Monday, June 28, 2010

The Wisdom and Cry in the Wilderness of James Carroll

James Carroll has the unique insight and skill at articulating that insight shared over history by a select number of other prophets.

Here is his latest and best, an evaluation and warning about the too seldom recognized trauma on a people caused by war.

This page is visited by a small number of readers, but I'm thrilled each week to see that some visitors come from far off lands. It's unlikely that they would know about the wisdom of James Carrol, and it's my wish and hope that this post might help with that.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

How Much Cynically Selfish Greed Will It Take?

How much cynically selfish greed will it take to cause an uprising against it? I'm aware of a large number of folks, by virtue of our blogging exchanges, who continue to be, like me, aghast that so many of the disadvantaged financially continue to vote against their own interests.

Here's a piece which exposes the dark matter which is the essence of the GOPhers: "I got mine, get your own". The truly morally sick aspect of this is that such a cynical, contemptuous and condescending opinion of the have nots is obvious in the life style of those who inherited their good fortune by the hard work of the have nots of their ancestors.

That's what makes me really nauseous.

It's now more than clear that those who have it made, especially those by virtue of the hard work of their progenitors from whom they already have inherited big time are not at all interested in helping those who once had a shot at making it big, but lost it, due to the deep pocket corporate interests of the shameless greed, greed so innate to those who are financially immune to economic downturns that they are morally disconnected from those who they have used, as cheaply as possible, to make them so.

My troubled thoughts go back to the unbelievably heartless pronouncement of Barbara Bush in her evaluation of the plight of those confined to the virtual concentration camp that was the Super Dome due to the ravages of Katrina. How out of touch, how morally disconnected can one be?

Well the GOPhers today managed to provide us yet again with another example of that moral disconnect.

When I refer to GOPhers, I'm referring to politicians in the employ of big money suppliers. It used to be that we. the voters once empowered by the democratic system established by those mythological heroes, our founders, could determine who represented us in this representative democracy.

Sorry to have to tell you that we voters who have for years counted on those who sought our votes to be essentially as honest as the mythical Abe Lincoln, are now asked to select our representatives based on the spin, propaganda and mythologies paid for by those who have no interest in the plight of the disadvantaged, and actually celebrate when those they have bought and paid for have garnered more votes than those they know would not agree to be the whores they had tried to solicit

History has it that the haves will continue to be the haves, until the have nots find a leader. MLK was that leader when the American citizen have nots needed their larger citizenry to face their blind eye to the crimes against humanity which was rampant and unchecked raceism.

Robespierre was that leader when the French citizen have nots needed their larger citizenry to face their blind eye to the crimes against humanity which was rampant and unchecked greed.

Here's another article which grabbed my attention and once again stuck in my craw.

Leanderthal : A label used to identify a specimen of a homo sapien species, long assumed to have gone extinct.

Friedman's Appraisal of Israel's Use of Intermittent Periods of Peace

Here's Thomas Friedman's fine piece on Israel's use of intermittent time outs between wars, and why they need to change.

This should be read in its entirety to get the full flavor of his analysis.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

It's Passed Time For The American Pastime To Level The Playing Field

What's it going to take to get the attention of MLB managers, general managers, owners and execs to restoring parity to baseball, by either making the DH a part of both leagues, or eliminating it for both leagues?

It's seemed to me to be a strange anachronism for quite awhile, but recent events have got my attention enough to try to get the attention of those who have the position of power to make this right.

Recently I watched an inter league game played in the ball park of an American League team in which the National League team manager had the option of using a DH whose batting average in his own league was less than mediocre or letting his pitcher, whose batting average in his own league was more than respectable. The manager sent his DH to the plate with predictably negative results.

Tonight, watching the Boston Red Sox versus the San Fransisco Giants I witnessed the talented Boston pitcher Clay Buchholtz hit a single, and then come up hobbling when forced to run to second base by what the next batter did.

He , the pitcher, had to leave the game, with a four run lead, achieved to that point in the game by virtue of his pitching savvy and skills.

That talent is at least partly due to his being able to practice and strengthen his pitching savvy and skills with little or no need to practice and strengthen his savvy and skills in hitting and base running elements of the game.

How long, Oh Lords of the Game, must we wait for you to restore a level playing field to this game?

Leanderthal, AKA a surviving specimen of what had thought by many to be an extinct species.

What Are We Doing Here, Part 2

It's good that a well read columist like Bob Herbert, writing for a well known publication like the New York Times is becoming relentless in his exposing the futility and the waste of the war of choice which is being half heartedly waged in Afghanistan.

Here's his latest. Believe him and spread the word.


Friday, June 25, 2010

On The Other Hand

I've written repeatedly about the selfishness, greed, contemptuous and condescending behavior of the haves and their effect on the have nots.

Just about when I get head up about this something in my background, perhaps my education at the hands of my parents, teachers and professors, brings me up short, and I hear in my head the admonition that there is nothing new under the sun.

I'm reminded what I have read in the verse, poem, Desiderata. "No doubt the Universe is unfolding as it 'should'." I've always wondered about that as a truth. The use of the word "should" perplexes me. How would the message of the poem be changed if the word used by the poet had been "will"?

One way or the other, I wonder if I should feel chastised for my disappointment in those of my own species, often wishing I could disclaim any membership, or if I should just let it all go.

A kind of solace might be that I'm not the first nor the last to wonder.

Tis a mystery. Existence would be so boring without mystery.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Real Reason For War, Any War

Here are three New York Times Columns which make me believe even more that no one is willing to point to the real elephant in the room, Neocon/Pentagon/Military/Industrial Establishment, as the actual cause for wars of choice. Ike warned us about this cabal after WW II. As the song goes, "When will they ever learn?"

The real reason for war, any war, not just Iraq and Afghanistan, is the loyalty, of those who make and sell arms and the needed resources to sustain wars, to money to be made, not loyalty to the country of their citizenship. These are the greedy bastards responsible for the obscene deaths and casualties of our American troops and those of our allies. These are the greedy bastards who milk hard pressed citizens for tax money to pay for wars; money that ends up in their shady and rotten bank accounts of ill gotten gain.

Tom Friedman calls it correctly here.

Maureen Dowd calls out McChrystal here.

Bob Herbert, probably weeping as he writes, exposes the deepest cuts to our soul as a people, here.

It's going to take an uprising of the populace to get us out of the two wars of choice, like what got us out of Vietnam. Only when politicians from top to bottom realize that they will lose their jobs, if Americans finally wake up to the toll wars are taking on their pocketbooks and on the fabric of
America, will they stop, at least for awhile, waging wars of choice.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What Are We Doing Here?

The title of this post is a quote by a certain Pfc. who posed the question to Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

Here's the article which quotes Pfc. Jared Pautsch. The Pfc. shares the opinion of many civilians back home who are equally frustrated that we are pouring unnecessary blood and treasure down the rat hole which is Afghanistan. The scarce resources are needed to rebuild our own nation.

This article confirms my belief that the Pentagon, Petraeus and McChrystall really don't hold Mr. Obama in very high regard.

Glad to see Stanley is being called on the carpet.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Our Thinking Is So Old Hat

Albert Einstein is reported to have said, "The significant problems we face can not be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."

Recently the Pakistani -American citizen who tried to kill indiscriminately many people in Times Square pleaded guilty to all counts brought against him. Apparently he enjoyed, even took delight, in doing so and became impatient with the judge who wanted to be sure that he understood each and every count brought against him.

On the surface this might appear to be good news; that this guy wasn't going to put up a defense, and that his case might be adjudicated quickly and that he was likely to be put away in prison for a long time, if not for life.

Case closed.

Or is it, and should it be?

What's wrong with this picture? Why is it somehow troubling to some of us; taking responsibility personally, why is it troubling to me, when it should be satisfying?

Perhaps it's because I believe that we, our species, have to begin to think outside the box which has limited our perception to an old paradigm, an assumption which still informs us, at our peril, that our enemies are soldiers, military leaders and heads of nation states which have visions of conquering other nation states, and taking over their territory; which has meant taking possession of the conquered states' valuable-to-the-conqueror resources.

Whence came these resources? They are the previously considered detritus of earlier species created and left behind by Nature, which is not limited by any time constraint, nor influenced by any of its creatures.

Nature just is. Nature is not immoral but clearly is amoral. Why, because Nature and Nature's processes just are what they are. When we look for someone or something to blame we look for something created by Nature, usually someone of our own species. In so doing we condemn ourselves because we are also creatures of Nature.

Sorry to have to tell you that.

Ironically it's through the death and destruction of Nature's own creatures that these resources are deposits created by their deaths long ago. Oil comes first to mind.

Now we hear that in Afghanistan there are deposits of other remnants which Nature had created over millenia, and which might be the targets of those who covet the idea that they could, with support of the right influence and power of our government and military leaders, claim them by some, any means, arm twisting diplomacy, look the other way pay offs, as in corruption, or military force.

Until and unless we wake up to the abomination of the threat posed by the greed at any cost of the Neocons, members of our own species, we will remain helpless in our ignorance to see and understand that we are turning a blind eye to what is destroying us from within.

The horrendous irony is that it's only the brains of the species called by itself "homo sapien"(knowing men), and "homo sapien, sapien"(knowing men who know they know) which invented the technology that depends on the inherit energy deposits which resulted from the deaths and ultimate extinction of a vast number of species, like our own, in accordance with what our species has correctly come to understand as The Law of Nature.

So it seems that we are using the remains of previous species to cause the deaths and the ultimate extinction of ourselves.

Tragically, it serves us right.

Leanderthal (A temporarily surviving specimen of a species widely thought to have gone extinct long ago)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Manute Bol; A Big Man In Many Ways

Here's a link to an article which we all might wish to find more often.

The contrast between the story of this man's life and the stories of others with a head and shoulders advantage is both heart warming and sad; sad in the sense that others who had such an advantage got headlines for comparatively less than admirable behavior.

Read it and know how this man used his advantage, both physical and subsequently financial, for the benefit of his disadvantaged people.

This particular story got my attention because, as a 6' 6" male at age fourteen, my coaches and mentors worked with me to get the most out of my height advantage in high school to be the center of the Fairfield, CT 1955 New England Basketball Champions, played at the old Boston Garden.

The only thing I have in common with Mr. Bol is that we both passed from the celebrity scene at the end of our basketball playing days. I deserved that anonymity, but Mr. Bol did not.


Why Are We Still There?

Col.Ret. Pat Lang posts his and a soldier's remarks on the idiocy of the rules of engagement in Afghanistan here.

The government in that poor excuse for a country is corrupt beyond redemption, there is no win possible when the locals either laugh at us or a terrified by the Taliban.

So why are we still there? Pride? Bullshit.

The neocon/Pentagon/military/industrial establishment makes billions of dollars in wars like this. That's why we're still there; shameless greed and a complete disregard for the risks to the troops.

Seems only civil disobedience like the kind we saw during the Vietnam war will bring the president to his senses. At this time he's still being rolled by the Neocons.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Fear And Loathing At Executions

I cannot adequately describe how my reading this first person witness account of yet another execution of a living being affected me. The closest I can come is to say that I imagine, as if it were my own, the terror that must overwhelm the condemned who knows that he has been rendered so helpless as to be even deprived of the fight or flight instinct inherently afforded by Nature to all living beings.

Anyone who has given over to the hands of a vet an incurably sick loved dog or cat companion who will euthanize it understands this. Whether one holds his loved companion while the vet injects the lethal cocktail, or watches the loved companion look back at you over the shoulder of the vet carrying it away, wondering what's going on and counting on you to help, knows the feelings I'm trying to express.

It's been a part of me since early childhood to feel horror at even the idea of a helpless being tortured and/or killed. The planned, scheduled and carried out execution of even a person who has admitted to having committed the most awful and heinous of crimes elicits in me, now as an adult, a reaction much like I had as a child when watching a movie of pirates running through people with their swords. I hid my head. I just could not watch. I experienced the the fear, the horror as if I were the helpless one.

There are so many times now that I want to disassociate myself from membership in the species Homo Sapien, even though I know that I have within me the same instincts to hurt, render helpless, frighten and kill other beings.

I wonder if my horror at even giving my loving companion pets over to a vet for merciful relieving it of its pain and suffering, in a strange way, a kind of salvation.

But I wish I knew and could be sure that the being I condemned wasn't overcome with fear.

I wish I knew. I wish I understood.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

An Interesting Essay on Religion Today

Here's a link to an essay which I found interesting, provocative and grist for the mill of a good discussion.

It is best to focus on the content and not the title which clearly is meant to be controversial, if not polarizing.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

What Will It Take to Leave Afghanistan?

Bob Herbert's column is an accurate statement about the absurdity of the war in Afghanistan, that is until his final paragraph in which he claims that it's the public, that's us, who are really to blame for this.

I don't know about you but I have tried to believe in the democratic system of voting for officials to represent us. When it comes to making war it seems that no president is immune to being rolled by the military/industrial/neocon/Pentagon machine which makes billions in war making.

Obama is no exception.

If the public is to blame perhaps it's because the public doesn't want "Aux Barricades" to be its rallying cry. But maybe that's what it will take. Something like that happened over Vietnam, though it was not as bloody in America's streets as it was in those of Paris in the late 18th Century.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Going To The Heart Of The Matter; Energy That Is

Now and then one sees and hears someone who articulates the heart of the matter in a way that generates hope.

On the PBS News Hour just now I watched and listened to the thoughts of John Doerr, a Venture Capitalist with an impressive record of backing a Who's Who of high tech companies, who captured the essence of the crisis which can become an opportunity, the yin and yang of world economics.

He said that he and his partners are optimistic that American innovative companies will realize the opportunity in the reality that today America is borrowing from China to buy oil from the Middle East and burn it across our country and, in the process, damaging the environment.

We should all hope to hear and see more of this man.


Punishment To Fit The Crime

When my stomach turns looking at pictures of helpless creatures of Nature like the one in the article at this link I want to bring back tarring and feathering of the really bad people in Big Oil.

That would be a fitting punishment for the crimes they've committed for far too long.

We could start with Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and Tony Hayward.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Spread This Word Far and Wide

Here's a brilliant essay on the uniquely human problem of our brain's inventiveness surpassing its ability to cope with the products of that inventiveness.

For those of you who don't have easy access to James Carroll's essays or are not yet aware of them, this one's for you. It is my hope that you will further spread its word.

He writes a column for the Boston Globe most Mondays;


Saturday, June 5, 2010

On Speaking Out

Here's a piece from Col Lang's Sic Semper Tyrannis on the Likud sect in Israeli, and its American supporters.



Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Amos Oz, The Wisest Jew, Oops, Israeli

Amos Oz shares his much needed wisdom here.

Update: My Jewish friend, The Old New Englander, cautioned me that I would be better off to call Oz the Wisest Israeli; that I shouldn't want to get into a debate about the wisest Jew. Good advice.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Bully of the Mid East

Here's Col. Pat Lang on calling Israel a bully, a label I've used for the Likud sect of Israel for some time now. I hate bullies, small and large, near and far. They are to be stood up to. Nothing else ever exposes them as the cowards they really are, whether it's on the six grade playground or in international waters.

Irony: The name Netanyahu apparently comes from the same root as the word for the ancient god of Israel, Yahweh; that according to author Robert Wright in his 2009 eye opening book, The Evolution of God. Like father like son?

Man creates god in his own image, the image he needs to justify his actions depending on the reality of the facts on the ground at any given time. The right wing settlers in the West Bank continue to justify their unjust actions by claiming that God gave them this land millenia ago. How convenient for them. Never mind who lived on it at other times, before and after.

In the U.S. the powerful Likud backing right wing Israel lobby AIPAC continues to buy off politicians to render unlimited, unconditional support for right wing Israel. Also in the U.S. the more moderate Israel lobby J Street, and the Israel Policy Forum are working to gain support for a two state solution in that land. One can only hope that they will win the day, someday.

In the meantime the truly just people of the world should continue to condemn the right wing leadership in Israel for being and acting like the bullies they truly are, claiming God's instructions. "Love your neighbor as yourself" was an admonition to Israelites to love other Israelites. All bets were off when it came to those neighbors on their borders.

Yahweh will not mind his being characterized as a peaceful god someday, any more than he minded millenia ago when the Israelites needed to cool it with those who lived on their borders now and then. He is truly a flexible god. More power to him, or her, or it. Whatever.


Response To Brooks

Here's David Brooks' New York Times column with his frequent psuedo intellectual semonizing about what's causing the foul mood in the country. Not the GOPhers/Neocons of course. And not the corporate criminals of course.

And here's my response using the comment template provided by the Times.

Oh, but the government has been in the oil business, at least for the eight years of the Cheney/Bush monarchy. And who are those benevolent corporations which now and then get more interested in saving money than taking care of the environment and workers' safety? Clearly not BP nor Halliburton. There are too many stories about their taking shortcuts to save money and to hell with the environment and employee safety to believe you.

Mr. Brooks you're into GOPher spin more than usual here. One would think you were running for office yourself with your self serving sermonizing about the country's mood. I think you might be correct on the mood thing, but the dye was cast on the oil disaster and the two "conflicts"(euphemism for war) by your patrons, the neocon/military/industrial war making machine, with Bush/Cheney their patron saints. War is good for big oil, big arms makers, big ego generals and big GOPher/Neocon sycophants like yourself.

Why don't you write about the role of the elected GOPher obstructionists in Congress and their contribution to the lousy mood of the country? I refer of course to McConnell, Boehner, Kyl, etc.. There's not enough space in this comment template to list them all. And why not write about those who spread outright lies about anything Democrat? Limbaugh, Palin, Beck, Kristol, Krauthammer, Hiatt, Hannity, etc.. (You could substitute all of Fake News for Hannity.)

I've long suspected that you don't talk this super partisan way on the PBS News Hour because you're aware that it would likely not endear you to the better educated folks watching you and over time might hurt ratings which could be traced back to you. You have perfected your TV image of what Fox calls "fair and balanced", using a smile and an understanding, pleasant nature to hide behind. The real David Brooks writes a column for the New York Times.

'Grandma, what big teeth you have!'