Communing with Cousins, Without A Computer ©

There are times when communing with a cousin, with family, completely, is necessary.  While I will feel pangs of withdraw, and I truly will, I need to leave the computer behind.

For those of you that have a cousin and family such as mine, you will understand.  When you can speak with a person [or people] for five hours and feel as though only five minutes has passed, you know.  You trust that you need and want to focus on this person or people totally.

When a person or persons can and do teach you so very much, that they leave you wanting more, you realize, this is a person you must spend time with.  You want to focus and feel the fun.

I will return in days and look forward to sharing with you then.

Keeping Up with The Jones’, Republican Representative Walter B. Jones ©

The military is the most important industry in this area.  This locale is the home of Camp Lejune.  Camp Lejune is comprised of five major Marine Corp commands and one Navy command.  Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and New River Marine Corps Air Station are here.  This is where the Marines train.  These soldiers are the “Expeditionary Forces in Readiness.”  They have been so for the last fifty years.  This is, the 3rd Congressional District of North Carolina and the home of Republican Representative Walter B. Jones.

In this region, the military dominates.  Active-duty Marines are housed in this district, as are their dependent children. These military men and women protect and defend their loved ones and the citizens of the United States of America.  They are the few, the proud, and prideful of the legend they create.  They are “Semper Fidelis,” always faithful.  Military retirees live here, some 60,000 of these.  They too honor the heritage.

Civilian men and women in this community work in industries that support the armed forces.  In a locality such as this, the word “war” is understood.  People here support the troops.  There are signs of their encouragement everywhere.  Towns in this region are inundated with yellow ribbons.  Banners are displayed boldly urging Americans to “Honk for the Troops” and “Pray for Our Heroes.”

So why is it that last week, the noted Republican hawk that represents these people went before Congress and proposed that the President, the Pentagon plan and secure an exit strategy?  Why did Representative Walter B. Jones decide that it was time, time to end this war?

What caused the Congressman to change his stance?  This man was once known for his staunch support of the war effort.  He was solidly behind President Bush.  He expressed his disdain for those that did not sanction the same.  Jones was loathsome of countries such as France.  How could they defame our war against “evil?”  How dare they not participate in the conflict!  Jones suggested a boycott of all French products.  Representative Jones was the first to publicly proclaim, that we no longer call “French” fries “French.”  He designated these “freedom fries.”  Why would a man such as this now stand before the President and rescind his support?

It was pain.  Congressman Walter B. Jones felt such grief each time he put pen to paper.  Every time the congressman wrote a note of condolence to families of the fallen, his heart ached.  When he spoke to parents, husbands, wives, or the children of soldiers, he felt their sorrow.  The anguish grew.  Congressman Jones is not the only one in his district to feel the pain; many do.

Walter B. Jones and his constituents heard the words of W., “this will be a protracted war.”  There is no end in sight.  Our enemy is elusive.  We have no single country to attack; terrorists are everywhere.  Bush claims they are here, there, and the United States must pursue them wherever they are.  We must “hunt them down.”  President Bush maintains we must eliminate “evil.”  Mr. Bush tells us, this endeavor has no end.

No end?  No exit strategy?  After 2 ½ long years, Congressman Jones decided he could not continue; he could and would no longer support a war that was executed on false premises.  How could he commit himself to a plan that did not and does not exist?  To do so is contrary to the tradition of military strategic planning and therefore, conflicts with all that Jones himself believes.

Some members of his community are expressing the same.  Their thoughts were presented in a recent Los Angeles Times article and are reiterated here.  Retired Marine Colonel Jim Van Riper, a veteran of Vietnam and Desert Storm says Jones “was right to go after the administration.”  He added that there was a time when he too supported the U.S. presence in Iraq but he faulted the war plan.  “Rumsfeld and the neo-cons have fouled it up from the beginning.”

Jack Ubert, a retiree from Amityville, New York, now living in North Carolina, approves of Jones “taking a pretty tough stance.”  Mr. Ubert adds, “Saddam deserves whatever he gets.  I was never sure why we had to go in there and dictate to them.  It’s just like with nuclear weapons: We think we’re the only ones who should have them.  We want to make all the rules.”

Retired Army Major General Hugh R. Overholt, a lawyer in New Bern, North Carolina describes himself as a strong supporter of Jones.  He states, “I’m very concerned about our force.”  Major General Overholt believes the administration should do what’s required and “get it over as soon as possible.”

Nevertheless, there are those that disagree with Jones’ turnabout.  They still strongly support the conflict as is.  They back the President.  Christy May, 42 years of age and the wife of a Marine serving in Iraq, believes it would be a mistake to set a fixed time for withdrawal.  She asserts “History shows that it wouldn’t make sense for us to walk away all of a sudden.”  She acknowledges that she and her husband, a supply and logistics specialist differ on this point.  Marine May questions whether the United States should be there at all.

This debate is occurring in families and communities throughout our nation, not only in military neighborhoods.  It is apparent nation-wide.  As the insurgent attacks increase, National polls reveal a change of heart.  Americans in mass are turning against the war.  As costs continue to rise, as photographs are released, and more importantly as our troops come home, people are touched personally.

As the discussion intensifies, the United States Congress heeds the call.  Previously, representatives were reluctant to challenge the administration on the war.  There were people throughout our nation protesting the war, even before it began, me, among them.  However, their voices were weak, muffled and muted by the press.  Coverage of their concern was miniscule, and often hidden.  In contrast, the President appeared powerful; people liked him.  Many expressed their desire to have a beer with Bush.  He was elect-able and we did in fact, finally elect him, or at least some did.

Notwithstanding, times changed.  Recent polls show that Bush is loosing his charisma, at least on issues such as this war.  With this knowledge in hand, Conservative Republican hawk, Walter B. Jones, a man hurt by the war, led a small committee of congressman.  Four are now pressing the President and the Pentagon for answers.  These members are requesting that the White House submit a plan for withdrawal by the end of the year and begin troop reductions by October 2006.

This bipartisan group is comprised of two Republicans, Walter B. Jones of North Carolina, and Ron Paul of Texas.  Of course, there are liberal members; Democrats Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii and Dennis Kucinich of Ohio are these.  These four soldiers of the people planned a news conference to discuss legislation calling on Bush to phase out the U.S. military presence in Iraq.  This was powerful!

Senator Lincoln D. Chafee, Republican of Rhode Island, said he might sign on.  Chafee, who opposed the war, said there is growing demand in each of the congressional branches.  Numerous members are asking Bush to clarify his goals.  What is this war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and against terrorism about, weapons of mass destruction or something yet to be publicly revealed?  When will it end?  Chafee believes that this turn is a direct response to the escalating public concern.

However, for Representative Jones, it is more.  Jones’ own history makes his recent stance more relevant.  “Jones built his congressional career on advocacy for the military.”  He voted to authorize the war.  He displays photographs of the fallen outside his Capitol Hill office.  He represents a military hub; Marine bases no less.  Congressman Jones has long been an active advocate of this war effort.  However, even he, after much thought and experience, has doubts.  Ironically, his involvement caused him to turn against the war.

Walter B. Jones is now asking, as others do, please America be involved.  Pay attention not only to what the media, reluctantly presents, attend to what is within the homes of your friends, your families, within your hearts.  Speak to those that know soldiers, discuss the war experience with those that have been there.  Forego blind faith and consider that GW Bush never served as he asks others to do.  Vice President Cheney requested and received six deferments during the Viet Nam war.  He had no desire to place his life on the line.

America, ask questions, question authority, assess for your selves.  Why are we in Iraq?  Who are the terrorists?  What is their threat and how effective will it be if we continue to do as we are doing?  Are our current actions the only possibility?  Is there a plan, and is it plausible.  Engage, immerse yourself as Walter B. Jones did and be open to discovery.  Please, keep up with this Jones, Walter B. Jones United States Congressman.

Author, Jan Frel, AlterNet, also shares her thoughts.  Please read her perspective.

How Walter Jones Grew a Conscience.

Update . . . You may wish to visit MaxSpeak. On Thursday, August 18, 2005, he wrote of another call for withdraws from Iraq.  Wisconsin Senator, Russ Feingold, made this request. Max muses; will this be the position of others in the 2008 election. Please read 08.

Tribute to Inventor Jack St. Clair Kilby, His Chips Changed Our World ©

There was little fanfare, less notice, though it was an important passing.  Inventor Jack St. Clair Kilby departed from this Earth on June 21, 2005, at the age of 81.  Kilby suffered a brief battle with cancer.  His life was full.  However, few knew of how he filled their lives.

Jack Kilby was a retired Texas Instruments engineer; he was an inventor.  In 1958, he invented the first integrated circuit.  This circuitry changed the world.  It was as the wheel; it turned all that we ever knew around.

Without this innovation, the modern world would not be as it is. His invention is found in everything from desktop computers to microwave ovens.  We find his chips in our wristwatches and in our cellular telephones.  Pacemakers are also possible with thanks to Jack Kilby.  Microelectronics moved the world.  After the creation of these, miniaturization became our manner.

In 2000, Jack Kilby was recognized; he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.  He shared this acknowledgment with Robert Noyce.  Separately, each invented the integrated circuit, though they did so at the same time.  Neither man marveled at his own accomplishments.  Both were humble; they were honored and willing to share their success.

Texas Instruments Chairman Tom Engibous said of the Kilby, “In my opinion, there are only a handful of people whose works have truly transformed the world and the way we live in it  . . . Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers and Jack Kilby.”  Engibous continues, “If there was ever a seminal invention that transformed not only our industry but our world, it was Jack’s invention of the first integrated circuit.”

We honor Jack St. Clair Kilby; he did life well and bettered our own.

Bolton. Condie, Will The Obstructionist Be The Victor? ©

From the beginning, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has pushed for the passage.  She wanted John R. Bolton to reign supreme at the United Nations.  Secretary Rice has her reasons; she does not want Mr. Bolton to serve in the position that he covets, Deputy Secretary of State.  In that post, he would be too close to her.

In her former position as National Security Advisor, Miss Rice experienced the rancor of John Bolton.  She knows that she does not want an intimate working relationship with a man such as he.  She acknowledges that others feel the same.  Nonetheless, she is loyal to her President.  She understands his position.  Mr. Bolton helped the President get into office in 2000 and the Administration feels a need to return the favor.  Rice can accept this.  Yet, she wants to ensure that while John Bolton is repaid, and reimbursed well, it will not affect her directly.

Therefore, the Secretary of State does all that she can to ensure his appointment.  She routinely calls Senators; she reassures them.  Miss Rice is known to have said, “We think that we can control him.  If he strays from the reservation, he’s out.”

Secretary Rice has made promises.  During the course of the Bolton, hearings Senator Joseph Biden [Democrat-Delaware], member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, requested the full Bolton record. Biden, said a full accounting of Bolton’s service is necessary; it will facilitate the approval process.  Bolton once served as Under-Secretary of State, Arms Control and International Security. Therefore, the appeal was made to the State Department.  Condoleezza Rice now heads this office.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice assured the senator, the Department would gladly provide the Bolton papers.  Miss Rice promised to cooperate.  She stated, “We have every desire to have the committee have the information that it needs.”  Condie declared, the State Department will respond “as rapidly as possible.”  Yet, they have not.  They have not produced the documents requested.  While Condie acknowledges her pledge, she asserts that she did not say when the documents would be delivered and so we wait.  The Senate waits, the nation waits, and John Bolton’s appointment moves on, though slowly.

It is hindered.  The Foreign Relations Committee sent the nomination on to the full Senate without a recommendation.  Still the papers did not come.  Miss Rice was and is not forthcoming.  She offers no reasons for the delay.

The vote is again postponed.  For now, we are standing still, some holding their breath.  One wonders, will Secretary Rice get her way, will the President get his.

Ultimately, might Mr. Bush dare to do as he does?  President Bush is authorized to appoint Mr. Bolton to the position of United Nations Representative temporarily.  If appointed, Bolton would serve for one full year.  The possibly is frightening, though a reality.  Citizens and Senators alike ask, with a history of unilateral actions, will the President attack aggressively, this time striking at the Senate and the United Nations?  Will we all feel the blows?

Please visit the thoughts of Steve Soto, The Left Coaster, Is Bush Forcing A Nuclear Option On Bolton?

Nico, at shares an interesting perspective on the Bolton appointment.

Sen. Roberts: Bolton Recess Appointment Would Weaken the United States’

As GM Goes. Cuts, the Ineffective Cure ©

Many recall the old adage, “As GM goes, so goes the nation” and General Motors is going, going, and some fear it may soon be gone!  General Motors has a habit of cutting costs, jobs, and benefits.  Throughout their history this strategy has proven to be ineffective and yet, only weeks ago, they announced that they would continue to do as they have done.

As GM cuts, so too do other American industries and institutions.  While investors temporarily profit from this ploy, little else does.  Let us look at the legend of this corporate giant, its philosophy, and practices.  Then compare and contrast these with those of Toyota.  Let us hope that one day, General Motors will do the same.

The decline of General Motors began long ago.  During the energy crisis of the 1970s, America changed.  GM did not lead the cultural shift, nor did it swing with it, though they may have lead what followed.

The public and foreign industries alike, realized that the Earth could not and would not provide an endless supply of petroleum.  Adjustments must be made; dependency on fossil fuels had to stop.  Citizens concluded that they could no longer drive gas-guzzling engines; they would prefer economical automobiles.  Consciously, people chose smaller cars.  Yet, General Motors did not make these.  They delayed.  Customers went elsewhere.

General Motors acted as though there was ample oil; availability was merely a political ploy.  They believed or hoped that consumers would come around.  Then, GM would be ready to deliver.  GM would ride-out the energy storm, and they did, or so it seemed.  Slowly, they realized that times had changed and they needed to change with the times.  However, it took this corporate giant time to turn left, right, or even to move straight ahead.  Once they did move, they were lumbering.  General Motors did not deliver as quickly as other automobile makers did; nor did they deliver as well.  [The same could be said of many American industries and institutions.]

Automotive competition came, and stays solid; it was and is mostly from Japan.  [In other industries quality competition came from China, Guam, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, anywhere, but from the good ol’ US of A.]  The Honda, Nissan, and Toyota combination quickly increased their North American market share.  Their products were and are well made and efficient.  Their working force was and is dedicated as is evident in the quality of the workmanship.  Foreign factories worked well.  Sales from these increased; the companies expanded, and so too did their business.  Gradually, GM sales declined.  General Motors was caught in a downward spiral, the slide continues, even today.  The future of GM is uncertain.

We see it and feel it.  If we look in our garages and on our streets, we discover that the majority of the automobiles are not “Made in the USA,” or, at least not produced by American companies.  [If we peer into our closets, glance into our kitchens, or gaze into any room of our homes, we see the same.]  This fact effects economic stability in all of the United States; General Motors, being among the largest, has been hit harder.  [American businesses as a whole are experiencing a possible economic depression.]

In April 2005, Americans purchased more than 1.5 million light vehicles.  This represents an annual increase of 1.8%.  While other automakers were bettering their numbers, GM was crashing.  General Motors announced a 7.7% drop in sales.  Ford experienced a 5% loss.  The two American automotive industry giants were [and are] struggling.  In the first quarter, this once powerful mega-manufacturer reported a $1.1 billion loss, a larger shortfall than they have had in the last 13 years.  Ford was able to return a net profit of $1.2 billion; however, this too, was a decline.  In the previous year, Ford did much better.

Meanwhile, in this same period, the foreign industry fared quite well.  While General Motors’ market share fell from 28% to 25.4%, sales for Honda, Nissan, and Toyota combined increased from 24.8% to 29.1%.  The contrast was striking.  A double-digit deficit from a stalwart, blue chip such as GM raised great doubt among investors.  Those banking on General Motors were devastated and those investing in America were equally torn.

The news affected the market as a whole.  When the details were released, shareholders sold.  The stock market took a dive.  More recently, General Motors’ stock was deemed “junk.”  This rating served to exasperate a sad situation.  An already struggling company began floundering further.  They received little support, analysts turned away, buy recommendations were rescinded, and fewer shares of GM stock were purchased.  GM was selling fewer cars, less trucks, and now the sale of their stock is stilled.

Now, in June 2005, General Motors is feeling the full effects of their earlier, and ever present single-minded stance.  [As are all if not most of our American industries and institutions.]  Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner said, “If we had a chance to rerun the last five years.  We probably would have done a little more thinking about making sure that each product was distinctive and had a chance to be successful.”

Distinctive designs are easy to come by, yet history proves they are not enough; had they been General Motors would not have experienced the decline they did in the 1970s when designs were strong.  Those glorious gas-guzzlers of the past were gorgeous; yet, they did not sell well.  The recent calamity would have had no effect on General Motors.  Some of the petroleum-puffing Sports Utility Vehicles that GM makes today are quite distinctive; nonetheless, they too do not sell.  They do not fly off the lots in the way that those of other manufacturers do.

General Motors blames their loss of sales on the cost of their vehicles.  The company states that due to the weight of wages, the cost of health care, and expense of pensions they must add an additional cost of $1500 per unit to the price of each product.  General Motors wishes to believe that people purchase other products, more specifically Japanese vehicles, because the foreign fares are less.  Those that own Toyotas, Hondas, and Nissans may differ with this opinion and many do.  Nonetheless, this is the GM credo.

The facts tell a different tale.  Buyers are looking for quality; cost is only one of many considerations.  When one purchases an automobile, they ask of service, reliability, fuel efficiency, and customer care.  They also reflect upon personal past experiences, the reputation of the vehicle, and of its maker.  There are those that research corporate policies and practices.  Cost and design are only surface concerns.  A car is a substantial purchase.  The price of the vehicle is influential; however, it is not the only consideration.  Customers may buy once; however, if not satisfied, will they want to buy again.

General Motors is not the finest; nor has it been for quite some time.  Its motor vehicles are not the best made or maintained.  Customer service and customer care are not as they once were.  Much of this is a reflection of company policies and practices.  GM workers are not happiest while working at their craft.  For decades, they have been the subjects of reductions.  This does not create a sense of security or trust.  The threat of losing one’s livelihood or benefits is the doom that hangs over the heads of GM workers.  This affects attitudes and attitudes affect the quality of production.

General Motors’ automakers are not the best paid; they are not the most secure in their positions, and they know this.  They feel it.  GM executives continually close plants, reduce benefits, and ask labor to accept further reductions.  The workers that General Motors employs are not treated as the treasure that they are.

In contrast, laborers at Toyota are.  “Japan’s industrial wages are now among the worlds highest.”  A Japanese worker earns 20 to 30 percent more than his, or her, American counterpart does!  Though employee wages are high, higher than those of Americans, companies in Japan are thriving.  The Japanese workforce is doing quite well.  Industry and individuals flourish, more so than those in the United States.

Covering the cost of labor is not the problem, the payments made to Chief Executive officers are.  At GM, employees’ pay is nominal in contrast to that of Chief Executive Officer, Rick Wagoner [and those of his ilk.]  According to, G. Richard Wagoner Jr. receives a compensation of $8.5 million.  General Motors’ argues ??profits are lost because wages are high.’  Whose wages are high?

In America, Chief Executive Officers received a median compensation of $14 million in 2004, 25 percent more than they received in the previous year.  CEO’s have salaries, bonuses, incentives, stock awards, stock option gains, and potential returns from fresh option grants.  Each brings in a hefty sum.  In contrast, employees have few resources beyond their salaries.  In 2004, laborers wages increased by 2.5 percent.  Considering that typically inflation is calculated at a rate of 3 percent per year, this leaves the rank-and-file further in the hole.

The salary system invoked by the powers that be at General Motors is flawed; it favors the executives and punishes the employees.  GM is a microcosm of a structure that dictates separate and unequal.  American entrepreneurs’ salaries and gains are expanding while laborers lose wages, benefits, and ultimately, their jobs.  Some American workers do thrive, some survive; however, many, if not most struggle.

General Motors is correct; the expense of pay can be problem.  It can drain profits; however, workers wages need not be the cause of shareholders concern.  The compensation that CEOs receive gives investors reason to grieve.

General Motors also claims health care costs have placed an enormous burden on the company, and they have.  In December 2004, President of GM North America, Gary Cower stated, “We spend more for health care than we do on steel.  It’s probably the biggest competitive issue we face.”  According to the last annual report, $5.2 billion was spent on health insurance costs.  GM calls this a “crisis” and it is.

Health care costs are exorbitant; they are draining industries, institutions, and individuals.  Larry Johnston, Chief Executive of the supermarket chain Albertsons spoke of the nation’s health care crisis, and how it affects all American businesses.  Johnston said, “It’s frightening what this [health care cost crisis] could do to our country,” Johnston portends that “spiraling health care costs, if unchecked, would bankrupt the nation.”

Currently, health care costs in the United States are equal to almost 15% of our Gross Domestic Product.  With the advent of the Medicare prescription drug program, increases will be greater.  By 2012, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services health care is expected to take up nearly 20 percent of the GDP.  In the last five years, inflation has increased by 2.5 percent; yet, health costs are 11.5 percent higher.  This discrepancy is noteworthy.  Nevertheless, this is not the real reason for the current GM crisis; it is only part of a much larger problem; the problem of philosophy, policy, and practices.

GM continues to document costs as their reason for concern.  Next, they turn to the cost of supporting the General Motors legacy.  Granted, it is an enormous expense.  However, one that a forward thinking company could have easily anticipated.  Pension plans, and the disbursement of these are not unique to General Motors.  Toyota incurs similar expenses.  It is the cost of doing business, at least in the automotive industry.

Maintaining earlier retirees, paying on pension promises, consumed 2.3% of GM revenues in 1999.  In 2005, this expense will grow; it is expected to reach a whooping 5% of company’s proceeds.  General Motors recognizes this has “a tremendous impact” on profitability.  Yet, in fact it does not, at least not more than a forward thinking company has prepared itself to endure.  General Motors has a history of not thinking beyond the moment.  They may plan for the months to come, but not further.  This practice is true in many, if not most American industries and institutions.

A shortsighted company only sees expenses and ignores its assets; that is General Motors.  GM claims a need to cut jobs.  They plan to further eliminate their greatest asset, their laborers!  They assert that they can no longer compete in the marketplace.  However, I wonder whether cutting labor will truly make General Motors more competitive or merely temporarily stabilize their stock prices.

Mr. Wagoner spoke of creating “a chance to be successful.”  General Motors believes success comes when expenses are reduced.  To this end, on June 7, 2005 they announced, they “would cut more than 22 percent of its blue-collar work force in the United States, about 25,000 jobs, by the end of 2008.”  They say this is “the most sweeping single job cut announced since 1992, though GM has already eliminated nearly 30,000 hourly and salaried workers over the last five years.”

Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner believes his new cost-cutting plan would produce annual savings of $2.5 billion once it is fully put into effect.  He does not seem to recognize that the idea of reducing the labor force has long been in effect and has long been ineffective!

The history of General Motors vividly illustrates that success is not found in a “distinctive product.”  Reductions do not ensure success.  GM has tried these techniques.  They cut the workforce, lessened employee benefits, and eliminated expenses; yet, sales decline.  If these earlier measures were meaningful, if they had reaped rewards, we would not have the announcement of June 7, 2005.

Clearly, the system is broken!  American businesses as a whole are struggling to survive.  As General Motors goes so too goes the nation, unfortunately.  Industries and institutions are also feeling the pinch.  Sadly, their business philosophies often parallel those of General Motors.  Solutions are not simple; nor can they be shortsighted.  Business continue to do as they have done; they cut costs, continually, and never realize this is not the cure for what ails them.

As Einstein mused, “You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it.”

The GM market view and by extension the perspective of many American firms is a narrow one.  It has created what is.  The cycle continues.  What was once only an energy crisis is now a calamity, a catastrophe that is all consuming.

Unlike General Motors, Toyota [and a few other firms] has adopted a different model, one that is not singular in focus, or dependant on creating a [false] market.  The model that Toyota uses is commendable and well documented.  One would hope that rather than continue to make excuses, General Motors, and thus the nation, might choose to consider the extraordinary success of Japanese manufacturers such as Toyota.  Possibly, Americans might think to embrace this model.

First and foremost, the foundation for Japanese manufacturers is a belief in long-term thinking.  They plan for the future rather than choosing to go-with-the-flow.

Toyota produces vehicles of quality, they last longer, require less service, and are as the consumers crave.  Unlike American industries, the Japanese make what the people want.  In America, industry dictates the market.  The thought is “build it and they will come.”  Here, the manufacturer produces and then sells the product through persuasive advertising.  They do not listen to the people or ask of their desires.  In contrast, Japanese industry focuses on the customers’ desires.

For Toyota, satisfying the customer will gratify all else.  Toyota believes as American industries once professed to, “a satisfied customer comes back.”  More and more business is generated through referrals.  A company that values its customer, society, and a shared economic welfare, is one that will not reduce labor and costs while enhancing Executive salaries and stock prices.

In Japan, it is accepted that all want wealth and quality; it is necessary that all reap the rewards of hard work, not solely the executives.  Affluence is not available for the few; Japan as a whole is a very prosperous country.  The distribution of wealth is more evenly balanced.  The rich do not get richer while the poor become poorer.  The Japanese value the principles of equity.

According to author, Jacoby, who writes of Japanese corporate governance, “Those in the bottom two-thirds of the income distribution enjoy a higher quality of life than their U.S. counterparts.  As for the upper one-third, they, too, benefit from Japan’s high level of public services, as well as the security that comes from a stable, cohesive society.”

This is reflected in the principle that governs Toyota.  Toyota practices a principle called kaizen, the notion that engineers, managers, and line workers collaborate continually to systematize production tasks and identify incremental changes to make work go more smoothly.  All work together.  Management and labor share a vision and power.

In a book title, The Toyota Way, author Jeffrey Liker articulates the guiding philosophy behind the success of Toyota is documented.  Toyota believes that its’ principle philosophy must be one that honors long term thinking in deference to short term financial gains.  Stock prices are not the strength of Toyota, nor do they influence business decisions!

“The Toyota message is consistent: Do the right thing for the company, its employees, the customer, and the society as a whole.”  This strongly held belief is practiced consistently and continuously.  The words are not merely rhetoric; they are the reality of Toyota.  It is this basic principle that breeds success!

Those at Toyota realize that what brings the best to one, will provide excellence for all if everyone chooses to work together.  In order to achieve success, the interest of one must be the shared interest of all.  In its quest to offer the best in quality and service to its customers, employees and stockholders, Toyota considers all equally.  CEOs are not more important than laborers; nor are investors.

Toyota, as a corporation acknowledges it is vital to “Develop, work, grow and align the company towards a common goal that is bigger than making money.  Your philosophical mission is and should be the foundation of all your other principles.”  Yet, this is not the path at General Motors.  For GM, making money is their first, and possibly only true concern.

As General Motors goes, so goes the nation?  I hope not.  My hope is that awareness will prosper and that American businesses will see that success does not come with shortsightedness.  I hope that soon they will realize that what may seem an expense, the cost of creating a unified workforce, is actually, the greatest asset.  The importance of healthy and happy employees is equal in importance to that of entrepreneurial gains.

Porter Goss Respects Sovereignty ©

Porter Goss spoke and the nation listened.  The world heard this leader.  However, the question is, can we trust the words of this man?  Is he doing, as others in this administration do, presenting the propaganda of the day?

In a recent interview with a Time magazine reporter, Timothy J. Burger, Porter J. Goss was asked of the hunt for Bin Laden.  Is there any progress?  Does American intelligence know where this terrorist is?  Goss responded: “I have an excellent idea where he is.”  Mr. Goss added, however, “when you go to the very difficult question of dealing with sanctuaries in sovereign states, you’re dealing with a problem of our sense of international obligation, fair play.”

Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Goss is suggesting that America acknowledges and honors the sovereignty of other states.  He indicates that we are doing what is necessary to respect the dominion of foreign nations.  Goss is even implying that America will not violate the sanctuaries of sects that differ from our own.  These words would lead one to believe that the United States is allowing other nations to think for themselves and to act independently of our wants.  One might even suppose that the desires of the neoconservatives are not our dictum.  Is “change a regime” no longer our mission?  Possibly, US policy has been modified.  Could this be?

Goss continues, “We have to find a way to work in a conventional world in unconventional ways.”  Now the truth is told.

We as a nation are practicing the policy of “unconventional” wisdom.  We will find a way to do as we desire; however, we may need to do it in a manner that is unexpected, and we have thus far.

America, our President and the Pentagon, chose to unilaterally attack countries in the name of “spreading democracy!”  This is not as convention would dictate.

Our Commander-in-Chief announced his intent.  He stated, “You are either with us or against us!”  This might be considered other than the normal course.  Even Daddy chose to build a true, large, and lasting coalition.

The Whitehouse manipulates information, they “fix facts” in an attempt to gain greater support from allies.  Is this powerfully avant-garde or standard practice?

When the Downey Street memorandum is discovered, the administration denies that they ever did anything other than what they know to be “right,” correct, or ethical.  Denial is the custom of Bush 43 and his Band.  Well, we cannot always perform in an unusual manner.

We have our traditions.  The people of the United States trust in God.  We inscribe the words on our coins and print these on our currency.  Americans know God is on their side.  Our President tells us so.  George W. Bush claims to be a disciple of God.  He states publicly and proudly God told him it is his mission to lead the people of the United States of America.  Bush proclaims, “I trust God speaks through me.  Without that, I couldn’t do my job.”

Knowing that the all-mighty supports our President, we follow him.  We venture forth.  As a country, we impose our beliefs on others.  We do so forcibly. America dictates democracy, occupies, and calls it liberation.  This nation is respectful in these unconventional ways.  Through these acts, we exhibit “our sense of international obligation, fair play”; or so Porter Goss would have us believe.

Mark Felt, Father of the Patriot Act ©

Whether Mark Felt was the sole source of information, or among many, I know not.  Was he the actual leak, the one man that had access to pertinent information; there is much speculation.  We cannot know with certainty.  If Mark Felt was engaging in a noble act or acting on a grudge is for others to decide.  I believe that both may be true, simultaneously.  Was his behavior libelist or liberating, that debate may go on forever.  What I find most fascinating is the evidence that suggests Mark Felt is the Father of the Patriot Act!

In 1980, W. Mark Felt was convicted of authorizing Federal Bureau of Investigation agents to secretly break into houses.  The case was long in coming.  During the Viet Nam war Felt and his investigators were intent on tracking down suspected radicals.  The radicals in question were not just any group of radicals; they were the Weather Underground.  This group was known for bombing Federal buildings as a form of protest.

The then, second-in-command, FBI Deputy Director Felt, would have none of this.  Actions such as these were not going to be possible in his America.  Mr. Felt was on a mission; he would eliminate the threat that these terrorists posed.  In his attempt to do so, he became singular in focus.  W. Mark Felt did not bother to obtain court orders for the forcible entries that he and his agents planned; they simply broke into the homes of innocent people.  Felt and his FBI forces claimed that theses homes were those of persons suspected to be “terrorist,” their friends, or family.

These procedures were known as “Black Bag jobs.”  FBI, deputy director Felt sanctioned these expeditions on nine separate occasions during the Watergate years.  Ultimately, Mr. Felt was called into question and brought to trial.  Among the notable witnesses, Richard Milhouse Nixon, former President of the United States.

You may recall, and in recent weeks, we have all have been reminded, repeatedly, Nixon was brought down by the Watergate break-in.  “Deep Throat,” quietly revealed the details of this deed to reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.  He implicated, then President Nixon.  Mr. Nixon was forced to resign from office.  Now, we know that “Deep Throat” is, and was Mr. Felt.  Nixon testified in defense of Felt during his trial. The irony does not escape us.  The Former President stated, “Break-ins, in the name of national security, are sometimes justified.”
Ultimately, Felt and a colleague were convicted after an eight-week trial.  They were deemed guilty of a conspiracy.  They were in violation of fourth amendment, which protects citizens against unreasonable searches.  Mr. Felt received his sentence; he was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.  Notwithstanding his conviction, Felt has no criminal record.  Former President Ronald Reagan pardoned him.

In a statement written by President Reagan, one that could have easily been penned by today’s Whitehouse it was said, “Felt acted on high principle to end the terrorism that was threatening our nation.”  How noble.  The United States Congress and President George W. Bush agree with Mr. Reagan.  High principles will end terrorism.  Apparently, the code of invasion is among these.  For Reagan and Bush raiding the homes of private citizen is a righteous act and necessary to combat “evil.”

With the words of Ronald Reagan in hand, George W. Bush sought and found greater strength.  He was able to convince Congress that exploitations similar to those invoked by Mark Felt were virtuous.  Maneuvers such as these are, in fact, patriotic.  In 2001, the Bush Band proposed and the United States Congress passed the USA Patriot Act.

“This act makes it easier to get secret permission from a secret court for secret searches” against any citizen.  Thus far, the covert court, a court created under the auspices of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, FISA, has refused no request in cases involving spying or foreign terrorism.  Results from these stealthy searches can be used for any and all types of criminal prosecutions.

If Mark Felt were heading the FBI today, Deep Throat would have no difficulty doing what was once deemed illegal.  The Patriot Act provides the Federal government with privileges.  The feds are sanctioned.  They may legally look into anyone’s life.  There is a provision within the Patriot Act that allows for any surreptitious action.  A citizen need not have a connection with foreign services or campaigns; they need not be considered a spy, a terrorist, or a threat to America society.  “Sneak-and-peeks” searches are endorsed and legal under the Patriot Act.

Defenders of the Patriot Act state that investigators cannot be constrained in the fight against terrorism.  This battle is necessary.  We must maintain our national security.  It is essential that United States remain as the founders intended, free.

Is this freedom; when the homes of private citizens can be invaded, legally, without cause, when belongings can be searched and seized, merely because a federal official is suspicious of us?  Under these directives, are we, as citizens of America, truly free?

Supporters say that the Feds are good people; they would never abuse the power that they have been given.  The civil liberties of citizens are secure.  Investigators and government officials would not dare violate the rights awarded by Constitution.  Yet, one wonders.

When we consider that one man can bring a president to his knees, with the information gathered by the FBI, then we also must consider the power of that Federal agency.  If we give an agency license, to search and seize, and to use whatever they might find against; then what are we giving them.  Are we not sacrificing our freedom?

We as citizens must be cognizant and active.  Apathy or allowance, in the name of protection, cannot deliver us from “evil.”  We must remember the axiom “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely!”

At last, members of Congress have chosen to recall this maxim.  After years of exploitation and exposure the validity of the Patriot Act is in question.  There has been much civilian protest and this week “in a welcome rebuff to President George W. Bush, the House of Representatives has finally heeded the public’s growing fears.”  Thirty-eight Republicans congress-persons joined the Democratic minority.  Together they chose to repeal some portions of the Patriot Act.  The sweeping power to seize library and bookstore records has been removed.

This annulment was necessary and long overdue.  For years now, federal agents have had the authority to conduct closet probes against the innocent, and they did.  These questionable actions may have been the catalyst for citizen complaints, and that is good.

However, regrettably, other dubious aspects of the Patriot Act remain.  These continue to threaten our civil liberties.  Altering one aspect of a flawed Act, does not correct what is.  This document may present more of a threat to our Constitutional rights than the terrorist do.

The Patriot Act was passed hastily, shortly after 9/11.  This was a time when our nation felt vulnerable.  Fears for vulnerability can cause a rush to judgment; in this case, they did.  Collectively, we must calm our fears and focus on what truly is a threat.  We must consider that an internal invasion may be more menacing than we might have imagined.  If only former and fallen President Nixon were still alive.  He would tell us, this is true.

The Issue of Immigration, Mexican Migrants ©

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me

  Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus, 1883.

When we think of America, of what we fondly call the melting pot, when we reflect upon the masses that entered our country, this poem often comes to mind.  It is inscribed on the pedestal of “Lady Liberty,” this statue is forever linked to our concept of immigration.  However, immigration is often not as sweet as this poem implies.  Migrants to the United States were never fully welcome; few were greeted with open arms.  Those that were here first often felt threatened and immigration laws throughout our history reflect this.

In 1790, Congress ratified the first immigration bill, the Naturalization Act.  This measure stated, “Any alien, being a free, white person, may be admitted to become a citizen of the United States.”  Borders were open; yet, only to whites.  In 1875, “idiots,” “lunatics,” convicts, and those that were likely to become a financial burden on society were excluded.  In essence, people needed to be pure in blood, of sound mind, and somewhat affluent.  People came, yet there were questions and qualms.  What passed for white was not exactly what the founders and their progeny expected.  Racial tension became a reality.

In 1882, The Chinese Exclusion Act was endorsed and enacted.  The first quota systems came into being in 1917.  The foreign born were required to prove literacy before entering the United States.  By 1921, restrictions were refined.  The United States Congress ratified a “National Origin Quota System.”  Then, in 1954, “special” racial quotas were enacted.  Ironically, in this same year, the Supreme Court ruled on Brown versus Board of Education.  Separate was no longer equal.

However, in America, there was, and is, much separation.  There were Italian ghettos, China towns, German villages, and the Irish section of the city, Jews lived here and Blacks there.  Indians were placed on reservations; some question whether they are Native Americans, or also immigrants.  Native Americans and Mexicans have long lived on this North American continent.  Yet, each group is considered “alien” in America.  Each is being mistreated in a manner similar to that of other immigrants.

Every “group” goes through this, discrimination, and recrimination.  Now, the Mexicans are the focus; it seems to be their turn.  Their travel will be as all those before them, different, and yet, similar.  Their travel will be as all those before them, different, and yet, similar.

The similarities may be as the Pew Charitable Trust Hispanic Center recently discovered, Mexicans will survive and do well.  Many are already prospering.  They will, as each of the earlier groups has, ultimately, thrive in America.

The United States is a country of immigrants; we are all descendants of those born in other countries.  Legends are heard everywhere.  We all have our own story.  The narrative is passed down from generation to generation; each yarn is well spun.  They are all believable and virtuous.  They are often romantic tales.

Our great grandparent was a political prisoner, a dissident, a maverick, or the person responsible for supporting the family.  S/he was older, wiser, more creative, or more adventurous then other kin.  Therefore, relatives placed all their hopes on this one individual.  They suppressed their dreams and invested in securing passage for this fortunate soul.  Parents sacrificed, siblings too.  The family raised the necessary funds for transit.

There were those families that came together; the idea of being apart was too painful.  Once here they sent monies home so that more could join them.  Some forbearers did it alone.  They chose to stow-away.  They came here on their own.  No one helped them.  Yet, they did well, very well.  They went to school, married, built a life and a family.  Look what they created.  How noble.

Few if any of those that migrated to America wanted to leave their families behind.  Those that did rarely left a life of luxury.  They traveled because circumstances were not good.  Politics in homelands were punitive.  Religious practices were restrictive.  Money was tight.  Freedom and, or abundance were but a dream.  They wanted more; they were seeking answers.

Some saw the answer as schooling; others supposed a job will satisfy their needs.  Money was often the great motivator.  It still is.  Immigrants come to the United States in hopes of fulfilling their dreams, dreams that could not be realized in their homeland.  What was true for our forefathers is true for the Mexicans.

Sadly, just as our relations were once blamed for all societal ills, simply because they were the newcomers, the strangers, and the yet to be assimilated, we now blame the Mexicans.  These latest émigrés, as those before, them are ostracized for not speaking, reading, or writing the language, American English.  They are accused of taking jobs from [white] Americans.  It is said that these [“those”] Mexicans are using services meant for [white] Americans.  They do this; they do Not do that!

The discussion of Mexican immigration is ubiquitous.  People are positioning themselves in numerous camps.

President George W. Bush chose an interesting and unexpected position.  In 2004, he proposed giving guest-worker status to Mexican migrants, at least temporarily.  He surmised that this would end the practice of employing illegals.  Mr. Bush intended to affirm that Mexican immigrants, 8-12 million of these illegal, are actively contributing to American society.  He thought that the people would embrace his proposal; however, this was not the case.

At the mere mention of this plan, there was much uproar.  The Republican base was livid.  Many of these persons do not want Mexicans in America.  The idea of validating their presence was unthinkable.  If the President continued to pursue this plan, he would definitely lose support.

People such as these take the issue of Mexican immigration seriously.  Some are up in arms; actually, they have literally taken up arms.  Nearly five hundred volunteers, self-identified Minutemen, chose to post themselves at the Mexican-Arizona border.  These self-appointed civilian border patrol agents are determined to stop the flow of immigration from Mexico.  They believe that the federal authorities have been ineffective.  These vigilantes have elected to take matters into their own hands.  They have pledged to end the Mexican invasion.

Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger thinks their idea a good one.  He suggested that California do the same.  However, California citizenry protested loudly.  The Governor felt forced to retract his words.  He claims that he misspoke; it was a language problem.  He did not mean to suggest that we should “close California borders” or institute a policy that would allow for individual activism.  After all, he, as an immigrant has no desire to abolish immigration.  He appreciates that people wish to come to America.  However, he does see Mexican entry into the United States as quite a problem.

Many feel as the Minutemen do, as the Governor does.  They believe that any Mexican in America is here illegally.  They may not state it openly; however, it is implied.  Citizens of the United States deduce and suppose that Hispanics are all expatriates from Mexico.  They arrived in the States alone, are single, and mostly male.  They live in hovels with numerous others of their ilk.  It is thought that they have little, or no education.  Americans wonder if Mexicans have any scruples.

Recently, the Pew Charitable Trust Hispanic Center addressed these concerns.  They surveyed Mexicans in America and discovered that the stereotypes are untrue.

Contrary to popular belief most Hispanics in America live with their families.  Actually, most Mexicans fled to this country with their families.  13.9 million persons live in a family where the head of the household is an unauthorized migrant. 4.7 million of these are children, and 3.2 million of these children are United States citizens by birth.

Few are employed as manual laborers.  Mexicans, while living in the United States, fare quite well.  They are not among the lower echelon.  Numerous, documented and those that are not, have achieved great financial success.  While most from this community came to the States with virtually nothing, now, “nearly 80 percent live above the poverty line.  68 percent of those who have lived here for 30 years or more, own their own homes.”

A quarter of these immigrants have some college education.  Mexican Americans, those that are citizens and those that are not, serve, and die in the military in equal proportion to those of all other groups.  Currently, Mexicans comprise 10 percent of our armed forces.

The Mexican culture often helps to create success.  Not unlike other ethnicities, Hispanics hold dear a philosophy of hard work.  Mexicans are able to rise from poverty.  They are as your, mine, or our forbearers, noble and courageous.

However, in this period of transition, they experiencing and meeting the same painful and powerful challenges that our ancestors did.  Just as those that came before them, they will survive.  They will even thrive!  It is important to remember that melting is a slow process.  Immigrants are sturdy souls.  Think of your own great grandparents and trust, that though gradually, immigrants become Americans.

Rumsfeld Rejects Calls to Close Guantanamo. Reality is Perception.

This is a second in a series.  I offer the quotes, and you decide.  Is this reality or perception?

Rumsfeld Rejects Calls to Close Guantanamo

On Tuesday, June 14, 2005, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and Representative Duncan Hunter, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, spoke to the press.  The two were addressing the issue of Guantanamo Bay Prison.  In recent days, many have insisted this camp must be closed.

Representative Hunter [Republican, California] raised a plate of food.  He asked reporters to assess the quality of these provisions for themselves.  Hunter stated this serving is characteristic of the food detainees at Guantanamo receive.  The entree of lemon-baked fish and oven-fried chicken with rice was beautiful. Fruit and vegetables were also included.

Duncan offered these delicacies as evidence.  Life for the interned is delightful; prisoners are being well cared for.  Circumstances are good.  Chairman Hunter declared, these items were “purchased for them [the prisoners] by American taxpayers.”  He added claims of mistreatment are in error.

Representative Hunter continued, “They’ve [detainees have] never eaten better.  They’ve never been treated better.  We don’t beat them.  We don’t touch them.”  The latter portion of this statement contradicts numerous first-hand reports.

Rumsfeld inserted, “the military spends more per meal for detainees to meet their religious dietary requirements than it spends per rations for U.S. troops.”

Please share your thoughts.

My own comment, “How wonderful we Americans are.”  Oh, really?

When We Are Michael Jackson, Innocent ©

This news is not Earth shattering.  It will not change the world.  It might be said that this is much ado about celebrities.  It is Hollywood hype, or is it?

Initially, my interest in the Michael Jackson case was embarrassing to me.  I told myself that show-biz news is not significant, and yet, as I reflect upon it, I realize that it is.  What happens here is what happens elsewhere.  All of life can be considered a psychological and sociological study.  This particular incident is a sad one, for it says much of human frailties.  We work so hard to be wise and wonderful and then, we stumble.  Listening to the jurors justify their verdict is case in point.  Situations such as this may serve to teach us of ourselves.  Therefore, I present my thoughts on the Michael Jackson scenario.  I invite you to offer yours.

It might be said that the Michael Jackson trial is more than a miscarriage of justice, it symbolic of much more.  The results of this trial may speak to what we as a society have become.  The Jackson hearing might be considered a microcosm of America.  The details address issues such as marketing, money, and the mindset of an international public.  We seem to have become a society based in reality television.  In this forum, nothing is real.  People go public so that they may have their fifteen minutes of fame.  What is image is not merely an illusion; it is what we wish to be, to identify with, and what we believe we will become.

Reality programs are so popular because we relate.  We see ourselves in the place of others.  Experiences are part of a competition, and individuals are the actors, directors, the judge, and the jury.  We all might be the next “American Idol.”  We await our chance.

Courtrooms are circuses.  Celebrity clients are not on trial, those that attack them are.  Icons are made more human.  They have faces and they have flaws.  They feel, and jurors can identify with them.  Those that attack a famous personality must be at fault.  It matters not that the public figure has long verbalized that he did engage in what is a precursor to the crime he is accused of.  That Michael Jackson thinks, “Sharing a bed with young boys is the most loving thing I can do,” is not enough to convict.  A strong belief that Michael Jackson has molested boys in the past does not influence a juror’s decision.  What does affect the finding in this trial is personality.

Judgments are made based on feelings, not fact.  The jurors’ feelings about the victim, his mother, and of course, Michael were the most influential.  In today’s courtrooms, justice is purely a concept.  Fairness is not the filter, if it ever was.  Celebrity criminal cases are all for show, they are televised worldwide.  Lawyers and defendants put on quite a performance.

Jurors in cases such as these, acquit.  They feel sorry for the individual that they have known for so long.  After all, he is a family friend.  He has come into their homes, [by way of radio, television, or film].  He has entered their hearts, and he is part of their lives.  They have idolized him from afar, forever, and now, he needs them.  They are there for him.  It is the accuser or his mother that are to blame.  How could they put Michael Jackson through this?  How could they dare cause him such pain?

Yes, Michael Jackson spoke openly of his philosophy; he expressed his desire to share his bed with young boys publicly.  However, he would cause no harm; isn’t that what McCully Culkin said.  Yet, when taken to tasks for the harm that this has caused, Jackson is acquitted.  A jury of his peers declared the pop star innocent!  One might ask, are they truly Jackson’s peers or merely those that are thankful, they had a chance to peer into Mr. Jackson’s soul.

People have questioned this possibility.  They have interviewed the jurors, asking for answers and these jurors cannot defend their decision, much as they try.  They continually repeat, ??based on the evidence we could not convict.’  Thus, the decision stands.  After all, a man cannot be tried for the same crime twice.

A confused public continues to ponder.  Journalists ask jurors poignant questions such as, “would you allow your child to share a bed with an adult man?”  They reply with little hesitation.

Juror Number 10, a 45-year-old mother of one adult child and two teenage sons, expressed her feelings.

“What mother in her right mind would allow that to happen?  Just freely, volunteer your child to sleep with someone.  Not so much just Michael Jackson but any person for that matter.  That’s something that mothers are naturally concerned with.”

Juror number 10 admits that an adult man, sharing his bed with a young boy, is cause for concern.  She states that any mother would feel apprehensive.  Therefore, the fact that the mother allowed this to happen makes her at fault; the man that shared his bed and possibly molested a young man is innocent.  For this juror, the boy’s mother is the criminal.

When asked if an international superstar is treated differently than Joe Schmoe, Juror number 2 replied, “We looked at Michael Jackson, and one of the first things we decided, that we had to look at him as just like any other individual, not just as a celebrity.”  Michael was one of us.

So, the truth is told.  Michael Jackson became human, at least in the eyes of the jurors.  He was a tragic hero, hurt, and helpless.  He looked and acted so very vulnerable.  Seeing the pop-star up-close-and personal was influential.  Jackson was no longer an image on a screen; he was not just a personality.  Jurors personified him.  They saw themselves in Michael Jackson.  They identified.  Jurors could feel and see his pain and they felt sorrow.

However, they could not feel the pain of the accused; they did not want to.  The boy and his mother were average people, dysfunctional at best.  They were not to be admired.  They had not made a success of themselves as Michael had.  They too were personified.  These individuals embodied the dark side of every man and woman.  The boy and his mother are what we all wish to deny in ourselves.  They are, as we would never want to be and yet, we fear that we might become them.  The injured party and his mother led a life that could too easily befall any of us, and one that we would never desire.  Therefore, they must be diminished, dismissed, and denied justice.

We, the people, jurors, rather relate to opulence and success.  Scorning those that “have” is considered suspicious.  Those that disparage the “successful” are jealous or intent on stealing.  Since we, the common-folk, the jurors, envision ourselves as soon to be renowned and filthy rich, we see Michael Jackson is we.  He is, at least, who we want to be; we must protect our future, our interests.

Convict?  No, we must acquit.  For putting ourselves in his place, we know that we would never cause harm to another; and so we have it, the verdict.  Michael Jackson is declared innocent of all charges.  He is beyond reproach; when evaluating the evidence, there is reasonable doubt.  How could our hero, our alter ego be guilty?  He could never be, we could never be on the wrong side of the law.

Yet, speaking on Michael Jackson’s behalf, both Reverend Jesse Jackson, and lead lawyer, Tom Mesereau, state, Michael will never take another young boy to bed.  Why not?  If sharing one’s bed with a child is not criminal, and clearly, it is not, why not continue to do it?

Monica Mehta, of AlterNet wrote a masterful assessment of this case.  She discusses the issue of abuse and how the verdict in the Michael Jackson case ignored this.  Please read her reflections.  Michael’s Media Circus