Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

If you really want to know the true ideals of someone, simply listen to their arguments for or against something.  The Senate’s CIA Report is giving us a window into the souls of several people who were in government and/or involved in what the right wants to call “enhanced interrogation techniques” which the rest of the world calls “torture”.  It is also easy to define the morals of anyone simply by listening to them as well.

I served 20 years in the military.  Torture is torture no matter what funny names you give it.  My time in the military began during the Vietnam war.  We knew that our enemy was torturing our personnel being held as POWs.  That was something we were all concerned about.

During WWII, the Japanese conducted torture on POWs as well.  The odd thing was that the Germans who committed genocide throughout the war against Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals, Slavic People, and the Mentally Insane did not torture our POWs.

After the War, there were military tribunals who tried and punished the enemy for these crimes including the torture of POWs.  One of the techniques used and called “torture” was waterboarding.  There was a case before WWII where an American Military Officer was court-martialed for conducting waterboarding in the Philippines.  So, as you can see, waterboarding has been considered “torture” long before 2001.

Not only is the U.S. signees to the Geneva Convention, it is also signees on the UN Ban on torture.  The Bush administration broke both of those agreements when it decided that torture was “legal”.  They will tell you it was “legal” because the lawyers they brought in to tell them it was legal said it was legal.

Dick Cheney is totally unapologetic in his defense of the torture his administration conducted.  In an appearance with Fox News’ Bret Baier Wednesday night he said “People have been very concerned about waterboarding, calling it “torture,” Cheney said. “First of all it was not deemed torture by the lawyers, and secondly it worked.”

The lawyers he is talking about were his lawyers.  He brought in several lawyers to determine what is torture, basically told them what he believed and miracle of miracles they said that waterboarding was not torture despite the fact an American Officer was convicted of torture for doing the exact same waterboarding in our past.  I guess these lawyers don’t believe in precedent.

As to whether or not the “technique” worked, the report by the Senate Report, Senate Armed Services Committee, and the CIA’s own Inspector General contradict his claim and say it did not work.  All three reports that the one person the right loves to cite as an example of it working, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, started talking long before he was subjected to these “techniques”.  They report the “techniques” were not necessary to get information from him.

But the real killer or indicator of Dick Cheney’s lack of moral character came when Baier asked Cheney about Gul Rahman, the detainee who died in a CIA “black site” in Afghanistan in 2002 after being chained half-naked to the floor of a freezing room and left overnight.  Cheney’s response was “Three thousand Americans died on 9/11 because of what these guys did.  And I have no sympathy for them. I don’t know the specific details, I’m sure there were instances cited in the report, I haven’t read the report.”

He always comes back to the same argument.  “Americans died in the attacks” as if that is justification to purposely hurt people with “techniques” that we have promised not to use and prosecuted others who have used them in the past.  And, remember, they did this in our name!

But lying to the American people is second nature to Dick Cheney and the rest of the Bush administration.  Remember the lies they told us about why we had to go to war in Iraq?  Or, how they lied to us when memos about the authorization of the use of torture leaked in 2002?  Their response was “that nobody was being tortured, that existing laws were being observed, that it has abided by international conventions barring torture, and that detainees at Guantanamo and elsewhere have been treated humanely.”

Or, how about when Marc Thiessen, who was a speechwriter for Bush, wrote in his 2010 book that “no one was tortured, maybe a few people were roughed up, but no deaths in custody took place in the C.I.A. interrogation program.”

If anyone had any doubts about the twisted, sick mindset of Dick Cheney and his cronies, this report is giving us clear vision into their souls.  Fox News is also showing us their true colors in their utter fictional insistence that these techniques were not torture and saved lives.

Torture does not save lives.  Torture only allows sick, twisted, evil people to “have fun” with people they despise.  That is not justice.  That is not interrogation.  That is pure evil, and that is what Dick Cheney has let loose in our name.

For a long time, I thought that Cheney should be tried for his crimes.  I am now beginning to believe that since he doesn’t consider these “techniques” as torture, we should subject him to the same “techniques” to see if he changes his mind and tells us the truth for once.  But I doubt it will work.  In my opinion, Dick Cheney is the face of Pure Evil!

Read Full Post »

I was going to hold off on saying anything about the CIA Report that was released yesterday.  I wanted to actually read and digest the information contained in it before making any statements.  However, with all of the apologists running around telling us how effective these torture techniques were, my anger keeps growing by the minute.

I am not going to write about what is in the report since I haven’t read the whole thing yet,  But, I am going to write about the whole argument surrounding torture practiced by the last administration.  I am going to say this as plain as I can.

Torture is the most vile, evil and intolerable form of interrogation imaginable.  The only people who participate in torturing prisoners are sick, evil, pathological criminals who do not deserve a single word of praise of any kind!

Please understand me.  I am not making a sweeping accusation against every member of the CIA.  I know people who work there, and they would never be party to any of this idiocy.  They are really trying to protect us through real intelligence gathering on our enemies.  I even know people who resigned from the agency when all of this first came to light.  They were even more disgusted than I was.  But that does not remove the fact that members of the CIA were involved in torturing prisoners.

The right-wing is all in an uproar about the release of the report.  Apologists from the Director of the CIA, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and George W. Bush, et al, are all singing the praises of the CIA for conducting such techniques.  They claim that torturing prisoners “saved lives.”  They are lying through their pearly white teeth.  Instead of “saving lives” they have put the lives of American Armed Service Personnel and American Civilians working abroad in danger.

The military has known for decades that torture does not work.  We have seen, and some of our service members have experienced torture at the hands of an enemy.  That torture did not work then, and it does not work now.  So why do people believe that torture works?  Because they are very sick individuals without any regard for the rule of law or common decency.

America is a signatory to the Geneva Convention.  That means we are not allowed to torture prisoners.  Until the George W. Bush administration we abided by that agreement.  I don’t want to hear any more stupid arguments how these prisoners were not “prisoners of war” they were terrorists.  That has always been a bogus argument to justify the sick nature their treatment.

There is another argument that goes we were justified because we were attacked.  Well, we were attacked on December 7, 1941.  We did not treat prisoners in that war as we have treated these prisoners.  We abided by the agreement.  Again, this is just another sick argument to justify the fact that we allowed sick people to mistreat prisoners.

The torture techniques used by the Bush Administration basically constitute criminal atrocities!  The absolute idiocy in all of this is the only person from that administration who is serving any jail time is a whistleblower who brought the torture to light in the first place.

Here I am going to say something that may sound hypocritical and probably anger a lot of people.  If I was President right now, due to the political pressure we already face, I probably wouldn’t attempt to declassify all of the report in order to prosecute the previous administration and those responsible for the torture.

Instead, I would probably go on TV with an address to the nation.  In that address, I would acknowledge the report and everything in it.  I would explain what I believe needs to be changed in regards to the CIA so this sort of thing could never happen again.  I would even put forth a plan that Congress could vote on to make those changes.

One thing I would definitely do is to say:  “In order to fix our problems, we need the cooperation of anyone who may have been involved to tell us the truth about what happened.  Therefore, I grant a pardon to the previous administration and those in the CIA who may have been involved so they can be fee to tell the truth in the necessary upcoming hearings on Capital Hill.”

Before you go completely crazy over my suggestion, please understand my reasoning.  By granting a “pardon” the President will be placing a very big “C” for criminal on the previous administration.  He will be signaling to the world that we understand that these people committed criminal acts.  Because of a simple pardon, the George W. Bush administration will be known throughout history as an administration who committed atrocities.

In the meantime, when we see another headline talking about the killing of an American by a group like ISIS or Al-Qaeda or another terrorist group, we will know that the George W. Bush administration is fully responsible due to their own acts of barbarism.

I have believed that the one thing that really made Americans stand out from the crowd was our ability to face adversity and fear with a calm and reason.  The Bush administration used fear as an excuse to torture people.  As a veteran and a citizen I find that unforgivable.

Read Full Post »

I finished up my shopping for this holiday season yesterday.  My wife is retiring early next year and she needs some leisure clothes.  As I wandered around looking for something she would like, I was struck by something.  I noticed, especially when it comes to apparel, that American Consumers are being exploited on a regular basis and don’t even realize it.  That exploitation is not for the good of American Workers but rather foreign workers.

First a little background.  In 1993, NAFTA was shoved down our throats in a fast-track vote in Congress.  Since then, we have seen China become a “Preferred Trade Nation” and the South Korea free trade agreement passed.  Since 1993, America has lost almost 3 million factory jobs.  If we still had those factory jobs, our unemployment rate would be about 3% and the economy would be booming.

These job losses are a direct result of these trade agreements.  They have made it much easier for companies to shut down American Factories and ship them overseas to places like Mexico, China, and South Korea.  Almost all of the garments you are currently wearing come from foreign countries even though the company selling them is supposed to be an American company.

This move overseas has also resulted in more companies avoiding their taxes.  And, as we have heard recently, more companies are buying up foreign companies just to say the home country of the company they bought is now their new corporate headquarters.  Again this is a ploy to avoid or seriously reduce U.S. Tax obligations.  Because of these trade agreements, we are losing jobs and our government is losing revenue which increases our deficit.

That brings us back to my shopping yesterday.  I don’t care what you want to purchase, every company now is putting their logo on everything you buy.  For example, if you purchase active wear from Nike, you either have Nike on the clothes or the Nike Swoosh logo.

Nike, like the other active wear companies, hire professional sports stars to hawk their products.  Then they sell their products at huge profit margins.  For example, Nike pays stars like Michael Jordan millions of dollars annually to use his name on shoes.  They make the shoes in China.  The pay rate in China is about 1 dollar per hour.  That may even be a bit high.  So, including material to make the shoes, Air Jordans probably cost the company about 20 – 30 dollars a pair to make (that is a guess not actual fact).  They then import the shoes into the U.S. and sell them for well over $100.

Nike is not alone in the either.  Other companies do the same thing.  Who can blame them for wanting to compete?  But, the part where exploitation comes in is these stupid logos on the front of everything they make.

It isn’t just active wear companies either.  You find logos on just about everything you buy.  If you want a Polo brand shirt, you have their logo on the front.  If you buy a winter jacket, there is a logo on the front.  They are everywhere and we can’t help but wear them.

The exploitation part is that you are actually being used as a walking billboard for the company you purchase from.  Take something as mundane as a ball cap.  Many golfers wear caps while playing golf to keep the sun off of their heads.  They usually purchase a cap that bears a company name on it.  Then they go out and play golf and become a walking billboard for the company whose name is on the hat.  Problem is that hat cost the golfer anywhere from $10 to $30 depending on where he bought it.

As a result, the golfer is basically paying a company to advertise for them.  Shouldn’t it be the other way around?  Shouldn’t the company be paying us to advertise for them?  If people like Michael Jordan can be paid millions of dollars to advertise, shouldn’t the average person be paid at least hundreds of dollars to advertise for the same company?

As I said, this isn’t just with athletic and active wear.  Your winter jacket has a logo on it.  Your polo type shirts have logos on them.  Your shoes have logos on them.  Your hats have logos on them.  Your jeans have logos on them.  About the only thing that doesn’t have a logo on them is your underwear.  If you were allowed to walk down the street in your underwear, there would be a logo on that too.

The concept of having a logo on clothes is not, in itself, offensive.  The fact that I don’t have a choice that the logo is there, and therefore being used by the company as free advertising, is offensive.  Especially when that product is not made in America.  Look, I try to buy American every chance I get.  But, as everyone knows, that is becoming harder and harder as time goes by.

Just about everything we purchase today either comes from another country, or at least parts of it comes from another country.  Meaning jobs that could help boost our economy and our middle-class are being lost forever.  So, we are basically being forced to purchase clothes we like at exorbitant prices and then give the company free advertising to boost their profits.  Profits that are not helping Americans at all.

I can only think of one way to fight back.  We need legislation passed through Congress that expressly prohibits logos on any apparel that is not 100% made in the U.S.A.  That way we can easily distinguish the companies who benefit American workers and those who don’t.  Yes, I know you can always look at the label to find out where it was made, but I bet hardly anyone does.  Especially with the small print on the labels.

This may seem like a trivial matter to most people.  But the best way for Americans to “Buy American” is to make it easy for the consumers to know what is made in America.  Only allowing American Companies who actually manufacture their apparel in America is a good way to start.  At least that way we have a better means to choose if we wish to advertise for a product by wearing it.

If we are going to be forced to freely advertise for companies, let’s at least make sure we are advertising for truly American Companies with their factories employing American Workers.  I Bet that would boost the economy!

Read Full Post »

Eight months ago, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence voted to release its report of the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques.”  Since then, the Senate has been in negotiations with the CIA over its release.  Last week, Secretary of State, John Kerry, telephoned Sen. Dianne Feinstein and asked that she delay the report’s release.

Bloomberg reported “His call came after an interagency process that decided the release of the report early next week … could complicate relationships with foreign countries at a sensitive time and posed an unacceptable risk to U.S. personnel and facilities abroad.”

Of course, Fox News has outlandish headlines reporting “US posts on alert over potential backlash from CIA report, lawmaker warns of ‘violence’.  Needless to say that “lawmaker” who wars of “violence” is none other than House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich.

“I think this is a terrible idea,” Rogers said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Foreign leaders have approached the government and said, ‘You do this, this will cause violence and deaths.’ Our own intelligence community has assessed that this will cause violence and deaths.”

Of course, the fact that the CIA used “enhanced interrogation techniques” to garner information from detainees is nothing new.  This has been reported on ever since 2002.  The report does not actually break ground in reporting these techniques such as waterboarding, sleep deprivation, or confinement in small spaces.  All intended to “break” the detainee.  The problem is that none of these techniques proved to be useful in obtaining any information that couldn’t have been gotten through normal interrogation methods.

I have no doubt that releasing this report will casus violence in parts of the world.  I also believe that American diplomats and personnel need to be on high alert to protect themselves from such violence.  Remember, it was a stupid internet movie about Islam that caused violence in Arab nations in the Mideast and Africa in 2012.  Radicals are always looking for tools to use to recruit new terrorists.  This report would obviously be used for those purposes.

But, the release of the report means more to this country than to others.  During this shameful period in our history, the government actually “sanctioned” these “enhanced interrogation methods” against detainees.  That sanctioning was in direct violation of our own Constitution.  Something the right claims to want to uphold.  Releasing the report may help to heal the wounds caused by these actions.  It should also make it more difficult for future administrations to follow such practices.

This report is basically a 480 page executive summary of the final report of over 6,000 pages of still classified documents.  The right is fully against the release of the report because it will expose George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for their complicity in these illegal acts.  Don’t forget, no one has ever been brought to trial for these shameless acts.  No one has even been held accountable in any way for them.

I think the report should be released for one simple reason.  How can we as a nation supposed to support law and order be kept in the dark about possible violations by our own government of that “law and order”?  How can we continue to espouse we are a nation of laws, liberties, freedom, and rights while hiding a past that violates those very tenets we supposedly hold dear.

By releasing the report, we will also be showing the world that we won’t hide our heads in the sand when our government does something wrong.  We are willing to air our dirty laundry to show that we are fallible.  That we know the difference between right and wrong.  That we are willing to accept when our government breaks the very laws they are supposed to uphold.

What could say more about a people than to admit our wrongs and to work diligently to ensure those wrongs are never repeated?  Evil things were done in our name.  We have a right to know the depths of those wrongs and who were responsible for committing them.  That is what democracy is about.  That is what America is supposed to be about.

If release of the report is held up until the next Congress goes into session, it will never see the light of day.  Republicans will never allow its release because it will shoot holes in their “uphold the constitution” mantra.  War crimes do not uphold our constitution.

 

Read Full Post »

Thanksgiving is over and the Christmas Season has officially begun.  Being of sound mind and body, I decided not to partake in the madness of Black Friday.  As a matter of fact, I make it a point to stay away from any shopping area during the Thanksgiving weekend.  If the right-wing news media wants to show rioting, they just need to show up at places like Wal-Mart and film the raucous behavior of the shoppers.

Now that the madness of Black Friday weekend is over as well, most of us will settle back into our lives.   We will begin to make our “wish lists” for gifts we hope to get.  And, we will eventually head to the malls and do our shopping, if we don’t shop online.  Again, personally I prefer to shop in local stores rather than online.  I try to purchase from local stores and only go to national stores when I can’t find what I want at local merchants.  I prefer spending my money in my community, where I hope it will stay.

As we move along during this festive season, the right-wing will begin its obnoxious rantings about how Christmas is under attack.  The Self-Anointed Prophet Bill O’Reilly and his cronies will begin their “War on Christmas” in earnest.  We will hear how it is offensive to wish someone Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas.  Even though Christmas is not the only holiday celebrated at this time of year.

O’Reilly will pontificate about the true meaning of Christmas and how the left is trying to do away with Christmas and with Christianity itself.  He will wail about how you can no longer have the government pay to put up religious scenes on public property.  He will cry about how other religious groups can put up displays next to Christmas displays in parks as long as they pay for them.  You see, it is all a conspiracy created by the President to make America a heathen country with no religion, or worse yet, a Muslim country.

The Conservative Christian Cult will join in the chorus of complaints.  They will wail about how LGBT groups are making it difficult for “normal” people to celebrate Christmas.   They will tell us that allowing LGBT people to raise children is an aberration that is killing religion and Christmas in the country.

The right-wing of the Republican Party will have their own versions of how those “others” are killing our family values and our traditions.  Christmas will be high on their list of things that those “others” are trying to eliminate.  We will hear time and again how the U.S. was “founded using Christian Principles” by our Founding Fathers.

All the time, these people will be wailing against everyone who is not what they consider to be a “real Christian” but rather a “Christian In Name Only”.    The right will be wailing against everyone who is not in their camp.  They will scream about anything they feel is a slap to their beliefs.

The questions we should ask ourselves though is what are these people actually trying to get done with their “War on Christmas?”  Are they really afraid that Christmas is going away?  Are they really afraid that Christianity is going away?  What are they really afraid will happen?

We will be able to answer those questions simply by looking at what they have and are trying to pass as legislation.   They have passed, and are still trying to pass, legislation that would allow you to discriminate against anyone you wish simply on religious grounds.  They passed legislation, and took a fight to SCOTUS to keep “religious companies” from having to include birth control in their medical plans.

They have been passing legislation with the sole intent of making abortion illegal.  They are telling everyone that if a woman gets raped, she must have “invited” the rape by her actions.  They have fought legislation that increases the penalties for domestic abuse and child abuse.  They have, and will continue to introduce legislation that will force their religious beliefs on the rest of society.  They call this “freedom of religion” all the while denying others their religious freedom.

What these people are actually doing is making the divide in our country even bigger.  They are preaching to the older generation (unfortunately, my generation) about how life used to be and how things are changing.  As a result, their quiet little lives are under attack by all of those “others” who are out to get them.  The problem is that the older generation is falling for their gimmick.  They all seem to have forgotten about the changes we fought for in the 60s.  They fell into their own little world and basically checked out of society.  They lost their dreams and their Christianity.  Yes, hippies were mostly Christian.

As a result, the very people who fought for social change in the past, are now the ones afraid of change in the future.  The Cult and the far right-wing wackos are taking advantage of this amnesia to take over the country and form their little theocracy.

Our country was founded to be a secular nation.  “The government shall endorse no religion” is very prominent in the First Amendment.  Freedom of Religion means we all have the right to live our lives believing in any religion we choose.  Or, to live our lives NOT believing in any religion at all.  And, with no fear that the government will interfere with those rights.

Which brings us back to the celebration of Christmas by Christians.  If the Cult and their lackeys on the far right are against religious beliefs they do not agree with, are they really Christians?  If they believe that discriminating against someone they consider to be “sinful” is legal, don’t they go against Christian teachings?  If they believe that their wealth is the result of god favoring them, doesn’t that go against Jesus saying “give up all you have and follow me?”  If they are against the social safety nets that help the most needy in our society, doesn’t that put them at odds with “whatever you do to the least of you, you do to me?”

So, when the Cult ramps up their rhetoric about the “War on Christmas” and the “War on Christianity” remember it is they who are the real attackers of both.  They are the ones who claim to be Christians but defy all of the Christian teachings.  Sorry, but the Cult is anything but Christian.  They are anything but Americans, either.  Their real Christmas Wish is to have enough power to make America a white, Cult country where everyone else is a second-class citizen.  In their power-hungry, crazy thinking, that is celebrating the real meaning of Christmas!  After all “Peace On Earth” and “Goodwill Towards All” are just left-wing words against the real spirit of Christmas.

 

Read Full Post »

On the eve of Thanksgiving, are we witnessing the Requiem For American Democracy?  I do not ask this question flippantly either.  It is something that we need to answer this holiday season, or we will certainly face the real possibility of our freedoms and liberties going the way of the dodo bird.

Two days ago, in Ferguson, MO. the county prosecutor made his announcement that Officer Darren Wilson would not face any charges for the shooting death of Michael Brown.  This announcement, unfortunately, was totally anticipated by anyone who has been watching the tragedy playing out for nearly four months.

The also anticipated rioting happened within hours of the announcement.  Depending on what network you watch, these riots are either the result of a few “outsiders” who went to Ferguson to cause trouble, or it is the result of an entire race of people who do not believe in law and order.  I think you can guess which networks are saying what without even turning on the TV.

The riots in Ferguson are deplorable.  I have always believed that protests are the only way that ordinary people have to get their voices heard.  However, I have always deplored violence.  Violence, as they say, begets violence.  Additionally, in such circumstances, it is extremely hard to determine who is actually causing the violence.  For example, on the first night, I was watching and saw the police firing smoke bombs at protesters.  I don’t know why they were firing smoke bombs either.  It appeared that the protesters at that point were peaceful.

As the confrontation continued, violence became more of the norm and the situation escalated out of hand.  That is the problem with rioting.  You don’t know how it all starts.  Plus, you don’t know which tactics are helping or hurting the situation.  As Mayor Richard J. Dailey said during the 1968 Convention Riots in Chicago: “The police are not there to cause the riots.  They are there to preserve the riots.”

But, it isn’t the rioting in Ferguson that makes me ask the question.  There have been riots before, and I believe there will probably be riots in the future.  What makes me ask the question, is the way the county prosecutor handled it from the beginning.  A Grand Jury hearing is NOT a trial.  It is only used to keep control of the prosecutorial process.  In a Grand Jury, they are supposed to look at evidence to see if there is sufficient evidence to charge a person with a crime.

In normal Grand Jury hearings, the whole process is controlled by the prosecutor.  The prosecutor is using the Grand Jury to support his belief that a crime was committed and that there should be a public trial of the case.  Defendants, or the accused, are usually not present, and do not testify at the hearing.  Again, this is not a trial.  It is a secret hearing to protect the Jurors and allow them to make a fair judgement of whether or not there is sufficient evidence to press charges.

Unfortunately, in this case, the Grand Jury hearing was not a Grand Jury hearing.  It was basically a “secret trial” of the accused.  And, that is very troubling to me.  If you don’t believe it was a “secret trial” just listen to the noise from those who supported Wilson.  They are calling this decision an acquittal.  How can it be an acquittal if there was no trial?

The prosecutor said that he would release all of the transcripts of the hearing to prove his point.  I find that extremely dubious at best.  Let’s face facts.  Whenever a person reads anything, they add their personal biases in their readings.  Plus, you do not hear the voice inflections of the person testifying or the person asking the questions.  Verbal testimony at trials is critical because we can hear those inflections and see the body language of the people involved.

Those inflections and body language often allows us a visual to help determine if the person is telling the truth.  It also allows us to determine if the question is a “softball” intended to help the witness or a “hardball” intended to poke holes in their testimony.  Nor, are we able to tell which witnesses were treated as “friendly” or “hostile” which can make a lot of difference as well.  Simply reading the transcript will not give us those “signals” of truth or fabrication.

I know, for example, that anyone reading this article, will determine whether or not they agree with me based on their biases.  If someone is prone to “lean left” there is a real possibility they will agree with me.  If the reader is more prone to “lean right” I doubt this article will sway them.  And, that is fair enough.

As a result, we are still faced with the fact that this was a “secret trial” which the prosecutor did not want to go public.  Which makes me wonder why the prosecutor did not want to take the trial public.  I once lived in the area near Ferguson for three years.  I had a few police officers as friends.  Most were honest hard-working officers in the true pursuit of protecting the public.  Others were simply driven by their power over certain “classes” of people.  I suppose that is true everywhere.

By allowing the county prosecutor to hold his “secret trial” the Judicial System has another chink in its armor of being “equal” for all.  History also shows that “secret trials” are the beginning of the end of the democratic process.  By denying the family of the real victim in this case to have an open and public trial to determine the guilt or innocence of the shooter, the system has failed again.

It may have turned out that Darren Wilson would have been found not-guilty of any charges brought against him.  It is also possible that he would have been found guilty.  We shall never know because the county prosecutor did not want the real truth to come out in the open.  He wanted to control the narrative and the justice system in defense of a police officer.  This same prosecutor has taken four other similar cases of police officers shooting unarmed civilians to the Grand Jury.  In all of those cases, not one single charge against a police officer was handed down.

As we sit around the table this Thanksgiving we should be asking the real question.  Does this case signal a Requiem For American Democracy?  Some call this case justice.  Most call this case a charade.  If we continue to allow prosecutors to hold “secret trials” we will never know the truth.  “Secret trials” could be the real beginning of the end for our democratic way of life.

 

Read Full Post »

So, here we are at the beginning of the Thanksgiving Day week.  Wal-Mart, Kmart, Bass Pro Shop and others are all planning to open on Thanksgiving Day, denying their employees time with their families on this holiday.

It has been reported by several outlets, that these stores that plan on being open on Thanksgiving Day are threatening their employees with termination if they choose to stay home and celebrate the holiday.  Once again corporate greed is trumping our holidays.

Let’s take a minute to look at this holiday.  According to those wonderful patriotic conservatives, this is supposed to be a day when we give thanks to god, or whatever, for our blessings.  It is a day to celebrate our country and spend time with family and friends.  It is supposed to be a patriotic day.

Somewhere along the line, those sentiments went by the board.  Somewhere along the line, these very same ultra-conservatives have lost their zeal for family and patriotism.  Why would they be the least offended by this mass movement to ignore Thanksgiving Day celebrations?

Well, it could be that the ultra-conservatives simply aren’t paying attention to the degradation of our nation’s holiday.  It could be that they have forgotten about all of these things and got lost in the worship of manna.  But, I think that it is more likely that they simply don’t consider the rest of us worthy of being able to spend time with family and friends.  We aren’t worthy of an extra day off to celebrate a national holiday.

Why is it so important for a store like Kmart to open their doors for business on Thanksgiving Day at 6 AM?  I know that the holiday shopping season between Thanksgiving and Christmas makes up the bulk of the retail business.  I have heard estimates that between 40 and 50 percent of retail earnings are made during this one time of the year.  That is the reason stores usually extend shopping hours now.

But, the start of “Black Friday” has screwed up the entire shopping season.  At first, stores were opening as early at 4 AM on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Since many people are off on that Friday, it made sense to get them out for early sales.  I have never really had a problem with that.  But, in the last few years, more and more stores have “extended” Black Friday to Thanksgiving Day.  I do have a problem with that.

I am sure we all have memories of sitting around the big dining room table with our families, in many cases extended families, and having a big turkey dinner.  We watched football on TV, or went outside for a friendly game of tag football with our parents and children.  It was a time of festive activities and good family fun.

Of course, there were some professions where people still had to work on Thanksgiving.  People like EMTs, Hospital Nurses, Police, Fire, and the Military were required to work.  But, very few other professions were required to work.

Now, Thanksgiving Day has lost its meaning.  Its meaning wasn’t lost because people stopped celebrating it.  It wasn’t lost because people became more secular.  It was lost because of the ever-present charge for the almighty dollar.  The dollar became more important than workers.  The dollar became more important than families.

The owners of these stores opening on Thanksgiving Day will certainly be home enjoying the time off.  They will certainly enjoy their big dinner in the company of their family and friends.  They will certainly be counting their blessings.  All the while, their employees will be forced to work so the owners can make more money.

It also strikes me that the vast majority of stores that are threatening employees with their jobs if they fail to go to work that day are the same companies who are fighting tooth-and-nail to keep the minimum wage low.  They are the same companies that are subsidizing their profits on the backs of the American Taxpayer by not providing health care coverage and/or a livable wage to their employees.

I ask Fox News why they haven’t manufactured a new story about Thanksgiving?  Why hasn’t Fox News campaigned against a “Corporate War on Thanksgiving” in their coverage?  Why hasn’t Rush Limbaugh railed against the unpatriotic behavior of these companies?  Why hasn’t Glenn Beck screamed into the microphone about how corporations are ruining Thanksgiving for the average people?

We are returning to the days when company’s are treating their employees like property and not people.  In the olden days of mining, the company owned everything.  They owned the houses around the mine that workers paid rent to live in.  They owned the stores where workers were forced to purchase their groceries, clothes and other items necessary.  They even charged the miners for their tools and explosives necessary to work in the mine.

The silence on the right is testimony to their total contempt of the “average person”.  It is testimony to their belief that workers are nothing more than property or tools for the wealthy to become more wealthy.  Then again, when you live in an oligarchy, this is what you should expect.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 202 other followers