To The Daily Sun,
I was somewhat disappointed, but not surprised, to read Bob Meade's recent column. Once again, it was just a rehash of conservative complaints and Fox Entertainment talking points.
Where to begin? Let's begin with the obvious lies. Meade tells us that four-star General Carter Ham, U.S. commander of Africom, was fired because he wanted to disobey the order to "stand down" in responding to our embassy in Benghazi. The general was never "fired", but after a normal tour as commander, General Ham was succeeded by General Rodrigues and retired in June 2013. General Ham was not relieved of his command for attempting to provide military assistance during the attacks. Ham, himself, testified before the House Committee on American Services in June 2013 that the decision not to deploy close or support during the attack were made by him based on his assessment of the situation at the time, not because he was ordered to "stand down".
In order to keep this conspiracy alive, Meade, Fox, Earle and other right-wing conservatives are resistant to any facts that complicate their view of reality.
Fox has been stirring up racial divides since President Obama took office, but former Mayor Giuliani's blatant lies are a new low, even for Fox, who have manufactured a "war on the police". Giuliani wants us to believe (and apparently Meade does) that Obama promoted a propaganda movement that encouraged "everyone to hate police" and that protests should be "embraced" and "encouraged". Giuliani was lying. President Obama never said anything that would encourage hatred of police. In fact, the president has proclaimed, "There is never an excuse for violence against police, or for those who would use this tragedy (referencing Ferguson) as a cover for vandalism or looting."
On the economic scene, Meade reminds us "that we have the lowest percentage of citizens employed than we have had since 1978." But as he often does, he doesn't tell us the whole story. He doesn't tell us of an administration, who, when it took office in 2001 enjoyed a $236 billion budget surplus — with a projected 10-year surplus of $5.6 trillion.
When this administration left office, it handed President Obama a staggering $1.3 trillion annual deficit — with projected shortfalls of $8 trillion for the next decade, thanks in large part to the previous administration's tax cuts.
Despite what you hear from the naysayers, the economic conditions are improving. Signs of this improvement can be seen in the rise in expensive equipment sales, housing prices no longer in free-fall, advertising sales are growing (just witness The Sun), factory production is increasing, record corporate profits, the recovery of retail sales, unemployment may be declining, jobs are growing ... admittedly slowly — 257,000 in January, and economists (not Obama) say the economy is improving. Our economy has gained nearly five times more jobs under Obama than it did during the previous administration and the unemployment rate has dropped to just below the historic average.
Any recovery will be denied by conservatives because it would threaten their strategy of criticizing President Obama for holding back growth and hiring.
I was feeling sorry for the health insurance industry for being "demonized" by Obama for excessive profits, until I researched and found that health insurance companies record breaking profits were, in fact, excessive — just check Wall Street. They are enjoying record earnings and investors are delighted with the industries profits. As of today, the overall industry is enjoying a phenomenal 16.1 percent return on equity. I'm not an economist, but I think a 16.1 percent return is darn good.
I believe that Meade garnered his information from a politically conservative organization which appears regularly on Fox.
Moving on to the claim that Obama has designs to have the federal government "usurp local and state police functions," is another misrepresentation of the facts. This false claim is a badly distorted version of Obama's call for doubling the Peace Corps, creating volunteer networks and increasing the size of the Foreign Service.
Another concern expressed by Meade, is "stonewalling" the Keystone pipeline decision. Apparently farmers, ranchers, land owners, environmentalists, and other concerned citizens, ranging from Canada to the Gulf Coast, Obama's "far-left constituencies," have strong reservations about this project. This pipeline would carry the dirtiest oil on the planet and will produce between 70 percent and 110 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than the weighted average of transportation fuels. Portions of the pipeline will cross an active seismic zone which experienced a 4.3 magnitude earthquake as recently as 2002.
While it could create employment for approximately 3,900 workers if completed in one year, or 1,950 over a two-year period, and bring additional "indirect" temporary jobs of around 42,000, the number of permanent jobs generated would be approximately 50. In addition, the Keystone would have no material impact on gasoline or have any significant impact either way on overall North American energy prices.
Once again, Meade left out some very pertinent information. It appears that the Koch brothers have spent more than $50 million on Congress, to influence legislation, and to think tanks that heavily push for the pipeline. Why? Koch Industries has a significant financial interest in this oil and gas project, and building the Keystone pipeline would mean billions in profits for the brothers. If and when the project is completed, the only long term winners will be TransCanada Corporation and the Brothers Koch.
While Mr. Meade has never voiced any concerns about Fox's "war on police" or Bill O'Reilly's annual "war on Christmas", he does take exception to the "war on women". This "war on women" was not manufactured by the Obama administration, rather, it was constructed over the years by Republican leaders who don't value women's contributions to the workforce, their right to choose what happens to their bodies, or to live free from fear of sexual violence (they want to redefine the definition of rape for the purpose of public funding of abortions) — and they vote accordingly.
This concept of a "war on women" is exemplified by Republican efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade. It continues with the conservative grassroots push to vote against the Senate's reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Republican senators unanimously voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act that would make it easier for employees to talk about wages — and potentially help women learn whether they earn less than their male colleagues.
Conservatives have long been opposed to legislation ensuring equal pay for women — their reasoning — the wage gap is a lie. They oppose public funding of women's health organizations and mandatory employer insurance coverage in such matters as contraception and sterilization.
On the very first day of the 114th Congress, two Republican lawmakers introduced the "Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act", a measure to ban abortions after 20 weeks. Whatever happened to creating jobs and stimulating the economy?
If conservatives have convinced themselves that President Obama is actually out to destroy America from within, that any lie about his beliefs, his religion, his patriotism, even his country of birth, are justified.
Oh, say! Can you see ... Yes we can, Mr. Meade, and what we see is politics playing a greater role than common sense. You exacerbate the problem with your constant rendition of "Party Before Country".