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

Mearsheimer on The Israel Lobby

Here's some excerpts from a piece by one of the two men who wrote a book last year about the Israel Lobby's powerful influence on U.S. policy.

He analyzes the influence of bloggers who almost beat the lobby.

The most startling opinion is that the lobby has little trouble keeping the New York Times and the Washington Post in line. And why is that?

Here's Mearsheimer's complete essay.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Dr. Silverman on US/Israel Policy

Here's a link to a guest post on Col Pat Lang's blog Sic Semper Tyrannis. It is an important contribution to the suddenly more public discussion about US/Israel relations.

In previous blogs I have listed names of Jewish writers who decry the view that Israel can do no wrong, a position supported by AIPAC and Neocons.

Dr. Silverman's name is now added to that list. I commend his essay to you. When you click on the above link you will be at Lang's blog. Then click on the link "Download ALS". That will bring up Silverman's essay.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

More Roger Cohen Straight Talk

Here's yet another important message about Iran, Israel and the U.S. from Roger Cohen.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Speaks For Itself

Please read here an essay which shouts out for the need to listen, a statement of passionate feelings, inherently self destructive in the essence of its approach to dialogue.

But it's a start.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

The Piece Speaks for Itself

Here's a link to the writings of a man I admire, and, if we lived closer, I would seek out to hug.

He's a decent, thoughful person. He writes a column on Fridays for the Israel Policy Forum.

I commend him to you.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Sardonic, and Realistic Expose'

Here's a piece which would be really funny if it weren't so damned true.

It's about three easy steps on how to destroy the government and screw the people.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

The Daily Me: Nicholas Kristof on the Death of Newspapers

Here is a really good piece which discusses the negative impact of a phenomenon of which I am as guilty as the next person.

Nicholas Kristof opines about the problem of looking primarily for news which confirms our prejudices and biases. This is part of the human condition of course; birds of a feather flock together. We are social animals and, as a general rule, want to get along with our friends. That often means we come to agree with most of our friends on important issues.

If I'm skeptical at all about what Kristof writes it's his observation that this is more of a problem now than in the past.

As an example, which proves his point, if there has been an increase in this rather human behavior, I believe it can be laid at the feet of the Bush administration which had a world view that all is black and white, not simple but simplistic. "You're either for us or with the terrorists." It was a polarizing administration, exacerbating extreme partisanship and it's concomitant, intractable conflict.

During the past eight years it's been difficult to ignore the cynicism and the I've-got-mine,-get-your-own attitude in the general population. Perhaps one of the more perverse legacies left behind by Bush/Cheney is that of their in-your-face attitude which pervaded the Federal Government since 2000. It was insidious, calculated and nasty. It is the way they treated anyone they thought was not willing to march in lock step with them; their own colleagues, politicians from both sides of the aisle, generals and foreign leaders. No one was immune to their viciousness. Some were passed over, some marginalized, some fired, some insulted and some threatened.

Generals, cabinet secretaries, politicians of all stripes, foreign leaders, and sovereign countries took the brunt of the nastiness, all because they didn't tow the administration's line, or they threatened Israel, who could do no wrong.

Obama won for many reasons, not the least of which was that the electorate was sick of this behavior.

As a former business executive I understand how the attitude at the top permeates an organization. The Federal Government is the ultimate "top" of the organization that is our culture and society.

Now excuse me while I go listen to Rush Limbaugh.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

So Long As We All Shall Live

Today a wise, caring and gentle scholar and friend shared an interesting thought and observation with those attending the seminar he led. He focused on the repeated use, by the author of the book being discussed, of the word "absurd". That is a word which I have used to describe my view and reaction to life in several conversations with friends, conversations both deep and casual.

I've often said that life is so absurd that only shared humor is palliative.

I've hesitated to articulate what I really believe, and have gotten past fearing, that life on earth as we know it will ultimately succumb to the same kind of mass extinctions that science tells us befell previous life forms on earth. The odds are small in the short term, "short" in the sense of even millennia or epochs. But Nature is not confined by time. Given sufficient time, as measured by that peculiarly human construct, all possibilities will escalate to probabilities which will ultimately manifest themselves as realities.

Just as ice ages and tropical ages have taken their turns in sculpting and influencing the relative viability of life on our planet, and in the long run will continue their alternating cycles, so will explosions and extinctions of life on the planet continue to take their turns.

Our species, homo sapiens, is thought to have appeared on the scene within the last 200.000 years, still a mere blip in geologic time. While it might be essential, even healthy, that we think of ourselves as special, an attitude conducive to and encouraging of not just survival as a species, but enthusiasm for sustaining our species through procreation, we are creatures of Nature, however much some might prefer to be Children of God.

Science tells us that the Universe is full of births and deaths of stars, numbered in the billions. Even our most expansive imaginations have difficulty comprehending stuff of that magnitude.

We should and must judge ourselves within the scope of our own reality as we perceive it. We are all in this boat together, those in both the bow and the stern are vulnerable and will succumb. None of us gets out of this life alive, in the sense that we experience, if not understand, what we call physical life.

So how then shall we live? Neither believers in Ultimate Reality(as God) nor Atheists who don't believe, nor Agnostics, who, by definition, admit they don't know, have any leg up on life. As scientists might say, 'The biota exhibits a one hundred percent mortality rate'. In other words, everything dies.

Perhaps, as the contemporary critic of human constructs of theology and icon(read idol) laced structured religions, Karen Armstrong, recommends, we would do well to elevate a world view of compassion above the more typical and prevalent world view of competing methods of salvation; salvation in the sense of bodily life after physical death; to wit, 'I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes unto the Father, save by me'. That's a Christian construct. Other religions insist their own constructs are the real truth and work best.

Karen Armstrong advocates the elevation of compassion, empathy, and walking in the other person's moccasins, over the insistence of theological constructs and arguments, as most reliably representative of Jesus' message. If we could strip away the absurd claim that Jesus was physically and factually the flesh and blood Son of God, and in its stead substitute the more significant truth that Jesus, as one of a select number of special human beings, had the gift of insight into the soul part of human minds, like Albert Einstein, as one of a select number of special human beings, had the gift of insight into the imaginative part of human minds, the Jews, Christians and Muslims, most all of whom credit Jesus as a messenger of and advocate for peace on earth, which means among human beings, might someday come to understand that, since we all die, we would do well to care for each other, help each other, comfort each other, so long as we all shall live.

We could vow to try.

It would be well with my soul, yours and theirs.


aka Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tip o' The Hat to The Old New Englander

Here's The Old New Englander's contribution to the AIG scandal.

Some real good "makes sense to me" stuff here.

I'm also of the mind that Geithner isn't long for this administration world.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

One Example of Obscenity

One example of obscenity is a group of wealthy people known as Grammy Bashers.

Hard to believe that people with money are so crass and cynical when it comes to retirees who need safety nets because they don't have the wherewithal to pay the exorbitant costs of medical care, which they often need more regularly than younger citizens.

There are so many examples of 'I got mine, get your own' behavior in our world that there are times when I'm embarrassed to be a member of the same species. This is one of those times.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Robert Dreyfuss on The Freeman Affair

Robert Dreyfuss of The Nation magazine adds his voice to those who are castigating the hard line elements of the Israeli Lobby for knee capping Charles Freeman.

Read here his analysis of the Freeman affair. He thinks it might be the Waterloo for the hard line Israeli lobby; somewhat similar to M.J. Rosenberg's use of the term Pyrrhic victory to describe it.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

It's Not Easy to Remember, And Not Hard to Forget

It's much too easy to forget events that have tragic consequences when the news is full of the newest and latest examples to disturb us. But what the hard line Israel-Centric Lobby did to Charles Freeman should not be so easily relegated to old news.

Here is Glenn Greenwald's important expose' on what happened to Charles Freeman at the hands of what he calls the "Israel-Centric" mob, and even more importantly how that attack bodes ill for the U.S. and it's foreign policy, especially with respect to the Middle East.

Anyone who's even only slightly concerned that to dare to question any of Israel's actions disqualifies one from even appointed positions in American government, should read this in it's entirety, and also read Roger Cohen's most recent columns on Iran, including today's (3/16/09) column, in the New York Times.

The Israel Policy Forum, including the writings of M.J. Rosenberg, is also an important source of moderate and reasonable views and information about Israel and its relationship with the U.S.. Mr. Rosenberg is disturbed that the right wing Israeli point of view gets more attention than the moderate view in the MSM, and that Congress seems regularly to side with right wing, AIPAC backed views as well.

The Israel Lobby is a powerful cabal, and it's actions need to be exposed for what they are, a dangerous impingement by a foreign government on American policy.

The scurrilous attack on Charles Freeman is just the latest, but arguably the most scandalous,

treatment of any who have had the guts to stand up to those who hold Israel blameless in all things.

I recommend consulting the writings of Roger Cohen, Glenn Greenwald and M.J. Rosenberg, three who brave the fury of the Right Wing faction in Israeli and American politics.

Peace in the Middle East, if it is possible even given the most objective of approaches, is impossible so long as Israel can continue to tie the hands of the American government in formulating open handed policy in the region. Hard line Likud Israel and it's Israel-Centric American Jews and sympathizers are keeping the American fist clenched tight, in spite of Obama's ofter to be open handed if those who oppose Israel will unclench their fists.

This is an irony with tragic consequences.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Israel Policy Forum

As a result of some web surfing, which I probably do too often, I read a piece by M.J. Rosenberg about the far right Israel Lobby knee capping Charles Freeman and forcing him to resign from his newly appointed position as Chairman of the National Intelligence Council.

Rosenberg's opinion was that it was a Pyrrhic victory for those who brought Freeman down. That the administration is "pissed off" and that Obama is even more likely to take a strong stand against Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory.

I was pleasantly surprised to read a Jewish journalist expressing such thoughts. I've since placed the web site of his organization, The Israel Policy Forum, in my Favorites List.

Here's is another piece by Rosenberg. This one is a fine summary of IPF's views on what's needed to solve the Palestinian conundrum. It is so refreshing to read such reasonable beliefs.

I've also learned that I might have been using the terms Zionism and Zionist incorrectly. Seems the Israelis who get my goat are, according to Rosenberg the far right Likudniks, now back in power in Israel, and those in this country who back them. Rosenberg, a rational and reasonable man, supports Zionism as necessary to the survival of Israel as a Jewish nation, and one of the two nations that are needed for the survival of Israel as a Jewish nation. The second is the need for a Palestinian nation/state. It's the Likudniks it seems which have no use for Palestinians, nor a Palestinian state, and are doing everything they can to prevent it, including expanding the hated occupation of Palestinian territories and the building of even more illegal settlements, check points and barriers to a reasonable Palestinian life. My mistake, based on what I've read by Rosenberg and others at the Israel Policy Forum is to call such people Zionists.

While I still take a dim view of a purely Jewish Israel, wishing that Israel be more of a melting pot like America, that's probably too much to ask of Israelis at this time in the history of that young country. What I am grateful to learn is that there are reasonable people like Rosenberg who love Israel, but/and understand that its treatment of the Palestinians is brutal and shameful, and must be stopped if Israel is to survive as a Nation.

As I wonder why I've been slow to find such a source of reasonable views I realize that almost all I read about US/Israel relations in the MSM is bound up in references to AIPAC and right wing Israeli advocates, the so-called Israel Lobby which Freeman ran up against. The question is why is that so? It would take more than my limited understanding to explain it. I speculate that the editorial boards of the MSM have a lot to do with what stories are covered, and what slant those stories are given. The Washington Post and the New York Times routinely publish stories which are written as news items, but which are written in such a way as to imply editorial opinion.

So my new question is, Why is AIPAC given more attention than IPF, the Israel Policy Forum?
I'd like to hear from those who know more than I about such stuff. The Old New Englander is one who has been a patient and reliable tutor frequently.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Steele Talks Sense on Choice

Here's a piece I didn't expect to find. RNC Chairman, Michael Steele favors a woman's choice, and understands that being gay is not by choice.

I expect that he will renege on these views as he did on his criticism of Limbaugh.

And wouldn't you know, here's his retraction, at least on the abortion position. Haven't seen anything further on the gay position.

Fools Rush In.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

One Who Knows Speaks Out

Pat Lang, writes today, on his blog Sic Semper Tyrannis, about the potential threat to Dennis Blair who appointed Charles Freeman. He believes Blair might be next in the cross hairs of the Israeli Zionists who shot down Freeman.

Pat Lang has particular credibility when it comes to Israel and its Intelligence capabilities. His CV includes his work in that arena as a Colonel in the US Army.

He is now a retired Colonel, expressing his views on political/military issues, with special emphasis on the Middle East.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Shame on the Times

The NY Times, having refused to acknowledge the sliming of Charles Freeman until after he withdrew, due to a smear campaign by Zionists, finally prints an article on event, with emphasis on the arguments which caused this man to be lost to Obama as a voice for questioning Israel's actions.

Some people still question the value of blogs as an alternative to the MSM.

Those same kinds of people once questioned the value of the pamphlets of the revolutionary era.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Oh Good God!

It seems Pelosi abandoned Freeman as well.

Forget about Saints Marching In.

Not even a saint can make it through the Washington gauntlet which is the vetting process.

Leanderthal, Lighhouse Keeper

A Template For A Letter To The White House

Here's a piece from Pat Lang's Sic Semper Tyrannis blog on the knee capping of Charles Freeman.

Works for me.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Is This The Begining of the Backlash?

Here's a short comment on what the author calls a "Pyrrhic Victory" for the Israel Lobby.

M.J. Rosenberg apparently is associated with an organizaton called the Israel Policy Forum.

Based on what he writes my wish that maybe, just maybe, the attack on Freeman will backfire on the attackers.

It's about time American and Israeli Jews stand up and be counted among those who desire an open handed relationship between two countries, not a subterfuge that results in Zionist voices carrying more weight in America than American voices.

I've said several times that I look for more Jews to join Roger Cohen, Richard Cohen and Thomas Friedman in speaking truth to Israeli power. Perhaps Mr. Rosenberg is one of them.

We'll keep watching and listening for who will speak up about this scurrilous attack on Charles Freeman.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Charles Freeman; Maybe, Just Maybe

Maybe, just maybe, this message from Charles Freeman will have a significantly large impact on the topic he addresses, Zionist strong arm blackmailing, to provide a silver lining to this very dark cloud.

It is my hope that this message from him will be read and re-read by all who are interested in, and have a voice in, honest governing around the world.

If this event draws sufficient attention to the unscrupulous tactics of the Israel Lobby so as to expose it for what it is, a powerful force of a foreign country exerting undo influence on American politics, perhaps Charles Freeman will have made a greater contribution to decency in government and world peace than he ever imagined.

If you happen upon this post I hope you will share it in your own circle of influence.
You might also share my post of yesterday on this topic. The two posts should be read and considered together.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


This quite literally makes my stomach curdle and my skin crawl.

Finally, a guy who is willing to say that Israel is not blameless in all things was appointed to a position from which he could offer Obama opinions on the Middle East other than that which AIPAC and the neocons demand. It would have been a view which many in government have not had the guts to hold, but which Obama needs. He's said he wants views from all sides. The Zionists once again have had their way and denied our president that which he's said he wanted.

For his refusal to kneel in front of the Israeli Throne he was smeared and slimed by neocons, AIPAC and Sen. Charles Shumer, D,NY, who is now being called by some, Senator from Wall Street and Tel Aviv. The tribal acting Zionists have united once again to knee cap one who dared to speak out in opposition, and the United States government knuckled under once again.

Shumer, who is a critical Democrat in the Senate for getting Obama's agendas passed, has essentially blackmailed the administration with at least an implied threat that deep sixing Freeman was essential to insuring his support for the administration's agendas.

Again, in you don't understand something follow the money. The tail is wagging the dog because the money is in the tail. And therein lies the tale.

So much for trying to convince Arabs and the rest of the world that the US is objective in its dealings in the Middle East. I can only imagine the diatribes which will be forthcoming from Hamas, Hezbollah, PLO and Iran and Arab states.

For my views expressed here I would expect to be villified by Zionists as anti-Semitic. I will simply point to my several posts in which I express admiration for the New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, a Jew, and naturalized American , Richard Cohen of the Washington Post, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times and Jewish friends who have openly stated their opinion that Israel's interests and the U.S.'s interests are not the same and intertwined and mutually inclusive on all issues as the Zionists insist must be the case.

They, like Charles Freeman, do not hold Israel blameless in all things. They, along with Glenn Greenwald and Fareed Zakaria and others are the new realists. That is a term now used to describe those who are advocating the so-called New Realism, which holds that, as Obama said, we should not require too much of ourselves to solve all evil in the world. We should and cannot let the perfect stand in the way of the possible.

I suspect this political realpolitik is behind the pulled-punch language we've heard from Sec. of State Hillary Clinton lately when she's refrained from throwing brick bats or shoes at China over Human Rights violations, and calling Israel's Settlement policies, "not helpful". And in addition she's invited Iran to sit in on Afghanistan talks. Holy realism! Clinton has lost an advocate for her agenda and efforts. Perhaps he was a sacrificial lamb warning to her and by extension, President Obama.

It will be interesting to watch and listen as this event is digested and analyzed.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Why We Don't Stop Warring, II

Here's a story about a chimp in a zoo who collected an arsenal of rocks to throw at people at a later time. It's a clear demonstration of inventiveness and planning ahead.

How can we expect our species to eschew warring when it's clear that we evolved from millions of species which survived to procreate by preying on their own kind and others, and with the knowledge that our closest relative in the primate world knows how to plan ahead for attacking others?

The large brain is a failure if viewed from a moral standpoint, and a huge success if viewed from a predator/prey standpoint. The large brain enables us to invent more effective and efficient ways of preying on others, which, added to basis instincts, is a formidable force indeed.

Here's a human version of the chimp story. And another.

We are not children of God, but creatures of Nature.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

More If Only, II --The New Realism

H.D.S. Greenway writes today in the Boston Globe on the topic of talking, not threatening, Iran. He joins Roger Cohen, Fareed Zakaria, Richard Cohen(at least today) in backing what's becoming known as the "new realism" in foreign policy.

See several other recent posts to this blog on the subject. These are folks who've begun to talk openly about a need to change our approach to foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, and especially with regard to Israel.

Finally, after more than sixty years of defending virtually everything Israel has done in their approach to foreign policy, acting like Israel's interests and America's are identical and intertwined, some are standing up to AIPAC, other Israel lobbies and neocons like John Bolton, Richard Perle, etc.. who have compromised American politicians with strings attached campaign contributions and threatening rhetoric.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Who's The Bigot and the Extremist Here?

If you have even a slight concern that the U.S. for years has adopted a policy towards Israel that it's interests and the U.S.'s are intertwined if not the same, please read this essay by Glenn Greenwald about the smearing of Charles Freeman by the neocon, pro-Israeli lobbies.

Greenwald includes many references to writers who find this smearing reprehensible, plus revelations about sitting politicians who support the smears, including Democrats. As such reading one essay, this one, can pretty much help the reader understand what's been going on since Obama's DNI, Adm. Dennis Blair appointed Freeman to the National Intelligence team.
The clear wish is to have Charles Freeman provide Obama with another view on the Middle East besides than the one-sided view which the Israel lobby has demanded for years, which is that Israel can do no wrong.

That includes essentially destroying Gaza, blockading Gaza, occupation of Palestinian lands, settlements on Palestinian lands, and on and on.

I've posted on and provided links to Roger Cohen's three recent columns which castigate Israel, and to which Greenwald alludes in his piece. Reputable journalists, including Jews, are exposing the neocon, Israeli lobby smears.

Neocons, AIPAC and Israeli lobbies(but I repeat myself) wouldn't agree with Greenwald of course. Kneeling at the throne of Rush Limbaugh might be laughable, but this is no laughing matter.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

More If Only

Once again, Roger Cohen, columnist for the NY Times, sees the Middle East big picture.

If only world leaders had the guts to talk this way. Cohen points out here that Britain just might.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, March 8, 2009

If Only More People Like Zakaria Spoke Up Like This

Here's a link to Fareed Zakaria's thoughts on Iran and Israel.

We need more people like him, with genuine knowledge of the Middle East, to speak up.

Update: Here's Matthew Yglesias also speaking up.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Out of Iraq by 2012?

You can read here the strong views of a career military man on US forces in Iraq.

His comments are in direct response to the cynics, me included, who don't believe that. Conventional "wisdom" is that we'll be a military presence in Iraq for years, like South Korea, the Phillipines, Western Europe, etc..

Pat Lang makes his living in military/political affairs, and is a retired Army Colonel, with deep experience in Intelligence in the Middle East. It's heartening to read his thoughts on this.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Outrageous Story In The WaPo

Read here the most outrageous story I've ever read in the Washington Post, and it written by it's Deputy Editor of the Editorial Page.

And the Post has the nerve to warn propective commenters that their comments would be deleted if they contained personal attacks.

Jackson Diehl's entire piece is a personal attack on President Obama. The Post has enjoyed a reputation of being center or even center left politically, until now, in my view.

Outrageous and shameful.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Thoughts About Why We Don't Stop Warring

Here are some thoughts which occur to me as I speculate about why certain problems persist, with particular emphasis on military conflicts, tribal killings, gang killings and just plain mean killings all over the planet.

Human beings are incapable of learning from history and are condemned to repeat it. There are at least reasons for this. One is that we don't live long enough want to and another is that we are not capable of it.

Homo Sapien, Sapien, our species, evolved from other species, over millions of years during which our ancestors survived or were killed by other species, the predator and the prey "balance" of Nature. None of us gets out of this life alive, but if we survive long enough to procreate, our species is better equipped to survive, though we as individuals will not and cannot survive.

Human beings in positions of power, however they got to those positions ( honest democratic elections, rigged "democratic elections, fiat, coups, primo geniture) and regardless of the title they hold(President, King, Dear Leader, Prime Minister) and regardless of the claims and promises they made to those over whom they would exercise power, are all Charlatons, or they didn't know what was really going on until they came to positions of nominal power, but found that they are beholden to another power, the power of Money.

Why did Obama , as president, increase the budget for the Pentagon? Why did he order his own surge in Afghanistan? Why did he tell us that his plan to get out of Iraq is pretty much in line with the agreement between the US and Iraq under the Bush administration?

You and I could go on citing examples of stuff that doesn't really add up morally, and seems to stink the more one pays attention.

The troubling conclusion is that old saw, "If you don't understand something, follow the money".

Human beings, like our ancestors in Nature, actually, even if we don't like to admit it, have inherited, via the process of Nature(our hoped for label to assign a benign connotation to the reality that the survival of the fittest is a law of Nature that cannot be repealed.

Personally, I'm embarrassed to be known as one of my species, admitting that I can be as nasty and aggressive as any.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, March 2, 2009

Roger Cohen Responding to Critics

Read here Roger Cohen's response to those who criticize his recent essays on Iran and its Jews.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Whom to Salute

Having watched Obama addressing the Marines at Camp Lejeune and talking with Jim Lehrer on The News Hour I'm moved to say that I can salute our president again, not because he's in a position of power for four or eight years, but because he is exhibiting true leadership qualities, those based on demonstrating, rather than just proclaiming, that he is an authority, not based and relying on a position of power, but based on the power that comes from being respected as an authority.

The difference between what we as citizens are observing now and what we observed for the past eight years is extraordinary in its contrasts.

The desire to lead which Obama exhibits, compared to the desire to rule which Bush exhibited, egged on by his personal Machiavelli, Dick Cheney, has nowhere been made more obvious, palpable and clear than in watching the several addresses Obama has made to us, the people, in contrast to what we as a people were subjected to and remember the embarrassment we felt when Bush tried to convince all peoples on earth that, simply because he was President of the United States, represented and spoke for us, the citizens of the United States.

We should shout out a loud cheer to those around the world who were patient and knew all along that Bush was a puppet of the far right neocons whose agenda was all about finding ways and places to make war, because that's what could make them enormousely weatlthy. The claim that they are, at heart, utopians, is pure bull shit, and has been put out there in the media to provide them moral cover which they don't deserve, and in fact is at least as specious as their propaganda that what they advocate is good for eveyone.

I'm always prepared to salute one who demonstrates, not just declares, that he/she is an authority, not just because he/she happens, for a time, to be in a position of authority.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper