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The Silver Lining About Wikileaks December 6, 2010

Posted by Bill in Afghanistan, barack obama, Current Events, Korea, Obama, Politics, Terrorism, Uncategorized.
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While my first reaction to the Wikileaks adventure was to prosecute them and to wonder how bad the diplomatic fallout would be, my second reaction on reading the specifics was to applaud the professionalism of what our government is doing to solve the many problems around the world.  

What really tickled me was that  Sarah Palin, in an interview about her new book, was asked what she would do differently that President Obama about North Korea.  After going on about our need for energy independence and how vulnerable she feels as an American with President Obama in charge of our security she finally answered that she would pressure China to lean on North Korea to get them to behave. 

Sure enough that is what President Obama and his people are doing.  Guess we don’t need Sarah Palin as president after all.  And ain’t that a relief, you betcha. 

Anyway, these leaks giving our diplomats an embarrassing moment.  However they do have the virtue of showing that the Obama administration is doing the right things in protecting and furthering America’s security and interests.  

I thought that this column by Leslie Gelb that appeared in the Dallas Morning News today summed up my thoughts very nicely. 

From   http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/viewpoints/stories/DN_1206edi_gelb.29020a91c.html

Leslie Gelb: How the WikiLeaks scandal actually helped the U.S.
In explaining his deed publicly, WikiLeaker Julian Assange suggests that what he’s doing is uncovering American misdeeds and lies. Yet here’s what he missed in what he turned over to the drooling press: Our diplomats were doing a good job.

Indeed, when you turn off his nonsense and stop listening to the strange commentary on cable news and even on the front pages of great newspapers, when you actually read the documents, here’s what you see: American leaders and American diplomats trying to solve crucial world problems.

U.S. policymakers and diplomats are shown, quite accurately, doing what they are supposed to do: ferreting out critical information from foreign leaders, searching for paths to common action and struggling with the right amount of pressure to apply on allies and adversaries. And in most cases, the villain is not Washington, but foreign leaders escaping common action with cowardice and hypocrisy.

Washington needs China’s help in bolstering sanctions against Iran, and China balks for fear of jeopardizing its oil and gas flow from that country. The Obama team arranges for Saudi Arabia to guarantee any loss in supply to China. If the world wants to slow or even prevent Iran’s march to nuclear weaponry, this is a key path to doing so.

The U.S. discovers that North Korea has manufactured medium-range missiles and is trying to deliver them to Iran through China. The Obama team discovers this, informs Beijing and asks Beijing to stop the transfer. Beijing declines. Really creepy.

Yemen’s leader takes public responsibility for American missile attacks against al-Qaeda in Yemen. He wants to diminish the power of these terrorists, as do Americans and most others in the world. The “lie” by the Yemeni president is a harmless way to get a critical job done — that is, the job of fighting international terrorism. WikiLeaks tears away the political cover of Yemen’s leaders.

No country has anywhere near as much influence over nutty North Korea as China. So, U.S. diplomats are searching desperately to figure out Chinese thinking about North Korea in order to compose a plan for avoiding war on the Korean Peninsula. So, the Wikileakers expose some Chinese leaders who are actually trying to give us some insight into Chinese thinking about North Korean craziness. They won’t do that again soon.

Time and again, as one actually reads these cables, one has to be heartened by the professionalism and the insights of U.S. diplomats. What are they doing? They are not lying, and U.S. leaders are not lying. They are actually, believe it or not, trying to solve problems. That seriousness of purpose and the professionalism to execute it is what jumps out at you in these materials.

So, the naïve say, it’s good to show the effectiveness of our diplomats. Give me a break. Ask any American diplomat to choose between looking intelligent in leaked cables and making progress toward avoiding war.

None of this is to say that there should not be leaks, or that the press should not pursue classified information that is necessary or very helpful to a sensible public debate on policy. If a U.S. administration is lying, or distorting the facts, or telling one story to the public and another to itself, then by all means, let’s have it out in public. If the U.S. government is concocting intelligence in order to justify wars, let’s hope an enterprising reporter finds it out for the rest of us.

But the WikiLeaks dump is not about providing essential information to Americans or to others — information they need for serious policy discussion. This massive trashing by WikiLeaks of a legitimate effort by the U.S. government to preserve confidentiality is the very least a shame and at the most, a crime.

 Leslie H. Gelb, a former New York Times columnist and senior government official, is author of Power Rules: How Common Sense Can Rescue American Foreign Policy (HarperCollins 2009). A longer version of this essay first appeared in The Daily Beast, http://www.thedailybeast.com. © 2010 RTST, Inc.

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The Right to Be Insensitive September 8, 2010

Posted by Dindy in Church and State, Current Events, Islam, Muslims, Religion, Religious Right, Terrorism.
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In the short story The Accident, the great science fiction writer James White tells the story of the origin of Sector General, the interplanetary medical center created to provide medical care to aliens. The story tells of two war heroes of different species, Grawlya –Ki and MacEwan, who had been locked in mortal combat between their spaceships and both crash landed on an unknown world. Determined to learn all he could about his enemy, Grawlya-Ki boarded MacEwan’s ship. MacEwan was gravely injured, dying. Grawlya-Ki did not know when or if his distress beacon would bring rescuers.

After a 6-hour one-on-one battle, the two were probably going to die together. Because there was no longer anything left to fight about and because they had developed a respect for each other during the fight, they began to communicate and in so doing, found that the entire war between their two peoples had been based on a joint misunderstanding.

When the Orligian rescue ship arrived, the two were barely alive and beyond medical help so the Orligians put the control room of the spaceship and the two combatants into stasis and transported them to the central square of the planetary capital of Orligia where for 236 years it served as a very effective war memorial. When medical science finally progressed to the point where the beings’ wounds could be healed, they were released from stasis and eventually founded the Sector General hospital which brought peace to the galaxy through providing medical care for all.

It is to be hoped that something similar will happen with the Cordoba Center, which most Americans know as the Ground Zero mosque even though it is not actually a mosque nor is it at Ground Zero– but since when have facts ever stood in the way of a good sound bite?

There is a great deal of rhetoric slinging about the country about the Cordoba Center, which is actually a proposed Islamic Community Center that will not even be visible from Ground Zero. President Obama lost approval points and raised anew questions about his religious beliefs when he stated that he supported the right of the Moslems to build the mosque and dared to voice the opinion that freedom of religion applies to everyone, not just Christians.

If the Cordoba Center has served as a divisive political issue for the upcoming elections, it has also divided Moslems, many of whom have come out publicly against the proposed center, some on the grounds that it is insensitive and some who state that it is being built by radical Islamists who are thumbing their nose at the 9-11 tragedy.

It is the insensitivity of the proposed Cordoba Center that I keep coming back to. I can fully accept that the developers do not mean to be insensitive. I can completely accept that they mean it to be a center for people to learn more about Islam. However I also think they do not realize that Ground Zero has assumed a hallowed place in the mind of most Americans and that for most of us, 9-11 will forever be remembered as the day our world changed for the worst.  I remember the fear and sense of loss I felt after 9-11, not just for the lives that were lost but for the sense of security that we as Americans had lost. Never again would we be able to feel safe in our own country, on our own land. People who have grown up in places continually torn asunder by war and terrorism have never known what it is like to feel complete safe, but we did before 9-11.

Before 9-11, we were largely untouched by terrorism. We remember when we could board airplanes without having to take our shoes off and without having to discard all our liquids and without having our bags routinely searched. We remember when the New York landscape was dominated by the twin towers and the jarring after images of the cityscape with nothing where the twin towers used to be. We remember when we could check out library books without worrying that the FBI was checking our reading history, and we remember a time when we could buy airplane tickets without having to worry about a watch list.

Our world changed forever on 9-11 and Ground Zero is a continual reminder to us of not only the lives that were lost but the way of life that went with them. While I can wholeheartedly support the constitutional rights of the Moslems to build the Cordoba Center, inside I keep thinking that it is insensitive. I understand that they don’t mean to be insensitive, but it is.

But…

It was insensitive of the NRA to hold their annual meeting in Denver after Columbine, but they did so anyway, and it was their right to do so. We do not have a right not to be offended in this country, and there are no laws against being insensitive. And maybe, just maybe the Moslems supporting the community center are right to force the issue, to say, in effect– “Look, we know you blame every single member of the Moslem religion for what happened on 9-11 but that is not what we are about. We are about community, about learning, about families, and if you come to our center, you might learn something about us.”

It’s kind of the same strategy Rhett Butler made Scarlett O’Hara adopt when he had her wear the very daring gown to the party the day after she was caught kissing Ashley Wilkes. People are going to be talking about you anyway so you might as well give them something to talk about. And people are going to be fussing about Moslems anyway so you might as well give them something to fuss about.  So maybe fifty or one hundred years from now, school children will visit the Cordoba Center and learn about it in schools as a monument to peace and a tribute to how two vastly different groups of people were brought together to form a more perfect union.

The freedom of speech and religion that we have in this country did not come easily. We fought hard for our right to be a nation, for our right to govern ourselves and for our right to make our own decisions about religion. The peace that we usually enjoy in this country was also hard-won, and in many cases it is only a surface peace, hiding a roiling jumble of conflicts beneath. If some of us have to be offended today in order for there to be a chance of peace in the future, so be it. I support not only the right of Feisal AbdulRauf to build the Cordoba Center, but I support the Center itself. May it lead to greater understanding between our peoples.

Toeing the Line July 6, 2010

Posted by Dindy in Afghanistan, barack obama, Current Events, Uncategorized.
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Was Obama right to fire General McChrystal? Absolutely! Not only was he a liability and a “maverick” but he was STUPID. Anyone who works in the military knows you don’t publicly dis the prez or the prez’s policies. In fact, anyone who works in the public sector knows that you toe the party line. You may disagree with the boss in private but in public you act like he’s the most brilliant person in the world and you support him 100%. It doesn’t matter if you are just grousing to friends, because you never know when your remarks will jump up and bite you in the butt.

I’ve worked in the public sector for much of my life, and I remember getting bitten pretty badly one time. The government agency I worked for stopped a benefit that was very popular among employees. Because I worked in Human Resources and had a hand in disseminating the information regarding cessation of this benefit, another employee emailed me privately to grouse about it. He was someone I got along with and often joked with. I stupidly responded and let him know that it wasn’t my decision and that I was just the messenger. The guy forwarded my comment to my boss and a couple of layers above me, along with a pointed comment about how even the people in HR weren’t on board with this decision.

I got called on the carpet, and I deserved to be called on the carpet. My defense, “But I didn’t think so-and-so would pass it on,” just drew a raised eyebrow from my boss because I knew perfectly well the public sector adage– imagine waking up in the morning and finding your words splashed across the front page of the paper in 90 point font.

General McChrystal’s mistake was twofold– not only did he pop off around his subordinates but he popped off within earshot of a Rolling Stone reporter. It’s not like this was his first offense–he was openly critical of the Obama administration’s Afghanistan policy and publicly disdainful of the United States ambassador to Afghanistan. So he let down his guard and talked too freely around a reporter, and  his words were splashed across the cover of Rolling Stone. Not good!

But worse was the message he conveyed to his subordinates. He let them know that he was just not totally with the program. That kind of feeling trickles down. As any employee knows, shit rolls downhill. If the top-tier of the company is behind something all the way, that attitude trickles down, and everyone knows they’d better get behind it or be left in the dust. Companies that do not have a clear direction or have dissension among the members of the top-tier tend to flounder because the employees get mixed messages, and they don’t know which way to jump. If the CEO sends out a memo that all employees are supposed to turn the widget clockwise, and your direct supervisor comes around regularly to check to make sure you are turning the widget clockwise, guess what? Those widgets will be turned clockwise. But if the direct supervisor comments within earshot that he doesn’t think it really matters which way the widgets are turned or that the CEO doesn’t know what the heck he’s talking about,  which way are the employees going to turn the screw?

So yes, General McChrystal deserved to be fired, and Obama’s choice of Petraeus seems to be inspired. He’s respected by the rank and file, but also knows how to toe the line. He’s adept at forging relationships, and he’s nobody’s pawn. He will have no problem privately disagreeing with Obama, but in public he will support the president and his policies. Whatever I might think about the war in Afghanistan, if we are going to be there, we need to do it right, and putting Petraeus in charge is a step in the right direction.

I Guess It’s Only Wrong if Obama Does It May 30, 2010

Posted by Dindy in barack obama, Obama, Politics, Uncategorized.
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The other day I violated one of the unofficial Facebook rules– I posted a comment in response to someone’s message in which I disagreed with that person’s message. Facebook is kind of a warm and fuzzy place– it has a like button that you can click if you like someone’s post but there is no dislike button. It is generally understood that even if you disagree with what someone says in a post, you don’t say so in a comment. However, I had someone post a negative comment in response to a cause I signified support for a few weeks ago, so when she posted a petition yesterday about Obama’s Memorial Day plans and added a comment expounding on Obama’s disrespect for men in uniform and his betrayal of his duty to his country, I felt it only fair to ask her if she had thought the same thing when  Dubya handed off the duty to Dick Cheney in 2007? Or when Bush I handed it off to Dan Quayle in 1992. Or when Reagan handed it off to his Deputy Secretary of Defense in 1983? I also pointed out to her that Obama is NOT skipping the Memorial Day ceremony, but will be giving a speech at the national cemetery in Illinois on Memorial Day. I asked her if it only counted as doing his duty if he was in Washington.

Not surprisingly, the comments in response to mine have been very supportive of her and not of me– after all, I did break a FB rule. One guy angrily told me that he had noticed that I only referenced Republican presidents; evidently he was unaware that the last Democratic president before Obama, Bill Clinton, spent all eight of his Memorial Days at Arlington National Cemetery. However, in the spirit of fairness, I will note that Jimmy Carter apparently did not visit Arlington on Memorial Day, in 1978. Ford attended both Memorial Days while he was in office but Nixon apparently did not attend at all.

The friend on whom I posted the comment responded thoughtfully and admitted that she didn’t like Obama, didn’t think he was qualified for office, thought he was a poor president, and added that the fact that his predecessors had done the same thing did not excuse him.

I appreciated the thoughtfulness of her response, however, my point to her, which apparently was lost, is that Obama is NOT disrespecting our soldiers. On Memorial Day he WILL be attending and speaking at a ceremony at a national cemetery. However he will be attending the ceremony at the national  cemetery in Illinois and not in Virginia. Here is my problem– once again the talk show pundits are seizing on a non-issue and working people up into a frenzy about something that isn’t even true. If you don’t think Obama is a good president– fine. I thought Dubya was a lousy president. If you want to criticize Obama for his policies, fine. I thought Dubya’s policies sucked. But don’t criticize Obama for disrespecting American troops and Veterans by claiming he is ditching them on Memorial Day to vacation in his home town when it just isn’t true. That only hurts your own credibility, and makes me seriously question your motives for criticizing Obama in other areas.

Arizona Bill Doesn’t Go Far Enough April 23, 2010

Posted by Dindy in barack obama, Current Events, Obama, Politics, Right wing, Uncategorized.
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The State of Arizona, in an attempt to prove that Texas does NOT have the dumbest legislature in the USA, is considering a bill requiring presidential candidates to submit documents to the Arizona Secretary of State proving that they satisfy the constitutional requirements to be president. The Arizona House passed the measure on Wednesday on a 31 to 29 vote and now it goes to the Arizona Senate for approval.

Personally I don’t think the bill goes far enough. Why not pass a bill requiring candidates to provide proof of EVERY claim they make? After all, there is more evidence for Obama being a US citizen than there is for George Dubya Bush having served his full six years in the National Guard.

Wouldn’t that be something if every time a presidential candidate opened his/her mouth to speak, s/he had to provide proof that what s/he said was true? Would SOME candidates have a hard time with that? You betcha!

Let’s face, there is nothing in this world that will satisfy the whackos who insist that Obama is not a US Citizen.Countless media organizations have rebutted claims that Obama is not a US citizen, every judicial body that has looked at the matter has concluded that Obama is a US citizen, the Hawaiian government officials who are in charge of birth certificates have stated that his Hawaiian birth certificate is valid, but the whackos are determined NOT to be satisfied. In fact, they are so busy deluging the State of Hawaii with requests for Obama’s birth certificate– up to 50 a month– that the state is considering a law of its own– one that will allow it to ignore repeated requests to produce the document.

Actually, I think the State of Hawaii is missing a golden opportunity here. Obama has already made copies of his birth certificate freely available on the internet. If these right-wing idiots insist on demanding a copy of a document that is freely available on the internet, go ahead and provide it for them– at $500 a pop. Fifty requests a month at $500 each– Hawaii could go a long way towards balancing its budget on that kind of money. As a wise person once said– you can’t do anything about the idiots in the world, so you might as well make money off them.

Flower Power Has Given Way to Mob Power March 24, 2010

Posted by Dindy in barack obama, Current Events, health care reform, Obama, Politics, Right wing, Uncategorized.
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I love living in Texas for many reasons– if nothing else it’s always good for a laugh– but after listening to the furor that has arisen since the passage of the Health Plan, it’s enough to make me long to live in a place where the sun hasn’t scalded everyone’s brain. It can be dangerous, however, to make generalizations based on where people live, and it is becoming ever apparent that Texans are not the only ones in need of an icepack on their heads.

Seriously, folks, when did it become okay for one member of Congress to yell “Baby Killer” at another member of Congress on the floor of the House, as the GOP Congressman from Texas, Randy Neugebauer shouted at Bart Stupak? When did it become okay for crowds to scream the N-word at minority members of Congress? When did it become okay for another member of Congress, Representative Joe Wilson, to shout, “You lie!” to the President of the United States while he was making a speech to a joint session of Congress? When did it become okay for people to go on Twitter and call for the assassination of our president?

I have to wonder what is truly behind this increasing rancor. We’ve had political disagreements in this country before, but it’s been a long time since we’ve seen anything like this. Certainly there were plenty of ticked off people when Dubya was president, but it never rose to this level of discord. Probably the closest thing we have had to this were the war protests of the late sixties and seventies– if we’d had Internet then, we might have gotten out of Viet Nam much sooner than we did.

Much of this must be attributed to the instantaneousness of the Internet– and the anonymity. You can hide behind a fake identity, set up Facebook and Twitter accounts and whip people into all kinds of a frenzy without anybody ever knowing who you actually are. Not only that, but you don’t even have to tell the truth because it’s real hard to sue for libel or slander for things that are said on that vast frontier of lawlessness that is the Internet. Do you really think that the whackos who claim Obama isn’t a US citizen would ever have gotten a foothold if they couldn’t send their lies to everyone with a working email address?

And there are people who have a vested interest in maintaining this frenzy– the Fox Talk Show hosts wouldn’t have near the ratings they do now if they came on the air and told everyone, “Hey, Obama is really a good guy and even though we don’t agree with him on everything, we know he wants what is best for this country.” If Sarah Palin got up and told everybody the truth about issues such as the so-called Obama death squads, she wouldn’t have her lucrative new contract with Fox TV as well as crowds of people urging her to “Run Sarah run!”.

And let’s face it, these guys have a ready audience because the conservatives out there are just plain mad. They’ve been mad for a long time. In fact, I think they might have been born mad. They were mad when Clinton was elected, and they got madder when Obama was elected. They are so mad that they have forgotten that other people  have a right to think differently and vote differently than they, which is what the Liberals did in the last election because they were mad as well. The trouble is, Liberals just don’t get mad as effectively as Conservatives.

What we’ve got is a mob– a large group of crazies who are feeding on each other and getting whipped into a frenzy by savvy manipulators who are out for their own personal gain. As Deep Throat once said,  “Follow the money.”

There is plenty of room for honest disagreement in this country, but when did disagreement get to the point where we can’t even listen to each other? Where we can’t accept that other people have different views that may be as valid as their own? Okay, we get that you don’t like the Health Plan. We get that you are afraid that it is leading to socialism or that you think people should not be required to buy health care or that you think people should take care of themselves and not expect a handout from the government. We disagree, but does that mean it is okay for you to stand up and yell “N—–!” at one of us?

Whether you like it or not, the Health Plan has passed, and as the Liberals who hate the Faith Based Initiative and the Iraq War have learned, it’s real hard to stuff the crickets back in the jar after it’s been opened. (Those conservatives who have been trying to get rid of the Education Department certainly ought to know that!) I suggest that those of you who are opposed to the Health Plan come to the table to discuss what comes next in a rationale manner rather than throwing colossal temper tantrums and acting like two-year-olds. It’s here. Now you need to figure out how to deal with it.

Declaring Darwin Day – The Why Not January 31, 2010

Posted by Bill in barack obama, Church and State, Evolution, Religion, Religious Right, Schools, Science, Uncategorized.
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Just recently I found out about a petition circulating to have President Obama declare February 12 Darwin Day. It is an attempt to gain recognition among the general public of the great scientific accomplishments of Charles Darwin and the fundamental place his thoughts, ideas, and theories have in biology today.

 http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/318/t/10503/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=2221

I did not sign it and in fact am arguing against the whole idea.

Let me first state that I am a firm supporter of evolution. I have looked at the evidence and read numerous articles and books from both sides – evolution wins hands down. The fact that organisms have changed and evolved over time is as firm a fact in science as any.

Further Charles Darwin’s theory on how evolutionary change occurs – natural selection – still holds as either the sole or one of the primary mechanisms of evolutionary change.   I also think that Charles Darwin completed the scientific revolution which consisted of changing explanations about how nature works from God did it to natural processes. This had with scientists such as Galileo and Newton in the physical sciences, but finally finished with Darwin taking this view into the life sciences.

There is no doubt that Charles Darwin was one of the greatest and most influential scientists in history.

So why am I not signing the petition and urging others not to sign?

Not because I disagree with what it says but because I believe that this is the wrong way to go about showing the public that evolution is not only good science but a fundemental part of biology. Not only is it the wrong way but I feel it can actually be counter productive.

Currently the only reason creationism is a threat to science is because so many believe and support it. The leaders of the creationist movement (and I am including Intelligent Design which is just a subset of creationism) have managed to organize those numbers into a very effective political machine. It is their mix of religion and politics that is posing a threat to effective teaching of science.

A part of their arguments is that evolution is supported by an atheistic establishment, one that does not want to acknowledge the new “evidences” that show evolution wrong and creationism right (remember the movie Expelled?).

Given that,  imagine how well having the President proclaim Darwin’s Day will play. The creationists, good public realtions swills that they are, will use this as evidence that since evolution could not cut the mustard as a science that the establishment is once again resorting to politics. This petition would only  provide more fuel for their arguments.

My proposal?

 Have President Obama proclaim a Science Day.

A day in which we recognize the achievements and accomplishments of science and scientists such as Newton, Galileo, Einstein, Bohr, and others are recognized and their achievements and influence on our society and world listed and enumerated. And in the company of these giants have Charles Darwin and his Theory of Evolution. Put him in his proper place on a par with Einstein and Newton.

That would be a far better and more effective way to defend evolution than this well intentioned but not well thought out petition.

Finally Something We Can Agree On October 1, 2009

Posted by Dindy in barack obama, Current Events, Obama, Politics.
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In the wake of the furor over Kanye West’s actions at the MTV Video Awards- you know, when he grabbed the mike from Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech and gave a shout out to Beyonce Knowles- we have some refreshing honesty from the only man in the world who could probably get away with saying publicly what we all were thinking privately.

Obama calls Kanye West a jackass

I don’t think I’ve heard anyone disagree with Obama on this– not even those critics who hate him so much they can’t accept the fact that they were born in the same coutnry as Barack Obama.

And here’s something else, too. There have been a number of accusations that Obama’s critics are racists. Most notably former President Jimmy Carter came out and said that the opposition to Obama is grounded in a deep seated racism.

“I think that an overwhelming proportion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, he’s African-American,” Carter told NBC television.

Obama, however, doesn’t see it that way. According to White House Spokesperson Robert Gibbs,

“The president does not believe that the criticism comes based on the color of his skin. We understand that people have disagreements with some of the decisions that we’ve made and some of the extraordinary actions that had to be undertaken by this administration.”

Funny, I don’t think I’ve heard a single one of Obama’s critics disagree with him on this statement either. I guess they don’t disagree with Obama on absolutely everything.

An Increase in Whackos? September 29, 2009

Posted by Dindy in barack obama, Obama, Politics.
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There’s been a lot of talk in the press about the decline of civility and about whether or not there are more whackos now than there used to be. It’s true that emotions are certainly running high in the country right now, as we saw when the nutters, who have been frothing at the mouth since Obama was elected, went off the deep end over Obama’s proposed speech to American’s school children.

I don’t know, however, that there are more whackos than there ever used to be. What I think has happened is that thanks to the internet, the world has become a much smaller place and the nutters have been able to reach out and connect with each other in ways they have never been able to before.

If you look back, there have always been people who were just a little “different.” Every neighborhood had its resident eccentric, its Boo Radley, as it were. The house your parents told you not to go to during Trick or Treat or the neighbor who kept your ball when you and your friends were careless enough to hit it over the fence into his yard.

These people were usually isolated, and because they didn’t know anyone who shared their delusions or their paranoia or their offbeat views, they were generally pretty harmless as long as they were left alone.

The internet has changed all that because now all of these people who thought they were all alone have suddenly found other people who also thought they were all alone, and they’ve discovered that they have things in common.

Suddenly they are no longer alone and they are feeding off of each other. They are sharing experiences and stories and myths and legends. Urban legends have taken on a new life with the easy spreadability afforded by email, list servs and forums. You can find absolutely everything on the net– whatever your beliefs you can find somebody, somewhere who shares them.

Now that the nutters know that there are others who feel the same way, they are finding that there is strength in numbers. In addition, they are picking up new fans as people who do not necessarily share the more extreme beliefs relate to some of the more innocuous sentiments.

Obama’s election is a testament to the power of the internet as the grass roots movement that played such a huge role in his election capitalized on the social media available on the internet to spread his message of hope.

So now all we have to do is find a way to harness the power of the internet to counteract the whackos, and relate to the complacent middle of the roaders. We know it can be done. We just have to do it again.

Protesters stand for What- Exactly? September 14, 2009

Posted by Dindy in barack obama, Obama, Politics.
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So depending on who you listen to, 60,000 – 70,000 people (according to a statement issued by ABC News disputing claims that it had earlier stated 1 to 1.5 million) or 1 -1.5 million (the number held to by Freedomworks, the group that organized the event and a group that has every incentive to stick with the higher number no matter the facts) marched on Washington to protest government spending.

Protesters were there ostensibly to complain about government spending, although one has to wonder where all these people were when George Dubya Bush was building up the deficit and sinking the country further into debt. They sure weren’t protesting government spending then!

One brilliant guy, Richard Brigle said health care needs to be reformed, but not according to Obama’s plan.  “My grandkids are going to be paying for this. It’s going to cost too much money that we don’t have.” Sweetie, I got news for you– your grandkids are going to be paying for Dubya’s war for a LONG time. And they’re going to be paying for the government bailout that had to be enacted because of Dubya’s economic policies for a LONG time.

There’s an old saying– if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem. Let’s hear some ideas from the other side about how to fix the health care system. We know what they are against (anything proposed by Obama.) Let’s hear what they are for.