Archive for March, 2011

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S CRUSHING BURDENS…

March 29, 2011

…now it’s Libya!

Two veteran journalists from the Washington beat, Tom Brokaw and Pat Buchanan, were in agreement today when talking about this subject. Both of them said there has not been an American President in contemporary history to face the challenges, the disasters, the catastrophies, the wars, and the failed economy like President Obama has in his first two plus years in office. Now, I’m not here looking for sympathy for the President. After all, when one decides to be President, it’s his or hers job, regardless of circumstances.

In a quick recap of the Obama presidency, he came into office facing an almost completely flattened economy. Former President Bush did a magnificent job of destroying the American and almost the world economy! It took Bush eight years, I’ll mention the importance of the time reference later, to take a 200 billion dollar budget surplus and turn it into a 1.43 trillion dollar deficit. Under Bush, the U.S. economy lost a record number of jobs in the history of the country as well. The only smart thing Bush did was sign TARP into law at the very end of his failed administration. Ironically, most right-wingers, in their abject hatred of the current President, blame Obama for the TARP give-a-ways, even though TARP did prove to save the economy from a complete meltdown! Next, the President was charged with dealing with getting out of Iraq, a war we went into based on lies from the Bush administration. With Iraq and Afghanistan wars to pay for, set up by Bush to simply add the cost to the debt and deficit. Then there was the terrible earthquake to hit Haiti. Over 100,000 lives lost there, and them leaning heavily on the U.S. to help them out. Let’s not forget about the Cheeney led explosion and eventual pumping of millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf from the Deep Horizon oil drilling rig. Then came the earthquake in New Zealand, more horrendous tragedy and loss of life and property. Next came the unraveling of the Mubarak government in Egypt. A huge civil war engaged for the control of Egypt. At the same time, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan, and Libya started boiling over. Then came, what may be the worst thing to occur in Obama’s administration, and possibly the entire world, in history and into the future; the 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami in Japan. The natural disaster in and of itself was bad enough, but the health of the world’s third largest economy is now in the emergency room heading to intensive care! Now, the overriding worry planet-wide is the risk of melt down in more than one of the nuclear reactors in the earthquake area. Already plutonium is showing up in ground samples from the area. Now this brings us back to Libya.

President Obama is getting slammed from the right and the left, me included, for the U.S. military participation in Libya to protect the rebels who are trying to throw Khaddafy out of power. I was, and am, vehemently opposed to this military incursion by the U.S. and NATO or UN forces. I still believe this is a civil war situation, and should be left to the internal factions to work it out. Now, the powers that be in the U.S. and the UN are stating this to be a “humanitarian” mission to keep the more powerful Libyan government forces from systematically killing the rebels, primarily in the Benghazi area. Do you see the parallel forming here. Iraq, after the WMD lie was revealed to be just that, we were told we had to save the Iraqi people from that brutal dictator, Saddam. Now we are apparently looking at Khadafy the same way. Do you see my point here?

My question for the people who favor the air bombardment being perpetrated on Libya by the NATO forces is; If this is a “humanitarian” rescue issue, where were we as the mass slaughter and genocide was exploding in Rhuanda, in the Darfur region of the Sudan and Chad, or Somalia? Many countries are led by brutal dictators who continue to kill their own innocent citizens, Mugabe in Zimbabwe, Kim Jong Ill in North Korea, Assad in Syria, and the little guy, Acmadinajad and ayatolas in Iran. Why doesn’t the U.S. pursue these leaders who commit human atrocities in their own countries?

The President made the remark in last nights address that “the U.S. doesn’t stand for human atrocities being committed in any country”. That’s how he is justifying our military involvement in Libya. The flaw in his point is this; Where the hell was the U.S. in Darfur, in Zimbabwe, in Somalia, in Iran, in Syria, in North Korea, etc? The President and the republican leadership must believe we can pick and choose who and where we are going to send military power to fix human atrocity sites. This is so wrong! It is a an empty argument, it suggests we are morally responsible only to areas that we seem to think are important to us.

Circumstances around the world and domestically are putting this President into an almost no-win position on every issue. He was too slow to react to the oil spill/he was too aggressive going after BP and Haliburton, he was too slow to go after Khadafy/or his was too fast to get involved/or we shouldn’t go in there at all, he is too slow with presenting a budget proposal/ he gave up too much on his opening shot with the budget, it just goes on and on. Opponents to this President are so engaged in sound bytes politcal attacks, they don’t read much of anything, they don’t understand the complexity of the issues, especially from the President’s position

I thought the President’s address last night was very good. He explained his position and why he is moving on the Mid-east situation in such a tempered way. The U.S. has to move this way. We are now engaged in war in three Muslum countries in the Mid-East. I get his reasoning and I’m okay with it. I thought the President was very thoughtful and “Presidential” in his address. The political leaders of both sides of the aisle can and should take a lesson from the President about being researched and educated on the issues and acting a mature adult manner. The tail-gunning and sniping have got to stop, if progress is to be made on any front. And about the “time reference” in the first paragraph, President Bush used eight years to sink the economy and get the U.S. into two unpaid for wars on foreign soil, and yet Obama critics are insisting he should have fixed the economy and unemployent in less than two year and taken care of the the two wars the U.S. was wrongly involved in. Pretty ironic, isn’t it? President Obama is a very bright, responsible, and thoughtful leader, now if the members of the legislative branch will act in kind and work with him instead continually trying to tear him down and destroy his presidency, we as a country, could finally start forging ahead! Thanks for todays read, and I look forward to your comments.
Cam Obert

ONE TOURNAMENT TO GO! MN BOYS HOOPS…

March 22, 2011

Hopkins High star Joe Coleman. Gopher recruit!

…and with it, comes the second best high school tournament run in the country! The state of Minnesota has a long and rich tradition of state tournaments in February and March to close out the winter sports season.

The post-season flurry begins in February with the wrestling championships. Minnesota is still one of the nation’s high school wrestling hot beds, and is well attended by collegiate and Olympic coaches. This tournament attracts over 100,000 avid fans each year, with individual venues sometimes having as many as 19,000 fans in attendance! It figures the University of Minnesota wrestling team is ranked in the top five every year and has won three national championships in the past decade. J Robinson, head coach at the “U”, finds most of his all-america caliber grapplers right here in state. I love J Robinson, he’s a great coach, he’s honest, and he’s blunt, he really hates Title 9, the program that has destroyed athletic programs in schools all over the country!

Next, in early March, comes the premier high school sporting event in the United States. The Minnesota boys state hockey championships are a spectacle that none other can even come close to matching! This year was no exception. In the 2-A Championship game, the hated Eden Prairie Eagles beat the Duluth East Greyhounds in triple overtime! The game winner was actually kicked in off a Greyhound player’s skate in a scrum in front of the Duluth net. This was hockey at it’s very best! These kids are incredible hockey players. Very fast, very powerful, great puck handlers, smart crisp passes, great fore and back checking and quality goal tending. The games at this level are fast and competently played. I believe, high boys hockey is the fastest most exciting spectator sport there is. The 1-A championship game didn’t disappoint either. An overtime nail biter as well! Some of the “outstate” smaller schools, the pond and lake hockey schools also pump many players into D-1 hockey and the NHL! Folks, the bottom line is, if you want quality, if you want action, if you want speed and power, high school boys hockey is where it’s at!

This week, we close out the state tournament season with the basketball championships. This event will draw well in excess of 100,000 fans as well. There will be games at the 4-A level at Target Center that will host 18,000 fans! This probably is one of the premier state basketball tournaments in the country. Mostly based on tradition and avid fans, but in Minnesota it’s the best high school hoop action you will find. Does it compare to power states like New York, Illinois, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida? Quality of ball playing, not even close! Our state still is way behind those states as far as quality of game goes but, it makes up for it in fan interest and enthusiasm. Though it is somewhat of a down year at the top-level, Hopkins will be there again. It’s amazing how coach Ken Novak Jr. year in and year out finds a roster full of blue chip players. While attending one of Hopkins’ games this year, I was speaking with a mother of one of their players. She told me the pipeline is so full of great players, that they are now losing some of them to other schools who are looking for more playing time! Almost sounds like D-1 hoops doesn’t it? Novak is the best high school basketball coach I’ve experienced since Morgan Wooten was running up championships at Dematha High School in suburban Washington DC. I’m thinking Hopkins will be the favorite again this year but, the hated Eden Prairie has thrown a lot of money at their program in recent years, recruited heavily and now they can compete with Hopkins! So I do look forward to an exciting tournament this year, with two powerhouse programs hoping to run the table!

I made an attempt again this year to watch some girls hockey and basketball. There really is a reason why the boys attract 15,000 to 20,000 fans to their games and the girls barely eek out a thousand. Sports fans understand the purity and competency of sports. The girls on the ice and on the hard wood fall way short of these goals. The play is slow, passes are not crisp and they are almost always telegraphed, in hoops, the shooting isn’t very good, though some, when given wide open looks, which happens way too often, can make shots. In both games, the pace is slow when compared to the boys’ games, and not physical at all! In hockey, apparently the girls are not allowed to hit, so most hard checking is either an accident or is called a penalty which sits the guilty party in the penalty box.

I give the girl participants credit, they play as hard as they can, they are very team oriented, and they don’t give up. Another point about the girl high school athletes, for the most part, they are all great in the classroom! More than the boys, the girls carry the athletic team discipline over to their study habits. I wish some of the boys, especially the ones with D-1 talent, would be better students thus making it easier for them to continue their playing days into big-time collegiate sports. Most girls athletes have no problem academically qualifying for college entrance.

It is about “student athletes” after all. Another point to make is what you see at the high school level carries over into college. The boys are the pieces in the multi-billion dollar revenue generating sports at college, football, basketball, and hockey, The revenues generated by those three sports must finance the athletic department at most schools. An example of why this is important, the Star Tribune pointed out that in the great couple years at the “U” with girls hoops, Whalen and McCarville years, the team barely averaged 3,500 to 5,000 people per home game. This was a team that went to the final four!

Then the “U” spends tens of millions of dollars to build Ridder Arena for the girls hockey team. This program hemorrhages money annually like no other, and they get a separate arena built for them? Does this make sense? They average a couple thousand fans a game. What is wrong with Marriucci? Many say it is the premier ice arena in the country! Oh well, it’s a no-win discussion.

So Minnesotans, sit back and enjoy the boys hoopsters for the next week, and relish the pride of hosting three of the great high school sports tournaments in the country! Thanks for today’s read and I look forward to your comments.
Cam Obert

LIBYA…HERE WE GO AGAIN!!!!

March 21, 2011

After watching all the weekend talking head shows, I found that anybody of authority either in the government or as a pundit, don’t have a real reason why the U.S. has joined Britain and France in the invasion of Libya. Haven’t we been down this road a few times too many already? Let’s see, there’s Vietnam in the late ’50’s, there’s Grenada in the early ’80’s, there’s Iraq in the early ’90’s, and again in 2003, and Afghanistan,soon after. Now, it’s Libya.

As best as I can tell, the result of all of these U.S. imperialistic invasions and occupations of sovereign states has been tens of thousands of lost American lives, trillions of American dollars wasted, millions of lost lives of the citizens of these countries we’ve invaded, and lastly, it’s resulted in most of the world looking at the United States as nothing but an imperialistic bully who likes to bring chaos and death to nonthreatening third world countries.

When will the powers that be, now it’s mostly President Obama, learn. As powerful as the military of the United States is, nothing is quick and clean when it comes to military action. So, the President has removed our troops from active military involvement in Iraq now but, there are still over 50,000 American troops on the ground there. Then in a major move of stupidity, he tripled the troop strength in Afghanistan to root out the remaining 100 Al Qaeda left in Afghanistan. We now have 100,000 troops deployed there to find these 100 nasty Al Qaeda terrorists. A wise use of money and man-power, wouldn’t you say. The bad guys have moved to Pakistan, so now we fire on them with drones, which unfortunately, causes much loss of innocent life. Meanwhile, back in Afghanistan, we’ve got tens of thousands of troops there to find these hundred bad guys and to help keep Karzai and his criminals in power. This does, of course, make perfectly good sense!

You know, in retrospect, the world actually has little old Afghanistan to thank for bringing the old Soviet Union to its knees. I like how the conservatives of the day gave President Reagan all the credit, but in reality, the Soviets bungle in Afghanistan so broke the U.S.S.R., financially and emotionally, when Dutch asked Gorby to tear down the wall, the Soviets had neither the money or the will to keep it up! That’s what Afghanistan did to the Soviets, and now, look what it’s doing to the U.S. President Bush and Obama have been so badly advised and misled about the whole situation there. It’s an endless war. There is no means to gain victory, let alone a simple end of conflict. The U.S. stays involved at the cost of 2 billions dollars a week, for what? The excuses of catching Bin Laden are gone, the excuse of making Afghanistan a democracy were never possible in the first place, it an ancient society composed of tribes and tribal territories. The way the Afghani society works is totally corrupt, that won’t change. So, again, why Mr. President are we still there?

Lately, as more of the Middle-East countries come under siege from their own citizens desiring more freedom, the U.S. has been very patient in not getting involved in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Yemen, and Iran. That’s a good thing. Here’s why. These are all internal conflicts within these countries, civil wars if you will. Unless these conflicts spill over the border and create problems elsewhere, no other country has any business getting involved. Do you recall how many countries came to the side of the Union or the Confederacy when the U.S. had its own civil war? See, that’s what’s happening in these conflicted states now.

After Bush got the U.S. to invade Iraq, using lies to justify his blood-thirsty pursuit of imperialism, he then had to resort to the lame excuse of “humane reasons” because Saddam was such a mean guy, actually killed his own citizens. And the U.S doesn’t kill its own citizens in gas chambers, electrocutions, fatal injections, and firing squads? The “humanitarian” card doesn’t work when it’s an after-thought upon being discovered in a huge and costly lie and cover-up. Bush, Cheeney, Rumsfeld, and many others should be in prison right now for these heinous crimes they committed.

The humanitarian card worked in the ’90’s in Bosnia. The party in power was using “ethnic cleansing” to rid the country of Muslims who were a threat to the power of the secular state. The U.S. provided air cover for UN troops to invade and end a bad situation.

When asked to explain the rationale for the U.S. to join Britain and France in the Libyan invasion, when they clearly did nothing to help the revolutionaries in the other countries like Bahrain, Tunisia, etc, she said it was the “magnitude of the crimes being committed against the citizens”, meaning, there isn’t enough killing going on in those other conflicted countries to meet the criteria for invasion!

Well, if you want magnitude of death, where the hell is the UN with Sudan and the ongoing genocide in the Darfur region? Millions of innocent people beings slaughtered endlessly. Isn’t this qualified as a massive abuse of human rights? Is it because there are not enough natural resources in that region for the UN to bother with? Remember Cheeney said “the oil we hijack from Iraq upon military victory will more than pay for the effort”. By the by, the U.S. has not received one drop of Iraqi oil since they invaded and occupied that country. Have any of you, my readers, ever heard much concrete action being taken in Washington with regards to Darfur? Oh, you hear a politician every now and again decrying the human slaughter taking place there but, has there been a bill, a resolution, a law offered of any kind directing the U.S. to do something about this needless bloodshed? No. I for one, would support a full-out military incursion to the area to help bring an end to this mass scale genocide. But, Washington thinks it’s more important to attack countries that are of no threat to us, have civil wars ongoing that don’t affect us or the world in general, and have bad guys leading them.

The genocide in Darfur is real, it’s huge, and it’s being carried out in the Sudan and Chad so it’s multi-national in scope. If the “chicken hawks in Washington and the Pentagon want to flex their muscles, why not do it for something worthwhile, like ending the mass slaughter of millions of innocent people? Thanks for today’s read, and I’ll look forward to your comments.
Cam Obert


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