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September 11-17, 2008 firstname.lastname@example.org
• See Jim Hightower
• See Danish Plan
• See Perspectives
(Re: “McCain knows how to make up his mind and live with the results. Does Obama?” Danish Plan, Aug. 28.) In his Aug. 28 Danish Plan column, Paul Danish correctly observes that in modern American mediated politics, image trumps substance. He remarks that while Obama appears deliberative, focused on issues, and seeking the best path, McCain projects an image of certainty as a “man who had learned how to choose and live with the consequences of his choices.”
America has just experienced eight years of this kind of leadership — a leader projecting stubborn certainty and determination — but it should now be clear that Bush never really had a clue where he was going and has led his country and the world into a train wreck. His courage, certainty and willingness to “live with the consequences of his choices” were a façade, and it is others that now have to live with those consequences. Will Americans learn?
The concept of democratic governance has faced this problem of the cult of the “leader,” perhaps beginning with a crisis in Athenian democracy in the fifth century B.C. Political philosophers of the time had serious debates about the limitations and self-destructive tendencies of democratic systems, later evidenced throughout Greek and Roman history.
It is interesting that no other democracy since the founding of the United States has copied our unitary, executive-oriented, winner-take-all political system. They have all opted for parliamentary systems that disperse power and engage minority representation. Neither of the two emerging global empires today (that will likely displace America in the coming decades), the European Union and China, utilize this unitary executive form of leadership. The EU does not have as chief executive officer at all, and its member nations distribute power between presidents, prime ministers and bureaucracies. China is governed by committee structures at both the top and the bottom.
We Americans are a hero-loving culture, be it in sports, movies or politics. As the media scholar George Lakoff has observed, McCain and Palin seek to win by changing the game to one that is “…not about external realities, but about the symbolic mechanisms of the political mind — the worldviews, frames, metaphors, cultural narratives and stereotypes. The Republicans can’t win on realities.”
Can Obama adapt his message? Can American democracy adapt?
Timothy D. Schoechle/Boulder
(Re: “Conspiracy on the big screen,” Arts & Culture, Aug. 28.) In response to the “Conspiracy on the big screen” article by Dylan Otto Krider: What has happened to objective journalism? I was thoroughly underwhelmed with the verse and excruciatingly status-quo perspective the piece was written with.
Ready to throw me into the Conspiratists lot? Here’s a few facts that the author is obviously unaware of:
The so-called “9/11 Truth Movement” was started by none other than the victims’ families. More than 50 percent of the families directly impacted from 9/11 believe that the American government had a direct hand in orchestrating the event.
Other “9/11 Truthers” that also believe 9/11 was government controlled include:
The Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury under Reagan and the “Father of Reaganomics,” Paul Craig Roberts PhD; Chief Economist U.S. Department of Labor under George W. Bush 2001-2002, Morgan Reynolds PhD; and Joel S. Hirschhorn, B.S. Metallurgical Engineering, M.S. Metallurgical Engineering, PhD Materials Engineering and former director of Environment, Energy and Natural Resources National.
I’m sure there are “dental engineers” and good ol’ fashioned paranoid conspiracy theorists out there that surface in the 9/11 truth ranks, but to insinuate that this is the whole picture is an obviously biased and uneducated perspective.
First Avril, then burqas
(Re: “Hey! Hey! You! You! Get out of our country!,” ICUMI, Aug. 28.) In the Aug. 28 ICUMI section, you took a rather cavalier approach to pressure being brought to bear in Malaysia to cancel appearances by singer Avril Lavigne. From the BW perspective, the fact that her work sucks and that she’s anorexic seems to make it OK. What you miss is how pervasive Islamic “outrage” has become — as part of a larger plan to impose strict Shari’a law.
At first, the complaints sound reasonable, coming from a modest culture. But once this concert series is scrubbed, it will prove a precedent-setting move — a path to be followed later when demands are put forth that all females be burqa-clad, with only eye slits in the fabric to see from. With time, music and performances of any sort will be outlawed, as was the way of Mohammad, who took a dim view of satire pointed in his direction (see Ibn Hajar Haytami 1503-1566 AD)
The model is clearly on display in Peshawar, NWFP, between Afghanistan and Pakistan, where hundreds of girls’ schools have been bombed or burned to the ground, sometimes with the pupils still inside. Music stores and beauty salons are likewise banned, and if you don’t think this is the plan for Western countries as well, you just aren’t listening. Look at the “moderate” Islamic countries of Indonesia and Turkey, where churches are regularly attacked and religious minorities live in fear for their very lives. Google Spain, The Maldives, Thailand, India, The Philippines, France, Britain, Denmark, Chechnya, Somalia, Algeria, Sudan (Darfur), Bosnia.
And make no mistake, death is always the threat. Once the cowards bow their heads, action can be concentrated on those who stand up. If the consequences are dire enough, some portion of the brave will remove themselves from the battle as well — the result being slavery under dhimmitude for those who refuse to convert, as is the custom historically.
For those who value freedom of speech, pay attention. Already, criticism of Islam in all forms is under attack. Authors are sued under “hate speech” codes in Canada. The U.N. and E.U. are under pressure from the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to make criticism of “religion” a crime.
Student groups with murky funding engage in intimidation, crying Islamophobia along the way. Petrodollars flow liberally to locate the choke points in the publishing and media industries, censoring projects before they even get off the ground. Books on Islamic terrorism will not be printed, movies will not be made, and journalists avoid the topic entirely, unless as a means of engaging in anti-American moral equivalence. Such is the result of tolerance and appeasement of the intolerant. Each demand met followed by yet another.
What’s Palin’s plan?
In her acceptance speech, Sarah Palin showed her stuff laughing that the difference between hockey moms and pit bulls is lipstick. As a good hockey mom, Sarah is also bullish on big oil, big wars and big money for the really rich. She appears to have little interest in the economy, the environment, education or anything that falls outside her biblical world view.
Foreign affairs, who cares? Diplomacy, huh? The Constitution, what’s that?
The time may come when it is her finger on the button. Those of us not quite ready to be rapturized ponder the profundity of the problem that “pit bull” Palin poses.
It is scary to think that a person with such a horrible record could be nominated for vice president. This lady as mayor took a small town with zero debt and created millions of dollars in debt for that town. Imagine how much debt she could create with the national budget.
Another example of her fiscal irresponsibility is her original support of the Bridge to Nowhere. Even Sen. McCain has several times cited Sarah Palin for her pork spending.
She is in the pocket of big oil and her inauguration was even sponsored by BP.
She supports drilling in the Alaska Wildlife Refuge that the oil company reports show will save consumers 2 cents per gallon in 10 years.
Being an Independent, I have tried to remain objective during this election and listen to both sides. However I find it increasingly hard to give the Republican ticket a chance particularly after the selection of Sarah Palin as the VP candidate. Being a molecular biology major, I base many of my decisions on facts. That is why I am so concerned about the possibility of someone like Palin being a heartbeat away from the presidency.
Palin has stated that she wants to teach creationism in public schools. She also favors abstinence-only sexual education. On global warming she said, “I’m not one who would attribute it to being manmade.”
I also found it unsettling that, for claiming to have stood up to the boys club and big oil in Alaska during her speech, her inauguration was sponsored by BP. It was also revealing of her character to claim a stance against earmarks and the infamous Bridge to Nowhere when she, in fact, did support the project as recently as 2006. So to borrow from Hillary: “No way, no how, no Palin!”
Shane Mitchell/Highlands Ranch, Colo.
Sarah Palin in not a candidate to be taken at face value.
She holds extremist positions which do not coincide with the manner in which the McCain campaign is attempting to market her to the public. For example, she believes the Iraq war carries a holy component as “God’s task.” Also, she has close ties to big oil companies, going so far as to have her inauguration sponsored by BP. Finally, several of her views on educational content are archaic and narrow-minded, specifically relating to sexuality and scientific origin.
Please do not allow the McCain campaign’s marketing of Palin’s substanceless characteristics such as gender, socioeconomic origin or family orientation to purchase your vote. Force candidates to earn your vote through more than mindless demographic affinity.
Having moved back to “the Lower 48” in 1990 after living nine years in Alaska, I appreciate how distant Alaska’s concerns are from the rest of the nation. There is no income tax in Alaska because most government services are funded from oil-tax revenues. When crude oil prices are high, Americans pay more for gas at the pump, but in Alaska they call that “a boom economy.”
To Alaskans, particularly for the governor of Alaska, it would be absolutely impossible to view high oil prices as anything but good. This translates that no Alaskan in good conscience would ever lift a finger to lower the price of gas at the pump, but it might be worth asking Sarah Palin how she plans on doing just that.
Scott Webb/Nashville, Tenn.
Redistribution saves the day
I find it a real shame that Democrats get branded as the “taxing” party. I am a GDI, but I tire of the ragging, “Tax, spend, elect.” The GOP is famous for “Spend, borrow, [be] indict[ed].” My preference is clear at this time. It seems when the GOP is in power, many needs are deferred or ignored.
Look around at infrastructure, schools, health care, while the fat cats accumulate their seventh luxury home or their second sailplane or their Gulf stream. We are rapidly becoming what was once termed a third-world nation. And so, when the Democrats take power (it does happen), they see the mess and try to catch up with needed expenditures. This usually means “revenue enhancement,” stronger IRS enforcement, etc. You would not want to know how I bled for the IRS last year.
But I remain cheerful, for I maintain hope that balance, not “redistribution,” saves the day. It’s only redistribution if some poor person ends up with more and the rich end up with less. The rich will make up for any personal short-term deficit through layoffs, so the disadvantaged will still be just that. But at least we might have roads and schools and hospitals and airports that are worth using.
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