Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Folly of "Fascism": It is ridiculous to throw around the words Nazism and Fascism. If everyone is a fascist no one is. Nazism and Fascism were very particular historical occurrences at a very particular time in human history. Technically, Fascism relates to a tyrannical partnership between government and corporate economic power. Fascists, economically at least, are major capitalists. The leadership in a Fascist state is, of course, dictatorial. Mussolini, Hitler's mentor, designed the Fascist political movement. Franco, Spain's dictator, joined those ranks. The word comes from the Roman fasces or rods which were bundled around an axe carried by soldiers in ancient Rome. Fascists are generally thought to occupy the extreme right wing of the political spectrum and are ardent foes of Communism on the left. Islamic movements today do not conform to that definition. Perhaps, Mr. Bush, et al meant to say theocracy which would be, I think, a more accurate term for many contemporary Islamic states and movements. I think that would be a word which Mr. Bush and his minions might be better able to understand.
US/Russian nuclear weaponry -- Have two eclairs!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

What to do about a nuclear Iran. Have an ├ęclair!
Leave it to Beaver Goes to Katrina Land: Could anyone on this planet take seriously Bush's photo-oped, rehearsed and completely orchestrated trip to the land of Katrina? He stood in front of the few houses that were reconstructed and uttered a few platitudes. He is seriously inarticulate, speech/thought disordered and he is our president. Does he really think we believe that he read Camus or even Shakespeare? I did not hear someone ask him what these books were about. Like the issues of his presidency, I have no doubt he does not have a clue about them just as he has no clue about the devastation that was and is Katrina. He has read Camus and four books of Shakepeare like I have read the sequel to "My Pet Goat!"
Maureen Dowd's NYT article Aug. 30 entitled "Begat, Bothered and Bewildered" was Biblicalesque about Bush's return trip to the still devastated area of Katrina. As usual, Maureen Dowd writings are brilliant, satiric and sad. Regarding Bush's pathetic photo-oped, rehearsed roll -- or role -- down the memory lane of Katrina in New Orleans and Mississippi yesterday: it's a little too late to, as Ms. Dowd puts it, "restore the soul to the White House." It's long since gone forever. Every sin he and his minions has committed is upon us all. His deeds are done and now we have to reap what he sowed!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

A new New Deal: Interesting article by Andrew J. Bacevich entitled "No Win" in the Sunday, August 27, 2006 Globe. It is clear to me too, at least presently, that our military strategies have not been working. It is costing us dearly in lives, treasure, and prestige around the world. There is no end in sight.
There needs to be a new New Deal where those in power must be able to think about substantive policy changes to live with a new Middle East. To do this Americans must effect a systemic change in government by electing those who are capable of doing many of the things that Professor Bacevich suggests. Our people must see that the majority of their interests are not served by powers that owe their platforms to huge amounts of corporate money and who have a vested interest in perpetuating the status quo ensuring it will be in place for decades to come. His most salient point, in my opinion, was developing alternative sources of energy thereby reducing our strategic presence in the Middle East.
This is certainly not what the large corporate oil interests want. Those large corporate oil interests are embedded within a Republican party that nearly exclusively caters to them. That party is entrenched in the House, the Senate, the Executive and Judicial branches. Our people have been duped into electing those who do not do things to help us and, indeed, have incalculably hurt us. Those now in power must be removed, post haste. Nothing less than our security and our very lives depend on it.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Thinking Anew -- I watched CNN’s Christiana Amanpour's "In the Footsteps of Bin Laden," a history of Bin Laden from engineer in his father's construction company to terrorist premier and the manufacturer of 9/11.
A terrorist she interviewed said that they struck the US because of what the US and the west have done to Arabs. He said that the 3000 killed on 9/11 were nothing compared to how many the US has killed and what the US has perpetrated in the Middle East. He said the Koran says that killing is wrong but if another threatens you first then it is permissible to kill them. Despicable as I thought he was, I endured the diatribe.
As I see it every side thinks their enemy has threatened them first so they retaliate. So who threatened who first? Unfortunately, one cannot escape the boundaries of where one sits to answer that objectively. Howard Zinn, a left-wing historian, says “The old ways are not working, we need new ways of thinking.” Zinn says too that wars and bombs have not given us security. Perhaps he is right.
I cannot love my enemy, but unless we want to give future generations a world of perpetual war or worse no world at all, we must, I think, at the very least, talk to our enemy and think of new ways to deal with our adversaries. Maybe it does not matter anymore who started what first. No one will agree on that. To save us all, maybe it matters more who will speak to whom first and when.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

How 9/11 Changed Bush a response: Michael Gerson wrote a wonderfully articulate and poignant article in Newsweek entitled "How 9/11 Changed Bush". The problem with it, I think, is that no one has a crystal ball. That is what I need to figure out if Gerson's assessment of Bush's war on terror since 9/11 is correct. I simply do not know. I see his point. We will not inherit the earth if Islamic terrorists win. According to Gerson, who knew the Chief Executive rather personally, Bush took us to war to spread democracy and stop Islamic totalitarian dictatorships.

The question to me becomes: is the violence that is this war the answer? If it is by bombing jihadists into submission, it doesn't seem to be working. The people who get bombed and their loved ones killed do not seem to see the rationale behind the bombing, maiming and killing of their people. As one who supported in its infancy Bush's Iraq war, it sadly seems to have gotten him and us exactly the opposite of what he/we wished if we are to believe what Michael Gerson says.

I do not know personally, and I probably will never know, what really drove Bush to preemptively conduct a war in which he switched premises in mid-stream as to why he was taking our youngest, strongest and bravest to it. First, it was WMD's. Oops, can't find them so let's say it's democracy. Yeah democracy, that worked in Vietnam so well. Oh sure! Just why on earth do American power brokers go to war so many times and why since after WWII have we performed so abysmally? One would think the world would be flourishing with Jeffersonian democracies and abundant capitalist economies. Instead it is flourishing with never ending carnage.

Bombs have exploded in Iraq since 2003. 2500 American servicemen have been killed, thousands wounded, and perhaps hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been wounded or killed as well. The purple fingers of democracy were proudly shown but it seems Iraq is a worse place then when Bush began his war on terror. Oh, yes, Bin Laden, the real perpetrator of 9/11, is still prancing around, perhaps with his kidney dialysis machine in hand, somewhere in the valleys, mountains or caves near Afghanistan or Pakistan but we really seem to know not where. Not only that but it appears, so I have read, we have stopped looking for him.
What is wrong with this picture? So many mistakes were made including the number of troops sent, plans for the aftermath, etc., etc., etc., but Michael Gerson seems to say this was a necessary war, calculated by Bush to bring freedom which would snuff out terror in the very long run. So far, in the rather long short run, I do not see that this is so.
Will I be alive to see whether this gallant Bush doctrine, that Gerson touts as the reason behind Iraq, will be vindicated? Will I ever know what the ending will be and, if Michael Gerson is right, that Bush took our world to war to make the place comfortable for democracy to thrive and to end Islamic fascism? Either, as Gerson says, the Islamic fascists will inherit the earth or democracy will. Before, it seemed to be a little of both and the world was more or less somewhat balanced. Now it seems to be a war to end all wars between both and without end. Add Lebanon into the mix and an anarchistic chaos now rules the day.

I think now perpetual war is not the answer. At least by the calculations today it is not. If war is the answer then the only ones to inherit this earth may be the mosquitos. Those little devils can live through a nuclear holocaust. Unfortunately, mammalian species cannot.

N. Rosen

I take some exception to Laura Rozen's op ed piece in the Sunday, August 13, 2006 Globe entitled "Islamic radical groups are not all alike." While I do not dispute there are some differences at this moment between Hezbollah and Al Qaeda both these groups call for the destruction of the State of Israel. If they call for the destruction of the State of Israel you can be sure they hold no special place in their hearts for the US and our allies. Hezbollah and Al Qaeda are violent entities which will morph into whatever political position is necessary to achieve their ends. The editorialist, I think, gives the erroneous impression that because of some present political differences between Hezbollah and Al Qaeda, one does not pose a threat to the United States at this time. I submit all Islamic radicals who call for the destruction of Israel and the Jews would not think twice about murdering anyone (including fellow Muslims) if they thought the time was right and it was advantageous to their cause. No matter which Islamic radical group you name, none is benign to the US. We are at all times in their cross-hairs and they would kill us with impunity anytime it is expedient for them to do so.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Spinoza revisited: A response to a letter to the editor of the Globe

With all due respect to Rev. Joseph M. Hennessey's critique of the great Jewish philosopher Spinoza in his letter to the editor July 31, 2006, I believe Rev. Hennessey is in significant error. Among others, Spinoza ushered in the 17th century ideas of the Age of Reason. It is said he "prepared the way for the 18th century Enlightenment." Rev. Hennessey's criticism claimed that Spinoza was responsible for the undermining of religion and indeed he even unbelievably says he can see why Islamic Fundamentalists "do not wish this same poison to infect their faith-filled world." Emphatically, it is certainly not reason or the Enlightenment (profoundly influencing our Founding Fathers and the construction of our own Constitution) which is at fault for worldly chaos. Rather, it is man's inability to escape the shackles of irrational religious superstition and intolerance which has sentenced mankind to a life of perpetual conflict. Religion for thousands of years has been at the root of bestial barbaric killings everywhere. If more people understood Spinoza and developed more rational thought, think how many lives would have been saved. Really, Rev. Hennessey, look to fundamentalist religious orthodoxy for the cause of the instability and horror of the world. The elders of Spinoza's community who eschewed and excommunicated him did not know him at all. Their ostracism of him was, in my opinion, a stain on all mankind. The fault dear Rev. Hennessey is not in Spinoza it is in uncompromising and irrational religious beliefs.

Uniterally Alone: I have been so disappointed so often that I simply do not have any enthusiasm for politics any more. When I think of what I experienced in the sixties and who has assumed leadership in this country since then, I wonder what happened. What became of all the hope I had during those times? I suppose the answer lies in part, through assassination we lost great leaders before their time. JFK, RFK, and Martin Luther King, I believe, would have achieved more greatness had they lived. They were hugely important leaders with more progressive political agendas. JFK could have won another term and I believe the quagmire and eventual loss of Vietnam never would have occurred. RFK could have assumed the presidency as well. Insted paranoid Nixon, and then the mediocrities of Reagan, H.W. Bush, and now the worst blunderer of epic proportions George Bush assumed the presidency. Those leaders implemented and implement, in my opinion, despicable policies that dupe the American public and support generally the wealthy. They made everyone else irrelevant and have, I believe, been responsible for our country's descent into madness. It is surely not the nation I thought, as a young adult, it was.

Now those mad forces control everything -- the presidency, the Congress, the courts and in many ways even the press. The US is divided worse than ever before. If that isn't bad enough, I believe, the Republicans control the voting machines. The elections, especially, are, I am convinced, fixed. The fix is in for generations and the Democratic party has been rendered impotent. The Democratic party appears weak and not united. Something must be done to reverse this perception of Democrats and fast because, in fact, I believe the Democratic party, while not perfect, is the best opportunity the majority of the people in this country have for a more positive change of direction.

I fear I will never live to see a country which again cares for its poor and dispossessed, conducts a sane and intelligent international foreign policy and provides hope for millions. It now is a country that conducts inane never-ending wars based on lies, kills thousands, alienates people around the globe, ruins the world's environment, shreds our magnificent Constitution, creates a theocracy, does not believe in science or academics, raises our national deficit, makes wealthy people wealthier and "elects" an uncurious president who cannot read nor speak well extemporaneously. Without a teleprompter our president is verbally and grammatically inept and, ashamedly, most around the globe know it.

Presently, especially, we must rely on the Warren Buffets and Bill Gates of the world not our US government to make humanity its priority. It is obvious if we rely on our own government to provide help we will get Katrina-like assistance. It is clear if leadership in the House, the Senate and the Executive does not change we will be and currently are in this alone.
Solutions to the Middle East: I try to be a rational person. I try to look at both sides of the issues; many sides of the issues. I will admit to a side that wants revenge but I also have a side that looks for more sagacious ways out. This requires much understanding, knowledge of all history and most especially Middle East history. It requires us to ask the question why is this happening. The revenge side of me thinks, as some people on this blog do, that force is the only way; that no matter if there were no Jews in Israel, if there were no Israel, if we did not need oil, if those in the west were nowhere to be found in the Middle East, I suspect the Middle East would still be explosive. I think to a degree nothing in the long run will matter because this radical brand of Islam, this kind of quasi Marxist ends-justifies-the-means kind of Islam has grabbed on to a population that does not and will not let it go. Man Western or Middle Eastern can be a violent beast that we know. I would love to find the better angels of our nature, if that is even indeed possible, in these perilous times. I would rather the Middle East be turned into a progressive flourishing oasis rather than into a parking lot as some would advocate. This will take a Solomon-like effort. So far I see no Solomons on the horizon. I am trusting that amid six billion people on this planet there must be one!

Bill Moyers Faith and Reason: Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to view two of Bill Moyer's interviews on his PBS show called "Faith and Reason." One interview was of Jeanette Winterson who, I believe, has written much and who as it says on the PBS web site "Winterson's works explore themes of desire, fantasy, sexuality, feminism, gender identification, love, and power in lyrical and imaginative prose, frequently mixing myth and history in settings ranging from 17th-century England to cyberspace."

I emailed Ms. Winterson and said the following:

Your quote shown on the PBS web site said:

"More than sex. More than money. You know, life is not endless is it? Cash, cars, cocaine, and girls. It's more than that. And there is a spiritual dimension to people...we are driven to want something more."

Indeed, as you say life seems to be more than what is tangible. However, we really do not know that for sure. All we know for sure is what we can see through provable science. An atheist friend of mine -- when I would say man needs to believe in something more, something beyond himself and all his superficial accoutrements -- would say to me just because man wants it to be so does not make it so.

To me until the mystical can be seen or proven, each person's mysticism remains, I believe, unique to him/herself. What is the truth unless we can see it even microscopically, or hear it, or prove it in some way? I cannot believe in anything mystical or supernatural until science tells me it is so and I have definitive proof or if I can see it in form or hear it in substance through my own senses . Otherwise, to me it's just pure supposition.

I have never been able to make that leap of mystical faith like others do. I wish I could because life would be so much nicer and less difficult to contend with its adversities.

Friday, August 11, 2006

A response to this latest large terrorist airline threat emanating in England: I am not afraid to fly. As a matter of fact, when the threat is greater, I think, so is the stepped-up protection. However, I do feel because of the lost cause that is Iraq, the Bush administration has not devoted the appropriate resources to our security. The Brits with the help of Pakistan uncovered this latest near horrific attempt. The US is skimping on the most important security procedures that could, indeed, protect us. We need not only better technological security on airlines, we need it at our port entries and at our borders as well. All the money that could go to these things is going to a futile, ill-planned war effort with no WMD's in sight. Our money should go to those things that will REALLY make us secure.

The Iraq war has emboldened terrorism, given the green light to a religious insurgency and promoted a civil war between Shite, Sunni and to some extend the Kurds. It has dropped unprecedented power in the lap of Iran our true threat. Because of the huge amount of funds being diverted to Iraq we cannot devote our attention to those things that really threaten us. Moreover, unbelievably, the real culprit Bin Laden is nowhere to be found. We have, I believe, instead, created the worst of all possible situations -- terrorists run amok through their port of entry Iraq and throughout the tinder box that is the Middle East. We have incurred a loss of our stature in the world, and an inability to protect ourselves as seen through eyes of Katrina. Because our president knew NOTHING and cares nothing about history in general and nothing about the people and history of Iraq he did unforgivable things. He destabilized that region and gave Iran carte blanche the ability to do whatever it wants. He has done exactly the opposite of what he set out to do. We are more threatened than ever before because we "elected" a president who has no capacity to think beyond his so called gut. He has no capacity to articulate and no desire to learn. His articulation abilities or non-abilities are an embarrassment. He knows only what he is told to read on a piece of paper in front of him. Without that crib sheet he is helpless. We, in my opinion, more than desperately need a change in administration, a change in diplomatic policy, a change in Congress and a true new deal with articulate leadership, intellectual savvy and true statesmen so the threat of terrorism could and, I think, would be substantially reduced.