Sunday, September 27, 2009

General Stanley A. McChrystal's call for a new Afghanistan strategy

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At the behest of President Obama, an on-the-ground, top to bottom assessment of the Afghanistan war has been completed. The COMISAF Initial Assessment by the US-NATO commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley A. McChrystal, was forwarded up the chain of command. An unclassified version of the assessment was released to the press by the Department of Defense. President Obama is in the process of studying and analyzing its recommendations. The classified version of the same document contains a request for additional resources, primarily an increase in troop commitments above the 21,000 already pledged in March.

The assessment is dire, predicting failure if the United States and its allies do not reframe strategy to meet the aspirations of the Afghan people. Redefining the fight by building improved and long-lasting relationships with the people of Afghanistan, altering military operational culture by spending, according to General McCrystal, as much time as possible with the people and as little time as possible in armored vehicles or behind the walls of forward operating bases.

I agree with General McCrystal. If we are ever going to meet our objectives in Afghanistan: there needs to be a well-managed and coordinated unity of command between and within all of the forces -- U.S., NATO, Afghan military forces and paramilitary police; there needs to be civilian practitioners and outside experts with deep knowledge of Afghanistan to work with the Afghan population; there will need to be increases in military and civilian resources beyond what have already been committed; and we need to solve problems with corruption and contracting (read Why It's Not Working in Afghanistan).

It will be the success of this military and civilian collaboration that will be the determinant as to whether we stay, or fold our tent and withdraw.

Overall, I believe that General McCrystal’s assessment is on the money. His description is precisely the situation in Afghanistan and the outlined strategy is what needs to be pursued.

My fear is that I may have read his intentions naively and that this so-called new strategy is nothing but another remake of standard counterinsurgency strategies.

There must be a military-civilian effort if we are going to be successful -- a balanced military and civilian commitment in the beginning, and a phase-out of the military participation and phase-in of increasing civilian participation over time.

I have written in two previous posts about the strategy that should have been place right along:

A Disappointing Afghanistan Strategy

As Michael Ware of CNN said, and I wholeheartedly agree, Bombs and Bullets will not win the Afghanistan war. To win, so called, we must foster viable solutions for the Afghan people to govern their country free of corruption and war. What America is accomplishing is only more destruction and death, not just NATO and American troops, but non-combatants as well. Destroying ones country and killing its people will only cause Afghans to repel America.

It is time to stop listening entirely to the Generals. Military strategy and tactics are designed to kill, destroy, and break the organization of the enemy. In addition, its intent is to break the hearts and minds of the people, who to one extent or another support the enemy.

What we desperately need is a change of mindset from the sophomoric rally cry of winning and defeat of the enemy with military hard power to one of containment, reconciliation, winning the hearts and minds of people -- not solely their governments -- support and invest in community development and infrastructure, and developing viable economic resources. In Afghanistan, this means less concentration on central government, more emphases on soft power, helping tribal communities in education, help them to improve or develop the infrastructures of their villages, and helping them to develop an economy based on something else other than opium.

A new approach to handling conflict is badly needed, particularly now [as McCrystal said in his assessment, a Unique Moment in Time] in Afghanistan.

We must acquire knowledge through empathetic listening and communication. In doing so, the issues will coalesce into a greater understanding of the Afghan people, and they of us. This will put America in an improved position to help Afghanistan and its people by giving them hope for a brighter future, and it will marginalize Taliban and al-Queda influences. It is the only way to arrive at a peaceful solution.

New Ways of Thinking: Afghanistan

Greg Mortenson's work demonstrates his belief that the war on terrorism is one of hearts and minds, not bullets and bombs, and that it can be won by providing young people with a balanced education. Particularly girls: Once you educate the boys, they tend to leave the villages and go search for work in cities. But the girls stay home, become leaders in the community and pass on what they've learned. If you really want to change a culture, to empower women, improve basic hygiene and health care, and fight high rates of infant mortality, the answer is to educate girls.

Greg Mortenson said of the United States Afghan policy, They’re all thinking firepower, and what we really need is brain power.” “It’s education that will determine if the next generation (in Pakistan and Afghanistan) is educated, or illiterate fighters. The stakes could not be higher.
Greg Mortenson -- who served as an Army medic from 1975 to 1977 -- was asked to share his views about Pakistan and Afghanistan with General David Petraeus, whose focus on building relationships with local communities dovetails that of the Central Asia Institute.

When Gen. Petraeus read Three Cups of Tea, Mortenson says, he sent me an e-mail with three bullet points of what he'd gleaned from the book: Build relationships, listen more, and have more humility and respect.

An important element in this discussion has not been presented with the importance it should have by the media, politicians, or others. We need to look back at the Afghanistan experience of the Soviets. Our experience there is more and more mirroring their experience, and so we are in grave danger of repeating that experience. We have been in Afghanistan for eight years. The Soviets were there eight or nine years before they withdrew. The time is now to make a decision to change from a military dominated strategy of hard power to a long-term strategy and commitment of employing soft power, or we need to withdraw. The time is now for President Obama to make that decision.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bigotry Haunts Obama’s Opposition

Former President Jimmy Carter said that U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson's you lie outburst to President Barack Obama during a speech to Congress was an act based on racism and rooted in fears of a black president: There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president.

The Georgia Democrat said the outburst was a part of a disturbing trend directed at the president that has included demonstrators equating Obama to Nazi leaders.

Carter continued by saying, Those kind of things are not just casual outcomes of a sincere debate on whether we should have a national program on health care, it's deeper than that.

The vitriolic criticism and racial overtones that were displayed at this summer’s congressional town hall meetings, on Fox News, on conservative radio talk shows, in a plethora of emails and some print media columns and articles; the racist placards and rhetoric displayed at recent tea party protest and other demonstrations, concerning healthcare reform are unacceptable. They embrace language that those on the left identify as, at its core, racism. The accusation of racism is specifically used by the left because it is inflammatory. Racism is the word that unfortunately garners the most attention.

The word racism falls within the meaning of a more inclusive word, bigotry. Bigotry means an obsessive and unreasonable, at times radical, partiality to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics, and a belligerent intolerance of those who differ with another’s worldview. The visceral demeanor and raucous language used, therefore, should be properly classified as bigotry and not racism, per se.

Bigots use inflammatory words, such as Nazi, Marxist, communist, fascist, and terrorist --- all words that have a more profound meaning than to simply label one as a socialist -- bombastically, derogatorily, and hyperbolically, to shout-down those who support President Obama and his administration’s policy and legislative initiatives. Intentionally using such words to intimidate, and create fear and hate. Bombast and bluster are employed because the intellectual capacity for authentic debate does not exist. It seems to be, in many ways, a tendency toward a reversion to McCarthyism.

Senator Joseph McCarthy, remembered for his demagogic crusade between 1950 and 1954 to root out alleged communists, was instrumental in damaging the careers of many honorable Americans. He was responsible for thousands of men and women to lose their jobs, suicide for some, for the deportation of hundreds, and for many who were sent to prison. He was responsible for creating an atmosphere of fear and hate that ended up with the execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, a punishment under more normal circumstances that was more fitting for treason than the lesser charge of espionage.

The McCarthyistic overt, in-your-face accusatory and confrontational behavior fervently riles up those on the right against President Obama. They become riled up without critically analyzing the facts. Politicians know that bigoted words will have no effect on those who can adequately read, write, and analyze, however they do affect those who are not so endowed. The media exploits the bigotry for ratings; politicians use it to acquire the fullest favor of their constituency: those who conduct thoughtful review, but also from those who only listen to the rhetoric. For the broadcast media racism seems to be an efficient word to use because of its narrow meaning, therefore, it does not need in-depth analysis, it makes ones ears perk up, and it is expedient for quick sound bite critique by the pundits.

Not all protestors in opposition to President Obama are bigots – racists, as some of those on the left claim them to be. It is also important to point out that bigotry exists over the entire political spectrum and in all human interaction, on the right as well as the left. Some in the media attempt at trying to determine to what extent it is driving the opposition to healthcare reform.

Now, we all can agree there is a certain level of racism that exists. We all can agree that there is a certain level of partiality to one’s own group, whether it is ones religion, ones ethnicity, or ones politics, and there does exists intolerance of those who differ. But to what degree? If it is significant or not, does it matter?

Former President Clinton was correct when he inferred that it did not matter. Those who are in opposition to President Obama most likely would be in opposition no matter what the skin color or ethnicity of a sitting President might be. However, what former President Clinton did not say was that the coloring of the language against a white president would not be the same. The language of a bigot creates much more hate and belligerent fervor.

To change the mind of a bigot would practically be impossible; those who are concerned with being just, to keep an open mind, and try honestly and critically to analyze and come to their own conclusion, will always simply do so; it’s all a matter of an individual’s character. The greater danger, if we let this sort of thing get out of hand and not keep it in check, as America did with Joe McCarthy, is a return to McCarthyism, a dangerous, damaging, and extreme form of bigotry.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stop Begging Obama and Get Mad by Chris Hedges

In introduction, Chris Hedges writes: The right-wing accusations against Barack Obama are true. He is a socialist, although he practices socialism for corporations. He is squandering the country’s future with deficits that can never be repaid. He has retained and even bolstered our surveillance state to spy on Americans. He is forcing us to buy into a health care system that will enrich corporations and expand the abuse of our for-profit medical care. He will not stanch unemployment. He will not end our wars. He will not rebuild the nation. He is a tool of the corporate state.

The right wing is not wrong. It is not the problem. We are the problem. If we do not tap into the justifiable anger sweeping across the nation, if we do not militantly push back against corporate fraud and imperial wars that we cannot win or afford, the political vacuum we have created will be filled with right-wing lunatics and proto-fascists. The goons will inherit power not because they are astute, but because we are weak and inept.

In the closing paragraph, Mr. Hedges writes: It is we who are guilty, guilty for sending these young men and women to wars that did not have to be fought. It is we who are guilty for turning away from the truth of war to wallow in a self-aggrandizing myth, guilty because we create and decorate killers and when they come home maimed and broken we discard them. It is we who are guilty for failing to defy a Democratic Party that since 1994 has betrayed the working class by destroying our manufacturing base, slashing funds to assist the poor and cravenly doing the bidding of corporations. It is we who are guilty for refusing to mass on Washington and demand single-payer, not-for-profit health care for all Americans. It is we who are guilty for supporting Democrats while they funnel billions in taxpayer dollars to sustain speculative Wall Street interests. The rage of the confused and angry right-wing marchers, the ones fired up by trash-talking talk show hosts, the ones liberals belittle and maybe even laugh at, should be our rage. And if it is not our rage soon, if we continue to humiliate and debase ourselves by begging Obama to be Obama, we will see our open society dismantled not because of the shrewdness of the far right, but because of our moral cowardice.

An outstanding article: It’s one of Chris Hedges’s best articles that I have read. In the mold of his compelling book, War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.”

Good Job Mr. Hedges – Good Job!

Please read the full article: Stop Begging Obama and Get Mad

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Ways of Thinking: An idea that will solve 99.9% of society’s ills

This article is in reference to Uncle Sam’s Plantation by Star Parker

Although not all would agree, many scientists describe a solution to a problem as elegant or beautiful if it is far-reaching, uses minimal technology to accomplish its task, serves more than one purpose, is consistent, has symmetry, simplicity, and that is unique; metaphorically, one that is not of Rube Goldberg design.

In physics, there is a search for The Theory of Everything that in every way would meet those standards of elegance, and when physicist do they claim they will know the mind of God.

What we have in America is a system of government and economics that is of Rube Goldberg design. What we have is a hodgepodge of various systems that, in-and-of themselves, and in there essence and authenticity may be elegant, but not in there current quasi-representative form of democracy, freedom, socialism, capitalism and free market.

In America, capitalism is not in its essence capitalism; free market in its essence is not free market; socialism in its essence is not socialism. Instead, we have this American-style conglomeration and mishmash of it all. It’s quasi-capitalism and quasi-free market sprinkled with quasi-socialism or vice-versa, and the system is far from elegant.

Experience has dictated that American-style capitalism, American-style free market, or American-style socialism has never been effective or efficient. Star Parker in her article does not seem to realize that we have never had true capitalism and free market, and that its American-style components are all broken. Additionally, when she invokes freedom in her writing, it, too, leaves me with the impression that she is ignorant of the fact that freedom in America is American-style freedom, a quasi-representation of freedom, or some say in the same breath, liberty.

I absolutely agree with Star Parker when she says, there are two Americas -- a poor America on socialism and a wealthy America on capitalism. She just doesn’t seem to realize that it is exactly how Wall Street with the influence of wealthy oligarchs, and people with her mindset, molded it. If it were anything else, it would be a very severe threat to their wealth and power. Money acts as a means of coercion, and those in government and those with power and wealth use it to control America, and to keep it at a certain status or initiate steps that evolves into one that more greatly enriches themselves. She also seems to be ignorant of the fact that not all people can be wealthy. A simple game of Monopoly is a great example of that: in the end, the one person who has most enriched himself or herself with the most money (other game players’ money) and property wins the game.

Therefore, when she says, I thought we were on the road to moving socialism out of our poor black communities and replacing it with wealth-producing American capitalism, she makes the same mistake that all conservatives make: all people do not have the where-with-all to conduct their lives in the way conservatives envision or perceive they should; not all people are capable of being personally responsible; not everyone can be wealthy even in a just society that gives them that opportunity. Not everyone can be a winner in the game of Monopoly.

Her assertion that The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money. Well Star Parker, as in Monopoly, the trouble with capitalism is that the capitalist end up wealthy with everyone else’s money. There is not something special about a person or some marvelous phenomenon that took place -- other than through inheritance, and even there the inheritance was gained with someone else’s money -- to enrich one person over another. It always makes someone else poorer. A capitalist would not be wealthy if it was not for everyone else’s money. In reality, what’s the difference? In each case it’s always using someone else’s money.

Star Parker’s direct criticisms of Obama can all be answered by him. All one needs to do is to listen to what he is saying or read what he has said. Specifically, listening to his speech marking the anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse. No better explanation can be given or more succinctly than from Barack Obama himself. The trouble is some people read into his speeches that which were not explicitly said or do not believe him when they ostensibly have no reason not to. As with the use of accusations such as fascist, Nazi, racist, and other accusations, unless there is clear and compelling evidence of those things they should not be utilized in any way. This not to say that what he says or does should not undergo critical analysis.

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We have societal bearing choices that fall between two extremes, which represent the essence of the liberal-conservative divide in ideology: on the left there is complete government takeover, everyone will want for nothing, and whatever it cost it will be government paid; on the right everyone is on their own and only if you can pay for it can one receive healthcare or some other benefit. That is, on the left everyone has a shot at being and staying healthy but there is extraordinary cost of governance eventually paid through taxation; on the right there are people who are sick who never have a chance of being well, and some even dying on the street, as what happens in some third world countries, and cost are not managed, there, too, are excessive cost, but limited to those who can afford it. The left embraces a compassionate concern for the welfare of people, and on the right a mindset that dictates: I will take care of myself, you should be able to do that as well, but everyone else can go to hell.

It would be horrendous, and certainly would not be responsible or pragmatic, for America to attempt to turn on a dime to some complete other system of governance or economics. What ever we do it is incumbent on us to work within our current American capitalism-socialism paradigm, from the place where we are in our evolution, and step-by-step evolve to something that is more efficient and effective, far-reaching, uses minimal technology to accomplish, serves more than one purpose, is consistent, and has symmetry, simplicity, and that it is unique. In order to do that we must gain greater knowledge, only with evolved knowledge and experience over time can we gain the sophistication necessary to solve these problems. We never must be satisfied with the status quo and always be avant-garde in problem solving, exploring new ways of thinking.

There is a Theory of Everything for society that will work. It is elegant and certainly far- reaching, uses minimal technology to accomplish, serves more than one purpose, is consistent, and has symmetry, simplicity, and uniqueness. It will solve every problem and dilemma presented in Star Parker’s column and her book, Uncle Sam's Plantation. It will solve 99.9% of society’s ills. It is beautiful and elegant in every way. That theory is the theory of a Global Resource-based Economy through the abolition of money, over time. It is this kind of evolution we must seek. It’s desperately needed. A step-by-step process of decision making that considers and initiates non- monetary solutions over time that will dismantle our Rube Goldberg machine of government and economics.

We can and we must, to be successful in making this a much more elegant America and world, make money, religion, and politics, an artifact of our past.

In essence and authentically the result will be a truly libertarian society

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Be careful what you wish for

In response to the Friday, September 11, Opinion page article, Careful what you wish for

It is clear as it can be in every statement that I have heard or read, and in President Obama’s message to congress and the American people that he would NOT require Americans to participate in a nationalized government-run health care system. The President said, Nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have; But an additional step we can take to keep insurance companies honest is by making a not-for-profit public option available in the insurance exchange. Now, let me be clear. Let me be clear. It would only be an option for those who don't have insurance. No one would be forced to choose it, and it would not impact those of you who already have insurance.

The current American economic crisis festered and materialized during the tenure of the administration of the past eight years, and is continuing today. Whether one wishes to place the blame on the Bush Administration or not, the fact is that it did happen on his watch. There was a failure to adequately understand and monitor the economy. It was not until December of 2008 that we officially learned we had been in a recession since December of 2007. Bush and his administration claiming all of that time that the economy is strong. Bush said in September 2008, following the collapse of the Lehman Brothers investment firm, that the markets are resilient enough to handle the disruptions. I find it amusing that the Bush administration failed to react and now conservatives and many Americans are criticizing Obama for reacting.

It is true that we have a deficit in this fiscal year approaching $1.85 trillion. However, this deficit would have been smaller if the Bush administration had recognized and taken action in 2008, or in the previous years, against a failing economy. (the overall federal deficit would be a lot less if Bush had not received approval for tax cuts while at the same time conducting two very expensive wars: one that was not necessary and the other arguably not necessary) At least $482 billion of this deficit was forecasted for this year regardless of who is in the White House. The deficit includes more than $330 billion in spending for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) enacted last fall by the Bush administration, and $125 billion from legislation the President was seeking to provide additional authority for TARP activities. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan would cost almost $136 billion (that represents $11.3 billion every month providing there are no other contingencies) for the 2009 budget year. And, of course, the $787 billion targeted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provisions. This is all discretionary spending and in one way or another contributes to that $1.85 trillion deficit.

Mr. Chilcott states that When the economic solutions stopped working, the President moved onto health care. Disaster number two. Under his 1,500-page proposal that even the lawyers in Washington cannot understand, he would require most Americans to go onto a nationalized government-run health care system, like in France or Canada.

To use that wording is being disingenuous. The president has and continues to work on healthcare legislation; it is not because he decided -- which he has not and in fact quite to the contrary -- that the economic solutions stopped working and therefore he better work on something else. President Obama does not have a 1,500-page proposal, he does not have a proposal at all -- he has outlined his expectations in an overall plan -- and I cannot imagine if he did that Washington lawyers would not understand it.

The issue of healthcare reform that insures illegal immigrants is false from all accounts. The President of the United States said in his message to congress: This, too, is false. The reforms -- the reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally. has rated this as Pants On Fire; says that it is simply not what the bill says at all and therefore declares it false. The falseness of this declaration can be verified by reading the proposed bills for oneself or by Googling it.

In regard to the declaration that Congress and the President will keep their current health care plans, the President said: As one big group, these customers will have greater leverage to bargain with the insurance companies for better prices and quality coverage. This is how large companies and government employees get affordable insurance. It's how everyone in this Congress gets affordable insurance. And it's time to give every American the same opportunity that we give ourselves.

Has anyone taken the time to research the life of Van Jones? If Patrick Chilcott,
or anyone else who was so quick to criticize had, they would have known without any doubt why President Obama asked Van Jones to serve as Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. They would have known of the good work he has done and his accomplishments. You know, being a communist does not make you a bad person. Communism was an ideology he embraced for a time in his youth, and later rejected. To have and embrace new thoughts and ideas, and consequently sublating those thoughts and ideas in the process of their consideration, and through and based on life’s experiences continuing this process are all part and parcel of evolving, of growing – it’s what should make one a wiser old man or woman. Are we reverting to McCarthyism in this country when we still use communism as a way of creating fear?

Perhaps the call for Van Jones to be fired, and consequently his voluntary resignation, came about as a reaction by those on the right to the campaign by the Color of Change organization against Glenn Beck. Fox News Glenn Beck declared that President Obama was a racist who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture. That is most likely the reason for the hateful attacks against Van Jones and the call for his ouster, because in July 2009, Color of Change, an organization Van Jones founded in 2005 but left in 2007, launched a campaign urging advertisers on Beck's Fox News show to pull their ads.

The statement that He told us before he was elected that he believed in wealth distribution is false. The wealth distribution comment was made during a discussion about civil rights and had absolutely nothing to do with wealth as it relates to money.

The other time it came up was on Oct. 12, 2008, when Obama had an exchange with plumber Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, who has come to be known simply as Joe the Plumber. Wurzelbacher said to Obama that he was close to buying a plumbing company that makes $250,000 to $280,000 a year. He complained that Obama would tax him more, punishing his success. Obama’s response, You know, I would be open to it [a suggestion made previously to him for a flat tax] except for here's the problem with a flat tax. You'd have to slap on a whole bunch of sales taxes on it. And I do believe that for folks like me who have worked hard but, frankly, also been lucky, I don't mind paying just a little bit more than the waitress who I just met over there who — things are slow, and she can barely make the rent. Because my attitude is if the economy's good for folks from the bottom up, it's going to be good for everybody. If you've got a plumbing business, you're going to be better off if you've got a whole bunch of customers who can afford to hire you. And right now, everybody's so pinched that business is bad for everybody. And I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody.

Obama’s response is in essence certainly a far cry from the intention and context of Mr. Chilcott assertion that he believed in wealth distribution.

We have a healthcare reform choice that falls between two extremes, which represent the essence of the liberal-conservative divide in ideology, and another choice that would be more reasonable.

On the left there is complete government takeover, everyone will want for nothing, and whatever it cost it will be government paid; on the right everyone is on their own and only if you can pay for it can one receive healthcare. That is, on the left everyone has a shot at being and staying healthy but there is extraordinary cost; on the right there are people who are sick who never have a chance of being well, and some even dying on the street, as what happens in some third world countries, and cost are not managed, but limited to those who can afford it. The left embraces a compassionate concern for the welfare of people, and on the right a mindset that dictates: I will take care of myself, and everyone else can go to hell.

So, Patrick Chilcott is absolutely correct: Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.

With that in mind, but with a more reasonable approach: do we stay with the status quo by leaving it up to the same folks who contributed to getting us into this economic and healthcare quagmire in the first place. Leave it to the private insurers to provide affordable, universal, and accessible healthcare, and in that process expect them to eliminate their policy of denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, even though in the quest for profit they have no motive to do that, or are changes necessary – meaning forced changes on private insurers on how they take care of Americans.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Election Puts Anti-American Radicals In Charge: The Inarguable Evidence

Dr. Alan Bates in his article, Election Puts Anti-American Radicals In Charge: The Inarguable Evidence, makes many claims. Much of what he says are highly opinionated assumptions expressed hyperbolically, and are derogatory. He uses exaggeration for emphasis or effect: Marxist, communist, dumbed down, sheeple followers, anti-American, racism, naïve masses, terrorist, totalitarian takeover. We are turning back to the McCarthy era when we use such words in our speech and writing for the purpose of igniting fear. Good writers should not have to turn to this tactic.

Although President Obama may have had or has had dealings with the people mentioned in the article, it does not mean an association in any greater sense than the political and constituent networking that is a necessary part and parcel of the work of all politicians. To promote their agendas and ideology, Dr. Bates and others purposely read more into those associations than in reality is there.

Dr. Bates asks, What did Obama's chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel mean when he said he wanted to use severe economic weakness as an opportunity to make changes in America? What Rahm Emanuel actually said, You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid, is a common business aphorism. In business, a crisis, something unforeseen -- a contingency -- usually forces review of policy, procedure, or induces new ways of thinking, resulting in changes that otherwise would not have been foreseen. Most often, in the end, the organization is stronger because of it. I am sure that Dr. Bates knows that too, but chose to use that false quote in a disingenuous way.

Like the Birthers, a conspiracy theory rejecting the legitimacy of the President of the United States, Barack Obama's citizenship and eligibility to be President, Dr. Bates talks about issues that were hashed out repeatedly during the campaign. It all was vetted. The personal as well as the political issues were debated repeatedly for about nineteen months, ever since Barack Obama announced his candidacy for President on February 10, 2007, and so he was not elected by poorly vetted, uninformed, or complacent voters.

Dr. Bates accuses Obama followers as not being able to figure out any better strategy than to insult their critics as being racists, since Barack Obama happens to be partially black. What convenient tools skin color and dwelling on past inequities are for disarming their adversaries!

I am sure some can be legitimately accused of this accusation. However, for the most part his premise is false.

Dr. Bates is correct when he says we cannot let our guard down; we must always be vigilant. However that applies not only to President Obama and his administration, congress, and the Supreme Judicial Court, but for all future Presidents, congresses and Judicial Courts as well.

Dr Bates seems to be blind to the fact of American statism and American style socialism as it exist today. He seems to be blind to the fact that we don’t have liberty in America today; it’s simply a nice sounding word to describe America’s presumed utopian social condition, which in de facto is false. He seems to be blind to the fact that authentic laissez faire capitalism does not exist in America today. He seems to be blind to the fact that to claim others to be anti-American is anti-American; in America under our freedom of speech doctrine, in essence there should be no such thing as anti-Americanism.

There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty [as much as that is representative of today’s reality]: soap, ballot, jury, and ammo [nonviolent action first, but when all else fails pass the ammunition]. Please use in that order. Ed Howdershelt

If Dr. Bates’s theorizing holds water, if there are actual events or conditions that indicate it will come to fruition, and everything else fails, then I will be there with Dr. Bates in the combat zone, but to act now is as radical as the radicalism against which he rails.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Obama and Redistributive Change

I recently read an article, Obama and ‘Redistributive Change
by Victor Davis Hanson

First, Hanson’s views and mine are so different they could never be reconciled. I do not see how I could find anything of value in what the man believes. Amongst other views that I abhor, Hanson provided wide support for the Bush Administration. He is in the same camp as Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and all the rest of that neoconservative clique.

Second, I tend to disqualify the veracity of his entire article when I find misinformation presented in such a way that its intent is to deceive.

In his article, Hanson said … in the president’s own language, the government must equalize the circumstances of the “waitress” with those of the “lucky.” When in fact Obama said, I do believe that for folks like me, who ... err ... you know ... have worked hard, but, frankly, have also been lucky ... um ... I don't mind paying[being paid] just a little bit more than a waitress, who I just met over there, and things were slow and she can barely make the rent.

Now you can read into what Obama said in anyway one would want, of course. However, I believe the meaning he wished to convey was that, yes, on the one hand he should be paid more, he has no problem with that, and that he has been lucky: all of us who are in a certain social class, who have certain intelligence, and so forth, have acquired that by the luck of the draw. One does not choose to be a particular religion, a certain nationality or ethnicity, black, brown, or white, rich or poor, from a good family or not. You are not special because you so happen to be rich. However, on the other hand, the level of income should not be so much more that it would deprive a waitress, who has to battle poverty every day and can hardly meet her rent, of a living wage. He was talking of the unconscionable and unacceptable income gap between social classes, between rich and poor. If it were not for all those Joe’s and Mary’s that work for him, or purchase his goods and services, would Trump be Trump? Would Trump be Trump if the chips did not fall just right for him to achieve what he has achieved? Was he something special that brought him such financial success or did he achieve because of the cards he was dealt and, perhaps, on the back of others.

Hanson said, In a 2001 interview Obama in fact outlined the desirable political circumstances that would lead government to enforce equality of results when he elaborated on what he called an “actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. The context of this statement was concerning the civil rights movement, and nothing more than that.

The Rahm Emanuel cliché You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid is a common business aphorism. In business, a crisis, something unforeseen -- a contingency -- usually forces review of policy and procedure resulting in changes that otherwise would not have been foreseen. Most often, in the end, the organization is stronger because of it. You know, Victor Davis Hanson knows that too, but chose to use that quote in a disingenuous way.

I am not advocating egalitarianism, and I believe Barack Obama is not, but we, and many others who are being labeled as socialist, Marxist, communist, and Nazi’s, are only advocating justice.

Finally, Mr. Hanson states, For one of the rare times in American history, statism could take hold, and the country could be pushed far to the left. He makes this statement without realizing, I presume, that American statism has existed and continues to exist today. Statism has taken hold.