Saturday, December 31, 2011

"The Age of Nefarious"

Update Below.

Like it or not Glenn Greenwald shines a much needed very bright light on the shadowy practices of the Obama administration, continuing the kinds of nefarious practices of the Cheney/Bush administration which I've been railing against among my fellow progressive friends for three years now.

Be sure to read it here.

Though it is a bit longer than the usual essay it's worth a full read.  He does a really good job of exposing the head-in-the-sand mentality of so many of us progressives who just want to avoid looking at the reality of what the Obama administration has done and is still doing.  We are so worried that a truly awful Republican could win that we are willing to give Obama a pass on practices and policies which most progressives abhor. 

Will I vote for Obama?  Yes, of course.  But like Greenwald says, it's about the lesser of two evils.

The Occupy movement needs the support of all progressives because those civil disobedient folks are railing against the pernicious practices of both the last administration and the current one.  Don't fall for the claims that these folks are trouble makers who need to bathe and get a job.   That's the salacious work of the 1% and their servile, so-called public servants.

It's instructive to note that, to my knowledge, Obama has not taken a public stance on the Occupy movement.  Why? Three guesses, and the first two don't count.

We look away at our peril.

It is the dawning of "The Age of Nefarious".  (Can't remember who said that first, but I wish I had.)

It's now 11:15 PM, Dec. 31, 2011.  Have a Happy New Year!  Let's do what you can to make it a good  one.

Update:  Here's  Ross Douthat of the Times with a similar,, albeit briefer, point of view on the strange value of Ron Paul's candidacy.


A Fun and Funny Read

Here's a fun read; Krauthammer and Achenbach on looking for other life in the Universe.
There's fun in both pieces.

Just be sure to read the Achenbach comment.  That's where the funny is.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cohen on Hitch

Here's a fine example of why I continue to admire the writings of the New York Times columnist Roger Cohen.

In this piece he eulogizes Christopher Hitchens better than any of the other several journalists' attempts I've read.

I think Hitchens was correct in his belief that religion came to be because of humans' fear of death.  His claim that it is a product of a time when "nobody had the smallest idea what was going on" might be his best contribution to those of us who don't believe in a god who intervenes in the lives of human beings.

I am atheistic on the belief in that kind of god.

I am  agnostic  *("One who holds the view that ultimate reality, as God, is unknown and probably unknowable.") on the belief in a creator of the universe.  The ultimate question is 'Why is there anything anyway?'  "Tis a mystery" and it's good that it stays so.

*Merriam Webster Dictionary definition.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

"An Invented People"

Here's a fascinating narrative about the Palestinian and Jewish peoples.

Richard Sale is a frequent contributor to Sic Semper Tyrannis, a blog published by Col.(Retired) Patrick Lang,  whose military career included years in intelligence work, many spent in, and focused on, the Middle East.

I have more curiosity about, than  knowledge of, the history of these two peoples. If you read this, please take a few minutes to critique it using the comment option at the end of the post. 

What is fact and what is myth, understanding that there are elements of truth in both?


On the Nature and Makeup of the Occupy Movement

Here is a fine essay by the well credentialed authors and respected cultural critics, Barbara Ehrenreich and John Ehrenreich, on the nature and makeup of the 99%.

They put the lie to the claim of the 1%, and their servile public servants, that the encampments are dangerous, violent, festering and unhealthy places, needing to be removed, forcefully if necessary. 

It seems that the encampments are actually places where all levels of the society and culture which comprise the 99% come together to teach each other about their common needs, their common humanity and their mutual newly awakened awareness of the unmitigated greed of the 1% whose  policies, actions and financial clout are used to destroy the lives of those on whom they feed.  The authors  use the term "greased chute" to describe the slide of the 99% into a state of desperation.  This term is used in contrast to "safety nets" which more humane cultures provide.


The Hitch Is Dead

Update below:

There have been numerous eulogies to Christopher Hitchens since his death a few days ago.  Most have been glowing, focusing on his intellect and wit.  They seem to be from people who profess to being his long time friend.

Glenn Greenwald has a different take on this  Read it here.  He starts with his objection to the deifying of Ronald Reagan, setting that up for comparison to the glowing eulogies for Hitchens. 

As a self-confessed agnostic I read Hitchens' atheist diatribes about religion with interest and curiosity,  though I think he didn't give enough credit to the good things people in many churches do.  What he was correct about was his stance against the pernicious practice of most versions of religion around the world to justify horrible behavior and to turn a blind eye to the inexcusable universal abuse of innocents by clergy and fundamentalist extremists.

Update:   Here is another opinion about Hitchens by Kevin Drum of Mother Jones.  He focuses more on Hitchens' politics than his vitriol on religion.  But both Drum and Greenwald would seem to agree that "the hagiography(I had to look it up) is getting a little too thick to bear".



Where is the Peace?

Mr. Fish's No Good Peace of Crap.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Glenn Greenwald, A Much Needed Voice

I've modified some of the language of the earlier post.  Hat tip to The Old New Englander(TONE). 

Here's a link to a really important column by Glenn Greenwald of Salon on the pernicious problem of liberal Jews being smeared as anti-Israel and anti-Semitic by those whose unconditional support of Likud, right wing, extremist elements in Israel is so blatantly tribal, putting the interests of that element of Israel ahead of the interests of the American people. 

Progressive Jews like MJ Rosenberg,  formerly an AIPAC official, frequently observe that the behavior of the right wing element in Israel is actually not in Israel's long term interests, nor in America's.

Glenn Greenwald himself is to be commended and applauded for his openly critical stance against those whose goal is to destroy any writer who dares to question any behavior of Israel, no mater how heinous. 

His is surely one of the most important voices crying out in the wilderness of honest, decent, truth-speaking-to- power journalists.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Juan Cole's History Lesson

Here is Juan Cole's excellent and enlightening history lesson on the Palestinians.  His main purpose is to expose our government's complicity in destroying what should be Palestine, and how Newt Gingrich articulates exactly what the US is actually doing to support Israel in that effort.

This is the best I've come across on the issue.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cynicism Redefined

Here's Gail Collins tale of the sordid actions of Congressional Gophers in blocking any nomination by the president. 

These people do not  deserve to be called Congressmen or Senator.  They are not interested in governing, only in blocking anything initiated by President Obama.

They need to be rooted out and sent home to spend more time with their families.

What a sick country we have today.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wars of Choice

Here's a link to an important essay on America's wars of choice.  I send it out to you who might not have come across it at TomDispatch. com.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Our Fifty-first State

Here's Roger Cohen's chilling piece on Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.

It starts out with mild criticism, but be sure to read to the end.

If  Israel were in fact our fifty-first state, and it seems like it is based on the US government's uncritical support of it's behavior, it would be a poster child for those who scream for states' rights.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Dog Chases Car. Dog Catches Car. What Then?

Here's Paul Krugman's assessment of the GOPher qualifications.

Don't miss it.  It's priceless.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

More Insight From Glenn Greenwald

Be sure to read this piece by Glenn Greenwald on moral relativism, the predisposition of nationalists and all tribal groups to demonize those considered their enemies.  The pot calling the kettle black.

Greenwald sees this in how the US and Israel demonize Iran.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

A True Voice Crying in the Wilderness

Glenn Greenwald is a true voice crying in the wilderness.  Here is his profound and trenchant essay on the mind set of all actors in today's globally militant culture, the We Are At War mindset, which is characteristic of the US fringe extremists as well as the  Islamist fringe extremists.

It's worth a full read.  I strongly recommend it.   This phenomenon needs to be understood by all Americans. 
We need to come to grips with the fact that the militant fringe extremist element of our nation is wasting  blood and treasured and America's reputation in our name. 

It used to be that it was a Bush/Cheney thing.  Now it's apparent that the Obama administration has taken  up the same cudgels, and in doing so, have sacrificed our freedoms in the name of unending war. 

We need an army of Voices Crying in the Wilderness.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Social Darwinism

Be sure to read this piece by Robert Reich on the Social Darwinism  being espoused by the current GOPher presidential candidates. It's an eye opening essay, or at least it should be, on what Social Darwinism would mean as it pertains to our culture's future.

Reich reminds us how it worked out before the more egalitarian changes of the twentieth century.

What's especially interesting to me is that those who preach this approach are also the ones who are most vociferous in denying evolution, the survival of the fittest, as the force which resulted in the appearance of human beings on the planet. They preach that God created man in his own image, the fairy tale of all fairy tales.

They also rail against abortion as murdering human beings, but support the death  penalty.  Huh?

How can any thinking, rational person support for president anyone who hold such truths to be self-evident.

As Ron Paul says of Gingrich, they are serial hypocrites, as is he.


An Honest Self-Described Fat Cat Speaks Truth

Here's a most refreshing piece about why fat cats can't replace the lost purchasing power of the middle class.

It's written by a self-described fat cat.

Oh, how good it would be if he were to be joined  in this view by the other fat cats.