Sunday, September 28, 2008

What's in a Name-Debatable Opinions; Letters to the Editor

Debatable Opinions; Letters to the Editor
(originally published by OpEdNews)

On September 24, the Georgia newspaper, The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, published a letter to the editor by a reader who is obviously very upset at what she calls “the socialist wing of the Democrat Party”.

I don’t know what the writer has or has not read, so I can not refute some of her statements.

For example, this so called “socialist wing of the Democrat party” has stated that Sarah Palin showed unfairness to her pregnant daughter by accepting John McCain’s invitation to be his running mate. It’s quite possible that the writer actually read this somewhere. I am not familiar with any such rhetoric put forth by any member of the leadership of The Democratic Party or any of its candidates. However, there are lots of people who vote for Democrats and any one of them may have made the statement.

The writer must also have read that Palin’s carrying a Downs Syndrome baby to term is what “angers the socialist wing of the Democrat Party the most.” She states that this group has “said outright” that the child with Downs Syndrome, as well as Palin’s grandchild, should have been “murdered”.

As we’ve been told by a few people, the media is a “liberal media”. This may be why I’ve never heard that a Democratic Party leader or candidate expressed anger over the existence any of the Palin children nor have I ever heard a Democratic Party leader or candidate suggest that anyone’s children or child should be murdered. Since I don’t know for certain whether the writer’s charges are true or false, I cannot deny them.

There are a couple of points made in this letter that I can rebuff and, although very minor compared to the charges made by the writer, they may give us some insight into the writer’s credibility.

First of all, I am very aware that some members of The Democratic Party want to bring back and/or reinforce many of the social programs created by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. These were programs that helped lift America out of what is today called The Great Depression of the late 1920s and early 1930s. These programs are referred to as social programs because Roosevelt saw an American society, “society” being a word derived from the same root word as the word “social”, that was suffering. The percentage of unemployed American wage earners climbed as high as 25% in 1933. American society or, put another way, the social fabric of America was tattered and torn. Roosevelt helped American society by putting people to work fixing the infrastructure of the country, building bridges and completing other necessary tasks. He even created make work jobs which were overseen by the Work Progress Administration.

Although the programs put 8 million people to work, those who had managed to retain their wealth at the time criticized them because the federal price tag of $11 billion was too high. It meant that those who were still wealthy, or even wealthier due to The Great Depression, would have to let go of some of their wealth so that the American society could once again function economically. Roosevelt felt that what might be considered “trickle up” economics made sense. If the greater part of society was able to earn a decent wage, there would be a reason for corporations to exist, especially those corporations related to the banking industry. If there was a reason for corporations to exist, there’d be a demand for labor and, consequently, all Americans could move forward.

Of course, those few Americans who didn’t want to part with any of their money to help the down and out called Roosevelt’s actions “socialist”. Maybe this is where the writer gets the wrong idea that there is a “socialist wing of the Democrat Party.”

Indeed The Socialist Party of the United States may not only disagree with the writer that any part of The Democratic Party is socialist, but they may actually find it amusing that someone might believe that idea.

It didn’t take me long to research my second point. I searched C-Span, The History Channel and the Library of Congress and absolutely nowhere did I find reference to any American political party named The Democrat Party.

We all know, of course, that disingenuous conservative pundits have taken to calling The Democratic Party “The Democrat Party”. This, of course, is a small minded attempt to belittle The Democratic Party. In letters to the editor, and I’ve read my share, many writers who claim to support the Republican Party (or is it Republic Party) use the egregiously inaccurate phrase “Democrat Party”.

Could it possibly be that this writer is transparent enough to give her political leanings away by calling The Democratic Party “The Democrat Party”? Is it possible that the writer made the same typo twice in her letter to the editor? Could it be that she really believes that the official name of the major political party in The FUSA which is not The Republican Party is actually “The Democrat Party”?

One last possibility does exist. It’s quite possible that I’ve not read anything written by Democratic Party leaders that even remotely resembles what the writer has claimed. Could this possibly be because the statements were made by members of The Democrat Party, a party of whom I’ve never heard and, therefore, with whom I am not familiar?

Anybody know anything about The Democrat Party?

To friendship,
Michael

“One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.” - Elbert Hubbard

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Debatable Opinions; Letters to the Editor

(originally published at OpEdNews)

We need to cut some slack for the writer of a letter to the editor of Florida’s Hernando Today. His letter entitled “Never Say Never” was published on September 24, hours before John McCain changed his mind about the fundamentals of the American economy.

On September 17, McCain said, “If the issue is whether the U.S. had a dynamic, resilient economy, and that the long-term trends are positive, I completely agree. ... It's important not to get carried away with gloom and doom.”

Consequently, one can understand why the writer was obviously upset that Obama ridiculed McCain “based not on what he…said, but what…he… meant to say.”

He didn’t realize that, within just a few hours, McCain would be telling the American people that he’s suspending his campaign and returning to Washington, where he thinks he’s needed. Furthermore, he’s attempted to convince Barrack Obama that they shouldn’t waste their time engaging in the partisan debate planned for Friday night. McCain made it clear that he and Senator Obama need to be in Washington until the Congressional vote is cast on the $700 billion bailout for failed business decisions made by such people as Lloyd C. Blankfein, CEO of GoldmanSachs, Richard S. Fuld, CEO of Lehman Brothers and Martin J. Sullivan, CEO of the American International Group (AIG).

The writer implies that Obama wants “to divert a near institutional collapse into a blame game”. After all, the writer sarcastic implies, “Most importantly, all this has to be someone's fault.”

A tornado is nobody’s fault. A hurricane is nobody’s fault. An earthquake is nobody’s fault.

I’m not implying that the fact that Blankfein accepted compensation of $70,324,352 from his company in 2007, Fuld was happy to relieve Lehman Brothers of $34,382,036 to provide him compensation and Sullivan received a total compensation of $14,330,736, almost a poverty level paycheck, for mismanaging their respective corporations was the main reason why, as The Front Man said in his speech last evening, their companies “ran out of money needed to meet their immediate obligations”. I am saying, however, that continuing to receive this compensation while their businesses were skiing down a financially treacherous mountain at breakneck speed is a sign that they either do not have the management skills or ability to see when their businesses are headed for a collapse or they simply didn’t care, as long as they would remain absurdly wealthy.

As mentioned, the letter was published earlier in the day and was probably written and submitted days earlier. At the of composition, the writer, with tongue firmly in cheek, accused Obama of considering McCain’s outlook on the economy “inanely optimistic when pessimism is called for.” This is where we need to cut the writer some slack. After all, he didn’t know that on the evening his letter would be published, McCain would consider suspending his campaign and not engaging in Friday’s debate. This seems to me to be inanely pessimistic and alarming when patience and time for debate is called for. Those sound like actions one might take if one was getting “carried away with gloom and doom.”




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To friendship,
Michael

“An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought.” - Simon Cameron

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Debatable Opinions; Letters to the Editor

(originally published by OpEdNews)

We are reminded of the civics lessons we learned in high school by a writer whose letter was published by The Delaware News Journal. The writer notes that we should have learned that the power in Washington is not in the hands of the president, but in the hands of Congress.

This is only partially true.

For those of us who were fortunate enough to attend high school and/or even elementary school while civics and/or social studies was still being taught, we learned that The Constitution gives our government three equal but separate branches. They are the executive branch, the legislative branch and the judicial branch. One can easily come to the conclusion that the framers created the three branches of government so that the government would not consist of one group of leaders or one leader who governed with no oversight. The framers wanted a set of checks and balances. It was, and still is, a brilliant idea.

The letter writer, however, states that “the Senate and House of Representatives hold the true power to begin change”. While it’s almost always been true that a president who belongs to Congress’s minority party has a more difficult time getting legislation passed or rejected, George W. Bush has rewritten our civics text books.

If I have this right, the way it’s suppose to work is that a bill is presented to Congress for consideration. The members of The House sometimes read the bill, debate the content, possibly add some amendments and either vote for or against the bill.

If the bill passes, it goes to The Senate which basically repeats the same process.

If the bill passes both the House and The Senate, it’s sent to the president for approval or rejection. If the president finds that the bill is not in the best interest of the country or him or his friends, as written, he can veto the bill and send it back to Congress for more debate and possible amendments that will make it more palatable for him.

The bill can then be sent back to the president with the hope that he will approve it. If he still is not satisfied with the bill, he can then send it back again to Congress. If two-thirds of the members of The House and The Senate, in separate votes, of course, want the bill passed in spite of the president’s veto, they can override the veto and pass the bill.

This would seem as though the writer is absolutely correct as the above explanation gives Congress the last word. However, Congress really doesn’t have the final say.

If the president is deeply concerned that the bill is unconstitutional or not as profitable as he would hope, he can turn to the third equal branch of government, The Supreme Court, and ask then to rule that the bill is, indeed, unconstitutional. Deciding whether the actions of a person or a group of people are in line with The Constitution is the job of The Supreme Court.

If The Supreme Court finds that the bill is not unconstitutional, it has the final say. The bill, in that case, would stand and become law.

Equality among the different branches of government. How can one go wrong?

The writer may have forgotten he learned during his studying of The Constitution that the president has the final say. Did he not learn about the all important signing statement that the president can use to decide, without the help of The Supreme Court, that a law, or at least parts of it, is unconstitutional? Neither did I.

Why did we not learn this while studying The Constitution? We didn’t learn this because there is no mention of signing statements in The Constitution.

An article entitled “The Problem with Presidential Signing Statements: Their Use and Misuse by the Bush Administration” by John Dean, former White House Counsel during the administration of Richard M. Nixon, explains the issue of signing statements very clearly. Dean should know what happens when a president tries to circumvent The Constitution. He was part of the group that helped plan and carry out the illegal break-in of Democratic Presidential Campaign Headquarters at The Watergate Hotel in 1972. For initially obstructing justice in The Watergate Scandal, Dean was sentenced to four months in prison. He ultimately told Congress the truth about the break-in, which was that Nixon knew about it.

Although the article is two years old, the use and abuse of signing statements by Bush is still relevant. In fact, when Dean wrote the article, Bush had challenged 505 provisions of laws that had passed in Congress. A more recent list of all of Bush’s 157 signing statements concludes that the number of provisions within legislative laws that have actually been passed but have been “challenged” by Bush has reached 1,100. More specifically, Bush has accepted the fact that Congress passed certain laws. He’s merely made it clear that his position as President gives him the power and right to ignore them.

This, of course, has made a mockery of Congress’s power as “the decider” of whether laws should or should not be enacted. It also makes the writer wrong, although he “technically” presents a good argument.

It’s true that Dubya hasn’t signed more signing statements than any other president. What he has done is ignored more Congressional bills via the signing statement than any other president and for this abuse of power, he could have and, in my humble opinion, should have been impeached.

As it turned out, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi forgot the bring the table and, thus, had no place to put impeachment.




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To friendship,
Michael

“Never has there been an administration so disciplined in secrecy, so precisely in lockstep in keeping information from the people at large.....Never has so powerful a media oligopoly ....been so unabashed in reaching, like Caesar, for still more wealth and power. Never have hand and glove fitted together so comfortably to manipulate free political debate, sow contempt for the idea of government itself, and trivialize the people's need to know.” - Bill Moyers


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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Debatable Opinions; Letters to the Editor

(originally published by OpEdNews)

It was good to read my old home town newspaper, The New London Day, which represents Southeastern Connecticut. It was nostalgic. That’s where I spent the first 40 years of my life. “How the hell old am I?” you ask. That is a question for the ages, my ages in particular.

The letter that caught my eye was written by a person who seems to be a Sarah Palin supporter. Although Palin supporters were a large and strong group at one point in our history, they, like the polar bear, are close to being placed on the endangered species list.

The issue that the writer uses to defend the Alaska Governor is the premise that “Creationism belongs in the nation’s classrooms”.

The writer uses several arguments.

For example, he states that Christianity was the principle upon which this country was “solidly founded” and that “the separation of church and state is not a core American principle”.

Nowhere in The Constitution which most agree is the law of the land is “God”, “Jesus”, “The Bible” or any other reference to a specific religion mentioned. Religion is referenced twice in the constitution.

The First Amendment to The Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...”

Religion is also referenced in Article VI. “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

If those who wrote and approved The Constitution wanted The United States to be a Christian theocracy, it would seem that they would have been certain to include that fact in the law of the land. Alas, they did not and for good reason.

It’s often said that the first settlers of this land came here to escape religious persecution and intolerance. This is true. However, as history shows, they came here to escape England’s intolerance of their religion.

For example, the Calvinist Protestants who settled in New England immediately took their cue from the intolerant Church of England, from whom they had just escaped, and became the intolerant church of New England. The Puritans, a name by which they came to be known, would not allow Baptists, Presbyterians, Quakers, Unitarians, Methodists, Roman Catholics or Jews on their territory. When members of other religious sects wandered where, according to the Puritans, they did not belong, The Puritans would administer horrific punishment up to and including burning at the stake. New England would founded as an intolerant theocratic region.

Likewise, Virginia was founded as an exclusive Anglican territory. This may be difficult to believe. It’s difficult for me to believe, but it’s true. Virginians also punished those who did not swear allegiance to The Church of England.

So two areas in “The New World”, populated by people who were escaping the results of what happens when religion and state are equal partners in the leadership of people, created communities in which the leadership was based upon theocratic principles.

There is an obvious irony, but it’s not the only irony. The people who populated these two areas knew exactly what happens when state and church join to lead a nation. They were not only victims of England’s intolerance, but they knew of the history of European conflicts based upon religious differences.

The Inquisition, The Reformation and The Bloody Statute were only three examples from which the settlers should have learned, but, obviously, did not.

Luckily, the signers and approvers of The Constitution had learned and made certain that no religion would influence the governing of the new nation.

Contrary to what the writer states, it’s quite obvious that the founders did not believe that “The Bible should be the basis for education in our schools.”

The writer is also mistaken when he writes, “Teaching creationism does not force “religious beliefs” on anyone any more than teaching evolution does.”

Whose creationism is the writer referring to? Do all religions believe the same story of creation?

Hindus believe that the world is billions of years old, even older than the scientific study of evolution claims. Is it this creationism that should be taught in our schools? Or, possibly, Christian based creationism is, indeed, based as much upon science as is the study of evolution, but Hindu creationism is not.

Creationism based upon what’s written in The Bible is, consequently, based upon a specific religious belief. Therefore, teaching it in our public schools which are paid for with the tax dollars of Hindus, Muslims, atheists and others who don’t believe the Judeo-Christian narrative of how the world began, is teaching religion in our public schools.

The Constitution was not ratified easily. One of the most intense arguments against its ratification as it stood at the time was that there was no mention of God or Jesus.

As recently as 1910, groups such as the National Association for the Amendment of the Constitution have been attempting to change The Constitution so that God and even Jesus would be mentioned. All the attempts have failed to date, but the mere fact that groups were formed to put God and even Jesus in The Constitution is proof that there is no mention of them. This begs the question if The United States was founded as a Christian nation, why, throughout the years, right from the beginning, have people been trying to amend it so that it definitively represents a Christian nation? It doesn’t make much sense to me.

Sorry gang, but The USA was never a Christian nation; its laws were not based upon Judeo-Christian holy scripture; the creationism that Judeo-Christians want taught in the schools is based upon the writings of a specific religious belief and, therefore, teaching it would be teaching a specific religious belief; those who signed and ratified The Constitution clearly meant for there to be a “wall of separation between church and state,” as Thomas Jefferson described it in 1801.




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To friendship,
Michael

“It's not a matter of what is true that counts but a matter of what is perceived to be true.” - Henry Kissinger

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Debatable Opinions; Letters to the Editor

(originally published by OpEdNews)

Not long ago, I wrote, “Not many hot stories are broken via letters to the editor.” Now a letter in Boulder, Colorado’s Daily Camera makes an attempt to prove me wrong.

I don’t believe the man read my column and is responding to me personally. However, the news that he’s breaking is right in the title of his letter. It’s called “God didn’t use computers”.

Considering my non-theistic belief system, I wouldn’t presume to argue the point of the title. I will say, however, that I’ve not read anything that would lead me to know whether or not God ever used a computer.

In his latest ad, Barrack Obama notes that John McCain doesn’t know how to use a computer and doesn’t know how to send an email.

Angered by this Obama revelation, the writer reinforces his argument by pointing out other people of great stature who didn’t use computers. Among these people are “Moses, King David, Solomon and St. Paul”.

The writer even coins a word to describe the kind of horrible “prejudice” that Obama uses in the ad. The word the writer uses is "anti-cursive-ite". Clever, indeed.

The writer continues his educational treatise by informing us that God wrote The Ten Commandments on stone slabs and Jesus wrote in the dirt with his finger.

The writer almost touches on the entire Obama message.

In the ad, Obama points out those things which McCain admits to not having a great deal of knowledge. Indeed, the message does reference computers and email. Did the message have to reference computers and emails? Probably not. What the writer may not understand, though, is that John McCain most likely doesn’t mind the inclusion of irrelevance in the ad. John McCain, after all, knows what kinds of ads it takes to win this election.

What the writer doesn’t touch on is one issue McCain has admitted not knowing very well and that issue is the economy.

The other issue that McCain may not have admitted to being unfamiliar with, but his words seem to prove that he, indeed, does not know much about, is the plight of the middle and lower classes in The FUSA. When McCain was asked to define rich during the Saddleback forum in August, he jokingly asked, “What about $5 million?”

It was easy to tell that McCain was joking when he followed his statement up with, “No, but seriously, I don’t think you can, I don’t think seriously that the point is I’m trying to make, seriously, and I’m sure that comment will be distorted but the point is…that we want to keep people’s taxes low, and increase revenues. … So, it doesn’t matter really what my definition of rich is because I don’t want to raise anybody’s taxes. I really don’t.”

Asked about his definition of rich, Obama had answered “$150,000”.

To joke about tax breaks for the rich while the banks that are still in business are foreclosing on the homes of middle and lower class homeowners could very well be seen as insensitive.

McCain was correct in assuming that his comment would be “distorted” as many of those who don’t support him have accused him of being serious about when one moves from middle class to rich.

Unfortunately, distortion and lies have become the main weapons in American politics. American politics has become somewhat like a pig. One can put lipstick on it, but it’s still American politics.

Or, as the writer of the letter states, “Being an "anti-cursive-ite" is worse than sending a message hand-written in lipstick.”




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To friendship,
Michael

“Sure there are dishonest men in local government. But there are dishonest men in national government too.” - Richard M. Nixon


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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Debatable Opinions; Letters to the Editor

(originally published at OpEdNews)

I found the title of today’s letter interesting. In fact, the title is “Presidential debates may be interesting”. However, I didn’t see anything in that title that is debatable. There are many reasons why the debates will be interesting.

Each candidate can be asked, “What made you change your mind…?”

Most of Obama’s messages seem to be populist and Progressive which makes those that veer from populism and Progressivism great disappointments to Progressives like me.

In June, Obama said that he was against off shore drilling and voted against lifting the Congressional moratorium on drilling.

However, since the beginning of August, Obama has been saying that, in order to gain support from Republicans for his energy plan, he would consider some offshore drilling.

McCain said, if he’s elected president, he would appoint a high level commission to investigate the present economic melt-down. Not long before he spoke of his government appointed commission, he deemed himself an ardent deregulator.

The debates can be very interesting, even without talking about lipstick, pigs and Paris Hilton.

The writer of the letter, which was published in the Contra Costa Times on September 21, brought out some of the other differences between the candidates that would help to make the debates “interesting”.

He says the debates will be between an “old pilot” and a “young lawyer”. That’s not too awfully debatable.

The writer says that both McCain and Obama claim to be change agents. He points out that Obama has voted with Democrats 100% of the time while McCain has voted with Republicans 90% of the time.

According to The Washington Post, out of the 348 votes he’s cast Obama has voted with The Democratic Party 96% of the time. The same list has McCain voting with The Republicans 88.3% of the time. This is out of the 231 times McCain showed up to vote. And this proves what about either candidate’s ability to bring about change?

The writer says that McCain admits that “he’s made some errors in the past” while Obama “doesn’t admit past mistakes”. Up until this point, I wasn’t really sure if the writer had a preference or was merely stating that the debates would be interesting. His statement concerning the admission of mistakes is a lie, pure and simple.

McCain has admitted making mistakes in the past. However, as pointed out above, he would use government intervention to attempt to fix the present economic problems. Should he not admit that deregulation is a mistake?

If anyone’s paid any attention to what Obama’s said about his past, they’d know that he’s admitted to smoking pot and doing cocaine when he was a teen-ager. This admission comes after one two term president expected the American public to believe that he tried marijuana once, but didn’t inhale while another two term president’s widely suspected drug use has been referred to as a “youthful indiscretion”. Neither Clinton nor Bush had the courage that Obama displayed in telling the truth and admitting his mistakes.

The mistake that many would like to hear McCain admit to is supporting the war and occupation of Iraq from the beginning and thinking that staying there until America “wins” is a flawed policy.






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To friendship,
Michael

..."even if one lives only in the present, attaining present aims, coping with today's fears and tomorrow's worries, still one cannot escape one's past, no matter how one tries to forget it. Total amnesia does not exist; memory lives in the cells." - Elwood Ray Disharoon


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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Debatable Opinions; Letters to the Editor

(originally published by OpEdNews)


As I virtually move around The FUSA by state in alphabetical order, trying to find letters to the editor that are, indeed, debatable, I come to Arkansas.

However, one can imagine my anxiety about looking in Arkansas for a letter to the editor of a print/online newspaper. When many of us think about Arkansas, we think about the “uncle daddy” jokes and the word “redneck”. I confess to being a person who’s made such stereotypical remarks in the past.

Consequently, I had the offense ready to go. I knew that I would find a letter to shred to pieces.

As an aside, I’d like to make a couple of points about looking around the country for letters to the editor.

First, I really don’t know which newspapers are the most read newspapers in most states.

As a guide, I use LISTS: Sanjeev.NET List of wonderful things. This site seems to have the newspapers in any given state listed in, if no other manner, order of popularity.

Secondly, to put it mildly, I imagine that people have found much of what I’ve written “debatable”. My goal isn’t necessarily to find letters with which I strongly disagree, although, if I continue with this search, my suspicion is that I will utilize such letters most often.

This column will no doubt be longer than the past couple of columns. Before I get into what was written in the letter to the editor, I think that it’s import for me to explain my political leaning and my thoughts about what happened on September 11, 2001. There is another issue, the American flag, which I should address as well before revealing the content of the letter.

I don’t think it would be a surprise to anyone who’s ever read anything I’ve written that I lean to the left. I’m a Progressive and I’m proud of it.

On the other hand, I was born and raised in The United States of America and that means much more to me than being a Progressive.

I’m what’s called a Truther. A Truther is a person who finds it difficult to believe the story that The Regime and the corporate media have given us about who was behind what happened on September 11, 2001. There are degrees of Truthers. Some think that they know exactly what alternatively happened on 9/11 and others merely want a new, fair investigation into the tragedy of September 11, 2001.

We want an investigation in which no members of the investigation team are tied to The Regime in any way. The example that comes to mind is Philip Zelikow. Zelikow was the executive director of the 9-11 Commission. Before that, Zelikow served on the team that helped The Bush Administration, a misnomer for The Regime, transition into the White House. Many people see this as a definite conflict of interest.

There of course should be no one on the committee who would describe himself or herself as a 9/11 Truther, either. Fair is fair and that’s what many of us want, a fair investigation.

We want an investigation in which all who are called to testify are forced, in one way or another, to do so. Not only are they forced to testify, but they are forced to testify in public and under oath.

We want an investigation into this horrendous mass murder to start by asking the question, “Who did it?”, as most murder investigations do. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but no one should be innocent and exempt from ever being proven guilty.
Truthers are as appalled and saddened at what happened on 9/11 as those who believe the official narrative. I don’t think any of us were born with the intention of hating George Bush, which, because of our questioning, we’ve been accused of. However, if we were to have the kind of investigation described above and found that our government was in no way complicit in planning the events of 9/11 nor did it know what was going to happen on that day, but simply ignored it, I’d be happier than if the opposite was proven. I no more want to know that the American Government would do such a thing than anyone else.

I felt it necessary to write the long introduction because one can imagine how pumped up a Progressive reporter might become if he sees a letter entitled “Do Americans forget so easily” in an Arkansas newspaper, The Lanoke Democrat, part of The Cabot Star Herald group. Even more provocative was the first sentence of the letter which reads, “As I was driving through Lonoke this morning, Sept. 11, 2008, I was very disappointed that NO businesses in Lonoke had their U.S. flags out on display.” I was ready and continued to read.

The writer went on to reveal that she was physically distanced from what happened in New York, Washington DC and Shanksville, PA on that day. She didn’t know anyone who was killed or injured and she didn’t even know anyone who knew someone who was killed or injured on that day.

The writer admonished Americans to put the flag out on Memorial Day and on The Fourth of July as well.

I can only assume, and you know what they say about assuming, that this woman places fierce importance on the American flag. In this regard, I find myself disagreeing with her for the most part.

To many people, the American flag does represent The United States of America and the principles of The United States of America. Unfortunately, The Regime has polarized Americans so much that some now use it to represent The Former United States of America as well. The principles of The FUSA are not the same as the principles of The USA.

Nonetheless, no matter what it represents, the flag is an attractively decorated piece of cloth. If Americans are in the midst of a catastrophic event, we can collect as many of those pieces of cloth as we can possibly find as quickly as we can collect them, place them in one gargantuan pile and they will not ward off the catastrophe. It is a piece of cloth.

Further, if some see it as representing those who have succeeded in turning The United States of America into The Former United States of America, they certainly don’t see it as representing them. In many of these cases, people have chosen to deface the flag, most often by burning it. I see this as making the statement, “This flag does not represent me anymore” or “This flag has begun to represent principles that are so abhorrent, violent and inhumane that it should not be seen as a representative of people who want peace and cooperation among all of the earth’s inhabitants”. That’s a right that Americans should have. It’s not surprising, though, that those who want to take that right away are the reasons why some feel that the flag should be defaced in the first place.

Thus, it may come as a surprise that I ultimately find this letter to be positive. I apologize for ever having stereotyped citizens who live in the southern part of this nation. It was never fair to do so and it isn’t fair now. In fact, stereotyping is possibly one of the most unfair ways that we can treat each other. From the unfairness of stereotyping evolves other unfair treatment in such areas as hiring and housing.

What makes this letter positive to me is that there is no mention of Arabs or “Liberals” or the gall of those who put forth an alternative explanation for what happened on 9/11. Putting the issue of the importance of the flag aside, this letter was truly a dressing down of those Americans who’ve forgotten the pain and suffering of people who either died or were severely injured on September 11, 2001 or those who lost loved ones on that day.
I once thought, “What American can forget what happened on September 11, 2001?”

The writer of this letter, however, has given me pause to reconsider that question.
Certainly, The Front Man tried to play it down almost immediately by telling Americans to “go shopping” after the tragedy took place. Many Americans may not take the memory of 9/11 more seriously because their president defamed that memory with his out of hand remark.

However, the last three sentences of this letter may, unfortunately, say it all and I just may agree with the writer.

“It’s reported that other countries think Americans are self-centered; I wonder why. Sooo sad. So, so sad.”





<a href="http://www.buzzdash.com/index.php?page=buzzbite&BB_id=116712">Are Americans more, just as, or less self-centered than non-Americans?</a> | <a href="http://www.buzzdash.com">BuzzDash polls</a>



<a href="http://www.buzzdash.com/index.php?page=buzzbite&BB_id=116717">Think most Americans have put the events of 9/11 out of their minds?</a> | <a href="http://www.buzzdash.com">BuzzDash polls</a>


To friendship,
Michael

“Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority.” - Thomas H. Huxley


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Friday, September 19, 2008

Debatable Opinions; Letters to the Editor

(originally published at OpEdNews)

Today’s brilliant opinion comes from my very own Contra Costa Times in the San Francisco Bay Area.

My reference to the brilliance of the letter is not a glib statement. I mean that sincerely, but you judge.

The writer is confused. He writes that he’s heard Obama say he’ll cut taxes for the lowest 95% of American wage earners. What confuses the writer is that the bottom third of wage earners don’t pay taxes, so what kind of math is Obama using?

What Obama said was, “There is a relationship between economic stimulus that I think needs to take place right now and long term-tax cuts for the middle class.”

“The more that we’ve got broad-based prosperity and families have higher wages and incomes -- the better off the economy’s gonna be as a whole, and that’s especially true at a time when we’ve got recessionary tendencies. So I think now more than ever, we’ve gotta have the kind of broad-based middle class tax cut that I talked about for 95% of working families.”

Admittedly, Obama did not qualify the statement with “95% of working families that pay taxes.” It’s possible that he went out on a limb and hoped that those listening to his speech or those who may read the statement would assume he’d not cut taxes on people who don’t pay them.

I can only guess that the writer is a wealthy person or a top executive of a large global corporation. Confusing readers about Obama’s tax plan in such a way to make it sound silly may convince them that Obama doesn’t know much about the tax system or economics in general. The writer, consequently, is hoping that his letter will cause some Obama supporters to say to themselves, “Hey, he’s right. What a liar Obama is. I’m not voting for him.” Obama loses and this greed head gets to continue getting tax breaks from the non government.

Possibly this person is a middle class person, someone within that 95% group who just doesn’t want a tax break. Maybe he’s a real patriot and believes that it’s his patriotic duty to continue to pay a greater percentage of his income than those who get – I hesitate to use the word “earn” – more income per year than he receives.

Possibly this person is in the 95% to which Obama is referring and has been frightened into believing the myth of Reagonomics. Maybe he thinks if we stop giving tax breaks to the wealthy and large corporations, they’ll take their jobs to those who live in third world countries, people who will appreciate the promotion from squalor to poverty. Maybe he doesn’t want to lose his job. Maybe he’s not aware of how many global corporations have already taken jobs from Americans and sent them to those very same people in those very same third world countries.

Possibly the writer belongs to the bottom third of wage earners and is just pissed off that he won’t get a tax cut because he doesn’t pay any taxes. “No fair,” he might be thinking. “It’s not fair that people who pay taxes get a tax cut but those of us who don’t pay taxes don’t get one.”

If you think that this man’s letter, which is entitled “Obama math”, is about Obama’s tax plan, then the brilliance of the letter has been realized. The writer is reaching, and I mean reaching out about as far a one can reach, to smear the man, not disagree with his potential tax policies.

Is it possible that this man is in that 95 percentile but just doesn’t like Obama or, possibly, one or another characteristic of Barrack Obama? Is it possible that this absurd letter is more about hue than about taxes?

I’m just saying, you know?




<a href="http://www.buzzdash.com/index.php?page=buzzbite&BB_id=116532">Obama&#039s tax plan will</a> <a href="http://www.buzzdash.com">BuzzDash polls</a>



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To friendship,
Michael

“The only thing that saves us from the bureaucracy is inefficiency. An efficient bureaucracy is the greatest threat to liberty.” - Eugene McCarthy

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Debatable Opinions; Letters to the Editor

(originally published by OpEdNews)

Although it appears that I’ve chosen Alaska and Arizona purposely to check out letters to the editor from the states who gave us the Republican Party’s ticket, that’s not how I work it.

When I moved from Connecticut to California, I was told that I was moving to “The Left Coast”. I was excited to be moving to a state where almost everyone I might run in to would be a die hard Progressive.

However, I’ve come to call my home town “a red state”. I’ve found plenty of debatable opinions in my local paper, The Contra Costa Times. Lately, however, there seems to be some kind of enlightenment happening in my home town. Go figure.

Consequently, I first scan the letters from The Times. If there’s no bait there, I move on.

What I do is to go to Online Newspapers. Despite the name, these newspapers aren’t solely online papers as, say, OEN is. These are newspapers whose main audience might purchase them in print form, but also have an online site as well.

I figure if I hit the newspapers by state in Alphabetical order, I’d be more likely to get a diverse cross section of states and outlooks. Hence, I started by looking at Alabama, where, and this may have been inattention on my part, I found no “letters to the editor” in any of that state’s newspapers. I know I overlooked something and my intention is to return to that state.

The next state in line is Alaska. Consequently, I wrote yesterday’s “Palin unpopularity contest” piece.

Well, guess what’s after Alaska? You got it.

Today’s “debatable opinion” comes from the Arizona Daily Star.

I’ll not rewrite yesterday’s column, but I must note the following fact.

Out of eight letters, five were specifically about John McCain. Of those five, one supported McCain and four, that’s right, four were non supportive.

The letter that supported McCain was entitled “McCain, Palin will bring change”. The writer of this letter need not feel alone as, indeed, McCain and his surrogates have been spewing this nonsense throughout this campaign.

Obama got it right yesterday when, noting McCain’s twenty-six years in Washington, said of Washington’s “ole boy network”, “In the McCain campaign, that’s called a staff meeting.”

On the other hand, the writer is correct in implying that Palin would be a change from the Beltway crowd. Unfortunately, he also said that the McCain/Palin ticket has “the experience, knowledge and backbone to meet bipartisanship resistance head on”.

While the twenty-six years mentioned above validates the experience statement as far as McCain is concerned, Palin’s meager political background as mayor of the very small town of Wasilla, Alaska and as governor of Alaska for two years does not stand up to the “experience” test.

Her lack of knowledge concerning possibly the most radical change in America’s foreign policy may not withstand the “knowledge” test. What makes the fact that Palin has (or at least until recently had) no idea of what The Bush Doctrine involves even more astonishing is that the doctrine was put forth and is actually named after not only the commander and chief of our military, but the official head of the Republican Party.

There is one shining light, however, in Palin’s not knowing what The Bush Doctrine is. If she ever takes the oath of office to become president of The Former United States of America, she will no doubt promote that doctrine, albeit unwittingly.

To friendship,
Michael

“Americans detest all lies except lies spoken in public or printed lies.” - Edgar Watson Howe


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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Debatable Opinions; Letters to the Editor

(originally published at OpEdNews)

All letters to the editor are debatable. Not many hot stories are broken via letters to the editor. They’re almost always based upon opinion and even the opinions aren’t always solidly covered by factual information.

In the September 17 Anchorage Daily News, two out of eleven letters to the editor were not directly about Sarah Palin.

Of the other nine, three were supportive of Sarah Palin and six were not. Folks, we’re talking about a major newspaper in the governor’s home state of Alaska!

The letters that were supportive weren’t backed by substantive arguments and those that were not supportive were not only more substantive, but were much more passionate. Does this give us better insight into the woman whose chances of becoming the president of The Former United States of America are fair to good?

One of the supportive letters implies that, if the McCain/Palin ticket wins in November, federal stimulus checks will pour into our homes on an almost regular basis. The quote is, “Vote for keeping those relief checks coming in.” Is the writer implying that McCain/Palin will install a Socialist government in Washington?

The letter also asks us to “support the troops (in Iraq) on their mission to victory.” I still ask, “What does winning in Iraq look like?”

The reason a second writer supports Palin is because “Alaskans have a once-in-100-year opportunity for one of their own to become vice president of the United States -- an articulate and respected Alaskan at that.”

It’s good to root for the home team, but not when the home team cheats. One would hope that Alaskans wouldn’t vote for Palin merely because she’s from Alaska.

She may be articulate but an even more important strength is her memory as she makes the same speech over and over again. I’m not certain that a candidate is respected when letters to the editor in one of her state’s newspapers are twice as unsupportive as they are supportive.

The final supportive letter speaks to a column in the Washington Post written by Alaskan Democratic Legislator Mike Doogan. In the column, Doogan suggests that Palin isn’t ready to be vice president. The substance of the letter is, “Do you know the difference between him (Mike Doogan) and a snarky pit bull when it comes to constantly chewing on conservatives? Neither do I.” Heavy, man.

The first letter which wasn’t in Palin’s corner compares her to Libby Riddles, the first woman to win the famed Iditarod Alaskan dog sled race, and Susan Butcher, another woman who won that same race and who died recently at the age of 51 from leukemia.

The writer says that Palin reminds her of Libby Riddles, but she’s no Susan Butcher, “never was, never will be.”

To give you an idea of what Butcher meant to Alaskans, the state legislature established an annual Susan Butcher Day in 2008 and the University of Alaska at Fairbanks created the Susan Butcher Institute “to develop public service and leadership skills among young Alaskans”.

A second non-supporter called Palin “a hypocrite” for the governor’s unwillingness “to allow the same ethical scrutiny of her own administration that she champions as her personal mission in "cleaning up government"”. This refers of course to what’s become known as trooper-gate.

A third opposition letter notes that “The McCain/Palin campaign has been airing and approving "Swift Boat" style ads that distort or flat out lie about his (sic) opponent. They are counting on these distortions to earn them votes from the uninformed.” The writer says that the US needs an “informed vice president” and it’s obvious that he doesn’t consider Palin informed.

Opposing letter number four was written by someone who actually supported the so called “bridge to nowhere” and is extremely disappointed in Palin’s willingness to “ridicule constituents to make political points.”

Letter five responds to a previous letter sent in to The Daily News stating “that if the liberals had their way, baby Trig would likely be dead”.

The writer justifiably states that if liberals had their way, baby Trig would still be alive because, as it stands now we are allowed to “make our own choice in this very personal decision.”

The final letter states that Palin would have been a good candidate for vice president “in 1850”. It seems that the writer doesn’t like the idea that Palin even inquired about book-banning, doesn’t believe that Creationism needs to be taught, doesn’t agree with the premise that “reproductive choice is not a woman's business” and doesn’t agree that “abstinence-only classes are the only sex education our kids need”.

There you have it. Sure it’s only one day, but it sounds like many Alaskans are, indeed, informed and aware. They’re not in favor of voting for a fellow Alaskan if it means perpetuating the regressive, offensive type of government that has turned the USA into The FUSA through its divisiveness and use of fear mongering. They also seem to be aware that The Regime has brought into question whether other nations really want to ally with The FUSA on foreign affairs.






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To friendship,
Michael

“We give the impression of being in office but not in power.” – Norman Lamont

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Monday, September 15, 2008

The Interview with Jarek Kupsc, Director, Writer and Star of “The Reflecting Pool” – Part IV...Plus!

The Reflecting Pool wins at The Moondance Film Festival!
(originally published by OpEdNews)



August 30, 2008 - The Reflecting Pool, a theatrical presentation that deals with an explanation of what took place on September 11, 2001 other than that given by the US government and mainstream media, has won the Columbine Award at the Moondance Film Festival which was held this week-end in Boulder, CO.

The Reflecting Pool was written and directed by Polish born Jarek Kupsc and stars Kupsc as well as Joseph Culp, son of well known actor Robert Culp. The Reflecting Pool was produced on a shoe string budget and basically “broke” the film’s producers.
The win is, consequently, good news for Kupsc and Culp.

The video was screened throughout the US in independent venues. Kupsc and Culp actually toured with the movie and attended all of the initial screenings.

Kupsc will be taking the movie to his native Poland in September. There it will be screened at one of Poland’s largest film festivals.

Culp is also traveling to Europe with the film. He will be screening it in Norway.
Kupsc was recently interviewed by OpEdNews.

I thought I’d lead off with the great news above. Justice may eventually be done!!

Interview with Jarek Kupsc, Director, Writer and Star of “The Reflecting Pool” – Part IV
(originally published by OpEdNews)

What follows is the fourth part in a four part series which was my interview with Jarek Kupsc.

I could hear his passion, even over the phone, and his movie, “The Reflecting Pool”, was made for those who are skeptical about the 9/11 Truth movement, but haven’t done the research to know why they’re skeptical. It was shot so that he could dramatically portray what many scientists, architects, present and former military people and just plain seekers of the truth have been saying since not long after September 11, 2001. He hopes that, if a person is just willing to watch a movie, not a documentary or even a docudrama, but a dramatic movie that explains theatrically what very well could have happened on 9/11, that person will want to begin to look further into the issue. America loves movies and “The Reflecting Pool” is a decent one.

The fact that Kupsc is an immigrant makes his theatrical expression even more amazing. The Regime hasn’t been real busy looking for wayward Polish immigrants, but the pseudo-patriotism sickness which was at its peak not long ago and, unfortunately, still exists, puts Kupsc in the “non-American” category, especially with his implication that the US government was involved in 9/11.

If he was a nice Polish immigrant, got a nice job, owned a nice house, drove a nice car and talked about the weather and “what about them Mets”, the fact that he’s only been an American citizen for a short while would not only be accepted, but he would be held up to our southern border and people would be shouting, “See, this is what a well behaved immigrant is like.”

Not that “brave” is an antonym for “nice”, but he is a brave immigrant. It’s easy to turn on anyone who wasn’t born and raised in the good ole US of A if that person “steps out of line.”

The thing is, Jarek Kupsc hasn’t stepped out of line. He’s looked the jingoism right in the eye and told it to step into line, to start being interested in what’s going on around it and to, at least, call for a new investigation into 9/11; one in which the investigation team is as detached as possible from The Regime; one in which the investigation team not only has the right to force any person who’s pertinent to what happened on 9/11 to publicly testify and to do it under oath, but one that uses that power; an investigation team which won’t leave important testimony out of its final report.

I urge everyone to watch “The Reflecting Pool”, especially those who say what Kupsc and so many other people imply could never happen in The United States.

Jarek Kupsc is one brave Polish immigrant.

“An investigation of the 9/11 events by a Russian-American journalist implicates the US government in the attacks.

Alex Prokop (Jarek Kupsc), a successful journalist, receives a rare 9/11 videotape revealing new information about the day of the attacks. The footage was sent by Paul Cooper (Joseph Culp), a driven researcher whose daughter died on 9/11. Sensing a good story, Prokop travels with Cooper to New York and Washington, D. C., where they uncover suppressed information about the attacks and their aftermath. As Cooper introduces Prokop to key eye-witnesses, the fa├žade of the “official story” begins to crumble.”

Bonanno: Are there people at your screenings that come in fully believing the official story but leave with a different view?

Kupsc: I’ve been confronted 3 or 4 times maybe, during the Q and A by people who are just not buying what we’re trying to sell, so to speak.

We engage in a discussion and we try to prove that, indeed, there is a reason we should question. Whatever happens among skeptics, it immediately becomes apparent they have very little information about 9/11. Whatever information they do have comes from the mainstream media. It’s really easy to debate these guys because they have no scientific background for debating this issue.

Take the collapse of Building 7. They’ve been completely misinformed or under informed or ignorant of the realities of what happened on 9/11.

Most skeptics that I encounter talk about Osama bin Laden. How they saw Osama bin Laden on prime time television confessing to masterminding 9/11.

Everybody who cares already knows that tape was a fake and it wasn’t even Osama bin Laden.

Then I tell them go to FBI.gov and look at the Most Wanted poster for Osama bin Laden, which they do.

I had a person in Maine who came to a screening. She asked me a question.

I said, “Go to FBI.gov, it’s a government web site, the FBI’s web site and look up the poster for Osama bin Laden, Most Wanted and read his crimes listed on the poster. Let me know if you find 9/11 because 9/11 is not listed as one of the crimes allegedly perpetrated by Osama bin Laden.”

When you confront the FBI, their official stance is, and I quote, “The FBI has no hard evidence linking Osama bin Laden to 9/11.”

This person, she didn’t believe me. She went home and looked it up. Then she came back the next day for the next show and apologized to me. She said, “You were right, there is no connection.”

She brought her 95 year old father with her because she was so shocked that this basic information was not available to the public, the fact that Osama bin Laden, in fact, is not wanted for 9/11.

Yet, there was the trump card that was played on the American public in going into Afghanistan and trying to connect Osama bin Laden to Saddam Hussein. If you read some polls by Fox News viewers, 40% or something like that still believe that Osama bin Laden was supported by Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11.

It’s these kind of people we have sometimes.

I’m also not trying to ram any information down their throats saying, “I know better than you.” It’s quite the contrary. I introduce them to some evidence that’s very simple and gentle.

I can dismantle anybody’s skepticism within 10 minutes. They just have no ammunition to counterpoint my rationale.

I wish that people would bring it up in the media. There would be an open debate. Something like what Amy Goodman did once with the “Loose Change” guys debating the Popular Mechanics guys.

Unfortunately, Amy Goodman would not go any further. She would not take sides which was a real shame.

A debate like this should be readily available for anybody who wants to discuss politics on American television. Instead, we have this media circus. There’s no information of any kind coming out of the media that would make people think about any issues. It’s pure entertainment.

Bonanno: She also had a debate between Griffin and, uh, I don’t know who the other guy was, and I don’t want to presume to speak for Amy Goodman, that’s for sure. I have a lot of respect for Amy Goodman. During that debate, it appeared to me, anyway, through her body language and even the questioning – she seemed to be a little bit tougher on Griffin than she was on the other guy - that she might have a hard time with the alternate 9/11 theory. I really don’t know, however, what her personal opinion is on that.

Kupsc: I know that Amy Goodman supports the reopening of an investigation. This is as far as she goes. She refused to have me on her show numerous times. I spoke with her on the phone and I had people hand her our movie several times, so she has it. I don’t know if she’s seen it.

I used to watch her show in New York. I lived there. I listen to it periodically on the radio. I completely respect 95% of her reporting. I also know that one of her biggest backers is The Ford Foundation. She also happens to be the biggest fund raiser for Pacifica Radio. There are just certain things she can not say for obvious reasons.

What can I say? It’s just reality.

Bonanno: OK, two more questions about the movie. Then I really would like to get into your opinion on this election because I also have some opinions and I’d like to know if they line up with mine.

I read two reviews. One pretty good review and the other, The Village Voice, I think it was, which describes “The Reflecting Pool” as just an extension of your personal opinion and you’re trying to get your political agenda across.

One thing they said that really upset me, at least, was that Building 7 is the 9/11 Truth’s “Area 51”.

Now, I know I’ve never seen Area 51 on television.

I don’t know what you think about that but, to me, that analogy is absolutely empty.

Kupsc: The analogy is pretty obvious. When you do a hit piece on any 9/11 Truth oriented issue, there’s a check list you have to follow. The first and foremost thing you have to say is that the 9/11 Truth Movement is basically the same thing as confirming that extraterrestrials are flying flying saucers around Area 51. The first point they always make is, “This is straight out of “The X-Files”, these are the moon landing conspiracy theorists.

They immediately group you with things that are so outlandish and preposterous that, by default, you associate the 9/11 Truth Movement with craziness, with tinfoil hats. That’s their favorite slogan. “These tinfoil hat wearing people” and “You have to tip your tinfoil hats to these people.”

Another thing they do is to group you with Anti-Semitic, Holocaust deniers. Every negative review we’ve ever had from the mainstream basically grouped us with sci-fi or Anti-Semitic rhetoric, which is unfortunate. That’s the check list they have to use.

It’s not just our movie. There have been other individuals, even on MSNBC, that were questioning 9/11. They would immediately bring in their “experts” who would start their commentary by saying, “Yes, this is straight out of “The X-Files””.

It’s something we have to deal with. It makes me laugh, personally, because I know how counterintelligence works and what they have to do to make people ridicule us. We just have to get beyond that. We have to be smart enough not to let it bother you and counterpoint it with an intelligent argument.

Bonanno: I think that a very important part of “The Reflecting Pool”, Jarek, is where you present people that are like that. There’s the guy who has the show called “Bare Facts”. I can’t for the life of me think of who he reminds me of. I’ll have to think about that just a little bit more. It’s a mystery to me.

Kupsc: Bill O’Reilly, perhaps?

Bonanno: Oh, yeah, ok. It sounds a little bit like him.

You have the guy at the end who is from Mechanical Science, which, I presume, is Popular Mechanics.

You have the guy in the garage with the hologram theory.

I think you handle that really well. I think those who are on the fence will be able to identify with those who are skeptical, who can see where there’s no room even to discuss it. You know, “Shut-up” or “Cut his mic”.

Kupsc: Yeah, that’s nothing I invented. I had a funny reaction when the Bill O’Reilly type talk show host cuts off the mic of his guest because she’s saying something that he doesn’t want to hear and he basically shuts her up.

I showed that film in Europe once and people were like, “Oh my God, this is so preposterous. This is pure fantasy. How can a talk show host say this to his guest?”

Bonanno: Not in America, either, that’s for sure.

Kupsc: They were completely unaware that this particular reaction was based directly on humorous clips of Bill O’Reilly doing exactly that. That’s a very specific behavior of such a host which is deliberately abusive and entertaining. Abuse is very entertaining to people in America. Physical and verbal abuse is what drives the ratings up. That’s what we have. It’s a game show.

Bonanno: Something I did is I wrote a letter to Bill O’Reilly which I obviously never got an answer to and I never expected to. I tried to egg him on a little bit by saying, “Just think how famous you would be. You’d be like Walter Cronkite if you just changed, if you turned, you did a 180 and said, “I’ve been wrong about this. I’ve just been doing it for the money.””

I don’t know if people would start throwing eggs at him, speaking of egging him on or he would take some of the skeptics with him.

It’s not necessarily right wing or left wing, either. I think that’s one thing people have to understand about this.

Kupsc: Well, Bill O’Reilly, in the early ‘90s, right after “JFK” came out and it was a very popular subject to discuss, basically came out and said the CIA was involved in the assassination when he was still a journalist. You can look up his comments on that.

Something happened to him along the way. He was always very unpopular with his colleagues. I know people who worked for him back in the day.

Now, he could not get any more popular than he already is with the American public. Americans, I don’t know why, they love jerks.

Bonanno: They do love some.

However, I think they’d like this movie. It’s a great movie. I don’t mean in the sense of winning an Academy Award. Considering the resources you had to work with, it’s in no way “hackish”. It wasn’t second rate. It’s as good as some movies I’ve seen and not as good as others as far as the quality is concerned.

Kupsc: I really appreciate that.

Bonanno: It’s not, by any stretch of the imagination, unwatchable. I appreciate that and I appreciate your making the movie.

I would like to hear your take on the election. I don’t think you’re going to be telling me who the better candidate is, but I’m just guessing here.

Kupsc: The only thing I want to mention about the election, the upcoming election – first, I’m not even going to mention McCain because there’s no point.

I’d like to talk about Obama just a little bit. It took me a very long time to understand what Obama was standing for. I was really always impressed with the quality of his posters and his logo. I could not believe how good his posters were and how good his logo is.

Finally, I think I read something by Naomi Klein. I was reading her book No Logo a few months ago. It’s a very impressive book. I love Naomi Klein.

It dawned on me just a few days ago that Obama is not a person. We’re not going to elect a person to the office of the presidency. We’re going to elect a logo. We’re going to elect a poster, a blank slate and a logo.

This is what Americans have been doing for a very long time. They vote for a brand identification. Brand identification is what drives this country crazy. People stick to their logos for their shoes, their caps, their cars. It’s all about the logo. You have to identify yourselves through wearing a logo.

Now, people will identify themselves by voting for a logo, not a person. Obama is a blank slate. He flip-flops on everything. He supports FISA, supports the troops staying in Iraq a little bit longer.

He does all the stuff a mainstream politician would do, Democrat and Republican alike.

I’m really disturbed that his advisors are heavily involved with The Trilateral Commission. I have a feeling that the direction of this country is going to take another turn for the worse if, indeed, The Trilateral Commission has anything to say about that and I expect they will.

Bonanno: Some time ago I wrote an article. I was so proud of myself. I used a word and I thought I made it up. It was “Corporacracy”. I was so disappointed to find out that around two or three hundred people had used it before I did. There’s another version which is “Corportacracy”.

This is a bit of a commentary rather than a question but, to me, no matter who’s elected – if they are, indeed elected by the way, we know how our voting system is – no matter who’s elected, they’re going to do what they’re told by people who want to make a lot of money. That’s just an opinion. I guess I have no real proof of that.

Kupsc: We can only hope. Just being realistic, I vote for a third party candidate.

This is my personal statement. I don’t believe in the two party system. Soviet Russia had more parties to choose from than we do. I believe in a multi-party system and I vote for a third party.

I’m also realistic. I know that my vote is not going to make any difference and I’m most likely throwing my vote away. I look at it from another perspective.

In all likelihood, we will have an election unless there’s an October surprise of some kind. We have “Continuity of Government” proclaimed.

Bonanno: Exactly. Directive 51, right?

Kupsc: We can only hope that the next guy will do less damage. This is what we have in this “delusional democracy”. These are the words of Joel Hirschhorn who writes for OpEdNews. “Delusional democracy” is his term and it’s the greatest description of what we’re having. We’re deluding ourselves that there is democracy in this country. So, we can only hope that the next guy will do less damage, so choosing between two evils is our democracy.

Bonanno: I think I heard radio personality Randi Rhodes once point out that we only have one more political party than Saddam Hussein had. That’s how democratic we are.

If a sequel isn’t next, what do you see next for Jarek Kupsc?

Kupsc: Well, I’m going to spend some time in Poland starting with showing “The Reflecting Pool” at the film festival in September.

Then I’m going to try to drum up some resources for the next project.

I’m not a political film maker. “The Reflecting Pool” is not about politics. It’s about the pursuit of truth, among other things. I don’t really believe in combining art and politics in one neat package. I think it’s detrimental to the art or, sometimes, the politics. I just could not help myself but make this movie just because my conscience was eating me up and I had to get it out of my system. I don’t see myself continuing making political films but I’m not ruling it out.

It all depends on where the money comes from and if I can continue making any film at all.

I have plans for a sci-fi epic. I have plans for a historical movie about the 200 Year War, meaning the American Indian Holocaust. I’d like to make it into a really good Western.

There are all kinds of things I’d like to make. However, I cannot make another movie with my own money because I have none left.

Bonanno: Yeah, I guess food and shelter are very important in our lives.

After I watched “The Reflecting Pool”, I really wasn’t surprised because I’d seen quite a few trailers and clips in various places.

I really have to tip my hat to you, Rober – whoops, I almost made that mistake – Joseph Culp, who looks a lot like his father, by the way. I hope he doesn’t mind me saying that.

Kupsc: Oh, no, I’m sure he won’t.

Bonanno: …and whoever helped you make “The Reflecting Pool”.

First of all, I think your goal has been met. If I was sitting on the fence or had some idea or even if I’d never heard anything about it, this is a well enough made film, quality wise and other wise, to make me say at the end, “Wow, this could really happen.”

So I tip my hat to all of you, to you, maybe especially, I don’t know, but to you, for sure, and I thank you for “The Reflecting Pool”.

I think that many of the readers at OEN are going to be happy to hear your take on the movie as well as your take on our democracy.

Thank you so much, Jarek.

Kupsc: Thank you, Michael, and we, collectively, at “The Reflecting Pool” thank you for your support and writing a nice article about this movie.

I only wish more people were doing what you’re doing and let’s hope for the best.




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To friendship,
Michael

“You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance.” - Ray Bradbury

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