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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

www.NationalView.org's Note From a Madman

June 15, 2008


Fox News' Not-So-Covert  (or Clever) Racism

They are just so good at it. The people at Fox News Channel are experts in the art of damaging and insulting, then taking it back. Surely some of you will remember when REPUBLICAN pedophile Representative Mark Foley from Florida was trying to get overly friendly with some underage male pages in his House of Representatives. And surely those of you familiar with the tactics of Fox News Channel will also remember the graphic underneath Foley's picture on Fox News that evening.

The incident happened on none other than the O'Reilly Factor with Bill O'Reilly, and it happened three times. Even after the incident was reported to Fox News, O'Reilly's producers felt thee was no need to set the record straight.

"no on-air correction necessary,"
-An O'Reilly producer

And in keeping with tradition, NewsCorp's Newsmaxx website followed suit.

Today's election brings forth a new candidate for Fox News to ridicule then apologize to - Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama. To date, Fox News employees have had different things to say about the "Oh - He's Black?" candidate.

A "terrorist fist jab,"
-Fox News Channel anchor E.D. Hill, referring to a fist jab between Barack and Michelle Obama on stage in front of a packed house full of supporters

Now I personally didn't know that terrorists fist jab each other after setting off bombs or shooting up markets or any of the other horrific things they do. Maybe Fox News has a picture of Osama bin-Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri bumping fists somewhere along the terrorist trail, but I haven't seen it.

FOX NEWS "EXPERT LIZ TROTTA: some are reading [it] as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama...
TROTTA: Obama. Well...both if we could!

I like the "we" Trotta put in there. After all, it is "we" as in "they, at Fox News Channel" who would like to see Osama -er, Obama - disappear. And calling Senator Obama, or using his middle name Hussein (or both) is a way that "they" use to put Obama in the terrorist camp. Like anyone could have done more for the terrorists than George W. Bush has.

And, finally, the latest in a series of categorizing Senator Obama so those who watch Fox News think of him the way in which "they" want them to was a graphic under Fox News Host Megyn Kelly and Conservative Columnist Michelle Malkin which read, "Outraged Liberals: Stop Picking On Obama's Baby Mama."

What a cute way to "Ghetto" the man, his wife and all other African Americans in the eyes of those easy enough to manipulate who watch Fox News.

Some will remember when a Dan Rather producer was duped into reporting some questionable facts about George W. Bush. Rather was forced to resign from his anchor chair at CBS and was labeled as a Liberal agent.

I guess at Fox News all they get is a raise.

Race-baiting and "clever" racism will be the mark of those on the Right in this election. The sad thing is that there will some who fall for it. Let's just hope that the new voters who promise to get out the cote this year can make up for it.

-Noah Greenberg

by Victoria A. Brownworth
copyright c 2008 Journal-Register Newspapers, Inc.

Iowa is underwater. California is on fire. Oklahoma is experiencing its worst tornado season in 20 years. Philadelphia and New York had record-breaking heat waves.

These weather-related disasters–all in the past two weeks–have resulted in over 200 deaths and hundreds of injuries and hospitalizations.

The cost of the damage is over $3 billion in both Iowa and California, where tens of thousands of people have been displaced. In Iowa, hundreds of homes, farms, businesses and other property have been destroyed.

The federal government isn’t the answer to every problem in America, but when half a state is flooded as is the case in Iowa, shouldn’t FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) have hundreds of people there? Shouldn’t the National Guard–whatever part isn’t already in Iraq–be there damming the swollen Cedar and Mississippi Rivers sandbagging the shorelines?

Shouldn’t the President be *home*?

Yes, George Bush is a lame duck; his term expires January 20, 2009. But Bush is still president *now* and as such should be making some effort at leading the nation, instead of touring Europe and trying to incite EU nations toward a war with Iran.

Some might snidely say that it’s best that he’s not here, that he only mucks things up when he’s in Washington. While I agree with the sentiment regarding Bush’s incompetence, I’ve found the past week--as he’s chatted in the Vatican Garden with the Pope and flirted with France’s new First Lady, a former super model and talked about war with Iran wherever he’s gone–utterly unacceptable behavior, even for the man who turned unacceptable behavior into an art form.

The scenes from the boy scout camp in Little Sioux, Oklahoma were horrifying. Four boys and a scout leader were killed, more than 50 others scouts were injured–some so seriously they remain in the hospital a week later–as a tornado swept through the campground. And that was just one heart-wrenching tornado scene.

The pictures from the wildfires in Northern California were equally devastating. More than 100 homes have been destroyed outside Sacramento and thousands of people have been evacuated.

But these disasters seem minimal compared to Iowa, where nine rivers have hit all-time record flood levels.

The aerial TV views of Cedar Rapids and Des Moines were painfully familiar. Ames and Iowa City are in similar shape. There are people on rooftops, farm animals stranded, water engulfing homes, bridges collapsing, cars and trucks floating.

Two-thirds of Cedar Rapids is underwater. On June 14th, the levee outside Des Moines failed. The combined populations of both cities–the latter the capital of Iowa–is over a half million.

How many times does this kind of disaster scene have to play out in the U.S. before Bush and his Administration take notice?

Perhaps there’s no point to raising this question. After all, President Bush has evinced little empathy for Americans in trouble in the past. But since his presidency *is* drawing to a close and Barack Obama and John McCain are currently vying for that position, Americans should be paying attention to how the Iowa situation is being handled–or not.

It’s been almost three years since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, the levees failed and one of the most beautiful cities in America was forever altered.

New Orleans still has not been rebuilt. The neighborhood in the Ninth Ward where I used to live no longer exists. Friends still complain about how much hasn’t been done–hospitals that don’t exist any more, services that can’t be obtained, people still living in temporary housing, a crime rate that has escalated due to compounded problems of half-lived in neighborhoods and desperation.

New Orleans is better than it was, but it’s not rebuilt.

New Orleans is the largest port in the U.S., so it’s pretty important to the national economy. And yet, the Bush Administration failed to comprehend that importance and has let the city languish, the rebuilding effort never really get off the ground.

Likewise, Iowa is an essential to the nation as a whole. Iowa provides 80 percent of the nation’s corn–a crop that is in virtually everything. An entire season of corn has been ruined due to the flooding. This has caused the price of corn–which impacts everything from livestock feed and pet food to salad dressing to ethanol–to triple in less than a week. Try to find a food product that *doesn’t* have corn in it in one form or another. Corn is the most used food-stuff in America.

So shouldn’t the President be home?

I’m still angry about Bush’s response to Katrina. I admit it. I’m holding a grudge. I lived in New Orleans, I have friends there, I love that city like no other except Philadelphia and I resent the shoddy treatment the city and its citizens got from the President and his cronies.

I never lived in Iowa. I have driven through it on my way to other places and I covered a presidential primary there years ago, but I don’t have friends there and other than really liking corn on the cob and popcorn, I don’t really have a connection to Iowa.

But I can see a disaster looming before it smacks me in the face and I also have empathy for others. As a consequence I am concerned about the citizens of Iowa. And I am concerned about the impact the devastation of their state will have on the rest of the nation.

Yet while students from the University of Iowa in Cedar Rapids were trying to save their college from the Cedar River flowing through it, President Bush was making a bumbling pretend pass at Mrs. Sarkozy in Paris.

Bush found the time to comment on the sudden death of political reporter Tim Russert, but didn’t have a word for the citizens of the nation’s corn belt.

It’s deja vu all over again.

The head meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Davenport, Brian Pierce, said on June 14th that what was happening in Iowa was an “historical hydrological event” and that there was no precedent for it and thus no sense of what could still happen. The Cedar River alone has crested at 39 feet–12 feet over its highest recorded level in 1929.

And still Bush has said nothing. And done nothing.

Perhaps we can’t expect anything else of this president. Certainly one would be hard-pressed to find a worse president in U.S. history. But when the nation’s economy is, to be polite, in the toilet, and food prices are astronomically high and just last month Mrs. Bush was chiding the junta that serves as the government of Burma for failing to help its citizens after a devastating cyclone, one simply has to wonder at the tone-deafness of the Administration as a whole.

Granted, thousands aren’t dying in Iowa. But then Iowans don’t live in grass and mud huts in a jungle delta either. So everything is relative. The fact is, there should be *no* deaths and little destruction in a nation like the U.S. when there’s a natural disaster because we have a solid infrastructure that includes meteorological warning systems, TV and radio news and–yes, federal government teams allegedly at the ready to respond to a disaster.

So where was the National Guard in Iowa on June 14th when the levees were breaking and the Mississippi began leaking between Iowa and Illinois in a way it simply isn’t supposed to?

Apparently the same place they were when Katrina hit New Orleans.

Most Americans who aren’t blinded by ideological nonsense can see what a dangerous leader George Bush is. It’s difficult to discern what’s more alarming–his actions or his inaction.

Bush will be gone in January 2009, however, and in his place with be either Sen. Obama or Sen. McCain. The question for Americans then becomes, can either of them do a better job than Bush of leading the nation–which includes understanding what’s required in a disaster?

The situation in Iowa provides a small litmus for the candidates. How would they differ from Bush?

Not surprisingly, both Obama and McCain have exceeded Bush already, offering their prayers and sympathy for the flood victims, while Bush has been cozy with Sarkozy and said nothing other than volatile comments about Iran.

Obama, the junior senator from Illinois, a state which is also being ravaged by the flooding, was back in Chicago on June 14th where he offered pledges of help to the flood victims as well as rebuilding efforts.

The argument could–and no doubt will–be made that McCain should have offered the same. But conversely many will note that Obama is still only a senator, not president, and as such his promises of rebuilding help are limited to what Congress as a whole decides, unless he’s sending personal campaign funds to Iowa.

Regardless of spin, however, both candidates acknowledged the disaster, which confirms what most of us already know: either candidate would be a better president than the one we have now.

And yet Bush *is* the president. He’s the one needed to order FEMA, the National Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers into Iowa. But first he has to realize that Iowa is under water and the corn belt is decimated. The question is, how long will Iowans have to suffer? Because the people of the Gulf Coast are still suffering nearly three years after Katrina.

There are no excuses left for this president, but there are many openings for the two presidential candidates to show how different they can be from Bush in both their actions and their words.

Obama insists McCain is no different from Bush. The situation in Iowa is prime for McCain to prove that he has both empathy and an ability to handle a crisis rather than wait for someone else to do it, as Bush has.

McCain insists that Obama doesn’t have the experience to handle a national emergency. What’s happening in Iowa is a national emergency, whether Bush sees that it is or not. Obama has the potential to prove himself with his response–particularly as Iowa is right next door to his home state.

Iowa held the first primary. How the candidates respond to this latest disaster–and whether they criticize Bush and demand action from him–may very well make Iowa a deciding factor once again in the election process. Unfortunately for Iowans, the battle to save their state is now more about politics than it is about empathy. And the disaster they are facing has yet to even reach its apex.

All Americans need to remember that what happened in New Orleans and what’s happening in Iowa could happen anywhere. We need a leader who can see a disaster looming and take action immediately. George Bush has never been that leader. So who will be?

In response to Obama-Bashing, Jennifer Mondlane writes:

My goodness! When does regurgitating what is spewed by Obama-bashers get old? It smacks of the fascination for the macabre! And at this stage of the race it feels very much like playing to the Republican smear machine. Anything for a buck!

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-Noah Greenberg