One Nation, Divisible


HouseDivided

A House Divided: America’s Inside Battle

There is one reason that should keep you, my fellow American, from sleeping at night:  Our once great Nation, The United States of America, is on longer the industrial, military, or financial leader on the world stage. No, although we might be the only country capable of claiming “Super Power”  is no longer an industrial leader, a military leader, or a financial leader on the world stage. We might be the only Superpower left on the planet…but if  this is true, why do we feel so unsettled and exposed?

America is a House Divided. Although I don’t agree with certain things “Pat Buchanan,” he has his moments; in my opinion, he nailed it when he wrote:

While America was consumed this summer with quarrels over town-hall radicals, “death panels”, the “public option” and racism’s role in the plunging polls of Barack, what happens to health care is not going to change the history of the world.

What happens in Afghanistan might. [Emphasis-Mine]

Gen. Stanley McChrystal has done his duty. He has bluntly told his commander in chief what he must have in added combat troops and warned that if he does not get them, America faces “mission failure.”

Was the commander in chief listening? Probably not, but who knows? The only time that he seems to pay attention is when there’s a sound byte or photo op attached. Maybe he did listen. My respect for him went out the window the first time that I saw him not salute the flag or say the Pledge of Allegiance. He is the final military authority in the Nation, and maybe the world, and he won’t pay homage to the Nation that allowed his family to enter the country, set up their lives, and take a shot at the American dream? He fucking fulfilled it, but he won’t respect it?  Of course, when 18 US Soldiers killed in Afghanistan were returned to US soil two weeks ago, Obama made a surprise trip to pay his respects. At first I was impressed, which is rare when it comes to Barack Obama; then, I realized it was all PR as we were one week away from Veteran’s Day.

Mohammad, Mastermind of 9/11

Yes, our house is in chaos; yet, we spend our precious resources  on Olympic bids, Harvard professors, and ensuring we’re in the history books, while the nation suffers. Meanwhile, our soldiers fight a war against radical Islamists on two separate fronts. To Obama’s credit, he did salute the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where it’s written: HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY AN AMERICAN SOLDIER KNOWN BUT TO GOD. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame Obama for everything, just the things in his control. His approval rating just dropped below 50%, and despite the obvious photo shoot set-ups, his PR machine is faltering. Government transparency, his gospel political promise, has been pretty much forgotten, although that may be a result of his internet accounts being hacked twice since he’s been in office.

No Pledge

No Pledge President

I do blame senor Obama for the Khaleed Sheik Mohammad (KSM) debacle. What kind of President decides to put KSM, a terrorist mastermind, and other 9/11 terrorists on trial in the Federal Court system? How does Eric Holder, the Attorney General, guarantee a guilty verdict and the death penalty? It’s almost like this man has never practiced law in his life, because he just offered up grounds for a mistrial, a trial that’s  going to be a mockery, or the fact that this is all part of the Obama show. It’s too bad that GW didn’t kill those bastards when he had the chance. Watching Eric Holder get grilled in front of the Senate was my favorite moment of this year. Obviously coached on what to do, what to say, and how to answer questions, Holder was crushed under the obvious stupidity of his actions. The OJ Simpson trial went off the rails; what makes Holder think that he can guarantee anything, let alone a verdict at what is supposed to be a fair trial.
At least, under Bush, I never worried that he wouldn’t take the moral high-ground, all public opinion aside, he would take the correct action. (We, all of us, loved Bush and Giuliani following 9/11…Left-wing Senators and Reps. voted to attack both Iraq and Afghanistan in case you don’t remember…If you;re bitching that I’m referring to an execution  as morally correct, you might as well stop reading here…you aren’t prepared for truth). Yes, killing those that killed thousands, to most of America, is usually considered a just punishment. Although most of America doesn’t read, or even  understand the Bible, capital punishment is approved.

The signs are all there that the nation is coming unglued. Although the murder rate changes year-to-year, one thing is certain; murders are more brutal than ever, and are often committed without serious thought to motive. People are murdered for looking at someone funny. An Islamic Psychiatrist, MajorNidal Malik Hasan decides to conduct his own cleansing by killing 14 fellow soldiers at Fort Hood. Although shot several times and paralyzed, he lives, ostensibly, to be put to death. At least Military Justice is swift and sure. Yet, our highly trained intelligence services, and the Army, weren’t able to put things together until after the murders. Like the problems encountered prior to 9/11, none of our clandestine groups collaborated; the CIA has some information, the Army had some information, and the FBI had some information. Yet, due to pride or stupidity, they don’t speak…leaving the door open for hijacked airplanes and

Zawahiri Recent Photo

Meanwhile, Pakistan has nuclear weapons. Bet you didn’t know that…but they do. And, in Peshawar, Pakistan over the last week the government’s decreed attacks on the Taliban strongholds. Although the government’s decision was supported by the populace, it’s the people who are paying the price. The Pakistani government is now in a tenuous situation as non-combatants have become the prime targets for suicide bombers. Since these, non-Koran supported and spineless attacks began:

More than 240 people have been killed and 665 injured in the wave of attacks on Peshawar, which have included a car bombing at the provincial headquarters of the ISI intelligence agency and an attack on a popular market which killed more than 100 people last month.

The city has borne the brunt of a Taliban onslaught in retaliation for the Pakistani army’s offensive in South Waziristan, where jihadi leaders have created a safe haven for al-Qaeda militants.

All have been killed in the name of  Allah. As with the aholes in the US that commit murder-suicide, it’s simply a disillusioned coward’s way out of claiming responsibility. Funny, but none of the higher-ranking Talibs seem to be that eager to meet Allah…it’s always those that are disenfranchised and disillusioned. I guess the Talib leaders don’t want paradise.

Zawahiri the Idealist

Prior to the late 1980s, there were no really no suicide bombers. For Sunnis, it was against the will of Allah. For some, “Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, has called martyrdom operations:

“the greatest of all sorts of Jihad in the Cause of Allah. A martyr operation is carried out by a person who sacrifices himself, deeming his life less value than striving in the Cause of Allah, in the cause of restoring the land and preserving the dignity. “

Yet, even in most Islamic sects, suicide is morally reprehensible and separates the Muslim from God. Radical Islamists, dealing with either fanatics or impoverished converts, have taken the Koran and corrupted it for their own purposes. Unbelievably, it was the justification of one man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, founder of al-Jihad, that pulled it off. An extremely bright surgeon trained in Cairo , Zawahiri, also known as The Teacher is the unseen force behind Jihad.

“In 1998 al-Zawahiri formally merged Egyptian Islamic Jihad into al-Qaeda. According to reports by a former al-Qaeda member, he has worked in the al-Qaeda organization since its inception and was a senior member of the group’s shura council. He is often described as a “lieutenant” to Osama bin Laden, though bin Laden’s chosen biographer has referred to him as the “real brains” of al-Qaeda. Zawahiri provided radical Muslims the ultimate jihadist’s goal: Dying for Allah. Suicide and murder, especially of innocents, are forbidden in the Koran; yet under Zawahiri’s corrupt preaching anything that goes against Muslim, or Jihad, automatically is less than Islam and Allah. Thus, voting is seen as being against Islam, and therefore Democratic nations are automatic enemies. Zawahiri, the founder of Al Jihad and Bin Laden’s founder of Al Qaeda don’t really have much in common, personally or politically.

Desperate fanatics are drawn to one another, and in this case, each man had something the other wanted: Bin Laden stole his entire “belief system” and Zawahiri basically needed the money, which, at the time their paths crossed, Bin Laden possessed. Al Jihad became a part of Al Qaeda three years prior to 9/11. The terrorist organization now had a brain with a purpose. Soon, America would feel the effects of fanatic martyrs and launch two wars that would last from 2001 to present day.

4 Comments

Filed under Culture, Ethics, Life, Misguided, Morality, Morals, State of the Nation, State of The World, Stupidity, terrorism, The American Dream, Truth

Was Heene Crazy, or Did Reality TV Drive Him There?

Heene Family

Heene Family

Children seldom misquote. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn’t have said. ~Author Unknown

C’mon…you’ve got to be kidding me. Another story of a family where children are used  by off-kilter parental figures working an angle to snag their 15 minutes. This family was already on Wife Swap, so didn’t anyone tell them that theirs was up?

Guess not.

Must be a slow news day, because Balloon Boy is all over the place, and now, Richard Heene, the so-called Patriarch of the Heene clan, along with his wife, Mayumi, may now be facing felony charges. Depending on the charges, this faux drama may cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars, their freedom, and their children.

That’s a lot to risk to be on a TV show. That’s a lot to risk, period. I feel like shaking Mr. Heene and repeating after my father: What in the world were you thinking? Don’t you ever think about the consequences? I didn’t, but I was still a kid. Mr. Heene, and his wife, are supposedly capable adults, although they seem to be bent on some wilder pursuits, like extreme experiments and of storm chasing…

The whole story is troubling, especially with Jon & Kate literally coming apart on national TV, a spectacle played-out in front of the entire cable-viewing world. I’ve long believed that TV, and especially reality TV, is risky for those that seek the spotlight because it destroys the truth and fabricates a pseudo-life, tossing the “stars” into the spinning blades of fame and celebrity long before they’re even close to being prepared, or equipped, to handle the pressure of life on camera, 24/7.

Of course, there’s the cost of lying, which seems to be affecting the six year-old boy more than anyone:

The story, as it broke, in a chronological sequence:

  1. Falcon Heene, age 6, is reported to be in a mylar balloon that has been untethered by his family. After Richard realizes that Falcon is gone, he runs after the balloon. It is all caught on videotape, presumably by Mayumi Heene.
  2. Heene makes calls. First is to the media. Second is to the police.
  3. Search and rescue efforts are launched…helicopters, police cars, etc.
  4. The balloon lands, no Falcon.
  5. Falcon mysteriously appears at home, supposedly in the garage the whole time because his dad yelled at him.
  6. Later, child innocence comes into play when he is asked why he had hidden in the garage, “You said it was for the show.”

…and a little child shall lead them (ISA 11:7)

Which is when everyone, including the police, were let in on the scam, albeit accidentally. Unfortunately for the Heene’s, this leaves the family exposed and in jeopardy financially and criminally, and may split the family apart.

Again, the shaking, the words, “What were you…?”

Criminally, Heene and co. are facing up to $500K in Felony criminal fines and 6 years in prison in addition to the bill for the Search and Rescue operation. However, according to reports, there’s not much money to cover the S&R tab, let alone the criminal fines.

A Reality TV Conspiracy?

As of early this morning, reports have surfaced that the hoax was months in the planning, purportedly to gain exposure for a reality TV deal that had been sketched-out, but wasn’t final, as of late last week. This morning, Heene’s friends are slated to go on national morning shows to answer questions regarding information that he had a theme song, and a name for his show, Psyience Detective, already laid-out.

The Larimer County Sheriff, Jim Alderden, who is leading the investigation is quoted:

“There’s a pretty clear indication from what we’ve seen so far that there are others who had planned a publicity stunt involving a spaceship,” Alderden said.

The sheriff speculated that some members of the entertainment media could have been involved. At least one show, he said, had already paid the Heenes since the balloon launch. He refused to identify it.

Ah, the joys of reality TV. Pulling in the ratings without airing a single episode.

To see Heene prior to his stunt, check out some of his YouTube vids. Yes, the Heene’s had a YouTube series.

The really cracked part of all of this is that he’ll probably end up with a show…

3 Comments

Filed under Culture, Ethics, Life, Misguided, Morality, Morals, Social Responisibility, State of the Nation, State of The World, Stupidity, The American Dream, Values

Man in Moon Reports Shots Fired

NASA

There’s a classic tune by Bruce Cockburn called “If I had a Rocket Launcher,” and, as the title implies, the tune covers the things that Cockburn would destroy if only he had a launcher! Each line at the end of the verses, states;

  1. I’d make somebody pay.
  2. I would retaliate.
  3. I would not hesitate.

Hmm. Although a political song to help raise awareness, it doubles as a fun terroristic personal mantra…just insert the things that YOU would destroy and the song becomes an anthem. I can think of some targets, but for fear of ending up on some list for writing about what I would destroy, I should probably generalize:

…PETA, Nazis, white trash, thugs, certain politicians, Osama Bitch Laden, Mississippi, Keating, Madhoff, assholes, etc…

However, it seems that if there are not enough rockets going off in the world these days, what, with a war on two-fronts and promising wars in far off places. I know that in Chicago, we are tired of gun fire and kids being beaten to death. So tired, in fact, that there are rampant bumper stickers and billboards showing pictures of children that say “DON’T SHOOT. I want to grow up.”
don'tShoot2

I’m not sure if it’s the fact that we, as Americans, tend to shoot at things that we don’t understand (UFO’s, animals, one-another) or if we shoot at things that we are tired of seeing (mailboxes, street signs, one-another), but it’s seems a bit ridiculous to shoot the moon to “see if there’s water.”

The cost to shoot the moon? A mere $79 million…chump change. The chump part, of course, fulfilled by American Taxpayers because we’re paying for it.

Although I’m sure that there are great minds behind the mission, the only other thing that I’m sure of is that sometimes things don’t go as planned, a fact proven by the fact that we had to adjust the shot because we were going to miss?

After the correction, the The Age reports a Northrup Grumman employee stating;

”The spacecraft is looking great. I don’t think we could miss the moon now if we tried…”

We can target military weapons with such precision that we hit what we’re shooting at from miles away, but we have problems hitting the Moon from Earth?

Maybe we shouldn’t be shooting at it.

2 Comments

Filed under Change, Culture, Life, Misguided, State of The World, Stupidity, Time, Truth, Values

Bait & Switch President: Mr. Public Relations (PR) Obama

Well America, you wanted him, and now you’ve got him. The only question is, what are your going to do with him? A professional media maven that has the popularity of a JFK and the agenda of a Clinton. Great…that’s going to make him tough to get rid of come election time.

He’s charismatic, he’s smart, and he’s popular. Yet, with 199 days logged in office, his approval rate is plummeting. But, none of the networks have reported that story because that would mean tarnishing their “Golden Boy.” According to the latest poll, Pro-Bama’s approval rating has dropped 7% since inauguration.

Today, the US Marines made a push to secure cities in Afghanistan prior to next week’s elections in the war-torn country. The attacks were launched in response to threats from the Taliban that they would “disrupt the elections“.  Yet, Pro-Bama has not been linked to this news item either. It’s almost as if it’s happening without his knowledge as he celebrates the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor, a Hispanic female Supreme Court justice. Whereas President Bush would have announced, and taken responsibility for the Marine’s push to secure Afghanistan, Obama has been distant from anything to do with the military, or the two wars currently being fought. Following suit, the media has kept the President’s name and the fighting separate, in no way connecting it to Pro-Bama. Instead, the media interviews have been conducted with soldiers, low-level diplomats, and Afghani political figures.

[U.S. soldiers from the 5th Stryker Brigade take position next to Sari Ghundi village as they patrol near the Pakistani border in Afghanistan.]

Far away from the fighting, the cameras flashed and Pro-Bama gave out the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Harvey Milk, Ted Kennedy, Billie Jean King, and Stephen Hawking (among many others); afterward he made a joke about the health care Town Hall meetings that have been erupting into violence, stating; “Can’t we all just get along…”

Well, it would seem that when the government is threatening our current crappy health care system with something worse, we aren’t even close to getting along. However, my real question is why do these four deserve the Presidential Medal of  Freedom? First of all, this is the highest civilian medal given out. Secondly, it is designed to recognize individuals who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” Show me where any of these four have done a thing for this country without first serving themselves. Is it because two of them are/were homosexuals, one has brain cancer, and the final one is confined to a wheel chair? In comparison to past honorees, these four are a joke; previous Medal of Freedom recipients include Mohammed Ali, Mother Teresa, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, John F. Kennedy, Roberto Clemente, Nelson Mandela, etc. Pro-Bama should have given the award to Michael Jackson…then the entire “slight of hand” magic trick would have been complete. After all, this is just the Pro-Bama Rope-a-Dope; a diversion from the real things that are going on…(There were some on the list that deserved the award, but not the four mentioned.)

For example, while Pro-Bama and Joe Biden (who?) took a photo op with the black Harvard Professor and the white Policeman who arrested him, sipping beer in a White House Garden as suited staffers ran beer to and from the table, the Nation was slipping into near double-digit employment. (Obama’s former stomping ground, Illinois, has surpassed double digit unemployment, which doesn’t say much for past management.) The graph, below, shows the US, Illinois, and Cook County (Chicago) Unemployment. While the US hovers at 9%, Illinois is at 10.5% and and Cook County’s coming in at 11.6%…

Does anyone realize how many people are in Cook County? Try 5.3 million, which means that over 500,000 are unemployed in the Chicago area alone. That’s more people than most US cities can even claim.

UNEMPLOYMENT

I certainly hope that there’s an App for that….

But, there’s no application, and there’s no respite. At least in the near future. So, the US will just have to hold on while the Pro-Bama staffers try to figure out where all the “Cash for Clunkers” money went, where all the money they loaned to the banks went, and where the money to bail out the auto industry went. Hopefully while they figure out that accounting error, they’ll be able to figure out that the new deal health care reform plan is a stinker, and they will back down. Face it: If they can’t forecast how well a junker car trade-in program is going to perform, they don’t have a shot at figuring out something like health care…it’s uber-confusing already.

Public Relations is definitely Pro-Bama’s (PR OBAMA) strong suit; I am waiting for him to tell us “Don’t worry about it…I’ll take care of it.” I am sure that these same words were used by Bernie Madhoff when he was still Mr. Popular…

Leave a comment

Filed under Branding, Change, Ethics, Morality, Morals, State of the Nation, State of The World, Truth

Man Dies At Lollapalooza; NBC-TV Chicago Rates Story With A Poll

NBC-TV, CHICAGO posted a poll on how a man’s death at Lollapalooza made readers feel;  The choices were:

  1. Sad
  2. BoredLollapalooza Death
  3. Thrilled
  4. Intrigued
  5. Bored
  6. Furious

According to NBC-TV, Channel 5:

A 39-year-old man suffered a heart attack at Lollapalooza and died,Chicago police say.

He was taken to Northwestern by a Chicago Fire Departmentambulance at about 1pm, department spokesman Kevin MacGregorsaid, according to the Trib.

The man was initially attended to by private paramedics at the scene. It was the department’s first and only ambulance call from Grant Park all day.

While the Cook County medical examiner’s office has not been notified of any deaths related to the festival, Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Kevin Kilmer say the man died about 2:30pm. Police are investigating.

So, how does it make YOU feel? Me? I am FURIOUS. Not only was the poll callous, but stupid. NBC TV Channel 5…Good Job at making the sad news that much worse. I certainly hope that the man’s family does not have to read your site.

2 Comments

Filed under Morality, Morals, Self-Regulation, Social Responisibility, State of The Industry, State of the Nation, Stupidity, Truth, Uncategorized

NSFMJL: Not Safe For Michael Jackson Lovers

michael-jackson-maskIf you love Michael Jackson (MJ), this post is not for you.

If you think MJ is a great and shining star, full of love and good works, this post is not for you.

If you think he was a misunderstood soul, again, this post is not for you.

I have dispensed the warnings, so if you are still reading, you either defend Michael Jackson, or you think that the circus surrounding his death is a macabre tribute to the spectacle that surrounded his life. Hopefully the latter.

I wish Dennis Miller were here with me, or had something to say about the pop star, who, in death, mirrored his tabloid life…he would pound MJ with a verbal beating that would befit the “Man in the Mirror;”  today will probably become a frigging holiday…Moonwalk Day…to remind us how far we’ve fallen from the fabric known as reality and into the abyss.

I don’t even know where to start.

First, I cry for his children who have lost a father, his siblings that lost a brother, his parents that lost a son, and for his friends that loved him. I do not begrudge him the great things he accomplished and I do not question his motives or his faith.

The things I do question are his actions and our values.

Right now, at the Staple’s Center in Los Angeles, the MJ faithful are gearing up to say goodbye to a pop legend at an event that is stopping news worldwide and being broadcast across various media: TV, radio, print, mobile phones, and the internet. Yes, we have the capability. Why we are wasting it on Michael Jackson is beyond rational thought as is the fact that there commentators at his memorial. I guess we start there:

THE “NEWS” MEDIA

The News Media often giveth to those that are un-wanting or undeserving. In one breath, reporters solemnly dispense a story of loss and heartbreak surrounding a child murder. The camera angle changes, the newscaster’s face morphs,  and the next breath supports the buzz surrounding the King of Pop’s memorial. The News Media, once champions of truth and seekers of justice, is now a machine built off of ratings. The ratings determine the prices stations can set for commercials. They also determine the quality of advertisers drawn to a show. Thus, the News Media has become entertainment, forced to carry Jerry Springer-like swill to remain on the air. It’s not the newscasters, although they better be attractive or have a definitive on-air presence; it’s the program directors, the owners, the conglomerates of media corporations. The News Media is big business…just ask Rupert Murdoch of News Corp, owner of Dow Jones & Company, The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and  Fox News.

michael-jackson_1Television news is in a vicious cycle, and without having detrimental economic effects, there is no real way to stop it. In a very general sense, ratings are simply percentages of people viewing certain channels or broadcasts rather than others. This is a problematic model when it comes to the news; to gain ratings, News Media has had to become Entertainment. The news has transformed to a “friendlier” format, often taking the look and feel of a talk show rather than a conventional news broadcast. Chairs and couches have replaced the prototypical news desk; in Chicago, the local NBC morning news (from 5a.m. to 7 a.m.) has taken a non-news “flavor,” incorporating items such as Dance Friday, a ridiculous segment during a time-period that is reserved to reach working adults.

The News Media is a mere shadow of what it once embodied, and as it moves toward Entertainment, stations move toward four-hour “news” shows that report crap and generate higher ratings. The best source for truth in media is Public Broadcasting; yet, the problem with Public Broadcasting is lack of resources. These stations do not accept advertising dollars and thus are not able to fund reporting teams, news vans, helicopters, and foreign correspondents.

My television is on in the background, and I have become part of the problem, listening to the hoopla surrounding MJ’s Memorial. In the larger sense, it doesn’t truly matter: The number of viewers is estimated to be in the billions and the celebration/memorial isn’t due to begin for another twelve hours.

SKEWED REFLECTIONS?

Have our current losses in security (job, economic, moral) fallen so far that we need something so blatantly depraved to celebrate? These are, without doubt, troubling times. Our trust has been compromised, our faith has been eroded, and we are in fear of what the future may bring. Yet, stop a moment and think about Michael Jackson, the man: A father of three that held his child out a hotel window; a questionable icon that’s best friend was a chimpanzee; an accused (but not convicted) child molester who beat a criminal rap and paid his way out of a civil suit (for an undisclosed amount of money); a person of questionable appetites and admitted psychological malfunctions; a grandiose dreamer who named his son Prince Michael Jackson; and an addict, living in seclusion, with things unknown taking place behind those castle walls.

The actions of the people once closest to Jackson…do they portray the attitude that should be taken toward the icon’s death? The mother his children Debbie Rowe, his ex-wife, Lisa Marie Presley, and his “second-best” friend Liz Taylor have all stated that they will not attend the memorial. Bubbles, Jackson’s closest and “best-friend” is not attending either, although one of Jackson’s fans offered to fly him to the funeral, all expenses paid.

If only Bubbles could speak.

REPERCUSSIONS

If this is a picture of what we’ve become, we need to re-evaluate our priorities. Not since the arrival of the Pope has an event gathered this much media attention…or so said the news. The City of Los Angeles, already over $500 million inWhAmIgoing debt, is expecting to incur a cost around $3,000,000, which is more than the $1.8 million spent last month to celebrate the Los Angeles Lakers’ Championship festivities. Who is going to pay for all of this? Right now, it seems to be LA, although they have asked for the Jackson Family and the event company (yes, there’s an event company) to help defray the cost. Not to miss an opportunity, they have also asked for fans to contribute via Pay Pal.

While the News Media covers the event, they question their own coverage in the face of public scrutiny; yet, as the ratings-game plays out, they have no choice but to be there with top talent. After all, this is one of the largest cultural events that will be seen in the lifetimes of many… drawing more sympathetic well-wishers than the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the death of Princess Diana, and the murder of Martin Luther King. Our youth will bear this stain, forever remembering where they were when Michael Jackson died.

Such is our fate.

WE’VE LOST OUR WAY

If there were a singular event that I could pin “We Have Lost Our Way” upon, it would be this one. Over the bankruptcy, theft, and corporate espionage exhibited by some of our once-famous manufacturers, banks, and insurance companies. Greater than the political scandals committed by our elected officials, our states, and Uncle Sam. More damaging than the harm created by our laws, or lack thereof. As America turns toward the death of Michael Jackson, the King, America turns away from all that made us individual, great, and sovereign.

We’ve removed our values from the priceless and placed them on the useless.

Ironically, I am reminded of a story where a great nation that had lost their way also went whoring after worthless idols.

Leave a comment

Filed under Morality, Morals, Self-Regulation, State of the Nation, Truth

Blowback: Neda’s Death, Iran’s Future (Part II)

Historical Perspective

**Please note that historical events have been reconstructed as accurately as possible. Every event in Iran’s timeline is important; however, “lesser” events have been  left out for the purpose of  brevity.**

iran-map1I was twelve when the Iranian people revolted against The Shah. The details are murky; as most boys, there were far more important things happening right in my own backyard. The poignant memory for me is in that general time-period, a yellow ribbon was tied around a tree in our front yard. A yellow ribbon, hung in protest, for American citizens being held as prisoners. In 1979, Iranian extremists stormed the US Embassy in Tehran, seizing the Embassy as well as fifty-two Americans hostages. They were held for 444 Days. The assault on our embassy occurred roughly within a year of the revolution that ousted the Shah of Iran. The same Shah that was put into power by joint US-British intelligence in 1953.

It’s vital to note that Hollywood “good guys” & “bad guys” do not exist in this political mashup; the Iranian government and people mistrust and dislike Americans for reasons easily forgotten by US citizens. Time tends to erase the memory of “insignificant” events, and to the American people, our government was acting righteously, fighting the rise of Communism in the world. In 1950, the US entered into the Korean Conflict (The Korean War) on the side of the non-Communist South. Korea had been divided since the end of World War II, when the Japanese, who had been ruling Korea since 1910, surrendered to both the Soviet Union and United States simultaneously. To avoid conflict, the US and USSR divided Korea along the 38th Parallel. A Communist faction took control of North Korea in 1946, while South Korea set up a rival republic. The United States and Soviet Union, once allies against Adolf Hitler’s Germany, squared-off as adversaries.

In the last hundred years, Iran’s history, much like our own history a century earlier, has been heavily Image_AFPimpacted by the British. Without going into overt detail, the British have had a presence in the Middle East since the early 1900’s. In a region constantly afflicted with change, The Ottoman Empire (Turkish Empire) held much of the land now known as the Middle East prior to World War I. There was no sovereign state of Israel…the Jewish people were scattered across the globe, just as foretold in the Bible. Iran was known as Persia, and Mesopatamia was still a place on the map. Due to some Ottoman military defeats and the borrowing of money from western nations, foreign powers were granted “zones of influence.”  Britain was in Egypt, the French held Lebbanon and Syria, and the Russians were interested in Armenia. Italy and Austria-Hungary also had territory. Ruled by a Sultan, the Empire’s population was around 25 million when a group known as the Young Turks ousted the Sultan and resisted his attempt to re-establish power in 1908/1909.

Enter Germany. Turkey had requested that Germany aid in the reformation and modernization of it’s army following the Balkan Wars in 1912 and 1913 due to the army’s poor abilities at fighting and sustaining itself. Fearful of Russian expansion, when World War I broke out, Turkey sided with Germany, against not only Russia, but Britain as well.

This history would not have much significance if it weren’t for the discovery of vast quantities of oil around the same period. Concessions were granted to other nations to extract the oil, and the capitalization of the Middle East had begun. There were other periods of unrest, turmoil and war ( including World War II) that affected all present-day nations in the region, but for our intent, fast-forward to 1950.

Iran was led by Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq, a democratically-elected Prime Minister. Seeking to nationalize Iran’s oil industry from the British, and with heavy leanings toward Communist Russia, Mosaddeq concerned both the British and US governments. As the the world’s superpowers entered into The Cold War period, intelligence agencies such as the CIA, MI6, and Russian KGB were formed and covert operations that would forever alter the future were launched. Mossadeq succeeded in reclaiming Iran’s vast natural resource, an act which nearly resulted in open war between Britain and Iran. (The British company drilling in Iran became known as British Petroleum, or BP.) Instead, Britain labored to enlist the United States in an early coup of Mosaddeq. President Truman, already in committed conflict with Russian-backed North Korea, declined. Two years later, President Eisenhower was elected and Operation Ajax, a joint MI6 and CIA effort, aided (and funded) one of Mosaddeq’s former Generals, Fazlollah Zahedi in the overthrow of the Iranian governement. It was the CIA’s first covert operation against a foreign adversary.

The year was 1953, and the United States of America, supposed champion of fairness and Democray, staunch foe to Socialist and Communist regimes, had overthrown the ruler of a Democratic nation, propelling Iran back to it’s former state of government: Tyranny. Although it wasn’t realized at the time, the impact of this single event would ruin the United States’ credibility in the Middle East. Worse, an infection feeding on the living flesh of religious belief would spread, poisoning the entire body. Fundamental extremists, like white blood cells, would rise up to fight the source of the infection, and tear the fabric of the world.

NOTE:
I started writing this series for two reasons: The first being that I saw the video of Neda’s death and was profoundly impacted. The second was the realization that, in regard to Iran, my perceptions were formed by sound bytes.

2 Comments

Filed under Change, Ethics, Morality, Morals, Social Responisibility, State of The World, Truth