Sunday, December 27, 2009


Here's a very trenchant essay on war by Tom Engelhardt. Worth a full read.

A Voice Crying in the Wilderness.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Confirming Link to Cape Cod Lighthouse

Here's a link to my blog Cape Cod Lighthouse.

One reader reported that the blog didn't exist,
so I'm providing a link which worked for me, so it
should work for you.

Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Thinking About A Different Approach

I've been wondering about the value and usefulness of this blog, and also whether it is still the appropriate forum for what I want to express .

The title, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness, suggests that I am one who knows better and by my crying out can wake people up to what is going on, like the know-it-all, pain-in-the-ass prophets of old.

To say that such a view is egotistical and narcissistic would be an understatement. On the other hand that blog title might have brought in some traffic.

I'm considering using a different blog address which might be a more appropriate venue in which to share my thoughts.

For the time being I will go back to using an earlier blog, Cape Cod Lighthouse.

Here's the address:

I'm grateful for the feedback you have provided here. On average 3 people visit per day and read on average 2 posts, according to Sitemeter.

Please visit me at The Lighthouse. I hope to hear from you there.

Thanks for your consideration and support.


Waiting For Robin Hood

Here's a must read column by Frank Rich in today's Sunday Times. Echoes of Tom Brokaw's, "The Fleecing of America".

The frustration is in the recognition that the man I voted for as president because he projected an honest and honorable image, has surrounded himself, in the financial crisis, with Geithner, Summers and who knows who all else, who were, and still are, too tight with those they were, and still are, supposed to regulate.

A couple of years ago, during the campaign, I opined that we shouldn't really expect much change in Washington, regardless of who won. Sadly, it seems I was right.


Enough is Enough; When Oops as a Defence Becomes Indefensible

That's it!

This article is about the Washington Post cancelling the pay -to- play dinners which the publisher should have known would have genuinely offended all journalists worth their salt.

Adding insult to injury, in the July 2nd edition, the Neocon, Israeli and AIPAC apologist, John Bolton, was awarded top billing in the Opinions section, in which he advocates for Israel attacking Iran. This member of what Patrick Lang, of the important blog Sic Semper Tyrannis, calls the Neocon Scum is one of those who, because he needs, and actually gets off on the need, to wield a hammer, sees every and all impediments to his simplistic and militaristic view of life as a nail.

A week ago WaPo fired Dan Froomkin who called it the way he saw it more objectively than many columnists. His employer defended the action by pointing to a statistic that proved to them that his column was no longer a sufficient source of revenue.

These are just three examples of why I have come to the view that what WaPo publishes is no longer easily distinguishable from the neocon propaganda of the Washington Times and Fox News Network I can no longer read it without suspicion, looking for and expecting a right wing bias on the front page as well as on the editorial page.

I hope that Gene Washington, E.J. Dionne, and perhaps Richard Cohen and David Ignatius, Ruth Marcus, even Michael Gerson and David Broder, whose overall left versus right orientation is not hard to deduce, but who are not as rabidly one sided as Will, Krauthammer, Kristol and Bolton, will look for and find a more objective forum from which they can continue to inform us.

I hope they will not be the Colin Powells of Journalists.

Update: The Publisher and CEO, Katherine Weymouth, wrote an apology in the Sunday, 7/5 edition, which appears in the Opinion section. Her apology, like so many people who have been caught, included the usual CYA "buts". She insists she didn't sign off on the flier that caused the stir, 0thers do this stuff all the time; and that's just for starters.

I joined the many commenters who piled on, calling for her resignation and to take Fred Hiatt, her editorial page editor with her.

It's sad and a crying shame what's become of the Washington Post since the death of Katherine Graham, it's respected, admired, even revered longtime journalist and publisher.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Gershom Gorenberg Makes Sense

Here's a good piece, and a sensible one, by Gershom Gorenberg at The American Prospect on the the most likely "arrangement" in Israel/Palestine.

He doesn't think the word "solution" is appropriate, believing that political moves rarely result in solutions, just arrangements.

Like M.J. Rosenberg at the Israel Policy Forum, Gorenberg is a realist, and one who understands the huge gulf between two peoples. And like Rosenberg, he supports Obama's approach, and has pretty much complete disdain for Netanyahu.


Mark Shields Exposes the GOP Health Care Hypocrisy

Here's a really good piece by Mark Shields, our favorite guy on the News Hour.

GOP members of Congress are more than happy to have a gold plated health care provided them by the government, but are against any government health care for those who elected them.

Just who are the real and actual public servants?


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Cartoon Truths

Here's a cartoon which "says" it all.

Pass it on.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Master of the Obvious

Columns like this drive me nuts.

David Brooks analyzes why legislation that actually works can't happen. It is a good summary of the obstacles, but he provides no clue as to how he, with all his years in Washington, would recommend dealing with it.

Perhaps it's hopeless. Today Brooks is master of the obvious. As a Conservative columnist he's probably delighting in Obama's inability to herd his cats.

Republicans fall in line; Democrats fall all over themselves. Republicans prosper when they are the majority party. Democrats act like they can't stand the prosperity of being the majority party.

The guy at the head of the Democrat table, President Obama, has got to convince the Blue Dog Democrats, and the other factions in the party that they are throwing away their opportunity to govern, by internecine squabbling, which is only providing the Republicans with ammunition to be used against them.


A Wolfess In Sheeps Clothing

Read here a report on a Health Insurance Lobby CEO, a woman by the name of Ignagni, who is fighting against a public health care option, and for mandatory participation.

Let me try to understand this. If everyone must pay for a health insurance policy offered by private companies, those private companies would be guaranteed enormous numbers of customers, and of course huge profits, backed by a law which Congress would have passed and which would have been signed by President Obama.

Hello? Talk about the wildest dreams of an industry! Ms Ignagni, who says she's a life long Democrat, has got to be the quintessential wolfess in sheep's clothing.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Health Insurance Company Treachery

Here's the Times editorial on the revelations about health insurance companies cancelling policies when they don't want to pay claims.

This shouts out the need for a health insurance public option. Once again highly visible and powerful members of today's private industry are found to be amoral when it comes to profits versus customers.

As the health care debate continues and Conservatives pontificate about keeping government out of it, Obama needs to keep throwing this up on the wall for all to see and smell. Otherwise the politicians who are owned by these huge company lobbies will cave.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

My Guy Col. Patrick Lang, Ret.

Here's a true American patriot soldier on the "neocon scum" who should be tried as war criminals just as Keitel and Jodl were.

I'm against capital punishment. But Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their neocon scum should languish in Leavenworth for the rest of their lives.

Pat Lang makes a strong case.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Us 35,000 Years Ago? Just maybe

Here's a link to an essay about a discovery of a musical instrument which could be 35,000 years old.

The commentary is fascinating in that it brings up so many questions about who we as Homo Sapiens were, as opposed to who we as Homo Neanderthalus were. And that's just a start. There are many questions which are generated by these findings, some of which I can only just intuitively sense.

For me, this is just my kind of dish. Those who have no truck and less patience with theory, who need to deal with "just the facts mam" are not likely to be curious enough to the extent of being captivated as I am. For such people this evidence could be easily dismissed as an NRA, a non recurring anomaly, rather than a fascinating clue to a connection between our oldest DNA ancestors and us.

As an amateur musician with a curious mind, I look forward to more reports about this find.


Limbaugh's Galaxy.

In Rush Limbaugh's galaxy the brain has not yet developed to a point where it can link facts to reality.

This comment is so outrageous that it boggles the mind, which is what happens to the mind in Limbaugh's galaxy.

Trouble is about 25% of people in the Milky Way, our galaxy, will agree with him.


The Best Politicians Money Can Buy

Read this, then tell me again why I shouldn't be so cynical about politics.


Weaponized Keynesianism

Here's Steve Benen of Washington Monthly at his best.

He quotes my guy Barney Frank on the GOP's yes and no approach to government spending.

It's awful except when it's not, and that's when it's government spending on weapons, especially useless ones.

I hope this gets a wide circulation. You can help.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Cheney/Bush School of Intimidation:The Art of Character Assassination, 101

Here's a story about something which would be hilarious, or at least amusing, if it were not so dangerous.

Iran's Supreme Leader, a so-called man of the clothe and religious leader, calls those reformers who are calling for annulling the disputed election results "bullies".

Shades of Cheney/Bush. It seems that this guy went to their school of obfuscation which advocated and used against their opposition the very same accusations of which they were accused and of which they were guilty.

Last time I checked, those who made my list, 'Bullies I Have Known', were those who used physically abusive, life threatening and frightening force to intimidate those who want to live in a time and place in which fair competition prevails to insure justice and fairness as a way of living peaceably, though not necessarily peacefully.

That is not a small difference and should not be dismissed as "simply semantics". Peaceably includes acceptance of competition and differences, and open and tolerated discussion of differences of opinion, without having to be violent.

Peacefully is not a sustainable condition to be experienced in this world. The documented evidence of survival of the fittest attests to that.

Peaceably might be a sustainable condition, but is dependent on people making choices about what they support and resisting violence as a way of promoting it.

Sports competition is a pretty good example of how that might work. The Olympics of old Athens reminds us today that rational people can "fight it out" to be a winner, and without the physical death of the opponent as a requirement to confirm it. The Romans didn't buy it though. They wanted blood, and so do tyrants everywhere.

There's a topic and story for another time and place about how "sports" has not yet let go the sick excitement about the possibility that physical violence between combatants, euphemistically called competitors, can result in death.

The so-called sport called Boxing comes to mind. It's a less purposely designed and arranged deadly competition, yet still a violent vestige of the "sporting" events held in the Roman Colosseum.


Who You Gonna Trust For Health Insurance?

Update Below.

Here's a very timely allegation against the private health insurance industry.

It's about a Senate report which alleges that people were charged huge numbers for health care which the insurers should have paid.

These are the people who want to frighten you that a public option, like unto Medicare, would be a disaster. Yes it would, but mostly for them. If this report holds up the result would be a well deserved repudiation of a very cynical and hypocritical industry's claims that its primary focus is on the needs of its customers.

Kudos to Senator Rockefeller.

Pass it on.

Update: Here's Nicholas Kristof on the AMA's stonewalling of a public option for health care. That its membership has skidded so far down got my attention. Clearly it's now a Chamber of Commerce kind of organization, no longer a patient focused one.


Health Care Sense

Here's an essay about expanding Medicare to include the needy and eventually all citizens.

I've been leaving comments lately on many pundit's pieces citing my completely satisfying experience with Medicare for seven years now.

It's a single payer, public option, and it works beautifully. It's also not welcomed by the private insurance industry, except for a clear need for people to have a private supplement plan to cover some gaps in Medicare coverage.

But the total of my Medicare and supplement monthly charges is still a bargain compared to paying the premium charged by private insurers to provide equivalent coverage.

I hope this catches on. I suspect the private lobby will prevail in blackmailing


Monday, June 22, 2009

Weather and Sports

Full disclosure: I was rooting for Phil Michelson. A Hollywood ending would have him the winner, what with his lovely wife Amy about to undergo treatment for breast cancer, but also that he had a chance to win the Open, having come in second so many times.

It was a weekend of golf which needed the old saw, 'It never rains on a golf course' to justify playing under the lousy conditions which all encountered.

The last phrase, 'which all encountered' is the usual justification for declaring that the competition was fair. But that assumes that the competitors experienced the same conditions at the same time.

Such was not case in this year's US Open. Interestingly enough there came to be a distinction between those who began play in the morning last Thursday, now known as the first wave, and those who began play in the afternoon, now known as the second wave.

Those in the first wave gave several strokes to those in the second wave, a virtual handicap, due to the different weather conditions in the two time periods.

The golf analysts pointed out that Tiger Woods was in the first wave. To his credit I didn't hear him talk about that as a handicap. I'd like to know how well those in the first wave did and where they finished in the final rankings.

The other night the baseball umpires, knowing that awful conditions for playing baseball were a certainty long before a nine inning game could possibly have been completed, said "Play ball" at the designated start time. In MLB a game is considered complete after an arbitrary number of innings have been played. I thing it's five innings, but if I don't have that right, it doesn't negate the relevance of the question I'm posing in this piece.

It has to do with what is known, expected or at least predicted, about weather conditions which
might affect the game to the extent that it could favor one side or the other. In the NFL the game is played within a pre-established time frame, such that both sides are dealing with the same conditions, fair weather or foul. In such a situation perhaps one team is more adept at taking advantage of the conditions better than the other, but that's a function of talent more than weather.

Some sporting events are usually played in a venue which is shielded from outside weather conditions; basketball comes to mind. other sports are experimenting with playing in forums not traditional to their sport. Outdoor Ice Hockey, Arena football, Beach Volleyball come to mind.

Baseball stadiums with roofs came into being to make games weather proof.
They are a shining example of how weather can affect outcomes.

Golf, duh, can't do that. In baseball umpires should have confidence that predicted weather conditions will prevail in deciding whether or not to shout, Play Ball.

In golf it's the PGA authorities who need to do what they can to level the playing field.

TV time, sponsors, audience predictions make this very difficult to do. But when lightening is present the course is abandoned as quickly as possible. Predictions of two inches of rain should be enough to signal a halt to play as well.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Going Off Half Cocked or Carefully Evaluating How Best to Proceed?

The title of this post was selected for it's obvious slant in favor of being careful to understand what's at stake before announcing a strong position for one side or the other in a dispute.

Both the Main Stream Media and the The Side Stream Media are concentrating their attention on the situation in Iran.

It's potentially explosive which whets the appetites of the MSM. Fox News is not the only for- profit business which hypes the news to make money.

"EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT. shouted by the newspaper boy and hawker of old, still lives with us in a virtual way.

Right wing pundits and politicians use anything they can to discredit Obama for purely political reasons, under the hypocritical guise of genuine belief. Left wing types do the same when they are out of office.

Right now it's Iran that's being used by right wing nuts to hit Obama over the head.

But there's a genuine discussion going on about how much the president should say about it. He's finally reminded everyone that what he says speaks for America, and what McCain, Hannity, Limbaugh, Cheney and other hypocrites say speaks only for themselves and the cabal they gather around them.

Iranians themselves have spoken out. Some say, where are you Obama, and others say don't meddle in our internal affairs; you will only complicate the issue and hand the side that claims they won one more weapon to use against the side which apparently had the election stolen from underneath them. They are afraid of being discredited as American stooges, and could actually come to harm.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Minstrel Boy Gets it.

Here's a link to thoughts from the blogger Minstrel Boy in answer to a comment I left on his blog.

I recommend his blog, for many reasons, not the least of which is his expertise on things military, and his credibility is unquestioned when it comes to experiencing personal tragedy.

He's as saddened as I by what we're observing in the Obama administration.


A Very Wise Essay on the Middle East; And An Update

Here's a link to a very wise essay on the Middle East by Gershom Gorenberg. He, like M.J. Rosenberg at The Israel Policy Forum, is a supporter of the two state solution and backs Obama's approach.

In this piece he's declaring the need for Obama to avoid appearing to support the side which "lost" the election in Iran, and to continue calling for an end to the Settlement policy in Israel.
His rationale is excellent and spot on. He points out that the protesters in Iran don't need or want American interference since it would likely be used against them by the "winning" side.
And to cut some slack with Netanyahu for his absurd and disingenuous statement on a two state solution would be counter-productive.

It's pretty clear that the election was stolen. All the losing candidates lost in their own home towns, the announcement of who won came well before all votes could have been counted, turnout was more than 100% in some places, and on and on. But Gorenberg argues that this is the kind of information which the world sees and which is fracturing the reputation and influence of the "winner".

The Republicans are so sick in their flag waving patriotism and phony American Exceptionalism that they are attacking Obama for not speaking out again the "winners", knowing full well that they are doing so, not out of outrage over the Iranian election, but because they continue to attack Obama anyway they can for purely political purposes. The level of their indecency and hypocrisy continues to be outrageous and sickening.

Here's a link to another Israeli essay which is useful.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Two Uneasy Pieces

Pat Lang, on his blog Sic Semper Tyrannis, has written two pieces on Iran today.

Here's one, and here's the other.

What stands out for me is the change in his position, from "I have no idea if the election was rigged" to "I've heard enough".

I continue to pay attention to what Pat Lang says, based on his real experience as an Army Officer( Colonel, retired), and his real experience in Intelligence, special emphasis on the Middle East, particularly Israel.


Razor's Edge

Here's Roger Cohen's latest post from Iran.

Here's Michael Goldfarb's Weekly Standard right wing screed on Roger Cohen.

Michael Goldfarb calls him "Iran apologist". That's par for the course for a right wing, Neocon, who likely got both things he wanted in the Iranian election, a dictator still in power to justify an attack against Iran in the interest of Israel, and the soap box from which to rail against anyone who hopes for rapprochement.

Roger Cohen's position has been in support of the adversaries of the current regime, not for the regime. Goldfarb knows that but that doesn't serve his purposes.

A reading of each of these pieces is useful.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Roger Cohen's Courage

Here's his report from Iran.

What he had to report clearly makes him almost sick. He's been
writing about Iran for weeks, drawing attention to what he had
observed that seemed to indicate that hope was not misplaced.

He's eating crow here, and showing courage to admit he misjudged
the country's leaders, not believing that they would do what they
are doing; police brutality, arresting opposition, etc..

He's right that Obama must step back for a time before reaching out
his open hand to them again, assuming he still chooses to do.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Will The Real Gen. McChrystal Please Stand Up?

Here's a WSJ piece which makes nice about General McChrystal, Obama's new top guy in Afghanistan. He is the same guy who is alleged to have headed black ops death squads in Iraq, at the direction of Cheney.

Keep your fingers crossed.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Please Read This

Whatever your preferences for what our government should or should not do, I hope that you will consider what Krugman wrote and give it careful consideration.

Human beings whose life experiences result in their harboring hate for other human beings will always be with us.

Human beings whose life experiences result in their harboring love for other human beings will always be with us.

Both of these human beings are us.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I just added the link that two readers told me I left out when I posted about Gorbachev's Perestroika column.

You can read it on the original post or read it here.

Too many senior moments lately.


AIPAC Cracking?

Here's a comment I left to an article foretelling the crack developing in AIPAC's influence on behalf of Israel.

The article itself can be read here.

I recommend it.


Congress Battling Common Sense

You just gotta read this. It adds a whole new meaning to 'Follow the money'.

The Senator from Northrop Grumman, the Senator from Boeing, the Senator from General Dynamic, the Senator from-------------, all getting together to be sure that their backyard military/industrial patrons are not just protected but handsomely rewarded by Congress.

Dana Millbank of WaPo does his usual good job of sarcastic reporting on what one is disappointed to be reminded happens to be reality.

Sad, but true.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

And Another Country Heard From

Here's a link to an op-ed in the Times today which I think is a useful addition to the public discourse about the Middle East.

Having previously no knowledge of the plight of Jews in Egypt in our own times, reading it was an education for me.

I suspect, and it's only a guess, that Obama left this part of the Jewish story out of his Cairo speech intentionally, but not happily. He was speaking in Egypt, and though the author praises Obama for not mincing words, adding this to the story would likely have been seen by Arabs as Obama's siding with Jews against Arabs when he was trying to sound even handed.

I believe the author is justified in, and did a good thing by, exposing this modern day exile to those of us who were ignorant with respect to this piece of history.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Gorbachev: High Time For Perestroika

This column is likely to generate quite a bit of heat. I can almost hear Gingrich, Limbaugh and Co. now.

It is at least thought provoking. I especially like the phrase "demilitarizing the economy". The Neocons will go crazy over that one.


Friday, June 5, 2009

She Should Be Prime Minister

Here's Tzipi Livni's guest editorial in today's Times. She is a most articulate politician and clearly the one we should prefer to be Prime Minister of Israel.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Red Alert: Reject and Resist Apple Pie and Motherhood

The title of this post was chosen to draw attention to the reality that people all around the globe will level, salacious, absurd, ridiculous and hateful accusations against anyone who speaks out for and advocates peace. Today it's Obama in their cross hairs.

The MSM in the US, especially now that it is on the ropes financially, will hype this conflict.
"EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT". They will justify their hype by claiming that the public needs to know all about it. But it will be more about their financial survival than their mission. It might be more enlightening to pay attention to the Arab and Israeli media.

But I digress.

As an agnostic Protestant I offer this. Jesus of Nazareth has been quoted, at least two generations after his lifetime, as having said something like 'the poor we will always have with us'. With that kind of insight he might also have said something like, 'the selfish, the greedy, the hateful we will always have with us'.

These types are a minority. Most people want decency and peace. But the scales of justice are more easily tipped by the evil than the good. It's human nature.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Friedman's Talk With Obama

Here's a link to Thomas Friedman's column in today's Times on his phone conversation with Obama. I found it encouraging and positive.


Middle East Insight

Here's a piece which makes a lot of sense to me. Israel seems to be on a self-destructing mission, and, with patience on the part of those who would like to see peace in the Middle East, including a Palestinian state, it might happen by virtue of Israel's population changing.

Moderates moving away, over time, will leave Israel with a far right zealot population which could self-destruct, by isolating itself from moderate states.

Anyway, that's the thesis of this article as I read it. Clearly one problem working against this is the typical impatience of the West, especially the US.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Virtual World; Replete With Imagination In The Absence of Facts.

How does one find closure when a virtual friend drops off the virtual radar?

Based on my own personal reaction to a rather sudden cessation of what had been friendly and interesting exchanges with someone in the virtual world, the so-called Blogosphere, I got to wondering, questioning what a real person can do in trying to get closure in such a situation.

If you're still curious about where I'm going with this, here's some background.

A couple of years ago the editor of the blog, The Old New Englander, posted a comment on my blog, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness. That was the beginning of an online correspondence, which, in time, led to emails, which became a virtual friendship, judging by the sharing of what was going on in our lives. That included the using of our real names and towns in which we live. It also included references to our mates, by name.

The last post to The Old New Englander blog was well more than a month ago, clearly out of pattern. In the past he told his readers when and how long he would be away, and if there were a brief hiatus in his posts, when he returned to posting he cited his schedule as an active lawyer, busy with cases.

It's any individual's business of course with respect to with whom one maintains contact, and how often one posts. That's not the issue.

What I'm waking up to is a previously unacknowledged(on my part) limit of virtual friendships, online communication, and ability to find out what's behind a sudden change in pattern.

In this case it was friendly, interesting and satisfying, but not at a personal level such that one would feel comfortable digging further. It would feel like prying into places uninvited. After two or three emails, whatever the reason for a lack of response, one is wise to it go.

Nevertheless, imagination replaces fact, including possibility of serious illness, accident, even sudden death.

The online relationship is limited to two people, and others who could clear up the mystery might not be aware of the level of the virtual friendship.

Of such is the limit of online life. Come to think of it pen pals of old must have experienced similar frustrations.

Just in case though, if anyone reading this knows anything about the Old New Englander which might help this blogger understand please pass it along. I'm aware that some readers have visited both his site and mine from time to time. "The River", if you see this please leave a comment.

I miss The Old New Englander's contributions to the public discourse, his patient tutoring and mentoring with respect to all things Israel and, most of all, his friendship.



Monday, June 1, 2009

We Will Always Be At War

Update Below.

Here's a piece which illustrates my view that we will always be at war or preparing for war for a very simple reason. There's $Billions in them thar bombs. Ever since WW II our economy has relied on war and war preparation.

Today's war criminals are the neocons who talk war, inflame ethnic hatreds, preparing the next battlefields on behalf of the military/industrial establishment which benefits from war not peace.

I've written several times that I don't expect that to change regardless of who is in the White House, and who has the majority in Congress. If suddenly we were faced with a lasting peace the unemployment rate would skyrocket, and the economy would tank to a level from which it might not recover without a new war. WW II showed us that.


Here's James Carroll's column, the first half of which is especially pertinent to the theme of the above post. The second half of his column is also pertinent, but in a less direct way.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Redefing Crude

Here is a link to a public statement by a previously disgraced political hack and convicted criminal, which lays bare the depths that extreme partisans will go to inflame and promote conflict.

Fortunately Conservative, aka Republican, politicians have begun to realize how damaging their most ideological spokespersons have become to their cause.

G. Gordon Liddy has taken it over the top, even more egregious that O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Gingrich, Yoo, Cheney et al.

Their contributions to the public discourse rival the 1970's movie, Deliverance, for the grossest and crudest award.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

No Balls Update

Oops. Old Dude reminded me that I forgot to provide the link I mentioned in the post on the California Supreme Court Prop 8 ruling.

Just another senior moment.

I fixed it.

Hat tip to Old Dude

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

But What About

No Balls At All

Here's a link to an article which outlines the basis on which the California Supreme Court upheld the validity of Proposition 8, banning same sex "marriage". They didn't make it retroactive, and they didn't take away any of the rights of marriage, only the right to say they are married.

Note that the lone dissenter in the 6-1 decision is the only Democrat on that court, and that the members of that court can be recalled by the voters.

No balls at all.

Just goes to show how long it takes to rid the populace of prejudice. Ask any black person.


Gene Robinson on Obama and Cheney

Here is a really good piece by a really good guy.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Going For Broke in Afghanistan?

Here's a link to a piece by Tom Englehardt that should be a cause for great concern.

It has to do with the change in leadership in Afghanistan, and the reputation of the new general in charge.

Seymour Hersh is not known for making stuff up, and he has recently shone a bright light on the dark side of this guy.

Someone recently said that Afghanistan is Vietnam for slow learners.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

That's More Like It

Here's a report on Obama's speech about detainees today. This is more like the guy I voted for.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The "Gooey Mess" that is Gitmo

Here's a column which lays out the problems Obama is facing on the detainee issue. The best line is that Obama inherited a "gooey mess" from Bush.


Disgusted and Ashamed

Here's something that's so outrageous and utterly stupid that it makes me "disgusted and ashamed", to quote Hilzoy of the Washington Monthly.

We not only have Pelosi digging her own hole, and still digging, we have Reid saying idiotic things like those quoted in this Washington Monthly piece.

All that's on top of Obama endorsing one thing after another of the past Bush horror show.

Right about now we, who voted for people we thought were progressive politicians are supposed to be watching and enjoying positive, progressive things happening in Washington and around the world. Instead we're watching absurd, childish school yard behavior.

Where have all the adults gone?


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Patently Absurd and Sickening

Here's a piece about the Dems' spineless approach to detainees.

If our prisons were not considered adequate in keeping the public safe, they would all be empty.

This is NIMBY in the extreme. Obama caved on this issue too. He just didn't seem to be willing to work hard enough to keep his house in order.

It's baffling that the GOP , which seems to be known more and more as the laughing stock party, is winning on virtually all fronts. What's the use in having a majority in Congress if those in the majority lack the guts to be honest with their constituents, and if the majority party president caves too?


How Sad

It saddens me that this column by Glenn Greenwald of even had to be written.

Who would have thought what Obama is saying and doing about detainees and civil liberties since becoming president? If I thought just one thing about Obama as a candidate it was that he was honest and sincere in what he campaigned on. I can't say that now.

How sad.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Two Faces of Evil

Here's a link to Frank Rich's column in last Sunday's Times, which pours more light on the dark side of the Bush presidency.

We've all heard stories about the power of former V.P. Cheney's influence on the actions and decisions of George W. Bush during the the past eight years, and he seems to be determined to justify his actions and exonerate himself. It's rather frightening to know that someone who occupied the second highest office in the land(and actually functioned as the highest officer) still believes so strongly in the war crimes he committed that he actually wants to pour light on that darkness.

And now it is coming to light that Rumsfeld spun Bush with Bible quotations on the cover pages of his briefings to the president, appealing, in an appalling way, to the born again Christian's simple mindedness.

It seems there was a bloodless(but only in the White House) coup eight years ago. Cheney and Rumsfeld pulled it off and Bush didn't get it until the end of his presidency. They made "that small dim man", to quote Garrison Keillor, a boy king, and he loved it. He woke up each morning for several years thinking he was President of the United States.

Here we have a new meaning of the phrase two -faced, with both images being faces of evil. The third face, Bush's own, was an incarnation of Narcissus.

The hypocrisy is stunning.


Frank Rich uses his column in the Sunday Times, a well read column in a well read newspaper, to draw needed attention to new revellations about how Donald Rumsfeld

Obama at Notre Dame

Here's a link to an article which deals with what Obama had to say today at Notre Dame.

It's natural for me to want to hear good stuff about Obama, and I'm not at all happy when I am disappointed in him as president, and write about it as I have lately.

This article reveals Obama's wisdom in how he dealt in his commencement address with the Solomon -like dilemma of abortion.


Obama Reneges on His Passionate Campaign Promises

Here's the Sunday Times editorial on Obama's apparent backing of Bush era detainee policies.

Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd address the issue as well, here and here.

Two years ago I wrote about not expecting much if any difference regardless of who was elected. Sadly, I guess I was right.

I might as well have voted for McCain.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Glenn Greenwald on Obama's Reneging on Photos.

This column speaks for itself. I'll only add that I agree with the author.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Is It Just The Far Left That's Concerned?

Here's an opinion column which deserves some serious consideration.

Obama's recent decisions and stated opinions seem to be at serious odds with what his most ardent supporters, this one included, expected of him.

For the most part this disappointment is about his positions on national security, torturing, secrecy, detainees, relations with Israel and his decisions about Afghanistan. He seems to be walking away from the principles on which he campaigned and which got him elected.

I doubt that the growing disillusionment is limited to the far left.

In a few days Netanyahu will be here. He brings a reactionary view of Middle East politics with him. Obama has gone on record in favor of an approach, the two state solution, to solving the Israel/Palestinian problem.

We can only wait and see if Obama sticks to his guns on this one.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Humor The Voice Crying, If You Please

The name of this blog is A Voice Crying In The Wilderness.

I've recently(two weeks ago) installed a counter on my blog because I had no idea if anyone was listening. Is it really a voice crying in the wilderness, a question kind of like the old philosophical chesnuts; 'If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one there to hear it, does it make a noise?' and 'What is the sound of one hand clapping?'.

The counter stats make it clear that The Voice doesn't have the following of a Times columnist, but that, on average, five or so people visit the site on a given day and about half of them view more than one post.

It would be nice to get some feedback from readers. While I do moderate comments I only weed out the gross and the profane. Agreeing or disagreeing is what I'm interested in.

So if you are so inclined, please consider leaving a comment.

The Voice

Will The Real Obama Please Stand Up?

Then again, maybe he has.

Here's Glenn Greenwald on how far Obama has gone to protect torturers.

We also learned today that Obama has replaced the top general in Afghanistan with a guy who has been reputed to have ignored his soldiers' maltreatment of prisoners, if not actually encouragedit.

What the Hell is going on here?

Tell us what you think.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Credibility Gap at the Times

Here's a link to an article set to appear in The New York Times, Sunday, May 10, 2009. according to the Times' web page on Saturday, May 9.

I draw your attention to this particular piece primarily because The Times Web Site announced that the article would appear in the Sunday Times on page A1. The announcement makes no mention of whether it will appear above or below the fold.

When you read it please pay attention to whether you consider its content to be news or opinion.

If it's opinion it has no place being on page A1, whether above or below the fold. And if it's place is on the editorial page or the Op-Ed page, the Times' editors should come clean on to whom it attributes the opinion it clearly endorses.

Recently, a Times' reporter received a Pulitzer for exposing the cozy relationship between the Pentagon and some retired military officers. It's apparent that the powers that be, at that time, bought and paid for the officers' willingness to appear as our military patriots in support of what most of us have come to wonder was worth the sacrifice of lives and fortune. They tried to equate the situation with the reality of WWII.

These officers were shills for the Pentagon and the Bush administration. They were paid to spin the news and to spread the Bush propaganda.

The Times didn't even mention that their own employee won the Pulitzer for his uncovering of this sham.


Being Critical of Israel is OK

Here is an important point of view by a young adult Jewish woman.

It's worth reading in its entirety.

As the meeting between Obama and Netanyahu approaches this view needs to made as public as possible.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Roger Cohen on the Mellow Doctrine

Here's why Obama's approach in foreign policy will be successful in reversing the disastrous axis of evil foreign policy approach of the past eight years.

Break The Status Quo Position on Israel

This is a very interesting piece about the Israel Lobby, or the Status Quo position.

It speaks against the strong arm tactics applied to members of Congress to support the status quo, meaning no peace between Israel and the Palestinians.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Defecting To Faith

I really like this column. Charles Blow does some straight talking about the attraction of houses of worship. He nailed it for me.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Sensible Commentary On Afghanistan

Here is the most sensible essay I've read on Afghanistan. Keep it mind it's written by a retired Army Colonel.


Whether It Worked Or Not Torture Is Illegal

Here's a piece by William Pfaff on the right question to ask. Not does or did torture work, but is it legal? Regardless of one's opinion on the first question the second question cannot be answered by an opinion, 'just the facts, Mam'.

Torture is illegal.

As for what constitutes torture, that's what the investigation would be all about. The released memos pretty much clear up who ordered it, who wrote the memos and who practiced it.

Let the law take us where it leads us. Thomas Friedman claims that bringing charges against such people as George W. Bush and his cronies would tear the nation apart. Hardly. We survived the humiliation of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. That's because we are a nation of laws, or at least purport to be. Feeling squeamish about humiliating famous people is a symptom of a nation of ruled by powerful people, not a nation governed within the law.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

An Insight

Monday's Cape Cod Times printed a message from Edward R. Morrow which grabbed my attention.

"Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences. No one can eliminate prejudices---just recognize them".

Compare and contrast that kind of message with what we are offered today on TV and radio, as evidenced by the likes of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

Are we not diminshed as a people when and if enough of us ascribe to what these charlatans tell us is their truth? They make $Millions by preying on the paranoia of those who are easily led to believe the emotional rants of those who claim to be concerned about their fears.

There is a need to recognize the blatant prejudices of the far right wing nuts.


Why We Must Investigate and Prosecute, Part II

Here's a fine piece which gives proper relevance to the issue of whether or not we are a real democracy with a rule of law.

The argument that investigating and prosecuting alleged criminals would get in the way of moving forward is baloney, as long as the investigators are not politicians. Appointing a commission comprised of politicians would of course be a disaster.

A group of judges sworn to uphold the Constitution should prohibit the investigation from becoming a partisan witch hunt and the attendant retribution which would accompany it.

If the investigation turns up evidence that should lead to prosecution of alleged crimes we should let the law take us where it leads, whoever is accused of such crimes, without regard to party affiliation or ideological persuasion.

It's not about retribution, it's about justice. It's about core values and principles. If we don't defend the Constitution we could have the best health care system , the best education system and the best environmentally safe system in the Universe, and lose our country as we know and love it. If we sacrifice on the altar of wealth and power the founding principles of the republic The United States would cease to be America.


Why We Must Investigate and Prosecute

Here is the best essay I've found on the torture issue.


Monday, April 27, 2009

The Left and the Right Beliefs; Truths and Consequences

I voted for Obama. I did my best to look at the the facts, resisted the temptation of denial, thought and felt that he would be a better leader for the country than McCain for the most fundamental of reasons.

Obama's message came across to me as, "Ask questions first, and shoot later, if necessary", as opposed to McCain's message, which came across to me as, "Shoot first and ask questions later if necessary."

His fundamental world view has it that talking not fighting is the first thing to try. I still support that.

However I think he should encourage the DOJ to investigate and prosecute any criminals, however highly place, powerful and wealthy they may be, who are alleged to have committed crimes against humanity. Torture is one of those crimes and it is illegal.

If the investigation is put in the hands of judges, perhaps retired judges, it can be carried out without being partisan or even bi-partisan, which could keep it out of the news until it's made public.

In my view this course is essential to the recovery of the nation's trust in its system of justice.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dear Mr. President

Here's more evidence that crimes against humanity were committed by powerful people in government during the past eight years. Possible perpetrators include Vice President Dick Cheney, as suggested by the author of this piece.

The author, Andrew Sullivan, by his own story, is of the Conservative persuasion. But his persuasion is not anything like the so-called Neocon variety. Sullivan honors, respects and identifies with the positive, perhaps even original, connotations of the word; responsible, honest, careful, not hasty, prudent, fiscally good stewards, to cite a few. The Neocon version, judged by its actions, not its words, exhibits opposite characteristics.

Some examples: Take the country to war that was not essential to its security, though they lied trying to make a case that it was. Squander a healthy budget surplus bequeathed to it by the previous administration. Cut taxes for the wealthiest, and thus most powerful, Americans. Spend $Billions per month on that Iraq war of choice.

Neocons effectively hijacked a word, term, label which implied respectability, and used it to entice the gullible to grab the bait on their hook, a lure which made it seem appealing, simple,
easy to chose, and camoflaged by simplistic shibboleths like "patriotic", "good versus evil", and other fear inducing propaganda.

And here's a view which I had not considered, because I had not known about it. Glenn Greenwald interviewed a UN official who finds that the US is obligated to investigate accusations of torture as a signatory to certain parts of International Law.

Three well known and reputable opinion columnists employed by the New York Times recently have written eloquently on the subject. Frank Rich makes a strong case here, as does Nicholas Kristof here, and Paul Krugman here.

Like you, these are genuine American patriots in the broadest sense, wanting what's best for our country, not just the narrow, militaristic, polarizing sense which the Cheney/Bush administration promulgated.

I was one who wholeheartedly supported you for president, mostly because I evaluated you as an honorable, highly moral human being. Because of that I'm surprised and disappointed in your clear wish that we not investigate allegations of torture, especially in view of the fact that you authorized the release to the public of the memos which document that torture was advocated, authorized and managed by the highest officials in our land during the past eight years.

I have no doubt that you want to be a president who is known now and hereafter for your positive contributions to the well being of Americans. In view of that, consistent with that, and especially because of that, I am convinced that you should make public your view that we must allow the law to take us where it leads, if you have any hope of restoring the confidence of Americans' trust in US Justice. The powerful and wealthy Americans are supposed to be held accountable to the laws of the land, just as are the rest of us.

It's claimed that we are a nation of laws.
Please make sure that it's really true and not simply a feel good shibboleth or slogan.

Give Justice a chance.


A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

John P. (for Power) Murtha

It's becoming painfully clear that the only thing I can admire about Congressman Murtha is his opposition to Bush's Iraq invasion.

Seems he's better known as a Congressman/Lobbyist for his homebodies. What's that shibboleth about power? I think it's "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

As an Independent I'm for supporting good politicians of any stripe taking down bad politicians of any stripe. Obama says it's time to change the way stuff is done in Washington.
Murtha is all about the stuff that needs to be changed.

He's no cleaner than the former senator from Alaska.
He should be a former Congressman from PA.

Arrogance, no matter the stripe, is ugly.


That's What I'm Sayin'

I wholeheartedly agree with what both Greenwald and Sullivan say here.


Friday, April 24, 2009

We Aren't All That Exceptional

Here's Pat Lang, retired Colonel, US Army, on whether to investigate or not investigate allegations of torture. He's of two minds on the matter, but the second mind is the one I admire and support.

So far Congress(Democrats of course, not Republicans) seems more gutsy about this than the president. It seems that Obama is convinced that following where the law will take us on this matter will do more harm than good to the country. I understand that, but I also believe that by not following where the law will take us, we will be turning our backs on a basic premise on which this country was founded and on which it has relied, that we are a nation of laws.

Those who fear investigation are in fact afraid of future retribution visited on the republic by the nastiest of its citizens. What is called for is not retribution but justice, which is essential to the recovery of the nation's trust that all who commit crimes will be held responsible, including the powerful and the wealthy.

A mirror needs to be held up to the reality of the last eight years.

If the Bush/Cheney cabal were viewed as the elected mafia it was, perhaps the faint of heart would begin to understand and find some courage. Where is Eliot Ness when we need him?


The Rule of Law; Not Optional/Reclaiming the Soul

Here's WaPo's Gene Robinson on pursuing the allegations of torture on the part of the Cheney/Bush administration.

And here's the Times' Paul Krugman on it.

Each of these gentlemen make important points in their arguments for investigating the allegations of torture and prosecuting those who are accused of masterminding it.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wonder What He's Thinking Today

Shepard Smith of Fox News threw aside all caution in his use of language to denounce torture.

I wonder if he's worried about his career today. He's put his boss in a bad place.
I judge him not, but he's sure to be judged. Perhaps he will resign from Fox News.

Perhaps he and Chris Wallace will do something together outside of Fox. In my opinion those two don't fit the Fox propaganda machine. But first Smith will need to make a strong mea culpa apology to all who saw and will see what he said. There, but for the grace of God, go I.


Not This Time

Generally I agree with much of what Roger Cohen writes in his NYTimes column, but not this time.

Here is his reasoning for not prosecuting those who committed crimes against humanity.

As I wrote in a comment I posted in response to his column, "Justice, not retribution, is necessary for recovery of the country's trust that all are to be held responsible for crimes, including the powerful and the wealthy".

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

On Likud Israel Governments

I found this piece helpful in trying to understand the big picture with respect to Israel/Palestinians/Iran.


Still Wonder Why Blogs Are So Numerous, And Essential?

Here's Glenn Greenwald of Salon on the MSM's refusal to give any time and space to the retired generals/Pentagon scandal analyst scandal.

That's even after David Barstow, who broke the story, received a Pulitzer for it yesterday.
He's a NYTimes journalist for crying out loud, and the Times is one of the MSM which is stuffing it.

Keep up the blogging people. Sometimes it's the only way to find out what's really going on.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Fear as a Tragic Cultural Meme

Here, again, is Roger Cohen on Israel being Israel's biggest problem.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Perhaps Worth Your Time, If You Take Your Time

Here's a link to an article, actually an essay, in the April issue of Atlantic Magazine.

It's a little long, and I'm often reluctant to start reading long pieces because too often I find them long mostly because the publisher thought they should be, and found a way that the writer could say the same thing over and over again, by adding statistics, anecdotes and personal experiences , in an attempt to justify a reader's investment of time and money.

In this case I'm glad I stuck it out. Perhaps that's because it was the only reading material left and still unread on the stool at the foot of the ceramic throne.

While that's true, it's also true that, by my sticking to it, the message intended by its author, has registered instructive and well with me.


The Crime of Just Following Orders

A tip of the hat to The Old New Englander for this post on his blog.

The operative phrase here is "I thought we settled this issue at Nuremburg".

These people committed crimes against humanity. They must have understood that, and, even if they didn't, their ignorance doesn't render them innocent. They should be tried in court.


Tea Party Nonsense

Here's Gail Collins exposing the motivations of wing nut politicians and pundits who prey on the paranoia of dimwits.

Any attempt to compare today's soggy tea baggers with the historical Boston Tea Party patriots is simply silly.

Collins does a good job of pointing out the facts which give the lie to the propaganda. I particularly like the observations which shine the spotlight on the hypocrisy of those who holler about government spending when they as individuals and even in some cases their own states are net beneficiaries of government largess.

Gov. Perry is an example of a politician poster boy for right wing hypocrisy. Limbaugh is the equivalent for pundits.


Friday, April 17, 2009

'Reading Obama Wrong'

Here is another insightful piece by M.J. Rosenberg of the Israel Policy Forum.

It speaks for itself.


Brooks on Israel; 'A Loud and Promised Land'

I found this piece by David Brooks of the Times fascinating. I also recommend reading the Editors' Selections of Comments, particularly the comments of Sandy in Chicago and Ruth Mergi of Israel.

My criticism of the column has to do with Brooks' tendency to romanticize Israeli culture, and his conclusion that peace is at least a generation away. If what Sandy of Chicago says is true the culture which Brooks describes has survived untold generations and will not change in just one or two more.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

You Won't See This In The MSM

Here's a report by M.J. Rosenberg of the Israel Policy Forum about the Obama's administration's recent message to Netanyahu and right wing Israel.

Doubtful that this kind of report will be run by the MSM. Essentially it's a signal to the new Israel Prime Minister that he needs to play ball and not just expect intentional passes, and that the name of the game is "A Two State Solution".

Here's part of IPF's "Where We Stand" mission statement: "Israel Policy Forum(IPF) promotes active U.S. engagement to achieve a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict---".


Monday, April 13, 2009

More Right Thinking from Roger Cohen

Here's Roger Cohen with more on Iran.

It's also about the US and Israel, as all things Middle East are.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday, 1613, Riding Westward by John Donne

Here is Andrew Sullivan's contribution to Good Friday.

It's even moving to an agnostic.


Evaluating the Two State Solution

Here is a somewhat lengthy piece which deals with the viability of Two State Solution in the Middle East.

The Voice found it to be helpful by reading a summary of events in that part of the world over several decades. It appears to be reasonable objective, even though it is more critical of the PA than Israel. The criticism is stated with moderate language, and avoids appearing extremist.

The essay is helpful in moderating one's expectations for a imminent peace between Israel and the Palestinians.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Crying Wolf

This is a rather remarkable column by Roger Cohen, once again berating Israel's right wing leaders.

He actually called The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, Netanyahu's favorite stenographer.

Goldberg is the pundit who titled his interview with Netanyahu on the day he became Israel's Prime Minister, 'Obama, Stop Iran or I Will'.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

See For Yourself

Here's a video of Obama meeting the Saudi guy. The White House said it was not a bow, but Obama leaning over since he's taller than the other guy.

If what I saw is not a bow, Obama had a momentary low back spasm.

Why are they lying when their lying eyes see otherwise? This kind of nonsense is shameful.

This is not a monkey cowering in the presence of an Alpha Male for Pete's sake.

Obama is very alert to the customs of those he greets. It's part of his intelligent approach when interacting with all peoples. The testosterone crowd will "stiffen their backs" or "get their backs up" over anything that doesn't convey toughness. This small gesture, as a sign of respect for Saudi culture, is disarming, because it conveys a needed expression of American acceptance that others are exceptional too, not just Americans.

Exceptional doesn't mean wonderful, holy, free of bad actions and policy. It means that something or somebody is significantly above average.

After eight years of Cowboy swagger which all the world experienced Obama's courtesy and graciousness is sorely needed.

The White House should tell the Neocons to grow up. We're not playing in a grammar school playground here. Then it should take credit for Obama's approach to all peoples, and discipline the idiot who told the media it was no bow, even if that idiot is Obama himself, which I surely doubt.




Tuesday, April 7, 2009

End of Philosopy? Oh Really

Here's David Brooks playing armchair cultural anthropologist again.

The comments are interesting too. Mine is toward the end of them.

He plays fast and loose in his argument. At one point in the piece he includes both competition and cooperation as behaviors favored by evolution. But gradually he reveals his bias toward cooperation.

Toward the end he writes, "The evolutionary approach leads some scientists to neglect --". Note that he has moved from questioning the competitive approach to the evolutionary approach in general. What would he substitute for the "evolutionary approach"? Is this a nod to the Religionists who contend that morals come from God? Would he substitute Creationism?

In his enthusiasm for the value of cooperation he conveniently avoids the reality that cooperation is a group form of competition, on behalf of a family, tribe, religion or secular institution intended for the survival of one's group.

In his panning of reasoning as a positive behavior he reveals his own sloppy example of it.


Monday, April 6, 2009

More Honest People Coming Forward

Here's a post by Pat Lang at Sic Semper Tyrannis on a life long diplomat who is Jewish and who is outspoken when it comes to some Israeli actions over the years, as well as some fellow Americans who thought he would not be objective when it came to Israel. Some in Washington found him mentally unfit to serve when he aired suspicions that Israeli's were behind a 1988 plane crash that killed the then president of Pakistan.

The surprise in the piece is the revelation that this man, John Gunther Dean, accuses Israel of attempting to assassinate him.

He goes on my list of patriotic Jewish Americans who are also somewhat public figures; politicians, journalist, diplomats. I've mentioned some others before, including Roger Cohen, Robert Dreyfus, M.J. Rosenberg, to name just three. I'd like to hear about others you might know of.

Update 1: Here's an essay by a Rabbi which is promising. The Rabbi goes on my list, in an added category; theologian.

My hope is that such people get as much attention in the media as AIPAC and other advocates of the right wing in Israel.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Here's a piece I hope lots of folks will read. It's about what's been called the fecklessness and parochial behavior of Congress

I have been concerned that there seems to be no pulling together in the Democratic Party, even after Obama was elected, and he being largely responsible for the large Dem majorities in both houses of Congress. Reid and Pelosi seem to take umbrage at their president's wanting them to be team players. As the GOPhers took delight in reminding us for the past eight years, elections have consequences.

These fractious and much too public behaviors by the Dems in Congress are vulnerabilities which are picked up on by all the GOPhers who are looking in every nook and cranny to discredit the Dems. It's not uncommon to read a right wing pundit write about why Dems can't govern, as if they share a gene that renders them helpless in that area of life, governing challenged would be the PC language.

Republicans are good at acknowleging, obeying, falling in line and following their leader, often to a fault as we observed for the past eight years. Democrats seem to prefer arguing within the ranks even publicly, not so much to compete for the position of Drill Instructor but out of a seemingly constitutionally personal need to question authority.

I, as an off the scale cynic when it comes to following the leader without question, understand this behavior. It's essential, necessary and healthy to a point. It becomes a self defeating behavior when it's carried beyond that point. What and where is that point? Clearly it's not as clear as that point below which water freezes, or above which water boils.

One has to fall back on and put trust in the old axioms, 'you will know it when you see it' and ' Taint easy McGee'.

My experience has it that there is a time and place for discussing and a time and place for deciding. Both uses of time and place are necessary and valuable. So what's the problem?

If there is a problem it's likely to be more about the place than the time.

I take issue with the writer's claim that Bush did not have a policy. Yes, it wasn't public policy, it was a policy to feather the nests of his cronies in big business, in the financial institutions and in the military/industrial establishment. He had eight years to do it and he did a great job at it.

He took a handsome surplus and in only a few years turned it into, and left us with, the mess we find ourselves in now.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

If It Smells Like a Skunk---

Here's a column by Glenn Greenwald of Salon on the evidence emerging that the Obama administration's lead financial gurus have made big bucks from those institutions they're supposed to be cleaning up.

I'm definitely not happy with what I'm reading about this, and most definitely not happy finding myself criticizing Obama.

I'd like to hear from anyone who isn't as concerned as I am about this, and/or who believes that it's not a problem.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Diogenes Need Not Fear Unemployment

Hello? Are there any honest people out there? Honest people are usually counted on to be reasonable, trustworthy and honorable.

I've given up on asking if there are any adults out there? The connotation of the word "adult" that has to do with enough living experience to not go off half cocked has been offset by the obvious existence of more people than one wants to admit whose living experience results in their going off half cocked.

Here again is a link to the blog of Col. Pat Lang, US Army, Retired.

This particular link takes one to a specific post to his blog, one which asked for opinions about what routes Israel's planes might take to get to their targets in Iran. It's all about minimizing the risk of being shot down or being detected.

The responses to his request are revealing, no so much in their analysis, but in their willingness, if not eagerness, to participate, join in a discussion of how to pull off what could lead to a disaster of Armageddon-like consequences.

One of the commenters goes by the name, "Mad Dog".

To me the most important comment posted was by Pat Lang himself, in his comment to the commenters. Read it here. The clue to the real point of his opinion is, I believe, in his use of the the phrase "An Israel". It would be a mistake to conclude that Pat Lang expects and predicts that Israel will attack Iran. That he believes and expects Israel, under new hard line management, to try to manipulate Obama to attack Iran seems clear.

In his use of the phrase "An Israel" he seems to be saying that there might come a time when Israel, led by hard line hawks, throws caution to the winds and actually attacks Iran, or any of it's perceived enemies. An a concomitant to such a policy, Lang believes, would be the willingness of the hawkish leaders to use nuclear weapons in their attack. In other words, if Israel's leaders are so foolish as to attack Iran, their foolishness would include using nuclear weapons in that attack. It's not Israel he fears, it's those hard line militants, zealots, who might lead Israel over the cliff.

It's a particularly relevant observation right now, since genuine hard liners have come back into power in Israel; Netanyahu as Prime Minister and Lieberman as Foreign Minister and also Deputy Prime Minister. The folks at the Israel Policy Forum, sensible, reasonable Israel advocates, also observe that Ehud Barak, the leader of the so-called Labor Party, who has thrown in with Netanyahu to form a coalition government, is seen as someone who craves power and is willing to align himself with a political party in which he can be in a position of power, even though that party has traditionally been associated with a world view contrary to his own. In other words, Ehud Barack, by joining Netanyahu, has secured for himself a position of power and influence. As such he can't be counted on to be much of a moderating influence on Netanyahu, who will be pummeled by the Zealot Settlers, and Ultra Orthodox Jews and their Fundamentalist spiritual leaders, who claim, genuinely or conveniently, that God, once again, has led them, His Chosen People, out of exile and back to their Promised Land.

Pat Lang has won my admiration for his advocacy of diplomacy, discussion and negotiation. It is not lost on me that he came to that approach by way of his military career, on the ground, realistic appraisals, with experience in Intelligence in the Middle East, and if I recall accurately, in Israel proper. By virtue of that background and reputation he continues to be consulted on such matters, and apparently continues to have access to those who hold positions of power.

I pay attention to what he thinks, as expressed in what he writes for those of us in the general public.

I have become suspicious and cynical about what I read in the alleged Main Stream Media. But one needs to trust somebody on some things, if one hopes to maintain a reasonably healthy mental and emotional connection to life. Pat Lang is that Somebody on the Something, the Middle East, for me.


Jeffrey Goldberg of Atlantic Magazine took great journalist liberties in his obvious wish to draw attention to his interview with "Bibi" by entitling his piece with this charged language, his, not Netanyahu's, "Netanyahu to Obama: Stop Iran--Or I will". To what end did Goldberg use his own words to portay Netanyahu as the in-your-face foreign leader to challenge Obama, as Joe Biden predicted months ago?

But I'm prone to be so cynical as to look for hidden agendas everywhere.(I no longer use the word "Conspiracy" because those who use it are so mocked as deranged that they are smeared and discredited to the point of being labelled and irrelevant.)

'Syria Calling'

Anytime Seymour Hersh weighs in on an important issue one should read what he has to say.

Here is his latest New Yorker Magazine piece. It's quite long and complex, dealing with a wide array of chess pieces on the board and it takes some concentration.

He seems to hold out hope that something good can come of talks between Syria and Israel in spite of the hard line position taken by the new Israeli government, especially by Avigdor Lieberman, the new Foreign Minister.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

In For A Penny

Here's Col. Pat Lang's opinion on how Israel might attack Iran. It's his personal comment on comments he asked for in his post about what flight routes might take if they attacked Iran.

It's been 64 years since a nuclear weapon was used in anger, to the best of my knowledge. That's all but eight years of my life. It's distressing to know that a man of Lang's experience and savvy in such matters has come to this opinion.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper


Forget the idea of peace in Israel/Palestine for now. Here's the new Israeli Foreign Minister on that.

Chase the balls you can catch, and this one's uncatchable now, and will be for a long time. So what else is new?

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Lost in Translation

Here are the actual words spoken by Netanyahu in his interview with Jeffrey Goldberg.

Goldberg however put other words in the New Israel Prime Minister's mouth; to wit, 'To Obama, Stop Iran or I will'. That's the title of his piece on the interview.

How inflammatory can one get? This doesn't take away from the reality that Netanyahu is a hard liner, and in fact the actual words reveal that he would like the U.S. to take out Iran's nuclear program, but the actual words are not the in-your-face challenge implied by the title of the piece.

Other news sources didn't touch the phrase invented by Goldberg, and it was not in quotation marks as the title of the piece.

So we can add Goldberg to the Neocon crowd I guess, and perhaps I'm behind the times with that opinion. These are the people who like to stir the pot of ethnic distrust.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pat Lang's Prediction

Here's a piece which confirms Col. Pat Lang's prediction in his post today on his blog Sic Semper Tyrannis. In an earlier post on this page today I included a link to Pat's post.

Netanyahu seems to want to challenge President Obama. VP Biden predicted that a while back when he said foreign powers would challenge Obama within the first six months of his becoming president.

So who knew what and when did they know it?

I suspect that this is not a surprise to Obama.

The chattering classes will go beserk over this. Can't wait to read what several of them will write. I'll be tracking Brooks, Roger Cohen, Krauthammer, Kristol, Goldberg, Dreyfuss, Greenwald, Beck, Hannity, Dionne, Sy Hirsh, to name a few.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

This View Needs To Be Aired and Supported

Here's Col. Pat Lang on Bibi and his gang, and his expectations about how they will act.

It is thorough, complete and speaks for itself. I wish he had done a better job of editing, cleaning up the typos . A sloppily written essay can offset the validity of the views expressed in it. Lang is usually better than this.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Great Expectations

That didn't take long.

Israel has found itself innocent of alleged atrocities in Gaza. Who would have thought?

It is too much to expect that a judge who presides over his own trial would admit to doing anything wrong. Ya think?

In fairness, what country, or any group for that matter, would find itself guilty of any charges brought against it, even by its own citizens or members?

Real trials require objectivity, not possible when one investigates oneself.

And of course this was not a real trial, but an inquiry, an investigation.
Crimes against humanity are brought against individuals, not countries, so far as I know(and that's not much to be sure). It's people who do horrible things; in this case the alleged horrible things were done by people in uniform, in the name of their own country. Some of them blew the whistle, but as usual, the military circled the tanks, shutting out and exposing the whistle blowers.

Will anyone bother to track what happens to them now? I wouldn't want to be in their boots.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, March 30, 2009

Redefining Obscenity

I wish the White House would force me to resign, from anything, if something like Rick Wagoner's retirement package goes with the deal. Sight unseen I'd settle for the same percentage of my final pay as a working stiff as Wagoner's percentage is of his final pay. I'm not greedy.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Package.

Pat Lang's Opinion on "Cast Lead"

Here's Col Lang's post on his blog Sic Semper Tyrannis about Operation: "Cast Lead", the name given the Israeli attack on Gaza of a few weeks back.

The last line is one that got my attention. It's a suggestion that Israel hold face to face negotiations with Palestinians as equal human beings. There is so much mutual distrust if not hatred going back decades, perhaps centuries, that makes this approach problematic. But what is the alternative; more rockets fired into Israel and more shock and awe in Gaza?

What would Solomon do?

Like it or not, apparently there are an awful lot of Arabs, terrorists or otherwise, who think America's willingness to accept Israeli actions carte blanche continues to be a stumbling block to peace in the region.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Another Update on Afghanistan Strategy

Here's Pat Langs' entry, he a retired Army Colonel with lots of Middle East experience, and not a fan of the Neocons.

His endorsement of the plan is reassuring.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Here We Go Again; Plus Updates

Here's an article which I didn't want to see.

The military/industrial complex will have its war for years to come. We will maintain large numbers of troop in the Middle East, ostensibly to provide a presence which will make the bad guys think twice before attacking anyone. I'd like to think that would also include Israel, but I suspect the hard liners, the Likudniks in that country, are a powerful force behind the plan which Obama has announced.

The foray into Afghanistan in 2002 made sense. It was an attempt to defeat the Taliban, which actually was accomplished we're told. Now they're back and the terrorists have their safe haven again. So I guess this is necessary, but I can't help but think that somehow those who make huge money off of wars are celebrating right now.

Update: See David Brooks' column title The Winnable War as an example of the war propaganda machine in action. He tries to make it sound like he was open minded when he began his trip to Afghanistan, but it would be a naive view. He was being fed the propaganda he expected, and dutifully has endorsed the surge there. He was a smart choice to send since, though he generally spouts the Conservative view, because he does so in a less militaristic way than staunch Neocons like Kristol and Krauthammer. And Brooks has a large following as a columnist for the Times, and as a panelist for The New Hour.

And here's today's Times editorial on the topic. No surprise there.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Getting Down to Brass Tacks

Here's Roger Cohen's latest on the Israel/Palestine problem.

The architects of the approach are heavy hitters, and comprise a reasonable and bipartisan group. Obama would do well to work with them.

The settlements in the West Bank will be the stickiest of the issues. They are all illegal, de jure, but real and entrenched, de facto, and backed by religious zealots. The recommendation of a UN peacekeeping force for fifteen years is a recognition that this conflict is not going to go away anytime soon, but a long trek begins with the first step.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Likud Thumbs Its Nose at Those Who Oppose Them.

And so it begins. The Likud is supporting the construction of even more illegal settlements in the West Bank.

How will Obama respond?

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Joe Klein on Israeli Politics

Here's a piece by Joe Klein, writing in Swampland, expressing his opposition to the Fundamentalist, Settler zealots.

I'm adding Joe Klein to my list of Jews who express decent and sensible opinions on the subject of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and hard line Likud support in America.

It is heartening to find more and more moderate Jews expressing their distaste for the hard liners in Israel.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

More Speaking Up About Israeli Fundamentalist Zealots

Here's a post on Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish, a part of a view from Christopher Hitchens on the dangers of the Settlement movement in Israel. Hitchens is a self-proclaimed atheist, and also more conservative than moderate in his politics. Clearly he's not a Liberal, based on his writings. His warnings about financing religion don't surprise me, but I'm heartened that he's not aligning himself with the right wing Conservatives in this country. That might require him to acknowledge the value of the Evangelical Right Wingers, something he probably wouldn't do.

Perhaps M.J. Rosenberg of the Israel Policy Institute and Robert Dreyfus of The Nation are on to something. Rosenberg said that what the Likudniks did to Charles Freeman might have been a Pyrrhic Victory, and Dreyfus said it might have been their Waterloo.

Let's hope that the long protected Israeli Right Wing is finally being exposed for what it is, an element of a foreign country exerting far too much influence on American foreign policy, through intimidation and buying loyalty.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Kristol, Once Again Dismissing Discussion in Favor of of War

Here's my comment on William Kristol's typical war monger column in today's WaPo.

His views are truly digusting.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

That's What I'm Sayin'

Here's Thomas Friedman clearly recommending that Obama go to the people and be straight forward, candid, about the size of the problem he's dealing with, what his frustrations are, a few bright spots, and acknowledgement of his and our frustrations.

In the post I published here yesterday I imagined that Obama was reading it, and said, Mr President, it's time for you first fire side chat. Forget yucking it up with Leno, and imitation town meetings. Talk directly to the people.

Friedman quotes a pollster who wrote a book about the value and successes of doing such, as experienced by several world leaders.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

A Humble Apology

Dear Readers,

I apologize for the sloppy original post, "Heck of a Job Tim".

I still have no idea why one paragraph in particular was repeated verbatim a number of times. I do know that I worked hard on that post, and somehow made a mess of it.

I have since cleaned up the mess.


Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, March 23, 2009

Heck Of A Job Tim

Oh, how I hated to come to a time when I was willing to title a blog post with those words.

But I have to say, unless it becomes clear that the MSM is guilty of an attempt at character assassination of President Obama, I'm afraid that I will become more disappointed day by day by what Obama is reported to be saying and doing.

When Gene Washington of WaPo questioned Tim Geithner's thinking, when the whole world came to know about Obama's thoughtless and insulting gaff on Leno, when it became clear that Obama left Charles Freeman to twist in the wind, as did fellow Dem Senator Shumer and Dem Speaker Pelosi, when Paul Krugman ,writing about Geithner's plan, now becoming known as "Cash for Trash", opined that it "fills me with despair", when the Dow jumped 7% the day the details of the plan are announced, a plan which essentially rewards those self serving so-called Masters of the Universe for their role in taking down the world wide economy, when I heard that Obama is actually continuing some of the secrecy policies of the Bush administration, when Obama decided to do his own surge in Afghanistan, a place on earth that is more a badlands than a real country, just to name a few, I've become more cynical by the day about the Obama administration.

I've been trying to be one who resists jumping to negative conclusions. After all he's been president for only a few weeks, and he's dealing with so much crap bequeathed him by the Bush/Cheney crowd who had eight long years to create the toxic super site that is our current economy, having inherited a healthy surplus in 2000. At the same time he's trying to rescue us from the financial quick sand he inherited, he wants to get things rolling on health care, and provide relief for those who lost their homes, jobs and dreams.

If Obama is a pragmatist which some claim him to be, the positive attribute of that approach is summed up in the old saw, "Chase the balls you can catch". The negative attribute of that approach is knuckling under to the powers against you. The long range value of such an approach is being willing to knuckle under for now, luring in the opposition to gain their favor in the long run, and reminding them that they can be exposed for what they really are, champions of the wealthy. Sadly it's about establishing the conditions of debt, in this case political debt as set up against political capital, hoping to be able to call the debt in the future. The nice word for that is compromise. The sordid word is extortion. It's ironic that the strategy relies on the ability of the lender to call the debt of the borrower. Sound familiar?

It is so very sad, since those of us who supported Obama had such high hopes that he would be a different kind of president, one whose values would be manifested in actions which would somehow provide safety nets for those who did all they could to be responsible for taking care of themselves and their commitments, but who ran up against, and were defeated by, the deep pockets of those who claimed to be providers, but whose actions were clearly about denying provisions as often as they could by invoking the exculpatory provisions embedded in the small print, which they can cite as warnings to those who trusted them that their marketing messages were genuine in their expressions of care for those who dreamt of "owning" their own home or trusted that the health care they paid for would not be denied them.

Every day we learn more about financial institutions using tax payer money to reward themselves for their egregious handling of the public trust, and paying off their debts to others.

I've been concerned about Geithner from the beginning of his appointment as Treasury Secretary. I've paid attention to those who remind us that he headed up the Fed in New York, and should have known what those he was expected to monitor were really doing. He doesn't seem to me to be a reformer, but a tweaker of systems, trying to please two masters, those whom he must know personally in the financial institutions he was supposed to monitoring, and now Obama, who is asking him to use those connections to the country's advantage, by requiring those with whom he had a close relationship to do the right thing for the country. So far Mr. Cuomo of New York seems to be doing a much better job of that.

It's true that the bonuses Cuomo has apparently recovered by the recipients returning the money is a very small fraction of the actual dollars given AIG as a bailout, but it is a huge part of the moral outrage which we taxpayers have felt. The contrast of the bonuses to people living in mansions to those who have lost their homes, starkly humble in comparison, is extraordinary.

Obama, this week, has confirmed that he will continue to support Geithner, going so far as to say that if Geithner tried to resign he, Obama, wouldn't let him. I'm sorry, but that kind of dig in your heels, loyalty and endorsement is too close for my taste to what George W. Bush said in his now infamous remark to "Brownie" during the Katrina fiasco. At least Brownie could be forgiven by some because he had no previous experience in doing the job he was appointed to do. Geithner, on the other hand, has made a career in the financial sector of the economy. He does not have the privilege of using that as an excuse for bumbling the job.

I suspect that Obama will in fact learn and grow in the job. He has nearly four, if not eight years in which to do so. I only hope that growing is more than learning how to do business in D.C.. I hope he rewards those who believed in him in the campaign and elected him in spite of his relative inexperience in high places, by standing up to the war mongers in our own country and in Israel. His video outreach to Iran is welcome evidence. Turning his back to Charles Freeman clearly is not.

Months ago I wrote on this blog, more than once, that I didn't really expect much to change in our country's policies and actions abroad, no matter who won the election. At that time I was as naive as any layperson could be about a possible threat to the world that a bursting of the financial bubble would wreak.

Americans are an impatient people, a trait which has both positive and negative consequences. The GOPhers will continue to hope that the American people will have begun to suffer a severe case of amnesia about the last eight years, which attacked them on January 20th last. They will find a gullible and easily persuadable audience for their propaganda; as in the what -have- you- done- for- me- lately question.

Those who were concerned during the campaign that Obama was inexperienced have been exonerated. We can only hope that we who saw in him a strong intellect will be exonerated as well over time, by Obama's being a quick study, who will learn and grow in office.

Barack, Mr. Obama, President Obama, it's time for your first real fireside chat. Quipping with Leno is not where it's at, with apologies to my English grammar teachers. Dig deep as when you had to quell fears of the doubters who tarred you with the same brush which they used to tar your former pastor. Dig deep as when you had to quell the fears of the doubters who were afraid of a black man as president. In my less than humble opinion I believe that you are now being assessed as President Obama, not Barack Obama. It's actually what you hoped for and what we who elected you hoped for. I hope you get it. We do.

Consider the message in some lyrics from West Side Story, especially the stanza, "Tonight, tonight/ The World is full of light/ with Stars and Moons all over the place". (Click on the link below.)

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper