Archive for July, 2008

With Barack Obama making a good run at becoming the first non white to actually be in the running for President, you have to wonder at the resolution being offered in the House of Representatives that apologizes for the Jim Crow Laws. Rep. Steve Cohen has introduced his bill, and is white, but represents a district that is predominately black. Kind of makes you wonder if his opponent is non white. Cynical I know, but then this is Politics we are talking about.

The nonbinding resolution, which is expected to pass, was introduced by Rep. Steve Cohen, a white lawmaker who represents a majority black district in Memphis, Tennessee.

While many states have apologized for slavery, it will be first time a branch of the federal government will apologize for slavery if the resolution passes, an aide to Cohen said. (source – CNN News)

This is really the problem that most Politicians face these days. It is the motives that come into question, by many, simply at how most politicians go about their business. I mean you have a US Senator under indictment for graft, you have CNN running a ‘black in america’ piece that all seems to coincide with the simple truth of the times, that Barack Obama is black. You have the pundits pushing the support issue, as to how a vast majority of Blacks are voting Obama, but not a whole lot of white folks are, specially the working poor.

Kind of makes you wonder, just what is the reasons behind such motions, specially now. I mean why now, why wasn’t this done prior to Obama-mania? Did his sudden success suddenly worry the establishment, so now they seek cover? Is this a move to try and show that they aren’t racists, in an effort to forestall any issues should Obama lose the upcoming election?

Is it a move to help a white politician show that he supports the Black movement, or to appease those voters?

This is the whole problem with Politicians. They seem to ignore the reality of things, until it is smacking them in the face. I mean come on, racism exists, and there is a ton of it happening in subtle means. Like CNN with its specials, while its pundits harp on how Obama hasn’t the following among non Black voters. How they highlight the differences, rather than show the similarities.

Now the House will pass a non binding resolution, but you know, bet you dimes to dollars, that most people, black, yellow, white, green, whatever, would prefer that Congress pass a law that will give them cheaper gas prices and lower the rising cost of food. That instead of some non binding resolution about what happened 50 to 100 years ago, they passed something that dealt with the rising drop in housing prices, the increased foreclosure rates, and the failing banks.

While the symbolism is good, and long overdue, perhaps the Congress should worry a bit more about the big issues, like illegal immigration, failing education standards, rotten product safety and food safety, instead of playing at politics. After all, it isn’t like they will shorten or fore go their summer vacation, now will they?

Interesting study, that shows that nearly $60 Billion in Taxes is owed to the US Treasury, not from the average Joe, but from Businesses. What is really interesting is that some of the biggest industries not bothering to pay their taxes, is in the Construction Industry. You know, the one that hires a lot of Illegal Immigrants?  Course they do take the taxes from the workers, they uh, well, just don’t bother to send it along to the Government.

WASHINGTON — More than 1.6 million businesses owe the federal government in excess of $58 billion in delinquent payroll taxes, interest and penalties, including money withheld from employees’ salaries, a congressional report says. (source – USA Today)

While the big corporations mostly pay their taxes, it is the small business that is resorting to this non payment, but you have to wonder at the stupidity that seems to prevail in Government. I mean think about it, the majority of jobs created aren’t by GM or Mattel, but by the small firms that have maybe 10 to 20 employees. These small businesses are under attack, just as the Middle Class is, and yet even they seem to be getting more help than the average working person.

Like what happens when you don’t pay your taxes?

Does the IRS wait a few years, then send you notices to pay up? Or do they come hauling your ass before them, and bleed you dry, no matter what? So how come ANY BUSINESS can get away with oweing money to the Feds? Like what kind of stupid system is it, that lets the average working guy get harassed, hounded, while the Business type gets a free walk?

Bush and McCain are all for more Tax Cuts, but not for the average guy. Just for Business, who obviously aren’t even bothering to pay their lower rates, so how do they rate tax cuts and more tax cuts? Why does Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae rate a $25 Billion bail out, while your home is nearing foreclosure?

Something is really out of whack here.

Media Gall

Call me old fashioned or a prude even, but you know, the printing of a person’s private prayer to God should not be anyone’s business, and the bullshit claim of ‘right to know‘ really doesn’t exist here. Now the sensation is about a prayer Obama placed in the Wailing Wall in Israel, which an Israeli newspaper printed. What I find interesting is that MSNBC also reprinted the prayer, while basically quoting other sources as saying it should never have been published.  Sort of a tacit agreement with that view, while at the same time, sneaking the text of the prayer into the story.

JERUSALEM – An Israeli newspaper’s decision to publish a handwritten prayer left by Barack Obama in the cracks of Jerusalem’s Western Wall drew criticism Friday as an invasion of his privacy and his relationship with God. (source – MSNBC News)

As a Jew, I find the actions by the newspaper to be highly offensive. I find the report by MSNBC to be as bad, if not worse, because they try to take the high road on this, while revealing the contents of the note. Which to me is just as bad as the original action by the Israeli Newspaper.

Fact is, to many Jews, the Wailing Wall is our private little communion with GOD. It is as sacred to us as is the confessional to Catholics, so for anyone to defile that is just WRONG. To push it further, is just as wrong, and frankly what did it serve the story? The article wasn’t about the Prayer itself, but about the reaction to its publication by the Israeli Newspaper.

This is typical of the Media.

Yet I do find it encouraging to note that other publications in Israel refrained from publishing its content. Least there are still SOME who respect the privacy of people, when they communicate to GOD, even if they are a Presidential Candidate. Now the WHITE PRESS will tear into this, make much light of it, and who knows what else, because it sells advertising spots, it lets them get their personal digs on a candidate they don’t support, or even want to have reached this stage.

While many of Senator Obama’s policies leave me unconvinced, I have to say, that HE at least appears to offer a change of pace. Yet the Media Circus continues to hound and belittle his every move. They criticize his Foreign Trip, while at the same time don’t even mention the SEVERAL FOREIGN TRIPS made by Senator McCain. They don’t bring up how as a Candidate he too has sought audiences with other World Leaders, but that is different.

Why?

Because John McCain is old school, and more importantly for the media, John McCain is WHITE.

I have seen bullying, seen Racism at its finest. This attack by the Media is right up there, because they aren’t attacking Senator Obama on his policies, but on how he is perceived. They do not deal fairly with his mistakes, as they do with Senator McCain’s. Heck John McCain is attacking Obama for this trip, calling it nothing but an attempt to garner political leverage, as if John McCain’s numerous trips to Iraq were for anything else?

This is why I support a campaign reform plan, that includes making the Press far more accountable. I believe ALL CANDIDATES should be given FREE ACCESS ON ALL MEDIA to express their views, their policies. They should ALL be given X NUMBER of free ads, free time, AT PRIME SPACE & TIME to explain their views, their policies. That is the only way that we can begin to control the amount of SPECIAL INTEREST MONEY that is rapidly turning elections into nothing more than a Corporate Game of Chicken.

Voter Groups to Sway

As the Presidential Campaign continues, in this long drawn out process, as the two Candidates jockey for an edge, as pollsters and other pundits make predictions, as groups of interest become larger, and more diverse, you have to wonder, can any Candidate stand a chance today? I mean it seems that both Candidates are pandering to each individual group, instead of coming up with a National Goal(s). And the Media are pushing that pandering, with their stupid breakdowns of who is for, who is against what.

I mean so 80% of this group support Amnesty, while 80% of that group opposes it? Isn’t that what a diverse society is supposed to be about, DIFFERENCES? Does it matter if eighteen year olds are more concerned about the Environment than Seniors? Is it more important to a candidate to know that a majority of White Women support this candidate over that candidate, because of Gender Support, or Abortion?

I mean do we need to have it broken down into such fine details, or should be concentrating on the overall picture?

A recent Wall Street Journal poll showed Obama has a clear advantage over McCain in the 18-34-year-old age group – 55 percent for Obama; 31 percent for McCain. But for voters 65 and older, it’s McCain over Obama – 51 percent to 41 percent. And the gap is widening. (source – CBS News)

While I can see candidate’s needing that information, to help them define or EXPLAIN their policies, I just don’t get the fascination with the minute details. I think the role of any candidate is to tell me where they stand, how they will tackle issues, and then do their level best to convince me that they have it right. I don’t want a Candidate telling me something about just what interests me, they are running for office for a NATIONAL AUDIENCE, not just a segment.

We have seen what happens when you run to appease a select group of people. You don’t get diversity, nor do you get much else done, but divisions. You get HATE, and you get WARS IN FOREIGN LANDS. That is what happens when YOU APPEASE A SMALL VOCAL GROUP.

Obama is inspiring people, yet listen to the way the Media harps on his differences. They run specials about Blacks in America, so to insure voters think of the racial differences. They run Op Ed pieces about those around the candidates, claiming this one is wrong, that one is tied in with that group, yet they never say where the candidates stand.  They highlight differences of who wears a lapel pin and who doesn’t.

The Media speculates, and tags one Foreign Trip as being Politically Motivated, while IGNORING similar trips by the Other Candidate. They target those who want Change, to be narrow minded, or call them LIBERAL. Those who oppose change, they call CONSERVATIVE or other connotations that have a nastiness to them.

If Obama & McCain have an economic solution for the Financial Markets, for the troubled Banks, for the hurting Home Owner, maybe they should be allowed to explain it, to educate the Voter on it, instead of being forced to defend their trips abroad, instead of having to defend the views of their Preachers, or their advisors?

Everything is about SHOW, rather than SUBSTANCE.

The Economy has been in trouble for some time, so only now John McCain is going to learn more about it, and come up with a plan? And that supposedly is a man with Experience?  Obama claims he is a fighter for civil rights, but won’t repeal DADT, won’t REPEAL PATRIOT ACTS I & II.  Or at least, he won’t comment on it.

Neither Candidate has even expressed what they will do about the use of Torture, in any specific manner. Sure, they have come out in opposition to it, but then so has Bush. Yet Bush continues to support it, to allow it to be used, so he comes out against it, big friggin deal. So how about the Media shut up, the pundits take a vacation, and how about the Candidates stop worrying about which group to pander to, and start acting like LEADERS?

Just Following Orders

I don’t know, but I remember watching some of the Trials held after World War II, on some history channel, where captured Nazi’s from the Prison Camps kept saying they ‘were just following orders‘ as their defence for the inhuman treatment of prisoners in their care. Then there was the whole Japanese trials for their treatment of Allied Prisoners, even though Japan was NOT a signatory of the Geneva Convention, in regards to treatment of captured combatants.

Now memo’s released by the ACLU, regarding the torture of prisoners held by America, and all the testimony to date, gives me that same eerie feeling I had, listening to the various defendants protesting their innocence for how they acted. It is so familiar, and worse, at how well they all kept records of their actions, by the numbers, for cover.

A third memo instructs interrogators to keep records of sessions in which “enhanced interrogation techniques” are used. The memo is signed by then-CIA director George Tenet and dated January 28, 2003. (source – CNN News)

It puzzled me then, even as a kid, and more so now, as an adult, at how civilized people can be so willing to accept torture as being anything but torture. I mean come on, waterboarding is not ‘enhanced interrogation tactics‘ as Bush and Co. claim, IT IS TORTURE.

We pass laws, against people abusing animals and yet we allow our Government to abuse humans? Locking a dog up in a car, without water and food is considered animal abuse, but we can shuffle prisoners every three hours, for weeks at a time, and that is just ‘enhanced interrogation tactics‘ according to the Bush Administration?

What is wrong with people?

The memo’s show that it is important to keep records, to show that their intent is not to harm those being interrogated. In short, to try and show that their ‘intent’ was benign, while dunking a person in water, letting their lungs fill with fluid, to make them believe they are drowning.  Like how can anyone claim their intent wasn’t to harm them, at least mentally?

“Because specific intent is an element of the offense, the absence of specific intent negates the charge of torture,” Jay Bybee, then the assistant attorney general, wrote in the memo. (source – CNN News)

This is no different than what the Nazi defendants said, they didn’t INTEND to harm anyone, they were simply following orders, but back then, it didn’t wash, and how does anyone believe it will wash today? If you are going to use methods that are clearly defined as wrong, by the International Conventions, of which you are a signatory of, how can you even pretend to claim your intent wasn’t to cause harm?

I don’t give a flying fig for what some upper idiot might say. We are supposed to be humans, who have a sense of what is wrong, what is right. How does any of those who have CARRIED OUT THEIR ORDERS claim to be okay with what they have done?

That is truly the troubling thing of all this torture debate. How can ordinary people do the bidding of someone, when they know it is morally, legally, and ethically wrong? How can ANY elected official not know that? Yet George Bush and others not only have done it, but they DEFEND IT.