* The Buchanan Watch, aka, the White Man’s Burden – Keeping an eye on Pat Buchanan is not especially challenging since his more-than-weekly public comments expressing a depressing level of racism and Caucasian entitlement continues unabated. During his recent conversation with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC Mr. Buchanan said that white men built this country. I am not sure what the implication is for today’s world but I would point out that a good portion of the white man’s early success was predicated on slave labor. That is not exactly a white feather in the white bonnet of the white man. Since it was slaves who physically built the White House perhaps it would be more accurate to call it the Black House.
Buchanan and his ilk are fond of thumping their pathetically selective interpretation of the bible so it seems appropriate to quote the bible: In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God (Genesis 5:1). Now there are some who make the arrogant assertion that it is white, conservatively Christian American folks that are God’s image. I wonder if God was having a bad hair day when creating blacks, Jews, Asians, American and Indian Indians, Muslims, Buddhists, Australoids, Cao Dais and atheists? One wonders if God has a hernia from laughing at these fools and red eyes from crying over their ignorance, self-absorption and diminishment of the human spirit.
* The alarm has sounded but we remain somnambulant – As healthcare reform dominates the news our society continues to keep a closed eye to health. In an article “The High Cost of Cheap Food” by Megan Nix that was first published in the Denver Post she notes that 27% of children are obese (a category beyond just being overweight) and, for the first time in 200 years, today's children have a lower life expectancy than their parents. Food processors and agribusiness are dominated by a few corporations whose business model is dominated by profitability – a formula that ignores the welfare of the individual and the common good. The result is over-processed foods too often lacking sound nutrition. The result is livestock pumped with antibiotics resulting in humans becoming immune to antibiotics and leading to the emergence of superbugs (more virulent strains of bacteria). The raising of livestock in unsanitary conditions is leading to the threat of super strains of E-coli, amongst other dangers. Yes, America is facing many challenges and many of them are not yet on the radar screen for the vast majority of its citizens. At a time when Conservatives call for less government the exact opposite is desperately needed because we have allowed food production to be concentrated in too few hands and at the same time reduced the oversight of these operations.
An article in the Brattleboro (VT) Reformer offers a case in point of how concentration (monopoly) in the dairy industry and an antiquated and complicated national pricing system is resulting in the demise of small dairy farmers. A good example of the negative effects that occur when a mega-corporation is permitted to expand its influence unabated is Dean Foods. Silk is a brand of soy milk that developed a strong customer base by producing a product made from American grown organic soy. Silk was committed to supporting domestic organic farmers. The “organic” designation for American grown product requires strict growing standards resulting in a higher cost. Once Dean Foods acquired the company: “Multiple Midwestern farmers and farmer cooperatives in the heart of American soy country were told by Silk they had to match the rock-bottom cost of Chinese organic soybeans -- a price they simply could not meet. Organic agriculture is labor-intensive, and China's edge comes largely from its abundance of cheap labor.” I would add that Chinese produced products too often have proven to be unsafe and too often lack the oversight of production and efficacy. Examples include toys, ingredients for baking and pet food, wallboard, pharmaceuticals and food products.
Silk has since abandoned even the “organic” element of their product since it is even cheaper to use soybeans that in some cases are processed with the neurotoxin hexane. “The use of hexane poses risks to workers in the plants and possibly the consumers of the product and is listed as an air pollutant by EPA. In Illinois alone, 5 million pounds of hexane are released into the environment by food processors Bunge, Cargill and Arthur Daniels Midland.” And, irony of ironies, “hexane-processed soymilk can still be labeled "natural." It is enough to drive a health-conscious person to drink!
* American suicide bombers (this is not a typo) - Meet Glenn Beck, Bill Kristol, John Bolten, Jim DeMint and a host of other Republican-Conservative legislators and commentators who are so intent on Obama failing that the American people can go to hell. They perform as winsome cheerleaders advocating and rooting for his failure. Their myopic pandering to their narrowing base is, in fact, wishing for America to fail. We are seeing the culmination (and demise) of a political, social and economic philosophy that brought America to its knees during the Bush Administration. They have little constructive to offer and find comfort in the wounds inflicted upon America by their policies. As Obama and the American people attempt to recover from their influence these cheerless “leaders” bloviate and prance as patriots hoping that their treason-like rhetoric is seen as something else. “Despicable” is their coat of arms.
* When inmates reform the prison – Who is one of the leaders of healthcare reform in the Senate? Meet Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Unfortunately, at a time when intelligent healthcare reform needs a man of and for the people we have a shill for the health insurance industry. “Health-related companies and their employees gave Baucus's political committees nearly $1.5 million in 2007 and 2008, when he began holding hearings and making preparations for this year's reform debate.” According to an email this week sent by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), “Health insurance premiums have doubled since 2001, while health insurance industry profits have soared 428% in that same time.” Baucus is their advocate, not ours. No one can predict at this time what form health reform will take. The odds against meaningful reform are substantial given that the so many of the decision makers are owned by the elements in the health care system whose economic interests oppose reform.
In a grand idiosyncrasy in the design of the American democratic system, Senator Baucus represents a state that contains three-tenths of one percent of the country’s population but 100 per cent of the health insurance industry.
* Headline of the Week – “Obama may have to wait for health care package.” Perhaps a more accurate headline would have been: Tens of millions of Americans may have to wait for health care!
* Achtung! – As our military continues to dismiss openly gay troops (12,500 in the last 15 years), the Army is impotent in addressing the growing number of white supremacists among its ranks. “Army policy states that commanders can take disciplinary actions, including reclassification of soldiers who are active white supremacists. They cannot, however, dismiss them. The heaviest penalty a commander could impose is to bar reenlistment.” A report in the military publication “Stars and Stripes” noted that dozens of active-duty personnel can be found on a Neo-Nazi site characterized as Facebook for the fascist set. What do these storm trooper wannabees reveal? Favorite book: Mein Kampf. Favorite movie: the Nazi propaganda film “Triumph of the Will.” Dislikes: “anyone who opposes the master race.”
Last month Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) attached an amendment to the 2010 defense authorization bill that would expressly ban the “recruitment, enlistment or retention” of anyone tied to an extremist group. Hastings noted: “The problem is that in many instances, recruiters and commanding officers are looking the other way. The US Government should not be providing the highest quality of military training in the world to individuals who hope to use that training in a ‘race war’ or in an effort to overthrow the United States Government.” Ya think?
* Well, how is that working out? – The effects of George Bush’s evangelically-driven sex education policy are becoming evident. They can be characterized as an itchy and oozing eruption in the groin area. The Center for Disease control reports, “years of falling rates of teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted disease infections under previous administrations were reversed or stalled in the Bush years… birth rates among teenagers aged 15 or older had been in decline since 1991 but are up sharply in more than half of American states since 2005… number of teenage females with syphilis has risen by nearly half after a significant decrease while a two-decade fall in the gonorrhea infection rate is being reversed. The number of Aids cases in adolescent boys has nearly doubled.” I suggest we pass on the Kool Aid and pass the condoms.
* “Sure there are dishonest men in local government. But there are dishonest men in national government too.”
Richard M. Nixon