Thursday, March 27, 2008

Snatching Defeat From The Jaws of Victory

Republicans fall in line behind the one they sense is the most electable to keep Republicans in power.

Democrats fall in love with their favorite candidate, with all the green eyed envy attendant to a lover's quarrel.

I've written this before, but it needs to be so frequently repeated as to finally sink in to those of us who have become afraid that the Dems, the party which most represents our views, is in the process of self-destructing, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, which two years ago seemed so assured.

Two years ago the Dems were rewarded with a mandate to get us out of Iraq, and we remember
images of Pelosi and Reid revelling in their victory. But they ignored the people. They started the '08 campaign right away, and have subjugated the mandate to finding ways of winning back the White House.

Then they caved under the threat of being viewed as unpatriotic, weak-kneed and wishy-washy, soft on national security, being threatened subjects of the Cheney/Bush twenty-first century version of the Machiavelli/Prince team.

It's baffling. They didn't trust the voters who told them to get out of Iraq, but feared those same voters would abandon them if they did all they could to get us out.

I know, I know, they didn't have a veto proof Congress. But they should have continued to send the president the same time table bill over and over again, all the while telling the voters what they were up to on behalf of the people who gave them those instructions.

They tried to finesse the king over and over again, and didn't learn that the cards were stacked against them.

The fall in line/fall in love thing is evident again. McCain is uncontested months before his convention. He is free to play presidential, show up in Iraq and proclaim, like George W. Bush, that negatives are actually positives, that black is the new white, and on and on.

The Democrats, in this latest enactment of supposed rational debate are chewing each other up and turning off voters.

Hillary is willing to take the ship down with her. She is so narcissistic as to be truly frightening. If she can't have it nobody else can. She is totally pissed that Barack Obama came on the scene and upstaged her when it was her turn to be the lead in the play.

A candidate's behavior is surely one sign of fitness for the awful(as in full of awe) job of president.

Obama and Clinton are engaged in a hair pulling cat fight which is likely to continue into the August convention. There is no pragmatism in falling in love. The opponent, the challenger, is the devil, even though he or she agrees with you on most issues.

I'm doing my best to figure out what is going on between these two, and make no mistake, it is a fight between these two and it's personal and likely so deeply genetic and memetically ingrained that it might be enough to turn off the voters. Recent polls have revealed statistics that one in six of Dems would vote for McCain if their choice for the Dem nomination lost. For the female of the species it's about being the woman scorned, of which no Hell for the male has such fury. For the male of the species it's about being discarded, of which no other behavior of the female is so frightening.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Now You Tell Me

If you had asked me a month ago if Investment Banks were regulated like Commercial Banks I would have said that they must be.

Now it seems there's something afoot about making them subject to regulation. Another closing of the barn door after the horse escaped.

I am thoroughly pissed about this.

The Fed is bailing out the people whose pay checks run into seven figures, after the Bush people gave them the lion's share of the tax breaks, and created an endless war on terrorism on which these wealthiest of the population make their fortunes on the backs of not just the poorest among us but also the so-called Middle Class.

Consider the yellow ribbon on the back of your car, the one which makes you feel good by informing those who follow you in traffic that they, like you, should support our troops.

People please, spare me!! These are not our troops of WWII. Those who make fortunes off of wars want you to believe that they are today's version of the Greatest Generation, the ones who came to the rescue of England and liberated France. They prey on your feelings and values for their selfish benefit. They talked about flowers being thrown in front of our advancing troops in Iraq, imploring us to remember the visions of our troops marching in Paris.

These are very intelligent people. Psychologists will tell you that the ranks of criminals have a higher score on the spectrum of intelligence than found in the general population, and that the jails are full of intelligent people who use their brain power in a destructive way.

I am aware of two revolutions which occurred in the late 18th century.

One was instigated by the intrepid people of the American colonies who were willing to risk it all, imprisonment or death, to gain freedom from the unchecked power of kings, which at that time was embodied in a King George.

The other was instigated by the passionate people of France, who risked it all, their death or death to the king who lived in luxury and who scorned the people.

Sound familiar?

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

American Exceptionalism

The title of this essay is a phrase which many studied and learned observers of cultural and behavioral anthropology have been using to describe the tendency of Americans to become so enthralled by the view of their country that a healthy sense of humility has been replaced by a potentially troublesome and Narcissistic hubris.

It makes some sense when one recalls that George W. Bush was re-elected to a second term.

How in Hell did that happen?

The Rovian White House bet and won that appealing to the egos, flag waving tribalism disguised as true patriotism, motherhood in the disguise of a threatened black bear with her cubs, and testosterone of a vast number of citizens who held the view that America, and by extension Americans, are the saviours of the world, would carry the day. Sound bites, spin, propaganda like "Don't change horses in the middle of the stream", stuck like mud to the walls of the walled off minds against which it was flung.

It's actually not surprising. There are unnumbered examples in history. In our own time
the French still like to think of themselves as the center of the Universe, though rescued by the Allies in WWII. The French King, Henry XIV, called himself the Sun God, around whom everything revolved. DeGaulle perpetuated a similar arrogance.

No one has ever wanted to be thought of as over the hill. Countries, empires, so-called great powers are simply congregations of those no ones.

But history is the story of, among other things, the building up, leveling off and decline of everything, including peoples who create something special, enjoy it for awhile, but continue awareness that one should not rest on their laurels, followed by a decline in that awareness, replaced by a wish to simply enjoy the fruits of life, forgetting what it took for ancestors to plant, fertilize, tend, care for the vines which produced the fruit.

In the world of business and commerce the phrase which best captures this very natural process is, "Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations".

In our local rag today, The Cape Cod Times, I saw a quote by Billie Beane, General Manager of the Oakland A's baseball franchise, commenting on the third time our opening day was played in Japan. "Who knows where this will lead? Some day, we may literally have a World Series."

I cite this quote as just one piece of evidence that American Exceptionalism is real. Why in the world should we call the end of our baseball series, The World Series?

I know many people who would tell me that I hate America, and should leave, and not let the door hit me in the ass on the way out. These are just the kind of people who believe in American Exceptionalism. How about just a little bit of humility, especially now that George Bush has convinced the rest of the world of our deeply stained fabric.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Intelligent Design?

It's so tempting to want to believe that God exists, that God is the intelligent designer and creator of everything we perceive through our physical senses. The very fact that we exist to consider such seems miraculous. Some cite the wonder of the eye as proof that we are designed by a supreme intelligence. The Penultimate, The Higher Power.

Some, less sanguine about the existence of such a power, often point to the awful things humans do to each other, as inheritors of the survival of the fittest instinct inherent in Nature. It's a huge leap of faith to believe that we as inheritors of raw Nature are actually beneficiaries of God's will.
We are surely inheritors of Nature, but beneficiaries? I don't think so.

With friends like these---------?

Those who believe in Intelligent Design don't accept Evolution as a way to explain the existence of humans, and for that matter, all of Nature. They can't bring themselves to believe, let alone understand, that what is perceived by our senses, reality, is the result of unnumbered genetic mutations over unnumbered increments of time.

But now and then one of those unnumbered mutations actually results in a reality in our space and time, which might challenge even the most hopeful, prayerful believers in a beneficent God and an Intelligent Designer.

Here is a link to an article in today's news, which provides some details and facts as observed and reported by those whose credibility is dependent on being accurate.

I am the father of a son who has recently benefited from stem cell infusions in his quest for therapy to arrest the advance of the destruction of his physical being from the ravages of Multiple Sclerosis.

It would be so convenient to attribute improvement, let alone success, to a loving God. Actually my son with MS does. I'm not about to challenge that which has kept him going for twenty years. It works for him.

To me the miracle of stem cell therapy is that humans have used their hearts and their minds to develop such a treatment, and to apply it to those who suffer.

I guess I am what is called a Humanist. I believe that humans should look around and see the suffering, and the fact that we all die and decide to comfort each other, not increase the suffering and hasten the death. That would truly be miraculous. I cannot do it consistently, but I wish I could.

I am also an agnostic, based on the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition: "One who holds the view that ultimate reality(as God) is unknown, and probably unknowable".

I think that there has to be a force, a power of some kind which created the Universe and set in motion a process of development, physics and evolution which has brought it to what we perceive today. I'm inclined to think of it a The Great Spirit of American Indians, who thanked the spirit in the buffalo who contributed his body to their sustenance. That's as good as any other believe from my point of view.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Saturday, March 15, 2008

How Very Embarrassing

Gail Collins. hit it out of the park in her op-ed column in today's NYTimes. She wrote about Bush's sorry attempt at calming the waters in New York City yesterday, citing several examples of his talk to the financial community.

One of the greatest benefits which will come from the November elections, whoever wins, is the end to the American people's embarrassment that this spoiled, Narcissistic man-child has spoken on our behalf for so long.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

IRS Challenges Tax Status of Obama's Church

The IRS is challenging the tax exempt status of the Protestant Christian Church denomination of which Barack Obama is a member and communicant; The United Church of Christ, or UCC.

Obama was one of the invited guest speakers at the annual conference of the General Synod of the UCC in Hartford, CT in June, 2007.

Apparently the IRS is claiming that the nature of the speech was political, and thus in violation of the tax exempt status of the church.

I know personally some of those in attendance that day and they report having heard Obama make a Christian testimonial to his faith before fellow congregants and members of that faith.


John McCain makes a speech at Liberty University, not exactly a bastion of progressive views, George W. Bush makes a speech to southern, evangelical, fundamentalist religious broadcasters, which you can check out here, McCain seeks out, secures and accepts the endorsement of John Hagee, minister of a huge evangelical, fundamentalist church in Texas; not noticed by the IRS.

The UCC has had to retain costly attorneys to defend itself. Those are moneys that could have been used to alleviate and ameliorate pain and suffering at home and abroad through the UCC's Mission and Social Concern outreach. So much for Bush's belief in and support of faith based institutions. To qualify for his support institutions must be supportive of his so-called faith, which seems to be a faith in himself; a scary Narcissitic and Messianic self view. Not only do others need not apply, but they need to protect themselves against the hateful, no holds barred power of what Bush and Cheney have made of the Presidency.

Can you say "harassment"?

Now I'm ranting, and I have to try to let go, by acknowledging that what is going on in this generation is only today's manifestation of humans using their power of position for selfish and merciless benefit. But such awareness on my part has made me feel, not only embarrassed to be known as a member of the same species, homo sapien, sapien, but wanting to distance myself from such a species.

In the interest of full disclosure, I often sing in the choir of a UCC church as a non-member volunteer.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

You Can't Handle the Truth!!!

The Pentagon has reversed its decision to publish a study which found no connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda.

Surprise, surprise.

This land is fast becoming just another Banana Republic, with Bush, acting as dictator, simply trying to bury anyone who questions or disagrees with him, as in yesterday's Fallon "resignation", and any information which refutes his lies and deceptions.

I hope we make it to November.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Not On My Watch

Admiral Fallon, Centcom Commander, "resigned" today, just a few days after Esquire Magazine ran and article about his opposition to the Bush White House approach to Iran. He said some time back, on the possibility and speculation that Bush would invade Iran, "Not on my watch".

His approach is diametrically opposed to Bush's, believing in talking to opposition rather than in fighting them. His tenure at Centcom attests to that.

So perhaps he would make a fine Secretary of State in an Obama administration. I won't be surprised if he does a tell all book in the near future like so many others have after they resigned.

Now the speculation is that, since Fallon is no longer on his watch, sabre rattling will begin again. SECDEF Gates says that's "ridiculous". All they need now though is to conjure up some new accusations about Iran which they can say weren't know about when Gates used the word "ridiculous" when asked about action against Iran now that Fallon's gone.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, March 7, 2008

Quote of the Day

CNN quotes Mayor Bloomberg re: the Times Square Bombing, they "will be persecuted to the full extent".

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I Can Only Hope

I can only hope that the deep down sense of decency on the part of the people of this country, by their collective vote in November, will repudiate the indecency of the Bush/Cheney abuse of power over the people.