Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Ticking Time Bomb

There is a story taking place in America that is being buried by the media, the armed forces, and the politicians. This story is so frightening that no one wants to address it or even talk about it. This story has the potential to bring more violence to the streets of America than any terrorist attack. The frightening tale that is being ignored is the fact that we have ticking time bombs within our midst. They do not belong to al Qaeda or any other shady terrorist cell, they will not be profiled because they don’t have Mid-Eastern ancestry, nor are they Muslim extremists. These ticking time bombs are our own sons, daughters, fathers, and brothers. They are the returning soldiers from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Just like everything else in these wars the brunt of the fighting has fallen on a very small group of individuals and their numbers are shrinking. These unfortunate few have been forced to fight this war on an almost constant deployment. No sooner than they arrive home, they are redeployed back to the war zone. Many are unable to retire or discharge themselves from their respective services due to stopgap measures instituted by the White House and the services designed to keep those shrinking numbers on a constant rotation. Because we have never fought a war like this one no one knows the consequences of placing these young men and women in this state of constant fear and agitation. Whenever there is any clinical evidence concerning the stress levels of returning service people it is buried.

I have often wondered why with so many Americans against this war there isn’t a stronger outpouring of protest and outrage. Then I am reminded of how the warrior sheep have framed and prosecuted this war. Short of the relatively small number of families being asked to prosecute this war, the rest of us have had to make little if any sacrifices. The warrior sheep have placed the cost of the war on future generations. They are satisfied with using a dwindling volunteer force, a rogue mercenary army staffed by US security firms, and proxy forces from countries who cannot enforce the rule of law in their own nations, so there is no draft. We still have plenty of commodities albeit more expensive than before the war, but there are no shortages and rationing. So honestly what is this war costing us?

The study found troops in the unit reported low morale, spousal abuse and attempted suicides. And yet, troops had to wait up to two months for an appointment with a mental health expert once they returned, it said.

A separate report by the Army released earlier this month found that soldiers on their third or fourth combat deployment were at particular risk of suffering mental health problems.

Major General Gale Pollock, the Army's deputy surgeon general, said the results simply "show the effects of a long war."

A similar report by the Army's Mental Health Advisory Team released in 2007 found that 28 percent of soldiers who had been in high-intensity combat were experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, or acute stress.[1]

What is disconcerting about these numbers is that they keep rising. The original studies concerning PTSD in returning Iraqi veterans placed the numbers at 1 in 12, now they are at 1 in 4. The numbers are rising not due to the nature of the conflict but due to the continued policy of longer and more repeated deployments. Or as the General in the study called it, “the results of a long war”. Eventually what is going to happen is that these ticking time bombs are going to begin to explode. They are not getting the psychological treatment they deserve and need and at some point they are going to break. Humans can only take so much stress and trauma before we psychologically break.

For those too young to know the term “going postal” came into existence because of a large number of veterans given jobs at the Postal Service for their years of service and sacrifice for their country began to break with reality and began killing supervisors and customers. I believe that if these psychological issues are not addressed soon we are going to see a level of violence unprecedented in American history. We are already seeing the number of suicides rise among these veterans, eventually that violence will be turned away from themselves and towards society. The thing about the false patriots in this country is that they are only patriotic at others expense, they have put nothing in place to deal with the trauma they have helped to create. This type of phenomenon happens over the course of years, it was years after Vietnam that the “postal” veterans began striking.

The scary thing about all of this is that you will not know when or where it is going to happen. That fine young man sitting next to you at Starbucks could be just waiting to open up his coat and unleash a barrage of death and destruction. The randomness of it will be what makes it so frightening. And of course our warrior sheep will blame everything but the war for these homegrown suicidal killers. These will be the terrorists created by the war on terror. How ironic. Because we don’t fully understand or can predict the causes and extent of the damage of these PTSD sufferers isolating or tracking them will be next to impossible. We have no conclusive evidence of what causes or who suffers from these horrors of war. But make no mistake in the end we will all suffer as innocents begin to be slaughtered by war heroes.

But given her research, and the study in this week's New England Journal, it's clear that brain injuries don't have to be massive to cause significant emotional and mental problems, and that "shell shock," as it used to be called, may be caused by physical injury or, in turn, cause physical symptoms — it's not just a reaction to the horrors of war. And if that's the case, better and earlier medical and psychological intervention, along with better protective armor that shields the body as well as the head, could make life after combat a lot easier to endure.[2]

Remember just because the story is being buried doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. One of the most repugnant aspects of the Neo-Con mindset is that they believe if they ignore or deny something enough then it doesn’t exist or by the same token if they say something enough then it does exist. The question is then, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around does it make a sound? I guess depending on how you answer that question will determine your depth of knowledge concerning this storm on the horizon. Do we honestly think we can bring home all of these psychologically scarred people and there not be any fallout? I guess it is just considered more collateral damage. We haven’t even begun to study the mercenary armies of the security firms. What skeletons are going to come falling out of that closet is anybody’s guess. We have already begun to see the mental cases they have under arms and in charge.

Tick, Tick, Tick…


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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Real Independent

One of the major focuses of the upcoming general election for President will involve the fight for “so-called” independent voters. The conventional wisdom is that the majority of these voters will support Senator McCain because of his reputation as a “maverick”, a reputation that is dubious at best. My first thought is that I personally believe that the influence of the independent voter is highly overrated. What constitutes an independent voter? Is it a voter who is not affiliated with any major Party? Is it a voter that votes issues and not ideology? As our nation careens towards the abyss how any voter can not take a stand on the issues is beyond me. While I have no Party affiliation per se, it is increasingly obvious to me that the Republican Party is bankrupt of any new ideas for the future and are trying to cling to a vision of America long since gone.

Many of their answers to the monumental questions facing this nation are to continue with business as usual. Questions such as the war, healthcare, the environment, the economy, and civil liberties have left them with a remix of past failed policies. While ideology has its place, we are at a state and have been for a couple of decades where what is best for the nation should trump what is best for Wall Street, the two despite the propaganda are not synonymous. There is a core group in Washington both Democrats and Republicans who have been overwhelmed by the issues we face and their only solace is to try to cling to a false representation of America’s past greatness.

Many of these so-called independent voters in my opinion are the once vaulted Reagan Democrats, who while they share some empathy with the plight of the poor and minorities of this nation it is often overcome by their personal fears and anxieties. These fears and anxieties can and often have been manipulated by the Republicans for political expediency. For this reason they are not rooted by any real sense to any fundamental beliefs other than self-interest. Their loyalties and their support tends to shift based on perceived assaults against those self-interests whether real or imagined. One of the main current themes being used to manipulate these voters is the immigration question. You have politicians as far away from the border as North Dakota using illegal immigration as a rallying cry.

Mr. Van Hollen said Republicans should be doubly worried by evidence that showed Mr. Obama outperformed Senator John McCain among independents in primary states when the Republican party’s nomination battle was still in doubt. Independents are considered Mr. McCain’s political strong suit.

Yet the memo said that, based on exit polls, Mr. Obama won 16,000 more independent votes than Mr. McCain in New Hampshire, a state where Mr. McCain is very popular. “This trend continued in the traditionally Republican state of South Carolina, another open primary, where Senator Obama won the independent vote with approximately 51,405 compared to Senator McCain’s 33,498,” it said.

Republicans see the independent bloc as gravitating toward Mr. McCain in the general election and believe the primary results will not necessarily translate since the Democratic primary was more compelling, attracting more interest from independents at the time.[1]

Many of these voters I think will be susceptible to the subtle and not so subtle references to race that will be dished up by the Republican attack machine. Many of these voters have already been manipulated by such ads as Willie Horton, Obama is Osama, and the like. So while many of these voters may not have a Party designation per se I would hardly count them as independents, they are about as independent as Joe Lieberman.

Our focus instead should be on moderate voters who will I think be more attentive to the message of change by Senator Obama and have become fed up with the lies and screw ups of George Bush and the Republicans as a whole. Now many of you will say that the moderates and the independents are the same and in some cases they are, but in a larger case they are not because moderates can include members of a Party as well as independents. Let’s face it folks there are going to be some people who are not going to vote for Senator Obama for no other reason than he is black and that is ok this is America. We will never turn these voters and we have to be ok with allowing those voters to be led by their hearts. Our goal should be on reaching out to those who hold moderate views on issues like race, abortion, and the war. We will need these voters in contested swing states like Ohio, Missouri, New Mexico, and the likes.

Obama represents our best chance to sweep and put into play states that Democrats haven’t contested in for years. We have to remember there are more moderates than racists or radicals and while we must remain true to our message we don’t have to alienate others in the process of delivering it. You might be surprised who might be agreeable to hear it. So let’s see who the real independent will be come November.


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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Machiavellian And The War of Words

For the past two weeks there has been a word that keeps cropping up in the talks of the Republican attack dogs and in the right leaning media types discussions of Senator Obama. I find it striking that so many of them have coincidently begun using the same word in the criticisms of the Senator. The reason that I think it is important to point out this coincidence is because they are actually code-speak for white males. The word that keeps cropping up is Machiavellian. I first heard it on CNN Newsroom last week when the anchor person was discussing Senator Obama’s speech at a church on Father’s Day and his call for black fathers to step up and become more involved in raising their children.

The reason this particular episode stuck out to me was that I was watching the show at my folk’s house and while they are fairly intelligent people they never attended college so they were never exposed to the book, “The Prince” by Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli; an Italian diplomat. For those who also may not be familiar with the author or the book, it is basically a story of how to gain and maintain political power through in many cases dubious and ruthless means. The gist of the story is that the ends justifies the means and in politics most all behavior is fair. My father asked me what did that word “Machiavellian” meant right after the announcer said it. Even though he didn’t know what it meant, he could tell that it wasn’t used in a complimentary manner.

In my explanation of the word and the history surrounding it I made the mistake of saying the author was French instead of Italian. I explained to them that basically it was a story of how one gains political power through devious means. My father then responded, “So he is saying don’t believe what Obama is saying because he is a ni**er?” I said not exactly but you could come away with that impression.

Machiavelli's best known book is The Prince, in which he describes the arts by which a Prince (a ruler) can retain control of his realm. He focuses primarily on what he calls the "new prince", under the assumption that a hereditary prince has an easier task since the people are accustomed to him. All a hereditary prince needs to do is carefully maintain the institutions that the people are used to; a new prince has a much more difficult task since he must stabilize his newfound power and build a structure that will endure. This task requires the Prince to be publicly above reproach but privately may require him to do immoral things in order to achieve his goals.[1]

This little incident in and of itself would not have caused me great alarm except as the week progressed I began to hear the term more and more in the same sentence with Senator Obama. It’s as if the talking points of the Republican attack machine for the week was this Machiavellian thing. It was being echoed across the airwaves. And then in today’s New York Times one of the chief Republican apologist op-ed columnist David Brooks is echoing the same tune. The code is not that Obama is black and therefore untrustworthy although there will be those who come away with that impression. No the code is far more nefarious than that, it is that he is in reality saying that he is for change, but the truth is that he is an ambitious black man who wants to tilt the table towards blacks. Thus reinforcing the fear of many angry white men who believe that this is the beginning of their losing their “rightful” place in America.

This guy is the whole Chicago package: an idealistic, lakefront liberal fronting a sharp-elbowed machine operator. He’s the only politician of our lifetime who is underestimated because he’s too intelligent. He speaks so calmly and polysyllabically that people fail to appreciate the Machiavellian ambition inside.[2]

In the discussion on CNN following the speech the announcer stated that though he could not speak to what was in Senator Obama’s heart, it was still his job to ask the question. I’m sorry but where in his job description or any reporters job description does it say that questioning the hearts of other men was part of their job duties? Would this same reporter ask the Pope if he truly believed in God? Of course not, but for some reason to question the faith of Senator Obama is fair game. What they are really saying is that he is not grounded in faith but in a selfish desire to rule and that he would use anything including God to accomplish this goal. As if God were a requirement for the office that he seeks. Where were these “faith checkers” during the Bush administration when Mr. Bush was proclaiming his faith and that Jesus was his role model while he sent young men and women to their deaths in a war that was not only unnecessary but based on lies?

SANCHEZ: But here's the question. This guy's there trying to sound or sounding or being sincere. I'm not getting into his heart. I'm not going to read what he's actually doing.

I guess the question to you as an analyst is: Is this really Barack Obama sharing something with him that's very real and very personal, or is this a politician taking a Machiavellian step to try and get voters he otherwise wouldn't get?[3]

SANCHEZ: Let's go now to the debut of Preston on politics. CNN political editor Mark Preston is joining us live.

Mark, let's do this. Let's talk first about the politics side of this faith angle. Listen, I don't want to sound jaded and some are going to criticize me for it, but I guess it's part of my job. So let me just ask you straight out.

He does this in an effort to cut into that sizable John McCain white male lead, doesn't he? I mean, this is a values play by Barack Obama. He says trust in the Lord. When was the last time you heard a Democrat in church using language like that?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: It's a couple of different things there, Rick. First of all it is political. Everything Barack Obama does now until now November is political. Everything John McCain does from now until November is political. In the end, it's very unlikely Barack Obama is going to win a majority of these evangelical voters, these conservative evangelical voters.

But what they're looking for is they're trying to reach out and hit those moderate voters. Those moderate evangelicals who are fed up with the Republican Party.[4]

First Senator Obama catches hell for going to the wrong Church for 20 years, then he gets it for saying that he relies on faith in God when times get tough. As a Christian myself I can understand where he is coming from. There are times when all I can do to hang on and keep from going crazy in this world is to rely on my faith in God. There is a passage in the Bible that states,” To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.”[5] In other words if my heart is corrupt then I believe that everyone else’s is corrupt as well and I can justify my behavior no matter how despicable based on that belief.

[5] Titus 1:15

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Marriage Trap

Now that we have two states that have sanctioned same sex marriages and one that has been in effect for four years in Massachusetts, what do we know about how gays are responding to marriage? While it is still early in the process, I think there are some trends that we can see beginning to take shape. Before I continue, in the interest of disclosure I have to admit that while I personally for religious reasons do not condone the practice, I would not begrudge anyone the opportunity to partake of wedded bliss. Why should we heterosexuals be the only ones to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune?

What many married gays are learning is a lesson any married heterosexual could have told them from the beginning; that marriage is hard work. It is not for the faint of heart or to be entered into lightly. After Massachusetts enacted the law to allow same sex marriage I was immediately curious if gays would fair any better than heterosexuals at marriage. With about 50% of all heterosexual marriages ending in divorce, I thought it wouldn’t take a lot to do better than we have managed to do. While this may come as a shock to many wing-nuts after the initial wave of marriages the numbers have trended downward ever since, for many gays marriage is not the answer. Understandably when you have been treated as an outcast and your relationship seen as rebellious and vilified it is difficult to all of a sudden become mainstream and a lot of those that did have found the terrain treacherous.

For some, the marriage learning curve is steep.

“It’s been a mixed bag,” said Jacob Venter, a 44-year-old child psychiatrist who married Billy Boney, a 36-year-old hairdresser, a month after it became legal to do so. They have disagreements over money, the in-laws and whether to adopt children or have their own.

“Nothing turns out the way you imagine,” Mr. Venter said. “There are no role models for gay marriage.”

One thing is for sure that whether you are heterosexual or gay, marriage requires a lot of work and a commitment on both sides. As a society we no longer value commitment as we once did. We have become accustomed to disposability in not only our food, toys, gadgets, but also in our relationships. As we have become a more mobile society we have lost connections to people, places, and things. As the data begins to be assembled I believe that gays will prove to be no different than the rest of us in many of those regards. I believe that gays will marry and divorce at roughly the same rights as heterosexuals. Marriage is a reflection of us as a society and reflects our attitudes toward ourselves and one another. It reflects those things we value and those things that we easily discard. The problem is that in a marriage those things being discarded like so much of yesterdays garbage are people.

Too often today people are getting married for the wrong reasons. The biggest threat to heterosexual marriage today is not same sex marriage but divorce. We as a society must do more to strengthen the bonds of marriage for all of us through support and encouragement. I know in my community participation in marriage is at an all-time low and the prospects appear to be getting worse. I agree with my wing-nut counterparts that marriage is under attack, but it is not from the gays. It is under attack from a society that values the individual more than the group. A society that promotes selfishness over sacrifice and ego over humility. For all of us, a marriage based on these things will not last.

It has been written that gays demonstrate a lack of commitment to relationships and that many are sexually active with multiple partners thus making marriage a tenuous proposition at best. I am not completely sold on this analysis and I think as marriage becomes more accepted in the gay community the numbers will suggest that gays are for the most part just as monogamous as the rest of us. The thing that I have taken away from the data that I have seen is that we all suffer from the same pitfalls and pressures of marriage. The gay experience will prove to be no more successful or will fail no more than any others in marriage. Shockingly marriage works about the same for all of us. We all suffer the same pressures, disappointments, and joys of marriage regardless of our sexual preferences. I guess that is why we are all human.

“Lesbian and gay couples get divorced for the same reasons that heterosexual couples do,” Ms. Kauffman said. “Honestly the only thing that is different is that some people rushed to get married without thinking it through just because they could. It was an incredibly heady historical moment, and some people probably made the decision hastily.”

“I knew there was an issue with us prior to the marriage,” Mr. Bettencourt said, “but we thought maybe this is the thing that will help us stay together. Stupid, obviously. It was almost like I needed the marriage in order to consummate the relationship in order to break it up.”

Sound familiar? I thought getting married would fix what was broken in our relationship is a common refrain from heterosexuals as well. I guess that doesn’t work for anybody; gay or straight. Whether you are gay or straight, marriage is nothing to take lightly and with all the euphoria floating around with each new milestone it is easy to get caught up in the moment. Welcome to marriage. Abandon all hope those who enter here…


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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Friend In Deed?

According to published reports Pakistani nuclear scientists have been shopping around advanced nuclear technology to the highest bidders. Advanced blueprints have been found on computers that belonged to these scientists that were part of a nuclear smuggling network headed by Abdul Qadeer Khan. Our government has a knack of creating these madmen through a deliberate policy of benign neglect and a policy of supporting tyranny for the sake of political expediency. This is another example of how our unwillingness to gauge the world realistically and our inability to access friends and foes has created a possible nightmare scenario in the near future.

The plans appear to closely resemble a nuclear weapon that was built by Pakistan and first tested exactly a decade ago. But when confronted with the design by officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency last year, Pakistani officials insisted that Dr. Khan, who has been lobbying in recent months to be released from the loose house arrest that he has been under since 2004, did not have access to Pakistan’s weapons designs.

So instead of confronting our so-called friends who are proliferating nuclear technology, we are allowing political and philosophical agendas to dictate our foreign policy. Can anyone say Saudi Arabia? So, lets see what our billions of dollars of public foreign aid has bought us. Pakistan has more instability than ever, they have been an indifferent ally in tracking Islamic extremists in their tribal regions, and we have known for a long time their involvement in the proliferation of nuclear technology. What bothers me the most is how many times this same scenario has been played out over the course of our nations history. It’s like for the last 30 years we have been executing the same whack foreign policy in country after country with the same disastrous results. Cuba, Panama, Iran, Argentina, Philippines, Haiti, and so on and so on.

Since 9/11, the United States has given over $10 billion in aid to Pakistan. The bulk of that amount—more than $6 billion—has come in the form of “Coalition Support Funds,” which are intended to reimburse U.S. allies for their assistance in the “war on terrorism.” Fifteen percent of the total aid has gone toward security assistance, which Pakistan has used primarily to purchase major weapons systems, while another 15 percent has gone toward budget support, which represents direct cash transfers to the Pakistani government.

The time has come for us as a nation to destroy whatever document has been used to craft our foreign policy, because it has not worked. We are no safer as a nation, the countries have no more stability, and the world is no safer of a place. These Presidential doctrines have instead of fostering peace, democracy and world development have had the complete opposite effect. The only beneficiaries from these policies have been the arms manufacturers, war profiteers, and political cronies.

I wonder after reading these reports what the wing-nuts who were up in arms about Senator Obama’s statement about going into Pakistan after terrorists now have to say? We don’t treat our friends this way they exclaimed, well we now see how our friends treat us. The Pakistanis are understandably apprehensive about going after Khan who is considered a national hero by the people of Pakistan and the father of their nuclear development. The government of Pakistan has never really exerted a lot of pressure on Khan to disclose the degree of proliferation of his network. As these reports demonstrate while the Pakistanis may consider the episode closed the rest of the world will be dealing with the fall-out for years to come.

However, in recent days top American intelligence officials, who declined to speak about the discovery on the record because the information is classified, said that they had been unable to determine whether Iran or other countries had obtained the weapons design. Pakistan has refused to allow American investigators to directly interview Dr. Khan, who is considered a hero there as the father of its nuclear program. In recent weeks the only communications about him between the United States and Pakistan’s new government have been warnings from Washington not to allow him to be released.


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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Baking For Obama Fundraiser

For the first time in my life I am planning to host a fundraiser for a political candidate. I like many of us over the years have grown apathetic towards our political process in general and politicians in particular. However, today I sense in a change in the political and social climate of our nation. I believe that we as a nation are at crossroads between continuing the policies that have led to the mess we currently find ourselves in and taking another road towards peace and tolerance.

Thanks in large part to George W. Bush and his wing-nut friends our country has reached an intolerable state for many Americans on both sides of the political spectrum. We are in the midst of unending war against an enemy we can not identify, let alone defeat. Our economy is in shambles and our political discourse has reached a level where governing is almost impossible. Our civil liberties have been trampled in the name of the “War on Terrorism” or the “War on Drugs”. Torture of our fellow human beings is being openly debated and condoned. For many of us this is not the America we had envisioned or agreed to even after 9/11.

So for these reasons and many others, I have decided to do more than just sit behind a monitor and write about these ailments. I have decided to take a chance and dream again, to hope again in an America that stands for great things both at home and abroad. For me Senator Barack Obama represents an opportunity to bring about the changes needed to create that America, not because I believe that he is such a great man but because I believe that he can inspire all of us to do better. Senator Obama is merely the catalyst for change in this country. He is only a man. If we are to create the America I spoke of it will require the work, inspiration, and imagination of all of us. So here is where I begin to do my part. This event is being held in conjunction with the organization. The goal is to have these “Hungry for Change” bake sale events all over the country on June 21st and 22nd.

Baking For Obama

Location: In front of the fountain at 47th & Main in Kansas City, MO
Date & Time: June 21, 2008 at 12:00PM

Please come out and help us make this an event to remember. Let’s take our country back one cookie and cupcake at a time. If you would like to volunteer or donate some baked goods or cash, please feel to contact me at

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Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Gauntlet Has Been Dropped

The upcoming strategy for the Republicans for the fall campaign is beginning to take shape. The bulk of the campaign will revolve around the lack of patriotism of Senator Obama. He is already being cast by the Republican nominee and the Republican minions as being unpatriotic and a hater of America. Let the swift boating begin. The goal of this strategy is to scare the rural and working class white Americans who are being targeted because of the final weeks of the Hillary rural strategy. The belief is that Obama is vulnerable amongst these voters because of race, class, and patriotism. The Republicans have to get the debate away from the issues and focus on divisiveness. If the Republicans were to run on the issues this election would be over tomorrow.

The conservative editorial writers have already begun the onslaught. The latest to weigh in is one of my all-time favorites William Kristol. Now how this guy is still in print is beyond me. Mr. Kristol has a long and storied career of embellishing the lies of Republican administrations from the Reagan years until today, as well as his anemic war reporting of the pre and post Iraq invasion. It seems now that Mr. Kristol believes that after listening or reading the commencement speech of Senator Obama given at Wesleyan University in place of Senator Ted Kennedy who was ill at the time that the Senator is un-American. In his speech the Senator expounded on the virtues of service to one’s fellow man. In a time of unprecedented greed and selfishness in America it was an important topic and was delivered not with condemnation, but on the contrary with grace and personal examples.

Leave aside the fact that two years elapsed between Obama’s graduation from Columbia in 1983 and his heading off to Chicago in 1985. Dramatic foreshortening is, after all, sometimes necessary. And leave aside whether $14,000 in 1985 was really such a shockingly low salary for someone recently out of college — in inflation-adjusted dollars, it’s about what we pay entry-level editorial assistants today at The Weekly Standard.[1]

The Republican slime machine continues to mimic the same lines no matter who the target is, whether it is a “renegade” insider turned snitch or any objective voice in the face of their dishonesty. This line is similar to the one being promoted by another conservative rag which states that poor people in America are not really poor, just look at all the food they have to eat and whether earning less than the minimum wage is poor. Show me how many graduates from Ivy League schools who make the kind of money Mr. Kristol is talking about upon graduation. I know of Ivy Leaguers who make more than that while still going to school. If you can’t attack the message, then attack the messenger. What Mr. Kristol really wants to attack is the notion of someone from a top university being willing to give up making money for the service of their fellow man. This attack is not palatable to the masses, so it is disguised as an assault on the factual basis of the story.

My questions are simply these. If Mr. Kristol thinks that serving our nation in the military is such a fine calling why didn’t he nor any of his right wing counterparts partake of the honor? Also, why is it that no one questions the credentials of these hacks after they spew this crap? Because it plays to the false patriotism and fears of some Americans who believe that patriotism is a commodity that you can buy or display like so many flag lapel pins. True patriotism, like true love cannot be purchased. Instead like true love it is a verb and an action, not simply words espoused by warrior sheep who have no trouble debating the glory of war knowing that neither they nor their children will ever have to experience it.

But at an elite Northeastern college campus, Obama obviously felt no need to disturb the placid atmosphere of easy self-congratulation. He felt no need to remind students of a different kind of public service — one that entails more risks than community organizing. He felt no need to tell the graduating seniors in the lovely groves of Middletown that they should be grateful to their peers who were far away facing dangers on behalf of their country.[2]

These “peers far away facing dangers” on our behalf are in this position because Iraq attacked the US? No they are facing danger because Bush and in a large part Mr. Kristol chose to attack Iraq. While he played no role in the actual decision to attack Iraq, his writings on behalf of the invasion and in defense of President Bush’s decision to invade have been well documented. The goal of the Republican strategy against Senator Obama will be two-fold. They will openly attack his and his wife’s patriotism and secretly they will attack his race. They will attempt to exploit the fears of some whites of a black candidate. Of course it will be done couched in the usual code words with nods and winks. The southern strategy is about to take on a whole new manifestation as it is exported to all the small towns and rural areas of America.

These attacks must be exposed and dismantled by all true patriotic Americans regardless of Party affiliations. How can one man lynch another man? He can’t without the acquiescence of other so called “good people”. We are or we could be at a major turning point in America. We are at the crossroads of either moving forward as a nation or reaching backwards. The reason that Obama has been able to rally the young of America is because they recognize more so than older Americans where we are at this moment. This is no time in America to turn back the clocks based on fear and divisiveness, but to move forward as a nation towards inclusiveness and tolerance.


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