As kids go back to school, I reflected upon the Summer as I had the good fortune to hang out with my Son throughout the Summer. For me, the climax of the Summer was when I escorted my Son to the “Rule The Pool” at the Crown Valley Pool in the City of Laguna Niguel. As I saw the kids having the time of their life, I started walking around the Niguel Botanical Reserve and truly marveled at such a gem of a resource right in the middle of the City. I was in awe!!!
As I marveled at the beauty, I thought about the City of Laguna Niguel. I saw as Laguna Niguel’s new City Hall took shape and what a beautiful building it has turned out to be. I remember when I had the privilege to witness when the City Council broke ground. The new City Hall was built on time, on budget with no debt being incurred by the city. As I thought about the city, how it has continued to maintain a reasonable level of service while navigating through rather challenging times, I wondered whether lessons can be learnt from the city has done that could be translated into the National Scene.
The “sign people” have seemed to have disappeared lately. Although I hope that they have somehow settled down, the fact that the National Unemployment Rate continues to be stuck at 9.1 Percent does not give me much hope. What is even more tragic is that the the real unemployment rate is at 16.2 Percent (Source: http://portalseven.com/employment/unemployment_rate_u6.jsp). No one seems to really talk about the real unemployment rate as the debate goes from the superficial to the ridiculous. I was especially shocked when I saw comments by the House Republican Leader, Mr. Canton, continue his crusade for Deficit Reduction as people continue to be under ever more pressure after Hurricane Irene. All the talk has been on entitlement cuts and “reform”. Yet, there is no talk about reductions in Defense.
I have continued to be fearful of as we approach the 10th Anniversary of 9/11. As I look forward to attending the City’s 9/11 memorial, I can’t help but be worried about the future. It has been 10 years since that terrible day that changed things forever. What is clear is that 9/11 changed the World forever. I wanted to get a sense of the debate over the 9/11 Decade and Google came back with 142,000,000 Hits. The debate on this will never be over.
One of the more insightful articles I saw was from The Independent’s Robert Fiske. He noted the fact that the right questions were never asked. What was so unfortunate and frankly scary is how the America has become ever more paranoid. When I read about people being on Watch Lists and no fly lists, I wonder if anyone remembered that the Constitution actually in fact existed. I saw a story on Al Jazeera as it had its’ series on the 9/11 decade about someone being put on the No-Fly list. The Department of Homeland Security actually told him in a letter that he would be taken off if he agreed to serve as an informant going around local Mosques. He refused and is now part of a lawsuit challenging such regulations. What is scary is that if the Government suspects you, it can monitor you with you knowing it–thanks to the Patriot Act.
Beyond the Government, I continue to amazed as Islamphobia continues to be gathering steam. I was shocked to read the report by the Center for American Progress about how a number of foundations helped to underwrite the fear of Muslims by underwriting a number of so-called experts including Daniel Pipes and Frank Gaffney. Although I hope that what the Center of American Progress has done to expose this so far, what continues to be of concern is how this deluge of scare tactics over Islam continues to gather steam. I nearly fell off my chair in laughter when I saw Soledad O’Brien’s Special on CNN when he interviewed this Lawyer who was suing to stop an Islamic Center because of “Sharia Law”. It is so tragic how a propaganda outlet like Fox News has insured that such manufactured nonsense continues to perpetuate itself. The bloggers and the right wing talk show hosts are even worst.
What the Center for American Progress details in “Fear Inc” is chilling:[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqIEhy_8NmY[/youtube]
I have truly wondered what Jefferson would say to such people today. Jefferson was the one who bought the Quran that Congressman Keith Ellison took his oath of Office on in 1763. Yet, instead of truly focused on the long-term challenges of the Country, we have Congressman King focused on what the Somalis are doing while ignoring the rise of other radical groups in the Country.
As I thought about the 9/11 Decade and about the summer, I have become increasingly scared. The idea of bometrics Identification cards, facial recognition software and increased surviellance is something that we have come to expect in China. What is the difference between China and US? When I read about 2 Million Cameras in the City of Shenzhen, I wondered how long it would be before we’re there. It is already happening because of moves in cities throughout South Orange County to use Cameras to enforce traffic laws. When I read about the work and the involvement of the US Northern Command and the Joint Special Operations Command, I became ever more scared. Apparently such “experiments” are already being done in Iraq.
As I thought about the ensuing debate over the Summer, I became ever more concerned about the overall tone of the debate about all the patroits who claimed to speak for America, but seem to have lost the very essence of America. Maybe such people need to truly listen to the wisdom of this clip from the American President:[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWRVbWMvi7c[/youtube]
The people in charge seem to have truly lost their way. As I look at the Political landscape right now, I have to wonder why is there such a clamour to devote so such to the so-called job creators while the rest of the people seem to be left to fend for themselves. As I further thought about our world, I thought about the Republican Field. I had a chance to catch some of the debates and was entertained by the softball questions. I truly fell out of my chair in laughter when I read about Mr. Romney’s plans to triple his vacation home and then came out said how he wanted to only double it–and then wanted to fashion himself as a man of the people by eating a Carl’s Jr. Burger. The moves were quite calculated as he of course related a story about how he shopped for his grandkids at Walmart. I listened to Jon Huntsman touting his plan to get America back to Work. I read about the pending Romney plan and the pending Bachmann plan. They all continue to push for tax cuts to help spruce up job growth. But I could not help but wonder where they have been because there has been literally no job growth.
Of all the current crowd of Republican Hopefuls, the one that really fascinates me is Rick Perry. He seems to be the current Knight in Shinning Armor for the Republicans right now touting his Texas record and how he would bring that sense of Texas Purpose to Washington. But, first, he has a lot to answer for because he has a record that he has to answer for. Whether the Corporate Media will have the guts and the courage to ask the questions remains to be seen. This is as I await what the President has to say about how he plans to help spruce up job growth. I have to wonder whether he can entice the Do-Nothing Congress to move. The President, though, needs to realize that he may lose this election if he continues to be complacent.
As the US continues to be in a state of flux, my mind drifted beyond America’s shores to the Middle East. I continue to be amazed as to how the region has undergone the changes. The idea of US allies being brought to justice for their actions bodes well for the future. It also continues to show the hollowness of how US Policy has been towards the Middle East. This is as we continue to fight three wars halfway around the World. Although we have been told that we will be out of Iraq, the reality is otherwise. The war continues to rage on in Afghanistan with no end in sight as Pakistan continues to be on fire too. This is as the World Economy is in a state of crisis that has seen Europe on the brink of Bankruptcy, the US being driven to near default, Japan in recession and China slowing.
As I saw the horrific scenes from Somalia, I drifted again back to Orange County and remembered what Jack Layton, the late Canadian NDP leader told Canadians as he concluded his final letter to the Canadian People:
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.
I plan on continuing to be optimistic. I admit that it is a tall order.