Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – October 26, 2012

News flash – the RomneyRyan strategy is to get all the Neanderthal votes in America. That can be the only explanation for Mitt Romney refusing to totally disavow miscreants like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock. Meanwhile it would appear that critics of the Obama Administration’s handling of the Benghazi tragedy believe that action movies are true. Finally, speaking on behalf of Mitt Romney, John Sununu said that Colin Powell is supporting President Obama (again) because he is black. Someone please find him a white hood, robe and burning cross.

The Cave Man Strategy

Todd Akin, who is already a Teapublican member of the House of Representatives, is running for the office of senator in Missouri. He has referred to his opponent, incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill, as “unladylike”. He has more famously stated that in cases of “actual rape” women’s bodies “shut that thing down” so that they don’t get pregnant.

Richard Mourdock, who is the Teapublican nominee for senator in Indiana, has stated that while rape is a horrible thing, a pregnancy resulting from rape is the “will of God”. That this idiot can presume to know the “will of God” is proof of his idiocy. That this idiot might have a role in determining the fate of women’s reproductive choices is a tragedy in waiting.

Meanwhile vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan is unapologetically “pro-life”. He is so absolute on this subject that he has co-sponsored and co-conspired with Todd Akin to introduce legislation that would virtually eliminate legal abortion in the United States. When asked about exceptions in the instance of rape, Mr. Ryan has replied that circumstances of conception are not relevant.

Mitt Romney has said that in his mythical presidency he would happily sign a bill that outlawed abortion without exceptions. The arrogance and presumption of such a flawed perspective is stunning.

In seeking to drag women back to the Stone Age can only mean that Teapublican pollsters have discovered that there is a huge, but hidden Neanderthal vote that can propel the RomneyRyan ticket to victory. Clearly they believe that there are enough women-hating men and enough women who are willing to give up their reproductive choices to the will of these men to insure that victory.

We shall see.

Libya – The Movie

There has been a lot of Teapublican criticism of the Obama Administration’s handling of the storming of the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. It seems that there is a prevailing view that foreign policy crises resemble the plot from some kind of action movie.

The fact that murderous riots and raging mobs don’t create neat and clean scenarios seems to have escaped the Teapublicans. Also, it seems that these neo-conmen also want us to believe that there are squads of Jack Bauers and James Bonds who can solve every crisis within the time it takes to watch one episode of “24” or one James Bond movie.
Of course the real world is very different. Someone should tell Mitt Romney.

October White Sale

This week former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed President Obama for the second time. In the process of conveying his very important endorsement Secretary Powell was clear in pointing out the very flawed nature of Mitt Romney’s candidacy as part of his reason for supporting the Democratic Party candidate even though he is a registered Republican.

Never missing an opportunity to sound stupid and racist at the same time, Romney surrogate John Sununu contended that Colin Powell’s endorsement was based on one black man supporting another black man. Mr. Sununu was so wrong and so racist that some people have vainly hoped that Mr. Romney might distance himself from such a degrading and insulting remark……..no chance of that.

Mr. Sununu has already referred to President Obama as “lazy” and now calls Secretary Powell a mindless black sheep. One has to wonder when we will find him shopping for a white hood and robe to go with the racist rhetoric that he spews.

Have a great weekend!

Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – February 10, 2012

And now it is time for the Rick Santorum Show. However, is America really ready for the absolute moral code of Santorum’s Brave New World? Meanwhile that sound you hear is the beating of war drums warning of an overhyped and false danger. The only difference between now and ten years ago is one letter of the alphabet – now its Iran instead of Iraq. And sadly, when Ramarley Graham was killed in an encounter with the New York police, too many people only saw tragedy in that he was killed by the police.

Santorum and the Flying Pigs

At the beginning of this year the prospect of Rick Santorum becoming a leading Teapublican presidential candidate ranked right up there with the possibility of pigs flying. And now Rick Santorum soars through the air accompanied by his own personal flying pork escort.

Mr. Santorum seems to be the prime beneficiary of the conjoined ABM (Anybody But Mitt) and ABO (Anybody But Obama) movements. There is no other way to explain the meteoric rise of a failed United States Senator who was cast out of office by the highest percentage of any losing incumbent senator in modern history.

His message of fiscal austerity may be appealing to the right wing of the right wing. That is right up until the time when they find out that annual trillion dollar reductions in the federal budget will result in the loss or diminution of services that are a part of American life – the arts, the senior citizens, the children, the parks and the food supply will bear the brunt of the first tsunami of suffering.

Santorum’s morality message comes straight out of the Inquisition. He seriously tells women who have been raped that a resulting pregnancy should not be terminated and that a child that is the product of that rape is “a gift from God”. Presumably on the Planet Santorum the rape was the gift wrapping.

Santorum goes on to pledge to lead the charge to outlaw all forms of contraception. Don’t laugh at the idea of possession of a condom being a federal crime. Santorum and his supporters are serious.

As we watch Rick Santorum and his flying pig escort fly overhead we should all hustle to get an industrial strength umbrella. That won’t be rain that is falling.

Not Another War!

Historical reports indicate that immediately after the 9/11 attacks Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld started to campaign for a war against Iraq. When Secretary of State Colin Powell correctly pointed out that no ties between Iraq and the 9/11 debacle had been established he was summarily ignored. A year and a half later the United States entered the bloody morass that became the Iraq war over the next decade with close to 5000 dead American soldiers, over 200,000 dead Iraqi citizens and over a trillion dollars of war of unfunded war expenses.

Now, in a macabre version of “Groundhog Day” we are seeing the same scenario roll out again. Instead of fake reports of yellow cake uranium we are learning about Iran’s nuclear capability that has the “potential” to be weaponized. We are told that there are hidden plants, laboratories and factories that are creating a clear and present danger to the United States.

As diplomatic and financial pressure has been brought to bear, American chicken hawks (the ones that never fight but are always eager to send American troops into one military misadventure after another) are fluffing up their feathers to urge this country into yet another disaster. The prospect of a war against Iran is now “on the table” and almost daily we are hearing the same rhetoric that was used in the run up to the Iraq War.

If we do not learn from history we are doomed to repeat it.

Degrees of Death?

A little more than two weeks ago Ramarley Graham, a nineteen year old African American man from the Bronx was killed in an encounter with the police. The circumstances of his death are still under investigation but it is clear that he fled from the police, was chased into his house and was shot and killed during the ensuing struggle.

Understandably members of his family and is community, saddened by this most personal of tragedies, have expressed their grief and outrage at their loss. What is not so easy to understand is the hundreds of politicians, community leaders and residents who have been willing to march in the streets, demonstrate and demand “justice” for Mr. Graham.

It is not so easy to understand because this weekend more young black men will be killed by young black men than by all of the police in the United States. This weekend scores of young black men will be murdered, maimed and paralyzed and the Ku Klux Klan, Posse Comitatus and the Tea Party will have had nothing to do with it. The perpetrators will almost certainly be scores of young black men. It is not so easy to understand because the Ramarley Graham demonstrators stand silent in the face of the deluge of so-called “black on black” crime with the exception of a fleeting candlelight vigil.

A wrongful killing by the police is unacceptable and should be protested. A wrongful killing by a young black man is also hateful and wrong and should be protested. A death is a death.

Have a great weekend!

Point of View Columns

The Death of Osama bin Laden

We can be sure that when he woke up this past Sunday, Osama bin Laden probably did not know that he had less than 24 hours to live. Of course, only the denizens of death row know the appointed time of their departure, but he had to know that he had been living on borrowed time ever since 9/11.

When President Obama announced that U.S. forces had killed Osama bin Laden on Sunday evening, the news was met with spontaneous demonstrations of joy and rejoicing throughout the country. The villain who had successfully plotted the deaths of thousands of Americans had received justice and everyone likes it when the good guys win every once in awhile.

I am hopeful that the death of Bin Laden and the manner in which he was killed will also occasion some thought and reflection after the celebration. We have to remember that during the ten years after the 9/11 debacle in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington billions of dollars and thousands and lives have been wasted on missteps and misinformation.

American troops went into Afghanistan with no clear mission other than to avenge 9/11 and in the process Bin Laden and many of his cohorts slithered away. And a decade later over 100,000 American troops are mired in the muck of a war in Afghanistan trying to do subdue or pacify a country and a people that have defied the best efforts of Alexander the Great, the Scythians, the British Empire and the Soviet Union.

During the past decade billions of dollars and thousands of lives were lost in Iraq pursuing the Great Lie of weapons of mass destruction foisted upon America and the world by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Colin Powell. In the process of losing blood and treasure and capturing Saddam Hussein, a despot who seemed to prefer pornography to plots against the United States, Osama bin Laden continued to inspire plots against this country and its people.

With the death of Bin Laden it is time to revisit the policies that gave him a decade of borrowed time while wasting American lives and treasure. These policies assumed that traditional war strategies would work against an enemy that has no country, no standing army and no permanent base or location.

Bin Laden is not dead because of the 150,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. He is dead because a strike team of less than 30 operatives killed him in Pakistan in less than forty minutes. There is a lesson to be learned from this.

Trying to attack Al Qaeda and its affiliates with huge commitments of troops and weapons is akin to trying to kill a mosquito with a shotgun. It is possible that the mosquito will eventually get hit but that strategy is guaranteed to cause untold collateral damage.

More focused and more surgical missions – missions with a purpose – make sense. More troops stationed in morass after morass does not make sense. And the death of Osama bin Laden gives President Obama an opportunity to flip the script.

President Obama can take this occasion to order a complete review and revision of U.S. military policy with the goal of withdrawing almost all military personnel from Afghanistan and Iraq. Remaining military operatives would be engaged in covert and discrete missions that have the clear purpose of capturing or killing individuals who are responsible for planning or committing acts of terrorism aimed at the United States.

The death of Bin Laden offers the perfect opportunity to quit the morass and walk on the solid ground of common sense. And the reward for returning to a sustainable reality will be saved lives, a healing economy and the first steps towards some sense of real national security.

Finally, it is interesting to note that on April 29th, at the time that the White House was releasing President Obama’s birth certificate to quell the braying of Lilliputians like Trump and Palin, President Obama was giving the final order to kill Osama bin Laden. Clearly he can walk and chew gum at the same time.

The events of the past few days offer a pure and clear contrast. There is President Obama focused on critical global and domestic issues, from the killing of Osama bin Laden to ordering federal aid to tornado victims in Alabama. And then there is Doubting Donald, the hustling huckster, working himself into frenzy over birth certificates and college transcripts, as if anything he might say was of any value or import.

The death of Osama bin Laden accomplished a lot.