Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Quality of Mercy

The Bard wrote, "The quality of mercy is not strained". It's tempting to focus only on the word "strained". But he wanted us to focus on the phrase, "not strained"?

What did he mean by "not strained"?

Perhaps that becomes clear in reading his following words. "It droppeth as a gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath".

He did use the word "strained"as a synonym of "stressed" or "Stretched". He meant "unimpeded".

And it's not a strain or a stretch to conclude that "the place beneath" is Earth as in "us".

Such was his connotation of "not strained". It, the quality of mercy , passes, unrestrained, unimpeded, undiluted, to earth and thus to our benefit, as in "rain" and "sunshine".

And also not to be ignored, the Bard said it is the "Quality" of mercy that is not strained, not mercy itself.

I know, I know, I'm now making too fine a point on it, and am much too caught up in my enjoyment of logic, reason, and the parsing of language.

Today the Supreme Court , (I guess we have to call it something special, and condone an element of hyperbole, in acknowledgement of it's being the court of last resort in our country; but "Supreme"?) stayed the execution of a living being.

I want to believe that decision contains within it an element of mercy, however based it is on law, which today is marketed to the people as being impartial.

Speaking for myself, I experience instinctual physical, gut level revulsion at the killing of almost any living creature, and psychological, spiritual revulsion and trauma at even the contemplation of such killing. Far too often I experience psycho-traumatically induced physical responses to news of the impending or actual execution of a living being.

However I try to think about it objectively, look at it logically, and understand that I am removed from that being, and am not that being, I cannot deny and divorce myself logically from my feelings. I identify with the accused, the living being who is feeling the ultimate terror that other living beings have ultimate power over him, and have decided without his consent that they will execute him at a particular certain time and place. The well known
philosophical, and thus distant and objective expression of this is: "Nothing so focuses the mind as the sure and certain realization that one will be hanged in the morning".

Just writing that statement makes me sick.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Lighthouse

Lighthouses usually project two lights, a white one and a red one. They alternate in their projections, and alternate in the direction of those projections. I've often wondered about the value of and logic for the red one.

But, upon reflection, all puns shamelessly acknowledged, perhaps I'm beginning to see the light.

Our senses have evolved in such a way as to detect changes in our environment. It's those changes that get our attention and so provide us with the information we need to survive. If the lighthouse only projected a steady, unchanging white light, we, that is to say, our senses, might "turn it off", stop paying attention to it, and thus dismiss it as being irrelevant to our situation and survival.

Perhaps the value of the 180 degree red light projection is that it provides a visible, though dull by contrast, light, and, as such, sustains the attention of our senses by it's being the opposite of the bright light we need to aid our survival.

As a work/life navigation coach and counselor I often ask clients to describe what they have disliked about the elements of what used to do to earn a living; those they've worked for, their peers and subordinates, if any, and the tasks to which they were assigned. Then I ask them to describe the opposite of those things they disliked. Inevitably they describe a work/life environment they wish for.

The Black Hole of Politics

Today, on a cable news channel, it was reported that Barack Obama "vows" to step up attacks on Hillary Clinton. I don't know if he used that word or if it was put in his mouth by the media.

Large numbers of citizens have come to admire Obama for his character and his ability to articulate genuine visions and values. We became aware of him as a special person when he addressed the last Dem convention, and since by his public statements and the message of his book, The Audacity of Hope. We have hoped that the citizenry will view him and what he stands for as genuine, honest and honorable, in contrast to the cheap, knock-off, out-sourced discount store values flaunted by those who cynically use the word "values" in their dishonest, hypocritical and dishonorable campaign.

At some point each of us, if we chose to participate in the the electoral process established by our Founders, has to make a decision about a choice for president, and then act on it by actually voting.

I believe Obama is committed to lead. I see in him a person with the personal constitution, intuition and vision of a leader; a real life, actual statesman. How long has it been since we had a president of that nature, stature and charisma? JFK comes to mind.

In this particular election cycle we, the citizens and voters, are being bombarded by bombast for three years in advance of the election set for November, 2008.

It's ridiculous, absurd, boring, and a huge imposition on the time we have to attend to just trying to get along with the challenges of daily life. For some the challenges are struggles; paying bills, for others it's about parenting, health issues and having the energy to deal with what comes along. For others it's about doing one's best at work. For others it's about -------- add yours to the list).

I titled this piece, The Black Hole of Politics.

Scientists speculate that there exist in the Universe what they call black holes. They impute their existence from the observable phenomena that stuff seems to get sucked in to some point in space-time, and after passing over what they call "the event horizon", the rim of the hole, appear to disappear.

I submit that there exists in the universe of politics the equivalent of a black hole. It exhibits behaviors similar to those observed by astrophysical scientists. Its pull is powerful and difficult to resist. It has the power to suck in and eliminate from existence everything which falls within its influence and which succumbs enough to its attraction that it passes over the rim of the hole, beyond which nothing can escape, nor even eventually emerge; not even light.

I fear Obama is vulnerable to being sucked into the Black Hole of Politics. By "vowing" to confront Hillary, as it has been reported in the MSM, he is exposing and making himself vulnerable to the black hole of politics.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

On Being in Awe

Sometimes you can only stand in awe, relax and enjoy.

As much as I would like to attribute the weekend's sports accomplishments of the Red Sox and the Patriots to superior talent, clearly that doesn't get it.

Scientists can assemble all the molecular, biological and chemical molecules essential to existence, but that assemblance, by and of itself, doesn't constitute life.

Tito, Theo, Luchino, Warner and Henry have assembled all the talent elements essential to existence, but that assemblance, by and of itself, didn't constitute life.

The mystery of life is that the whole exceeds the sum of the parts.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Ranting: Sometimes the Only Way to Get Attention

Crying in the wilderness and Ranting are both manifestations of frustration. As such they are examples of venting, a way to let off steam, relieve pressure. But the Crier and Ranter are also trying to draw attention to something important to them. As such they share the frustration of a child who throws a fit or a tantrum. All have in common the element of shock value. Sometimes shock is necessary to get attention.

The source of my frustration is the shamelessness of the rampant hypocrisy of those who want us to believe and trust that they are honest and honorable people who have the best interests of our nation at heart.

"Bullshit"!, Says I, in my Rant mode. "A plague o' both your houses" saith the Bard in his Rant mode.

I established this blog because I wanted a platform, podium or pulpit from which I could express how I perceive what is going on in our land. I tend to be drawn more to the forest than the trees, to a view of the so-called big picture more than today's details. That's my nature, and to the extent that what I have to say gains any credibility with the reader, it is likely to be with the reader who is sufficiently aware of the facts and details of today's reality, but also appreciates the pattern inherent in the details of day to day reality.

There are many valuable blogs, the authors of which focus on, if not specialize in, reporting what has happened daily and what is being said, written and shown on a daily basis.

" EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT!!!" was the cry of the newspaper hawker on the street. "It" was the story behind the headline of that day's paper.

It's generally assumed that the so-called Main Stream Media is still looked to as a trustworthy, reliable, credible, honorable, honest and objective source of the daily news.

"EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT!!!, was about selling newspapers, not blogs nor cable news. The advent of these two news sources gave rise to the term Main Stream Media.

That title is at least generous in its implication that the newspapers represented by that collective term reflect and represent the main stream of opinion.

Traditional Media would be a more accurate and honest label. It suggests what are thought of by many as positive and admirable qualities: historical, established, sustainable, recognizable, even reputable.

Of course the owners and editors of the MSM have opinions about what they report as the daily news. There is the editorial page, replete with the opinions of its editors, and usually includes a so-called Op-Ed page.

In this case Op might mean "opposite" in the sense that it is printed on the opposite page from the unsigned editorials. It might also mean or imply that what one reads on that page is somehow opposite of the opinions expressed on the editorial page. In practice Op seems to stand for Opinion, not necessarily Opposite opinion.

The most significant differentiator seems to be that the columns on the so-called Op-Ed page are signed and can be attributed to a particular individual, whereas the pieces on the Editorial Page represent the group opinion of the owners and editors of the institution which publishes the newspaper; in other words, their bias.

Now, there's nothing inherently bad about bias, though the word itself conveys a negative connotation. Bias includes opinion. But "bias" seems to connote "opinions" which have become grouped in such a way as to become so predictable that the holders of such opinions can be called, "opinionated".

Opinions, in the best sense of the word, are initial and perhaps tentative judgments about one's perceptions and initial evaluations of facts and events. As such opinions are open to and acknowledge that there are other opinions. Opinions beget and welcome discussion and dialogue, and are willing to suspend judgement.

There are those whose opinions are so one sided as to qualify as biased. They will use, spin, distort and quote out of context supposedly undisputed facts to persuade and convince the reader that they are the trusted and objective sources in which the reader should have confidence.

Of course this is not new to the history of our species. However, over the past several years of reading different opinions, I have found a disturbing increase in instances of factual reality being distorted, spun, quoted out of context, etc., with the clear intent of twisting facts to suit a bias; a pretty good working definition of propaganda.

I hasten to add that I have not found this to be peculiar to any particular political persuasion or party.

For what it's worth, here's my take on how and why bias has proliferated to such an extent that it feeds and encourages polarization of the citizenry.

The campaign for the Nov. 2008 election began soon after the Nov. 2006 election, and it's dynamics probably can be traced back to the Nov. 2004 election. So much has been made of the amount of money needed to sustain a campaign. That money corrupts, and big money corrupts absolutely, is a truism.

How to say this as clearly as I can. To the extent that politicians believe that they always have to make raising money for a campaign their top priority, and can't resist the temptation to campaign for the next election, the country loses the governing it deserves and for which it voted in it's most recent election.

We vote, politicians are elected to govern as they told us they would, then ignore the reasons we elected them, and start again, almost immediately to tell us why we should elect them again.


When do we get what we voted for?

That's the naive question of the day.

The sadly cynical, but reality based answer is, You Get What You Pay For.

Part of growing up is coming to terms with the admonitions of the poem Desiderata; in particular, and germane to this rant, "Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery".

It's easy to complain.

What I want people to think about has to do with the dominance of campaigning versus governing. I think it's more about the length of campaigns, than the money needed to campaign. If campaigns were limited in terms of weeks or months as they are in other countries, Germany and Australia for example, the need for raising money to sustain campaigns should decline in direct proportion to the length of time over which a campaign must be sustained. That's simplistic of course, and it would take some time for politicians to relax about how much money they needed to get or keep their jobs. But over time, a few elections cycles, perhaps limiting the length of campaign time might result in the voter getting more of what he voted for, than what he couldn't afford to pay for.

Our Founders gave us the best gift they could, based on their knowledge and understanding of history and their own times. Their bequest to us is the Constitution, a framework for a sustainable society, a big picture of what life should look like in a nation based on the principle of justice. What they decided upon and encoded in our Constitution came into being as antidotes to the injustices from which they and their fore bearers fled in England and Europe.

They were prescient in their awareness that they needed to identify, define, decide upon and reduce to written form for posterity some basic and immutable principles of a society, culture, even a country, essential to ensure the the health and survival of the land they had come to love.

The current president and vice president have acted more like those old kings than elected public servants. The do not wish to govern, but to rule.

Members of Congress are so focused on keeping their jobs that they are ignoring the erosion of the Constitution our Founders bequeathed to us.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Crooks and Liars

The title of this post is actually also the name of a blog. It can be accessed at: http://www.crooksandliars.com/. I haven't checked it out enough times to evaluate it from my perspective, but because I consider the current administration as a bunch of crooks and liars, I am predisposed to be at least open to what the author or authors have to say.

You might ask yourself why such a blog, with such a title, exists.

A few weeks ago, a political cartoon in the Boston Globe made the point. It consisted of four panels, two of which depicted then AG Gonzales with mouth closed and two with mouth opened.

The caption under the mouth closed panels read, "Not lying". Under the mouth opened panels the caption read, "Lying".

I love to laugh at some cartoons, like some in The New Yorker magazine.

I didn't laugh at the Globe cartoon. I grimaced.

As one who likes to find a middle ground upon which people with honest and honorable intentions can debate with others of honest and honorable intentions, I find myself not only discouraged, but angry about the kind of discourse we hear and read about in the so-called Main Stream Media. Even employing the word "discourse" to describe those reports constitutes a generous concession that the motives of the MSM are neutral in their nature.

Personally I am at least doubtful that the MSM is neutral. Of course one has to agree on the definition of the MSM. For purposes of this essay, I choose to define the MSM as comprised of institutions whose mission is to report and interpret news to those who read and/or see and hear what they publish. In addition I limit my definition of the MSM to those institutions which, according to generally accepted parameters, have a substantial audience, are well known and financially well funded and with a history of sustainability.

Examples include, but are not limited to, The New York Times, The Washington Post, New Yorker Magazine, Newsweek, US News and World Report, Washington Times, New York Post, to name a few with apparent opposite editorial bias.

Then there exists today a vast and growing number of alternative sources of news, like the existence of alternative medicine. They spring up all over the place and time. They are called blogs, short for Internet Web Logs. There is almost no discipline to which the writers of such blogs commit. They can write and publish stuff on all topics, obsessions, persuasions, perversions and narcisisstically fueled needs.

So, how is one to know what to believe in, what is accurate and truthful?

And the answer is, drum roll please, Judgment. There has never been, is not now, and never will be, a substitute for Judgment. Where does one "get" judgment? You can't buy it anywhere, you can't inherit it, though genetics plays a role, you can't luck into it like buying a winning lottery ticket, you can't find it dropped by another on the street, or in the local dump, land fill, recycling/transfer station, or in a dumpster.

Some might proclaim that you either have it or you don't. A good education is the beginning, followed by continued use of the mind on issues which have at least two sides, and by listening to and reading the arguments of opposing sides. The MSM has become too compliant with respect to politics. The blogosphere is full of opinion and is not compliant. It is the equivalent of the pamphlet phenomenon of 18th century America.

A Flip of the Tongue

If one hasn't been offended enough by Romney's whoreish campaign, his flipping the names of Osama and Obama should do it.

He even started saying Osama, in reference to the Terrorist-in-Chief, then clearly said Barack Obama, not once but twice, as the one who issued a call to all terrorists to unite.

Shame, shame, shame!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Through the Looking Glass

Lewis Carroll would be amused.

The mullah-in-chief of Bob Jones U, Bob Jones III, who calls the Mormon Church a cult, has endorsed Romney.

However he also calls the Catholic Church a cult.
That's high cotton for cults.

Also, to his credit, he says he's not supporting a preacher candidate, but a presidential candidate. I like that stance.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Who Will Speak for Us?

The question suggests a hope that there exists one who can speak for us.

And inherent in that question is the assumption that there is an "us".

Unfortunately, and this is not new in the Universe, there is also a "them".

But it is becoming more and more apparent that the us vs them is more about getting elected than governing, especially since campaigning for the next election now begins immediately following the last election. In the Congress those who show up and bother to vote do so more with their eye on the next election cycle than from principle and conviction. How else can one explain Hillary's vote for the resolution labelling a part of Iran's military "terrorists"?

However, as I read what I just wrote I recall that she voted for the measure which Bush used to invade Iraq, and has equivocated since when asked if she made a mistake. George W. Bush admits that he can't remember when he made a mistake.


Hillary and Bill are more a Political Action Committee than whatever else they claim to be.

Said the Queen, "Balls!! If I had two I'd be King".

Obama's handlers(even the word conjures up an image from the Westminster Dog Show) want him to show well, meaning show up; compete against his Dem opponents. Get in the game, go fifteen rounds in the ring, go to the mat, get down in the trenches, and all that other crap which the small dim people resort to as the best metaphors they can come up with, and which they confuse with wisdom.

Obama wouldn't even be a candidate save for his uplifting speech at the Dem's last convention. He solidified that appeal with his book, The Audacity of Hope. As for hope, I keep hoping that he will remember who took him to the dance, and resist the advances of the political whores whose message is, "Get out the blue light, the man wants a blue suit".

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who's the Fairest can of Them All?

As for mirrors, perhaps we would do well to acknowledge that there might be more than one kind.

Clearly, as in the physical world, there is the tangible one, the objective one we consult as if it's another form of ourselves. It reflects back to us an image we have been trained to examine, critique and clean up before we leave the house; how do we look, how's our hair, have we combed it, do we need a haircut, what about our shirt, pants, socks and shoes, is it "snowing down south", have we done a good job putting on our face?

The implied question is, "Are we presentable", in other words, "Are we acceptable to others?".

Less clearly, perhaps even obscurely, even subconsciously, there "exists", in the sense that we experience an influence on us, another kind of mirror. It is the subjective one we would do well to consult, but often shy away from because it is so multi-faceted, and as such can appear to provide us with a blurred, if not distorted image, and therefore be confusing. It is not comprised of objective and logical stuff, but personally felt subjective and values stuff.

That kind of mirror also implies the question, "Are we acceptable?" Implied in that question are the unstated words, "and meet with the approval of others". Also unstated are the qualifications of the "others" to have and to hold license to judge us.

However, the criteria in this context and of this venue are quite different from those of the physical, objective mirror.

Both kinds of mirrors constitute reality to the extent that they exist, which is to say that we are influenced by what they reflect back to us. Both kinds of mirrors challenge us to consider how we are perceived and thus judged; by ourselves, as a proxy for others, based on how we were trained to be acceptable and to fit in, or by others we hope will accept us for how we look and behave.

Neither of those mirrors can describe who we are in our essence, since, by definition, the best they can do is to describe or portray who we seem to be to others, our mirrors, at a given time and place.

Robert Burns wrote about this. "Oh wad some power the giftie gie us To see oursel's as others see us!

Mirrors provide us with an unvarnished, airbrush free objective image by reflecting back to us, in accordance with the laws of physics, the visible details of our physical being, warts and all; except for one seemingly insignificant, but important difference. The reflection is of us, but it is not us. It is an image of us, complete, but opposite in every detail, an image of us, but not us. And so that reflection, in a sense, is a 100% false image. Still and yet we would do well not to dismiss it as being without value.

That reflection has value because we can see in it the details we need to acknowledge, some of which we can ascribe to aging, accept and take no action, and some of which we can evaluate as in need of advice from a health care professional. Whether what we see appears to be on the left or right side of us is likely only of interest to those who are drawn by their nature to be critical in their approach to life, their scientific analysis.

The news of the day, to the extent that one listens to and views it, also provides us with a kind of mirror. However the reflection we see in that mirror is not a realistic and objective one, but a subjective and an enhanced, air-brushed, even distorted one. To the extent that we respond to it, however positively or negatively, it reflects back to us our personal perceptions, our values, our preferences and even those prejudices through which we prefer to perceive and make judgments about the world in which we find ourselves living for a time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Conspiracy Theories or Hidden Agenda Realities

If one proposes or advances the possibility of a conspiracy theory in an attempt to understand and expose nefarious motives and events, he or she is usually targeted and subjected to personal attack on his or her IQ, motives and values; in short, character assassination.

Those who are persuaded to dismiss out of hand Conspiracy Theorists are themselves the fools they are known to be by those who fool them, the actual Conspirators. The defense against claims of conspiracy rests on the idea that they simply cannot exist because they would have to be based on a vast and comprehensive plan to which all conspirators would agree never to divulge; and no one can be counted on to keep such a pledge.

Their defense is that all people have their own personal, self -centered, selfish motives and cannot possibly agree, commit to and stay in such a compact.

The key words here are "personal, self-centered, selfish motives". They expose the motivation of such people, and as such can lead, at least for a time, to a unifying compact.

The word "conspiracy" implies a nefarious agreement, compact and plan to snooker those who are too simple-minded, dumb and naive to wake up to what's going on before they have been had.

These nefarious things have been documented in history. Ridiculing those who call such things Conspiracies, is often a cover up in itself.

How about calling them Hidden Agendas. Try convincing anyone that these don't exist.

Lighthouse Keeper

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Six Foot Five, 250 Pound, 9.3/100, Four Foot Standing Jump, Ambidexterous, Ballet Schooled High School or College Pro Prospect

There's actually a penalty in College football for excessive celebration. In the pros, excessive celebration is at least tolerated if not encouraged, perhaps mostly by the ticket buyers.

I understand how that penalty came to be and what it was designed to prevent. The powers that be in the NCAA hope to inhibit the behavior of college athletes who want to imitate the professional players' self-congratulatory and obnoxious behaviors.

If it still could be argued that there is a distinct difference between the amateur and professional levels of sports this might make some sense. But in the world of sports, the NCAA Division 1A "college" teams are really the farm clubs of the pros.

In the world of professional baseball there exist several levels: A, AA, AAA and Major League. Everybody understands this to be a kind of "earn your ups" game like, but more serious than, the one we played on the street in front of our houses before Mom called us in to dinner.

In the business of professional sports, the college "game" is essentially the business equivalent of the minor league system in the world of professional baseball, but with a most significant difference.

In minor league baseball the managers and coaches understand that their role is one of developing their players; a teaching, mentoring role. Far too often, college coaches understand that their role is to win games, conference championships, bowls and the Holy Grail of college "sports", National Championships. Off season college coaches compete with each other for the best of the best in the high schools of the country. As in the pros, money talks. It's supposed to be offered in the form of scholarships, but now and then they or their side -mouth speaking wealthy alums flash some cash. It's not supposed to be that way, but those they are trying to persuade often are the kids of struggling Moms and hopefully Dads.

Fortunately and happily there are college coaches who have the attitude, perspective and values to resist those pressures to do almost anything they can to "win one for the Gipper". Coach K at Duke seems like one of those.

Such pressure often comes from the sophomoric and mid-life crisis alums who have made it big financially, but have not made it big in values. These are the ones who rely on the power of their checkbooks to hide their personal inadequacies and impotence's. These are the ones who use their checkbooks to buy respect from the presidents and trustees of their Alma maters. It's likely that these persons are not aware of their own self-deception. Unfortunately, more often than not, they are not brought up short in that self-deception due to the fact that those they want and need to influence have their own wants and needs, and so the enabling, co-dependent behavior continues. As usual, if you don't understand something, follow the money.

Perhaps it's fortunate that the Div 1A college coach's job is much tougher than the minor league baseball manager's job. The baseball guys keep their jobs if they are positively evaluated by the owners of their major league franchise, according to how well they scout, recruit, coach, mentor and train their young people to be ready to play at the major league level. Of course they want to win, but their win/loss record, though personally important to their players and themselves, is secondary to their mission, and not national news as it is with the coaches of the Division 1A colleges.

This is something most everyone who is interested in sports knows, understands and perhaps even wonders how long it will be before there is a sufficient ground swell of enthusiasm to tackle
the issue. I think it's a problem. Not everyone does.

Now here I go again in my usual tendency to take an issue I care about and subject it to and infuse it with the heat of my personal thoughts and feelings. Such is the nature of A Voice Crying in the Wilderness.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Good Grief

I think it was Charlie Brown who made "Good Grief" the iconic statement of disbelief? It rivals "Oy Vey" on the Exclamation Meter.

That's my response to what's going on in DC. For example the non-binding resolution from the House, almost a hundred years after the fact, which condemns Turkey for the Armenian genocide. Representative Lantos said that it is something that had to be acknowledged and put to bed. I suspect it was more like wanting to raise Lazuras from the dead in order to rescusitate an old grievance for political gain.

I wonder how Lantos would react to a Turkish parliament resolution that condemned the US for its slave based economic system, a hundred and fifty years after the fact.

On my Cape Cod Lighthouse blog a few days ago I wrote about why Helen Thomas speaks for me. Her point was that the voters are being ignored by not only the Republicans but the Democrats. Her ending question was something like, where can the voter go who is fed up with the disaster of the war in Iraq?

I extend that question to where does the voter go who is exasperated at being ignored by those they voted into office, and who obviously are more about partisan fighting and gaining voting control than representing the voters who put them in their fabulous jobs, complete with exclusive perks, from access to global media to the best and least expensive health care plan on the planet?

The Democrat led resolution condemning Turkey was at least gratuituous. Why that and why now?

The motivation has to be partisan and political. Turkey wants admission to the EU. Turkey has allowed and enabled all sorts of materiel bound for Iraq to pass through their country, though they obstructed the passage of those things through their country in 2003. I'm sure there are many other factors of which I am unaware but which I hope will surface in the coming days. I have to leave it to those who are in command of the facts. As for me I have to admit to believing there is something most foul as a result of experiencing a stink most foul.

After the 2006 election the country had barely a year of governance before the new Holy Grail, the 2008 election, became the focus of the quest, characterized by all things sectarian.

We love to look down on the Iraqis as sectarian zealots when, in fact, we have become just that which we like to condemn. The foundations of our country have been terribly eroded by the incursion of tribal and sectarian tides.

Jon Meacham, editor of Newsweek, and a self-declared Christian within the Episcopal denomination's approach to faith, said that though we are a nation of mostly Christians, we are not a Christian nation. That might be the wisest statement I have heard in my lifetime.

The voters are being marginalized and disrespected, viewed as and relegated to, by those they elected to positions of power, members of tribes; Republican Nation or Democrat Nation, like Red Sox Nation and Patriot Nation.

The insult is egregious and unforgivable. Dismissing the voter as nothing more than a dedicated fan of a favorite team or tribe is to make the mistake of assuming a voter's enjoyment, pleasure and satisfaction in rooting for a local team can be manipulated, used and transferred to commitment and loyalty to a political party, regardless of what that party professes and stands for.

As a voter I am listed as Independent. However I tend to believe in and support the need to provide safety nets for those who, for one reason or another, have not been able to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps as the fortunate and faithful of the Republican Party expects and requires of the average Joe; unanticipated things like divorce, loss of employment, disability and medical care costs come to mind as conditions and situations which are conveniently ignored by those whose financial situation protects them from such.

The moveon.org ad in the Times was outrageous, a cheap shot and nothing more than a sixth grade school yard taunt. And the Times should receive its due opprobium for its role in enabling that slur. I make no case for General Petraous who I think has an Eisenhower complex. Some folks in Iraq have come forward with stories about his wanting to run for president in 2012. Who knows when it's just heresay and rumor. But his being trotted out and advertised as the savior of all things Iraqi a few weeks ago, given the best exposure one could ask for, and awarded the imprimatur of the Republican current occupants of the White House seem to me to be planned, calculated, carefully and cynically orchestrated.

Rush Limbaugh's "phony soldiers" statement was equally outrageous.

The war goes on in Iraq, Afghanistan is falling back into the control of the Taliban, the Cheney/Bush/neo-con cabal is beating the war drums against Iran, just as they did in 2002-2003, our government has been unwilling to be the Dutch Uncle to Israel, regardless of what party has been in power. The front runner Dem candidates are demurring when asked what they will do to get us out of Iraq by the end of their first term, if elected.

Talk about frustration. Good Grief! Oy Vey!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Not an Epiphany, But Perhaps a Re-evaluation

On tonight's PBS News Hour program Ray Suarez interviewed John Edwards.

I have felt turned off by Edwards for at least two reasons, one of them too personal to be defensible.

I have an aversion to anyone with a southern accent which I associate with insincerity, if not hypocrisy, as one who grew up in the Northeast, but lived and worked in Atlanta for 26 years. That is my personal problem, and is assuredly not defensible as either critical thinking, nor empathic feeling.

My other problem with Edwards has also been about hypocrisy, namely his. He has been campaigning as one who understands and hates the gulf between the haves and the have nots. But he has not repudiated nor apologized for the reality that he's built himself a mansion, and seems to be comfortable paying several hundred dollars for a haircut. Though I have a hard time agreeing with him he seems to be using his financial success as an example of what those he professes to support might expect from life if he is elected. That's at least a stretch.

Nevertheless, tonight he seemed genuine, honest, authentic and consistent in his responses to questions from Suarez about his views on the problems we face as a country and people. He got my attention and admiration when he said that we need to be patriotic on issues other than war.

Overall, having listened to and watched him in that interview I've decided to re-evaluate my earlier thinking and feeling about him, especially since I've lost respect for Clinton after she voted to label Iran's military as terrorists, giving Cheney/Bush their pipe dream, and her adding Sandy Berger, an ackonwledeged criminal who had his security clearance suspended, to her campaign team.

I still like Obama as the most honest and authentic candidate.

Having said all that, I want the DNC to be as hardnosed as the RNC, and work hard to come up with a candidate who can win the White House and candidates to get a veto proof Congress. I'm not against Republicans, I'm against anyone who thinks himself and operates as if he is above the law.

That will be the legacy of Cheney/Bush. They and their ilk are hateful people, out for themselves, using money and intimidation for their own ends, what I call the 2000 Supreme Court appointed Mafia, and the 2004 stolen election(think Ohio) Mafia.

A Voice Crying in the Wilderness.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Hello?; OY Vay!

"Hello?" seems to be the modern slang equivalent of the voice crying in the wilderness. It conveys a kind of sardonic and sarcastic surprise at the hearing and reading of stuff said and written which defy belief and fly in the face of common sense, reality and history. I have a Jewish blog friend whose response to such stuff is " OY Vay". Like Hello?, OY Vay needs no dictionary definition to convey its meaning. It somehow speaks for itself.

There are some other phrases which get at the same thing, such as, "You can't be serious", and,"You've got to be kidding". But somehow none of them quite conveys the same feeling of frustration as "A Voice Crying in the Wilderness".

Here's my first voice crying in the wilderness.

In the election of November, 2006, the voters sent to Congress a majority of those they believed would call out Bush for what he is, a liar, and who would stand up to him to end the fighting of our soldiers in Iraq. The voters have been ignored. Congress has become at least compliant, and knuckled under to fears of being labeled unpatriotic, and soft on terrorism.

Hello? The disconnect between the voters and those they voted for is extraorinary. Polls show approval ratings of Congress less than those of Bush. What is going on? Here's what I fear is going on.

The Dems are focused on getting elected in Nov. 2008. After the election of 2006 they played at governing as the voters told them to for about a year, but then began campaigning for re-election, years ahead of the election. All their efforts are about getting elected or re-elected in Nov 2008, and are posturing themselves for that and not being faithful to the principals for which they were elected in 2006.

It's becoming clearer with each passing month that the Dems know something which they don't want to admit; that the war in Iraq is about oil, and the need to secure our access to it on a reasonably sound economic basis. The front runners in the Dem campaign side stepped a straight forward question about what the would commit to doing about getting us out of Iraq by the end of their first term if elected.

I put up a post on another of my blogs a few months ago, entitled, It's The Oil People, in which I stated my belief that nothing much would change about Iraq after the Nov 2008 election, even if a Dem won the White House.

The Voice Crying in the Wilderness.