Thursday, March 19, 2009

Class Warfare?

The AIG Corporation recently stunned the American public by handing out huge bonuses to its executives even though they have run the company into near bankruptcy. What angered the public so much is that the Corporation is the beneficiary of public funds to the tune of several billion dollars. Certainly beleaguered taxpayers don’t think they should have to pay to support the lifestyle of America’s rich and pampered business executives. It is one thing to save a corporation that’s too large to fail, but it is quite another thing to reward those who have guided it to the brink of failure.

From my perspective, the corporation’s actions in rewarding bonuses to the incompetent executives is just a matter of class warfare. Usually they are the ones that scream class warfare when a liberal politician suggests that the rich ought to be taxed to provide for the needs of the poor. However, in this situation the roles seem to be reversed with the rich corporate executives being demanding support from taxes on working class America. The privileged class seems to feel they are entitled to tax money just by virtue of their position in the upper levels of America’s economic column. Maybe it’s time they are disabused of this idea and are held accountable for their own actions. No bonuses if they mess up the business.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Stem Cell Research

Recently President Obama signed an executive order reversing the order of former President Bush restricting federal funds from being used by scientists who are studying embryonic stem cells. This was quite an issue eight years ago when Bush allowed scientists to use existing lines of embryonic stem cells, but forbade any new ones being used for research if federal money was involved. Now our new President has reversed that situation.

The reaction from conservatives has been quite interesting. They still maintain that a microscopic collection of stem cells is the same as human life and must therefore be protected. What they seem to ignore is that the embryos in question come from fertility clinics and if not used for research will simply be discarded. I find it worrisome that conservatives are much more concerned about protecting the life of an embryo than they are about protecting an actual human life. There was no conservative outcry, for example, when American mercenaries brutally murdered Iraqi civilians simply to clean out an intersection in Baghdad in preparation for American dignitaries to drive through in their limousines.

A second reaction has been the insistence by conservatives that embryonic stem cells are no longer needed or valuable for scientific use. They claim that the better science is using adult stem cells. From my perspective, they should let scientists decide what is the best resource for experimentation. This is not something a philosopher can determine. Thankfully, for those of us who are affected by certain neurological ailments, there is now some hope that eventually there will be a breakthrough and cures will be found. I realize it may not be in my lifetime, but I think our government should encourage scientists to move ahead at full speed.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

CIA Tapes

President Obama has given orders to open many of the archives documenting government activities in the past eight years. In the process it was discovered that over 90 videotapes of the CIA interrogating suspects were destroyed. This was not a sudden inadvertent act or an accident. These tapes were destroyed on purpose. What was on them that are government agents did not want citizens to see? One can only imagine that they involve scenes of torture.

But, one might ask, why would one imagine that these tapes included torture of suspects by our government agents when President Bush gave his word that our government did not engage in torture? Maybe these tapes included statements of national security and matters which the public should not see since it might aid the enemy who would then be able to attack us more easily. Nobody has come to that conclusion and I wonder why? Could it be that we’ve been deceived in the past and no longer trust our government to do the right thing? If so, our Republic is in a sad state.

From my perspective, this is a far worse crisis in the current economic situation. Our economy will eventually rebound, but can we ever regain the public trust after the deceptions of the past eight years? Hopefully the new President will be open enough with the American people that they can come once again to trust the word of our nation’s leader. The future of the democratic process depends upon that.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Rage and Racism

Republicans, and especially those on the conservative end of the party, are all in a rage these days over the leadership of President Barrick Obama. They don’t like his stimulus plan. They don’t like his popularity. They don’t like his spending plan. And they’ve suddenly gotten religion regarding the evils of the federal debt. Of course some of the President’s supporters have charged them with racism to which they react with a great deal of anger. I doubted that racism had anything to do with it until recently.

The other morning on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, a man called in on the Republican line responding to a question regarding Obama’s budget. His statement was, and I quote directly: "Obama is ignorant and a liar. He always has been and always will be. The Democrats who voted for him hate it that Republicans bring freedom to people. You can tell all those black people who voted for him that we are never going to free any more Blacks."

So there you have it; rage and racism out in the open. I am sure that this is not typical of Republican thinking but it does identify a certain stream of racial hatred that exists within the conservative mind. Too bad for America.