The Infinite Echo

B. Thomas Cooper is a freelance journalist, photographer, blogger and historian. Topics include Political Commentary, Satire and History

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Location: Phoenix, Arizona, United States

Friday, June 29, 2007

Obama Loses It

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

Not that anyone cares, but Barack Obama has lost it.

He has lost my respect, that is, and along with it went my support. In truth, I have not decided who I’ll be voting for in the Democratic primary, but I know it won’t Obama. He, along with Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and John Edwards have already been eliminated from consideration.

So what has Senator Obama done to betray my confidence? I don’t care for politicians who dick the dog, and I can think of no better words to describe what he has done. You see, he has publicly stated that he does not support the impeachment of George W. Bush and Richard Cheney. Now, I am willing to listen to reason, but his explanation was wholly dog-shit! He says, and I quote,

"There's a way to bring an end to those practices, you know: vote the bums out, that's how our system is designed."

It doesn’t require much brains to figure out what is disingenuous about that remark. Neither Bush nor Cheney are up for re-election, so you can’t very well throw them out at the polls, now can you. His statement has no veracity.
It is the kind of comment one can expect from a coward, not from a world leader. The system is in fact designed to allow us to “throw the bums out”. It’s called impeachment.

So I have concluded as much, and will not support the little coward another minute. Obama can go to hell for all I care. I’m throwing my support behind Bill Richardson, until he says something equally stupid, which I doubt.

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Power of Satire

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

Have you ever read Robert Elliot's book, The Power of Satire?
Neither have I, but this morning I began reading a book by an author who claims he has. The name of the author is George A. Test. His book is titled: Satire (Spirit and Art).

I hadn't even completed reading the introduction before my heart filled with trepidation. Here are the first three sentences in their entirety. I leave nothing to the imagination.

"The emotions that are thought to give rise to satire are generally acknowledged to be the least admirable human emotions-anger, malice, hatred, indignation. The emotions that satire are said to evoke are likewise emotions that make most people uncomfortable- shame, anger, guilt, anxiety. The view of humanity in satire is a negative one- tumultuous, crowded, aggressive, cynical, pessimistic."

I have a confession to make. I fear I may be a satirist.

Not all the time, mind you. Still, I find this of great concern. Consider the following, culled from the first sentence of the second paragraph:

"It is not surprising then, that satirists have been the most persecuted of artists- exiled, silenced, sued, physically attacked."

Do you see what I mean? This is indeed, a disturbing development. Thank the good Lord; my dear old mother didn't live to read this. It would have worried her to death!

For some inexplicable reason, I am reminded of that guy at the carnival who sits upon a seat suspended above a tank of water, hurling insults and expletives at all who passes by. We in turn, attempt to dump him into the icy drink by hurling baseballs at a shiny red button, activating a latch on his seat. We are willing to shell out our hard earned cash to participate in this cruel ritual, and folks seem to enjoy themselves.

Thus is the thrust of humanity. Pity the poor satirist who is fool enough to put it all into perspective for us. So be it, I suppose. Indeed, I should attempt to address the issue at greater length when time allows, but I must wrap it up for now. It has come to my attention an angry mob is forming in my driveway and I feel the need to bolt my door.

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Colin Powell, Please Stand Up!

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

There was a time, not too long ago mind you, when I held Colin Powell in the highest regard. Powell had repeatedly gone the extra mile. He was a soldier’s soldier and a man among mice. Time after time, he stood strong in the face of adversity. He was pragmatic and measured when others were not.

Oh, Colin Powell, we knew him well.

As the story goes, Mr. Powell sold his soul to the devil for dimes on the dollar. Pocket change. A man of such great integrity, and in the blinding of a moment, it was all gone. There he was, standing before the entire world, uttering despicable lies. It might have been different had he not known, but he knew. He knew the truth, and still he told the lies.

That was then, this is now. Powell has since gone out of his way to put some distance between himself and the Bush administration. Always outspoken, he remains so, but this time he has something to prove. I for one don’t doubt his sincerity for a moment. If I had snarkled the snake as bad as Powell did, I too would be seeking redemption.

So then, I ask,
Will Colin Powell please stand up?

We hear ya loud and clear there, good buddy, but yer preaching to the choir. Those within earshot already know. People will listen to you, providing of course you tell it straight. You can start by urging underprivileged Americans to please stop feeding their offspring to the war pigs. Our children are priceless. Iraqi children are priceless. This war is not, nor has it ever been, of a noble cause.

Drip, drip, drip.

The sound of blood spilling endlessly. You hear it too, don’t you, Mr. Powell. I sat in front of my television and listened helplessly, knowing your words were lies. I felt terrible because I couldn’t stop you. There you were, and for a moment, you were as demonstrous as the lies you told. That’s the part of you I no longer trust.

A man is only as good as his word, Mr. Powell. The time is nigh for you to get out there and represent. It’s something you must do. You may not earn an Oscar for your efforts like Al Gore, or a Nobel Peace prize like Jimmy Carter, but you’ve got something far more important riding on this. For you Mr. Powell, this is about the redemption of your very soul.

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

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Friday, June 08, 2007

When Cotton Was King

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

White blossomed, white bolled, short staple cotton
. It is the stuff of which dreams are made, and wars are fought. If you think the US Civil War was about the abolition of slavery, perhaps you may wish to reconsider.

During the late 1850’s and right up through the US Civil War, Cotton was indeed an economic powerhouse, not just in the southern United States, but throughout the world. “Dare not make war on cotton,” presaged Senator James Henry Hammond in 1858. “No power on earth dares make war upon it. Cotton is King."

Economists agreed with the Senator from South Carolina. Cotton was the driving force behind a period of great prosperity in the south, creating an elitist upper class dependant on the success of the crop. Slavery in the US was on the wane until Eli Whitney patented the cotton gin in 1779. Unfortunately, the success of his invention brought new demand for slave labor. By 1804, the cotton crop was eight times greater than in the previous decade, and the demand for slaves was rising.

This new Southern aristocracy resulted from the ownership of land and slaves and the surest way to obtain both was to grow cotton. Its impact was long reaching. New roads were constructed and businesses sprang up along endless processions of wagons hauling the crop to various ports. Cotton’s new kingdom extended well into Texas and north another six hundred miles up the Mississippi River valley. Rest assured, where there was cotton, there was money to be made. Even smaller farms, who generally planted only for sustenance, often set aside a few acres of cotton for trading.

Caught in diplomacy.

By 1860, the South was annually exporting two-thirds of the worlds cotton, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. During the Antebellum Period, cotton was indeed king, dominating international relations with the Confederacy, a policy referred to by many as “cotton diplomacy.” This period would see the South in a new light. However, James Henry Hammond was far from accurate in his assessment. Cotton would rule under a pall of darkness, perhaps the darkest period in American history. Still, it was not cotton that was to blame for the folly of man, but man himself, who was to blame for the rise and fall of a mighty king, King Cotton.


King Cotton, the Fiber of Slavery. Author or authors unknown.
Bleeding Kansas and the Enduring Struggle for Freedom, National Heritage Area Feasibility Study. Author or authors unknown.

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

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