Wednesday, April 25, 2012


April 25, 2012

An unarmed black youth who may or may not have been quite a naughty boy at school is shot to death by a Hispanic-looking white man who fancies himself an unofficial neighborhood policeman.
The police in their small town accept the story of the wannabe cop, don’t bother to investigate any further and then, due to massive public outcry, in steps the State of Florida to sort it all out.
But days after the state’s special prosecutor Angela Corey has begun her investigation up pops another element, one that has me turning away in disgust. It’s called Jesse Jackson.
He’s the individual who inserts himself into every black-and-white controversy to ramp up the division and thereby the distrust and hatred. A good cause can easily be polluted by his presence. He makes matters worse. Jackson heads the Rainbow-Push Coalition but there’s only one color in his rainbow.
And now he’s done it again with an exhortation to violence over the Trayvon Martin killing. The Orlando Sentinel reported his call to 1,600 worshippers at the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Eatonville: “If it’s a moment we go home. If it’s a movement we go to war!”
That’s our man, Action Jackson when it comes to race relations, at least with his motormouth; and Mr Pussycat when dealing with America’s enemies. At one anti-war rally in Washington D.C. he grabbed center stage to lecture the crowds about “moral authority”. This just after he’d been forced to admit to fathering an illegitimate daughter, aged two, by his employee Karin Stanford, The clergyman’s an adulterer. So much for morals.
At the time it was admitted his Rainbow-Push organization had stuffed $40,000 hush money into the mistress’ pocketbook – wasn’t even his cash to give - with another $40,000 still due. This latter payment was quashed once the story got out. He’s now paying child support out of his own treasure chest. Jackson is worth a reported $10 million.
But here’s where the Reverend Hypocrite truly earned his name. He was the “holy man” who ministered to Bill Clinton after the president finally knew what the meaning of ‘is’ is, remembered having sex with “that woman, Miss Lewinsky”, stubbed out the cigar and opted to repent. And all the time he prayed with Clinton he was ministering to Miss Stanford in a much more personal one-on-one way. She was already pregnant by him in the photo the National Enquirer published of the three of them together.
That should have been the end of public life for this disgraceful Baptist minister, but no, he still pontificates unabashed. It’s unbelievable!
Both he and cohort Al Sharpton engage in what many are calling straightforward blackmail – i.e. shaking down America’s corporations for concessions and donations to their two organizations, Sharpton’s being the National Action Network. Weeks behind Jackson, he hurried along to place himself, too, at the helm of the Trayvon protest.
America’s carmakers have “contributed” heavily to Sharpton, hoping to avoid his action network’s action. What happens when they don’t pay up? Al’s sharp tongue calls for boycotts and organizes picketing – same as Jackson does.
These two men have been branded time and again for using such pressure tactics, their targets being the Fortune 500 corporations. Of course the downshaken prefer not to be seen as craven wimps but they fear reprisals and a publicity war.
There was the strange case of NASCAR’s big money contributions to Jackson’s outfit that ignited indignation. Top NASCAR executive George Pyne, attending a Rainbow conference in June 2003 was forced to listen to a delegate describing his organization as “the last bastion of white supremacy” in sports.
Jobless Occupy Wall Street protesters in Atlanta were not all delighted when multi-millionaire Jackson came to “lead” them. Nor were those in London, England to whom he proclaimed: “Jesus was an Occupier.”
When Jackson shows up the cause is weakened. Same with Sharpton, another hothead who battled for deceitful “rape victim” Tawana Brawley in 1987 and still refuses to apologize for jumping to conclusions.
Both reverends championed the black hooker who lied about being raped by white Duke University lacrosse players in 2006 and they may now have already divined black Trayvon’s life was cheap in Sanford. Cooler heads wait to discover whether the local police were bigoted, inept, a combination of negligent-and-racist or none of the above. So hold fire on that one.
But not two-faced Jesse, who’s all for gun control yet surrounds himself with armed guards. Using words carefully chosen to inflame, he classified shooter George Zimmerman’s 9mm pistol as an “assault weapon”, which it clearly isn’t.
Has he no humility? No shame? No. I see only this man’s incredible gall. He’s been outed so many times as a fraud, an opportunist, a liar, a charlatan, an adulterer, a hypocrite and yet he continues to brazen it out. Like this was all some other person. 
It’s as though he’s an actor, only playing the part of ‘The Revered Jesse Jackson’. Enter stage left, Bible in hand, solemnly calling out Jesus’ name while pocketing huge sums from speaking engagements and other appearances, including way more than half a million a year just in “travel expenses”.
Does he believe what he’s preaching? I’m convinced he doesn’t even care as long as he thinks folks are listening to him. But are they?
The unfortunate fact is that a certain section of the population cannot see through the mask, some even inviting him to come infest their cause.
I, for one, have tuned him out.


© 2012 Fred Wehner is a journalist formerly with the Daily Mail in London, who then founded and ran the New York News Agency before settling in Monroe 21 years ago.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


April 18, 2012

So he got our money again and it hurts! All year long he’s steely-eyed Uncle Sam, defender of the country, firm yet benevolent daddy to us all; but not in April. Now he’s got a gun and a mask; he turns us on our ear and shakes out our pockets. He’s our Sheriff of Nottingham, out, as an immigrant friend once said, to squeeze the last penny from our mouths.
Grudgingly, we part with our earnings and fully expect it all to be squandered. This is the Land of the Free so I wanna be free of taxation: do away with the IRS altogether. That’s the idea. Washington wants money? Let the government go get it someplace else. Uh... China perhaps?
But I forgot, we’re already in debt to those Commies to the tune of nearly two trillion Big Ones. And they’re making loud complaining sounds – unless I’m confusing this with the normal singsong speech patterns of the Mandarin language.
A bit of a quandary, then. So there’s really only one way out and that’s to raise taxes at home.
Before the clowns in the tricorn hats start baying for my blood, let’s stop and think. Because nobody outside the good old USA cares to pull this country back from the brink, the desperately needed moolah must be provided by us good old Americans. We’re in a war against insolvency and we’ve always come to the aid of the country we love, so it’s up to us. Period.
Tea Partygoers and progressives actually think alike on this subject. They don’t want to be taxed. They also want the country to scramble out of the ditch and start back on the road to prosperity. Can’t have both, so if our salvation can come only from raising money at home, what to do?
The answer is so simple it’s in bright flashing neon: Tax the people who can afford it.
Not me, I can’t. Nor can you. But there are those for whom taxation is painless, and we call on these, our fellow Americans, to lend this country a helping hand. We’re jobless, homeless. They’re the ones with the fortunes, and as such the only citizens who can assist. Therefore, since they’ve enjoyed the most succulent fruits of this country, let them show they love America with a few extra baubles from their treasure chests.
Nah! They ain’t gonna do it because the USA clearly isn’t uppermost in the minds of these folks and anyway - greed rules. These “loyal” Americans keep their fortunes overseas and spend millions on lobbyists and politicians to con us into believing that nobody should pay taxes at all – least of all them.
Let’s take a look at the glorious Ronald Reagan years for which Republicans keep pining. Back then the wealthiest one percent of Americans paid between a third and half of their income in taxes. The Nixon era was just as strict on the rich. Today it’s no longer 50 percent but 29. The Tea Party proselytes grumble loudly, but where was their outrage in those venerated Republican days? Back then their tongues were stilled.
It’s precisely the folks with the bulging wallets who should be taxed at a proportionately greater scale because for them the American dream turned into reality. Especially the banks and the big-time gambling czars of Wall Street who plunged us into this current financial mess. And a couple of fat cat oil barons named Charles and David Koch who are the financial backbone of the Tea Party, looking for an easy way to avoid paying any taxes at all.
Koch means ‘cook’ in German. We should look at  what these two are cooking up; it’s Hoodwink Stew and it’s not very appetizing.
Through their two patriotic-sounding front organizations, Americans For Prosperity and Freedomworks, the Brothers Bad have managed to fool so many. Only those taking home a quarter million a year can expect a higher IRS bill,  so the small crowds of teabaggers - those folks blustering about “lower taxes” - must be in that affluent bracket. Walton County is home to some of them, apparently. Lucky them. Wish I made that much.
“Class warfare” parrot the Republicans. Which class is it they champion? Not the homeless class, not the old, the sick, the war veterans, wounded or otherwise. Not the folks whose jobs went to Mexico. Not the well qualified who’re now having to take menial employment. Not the people whose workweek has been cut to four, maybe three days. Which class then? Clearly not the middle.
It’s the class of Americans whose annual income exceeds $250,000, of course. People like Republican congressman John Fleming of Louisiana who issued a public bellyache saying he couldn’t afford to pay more in tax. He takes home $600,000 a year. Well if you can’t manage, squire, I certainly can’t and nor can my neighbors whose earnings might be less than one tenth of yours.
And it’s folks like those hedge fund managers and Wall Street guys gambling with our money and taking bonuses even when they lose it. And the “job creators” like Mitt Romney who only kill jobs.
In this newspaper (Oct 26 2011) I read Walnut Grove mayor Don Cannon: “No-one likes to pay taxes, every taxpayer would like for them to be lower, and I could say that about my utility bills and my mortgage. Our local governments are responsible for providing for their citizens (you and I). Someone has to pay the price.”
Well said, hizzoner.


© 2012 Fred Wehner is a journalist formerly with the Daily Mail in London, who then founded and ran the New York News Agency before settling in Monroe 21 years ago.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


April 11, 2012

There was this dead pigeon. Lying at the end of Platform Nine it was, at London’s Waterloo Station. An angry rush-hour commuter demanded of the three British Railways employees chatting idly just feet away from the putrid carcass why they hadn’t swept it up, it was disgraceful.
The answer: “We won the war, lady.”
That would be World War Two, which, incidentally, they didn’t win, nor, if we’re honest, did the Americans. It was a joint effort, and those whose overwhelming presence really crushed Nazi Germany (I find myself forced, most reluctantly, to give them credit) were the Russian hordes.
But back to that pigeon and the sentiment that went with it. After the war the British, who, after all, had held out alone against Hitler for two years before help arrived, decided the world now owed them a living. It was the beginning of a steep and rapid decline for a once-great country and I’ll explain how this affects us in the USA today.
Nobody would do the menial work any more. Beneath their dignity. Some had been Chindits fighting and dying under appalling conditions behind Japanese lines in the jungles of Burma, and even those who hadn’t fought at all had sacrificed and  “done their bit”. Who now would run the buses and trains, man the factories, dig the ditches, sweep the streets? Immigrants would. Hundreds of thousands of people from Jamaica and other Caribbean countries were brought in and pretty soon they had become an integral part of society.
But that jingoistic British mentality prevailed anyway: we’re all too good for that. It was evident in the labor unions whose constant petulant work stoppages crippled the country, and it led to a failure to compete against the new, modern, factories of re-emergent Japan and Germany.
Here in America we’ve used Latino labor for the dirty tasks that our own citizens deem too demeaning. Fruit picking. Chicken plucking. Cleaning out stables...
They’re illegal aliens, undocumented workers. We’ve seen them all over Walton County building the myriad subdivisions that sprang up in the Age of Greed.
Hispanic in the streets! But today, with no work, the illegals have downed shovels and gone back to Mexico. Vaya con Diós to those guys.
The ones who remain are worse off than any American because help from the authorities is denied them. And now some states have followed Arizona’s lead in targeting Hispanic-looking people with a view to deporting the undocumented. Fear of harassment has caused an even greater exodus from the fields and factories.
The political opportunists who passed Georgia’s House Bill 87 robbed us here of the foreign labor that populated the chicken plants in Gainesville and the carpet mills in Dalton and farms throughout the state. Therefore where the crops rot on the vine, the conveyor belts lie idle, there’s work to be had. Jobs for America’s jobless. You’d think they’d flock to the areas that are hiring...
But here’s that British disease again. It’s not so much the ‘we won the war’ mindset as a consummate belief that we’re all above such menial work. And we certainly don’t want the low pay – we can get more in state and federal handouts.
A father of nine I knew took the free money until his last child got a job: only then, once government largesse dwindled, did he enter the workforce himself.
We Americans are used to – and continue to demand - a higher standard of living than we actually deserve. Alabama’s tomato growers complain that since the state introduced tough anti-wetback laws they can no longer find pickers.
This situation is true throughout Georgia. Ours is still a rural state with agriculture its chief industry.
Of course the help is there but the farmers must now pay more. A whole lot more. Georgia’s berries and peaches and Vidalia onions will be too expensive on the open market. Folks prefer to buy cheap foreign vittles.
I’m guessing the farmers pay $5 or $6 an hour with no benefits, an amount barely capable of sustaining a human life. Astoundingly, immigrant wives, and oftentimes whole families, have been surviving on the earnings of one  picker. With the wife also working, many more laborers earned enough to send cash regularly to their families south of the border.
But $5 for an American? Un gran insulto! It’s below the poverty line. Forget subsistence - we want to live! There’s work to be had in ghastly conditions but who needs squalor!
Over to construction, perhaps hanging drywall at $15 an hour, but the housing boom is all wheezed out and there’s now a surplus of homes for sale. Roofs need constant repair and replacement, so maybe roofing, but it’s exhausting and uncomfortable. To the chicken factories where the wage might be $10.50 an hour but the work can be nauseating.
Still, these are jobs to be had.  And that’s the sad situation here: undesirable drudgery paying peanuts is plentiful, but none of us wants to live like that.
Those who refuse to work are quite different from those who can’t find employment. Two entirely separate breeds. So here, which has likely been suggested someplace else already, is one solution:
Turning down your third job offer reduces your benefits and you’re placed on a national Unwilling To Work registry. I’ll add that if you still remain idle you’re issued a droopy gaucho mustache, sombrero and bus ticket to Juarez. Adiós amigo. See if Mexico will have you.


© 2012 Fred Wehner is a journalist formerly with the Daily Mail in London, who then founded and ran the New York News Agency before settling in Monroe 21 years ago.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


April 4, 2012

A gallon of gas costs $4.11 and folks are honking angrily at the guy in the White House. It’s on his watch, so it’s his fault; he should have done something about it and still could, so why doesn’t he? Shame on the guy, he cares nothing for the American people, that mean ol’ President...
Check. That was July 2008 with Dubbya still at the helm; Fox News scrambled to get the truth out. Expert Cal Thomas told anchor Jon Scott: “The facts are as you suggested. No president has the power to increase or to lower gas prices - those are market forces.”
Cheryl Casone said: “It really is tough on this president because he really does not have any control with the market and with the economy. And with oil prices and with supply and demand on gasoline. It really is out of this president’s hands.”
Sure, we get the point: the president doesn’t control it. But for good measure let’s hear from the great Bill O’Reilly himself: “The Republican Party pretty much lets Big Oil do whatever it wants and refuses to rein in corrupt speculators who drive up the price of oil. So the next time you hear a politician say he or she will bring down oil prices, understand its complete B.S.”
Today, those slimy Fox tongues all ooze the exact opposite because – well, because we have a president they’re eager to tear down, not bolster up. That’s why President Obama suddenly becomes accountable when of course he isn’t. They’ll risk being called out on the lie, for we the people have such short memories, don’t we.
As president (in her dreams) Michele Bachmann promised us $2.50 gas (in her dreams). Can anyone beat this? Yep, our old friend the ethically-and-fidelity-challenged Newt Gingrich, Georgia’s dishonest darling whose Republican colleagues drummed him out of office for lying. Newt’s been pledging to get it down to $2. Tells that to O’Reilly, who knows full well we’re all hearing classic high octane B.S. but never questions him on it. So much for “fair and balanced”.
No blame for Bush? And none for Obama either, unless you swallow Karl Rove’s attack ads that seek to hoodwink the public with this untruth.
 “The solution is to drill here and drill now!” That was Sarah Palin on Fox last month and we the motorists are being suckered in by this silly Republican chorus. Parrot Palin is doing Big Oil’s bidding. Drill baby drill? More like shill, lady, shill.
However the Wall Street Journal, also owned by oligarch Rupert Murdoch, finds itself unable to go along with the Truthtwisters repeatedly lecturing that gasoline prices are determined by global market forces. Period.
Fact is that under Obama the U.S. sucks more crude out of the earth today than it has since 2003. Perhaps ever. In a month-by-month study dating to 197 the Associated Press notices that greater production at home has actually pushed our prices higher.

But the distortions and flip-flops continue. Willard ‘Mitt’ Romney agrees that the international market sets the price, then tells Fox viewers that we can lower it if we drill here. That was on March 16. A week later he admits: “Of course, gasoline prices are high and have stayed high over the years, and I'm not predicting they're going to go down to $2 a gallon."

We see a textbook example of political dishonesty last week from Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell who pocketed $200,000 from oil and gas lobbyists just in 2011. He characterized the move to stop giving the petrochemical companies $2 billion each year in subsidies as an attempt to “raise taxes” on them. The bill was killed: our taxes continue to feed the multinational firms that also punish us at the pump. And for every dollar they spend on lobbying they get back $30.

More industrial strength B.S from another whose palm the Oilies grease - John Boehner the House Speaker. He, too, is betting Americans don’t care for facts.

He owns stock in companies involved in the Keystone XL pipeline and therefore he keeps claiming “tens of thousands” of jobs will be created. More like 500 – 1600, Mr. Boehner.

And no way will it lower filling station prices. Boehner knows that. Once refined on the Texas coast all the oil goes out into the world to be sold to the highest bidder, and that’s not necessarily us

What do we pay? Even at $4.11 it’s less than half the cost to Europeans. In China and India where it’s cars over oxcarts and rickshaws: rising demand has them paying a third more than we do

Oh, and BP, the company that drove ol’ Dixie’s coastline down, claim they’ve paid compensation of $5 billion – one quarter of their obligation. But Boehner’s Republicans want the American taxpayer to share the financial burden... as though we’re somehow co-responsible for BP’s reckless greed. BP’s profit last year was $25.7 billion. The Big Five oilies made $137 billion: another boffo year for them.

Anyone notice how the cost of a gallon rises with the temperature, skyrocketing every summer with more motorists on the roads, more planes in the air? That’s Big Oil at work – the producing countries, companies, refineries and the very “corrupt speculators” O’Reilly railed against.

So the president doesn’t run the world market - unless he’s President Obama. Then, truth be damned, facts ignored and we can all smear him.




© 2012 Fred Wehner is a journalist formerly with the Daily Mail in London, who then founded and ran the New York News Agency before settling in Monroe 21 years ago.