This is a blog of populist and liberal information and ideas, advancing the cause of truth and justice while fighting the ugly tyranny of right-wing oppression in Oklahoma and its surrounding environs.

The Oklahoma Albatross

Time For A Bully Smackdown

"The truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it, ignorance my deride it, but in the end, there it is."—Winston Churchill

Satirical image of Jim Inhofe

(We need to get busy if we’re going to defeat U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe in the 2008 election. Take a few seconds to sign the petition and urge state Senator Andrew Rice to run against him.)

One has to wonder if as a child in the 1940s U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe was not the meanest bully on the playground.

Did Jimmy make fun of other kids, pull pigtails, and steal milk money? Did he take homework from other students after beating them up and present it as his own? (This would certainly make sense given his current anti-intellectual crusade about global warming and other issues of our day.) Did he throw tantrums, call people names, stomp his feet, and try to get all the attention?

The point is Jim Inhofe, 73, is a mean, sour bully and probably has always been one. How else can you account for this man’s irrational anger with people who simply believe in the scientific method and want to have a dialogue about the environment? How else can account for his narrow-minded, angry views about contemporary lifestyles and sexual orientation? How else can you account for his sarcastic, backpedaling lies about the Iraq war?

Inhofe The Bully has made Oklahoma a laughingstock in the nation and world. His absurd behavior—and it is getting to the point in which one has to question his mental faculties or at the very least his overall judgment--was featured again as a joke on national television. John Stewart of The Daily Show ran a clip recently in which Inhofe criticized an expert at The Weather Channel for his views on global warming. Inhofe, of course, thinks global warming is a vast, left-wing conspiracy. (Watch the clip here.)

It was hilarious, of course, and there might even have been a day some years ago when Inhofe’s remarks could have been dismissed as the colorful yahooism of a good ol’ boy from Oklahoma. But climate change deserves real discussion and debate in the world. As the former chairperson of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Inhofe prevented this country from engaging in an intelligent discussion about the issue for several years. He politicized the issue. He did so as a payoff to energy companies. (Inhofe receives some of the largest campaign contributions from energy companies in the United States Congress, according to sources.) He did so because he is a bully, and bullies never play well with others.

Okie Funk calls for a bully smackdown on Inhofe. Can you imagine the damage to the state’s image if Inhofe is elected to another six-year term? The chamber of commerce types can chirp all they want about economic development and lower taxes for corporations, but do you realize how much Inhofe’s bizarre behavior has cost us already? Inhofe is the albatross around Oklahoma’s neck.

I call on State Sen. Andrew Rice to lead this smackdown by running against Inhofe in the 2008 election. Please sign the petition urging Andrew to run.

Why Does The Corporate Media Ignore It?

The Washington Post today is running a story that shows how nearly 90 White House employees, including Senior Advisor Karl Rove, used political email accounts for official government business.

This email accounts were hosted by the Republican National Committee and apparently violate rules that require the employees use official communication channels to conduct business.

The real gist of story and the larger meaning is the White House is running a secret government that does not allow any immediate or historical public scrutiny. The implications of this practice are enormous. If this practice is allowed to legally stand, government at all levels in this country will be allowed to conduct business outside public purview.

How members of the corporate media or any reasonable person can see this as anything but another step towards secret government, which we might even call fascist, is simply beyond me. I realize The Post did the story, and that is great, but will they press it? Will other corporate media outlets see the danger of this non-partisan issue that threatens democracy? If a Democrat is elected president in 2008, will she or he follow the lead of Bush? Why should only Republicans escape the rule of law?

Bush’s devastating impact on the presidency and on democracy in this country cannot be understated.

Report Describes Human Suffering in Oklahoma

("Pa-rum-pa-pum-dumb!" Read DocHoc's commentary this week in the Oklahoma Gazette on the tenth-year anniversary of an Oklahoma County judge's absurd decision to ban the Academy Award-winning film, The Tin Drum.)

Oklahoma is tied with Mississippi for last place in the nation when it comes to overall health system performance, according to a new report.

Image from www.oldamericancentury

The Commonwealth Fund, which describes itself as a private, nonpartisan devoted to health and social issues, issued its first-ever report on the nation’s overall health care performance. It ranked each state. Hawaii was first. Oklahoma and Mississippi tied for last place.

Oklahoma “won” last place for its high numbers of uninsured residents, its lack of access to health care, and its large number of citizens who lead unhealthy lifestyles.

The report shows Oklahoma is above the national average in infant mortality and breast cancer deaths.

The report demythologizes the common state slogan that “Oklahoma is a great place to raise a family.” Yeah, right, maybe if you think going without health insurance and lacking access to quality health care are family values. In Oklahoma, even upper middle class citizens have to fight for average-at-best health care, and even then it is sometimes simply not available.

The problem here is the state’s major structural problem in terms of its leadership over the last twenty-five years or so. A handful of corporate executives, The Hillbilly Aristocracy, dictate the growth and direction of the state. As the corportization of the state increases each year, more and more people are left without financial stability or access to decent health care.

The corporate bigwigs then put on blinders to human suffering. Ed Kelley, the somber, hectoring editor of The Daily Oklahoman, for example, recently editorialized the report could harm the state’s economic development because corporations might not want to locate to such an unhealthy place. Kelley did not mention a word about how the report actually describes human suffering on a catastrophic level in our state. He describes the state’s residents as the “populace,” yet these are real people in flesh and blood, our neighbors, our family members.

Too many babies are dying, people cannot afford to purchase medications that might extend their lives, women die more frequently here of breast cancer than elsewhere, and the meth-labs cooks are getting rich on all the ensuing despair, but Kelley is concerned about what this all means for companies such as Chesapeake Energy or Sonic. This concern for The Corporation—and it is not just Kelley, of course—over the individual is precisely the structural problem the state faces in trying to improve its overall health care ranking.

Can we not, at least on this issue, focus on what is right and healthy for people rather than corporate profits and economic development? At the very least, we can urge people to move from here to get better health care for their children. It would be the most humane thing to do.

The Corporate Media and American Fascism

("Pa-rum-pa-pum-dumb!" Read DocHoc's take this week in the Oklahoma Gazette on the tenth-year anniversary of an Oklahoma County judge's absurd decision to ban the Academy Award-winning film, The Tin Drum.)

“Iraq is Hitlerian Germany, a truly mad police state with external ambitions and a menacing arsenal”—Charles Krauthammer, February 1, 2002

Image from www.oldamericancentury.org

America’s corporate media has inextricably tied itself to the neofascist policies of the Bush administration by refusing to fire or at least admonish conservative columnists who were so dreadfully wrong about the Iraq military invasion and the ensuing, gruesome occupation.

Let us focus on one. Why, for example, is Charles Krauthammer still given so much space in The Washington Post? This pig-headed columnist was entirely wrong about the reason for and the outcome of the initial invasion of Iraq, but he has apparently suffered no consequences for his ideologically-tainted, neofascist views. Meanwhile, other writers and academics, who were entirely right about the outcome of the invasion, remain marginalized and ignored.

Here are some quotes from Krauthammer’s earlier writing about the Iraq invasion:

“Saddam survived, rearmed, defeated the inspections regime and is now back in the business of building weapons of mass destruction”—April 19, 2002.

“Which [the surgical destruction of a totalitarian regime] is what makes the Three Week War a revolution in world affairs. It is one thing to depose tin-pot dictators. Anyone can do that. It is another thing to destroy a Stalinist demigod and his three-decade apparatus of repression -- and leave the country standing. From Damascus to Pyongyang, totalitarians everywhere are watching this war with shock and awe.”—April, 2003.

(This quotes and references to the articles can be found here. Remember, Krauthammer actually got paid by a big corporation for writing these lies.)

Krauthammer is just one of many right-wing extremists who bought into President George Bush’ lies about Iraq. Pundits like to explain this away as the media’s hyper-sensitive quest to provide balanced coverage to the right and left. Krauthammer is a right-wing ideologue. His narrow views, however wrong-headed and dangerous, must be heard for the sake of media “purity” or allegiance to an archaic, journalistic principle, the rationale goes.

Yet Krauthammer's views and the goose-step opinions of other right-wing writers given disproportionate space in the country’s largest newspapers today are dangerous lies that threaten our country’s democratic structures. They give cover to and support neofascist policies such as the execution of endless unilateral wars to foster crass nationalism, the torture of prisoners, the wiretapping of citizens, the right-wing politicization of the U.S. Justice Department, the suspension of due process and habeas corpus, the creation of secret prisons, the sanctioning of the highest domestic incarceration rates in the world, and the governance of the country by presidential edicts which ignore legislative oversight.

There comes a point when truth should triumph over media methodology or tradition. Most of the right-wingers in the corporate media were completely wrong about the Iraq invasion, for example. Their gargantuan critical error should show any reasonable person they will continue to make other wrong assumptions and present other wrong information. In any other professional field in this country, such an outlandish error would not go unpunished. It sets a dangerous precedent to reward mediocrity and error over truth. But that is just what corporate media outlets have done.

The corporate media’s complicity in the country’s tilt towards neofascism or American Imperialism or the corporate-military mindset or the American Police State or whatever you want to call it is perhaps the most dangerous development facing our country today. The beltway pundits at The Post and The New York Times frame the issues of our time; the moderate voices of Paul Krugman, Bob Herbert, Frank Rich, and others are simply not enough to counter the right-wing, neofascist sloganeering defining the political discourse in the corporate media. The Times has even tried to silence these progressive writers by refusing to allow their material to be freely distributed on the Internet.

Yet these writers, too, know to whom they must hold their allegiance—The Corporation. It gives them money and prestige. The rest of us, figuratively speaking, huddle in our apartments with our Victory Gin, waiting the inevitable outcome.

Long live the growing, new independent media that places truth above corporate profits. Money’s allegiance is only to itself.

(Coming soon: Robert Novak and The Demise of American Journalistic Standards.)

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