President Bush has once again made a short-term decision in his leadership of the American people, this decision is no doubt meant to boost the standing of the Republican party in the upcoming general election while short-changing future generations of Americans for years to come. This decision could probably be broken down into three parts: one part big oil, one part polling, and the last and least most important part, the future of the United States of America.
The United States needs oil; the price of oil is currently where it is due to a combination of speculation, increasing demand and regional conflicts in oil supplying areas. Recent polls suggest that the majority of American’s support offshore oil drilling but I believe we can attribute that support to the Republican Party inciting support amongst their base for the wrong solution. The biggest factor as asserted by Boone Pickens of BP Capital Management is that there is not enough supply in the world. I agree with that statement given the increasing demand on the world’s oil supply by the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations. As much as the EU and the United States try to slow down oil consumption, that reduction is immediately offset by the exponential increase in the Far East. I wrote about Mr. Pickens in an earlier post some weeks ago where he outlined his plan on CNBC, however I am pleased to discover he has set up his own website to promote his “dependence on foreign oil reduction plan.”
I will admit that I am skeptical about wind power but in all the time I spent in America, I have to say I have never ventured to middle America where it is apparently quite windy. If it is indeed that windy and an investment in wind turbines would provide a 38% drop in oil consumption, I don’t see a reason why the government and private organizations should not start investing today.
Offshore oil drilling will only have a long-term impact as admitted by the GOP and Senator McCain however the politicians in Washington need to make the right choice, a choice to ensure America’s long term survival in an increasingly energy demanding world. Sustainable energy could also said to have a long term impact but the difference is that it would be long term infinite source of energy as opposed to drilling which is a short-term strategy using a finite resource. The survival of America is dependent on sustainable energy, unfortunately oil does not fall into that category.
I was doing my usual blog browsing today when I stumbled upon a post at CrooksAndLiars.com showcasing an interview with President Bush by RTÉ (Radio Telefís Éireann). This was an old interview done in 2004 when President Bush came to Ireland to meet the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern before heading to meet with the EU. It was a contentious interview with some people feeling that the interviewer(Carole Coleman) went too far and did not show enough respect to the President of the United States:
THE White House has strongly criticized the RTE interview with President Bush, claiming that journalist Carole Coleman constantly interrupted him, preventing him from getting his point of view across.
Other critics were quite happy with the interview as those kinds of questions never get asked by journalists in the United States. This goes back to my post yesterday about the defeat of liberal point of view in the American media. Arianna Huffington often pointed this out in her book as did Eric Alterman, that not enough hard questions have been asked of the current administration. If you visit the original video at YouTube, the presenter suggests that this was banned in the United States however the interview was mentioned in the media:
Meanwhile, the interview was raised on the Larry King show on CNN, CBS, the New York Times where it was described as “contentious”, and in other media.
I was unable to find anything through Google where Larry King might have mentioned the interview but the New York Times piece on the interview was appallingly short with just three paragraphs. A bastion of liberal journalism somehow managed to let go of an opportunity to criticize the President and his Iraq war policies… I wonder why? Maybe because as suggested by research done by the Center for American Progress that even in the NYT, conservatives have managed to gain some kind of control.
On January 22, 2005 CNN had a discussion with Ms. Coleman about President Bush’ second term inauguration. The essence of the discussion concerned the increasing need for the media to discover what is really going on in Iraq. The problem is that 3 years later we still do not have an accurate understanding of the Iraqi situation, and no news organization with the exception of Al-Jazeera is able to provide an detailed account of what is going on.
My point is that the media needs to be asking the hard-hitting questions to both presidential candidates because letting any candidate slide because of his “war hero” status or his “charisma” is simply not acceptable. The next American President is going to have an aircraft carrier’s worth of problems to deal with and if the American people are to vote for the right person, the media needs to step up to the plate and get back to old-fashioned hard-hitting journalism.
I mentioned yesterday that I have come to a new realization with regards to the state of the media environment within the United States. This realization is that conservatives receive the lions share of content from organizations like ABC, CBS, MSNBC and CNN who are traditionally known as liberal news outlets. This leads me to the question:
Is politics ultimately about power? The ability to retain power within the government for yourself and your political party?
The Republicans/Conservatives seem to have done this on the radio networks according to a report published by the Center for American Progress in 2007. This report is over a year old but given the current FCC push for more deregulation, I doubt the facts of this report have changed. The main fact of the 40 page report is that through an analysis of 257 news/talk programs in the Spring of 2007, it was revealed that 91% of weekday programming is conservative and 9% is progressive:
This report may seem irrelevant because many people may be thinking how many people listen to the radio in the age of the internet? Well according to the report, Americans listened to 19 hours of radio per week on average in 2006. I myself listen to the radio roughly about 7 hours per week in Ireland and about the same when I was in America.
The report attributes these statistics in part to the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine by the FCC in 1987 during the Reagan administration. This repeal was another republican move under the guise of “regulation is bad” to take control of the media that they felt was dominated by liberal content. Secondly the report mentions the deregulation efforts on the part of the FCC recently to allow big networks to snap up all the media outlets they want. This further deregulation has been spearheaded by the current chairman of the FCC appointed by none other than President Bush.
Again the majority of the American public are being screwed by conservatives and the GOP so that we only recieve one side of a story. Any conservative must admit that there are two sides to every story and to make an informed opinion you need the liberal/progressive opinion as well as the conservative opinion. According to these statistics, if you live outside of a few liberal cities, you are in deep trouble of being republican washed.
These kinds of actions make me really angry since I am a fair player however I am naive when it comes to politics. I have come to realize that the Democrats are the true party for the people as they are the one’s who sponsored the Media Ownership Act of 2007 which has been squashed at the committee stage. Anyone want to guess why the Republican’s made sure this bill was never passed? Here is a video detailing why we need to get media back into serving the public interest because Fox is just a cog in the Republican machine:
I was having breakfast this morning when I stumbled upon a discussion Fareed Zakaria was having with a presenter on Sky News about his latest book entitled: “The Post-American World.” This is not an American bashing book otherwise I would not even think about mentioning but rather a critical look at the changing world we find ourselves in and how the United States needs to adapt to this new world order. I have not read the book otherwise I would have written a more comprehensive review but rather I did a quick Google Search after breakfast and found a speech given by Mr. Zakaria at the Commonwealth of California Club on May 27th, 2008. This speech is fairly long so I encourage you to break out the popcorn or at least some sort of snack, but it is most enlightening and informative in terms of content so please do watch the whole discussion.
The author makes a host of valuable points in this video and if I decided to talk about all of them, I would be forced to write another dissertation which I am not inclined to do so at this point. For the next few days I will touch on a few points that he has mentioned in more detail but for today I want to talk about the position of America in the world. It is an undisputed fact that the world is not what it used to be 20 years ago, America used to be the sole power on the global throne but is now forced to share that throne with the likes of China, India and Russia.
This is not a bad change as the author mentions but he correctly calls the media out for fanning the flames of anti-globalization. There are two phrases in this speech that really mean a lot to me: “inter-dependent” and “work together.” Too often every nation put’s its own national interest above those of the global village so much so that we have reached a stalemate with regards to the climate crisis because no matter how much the West goes green, the Indians and the Chinese are going to continue setting up coal power plants to meet the needs of their burgeoning economies. Discussion is never considered because the current administration only talks to countries whose actions affect the national interest which is not global warming since the GOP does not believe in that “hullabaloo.”
Mr. Zakaria suggests and I agree with him on this point that the leadership of America needs to work with the global powers to counter-act threats like global warming, terrorism, and economic depression. America also needs to treat everyone equally rather than holding a standard for it’s allies and a different standard for everyone else. It is throug this change in foreign policy and attitude that America will grow as well as those countries currently driving the global economy.
You know what is a sign of the times? That the President of the United States in a world wide poll is less favorable then the other President he is trying to go to war with. Yes…ladies and gentlemen…I do not speak falsely… according to the latest World Public Opinion aggregated poll spanning across 20 countries, President Ahmadinejad is ranked more highly by than President George Bush:
I have made this point in earlier posts but I will make it again; the United States used to be a pillar of strength, unity and freedom however in a post-Iraq war era, the American people are being ostracized in the “Global Village” because of one man. This man has put forth his agenda as the will of the American people which may have been truth at one point but no more. The majority of American people want to be out of Iraq, a strong economy and do not want to break the bank buying gas.
The poll numbers remind me of a story of an old French roommate of mine who was an exchange student from some University in France. His American counterpart had to come back from France because he was so badly treated by the French people. I don’t like French people and the blame for this incident can be put squarely on the shoulders of the French but can you imagine the kind of loathing a people must feel to treat someone that badly?
That feeling is a regrettable given how much I believe in the strength of the American socio-cultural system and the fundamental decent nature of every American. Senator McCain is a great man despite his “flip-flop” nature however as much as he tries to distance himself from President Bush, he cannot escape the encompassing umbrella of the Republican party and its associated policies. A political party that is the prime cause of the current negative feelings in the world today.
I am not encouraging people to vote for Senator Obama because of how the world perceives America, I am encouraging people to vote for him because the world has changed and is changing. The future leader of America needs to understand this and modify American foreign policy to restore America’s standing the “Global Village.” The place of America within the world hierarchy is no longer the same, it’s role is no longer the same. The American people need someone who understands this and will not continue the policies of 20 years ago. That person, is not Senator McCain.
Another interesting conclusion from the above picture is that you see the Secretary General of the U.N as the person who is held most favorably in the world. That should tell you how important the U.N is and should be, for some reason, the conservatives have decided to demonize the United Nations when it is the most important political organization on the face of the planet. If everyone supported the U.N, we might actually have a lot less war because governments would respect the secretary general rather than fall victim to the belief that the U.N is bloated and corrupt.
Every political organization and government has some degree of corruption yet we don’t hear people refusing to pay their taxes because they believe the American government is corrupt? Anyway the surprising thing about this survey, and a little hilarious is that Americans find the Prime Minister of England more favorable than the current President Bush.