(Note: For those who do not know, The Daily Oklahoman fortress is located on the Broadway Extension, a highway in north Oklahoma City.)
The Broadway Extension Warmongers (aka: commentary writers at The Daily Oklahoman) have published yet another quasi-fascist editorial supporting Imperial President George Bush’s gruesome Iraq occupation while denouncing those Democrats who want to bring the troops home.
In addition, the newspaper continues to give politico and fringe right-wing extremist Kevin Calvey, a former state representative, prominent space on its online site to distort the Iraq occupation and lie about who the military is really fighting. A National Guardsman, the archconservative Republican Calvey is currently in Iraq. He blogs regularly for the newspaper under the title “Calvey in Iraq.” His posts have nothing to do about his military service in Iraq. He writes almost exclusively about his political support for the occupation.
(As an aside, let us not forget that “large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists have infiltrated the U.S. military,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that monitors hate groups in the country. This is not your grandfather’s or great-grandfather’s World War II military. Those who serve in Iraq now are primarily (1) poor and have few educational or job choices available to them when they graduate from high school, (2) doing so to obtain combat experience because they are career soldiers or (3) want to go because they get a macho kick killing people and living on the edge. Within this third group, according to organizations such as the SPLC, there are a growing number of militia types and right-wing extremists in the mold of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.)
It is long past time to consider The Daily Oklahoman’s motives. Why does it publish so many editorials supporting the occupation when a majority of American citizens want the military out of Iraq and when a majority of Iraqi citizens want us out? A new poll, for example, shows only 30 percent of Americans support the occupation. Is the newspaper subtly promoting a fascist or American Imperialist ideology and secretly urging people to abandon the country’s historical democratic structures? Does it support the new right-wing military that now accepts skinheads and neo-Nazis into its ranks and routinely tortures prisoners under the tacit approval of the executive branch of government? Do its owners—the Gaylord family—even believe in the concepts and ideals of democracy, free speech and truth? Why does the newspaper remain completely one-sided on this issue? Why will it not present different views about the most important world event in a generation when American citizens are so clearly against the occupation?
Mark Green, in the newspaper’s most recent pro-occupation editorial (Defeatist sounding: Democrats war mantra wearing thin,” June 27, 2007),” argues Democrats have “overplayed their hand” as they “badmouth” the occupation.
Green argues recent low approval ratings for Congress are probably because Americans, in fact, support the occupation even though many experts attribute the low ratings to just the opposite.
Here is a paragraph Green actually wrote: “Then there's the war. No question, lots of liberals are mad Democrats haven't ended it yet. Many experts attribute the low congressional job approval numbers to just that. But maybe part of it is a feeling among centrists and independents that Democrats have gone beyond the mandate they won in the 2006 midterm elections.”
But here is the big fact Green ignores: The Democratic Party, which won majorities in the House and Senate in 2006, primarily based on anti-occupation sentiment, has done absolutely nothing to stop the occupation. Nothing. So, in his twisted logic, Green argues that people do not support Congress because Democrats have “overplayed” what? Overplayed . . . nothing, nada, zilch? How do you overplay when you are not even playing? The Democratic Party has not done anything in any manner to impede Imperial President Bush and his war dogs from escalating the botched occupation. People are against Congress right now because it has not done anything to stop Bush’s occupation, not because it has actually done anything to stop it. That is why an increasing number of prominent Republicans are turning against it as well.
You will not hear anything from Green about U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Indiana), who said this about the Iraq occupation yesterday: “In my judgment, the costs and risks of continuing down the current path outweigh the potential benefits that might be achieved. Persisting indefinitely with the surge strategy will delay policy adjustments that have a better chance of protecting our vital interests over the long term.”
According to Green, it all comes down to a couple of things Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have said about the occupation, not anything they have actually done to end it. This is why Americans, according to Green, are not supporting Congress right now because Reid and Pelosi said some bad bad things about poor maligned Bush and his wonderful occupation. People do not like it when Democrats say bad things about Republicans, according to Green’s logic, but they do like it when Republicans say bad things about Democrats.
Meanwhile, Calvey continues his attempts to indoctrinate people into worshipping the corporate-military complex and death over human rights and individuals. And, remarkably, he is such a great history teacher, too!
In a recent post, Calvey compares the tactics of General Robert E. Lee to the tactics of al Qaeda in Iraq with a most telling qualification.
Calvey writes, “An analogy, for students of American history, would be Robert E. Lee's failure to cause despair in the North in the Gettysburg campaign. It is not a perfect analogy, because Robert E. Lee was not evil like al Qaeda. But Lee was an insurgent of sorts, quite a successful one in many ways, and his goal was to get the Federal government to quit the Civil War, since Lee knew he could not win militarily.”
Note here, according to Calvey, Robert E. Lee, who was fighting to uphold the inhumane practice of slavery, “was not evil like al Qaeda.” It is only fitting that the “not-evil” Lee, who some claim ruthlessly punished his own slaves, is an icon of southern pride and contemporary racism. (Reread this post’s third paragraph.) Obviously, the American government’s current polices that encourage the torture of its prisoners are philosophically rooted in the country’s inhumane treatment of slaves. In both cases, “The Other” is deemed subhuman and physically beaten and these acts are presented as “not evil.”
Also, more importantly, American soldiers are fighting insurgents who are NOT affiliated with al Qaeda. These insurgents are people—both Sunnis and Shiites—who want the United States military to stop occupying their country. A majority of Iraqis want Calvey and the rest of the military to leave, according to surveys. Calvey is lying, he knows he is lying, The Oklahoman editors know he is lying, we all know he is lying, he is The Windup Good Soldier that lies and lies and lies, and it goes on and on and on.
It is only logical that in an era of The Big Lie, an era of powerful, quasi-fascist, anti-intellectual leaders, teachers would become the most maligned people in the culture.
There is simply no other way to explain The Daily Oklahoman’s continued war on educators. Relentlessly, the newspaper distorts the facts, omits crucial information, and demonizes the state’s leading teachers’ organization for no other reason than to ensure the state lacks quality, enlightened educators. Those educators, the newspaper argues, need to head for Texas, California, or New York if they want to get paid a decent wage.
There is truly an ongoing Republican Party war on education in this country, and as the state’s GOP Propaganda Ministry, The Daily Oklahoman leads the war effort here.
The newspaper’s recent ideological attack comes in the form of an editorial (“Bad math: Merit pay for teachers overdue,” June 24, 2007) that argues salaries for Oklahoma teachers should be based on a corporate-based, winner-take-all merit system. It is the same old corporate ideology. If you do not challenge authority or speak up, you will make more money based on "merit." If you want to do what is right for students and your school, you will make less money. This argument is a part of the continued corportization of education that has damaged the intellectual quality of our schools and colleges for years now. It is part of the GOP’s and President George Bush’s Dumbing Down of American Schools Program to increase middle management positions for ideologues and corporate sycophants in education.
Here are reasons why a major merit pay structure for Oklahoma teachers is unwarranted at this time, if ever:
(1) Oklahoma teachers remain some of the most underpaid educators in the nation. Recent raises for teachers have helped the situation somewhat, but the state needs to meet regional average salaries for teachers. Oklahoma teachers did not even have paid health insurance until just a few years ago. Their health insurance program is terribly inadequate. Oklahoma teachers have one of the lowest funded retirement pensions in the nation. None of this is good for recruiting intelligent, enlightened teachers. But the corporate toadies want to ignore all this, and corporatize and politicize a system that already contains major structural problems. It is like they want to trick out the car before it even has tires or an engine.
(2) The country faces major teacher shortage in the future. A recent article ("U.S. Schools Pinched in Hiring," June 24, 2007) in The Washington Post reveals, “The growing paucity of talented recruits comes as federal policies are tightening requirements for teacher qualifications.” So as the teacher shortage develops, the corporate types want to increase teacher qualifications and lower pay for some teachers who might, say, practice free speech at their school. The true aim of this push for merit pay then is actually to gut public education. Who will want to teach under these conditions?
(3) It is unethical and immoral to compare corporations and schools. In corporations, the bottom line is as an employee you support the company in its effort to make money. For example, say the company is a monopoly. Perhaps, then, the “merit” of your job is to increase the immoral stranglehold of the company’s monopoly and make profits for the company’s owners based on nothing more than supporting the idea of wealth disparity and lack of competition. Perhaps, this job does not even require work as we know it, only a promotion of an ideology. This is certainly the case with many of those employed at The Daily Oklahoman. How is this “merit” that same of the “merit” of a teacher trying to teach a child to read? How can you in all honesty compare the two?
(4) Merit pay systems in schools are notoriously political and uneven and will serve to drive even more enlightened people away from teaching in the state. How can you expect to attract teachers in Oklahoma with low starting salaries, shoddy health insurance, terrible retirement benefits, and no promise of regular raises? Who will judge the “merit” of a teacher? How do we assess this? No one, no group, no institution has ever come up with a decent answer to this question. How can you assess the actions of a teacher when those actions might not become apparent for years? There are so many human factors that go into the educational development of a child that it is impossible to quantify it.
The Daily Oklahoman long ago declared war on the state’s teachers. The war is based on rhetorical subterfuge and deceit. Why would the Broadway Extension Warmongers even write about this issue when there are so many other pressing problems in the state and world? Here is why: The newspaper owners and the rest of the state’s Hillbilly Aristocracy want to gut public education and increase wealth disparity. There will never be enough money to appease the greedy Gaylord family and their associates. Never.
See all those pallets piled up on the loading dock
They're just gonna set there till they rot
'Cause there's nothing to ship, nothing to pack
Just busted concrete and rusted tracks
Empty storefronts around the square
There's a needle in the gutter and glass everywhere
You don't come down here 'less you're looking to score
We can't make it here anymore—James McMurtry’s “We Can’t Make It Here”
Thoughts along the armadillo highway . . .
New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s obvious escape from the sinking fortunes of the Republican Party and his possible presidential run as an independent candidate created quite a splash in the media, but not one story challenge the basic premise of whether it is good for democracy that a multi-billionaire uses his own money to essentially buy political power. There was much celebratory speculation about how much Bloomberg might personally spend in a presidential bid—$1 billion was mentioned in one article—but no debate about whether it is good for the country that a person can purchase or try to purchase the American presidency. For the record, money has polluted the American political process and threatens the country’s democratic structures. Bloomberg symbolizes how even the American presidency is for sale these days.
Has anyone else noticed the editorial videos starring The Daily Oklahoman’s Ed Kelley begin with an advertisement urging people to go to Colorado. It makes perfect business sense. After watching the somber Kelley drone on about how no one deserves free parking in Bricktown or whatever, one does feel the pull of different climes.
Glenn Greenwald at Salon.com is writing the sharpest political and media commentary in the nation right now. Greenwald is meticulous and ruthless with facts, sources, and logic. His new book, A Tragic Legacy: How a Good Vs.Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency, is out and making its way up the bestseller lists. It can be ordered here.
So who will step up to run against U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-ExxonMobilChevronTexaco) in the 2008 election? Inhofe is currently raising money for his campaign and stinking up Washington with his certifiable tirades that appeal to a narrowing base of ultra-conservative voters. It appears at this point he has the full support of the established Oklahoma power structure, from the right-wing The Daily Oklahoman to Chesapeake Energy. But that could change. Inhofe could become a major Republican liability in the months to come. Democrats need to get a viable candidate as soon as possible.
Richard Cohen, a Washington Post columnist, actually wrote this paragraph: “With the sentencing of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Fitzgerald has apparently finished his work, which was, not to put too fine a point on it, to make a mountain out of a molehill. At the urging of the liberal press (especially the New York Times), he was appointed to look into a run-of-the-mill leak and wound up prosecuting not the leaker -- Richard Armitage of the State Department -- but Libby, convicted in the end of lying. This is not an entirely trivial matter since government officials should not lie to grand juries, but neither should they be called to account for practicing the dark art of politics. As with sex or real estate, it is often best to keep the lights off.” Note the “it is often best to keep the lights off.” As Glenn Greenwald points out, this one line perfectly summarizes the corporate media these days. Reporters and editors are busy turning off lights so Republican corruption and fascism can flourish. Cohen, who once supported the “case” for the Iraq war, is another example of a dreadfully wrong beltway pundit. Why is he still writing for this influential paper when others who were right about the war and who would always argue for more, not less, light on public officials are marginalized and dismissed?
Greensunshine.org, a site under construction, will help marginalized voices get online. Rooted in the personal experience of its creators, who speak out in a hostile environment and face harassment and threats on a regular basis, the site will serve as a bridge between the content side of activist Web sites and open source code technologies and applications. Can you help? Do you have ideas? Check out the site and contact us with your thoughts.
The basic democratic structures of the United States of America are in jeopardy, and the country teeters on the precipice of fascism. We are a country that now systematically tortures prisoners in a vague so-called “war on terrorism” and both major political parties support it. Only right-wing political speech is given prominent play in the corporate media these days, though the mainstream media still pretends it offers balanced views. We incarcerate more people than any other nation in the country. Some of our prisoners languish for years in dilapidated prisons for simple marijuana possession charges. They are more often than not the victims of jail rape and torture. Despite recent elections that demonstrated the citizens’ desire to stop the Iraq occupation, the president has escalated the country’s involvement in an act of world defiance that has changed the nature of the U.S. presidency forever. The opposition party, elected to a majority based on anti-occupation sentiment, refuses to stand up to President George Bush and the growing corporate-military complex. American elections have been corrupted by right-wing tactics to lower voting by minorities. Only fools trust the official results in some election races throughout the country. The president himself was initially elected in a corrupt election, the results of which showed his opponent had won. Bush has ordered the wiretapping of millions of innocent American and world citizens. Our justice system—the one that incarcerates the most people in the world—is operated by complete political expediency.