Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Karl Rove Calls Out the Opposition In New Book

December 8, 2008

As the administration of President George W. Bush lurches to a close, there is always room for parting gifts. One of which, by virtue of the Huffington Post, deals with a story behind what political operative and current FOX News consultant Karl Rove plans to reveal in his upcoming book. After the ink was dried on the $1.5 million dollar publishing deal, the former Deputy White House Chief of Staff to the 43rd President of the United States has vowed to point out people who opposed Mr. Bush during the leader’s time in office.

Why, that almost sounds like another situation entirely, doesn’t it?

Read it for yourself from the Huffington Post article:

Also reserved for between the covers of Rove’s book is his checklist of the “great many of the political actors in this town (who) never accepted [Bush] as a legitimate president.”

“I’ve got behind-the-scenes episodes that are going to show how unreceiving they were of this man as president of the United States,” Rove said, adding: “I’m going to name names and show examples.”

Let’s get something clear. Mr. Rove can name names all he wants, but the evidence shows otherwise why Mr. Bush was not treated as legitimate in some circles. Why, he must have been asleep the last eight years as Mr. Bush dragged this country right down the toilet. Well heck. He also must have missed the fact that sometimes, Mr. Bush even brought this lack of respect upon himself.

So while Mr. Rove thinks he can use such outing tactics to shame others via the printed word, there are folks who have gotten wise to his modus operandi.

After all, Executive Privilege does not last forever.

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The Drama That Should Have Been Over A Long Time Ago

December 8, 2008

While America is dealing with problems that are poised to mar the very fabric of the country, there is a side phenomenon brewing. It is the reaction against President-Elect Barack Obama’s eligibility to hold office. This aspect has to do with whether Mr. Obama is an American citizen or not by virtue of his birth. Clearly, the Hawaii Department of Health has already declared the former Senator from Illinois’ birth certificate was authentic.

So when the Supreme Court refused to hear the Leo Donofrio case concerning these facts, it might have been a given that the issue was over as far as the highest court in the land had anything to do with it. You’d also think that the posting of Mr. Obama’s Birth Certificate on several sites, including Fight The Smears.org and the non-partisan Factcheck.org would settle this matter once and for all.

But alas, you thought wrong.

There are already a dozen other suits waiting in the pipeline. The next case to be conferenced, filed by Cort Wrotnowski, has been referred to the Supreme Court by Justice Antonin Scalia. The review of the Wrotnowski petition will ironically be held on December 12, 2008–the day the Supreme Court of the United States decided the case Bush v. Gore.

Despite the fact that this issue has been debunked repeatedly, there is a conclusion to be made about why this particular subject continues to have a life of its own: racism and fear.

A lot has been made by the Republicans concerning the fact that President-Elect Obama was not “American” enough. In fact, nothing was done to stop the insinuations of “anti-Americanism” and “terrorism”. Consequently, these ideas were filtered down into Mr. Obama’s middle name. The aspect of his name–shared with his father–continue to set off the connotations of being “foreign” and “mysterious”. Unfortunately, these insinuations also have to do with the perception of “super-patriotism” which was born out of the September 11, 2001 aftermath. In that vein, anyone with brown skin or a funny name was painted as suspect because they did not gibe with the expectations of the dominant culture.

In the end, Mr. Obama is not alone when it comes to challenges such as these. He is one of seven Presidents who had foreign-born parents.

If people are so much in an uproar about whether some of our dignitaries were born in the United States, what about Republican nominee John McCain? Unlike Mr. Obama, the Arizona Senator was born outside of the United States, period.

Edit: made a correction about the number of Presidents who had foreign born parents.

Will The Corporations Change Their Tune?

December 7, 2008

In a lengthy interview on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday morning, President-Elect Barack Obama said a number of things that were highly important when setting the agenda during his upcoming term as American leader. Firstly, the former Illinois Senator sided with the laid-off Republic Windows and Doors factory workers as they protested the loss of their jobs in the wake of the recession. Another item of note is that there needs to be work done to stop the slide in foreclosures that are happening daily across the country. Although Mr. Obama described the economy getting a lot worse before it recovers, he advocated for immediate and meticulous attention to reignite it via introducing much needed policies that would work on rebuilding America’s infrastructure.

But the best thing? Mr. Obama said that the corporations must be more responsible and ethical in their daily dealings:

What we haven’t seen is a sense of urgency and the willingness to make tough decisions. And what we still see are executive compensation packages for the auto industry that are out of line compared to their competitors, their Japanese competitors who are doing a lot better.

Now, it’s not unique to the auto industry. We have seen that across the board. Certainly, we saw it on Wall Street. And part of what I’m hoping to introduce as the next president is a new ethic of responsibility where we say that, if you’re laying off workers, the least you can do, when you’re making $25 million a year, is give up some of your compensation and some of your bonuses. Figure out ways in which workers maybe have to take a haircut, but they can still keep their jobs, they can still keep their health care and they can still stay in their homes. That kind of notion of shared benefits and burdens is something that I think has been lost for too long, and it’s something that I’d like to see restored.

Simply put, drastic times call for measures which favor the American worker again. For years, the corporations have enjoyed the perks the government has given them. The biggest gift of all happened to be the gradual dismantling and eventual repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1933. The passage and signing of the Gramm-Leech-Billey Act of 1999 signaled the regulations of the New Deal were over. At first, these measures for financial institutions were liberatory. Commercial and Investment banks could join forces into a single entity. This type of corporate marriage in the financial world meant more ways to make money hand over fist by pitting the greedy against the most vunerable. It didn’t stay within the borders of one’s country. These dealings extended internationally too.

But, the higher the high, the greater the fall. Not only did large entities like Citigroup, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Bear Stearns take a nose dive; a string of other companies people have known and loved over the years (such as Archway & Mother’s Cookies Co., Tower Records and Sharper Image) have shut their doors to the public as well. Within the last four years of the Bush Presidency, the list of folding business (especially those filing for bankruptcy) has grown larger and more nebulous. Those who survived the trial by fire this far has pared down their operations so much that consumers deal with bare-bone operations with few luxuries.

But even despite all the horrific happenings of the economic downturn, the managment still kept their golden parachutes and other perks while their employees suffered cut-backs. Similarly, the story of Enron depicts one of the most heinous examples of corporate greed and employee negligence. The Enron scandal still stings for a lot of people–including many Californians.

In light of this, corporations are not going to change over night to be more ethical entities if they continually get rewarded by their political cronies year after year. Instead, there has to be a reintroduction of more regulations along with more support to enforce the restrictions already on the books. Without such backing, the same old thing will happen in a quid pro quo fashion.

We have to start somewhere in order to rebuild a new type of society from the ruins left in the wake of the Bush years. This means more consideration for workers and their rights. Without the support of the workers, management cannot get anywhere. After all, the workers are voters and conscious consumers. They read the papers, discuss politics and even watch the news just like the majority of other citizens in the United States. Ignore and treat them like the dirt under someone’s shoe and the outcry becomes enormous. Case in point? The 2008 Elections.

“I will leave the presidency with my head held high.”

December 6, 2008

Well, that’s what George W. Bush told Charlie Gibson during the first of a series of “exit interviews” earlier this week. The sheer ironic nature of that statement is the fact that if he had a true conscience with less hubris, he might see why he is already ranked as one of the worst Presidents of the United States. Furthermore, his governing style resembles that of a petty dictator who lives for affirmations of his followers at his every whim. The smirk–which is off-putting and rather indicative of the utter smugness belonging to his station–cannot erase the fact that America has been brought down into its nadir as a country by the likes of the incurious, narrow-minded and bellicose.

Oh no, Mr. President. There is nothing to be proud about these last eight years.

Voter disenfranchisment is one such case where there hasn’t been an apology made by the RNC or its operatives. In fact, where was the President’s remorse when John Ellis, a Bush cousin and consultant with FOX news, called the state of Florida for him in the 2000 election? Where was his tears of regret as voter’s names were purged from the rolls?

How can one hold his head up high when it comes to advocating state-sponsored torture? How can one be proud over the fact that rights for the incarcerated were shot down? What dignity exists in the statements of bravado and American exceptionalism when they threatened to abandon other nations who didn’t fall to the party line of the United States?

How can he sleep at night knowing that he launched a failed and indelibly flawed conflict based on lies and false evidence? Do the screams and horror faced by the Iraqi civilians even haunt him? Does the massacre at Haditha give him nightmares?

Lest we not forget the many times the President went on vacation. On one particular occasion, the levees broke in New Orleans and disaster ravaged the Gulf Coast. How can Mr. Bush feel any sort of pride of patting former FEMA head Michael Brown on the back while people drowned? How can he leave his office without the picture of the starving, abandoned and hurting while they screamed for help at the New Orleans Convention Center and the Superdome? Kanye West didn’t have to go far when he mentioned that “Bush doesn’t care about Black people.”

And then, we have the piece de resistance of why it is such an affront for Mr. Bush to say he is leaving his post proudly: the horrific realities of the economy. Does it even tickle his conscience a little bit that while the corporations continue to get tax breaks as they down-size, everyday people are faced with lay-offs and homelessness? Does he even care about the audacity of buying a $2 million dollar house while families are seeing their American dreams go up in smoke by foreclosure?

Although there are many other examples to come by, it still is mind-boggling how Mr. Bush tries to gloss over the utter hardship, derision and sorrow that has been left in the wake of his Presidency. it is even astounding to think that something positive can be even made out of policies that have laid waste to America and the world during his two terms. With all that laid upon the table, Mr. Bush should be worried about his legacy.

From the viewpoint of a lot of people, the 43rd President’s place in American history is already set by not only events, but by actions as well.

Is the President Above The Law?

December 4, 2008

On the heels of the release of the Nixon tapes, there is one more thing that comes to mind when weighing the august moments in this time of American history: what will become of the charges of corruption connected to the Bush Administration. Whether it is the disregard for FISA law to the weaseling out of the “torture question”, one has to ask whether there would be any sort of resolution to these troubling questions.

What does this say about our country if we were to follow the late, disgraced President Richard M. Nixon’s belief that the presidency is above the law? If we were to let this slide (because of the idea in some circles that the American public can’t take this), we set the precedent that if the President were to commit something equally if not more atrocious, he gets a pass for his wrongdoing. Furthermore, an unwillingness to show that justice is still a part of the American government only demonstrates to the American people that being elected to any office makes one immune from being arrested, prosecuted and tried. In this mindset, there isn’t even a public shaming for what one–in a position of power–has done wrong. Even worse, the bravado and arrogance of flaunting such flagrant abuses is not only angering; it wears away the very basis of what it means to be an American during this day and time.

The problem with the Bush 43 Administration is that the list of corruption that has happened during its two-term tenure is very long. Despite Mr. Bush’s efforts to shield the utter atrocities of what had gone on during his time of leadership, there are some images and issues that cannot be forgotten.

In order for the theme of change to mean something in this brave new course of American history, we must do something to provide closure legally or socially. A stand by the incoming administration must be made in order to demonstrate that this long nightmare will not happen again. The people responsible need to be held to answer for what they’ve done–especially in the cases of torture.

The world is watching us to see if we will do the right thing. I hope the American government doesn’t let its citizens, as well as those internationally down in that regard.

The Nixon Tapes Shed Some Light On Another Dark Time In History

December 4, 2008

There’s been a lot a talk lately about the release of former President Richard Milhous Nixon’s tapes made in November and December of 1972. Aired in different places within the confines of the MSM, they shockingly paint a portrait of a man who was not only rather paranoid in many respects; the recordings convey a public figure who was rather adamant in maintaining control over everything–from setting policy to “taking care of those who opposed him.”

Until he resigned, Mr. Nixon became the epitome of what his successor, the late Gerald Ford, called “the imperial presidency”. In that guise, the Executive Branch superceded the separation of powers in the American government. In the end, the President considered himself as a supreme leader with little or no input from the Judiciary and Legislative branches.

Kinda sounds like someone else, does it not? 😉

What is more, is that hearing these snippets from Mr. Nixon’s time in the Oval Office not only give way to a complex picture of the man in the shadow of Watergate; it also provides insight into his decisions and mannerisms–some which explain why the disgraced American leader had one of the lowest approval ratings ever(24 %).

Well, that is, until President George W. Bush came along (19% and dropping).

Enjoy these excerpts from ABC News:

In the conversation with Kissinger, filled with long pauses, Nixon expressed fears that Congress would cut off funds for the Vietnam War.

Nixon: “We may be faced with that. So what do we do then, Henry?”

Kissinger: “Blame the Democrats.”

Kissinger went on to call the North Vietnamese Communists “filthy bastards.” He said the North Vietnamese told the Russians they think Nixon will cave in and reach a settlement before his second inauguration the following month.

This is what happened next as told on the same page as the previous part:

Kissinger added the North Vietnamese may be ready for a quick deal when they realize he is not caving in.

Nixon: “We can’t gamble on that.”

Kissinger: “It is a gamble which, if we lose, we will really be paralyzed.”

Both men sometimes avoided the word “bombing.” Instead, they talked of “the action.”

As Nixon said, “Let’s look at the action. We can’t have any doubts about it.”

[…]

The bombing was to include Hanoi and result in worldwide criticism of the United States as well as renewed anti-war protests at home.

Can we say that Mr. Kissinger might be a little perturbed right now by what’s been uncovered?