Nixonesque?

The HuffPost story begins as follows:

The Obama administration woke up on Tuesday to another morning of scorching criticism about the Justice Department’s decision to secretly obtain months of Associated Press phone records.

The DOJ tracked the incoming and outgoing calls on more than 20 AP phone lines, as well as the home, office and cell phone lines for six individual journalists involved in writing a national security-related story about Yemen that the Obama administration did not want them to write.

While many of us who supported this president are dismayed by this story and its ramifications — given its open attack on the first amendment — there are those who will insist that the president is in no way connected with this sort of suppression. How could he be? He’s a liberal democrat, after all, and Democrats are champions of a free press. But the story goes on to point out that

[Buzzfeed editor Ben] Smith wrote that the nuclear nature of the probe could, in part, be traced back to Obama, who has made it a policy to aggressively go after leaks in a fashion not seen in any of his predecessors. Though the White House said it had nothing to do with the probe and referred reporters to the Justice Department, Smith wrote that it was not hard to see Obama’s hand in some way: Elements of this approach, Obama’s friends and foes agree, come from the top. Obama is personally obsessed with leaks, to the extent that his second chief of staff, Bill Daley, took as one of his central mandates a major and ill-fated plumbing expedition. Attorney General Eric Holder, who pressed the leak policy, is a trusted Obama insider.

This obsession with leaks and attempts to suppress the news is disquieting indeed. I must admit I found Obama’s first term as president unsettling, given his urge to make everyone happy and reach compromises that violated fundamental principles he embraced during his campaign. But I figured that when he gets a second term and doesn’t have to run again he will come out strong on the principles one identifies with liberal thinkers and politicians who aren’t simply holding a finger up to see which way the wind is blowing. But there he is with his finger up — and it appears to be his middle one and it is pointed at us!  The man doesn’t seem to know what a principle is and he is acting very much like a paranoid Richard Nixon or George W. Bush, saying one thing while he does another. Shades of Watergate and the invasion of Iraq clouded in lies in the name of “freedom.”

It was terribly disappointing, for example, to see that even though 91% of the people in this country wanted some sort of background checks on gun sales the man couldn’t wheedle the Senate into a vote to support gun control. Is he really that clueless, not to mention inept? He seems to be sleeping with corporations like Monsanto who are determined to ignore ethics completely in the name of higher profits. Moreover, he promised to close Guantanamo where prisoners at this writing are still on a hunger strike to draw attention to their inhumane plight. And while the drone attacks started under Bush, they have escalated under Obama to an alarming extent — and he refuses to “come clean” and appear before committees to explain what he is up to. His tendency toward secrecy and his inclination to resort of prevarication when confronted smacks of the very thing we all hoped we were getting way from with this president who promised to be open and honest. He does, indeed, appear to be a Republican in Democratic clothing, fearful of “the enemy” and devoted to increasing corporate profits. It’s one thing to be a closet Republican with his hand in corporate pockets (there are a number of them in Congress), but it is quite another to pretend that he is anything but. It’s the duplicity coupled with the growing lack of trust that causes the greatest concern. Just who is this man?

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Going For The Green

I have never done this and don’t plan to make it a practice. But a recent piece in the Sierra magazine caught my eye and in the spirit of re-blogging, I want to pass it along verbatim. It shows once again the lack of conscience exhibited by large corporations as they pursue the almighty dollar. The article is titled “Greenwashing Golf.” I will omit the parts that don’t seem pertinent.

“. . .For a mere $200 and a self-report of green virtue — no independent on-site inspection required — some 2,300 U.S. [golf] courses have tried to hitch themselves to one of the world’s most respected environmental brands: Audubon.

“The golf industry has long been hammered for wasting oceans of water, using toxic chemicals, and bullying local communities. Then along came a New York group called Audubon International (A.I.) which shares only a name with the renowned bird-focused environmental group and which offers to ‘certify’ the environmental stewardship of golf courses. Courses now happily attach the famous name to scorecards, signage, and offers for duffers to play on ‘Audubon approved’ links and to buy McMansions beside ‘Audubon golf sanctuaries.’

“‘It’s patently obvious what A.I. is trying to do,’ says National Audubon Society CEO David Yarnold. ‘It’s deliberate obfuscation.’ A.I., however, won a court judgment that the Audubon name is generic and that there’s no confusion in the marketplace. Yet, admits California golf course owner George Kelley — whose course is A.I. certified — ‘If they called themselves the XYZ Environmental Golf Company, they would not have had anywhere near the success they have had.’

“A.I. is funded by DuPont, cement maker LaFarge, Disney, and the U.S. Golf Association. Now founder Ron Dodson wants to certify chemical refineries, shopping malls, highways, even cars. Says Dodson, ‘We would not discriminate.'”

In this case “discrimination” would be a good thing! But what is most appalling about this story is the deceit, the underhanded attempt on the part of the golf courses and the corporations who support this effort to appear environmentally responsible when in fact this is not the case. Ignoring for a moment the horrible record large corporations like DuPont have in their treatment of the environment, golf courses are, as suggested above, some of the worst polluters in the country. But my objection, like those of so many others, will fall on the closed ears and minds of those who run these four corporations (and others like them) and who only see where they can make even more money. Brace yourself, you may soon be living near an “Audubon approved” Walmart.