 1950's style segregation and racism. He has felt so unwelcome that he trains in Canada, while the all White U.S. team trains in the U.S. Davis has to face racist scrawls on the bathroom walls as well as rude comments from the White team members after he won gold while the White team members failed.

It is very regrettable that most of America is extremely proud of Shani Davis, and consider him a great athlete and are inspired by his life story. It is unfortunate that the rest of the U.S. team still think that this is the 1950's segregated South and refuse to treat this great American with the due respect and dignity that he deserves.

Even on a Website for Mr. Davis, some racist comments are posted. This is simply outrageous.

I'm proud of Mr. Davis and consider him a great American no matter what some on the U.S. Olympic team may feel. He has brought great honor to the U.S. and deserves full respect due to any American citizen and equal treatment.

Dick Cheneymania Fad Sweeps The U.S.: "Screwing-up Big Time" Huge New U.S. Fad

Classic Newsreel footage from 2006:

Dick Cheneymania sweeps the U.S. Inspired by the near fatal stupid accident of the Vice President, a big new fad to "screw-up big time" is sweeping the U.S.

Even bigger than the hula hoop, spinning in laundromat washing machines or the skateboard, all across the U.S., Americans are trying to top one another to see who can "screw-up big time" worse than anyone else.

Even athletes in the Olympics are getting involved, and falling down just feet from the finish line of important events in the 2006 Torino Olympics by "hot dogging" and "showing off" instead of concentratng on winning the event.

Big corporations don't seem to want to be left out of this "screwing-up big time" craze. While GM and Ford claim problems competing with high mileage and quality imports, and are cutting jobs and closing factories, a group of former inner city dropouts and former gang members attending a second chance auto shop high school class in a Philadelphia high school build a 50 mpg sports car that runs on soybean oil, puts out very little pollution, and can compete with $200,000 sports cars by posting a neck snapping 0-60 acceleration in just 4.0 seconds. The high school kid's sports car is so impressive that it's the talk of the Philadelphia Auto Show and has been featured on CBS news.

Even Radio Shack Corporation is getting into the act, by closing up to 700 stores and claiming a 62% drop in profits, at a time when consumer electronics such as computers, cell phones and DVD players are hot sellers.

Some say these corporate failures were inspired by the failures of the NASA space shuttle program, whic has experienced two deadly failures since 1986, costing the lives of 14 astronauts due to parts that fall off and damage the space craft, O-rings that fail in cold weather, and is partially kept running with parts that NASA purchases from Ebay since many parts from this 1970's relic spacecraft are no longer manufactured.

Others think these failures are inspired are inspired by the Bush Administration estimates of the Iraq War being an easy operation only expected to cost about $60 billion rather than the current expected $400 price tag, or about $2 a week. Under-equipped National Guard units, with a lack of body armor, ammunition , radios and other eqipment were sent into a long protrected Vietnam type war inwhich as many as 147,000 total U.S. forces have been unable to prevent a few thousand poorly armed and organized insurgents from continued terrorist acts such suicide bombings, IED explosions and other terrorism which has increased dramaticly from 2004 levels in 2005.

There even seem to be plans for big new upcoming efforts to "screw-up big time". The Bush Administration is approving the sale of six vital U.S. ports including one's in New York and New Jersey to an United Arab Emirates company, DP World. This is despite the fact that this nation is devoted to the destruction of Israel, has been a home of Al Qaeda activity, has transferred nuclear weapons production components to other MidEast nations, and had a connection to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in this country. If this leads to lax security at the New York port, then a single atomic bomb smuggled in could kill 100,000 in New York City. This appears to be Bush Administration planning for the biggest example of "screwing-up big time" ever planned!

How long is this "screwing-up big time" fad in the U.S. going to last? No one seems to know. But many Americans are sure working hard to top one another in this wild and crazy fad.

End of newsreel.

Wiiliam Cowsill, Lead Singer For The Cowsills Dies

In the late 60's a family pop group that topped the U.S. charts with big hits "Hair" and " The Rain, The Park & Other Things", and helped to inspire The Partridge Family, was all the rage among young 45rpm singles buyers. For many young record buyers, The Cowsills were one of their very first record purchases.

Now another bit of sad news about this pop group that included four brothers and their mother and little sister has again hit this popular 60's group. Earlier this year, Barry Cowsill had disappeared after hurricane Katrina and was eventually found dead. Now William Cowsill, 58, has died. He reportedly suffered from a number of health ailments including emphysema and osteoporosis.

It is another sad reflection that the generation that made the late 60's a great time for growing up and helped to introduce them to music is aging and passing on.

One of the saddest things is that the hands of time cannot be slowed. It makes it important to make every day worthwhile and precious and to appreciate your family and loved ones.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Shades Of 1968

Last week's efforts by Democratic Party regulars who cut off funding to antiwar Iraq vet Paul Hackett in his Ohio senate race bid to support only a candidate supported by the party regulars highlighted a rift within the Democratic Party not seen since 1968.

Just like in 1968, when Hubert Humphrey who had not entered a single Democratic Party primary was handed the party's nomination over antiwar candidate, Eugene McCarthy, a giant party rift is being created between party moderates and left wing antiwar Democrats in 2006. Just like 1968 when divided Democrats failed to win the White House they won by a landslide in 1964, Democrats may be placing themselves in the same position where a disatisfied public weary of Bush Administration and much Republican rule may yet allow continued Republican rule but only because of a divided Democratic Party opposition.

Historically Democrats have lost elections even when a majority of voters due to party divisions. In 1860, Abraham Lincoln became President and the first Republican elected to that office with a mere 39% of the vote when the Democratic Party was split into three groups, each fielding a candidate and dividing up the losing 61% of voters. The main Democratic candidate, Stephen Douglas had no chance with so much party division and draining of votes with two other Democratic factions.

Once again, just like 1968's Vietnam War debate, Iraq is proving to mirror the same party divisions that defeated the party that year. For whatever major differences that Democratic Party moderates and the more liberal antiwar left in the Democratic Party have over Iraq war policy, unless they paper over these differences within the next few months before the primary and general election season, then the same divisive war differences that sunk the Democrats in 1968 will likely blunt any real chances to retake Congress or the Senate in 2006, despite voter anger that could be easily translated into broad Democratic gains, if only harnessed far better.

The Beleaguered State Of The Iraqi Oil Industry

eOne of the grand hopes of the Bush Administration was that a new government in Iraq could be self-supporting with revenues from oil. Instead what we have seen is a badly beleaguered industry with output levels far below those of 1990 before the first Gulf War.

Since the second 2003 war, an estimated loss of $11.35 billion in damage and lost oil revenues from insurgent acts has continued to hobble this industry. In 2005 an estimated $6.5 billion in damage from insurgent attacks as well as the loss of life of 47 oil workers and 100 police protectors too place. There were 186 reported attacks on oil production in 2005, and this helped to cut oil production from 2.0 million barrels a day down to 1.8 million barrels, or about half of the 1990 preGulf War production.

Without a strong base of economic support from oil revenues it is difficult to see where Iraq can ever be a fully independent state from the support of the U.S. any time in the near future. It is as though the U.S. is now locked into support for a giant welfare state that requires vast finances to rebuild an infrastructuture to build an economy that can support a government, build school, build roads, light streets, provide clean drinking water, pay police or military members.

It is ironic that conservative supporters of the Bush Administration vote to cut vital social services for the poor of America, while continueing to vote for massive funds for Iraq and Afghanistan which cost $2 billion American dollars a week and show little success so far, only a worsened state in many areas including declining oil production and oil revenues to ever get the Iraqi economy standing on it's own.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Longest Odds Ever

Millions of Americans are snapping up Powerball lottey tickets this weekend for the huge prize. Yet a Portland State University professor of math and statistics has proven the odds are 461.1 million to one that a person will have the winning ticket. By comparison a person has a 10 out of 1,000 chance of having their luggage lost at America's airports, or 10,000 lost pieces of luggage a day, up a full 23% over last year. One airline has actualy had a 80% increase in lost luggage over 2004.

Millions of Americans buy a lottery ticket out of hope that something good will happen to them. But by contrast, the airline problems prove that despite a supposedly improved security situation network at the nation's airports, more inept handling of luggage is taking place, only allowing for increased opportunties for a bomb or other dangerous materials to make it on board the nation's air travel. It is yet another area where the Bush Administration simply fails at managing the nation's security.

Crisis Response Management Perceptions Weakened By Mishandling Of Katrina And Cheney Incidents

One lasting effect of this last week's overly drawn-out Cheney incident , was that Cheney has weakened his image as a steely-eyed Administration "attack dog". Rather than being viewed as a symbol of strength, Cheney is now viewed as an inept, "Elmer Fudd", incapable of handling even a minor crisis. Rather than the Bush Administration being viewed as being able to "best protect" Americans from terrorism or other serious incidents, this Cheney ineptness along with the infighting and ineptness over the Katrina disaster has created the perception of a weak crisis response team running the White House.

It seemed to be no mere coindence that Mr. Bush was offering a speech on Friday touting "Administration strengths" in dealing with terrorism or other crisis response. Yet the speech was a revisionist history in which Bush claimed that he "knew we were under attack" while reading to the Florida schoolchildren, yet the video proof from the morning of 9/11 proved Bush to not really know how to respond, and instead continued to read to the Florida schoolchildren. It would be difficult to imagine FDR doing the same when notified of the Pearl Harbor attack.

Just like in the "Wizard Of Oz", a weak and mortal man stands behind a curtain and projects an awesome image of power that is a complete fraud, the Bush Administration has managed to manipulate the national security image as a campaign and political image, yet the Cheney incident and Katrina response handling both only serve to point out a White House not able to
manage crisis as well as they claim in politically charged speeches. They routinely accuse Democrats of some claimed weakeness in crisis response, yet the White House miserably falls short in every opportunity to respond to major incidents since 9/11 such as the Katrina hurricane and management of the Cheney incident.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Even Al Qaeda Offers Better Job Benefits Than Many Wal-Mart Jobs

When a member of Al Qaeda was arrested overseas, a shocking form was discovered that amounted to an Al Qaeda employment form. Unlike Wal-Mart, the terrorist organization offred up to three weeks of paid vacation time and leaves of absense if filed for in advance. In addition married members of the terrorist organization were paid a bonus pay of 6,500 Pakistani Rupees a month, while single members of Al Qaeda were paid a lower rate of 1,000 Pakistani Rupees a month. Some bonus pay was also possible.

And it is likely the terrorist organization offers some medical care or treatment to it's members as well, unlike Wal-Mart.

One job requirement for Al Qaeda that is unlike Wal-Mart, is a commitment to Islamic Jihad.

Besides the the strong draw of antiWesternism to Al Qaeda, one big draw may be that this terrible terrorist organization shows more respect for it's employees than Wal-Mart does. But 75% of big American businesses hire business organizations to prevent union organizing, and likely it would fail just as bad to unionize Al Qaeda as Wal-Mart, although Al Qaeda is more likely to draw in employee benefits by free will, whereas Wal-Mart fights even expanding health care to a few more employees with lawsuits and legal actions.

McCain Leads Clinton In Most Of New England According To A New Poll

Some new polls conducted by American Research Group point to a serious problem for Hillary Clinton, she trails John McCain in five of six New England states. McCain holds a 46-42% lead in the sometimes swing state of Maine. In normally slightly Republican New Hampshire, McCain leads Clinton by a wide 52-32%. In slightly Republican leaning Vermont, McCain leads Clinton by 47-38%. But in normally strongly Democratic Massachusetts, McCain leads by 48-39%, and also leads in widely Democratic Rhode Island by 44-40%. Only in Connecticut, is Hillary Clinton able to spill over her strong support in New York and lead by 49-39%.

It is also likely at this point that Hillary Clinton would only be able to win in New York, the District Of Columbia, and Connecticut and likely lose all the other states to John McCain. Only California might be a close possibility to break for Hillary Clinton. This is bad news for any Democratic hopes of Hillary Clinton to retake the White House for the Democrats in 2008.

The only good news for Democrats is that John McCain does not lead in the Republican polls. It is Rudolph Giuliani that leads McCain by a 43-39% margin in the lastest CNN-Gallop Poll. However it seems unlikely that either Rudolph Giuliani or John McCain would be likely to become the Republican nominees.

Harriet Miers, was taken down by the right wing of the Republican Party because of a seen wavering prolife support, in favor of the harder right, more sure fire prolife, Sam Alito. It seems unlikely the prochoice Giuliani would win the nomination of a party increasingly dominated by right wing activists and voters. And John McCain is also viewed with a greatly suspect view by the right wing of the Republican Party. It is more likely a candidate from the right would emerge to win the Republican nomination.

This sets up an interesting match-up. Hillary Clinton may be the candidate most likely to win the Democratic nomination, but also the most likely loser. John Kerry came close to winning in 2004 with 48% of the vote, but the campaign exposed to many weaknesses for Kerry as a campaigner as well as dull personality traits many voters did not like. Kerry may run stronger than Clinton if he won the Democratic nomination, but is unlikely to since he trails Clinton at 15-39% in the latest CNN-Gallop Poll. Kerry would likely run weaker in 2008 than in 2004, although may lose to a Republican nominee by less votes than Hillary Clinton in a general election match-up with a Republican candidate. The last successful Democratic Presidents were Southern Governors Clinton of Arkansas and Carter of Georgia. Both won because they carried some Southern states as well as Ohio. No Republican has been elected President that I know of that has failed to win Ohio. Likewise, no recent Democrat has won the White House without being able to win Ohio.

So the problem for Republicans is their strongest candidates, both Giuliani and McCain have problems winning the nomination because of problems in their Republican base, while Democrats have no candidate likely to win the general election with Clinton, Kerry, Edwards or some others unlikely to carry enough states to win the general election. 2008 is going to be interesting, and another potential heartbreak to Democrats at this point unless the political landscape changes between now and 2008.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Divide And Conquer?

In Oregon, a former state labor leader is helping to head a new political party called the Working Families Party. There may be frustrations in the two pary system, but it is a great danger to future Democratic hopes for the political left to divide their votes. In 2004, John Kerry came very close because the party was so united.

This year this already angry opposition on the left to the early support of the war by Hillary Clinton. And there is some who call for Joe Lieberman to leave the Democratic Party because he is more conservative than many Democrats.

In the recent Canadian elections, the Conservatives only garnered about 39% of the vote, yet won the election because of a divided left. In 1860. Abraham Lincoln, the first candidate of the new Republican Party won the election with about 39% of the vote because the Democrats were split into three parties that year. In both elections, 61% of the votes lost.

In 1968, a heavy divided Democratic Party fell short because of similar divisions over the Vietnam War.

There are serious warnings in these past elections for the heavy divided 2006 Democrats. The Republicans may face major problems this year, but unless there is more a spirit of compromise and a unity among the Democrats, then it is this division that may blunt their own hopes this year. Sometimes the worse injuries are self inflicted.

What's The World Coming To When A Portland Trailblazer Can't Even Bring A Loaded Gun On A plane Anymore?

I feel sorry for Paul Allen. His Seatlle Seahawks fell sort of winning the Super Bowl recently. And his Portland Trailblazers often make news, but for all the wrong reasons.

With so many past problems, this team was called the "Jailblazers" by many popular media outlets. In Utah a few years ago, team members picked up some young underage teenage girls from a shopping mall to bring back to their hotel room for sex. Others were arrested for drugs and other charges over the years. Former Trailblazer, Isiah Rider was recently arrested for charges similar to kidnapping.

Yesterday, despite many changes to the team roster, another Trailblazer made news by bringing a loaded gun on board the team plane, supposedly by accident. He claimed it was an honest mistake when he grabbed his girlfriend's duffle bag by mistake. But once again it raises more absurdly bad publicity for this team that has proven itself far better at losing games this year than winning, despite an excellent coach in Nate McMillan. McMillan will be an assistant coach to Team USA.

Let's hope this is an isolated incident and not the beginning of some new springtime Trailblazer antics. The Trailblazers have lost Paul Allen more than $100 million dollars, more than any professional sporting team ever. If they continue to lose games and make news for all the wrong reasons, then Paul Allen may have to eventually see the team as simply a bad business investment mistake and unload his problem by selling the franchise to some other city.

A few years ago when the Trailblazers had great players such Clyde Drexler or in later years, Scottie Pippen, they were the pride of Portland. Watching Clyde Drexler play against Michael Jordan for the NBA championship was a high point in the Trailblazers. Portland fans would love to see a return to such greatness, but silly incidents such as bringing a loaded gun onto the team plane hardly compare with this past greatness.

Cheneygate Scandal Day Number 10,012

In 1979, when the Iranian hostage crisis first started a late night news report on the crisis gradually grew into the popular news program, NIGHTLINE. It reported the crisis as "day one", "day two", "day three" all the way until 444 days of this crisis had passed. Well the Cheney accidental shooting of his friend, Harry Whittington on Saturday has taken on a similar life. It is Thursday morning, and the story is still a top news item.

While important news on the huge $7 billion dollar tax break the oil companies are getting after a windfall profit year, more Abu Ghraib prison abuse photos, and even a Westminister Dog Show top dog, a Whippet named Vivvy who can run 25 miles an hour is missing, get buried, Cheney's poor handling of the accidental shooting continues to be top news draw.

Cheney finally made a statement on Wednesday, with a single interview with hard right FOX newscaster, Brit Hume. At the urging of Karl Rove, Cheney made this visit to the most Bush Administration friendly newscaster on the airwaves. And Cheney did disclose he had a beer five and 1/2 hours before the accident. And the normally icepick cold Cheney did show some rare humaness and emotion at he sadness of accidently shooting his millionaire political contributor to Republican Party efforts friend, and watching him fall to the ground.

The funny thing about this whole incident is that Cheney's inept handling of the event press news release helped to create the whole thing into a media speculation circus, a grand gift to late night comics, and a new cause for critics of the Bush Administration to question both the honesty and openess of the administration.

February is also a media "sweeps month", and most of the print and electronic media is designed for comprehension by a fifth grade reading level audience. While some major issues dealing with serious technology, trade, economic or other issues are difficult for many in the public to grasp, this Cheney incident is simple enough that it becomes a typical junk February sweeps news item and gets heavy "drive" on the nation's airwaves. The big lesson in this is for major politicians not to do anything goofy during the media sweeps months of November, February or May. A silly news item will get heavy "drive" during these sweeps months.

There are a few partisans on both sides of the political aisle hoping to make some political gain from this Cheney event or to circle the wagons to protect him. Michelle Malkin even conjured up "Barnum & Bailey" circus references in her lastest defense of the indefensible delay in reporting this to the world press when Cheney created his own problems with the incident reporting.

If this event did indeed cause the circus to come to town, then it was because of the personal style of Cheney. His cold and secretative style has created yet another "situation" for the White House. In 1995, Governor Bush accidenty shot a rare bird while hunting. He made a real point to point out his mistake to the press and the voters of Texas quickly offered him forgiveness because he sincerely was sorry and was so open about the event. Cheney could learn volumes with this far better example. For whatever political faults that Mr. Bush has, he is at the top of the Administration because he is at least a far better man than Mr. Cheney.

News Babes?

One of the funniest reflections on the news by a few guys with too way much time on their hands is a few Websites that feature "news babes". While most persons are interested in the latest news facts, a few guys have found the cutest female newscasters the most important draw to the news and even spend a great deal of time creating Website shrines to their favorites with extensive Jpeg files of screenshots.

There are even new files started for what some guys believe to be a great new find or personal "crush". CNN's weathercaster, Bonnie Schneider as well as FOX's Grethchen Carlson, CBS's Tracy Smith and others have made this "honored" group of newcomers.

Falling somewhere between harmless to laughably pathetic, "get a life" type stuff, there are more than a few of these Websites on the net, proving the darnest thing will become the subject for a Website. One Website called "Jedi Council" has a feature as well. Just the name conjures up thoughts of 30 year old guys living with their mother wearing Star Wars pajamas watching the news with a bowl of Captain Crunch cereal. Jedi Council's Website refers to FOX news financial reporter Terry Keenan as "adorable"", Juliet Huddy as "criminally gorgeous", and a reply comment states, "Oh don't do this me. I'm suffering", and then then some explanation about the greatest SMALLVILLE episode ever follows. I nearly fell on the floor I laughed so hard.

Well as long as it's the subject, I'll play this funny game as well and name a few of my personal favorites. They include local Portland, Oregon's KATU TV's , Natalie Marmion with some of the greatest hair on television, CBS's Melissa McDermott & Tracy Smith, CNN's Bonnie Schneider & Soledad O'Brien.

Do these "news babes" make the latest terrorist attack in Iraq seem any better? Does the report of any bad news become any better with them? Well that's certainly open to debate. But for whatever reason some popular newscasters do draw both fans and ratings. And not just from members of the Jedi Council either. May the force be with you.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Emergency U.S. Open And The Covert War To Destabilize Iran

Secretary Of State, Dr. Condoleezza will likely be asking Congress for $75 million in emergency funds to further "democracy" in Iran in the next few days. However the real likelyhood is for the funds to split between the open efforts as well as covert support for the terrorist Mujahedeen E Khalq organization.

While some funds will go to open efforts such as satellite broadcasts into Iran similar to the Radio Free Europe of the Cold War era, and funds to expand efforts fo the young of Iran to study abroad, substantial covert aid to the terrorist MEK organization is more than likely. This organization, while publicly disavowed by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization, has nonetheless become the main source of CIA and U.S. military intelligence information about Iranian nuclear and military information. MEK information is even stronger than some Websites operating out of Russia of former Soviet soldiers offering military information and comparing head to head military capabilities of Iran against Israel and other states.

There is actually a sort of behind the scenes clash within the Bush Administration. The State Deparment contines to back actions that involve international community engagement andthe increasingly frail hopes of a diplomatic solution, while Vice President Cheney's office and military intelligence and the Defense Department are secretly moving towards covert support for the MEK terrrorist organization to help destabilize Iran.

Behind the scenes, a MEK front organization was allowed to hold a fund raising event in the U.S. a while back, with major Bush Administration supporter, Richard Perle, a keynote speaker. Covertly there has been building support to arm this terrorist army and use them similar to the Mujahedeen network that the Reagan Administration used to topple the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan during the 1980's, but helped to build the Al Qaeda and Taliban organizations in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, and still provides Al Qaeda a network of villager support and terrorist safe havens in remote and mountainous Pakistan. This network has proven itself to be largely able to withstand both Pakistani government efforts as well as U.S. intelligence, and continues to likely protect Osama Bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leadership.

There is always a high cost to U.S. support for terrorist organizations to topple unpopular governments as the example of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan well proves. But U.S. foreign policy is largely organized around short term goals, with high hopes new policy can deal with the future problems as they are created. But in the case of the Reagan Administration construction of the Al Qaeda network because of the massive covert CIA war in Afghanistan, the short term costs of destabilizing Afghanistan from Soviet control only created the serious conflict that the U.S. faces with Al Qaeda terrorism today. The 9/11 attack was born in the fallout of the covert CIA war that the Reagan Administration hatched to blunt the Soviets.

If the U.S. succeeds in undermining the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejah in Iran, it may only be a case of trading short term goals to prevent nuclear war for long term problems of helping to put MEK backed terrorists into power. Al Qaeda already proved that they are unreliable U.S. allies because of Afghanistan. Going down the same path again is hardly wise but seems likely because MEK is providing the best CIA intelligence of the nuclear threat that Iran presents at this time.

New Abu Ghraib Photos Will Only Add To Western Media Incitement Of The Muslim World

New photos of American abuses of prisoners in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison have emerged in Australia, added to the recent Danish cartoons which depicted Mohammad in a manner considered to be blasphemous by many Muslims, as well as the newly released video of the British troop abuses of teenagers in Iraq, more Muslim anger is only likely to result.

The Western world is painting a terrible image of itself as a savage empire that disrespects the Muslim religion and ridicules it, mistreats and abuses Muslim citizens, and is setting itself up with for it's own broad cultural conflict with the Muslim world because of the outrageous and racist and dehumanizing abuses that it seems to perpetrate on the Muslim world. This is a terrible impression to leave, although largely not really an accurate image, but certainly one that is setting the Western and Muslim world up for a serious conflict or even a war based on a clash of the cultures.

It was also the grand hope of the Bush MidEast doctrine to trust in MidEast democracy, yet new signs are that Israel and the U.S. have active plans to undermine the elected Hamas government in Palestine by putting an economic squeeze on this radical government because just like the elections in Iraq and Iran, only turned out yet another Islamic government with many Muslim religious extremists. The new Bush doctrine appears to be to undermine MidEast democracy when the result are not acceptable, something that will only be viewed as more Western paternalism towards the Muslim world .

The U.S. is actively undermining any expressed intentions of goodwill towards the Muslim world with so many terrible publicly distributed examples of perceived disrespect towards their civilization. The Danish cartoons have helped to undermine the Western world to many in the Muslim world bringing down all of Europe into the mess that the U.S. and Britain have created for themselves.

So many examples of the disrespect of the Western world have mounted way too quickly upon one another in too short of a time frame. And one recent author has predicted U.S. military action towards Iran over their nuclear intentions may be required within two months time, further inflaming the Muslim world anger at the Western world, especially if other Western nations are involved in this conflict.

Increased protests, then terrorism, then war are the likely progressions towards a great conflict of the Western and Muslim worlds. This is deeply serious business. But putting the genie back into the bottle becomes more difficult with every new revelation in the Western press of a new perceived outrage against the Muslim world.

A peaceful dialog conference between the Western states and leadership in Muslim world would be very helpful at this point, to attempt to prevent tensions from exploding between the two major world cultures. Short of such a peaceful dialog and renewed trust, a steady slide towards violence and conflict are nearly certain outcomes.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Update On The Shot Not Heard Around The World Until 21 Hours Later

Some new facts on the Cheney, "shot not heard around the world until 21 hours later" incident have come out yesterday and today. It appears that alcohol was not an issue in the accidental shooting, but Cheney did fail to have a 'bird hunting" stamp on his hunting license and was issued a warning citation and expected to send a $7 payment for this violation of Texas games hunting regulations to get the proper stamp added to his hunting license.

It also appears sources in the White House were disappointed that Cheney brought questions upon himself by his failure to allow for the timely press release of the accident incident information to the press. It also appears that the police were informed of the incident two hours after it happened, unlike a previous ABC affiliate report on KATU had claimed. But it was police who waited until the next morning for any follow-up as hunting accidents are very common in this area this time of year.

A young hispanic female reporter who worked for a local newspaper that usually covers small stories is one of the biggest winners in her breaking this story to the world press. Whether this becomes "15 minutes of fame" or a major break into a career with a larger and better press source or newspaper is yet to be seen. But her stock as a reporter is more likely on the rise with this currently hot story.

Late night comics also have strongly benefitted from this strange story. This story was like an early Christmas present.

And the shooting victim, Harry Whittington now finds himself a curious footnote in American history. Whittington is only the second man in American history shot by a sitting vice president during peacetime. Vice President Aaron Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel, which helped to criminalize duels, and became so hated because of this shooting, that when he died years later, only his wife and a minister attended his funeral, close relatives and former friends stayed far away.

Why does a kooky story like take on a life of it's own? Well it's February sweeps and a goofy story like this is understandable to a print and electronic media who tailor their stories to be understandable to an audience capable of a 5th grade reading or comprehension level. Unlike more meaningful stories dealing with difficult to grasp concepts of economics, foreign policy, technology, politics or other more meaningful matters, this story is a combination of funny to some, but easy to grasp by most.

Yesterday some more important White House press releases on economics and other matters were drowned out by the Cheney incident. The sale of ports in major cities to a MidEast corporation was drowned out. The fact that hundreds of thousands of Katrina survivors saw some benefits such as paid hotel rooms run out also got lost in the Cheney shooting incident haze.

There should be a major lesson to Cheney in all this. If you're going to do something goofy, then don't do it during November, February or May sweeps month. The most silly events will become a major newstory as media outlets compete for ratings with one another.

Cheney's dark "Darth Vaderlike" ice cold personality, along with his personal style of tight controlled information has helped to generate a foolish accident into an event that has blown other serious stories off the screen for a few days. Funny how the least things can become the biggest things.

The Greatest St. Valentine's Day Excuse Ever Told

For any of you guys who forgot to get your sweetie some St. Valentine's Day chocolate, I'll offer you guys the greatest St. Valentine's Day excuse ever told:

The Organic Consumers Organization has attacked the use of both child labor and child slave labor in the Ivory Coast, the world's largest cocoa producing nation. Most of the estimated 284,000 child laborers working on cocoa plantations in Western Africa are in the Ivory Coast.

Since the 2002 civil war in the Ivory Coast, a former French colony, a continued state of conflict between the hardline government and rebels has continued. Since this time, 4,000 French peacekeepers and 6,000 U.N. peacekeepers have been attempting to keep the peace between these factions who continue to war against one another and continue the production of cocoa, used in chocolate production to maintain the Ivory Coast economy. An arms embargo is attempting to prevent more arms flow to the area.

The major American companies that benefit from this child labor produced cocoa are chocolate producers such as Nestle, Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill.

Besides the child slave labor questions that tarnish the reputation of chocolate, their are health concerns raised by The Organic Consumers Association about the safety of the type of pesticides that are used in the Ivory Coast. But chocolate is a huge American industry up to $4.6 billion in sales in 2005, up a full $39 million from the year before.

So tell your sweetie you didn't forget to get her chocolate on St. Valentine's Day. You were only acting in workers solidarity against child slave labor violations in the Ivory Coast. I can't guarantee this won't mean a tough night sleeping in the doghouse or on the sofa, but darn, it's sure worth a try!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Cheney's Hunting Accident Cover-up Raises Some Disturbing Questions

In 1999 when George Bush was Governor of Texas, a scandal in the funeral home industry threatened to ruin his career. In a sworn affidavit, Gov. Bush claimed he had no conversations with Service Corportation International who was a political contributor to Bush, despite the contradiction of this company's very own attorney. Lawsuits and other legal action resulted, and millionaire Austin attorney, Harry Whittington, that Bush had appointed to head the Texas funeral regulation board after a major shake-up was reluctantly forced to pay a $50,000 settlement as a result of a lawsuit connected to this scandal. Other than quietly offering more political contributions to Bush, attorney Harry Whittington wasn't really a household name until this weekend.

While hunting on a private ranch with this millionaire lawyer poltical contibutor to Bush/Cheney efforts, Cheney accidently wounded Whittington in a hunting accident.

But despite the fact that Cheney had traveled to this ranch with both secret service as well as a doctor because of his previous history of heart problems, there appeared a deliberate attempt to cover-up the hunting accident. It was not until about 24 hours later that a local newspaper had stumbled ontto the story of the accident. Unlike previous accidents involving the White House or Bush Administration, including with a motorcade or with a bicycle, there was a deliberate effort to prevent any news leak of this accident.

There may be several reasons for this cover-up. It may refocus new attention on the 1999 funeral home scandal and the role of Bush and renew allegations that he had lied under oath in the sworn affidavit.

Also Cheney has had a history of several drunk driving arrests. It raises the question whether Cheney may have commited a crime under Texas law by hunting while intoxicated or even operating a firearm under the influence. By waiting more than 24 hours before any details of this accident leaked to the press may have helped to destroy evidence of a crime. It was not until a full day later that police finally found out about the serious accident and were finally allowed to survey the area that the accident took place. Police wonder why they were not reported this serious accident according to ABC affilate station, KATU.

It was further reported late Sunday, that the accident occured about 5:30 on saturday, or a time when dusk began to settle in. This may have contibuted to visiability problems and helped to create this near tragedy. Also it was reported that a failure to follow normal hunter identification also took place which may have played a role in the accident.

With questions of a "culture of corruption" that surround this administration, for Cheney to spend time with millionaire political contibutors such as Whittington on a private ranch while there are ample accusations of so many favors to large contributors and an unhealthy relationship to the 16,000 lobbyists in Washington, the Cheney weekened hunting trip raises some unsettling questions. But the cover-up of the accident really raises the red flags. There was a genuine efort to keep a serious firearms accident out of the news and a real effort not to report the accident to the police. For an administration that works with so many claimed corrupt dealings and unhealthy connections to the rich and powerful, all of this only points to an administration so corrupt that even an acident must be keep out of the news and censored because it raises new corruption allegations.

The public has the right to expect far better of their government than all this on going pattern of secrecy and corruption that the Bush Administration has ushered in.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Bush As A Modern Day Nero

On Monday, the Bush Administration is expected to sell some of the largest U.S. ports to a United Arab Emirates corporation for $6.8 billion dollars. This is despite the fact that many of the 9/11 hijackers were from this MidEast nation and a strong Al Qaeda organization continues to exist despite UAE efforts to curtail this terrorist organization. Ports in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia will be under the control of this MidEast corporation. This could also make terrorist efforts to smiggle a WMD device into the U.S. far more likely due to corruption or security compromises.

Also expected soon is the Bush Administration to sell thousands of acres of NorthWest Federal rural forest land to corporations to pay for education and other needs. Yet the environmental impact of so much land under private business control could be devastating to the environmental balance and health in many areas.

Given all of these new revelations, as well as the ramifications of the record $725.8 billion trade deficit, sometimes it seems as though Bush is playing the role of a modern day Nero. The U.S. is certainly not becoming a stronger nation each day, but a progressively weaker one. More of less is now the rule of law.

Trade Deficit Hits Record $725.8 As American Manufacturing Jobs Disappear By The Millions

As large American employers such as GM and Ford with high paying union manufacturing jobs lay off tens of thousands of workers, American textile plants close, and more than 3 million total American manufacturing jobs have been lost in the last several years, the trade deficit with foreign nations hits an all time record high of $725.8 billion dolars in 2005, up 17% for the previous record set in 2004 of $617.6 billon dollars.

The trade deficit with China hit over $200 billion in 2005, a new record. And new record trade deficits with Japan, Europe, OPEC, Canada and Mexico also were set in 2005. In virtually no region on planet earth were American products able to sell better than the often cheaply produced imports from many areas that tend to displace American jobs.

And while highly paid union workers at GM and Ford struggle for their jobs as both companies lay off workers and seek to cut pension costs, some companies such as Honda actually saw a 20% sales increase in the U.S. in 2005, with 87,000 vehicles shipped through just the Port Of Portland alone, and many more sent through ports in Seattle and Los Angeles. A new possible business transacation may sell many of the largest American ports to a United Arab Emirates Corporation, despite the fact that many terrorists come from this MidEast nation.

Record amounts of foreign oil, automobiles, consumer electronics, food, toys, clothing, tools, auto parts, housewares and other items continue to flood America. Some large box stores such as Wal-Mart are now a full 8% of the U.S. GNP, and take in $35 million an hour largely acting as vendor for cheaply made foreign goods. Only a very small percentage of the nonfood items sold by Wal-Mart are U.S. produced goods.

With the U.S. trade deficit growing at this 17% rate in a single year, and the U.S. economy as a whole only showing a slight growth of about 3.3% hardly even keeping pace with population growth, the rate at which the American manufacturing of goods disappears relates directly to a huge loss in American manufacturing where the U.S. steadily becomes only a consumer of goods, not a producer. The U.S. is rapidly becoming a nation of lowly paid service workers acting only as vendors for foreign made goods.

All of this will mean the steady decline of the American "middle class", with a heavier class distinction between the "haves and have nots". It will also make the possibility that American cities can work their way out of tax shortfall problems by counting on full employment less likely to work as more and more of the total U.S. economy is shipped overseas each year and lower wage service jobs mean less tax revenues for education, police, fire or social services.

And so-called "free trade" treaties such as NAFTA, CAFTA and new ones with Central America and South Korea as complete failures to improve the flow of American goods to these areas, as only a wider trade deficit has resulted in these areas. In addition wages in Mexico have actually declined as a result of NAFTA, and farmers in Mexico and Soth America have been hurt by a flow of cheaply produced corporate farm corn and wheat, destroying the living standard of many in this region, only increasing the illegal immigration problem to the U.S. as many South American farm families seek economic refuge in the U.S. as NAFTA has created an "economic dustbowl" for these families.

The decline of the U.S. as a manufacturing superpower is a problem of our own making. The failure of American voters to only support politicians who make the interests of the U.S. number one has resulted in trade agreements that have been one-sided and have created a cyclone of America being sucked down to an economic decline as a society. Most world empires only survive about 200 years. Our society is living on borrowed times as a total failure to stand up for our own best interests has made the U.S. the world's greatest patsy for other foreign nations to take economic advantage of. Someday there will be no U.S. as we know it, as the other nations of the world will economically subdivide the U.S. Just like the Berlin Wall which subdivided Germany, foreign economic powers are subdividing the U.S. , and Americans are only becoming workers to foreign masters.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Another Ann Coulter Classic

Ann Coulter, the sharp tongued advocate of brainless conservatism offered a few new irresponsible thoughts at a speech the other night. Among her new gems was a call for NATO to bomb Syria because of the radical Muslim violence that took place at the Danish Embassy building, calling Republicans "Washington Weenies", because some have failed to act even more far out and right wing irresponsible advocates for big business and corporate lobby efforts. Coulter claimed that Republicans keep running from conservative ideas and judges.

But wasn't it right wing thuggery that took down the Harriet Miers nomination and forced the far right Alito nomination on the nation, wanted to politicize the Supreme Court. Miers may not have been the best choice, but certainly deserved the opportunity to make her case before the Senate and either be approved or rejected.

And as far as conservative ideas, it is difficult to find any goofy piece of far right legislation that has failed to make it through Congress or to be signed by Bush.

More and more the American public is turning a critical eye on this culture of corruption in Washington, constantly rewarding the efforts of the 16,000 lobbyists who swoop like vultures on the U.S. Capitol. Yet the new Republican leader in the House who replaced Tom Delay is making more and more kind and appreciative statements about lobbyists, and his sun-tanned appearance from many golf days spent with lobbyist pals are further proof of his fondness for their efforts to twist government to their interests, often at the expense of the larger public good.

Ann Coulter may certainly see things differently. But the problem is that many Republicans have simply gone too far in Washington and many proved that they cannot be moderate party of government. And going too far is something that Coulter seems to seldom avoid whenever she offers comments.

In Oregon, some Republican Senators such as Mark Hatfield and Bob Packwood made a good name for themselves(before the later scandal of Packwood) by acting as moderates and securing major funding for worthwhile projects for Oregon. Senator Gordon Smith and former Congressman Wendall Wyatt often have offered a similar moderate and responsible role for Republican legislators. The siren's call of Ann Coulter for Republicans to behave more far right and more ideological is hardly a constructive notion, either for Republican legislators or for the well being of the nation.

But other statements of Coulter at this speech given before the right wing CPAC organization were even more disturbing and irresponsible. Calling Muslims "ragheads" in a blatantly racist comment and encouraging that they should be informed that the Prophet Muhammad is depicted on the Supreme Court walls in order that they burn the building down is simply outrageous and crazy loose talk. Another comment suggesting that moderate Republican Supreme Court Justice, John Paul Stevens should be poisoned to make way for another hard right Supreme Court choice was simply awful and rates with the crazy talk of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejah of Iran in the psychotic department. And some comments on slavery and the Republican Party weren't very good either.

The racist and irresponsible comments of Coulter are not ideas that should be embraced by anyone. Why a right wing organization like CPAC would even pay for such crazy talk is a very bad reflection on this organization.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Greatest Hits

A few years ago, I thought THE FACES OF DEATH video series hit an all time low in bad taste. These featured fatal accidents, real execution scenes, and scenes of horrific real world horror. But then a couple nasty, but enterprising young men began to pay skidrowers to fight with one another and marketed a sick line of videos known as BUMFIGHTS, until they were eventually arrested for encouraging and profiting from this sick and exploitive violence.

But sick and exploitive videos just took a giant step downward in good taste. Now in Iraq, a popular video is openly sold in marketplaces and videostores by someone called "Juba The Sniper". It features as many as 134 American soldiers who are gunned down by Juba, many in cold blood resulting in death, by this sniper who has a friend videotaping the "takedown", just like a big game hunter laying on wait of some wild prey.

Understandably many Iraqis are disgusted and horrified at this video. But many others, including young people are beginning to think of Juba as some sort of urban hero. In Iraq's video game parlors, many young people seem to compare Juba's video to some sport or even video game.

It is not really known if "Juba" is really just one single terrorist sniper, or a sort of urban legend, with a group of snipers compiling the sick American soldier takedown videos together. But regardless, it is extremely disturbing watching American servicemen gunned down in cold blood, and the fact that many of the young in Iraq consider this as a form of entertainment.

In the Sunni community is probably where such a deranged video probably draws the most support. But the Shiite community is not without bad taste either. The most popular TV program on Shiite TV is a program by the Wolf Brigade Militia that is sort of like the American TV series COPS, where Wolf Brigade Militia members rough up and assault Sunni citizens suspected of support for the insurgency.

It is a far away dream for the U.S. to expect peace and calm in Iraq when so much of the Iraqi public has an appetite for real violence and death. This society has a literal culture war.

Not Enough Kryptonite

The lead singer of 3 Doors Down, Brad Arnold, 27, is recovering from injuries from a one car automobile accident and has reportedly received 35 or 40 stitches to the face. The road was heavily rain-soaked in Mississippi where the accident occured.

Sometimes it unfortunately does not take all that much to prove that a person is much more mortal like Clark Kent, than like Superman. But all who appreciate the great music from 3 Doors Down wish Mr. Arnold a speedy and full recovery.

Playing Politics With National Security

Instead of treating national security issues with all the due seriousness to protect the lives of American citizens, the Bush Administration has decided that cheapening the issue for political purposes by bringing out some details of failed planning for a 2002 incident involving the use of a shoe bomb to breach the cabin of a passenger jetliner and then crash it into the tallest building in Los Angeles was disclosed.

At the time the possible planning was discovered was the proper time to inform both airport security as well as city officials in Los Angeles to strengthen security to prevent any possible terrorist attempt. Instead waiting four years to disclose these possible plans, which may not have progressed much beyond mere talk or discussion was blown into a major White House political propaganda effort. Law enforcement, city officials, airport security should have all been part of any attempts to prevent terrorist attacks and to foil them. But it serves no purpose whatsoever to bring out old news like this when it had no connection whatsoever to the current wiretapping discussion and the information was garnered from what was called "aggressive questioning" of a terrorist suspect that was captured overseas.

There was nothing in this story that seems to relate to bolstering the Bush Administration arguments to give way to wholesale wiretapping rights they claim are needed to protect Americans from harm by terrorists. Even FOX news had disclosed last Sunday that out of hundreds of thousands of phone conversations, Emails, and other monitered media, only 10 possible cases of incidents related to terrorism may have been found. For casting such a wide net, that's very little benefit. Although some wiretapping to prevent real national security threats should be permitted under some legal and carefully controlled circumstances. Sen. Arlen Spector is proposing a compromise that places wiretapping operations away from the Bush Administration and strictly in the hands of independent national security oriented forces. This sounds like a positive change, especially since the Bush White House seems more and more intent on using and abusing national security issues for purely political purposes.

Only in the area of national security issues does the Bush Administration have positive poll numbers. On all other issues including economics, the Bush Administration figures are very weak. But "crying wolf" on national security issues solely for political gain to bolster the 2006 election hopes of Republican candiadtes is merely a pathetic bit of cheap political gimmickery. National security issues and the balance of civil liberties are far too serious for such petty political silliness and cheapening.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

New Pentagon Budget Reflects U.S., China, Russia and India Competition Over Arms As Many Remain Stuck In Poverty

Chinese military experts have been quick to attack the new proposed U.S. military budget as being assisted by fears of China, Russia and India as potential military rivals. Chinese millitary official believe that fears have been elevated solely to help to profit U.S. military contractors.

Yet there are real new weapons spending in states such as China, Russia or India. Russia is building a new force of modern submarines, but this force appears to be limited to just four 5,000 to 6,000 class submarines. Russia also tested a new hypersonic cruise missile in 2005 for President Putin, that were designed to evade any American antimissile defenses.

China has built up it's People's Liberation Army Navy forces in 2005, with 6 new destroyer class ships added, including the antiship Sunburn missiles designed to take out U.S. aircraft carriers. Such a naval force could prove vital in any lightning attack to retake Taiwan by force.

India tested a new sea based ballistic missile, the Dhanush, in late September. This missile is a sea based version of the Prithvi land based missile, and is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

But regardless of any possible conceivable threats from these new weapons, or any potential threat, the fact is that military spending robs societies of needed funds for social needs. Despite any economic adavances in China, by 2001, their society was still deemed to be 100 years behind the U.S. in terms of urbanization, life expectancy and adult literacy despite an economy that the World Bank expects to grow by 9.2% in 2006. China still remains a largely rural agarian type society, although more than 500 large cities with a heavy manufacturing base do exist.

In Russia incomes still lag far behind that of other nations in Europe. Some Russian women can find themselves the victims of sex slavery schemes and brought to nations such as Turkey with a promise of a $700 a month job, far better that the $62 a month many in Russia earn. But an additional 40% of Russians live on $41 a moth or less, way below the Russian poverty level. Yet the Russian government invests in new missiles and submarines while it's people lack work with decent wages to support life.

Even in India, as their military develops new missiles, the average yearly wage is $450 a year. Even many villages either lack electricity or clean drinking water, yet the government invests in new nuclear capable missiles.

In the U.S. , wages continue to fall for many Americans as a corporation such as Wal-Mart offers low paying jobs and controls more and more of the U.S. GNP. Wal-Mart is now 8% of the entire U.S. gross domestic product and Wal-Mart takes in an average of $35 million dollars an hour in receipts. Many American poor only receive $152 a month in Food Stamps while the cost of the Iraq War has now gone over the $239 billion dollar mark, and has cost each American an average of $952. $120 billion more the Iraq and Afghanistan are earmarked in the new Bush budget.

Just like the African continent, poverty continues to soar as leaders squander funds on arms. It is no different in the U.S., China, Russia or India, as each seeks to build a military advantage over the other, leaving many citizens caught in poverty and a lack of social advancement.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Another Michelle Malkin Classic

Yesterday FOX news regrettably decided to invite conservative blogger and syndicated columnist, Michelle Malkin, to offer an opinion on what to that point had been an intelligent discussion on the anger those in the Muslim world feel about the Danish cartoons that they see as a blasphemous assault on their most holy prophet. While one guest elevated the discusion into an understanding of the Muslim faith, when Michele Malkin came on she quickly degenerated the discussion down to a shrill effort to force a series of the cartoons reponsible for the violence in so many Muslim nations in front of the FOX cameras. Rather than educating the viewer, instead the display seemed to more likely have the effect of making FOX a new target of anger in this hot debate.

Like many other efforts of Michele Malkin, it was yet another failed example of right wing silliness, almost befitting of the absurd choreography of the WWF or even Larry Flynt's attention grabbing antics.

But shrill cheap attention grabbing is nothing new for this right wing blogger. She once managed to unite both liberals and conservatives in opposition to her book, IN DEFENSE OF INTERNMENT, which was a justification for abuses that Japanse Americans faced during WWII in U.S. internment camps. She once faced questions whether or not many of her features were actually written by her Rhodes Scholar husband. And she lost a job on a newspaper, THE VIRGINIA PILOT, after readers protested and her articles seemed to merely incite anger. And her overuse of the term "moonbat" has become a cheap disposal means of any person she may politically disagree with, but has unfortunately inspired many other right wing bloggers to avoid coherent commentary and attempt to undermine progressives and liberals by a retreat to this grade school level of name calling to avoid any intelligent issue discussion.

All of her silly efforts puts Malkin in a league with Ann Coulter, as both sometimes come across as a "Satan's Barbie Doll", in their ability to become head spinning examples of right wing spirit possession befitting of some sort of EXORCIST film.

Too many on the left, some on the right come across as troglodyte snake handling regressives absolutely lacking in any class or geniune social graces. But attractive right wing bloggers like Malkin and Coulter set up another image as simply shrill attention getters often with little real substance in their arguments. Why shallow right wing journalists such as Malkin and Coulter have come so far as major journalists is a great mystery for the ages.

Thank You Mrs. King

Few American women were as powerful of a figure as that of the long suffering widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Coretta Scott King. She never managed to tarnish her image such as the widow as John Kennedy seemed to with her controversial remarriage, and just her presense was enough to act as image for American guilt over the murder of her husband and support for the right and just values of equality for all.

Coretta Scott King was always a top notch intellectual, a very intelligent and dignified woman who any great American political leader or church head was grateful to know. American Presidents and religious leaders such as Rev. Robert Schuller were always pleased to stand on the same stage as her.

Her long history as an activist to advance social cause could not be ignored either. In 1948, she was a young student delegate to the 1948 Progressive Party convention that nominated Vice President Henry Wallace for President. She helped to urge her husband, Dr. King, to take a stand against the Vietnam War. She was a supporter for Aids funding and supported Gay Rights and their drive for equality as a legitimate civil rights issue.

Coretta Scoot King was a very great American woman. She was a great political leader as well. Just her presense was powerful enough to not only command great respect but to bring in a powerful endorsement for any cause that she stood with. It will be difficult to ever replace a figure of her greatness. Coretta Scott King was a great American progressive.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

AntiAmericanism And AntiSemitism Popular Themes In The MidEast Media

The world is entering a dangerous phase. World peace is showing more signs of a serious threat and tearing into open warfare everyday. The disturbing riots over the disrespectful cartoons published in a Danish newspaper first published back in September are a deeply sad and serious world shaking series of events. All world religions deserve to be treated respectfully. It is hoped that peace and order will soon be restored and editorial cartoons in the Western press will better respect faith, and more carefully construct their editorial cartoons to avoid offensive attacks on sincerely and deeply held principles of faith and seek to prevent more violence.

But at the same time, it cannot be ignored that much of MidEast press is filled with very disturbing antiAmerican and antisemitic images meant to inspire hate and violence against both Americans and Jews.

Popular images in the MidEast media portray American soldiers as rapists, such as an editorial cartoon in Al-Hatat Al-Jadida on November 22, 2004. This portrays an American soldier raping a Muslim woman. These images also often portray the U.S. flag as made out of snakes or the U.S. as a state under Jewish control, or the U.S. and it's soldiers as murderers. Others show Americans stuck with the war in Iraq, as other world peacekeeping soldiers merely pack up suitcases and walk away.

While many American televangelists such as Robert Schuller's Hour Of Power or Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church present a very positive and upbeat view of life, the Palestinian Authority's own television staion has allowed Muslim clerics such as Ibrahim Mydayris to present sermons that promote the extermination of all Jews and call for the subjugation of all christian nations under Islam, and this is under the "moderate" leadership of Mahmoud Abbas. Under Hamas control things should only grow far worse.

The Star Of David is often portrayed in very disrectful ways. And themes in MidEast editorial carttons and newspapers often revolve around themes such as portraying Israel as Nazis, Holocaust denial, Jewish conpiracies, and Jews as ritual murderers.

The Saudi language, The Arab News on April 10, 2002, portrayed Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as using a swastika shaped object to bludgeon Palestinian children into a bloody mass in an editoral cartoon.

The Syrian Tishrin newspaper on May 19, 2002 used an editorial cartoon to portray a stereotypical jew kicking over the U.S. Statue Of Liberty, replacing it with himself.

While Egypt is generally thought to be an "moderate" MidEast state, the official Egyptian government newspaper ran an editorial cartoon portraying Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon riding a bicycle with swastika shaped wheels.

Oil rich Qatar, a major supplier of America oil ran an editorial cartton on March 14, 2002 that portrayed Ariel Sharon as Hitler with swatika armbands.

A Palestinian Authority newspaper has portrayed a Jew blowing out of a horn in a n attempt to destroy the Al Aqsa Mosque at the Temple Mount. On the golden dome, few know that the words, "God Has No Son" is written in the gold structure meant to deny that Jesus was the son of God. In the Koran, many passage also deny the claim of Jesus as the son of God. Jesus is reduced to a mere mortal man in their holy book.

Many of the oil rich nations that the U.S. buys oil from regularly run very antiU.S. and AntiJewish cartoons. The kind of anger that is exploding into serious violence has long had time to brew as hatred fires have been stoked in the MidEast press.

There are many religious moderates in Islam, the Jewish and Christian faiths, as well moderate political leadership in many states. It is very important that this moderate leadership bring peace and mutual respect restoration as soon as possible. The Muslim cleric, Ali al-Sistani whose parties control nearly 50% of legislative seats in the Iraqi Parliament has called for moderation and peace, while condemning the cartoons that incited the violence that is now tearing the world apart. The call to peace by cleric al-Sistani should be heeded by all.