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Portugal, facing an uncontrolable outbreak of forest and fires and a scorching heatwave, has appealed to NATO for assistance. This assistance would come in the form of air support and heavy equipment to help fight the fires. But what is baffling to this journalist and European, is why the hell does Portugal have to ask NATO for such things? Has it gotten so bad that the European Union can’t organize itself to assist its member states in the face of emergencies? How is it that Brussels hasn’t already dispatched assistance in its various forms to Portugal, France, Spain and any other nations facing this hurrendous crisis. By not providing its member states with the necessary aid, it helps legitimize the military-industrial dinosaur also known as NATO. An organization who’s charter expired with the cold war, and tries its best to be important in world affairs, and constantly undermind EU initiatives in the areas of defence and conflict resolution.

If Brussels has in fact taken action, it should do more and be quite public about it. Don’t force your poor children to go begging the nearest scumbag just waiting to be called upon.

And while on the subject of crisis and record breaking-destructive heat, how about that… still think Global Warming doesn’t exist? Oh wait.. the only ones who didnt are in the air-conditioned white house. Maybe someday they’ll actually notice the world going on around them.

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Patasse is out, Bozize is in… so it goes in the Central African Republic. Home to less then 4 million people, in a country about the size of the state of Texas, political stability has not been one of its stronger points. Yet the current situation is a puzzling one: According to the rebels, led by Bozize, this was a counter coup for peace. This because Patasse was originally put in place with the force of Congolese military that had entered into the country in order to install the leader they supported. However this week, it was Bozize and the “Central African military” that took control of the airport, radio station, and then government buildings, scaring the Congolese troops into retreat, accross the river and back into Congo. The coup-leader calls his a movement for peace and reconciliation, to make up for years of curruption and despotism. Yet Patasse was elected and re-elected in the late 90’s? Were the elections fair? Who is the despot here? Maybe both. Radio France International’s reports spoke of CAR citizens running down the street with furniture and clothes taken from embassies and government buildings, one woman was quoted “This is compensation for pay they’ve owed me for more than six months!” At least maybe some Central Africans, long manipulated and mistreated, can finally have their “compensation.”

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The biggest danger in the world, is not the average American who might be in favor of war in order to “liberate” another country. No, the biggest danger in this world is the education system that produced that American. Because it was that system, those schools, that curriculum, and those teachers, who gave that person the tools he would use to interpret the world around him, for the rest of his/her life. Sure, parental figures are important, but reality is, whoever your guardian, they’re probably working 1 or 2 jobs just to keep that roof over your head and the clothes on your back, etc. Your real education today, when its not coming from your loved ones, is coming at you from all sides when it comes to TV and school. And if that school doesn’t teach a person to ask questions, to ask how things work, to seek more information than that which is spoonfed to them, then that person may never learn to do so.

Never has this been more apparent than now. Tabloid newspapers publish embarassingly ignorant headlines depicting the French as the culture which America saved and died for which now turns their back on the United States. With a large photo of Normandy to boot. CBS’s Andy Rooney, who has already received piercing criticism from this journalist, in his old wise age, still has his own program on that network, where he presents news to the public, with his own commentary mixed in. This week Rooney decided to “englighten” the viewers about the French. This man who neither speaks French or has ever lived there longer than his tour of media duty in the 40’s, told millions of CBS watchers about how the French “Have no right to an opinion” because they “owe” the United States for having saved their country and defeated the Germans in WWII.

This same idea has been spreading like wildfire throughout the American media. Whats alarming is not that it’s spreading in a populist, racist, ill-informed, and attention seeking media environment. Rather, it is that so many Americans read this and it appeals to this sensitive memory or this national pride, it touches of some misplaced anger, and the result is poor humor like “Surrender like the French.” This is poor humor because it ignores the sufferring and starvation endured by France during the occupation, and it negates the enormous resistance movement and all those who died for it. It ignores that fact that untold millions of Russians and Germans had already died long before Normandy. It ignores how many millions of innocent Polish, Russians, Germans, Czechs, French, and British died before America finally decided to get involved.

Rooney has a right to his opinion. But once he gets in front of millions to put forth information, he then has a responsibility, to the public. If he presents one side of an arguement or opinion, he must present the otherside, otherwise he’s nothing but a propaganda producing would-be journalist. Furthermore, if he is indeed a journalist, then part of his job is to question public officials and government decisions.

It is not for the journalist or any media to promote or support the decision of elected officials, they have media people to do that for them. No, it’s the media’s role to keep them in check, to make sure their information isn’t full of holes and half-truths. But alas, that’s what a media is supposed to do, it hasn’t been doing that in America or several other countries for quite a long time. There’s a long overdue reform that the people must demand of the very media that seek their attention. Trouble is, if people aren’t educated properly, only schooled in “their” national history and never told the other side of the story, never shown the other truths that are out there, they’ll just keep eating the same spoon-fed government propaganda… and they’ll even say thank you.

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Anti-Americanism. If you’re reading newspapers or watching the so called “news” on TV, you might have heard this term. More and more lately, mainstream media loves to mention France or Germany’s “Anti-American” sentiment. And many Americans read this and say “Yeah! Those bastards, they’re anti-american!”

Let this journalist be the first to clear up something: Anti-Americanism is a made up word. It’s a politicians word and a media word, used to get you angry and feel betrayed, and therefore to support the very leaders that are doing things that are hurting your well-being (say spending your tax money on war or tax breaks for polluting companies for example) They point to Europe and shout “look, look, they hate Americans, they are evil!” This of course is sheer bullshit. Whats more, it’s being swallowed up by many in the US.

“Why then do so many people hate Americans?” You might ask with anger. Well first, let’s make a separation: Government – Citizens. These two entities are not the same. And Europeans are quite good at separating the two. Now, what does hold truth is that a majority of Europeans are completely frustrated and angry at the American government. This has first and foremost to do with this spirit of “with us or against us, we’re going to do what we want”and then theres the completely anti- international agreements like environmental, international law, and open trade policies, all of which the Bush administration has completely turned its back to. These are things which are important to Europeans and most of the world, hence, a hatred of this rogue American government. This says nothing of American people. Except that many world-wide are baffled as to why the American public goes along with this government? But what should be said, is that actually, many Americans do not want to go along with this government insane and criminal policies, the trouble is, to go against it is quite difficult and in many cases harmful to one’s political/social/legal and physical health.

Next time you hear anti-American in the news, turn it off, put the newspaper aside, don’t be distracted by political manipulation that tries to play on your emotions.