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What Is An America Hater?

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Palin and some Republican surrogates are trying to equate liberalism and anti-Americanism. This week, Michelle Bachmann, newly elected Republican in Minnesota, called on the media to investigate the so-called “liberals” in Congress to determine if they were “Pro American” or  “Anti American.”  She “reasons”  that if people have negative views of the U.S. then they are anti-American.  Bachmann says “I’m very concerned that he [Obama] may have anti-American views.” She calls on the media to launch a “penetrating expose and take a look … at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-American or anti-American.”  She adds: “I think people would love to see an expose like that.”

All my life I thought the essence of democracy was the freedom of an informed electorate to demand transparency and accountability of our elected officials and policy makers.  Never once in my life did I ever think I was being an America hater by working for a better America!  Must we turn a blind eye and stay silent if we think our precious country is being led in the wrong direction?  Like the good Germans did? Even McCain is calling for change.  Does that mean he is anti-America?  It seems to me that if I didn’t care for my country I would just sit on my butt and do nothing. For the life of me, I don’t understand where this nonsense is coming from! Some deep-seated visceral fear?  Of what?

Now we have McCain’s surrogates trying to link Obama with William Ayers and the Weathermen, a radical antiwar group during the Viet Nam war. The people who lived during that desperate and bewildering time and understood the anger toward the military industrial complex hell-bent on war are still around…many later voting for Nader which threw the win to Bush…or not voting at all which still helped Bush. Although the end did not justify the means, and the deaths that occurred were tragic, it did help stop the war. (watch “Fog Of War” an award-winning 2004 documentary interview of former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara.) I pray these folks vote pragmatically this time.

That was 40 years ago. This is now. Ayers, along with many of his generation, has discovered that patiently working within the system is a more efficacious way to encourage change. A person deserves a second chance and recognizing that a democracy depends on an enlightened electorate, he has made the most of it…becoming a respected university professor who happened to sit on the same education reform board chaired by Obama that was funded by the Republican Annenberg Foundation (whose purpose is to advance the public well-being through improved communication)and endorsed by Chicago Mayor Daley. Ayers could have become a depressive drug-addled destitute living on the streets along with the many other dissilusioned Viet Nam war vets. But he didn’t. He had the courage to face society, get off his butt, and become one of it’s good citizens. I for one am happy that he did not succumb to nihilism but instead channeled his passion and intelligence into long term benefit for our country.

Fortunately, Obama has been vetted by earnest peers, politicos, professionals, educators,  middle America and the street alike…and by the super delegates during the primaries. And for all it’s ills, by the media.  If Obama was such a risk, these folks would have stopped him long ago. His endorsement tally was at 55 and McCain’s at 16 as of Saturday with the LA Times endorsement. Other major endorsements for Obama include those of the Washington Post, The Boston Globe, the St Louis Post-Dispatch, the Toledo Blade, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Nashville Tennessean and the Spanish-language dailies La Opinion in Los Angeles and El Diario -La Prensa in New York.

His hometown newspaper the Chicago Tribune has endorsed a democrat for the first time in its 161-year history noting that it was breaking with a long tradition but justified the shift by citing what it called Mr. Obama’s “honor, grace and civility” under pressure and criticizing Mr. McCain’s choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, which it described as a failure of judgment in which Mr. McCain put his campaign ahead of the country’s needs. “We have tremendous confidence in his intellectual rigor, his moral compass and his ability to make sound, thoughtful, careful decisions,” the newspaper said of Mr. Obama. “He is ready.”

And I haven’t even mentioned magazines like the New Yorker who has only endorsed one other candidate in it’s 83 year old history or Esquire Magazine that has never endorsed a candidate in it’s 75 year history. Then there are luminaries like Colin Powell who endorsed Obama this morning on Meet The Press saying  that “I think he is a transformational figure. “I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities — and you have to take that into account — as well as his substance — he has both style and substance,” Powell said. “He has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president.” Powell noted that McCain has been a good friend for 25 years, but expressed disappointment in the negative tone of the GOP campaign, as well as in McCain’s choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as the vice presidential nominee.  And Christopher Buckley, who, after endorsing Obama, left the conservative “National Review” that William Buckley, the godfather of conservatism, founded saying that were he alive today his father would be dismayed with the Republican party…especially for it’s pick for VP. Even Christopher Hitchens has endorsed Obama.

Please excuse the pun, but they can’t all be “out in left field.”

McCain is desperate and has nothing left in his toolbox but to galvanize the ill-informed voter over ugly sideline distractions. I just hope people read. Our country depends on it.  It was Bernard Baruch, economic advisor to Wilson, who said, “If you get all the facts, your judgment can be right; if you don’t get all the facts, it can’t be right.”

On The Bail-Out

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

I would like to recommend watching a speech by Naomi Klein, journalist and author of “Shock Doctrine,” at the University of Chicago, carried by Amy Goodman on the “Democracy Now” web site, and now posted on this web site:…

To deepen your understanding, I would also recommend that you read a bit about “economic developmentalism” on wikipedia here:

that explains what it means for a country to become developed, autonomous, and legitimate, particularly in Latin America and Asia. She mentions it several times in the speech but she is addressing economists and students and doesn’t explain it much. She gives a brief overview of the free-market system that the U.S. has exported to developing countries for years for it’s own benefit.

I have been aware for some time of the thesis of her book analyzing the Friedman school of free market economics that has led to the current crisis and have seen her on TV. But I just got around to watching this talk that was given just after the first bailout was voted down but before the final passage. The free-market system has been tested, she says, and it has failed. But it will come roaring back…and has already started.

I have to tell you, that she is one of those “best and brightest” that the USA has to offer…to us and to the world. The next president, she says, we will see a turning from a “yes you can” to “no you can’t” because there won’t be any money for health, green jobs, alternative energy. Obama’s health plan costs 85 billion. AIG just got 85 billion. They are using this crisis to shut down possibility, she says, and deepen the crisis…the “shock” that they will use (and Friedman predicted) to insist on continuing the free market and their own profits.

She calls on the brilliant young creative minds at the school: “We need your minds at work,” she says. “Don’t retreat into your sacred texts. Join us in the real world,” she says,…

as tears streamed down my face.