Keep America Safe




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Obama: We Will Do Everything Possible to Keep America Safe

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Do you know one?  Perchance your mother, father, brother, or sister is a person you would characterize as lovingly protective.  He or she maybe an individual who works to shield loved ones from harm.  This fine fellow or femme plots and plans in an attempt to prevent any crisis.  People come to depend on caring souls such as he or she.  Indeed, you may be the cautious crier who actively expresses concern for the health and welfare of those you treasure.  It is a tough task, but you, or someone in your life may have assumed responsibility for the well-being of another.  Surely, someone must keep us safe and sane.  One never knows who might lurk or linger in the halls, bathroom stalls, on a plane, boat or train.  Credentials must be checked.  If family and friends cannot safeguard us from the crazies and fanatics certainly, our sweet Uncle Sam will.  

Article II of the Constitution and the American people provide the Commander-In-Chief the authority to protect and defend at all costs, or currently, it would seem so.  Checks and balance be damned, when the consensus within the country is, “We are at war!”

In a time such as this, few reflect upon the parallels in their everyday lives.  Quietly, each of us recalls when we, personally, were at war.  The conflict was covert.  Rarely were we even conscious of what occurred.  Thus, just as we are as children, in adulthood, we oblige.  When asked to remove our shoes in an airport, American citizens, and visitors to this country, do so.  “Put your sweater in the tray.”  Happy, with the prospect that we might avoid a full body search, we smile, and act in accordance with the command.

This is after we handed the Transportation Security Administrators our boarding pass and photograph identification card.  Indeed, as we shuffle off to Buffalo, New York, Billings, Montana, or Bakersfield, California, we succumb to the many demands put before us. The public is now, for the most part, willing to submit to a body scan. Seventy-eight percent of the Americans polled support the use of technology that in the past, would have been considered a physical invasion of privacy.

Although fifty-one percent of the American people who were asked favor racial and ethnic profiling, this action, in truth, is thought politically incorrect.  Nonetheless, archetypal classifications are “acceptable” to more than half the populace.  People prefer to feel protected.  Most trust they will never be subject to unwarranted seizure.  Nor will the use of these X-rays affect their health.  Certainly, Uncle Sam is scrupulous and will not use the images in an unethical manner.  Others are the adversaries.  Authority figures are as Mom and Dad.  They do as they do in our best interest.  

As humans, we long for love, and interpret protective practice as an expression of this caring, or do we?  Might we muse Americans have become inured to the fragility factor. Constantly, especially in this decade, citizens have been told there is reason to fear.  Hence, Americans have become extremely apprehensive.  Paradoxically, the Office of Homeland Security concludes that much of our trepidation is of our own making.

It begins in childhood.  In the last score or so, fearful parents proclaimed, “Do not talk to strangers.”  The neighborhood is on watch.  Playtime must be supervised.  “The world,” Moms and Dads declare, “is not a safe place.”  Indeed, it is impossible to escape the hazards.  Scary people are everywhere.  Nonetheless, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and of course Uncle Sam will help. Rest assured; “we are doing everything in our power to keep you and your family safe and secure.”

Children were, perchance, comforted.  Today, mothers and fathers ponder their growing pains.  Many reason it is better to cloister a little one.  Thus, parents plan every activity.  From birth forward, it is more than 18 Years in the Making. Cash is stashed for college.  Schools and careers are chosen and charted before a child takes his or her first steps.  Tikes are trained and tested to ensure that they will achieve. Once the standards are set, early in life, our government takes over.  Officials watch our every move and we are comfortable with this.

Americans, compassionately teach their children to be on guard However, as an adolescent medicine specialist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, Doctor Elizabeth Alderman observes, overprotective parents have left their children with few real-world coping competencies. ”If you don’t have these skills, then it’s very normal to become anxious.”

Diane knows this well. She learned her lessons long before the current trend in parenting.  Darling Diane was but a lass when she discovered that she was not safe.  Decades ago, years before people hid behind locked doors and windows, Diane realized that everywhere she went there was danger.  

In the 1950s the little tike understood, when she walked to school, she did not travel alone.  Her mother marched with her.  Mrs McMahon did not stroll at the young girl’s side.  Nor did the elder woman sweetly saunter just out of sight.  Madame McMahon hung over Diane’s head.  She haunted her darling daughter, and was always in the youngster’s thoughts.

For Diane, it was as it is today for a young patient of Doctor David Anderegg, a Child Psychologist in Lenox, Massachusetts.  As the adolescent spoke with the Professor of Psychology at Bennington College, she said “I wish my parents had some hobby other than me.” Experts appear to agree; being the subject of intense scrutiny can cause a child, of any age, to be anxious.

Diane McMahon concurs.  Whatever she did, Diane could not shake the angst.  Her protective parent influenced her every action; however, not in ways that would benefit the girl or her relationship with her Mom.  

If Diane thought to be with peers, Mom was always in the background of her mind.  When her friends stole makeup from Walgreen’s Pharmacy, Diane did too.  The “culprit” knew she could not keep the cosmetics, at least not at home.  She arranged for a friend of hers, whose Mom and Dad did not go through her drawers, to take the foundation, powder, eye shadow, and mascara.  Each evening these, along with the lipstick and perfume would go home with an acquaintance.  In the morning, on the way to school, all would be returned to Diane.

When classmates said smoking is cool, Diane tried it.  Warnings from her mother, while heard, and alive, loudly in Diane’s head, did not persuade the teen to do what Mom wanted her to do.

She never openly crossed her mother; nor did the girl question Mrs McMahon’s wisdom.  Diane merely hid her heart, the stolen makeup, the cigarettes, and her life.  The mother lived blissfully, ignorant of who her daughter was, and what she did daily.  The two had a good relationship, and seemingly, to this day they do.  However, the hurts, just as the haunts, remain unseen.  

In Diane’s family secrets prevail.  Just as a rebellious child, a sibling, a spouse, or a terrorist, people do what they desire to do.  No one, not even a firm Mrs McMahon, Mister Obama, Mister Bush, you, or I can control what will come.  Indeed, we create it.

When people are presumed to be in need of protection, ultimately, they guard themselves from the protector.  Those alleged guilty persons, often prove not to be as they appear to be. Diane enjoyed her hours at home with her parents.  She cherished the time they spent together away as well.  Yet, there was always unexpressed tension.

Hothouse parenting undermines children in other ways, too, says Anderegg. Being examined all the time makes children extremely self-conscious. As a result they get less communicative; scrutiny teaches them to bury their real feelings deeply. And most of all, self-consciousness removes the safety to be experimental and playful. “If every drawing is going to end up on your parents’ refrigerator, you’re not free to fool around, to goof up or make mistakes,” says Anderegg.

Parental hovering is why so many teenagers are so ironic, he notes. It’s a kind of detachment, “a way of hiding in plain sight. They just don’t want to be exposed to any more scrutiny.”

Infinite inspections, eternal examinations, possible detection did not necessarily stop Diane from engaging in the behaviors her mother feared.  Nor would a prohibition or possible penalty inhibit the lass .  Threats have no power.  As a toddler Dine realized the notion Scott Stewart, Vice President of Tactical Intelligence at the global foundation, Stratfor acknowledges.  The security expert advises; regardless of what type of technology is used at airports, or which techniques are employed by “protective parents, creative terrorists, just as tots, teens, and those at any age, will always find ways to get around it.

When asked if airport body scanners can stop terrorist attacks, he said, “Look at prison systems, where searches are far more invasive – they still can’t stop contraband from being smuggled into the system,”  Mister Stewart continues and cautions. Americans tend to rely on technology, “instead of human intelligence,”  

We might extrapolate.  Protective parents depend upon their ability to provide safety and security.  Rather than teach self-reliance, nervous caregivers coddle, cosset, and lavish “love” on their little ones.  Mothers and fathers create a culture cocooned from harm and believe this is good parenting.

John Portmann, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia has observed, many students, such as Diane,  “There is a ritual every university administrator has come to fear.” He explains.  “Every fall, parents drop off their well-groomed freshmen and within two or three days many have consumed a dangerous amount of alcohol and placed themselves in harm’s way. These kids have been controlled for so long, they just go crazy.”

Professor Portmann feels the effects of overprotection are even more pernicious.  He suggests the whole fabric of society is feeble and fallible when we place our faith in our mother, father, or the Federal government. Portmann is very familiar with what he sees each semester.  Young people and their parents become weaker, “more responsive to the herd, too eager to fit in-less assertive  . . , unwilling to disagree with their peers, afraid to question authority, more willing to conform to the expectations of those on the next rung of power above them.”  

That is, perhaps, the greater threat to the persons who reside on this planet.  Most forfeit their personal power.  People presuppose someone will know what is best.  We trust the crowd or the Commander-In-chief.  Most think as the group does.  “Evil is everywhere.”  “There are enemies all about.”  “Terrorists want to kill us.”  These are considered conventional wisdoms or accepted assumptions.  However, the paradox is, presumptions become projections.  Self-fulfilling prophecies survive.  Frequently, these conjectures thrive, while, just as in all other wars, citizens die.

In counterterrorism circles, the standard response to questions about the possibility of future attacks is the terse one-liner: “Not if, but when.” This mantra supposedly conveys a realistic approach to the problem, but, as Joseba Zulaika argues in Terrorism, it functions as a self-fulfilling prophecy. By distorting reality to fit their own worldview, the architects of the War on Terror prompt the behavior they seek to prevent-a twisted logic that has already played out horrifically in Iraq. In short, Zulaika contends, counterterrorism has become pivotal in promoting terrorism.

Diane, her deeds, Mrs McMahon sense of doom, and the destructive practice of a protective philosophy affirm what scores of Americans dismiss in the abstract.  What we fear most has power.  As is oft-stated, what we conceive, and truly believe, will be achieved.  Ample research asserts, whether what we imagine is for good or the source of our grief, our conviction can be a cause and an effect.  Often we are too close to a situation to see what others easily discern.

To the countless who contemplate traumas such as terrorism and ask, “What next?” There are many possible prospects.  We can choose to cultivate a culture that cares rather than works to control or we can continue to rely on a reality that has never been.  Americans can have faith that the Commander-In-Chief  “Will Do Everything” or we can accept that, alas, the demon is our own dependency.

References for the reality of resentment, revolt, or insurgent rebels . . .

The Two Faces of Obama

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copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth: We will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations — acting individually or in concert — will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified.

~ Barack Obama (President of the United States.  Peace Prize Acceptance Speech. December 10, 2009)

For years, Americans saw live, and in person, or on television screens, Presidential aspirant Barack Obama.   Several mused; the man is calm in a crisis.  “No drama Obama” was the phrase most often associated with the candidate.  Those closely and personally connected to the potential President corroborated what was for most only an observation.  The election did not change Barack Obama.  His calm demeanor remained intact.  Yet, many perceived a difference, not in his response to a predicament, but in the President’s rhetoric.  Empathy evolved into escalation.  This was perhaps most evident on two occasions, when Mister Obama delivered his Address on the War in Afghanistan, and then again when the Commander-In Chief offered his Remarks in acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize.  After these events, the pensive pondered; what was there all along, Cerebral Discord, the Two Faces of Barack Obama.

During the Presidential campaign, millions were aware of the dichotomy.  For Barack Obama the need for empathy and the escalation of armed forces seemed to safely coexist.   Others, hopeful, for a change may have chosen to forgive what was a concern.  Perchance Mister Obama’s persuasive language assuaged the American people, or they too may have suffered from the same condition, intellectual disharmony.  

Possibly, the public was either so eager or expectant, that they did not wish to wonder what might occur if Barack Obama acted on the more aggressive stance he often took.  Troop escalation in Afghanistan is a must.  The words the President of the United States postured in his recent remarks at West Point and in Oslo, at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, while countless thought anathemas, were as he presented in his published plan on July 14, 2008.

As president, I would pursue a new strategy, and begin by providing at least two additional combat brigades to support our effort in Afghanistan. We need more troops, more helicopters, better intelligence-gathering and more nonmilitary assistance to accomplish the mission there.

Yet, most Americans and the Nobel Prize Committee were stunned when as President, Barack Obama fulfilled his promise.  More struggled with what they heard days later.  In his acknowledgement of the award he was about to receive, the Peace Prize, Barack Obama explained, and exclaimed, as has been his well-established habit; empathy is essential and compassion can not cure the world’s ills.  

While the rhetoric was exquisite, and the rationalizations seemed sound, the inconsistency awakened awareness.  At once, observers were alarmed by what was apparent for quite awhile.  There are Two Faces of Barack Obama.

The few who had feared his empathetic side welcomed the warlike stance of the current Commander.  Others felt the sacramental observance, the Nobel Peace Prize Presentation, was not the place to promote war.  Nor is it thought apt for the beneficiary of such a significant award to advocate for armed conflict.  Even those who trusted he would do as he had done, and say as he did, found it difficult to grapple with what Barack Obama has for all of his life: cognitive dissonance.

Some may ask; how can one man, woman, or one mind so adamantly adhere to the idea of empathy, and also embrace the notion that our fellow man is our enemy.  What is it that drives a desire to reason love and peace are  harmonious with hatred and war?  Why would a brilliant being think violence builds benevolence?

The cause, or perchance the effect, of the President’s condition was delineated and defined in 1956.  five years before Barack Obama was even a thought in the mind of his mother Ann Dunham.   Prior to his conception, few imagined that today a baby, born to an average Americans schoolgirl, would be addressed as Mister President.  All those decades ago, an individual whose background was as varied as Barack Obama’s is, could not be expected to achieve the grandeur he has.  At the time, to even ponder the possibility might evoke Cognitive Dissonance,  had the notion been a known construct.

Today, Social Psychologist Leon Festinger’s theory is an accepted truth.  Humans have honed the art of rationalization.  Some offer seemingly reasonable interpretations better than most others.   Mister Obama spoke of his skill to allegorize, to offer an analysis that is coherent, and cogent.  Indeed, as he wrote in his most recent tome, The Audacity of Hope,  President Obama offered that through conversation, he could conquer an adversary.

Readers of his book may recall the beloved tale that endeared the President to those who hoped Barack Obama might be a man of peace. The story led many, perhaps even the Nobel Peace Prize Committee 2009, to believe this Head of State is worthy of the honor he was awarded.

Like most of my values, I learned about empathy from my mother. She disdained any kind of cruelty or thoughtlessness or abuse of power, whether it expresses itself in the form of racial prejudice or bullying in the schoolyard or workers being underpaid. Whenever she saw even a hint of such behavior in me she would look me square in the eyes and ask, “How do you think that would make you feel?”

But it was in the relationship with my grandfather that I think I first internalized the full meaning of empathy. Because my mother’s work took her overseas, I often lived with my grandparents during my high school years, and without a father present in the house, my grandfather bore the brunt of most of my adolescent rebellion. He himself was not always easy to get along with; he was at once warmhearted and quick to anger, and in part his career had not been particularly successful, his feelings could also be easily bruised. By the time I was sixteen we were arguing all of the time, usually about me failing to abide by what I considered to be an endless series of petty and arbitrary rules–filling up the gas tank whenever I borrowed his car, say, or making sure that I rinsed out the milk carton before I put it in the garbage.

With a certain talent for rhetoric, as well as an absolute certainty about the merits of my own views, I found that I could generally win these arguments, in the narrow sense of leaving my grandfather flustered, angry, and sounding unreasonable. But at the same point, perhaps in my senior year, such victories started to feel less satisfying. I started thinking about the struggles and disappointments he had seen in his life. I started to appreciate his need to feel respected in his own home. I realized that abiding by his rules would cost me little, but to him it would mean a lot. I recognized that sometimes he really did have a point, and that in insisting on getting my own way all the time, without regard to his feelings or needs, I was in some way diminishing myself.

There’s nothing extraordinary about such an awakening, of course. In one form or another it is what we all must go through if we are to grow up. And yet I find myself returning again and again to my mother’s simple principle–“How would that make you feel?”–as a guidepost for my politics.

It’s not a question we ask ourselves enough, I think; as a country we seem to be suffering from an empathy deficit.

I believe a stronger sense of empathy would tilt the balance of our current politics in favor of those people who are struggling in this society. After all, if they are like us, then their struggles are our own. If we fail to help, we diminish ourselves.

~ Barack Obama excerpt from The Audacity of Hope

At the time he wrote those words, as Senator, and an author who aspired to inspire, Barack Obama reminded readers, No one is exempt from the call to find common ground.”  That is, unless, as he clarified with the Nobel Peace Prize in his grasp, “(A)s a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their examples alone. I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world.  Today, the man who occupies the White House would seem to no longer believe as his followers thought, or hoped he did,  

Perchance, a culture mired in its own cerebral discord did not acknowledge that Barack Obama has always been a mirror image of society.  He speaks of his love of peace.  He yearns for global harmony, yet President Obama believes war is a worthy endeavor. For the once candidate and also for the Commander-In-Chief who currently occupies the Oval Office, empathy is thought as  necessary as escalation. The Two disparate Faces of Obama are as they were, united.

Barack Obama has not changed.  Only people’s perception of him has been transformed, transitioned just as predicted, or has revealed itself to be as the President pledged.  The public saw the side of Mister Obama that he presented, and or, the one as individuals, each American might prefer.  He has always been one who embraces empathy as he asserts evil exists.

Little more than a year ago, when but a Presidential hopeful Obama offered his carefully crafted message while in Church, Christians rejoiced, as did those of many faiths.   On August 16, 2008, the world watched the Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency.  Barack Obama presented his peaceful posture, not the face of the person who accepted the Nobel Peace Prize.

Now, the one thing that I think is very important is for to us have some humility in how we approach the issue of confronting evil, because a lot of evil’s been perpetrated based on the claim that we were trying to confront evil. . . .

In the name of good, and I think, you know, one thing that’s very important is having some humility in recognizing that just because we think that our intentions are good, doesn’t always mean that we’re going to be doing good.”

What a difference a day makes.  As a potential representative of the people, on the night of the Presidential Forum, Obama expressed as he had in his tome,  “Mutual understanding is not enough.  People must practice as they profess to believe.”  However, as he himself once chimed “Talk is cheap.” The philosophy Presidential candidate Obama bequeathed upon the American people, the thought that gave constituents hope has been shelved.  The sentiment is available only in archives far from the White House Situation Room.

When I was a community organizer back in the eighties, I would often challenge neighborhood leaders by asking them where they put their time, energy, and money. Those are the true tests of what we value, I’d tell them, regardless of what we like to tell ourselves.  If we aren’t willing to pay a price for our values, if we aren’t willing to make some sacrifices in order to realize them, then we should ask ourselves whether we truly believe in them at all.

The Nobel Committee might have read the passage, and as was stated, they wanted to support Mister Obama’s approach.  Accolades for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples” was thought to be sufficient to explain what those who were troubled by the March 2009 escalation could not understand.

Perchance, his mere election alone meant that “Obama has, as President, created a new climate in international politics.” After all, near a year before the Nobel announcement, Barack Obama had completed his original mission as articulated in 2004, “My job is to inspire people to take ownership of this country.”

Possibly, at the time of the official announcement, the Norwegian group was as mesmerized as the world was.  They too reveled in what Barack Obama acknowledged in his book; he has a “gift for rhetoric.”

That may explain why in an October Press Release the Nobel Institute stated that they thought Barack Obama embodied the essence of their belief “Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts.”  At the time, the Norwegian Stortingof might have recalled the eloquent and empathetic language of the world leader.  The Committee may have been so moved by the peaceful prose of the President they did not realize they had only caught sight of one of the Two Face of Obama.

While the Peace Prize is intended to go to whoever “shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses,” on this occasion it did not.

A warrior, or one who sends tens of thousands of American sons, daughters, mothers, fathers and sibling off to slaughter and to be slaughtered received the honor. The combatant face of Obama who surrenders his more peacefully stated principles claimed the accolade.

In his Oslo lecture, the President did not acknowledge his cerebral discord.  Instead, he reasoned as researchers realized those who wrestle with cognitive dissonance do.  From the windows of the White House, President Obama, tells us, decisions look very different, (or did they, since Barack Obama actually did as he penned he would in his July 2008 plan)  Protected in the cocoon of a title, Commander-In-Chief, it is possible to order the massacre of a population comprised mostly of children, under the age of fourteen (14) and to do it “faster.”

Rationalization realized when cognitive dissonance dominates allows for avoidance and less authentic analysis.  Simply stated, President Obama professed to the Nobel audience, “There will be times when nations — acting individually or in concert — will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified.”  This is the Obama escalation truth, regardless of a reality shared by his National Security Advisor, General Jim Jones, on Cable News Network’s “State of the Union” only days before the Peace Prize Committee announced that President Obama would win the award.

“Obviously, the good news is that Americans should feel at least good about in Afghanistan is that the al Qaeda presence is very diminished. The maximum estimate is less than 100 operating in the country. No bases. No ability to launch attacks on either us or our allies.

Now the problem is the next step in this is the sanctuaries across the border. But I don’t foresee the return of the Taliban and I want to be very clear that Afghanistan is not in danger — imminent danger of falling.

The intelligence General Jim Jones imparted was ignored just as the guidance from U.S. Afghan envoy, retired General, Karl Eikenberry was.    General Eikenberry advised against escalation.  However, the empathetic President, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient exclaimed to his Cabinet and Commanders, “What I’m looking for is a surge.”

Barack Obama favors, the fight.  An Afghanistan Apocalypse. seems reasonable when rationalized through the eyes of one comfortable with cerebral discord.  From the Executive Office, empathy equates to a troops escalation.

Perhaps, one day, anathemas such as war will advance authentic prospects for global harmony. Intellectual cacophonies, two faces shared by a man, (a nation, or the world) will merge into one.  Then, and only then, will change emerge, and peace be truly prized.

Surge reduced violence; but distracts us from long-term goal.

~ Barack Obama. CBS News interview with Katie Couric, July 28, 2008

End the war, and end the mindset that got us into war.

~ Barack Obama. 2008 Democratic debate in Los Angeles, California, January 31, 2008

Never fudge numbers or shade the truth about war.

~ Barack Obama. Keynote speech to the Democratic National Convention July 29, 2004

References for a dual realty . . .

Peace, Justice, and Prosperity

copyright © 2007 Jerry Northington.  campaign website or on the campaign blog.

For most of my life I have been a dreamer.  As a child I sat many a fine hour on a creek bank with a cork floating on the water (often with no bait on the hook) and dreamed of other times and other places.  In those years science fiction was a staple of reading.  Television was young and barely available.  Entertainment was found by one’s self or not found at all for the most part.  

In years past I dreamed of a better life for myself and my family.  In those days the dream was more about myself than for other people.  As life has continued in time the dream has come to encompass the people around me and now extends to the nation and around the entire globe.  Today I dream of a world in which peace, justice, and prosperity are the rule of the day.

Most of all I dream of a United States President who works to insure our nation benefits from the principles of peace, justice, and prosperity.  The dream includes a President who brings our troops home from our occupation zones around the world before more damage is done on either side of the affair.  The dream holds an administration focused on diplomacy using carrots instead of sticks to deal with foreign nations.  

The dream means a world in which peace is a primary objective to be sought far ahead of any thought of belligerence or of military operations.  In my dream the world’s military forces are maintained at low levels in peacetime status.  The forces are prepared to defend their individual nation from outside attack, but are not used to invade or to occupy any nation without being attacked first.

I dream of a world in which justice reigns as a supreme rule for all people no matter their sex, age, skin color, or nationality.  Every person in my dream is treated fairly according the same rules as every other.  In the world of my dreams all have an equal chance at finding success and happiness in their own fashion.  There are no special rewards accorded the rich and the powerful beyond those of just treatment.  Education and health care are given freely to one and all as a benefit of society and to benefit in return the society.  A nation that holds an educated and healthy citizenry will be a more prosperous country at the end of the day.

Prosperity rules in my dream as all peoples of all nations work to the betterment of the entire globe.  In the absence of massive military expenditures to drain national economies, investments are made in basic research, in infrastructure such as highways and public buildings, and in education.  Factories produce goods that people with good jobs can buy.  And the capitalist circle continues to the benefit of all.

Is this too much for which to dream?  I think not.  Every day we hear news of the failures in our nation and in our world at large.  There are more than enough reports of crime to go around these days.  The housing market is slumping.  The financial markets suffer.  News of war zones and various areas of armed conflict around the globe are terrible.  Global warming increases day by day as the environment is affected by the actions of humankind and the natural forces of our globe.

When ever will this situation end?  Can my dream of peace, justice, and prosperity come to fruition one day?  I submit the dream is much more than the meanderings of a simple mind unable to face reality.  Leaders with great visions and dreams of a better future exist in our country today.  The trick is to find those people and to see to their election at every level in our nation.

We need leaders who not only espouse great dreams but who have solutions to the issues facing us today.  Any person can find fault and point out the problems.  The real trick is finding solutions.  We need leaders who surround themselves with problem solvers.  We need people with the ability to see a problem and to find a variety of solutions to the issue.  Then we need a leader who can sort through the various solutions to find the one way to best face and correct the problems.

We need our dreamers in the world today, and no, I am not talking about any one political candidate of the day, but speaking in general to one and all.  In particular I speak to the voting public at large.  We each and every one must take action every day to see to solutions.  We must cease our bickering and begin to work together to make the best solutions become reality.  We have no more time to complain about what is not happening.  We must move to make progress on all fronts.

Together we can move a nation.  We must hold to that dream of a finer place one day.  Those who let go their dreams lose all hope.  We who dream must share our hopes and our ambitions and our dreams that others, too, may find the right to dream.  We stand together or we fall apart.  We are after all in this together.  

By touching one heart, one mind at a time we can begin to make the differences that will shape our world for generations to come.  It is only by failing to take action and failing to share our dreams that we insure the status quo.

Reminder for one and all.  I am running for Congress, DE-01.  Please check out the website or the ActBlue page and support the effort.  Your help is needed for the effort to succeed.  Contributions of all sorts, both moral and monetary are most appreciated.

Bhutto Died; Cable News Network [CNN] Made Clinton President



Hillary calls for investigation into Bhutto’s assassination

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

Often a King, a Queen, a Prime Minister, or even a President is anointed for they have what it takes.  A bloodline qualifies a person for a position of authority.  An individual may have married well.  A network of acquaintances often secures an honorable appointment.   After all, people profess, “It is not what you know, but who you know.”  A court may declare an individual all-powerful, or a media mogul, with monetary ties to those who “count” may commit him or herself to a candidate, or to a campaign.  

The reasons for a selection may not be obvious, or at least a naïve public would not fathom the possible influences.  Yet, we observe the obscure rendezvous daily.   The so-called objective press tells us what to think and whom we must consider a credible source.  On Friday, December 28, 2007, America was reminded that Hillary Clinton was the chose one.  She alone is more than qualified to be Commander-In-Chief.  

Less than a week before the Iowa caucus, Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton, was invited to speak to a global audience, to an expectant nation, to the American people.  She did so with conviction.  Cable News Network featured the former First Lady in an exclusive interview.  The presumed future occupant of the Oval Office appeared Presidential indeed.  

Definitively, Clinton discussed the death of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.  As she assessed the nations’ next necessary move, the New York State Senator was treated as though she was Commander-In-Chief, President of the United States of America.

One might ask, “Who died and left Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office?”  Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was slain, or accidentally, she took her last breath, or insert the theory of your choice.  Hence, “The Most Trusted Name in News” chose to select our next President, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Regardless of Hillary Clinton’s recent slip in national polls and the possible cancellation of the previously planned coronation, Wolf Blitzer, Ted Turner, or parent company Time Warner thought the former First Lady was the best person to advise Americans on the crisis in Pakistan. In truth, there has long been an alliance between the Cable News Network and the Clinton clan.  

Some might recall another discussion during the most recent New York Senatorial campaign.  In a cover story, Time Magazine the crown jewel periodical in the Time Warner media kingdom, explained to “uninformed” voters, Senator Clinton had “virtually nonexistent opposition for her senate seat.”  Hence, Time Warner’s NY1 TV news channel [“the CNN of New York”] vehemently refused to host a Democratic New York Senate race debate stating there was no need.  Clinton did not have a viable opponent.

Notwithstanding numerous protests, and cries of foul, the New York Cable News Network claimed her antiwar challenger, union leader Jonathan Tasini, has not raised enough money to be considered creditable.  The station capriciously stated, a candidate must raise a half-million dollars before they are worthy of note, or are granted an opportunity to speak to the television audience.  Apparently, actual money buys airtime that support from the electorate cannot.

Ironically, NY1 has already hosted and televised a Democratic New York gubernatorial debate between frontrunner Eliot Spitzer and a Democratic challenger who was at only 10% in the polls.  But that candidate had raised about $6 million.  So spending millions to get just 10% in popular support was rewarded by Time Warner’s channel, while building a more effective grassroots campaign, largely of volunteers, was punished.  (One wonders how much of the money went to NY1.)

Did I mention that Time Warner’s Political Action Committee [PAC] is one of the many corporate PACs that underwrites Hillary Clinton’s reelection campaign against the “virtually nonexistent opposition”?

While Hillary Clinton does face a field of qualified opponents in this national Presidential campaign, according to Cable News Network she is still classified as the presumed winner again and again, at least in CNN polls.  

The American public may never have a chance to ask “Which came first, the media’s preference or the people’s opinion?”  A Clinton victory may have been cinched before the public campaign began.

In an earlier era, Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, the candidate with “experience,” lived in the White House for eight long years.  While she may not be George W. Bush, the man who, current Chief Executive Officer of Time Warner, Richard Parsons has long supported; nor is she John McCain, a Republican nominee that Parsons now backs, of those considered electable, Clinton may be the best Bush clone.  That alone may be important enough to an elite entrepreneur who wishes to ensure his interests will be protected.  Hillary Clinton has corporate connections more meaty than all other contenders.  

A bevy of current and former Hillary advisers, including her communications guru, Howard Wolfson, are linked to a prominent lobbying and PR firm–the Glover Park Group–that has cozied up to the pharmaceutical industry and Rupert Murdoch. Her fundraiser in chief, Terry McAuliffe, has the priciest Rolodex in Washington, luring high-rolling contributors to Clinton’s campaign. Her husband, since leaving the presidency, has made millions giving speeches and counsel to investment banks like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. They house, in addition to other Wall Street firms, the Clintons’ closest economic advisers, such as Bob Rubin and Roger Altman, whose DC brain trust, the Hamilton Project, is Clinton’s economic team in waiting.

Even the liberal in her camp, former deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes, has lobbied for the telecom and healthcare industries, including a for-profit nursing home association indicted in Texas for improperly funneling money to disgraced former House majority leader Tom DeLay. “She’s got a deeper bench of big money and corporate supporters than her competitors,” says Eli Attie, a former speechwriter to Vice President Al Gore. Not only is Hillary more reliant on large donations and corporate money than her Democratic rivals, but advisers in her inner circle are closely affiliated with unionbusters, GOP operatives, conservative media and other Democratic Party antagonists.

For Richards Parsons, the list of Clinton’s top contributors establishes Hillary Clinton is an attractive aspirant.  She is solidly in the Conservative Camp.  This is likely the reason that Parsons, the individual, also invested in her Senate campaign in 2006.  Now, in 2007, he and his network can further assist the candidate in her endeavors . . . and they are.

After the death of Benazir Bhutto, Americans were invited into the Situation Room, not the one located in the White House.  We, the viewing public entered the halls of the  Cable News Network.  There we discovered who died, and who was made President.  As the Time Warner, Cable News Network broadcast began Journalist Wolf Blitzer announced right from the outset who was in charge of the nation and foreign policy.  Blitzer proudly declared  . . .

Hillary Clinton’s get-tough approach to Pakistan — in our exclusive interview, she has some harsh words for President Musharraf and for the Bush administration . . .

The television audience then saw the presumed “future” President of the United States. Her face filled the screen.  The United States flag was visible over her shoulder.   A golden ambiance set the tone; then the words of our “leader” echoed through the air.  Former First Lady, soon to be Madame President Clinton proclaimed her beliefs.  She shared her policy and offered instructions to  the world at large.

I don’t think the Pakistani government, at this time, under President Musharraf, has any credibility at all.  They have disbanded an independent judiciary.  They have oppressed a free press.? ?Therefore, I’m calling for a full independent international investigation, perhaps along the lines of what the United Nations has been doing with respect to the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri in Lebanon.

I think it’s critically important that we get answers.  And, really, those answers are due, first and foremost, to the people of Pakistan, not only those who were supportive of Benazir Bhutto and her party, but every Pakistani, because we cannot expect to move towards stability without some reckoning as to who was responsible for this assassination.

And, therefore, I call on President Musharraf and the Pakistani government to realize that this is in the interests of Pakistan to understand whether or not it was al Qaeda or some other offshoot extremist group that is attempting to further destabilize and even overthrow the Pakistani government, or whether it came from within, either explicitly or implicitly the security forces or the military in Pakistan.

You know, the thing I have not been able to understand, Wolf — I have met with President Musharraf — I obviously knew Benazir Bhutto and admired her leadership — is that President Musharraf, in every meeting I have had with him, the elites in Pakistan, who still wield tremendous power, plus the leadership of the military, act as though they can destabilize Pakistan and retain their positions, their positions of privilege, their positions of authority. . .

That is not the way it will work.

Or is it Senator Clinton.  It seems if you and your cronies, your contributors wish to retain positions of privilege, and positions of authority a destabilizing death may be to your advantage.  Perchance, it already was.  You certainly appeared to be in control, as a Commander-In-Chief addressing the nation in our time of need.  Americans awaited an explanation after the Bhutto assassination, and before we could blink, we had the answer.  “Who Died and made you President?”

Sources of Authority . . .

Thirty-Five Years of Hillary Experience. Do We Want Eight More?


Bill Clinton: We Need New Experience in Washington

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

Each and everyday we hear the drum beat, the drone of a dynamic Presidential hopeful.  Hillary Clinton howls and hollers; “I have thirty-five years of experience.  Numerous beings question that truth.  Those not in Camp Clinton retort.  Perchance, she might claim she has six decades of familiarity, for indeed, Senator Clinton was first planted on this planet some sixty years ago. 

The esteemed former First Lady wants Americans to believe that her time in the White House was invaluable.  The years she spent in “public service” make her infinitely qualified to hold the office of President of the United States.  At times, it seems the Senator believes she already held this honorable post.  She, with her husband at her side, guided the country.  Bill and Hillary brought prosperity to America.  The two, wish to do so again.  Bill Clinton [affirms] Hillary wants me to restore America’s image.  Citizens are lead to believe, the Clintons can, and will, heal all wounds globally.

Hillary Clinton persuades US, the American electorate, the job of Commander-In-Chief is a challenging one.  Amateurs need not apply.  Hillary knows.  She has been there and done that.  As the Presidential hopeful spoke to the citizens of Iowa, Clinton clamored . . .

“There is one job we can’t afford on-the-job training for – our next president.  That could be the costliest job training in history,” Clinton said.  “Every day spent learning the ropes is another day of rising costs, mounting deficits and growing anxiety for our families.  And they cannot afford to keep waiting.”

The Presidential candidate claims to be trustworthy, and above reproach.  Yet, as we assess her record we discover there is much to question, and more to criticize.  The Former First Lady has been an elected official for seven short years.  All of the other candidates on the Democratic Primary Election ballot have held public office for far longer than the ‘New York applicant has.  Yet, Clinton, the women, not playing the gender card, continues to claim she is infinitely more qualified.  She is “experienced” and can easily take the reigns.  Only she can state she lived in the White House and served, to some degree, as President of the United States.

Opponents on the Right ridicule what Democrats seem reluctant to state.  Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the Grand Old Party front-runner according to national polls, offers, “Honestly, in most respects, I don’t know Hillary’s experience.  She’s never run a city, she’s never run a state.  She’s never run a business  . . .  So I’m trying to figure out where the experience is here.” 

Multi-millionaire, Entrepreneur, and another electable, Mitt Romney, muses “She has never run anything.”  Romney notes; Clinton has not run a corner store, a state, or a city.  He inquires can the presidency be considered an internship.

Nevertheless, a haughty Hillary Clinton is certain that she can, and will do the job.  In her mind, she has done it.  Apparently, she has convinced others. 

In an Oct. 3 release announcing the American Federation of Teachers endorsement of her candidacy, she said, “Throughout my 35 years of working on education, I’ve seen the dedication that American teachers demonstrate day in and day out.”

In September, Clinton issued a release on Hispanic Heritage Month that stated, “Thirty five years ago, I traveled through South Texas, registering Latino voters ?”

Describing her healthcare plan, Clinton said that “a family is a child’s first school, and I have a long history going back 35 years as a child advocate ?”

Clinton’s proponents have echoed the figure.  When Rep. Diane Watson (D-Calif.) endorsed Clinton late last month, the congresswoman said in a statement, “Her 35-year record fighting for children and families makes her uniquely qualified to hit the ground running.”

Similarly, Nevada State Assemblyman Harry Mortenson lauded Clinton’s 35 years of experience when he backed her last month.

We have all heard of the “Big Lie” theory, repeat a tale often enough and the people will believe.  Characteristically, this reference is made in regards to Adolph Hitler or George W. Bush; however, once more, it seems applicable.

Asked for comment for this article, Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said, “The people who are most important – the voters – think Hillary’s 35 years of advocacy, strength and experience is what counts, which is why one poll after another shows her leading by wide margins on the question of who is most experienced.”

The Clinton campaign suggests that the Senator’s experience dates back to before her marriage to Bill Clinton in 1975.

Interestingly enough, years into the marriage, when William Jefferson Clinton ran for President, it was said he had little if any experience.  We may recall that when Bill Clinton first appeared on the national scene, he was considered less than qualified for the most powerful post on the planet.  His Republican rival, George H. W. Bush was among many that noted the former Governor of Arkansas was not ready or able.  He was only willing.  Granted, some learn well while in office , most merely repeat their personal history.

Hillary obfuscates on the issues, obliterates the competition; she is combative when she perceives there is an enemy.  Senator Clinton sees foes under every Bush or Barack and presumes any comment to be part of a  conspiracy. 

Senator Clinton claims to support the intent of North American Free Trade Agreement, while she is critical of the outcome. 

When asked of the “Do not ask; do not tell” decision, Clinton falters.  Later, she states, the policy, had its time and place.  Yet, today, desirous of the Gay and Lesbian vote, the former First Lady thinks now the nation is ready for a change.

On immigration, Hillary is for drivers’ licenses; she thinks these would make our streets safer.  However, when questioned further, Clinton is flustered, again.  Certainly, the Boys are ganging up on her.  [might they be part of the Right Wing Conspiracy of years gone by?]  Then, with time to consider she needs every vote the First Lady is once more firm.  Hillary Clinton offers a definitive “No” when asked if she thinks it would be wise to issue a legal form of identification for immigrants.

This is the voice of experience.  Hillary Rodham Clinton knows to her core what it takes to get elected.

Today American must ask them selves; ”Is this the type of experience we crave.”  Do we wish to recycle a family, a familiar fuddle of truth, a fantasy that led us to believe one Clinton felt our pain.’ 

As Hillary avows much of what America experienced under Clinton One did not work well, she assures us she will do better.  We must have faith.  Senator Clinton understands situation, our circumstances, and us.  She always has.  She fought for us in the 1990s and she will again, if we grant her the ultimate power.  The Former First Lady reminds us each day . . .

“We need a president who understands the magnitude and complexity of the challenges we face and has the strength and experience to address them from day one.

As President of the United States the Former First Lady intends to force those that cannot afford Health Care to buy into her program.  As a peaceful Progressive, Hillary Clinton plans to send more troops to Afghanistan.  Senator Clinton states, she may bring the troops home in her second term, depending.  Yes, “your girl” is practiced, polished, and professional.  In the past, Hillary Clinton ‘influenced’ policy, possibly.  The question is, does she have the seasoning needed to responsive to the people, to be an effective President, or will her habits hinder her efforts.  Might Hillary in the Oval Office be the best choice for America, or will she be merely a Clinton successful in her personal quest for power.

The Clinton Experience . . .

  • Clinton and Obama spar over experience, By Kay Henderson.  Reuters. November 20, 2007
  • Bill Clinton: Hillary wants me to restore image of US, By Oliver Burkeman.  The Guardian.  Friday October 5, 2007
  • Clinton Says Economy Needs Experience, By Beth Fouhy.  Associated Press.  Forbes. November 19, 2007
  • NAFTA, Farmers and Agriculture, NAFTA’s Seven Years War on Farmers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.  Public Citizen.
  • The Big Lie Technique, By Robert Scheer.  The Nation. November 16, 2005
  • Hillary: “I Have to Earn Every Vote,” By Karen Tumulty.  Time Magazine. February 1, 2007
  • Don’t ask, they’ll tell,  By Linda DouglassMSNBC August 9, 2007
  • Hillary Clinton invokes Bill in poll battle, By Alex Spillius in North Conway, New Hampshire.  Telegraph. November 12, 2007
  • Bayh, Clinton Call for More Troops in Afghanistan. U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.
  • Welfare’s Changing Face, By Dan Froomkin.  ?Washington Post. July 23, 1998
  • For ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ Split on Party Lines, By Robin Toner.  The New York Times. June 8, 2007
  • Mandatory health care won’t curb costs, By Jamie Court.  Market Place. September 18, 2007
  • Candidates Hedge Bets on Iraq Withdrawal, By Jeff Zeleny and Patrick Healy.  The New York Times. September 26, 2007
  • Seven Things We Learned From the Democratic Debate, By Dan Balz.  The Washington Post. August 8, 2007
  • Clinton, Obama ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ Eliciting Outrage, By Satta Sarmah.  Columbia Journalism Review. March 15, 2007
  • A Clinton Distancing Act, By Peter Baker.  Washington Post. November 20, 2007
  • Different Rules When a Rival Is a Woman? New York Times. November 5, 2007
  • Clinton: Vast right-wing conspiracy is back, Cites anti-voter actions, phone jamming and intimidating phone calls.  Associated Press.  MSNBC. March 13, 2007