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.