Is Obama too big too fail? Why is he acting so strangely?

July 26, 2014

President Barack Obama’s shameless fundraising tours in the midst of a world in chaos have brought immediate comparisons to Ronald Reagan.   Led by his erstwhile advisers, such as Michael Deaver, who understood imagery, Reagan would have been back in the Oval Office, looking presidential and sounding like the statesman he was.  Reagan would likely have brought his government together, State Department, NSA, Pentegon, CIA and taken an assessment of how it could all impact on American economy and lives.  He would likely have given a national address, reassuring the nation and signalling the world how we expect civilized people to act.

On the surface, Obama’s actions are incomprehensible.  There is no explanation.  Obama appears transcendent, not responsible for his own administration and uncaring about the world around him.

It has been the Obama style from the beginning. The economic crisis was the fault of the previous administration.  When his own stimulus program could not produce one of the one million jobs he promised, it was replaced with more of the same and  blame on congress for failing to immediately enact more of what wasn’t working.

The president declared that he had no responsibility for the IRS which was blatantly being used for political purposes, he had nothing to do with the failed Healthcare website and nothing to do with the Veteran’s Administration which was corrupt on his watch. Whatever happened to Harry Truman and his Oval Office motto, “the buck stops here?”

It was not just that the president was not in charge of anything, or seemed to know anything, or should be blamed for anything, it was also when we found out differently he didn’t apologize.  When we learned, for example, that the $678 million , no bid, Healthcare website was awarded to Michelle Obama’s buddy from Princeton, the White House ignored it all.  When a news agency asked about it they were charged with racism.  (Michelle Obama and her friend were both members of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni.)  When the president’s hand picked political lieutenant at the IRS claimed she had lost her emails the president defended her.

Sometimes, these juxtapositions can get downright comical.  Recently, General Motors was fined millions of dollars by the Justice Department for faulty ignition issues when, in fact, at that time, the company was owned and being run by the U.S. government.  Should the Justice Department fine itself?  When Obama ran for re-election he bragged about saving the auto industry?  But he has no responsibility for the company he bought.   The President is too big to fail.

On closer examination, Obama’s recent actions make sense.  He is angling for his post presidential role.  He will either be the Secretary General of the United Nations or else he will be some NGO equivalent.  Thus, he spent the week campaigning for the Democrat Party and ultimately Hillary Clinton whom he will need as an ally if he is to realize his ambition.  Nor would he want to poke the Russians more than necessary.

And the Federal Aviation Administration’s sudden cancellation of all flights to Tel Aviv?  At a cost to Israel of millions of dollars?  At first we were told that the president didn’t get involved in such things.  And given the fact that the president isn’t responsible for the economy, the IRS, his own Healthcare namesake and the Veterans Administration, to name a few departments, then one could almost believe it.    What does he do with all that free time?  But if he is now on track for his post presidency then it makes perfect sense.  The U.N. votes solidly against Israel, with only American on her side.  Obama will need to have some more of these anti-Israel moments to shore up his support from the African and Arab nations who dominate the the U.N. and will dictate the reach of any international role.

There was an awkward scene on CNN last week.  Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg snapped at Wolf Blitzer.  The CNN reporter had asked if the FAA decision represented policy.  Given Obama’s anti Israel record it was a reasonable question.  And it had just been raised by a U.S. Senator.  A testy Bloomberg was outraged at Wolf Blitzer for daring to ask such a thing.  It was another shameful moment.  Bloomberg has taken a lot of heat for his slavish support of Obama, in spite of his record toward Israel.

The irony was that Bloomberg’s very appearance was proof of the politics of the policy. If Tel Aviv was safe, and Bloomberg could fly there, then why was it ordered closed to all American airlines?  And if it wasn’t safe, why was it opened up again after the American people reacted to the FAA’ decision with outrage?

Oh, by the way, as someone who once worked in the White House, I can tell you that no one at the FAA would make such an unprecedented and politically charged decision without the okay of the president of the United States.  Sorry.

It all points to this very likely scenario.  We will have Barrack Obama on the world stage for a very, very long time to come.

 

Below was a controversial “what would Reagan do” moment during the Egyptian crisis and the Arab spring.  On this segment, several years ago, I voiced a lonely position that turned out to be prophetic.


Not another Clinton – Bush election? Please!

April 10, 2014

Get ready, we may indeed see another Clinton – Bush election.  This time, Hillary Clinton, former First Lady and former Secretary of State pitted against Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida.  It’s like being Bill Murray in Ground Hog Day.  Ever get the feeling you’ve been here before?

Both candidates have something to prove.  Clinton wants to scrub her husband’s impeachment off the books and this would do it.  In a hundred years when some ten year old boy scans through the list and sees that Bill Clinton was impeached but his wife was elected president shortly thereafter he will make the ready conclusion, “The impeachment must have been political or else the country would never have turned so quickly to his wife.”  And Jeb Bush is running to prove, well, that not all Bushes should be judged by the last one.

How did it come to this?  There are three dynamics at work.

1.) Political dynasties are active in both parties simultaneously.

Normally, one can count on the opposition to raise a fuss.  If there was a Democrat dynasty the Republicans would howl.  If there was a Republican dynasty the Democrats would be outraged.  But now two have appeared at the same time.  No Democrat will raise the issue of corruption and attack the idea of the Bush family dynasty and risk alienating the powerful Clinton’s.  And no Republican will attack the Clinton’s and risk alienating the Bushes?  Even if the latter prove weak and Jeb Bush fails to show well in the primaries, the GOP nominee will have to have that powerful, fundraising machine supportive in the general election.

Now, in a very rare moment of history, the two dynasties have cancelled each other out.  As a result? There are dynasties gone wild. The electric fence is down and the cows are roaming all over.  The Cuomo’s, the Paul’s, the Kennedy’s, the Carter’s don’t get me started.

2.) Journalism is dead.

Normally, one can count on a vigorous Fourth Estate.  No less than Joseph Pulitzer railed against the idea of Robert Todd Lincoln running for president.  Throughout American history the media has been vigilant.  Attempts at family dynasties were always shot down.  This was America, not a monarchy.  After the Revolutionary War, when George Washington was presented a massive family genealogy by the English government he rejected it, pointing out that in these United States success or failure was determined by the choices of the individual not the bloodline.

This is not the Philippines.  This is not Indonesia.  This is not Panama, where fifteen families rule the country.

But in case you haven’t noticed, journalism is dead.  If a reporter can’t even pronounce Sevastopol what hope do we have that they are telling us anything accurate about Russia and the Ukraine?  We now live behind our own iron curtain.  News has become entertainment and the Clinton’s, Bushes, Kennedy’s all sell well.  Don’t expect any help from the media.

3.) Obama has failed.

Finally there is Barack Obama.  His election has been a great historic milestone but by just about any measure, including his own, his presidency is ending in disaster.  For example, the rich have gotten richer and the poor have gotten poorer at a rate that would make an Eastern establishment Republican blush.  The Nixon administration spied on its enemies but the Obama administration spies on its friends too and on its own political allies in the U.S. Senate.  Having tried an “outsider” like Obama, the American electorate is now more likely to turn to an “insider,” a Bush or a Clinton.  Better to have someone who doesn’t have to learn on the job.

While a Clinton – Bush rematch might just happen, almost any historian will warn that the idea of multiple presidencies in the same family is a recipe for abuse and disaster.  Having been in power and then spending time out of power, a family can muse about what might have been.  Who was loyal and who was not?  What should be done if given another chance?  How could the office have been better monetized?  Who should have been an Ambassador?  Whose corporate jet would be better appreciated and useful, added to the fleet of corporate jets loaned out to a former president?  What government contracts could legitimately go to whom and why?  How can the next family power contender be groomed?

America, already beginning to experience the corruption of a Third World nation, doesn’t need to grease the skids to fall any deeper into the abyss.  Clinton – Bush?  It may happen.  But if it does, expect America’s post constitutional drift to gain full sail.  The abuses won’t be pretty.


Chris Christie must now pay the butcher’s bill

February 15, 2014

“I am no bully,” said Governor Chris Christie at his January 9, 2014 press conference.  And then he proceeded to pummel to death his best friends and closest political advisers.  Now some of those advisers are coming back to haunt him.

Christie insisted that he knew nothing about the hardball, political pay back machinations of his own office which led to the shut down of traffic at Fort Lee.  It was allegedly payback to a mayor who had not supported Christie for re-election.  It tied up traffic coming out of New York City for a day.

The governor claimed that his staff was to blame.  They had  lied to him, he said, and what they had done reeked of “abject stupidity.”

Christie said he had immediately fired his deputy chief of staff, Bridget Kelly, and was ordering his two time campaign manager, Bill Stepien, to withdraw his nomination to lead the New Jersey Republican Party.

Christie went out of his way to distance himself from another aide who had long been considered a high school friend, David Wildstein.  “David and I were not friends in high school,” Christie lectured the press. “We were not even acquaintances in high school. We didn’t travel in the same circles in high school. You know, I was the class president and athlete. I don’t know what David was doing during that period of time.”

Richard Nixon had lost his presidency by trying to defend the Watergate burglars.  “We have to help them,” he said, even though he had not ordered the break-in at the Democrat National Headquarters.   It was the effort to get money to the burglars families that eventually implicated the White House in the scandal.  And when the cover-up extended to the highest levels and Nixon was forced to fire his top aides, H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, he told that nation, “I feel like I have lost my left and right arms.”  

Said Nixon, “They were two of the finest public servants it has been my privilege to know.”

Later, when Sir David Frost interviewed Richard Nixon he asked why the president hadn’t blamed his staff for their mistakes and fired them and kept out of the scandal from the beginning.

Nixon quoted the British Prime Minister William Gladstone who said that the first requirement for a prime minister was to be a good butcher.  Nixon answered ruefully, “I was a poor butcher.”

Not Chris Christie.  Promoted by pundits on the Fox News Channel as their new Catholic candidate (ala Rudolph Giuliani in 2008) Christie had no problem immediately excising his arms, legs, hands, or anything else that might come in the way of more power.   And he did so decisively.

Haldeman and Ehrlichman may or may not have been two of the finest public servants in American history but Christie’s appointees were “stupid” and “liars” who needed to be put down immediately.  This was one Watergate lesson Chris Christie had taken to heart.

No one stopped to ask why Christie had surrounded himself with “stupid liars” as his closest aides.  The Fox pundits, unperturbed, insisted that the incident was only a temporary setback for their man.

Anyone with experience working for a president or a governor knows that they are not ignorant of what goes on around them although they carefully nurture this idea to avoid blame for the things they can’t fix.  Former Governor Sarah Palin pointed this out.

Information is currency, it has value.  It is like finding a shoe box with hundred dollar bills that are disappearing before your eyes, you spend them as quickly as you can, while they still have value.  If you have information, any information, you get it to the president or governor immediately.

Picture the young staffer bringing in some requested paperwork.

“So what were they talking about at lunch, kid?” The governor asks.  “Why couldn’t they have the meeting here and what was so hush, hush?”

“You don’t want to know, governor, its some political payback thing and you need deniability.”

The governor smiles.  “Okay, what is it kid?”

And the young staffer coughs it up immediately.

“Huh,” the governor grunts, acting dumb, apparently engrossed in a memo.  “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” And the kid, if he should ever surface, would have to tell the grand jury that he can’t really say if the governor understood or not.

Usually, such a scenario is much too subtle.  Consider Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, who talked openly about selling a vacant U.S. Senate seat.  But then, four of the last seven governors of Illinois have been convicted and imprisoned.

Now it turns out that David Wildstein, the Chrsitie appointee who ran the lane closing scandal is talking.  In a letter through his attorney he said that “evidence exists . . . tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the Governor stated publicly.”

Now we will see how Gladstone’s axiom really works.  Can a man cut off his arms and legs and still survive?  Sometimes yes, sometimes no.  And how are all of those arms and legs supposed to feel about what has happened?  Now, it’s time for Governor Chris Christie to pay the butchers bill.


Mandela and George H.W. Bush – The forgotten story

December 12, 2013

In 1990, only days after his release from a South African prison, Nelson Mandela was a hero to blacks worldwide but a question mark for many statesmen and world leaders.  Would he use his newfound popularity to take power and revenge?

One American president broke the ice and made his opinion clear.  In 1990, Mandela was invited to the White House where the president of the United States  stood by Mandela’s side on a stage on the South Lawn.  Who was that president?

George H. W. Bush.

Only Bush, a Republican could give such a meaningful endorsement and so quickly.   He had served as the vice president to Ronald Reagan who had visited the apartheid nation of South Africa as a private citizen and had many friends there.  Indeed, Bush spent his life championing Black causes from the Civil Rights Act of 1968 to major contributions to the Negro College Fund.

“We don’t do it for political reasons,” Barbara Bush once told me, we were sitting next to each other at a charity event, “the media will never give us credit.  We do it because it’s the right thing to do.”

Likewise, George H. W. Bush was the first president to invite in openly gay activists to White House events.  The national news narrative would have us all believe that these things happened on Bill Clinton’s watch.  But hey, let’s not let the facts get in the way of a good narrative.  Such is the state of journalism these days.

One would get the impression from watching the news coverage of the past week, including the funeral and memorial services for Nelson Mandela, that the American president who first championed the South African leader was Bill Clinton.

All networks were alive with interviews with Clinton.  They were good friends, Clinton and Mandela.  Or so we were told.  Clinton warmly revealed that Mandela had told him that he had forgiven his accusers and that, he, Bill Clinton had to do the same.  Of course, the implication could not be missed.  The accusers were equally evil and Mandela and Clinton were equally victims.

This narrative was so strong and so deliberately force fed to the American public that one of the major news networks virtually copied the interview with Clinton that their rival network had shown the previous night.  It must have gagged veteran journalists to see their national news show reduced to copying a story but most of us have long ago resigned ourselves to the fact that television news has become the personal plaything of TV executives and it is increasingly obvious that they have decided Hillary Clinton should be the next president.

Of course, there are differences between Mandela’s accusers and Clinton’s.  Mandela had to forgive racists who were wrong about him and who told lies.  Bill Clinton had to forgive young ladies who were victims of his misogynist advances, who were right about him, and who told the truth.

It was one thing for Clinton, a Democrat who courted and depended on Black votes, to reach out to Nelson Mandela in 1994, when the controversy had passed and Mandela was the president of South Africa.  And at a time when Clinton  needed the association.  It was something else for a Republican, who knew he would never get credit for it or even be remembered for it, to do it because it was right to do.

As a newborn follower of the Liberty Movement I have become a fierce critic of our monetary system and its exploitation of the masses, especially the poor.  All, it seems, for the sake of an oligarchy who needs to see its net worth – Wall Street portfolio rise with inflation.   It remains to be seen when and how the Bush administration had a role to play in all of that.  And yet, I can’t help but feel that in time, when the full story of George H. W. Bush and his record will be known, he will be seen as the leader I knew and for whom I worked.

George H. W. Bush ended  the Cold War, brought China into the world marketplace and briefly united the world for a single cause, a feat that Metternich would envy.  And so too, his improbable record on Civil Rights will be seen accurately for what it is without the bias lens of myopic journalists who cannot be bothered by facts.  And when it is seen, Bush Senior will emerge from the fog of history as a leader who acted with courage and with wisdom when it was risky to do so.


Did the Mafia Kill Kennedy?

November 16, 2013

 

Probably not.  But we will have to wait another generation to know for certain because political forces even to this day prevent any objective discussion.

As we approach the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, controversy still surrounds the work of the Warren Commission, the official government investigation into the tragedy.   I have interviewed some of the members of the Commission, including former President Gerald Ford, whom my wife and I have hosted in our own home on two occasions.

While there is still debate about whether or not there was a conspiracy behind the assassination, there can now be little doubt that there was indeed a “conspiracy” behind the Warren Commission’s inadequate report.  Upon his assassination, Kennedy, as in the case of Abraham Lincoln before him, was instantly declared a saint and no politician, investigator, judge or media mogul would risk revealing anything that might appear otherwise. 

The result was that any loose ends that brought out into the open the Kennedy family’s ties to the Mafia or the President’s dalliances with other women or the government’s repeated attempts to assassinate Cuban Premier, Fidel Castro, could not be pursued.  It may be that Kennedy was indeed  killed by an emotionally disturbed, lone gunman, with a “lucky” shot but unfortunately, thanks to an impotent media and compromised investigators, we may never know.

In the next few columns I will offer my best arguments for the most popular theories about this tragic event, including the lone gunman theory.  I start with the so called Mafia Conspiracy.

During the presidential primary season, JFK’s father, Joe Kennedy, had called on old Mafia connections that had helped him in earlier, nefarious business dealings.  He asked for their influence in the West Virginia presidential primary.  Mafia violence, through the Miner’s unions, helped  his son beat Minnesota Senator, Hubert Humphrey, and go on to win the Democratic nomination.  

During the general election of 1960 the Mafia went to work again, this time in Illinois where ballot boxes from Republican precincts were “lost” and ballot boxes from Democratic precincts were stuffed.  It helped Kennedy narrowly beat Nixon in this key state and thus win the White House by a razor margin.

When the President’s brother and newly appointed Attorney General, Robert Kennedy, began to aggressively prosecute those same Mafia leaders there was outrage and  feelings of betrayal.  Led by Chicago boss Sam Giancana, leaders of the underworld began discussing how to kill the president and his brother.

At the time of the assassination the public was not told of the ties between the Kennedy family and leaders of the American mafia. Nor were they shown FBI transcripts of top mafia leaders threatening to kill the president and his brother. Today, all of this is accepted history and the narrative appears in Pulitzer Prize winning books. The FBI transcripts are public.

According to CBS News, “The House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in 1979 that it was likely Kennedy was killed by a conspiracy.”

 The gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, who had lived in Russia and had a Russian wife, also had an uncle with ties to the Mafia.  Oswald stayed with him in New Orleans shortly before the assassination.

Finally, there is much support for the once dismissed story of Judith Campbell Exner who claimed to have had an affair with the president, even as she was the girlfriend to Chicago mobster Sam Giancana.  Ms. Exner claimed that she relayed messages and even money from the government to the Mafia for purposes of funding an assassination attempt of communist, Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro.

Her story, at first dismissed by critics has been buttressed by extensive corroborating evidence, including FBI wiretap transcripts, diaries, travel logs, and released government documents  showing her regular visits to the White House.

Finally, only days after the Kennedy assassination, Lee Harvey Oswald was gunned down on live television by nightclub owner, Jack Ruby.  Taking out the hit man before he can talk is a classic Mafia tactic.

David Belin, counsel to the Warren Commission, scoffed at this notion.  “Of course, common sense would dictate otherwise; as a practical matter, so-called Mafia ‘hit men’ do not chose an area where they are surrounded by the police and immediately apprehended.”

Actually, the most famous Mafia hits do indeed happen in public.  Ask Carmine Galante, Albert Anastasia, Crazy Joe Gallo, “Big Paul” Castelllano, John Gotti and many others.  They were all killed in restaurants, barbershops or on the streets of Manhattan.

In 1971, Joe Colombo was shot at the podium of an Italian Unity Day rally.  He survived.  His assailant was wrestled to the ground whereupon another man stepped forward and shot him dead.  Police were all over the event but could not stop it.

Contrary to the “common sense” of the Warren Commission, the purpose of a Mafia public hit is to scare everyone else into silence.

Start reading about Joe Kennedy and his president son and the Mafia in The Raising of a President on Kindle now.


A Government Shutdown but Aid to Egypt Must Go On!

October 6, 2013

The national television media has made it pretty clear where they stand on the government shutdown.  By reviewing the stories they choose to cover and the stories they repress one can get a feel for the atmosphere inside the executive boardrooms.  We are told that the shutdown penalizes the Center for Disease Control, which has lost critical funding and then we meet an attractive, tearful young cancer patient who may die as a result.  What we are not told is that the ongoing, corrupt relationship with big American corporations and the national news media continues. One can understand this best by reviewing our ongoing, uninterrupted foreign aid to Egypt, which as we all now know, does not go to Egypt at all but rather, to corporate America.

In 2011, breathless television correspondents stood among the thousands in Tahrir Square in Cairo reporting that the Arab Spring had finally come to Egypt.  Freedom was in the air.  At last there would be democracy here.  After all, we had driven our own country into its second worst depression in history and killed thousands of people to bring “freedom” to Iraq.  (Hopefully, the freedom in Egypt would be a tad better, since the freedom in Iraq resulted in the massacre of Christians and the end to a 2,000 year old Christian community which traced its heritage to the apostle Thomas.)

One thing the experts all agreed upon.  The billions of dollars in foreign aid to Egypt, which had been ongoing since 1979, must surely continue now.  The terrible dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak, which had begun in 1961 was finally coming to an end.  With real democracy in the wind, this was not the time to withdraw.

Wait a minute.  If Mubarak was a terrible dictator and freedom was only then coming to Egypt why had we been giving him billions and billions of dollars to stay in power?

Well, he made peace with Israel and the aid was his pay off.   And we’ve got to stay on the right side of history!

Huh?  Okay.  That seems contradictory.  I may have some more questions about that one, continue.

So with the freedom to vote the Egyptians elected Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood as their new president.

Once again, the experts all agreed.  The billions of dollars in foreign aid to Egypt must surely continue.  This was democracy.  It was why our sons died in the war in Iraq.  American journalism nodded and yawned.

But soon under Morsi the people of Egypt began to burn churches and kill the worshipers of the ancient Coptic Christian community.  Christians were tortured in a Cairo mosque.  These Christians traced their heritage back to the apostle Mark.

In 2013, tens of thousands of Egyptians descended on Tahrir Square once again, this time to protest their own duly elected president.  The breathless American television correspondents were back excitedly reporting on yet another rebirth of freedom.  Isn’t it thrilling?  And the military people now serving as caretakers of the government were promising new elections.  This time they won’t let Morsi participate.  He was bad for Christians.  Bad for gays.

And yet again, the one thing the experts all agreed upon.  The billions of dollars in foreign aid to Egypt must surely continue.  Egypt had ousted Mohammed Morsi and had promised new elections.

This ridiculous narrative had finally reached the limits of credulity.  Last week the Obama administration said it might suspend the remaining aide, which is a pittance of the total.

What’s going on?

The answer is that most of the money passes to Egypt and then back to American where corporations who get the money use some of it to make contributions to senators and congressmen though their respective lobbies and through related companies who advertise on national television.  The money doesn’t really go to Egypt.  It goes to your neighbor.  It is the old game of redistribution of wealth.

Who gains?

American companies who manufacture tanks and other weapons that Egypt has not used in our lifetime.  Some goes to “security” consultants in our country but even much of the humanitarian and economic aid comes back to us.  For example, one program brings Egyptian teachers and hospital administrators to the USA where they are housed, fed, trained and work on American soil.  The universities, hospitals and institutions which get the money and free labor, lobby the congress and White House to keep this valuable “aid to Egypt” going.

The Egyptians masses could rape an American television correspondent, in public, in Tahrir Square and American foreign aid to Egypt would still continue.  And they did.  And it does.

So now we are facing a government shutdown.  They will surely stop this nonsense right?

Wrong?

The Obama administration, like Bush before him, determines that foreign aid is “security related” and thus exempted from the shutdown.  So close the parks, let the cancer victims die, but please, oh please, do not touch our “foreign aid to Egypt.”

Postscript:  Three days after this blog post, the Obama administration announced it is considering ending some parts of aid to Egypt and would have an announcement in the coming days.  Here is a link to the story.  Administration considers partial stop of some Egyptian aid.  Is this an extraordinary coincidence?  Or is this “the little blog who could?”  Anyway, one could apply the same logic to aid to Pakistan or any number of places.  The point is we are only being shown the stories that support the direction that the benefiting corporations want us to go.  “Screw the truth, screw journalism, and screw the people.  All power to the corporate hogs who eat at the public trough.”  American corruption has become as endemic as the Soviet Union at its height or India at its worst.


Syria – What would Reagan do?

September 2, 2013

“The president does not have the authority, under the Constitution, to unilaterally authorize a military attack, unless there is a direct threat against this nation.”

- Senator Barack Obama, 2007

 

The word is that the regime of Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons against its own people.  Reportedly 1,500 have died, including 400 children.   It is a heinous crime.  Some are calling for America to invade Syria and put down this regime.  So I pose this question.  What would Ronald Reagan do?

The answer?

Absolutely nothing.  At least for now.  For eight years Ronald Reagan tolerated a tyrant far more malevolent than Bashar al-Assad of Syria.

If we prove that Assad did indeed use chemical weapons then the whole world should condemn this act and such condemnation will likely, eventually, lead to action.   Syria’s wealthy Arab neighbors, such as Saudi Arabia, who arm themselves with our latest jets and weapons may have a moral obligation to respond.  But don’t hold your breath.  Americans like to do these things.  And the rest of the world is smart enough to let us shed our blood to keep things in order.

The fact is that the atrocities of the Assad regime cannot compare to the reign of Cambodian leader, Pol Pot, who may have killed as many as 3 million of his own people during the Carter-Reagan years and he was never brought to justice, nor was it seen as America’s responsibility to do so.

The Pol Pot regime practiced true genocide against helpless civilians.  Marked for execution were Cambodian doctors, nurses, teachers, journalists, college graduates and people who could read, including children.  Even people who wore eye glasses were marked for execution.  It was rationalized that if they wore eye glasses they could probably read.  Pol Pot wanted his regime to start over again without any taint of the past.

I personally appealed to both presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan for help.   Carter, who had made human rights a major part of his foreign policy agenda, told me that Pol Pot had driven all of the fork lifts into the sea.  There was no means of unloading aid at the ports.  Hundreds of thousands of Cambodians were starving to death.  At a dinner with the Reagan’s in their home in Pacific Palisades I described images from a recent trip I had taken to the  Cambodia border and Ronald Reagan appeared heart broken.  Meanwhile, in Cambodia, the bleached bones of the dead piled up.   It was called “the killing fields.”

Pol Pot led the Kymer Rouge from 1963 to 1998.  They took over in Cambodia in 1979.   I met some of the survivors who fled the country and entertained the Cambodian Prince, son of Norodom Sihanouk, in my home during this ongoing massacre.  Pol Pot was eventually placed under house arrest by his own people.   He died in 1998.  At no time throughout the Carter-Reagan years was there any substantial political movement calling for military action against Pol Pot nor were any public figures calling for the capture and trial of the worse tyrant since Hitler.

Why?

Because our founding fathers never envisioned that we would rule the world.  Nor does the  U.S. Constitution make provision for that futile and arrogant exercise.

Because there were and still are many evil regimes doing evil things to its people and America could not rid itself of evil within its own borders, let alone throughout the whole world.  What kind of justice would now take out Syria but leave North Korea standing?

Because the U.S. president did not have the authority to go to war without the  nation’s duly elected representatives debating and then making such a declaration.  Even Franklin D. Roosevelt, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, needed the U. S. Congress to make a declaration of war.

Because corporations did not yet have the powerful lobbies in place to make sure their companies got the contracts and profited from such wars and in return gave part of the money back to the politicians who supported it.

Because the corporations who owned the national media were not yet subsidiaries of other corporations who profited from such wars and were financed by banks that gave them preferential interest rates on loans, nor were they yet fully compromised by corporate advertisers who were beneficiaries of the same system.  In other words, some measure of journalism, real journalism, still existed in the Carter-Reagan years.

So why is it likely that America will now take action against Syria?  Cruise missile attack perhaps?  Drones?  What has changed?  Why should America be installing governments all over the Middle East with unintended blowback such as governments that kill their own Christian citizens?

Since 9-11 some parts of the American form of constitutional government have been weakened or abandoned altogether.  This in the name of security.  Some departments and agencies of the Federal Government operate without laws, with only a self imposed sense of ethics limited by their interpretation of popular will which is in turn influenced by a compliant, uncritical media.

The presidency is now a virtual dictatorship limited only by fifty unelected men and women who run the television industry.   This is not the creation of Barack Obama, the process has been ongoing for years and took a great leap forward with George W. Bush and 9-11.  It is the price we paid for security.  It is a process dictated by events as well as the unquenchable thirst for power.

The president’s personal reputation is on the line since he warned Syria not to use chemical weapons.  He said that this represented a line they could not cross.  Now, given his personality, and the need to uphold his personal honor, he will likely use the newly won dictatorial powers of the American presidency to take action.

We have come a long way from the ideal of Thomas Jefferson who dealt with the Barbary Pirates, the Islamic terrorists of his day. Thomas Jefferson once said, “The more you use your power, the less you have.”  American may wake up soon to find itself very weak indeed.  Strong with weaponry but abandoned by a world who has grown tired of our arrogant rule.


July 4th Trivia for the 2013 celebration

July 1, 2013

Which three presidents died on the Fourth of July?
John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe.  Adams, the second president, and Jefferson, the third president, both died on the same day in 1826, Monroe died in 1831. (Thanks to David Gurowsky for catching a typo on the dates.)

What other presidents died close to the 4th of July?
On July 4, 1850, President Zachary Taylor attended ceremonies for the Washington Memorial and returned to the White House for a bowl of cherries and milk. He became sick to his stomach that night and died five days later. On July 2, 1881, President James Garfield was shot. He died several months later.

How many people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th?
Only two.

When was the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence?
It was July 8, 1776.  The Liberty Bell rang out from Independence Hall to summon the crowd.

On what date did most of the signers actually sign the doc?
August 2, 1776.

Who was the oldest signatory?
Benjamin Franklin. He was 70.

Who was the youngest?
Edward Rutledge.  He was 26 years old.  Rutledge owned 50 slaves. He later became governor of South Carolina.

Name the State that had the most delegates sign?
Pennsylvania.  There were nine. 

Who was the last signatory of the Declaration of Independence?

Thomas McKean, January, 1777. He was at one time the president of the continental congress, later became a governor of Pa.

When did Abraham Lincoln give his 1863, July fourth address?
On July 7, 1863. On July 4, citizens in Washington were celebrating what appeared to be a victory at Gettysburg and wanted Lincoln to give a speech but he would only issue a short proclamation. He was waiting to get a complete report and for further news out west, where General Grant was laying siege to Vicksburg. He later found out that Vicksburg had fallen on July 4th. Lincoln gave his speech three days late.

What other countries celebrate the 4th of July?
Denmark, Norway, Sweden and England.

In what year did July 4 become a paid legal federal holiday?
It became an unpaid federal holiday in 1870. And a lot of trivia sites say that it became a paid holiday in 1941 but it was actually passed by congress in 1938.

How did Nathan’s, Fourth of July, Hot Dog contest begin?
It started out as a dispute among four immigrants over who was the most patriotic. And so, that explains why this country is overweight. We are patriotic?

What American President was famous for playing golf every Fourth of July?
Dwight D. Eisenhower.

What modern First Lady wore a bejeweled American Flag in her lapel on every Fourth of July? Pat Nixon, Jackie Kennedy, Hillary Clinton or Betty Ford?
Jackie Kennedy. And the jewelry actually sells on e-bay.


Our new Weapon of Mass Destruction

June 24, 2013

No wonder the Obama administration is in a tizzy over Edward Snowden. It turns out that the NSA spying operation offered the USA a weapon of mass destruction that no one else in the world has ever had.

It is bigger than the atomic bomb. The A bomb can destroy 100,000 people, or even millions of people at a time but it does so indiscriminately. The NSA spying operation can destroy anybody, anywhere in the world and do so surgically.

Keep in mind. American government officials are telling us that the NSA recorded everything we have said or written online or by phone and it has all been kept. Imagine how this information can be used to destroy or promote spies, diplomats, businessmen, heads of state? Black hat operations can destroy a career by revealing crimes or despicable behavior or just revealing secrets. White hat operations can protect a target from the conspiracy of co-workers or bosses. The US government can virtually co-opt anybody, anywhere in the world. What politician, what head of state, dare risk defiance? And for every one who resists the manipulation or blackmail, there will be five colleagues who will jump at the chance to have immunity or favor with a friend who has such a powerful weapon.

Now imagine that someone has pieces of that secret, on a thumb drive, and lands in Moscow. Is he safe? Are the Russians going to let him go? Or are they going to want that atomic bomb for themselves? Does Putin allow America to have such options and not he, himself?

How long have we had this weapon? Did we use it against Julian Assange, who was hit with scandal right after he published our embarrassing government documents? Have we already toppled governments with it? Has it been leaked to private companies? Non profit companies? Is that what representative Maxine Waters was talking about months ago with Roland Martin? Obama’s great weapon? The political game changer?

“A data base that no one has ever seen before in life.” Was it why the IRS was so frightened of nonprofit applications who used the word “Constitution”? Is someone seeking a monopoly on this new weapon?


Edward Snowden, American hero

June 24, 2013

Is Edward Snowden a Benedict Arnold or a Paul Revere?

According to the US government Snowden is a spy.

That is the official word from Attorney General Eric Holder who is accusing him of espionage.  He is not a hero, we are now being told.  He is not a whistleblower?  He has not done a service to the American people?

How did this happen?  How and why did the national news media change its coverage on a dime, in a single day last week, leaving its television audiences laughing aloud at the audacious about face.  All week Snowden was a hero, exposing the unconstitutional NSA surveillance and in one moment he suddenly morphs into a traitor.

Isn’t this  the same Eric Holder who told a federal judge that James Rosen of Fox  News was “an aider, abettor and / or co-conspirator” in espionage?

Oh that? Old news. Holder was exaggerating to get a warrant.  it was a white lie.  All is forgiven.  The Fox is back in the pen.  But don’t try that at home.

Meanwhile, now that Edward Snowden has sacrificed his life for freedom of speech and our right to privacy, the First and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution,  the  national media is falling all over themselves to prove their loyalty to the all powerful government, lining  up against their latest target.

Snowden is a fake.  He is not our friend.  “He did this for attention,” says  Michelle Cottle of the Daily Beast, during a CNN appearance.  Thanks Michelle, brilliant.  The NSA can now stop transcribing your phone conversations.   Well done.  You’re safe.  The First Amendment can go to hell.

The media seems to believe that Snowden should wait patiently to be picked up by the US government, that he is wrong to run.  That he should trust the people who he knows have been lying to the American public about surveillance and who allow torture as long as the people doing the torturing are Americans and don’t wear black or have scary music in the background.  That would be too close to the Nazis.

It is clear that Snowden did not expect to be on the run.  Did  he really think he could escape from a government who has everyone’s emails and phone conversations stored away?  Did he think that any corporation or ambassador or head of state or government in the world would stand before such a power?  This is the new atomic bomb and America has it.  No one else.  We rule the world.  Or perhaps, I should say that Barack Obama and his successor rules the world.

Poor Edward Snowden.  Running to Hong Kong and then Moscow will only help the government paint him as a bad guy, a traitor to America.  He imagined that people in American really believed in the Constitution or in a government of laws.  He thought we would care about the fact that our government leaders lie to congress and the media.  He imagined that we still have a free press, who can write and say what they believe, without direction from corporate owners who, like druggies in the inner city, now depend totally on government subsidies and easy FED loans to sustain their empires.

So two questions remain.  Isn’t the government taking a risk that by running Snowden to ground they will only make him a hero?

There ia a simple answer to that one.  It doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t matter what any of us say.  They have the new WMD.  They don’t need to control everybody.  There are plenty who will fall all over themselves to get in their good graces and say and do whatever they think the government wants, just to avoid the inconvenience of an IRS audit or a criminal investigation based on their emails and phone calls.  So the government will risk Edward Snowden’s martyrdom.

Why? Because the government has even more secrets to hide.  It fears another Snowden among its 4.2 million top secret cleared employees.  They have to make his life so miserable that no one else will dare speak up.

And finally, one last thing remains to be known.  If Edward Snowden is a spy, not a whistleblower, then for whom has he been spying?  Russia?  China? North Korea?  Islamic Fundamentalists?

No.  He has been spying for us, the American people.  He is our spy.  He is the first American spy to be prosecuted by an American government.  They will get him.  And he will be locked away and after the furor dies down, he may even tortured by our American government.  He is like a Buddhist monk in Vietnam in the 1960′s setting himself ablaze, signaling to the world that something is wrong here.  He is a Paul Revere with an alarming message, “The government is coming, the government is coming.”

Sent from my iPad


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