In other news, we’ve just learned that the devilishly seductive Lauren Bacall passed away today, which I must admit is, though not surprising — for she was well ahead in years, still a strange coincidence in the wake of Robin Williams passing just yesterday. I was never a big Bacall fan. But I must say that she’s always enjoyed a special place in my heart due to the commonly known fact that she pledged an undying love so deep for Humphrey Bogart that she stated she would never and did never get over him and refused to ever marry again. I really admire that. That’s true love. Something I believe we should all be lucky enough to experience at least once in our lives. And it also shows a devotion that seems strangely absent from our modern world. God bless her soul.
In case you’ve missed it — and lord knows it would be easy, for there is too much news right now in our midst for our own good frankly, so much of it so hauntingly bad and tragic, I do want to point out something very disturbing unearthed in our collective underbelly. Yet another case of the police, those honorable men and women sworn to protect and serve us all equally, killing yet another black man, this time a youth, merely 18 years old and a week away from college. His name was Michael Brown. It happened in a town outside of St. Louis, Missouri called Ferguson. Here’s the link to read more: http://time.com/3104128/michael-brown-ferguson-cop-shooting-protests/
Obviously there is rioting going on. Where would there NOT be riots if an 18 year old was shot down in cold blood by a cop? No matter what color he or she was? Imagine if it would have been an 18 year old teenage girl? There’d be a lot more than rioting going on. So in a way, this has nothing to do with color and everything to do with shock and rage. But because this WAS yet another black male killed in cold blood, this is another in a long line of injustices for a community who has already suffered far too much shock and rage in their history in America, especially as of late.
To make matters worse, today it was reported that the FAA has announced a no fly zone over the entire community — meaning ALL MEDIA are not allowed to fly over the town to cover the story. Yeah. Seriously. This is real American corporate cover up bullshit at the federal level. Google it.
These blatant murders & the attempted cover ups of both #MichaelBrown & #ErikGardner by police officers are showing us clear evidence of an overt racism, especially towards black men, that still exists in the United States. The cavalier & carefree attitude that the police departments AND the local and federal government has regarding these deaths shows a heartless disregard for human life IF that life happens to be African American. This is our wake up call moment. In case anyone still wants to proclaim that America has freed itself of racism now that we’ve elected an African American as president. No longer can we claim that “Trayvon Martin was an isolated case or an exception”. Rather he was another in a long line of unfortunate victims of this deep seated bigotry that exists still in some people in the United States, one that we as a nation still refuse to accept or deal with.
Had Martin or Gardner or Brown been a cute little white girl…shot in cold blood on a city street… What then? It would be FRONT PAGE news. Her pretty little face plastered everywhere. The murderer a national villain overnight. Instead we don’t even know the name of the officer who killed Brown yet. Missouri police won’t release it. It’s complete hypocrisy. Perhaps they’re just trying to protect the man’s security. Knowing full well that his life would most likely be in jeopardy. But let us hope that the African American community can keep their Shiite together and make this one a case for the courts. Because that’s what needs to happen. The same for the murder of Erik Gardner. We have that one on tape for Gods sake. They strangled the poor guy to death. The bastards. And then claim it was self defense. I’ve watched it. There was no self defense happening there. Just a couple of racists assholes man handling a black guy. Those officers need to be tried in court, found guilty and serve life sentences.
If this does NOT happen — if the powers that be in this country yet again find a way to weasel out of justice being served for the blatant murder of one of our citizens — then we will know for sure that the racism that exists in our country climbs all the way up the ladder to the very top and beyond. And IF that does happen yet again, ANYTHING but life sentences for these officers, then it is my sincere belief that re American people have every right to do WHATEVER THEY DEEM NECESSARY to seek the justice that w all deserve. Mass protests and riots would only be the beginning of what would be entirely justifiable to seek the justice more than deserved and long overdue for African American men in this country.
We need a clean sweep of this system. From top to bottom. And to start we need a national dialogue about why black men are so despised and reviled still in this country. The ones they can’t lock up they kill. Frankly I believe it is fear. They’re different (at least from white men…) so they’re scary. And what frightens us we say we hate. In reality they don’t really hate them. They don’t even know them. They’re just frightened of them. So they shoot on sight. Without even thinking for a moment about the fact that they’re another living breathing human being. It’s a very sad state that we are in still with this issue.
Thank God we are talking about it again. But lord curse us for it having to come down to this to start the conversation. Two more men shot down in cold blood.
And though I totally get that president Obama saying anything “extra” about this would smell of a kind of reverse racism due to his being half-black, I get that, but at this point ANY American president would and should speak out, for this seems larger than just “taking care of our own”; it seems like a well hidden but deep seated national epidemic of a problem that needs to be addressed. It needs national representation and leadership. And frankly who better than a sitting US president who just happens to be half black? Especially right now as we celebrate the 50 year anniversary of Freedom Summer and the civil rights act et al.?
In one of the strangest geo-political twists the United States has ever seen, the president of Syria, yes that Syria, manages to appear on American television this morning, BEFORE the president of the United States, to discuss the recent allegations (by the United States) that the government of Syria inadvertently used chemical weapons against its own people in the civil war the country is experiencing. I can tell you as an American that it was more than a bit surreal to see Syria’s president beat our own to the punch in messaging the American people. I’m not sure if Obama is high or stupid, but not since the Iran-Contra Affair has the world seen such a blunder as this plan to attack Syria threat has been. Not only has it confused the hell out of the American public but it’s sent the economic markets rocking back and forth on an almost daily basis. No one knows what the hell is going on, especially the president of the United States.
In an even stranger twist still, just hours later, it was announced by the mainstream media that Russia has been brokering a deal with Syria and the United States for over a week to allow Syria to turn over its chemical weapons to a neutral third party in the international community. President Obama admitted in an interview today on CNN that he has been discussing this option with Russian president Putin since the G20 Summit. Which means that all this recent blustering by Secretary of State John Kerry has been what? A ruse? A bluff? Was the carpet pulled out from him at the last minute? The voting in the Senate and in Congress?
Many in America and around the world would agree that there was nothing as purely evil AND fool-hearty at the same time in American history as the Bush-Cheney years. This was pure selfish war mongering in the traditional old-fashioned imperial style of pre WW II years. Compounded with Bush himself who never quite seemed to be aware of what he or his administration was actually doing, let alone the world at large. It was one of the first times the whole world got to see firsthand just how little the president of the United States actually does besides just being a charismatic figurehead. But the last few years of the Obama presidency have been starting to make look GW look not half as dumb and foolish, nor as mean spirited and evil as some have been led to believe prior to Obama’s ascendancy to the White House. Words like fumble, foible, farce, mockery, sham, gaffe, mess and more have all been used in recent days to describe the lone wolf president’s handling of this Syrian conflict; a conflict we must remember that has absolutely nothing to do with us.
From the moment Obama inserted himself into this tragic affair by boisterously announcing his “red line”, the Syrian government’s civil war has become an American problem, with myriad prospects for future problems for us now that his proverbial foot has been placed in his mouth.Watching him attempt to pull it out over the last few weeks has been an agonizing affair for all. It isn’t easy to see the emperor parade through town without any clothes, even if you aren’t a fan.
Which is where I, like many, find myself. Never being a fan of Obama, it isn’t as difficult for me it’s been for many; those who are liberal in the media are admittedly stumped, disappointed and confused. For me, besides the very basics — e.g. the excitement around the US electing its first half-African American president, I was not an Obama fan as much as just a non-Romney fan. from the start there were too many aspects of the man and his mysterious past that I just didn’t and don’t like. I couldn’t vote for him in 2008 because of this, so I gave my vote away. It was obvious he was going to win. I personally did not feel comfortable being a part of electing him. To be perfectly frank I can still remember seeing his face on several occasions and remarking to Princess Little Tree that “I don’t know why yet, but every time I look at him I feel this strange eerie intuitive flash inside that HE is actually the man who is going to be responsible for starting World War III or something like it; can’t explain it. But it’s there… He just doesn’t seem to be on the up and up.”
Once it was revealed that this “man of peace” was secretly assassinating more people with drones than any previous president, or that more immigrants have been deported under his watch than any other prior administration — while he pretends to maintain a “pro-immigrant” stance to the unknowing masses, or that more people have been arrested and imprisoned for drug possession during his administration than any other — again while he himself benefits from a “mr. cool factor” for admitting to doing drugs in college, or that he was in the pocket of Monsanto and signed a deathly no-labeling of GMOs law behind the backs of his most ardent liberal followers, or that he’s been consistently and covertly bombing both Yemen and Pakistan for over a year — killing hundreds of innocent civilians in the process, OR that he was the first president to single handedly order an assassination of an American citizen for “threatening to commit terrorism”, it became very clear to me that, like most US presidential candidates, he was just as corrupt as he was charismatic. And therein lies the key to why it is ridiculous for so many of our friends around the country, men and women alike, to be so blindly gaga over him — as if he were some kind of “new brand, never before seen hero of mythic proportions, an enlightened leader who’s going to do things differently”.
As compassionate liberty-leaning people, yes we must commend him for his stance on gay marriage equality. That has been a highly transformative shift in our culture in a very positive direction. But besides that, the high is wearing off. In light of this new Syria debacle, combined with last year’s Libya debacle (which, let’s face it, he got away with just through being very crafty and charismatic), I am sadly starting to fear that Barack Obama may turn out to be one of the worst things we as a nation have ever done (besides Vietnam, Iraq, Iran, etc… Obviously that’s a big list….) It is starting to appear as though we sacrificed experience boldness intelligence and skill for “fulfilling America’s dormant MLK Dream”. And to be sure that WAS a great achievement in and of itself. I’m glad we did it, glad we were capable of it finally, glad I saw it transpire in my lifetime. I am sure in and of itself it has and is going to change tens of millions of lives around the world for decades to come: in increasing racial equality and tolerance, in helping lead by example on that front and in helping to bolster the self opinion of so-called minorities worldwide, but especially in America. No one can ever again utter the words “Yeah but we’ll never elect a black president…” Those days are now gone once and for all. So good on us for that.
BUT… and this is a BIG but… what will be the cost of this smaller picture achievement in the big picture? How much worse is it going to get? How many more foibles or blatant acts of deception will we be forced to endure for this accomplishment? As in what’s next? Has the man (and his entire administration to be fair) no clue what he’s messing around with here? Has his head just become so big that he forgot that we need to actually do our homework in order to make those straight As? Or is it simply the blind power that corrupts absolutely when one notices how big their stockpile of missiles is? This is after all Syria we are talking about here. The heart of the Middle East and the dread of every sane person’s worst nightmares when it comes to radical extremist terrorism. This is THE Damascus, the oldest continuous city on planet earth and coincidentally the legendary Damascus of numerous World War III prophecies. Besides Iran? Russia? China? Not to mention the Egypt/Palestine/Israel/Jordan consequences inherently attached at the hip of it all.
The relative ease and casual stance he seems to be taking when talking about our country entering into military conflict with the second two largest countries on earth is alarming. He now speaks and acts exactly like many presidents who came before him, with the same kind of blind hubris and arrogance as if he truly believed that the United States divinely inherited the title of “world’s greatest ruling empire” and has the right to bark commands and ultimatums at anyone it damn well pleases just because it has the biggest ego and pile of weapons. We can all more than vaguely remember the Obama of just a few short years ago stating unequivocally that he did NOT adhere to this ideology and that he would do his best to attempt to fix our country’s fouled reputation because of such misguided ideas. Where is THAT Barack Obama?
Allegedly, at least according to his words and actions until today, he plans on going all in against ALL of them, regardless of their protests and none to subtle suggestions that we dare not tread in those waters. And at the same time no less? It’s one thing to invade a little country like Grenada, or Iraq when you have a coalition of larger nations on your side. It’s another thing entirely to butt heads directly with the bloody four horsemen of the apocalypse. Especially when HE won’t actually be doing any fighting. Like Bush before him, Obama hasn’t and won’t see any action on the field if we were to enter yet another bloody military conflict. While he’s playing basketball, living breathing American men and women will be doing the fighting. And that’s precisely the reason why the man was elected in the first place, i.e. to get us out of those kinds of scenarios once and for all. Lest we forget that while Senator John McCain has now become Obama’s main and nearly only supporter in this new fantasy, it was HE who Obama ran against in his first presidential election, his win based in large part on the promise that “I’m not going to give you four more years of Bush”.
We also need to remember that this week just happens to mark the one year anniversary of the attack on our embassies in Benghazi, Libya. This is still a painful thorn in the side of every American citizen who care about each other. In this case, four actual American’s were actually killed. We were attacked. As in “perhaps we should take some kind of defensive military action” attacked, in our own home-base and territory. That issue was just covered up and brushed aside as if it never happened. Never before have we seen an administration make so little out of something so big before. But here we are being led to believe that “Syria poses a major threat to our national security” according to the president. Whereas Libya was…. what? Ironically, this afternoon during his interview on CNN, Obama told Wolf Blitzer that “it is inconceivable and just not credible that Assaad’s government can pose any real threat to the United States militarily.” So then WHY exactly are we going to attack them?
Another disturbing element of this farce has been Kerry’s and Obama’s consistent assertions that “this isn’t just we here in the United States who are upset about Syria’s use of chemical weapons and who feel the need to take action against the Assaad government”. The problem with these statements is that so far it IS just the United States who is claiming that they need to attack Syria. It’s not like we’re standing a long line to get our punch in. For whatever reason, the U.S. government feels a sudden and desperate need to attack the Syrian government. As is always the case in geo-political events of this magnitude, we won’t find out the real reasons for this new so-called Syrian crisis for months or even years when it comes out in the back pages of newspapers or in future New York Times Bestsellers. By then Obama will be a former president and lo and behold we will discover that the details of the situation are far different than what we are currently being told. The Obama White House is counting on that fact. One hopes that for once we discover the true reasons for this before years have passed. We deserve it. The people who voted for him deserve it.
Of course, we aren’t even talking about the economy yet… I have found it very disturbing that Mort Zuckerman, the billionaire tycoon publisher and economy expert, has stated on many occasions that he’s a “life long voting democrat” who has visited the White House numerous times on the president’s invitation to try to talk sense to the Obama administration about the economy and how to handle it and according to him “they just won’t listen; I fear for the country if they continue down this path and make the same mistakes they’ve been making” he has stated. And the man is Jewish. Jews don’t vote Republican traditionally. But he just doesn’t see how the economy is going to turn around if the Obama administration doesn’t start making more fiscally intelligent decisions. This is a frightening idea, a Jewish democrat saying he can’t in good conscience vote for a president he was in love with four years prior because his fiscal policies don’t make common sense.
There’s more of course. Much of which we’ve already discussed here in the past and much that we’ve never mentioned. (Sandy Hook is one such “unmentionable”…) But what still puzzles me the most about all this is now that the curtain has been pulled back regarding so many aspects of the great and powerful O, and now that he has flip-flopped on the major issue that distinguished him from his opponents — unilaterally and militarily attacking other sovereign nations who have not attacked nor even threatened us, HOW on earth can people still feel so ra-ra about the man or continue to defend and commend him? What exactly are people waiting for? What do they need to see before they come back down to earth and start seeing him as he really is? Yes, he’s our first black president and that’s amazing. Sure he’s a cool and good looking guy who can give one hell of a speech and that feels good after eight years of bumbling Bush and the dark heart of Dick Cheney clogged our airwaves. But it is past time for us to stop the hero worship and start rolling up our sleeves and taking to the streets the same way we would if it WERE Bush/Cheney planning an attack like this. Many already are. And that’s what makes America such an incredibly admirable country. And with 59% of the people overtly against any kind of military action towards Syria, that speaks volumes about the heart and mind of our country. Let us hope that we continue to grow as we apparently have and that we can somehow help our president do so with us.
“Fishy, just curious, who would you vote for? Obama or McCain? ES”
To elaborate further in regards to your question — but regarding a different issue, I will reply to you with this and use it for a future blog post:
A loaded question. And certainly not one where my opinion matters too much. But in regards to the issues, I believe that it is obvious that I am much more aligned with what Obama claims to stand for than McCain. That’s clear. But with Senator McCain we know he is telling the American people the truth about Iraq. And that takes a lot of courage. Especially in this climate when the occupation of Iraq is so unpopular with so many American people. Whereas with Hilary and Obama they are both either totally ignorant of our reality there (which is frightening) or they are just flat-out lying to everyone as a way to win favor with the voters in their party.
Both are promising that “when elected president I promise you that our troops will be out of Iraq within 60 days…” or “six months…” which is just utter bollocks. Firstly, they cannot make promises like that because they have no idea what the situation in Iraq is going to be like by the time they get into office. It could be better. It could be worse. It is an absolutely ridiculous and ignorant promise to make. Especially in light of the cluster-fuck that our invasion has created over there.
The invasion of Iraq and ousting of Hussein created an open vacuum there — to the point where it is now almost an open invitation to create chaos and breed more terror all over the world. Saddam had things under control. And now he doesn’t. And the US is going to need years and years and perhaps decades to bring things under control in that region. Senator McCain is smart enough and honest enough to speak this truth to the people, despite how unpopular that message might be.
Secondly, regardless of who we hire for this “job,” “presidents” just don’t have that kind of power to make those kind of decisions. Anyone who knows what’s going on in America knows that. Those decisions are made from much higher up. They will never have that kind of power. To pull troops from an occupied country? Or to stop a war? No. They will either be told to make that decision or not. As has been the case since Eisenhower warned us in his final speech as president, “the United States is on the brink of losing control of its governance to a multi-national military-industrial complex.” It’s been sixty years since that speech and the days when “presidents” of “countries” could make those kind of decisions are long gone.
Thirdly, if anyone googles “color coded map of the world’s oil supplies” they will clearly see why Iraq is essential to the United States of America. Besides the safety and security issues we face if we were to leave now for ourselves and our allies in that region, we also have to face the fact that as a very large country with 300 million people who use more of the world’s oil than any other country in the world today — a whopping 25% of it — we absolutely need control over the oil that is sitting directly underneath that “country” if we are to maintain the lifestyle and the economy that we have here now.
If we think things are bad now – with the sinking economy, housing market collapse, and rising oil prices — wait to see what happens if we “leave Iraq” like Hilary and Obama are recommending and Iran steps into Iraq backed by the very eager countries of Russia and China – who also need that oil. We will be at the mercy of them for the next twenty to thirty years and life as we know it today will be only a memory until we can foster our resources and get to figuring out how to really create true alternative energy sources. Saudi oil alone is not enough to sustain our population.
That is why despite his almost Orwellian rightwing agenda, one can at least admire McCain for his foresight and honesty regarding Iraq. He is right – we will be in Iraq for at least the next fifty years. Period. This is what I LIKE about John McCain. He is an honest man. He is also not an entirely partisan politician, which he has proven a few times. Obama we simply just don’t know well enough yet to know where he stands. And I would say that if you listen to what he has openly admitted to everyone over the last six months, he himself has confessed the same idea. He understands his weaknesses. He is very well aware of his lack of experience and track record compared to someone like John McCain.
Just about everything else about Senator John McCain’s stance on policies and “the issues” I unfortunately vehemently just happen to disagree with. He’s a total “righty” and I’m neither right nor left but would just prefer whoever sits in that chair to be honest and not tell fairytales to people about things they know nothing about like “pulling our troops out of Iraq.” When Obama speaks like that I seriously question his knowledge and understanding of the underlying issues, or I start to wonder if he isn’t just “playing politics” just like the rest of them. At least McCain has the nerve to tell it like it is.
So right now, my vote is NEITHER — until we learn more about both of them and see what these men are truly made of.
As an aside, I will add this: while in Iran this year I had the opportunity to attend an IAEA conference (International Atomic Energy Agency). I sat at a table and ate dinner and shared drinks and conversation for hours with heads of state and members of parliament from Indonesia, Pakistan, Bahrain, and Qatar. At my table. Just us. We talked for hours. Though I mostly just listened. (After all, I’m just a singer. And the whole time I had to keep asking myself “what the fuck am I doing here?”)
Now remember we were in fucking TEHRAN. In IRAN. The United States was not even INVITED. Though over 30 other countries were. And this was a freaking IAEA conference! The topic of the two day discussion was “Iran’s Nuclear Energy Program.” Something that all of these other countries now back. And I will tell you this, as ominous and frightening as it may be to hear: the United States is just not a popular country right now. This was no secret that night. Everyone in the room was very open about how they feel about the United States of America now. They love our people. But they absolutely loath our government. And they have for some time now. Decades really.
It appeared that these men at various different levels of power in their respective countries’ governments are just “waiting it out” as American troops tire out more and more in Iraq, and Iran becomes stronger and stronger and China and Russia become more and more interested in Iran and Iraq. It was almost as if there was this ‘secret’ floating around the room like a butterfly that everyone could clearly see except us few Americans who were there… that region of the world is just patiently waiting for the US to fuck up in one small way or another and Iran, China, Russia, and the rest of them are going to literally turn their backs on us and give us the finger. I must say that it was one of the most haunting and frightening nights of my entire life here on planet earth.
I left that mansion on a hill in Tehran that night shaken and scared. It took me weeks to get out of bed upon my return. This is something I haven’t written about yet because I just don’t know how to do it…. how to present it… I don’t think the American people, let alone my few friends and fans, have any idea what is happening in regards to the reputation of the United States of America. I had no idea there was such strong anti-American-government sentiment in the world today. But boy did I experience it first-hand. And it wasn’t coming from rock-throwing thugs dressed in rags in third-world countries. It was coming right out of the mouths of government officials of real world Nation-States who are sick to death of what they call “American imperialism and bullying.”
I’m telling you, we either need to get the hell out of Iraq and make our apologies in order to try to save our reputation — but before we do make sure we have some solid and binding contracts with Russia, China, and Iran in regards to oil, or we need to buckle down and realize we are going to be in Iraq for the long haul. Oil my friends is the new gold and it is much much much more valuable than anyone realizes yet. To all of us.