Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bush's Iraq and Bhutto -- An American Foreign Policy Disaster: The assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the would be and probable Pakistani president, is disastrous for the US. The voice of an avowed US supporter and democracy proponent in a sea of tyrannies, is silenced. She wasn't perfect but she was all we had. Her death, I believe, is yet another nail in the botched Bush foreign policy coffin with the deadly possibility of nuclear arms in the hands of a near anarchistic state ready for the terrorist plucking.

Much of the Middle East chaos now is related to President G.W. Bush and his utterly disastrous Iraq fiasco. Iraq has emboldened violent extremism, especially Al Qaeda, in an area in which they did not exist before. I imagine they think they are now marching to Pretoria. The ill conceived, ill planned and ill perpetrated Iraq venture has created nothing but violence -- despite the so called surge success -- in a bad neighborhood milieu that has been a violent tinderbox ready to explode. Iraq has destabilized that region into fragmented warring pieces which will take years, decades and maybe even centuries to sort out. If we get that far.

Pakistan, harboring and blindly acquiescing to a constellation of potential terrorists, has always been the most important nation state to consider. Iraq, though, took the real target, Pakistan/Afghanistan, and put US blood, treasure and resources into the state of Iraq which had nothing to do with the attack on 9/11 or anything to do with supporting global terrorism as we so sadly found out. Our resources, blood and treasure were spent in the wrong war, at the wrong time and in the wrong place.

Hezbollah still exists in Lebanon and works its heinous magic, Gaza democratically elected Hamas and haunts Israel, Iran is the big man on the block and Syria has influence it could only formerly dream of. Even though these Islamic fundamentalist states and groups are of different stripes, in the long run, Al Qaeda's message resonates and violence rules the day. So they push on.

Bhutto, a moderate, potential and much needed US ally in a central part of the Middle East is now dead and Bin Laden still lives. Those facts alone should hold the G.W. Bush team accountable for the biggest foreign policy disaster in US history. Oh yes, the Pakistani nukes live on as well. I hope the world does too.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Now the fox-guarding-the-chicken-coop Justice Department wants to delay the investigation of torture. At long last have they no shame? Where are those who might indict and defeat these utter law breaking hypocrites? Where is the media who should be pounding away in print, microphone and camera illuminating all the scandals every hour of every day until these criminals are punished for what they have done and finally leave us to end this national nightmare?

I feel like I am in an occupied country drowning in a quagmire of political sewage and there is no one to throw me a life raft; not the Congress which is inept and especially not the media which is supposed to do its job and question everything but does not or forgets five minutes after the next scandal story breaks. The media has systemically failed to perform its responsibilities of skeptically vetting every piece of information coming from the den of lies of this administration? Instead of vetting the operative word is forgetting which is exactly what Congress and the media have done with the plethora of information it has which has led to an utterly incalculable amount of deceit, death and destruction perpetrated by an administration which has no conscience. At long last what has become of our country if those who have committed treason, treachery and torture do not pay a price for the illegalities they have committed.








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If you don't watch Keith Olbermann on MSNBC at 8:00 p.m. and Bill Moyers weekly on PBS Friday evenings at 9:00 p.m. you ought to. They are both a breath of fresh air given the polluted and corporately usurped media landscape. Olbermann's broadcast is staggeringly brilliant and his occasional "comment" within that broadcast absolutely stunning. I wrote the following (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) which appears on the Moyer's web page.


I was riveted by the Keith Olbermann interview as I watch Keith on MSNBC, without fail, every evening at 8:00. Finally finally there is a brilliant voice of dissent which questions and indicts Bush and his cronies taking them to task for those policies which make Bush the worst president in US history. I feel as if I am in an occupied country drowning in the swill and quagmire of this utterly corrupt administration's lies, deceit, and injustice which has cost so many lives and so much treasure. Bush, the Republican party, and even a few Democrats have used 9/11 to transform this nation into a near tyranny. The ever-so-few like Keith Olbermann throw a life raft to me and, I believe, to the preponderance of this nation. Bill Moyers, thank you for still another wonderful program. You, too, help save me from the black hole of utter hopelessness.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Machiavellian Mitt -- the necessity for the separation of church and state: God save us from presidential candidate Machiavellian flip-flopper- in-chief, Mitt Romney. Why is God so easily and, indeed, necessary to infuse in the American electoral debate? Why cannot the separation clause of the US Constitution be absolute and unalterable? I see the marriage of religion and politics as a distinct liability in the American political arena today as well as an egregious Constitutional assault. In history, the alliance of faith and state spelled trouble and still does. In this country right wing Christian and other religious zealots have gained a seat at the table of power. Candidates, especially Republicans, must cater to their base which is made up largely of fundamentalist faiths even ones which sometimes harbor cult-like beliefs. They hold the rest of us hostage and crush debate, scientific truth and cultural advancement.

Religion is not truth. Religion is about belief. If there are six billion people on this planet then I submit there are probably six billion different conceptions of what God is or isn't. Contrary to what Mitt Romney says, the two -- religion and science -- often in history have not been compatible. I see our culture drowning in the quicksand of religious fanaticism which drags the advancement of humankind with it. From stem cell research which could help people to the absolute and unalterable truth of evolution, religion, in my opinion, has suppressed veracity, caused great harm, been responsible for great division and is guilty of much destruction. For once can we please elect a leader who understands the necessity of church/state separation so that all of us can enjoy the fruits of what reason and science can bestow.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Sent this to the Globe after reading their front page article on the subject of DNR by a reporter Patricia Wen. The article was about a woman ruminating and not being able to sign a Do Not Resuscitate order for her mother who had reached the end of her life. Wen actually very nicely answered my email. Perhaps they will print it I wrote the following:

The Anguish of DNR: I read with interest an article in the Globe on the Do Not Resuscitate issue by Patricia Wen. My mother, who was a quadriplegic for over twenty years because of a mis-diagnosed benign spinal tumor, suffered much. In addition, because of the tumor she also experienced a massive stroke. She spent those years in a wheelchair basically helpless. Mercifully, she died in a nursing facility at age 82 in a split second when her heart simply gave out. My father, who suffered five years from multiple myeloma, a painful blood cancer, died similarly at age 78. I have personally known disabling illness throughout my own life as well and because of that I have been keenly aware of what my own mandate will be when the time presents itself. I have already made my wishes known that I do not want to be kept alive through tubes, machines or any other Herculean instruments if those instruments will merely sustain my life but not improve it.

Truly, I do not know why this is such a difficult issue. In my opinion, much of this difficulty springs from the fact that we are an overly optimistic and death denying culture. For some reason many feel that even at a geriatric age death still seems wrong and unnatural. As much as I love family and friends, I believe death at a certain time is not wrong but quite naturally right. Death allows others on this earth to live. Without death this planet, already stretched in population to the max, would be an even more intolerable place to inhabit. There will come an end time for all of us. To extend the inevitable through extreme machinations for no purpose but to keep a person's heart and diaphragm going because those around that person are unable to let that person go, I believe, is in and of itself, inhumane. We would do well, I think, to realize when we give a child life we also give him/her death. Death often brings, I believe, a relief from never-ending suffering and its presence is an inescapable fact of life no matter how much we find it difficult to bear.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Evangelical Madness: Today Bill Moyers was about the fanatical alliance of a few Christian Evangelicals lead by John Hagee with their rabid advocacy, through violence if necessary, support of Israel. They are, of course, against the two state solution. It was a fantastic show because of especially the counter analysis of MJ Rosenberg of the IPF or Israel Policy Forum, which is dedicated to the two state solution. I wrote the following to the Moyers blog:

As usual Bill Moyers's discussion of John Hagee and the articulate MJ Rosenberg's counter analysis of this Christian fanatic was simply brilliant. I cannot think of one thing that Mr. Rosenberg said with which I could disagree. He was passionate, articulate and oh so absolutely correct. I, as a Jew, think what a curious phenomenon these Christian Evangelicals are. They have been, with respect to the Jewish people, all over the political map. It was not so long ago that I remember the Christian right as being rancid with anti-Semitic vitriol. Jews in this country were so often afraid of them. Now they present a new face and have become allegedly the Jew's best friend. They are, though, not that. There is a method to the Christian Fundamentalist madness and it is, of course, to ultimately convert the Jew. The New Testament is not a neutral document with respect to the Jew.

You bet the separation clause of the First Amendment is my friend because without it the Jew might not exist. The real threat to the Jew, Israel and the entire world is, in fact, religion itself. Each group claims they know what God wants. Each group claims they have right on their side and each group will resort to horrific violence to enforce what they think they know. The rest of us who love science, rational thought and the gift of a questioning mind will get swept up in the insanity. The only thing I, perhaps, disagree with Mr. Rosenberg on is that I am not quite as optimistic as he. I certainly hope he is right and the Armageddon that the Christian right and Islamic fanatics want never comes to be.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

There was much commentary on my commentary regarding the Bill Moyers interview of Dr. Cone. I said one final thing about my criticism. It was the following:

This will be my final comment. If there were a round table discussion perhaps I could get my points across more fully and could respond to some of your thoughts and accusations. The odd thing is there is MUCH of what others have said in response to what I said with which I agree. Much has been said eloquently. Some has not. Of course, I try to look at both ends and in the middle of all issues as nothing is all one way or the other. Of course I know people overcome huge odds and work diligently every day. Having said that one cannot deny some of what one sees. One doesn't necessarily have to see everything first hand but certain media reports are credible and SOME observations are true.

As for US policy I also do not see it all one way or the other. Human beings are not angels. This is a dangerous world and homo sapiens has an aggressive gene in us somewhere. The US is not to blame for all the world's problems BUT it does, no doubt about it, contribute to some. I consider myself left of center -- slightly left. The problem I have had with the left of this era is that sometimes they are utterly as blind as the right to the shades of gray.

The US has catapulted itself historically to be a nation of great wealth, power and influence. Which country in the world would eschew that power, wealth and influence if they had it? I am a realist. Would I like to change US policy both foreign and domestic ... a resounding yes. It needs change. In print it is not always possible to discuss all aspects of what one says. Suffice it to say I agree with parts of many who have written but I disagree with other parts. There is not room here nor do I have the time to constantly respond but at the risk of being labeled things I am not, I feel compelled to respond one last time.

To summarize: I believe great wrongs have been committed in our culture. I believe people have, in great part, overcome those wrongs. I applaud that. I do still think others languish in a horrific climate of fear, poverty, ill health, crime and other maladies. Perhaps as Shakespeare said "The fault dear Brutus is not in the stars but in ourselves." If one looks to our culture to do something about our plight one may have an awfully long wait. By the way, Bill Moyers is not simply a forum for the left. It is a forum for all. Bill Moyers has had figures on his program like conservative Richard Viguere and many many others with a right wing slant and with whom I whole heartedly disagree. I can think of no better forum than here to discuss a plethora of thoughts, feelings and ideas. This site does not say for left wingers only.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A dialog:

Bill Moyers last Friday had a discussion with a Dr. James Cone, a black theologian, which centered around the historical acknowledgment of white racism and the poisoning implication it had for the black experience in this country. They talked about white denial of this country's racist history. I did not much care for the interviewee because I thought I was being yelled at and preached to. As PBS explains Dr. Crone's credentials: "Professor James H. Cone is the Charles A. Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary. Dr. Cone is an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He is the author of eleven books and over 150 articles and has lectured at more than 1,000 universities and community organizations throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean."

My comment and other responses -- some quite impassioned -- to my comment were as follows.

My comment on Billy Moyers Journal:

A preface: I will always love Bill Moyers.

I am riveted to most Bill Moyers interviews. Unfortunately, Dr. James Cone's interview did not inspire. I always want to give my honest assessment and hope you will indulge me my criticism. I loath being preached to and yelled at. Dr. Cone's loud diatribe lost me and at one point I turned the channel. I have the UTMOST empathy for the historical plight of the black man in this country. I must because I am a Jew. I know full well the impact of racism and its exclusion and what it does to a people and to a human psyche. My people were slaughtered for centuries, ghettoized and excluded often seemingly with no hope. Anti-Semitism exists en mass to this day. Jews had to come back from their near extinction and did so wherever they could through savvy intelligence, communicative abilities, education and hard work. While no two group's experience is the same, the similarities of racism, I believe, are profound.

Dr. Cone's sentiments, I thought, were cacophonous high decibel rants. While we should never forget man's inhumanity to anyone, Dr. Cone's utterings were a bit tiresome. I utterly agree with Bill Cosby. At some point one must take responsibility for one's own life. There are so many contributions blacks have made in every field. Yet, when one looks at many black ghettos one sees violence, drug addiction, crime, all manner of other illegalities and commonplace immoralities. Worse, one sees gangs which refuse to work with authority, commit murder and impose their own "justice" which means no justice at all. I see white's responsibility in part for this historically but I see present day behavior of some black people to be responsible today for their own deep malaise.

In our culture most people care about their own day-to-day lives. Sadly, this is not a very caring culture. As difficult a reality as that may be, one has to work within that as best one can to create a better life because no one else will do that for him. Reading, education, effective communicative techniques, I believe, are some of the road maps out of the quagmire of poverty, horrific murder and crime. No one is going to give one the desire to achieve that. One must have those values instilled fundamentally in the family unit and one must use those values to make a better life.

I thought Bill Moyers was a little cowed by Dr. Cone and perhaps afraid to disagree or argue points with him either on race or religion. I thought Dr. Cone was preaching loudly to me and, frankly, I'm tired of the sermon.



Some agreed and others vociferously did not.

One said:

Of course Mr Drake, you wouldn't see it. First of all, there was no rationale put forward by Dr Cone to justify the current state of the African-American comumunity - that was imagined by Ms Rosen. His message was about America in general and the symbol of the noose in particular and our tendency to sweep that essential fact of our collective being under the proverbial carpet. And therefore the fact that we can't really become a real nation until we have dealt with it.
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If there had been a show about the meaning of the Holocaust and then I blogged afterward with a statement that approximated Ms Rosen's statement, it would read something like this:

"All these people that talk about Jewish suffering during the Holocaust are so strident. That's old history: the story today is that Israel persecutes Palestianians and they drop depleted uranium bombs on Lebanon . So therefore, because of Israel's current day actions, the Holocaust is nullified as a moral issue."

Please note that I am NOT saying this myself - and I don't believe that and neither does Norman Finkelstein (and if you're not aware of the struggles of this son of Holocaust survivors then you're ill equipped to enter into this debate). I am only creating the mirror image of Ms Rosen's statement in order to make her and other thoughtful Americans see the hidden racism in her statement.
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Because we are not yet in a culture where race does not play a factor in our opinions (as this blog makes so patently obvious) it is important that i present myself. I am white, 25% Jewish on my father's side yet my occupation is in African American culture. My ex wife is African American and I have also lived a year in post civil war Lebanon. I am also active in an anti war group whose leaders are for the most part of Jewish origin.
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And i am 100% in agreement with Dr Cone and Dr Mike Jones about the fact that IF we did had more successfully dealt with the tradition of racial conflict in our own country, we would better equipped to equitably deal with the problems in the Middle East
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A book that I recommend to all who are honest about their pursuits to purge America of it's ghosts and move on and "live up to the full meaning of it's creed"(as one oft cited American once said) is David K Shipler's(alas a Jew !) "A Country of Strangers- Blacks and Whites in America"


Peace (yet also Vigilance…)

Another said:

I am absolutely aghast at Ms. Rosen's disgusting contribution to this forum. It is just dripping with her own racism, which of course only she is permitted to exhibit in current day American culture exclusively because of her own ethnic origin which gives her "carte blanche" to dismiss the struggles of any people other than her own .
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If she wants others to take her holocaust seriously, she should start by taking other people's holocausts seriously.
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I am waiting for the first accusations of anti semitism from the JDL types like Ms Rosen to appear on this blog. Such a label is supposed to turn off the spigot of my first amendment rights to speak about this subject - a subject which has become even more 'sensitive ' in modern day USA than the nooses.
I dare anyone to find the slightest substanstiated example of racism in my text, I'm only calling for understanding, awareness and sensitivity.
-


AND A SUPPORTER SAID THIS:

Well said by Natalie Rosen. My reaction to the interview was very similar. Dripping with racism? You can't be serious!

I too was a little disappointed in Mr. Moyers. He came across less like a skilled interviewer and more like an awe-struck student sitting at the feet of the master. That's okay. Everybody has a bad day now and again.

------------------

My note: I certainly did evoke controversy and if one really READS my former statement it is, I think, fair. I acknowledge history but I also acknowledge the individual's responsibility to help himself.

I respond: I stand by what I said and think too Dr. Cone's discussion with Bill Moyers had NOTHING to do with the realities of the Holocaust and the existence of the State of Israel today. Israel is a fact and the Jewish people, as they always have, fight for their right to live. Even with nearly a century of annihilative threats, the Jewish people literally made flowers grow in the desert. They made a heretofore barely cultivated land thrive. That does not mean I am impervious to bad behavior when I see it. I am not. No state gets it all right all the time. The Jewish people knew, however, -- and in pertinent part to the interview -- that the only ones they could trust with their survival and advancement were themselves.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tortured about torture: I am loath to think about the US torturing anybody. It goes against every amber wave of grain in every thought I have about my country. At any other time in history it would be unthinkable. I say no to torture and then a little voice in some buried synapse of my brain says the threats to our country are even worse than any imagined in the good war, World War II. No one had the bomb except us. Now so many have it and so many want it and there are possibly so many lose nukes out there for an enemy to potentially steal. So when I say no to torture and that little synapse says but what if, I say perhaps.
The Perils of Preaching Loudly

A preface: I will always love Bill Moyers.

I am riveted to most Bill Moyers interviews. Unfortunately, Dr. James Cone's interview did not inspire. I always want to give my honest assessment and hope you will indulge me my criticism. I loath being preached to and yelled at. Dr. Cone's loud diatribe lost me and at one point I turned the channel. I have the UTMOST empathy for the historical plight of the black man in this country. I must because I am a Jew. I know full well the impact of racism and its exclusion and what it does to a people and to a human psyche. My people were slaughtered for centuries, ghettoized and excluded often seemingly with no hope. Anti-Semitism exists en mass to this day. Jews had to come back from their near extinction and did so wherever they could through savvy intelligence, communicative abilities, education and hard work. While no two group's experience is the same, the similarities of racism, I believe, are profound.

Dr. Cone's sentiments, I thought, were cacophonous high decibel rants. While we should never forget man's inhumanity to anyone, Dr. Cone's utterings were a bit tiresome. I utterly agree with Bill Cosby. At some point one must take responsibility for one's own life. There are so many contributions blacks have made in every field. Yet, when one looks at many black ghettos one sees violence, drug addiction, crime, all manner of other illegalities and commonplace immoralities. Worse, one sees gangs which refuse to work with authority, commit murder and impose their own "justice" which means no justice at all. I see white's responsibility in part for this historically but I see present day behavior of some black people to be responsible today for their own deep malaise.

In our culture most people care about their own day-to-day lives. Sadly, this is not a very caring culture. As difficult a reality as that maybe be one has to work within that as best one can to create a better life because no one else will do that for him. Reading, education, effective communicative techniques, I believe, are some of the road maps out of the quagmire of poverty, horrific murder and crime. No one is going to give one the desire to achieve that. One must have those values instilled fundamentally in the family unit and one must use those values to make a better life.

I thought Bill Moyers was a little cowed by Dr. Cone and perhaps afraid to disagree or argue points with him either on race or religion. I thought Dr. Cone was preaching loudly to me and, frankly, I'm tired of the sermon.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Reality of Empire: Two former military men were on an Air America talk. They supported the Iraq war and even support a future venture into Iran give the same rationales for the Iraq war that the US has given for all of its wars since its inception. They actually said it was for "truth, justice and the American way." I question the American public's cerebral abilities and wonder just what fuels these mythological beliefs and rationales for America going to war and why the American public is so easily duped when the consequences are so distinct and dire.

With the exception of World War II this country has made war consistently, invaded and with purpose tried to create an economic empire of influence throughout the entire world. Our empire has been somewhat different from those throughout history in that the US has never really had a taste to be an occupier but rather has been interested in using the military for accumulation of wealth and extending its influence. Money and power are companion bedfellows. One cannot thrive without the other. We are no different from what the goal of man has been since the dawn of time. I wish we would just say that instead of couching rationales in elementary school lies. After all, we are not children.

The US like any other empire is interested in the accumulation of influence as well as the money and power that come with that. Spreading so called truth, justice and the American way mean absolutely 100% nothing. It is indeed hubris and fiasco to think that through the barrel of a gun this country would stuff our so called way of life down the throats of people whether they want it or not. Those are verbal manifestations of rationales which sound so good and make a gullible public acquiesce to a variety of expensive and life expending ventures because the rationales for those ventures are couched in such glorious terms. Perhaps if they knew the real reasons they would not volunteer to put their blood on the line. If they knew that the war, in part, meant $3.00 plus a gallon for oil and that the immense profits go into just a very few coffers they would not be so quick to commit their sons and daughters so that CEO's of oil companies and wealthy Arab dictators would become very very very rich.

I personally believe that after the perhaps singular glorious fight of World War II we have been yearning to be seen as the strong democratic liberator. It is a nice thought. It is, though, hard to rationalize that when we have since WWII and even before supported and still support dictatorships all over the world without expending two thoughts about it. Vietnam was no exception and certainly most of all Iraq is a marvelous example. Botched wars do not a liberator make. We also forget, too, that the democracy we supposedly love in other countries sometimes can backfire and elect the very Islamic fundamentalists we abhor; witness the rise of Hamas.

The Iraqis are now enslaved by their own fractured populous which was induced by the invasion of a country by the US. Iraq was a country which did nothing to harm us. That is unheard of in recent times since the Hiterlian and Communist episodes of the 20th century. The true rationale for Iraq, as Alan Greenspan aptly said in his book "Age of Turbulence", is oil but it is also I believe a darker motivation of revenge. We wanted revenge for 9/11 and who could blame us. The problem is, as a caller quite correctly said, the money for 9/11 was gleaned through Pakistan and most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi in origin and Whabbi in spirit. Hussein had nothing to do with any of that so why invade Iraq? Invade and conquer Iraq we did because we could. Bush NEVER calculated on the fracturing of Iraq because in his oft laughed-about ignorance, he knew nothing about Iraq's history or its people. In addition, his perpetrating minions did not care about that nor did they, I believe, truly care about American lives or American treasure. We have paid a heavy price in blood and treasure for the miscalculations of the Iraq War. The yet-to-be-seen consequences may be of epic proportions.

The guests knew NOTHING about Iraq, much less about the Middle East, its history or even did they question all the pabulum they are fed by government to take us to war. I might even suggest that our species being what it is loves war. We claim to hate it; we claim to loath the gruesomeness of it but when push comes to shove most will go and feel that sense of glory in killing an enemy any enemy even one which did nothing to us. We claim to love democracy but label as traitors those who disagree with policy.

Norman Mailer recently said he was not at all surprised by what has happened in 20th century history. He said he believed most people were really fascists at heart. It is a sad commentary on who we are as a species but it is made even sadder because we as Americans claim to be much better than that. Are we? I wonder.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Malaise: Forgive the less than creative comment. Just had to vent: I tried to analyze why I am not tuning in to the Democratic message nearly as much as I did over the past two years. It's certainly not that I don't agree with the point of view. I do agree and emphatically so. I guess I feel a sense of hopelessness. The Democratic Congress is such a disappointment and the elation I felt with the 2006 victory which was ebullient now has waned. The high has dissipated and I fear the Democrats will nominate someone who cannot win the general. I am sickened by Romney's lead in Iowa and possibly NH. Why do not the Democrats go after him? He has flip flopped so many times. He's a great target for criticism. The walls of the Big Dig on his watch came down and killed a woman. They should blow his socks off with criticism. I am sickened that Iowa or ANY state's primary should in any way effect an outcome. All the primaries should be on the same day which would make one state not commanding the trajectory of an election.

All those scandals, ALL the corruption of a Republican administration gone wild, all the greed, all the theft of the public purse, the botched war which cost millions of uprooted lives, thousands killed and billion/trillions of treasure goes uninterrupted and Cheney, Bush and all those who conspired to put one over on us go free. No one is held accountable. Even Libby gets off and the furor dies down. Treason prevailed and no one cares. It's sad and I am sickened by it and I feel it's the same diatribe of liberal talk. What has it gotten us?

The electoral college is simply awful. It reduces our blue liberal states and is simply not fair. The red states a conglomeration of small electoral votes should not strategically impact the outcome of a presidential election electing the most powerful person on planet earth with a nuclear button at his/her disposal. Everyone should now be equal as the college is an archaic vestige of a more Spartan country. It's now ridiculous. The influence that these Bible belt states have is plain nuts and I resent it. The blue states pay the bill and the red reap the political rewards. This should not be so.

We cannot get that sticky paper of extremist religious wackoism off of our shoes. They drag us down and return us to another century. I want to advance in intellect and science and diminish our shoot from the hip first and ask questions later mentality. I want to reduce the cruelty that has to a large degree become this country. I am losing hope though because the Democrats the only ones who can return this country to sanity just do not show fortitude and we get Feinsteins and shockingly Shumer voting for a look the other way on torture attorney general. How does this happen? If a Democrat did what George Bush has done he would have been impeached long ago and even referred to the international courts for prosecution. He has committed mayhem under false pretenses. What could be worse?

We MUST be united. If Hillary Clinton gets the nod then we need to UNITE with her and likewise for Obama or Edwards. I am tired of the same old rants, the same old criticisms and tired of fearing our country will NEVER get out from the yoke of this horrendous Republican prison. Cutbacks on healthcare, environmental funds and nearly every humane program with the exceptions of programs for guns and war has been diminished. It's just sad. Is this how our country has evolved? I ask evolve into what? I am sad, and disillusioned and hopeless more than ever before. The liberal rants are now sadly falling on a deaf ear. I simply hope every day a Democrat ... ANY Democrat .... is seated once again in the oval office and sanity with humanity prevails within my lifetime.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I saw the film Elmer Gantry last evening. I had seen it numerous times before including the first time it was shown in 1960. Then, at twelve years old, of course, I could not appreciate its profundity, know its history nor could I realize its prescient quality. I have never seen a more historically relevant film apply to contemporary times than does this astoundingly great work of art. Elmer Gantry, written by Sinclair Lewis of Babbit fame and directed by Richard Brooks, is one of my favorite films. It is an American classic.

Sinclair Lewis presents a criticism of American life, religion, capitalism and more which earned him the distinct honor as an author because his works, in the early 20th century, were "banned in Boston." In my opinion, if one's art was banned in Boston one created a formidable, brilliant and timelessly immortal work. I thank fate for giving us these authors of genius who are not afraid to challenge those things which are shoved down our social throats often choking off our psychology and institutionalizing the very evil they claim to abhor. They reveal underneath a field of flowers the cancer of hypocrisy.

How could Sinclair Lewis know that he would write a novel which one could superimpose upon the contemporary religious movements of our time? The similar Evangelical/fundamentalist movement which is the subject matter of the film, still insinuates its vitriol into the body politic. It squeezes the life blood out of our democracy contorting it into almost unrecognizable form. Religious charlatans with their utter corruption, mind numbing propaganda, infinite financial and sexual scandals infuse faith and its attendant Biblical myths to take over business and politics for money and power. They cast a net upon the masses capturing the human psyche and its greatest ability – its ability for reason.

And yet, as Gantry knew, people are hungry but not necessarily for food. They are thirsty but not necessarily for water. They are sick and need a cure. They see the inevitable death and want eternal life. It is no wonder that any person could be intoxicated by a religious brew which promises food and water for the spirit, a way out of pain and, most importantly a defeat of death. The actors are the essences of perfection. The scenes are filled with metaphors. There are burning crosses, burning churches and sinners leading the otherwise sinless into the devil's darkness. The characters are a picture of ourselves. Burt Lancaster, as Gantry, is a charlatan but he is appealing. Jean Simmons, as Sister Falconer, is sincere but a sinner. Even the atheist writer of the newspaper, reporting on the Gantry/Falconer faith phenomenon, sometimes gets swayed by the moment and bends his heretofore unbended knee.

Each character personifies particular parts of the American religious Fundamentalist movements. The ubiquitous temptation of sin, of course, is all around -- in whore houses, in gambling joints and in booze halls. Gantry and Simmons are, I think, the symbols of Christianity as it has run its course throughout history. It is a religion of love whose adherents often show hate. It is a religion of tolerance whose believers can be the most intolerant. This movie says so much about so much. The dichotomies of Christian belief are everywhere.

Wikipedia states that Sinclair Lewis "In his Nobel Prize lecture, lamented that 'in America most of us — not readers alone, but even writers — are still afraid of any literature which is not a glorification of everything American, a glorification of our faults as well as our virtues, and that America is 'the most contradictory, the most depressing, the most stirring, of any land in the world today.' "I think that says it all. Elmer Gantry is a must see.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

"Should we wander [from the essential principles of our government] in moments of error or alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety."

Thomas Jefferson succeeding John Adams and repealing the Alien and Sedition Acts.
I am continuously proclaiming the virtues of Bill Moyers. Tonight's interview with two scholars, Justice Charles Fried and Attorney Frederick Swartz, regarding the overextension of the power of the presidency is no exception. Justice Fried, a staunch Republican and former Solicitor General under Reagan, argued for the sometimes acquiescence to wide use of presidential power -- even if illegal -- in certain instances while Attorney Swartz argued for executive restraint. Naturally, I had some thoughts and sent them to PBS:


I do not think the usurpation of unbridled power that has been the hallmark of the Bush II administration is really about lofty ideals. I think it rather is really about entrenching the Republican party and its corporate allies within the power base for decades to come. How convenient for Cheney that 9/11 happened on his watch because it gave him the perfect rationale for the retention of unparalleled power which he has wanted since the Nixon impeachment hearings. What Cheney, Bush, et al did not, it seems to me, predict is the Iraq war going sour resulting in the takeover by Democrats of Congress and the possibility of a Democrat occupying the oval office in 2008. I am quite sure all their talk about the presidency having ultimate Constitutional power eclipsing the Legislative branch even if it means the president commits illegalities will go out the window when and if the Republican party is out of office. All of a sudden then they will talk about the Founders meaning for a balance of power and that the presidency is simply one branch among three. When it is politically expedient and they are in power they will advocate an ultra strong presidency. When they no longer have power they will scream for a more balanced approach. I believe Cheney/Bush opinion has NOTHING to do with ideals and everything to do with the maintenance of their power and the accumulation of great wealth that comes from its base at all costs.

Those of us who really do care about the security of this country while maintaining checks on those who would abuse power sometimes do not know what to believe. Will government's extensive data mining include only those who would possibly commit egregious horrendous acts against this country possibly killing thousands or even millions if they could or will government unnecessarily snoop even into an email from Professor Fried wasting precious time and taxpayer money? Worse, could government detain utterly innocent people, picking them up in the dead of night, and ship them off to places unknown? What if they came for someone like Professor Fried simply because someone somewhere in government did not like what he said or a criticism he levied.

I believe government power does not give up that power easily and, more often, extends its power even more. I also do not trust all of my fellow men. Does Justice Fried worry about the trustworthiness of all men in government? Conversely, does Mr. Swartz worry about a dirty bomb? If data mining and a little warrantless wiretapping could uncover a plot to detonate such a bomb would it be worth it even if it means the extension ad infinitum of the power of the presidency? Those are, it seems to me, the epic questions of our time which have yet to be sufficiently addressed.
I am continuously proclaiming the virtues of Bill Moyers. I am compelled to state yet again how absolutely marvelous his interviews are. Tonight's interview with Justice Charles Fried and Attorney Frederick Swartz regarding the overextension of the power of the presidency is no exception. Justice Fried argued for the sometimes acquiescence to wide use of presidential power while Attorney Swartz argued for executive restraint.

I do not think the usurpation of unbridled power that has been the hallmark of the Bush II administration is really about lofty ideals. I think it rather is really about entrenching the Republican party and its corporate allies within the power base for decades to come. How convenient for Cheney that 9/11 happened on his watch because it gave him the perfect rationale for the retention of unparalleled power which he has wanted since the Nixon impeachment hearings. What Cheney, Bush, et al did not, it seems to me, predict is the Iraq war going sour resulting in the takeover by Democrats of Congress and the possibility of a Democrat occupying the oval office in 2008. I am quite sure all their talk about the presidency having ultimate Constitutional power eclipsing the Legislative branch even if it means the president commits illegalities will go out the window when and if the Republican party is out of office. All of a sudden then they will talk about the Founders meaning for a balance of power and that the presidency is simply one branch among three. When it is politically expedient and they are in power they will advocate an ultra strong presidency. When they no longer have power they will scream for a more balanced approach. I believe Cheney/Bush opinion has NOTHING to do with ideals and everything to do with the maintenance of their power and the accumulation of great wealth that comes from its base at all costs.

Those of us who really do care about the security of this country while maintaining checks on those who would abuse power sometimes do not know what to believe. Will government's extensive data mining include only those who would possibly commit egregious horrendous acts against this country possibly killing thousands or even millions if they could or will government unnecessarily snoop even into an email from Professor Fried wasting precious time and taxpayer money? Worse, could government detain utterly innocent people, picking them up in the dead of night, and ship them off to places unknown? What if they came for someone like Professor Fried simply because someone somewhere in government did not like what he said or a criticism he levied.

I believe government power does not give up that power easily and, more often, extends its power even more. I also do not trust all of my fellow men. Does Justice Fried worry about the trustworthiness of all men in government? Conversely, does Mr. Swartz worry about a dirty bomb? If data mining and a little warrantless wiretapping could uncover a plot to detonate such a bomb would it be worth it even if it means the extension ad infinitum of the power of the presidency? Those are, it seems to me, the epic questions of our time which have yet to be sufficiently addressed.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Deliver Me: I attach a link below which is a fabulously interesting Newsweek article entitled "War and Deliverance by Christopher Dickey (the son of the novelist and screenwriter for the film Deliverance) ." I think Mr. Dickey's "Deliverance" film metaphor is utterly correct. That film was, as I remember it, chilling. Contemporaneous historical events with our muddled president making reference to World War III, a public which just goes along and a vice president without conscience calling the shots behind the scenes are as blood curdling as the images of the "Deliverance" film were. It is a film like that and Mr. Dickey's appropriate analogy which bring other prescient novels to mind such as William Golding's "Lord of the Flies" and Orwell's "Animal Farm." These novelists bring to our culture words of great wisdom. One would think with Washington filled with degrees from Harvard, Yale, Princeton and the like, that those in power would finally get it. Unfortunately it seems time and again they do not.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/53461/page/1
A clearer view of New Testament Belief: I disagree emphatically with Matt Peirce's letter to the editor criticism of James Carroll's excellent op ed October 15 article "Religion and Nation". First, the Gospels are not evidence of historical veracity as they were written two decades and more after the death of Jesus. One cannot use as evidence items which clearly have an agenda to promote. The Gospels are not a neutral collection of documents and they differ in text. Second, it is interesting how certain fundamentalist Christians love to pick and choose which New Testament articulations they use for proof of their correctness on contemporary political stances. According to Mr. Pierce the Gospel of Mark referring to Genesis 2:24 concerning the creation is proof of Jesus'opposition to homosexuality. I doubt it was specifically said to indict homosexuality. That is conjecture. Most importantly, why doesn't Mr. Peirce quote Mark 10:9 which says what "God has joined together let no man put asunder" as a more authentic and clear indictment of heterosexual divorce?

Certainly, Jesus was not in favor of divorce but when it became politically expedient the articulation of Christianity changed and amended his words to accommodate history.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Sagacity and Enigma of General Sanchez: The critical comments of General Sanchez, the general who commanded US forces in Iraq, were staggering. No matter what his motives were in uttering them, he was completely correct. This administration, the Congress and a complicit media were incompetent in their conduct and investigation of the war. They were derelict in their duty to our nation. Inept leadership has given us either a quagmire or a loss in Iraq and has ultimately put our nation at great risk. This is the enigma of our time.

The conduct of the war in Iraq is a national disgrace, a disgrace for all those across the world who supported us, a vindication for those who did not and an embarrassment to those of us who believed the lies and naivete of this administration which resulted in this unnecessary mess. General Sanchez is right. Those court-martialed should be not just the military hierarchy but everyone – the Congress, the State Department and an administration who did not do their homework, who did not speak out and who allowed millions to suffer and thousands to die without purpose.

What happened to erase our preeminence in the world? Inept leadership has utterly released itself from the boundaries of civilized conduct. Sanctioned by a complicit media, the ship of state ran aground. The magnitude and gravity of General Sanchez's critical comments about the Iraq war are necessary. Why he and others, including the media, did not deliver them sooner is, perhaps, the greatest enigma of all.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Mad Men is Mighty: I watched the director and actors talk about the filming of Mad Men and the early 60's cultural context of the series. The director of this excellent show is right some situations have indeed remained the same even until this day. I worked in large corporate legal firms in Boston in the 1970's up to 2004. In very similar ways I can relate to a corporate environment which spanned decades. Much was like the machinations of the Sterling Cooper firm.

In one of my first comments about the series I sanctimoniously breathed a sigh of relief that thankfully I was working and living at a time in which those types of behaviors would not be sanctioned. The director, however, says yes, things changed but they also remained the same. This too is true. Still, I do believe profound changes have occurred so that heretofore powerless people now have at least SOME recourse.

Talk shows such as Oprah and many others make the once psychologically cornered person know that they are not alone and that they can exert at least some control to change their condition. The huge difference between the eras, I believe, is that we are allowed to at least TALK about things that heretofore were taboo. In the era of the late 50's and early 60's in which I grew up there was little talk or just a hint of talk but only on a psychiatrist's or analyst's couch which had just become fashionable and only for the well-to-do. Certainly there was not much introspection among persons in authority. Most definitely powerful men had to answer to nearly no one. Questioning authority is not the exception now it is the rule. Some of the absolutely vile, impertinent and condescending comments of those powerful men at Sterling Cooper towards especially the powerless women they work, have sex and live with would not fly. The courts are flooded with discrimination suits which attest to that fact.

While it is true human beings are human beings at all times, the social metamorphosis of the late 60's which encompassed the women's movement, the black movements, homosexuals and the like have given at least some voice and power over those strictly white men who once upon a time had usurped it all. Best of all at least in Boston one can barely find a place to smoke. That change saved lives.

I absolutely adore this show. It am transfixed!

Friday, October 05, 2007

PBS Bill Moyers Journal: An American Depression? Christian Zionism: Yet again Bill Moyers Journal is riveting. The program An American Depression, as so many PBS programs, is excellence in journalism. This time, focusing on the Evangelical support of Israel, I, a Jew and a supporter of Israel cannot help but feel chilled after viewing this segment. I would love Bill Moyers to interview Christopher Hitchens who says in his new book God is Not Great "religion poisons everything". It was not so long ago that many right wing religionists were supremely anti-Semitic. One can hear that if one listens to recordings in Nixon's oval office itself with the master of religious fundamentalism Billy Graham or the radio broadcasts of Father Coughlin. Today, as one of his guests said, historical events are made to fit belief sentiments. Now, the object of Christian fundamentalist's hate has morphed from the Jew or the Communist to all Muslims or all Iranians. The focus has changed somewhat from what it was many years ago because politics and history have changed but the message of hate they deliver is still the same. If everyone claims to know the sentiments of a God then no one knows what God's sentiments really are. Religious zealotry whether Christian, Islamic or Jewish holds all of us who love rational thought hostage as their divisive beliefs engender the possibility of catastrophic war. This anti rationalism is insanity at best. Man is, indeed, an aggressive animal. Mr. Hitchens, with whom I do not always agree, is exactly correct about some things. Religion does poison everything.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Ken Burn's seven-part documentary series "The War" captures the enormity of World War II in both of its theaters by concentrating on the experiences of some of the inhabitants of four small American towns and cities (Waterbury, CT., Mobile, AL, Luverne, MN, and Sacramento, CA.). It is, without a doubt, nothing short of a masterpiece. It is sheer genius and, I think, the greatest documentary I have ever seen on anything. As wonderful as ALL of Ken Burns's documentaries are, I never would have thought he could surpass any one of them. But he has. "The War" should be seen by everyone. How quickly we forget or perhaps we never realized the extent to which that greatest generation gave of themselves to our nation and, indeed the world. One can only imagine the horror had the Allies had not won. From Batan, Iwo Jima, Normandy, Anzio and countless other places large and small this documentary film captures ever-so accurately the horror of war but the necessity of that one.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Justice in Jena -- It is truly the tragedy of this land that the issues of race still assault our national consciousness. How can it be that some four hundred years after the first slave ship deposited its human cargo, after the dehumanization of slavery itself, after a civil war to end it which took over one half million lives, the malignancy of this issue still burns brightly?

Who said what to whom in Jena may never be known with absolute surety. What is known is that a black young man needed to ask permission to sit under a simple tree. White youths decided they thought it would be funny to throw some nooses around that tree just in case the young black men who sat under the understood whites only tree did not know what their place REALLY was.

Those nooses hanging around that tree and the white boys who put them there began it all. Those nooses meant something and those boys knew it. Now the jack boots of neo-Nazi and Klan sympathizers defile that land as the mayor thanks them for their support and the tree no longer lives. There must be metaphor in that. Those boys who hung those nooses deserved a much stiffer penalty but received very little. It is de ja vu all over again and justice in Jena and in this nation is still is looking for a home.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I sent this to PBS after viewing an exceptional Bill Moyers Journal about Rachael Carson, one of the first environmentalists who made environmentalism a household word with the publication of her 1964 best seller Silent Spring. It was a wonderful broadcast. If you want to know more about it go to the PBS web site or look to see when PBS will rebroadcast the show.

Yet again Bill Moyers presents a riveting documentary about Rachael Carson a gentle woman who, in her gentleness in the 1960's, hit mankind over the head with a wondrous truth illuminated in her book Silent Spring. Man is slowly, through his technological and chemical genius, destroying the most genius creation of all -- earth itself. Man through his unbridled conspicuous consumption and desire to eliminate his perceived enemies is upsetting the evolutionary balance of nature through the endless toxins, pesticides and insecticides he produces.

I am a child of the 50's and live in the same home on the same street at 58 years old that I did at 9 years old. I have seen things and people come and go. I have seen at 9 years old a dump located close to my house which spewed and belched its poison for decades. It was silenced not that long ago and has recently given way to the most modern recycling center. I have Rachel Carson, I think, in part, to thank for that.

Many of the people who occupied my street when I was young have died. Too many, I think, (including my own father) of cancer. I wonder in my uneasy sleep at night if, perhaps, that smoke which coughed so many years ago was the unobtrusive murderer of them all and will ultimately work its biological dark magic and be responsible for my death too. Time, I suppose, will tell. Thank you, Bill Moyers, for bringing this phenomenal woman and her contribution to life again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Greenspan or Gates: I do not see why the analysis of whether we went to war in Iraq, as Greenspan said, for oil or, as the Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says, because of WMD, has to be an either or scenario. We went to war in Iraq for both and for many other reasons as well. There is no question that the Middle East holds special import for US policy. It is a region like none other for the obvious oil reasons. Combine that fact with the reality of 9/11, the Bush penchant for war and one had a special brew ready to ignite. The US probably invaded due to a plethora of reasons some of which were buttressed by the occurrence of 9/11, some of which were based on fear, some because of neocons philosophic fantasy and some because of the strategic oil importance of that region. Many on team Bush wanted the footprint of the US there to the ensure oil lines keep flowing, profits keep generating and to guard against any real or fancifully perceived terror threats. Some others, too, had pipe dreams of a democratically metamorphosed Middle East.

Were those reasons rationally correct to risk blood and treasure? Senator John Warner perceptively asked is the war in Iraq keeping us safe? I believe the Iraq invasion was a grievous error. Not only are we not safer but we are more at risk. There are Al Qaeda in Iraq where there never were before the invasion. We know, Hussein had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11 nor did Iraq have anything to do with the emergence of new Al Qaeda terror cells before Gulf II. We have opened up a potpourri of insurgent groups, terrorists and unsavory characters who would and will do us harm when the opportunity to do so arises. We also have let loose a hornets' nest of many thousands of angry Arabs all over the world lying in wait for the possibility of avenging the west's occupation on their perceived holy land.

The oil would have kept flowing as it always had after the first Gulf war without an invasion of Iraq again. We could have fought the real terrorists, caught Bin Laden, and kept watch on the Hussein modus operandi at the same time which we had been doing for many years before the Gulf War II. The IAEA could have continued to monitor their nuclear capacity. The terrorist threat would have been containable. If we did not invade, we see in hindsight, we would have saved 4000 American lives, avoided the physical destruction of so many more lives, saved billions maybe trillions of dollars, and we would have rescued the lives of thousands of killed, maimed and displaced Iraqis. If only team Bush were honest before the war ensued. Hindsight is indeed 20/20.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Tears: It is said the president cries a lot? Think of how many of the fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, wives, friends, children cry for those whom they have lost because of his vile decision, misplaced anger, fraud and deceitfulness to invade a country which did not attack us. Think of all the tears and if he sheds a thousand and one more it will never be enough for the millions shed for those who have died and bodies he has ruined. He has sowed the wind and reaped the whirlwind — tragic, disastrous, an unbelievable fiasco of unparalleled naivete and stupidity was unleashed by him. However many tears he sheds it will never be enough to account for the masses of bodies and uprooted human beings destroyed because of him. It can never be enough. Never. I shake my head and I am sad. I am sad for our soldiers, I am sad for their families, and I am sad for our country yet again, one more time sadness upon sadness never to be forgotten and etched in the stone of historical hubris forever.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Lesson of Larry Craig: The hypocrisy of yet another Republican, Senator Larry Craig of Idaho, involved in a sordid scandal surrounding men's room sex with other adult men, is stunning. Why is it that it is more egregious if a Republican is involved in a smarmy homosexual scandal than if it is a Democrat? It is because, of course, Republicans claim the "family values" mantle as their exclusive club. They pillory those who are homosexual by denying them the fundamental rights such as marriage, service in the military and social security survivor benefits which everyone else who lives in this country takes for granted. When one of the sanctimonious slime gets caught in the trap they themselves have set, those who advocate progressive politics go on the attack and rightfully so. Whether it is legislators or priests who are guilty of the very same behavior they demand others suppress and, indeed, work for policies to deny them rights, they get the vilification and outrage of the general public they so appropriately deserve.

As evidenced by Senator Craig, sexuality is nearly impossible to suppress. Craig risked everything for a consenting adult desire which he should not have had to solicit in that way. It is sad that he could not have admitted what he is, saved his family embarrassment and lived his life as nature, it seems, dictated. The victimizers become the victims because the policies they support mean they too could be caught in the very net they have cast for so many others.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

McClatchy News: Assessing the George W. Bush presidency: It is hard to imagine George W. Bush not being relegated to the dust bin of US history. How on this earth could it be otherwise? The man has been a failure since day one of his life through most probably the last moment of his presidency. As if his draft dodging were not enough, the list of egregious horrors of presidential policy are legion and endless. He has cost hundreds of thousands of lives. Iraq is only one of the many horrific errors, albeit a costly one in blood and treasure. He failed to heed warnings of 9/11, he has six years later yet to capture and/or kill the perpetrator of 9/11, he failed during Katrina, he nearly dismantled our precious Constitutional civil liberties, he failed to begin the containment of global warming, he failed with the US attorney debacle, he failed in negotiating a peace in the Middle East, he failed by the treason of revealing a CIA agent's name, he failed by being involved with Rovian dirty politics, he failed by raising the deficit to Olympian heights, he failed by his endless lies about policy and lest we forget Jack Abramaoff and hand holding with "Kenny Boy" Lay, he failed because of his complicity in the endless scandals of a Republican controlled Congress. His speeches were filled with errors both substantive and grammatical. He was utterly moronic when asked extemporaneous questions and, indeed, was an embarrassing speaker who was the laughing stock of the world. He served only to divide not unite this country. This man could not read well and could not speak without error. How many future lives will be ruined by his policies only God can know. I curse every moment of his presidency. I am sure we will be paying for it for decades if not centuries to come.
I applaud the NFL for indefinitely suspending Michael Vick. I think though it is not a severe enough penalty. Vick's actions were reprehensible. There are no words strong enough for me to denounce the loathsome quality of Mr. Vick's conduct towards animals which resulted in their disfigurement and often their deaths. It is more than unconscionable. It is psychologically pathological. Inhumane conduct against a helpless sentient being is pure and simply egregious behavior of the highest magnitude.

Cruelty to animals like cruelty to children is in a category by itself. Adult human beings have the ability of speech and can, if necessary, have a chance to defend themselves. Animals, like children, are helpless. Animals have no one to advocate for their safety and security but the human animal. What possess a man to do what Mr. Vick did? I suspect in Mr. Vick's heart of hearts he is a small man. In his heart he must feel so weak that he is compelled to show his strength through the submission, torture and execution of dogs. I have read, and I think it true, that those who torture animals, will, easily torture human beings. It is one small step.

The NFL owes a responsibility to the people who support it and ESPECIALLY to children who look to players as role models. INDEFINITE suspension, I do not care how much money is lost, should not be the response of the NFL. Suspension Indefinitely means that there is some room for Vick to return at a later date when the furor quiets. Vick deserves the scorn he is getting from the majority of the NFL base but he deserves even more. The NFL should send a message that some behaviors are unacceptable and, indeed, unforgivable no matter how much money is involved. I advocate the NFL not suspend Mr. Vick indefinitely but suspend him for life!

Friday, August 24, 2007

God's Warriors -- a scourge on the earth: I watched all three segments of God's Warriors. I felt at the end as I did in the beginning not enough attention was brought to the other side of the issues of faith. I submit there are warriors on the other side of the spectrum who are trying just as hard to maintain a secularly diverse humane culture. The program made one think that the entire world is completely against reason, logic and science and that these pillars are being torn down in favor of some impossible-to-prove belief systems. I believe this is not what our Founders and those men of the Enlightenment envisioned for our country. Saying man has a brain and can use science and knowledge to improve his lot is not heretical. Evolution is not an unproven hypothesis. It exists as gravity exists. It is as true and irrefutable as the air we breath. It is responsible for the understanding of vaccines, bacterial metamorphosis and the intricacies of DNA. Either we want our species to survive or we don't. If God's warriors whom Christine Amanpour reported on really represent of the majority of the human species, I fear we as a species are doomed. How about another show entitled Warriors for Reason?
Battle cry Reason: I sent an email to Battlecry a Christian right wing religious group on which Christine Armanpour reported in her CNN Special "God's Warriors". I feel we just simply cannot let these religious fanatics take our country. We MUST oppose them by any means necessary. They are a huge threat. Team Bush have been prime movers of the religious fanatical movements. I am hoping in 2008 somebody somewhere in this sad utterly divided country can acquire some academic intelligence and save this nation. I wrote:

I watched all three segments of Christine Amanpour's "God's Warriors." By far, on a national level, the Christian segment frightened me the most. It was, to me, bone chilling.

I submit there are warriors on the other side of the political spectrum who are trying just as hard to maintain a secularly diverse humane culture which unites people and does not seriously divide them. I believe your view of what our nation should be is NOT what our Founders and those men of the Enlightenment envisioned. They knew full well the perils of an alignment of the church with a nation state. They saw the endless unceasing wars, torture, and murder it perpetrated.

Saying man has a brain to think, question and to use science and knowledge to improve his lot is NOT heretical. Evolution is NOT an unproven hypothesis. It is FACT. It exists as gravity exists. It is as true and irrefutable as the air we breath. The truth of the billions year old earth cannot be denied. The earth is not flat, the sun does not revolve around it and germs cause disease. All these facts were opposed by the church until it could not deny truth any more. Your beliefs are NOT truth they are YOUR BELIEFS. They are not my beliefs. Beliefs are NOT fact.

Evolution is responsible for the understanding of vaccines, bacterial metamorphosis and the intricacies of DNA. The bones of early man are an absolute record and testament to the truth of our origins. Either we want our species to survive or we don't. If you deny fact it won't. If God's warriors on whom Christine Amanpour reported really represent the majority of the human species, I fear we, as a species, are doomed.

Without a doubt the Christian right and religious fascist-like fanaticism of ALL stripes are plagues on our world. You and others like you could be responsible for the eradication of our species and our earth as we know it. If then no one ushers you into the sky up to a heaven perhaps you will see how LUDICROUS all of you are. Except you won't know that because you and all of us will be dead.

How about Christine Amanpour doing another show entitled Warriors for Reason? I hope she interviews me.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Truth Be Told: I am thrilled that Mr. Foxman and the national ADL saw fit to change its stance with respect to the Armenian genocide. I believe the Jewish people are a just people and the change in Mr. Foxman's and the ADL's stance is testament to this. I hope the letter I submitted last Saturday, August 18, 2007, in some small way, contributed to the orchestrated symphony crying out to justly set the record and history straight. I am hoping, too, Mr. Tarsy, former ADL New England Regional Director, will be reinstated and that, ultimately, the ADL will support the Congressional resolution now before Congress which would formally acknowledge the abominable events of the Armenian slaughter.

I am so proud to be a part of a people who are flexible in the face of truth and understand the importance of -- as the academic course headquartered in Massachusetts teaches -- facing history and ourselves. Perhaps it is so because we have had to face our own truth which so many still deny. Nations must know their murderous actions have consequences and that the dust of history, no matter how distant, will not cover them up.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Bell Tolls--The ADL and the Armenian Genocide--the firing of Andrew Tarsy: The article in the August 18, 2007 edition of The Boston Globe reporting the ADL firing of New England regional director Andrew Tarsy was a difficult one to read. I try to be a fair person. I try to look at issues from many different angles. I understand Mr. Foxman's and the ADL's rationale for firing Mr. Tarsy. Sometimes, political realities dictate that it is better to work behind the scenes walking softly in an advocacy capacity than it is to shout loud and clear polices which may result in your own cause and, in this case, our own people being harmed. It is true we need Turkey and, indeed, Turkey needs us.

I care about the Jewish people to the depths of my being. That is because in reality our history has dictated that I must since no one else in the face of endless anti-Semitism did. The Holocaust was, of course, the result of centuries of people not caring about Jews. I keep trying for decades to figure out some purpose to it all. I keep trying to think of some reason, some lesson our Holocaust can teach. I often come up empty. I keep thinking our people were slaughtered for nothing. Perhaps, though, there is a small lesson to be learned and that, of course, is not to stay silent or crouch in the background in the face of other dastardly commissions of wholesale murder. For once, I thought, it should be possible not to play politics most especially if one belongs to a group dedicated to the very essence of preventing further holocausts. Perhaps we have a duty to ultimately speak out in constant voice about those events which perpetrated holocausts similar to our own so that the light shines and exposes even past deeds the perpetrators of which think will be relegated to the dustbin of history and forgotten by all.

In other historical contexts we can apply the same rule. We cringe at our own history and the US sanctioning of slavery. Presidents, often played the politically correct card by ignoring it for fear of alienating a political base. Abraham Lincoln himself did that to try to save the Union. It didn't save the Union but a Civil War did. Further, in our own century FDR, fearing the alienation of Dixicrats in the south, was careful not to act on the fate of European Jewry and, in part, because of that the ship the St. Louis, loaded with Jewish refugees, was turned away from US ports. Indeed, we question why the tracks of Auschwitz were never bombed. And, too, there is the constant controversial din of Pope Pius the XII's silence many excuse because it is said he was "a diplomat" and thought he could wield his power against the Hitlerian menace through subtle diplomatic genius. He couldn't and history, I believe, teaches us, it would have been better had he screamed the Jewish plight from the Vatican rafters. It might have saved a few more Jews. The Vatican, to this day, is mired in his controversy and to this day will not allow inspection of some critical documents of that era. We condemn this.

There are many now who would insult the sacredness of our Holocaust by denying it. And now, we do the very thing we abhor in others. We are choosing to soft pedal an undeniable genocidal evil that took place by the Turks against the Armenian people decades earlier when we should be shouting it from the rafters.

Perhaps, Mr. Foxman and the ADL should reevaluate the ADL position and re-determine Mr. Tarsy's fate. History, I suspect, may teach us that, in fact, Mr. Tarsy was correct advocating for the Armenian cause and its rightful claim to history. The consequences of doing that will probably mean little for the security of State of Israel or of the Jewish people. I believe, in this case too, we should shine the light on history for all to know because the bell tolled not only for the Armenian people, it tolled for the Jewish people as it tolls for all people today as well.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Boston Globe Michael Gerson Editorial -- Not the whole story: I take issue with Michael Gerson's August 17 editorial "Karl Rove, political guru extraordinaire." Mr. Gerson heaps praise on Karl Rove for a variety of things including handing George Bush the elections of 2000 and 2004. He measures Karl Rove by his ability to capture a new majority and win two presidential victories. What he doesn't concentrate on is the quality and the consequences of the wins.

The 2000 presidential win was achieved by the skin of their teeth and both presidential wins included voter tampering in the extreme, smearing opponents and probable fraud. If the 2000 and 2004 elections were arrived at honestly and fairly I am certain one would have seen a different scenario all together. Everyone then would be talking about Rove's ineffectiveness.

The consequences of these so called wins have been profound and have cost lives and treasure. The debacles and lies leading us to the Iraq war, the loss of life during Hurricane Katrina, the lack of policy regarding global warming and fudging of scientific data, the political firing of US attorneys, the outing of a CIA agent and the ad infinitum corruption scandals of this administration and of a Republican Congress are some of them. Mr. Rove possibly engineered much of that. Yes, Karl Rove was great at pulling the strings behind George Bush to get him elected and if Rove had to use unsavory means to do that he did so. Someone used to say it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game that counts. Obviously, that lesson of the American way was lost on Karl Rove and we are all the worse off because of it.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Padilla Verfict: Padilla was tried by a jury who saw the evidence. I have not seen the evidence but if it looks like a duck, etc. etc. His name was on an Al Quaeda application for goodness sake. I suspect our jury system prevails. If he was conspiring in any way shape or form with Islamic fanatics then I believe he got what he deserved. It has nothing to do with what George Bush does or doesn't do. If it were up to George Bush Padilla would have been jailed without a trial or without counsel. I think this proves that our system works and should not be abandoned. Everyone is owed their right to counsel and defense. He got his and was found guilty. End of story!
Patriotism, Iraq, and Mine Safety: It is AMAZING that all Republicans (the etiology of which returns to Nixon and his "moral majority") have to say is that the "liberals" will sell out America, will retreat, and do a host of other things that supposedly show how patriotic the Republican party is compared to the Democrats. They have captured that phony mantra and made it work because people love flag waving. Well, flag waiving also means one doesn't wage wars that get people killed, spend trillions of bucks and put us in debt over false pretenses.

Patriotism ALSO means PROTECTING workers...MINE WORKERS who really, in tandem with owners, make this country run. It means not cozying up to corporate drug and pharmaceutical crony lobbyists who do not give a wit about people but care about their profits. It is indeed genius to co-opt the word patriotism to make people think the Democrats and liberals are the ones who are unpatriotic. The reality, of course, is the reverse. Murray, the mine owner, paid off the Republican party to ensure the fact he would not be monitored for numerous safety violations some serious so he could rake in more millions on the backs of the miners without having to pay for mine safety corrections. Now those miners are, IF alive -- which I doubt -- and their families in a hellish nightmare once again caused by these oh so patriotic Republican sleaze bags who care about ONE thing and one thing only MONEY and don't give a hoot as to who gets hurt or killed in the process of their acquiring it! Just who is the patriot and who is the subversive?

Don't be fooled America. From Katrina to Iraq from unequivocal global warming to mine safety, Republicans do NOT care about the majority of you. They care about their money. Their hollow meaningless so called patriotic words are a ruse to bate, hook and trap you into a nightmare from which you will have no way of waking up when and IF they are ever through. We MUST make sure in 2008 all of this NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN. Democrats care more about keeping the majority of us safe and less about giving huge tax breaks to the top 1% money earners. Democrats are not perfect but they are most DEFINITELY patriots!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Democrats, SEIZE this opportunity to bring these criminal treasonous vipers to justice. You have been given a mandate by the people. Now USE it. Rove, Bush, Cheney, Gonzales should be taken to task for the lies, LIVES and hard earned taxpayer money that they have squandered. From Katrina to Iraq they have cost lives!! Do you hear me, LIVES. They, the ones who are supposed to be the party of life ruined and squandered it as if they were playing with pieces on a game board. How many dead, how many SERIOUSLY hurt with brain injuries, lost limbs and eyes? All this for a man who it is said loved to win but hated governing. They have hurt this country beyond reason immeasurably. One hopes it can be repaired. It will take genius to do it but first those who have committed treason and many many high crimes need to be held accountable for them.

Do NOT shirk your duty. Justice must prevail and the Democrats must not pay lip service to it. They must enact it and do so FAST!
Karl Rove is quoted saying that he expects Hillary Clinton to win the Democratic nomination but that she is a "totally flawed candidate." Now, really, for Mr. Rove to talk about a totally flawed former candidate who got handed the presidency by the skin of his teeth, he need only look at the guy he served for 14 years except I might call him a flawed candidate who became a catastrophic president!

Both George W. Bush and Karl Rove have seen to it that the next president and generations of Americans face disasters on every front. I pray every day and this country will, indeed, elect someone as brilliant as Hillary to take the helm and figure how on God's earth she is going to clean up the mess!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Insecure about Security: The recent passage of the “Protect America Act of 2007” expands the power of our government to Olympian heights. Both Republicans and Democrats alike passed a bill which gives a permission slip to the government to conduct warrantless wiretaps and other spying activities on its own people, without court approval, thereby possibly subrogating the First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments to our Constitution. To say the very least, this is problematic and requires considerable thought and care because it speaks to the very essence of who we are as a nation and to the very nature of what our republic has been about for over two hundred years.

This huge expansion of executive power, bestowed by the Congress and pushed down its throat by an unrelenting and often untrustworthy Executive branch, abridges the most cherished pieces and fundamental rights that have made our form of government the showpiece of the world. This would be unthinkable at nearly any other time.

This, however, is, indeed, no ordinary time. After 9/11 it is imaginable this would occur. More than imaginable it is now possible that the Executive branch of our government would be given unilateral and unprecedented power by Congress in view of the threat of another even more unthinkable attack. Those of us who value deeply that marvelous document our Founders so presciently constructed in 1789, are heart sick that the cornerstone of our culture is weakened. Like the stress fractures of the 35W Bridge in Minnesota, I sincerely hope our republic does not come crashing down and that this weakening of our very foundation is not perpetrated as a partisan political maneuver but is rather enacted for a very very good reason at this extraordinary time to ensure the safety of us all.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Jews of Poland: Joseph Polak's July 28, 2007 editorial "The Silence Lifts on Poland's Jews" lauding formal acknowledgment by Polish leadership of its country's long held anti-Semitism and its attendant murder of Jews, I wax thoughtful about a phenomenon that has been called the world's longest hatred. After reading this article I did not know whether to shout bravo or shake my head in utter disbelief as to why, after so long, it is still necessary that the acknowledgment of a pervasive, rancid and unyielding Jewish hatred still needs to be acknowledged and an apology rendered by those who throughout the centuries were the perpetrators.

The hatred of the Jew is certainly not unique to Poland or to its past. It has been and still is a world wide pandemic with no permanent vaccine in sight. It has existed and still does in nearly every land, on every continent, among most all the world and there is no end in view. Where anti-Semitism allegedly no longer exists it rises from the dead. In countries which have no Jews the age old caustic canards of Jewish hatred can be heard. You don't even need Jews to have anti-Semitism.

A hatred born of early Christianity and certain New Testament texts progresses to the modern age and dogs the Jewish people nearly everywhere. The Middle East, an explosive tinderbox, uses anti-Semitism as one excuse to perpetrate its horrors. Jews there are threatened with yet another extinction. When will the malignancy end? When will these acknowledgments not be necessary? A tiny fraction of the world's population, the Jewish people have suffered far beyond what their small numbers might dictate. Anti-Semitism is a plague. I am waiting patiently for a cure.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Keith Olbermann, whom I watch faithfully on MSNBC and usually love, delivered an apology to Senator Vitter's wife for comments about her appearance he thought were unjustly made on his program while he was on vacation. I thought the apology was not warranted and said so. Senator Vitter (family value's Republican from Florida) stands accused of placing calls to known prostitutes.

I love Keith Olberman. He was a mench for apologizing to Mrs. Vitter but I do think his apology was not warranted. Mrs. Vitter was just as hypocritical as her husband. She was oh-so-accusatory toward Hillary Clinton during the Lewinsky issue. I think Mrs. Vitter is fair game and I thought she looked 150% ridiculous and humorous in that leopard skin outfit when she appeared at an apologetic speech delivered by her husband who stands accused of frequenting or at least placing calls to prostitutes. What was she, in fact, saying? Whether we like it or not we live in a media age and people do not usually dress without some projective motive. It's often calculated by men AND women alike.

I am glad people like Vitter (Republican from Florida), et al get themselves knee deep in excrement because the hypocrisy they espouse is responsible for a GREAT deal of misery and suffering. They, their party and the thousands of right wing religious fanatics who have held political sway about, for example, the glories of heterosexual marriage and the family, have led some who cannot conform to that standard to even consider suicide because they saw no way out of what they felt. For years the echelons of power dictated they go to the back of the bus. Those dictates still, in some places, prevail.

The Vitters are not innocent. Mrs. Vitter shared those views and stated as such. I believe any indictment of her or even the way she presents herself is richly deserved. Hypocrites must be taken to task any way we can not so much for their behavior but because they expect conduct of others which they do not expect of themselves. So many on the right have not practiced what they so abhorrently but effectively have preached. I applaud those comments against the Vitters and all those like them. They are well deserved!

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Venality of Michael Vick--dogfighting: What kind of person, what quality and content of a human being's character would allow one to participate in the utter animal abuse of dog fighting? What kind of an organization would let a person, if Vick is found guilty, continue to play for its team? Is it only about the lousy buck, is it only about how many Mercedes one drives, or how many things one can buy with all the millions? Is that the only value in this American life?

I am not a believer but I wish so there were a God because, in this instance, I would take solace that someone who could be involved in the gambling and animal slaughter of dog fighting would get their just reward from a higher power since their soul would be so putrid, feted and ugly the only place for humanity like that would be hell.

Whether one believes in a higher power or not, Michael Vick, in my opinion, has committed, if found guilty, a sin comparable only to the sin of child molestation. I cannot think of a worse milieu than that of dog fighting or a worse thing to perpetrate than that unconscionable act. If guilty he should be fined millions and thrown out of the Atlanta Falcons. That is the only just reward mere mortals can exact for this utterly despicable act. If true, and found guilty, Vick is a despicable excuse for humanity and the Atlanta Falcons organization should act accordingly!!

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Masterpiece of Moyers: If you haven't seen Bill Moyers's PBS discussion with conservative constitutional scholar Bruce Fein and liberal writer from The Nation, John Nichols you ought to. "Tough Talk About Impeachment" was a thrilling discussion and one everyone ought to review.

I find it a rare instance, indeed, when I am at a loss for words. Bill Moyers is the absolute best in broadcasting. I love him like I love my country. I love it, as his guest Bruce Fein brilliant conservative tonight conveyed, to the very core of my being, to the depths of my soul. I have never in my years of television and news viewing seen or heard a more wonderful broadcast than I did this evening. It made me so proud of my country because he and his guests this evening -- Democrat and Republican alike; conservative and liberal alike were united and one in their understanding of exactly what we are about as a people, what the genius of the Founders knew about monarchical tyranny and what is at risk in this country now as we face a Constitutional crisis. You would do well to listen to and study the discussion about impeachment and the glory of our Constitution's fathers for iterating it six times within that document. It was more than superb. It was beyond the ability of my meager words to convey. Listen to it and heed as our very Republic is at stake. I attach the link below!

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/index-flash.html











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Get a sneak peak of the all-new AOL.com.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The case for impeachment: David Boies, you probably know, was counsel for Al Gore in the famous 2000 election debacle and case arising from that i.e. "Bush v. Gore". He is a prominent Washington attorney and was on MSNBC's Scarborough Country last evening. Curiously he along with Pat Buchanan were against impeachment. I was surprised at Boies's opinion. I wrote him a letter.

Dear Mr. Boies: I listened to the interesting interview and debate between Pat Buchanan, Elizabeth Holtzman and you conducted by Dan Abrams on Joe Scarborough Country last evening about the issue of presidential and vice presidential impeachment. It was an excellent debate moderated superbly by Dan Abrams. It is refreshing to listen to people who are experts and who were not screaming at each other. It was an intelligent discussion and that was unique.

I do, however, question your view. I believe Ms. Holtzman was eminently correct. You are right impeachment should not be used frivolously as it was, in my opinion, used in the case of President Clinton. His offense, while disturbing, I believe, did not rise to the level of "high crimes" as instructed in our Constitution.

That clause in our Constitution is, however, open to interpretation. That was, I believe, the genius of our Founders. The ambiguity they left made room for interpretive debate. In so far as one accepts that as true, presidential foreign policy decisions, while clearly left by our Founders to the Chief Executive to make, still require an honest justification ESPECIALLY if those decisions mean leading a population to war.

We are not talking about policy decisions which will be forgotten after a president leaves office or even before. We are talking about the actual invasion of a country which did not attack us, killing thousands of human beings, upending American families and uprooting millions of Iraqis. We are talking about monetary costs to our people in the trillions. Moreover, the long term regional effect in one of the most volatile parts of the world is immense. I believe we were deceived into a war which has had catastrophic implications.

I supported the decision to go to war initially only to be most chagrined and angered to see that all the justifications for war were not true and, in fact, were probable lies or at least cherry picked evidence to initiate a policy long desired by many in the Bush administration including the President and Vice-President. George Bush iterated those lies to Congress and to the American people which has resulted in extraordinary death, destruction, crushed bodies and spirits. I think that rises to EXACTLY what our Founding Fathers meant when they used the words "high crimes."

Simply because the president has the Constitutional authority to conduct foreign policy and wage war does NOT give him the entitlement to lie us into a preconceived war which has catastrophically affected this nation and albeit the world. It does not give him the license to make a huge foreign policy blunder based on lies resulting in the deaths of thousands. If the high crimes and misdemeanors impeachment clause in our Constitution is not for the many egregious illegalities conducted by this administration to take our country to war and even expose a CIA agent then that clause, it seems to me, should be written out of the Constitution because it has no meaning for our time and place.

Many within the Axis powers of the 20th century were found guilty by a Nuremberg court which said their policies were out of bounds and, indeed, immoral. Had those heads of state lived they would have been subject to the jurisdiction of a court and undoubtedly convicted and rightfully so. Even though they were chief executives they did NOT have the right nor the moral gravity to unilaterally assault so much of humanity unjustifiably. Some human behaviors by especially those in power cannot and should not stand. I believe the parallel is apt.
George Bush and Richard Cheney were at the eye of the storm conducting those policies which have caused so much death and destruction to not only the American public but, indeed, the world. The cost has been huge. Although, it is unlikely George Bush and Richard Cheney will have to answer for their decisions or their lies and deceptions, I support the impeachment and conviction of both.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Legacy of Libby: It is astoundingly difficult to fathom the extent to which this administration has gone to perpetrate clearly unconstitutional behavior in order to secure their elements of power. What is more surprising, though, than power trying to secure its place, is how removed the American public is to the tremendous illegalities and the systemic constitutional affronts which have taken place. From lying to go to war costing thousands of lives and billions of wasted dollars to suspending habeas corpus, perpetrating warrant-less wiretaps and now, commuting and probably ultimately pardoning a political crony, I. Scooter Libby, to save its own posterior, this administration has been guilty of some of the most heinous and corrupt behavior in the history of this country. Why are only the few incensed? How can truly treasonous illegal activity in the highest levels of our government be ignored by the masses and impeachment of both Cheney and Bush by the Congress be off the table?

I do keep reminding myself that all of these usurpations of power have as their bulwark the attacks of 9/11 and the fact that there are forces who, no doubt, want to do us great harm and would, in fact, consider using unthinkable methods to do so. The nuclear age sometimes, I suspect, makes behavior, otherwise considered impossible, possible. Still, with that in mind, I believe wise leadership could have carved out a much more credible and intellectually astute response to 9/11. It could have captured global hearts and minds by instituting significantly more prescient leadership. It could have saved lives. Instead it lost those hearts and minds it had in the palm of its hand and alienated the world in the process. It created an Al Qaeda in Iraq which never existed before, threatened the stability of the entire Middle East and dismantled those liberties at home which once were sewn into the very fabric of the American system by those sagacious men of the 18th century.

The legacy of Scooter Libby, I believe, is this: We are a different nation than we were a moment ago and the fact that a Scooter Libby can get away with his heinous crimes without a national uproar is reflective of that difference. At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked "Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" He said "A republic if you can keep it." I certainly hope we can.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The perplexity of Paris: I surfed the channels last evening and slid past Larry King's interview of Paris Hilton thinking I was not going to watch the insipid immersion into all things Paris which has overtaken this country. I decided, however, to focus on the interview to see if an intelligible sentence could be uttered by her glossy lips. I thought that, despite my skepticism of Paris's motives and knowledge that zebras cannot and, most likely, do not want to change their stripes, Paris Hilton's appearance and interview on Larry King helped her image if that is, in fact, what she was trying to do.

I don't have a clue and do not care what her motives really are. Who can tell? I do not claim mind reader status. She did, to me, appear controlled, articulate and much smarter than I thought she was. I was surprised at how decent she sounded.

I changed my thought about all things Paris and decided she represented more than originally met the eye. I thought, perhaps, I would wax philosophical about her as I think she was given gifts by nature, God, accident of birth, chance or whatever controls our destiny. She has beauty, her health, money and intelligence. What more could one ask? At her age I had to struggle and did so all of my life. She, though, I perceive, is a lucky woman. Fate has shown brightly on her and I hoped she realized that.

If I were she I would take advantage of every gift. She should, I believe,complete her education, become proficient in her interests including achieving academic excellence for its own sake. I thought, she should, too, attain a degree and use it. Then, I thought she should give back to those who were not bestowed that kind of good fortune. She appears to have it all and I would like to see her use it wisely. Is she what she appeared to be on Larry King? Only time will tell.

Although I am not religious, Biblical thought can, I think, sometimes be very rich. She was asked by Larry King what her favorite Bible verse was since she has made statements that she was, while in prison, reading the Bible and to some extent became religious. To my surprise, she could not formulate an answer. To Paris I would say: I think good New Testament passages include: "If you have done something unto the least of these my brethren you have done it unto me." I have always liked the Beatitudes as well. In the Hebrew Bible a/k/a The Old Testament, Ecclesiastes has been a favorite of mine: "There is a time for every purpose under heaven -- a time to be born and a time to die." If I could talk to her I would say to her use now what you have so fortunately been given by a sometimes benevolent universe. As the poet John Donne iterated so eloquently in 1624: "Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."