To Know Thy Friend Kissinger



Henry Kissinger: High Level Negotiations with Iran

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Tonight, during the first Presidential Debate, in the year 2008, John McCain empathically claimed to know his chum of more than thirty years.  The Arizona Senator strongly stated former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, would think Barack Obama wrong.  Senator McCain repeatedly reassured the public that the Ambassador would not think it wise to negotiate with rogue nations such as Iran.  John Sidney McCain reminded us of the refrain, Barack Obama is “naïve.”  Yet, it might be puerile to ponder that friendship ensures explicit agreement.  Relationships may remind us of a capricious certainty and why countries engage in combat.

The implication, or indeed, the powerful proclamation, that potential President Barack Obama was “wrong” on Iran was one John McCain offered with confidence and conviction.  Yet, the assertion was perhaps, inaccurate.  After the debate, in retrospect, or in support of the Republican Party, Secretary Kissinger reflected upon his personal alliances rather than his previously stated philosophy.  

“Senator McCain is right. I would not recommend the next President of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the Presidential level.  My views on this issue are entirely compatible with the views of my friend Senator John McCain.  We do not agree on everything, but we do agree that any negotiations with Iran must be geared to reality.”

Nonetheless, the record remains, twisted, and turned on its technical edge as it now is by the former Secretary of State.  Perchance, neither Presidential candidate was wrong or right.  Perhaps, this scenario illustrates why the world is not at peace.  People vehemently profess, someone is either correct or in error.  Humans often sense another is against us, attacking us, an adversary, rather than a person with a point of view.  In actuality, reality is personal and at times political,

Shades that might bring serenity are ignored and abhorred.  Avoidance and aversion create the combative circumstances that currently exist in a debate and within diplomacy.

Let us consider the nuances too frequently overlooked.  Only days earlier, the words tripped off the tongue of John’s friend Henry.  Secretary of State Kissinger avowed, “I am in favor of negotiating with Iran.  And one utility of negotiation is to put before Iran our vision of a Middle East, of a stable Middle East, and our notion on nuclear proliferation at a high enough level so that they have to study it.  And, therefore, I actually have preferred doing it at the Secretary of State level…”  

Henry Kissinger, when asked if he thought it wise to confer at very high level at the outset, at the earliest possible moment, the long time acquaintance of Arizona Senator John McCain, said unequivocally, “Exactly!”  The question might be how high?  Does the answer vary if the inquiry is made before or after an partisan parleys?

A well-regarded attaché, such as Kissinger is known to be, advocated for communication between countries.  His words were . . . “Initially, yes.  And I always believed that the best way to begin a negotiation is to tell the other side exactly what you have in mind and what you are – what the outcome is that you’re trying to achieve so that they have something that they can react to . . . So if we go into a negotiation, we ought to have a clear understanding of what is it we’re trying to prevent.  What is it going to do if we can’t achieve what we’re talking about?  But I do not believe that we can make conditions for the opening of negotiations.  Yet . . .

Apparently, contrary to John McCain, who appeared angered by the perception that his pal might have professed as he did, Henry Kissinger thinks it best to put forth the American vision of a stable Middle East, or did.  

The Statesman, in an earlier recorded conference with fellow former Secretaries of States expressed a belief that if positions are presented in person,  there is an opportunity to study proposals.  The suggestion is, people can come to terms if the terms are stated in a manner that allows for discussion.

Days ago, Henry Kissinger pointedly proclaimed, if we are to effectively work together we must come to the table.  Our intention need be one of cooperation.  Perchance, Secretary Kissinger, an Ambassador, understood what his acquaintance, Presidential aspirant John McCain does not.  The purpose of peace talks is to avoid war, not create greater reasons for combat.

Tonight, the insight into how to create peace is gone. The Party’s are at war.  All is fair and nothing is in love and battle.

Earlier persons who heard the words might have believed, Envoy Kissinger had the experience John McCain lacks.  It would seem the esteemed Henry Kissinger knew empathy is indeed, the greatest educator.  An audience might have mused, Kissinger had faith a Chief Officer cannot command unless he communicates.  People could have asserted as they thought the Secretary had, communication requires give and take.  It would have seemed “(T)his notion by not talking to people we are punishing them has not worked . . . our efforts of isolation have actually accelerated (their) efforts to get nuclear weapons.”  In the recent past, people might have trusted what Barack Obama concluded was as a statement released by Henry Kissinger a week earlier.  News reports affirmed what many thought fact.

Kissinger Backs Direct Talks ‘Without Conditions’ with Iran

ABC News’ Rachel Martin Reports: Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger today told an audience in Washington, DC that the U.S. should negotiate with Iran “without conditions” and that the next President should begin such negotiations at a high level

The former Nixon and Ford U.S. Secretary of State early in the year indicated his belief that the U.S. should hold direct talks with Iran when speaking to Bloomberg Television.

Kissinger spoke at a CNN sponsored forum at George Washington University along with other former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright, James Baker III, Warren Christopher, and Colin Powell.  The leaders were asked to pinpoint the major challenges the next president will face around the world and to offer advice about how to handle those critical issues.  The secretaries named the fight against terrorism, restoring America’s reputation abroad, re-building the country’s economic power, and global climate change as atop priority.

There seemed to be a consensus.  Global harmony can come if a Commander-In-Chief is not intent on a hundred year war.  Henry Kissinger shared, “I agree with what my colleagues have said about the importance of reaching out to the rest of the world.”  However . . .

While the population prays for peace, and hopes to honor the philosophy, perpetual battles need not be if world leaders would only look each other in the eye before they presume the other President or Premiere to be an enemy, our diplomats may not share this belief  

One might have mused, Henry Kissinger, through his conversations with many Prime Ministers learned what the maverick McCain has not discovered.  Yet . . .

The American people could have acclaimed as they thought Mister Kissinger had, whether a person shoots from the hip or the lip, if an individual fires before he or she sees the whites of another person’s eyes, this person may accidentally kill one who would have never been an adversary.

Perchance, Secretary of State Kissinger, and the other Heads of State, understood, the power one has when they listen, or at least some did days ago.  Secretary Kissinger may or may not have appreciated the idea as numerous imagined.  

Might John McCain have ever focused on what were the words or wisdom of the man he considers his friend, Henry Kissinger, the secretary may not have felt a need to elucidate his assertion.

Had the supposed reformer John McCain acknowledged as an experienced veteran might have, tonight an envoy, Mister Kissinger could have been content to share what he may have learned in countless conferences.  People, when treated with respect, reciprocate.  Possibly, if Senator McCain had thought to listen carefully, earlier, had he closely connected to what was expressed and not his personal, political preference, Secretary of State Kissinger would not have had to revise, clarify, his statements post haste.

Granted, all may agree, then and now, there are times when an indignant dictatorial authority comes to a consultation with a closed mind.  Nonetheless, individuals might trust the mere presence of another illustrates a willingness to work.  Would it not be wondrous if Senator John McCain, or the man who might later be identified as his  possible predecessor, President Bush realized, reverence remains the more significant tool for negotiation.  Would it not be wondrous if Mister Kissinger again accepted this truth.

Henry Kissinger had stated, robustly, it best to put forth the American vision.  However, that was long ago, days earlier.  Perhaps the Secretary’s words were not specific enough.  This is another moment, one mired in contentiousness.  After the first Presidential debate American wonders, and argues. Can the public know with confidence what is true, or must the people depend on mutable mentions, belated memorandums, and missives written after the (f)act.

From what the American audience heard tonight, with John McCain in the Oval Office, the aspiration will be war, without conditions, rather than communication without conditions.  Secretary Kissinger will support this decision or not, dependent on the day.  Peace will not have a chance if a Commander-In-Chief cannot and does not acknowledge the words of his ally, or if his associate for more than thirty years, former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger no longer avows the impression he made.  

Citizens of this country might muse; will tranquility be possible if our President does not consider the words of a foe or a friend, or if an supporter sways with the wind, in desire for a political win.  This first Presidential debate may have provided the American people with reason to fear.  Words are weapons and those who vie for world power want war.

Sources for the Experience of an Envoy . . .

Wars Will Win



“Like Hope, but different.”

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Three words inspire us all.  There are “Gonna be wars,” and yes, we are going to “Bomb, bomb Iran.”  As every inhabitant of the globe knows, “withdraw [from Iraq or Afghanistan] means chaos.”  If Americans and citizens around the world think things are bad now, you ain’t “seen nothin’ yet.” “It, [this war and that one] was ugly.”  However, each of us can be assured the combat will continue.  Engagement may be impossible to escape.  The fight may flourish for “maybe a hundred” years.  As Presidential hopeful so eloquent stated, that is “fine with me.”  However, a perpetual war is not satisfactory for those who advocate for peace.

Regardless of the desires for a permanent end to war, expressed by many, those who wish to represent us  care not.  Americans, the masses, also are not interested in a minority opinion.  Millions advocate for the candidacy of the man who they believe offers hope, Barack Obama.  Countless ignore the oft-stated proposal; the McCain challenger presents.  The potential Commander-In-Chief Obama will shift more troops to Afghanistan.  He will retain some sort of armed force in Iraq.

Under the Obama plan, a residual force will remain in Iraq and in the region to conduct targeted counter-terrorism missions against al Qaeda in Iraq and to protect American diplomatic and civilian personnel. He will not build permanent bases in Iraq, but will continue efforts to train and support the Iraqi security forces as long as Iraqi leaders move toward political reconciliation and away from sectarianism.

Certainly, the self-proclaimed Progressive does not intend to end all wars, or even terminate the fight he too thinks must be ‘finished.’  Mister Obama proposes only our attention, and the intention, be altered.  With Barack Obama in the White House “Bomb, bomb Iran” may be a probability, or at least a possibility.  For now, the Illinois Senator expresses his hope, the change we can believe in, when he says ‘Bomb, bomb, bomb Afghanistan!’

Resurgent Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: The decision to invade Iraq diverted resources from the war in Afghanistan, making it harder for us to kill or capture Osama Bin Laden and others involved in the 9/11 attacks. Nearly seven years later, the Taliban has reemerged in southern Afghanistan while Al Qaeda has used the space provided by the Iraq war to regroup, train and plan for another attack on the United States. 2007 was the most violent year in Afghanistan since the invasion in 2001. The scale of our deployments in Iraq continues to set back our ability to finish the fight in Afghanistan, producing unacceptable strategic risks.

Senator John McCain may have said it all when he uttered the declarative assessment, “I don’t think Americans care if we are there for ‘ten thousand years.'”  Apparently, citizens in this ‘civilized’ nation are not concerned with war’s elsewhere.  People in this prosperous nation proclaim, all will change with Obama in the Oval Office, knowing full well war will continue, only the location will change.

Several, perhaps a majority are able to retain the illusion that all is well here, regardless of what occurs on foreign shores.  Thus, they will campaign for one warrior candidate over the other.  In truth, as long as American apathy takes precedence over empathy, battles will exist somewhere on the planet into perpetuity.  

The American electorate loves a show of strength.  Perhaps that is why, for those in the Middle East, Far East, Europe, Eurasia, Africa, or South America, the actual date for withdrawal from Iraq or any foreign nation, is, perchance: 12,008.  A perusal of the plans, the postures of the Presidential aspirants reveals no matter whom, if either of the two Presidential aspirants takes office “Wars will win.”

Wars Will Win . . .

An Open Letter to Barack Obama on Iran

On this the day, the Fourth of July, we celebrate our own Independence.  Citizens revel in our love of freedom and tranquility.  Today, may we take a moment to reflect upon how an unwarranted, or unnecessary war might have a profound effect on our lives and those of all mankind throughout the globe.  

I offer a correspondence intended for the person we hope will be our next President, Senator Barack Obama.  Please ponder the possibilities, and if you choose, I invite you to add your signature. You fellow Americans appreciate your consideration.

By Many Authors

Dear Senator Obama . . .

We the undersigned may have different views on U.S. foreign policy with respect to Iran. We all, however, are deeply concerned about the stories in the press in the past few weeks suggesting that the Bush administration might be considering a military strike on Iran, that it might give a green light to such an attack by Israel, or that it might engage in other acts of war, such as imposing a blockade against Iran.

We welcomed your stand against the war on Iraq in 2002. And we were encouraged by your early campaign statements emphasizing diplomacy over military action against Iran. Today, you have an opportunity to forestall a repeat of the tragic Iraq war. We hope you will use that opportunity.

We agree with the conclusion of Muhammed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, that “A military strike … would be worse than anything possible. It would turn the region into a fireball…” A military attack, he said, “will mean that Iran, if it is not already making nuclear weapons, will launch a crash course to build nuclear weapons with the blessing of all Iranians, even those in the West.” (Reuters, June 20, 2008.)

We don’t know, of course, whether an attack on Iran is in fact being considered, or if there are serious plans to initiate other acts of war, such as a blockade of the country. But we call on you to issue a public statement warning of the grave dangers that any of these actions would entail, and pointing out how inappropriate and undemocratic it would be for the Bush administration to undertake them, or encourage Israel to do so, in its closing months in office.

An attack on Iran would violate the UN Charter’s prohibition against the use or threat of force and the Congress’s authority to declare war. Moreover, the public right to decide should not be foreclosed by last-minute actions of the Bush administration, which will set U.S. policy in stone now.

We were heartened by your earlier comments suggesting that an Obama administration would act on the understanding that genuine security requires a willingness to talk without preconditions (something Iran has offered several times to no avail), and that threats and military action are counterproductive. We hope you will follow through on these commitments once in office, but also that you will speak out now against any acts of war by the Bush administration.

Sincerely,

Please review the list of signatories below or follow the path provided . . . Impressive!!!!!!!!

Please join the signatories by traveling through this link

Please join these signatories and sign below

(organizations listed for identification purposes only)

Michael Albert ZNet?

Cathy Albisa exec. director, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative?

John W. Amidon U.S. Veterans for Peace?

Stanley Aronowitz Professor of Sociology, Graduate Center, CUNY?

Rosalyn Baxandall Distinguished Teaching Professor, SUNY Old Westbury?

Phyllis Bennis Institute for Policy Studies?

Stephen Eric Bronner Professor (II) of Political Science, Rutgers University?

Charlotte Bunch exec. director, Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Rutgers Univ.?

Noam Chomsky Institute Professor (retired), MIT?

Ray Close retired CIA Middle East specialist; Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity?

Rhonda Copelon Professor of Law, CUNY Law School?

Hamid Dabashi Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature, Columbia Univ.?

Lawrence Davidson Professor of Middle East History, West Chester Univ.?

Ariel Dorfman author?

Stuart Ewen, Distinguished Professor, Hunter College & the Graduate Center, CUNY?

John Feffer co-director, Foreign Policy in Focus?

Bill Fletcher, Jr. exec. editor, BlackCommentator.com?

Libby Frank Women’s Internat’l League for Peace & Freedom, Philadelphia?

Arthur Goldschmidt Professor emeritus of Middle East History, Penn State Univ.?

Tom Hayden author?

Doug Henwood Left Business Observer?

Doug Ireland journalist?

James E. Jennings exec. director, U.S. Academics for Peace?

Nikki Keddie UCLA (emeritus), historian, Iran specialist?

Janet Kestenberg Amighi v.p., CDR (sponsor of Holocaust child survivor research)?

Rabbi Michael Lerner chair, The Network of Spiritual Progressives; editor, Tikkun mag.?

Mark LeVine Prof. of Modern Middle Eastern History, Culture and Islamic Studies, U. Cal., Irvine?

Manning Marable director, Center for Contemporary Black History, Columbia Univ.?

David McReynolds former chair, War Resisters Internat’l?

Rosalind Petchesky Distinguished Prof. of Poli. Sci., Hunter College & the Graduate Center, CUNY?

Rachel Pfeffer interim exec. director, Jewish Voices for Peace?

Katha Pollitt writer?

Danny Postel No War on Iran Coalition, Chicago?

Matthew Rothschild editor, The Progressive magazine?

Stephen R. Shalom Prof. of Poli.  Sci., William Paterson Univ.?

(Rev.) David Whitten Smith Univ. of St. Thomas, Minnesota (emeritus)?

Meredith Tax writer; president, Women’s WORLD?

Michael J. Thompson editor of Logos?

Chris Toensing editor, Middle East Report?

Cornel West Professor, Princeton University?

Stephen Zunes Professor of Politics, Univ. of San Francisco

I, we, the people thank you for your time, care, and actions.

US Policy; Attack Adversaries. Appease Americans. No Diplomacy



Don’t Bomb Iran

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Days ago, United States Commander-In-Chief, George W. Bush reminded us of the need to remain vigilant.  He admonished anyone who might think to talk with those who politically, philosophically, or perhaps physically have the potential to oppose “us.”  The President of the world’s superpower ‘wisely’ proclaimed “”Some seem to believe we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along.”  America’s leader addressed Israeli lawmakers and said, “We have heard this foolish delusion before.  As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: ‘Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.’  We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.”  As a protective parent might  alert an easily frighten child, the Mister Bush forewarns his citizens.  “Do not speak to strangers.”  

US policy under Bush is to attack or alienate.  The Administration insists we will not appease or engage in diplomacy with what we identify as rogue nations.   Persons classified as terrorists are to be threatened, and possibly killed.  The President of the United States wishes to ensure he protects the public.  Punitive measures multiply in a nation once defined as democratic.

Citizens in a country founded on the principles of equalitarianism no longer practice as they preach.  Americans or the Administration  ignore what is too often real; statistically, evidence shows those we know may be more dangerous.  Close associates can harm “us.”  Those we have yet to encounter in our daily lives are not scary; they are unfamiliar.  Hence, frequently, much to our own chagrin, people follow the lead of penal persons, just as we have in the United States.  Today, American citizens are easily appeased, and willing to attack.  We are willing to alienate our allies and all others.  We spread democracy only to destroy the tenet.

People whose names, faces, customs, cultures, and skin color differs from “ours” are classified as aliens.  Those who we do not speak with are considered adversaries, for “we” have not taken the time to become acquainted.  “We” assume the people who are foreign to “us” are antagonistic.  Americans, seem willing to dismiss the accepted wisdom; friendships are formed.  Foes are those we do not know, and thus, fear.

That said, the defensive stance adopted by the paternalistic President presumes that “we” just as little children, are less learned.  Therefore, we will give all our toys to another tot, or to the big-bad-boogie-man, he vehemently told “us” not to play with.  The word “appeasement,” as referenced in Mister Bush’s speech does not speak to diplomacy, a skillful communication between countries; it connotes the giving of gifts.

Britain and France pursued a policy of appeasement in the hope that Hitler would not drag Europe into another world war.  Appeasement expressed the widespread British desire to heal the wounds of World War I and to correct what many British officials regarded as the injustices of the Versailles Treaty.

Guilt motivates many a parent who realizes, in the past, they were overly punitive.  A child, who chose actions that were combative and cruel may not learn to be kind, if a guardian slams and damns the young person, and then confines the lad or lass to a barren room.  An adolescent starved for love, stripped of all possessions, severely reprimanded, and forced to submit reparations will not thrive.  When a tot or a teen is stripped of a sense of self, as well as deprived of any dignity survival is a struggle.  It is no wonder, upon reflection, the parents or persons in power were remorseful.  The Versailles Treaty denied the German people all that made life whole.

This treaty held Germany solemnly responsible for WWI. Germany was forced to pay reparations totaling 132,000,000,000 in gold marks, they lost 1/8 of its land, all of its colonies, all overseas financial assets, a new map of Europe was carved out of Germany, and the German military was basically non-existent.  To the German people they were being ruthlessly punished for a war not only were not responsible for but had to fight.  The main terms of the

Versailles Treaty were:

(1) the surrender of all German colonies as League of Nations mandates

(2) the return of Alsace-Lorraine to France

(3) cession of Eupen-Malmedy to Belgium, Memel to Lithuania, the Hultschin district to Czechoslovakia, Poznania, parts of East Prussia and Upper Silesia to Poland

(4) Danzig to become a free city

(5) plebiscites to be held in northern Schleswig to settle the Danish-German frontier

(6) occupation and special status for the Saar under French control

(7) demilitarization and a fifteen-year occupation of the Rhineland

(8)  German reparations of £6,600 million

(9) a ban on the union of Germany and Austria

(10) an acceptance of Germany’s guilt in causing the war

(11) provision for the trial of the former Kaiser and other war leaders

(12) limitation of Germany’s army to 100,000 men with no conscription, no tanks, no heavy artillery, no poison-gas supplies, no aircraft, and no airships

(13) the limitation of the German Navy to vessels under 100,000 tons, with no submarines

Germany signed the Versailles Treaty under protest.  The USA Congress refused to ratify the treaty.  Many people in France and Britain were angry that there was no trial of the Kaiser or the other war leaders.

The treaty devastated Germany politically and economically.  Because of the treaty, many Germans were desperate to find a new leader to get them out of the Great Depression, which they blamed on the extravagant reparations they had to pay to the Allies.

A chastised child ultimately will not sacrifice their soul.  They will rebel and revolt, as Germany did.  Perhaps, Neville Chamberlain and those who chose “appeasement” overreacted as parents, or as people often do.  Too often, an abusive authority figure will engage in one extreme behavior or another.  Penalties and presents do help a youngster to learn.  Neither deed will deliver a child from “evil.”  Calm, careful conversations help create a union between mother, father, and child.  When Moms, Dads, or government officials love the other and self enough to empathetically listen reverent relationships grow.  The same is true when we speak of nations.  Negotiations are necessary if peace is to become a possibility.  We do not war with those who work well with “us.”  Composure cultivated in conversations evokes cooperation.

Notwithstanding, the veracity that talk can educate and place a distressed child at ease, country or diplomat, Americans are asked to avoid discussion with those our “leaders” deemed dictators or terrorists.  “We,” the people are expected to forget, as George W. Bush expressed not too long ago.  On February 13, 2006, just over two years earlier, Commander-In-Chief Bush avowed his desire to resolve disagreements with Iran in an irenic manner.  The President of the United States proclaimed the potential nuclear crisis need not be a cause for confrontation.  After talks in Washington with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the decisive Mister Bush said the allied leaders agreed; the issue must be solved “diplomatically by working together.”  However, as is evident, for persons who dominate, the definitions for “diplomacy” and “peaceful” are fluid, as is the description of democracy.  Merriam-Webster offers  . . .

de·moc·ra·cy

1 a: government by the people; especially:  rule of the majority

b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections

2: a political unit that has a democratic government

3. capitalized: the principles and policies of the Democratic Party in the United States (from emancipation Republicanism to New Deal Democracy– C. M. Roberts)

4. the common people especially when constituting the source of political authority

5. the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges

What may be thought odd is, in a nation founded on the principles of social equality, there are elite ‘leaders.’  These elected officials believe they must assure the common folk, it is best not to speak with our “enemies.”  In the United States, in practice, it seems democracy is a disciplinary dictum.  The President envisions himself as a penal parent might.

Might we also muse of the contradiction?  In a country of equals the race, religion, or social rank of an individual might reduce the presumed significance of a fellow citizen.  Here in America, too often one neighbor is the nemesis of another.  How could that be?  We might ponder another paradox.  If every individual is worthy, one of no more value than any other, why are there privileged people who have power over the populace?  We may know not why; nonetheless, we are aware those in authority tell average Americans, ‘Diplomacy would be pernicious.’  The incongruity of the situation does not escape observant historians.

Academics who study the democratic system note Americans have less social equality than we like to think we do.  Citizens of this country are as those in a family where retaliatory parents rule.  The word “family” connotes a connection.  Yet, when guardians are not caregivers and are instead castigators.  “family’ is but the facade.

Yet, just as in a dysfunctional home where the relatives wish to believe all is well, in this “progressive” nation, we may wish to believe the system works.  Americans firmly assert the present is far better than the past was, and the future will bring greater improvements.  We reassure ourselves with charts and graphs.  We watch market reports and read research that validates what we wish to hold as truth.

Admittedly, the average American accepts that in this affluent and democratic nation problems persist.  Income inequity has always been a constant; it remains pervasive in the States.  Here, in the richest country in the world, in a nation where people are taught to believe everyone is equal, opportunities are not.  Most dismiss the imbalance as temporary.  Certainly, the prospect for change is plausible.  Shortcomings are the effect of economic growth.  Corrections will come, sooner or later.  Perhaps tomorrow will bring a better day.  Of course, it will.  Americans know how to grow an economy.  With expansion, earnings increase.  People prosper, equally.

Most of “us” believe that democracy has survived each trial and tribulation, and a government of the people, as we presume ours to be, will continue to thrive.  Yet; perchance, we have been persuaded to have faith as we do.  Democracy is best.  Nothing functions better.

This is a powerful assumption.  It may be tested by reflecting upon the fact that, despite American progress, the society has been forced to endure sundry movements of protest.  In our effort to address the inconvenient topic of protest, our need to be intellectually consistent — while thinking within the framework of continuous progress — has produced a number of explanations about the nature of dissent in America.  Closely followed, these arguments are not really explanations at all, but rather the assertion of more presumptions that have the effect of defending the basic intuition about progress itself.  The most common of these explanations rests upon what is perceived to be a temporary malfunction of the economic order: people protest when “times are hard.”  When times stop being “hard,” people stop protesting and things return to “normal” — that is to say, progress is resumed.

Unfortunately, history does not support the notion that mass protest movements develop because of hard times.  Depressed economies or exploitive arrangements of power and privilege may produce lean years or even lean lifetimes for millions of people, but the historical evidence is conclusive that they do not produce mass political insurgency.  The simple fact of the matter is that, in ways that affect mind and body, times have been “hard” for most humans throughout human history and for most of that period people have not been in rebellion.  Indeed, traditionalists in a number of societies have often pointed in glee to this passivity, choosing to call it “apathy” and citing it as a justification for maintaining things as they are.

This apparent absence of popular vigor is traceable, however, not to apathy but to the very raw materials of history — that complex of rules, manners, power relationships, and memories that collectively comprise what is called culture.  “The masses” do not rebel in instinctive response to hard times and exploitation because they have been culturally organized by their societies not to rebel.  They have, instead, been instructed in deference.  Needless to say, this is the kind of social circumstance that is not readily apparent to the millions who live within it.

The lack of visible mass political activity on the part of modern industrial populations is a function of how these societies have been shaped by the various economic or political elites who fashioned them.  In fundamental ways, this shaping process (which is now quite mature in America) bears directly not only upon our ability to grasp the meaning of American Populism, but our ability to understand protest generally and, most important of all, on our ability to comprehend the prerequisites for democracy itself.

Perhaps, the words of Professor Lawrence Goodwyn help to explain why Americans believe people elsewhere are complacent.  In the United States, the public presumes people abroad will not create change on their own.  They must be taught to do as the American Administration thinks wise.  This assessment of what occurs within our homeland may expose why “we” believe democracy can be forcibly imposed on other nations.  The theory Goodwyn offers helps illustrate why in a “democratic” nation the deciders dictate policy for one and for all planet wide.  However, the hypothesis may not be accurate.

In other territories, protest may not have been trained out of the populace.  Perchance, residents in other regions were not appeased with material goods meant to buy love and obedience?  We cannot be certain for there is so little that Americans are allowed to know of the persons our power elite wish to remain estranged from “us.”

Nonetheless, it seems apparent from accounts, in other parts of the globe, dissent is not defined as terrorism.  Discontent is not considered destructive.  The voice of the people is not pernicious.  Possibly, in some places governments are not as powerful as prohibitive parents might be.  Oh, those who reign may try to exert absolute rule; however, the people are less easily “appeased” or patronized.

Many a Persian person may describe a situation different from Americans trust to be true in the Middle East.  Numerous would share, in Iran, were it not for America’s invasive input the inhabitants may have eliminated what the United States considers evil.  Indeed, Iranians were working to end the reign of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  However, American intervened, and all changed, for the worse.

The follies of Bush’s Iran policy

By Shirin Ebadi and Muhammad Sahimi

International Herald Tribune

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The confrontation between Iran and the West has developed a new dimension over the detention of several Iranian scholars, journalists and political activists who have been living in the West for years and have recently traveled to their homeland.

What is the root cause of these events?  Part of it is the deep unpopularity of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  Internal opposition to his government is becoming increasingly louder as Iranians are recognizing the danger in his foreign policy and his failure to improve the economy.

In December, university students forced him to stop his speech by shouting “death to the dictator.”  Iran’s Parliament has severely criticized him.  In recent municipal elections, candidates backed by Ahmadinejad received only 4 percent of the vote.

The conservatives who rule Iran are also badly fractured.  The radical faction led by Ahmadinejad is bitterly opposed to the more moderate, pragmatic faction led by former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who advocates accommodation with the West.

The recent arrests should be seen partly as a reaction to these events.  Unable to address Iran’s mountain of social, economical and political problems, the hard-liners are trying to create a new crisis with the West in order to distract attention from their problems.

Possibly, this scenario demonstrates that American Administrators have much in common with those they emphasize are part of an “axis of evil.”  The need to divert attention dominates policy among world leaders.  A desire to subvert the masses moves many decision-makers, just as it drives many a punitory parent.  When authority figures wish to govern, not of, by or for the people but for the love of power, they subtly and successfully suppress the sensible among us.  

Engineer, and Author David Brin may have said it best, “It is said that power corrupts, but actually it’s more true that power attracts the corruptible.  The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.”  Control is a costly endeavor.  Perhaps, the price is too high for the average reasonable American, or possibly those who no longer view protest as wise, do not realize the expense is not only imprudent, it is counterproductive and detrimental to our own “Homeland Security.”

Some of the $75 million has been devoted to the U.S.-funded Radio Farda, Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, as well as to VOA satellite TV, which are beaming Persian programs into Iran.  Other portions have been given secretly to exiled Iranian groups, political figures, and nongovernmental organizations to establish contacts with Iranian opposition groups.

But Iranian reformists believe that democracy can’t be imported.  It must be indigenous.  They believe that the best Washington can do for democracy in Iran is to leave them alone.  The fact is, no truly nationalist and democratic group will accept such funds.

According to the Algiers Accord that the United States signed with Iran in 1981 to end the hostage crisis, noninterference in Iran’s domestic affairs is one of Washington’s legal obligations . . .

Thus, Washington’s policy of “helping” the cause of democracy in Iran has backfired.  It has made it more difficult for the more moderate factions within Iran’s power hierarchy to argue for an accommodation with the West . . .

The Bush administration should put an end to its misguided policy and immediately declare which organizations and public figures have received funds from the $75 million.  This will make it clear that the scholars, journalists and other figures who travel to Iran have nothing to do with Bush’s policy on Iran.

We can hope that one day soon, Americans will find the courage to clarify what is more insidious.  The principles that currently guide American democracy are not egalitarian.  In this nation, appeasement and punishment dominate the dictums.  The Administration, the elites, the influential do not speak for the people; nor do they engage in diplomatic relations that might bring persons of the world together as one.  

If the United States government continues to aggressively assault our “enemies’ as an abusive parent might if they perceive the “stranger” as a threat, then we can expect to be attacked.  Should the powers-that-be in the States invoke embargos, again the risk is, this reactive behavior will incite attack.  “Appeasement” will not bring bliss.  Gifts given to lessen the weight of guilt will not gratify or garner good graces.  We cannot buy love; nor can we grow fondness when engaged in a feud.

Thus far, “we” the people have seen what occurs when “our’ government does not act in best interests of the people here or abroad.  The Iranians who seek to enrich society are correct.  A democratic system cannot be instigated from the outside.  Fairness grows from within.  Equanimity must evolve naturally if it is to be real, effective, and everlasting.  

Might Americans work to cultivate the principles we espouse and yet have never established before we attempt to shift the paradigm elsewhere.  Let us find a way to make democracy doable here at home.  Perchance, diplomacy will build a bridge.  If only Americans talked among themselves and to each other.  We must speak to “strangers.”  Perhaps we will discover similarities.  “We” the people cannot allow ourselves to be treated as children.  We must acknowledge the people who claim to protect us are our abusers.  The power-elite have the authority “we,” the little people give them.  America, it is time to stand up.  Let us not fear the foreigner.  With eyes wide open, let us consider those that cause us great harm live in our house.

Democracy Described and Defined . . .

Jeffrey Dahmer was experienced too!

© copyright 2008 Storm Bear Town Called Dobson


To view the original, travel to a Town Called Dobson. Jeffrey Dahmer was experienced too!

I know, another “anti-Hillary” strip. And yes, I am prepared for the onslaught of emails proclaiming I “have gone too far.”

How is Barack lacking in experience?  Surely the sum total of the man’s work is more than one speech? Obama has more than eleven years of legislative experience under his belt with most of it in arguably one of the roughest political state arenas – Illinois.  Hillary has about eight years.

And no, being First Lady of the United States doesn’t count as “experience” to be president. Exactly who would claim Laura Bush has legislative experience?  How about Barbara Bush?  Nancy Reagan perhaps?

Also, being the First Lady of Arkansas is even less of reason to claim the mantle of experience. I can just see the McCain ad now – “Whitewater – A Resume of Experience.”

Hillary does have eight years of experience in government and while there she has been incredibly damaging to the issues I care about. Let’s just start with Iraq – bad.  Her support of Bush’s Iran sanctions, in light of how bad Iraq was, was even worse.  No, I require someone with a tad more discernment skills than Hillary has exhibited.

Trade policies? Hillary sure does love to vote for trade policies, to the detriment of the country. That is bad.

Health care in this nation is an out-of-control mess. Hillary’s 1992 health plan, while not magic, would have been better than the HMO mess we have now. However, now she has a hard time depositing all the money her health care lobbyists give her.  They insist all is well in our emergency rooms, doctor offices and pharmacies nationwide. It is a health care utopia according to her lobbyist friends, pals and donors.  For “we the people,” not so much. Actually, it is a nightmare.

Just because one is experienced, doesn’t mean it is quality experience.

John McCain is an experienced pilot, just not a very good pilot.

I believe Obama is more than a man with a speech, he has managed to accomplish what NO OTHER POLITICIAN in American history has been able to do, bridge the racial divide in America – unite us together and inspire individuals who have become disenchanted with the American political landscape to participate in the process.

Obama’s Iowa victory speech concluded with “we are ready to believe again” and his whole speech reminded me of Bobby Kennedy. His Brother John gave one of the most memorable speeches a President has ever given – “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

However, “I never had sex with that woman” just doesn’t do it for me.

Chicken Little Cries; “We Have No Choice.” Kucinich Locked Out

copyright © 2007. Betsy L. Angert

Americans acknowledge “The sky is falling.”  We, the people must unite and take our country back.  Democrats must choose the most desirable candidate.  The best candidate is defined as the one who can win the White House.  The Top Three are fine; perhaps, not as good as, they could be, but they will do the job.  Dennis Kucinich, for many is ideal.  His proposals are well thought out and he fully addresses the issues that affect the common folk.  However, Americans hear at every turn, Dennis Kucinich does not have a chance.  

Presidential aspirant Kucinich was excluded from  the American Association for Retired Persons [AARP] debate in the Hawkeye State. In Granite country, ABC News declared Dennis Kucinich would be barred from the dialogue.  Silver State voters were not able to see the profound Presidential hopeful on stage.  He was relegated to the streets allowed to speak only to the neon lights.  The Palmetto State decreed, “Dennis, this is not your kingdom.”  Indeed, you are locked out in this land of liberty.  Now, Texas tells its tall tale.  Dennis Kucinich will not be the hero in the Lone Star State.

The consensus amongst those whose capital counts votes is, it is important to win the White House.  Dennis Kucinich and his supporters only slow the process.  Actually, they threaten the comfort that is the status quo.  While many Progressives hesitantly accept this may be true,; nonetheless, these Democrats who seek change state, we must do as we have done before.  We need to unite behind a single candidate, two, or three.  Choose from those who have a chance to “beat” the brutal Republicans, and then, once the field is narrowed, all Democrats must vote for the nominee.

After all, there is war in the Middle East.  Iraq and Afghanistan have been torn asunder.  Iran may be next.  Israel is unstable.  North Korea is a concern.  We must not forget Lebanon, and our own shores.  No one is safe or secure.

Here at home, the Health Care system is in shambles.  Jobs have gone aboard.  The stock market is down.  Morale is low.  The economy is in the tank.  Fuel costs are high, as is rage among the American populace.  It is time for a change.  Democrats need to take the country back if we are to survive.  If the Republicans “win” the White House, the average American will be locked out.  The people cannot be treated as Dennis Kucinich has been.

Kucinich supporters must face the facts.  Come in from the cold.  Forget their commitment to principles that honor all people equally.  Those devoted to the common cause must be sensible.  If the Democrats are to triumph, every Progressive must accept that America may be at war in Iraq through at least 2013.  If those on the Left wish to be victorious we must follow the Clinton, Obama, or even Edwards lead.  If that means more troops are sent to Afghanistan, so be it.  We Liberals have to submit to the notion that a Single Payer, Not For Profit Heath Care plan will not be in our future.  If Insurers and Pharmaceuticals still decide for us, oh well.  At least a Democrat will be in the Oval Office,

Remember the math, 1+1=2.  Facts are facts.  Philosophical arguments are useless; they are merely a waste of time.  If you vote for potential President Dennis Kucinich, you just throw away your ballot, and forfeit our chance to win.  Hence, Progressives, Liberal, Democrats unite.  

Each day, as Elections approach, Democratic Americans join arms.  In Iowa, citizens held hands as they caucused.  In New Hampshire, constituents came together to cast their ballots.  Nevada and Michigan residents had their turn.  Voters determined who might represent them.  In South Carolina Republicans rekindled their zeal for democracy.  Days from now, Democrats will do the same in that southern region.  

Throughout the territory, Americans take advantage of every opportunity to be informed.  Inhabitants in the first primary States became personally acquainted with the aspirants.  In every locale people sit around television sets and watch the Presidential hopefuls debate.  The populace truly makes an informed decision, or so we are lead to believe.  Yet, in a nation where corporate moguls with mountains of money own the airwaves, and the companies that supply our medical, mechanical, and mundane needs dictate what is advisable, the people do not have the freedoms they could have.

Americans know this.  Common folks understand all too well, we do not have access to information.  Americans remember the false intelligence that led us into the Iraq War.  Each of us recalls the atrocities hidden from view.  The body bags flown into Dover Air Force Base in the dead of night were sadly not a dream.  The Human Rights violations witnessed belatedly through photographs too long suppressed, from Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay prison were a glimpse into stark reality of what is.

The people speak out; yet, they remain silenced, and powerless.  In part, as Americans we have learned to accept that we alone can do little.  We are convinced not to vote for our convictions, but to cast a ballot for the presumed electable, corporate determined, candidate.  

There is reason to believe that there is strength in numbers, and there is.  However, if we consider the large numbers of us who do not follow the wisdom within, our perspective changes.  When one-by-one we  relent, and become part of the mass movement, then we as a whole settle for less than what might have been.  When the Party nominee is the person, who from the first, we fully endorse, whose proposed policies we truly support, then there is no problem.  We can follow the lead of our allegiance.

However, when the person who best represents our authentic principles, from the beginning has been locked out, and declared “not viable,” when that individual is unknown to most Americans, and is not placed on many a ballot, we must decide whether we will submit, and settle for what is available to us.

Many ask Kucinich supporters not to vote for principles, for a person emblematic of all that they value.  Those who wish to see Dennis Kucinich in the Oval Office on January 20, 2009, are told to endorse a chosen candidate, one the Party leaders, and the media deem electable.  

Liberal Progressives receive requests, “Ignore the fact that Big Three are each tied to profiteers.”  We can only expect so much.  If we are to be good Democrats, we must make sure that Republicans do not take office.  That is of utmost importance.  It matters not that the Party’s, neither of them, act in the interest of the average Joe or Joanne.

Sure, they say . . . “A national Single Payer, Not for Profit Health care would be nice.  An immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq would be welcome. No war with Iran, ah, but to hope.  The promise of a repeal of the Patriot Act and the restoration of civil liberties . . .Well, we can only imagine. To think the United States might cancel the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA] and the rebuild the auto, steel, aerospace, shipping, and manufacturing industries . . . dare we dream. Could we possibly initiate carbon-free and nuclear-free energy policies.  One can only wonder.”

Those who believe that what we conceive, we can achieve know that with Dennis Kucinich, in the White House all this would be possible.

Yet, supporters, such as I, feel as a lone Chicken Little the smallest voice among the dissenters.  I cry in fear as do my fellow Democrats, “The sky is falling.  The sky is falling.”  Progressives say they have heard that before and while they believe it to be true, an umbrella will protect them.  I think not.

For me, a small cloth collapsible canopy made of thin fabric will not shield me from harm.  I have tried to safeguard my brethren and myself for years.  Many of my ballots were parachutes intended to slow the fall.  However, none truly did a adequate job.  The wind and watershed of the wealthy who control the economy and the agenda always had their way.

My lovable eighty-nine year young cousin mused aloud of his near century of votes.  He reflected, throughout his adult life only once has he voted for a Presidential candidate who spoke to his ethics, beliefs, and humane principles.  In his days as a voter, he did as people have done.  He cast a ballot against the Presidential candidate he thought worse for the nation, for the world.  In each of the decades that my relative was able to vote, he did not feel the person he cast a ballot for in the general election was the quality candidate America needed.  The nominees were corrupt, or tied to powers-that-be. The interests of the people were ignored, and consistently, while change was promised, the average American did not benefit.

I offer the reflections of another frustrated citizen who cares, who observes his choice for President and our dreams are being crushed.  Michael Collins, I thank you.


“Chain, Chain, Chain …” The Texas Primary



Forced Loyalty Oath Locks Out Kucinich

By Michael Collins

“Scoop” Independent News

January 19, 2008

Dennis Kucinich may not win the Democratic nomination for president, but he’s leaving a pro-democracy legacy across the country. To begin with, this candidate actually discusses critical issues demonstrating his respect for voters. With regard to the voters’ right to know, he just asked for the first recount in memory for a presidential primary simply because it makes perfect sense. The New Hampshire results need a serious second look.

Kucinich struck another blow for democracy by challenging the restrictive loyalty oath required by the Texas Democratic Party to get on the primary ballot. He actually reads the contracts he signs. When presented with the loyalty oath required to run as a Democrat in the Texas primary, Kucinich prudently edited the document to reflect the requirements of free citizens living in a democracy: . . .

The concern expressed by Kucinich was simple. If the eventual Democratic nominee supports the Iraq War, signing this oath would require Kucinich to support that nominee and therefore the war. To make matters worse, supporting the war would negate his duty as a Member of Congress to protect and uphold the Constitution. Like a few others, Kucinich knows that this is an unconstitutional war since it was never declared by Congress (See Article I, Section 8, “To declare war”). What other choice did he have but to reject the loyalty oath? What justification did the other candidates have to accept the oath? . . .

Democracy’s Champion among the Candidates ??

Dennis Kucinich is the one consistent advocate for expanded democracy and measures to fight election fraud among all of the presidential contenders. Kucinich has a strong record as an advocate for working men and women by promoting civil rights, voting rights, and human rights at home and abroad. He’s never shied away from taking both principled and practical positions on elections. These are, after all, the essential element to achieve his goals.

His call for a recount in New Hampshire was without rancor or negative speculation. He simply recognized the problem, invoked the right to recount, and paid the bill. . .

From his first days on the national stage, Kucinich has stood for the people and against the interests of greed and exploitation. In return for his efforts, he’s been ridiculed and marginalized.

Imagine, a man who fights for the people, the Constitution, the rights of all Americans, and for this reason is intentionally removed from view.  Then, envision that same quality person seated in the White House, having been elected by an educated electorate.  Oh, I do dream of the time when a President of the United States represents the common folk.  I also understand, that if I,  join with all other Democratic Americans and vote for the candidate that is thought to be  the lesser of the “evils,” then I will have helped  my fellow countrymen to get what we have had for all the years that my eighty-nine year young cousin recalls.  

I will not contribute to change if I concede Dennis Kucinich cannot be my candidate of choice.  I will have simply surrendered to the status quo.

Mahatma Gandhi teaches, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Perchance, if we wish to expect a different outcome from elections we must not do as voters have done for at least a century. .  Open-minded Progressives may wish to consider, facts, as we know them only prove what we already believe.  Mathematicians may discover that just as the sum of angles of a triangle in a three dimensional plane do not total 180 degrees, if we do as we have never thought to do, we may realize 1+1 does not always equal 2.  Perhaps, if we change, so too will the State of the Union.  Indeed, America may actually become a nation where all men, women, and children are created equal.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

~ Albert Einstein [American Physicist]



Dennis Kucinich (D) on Texas Democrats loyalty oath

When We Are the Change . . .

My Disappointment of Hillary

To view the full pictorial image please click your heels on this path and journey inward.

© copyright 2007 Storm Bear Town Called Dobson

I do not get it.

Back during the first go-around with the Iraq war, it is clear Congress was lied to – we all were. They should have known better than to let Bush commit us to preemptive war, but they didn’t. So you would think when the drum beat starts up for Iran, Congress would be a lot wiser.

I thought they would be too until I saw the disappointing support of Kyl-Lieberman. Been there and done that but still Congress, a Democratically led Congress, can’t get enough war. And the worst part was Hillary Clinton’s support of it. What The ****?

For me, that was the last straw.

If we invade Iran, we will occupy a swath of Earth that ranges from Europe to China – from Saudi Arabia to the Former Soviet Union. That my friends is nation-building on a Roman scale. I have had enough of that.

Honestly.

Support for an Iranian war is beyond excusable, it should be seen as treasonous. I don’t want to get on that “Bill Clinton is a traitor” line  . . . left over from the 90’s, but a war with Iran is wrong on a multitude of fronts, firstly being it is un-American.

I’ll take UFO’s over war any day.

  • My Disappointment of Hillary
  • Political Extremism. When Will It End? ©

    Today I received an electronic communiqué that stimulated great thought.  Specifically the correspondence addresses the Holocaust.  The author asks us to remember what was, what is, and will be, as the result of political extremism. 

    Personally, I cannot forget.  I believe we are mired in government-imposed radicalism today.  Neoconservatives believe that democracy can be spread in a brutal fashion.  Dictatorial acts pass for nationalism.  Consider the Patriot Act circa 2001.

    We might look to foreign lands and question the sanity of their leaders.  President George W. Bush does.  He postulates there is an “axis of evil.”  Nations such as North Korea, Iran, and Iraq are in his sight.  I inquire; might Mister Bush look in the mirror.  Which country has the greatest arsenal? Who is prepared to use Weapons of Mass Destruction.  What nation state does colossal damage daily then terms it “collateral”?

    I sigh and state . . .
    Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
    ~ George Santayana [The Life of Reason, Volume 1, 1905]

    May we recall what was and not engage as we have for centuries.  I ask each if us to work against all wars, to thwart any, and all exploitations.  May we strive for equity among all people, in every nation.

    When we witness wrongdoing, we must speak . . .
    “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”  . . . “…to remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all…”
    ~ Elie Wiesel [Author of Nights, record of Jewish Holocaust experience]

    I offer the cartoon and accompanying text found in my electronic mail.  Perchance this sharing will have a profound effect on you or others that see it.  I can only hope that atrocities such as these will not stand in the present.  If we revisit these, it will be in reflection. 


    It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended.

    This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the six  million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900  Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and  humiliated with the German and Russian people looking the other way!

    Now, more than ever, with Iran,  among others, claiming the Holocaust to be “a myth,” it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets.

    May peace be with us all.

    War, Political Extremism Is Not An Option . . .

  • President Delivers State of the Union Address. Office of the Press Secretary. January 29, 2002
  • USA Patriot Act. American Civil Liberties Union
  • USA Patriot Act. Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America