Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dershowitz And The Case For Israel

Here's a piece by Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Professor, making the case for Israel's current and ongoing military action against Hamas.

It's difficult to argue against retaliating in great force against a foreign government which fires rockets at one's own citizens. If Mexico, still seething over the loss of Texas, were to do that I suspect the reaction from Washington would be swift and sure. Clearly, it wouldn't take decades of rocket fire and suicide bombings before decisive and effective action was taken.

The timing is interesting, only less than a month before we have a new seated president. The current occupant, as Garrison Keillor calls Bush, has pretty much abdicated, leaving us with, not one president at a time, but in actual effect, no president. Bush and Cheney are on the talk show circuit patting themselves on the back for their crimes against humanity.

Obama has been quite open in his assertions that Israel has a right to defend itself against deadly threats. I suspect that both Bush and Obama, who is supposed to have been briefed on such stuff, have essentially told Israel that if it wants to demolish Hamas buildings, 'go ahead, knock yourselves out, but get it done and over with before January 20, 2009. After that we'll get back to you'.

Speaking of timing, it should not be lost on anyone that Israeli elections are scheduled for February, 2009. The credentials of the well known contenders are pretty much hard line.

I can understand Dershowitz's observation that the UN, Europe and Russia opposition to Israel's actions only serve to encourage and enable Hamas, even though, at least from the point of view of the UN and Europe, their opposition might be motivated mostly out of humatarian concerns.

Watching the News Hour tonight I was struck by the significant face time given to the plight of the residents of Gaza, with emphasis on women and children in great distress. I'm personally not aware of significant face time given to the plight of residents of the towns on the receiving end of Hamas rockets.

What I can't stop thinking about is that Hamas decided to renew the rocket attacks against the civilian populations of towns within the range of its rockets, a range that has been extended significantly. Why did they choose action which can only be seen as a provocation? They must have done so with full expectation that Israel would react as they have, and that their people would be a grave risk. Perhaps they don't see those in harm's way as "their people". After all it seems pretty much acknowledged that the rockets are being fired from populated areas, making Hamas vulnerable to criticism that they are hiding behind the skirts and pants of their women and children.

I have been critical of Israeli politicians when they implemented policies which essentially resulted in a blockade of Gaza, creating scarcity of essential items like food and medicine.
Since Israel removed itself from Gaza I think this burden has shifted onto the backs of Hamas.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bob Herbert's Important Summation To The Jury; Us.

Here is Bob Herbert's summation of what wrath Bush the 43rd has wrought upon us.

It's timely and powerful, and should not be forgotten by us, the jury of his peers, the citizens of the US.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, December 29, 2008

Thoughts from Patrick Lang

Colonel Patrick Lang, on his blog Sic Semper Tyrannis, comments on the recently renewed fighting in Gaza in two of his posts.

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2008/12/a-tabouleh-line.html

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2008/12/a-tabouleh-line.html

Leanderthal. Lighthouse Keeper

Kristol Richt

William Kristol is even loonier than I thought. Here's his Monday NYTimes diatribe.

Typical tactic of right wingnuts; they accuse their opponent of the very same nasty behavior of which they are guilty.

And how far out in right field does one need to be to dump on Maya Angelou?

Perhaps this is his last column with the Times. His contract is up at year end. Maybe he'll find a fringe gig in Canada?

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Friedman on Energy

Tom Friedman has beaten the drum for energy independence for years. This might be his best effort on the topic.

Certainly it's good timing.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Frank Rich on the Obama/Warren Connection

Here's a link to Frank Rich's column in today's NYTimes on Obama's choice of Rick Warren to make the invocation prayer.

It's the best I've come across on this issue. That's just my opinion of course, but blogs are nothing if not opinions.

I thought that the gay bishop, Gene Robinson, raised a valid point. The purpose of the prayer is to invoke the presence of God on the occasion of the inaugural and on the one being inaugurated. Clearly human beings project on God the points of view they hope God will espouse. So it's legitimate to question what version of God the minister wishes to invoke.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, December 26, 2008

An Elected Mafia Hit?

Here's a piece on a story which seems to be emerging, finally, after a number of days being ignored in the MSM. Why? Too hot to handle, maybe?

It's the story of a man who had been subpoenaed to testify in a vote rigging case in Ohio in the 2004 election in which Kerry had been ahead by 4% late, but lost by 2.5% to Bush, and where, in Franklin County, Ohio, "Bush received 4258 votes in a precinct where only 638 voters cast ballots".

The man, piloting his own single engine plane, died when he crashed trying to land on Dec 19, 2008. Seems he'd been warned not to fly because his plane might have been sabotaged.

He had been Rove's IT expert.

This is another story about possible Bush administration crimes, and which should not be allowed to disappear from the news. Apparently it appeared, disappeared, then reappeared in the New York Times. Speculation has it that someone wanted to get it out in the news and someone higher up wanted to quash it.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

The Best Cartoon

Surely this Wasserman gem, the first one display at the link, must be the best cartoon of the year, at least.

As an added treat for clicking on the link. you will get to smile again at earlier ones.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Stoke the Fire

Here's another log to throw on the Bonfire of the Vanities.

Prosecute the bastard!!


Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

The Schnorrer

Here's a fun little story from The Old New Englander about gifts and giving in trying times.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Getting to the Heart of the Matter of War Criminals

Here's an article which includes statements from legal experts on the issue of trying members of the Bush administration for war crimes.

I'm heartened that there are those who are doing what they can to keep this issue in front of the American people.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

War Criminals and Their Apologists

Glenn Greenwald, of Salon.com is one of the journalists who won't let go of the pant leg of the crowd that defends the war criminals, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Arrington, Yoo, etc.. And he shouldn't.

In this piece he takes to task these people, some for their intellectual dishonesty and some people for their "standard American exceptualism --more accurately: blinding American narcissism masquerading as a difficult moral struggle". Then he goes on to say, "But that almost give it too much credit. Really, this is nothing more than stunted adolescence" which he proceeds to describe and justify.

It is a very good indictment of, not just the actual war criminals who have been our leaders for the best part of a decade, but those who claim that torture, when done by Americans, is justified because it is done for the right and best reasons, and done by people with good hearts.

In the old days the label The Ugly American was used to describe American tourists by those in countries who experienced many Americans as arrogant and condescending.

People in those countries would now be justified in using a term like The Frightening American.

People like Greenwald and Pat Lang, of the blog Sic Semper Tyrannis, are still clamoring for prosecuting the actual perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and they are right to discredit those in this country who are too eager to excuse these thugs as protectors of Americans.

So, What Else Is New?

Here's a NYTimes editorial on the continuing flow of lies out of Washington, DC about Iraq and troop levels.

A year ago I wrote on this page that I didn't expect much to change in the US treatment of the Middle East situation after the election, regardless of who won. Here's more evidence of that.

Seems all that has to be done to keep "tens of thousands" of troops there indefinitely is to change their name from soldiers to trainers.

We have our own Green Zone. It's inside the Beltway of DC. And like the Green Zone in Iraq politicians inside it ignore wall themselves off from the people who elected them, the one view that is truly bipartisan.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Classic Neocon Chutzpah

Here's a piece from Martin Feldstein of the WSJ arguing typically for military spending. They have a one track mind and a lot of chutzpah.

It's time for attention to our own infrastructure folks. For a good piece on that read Tom Friedman here.

Now, if the Army Corps of Engineers, Construction Battalions and Seabees want to build and repair roads and bridges at home, let them knock themselves out. They've certainly had a lot of recent training and experience trying to rebuild Iraq.

Halliburton, KBR and Blackwater need not apply.


Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

That Still Small Voice

I hear that still small voice crying in the wilderness, unceasingly. "Peace and love to all, and to all a good night".

My father hear my prayer
Before I go to rest.
It is a little child
Who cometh to be blessed.

Forgive me all my sins
And let me sleep this night,
In safety and in peace
Until the morning light.

God bless Mommy and Daddy, Sister Jeanne, Aunt Hopie, Aunt Darlene, all my friends, and God bless everybody.

Amen.

Colors of War

Patrick Lang is retired military. You might have seen him on the News Hour.

His blog, Sic Semper Tyrannis, is one I follow.

'pl', as he signs himself, talks and writes well about military matters. He's been especially outspoken in his contempt for the Bush administrations tragic military adventures in the Middle East.

Here is his story of a strange happening at Christmas time, in Vietnam, many years ago.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Still Time to Fire Him, Except He Was Elected

Here's a piece claiming, via an FBI leak, that Cheney did in Valerie Plame.

He's scum. One more reason he should be criminally indicted.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Words and a Picture on a Hot Topic

Here's a piece by Melissa Etheridge on the subject of Rick Warren's selection to make the invocation at the inaugural.

She is apparently gay and has a wife and family.

Is she remarkable and courageous for her stand, now backing Obama's choice of Warren, or is she naive and under the spell of a personable, but right wing bigoted preacher?

While I continue to think that Obama made his first mistake by awarding Warren such a pulpit and platform for his anti gay and anti-abortion views, I do understand that Obama, if he's anything, is committed to bringing all sides to a table of talk.

Though Obama is a member of the UCC church, certainly not a right wing institution, and has access to, and could have invited one of, any number of articulate and faithful preachers, I'm going to fall back on my admiration for his overall value set, as revealed during the last few years.

Here's Andrew Sullivan's offering which is all the more poignant because he is a Catholic, married, gay man.

Here's a Wasserman cartoon that sums it up.

And, not to be exclusionary, here's the Pope's pronouncements on homosexuality. Note that homosexuality is not a sin, but homosexual sex is. Huh? When will they get it, or quit refusing to get it, that this is a genetic thing? Oh well, those of the Inquisition didn't get it, or refused to get it, when Galileo told them we're not the center of the Universe.

It's a science thing, not a morality thing Bennie. Just another inconvenient truth to bear, your Whateverness. Sorry about that.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, December 22, 2008

In The Words Of A Maineiac

A resident of Portland, ME, interviewed for the News Hour had the line of the day.

Asked what it was like to deal with more snow today on top of an already hefty snowfall he said, "It's kind of like shoveling the tide".

Full Disclosure:

Four of the best years of my life were spent living in Maine.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

The Evidence Mounts Against Rick Warren

Here's a timely piece which confirms Rick Warren's bigoted morality. Seems he's trying to hide his views by removing them from his website. Sorry, but the horses have already left the barn. You can find them all over the media and the web.

His selection to make the invocation at the inaugural is Obama's first obvious mistake.

And it is not offset by Lowry's selection to pronounce the benediction. There is no happy medium when it comes to extreme bigotry.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Birds of a Feather

Fox News is ballyhooing it's Christmas with Rick Warren show.

Perhaps Barrack should ask Sean Hannity to introduce Warren at the Inaugural.

In the interest of inclusiveness of course.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, December 21, 2008

America; Homeland Uber Alles

Here's a link to Cheney on Fox News, with Chris Wallace.

It's tragic that someone this nasty, spiteful, hateful, paranoid, vengeful (add your own pejoratives) has had such a strong influence on what this country has done in the name of its citizens for the last eight years.

Many Americans said they liked Bush because he was someone they'd like to have a beer with. Guess they didn't count on the nature of the guy who would be tending bar, nor did they take into account that Bush is a self described recovering alcoholic, who exhibits the personality characteristics of what's known as the dry drunk.

It's been reported recently that Bush, when he was told by his advisers that the economy was tanking, said, "How did we get here?"

I think the electorate needs to ask itself that very same question and pay attention to the answers, since they might be helpful in precluding it happening again, though I'm not sanguine about the prospects.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Spread The Outrage

First let me say that I've just heard on the Lehrer News Hour that Rev. Lowry, a civil rights advocate, will pronounce the benediction at the inaugural. That news has been totally ignored in the main stream media, which has jumped all over the more controversial selection of Rick Warren to make the invocation.

The selection of Lowry is, of course, commendable, but it doesn't offset the effect of selecting Rick Warren for the invocation. As the gay rights guy on the News Hour just observed, selecting a rabbi to pronounce a benediction after an openly anti-semitic minister made an invocation wouldn't somehow make Jews all satisfied and happy.

But secondly, the media is focusing only on the insult to homosexuals. They absolutely have a right to feel outraged.

But so do decent, reasonable people of all faiths and decent, reasonable people who ascribe to no religious faith.

Rick Warren, by his own story, says he differs from the right wingnut James Dobson only in tone. By that admission he likens himself to a bigot. He deserves respect and credit for his human rights work and his AIDS work. However, he is still way far right in the Fundamentalist Evangelical Christian movement, and his selection does not, as Obama insisted today, add to the prospect of healing he preaches any more than would the selection of Jeremiah Wright.

It's being said in the media that Rick Warren is becoming the successor to Billy Graham as the nations' minister, the guy presidents of both parties will welcome to the White House and whose counsel they might seek. It's also been said that the selection of Warren for the invocation is not a nomination for a cabinet position. Both observations are relevant. But one might also say that a member of the cabinet in only one administration is not likely to be as influential or carry as much weight as someone who is called the nation's minister.

Obama is naive if he's counting on his selection from two extreme views to balance out somehow. Five is the average of zero and ten, but it doesn't reduce the meaning or value of zero and ten. It's much more likely that his selections will stir passions in the ranks of both the extreme conservative and the extreme liberal camps.

As a congregant of the United Church of Christ surely he must be aware of any number of religious leaders whose participation would not be polarizing, but still effective and meaningful.

Then again, sometimes I think Obama actually likes to stir the pot and turn up the heat. Only time will tell if he also has the wisdom to cool things down. He's become known for his intellect and his cool, but that's not the same as wisdom.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Rising Concern

Here's today's Times editorial on the Senate Armed Services Committee's report on the US torturing of prisoners.

And here's the most disturbing part of the editorial. "Given his other problems---and how far he has moved from the powerful stands he took on these issues early in the campaign---we do not hold out real hope that Barack Obama, as president, will take such a politically fraught step".

It's disheartening that the New York Times editorial board felt the need to write that.

That step they refer to would be to hold the offending officials accountable for their unlawful actions by ordering his Attorney General to do what's necessary for justice to be upheld.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Greed to Madoff to Exile

The famous double cross combination.

Here's more detail about the people he chose to swindle.

It would be better for him had he believed what Yahweh told the prophet Amos to say to the Chosen People back around 700 BCE. It had to do with "Chosen" being about responsibility not privilege, and that destruction and exile would be their punishment.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This Is Not Good,( with corrections and additions)

Washington Monthly has a piece today on Obama choosing Rick Warren as invocation minister for his inauguration. It includes many reasons why he should not be awarded such a highly visible role. It's tantamount to endorsement by the incoming administration for his "non-negotiable", right wing views on abortion and sexual orientation.

And here is the Cheat Sheet's contribution.

And then there's his unbelievable endorsement of Sean Hannity's suggestion that we should "take out" the president of Iran.

The man has too much in common with the likes of the James Dobsons of the world and the neocons we thought we kicked out of office in November.

I've been fine with and actually supportive of Obama's team selections so far. But this is not good. Even though we're not talking about a cabinet position it provides Warren too influential a platform for his far rightwing views. There should be just as much outrage over this as if Obama had chosen Jeremiah Wright to make the invocation. Just as 5 is the mathematical average of the numbers 0 and 10 but is not actually the absolute number 5, honoring extremists doesn't result in a centrist position. Obama chose Warren apparently because of his human rights advocacy and AIDS work. Unfortunately Warren is better known for his oppostion to abortion and gay rights which he says are "non-negotiable".

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Arrogance Addendum

Here's a piece from the Cheat Sheet which adds emphasis and documented evidence to what I wrote in So You Thought You Knew Arrogance.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

And You Thought You Knew Arrogance

Here's Cheney redefining arrogance in and by his own words.

Hard to believe, but there it is. Is he daring anyone to indict him? Is he jealous that Rumsfeld and Bush got the most print in the Senate Armed Services Committee's report on torture?

I agree with Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com who insists that these guys should be indicted as war criminals. He says that to excuse them in the name of trying to heal and bring together the country as Obama talks about is to tell people in such positions of authority that they can violate laws, the Constitution and plain decency with impunity.

That's why impeachment is not a Constitutional crisis but the solution to one.

Out of office, beyond impeachment, there is criminal indictment, if not in the Hague, at least in our own American courts of law. They obviously have no respect for the court of public opinion. Cheney has said, "So?", and Bush has said, "So what?"

Surely at least these three deserve the second of the two realities known as Crime and Punishment.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Gene Robinson on Lemmings and the GOP

Here's a great piece by Gene Robinson of WaPo on the Southern GOP Senators who blocked the loans to Detroit. He doesn't say never, just not now.

As usual he makes more sense of DC politics than most. And he often grins in the process.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, December 15, 2008

They Are!!

Here's a piece by Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com that says the recent report of the bipartisan Senate Armed Services Committee report, "all but declares Bush and Rumsfeld to be war criminals". THEY ARE.

Sadly this report will be swept under the rug like all those that castigate high ranking politicians.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Consistency, Hobgoblins and Little Minds

Here's a piece to which one can only say about W. Bush that he's true to his "principles" to the bitter end.

The title of his legacy should be, "I've got mine, get your own".

Perhaps the best description of W. Bush came from Garrison Keillor who referred to him as, "that dim, small man".


Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Galileo and I

Talk about being presumptuous; nevertheless it seems that he and I wrote about a similar frustration when confronted with the powers that be in the world of religion.

I'm reading Simon Singh's book, "Big Bang" and came across this quotation from
Galileo Galilei. "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."

Here is a stanza from a poem I wrote and included in a collection called The Poet and the Pendulum, which was published in 2001. The poem's title is A Riddle.

It's hard for me to understand
That, given all our senses,
We must decide without their use;
Our minds are only fences.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Touching Isn't It?

Here's a link to an article which I found interesting and enjoyable. Some years ago I read a book about the sense of touch being the very first sense evolved. This is reminiscent of the insights in that work, with the added benefit of humor.

I know, I know; the only form of humor lower than the pun is sarcasm, sayeth my English professor friend, D.B. Heines, PhD.

Better to ask forgiveness than permission.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, December 8, 2008

What Will Make All The Difference?

Here's a link to a piece from the news aggregator Cheat Sheet on two Conservative writers' views on government size and spending.

Here's a link to the original piece from Emil W. Henry, Jr and here is a link to William Kristol's screed in today's New York Times. Note that both columns are referenced in the piece from Cheat Sheet. I wrote an email to Kristol along the following lines.

'You are so predictable; a neocon, loyal and patriotic, not to your country, but to making money through making war.

Even as you advise your right wing GOP cronies about the reality of government today you use the forum to beat the war drums for spending on the military/industrial complex agenda, rather than on the nation's civilian infrastructure which is crucial to the security and the economy in times of both peace and war.

For you and the neocons there's no money to be made in peace, but billions to be made in wars for which you and your co-conspirators can cheer from the cowardly safety of the sidelines.

Someone said that shoutings of patriotism are the last refuge of the scoundrel.'

Taylor Caldwell wrote about scoundrels like Kristol in her 1970's novel, Captain and the Kings, exposing jingoism and those who make money by supplying arms to all sides in a conflict.

And here is a link to Rudyard Kipling's poem, Recessional, in which The Captains and the Kings Depart. Some things exist and are true outside of time.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

James Carroll on SAD, Plus Comments

Here's James Carroll's contribution to the season of our discontent, the dark nights of our souls and the promised deliverance of Christmas. It is well expressed of course, being a James Carroll piece.

I posted a comment on behalf of those of us, a small minority to be sure, for whom Fall and Winter are welcomed, and Spring and Summer are to be endured. SAD for us is about a superfluous abundance of light, and the absence of light is experienced as a time for cozy.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Grateful Again For Gail Collins

Here's Gail Collins, once again writing about something very important and providing some good laughs in the process.

Ya gotta love 'er.

P.S. The spell checker ignored my last line. Doesn't build confidence.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Thriving In The Face Of Adversity, Really

Here's an article about an industry which is thriving in a down economy, because it's business is taking advantage of adversity, as in war.

The neocons love it. And by the way, they haven't gone away, since the election, they've just gone to ground. Makes them even more dangerous.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, December 5, 2008

Oogedy-Boogedy

Here's Kathleen Parker writing more about the need for the GOP to recognize that using the language of faith rather than the language of reason in the public square is driving people away.

She refers to Ecclesiates in making her point that there is a time and a place for everything.

I particularly like her thought that God's not the problem. It's his fan club.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Why Do I Blog?

Here's Andrew Sullivan's answer to that question. It works for me too.

Andrew publishes on the blog The Daily Dish, for Atlantic Magazine.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Murder in the Name of God

Here's the Daily Dish's report on yet another example of evil done, recommended or proposed in the name of God; using the Bible as the authority to commit murder. And here is the Washington Monthly's treatment of the story.

It's about Sean Hannity of Fox News, on "taking out" the president of Iran, and Rick Warren, a popular Evangelist, agreeing, live, publicly on national television. This is the crap Fox News calls fair and balanced.

It is just plain sick.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

EZ Bailout Request Form

Here's Vanity Fair's EZ Bailout Request Form.

Nothing could be easier for getting in on the action.

Hat tip to: http://minstrelboy.blogspot.com

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Saxby Shameless

Saxby Chambliss has retained his Senate seat by beating his Dem rival Martin handily. Sure says something about Georgia Republicans. I used to live in Georgia and it's a good place to be from.

Saxby Shameless is the guy who called Max Cleland a coward in the 2002 senate race.

Cleland is a triple amputee as a result of wounds suffered in Vietnam. Coward? Hardly?

Chambliss a sleaze? You betcha.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Dangerous Policy In Need Of Much Exposure

Here's a good report on the plans being implement to deploy the US Military, not to be confused with the States' National Guards, on US Soil. It is a violation of Posse Comitatus, a long standing prohibition of doing just that.

A major reason for its prohibition is that the US military boss is the President as Commander-in-Chief, and this is a classic element of dictatorships and fascist tyrants. The governors of each of the fifty states are the commanders of their National Guards. That's an effective bulwark against an increasing unitary executive as we have been experiencing for the last eight years.

This is a topic in need of substantial exposure, and the main stream media is treating it like a hot potato.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Kristol Indictments Continued

Add this to your College of Kristol Knowledge.

Here's another Andrew Sullivan Daily Dish post. It's about William Kristol's support of Cheney/Bush torture. He is morally bankrupt to be sure.

The New York Times should fire him. They have David Brooks as a decent Conservative columnist. They should not have a morally bankrupt one.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Response to Kristol

Earlier today I provided links to two columns, one by William Kristol and one by Roger Cohen, both found in today's New York Times. The purpose was to highlight the contrast in language and rhetoric of the two men writing about conflicts.

Here's a link to an Andrew Sullivan Daily Dish excerpt from a Juan Cole piece which can be read as a response to Kristol's war mongering message.

It's difficult to support the New York Times' retention of Kristol as a responsible columnist. Just recently he beat the drums for invading Somalia. He blames Russia the scrap with Georgia, even after the facts say otherwise. In his column today he beats the drums for India to declare war on Pakistan as the proper response to the Mumbai terrorism.

He's a neocon, and neocons are all about making money through war, supplying arms to both sides of conflicts which they have done their best to exacerbate. He shouts about patriotism, nationalism and militarism, like a wolf in sheep's clothing.

He, like neocons over the centuries, is not patriotic in the least. He, like they, are loyal to the making of huge sums of money by fanning the flames of hatred in the name of patriotism. They in fact betray those who are true patriots, people whose love of country includes criticizing it for the kind of immorality which includes preemptive wars, invasions of sovereign nations and the supplying of arms for the purpose of making fortunes at the cost of millions of lives.

They are those who, as Cheney said, and like Cheney, live on the dark side. They must be exposed for what they are, the truly evil. Juan Cole and Richard Cohen are two who shine bright lights on their shadowy domain.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Talk About Contrasts!

Here are links to two articles in today's New York Times.

The first link is to William Kristol's piece, Jihad's True Face.

The second is to Richard Cohen's piece, Try Tough Love, Hillary.

The contrast is stark.

Kristol is still using the language of neocons to stir up ethnic animosities, claiming that only nations can respond to terrorism. It is militaristic at its core, claiming that patriotism, nationalism, in other words war, is the first only correct response to terrorism. He and his neocons are always into preparing future battlefields on which they and their military/industrial complex friends can play with their obscene toys.

Cohen writes about the Obama/Clinton team's need to get tough with Israel, in a diplomatic approach. How counter cultural compared to that of the past eight years.

Both men are Jews, and both are US citizens, Cohen by naturalization, Kristol presumably by birth. That seems to be the limit of what they have in common.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, November 30, 2008

How Sad

Again, a picture is worth a thousand words. Here's one of the next generation of _____________. Fill in the blank with your choice of "terrorist" or "freedom fighter".

It's possible that this photo was staged for political purposes. Nevertheless its existence is testimony to the sins of the father being passed on to the next generation. This young person is apparently a Jew, but it might have been a photo of a young Palestinian throwing stones.

How very sad.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper.

Friday, November 28, 2008

This Is What We Bought And It's Not Refundable

Here's E.J. Dionne's take on the Obama we elected. It might not be the one we thought. I for one am withholding judgment, a little concerned that he is compared to George H.W. Bush, but relieved that he's so utterly different from George W. Bush.



How bittersweet this all must be for dad.



Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Kathleen Parker's Wit and Wisdom

Here's today's must read. That is if, like me, you ever identified with the Republican Party at one time in your life. I have several friends who admit to that.

She talks about the problem of "arm band" religion in the GOP.

She is wise and also witty in her prose. I'm beginning to think of her as being in the same company as Molly Ivins(Lord, I miss her) and Gail Collins. Fine company indeed.

Here's the email I just sent to her.

Dear Ms Parker,

I commend you on your attempts to wake up the GOP. Like W said when talking about small business, "I used to be one". (If he knew what he was doing it would be hilarious.)

But the GOP left me. The word 'conservative' used to have a positive connotation; responsibility, integrity, fiscally sound. Today it has a negative connotation; militant, fundamentalist, hateful, backward looking. It's divisive, stirring the pot to make trouble, all in the name of God. Karen Armstrong wrote about this aspect of religion in "Battle For God". Adjectives which come to mind are those used to describe Jihadist Islam and Ultra Orthodox Judaism.

I'm an Independent because I like to think I vote for people, not a party. I just can't find many people of the GOP party I admire these days. Chuck Hagel and Olympia Snowe are two exceptions which prove the rule.

Until the GOP sheds the image of a party of people who wear religion on their sleeves, but can't find room for it in their hearts, it will become even more marginalized in our society. And that's a shame.

I have come to think of you as being in the company of Molly Ivins(Lord, I miss her) and Gail Collins. And that's fine company indeed. Wise and witty as in, "Let's do pray that God shows Alaska's governor the door".

I'm like, James Dobson, eat your heart out.

I know you're looking over your shoulder a lot these days, but please know that you have fans who are grateful that you are speaking truth to misguided power. I will post a link to today's column on my blog, http://leesvoicecryinginthewilderness.blogspot.com. Keep up the good work. I'm lovin' it.

P.S.
I'm the bass section in our small choir, and we're on pitch and in tune most of the time. We speak and sing religionese in church but simply try to act kindly and decently in public. The only arm bands worn around here are black ones when the Sox lose in the playoffs.

Sincerely,
Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper
Cape Cod

Thursday, November 27, 2008

God Is_______________. Fill In The Blank, Or Not.

Here's a short piece on God which I hope my Tuesday lunch group will use as a starting point for more discussion about religion.

The author of this piece seems to be saying that the symbol humans created called God can be thought of as a personal creator or as Nature itself as creator, and goes a bit further to suggest that if it's Nature, all of creation occurred on its own.

Some, like Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, say science will eventually account for all that is now a mystery. Some, like monotheistic apologists, say that faith is the only path to understanding.

Some say that there is no answer, and there never will be the answer. Perhaps it's like the scientists' wish for a theory of everything. It is at least as elusive as that.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

The Big Oil/Auto Industry; Out of Gas

Here's a NYTimes editorial on saving the planet.

Big Oil has been run out of the White House. The American auto industry, which Big Oil protected so it could keep on making the SUV's which are the conspicuous consumers of oil, has failed, in spite of that conspiratorial alliance.

The goose, which is that BigOil/AutoIndustry alliance, is cooked. Its days of producing black golden eggs have ended. It has run out of gas.

Now's the time to see that opportunity really is the other face of crisis.


Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Grateful Thanks To Gail Collins

Gail Collins has a unique ability to convey important messages and comment on important things with good, clean humor.

I'm thankful for favors of all sizes.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Of Laws, Not Men; Give Thanks For That

Roger Cohen, author of this column, is a naturalized American. He sought citizenship because he values what this country has stood for, except for the past eight years, and he gives thanks that it seems poised to return to those values.

He writes today about that.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, November 24, 2008

Coercive Diplomacy: New DC Speak or Pundit Talk?

Will somebody please define "coercive diplomacy" for me?

That's a phrase used by Jay Solomon of the WSJ in this clip. He compares Obama's coercive diplomacy to HRC's "hard line" style. Any storm in a port.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Take That Larry Summers

Here's a piece about Obama's choice to head the Council of Economic Advisers, Christina Romer. She's sure to run into Larry Summers in her work.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Islamic Chop Block

Here's an announcement about two new penalties straight out of the NFL, the National Fatwa League, which Islamic officials are now enforcing. They essentially legalize the chop block, hit 'em high and hit 'em low. They were proposed and introduced by the NFC, the National Fatwa Council.

Two fatwas are involved, major penalties each. The hit 'em high part is declaring Yoga blasphemous. Seems it uses Hindu prayers to create a relationship with God. That will not be tolerated, thus declaring Yoga dangerous to the faith. So the heart and the mind, both above the waist, must be taken out.

The hit 'em low part is the prohibition of women wearing pants. Now that reinforces the ban on Yoga as almost nothing else could do. Brilliant!

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Jacoby on Organized Religion.

Here's an op-ed column by Jeff Jacoby in today's Boston Globe. He writes from a far right wing world view, this time defending organized religion, as if he of the far right fringe is especially qualified to instruct us on its value.

He sets off Wolpe's new book which takes a positive view of organized religion against Bill Maher's movie which takes a negative view. I've not read the book, nor seen the movie.

My problem with Jacoby is his typical reliance on smearing a person whose view he disdains.

Most of the comments are interesting, some provocative. As an agnostic I especially enjoyed those who took Jacoby to task for not distinguishing between an atheist and an agnostic.

I also added my two cents.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Audacity of Hope

It's pretty easy to dismiss Obama's book title as pie in the sky, as it's easy to dismiss anything positive with negativity. We humans in this stage of our evolution seem to enjoy weighting anything negative more that anything positive. It seems we're still more obsessed with the Old Testament than the New Testament, even after 2000 years!

Here's a link to a report from Minstrel Boy which encourages me. Minstrel Boy is a blog written by Brian Hart who lost a son in Iraq, and who follows foreign policy reports assiduously, for perhaps obvious reasons. I consider Brian one of my virtual best friends. He and his wife Alma are good people.

I recommend Bookmarking Minstrel Boy to your Favorites List.

In the interest of full disclosure if you use the link to Minstrel Boy you will find a comment from me which follows his post. I hope you will read it too and tell me what you think, any way you prefer; email, in person one on one, on the phone and/or at lunch on Tuesdays. But tell me.



Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

National Defense University. Hello? What's This?

Just watched a segment of the Lehrer Report about the re-emergence of high seas piracy.
One of the two on the panel assembled to provide insight was acknowledged to be associated the National Defense University.

Hello? That got my attention so I Googled the name.

Check this out.

Be alert and stay aware.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper.

Calli's Gone

The cat love of my life, Calli (for Calico), was awarded eternal rest this afternoon. She earned it.

She was just thirteen, but her body chemistry was failing. She was down to skin and bones and yesterday she stopped eating. Kidney failure. The vet told us weeks ago she'd let us know when she didn't want to be here any longer.

I know millions deal with this all the time, and none of us gets out of this life alive as my old pastor friend Vernon Broyles once told me. But when it happens to you it seems like you're the only one in the world who's ever had to go through it.

Here's the way I described it after another loss a few years ago.

The opening strain proclaims the theme
Of startling emptiness
From overpowering sense of loss
Which can't resist its press.

It settles in, a haunting friend
As variations start;
So every part of life once shared
Is cruelly pulled apart.

Then enter strains which salve the wound,
As Time repairs and starts
Creative thought of future plans
To entertain the heart.

The final movement, classically,
Sings of triumph in its claim
That love will once again feel light;
A healing last refrain.

The Poet and the Pendulum, Lee Neubert Lindeman, Brunswick, ME, 2001, p 17


Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

How Everybody Wins

I'm hoping this article is about Bill getting out of the way, removing himself from blame when she turns down the job.

With him agreeing to all kinds of conditions on how he makes money, should she take the job, she can actually decide on her own. Everybody wins. Obama gets credit for the offer, Bill for being high minded and Hillary for wanting to stay in the Senate. With Daschle as HHS Secretary, as just announced, Hillary would help him with effort needed to pass a health care package.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Another Reluctant Agreement

I don't often agree with Michael Gerson, especially politically, but on this one, a mostly economic issue, I guess I do.

GM going bankrupt is not the same as Circuit City going bankrupt, even though both might have brought it on themselves.

Then again, agreeing on bankruptcy puts me in agreement with Mitt Romney, or Richard Shelby. Ugh!! But in this case even Romney he makes sense. Shelby is just throwing up free market ideological flack.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse keeper

One For The Cost Of Two

Here's two opinions from the Washington Post about Hillary as SecState. I think I agree with them, reluctantly.



Editorial:



David Broder Op-Ed:


Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Favorite New Yorker Cartoon

Here's my favorite of the week.

I never know what's going to get me going. I just think this one's a hoot.


Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

The Strange Bedfellows of Politics

They let Lieberman off the hook almost totally. And that's a cryin' shame.



In addition to his going off the reservation early in the campaign to support McCain, it's been reported that he did next to nothing to hold the GOPhers accountable on issues over which the committee he's being allowed to continue chairing is responsible.



He has to feel pretty smug right now. Wonder if he's tempted to push the betrayal envelope even further by going after Dems rather than GOPhers for stuff his committee oversees. Maybe even Evan Bayh would get his sorry back up if that happened.

Does healing and the wish to have a bullet proof Senate have to include letting a scoundrel off Scott free?

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

And Another Thing!

Here's yet another thing Bush is trying to do to impose his will on a country which rejected it on November 11.


Consider a verse from the New Bush Bible: "Go and screw the people".

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

"You Can Take An Arab Out of the Middle East, but

you can't take the Middle East out of an Arab."

This would seem to be a basic lesson Bush should have learned a long time ago. Cultural Anthropology 101 would have sufficed.

This piece is the latest evidence of the old aphorism about a man and his culture.

As has been true all along, when we leave in 2011(I'll believe it when I see it) Iraqi culture will reassert itself, unencumbered by the western culture which has been imposed on it by force.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

"Go And Subdue the Earth" Genesis 1:26.

Here's an article about what Bush is doing to thwart the next administration's attempts to undo the environmental threats Bush has loosed upon the earth.

And here's a commentary on the word "subdue" found by Googling the phrase, 'Go and Subdue the Earth'. I thought I had something here until I read the comments and considered the source. My translator gadget couldn't find any Hebrew translations of the English word "subdue".

And here's another site on Genesis 1:26. The author of this one has to go to "a parallel account" of creation found in Genesis II to explain away the word "subdue" in the first creation story found in Genesis I.

Clearly Bush is content with the literal meaning of the word in English. Remember he doesn't do nuance".

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, November 17, 2008

Slobodan Cheney

Oh, wouldn't I like to see Cheney on trial at the Hague?

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

The Audacity of Hubris

Here's our top military guy on the new SOFA agreement with Iraq.

Such arrogance and hubris is astounding.


Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Military-Conservative Complex

Kevin Drum of Mother Jones writes about the Military-Conservative(read neocon) Complex.

This is really important stuff. It's how the neocons keep getting their way in defense spending, regardless of who's in the White House.

So here's another thing to think about if you still admire SecDef Gates and hope he stays on.

Kristol's White Elephant

Here's Bill Kristol's latest screed. He has to redefine hypocrisy.

My comment on this column which appears in today's NYTimes is number 409 should you care to know what I really think.

Leanderthal. Lighthouse Keeper

The 80-20 Ratio

Here's a link to Derrick V. Jackson's op-ed in today's Boston Globe. He points out that real agendas will trump transcendent wishing idealist essays at the White House.


Twenty percent of the people might be focused on glowing and triumphal claims that we have transcended old racial barriers. That leaves eighty percent of the people focused on how they can each claim twenty percent of the bailout pie.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Forget Hell!!

Here's a piece by a guy who still thinks Lieberman should be forgiven and kept in the caucus and even continued as chair of his crucial committee. The commenters for the most part get it right.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Guantanamo Must Be Closed

Here's a column in Newsweek which I hope doesn't get traction.



The commenters by and large get it right, except for FloridaDave.



I posted a comment if you care to know what I believe.



Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Should Gates Stay On as SecDef?

Those who have a high opinion of Sec. of Defense Gates should reconsider. Here's a column which exposes stuff about him and his friends I had not known.

Those of us who hope Obama will not fall into the neocon trap of baiting the Russians should hope he does not ask Gates to stay on, or at least not for long. Perhaps there's some value in keeping him on as a symbol of the team of rivals thing, and to pick his brain about the Pentagon. But his world view is more neocon than diplomat, more Secretary of the Army, than Secretary of Defense which is the euphemism adopted for that agency of war after WW II.

It's becoming clearer that Georgia provoked the conflict with Russia, not the other way around. The neocons who love the $millions they make in the arms business stir up this kind of thing. Randy Schuenemann, the former advisor to McCain, was a lobbyist for Georgia. He's now been discredited, not for that, but for hyping Palin.

Obama needs his own guy as SecDef of all the cabinet positions if he's to live up to his well earned reputation around the world as a diplomat first, and a warrior second, and if absolutely necessary.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

The Theocon State, A Symbol

Here's and image which should elicit comment.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

"Cafeteria Catholic"

Here's a link to videos of Maria Shriver on religion and morality, including her pro choice vs pro abortion point of view.

It's a refreshing contribution from an impressive human being.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Just Two Words, But They Say Volumes

I'm providing a link to Charles Blow's column in today's Times for its content, and especially for a phrase in it that grabbed me.

The GOPhers "weaponized morality". That phrase should travel.

Thank Heaven For Gail Collins

Here's my favorite columnist Gail Collins of the NYTimes on Hillary as SecState.



As I've said, if we had to lose Molly Ivins we're blessed that Gail Collins is still with us.



Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, November 14, 2008

Obama, Catholics and Abortion

Here's a piece about a Catholic priest on his parishioners' need of penance for cooperating materially with intrinsic evil.

I have to say I find that this priest is disingenuous in his claim to support separation of church and state, while at the same time accusing his parishioners of sinning by voting for Obama.

Being against abortion is a legitimate stance, and it doesn't need a man in a long white robe and a silly hat telling folks that he knows God says so.

I wonder how long such parochial thinking will continue to instill fear. A very long time I expect, as long as there are people who agree to believe that 'God's gonna get 'em'.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Proof of Torture

Here's the most disturbing evidence one could imagine, which makes it clear that the Bush administration is riddled with war criminals who have committed crimes against humanity.

Some of it will be reminders of stuff we've seen and been told, but over many years, and time has reduced their impact on us. When it's condensed in a couple of hours it all comes rushing back and sets the blood to boil, with a wish that Cheney, Bush, Yoo, Rumsfeld, Addington, Gonzales, etc.. pay for their crimes.

It's in three parts.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Yorker Cartoons of the Week

What are friends for? Here's a thought.

And this one tickled my funny bone. Preparing to toast to one's health?


Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

The Power of Magical Thinking

Here's Andrew Sullivan and one of his Daily Dish readers on the dangers of Biblical Fundamentalism as manifested in folks like Sarah Palin and as exploited by Dick Cheney.

It's an important commentary.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Words of Wisdom

Here's a brief but insightful message reported by Andrew Sullivan on The Daily Dish.

Would that all politicians took it to heart.


Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

A Message for Any November 11th.

This is the most essential and necessary message for any Veterans Day.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Quote of the Day By A Man For The Ages

Ted Turner, when asked about all the offshore, deep water sailing races he lost, including getting stuck on a sandbar once, before finally winning the America's Cup: "I wasn't losing, I was learning how to win."

That retort came during a recent interview by a reporter on CNN which he invented and started in 1980.

As a fellow member of the Lake Lanier Sailing Club north of Atlanta for many years I witnessed Ted, when asked to crew for a losing skipper, sit in the boat, not touch a thing, only advise the skipper, who inevitably that day won his first race.

Ted can be at the helm of a racing yacht and recite Shakespeare for hours without repeating himself. One of his best friends, and the pastor of our North Avenue Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, told me one day that Ted knew more about the Bible than he did. He just didn't believe it. But I watched him from the choir loft one Sunday attend the service with his first wife, Janie, in which his son Teddy was confirmed.

Only one guy was made from that mold, "The Mouth of the South".

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

The Mormons and the Summums

Here's another little story which can become big news.

Aphorism redux. The problems of religion are the religious.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Bloods and the Crypts

Here's a story about rival worshipping gangs.

The problems of religion are the religious.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

A Truly Must See Video

Here's Barack roasting Rahm Emanuel in 2005. It's hilarious.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, November 9, 2008

They Haven't Gone Away

Here's a good example to remind us that the right wing apologists haven't gone away. I even saw an advertisement for a group advocating Obama's impeachment, even before the election.

And here's another one. This one sounds Libertarian.

Stay alert.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Naughty or Nice

Here's an interesting piece on how belief or unbelief in God is thought to affect one's happiness.

My Tuesday lunch group is discussing an essay by E.O. Wilson on Morality and Biology.

I'm reading Richard Dawkins' latest book The God Delusion.

If any of this interests you please comment.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Turning America's Global Image On It's Head

Here, Desmond Tutu appraises the impact on the world of Obama's election, as found in his Op-Ed piece in today's Washington Post.

One line I especially like. "And the president-elect has one additional key quality: He is not George W. Bush."

Enjoy.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Picture is Worth---------------------.

Here's a picture worth a thousand words for sure.

Startling isn't it?

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Big Picture

Here is an insightful view of democracy from 40K feet. It's easier to see the forest as a pattern of trees from that perspective.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cartoon; Restoring the Constitution

I like this cartoon a lot. It could serve as an iconic symbol of Obama's most important challenge.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Garrison Keillor's Advice to Barack and Michelle.

Here's Garrison Keillor's latest, including the best thing I've heard about Michelle Obama.

"People ask me how I am, and I say, I'm only as good as my most sad child."

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Well Said

There has been a lot of good writing about turning points lately, but this one is my favorite.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Gay Paris

Here's a wonderful piece by a writer for the French Newspaper Le Monde.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Get A Life!!

Passing along the Onion's video about Obama supporters' newly emptied lives, as offered by The Old New Englander.

Watch, wonder and weep.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

It's Personal

Here's Gene Robinson's column in today's Washington Post on the Obama election.

He says that for African Americans it's personal.

Here's the email I sent to him in response to his column.

Dear Mr. Robinson,

I do understand why you wrote that for African Americans this is personal.

As a white man, one who might be called a European American, it's also personal in that such as I watched millions of Americans Tuesday right the terrible wrong of our white American ancestors.

It's been said that a person should be judged within his own time. The Founders wrote that all men are created equal. Their blind spot was that, to them, Negroes weren't men in the sense of being human as white men are. Women of any color didn't fare much better in that possessive, patriarchal culture.

From our 2008 perspective it's difficult to understand how they could have thought such things. And because we find it so difficult we corrected them on Tuesday. "Father forgive them because they [knew] not what they [did]." But we do know what we did.

Watching a tide come in takes patience. The ripples rise and fall back, making way for the next rising ripples. Of such is the frustration of time. But imperceptibly, incessantly, seemingly unopposed, that body of billions of parts overwhelms. And all in its way are lifted up.

Thank you for your moving words. You speak for a multitude.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper
leesvoicecryinginthewilderness.blogspot.com

A Cartoon Delight

Here's Tom Toles wonderful cartoon on the election in today's Washington Post. Note especially the small words in the lower right corner.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Where Have All The Yard Signs Gone?

For the past several weeks we've had two Obama/Biden yard signs up near the street in front of our house. This morning, election day, they are gone, taken during the night.

We live on a quiet cul-de-sac street in the small Cape Cod town of Eastham.

We know of friends whose Obama signs have been run over in their yards, and many others whose signs have been stolen.

Who would have thought?

Obama has taken us a long way, but there's still a long way to go. It's like Bush's war on terrorism. By definition it has no end.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Inheritance

Here's David Brooks' column on election day about pivot points in our society.

I hope my kids and their families read it.

I was born well before the boomers were born and my kids were born well after the boomer's were.born. Nevertheless my generation and that of my kids has been affected in important ways by the boomer generation.

Brooks does a good job of telling us how and at what cost.

Scorched Earth Policy

Here's today's NYTimes editorial on what Bush is doing as fast as he can before he leaves office. It's a kind of scorched earth policy, bequeathing to his successor a kind of denuded constitutional landscape.

If McCain wins today he will be the recipient of Bush's generosity in taking care of these things so McCain won't have to.

If Obama wins today he'll have to spend his first term trying to restore that constitutional landscape to a semblance of its original beauty.

It's a fitting hast hurrah for Bush/Cheney whose attitude has always been 'I've got mine, get your own'.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Brief History of American Politics

Here's a 'Five Minute Iliad' of American politics, its back and forth cultural swings, swapping of labels and parsing of hatreds.

It's a too simple Cliffs Notes for the elite political scholar I'm sure, but for me, and perhaps many, who were Republicans, but who realized the party left us, it works. I can now cite chapter and verse to my hold-out Republican friends and family, about how and when the party left me when they accuse me of being an apostate.

For some fun unelitist reading check out 'The Five Minute Iliad and Other Instant Classics' by Greg Nagan, 2000, Fireside Books, New York, NY

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

James Carroll,The Embodiment of Elite

The title of this post should be sufficient to encourage reading it.

Here again is a link to James Carroll, whose column in today's Boston Globe might be at least one of his best.

The Voice posted a comment on it, number five on the list of comments. That comment is, in part, a response to a theme found in the first four comments.


Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The First Brigade

Here's a piece which asks an important question or two about the reported deployment of US soldiers on American soil.

Do you wonder as I do why this has been hushed in the main stream media? Do you wonder as I do why the reported mission, crowd control, was changed after it was made public?
Do you wonder as I do why it's deployment was deemed necessary by the president who is their commander in chief, when each state has its own National Guard, under the command of the state's governor?

If any reader has more information about this topic please let me know.

I for one will breathe easier if Obama wins and there's no mention of this deployment between Nov 3 and Inauguration Day. You might call me an alarmist, but remember the high handed things Cheney/Bush have pulled since 2000.


Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, October 31, 2008

Rachel Maddow

Here's a video in two parts of Rachel Maddow's interview of Oct 31, today, with Obama.



This is my first look at her program and style. Impressive. She has become something of a phenomenon lately, and I can see why.



It's also a great chance to see Obama comfortable in his own skin.



Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

PNAC: The Neocons and McCain

Here's a piece to be read and taken seriously. It's about the neocon's plans for America, going back to the early 1990's. Project for a New American Century(PNAC) is a manifesto for a militaristic United States. Bush/Cheney have given it a good start. McCain is an early supporter of this group and is counted on by the neocons to continue the plan. He's their boy.

He is a soldier/citizen, not a citizen/soldier. His language, his demeanor, his associations and his temperament are all about fighting.

That's why he must not be elected.

Obama, like Bill Clinton before him, can throw a wrench in this machinery and stop it now. It won't go away anymore than it went away during the Clinton years, but it must be thwarted for as long as possible. The military/industrial establishment will always be with us it seems, but it must not be allowed to rule the country.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Irony Is Fun

Here's the Boston Globe's Wasserman cartoon for the day.


Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Don't Laugh

Here's a story about psychology influencing a person's political preferences.

I am qualified as a practitioner of the Myers, Briggs Type Indicator(MBTI) which is based on the work on Personality Type by Dr. Carl Gustav Jung, the distinguished Swiss psychiatrist who practiced until his death in 1963.

In the story found at the above link a strong correlation has appeared between residents of Red States and those who consider themselves conscientious, less open(to differences), responsible and traditional.

Jung's theory of personality and the MBTI sort people according to Extraversion vs Introversion, Sensing vs Intuiting, Thinking vs. Feeling and Organized/Planful vs Spontaneous/ Open as a way of living.

Data gathered over decades support the expectation that those who report in the MBTI preferring sensing, either feeling or thinking and a Planful approach to living would describe themselves using the same descriptors found to be predictable by the researchers who conducted this recent study.

The MBTI data indicate that people with these preferences represent about 25% of the general population. What's quite interesting is the correlation with Red States, and that the 25% figure is similar to the statistic associated with the Conservative base.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Just Imagine

Just imagine what we can accomplish by electing Obama.

In addition to ridding ourselves of Bush, Cheney and their fellow neocon war criminals we can also get rid of and forget about bastards like Michael Hayden, who, in this piece, calls charges of illegal eavesdropping on unsuspecting civilians and military members "ridiculous".

We will have made a chance for America to be proud again of our President as we were with JFK.
Here's one of the things he said back in 1963. Remarkable in view of what Cheney/Bush have done in the name of the United States.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

An Important Read

Here's a fine piece of writing by Roger Cohen, in his New York Times column today.

I commend it to you.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More Fun

Here's a post on a blog by a self-described "old broad", saying why she calls Palin a bitch, McCain an ass and Bush a jackass. She has some words for Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh too.

She might just upstage Joe the Plumber.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, October 27, 2008

Just For Fun

Here's a cartoon from the New Yorker.

I think I recognize the interviewer. I worked for him for a few months way back.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

"War Without End", Amen

Remember Iraq? That's the country we invaded in 2003.

For a variety of reasons the main stream media no longer posts stories from Iraq on its front pages. Whatever anecdotal stuff is published is usually shoved back to Section B.

Since we haven't had much reporting to keep us up to date on Iraq you might be interested in reading the article associated with this link. It's five computer screens in length, but thorough and revealing. Even if it's found to be exaggerated too much by half it is eye opening, not to mention disturbing.

The article is a condensation of Michael Schwartz's work, "War Without End".

Colin Powell reportedly once told Bush, "You break it, you own it".

Well, clearly we broke it, but if we're owners we're acting like slum lords, unwilling to make what we own habitable for Iraqis.

Our occupying forces of course live on comfortable oases.

Now it seems we're threatening to shut down everything we run and manage if Maliki doesn't sign off on the treaty which justifies our continued presence in Iraq for three more years. It's being called blackmail, which seems to be an accurate label. This is not a threat to leave the country, but a threat to stay, withdraw to the oasis bunkers and watch while all Hell breaks loose.

This is what our government has done, is doing and will continue to do if McCain is elected.

It's hard to be a proud American these days.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Bush. "We'll Leave When They Want Us To Leave"

Right! And the Pentagon is going to slash it's defense budget by 50%.

Here's the latest threat from the Bush Administration to Iraq.

So much for the sovereignty of Iraq, and Bush's pledge that we will leave when they want us to leave.

To paraphrase Derrick V. Jackson of the Boston Globe of a few weeks back, it took 4000 plus American soldiers' deaths, 30,000 more wounded and untold Iraqi deaths and casualties to make Iraq safe for Exxon.

Who's really sovereign to the Bushies is Big Oil. Yes, it's time for a change.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Garrison Keillor, In His Own Words

"Anybody who got whacked last week and still thinks McCain-Palin is going to lead us out of the swamp and not into a war with Iran is beyond persuasion in the English language. They'll need to lose their homes and be out on the street in a cold hard rain before they connect the dots."

The above quote is from Garrison Keillor's latest piece which I found on Alternet.org.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

What Does the Word Authority Mean?

As I contemplate the temperaments of both McCain and Obama I'm struck by how the words each of them uses indicate two different and distinct definitions, connotations, of the word "authority".

It's not an academic point. It has to do with why they want to be president and how they would use the office.

McCain believes in having authority, that is to say, a position of power. He wants to be president for the power that office would vest in him. As a military man, with a top down, command and control world view, he wants the very highest position in the land for its commander-in-chief role. Like Bush?Cheney he sees the presidency as being the seat of power, the commander-in-chief of America, not just the military.

The unmistakable clues can be found in his language which is sprinkled with military jargon. Ready to "do battle on day one". Not wanting to dampen the "ferocity" of the woman who called Obama an Arab at one of his rallies. And McCain's acolytes, the Bill Kristols, using militaristic analogies like "I attack" and "give it a shot" and in their spun columns cheering him own, as in "Onward Christian Soldiers".

He relies on demonizing his opponent, calling for "victory" over the enemy, and calling that opponent weak and soft on terrorism because he proposes discussing differences, tantamount to surrender in McCain's view. It's a black and white, all or nothing, win or lose world view. It guarantees continued aggression, by using language that pits people against each other, of right or wrong, good or bad, righteous or evil. You're either for us or your against us.

This is the language of the neocons who stir up dissension and conflict around the globe in order to set the stage for future battles for which the arms industry and the Pentagon, the military/industrial complex, can justify designing, making, selling, and employing the tools of war, so they can play with their new toys. The ones who die with the most toys wins.

Obama, in stark contrast, believes in that definition of authority which has to do with knowledge and expertise; being an authority on something. He wants to be president in order to have the platform it provides to persuade others to follow him; to be able to use his knowledge and expertise in the country's behalf. He salutes another for being an authority on something important, not simply because that other is, for a time, in a position of authority.

The choice on Nov. 4 is clear.

We have a candidate whose temperament is such that he will use the presidency for its position of authority in his treatment of the people of America and the people of other countries, relying on the power of that position to get his way. It is at least a negative and veiled threat approach.

And we have a candidate whose temperament is such that he will use the presidency as a platform from which he can address Americans and others around the world, coming from his own personal strength as an authority on the challenging issues which he wishes to address, in order to persuade others. It is at best a positive and non-confrontational approach.

One wants to be in charge as a way of leading his subjects by virtue of being in a position of authority. He wants to rule.

The other wants to persuade people to follow him by virtue of his ideas and proposed solutions to complex problems. He wants to govern.

The former smacks of a monarchy. The latter is the way of a democracy.


Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Words Matter

Here's William Kristol's screed in today's New York Times.

It's truly amazing how he and his neocons, who are all about making millions in war machinery, use the language of war, and frame their arguments in terms of war.

McCain is losing his bid to be elected president because of the current economic crisis. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have become Section B topics in the main stream media. George H.W. Bush lost his bid for a second term because of a bad economy, even though he had led the coalition to kick Saddam out of Kuwait.

In this piece Kristol is advising McCain to remind people that the president is commander-in-chief, not just a super administrator. His entire argument is based on war. He even ends the piece with "give it a shot".

Of course anyone might have used that phrase. Except, in Kristol's case it serves as a bookend for his entire message which he began by quoting a French General, "I attack".

The use of the militaristic metaphor in advising a candidate who aspires to be president of our democracy exposes and magnifies Kristol's world view that America is and needs to be all about war.

For contrast, James Carroll compares McCain's and Obama's world views, using US/Russian relations as an example.

It baffles the mind that anyone can still claim to be undecided. The contrast in world views is stark, vivid and clear. The possibility that many voters(some polls tally them at up to 12%) will flip a coin in the voting booth is truly frightening. That's tantamount to our future being decided by people who don't get it, don't care or who really are the dunces John McCain has been appealing to for the past several weeks.

For further enlightenment on the unenlightened, read Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post on the undecideds of West By God Virginia here.


Leanderthal, Lighhouse Keeper

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Just When You Think---.

It seems like I've said this already at least once. But just when you think the GOPhers can't go any lower, up pops this dastardly piece.


Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Finally,Someone's Calling Them Out

Here's a piece on the Associated Press, AP, turning its back on factual reporting and turning to editorializing.

Their owners, the real editors, aren't happy; no surprise.

And finally Ron Fournier is being exposed for what he really is, a right leaning flack, disguised as an "accountable journalist".

And you wondered why the AP poll is the only one in recent days to call the presidential race pretty much dead even. Even Fox News isn't doing that. Stating their own dead even poll numbers as facts when all other polls show a large spread and statistically similar facts, is tantamount to stating an opinion. It is no longer reporting but editorializing.

It's become clear that anything with the AP label attached can no longer be considered factual.
They are creating a vacuum which Nature abhors. It only remains to be seen who or what fills it.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Ya Gotta Love 'Er

Gail Collins of the NYTimes has that knack for telling an important story, and with humor.

Here's her stand up routine on the Electoral College.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Saturday, October 25, 2008

This Doesn't Sound Good

Here's a piece about Israeli politics that doesn't sound encouraging. The Ultra Orthodox party, Shas, wants a commitment from Livni, who's trying to form a coalition, that there be no negotiations with the Palestinians over Jerusalem.

No negotiations seems to be a hallmark of far right Fundamentalist thinking most everywhere in the world. So, we as humans, have the ability to speak, but some won't consider using it to work out disagreements. I think that makes those people flawed humans, not in the sense of sinful, but character flawed.

Sad.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

He Should Know

Here's a piece by an Israeli who believes Obama's foreign policy ideas are better for both America and Israel, than McCain's.

He should know. He cites chapter and verse to support his opinion.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Consider the Words of an Old Hymn

"And they'll know we are Christian by our love, by our love. Yes, they'll know we are Christian by our love."

Try to square that with the message coming from the far right Evangelical wing of the GOP.
This article details that message.

A McClatchey journalist wrote recently about such people wearing the teachings of Christianity on their sleeves, but cannot find room for them in their hearts.

These are the same folks who like to ask, "What would Jesus do?". Perhaps they need to brush up on his teachings.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Never Thought I'd Read Something Like This

Here's an article by David Frum, a right wing GOPher, essentially throwing in the towel.

Who would have thought?

But such thoughts have to be brushed aside until after the election. Ignore them for now, and not let them influence us Obama supporters into becoming complacent.

VOTE FIRST, RELAX LATER!


Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Muslim Terrorist? Hardly

Here's a really moving piece on the depth of Obama. Some have said that McCain and his henchmen wear the teachings of Christianity on their sleeves, but cannot find room in their hearts.

Obama has room in his heart.

We need to elect this brilliant and also kind man. As Garrison Keillor wrote recently we need to "recognize a leader when one comes along and have the sense to let him lead".

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, October 24, 2008

Stay Focused On The Task At Hand

Some of the best coaches, as measured by success, have emphasized the basics of the sports in which they coach. In football it's called blocking and tackling.

The next POTUS will have a plate full of problems, but there is one which might be like blocking and tackling, going back to basics.

He must coach his players, members of Congress, on the need to concentrate on the basics. In today's America that's about the need to convince us all that putting people back to work is the first basic step in returning America to a real contender, a winner. That means the need for jobs.

As a retired business manager I am keenly aware of the importance of a recognized need which requires work before a job could be justified. Jobs are cost centers; salaries, wages and benefits are very real costs.

That need which requires broad based recognition is the rebuilding of the nation's infrastructure. It's falling down around us like London Bridge. Roads, bridges, tunnels, etc., are the life lines of commerce and society. We've taken the view that once they are built they don't have to be maintained. This is known in business as deferred maintenance, and it's a killer if it's not addressed.

It isn't glamorous or exotic like going to the moon. It's more like what FDR inherited.

He identified needs which required work, which meant jobs. Some detractors claimed they were "make work" jobs. I was not yet around at the time, so I'll not comment. But I was around as we came out of that Depression.

Here's my own caveat about this. It might be valid to claim that WW II got us going again. Certainly it required lots of jobs. I'd hate to think that we need another war to get us out of this mess. Can we find enough work, short of war, which requires the jobs people need to have any chance of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

McCain would likely consider war. Obama not, I think.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

McCain's Dunces

David Sirota has written this piece which exposes McCain's low esteem for his "fellow Americans", those he addresses as "My Friends".

He treats his "friends" as dunces.

It seems like most of us "dunces" get it.

McCain is the true dunce for openly displaying his condescension toward the American voter.

Sadly, there are some who will never get it, and don't want to get it. For example consider the 20% of citizens in West By God Virginia who say they think Obama is a Muslim. To them that's code for the "N" word.

What's a word for lower than dunce?

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Another Stay of Execution

Cross your fingers, toes and heart that this time rational people will pay attention to the fact that 7 of 9 witnesses have recanted their testimony that Davis killed the officer.

Execution is killing which is against the Laws of Moses if you take them seriously.

It's against all human decency if you think that matters.

In this case it would likely be killing an innocent man.

I just don't get the Supreme Court.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Today's Must Read

Here's a piece which really should be spread far and wide, though the MSM likely won't do it.

That's why blogs exist.

I especially like the second of the two parts.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Muslim; More Than A Person Of Faith?

Sometimes one has to admit that some cold, hard facts cannot be ignored, but must be acknowledged and faced.

Here is a piece which cites some statistics which I submit need to be acknowledged as cold, hard facts and faced. To wit, nearly 20% of those polled in West Virginia believe that Obama is a Muslim.

As Colin Powell suggested last Sunday on Meet The Press, one might ask, "So what?"

The "So what?" is that the word "Muslim" for some, including apparently 1 in 5 of those polled in West Virginia, has become the equivalent and currently more seemingly respectable substitute for the word "Nigger".

That is to say that when someone identifies someone else as a Muslim, he is saying more than that he is a terrorist. Both terms serve to provide the still prejudiced members of our still tribalistic society with labels they can use to deprecate and dismiss another as less than human.

When such poeple in our own country call someone a Muslim, they are still actually calling that someone a Nigger. One has only to ask how many white folks are called Muslims in places like West By God Virginia to verify that observation.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Sure Says A Lot

This doesn't say it all, but it sure says a lot.

This piece captures much of what I like about Obama. His identifying a "Teachable Moment" grabs me, as does his belief that he can talk "as an adult" to "Americans as adults".

As Garrison Keilor wrote recently, "---if we will only recognize a leader when one comes along and have the sense to let him lead".

We've got to elect this guy. Pass it on.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper