Should the U.S. Fear, Antagonize, Denigrate, Irritate or Embrace China?

This anonymous post about anti-China perceptions in the West is viral on the internet. I found it fascinating and thought-provoking. I think you will too…. 

What Do You Really Want From Us?

When we were the sick man of Asia,

We were called the yellow peril.

When we are billed as the next superpower, we are called “the threat.”

When we closed our doors, you launched the Opium War to open our markets.

When we embraced free trade, you blamed us for stealing your jobs.

When we were falling apart, you marched in your troops and demanded your fair share.

When we tried to put the broken pieces back together again, Free Tibet, you screamed. It was an invasion!

When we tried communism, you hated us for being communist.

When we embraced capitalism, you hated us for being capitalist.

When we had a billion people, you said we were destroying the planet.

When we tried limiting our numbers, you said we abused human rights.

When we were poor, you thought we were dogs.

When we lend you cash, you blame us for your national debts.

When we build our industries, you call us polluters.

When we sell you goods, you blame us for global warming.

When we buy oil, you call it exploitation and genocide.

When you go to war for oil, you call it liberation.

When we were lost in chaos, you demanded the rule of law.

When we uphold law and order against violence, you call it a violation of human rights.

When we were silent, you said you wanted us to have free speech.

When we are silent no more, you say we are brainwashed xenophobes.

Why do you hate us so much? we asked.

No, you answered, we don't hate you.

We don't hate you either,

But do you understand us?

Of course we do, you said,

We have AFP, CNN and BBC….

What do you really want from us?

Think hard first, then answer…

Because you only get so many chances.

Enough is enough, enough hypocrisy for this one world.

We want one world, one dream, and peace on earth.

This big blue earth is big enough for all of us.


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A Very Good Save-the-World Software Development Idea. Please Help Yourself! :-)

Will some brilliant programmer please step up and design a google-type software program that can linguistically analyze and determine a speaker/writer’s cooperative tone and intent?


Your new program could identify and distinguish among those writers/speakers whose communications promote a sense of division, partisanship, negativity, polarization, blame, attack, incivility, rudeness, destructiveness, unfriendly competition, bickering and hate—and those promoting a sense of positivity, creativity, life-affirmation, support, harmony, acceptance, forgiveness, productivity, civility, courtesy, equality of opportunity, caring, cooperation and unity.


Your software could have endless useful and profitable applications. For immediate profitability, please consider using your product for security purposes, to helpfully ward off unfriendly attacks and attackers (of whatever kind) upon individuals and enterprises (of whatever kind.)


Imagine leaders young and old in every field vying for their communications to be screened and certified via your software. Why not simultaneously award a “Truth-bearer” (or some other such logo) “gold seal of approval” identifying individuals and organizations as positive communicators, healers, light-bearers?


Your prestigious and desirable software “accreditation” could motivate many people to investigate and understand the important distinctions between peaceful and contentious communication purposes, and to recognize and encourage humanity-unifying goals as non-threatening and potentially beneficial to all earthlings, while discouraging communications with adversarial, hostile ends. Your software would also surely stoke national dialogue, while heightening awareness about the many distinct (although often confusingly-disguised) differences between helpful and harmful human communications. Your software would take care not to exclude any gentle, friendly, cooperative practitioner of any ideology, religion, political party, nation, organization, affiliation, etc.


One important goal of your software would be to educate. Hopefully, everyone would eventually become enlightened enough to merit universal inclusivity (by acting as good, positive communicators) according to your accrediting software, which might also be developed Wikipedically, or perhaps Amazon-style—i.e., open-sourced, by inviting motivated reviewers and voters opportunities not only to build your site, but also to offer feedback opportunities and provide needed talent to shape and debug upgrades and develop next-generation software.


Recipients of your approving nods (such as Nobel prize winners and mild-mannered third-graders) could proudly display and announce their cherished new affiliation and certification on their websites, on Facebook, business cards, in TV commercials and advertising, on coffee cups, tee-shirts, shopping bags….


Additionally, your software could assist web surfers to more-judiciously select helpfully-screened websites, products and opinions as the very ones they will most benefit from investigating. Perhaps your software could also eventually include a function which would recognize and refute inappropriate co-opters of your symbol of acceptance and stamp of approval—an iterative process that would call out abusers while encouraging more awareness and discussion.


Your software will stimulate lively dialogue; increase the impact and number of creative, thought-provoking, and controversial-but-civil exchanges; reduce (by virtue of indifference and neglect) the quantity and influence of divisive communications arising anywhere in the world; universally improve facility in verbal and mental processing of complexities, innuendo and nuances; and inspire us all to pull together cooperatively to resolve our common personal, local and global problems.


While you're programming, please give extra points for humor?


And if you're not a programmer, but merely a earthlinged, godlinged promosapient like me, please pass this idea on to any similarly-inclined programming/software folk or foundations, or to whomever might be interested!


Thank you…. 🙂


Nancy Pace




















































































Daniel Craig As Evolving, New Age James Bond “Everyman”: Hey, It Works For Me

I went to see Quantum of Solace because I liked Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale, and because I always take my husband to opening weekends of all good new action movies. I’d already heard reviewers complain that this new Craig/Bond was insufficiently Bondish—i.e., not enough jokes, too much heavy emotion, too many similarities to other, un-Bond-like traditionally-vengeful action heroes, not enough Bond-techy gimmicks and vehicles, too few glam locales. And what to make of the movie’s weird politics? And of Bond’s lack-of-sex with his sexy new love interest? I went to see for myself.


I liked the movie very well. I thought it was very effective, violent, destructive, action entertainment, for those who enjoy this genre. I thought it was definitely worth the price of admission. Even if it was only part of a to-be-continued movie, it was a very complete and satisfying part, setting up well the Craig/Kurylenko movie(s) to follow, which will tantalizingly develop Bond’s budding romance with this particularly ravishing new heroine.


I thought Olga Kurylenko was great. She reminded me of what I love about Catherine Zeta-Jones. I hope she will endure as an unkicked-aside Bond sidekick for many films to come. How much more can Bond evolve, than to stick with one woman?


I liked this movie’s (admittedly undeveloped) politics. I was glad the writers went to the trouble to imply that good and bad actors can be found in every nation and every endeavor, and that all of us will have ample opportunities to participate–or not–in increasingly rampant opportunities for corruption, greed, crime, terrorism, hypocrisy, war, cruelty, espionage, exploitation, backstabbing and wanton violence, especially as enhanced by the global contest for dwindling resources—oil, water, money, what have you….


I also enjoyed the side-talk references affirming vengeance as both a very powerful and tempting human motivation and an unsatisfying one, and forgiveness—of oneself and others—as essential to sanity and peace. Very un-traditional un-Bondian stuff. Very New Age perspectives. And also very true.


This Bond movie didn't disapoint my expectation for novelty, either. I don't think I'm alone in my curiosity about life in desperately poor third world locales like Port au Prince, Haiti, or about glamourous off-the-beaten-track cultural events like traditional bareback horse racing in the public square, and exotically-staged modern operas.


I also loved the new holiday Coca-Cola commercial which preceded the movie. Taken together, the new commercial with the new Bond movie, I got a heady whiff of what our millennial creatives are all about and up to these days: philosophical acceptance of an imperfect “what is,” along with real commitment to making “what is” better, through positive, ideologically indifferent, large and small, person-to-person, moment-to-moment, choice-by-choice contributions in gray areas and complex moral situations, in whatever way they can.


Thus, I saw variously flawed and well-intentioned players in the movie and the commercial persist in acquiring the necessary wisdom and clout to act well their parts and support one another when and where it mattered most—that is, when push came to shove. These creatives and the crowds they are playing to believe in the power of acceptance, forgiveness, inclusion, diversity, and best of all, in one person’s ability to make a difference and find a quantum of solace within such caring moments.


I liked watching Daniel Craig’s Bond try to do his best with his very limited but amazing personal resources. I enjoyed watching him courageously try to make some sense of a morally chaotic world, and seek meaningful ways to contribute and endure. Craig’s Bond is a unique and powerful Everyman perfectly suited to today’s audiences.


I don’t miss the grand old Bond clichés. That was then. This is now. Welcome back, Mr. Bond.



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Why Jason Furman, Walmart Defender, Is A Great New Economic Policy Director for Barack Obama

Barack Obama just nominated economist Jason Furman, 37, a visiting scholar at New York University and former Walmart defender, as his economic policy director. Let's look more closely at this brilliant and independent thinker before we dismiss him out-of-hand for supporting Walmart.

Mr. Furman is the author of a thoughtful 2005 paper titled, “Wal-Mart: A Progressive Success Story.” Mr. Furman argues in this paper that the considerable cost-savings which Walmart extends to its low-income customers by far outweigh the negative impacts of the chain. During a debate in in 2006, Mr. Furman argued: â€śIf I heard that Wal-Mart was coming to my neighborhood (in New York)…. I wouldn’t kid myself into thinking that (opposing Walmart's arrival would have) anything to do with helping the poor. If anything, I would feel guilty that I was preventing moderate-income New Yorkers from enjoying the huge benefits that much of the rest of the country already knows so well.”

As I wrote in this blog in 2005, I'm the last lone liberal who is still shopping at Walmart. Here's my very carefully-considered rationale for shopping there:

“My liberal friends hate it that I shop Walmart. They consider Walmart a perfect symbol of the damage caused by globalization. But because Walmart offers millions of working-class shoppers real value for their last dollars, I doubt that even a successful liberal boycott could bring Walmart down. And even then, an outraged public would demand, and quickly receive, a replacement lookalike.

Globalization in its present form is a passing phase anyway, albeit a very destructive one. People hate change. Which is what globalization is, a temporary economic change. Does anyone remember AT&T? Microsoft ? (Perhaps I'm premature….) In today's world, it's only a few years before someone comes up with a better idea. Isn't that the way free trade is supposed to work? Change happens. People hate change. And while they're hating it, they whine about Walmart.

Consider the Canadian Walmart lately in the news. First, all the locals screamed because Walmart's arrival in their town pushed everybody out of their jobs. Now they're all screaming again because Walmart's departure (the store closed to stop unionization) pushed everybody out of their jobs. People hate change.

The question is not how to get rid of Walmart (though its size and profitability make it a convenient scapegoat for liberal anger.) Rather, it's how to make human life more equitable, more socially just, more humane, more environmentally sustainable. And how to empower everyday people, instead of consolidating wealth and power in the hands of CEOs and stockholders.

A walk through a Walmart isn't a walk in a parklike J. Crew or Pottery Barn. Walmart employees and shoppers are the hundred million Americans who work fulltime jobs at hourly wages in order to bring home incomes of less than $20,000 a year. You'll see the disabled, poor, uneducated, homeless, and jobless–everyday Americans–daily facing economic slavery, enduring far more struggles in a month than I meet in a year.

Let's do away with their favorite store! I don't think so.

Their desperate situation isn't the fault of Walmart. If we must assign blame, it's every American's fault. It's just too easy and too convenient to pick on Walmart. And besides, it lets the real culprits–all of us–off the hook. Walmart pays as well or better than its community competitors–why else would people work there? Walmart offers comparable health insurance and promotes from within, which not everyone does. Walmart even lets its employees unionize when that's the law (as in Germany.) It isn't Walmart's fault that America doesn't support unions. But it is our fault. It's also our fault that we haven't demanded universal health care, public transportation, less global adventurism, a responsive government….

Big corporations have many advantages, but they also have disadvantages. Walmart and McDonald's, along with every other big namebrand corporation, are magnets for litigation, protest, innuendo, rumor, and boycott. Walmart has even attracted an anti-Walmart report to Congress; what mom-and-pop store can boast that distinction? Big corporations are the ultimate prize of unions, too, which, though good for their workers, make competing with non-unionized labor at home and abroad challenging. Consider the success of China.

Walmart has a lot of very angry enemies, because its rocket growth shifted a big hunk of profits away from established local businessmen. Of course these displaced people were furious; their very livelihoods, the welfare of their families, were disastrously affected by change–which happened to arrive in the form of the Walmart steamroller. Note I said they were affected by change–not by Walmart. It should come as no surprise, nevertheless, that the injured parties were thrilled to welcome the anti-globalization liberal crowd into their let's-hate-Walmart-club.

But Walmart won't last forever, and not because of any boycott, either. Walmart saw an opening, an economic niche, an opportunity, and jumped into it with all four feet. Their phenomenal success is the rest of the story. Of course they're hated for shoving the old out with the new. People hate change.

Protest has had a great day, but that day has passed (remember change?); resistance is becoming not only futile, but outre. Being against something doesn't work that well anymore, besides making everyone tired and sad. What does work especially well in these times is being for stuff, creating new solutions, working hard collaboratively to make things happen in a hurry.

Someday soon, someone will start up a new global Walmart lookalike that is franchisable only by locals. Or someone will lift and transform Walmart from within. Or someone will think of something else that's even better and more profitable.

Someday, someone will teach us all that we live together on a very small, fragile, interconnected planet. Someone will use the internet to shift our allegiances and money away from nation-states, perhaps toward NGOs serving every interest at every level, from local to regional to international. Someone somewhere already knows what the next great political and economic organizations will be, ones that will respect and serve both people and the earth.

And when these changes come about, much weeping and rending and gnashing of teeth will again be heard in the land. People hate change.

Boycotting Walmart won't bring back the bucolic utopias of yesteryear (which never existed anyway.) It really won't. On the other hand, the first time someone offers me a shopping experience that gives me a comparable value, and even more equity, justice, and sustainability, I will absolutely jump at the chance to disloyally move my money. I just haven't been offered that opportunity yet. So come on America, get with the program.

Until then, you will find me shopping the friendly aisles of Walmart and Sam's Club, in solidarity with a motley bunch that looks a lot like America, getting the biggest bang for our shopping buck–you know, the good old American way.”

Addendum in June 2008: I understand Walmart has madea considerable effort to become more green, and more responsive to and supportive of their workforce. I haven't followed the issue closely. My point is: they still offer me the best values, and still employ my town's least employable workers at locally very competitive wages and benefits. Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. And let's not reject Mr. Furman without taking into consideration that he is an original, profound and independent thinker, which is exactly what we need right now.

Mr. Furman was previously with the Brookings Institution as director of its Hamilton Project, an economic policy project whose advisory council includes many distinguished executives from the business world.

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Ironman (the Movie) Offers Good Entertainment and Good Politics

It's hard to find an action movie that both my husband and I think is wonderful, but Ironman has proven once again that it can be done. I loved the characters, humor, romance and politics in Ironman, and my husband especially enjoyed the heroism, computers, robotics, stunts, jets and action. The whole theatre, filled with middle/high-schoolers and adults, cheered and clapped when the movie ended. Amazingly enough, we hadn’t even been exploited or insulted by stupid politics, graphic sex, or gratuitous violence masquerading as entertainment….
You can tell that the whole world is changing when a big-box-office action movie has as its major theme the evils of war profiteering and global weapons proliferation. Ironman simultaneously entertained and enlightened the whole crowd. Multi-faceted Robert Downey Jr. and classy Gwyneth Paltrow were at their most charming.
Ironman is a sweet, funny, exciting, well-made, fast-paced action movie I recommend to all who enjoy high-quality movie-making in this genre….

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Black Styles, White Racism, and the Barack Obama/Jeremiah Wright Controversy

I was raised to think that fidgeting, shouting and mopping one’s brow when speaking in public was unrefined. My mom only meant to teach me how to act, but her instructions left me judgmental of other cultures and styles. I squirmed with her when Elvis Presley gyrated and grunted and sweated. Together we hated Hitler’s rants, and shrank in dismay from Khrushchev’s noisy shoe. Loud, angry, confrontive voices still do nothing for me. They feel rude and threatening. And I’m not alone in this.
Maybe it’s my Calvinist streak, but I like my leaders calm, cool, and collected, like my man Barack Obama. To be sure, I would wager that Barack could make any congregation anywhere jump out of the aisles and pour into the streets anytime he wanted, as Jeremiah Wright can. And certainly Reverend Wright, a caring if conflicted Christian, has demonstrated on Bill Moyers's show that he can do scholarly and cerebral analysis along with the best of them.
I was also raised to be snobbish about grammar and diction. But people learn to speak however their families speak. Changing one’s everyday speech is an unimaginably arduous, individualized, time-consuming transformation not “covered” in English classes. Nowadays, many pop and sports celebrities who've won fame with colorful urban dialects will hire highly-trained linguistic coaches to give them personalized instruction in accent, vocabulary, grammar, and cultural modifications.
Every human being alive would like to be able to switch occasionally into more felicitous professional, business and academic English dialects should occasion arise, especially if one's dialect reflects a limited, impoverished or unlettered childhood. People are just more comfortable being around people who sound like them; fewer doors slam shut, and more open. Unconscious linguistic prejudices may not always be deliberate, but they’re very real and very limiting.
I can assure you that if Barack started writhing and sweating and screaming street slang in my face, I wouldn’t be able to focus on his logical argument. No, I’d be too worried about whether he was in good-enough physical shape to let himself get so worked up, or if he might be about to have a heart attack, or fall off the stage, or embarrass himself linguistically, chase somebody around the room maybe, or shoot somebody.
And if people around me, black or white, start to sway and wave their arms and call out and fall out? Well, I’m just not used to that. There’s nothing wrong with such choices, but people in my stuffy childhood churches just didn’t do those things. Where I came from, such behavior was considered, dare I say it, uncivilized, primitive, even tribal.
But what's so wonderfully “civilized” about a culture with a long sad secret record of exploiting and even obliterating other, weaker cultures? Civilization is as civilization does. I like the way people from so-called “primitive” southern-hemisphere cultures so generously share their time, money, warmth and help with one another. That kind of behavior sounds like pretty advanced-civ to me, more advanced in many ways than the often cold, hostile, lonely, so-called “modern” cultures of today. Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of western civilization, said he thought it would be a good idea.
All I'm saying is, there is no one single “way” to “be” that is universally “right.” All cultures, young and old, techy and traditional, have much to learn from one another, and much to teach.
I’m finally getting used to all the shouting and signifying so many people delight in, and I certainly know there’s nothing wrong with it. My kids love the loud emotional unity of rock concerts, and even I have a bit of the wild thing in me at times. But my mom’s early strictures insured that I wouldn’t come around easily to accepting other people’s different stylistic expressions. It’s all about what you’re used to.
But it’s not, as my mom believed, about what is â€śnice” or “right” or “correct” or even “appropriate,” because styles vary from culture to culture. It's about different ways of being civilized (and uncivilized.) And it's about holding to the highest standard of respect and support for human life everywhere, the Golden Rule of treating all others as we would want to be treated. It's certainly not about some picky stylistic stuff.
I was a military brat, so my far-flung army-post classrooms were racially-integrated long before the civil rights movement nudged America toward living up to more of its ideals. My classmates were pretty much all courteous, well-spoken, middle-class students of a remarkable variety of races, because in those days, the military establishment required cultural, stylistic and linguistic conformity. Non-white families could find reasonable welcome in the military if (and only if) they could demonstrate that, aside from skin color, they weren’t any different from most middle-class whites. All my classmates back then, regardless of race, seemed indistinguishably mainstream.
I didn’t grow up around many poor or uneducated people, or around any charismatic preachers and congregations, for that matter, although happily, I've had broader exposure to the world’s diversity since then, thanks in part to more representative television programming. I try to remind myself that my own carefully-taught class and race prejudices are limitations I want to remedy, both as a Christian and as a caring citizen of the world. Fortunately for me, I’ve been privileged in adulthood to spend time with good, patient people from all backgrounds, and have become comfortable with a broader range of personal styles.
Like everyone else, I acquired my own personal and linguistic styles from my parents, peers, and “neighborhood.” My family was a WASPy, bookish clan which gifted lucky-me (through no particular effort on my own) with a style and dialect acceptable in most circles. But there are many other delightfully valid ways of being an American swirling around me today in this great country—native and immigrant styles from all over, academic and business styles, hip-hop and Hispanic, inner-city and down-home country, Islamic, Asian, Caribbean, and a whole slew of other newly-blended personal styles I can’t begin to keep up with, but my kids can.
But the thing about personal style is, nowadays, it’s a positive, fluid thing, individual, unique, interesting, entertaining, and not so tied to race or ethnicity or social class as it once was. And voters are finally figuring all this out.
It seems to me that despite all the fuss about the particular words that Jeremiah Wright used, demagogues replaying his sound bites over and over don’t really care what Wright thinks or means, but rather, they're bent on dividing us along prejudicial lines. The small-minded con-men guiding the anti-Obama smear campaigns are absolutely thrilled to jump on any available excuse to show us ad nauseum how Barack once befriended a black man whose personal style makes a lot of voters uncomfortable.
The hucksters replaying such tapes are hoping white voters will conclude that “those people” “like Barack” are different from “us,” that “we” will think we have little in common with “them, ” that Barack won’t understand us and can’t represent our interests. Dirty politicians manipulate our unconscious racism so that we will see only difference, separation and error, instead of our many commonalities, our shared American dreams and challenges.
Such politics of division, hate and fear have a long successful history of convincing Americans time and again to vote against their own best interests. But as Barack keeps reminding us, American voters are smarter than that now. We’re becoming more enlightened, more open-minded and inclusive, more loving.
Smears-by-association can no longer distract us for long from the common pressing issues we all face, the real threats which ignore borders and cannot be solved competitively, but only through global cooperation, like a faltering economy, a culture of violence, costly wars, growing energy demands, poverty, political corruption, inadequate access to education, weapons proliferation, organized crime, infectious disease, poor health care, environmental degradation, mass migrations, crumbling infrastructure, pornography, homelessness, natural disasters, addictions, injustice, hopelessness, hunger, greed, prejudice, civic alienation, and apathy itself.
Americans are finally seeing the relevance and possibility inherent in the American ideals which Jesus, Jefferson, Lincoln, Gandhi, King, Mandela and so many other great leaders have urged upon us with one voice. We are finally turning away from the mean-spirited thinking which created all our problems in the first place, and toward the higher shared consciousness of universal brotherhood that alone will save us and our tiny blue planet.

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Hillary Dismisses Obama’s Eloquence and Charisma as Irrelevant Leadership Skills. They’re Not.

Obama’s gruff “You’re likeable enough, Hillary” during last night’s ABC debate was hardly cynical, but rather a low-key (and successful) attempt to head off a fruitless squabble about the relative likeability of the candidates, not to mention a gallant effort to rescue Hillary from an embarrassing moment.


Hillary was not being cynical either. Of course her feelings were hurt, and she was courageous to admit it. It hurts to be publicly slapped after doing your best in a lifetime of service. And of course this seasoned politician will soldier on with her characteristic indomitable resilience despite the shaking she’s endured in the last few weeks from the rough winds of political fortune. Her willingness to be vulnerable and honest was positively endearing, and indicative of hard-won personal growth in recent years.


Hillary is deeply warm-spirited. If she could as consistently offer that diplomatic side of herself (i.e., the openness, defenselessness, and respect she offers Chelsea, for instance) toward voters, the press, her rivals, and even America’s presumed enemies, as Obama can and will (rather than attacking, stereotyping, and polarizing her “enemies” as Bush has–i.e., Hillary's recent remark about the “soulless KGB agent, Putin”)–her political scope of influence (and fortunes) would change overnight.


Unfortunately, Hillary has not yet conquered her distrustfulness and defensiveness, while Obama has apparently little ego to protect. He judges and attacks no one, including himself, and because of that, he doesn’t feel attacked.


Negative campaigning doesn’t sit comfortably within Hillary’s moral heart, so she was at her desperately inauthentic worst during the opening moments of the debate as she deceptively snuck in unfair innuendos about Obama’s record, attacks which Obama handily deflected with facts.


Then all the other candidates justifiably pounced on her for negative campaigning, which won’t work for her, and shouldn't (how could a ruthless attack-dog heal a nation and lead the world?) and shame on her for the pointless grief and confusion it could bring to what otherwise would be a profitable exchange of competing ideas during a dangerous time.


Unfortunately, it’s a bit much to ask Hillary to suddenly turn into Bill Clinton (or Barack Obama). She is what she is, which is a truly amazing woman with a few limitations and the tenacity to overcome them.


Obama did have a chance to speak briefly and eloquently on the subject of the relative importance of charisma and leadership skills. When Hillary contemptuously dismissed the impact of “words” as opposed to “actions,” Obama countered by insisting that the next President’s ability to inspire the citizenry to greater personal political responsibility was essential. And he’s right. Even Barack Obama will not be able to move forward on the huge, difficult changes we need without overwhelming public backing, because, despite the current popularity of the word “change,” no one likes it.


The American public is gradually awakening to the realization that our next President can break political gridlock only through charismatic, trustworthy leadership. This realization is less fun for Hillary, whose many talents currently lie elsewhere.









The Winning Factors that Obama and Huckabee Share

Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee are unique among the Presidential candidates in relishing honest opportunities to think on their feet. They are visibly energized by being publicly asked to consider hard, original questions on-the-spot, answering them directly and freshly.

From the other candidates, we mostly get their rehashed and rehearsed campaign rhetoric, no matter the questions. Despite their varying perspectives and strengths, no other candidates have that star-quality ability to rise to the challenge of thinking and speaking and leading under pressure, on-the-fly, extemporaneously, critically, creatively, and even charmingly, which Huckabee and Obama share.

I'm unnerved at the prospect of listening for another four years to more canned nonsense, pre-masticated gobbledygook, and predictable ideology from some partisan political hack speaking on behalf of the corporate and political power elites.

Obama and Huckabee could not possibly be more different in their thinking and perspectives, and, to be honest, I have little confidence in the breadth and robustness of Huckabee's world view, while I have great confidence in Obama's inclusive, visionary one. But at least both are honest and self-consistent. A few of the other candidates are also trustworthy, but either they are unelectable, or they're too polarizing, too contentious, too partisan, too 20th-century / old-world, too boring, too opportunistic, too old, too out-of-touch, too fringey, too militaristic, or too unprincipled to earn the necessary universal respect and trust required by the mass of American citizens who are frantic to move forward on change.

If what we need is a President with the fine mind, listening skills, and good judgment necessary to consider and evaluate and act confidently upon a blurringly-fast array of hugely complex and pressing problems almost instantaneously, while offering continuous, passionate, vigorous leadership, then we would be wise not to entrust our future into the hands of someone who responds to difficult questions by nervously squeezing out yet another familiar, practiced, safe, distantly-related soundbite-of-choice.

Make no mistake, only a President embodying a combination of trustworthiness, charisma, confidence, and instantaneous brilliant articulation of principled policies can lead everyday Americans into pressing Congress for sweeping policy reforms in a multitude of urgent issue-areas. A trustworthy, kick-ass leader unafraid to lead will cut through the crap and point us toward truth and away from hucksterism, using his reputation for straight-shooting to aggressively and successfully pursue policy changes.

Consider that, if a (theoretically) beloved and trusted President Obama pushing for health care reform informed us on television that “Harry and Louise are lying,” ordinary citizens with faith in his judgment and good heart would inundate Congress with supportive phone calls. The primary reason our citizenry is currently apathetic is our universal paralysis arising from fear and confusion from too-much conflicting “information”; we're so overwhelmed we don't know who or what to believe. Only a universally-trusted President can lead us confidently toward real change.

Relatively few Americans share Mr. Huckabee's doctrinal and theological beliefs and assumptions. Nevertheless, I would (almost) rather see Huckabee become President than endure another four years of listening to yet another political hack, another timid pawn owned by today's national political and corporate power elites, mouthing appropriately soothing platitudes and selling a self-interested agenda.

We need a President committed to change, one who is brilliant, knowledgeable, a non-polarizing problem-solver who loves grappling with complex issues, who easily, persuasively, and usefully reframes and explains issues and solutions, who will use the bully pulpit to convincingly build the citizen consensus and power-base so necessary to moving forward to solve today's global pressing problems.

And only one candidate meets that description.

Tired of Doing All the Dirty Work for the Greedy Oil-and-War-Profiteering Corporations

Why all the subterfuge and indirection? Let's just get down to it, be straightforward and direct:

Instead of dragging U.S. troops, diplomats, politicians, reporters, and the rest of us citizens into the Middle East holocaust, why not just drop all our stupidly transparent political pretenses and hand over the whole bloody mess to the corporations? Let’s just give them all the depressing tasks related to stealing and controlling the oil, let them go ahead and divvy up all the various conquest-and-occupation tasks–and of course, the profits, too–but they were going to get those anyway.

Our expensive, time-consuming national hand-wringing is such a waste. Why elaborately go through all those pointlessly unsettling motions of giving a damn, all those silly political and journalistic rituals intended I suppose to ease our way into Middle East hegemony—when our very professional corporations could get the job done much more efficiently and thoughtfully, well out of the public eye.

Why should we Americans have to be involved at all (except of course a few staggeringly-wealthy shareholders, who can't help themselves.) Why should the rest of us even have to pull ourselves away from our video games and shopping and stuff to think about any of this distressing business? What does it have to do with us? 

It’s not like we have any illusions anymore that the war has anything to do with our consent, our safety, or our future well-being. We're clear already that we'll get nothing out of Bush’s endless war but more debts and enemies, so why must we also participate in all the suffering—or even watch it unfold?

The corporations could easily buy up all their own weapons, hire and train their own militaries, attack and conquer (whomever), grab up their own oilfields, bribe and terrorize their own collaborators, subdue and exploit foreign populations, and write and produce their own media propaganda–as in fact they already do now–without the U.S. government and citizenry being so embarrassingly dragged into the whole mess to provide political cover. The corporations obviously don’t need our citizen support or even our (present-day) tax money. They've managed to move forward on their agenda quite nicely for many years without any of that.

And if we're no help to them, we're certainly no bother to them, either, as we've clearly decided to roll over and play dead, asking polite permission for only a few brief opportunities to attempt to dignify our/their actions with silent moments of protest and mourning. 

Insufficient to maintain a shred of dignity? Then to heck with faking it. Just make it official, give them carte blanche. They're running the show already anyway. Let them just take whatever they want, however and whenever they want to, from whomever, wherever; they’re going to do it anyway, and the niceties of humanitarian and spiritual and political ideals be damned, because, don't forget, we’re still, by far, the biggest bully on the block, and so long as we are, such niceties aren't worth our trouble. Are they?

Unless of course empire-building is not what America is about….

Unless of course we’re willing to risk peace, and turn our national will and resources toward cooperating with all the world’s peoples everywhere to end violence and solve our problems together, as one.

(So let's just do it. Now.)


David Addington, Dick Cheney, and Desperate Deeds in the Dark

My husband hates politics, but when I have a nightmare, he listens kindly to my ranting. Here’s my bad dream: President Bush suddenly dies of some inscrutable injury secretly inflicted by the next President Dick Cheney, who appoints a worthless investigative commission, goes scot-free, and uses his brief presidency to orchestrate the succession of his fave cohort-in-conspiracies-against-the-Constitution, David S. Addington.

The few times I have inflicted my politics upon my husband, he’s listened with resigned patience. But this time he gently suggested that I might consider dreaming about something more likely to happen than Vice-President Cheney overthrowing the government. I told him that of course I hoped he was right. “But in my dream, it wasn’t a violent overthrow, you know, some kind of revolution…. All Cheney had to do was stage a mysterious assassination, and bingo, he was the government.”

“That’s what I mean by highly unlikely. Can’t you find something else to fret about…?”


But I’m still worrying. Will I wake up tomorrow morning to hear the unthinkable, as I did when the Kennedys and King were assassinated, as I did when the twin towers went down? Will I wake up to the death of another American president? Not that I’m that crazy about President Bush, but I want him to be better informed, not dead.


Is it legal to dream that our nation’s VP might be a traitor, a murderer? Is it treasonous? Libelous?  I do hope it’s OK to wonder, because I do….


It was Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post who got me started on all this, by reminding me (in his column) of the three little words that kept him (and me) from calling for President Bush’s impeachment: PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY.


Right after I read Mr. Robinson’s column, I happened to flip over to the New York Times Book Review, to read the following question from the diary of murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya: “Were we seeing a crisis in Russian parliamentary democracy in the Putin era? No, we were witnessing its death.” (My emphasis)


Quite suddenly, I quit denying the very real possibility that America’s brief and beautiful moment in the sun as a sincere attempt at a truly representative government could actually come to a shuddering halt, right here, right now, during our era, undermined by a Cheney/Addington presidency following the inexplicable death of George W. Bush….


Because Richard Cheney and David Addington, lifelong public servants, family men, talented hard workers, and clever strategists, are also feeling a bit cornered and desperate these days because their secretive machinations have finally irretrievably tangled them in their own web…..


Because no one would benefit more from an assassination than Cheney and Addington….


Because no one has done more to undermine the Constitution than Cheney and Addington, however pure their intentions in amassing great power to “save America” (their way)….


Because no one has so much to answer for, or so many wolves at their door, than Cheney and Addington….


I doubt not that Cheney and Addington are deeply unsatisfied with their measly vast powers. I’m confident that they feel increasingly marginalized by their own party, and threatened by mounting opposition from Congress, the State Department, the CIA, not a few top military brass, and even by President Bush, who recently reversed several of Cheney’s war-on-terrorism policies, who apparently is drawing back from Cheney’s influence, and who may even now be feeling the first tingles of fear in Cheney’s presence….


Am I crazy even to wonder whether Cheney and Addington would actually consider using their old military or CIA contacts to quietly engineer an insider-job presidential assassination? Apparently, neither of these men has had a single qualm about wasting hundreds of thousands of lives in the Middle East to further their purposes; what difference would one more life make, when you've spent your whole life pursuing executive power and only one man stands in your way? I admit I haven't had any real experience with power politics…but I've read Shakespeare….


Cheney has deflected negative attention in the past by creating diversions. If Congress calls Cheney’s bluff regarding non-compliance with the NARA executive order (and just why is it that Bush hasn’t stepped forward to interfere with this, hmmmm…?) or if the Justice Department crowds Cheney with BAE slush fund allegations, a presidential assassination might prove as effective and timely a diversion as a war with Iran (Cheney's other all-purpose fall-back diversion.)


Here’s a great comment recently posted by “razzi” in response to an internet article about Cheney:


“Let's have no game-playing with a man this dangerous who's just a heartbeat away from the presidency. Hearings on his abuse of authority and war crimes need to begin immediately and need to persist for the remainder of his term so that in the event Bush is incapacitated, the case for instant impeachment will already have been built. The evidence needed for an eventual war crimes trial after his term is over also needs to be built. This is a…man who needs to be investigated, prosecuted, and punished for what he is doing to the republic.”


After my dream, I googled “David Addington” to find a quantity of expensive, high-end investigative reporting (see especially Chitra Ragavan's 5/21/06 article in U.S. News & World Report) about how directly Cheney and Addington have been involved on every unconstitutional effort the Bush administration has pushed forward in its drive to amass executive power


I still hope that I’m delusional and conspiracy-theory-crazed, that my nightmare about all this assassination skullduggery is the sheerest nonsense and that I need to be taken off to the funny farm.  I have my fingers crossed that Bush and Cheney and Addington will soon be politely deposed by Fred Thompson, or defanged to mere bumbler and bungler status by our blessed checks and balances, which will keep them from further running amuck and taking our beloved-if-benighted country down with them.


I’m writing, in fact, primarily in hopes that so many other people will begin openly discussing the idea of an assassination-plot-possibility, that anything of the kind will hastily and blessedly be abandoned.


Then, at least, if and when Cheney or Addington or Bush are brought low for doing desperate dark deeds, it will not be after another assassination, or after the death of American democracy.





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