Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Necessary Roughness

This is not a topic with which I regularly engage on these pages, the ups and downs of major players in the world of sports.

Having said that, I am one who is guilty of enjoying watching really good college teams, but at the same time
am appalled at the hypocrisy of those who condone and look the other way at secretly remunerating college players, when it's clear that they are aiding and abetting college athletics as essentially a farm system for professional sports.

One has only to read the reports about the CEO's, (that's calling a spade a spade) of  NCAA Division I institutions on their comments about what conference in which they want their teams to compete.

Sadly, as usual, it's all about money, in the form of attendance revenues, but mostly TV contracts. 

Perhaps there will come a time when there are enough people who, like me, have enjoyed watching real talent perform at the college level, but who take off the blinkers when it comes to looking the gift horse in the mouth.
Too many college athletes have been sacrificed at the altar of the almighty dollar, cast aside, scholarships cancelled, when they didn't perform as expected or when the NCAA eligibility ran out.

How is that different in principle from professional athletes being let go by the teams which have become disilussioned with their performance.  Fact is each has been fired.  The part about getting a college education is of no consequence, and is ignored. 

So far the NCAA/College referees have called such actions "Necessary Roughness".

Once again I think that when  historians write about our era they will likely conclude that the word, Hypocricy
might capture the human element.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall From Grace

Chris Hedges interviewed the Reverend Jeremiah Wright recently.  Here's what Reverend Wright had to say about Obama.

As I've written here recently, when historians want to tell the story of our last several decades one word which will likely occur to them as symbolic of that era is "hypocrite".


"This is War"

The title of this post, "This is War" is the label which gave to its piece about Paul Ryan, the GOPher who is making a name for himself in GOPher politics.  The "War" refers to what Ryan calls Obama's proposal to tax the super rich; "Class Warfare".

One still valid axiom, which I can only paraphrase, admonishes us that if we ignore history we will be condemned to repeat it.  Well, that's a pretty lugubrious statement.  Why is it that we are condemned to repeat it?  Why is it not that we are blessed to repeat it?

Could it be because history, at least in the recorded sense, begins with the ability of humans to record it.
And what about humans?  Some think, as I do, that the worst thing that happened to Earth is the evolution which led to our species, homo sapiens. Why, because homo sapiens, us, have the ability to discern what is good or evil, and too often, choose evil, which, because it always results in horror and death, is the bain of all life on earth.

But back to Paul Ryan's throwing down the gauntlet in calling Obama's proposal to tax the super rich as a way of restoring health to America, Class Warfare. He actually advocates increasing taxes on the Middle Class.

To call that "out of touch" is too tame a response. 

Often, on this blog, I have likened our politicians  to
an elected mafia.  They are willing to hold hostage
those who can't and/or won't pay to buy them out.

The word is "extortion".



Eugene Robinson wrote this column in the Washington Post.

Pay special attention to his comment about the
"yeah"  reaction to Dr. Ron Paul's initial response to a question
about who pays for health care.

Good doctors try to heal folks. I guess a Libertarian doctor lives
up to his Hippocratic Oath to Do No Harm by doing nothing.

This is just one of many examples which are out there for all to see.

The far right GOPhers, some of whom hide behind their
Libertarian mores, are all about themselves, and take no
responsibility for, let alone ownership of, the needs of the unfortunates in our society.

They must think  that high  wire performers should work without
a safety net,  if they are to be consistent in their belief that  one
must count on  his or her own skills,  and  not look for help
when the unexpected occurs.

Their motto, not yet widely exposed, is  "I've got mine, get your own".

There are those of us who have a care about folks who have done all they
were raised to do but still have fallen on the kind
of hard times from which it is essentially impossible to recover on one's own,
in a society and culture which turns its back on those who can't
cut it.

If there is one word which might stand out for historians who
deign to understand enough of our era to write about it honestly,
that word would have to be "hypocrite".


Compare and Contrast

Remember the instructions from the teacher or professor to write an essay comparing and contrasting two points of view? Well here's your chance to do it without worrying about the grade you'll get or passing the course.

Compare and contrast these two columns by generally liberal leaning journalists.  One is James Carroll and the other is Glenn Greenwald.  What can be accepted as given is that both pieces are critiques of the Obama administration. 

James Carroll

Glenn Greenwald


Saturday, September 17, 2011

What Is Truth?

For me, I know it when I see it.  It's a belief which doesn't have to go through awkward gyrations to explain away contradicting facts. 

Here is Col.(Ret) Pat Lang's take on the consequences which will follow from our government vetoing the Palestinian request for state membership in the UN.  Col. Lang is a retired Army officer who experience includes working with Intelligence Agencies on the Middle East, most notably  Israeli intelligence.
I believe that his credentials give him credibility in these matters. He makes the points which make the most sense to me.

I do have to say that I don't understand the title of his post, something about we should give our veto in the UNSC to Israel. 

Also for important reading on this issue, here are Juan Cole's  thoughts on why  Palestinians need recognition as a member state in the UN. Again, like Lang's, Cole's points make sense to me.


Friday, September 16, 2011

"Our Form of Justice" Rick Perry Govenor of Texas

It seems that Rick Perry continues to believe that his country is Texas, not the USA.

He's quoted as saying that Texas has its own form of justice which we think is appropriate.

He was cheered recently at a GOPher debate when the number of executions he has overseen was announced.



It's The Oil Stupid

Michael Klare, writing for, helps keep alive the truth about oil in this essay.

Klare is the author of several books shining bright lights on the shadowy workings of those whose lives and fortunes are tied to oil.   One of his best efforts is "Resource Wars".

Years ago the airline industry ate the lunch of the railroad industry because the latter didn't understand that they were in the transportation business, not the railroad business.  One wonders how life would be different if those in the oil business understood that they are in the energy business. 

Another tragic example of not paying attention to history?


The Decline and Fall of The American Empire

Here's an essay from which states what I've been saying about U.S. duplicity and the treacherous course which will ultimately lead to the decline and fall of the American empire.

What's that line about being condemned to relive history?


Good Grief

This should be  enough to discredit this guy once and for all.  He has a right to believe it, but he's way out of bounds in recommending it to his flock of sheep.   I guess Newt Gingrich and John Edwards would agree with him.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Devil Is Not In The Details; It's In The Intent

Here's another crucial, realistic and sensible essay on what we as a people have let ourselves be manipulated into becoming  since 9-11-2001.

We have been seduced by some of our human brothers and sisters, people whose behavior constitutes the acts of  war criminals, whom we must acknowledge we actually elected, and who have exploited our most basic emotions, those which scientists tell us reside in the evolutionarily oldest parts of our brain; known as the limbic system it's that part of the brain  which we still share with the most fearsome of our earthly ancestors; crocodiles are a particularly useful example.

I believe, as journalists like Eugene Robinson, Chris Hedges and Joe Nocera believe, that we were justified in going after Al Qaeda and their Taliban protectors in Afghanistan.  We won that war in a few short weeks.  We scattered Al Qaeda and sent Osama fleeing into hiding. And I don't apologize for the hunting down of that evil man and killing him as we, yes we, did recently, because both actions were directly tied to the horror of 9/11 which he orchestrated.  He was an  enemy soldier.  I abhor capital punishment, but this is what they call the exception which proves the rule, though I've never understand why that is so.

Over the eons of evolution, human beings, homo sapiens, what we label our species, exist with brains which have evolved to the extent that we who possess them, seem to act in a way which helps us decide if something we encounter is positive or negative, the context always being about the risk of being or not being.

Like Papa Bush who wisely decided not to pursue Saddam back to Baghdad after he ran him out of Kuwait, we should have had the wisdom to stand down after we accomplished our objective in Afghanistan.

But the cabal known as Neocons, comprised by the likes of  Cheney, Rumsfeld, Feith and Wolfowitz, had been itching for a war with Saddam for many years, and they saw this horror as the perfect excuse to invade a country which they lied to us as being behind 9-11, realizing that they could strike while the iron was hot, that hot iron being the human instinct for revenge, and which, if excited into a crowd and mob mentality, would provide them with the necessary support to back more reasonable and less warlike politicians into a corner.  To object and God forgive even oppose was to be branded unpatriotic, risking their political careers and marginalized, if not kicked out of office.

The instinct which the war criminals exploited, in its most violent form, always subjugates logic to its
more emotionally violent purposes.

Why do  these people do this?  Because they can.  How is it that they can?  Because they have the money to buy what they want.  The trite aphorisms are: money is the root of all evil, the golden rule is that those with the gold rule, if you don't understand something follow the money. The behavior of people like this is found in their actions which can be reduced to the most cynical of world views. "I got mine, get your own". Even people like George W. Bush, who lives off the money made by his ancestors has the gall to act like this. (He comes by it naturally, at least from his mother, who famously announced during the horrors of Katrina, that those huddled masses in the Superdome were doing well when compared to the lives they had before the storm.

How out of touch, even unconsciously, can one be?

My anger is reserved for those who consciously manipulate people and circumstances for their own personal and like minded group gain.

It should not come as a surprise to anyone, who has the intellect and uses it, to realize  that what the least educated among us, those who are the most vulnerable to  the con of the war criminals, don't, can't see, is that the evil ones who in their selfish intentions actually do evil, and are the devils on earth.

It should be obvious to anyone who bothers to think about it, that human beings have projected both good and evil onto mythical beings, God and Satan, based on behaviors which human beings have observed and encountered in their own personal lives here on earth.

Why, though, do the concepts of good and evil still reside in and are still ascribed to mythical beings, even among the most educated humans?  Denial perhaps?  The realization that each of us has lived as human beings who have come into being through the most basic of instincts, sexual intercourse, used to perpetuate the species, as bequeathed to us over the eons of time so vast as to be incomprehensible to our minds as evolved so far, by the process of evolution.

I realize that I am an advocate for trying to understand how everything works, having given up on the idea that I can understand what everything means.

The question which likely will always go unanswered by those of us who seek to know what everything means or how everything works is,

Why is there anything any way? 

To the extent that I can accept that this is the ultimate unanswerable question which our minds, as stimulated by the current evolved status of our brains, I will strive to continue to do the "To Be" thing.

Surviving specimen of a Homo Erectus species
long considered to be extinct.

Roger Ebert on Death and Dying

I identify with much of what he wrote here, though I'm agnostic about the ESP experience.

He's the only one other than me, to my knowledge, who actually said something about being OK before birth.
That's the reason I expect to be OK after death.  OK in that sense must include nothingness. 

People ask me if I miss sex after the treatment for prostate cancer killed my libido.  My response is, "If you don't miss it you don't miss it".   I expect that I won't miss life when I'm dead, any more than I missed life before I was born.



Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Glenn Greenwald on the 9/11 Day Observance

Here are Glenn Greenwald's  thoughts on the knee jerk right wing, and even  one left wing, reaction to what Paul Krugman wrote on 9/11/2011, condemning the political celebrationist behavior in the observance.

I support Krugman in his stance.  I also found Chris Hedges' essay that we have become what we loath compelling.


Useful Essay on the UN Palestinian Resolution

Here's an essay which helps me understand what is going on re: the Palestinian effort to become a member state in the UN.

What is still hard to understand is what I see as the flimsy reason the US is citing for vetoing the resolution.  This is especially true when I read in the essay that Israel reviles the US president, even though they want US help with their Saudi relations.

It just has to be the huge money Israel throws around to reward or punish US politicians.  AIPAC really should be required to register as an agent of the foreign government, Israel.


Why Veto the Palestinian UN Request?

The old saw is, "If you don't understand something, follow the money trail".  That's the only reason I can think of to explain why the US will veto the motion in the UN to grant Palestine state status.
Israel continues to be the tail wagging the US dog.  And  it's gotta be because of the millions, if not billions of dollars Israel spends to buy off US politicians.  It's a really dirty business.

Here's a good essay by William Pfaff on the issue.  Unfortunately it stops short of justly accusing Israel of extortion, a serious form of bullying, the ugly behavior of any stripe which I detest.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Who Your Friends Are Says A Lot

Here's a story which reveals a lot about Ron Paul.  His supporters shouted in support of letting a man without health insurance die. 

These are likely the same or at least the same sort who cheered recently when the number of executions in Texas, while Perry has been  governor was announced.

As Chris Hedges wrote recently we have become "what we abhor".

Yes, I've been disappointed in Obama's seemingly feckless leadership, but I will vote for him again.
The possibility that one of the GOPher candidates becoming president is truly frightening.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

How sick a society, a culture, do we need to be before we "get it" and decide to take steps to deal with it?

Sadly , it doesn't appear to be anytime soon.


Needed Back Talk on 9-11-2011

The emotional banality we are enduring today, the ten year anniversary of the horror inflicted on us,
is understandable.

We as a nation had not experienced such gall from an enemy since the War of 1812, and that seldom rises to the level of conciousness in anyone, save historians.

Pearl Harbor was a day of infamy which got our attention big time,  and yet it was not an attack on  America as we perceived it to be in those days.  Hawaii was a chain of islands in the Pacific. Few if any Americans forsaw or considered that it would become a state, and even since it is,  it is still thought of as a territory, as is Alaska, in the mode of Puerto Rico.

But New York?  DC?  That's different.  That's us! That event was like a mugging in our own neigborhood, a place long considered safe from those who we thought wouldn't dare come into where we actually live.and take a chance that they could succeed. 

What changed?  It is a change which defies and goes against what we have long thought to be the mostly normal human instinct to survive. Some humans,  it seems, can become convinced that their
future is brighter after death than in this life.

We have only to try to understand why some of us consider taking our own lives, to grasp what is going on in the minds of people who sacrifice their own lives. 

Some long for death because in life they are in constant pain, physical and/or emotional.

Some long for death, even look forward to dying, because they have become convinced that their
release from the horrible reality of their lives depends on their killing others whom they have been told to believe are those who are responsible for their horrible and intolerable existence.

We were given a warning about this, to us, aberration,during WW II.  Many Americans died when Japanese suicide bombers crashed their planes and themselves into American Navy ships.

Still, that was years ago.  Surely we didn't still have to be on guard for that right here in New York.

We were so wrong, and our error in not anticipating the actions of humans beings intent on killing themselves in the process of killing as many others as possible in the process will continue to haunt us as a people, a nation, until we as particpants in our culture as voters, endorse and elect leaders who are willing to  say and do what is the right thing to do, even if it results in their defeat for re-election

So, what is the right thing to do? If you need to ask, you wouldn't understand it.

Was Does Winning Look Like?

Eugene Robinson, columnist at WaPo, points out that we won the war started by Al Qaeda on 9-11-01. It might even be called a necessary war, that one at least.

And yet we're still  fighting wars in the Middle East. Unnecessary wars.  Why?

Read here what Gene Robinson has to say about that.


Read It And Weep

In the sharpest of contrasts to the eulogies for heroes so prevalent and ubiquitous today, here is Chris Hedges' view of what horror that 9-11 horror invoked in us, as perpetrated by our leaders.

Any additional words from me would only add to the banality of the  discourse we are having to endure today, 9-11-2011.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cheering for Executions

Here's a link to Glenn Greenwald's excellent essay on the disgusting cheering at last night's GOPher debate, when the number of executions in Texas during Perry's reign was announced.

The irony is that GOPhers say evolution,  the survival of the fittest of species, is a hoax.  These same people practice that principle of evolution in their daily lives and world view.  They are also the ones who say abortion is murder.

Sometimes I'm ashamed to admit to  being of the same species as these horrible people.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Roger Cohen on Israel's Abject Government

Here's the Jewish New York Times columnist Roger Cohen on Israel's refusal to apologize for the killings aboard the Gaza bound flotilla.
As I've stated here several times, I detest bullies of any stripe. The far right Likud and their American agent, AIPAC, is made up of bullies.
I also have a big time problem with Obama who, like all recent US presidents, is cowed by those bullies.