Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"Where's the Outrage?" See blog www.yomamaforobama.worldpress.com
This is my response:This is my response:Generally I agree with you. I wish the American public were interested in things gravitas too. Alas, they are not. Because of that, I am a political Machiavellian. Uphill I believe we must do what we must do to get elected. It is downhill after that.

It has been part of our illustrious history that even our ever-so-cerebral Founding Fathers concocted the damnable electoral college so that they might better ensure that the selection of the president reside with more intellectually able electors instead of by a popular vote of ruffians. Jefferson, of course, had to endure the scandalous writings of James Calendar, a muckraker and yellow journalist of his era, when he exposed Jefferson’s sexual liaison with Sally Hemmings, Jefferson’s black house slave and concubine.

Even de Tocqueville when he visited America of the 1830’s called much of American culture “a middling mediocrity.” During his inauguration, Andrew Jackson’s picturesque White House sported ducks, geese, chickens and other assorted barnyard fun. He invited gun toting, coonskin cap wearing, and whiskey drinking Tennesseans into the White House or, perhaps, they just barged in. Worse, Jackson had to endure the accusations about his beloved wife Rachel who was said to be a bigamist. Jackson never forgot it, was devastated by it and thought his wife’s death was because of it.

A century later H.L. Mencken uttered the truth of his famous phrase: “You will never go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” This still rings true today.

Barak Obama should have known when he first had thoughts of running for the presidency that before any skeletons in his closet were opened for inspection he should have opened them first and rectified the problem. Now it is a bit late to eschew a Reverend Wright. Obama either looks politically expedient or unfaithful to his former good friend or both.

Had he done what I suggest, we would possibly be talking about the real issues of 4000 plus dead in Iraq, five dollar plus gallon of gasoline, eight dollar a gallon of milk and an economy tilting toward another Great Depression. Instead, we are talking about whether a candidate should wear a flag pin and why he belonged to the church he did for over twenty years. I agree it is utterly insane. Some things, though, never change. I’m sure Andrew Jackson would agree.
Nuclear Strike -- NO: I just read Steve Weisman's article in Truthout in which he thinks the US strike of Iran is imminent. There are others who have predicated the same such as Seymour Hersh in the April, 2006 edition of The New Yorker. It has not come to pass yet.

I do not on this earth know how the US could mount a strike against a country twice the size of Iraq, with a sophisticated army EVEN with the help of the Israelis given the fact that our military is stretched so thin. Striking Iran assumes that the Iranians would not strike back. I suspect that is fallacious and utterly ridiculous to assume. Furthermore, as has been said many times, the Iranian program IF they have a program is probably hidden deep within mountainous regions of that country. It's not that easy to get to, find and strike their targets. It would pose an infinitely greater problem than the precise strike of Israel on Sadam Hussein's Osirik nuclear facility in 1981 and the one recently bombed by the Israelis in Syria.

In addition, assuming the Iranians would strike back we would be fighting on three fronts -- Iraq, Afghanistan, and in Iran. This is an unlikely scenario without the imposition of a military draft. A military draft would encounter further a HUGE opposition probably unlike and bigger than the opposition to the Vietnam War. To begin a war with Iran I believe would need the approval of the Congress and given this administration's utterly insane prosecution of the War with Iraq, Congress sanctioning an additional war on a much larger scale, I believe, would be next to impossible. To use our inept commander in chief own gift for verbiage -- "Fool me once...you can't get fooled again."

There is no question Mr. Weisman is correct. There is much bluster and it is, indeed, unsettling. I think this bluster is rhetoric backed up with thin air. The Bush administration has put this country at great national security risk by its unnecessary and incompetent prosecution of Iraq and its disastrous failure to capture or kill Bin Laden allowing the reemergence of the Taliban and the increase of Al Queda's prestige in the Arab world. If the US is at risk then the State of Israel at great risk. I believe we at this moment in time have lost Iraq. Four soldiers were killed today in the sandstorms of Iraq which make them defenseless. Every day we are in Iraq more are at risk and more will die. I cannot personally watch the count of our dead. It hurts too much for a war which has been beyond ineffectually prosecuted. There is no doubt there are many things I do not know about US capability. I hope that is true because adding Iran to the mix, in my opinion, would be suicide. The US is not quite at the suicidal point yet. I hope I am right. Time will tell.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Letter to Pastor Wright: A Letter to Reverend Wright: I am a 59 year old white Jewish American and an ardent supporter of the State of Israel. I think the interview by Bill Moyers of Pastor Wright was a wonderful and the speech that Rev. Wright delivered before the NAACP yesterday was more than wonderful it was riveting. His speeches moved me to tears on several occasions. He is an extraordinarily charismatic man. I kept thinking that maybe what Pastor Wright says is true. Good sometimes comes out of difficulty. This past month has been extraordinarily difficult for all of us, especially those in our culture who consider ourselves unashamedly Democrat and unabashedly liberal who are yearning albeit begging for change.

I hope that Rev. Wright's enunciations of fairness and justice will have an impact even on those in our society who not only have been deaf to the suffering of so many but those who have contributed to that suffering as well. If people can be moved in some small way to defeat the lesser angels of their nature so that, at the very least, we understand the idea of treating each other as we would want to be treated ourselves, than all this controversy and all of the explosive multi-media rhetoric will have not been in vain. That is my hope. That is my dream. That is what I have tried to do in my own life but, have, at times probably fallen short.

If I were in Chicago I would visit your church and find the inspiration I so desperately, all my life, have sought. Never falter and never fail to preach your golden rule of inclusiveness. That is what America is all about. That is why so many risk their lives to get here. I believe the torch which was lit over two hundred years ago still burns brightly. Now, however, hopefully, it lights the way for more.
A letter to Reverend Wright: I am a 59 year old white Jewish American and an ardent supporter of the State of Israel. I think the interview by Bill Moyers of Pastor Wright was a wonderful AND the speech that Rev. Wright delivered before the NAACP yesterday was more than wonderful it was riveting. His speeches moved me to tears on several occasions. He is an extraordinarily charismatic man. I kept thinking that maybe what Pastor Wright says is true. Good sometimes comes out of difficulty. This past month has been extraordinarily difficult for all of us, especially those in our culture who consider ourselves unashamedly Democrat and unabashedly liberal who are yearning albeit begging for change.

I hope that Rev. Wright's enunciations of fairness and justice will have an impact even on those in our society who not only have been deaf to the suffering of so many but those who have contributed to that suffering as well. If people can be moved in some small way to defeat the lesser angels of their nature so that, at the very least, we understand the idea of treating each other as we would want to be treated ourselves, than all this controversy and all of the explosive multi-media rhetoric will have not been in vain. That is my hope. That is my dream. That is what I have tried to do in my own life but, have, at times probably fallen short.

If I were in Chicago I would attend your church and find the inspiration I so desperately, all my life, have sought. Never falter and never fail to preach your golden rule of inclusiveness. That is what America is all about. That is why so many risk their lives to get here. I believe the torch which was lit over two hundred years ago still burns brightly. Now, however, it lights the way for more.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I read Todd Domke's op editorial about the two candidates gaffs and thought it was ridiculous so I sent a response.

Todd Domke in his Thursday, April 24 op ed opinion entitled "Rate those political goofs" made me angry. I looked at his alleged analysis of the two Democratic candidates on his so called supposed humorous "Gaffo-O-Meter. I wondered why there were no gaffs listed for McCain and only one for Bush. For example, I wondered why he did not rate McCain's blunder statement about the 100 years war in Iraq, McCain's ignorance of the historical reality of Iraq by not knowing the difference between Shia and Sunni not once but multiple times or McCain's admitted ignorance of things economic not to mention his many utterances of profanity and violence against his own Republican colleagues or even his utterly profane comments against his own wife when she asked an innocent question.

Listing the gaffs of the current president too would take a bound edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica to enumerate. The gaffs of team Bush are, as we all know, many and staggering. I'd like to rename Mr. Domke's Gaff-O-Meter to the GOP Gaff-O-Meter. Of course, as I read further in Mr. Domke's editorial I saw at the end it describes what he does. As stated, he is a "Boston-area Republican political analyst and public-relations strategist." Now I get it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Patriotism and Pennsylvania: It is clear to me that the vitriol spewed against this country by a Reverend Wright and others like him did and does exactly the opposite of what we on the left want. Anti-American rhetoric has spawned the likes of Nixon, the Moral Majority, the so called Reagan revolution, extreme religious fanaticism and, worst of all, to me, a George W. Bush. All of those years the left verbally assaulted this country, the Republicans became dedicated to equating patriotism with Republican politics and successfully lured the electorate to vote often against their own economic interest. In the end the majority of Americans, especially post 9/11, love their flag and flag pins and hate the desecrators of them.

I have always said a party and a candidate in this country that eschews those things, in my opinion, cannot get elected. Damning America or an association with that comment simply will not get what we on the left, however morally well-meaning, want. Unfortunately, it achieves quite the opposite.

Barak Obama must appear patriotic and must be a unifier. In my opinion, he should have absolutely done more to distance himself from Reverend Wright, said the pledge of alliance and he should have worn a flag pin at least at times. It would not have hurt and indeed might have helped to close the gap Senator Clinton achieved in Pennsylvania.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Profundity of Patriotism: Joan Vennochi's article "Obama's Patriotism" in Sunday's Globe was exactly correct. I have been saying the same thing about the American left in general for a long time. As a former sympathizer with the New Left of the late sixties, I was captivated by its hope for change and ultimately for the better, more just and more humane world it promised. For the first time then, too, because of the Left's fervent criticism of the Vietnam War, I absorbed the critical thinking about this country's foreign entanglements and, domestically, its racist past. It was a rude awakening then not to think of my country as historically exceptional.

As I aged though, I began to see the world in more grayish tones. It was clear to me that the vitriol spewed against this country did exactly the opposite of what I thought we on the left wanted. The burning of draft cards, the throwing away of war medals, the burning of the American flag did not usher in a more egalitarian society. To the contrary, it spawned Nixon, the Moral Majority, the so called Reagan revolution, extreme religious fanaticism and, worst of all, to me, a George W. Bush. All of those years the left verbally assaulted this country, the Republicans became dedicated to equating patriotism with Republican politics. In the end the majority of Americans, especially post 9/11, love their flag and flag pins and hate the desecrations of them.

A party and a candidate in this country that eschews those things, in my opinion, cannot get elected. Damning America or an association with that comment simply will not get what we on the left want. Unfortunately, it achieves quite the opposite.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

McCain's Madness: Finally a big news story appeared about John McCain's well known temper and obscene outbursts of anger. It is documented that he has said angry, cruel, and profane things to his wife, senate members, colleagues and even the public when they annoy him. If elected president, this man's hand will be on the nuclear button?

Since the media is so intent to focus on small gaffs that the Democratic candidates make why doesn't the press focus intently on McCain's more important issues like his temper, his all-too-cozy relationship with the corrupt and ultimately jailed Charles H. Keating, Jr., which threatened McCain's career and Senator McCain's peccadilloes with women not only his recent raised eyebrow relationship with a lobbyist but also his affair with a woman, now his wife, WHILE he was married to his first wife?

How about focusing on Senator McCain's playing footsie with a Reverend Hege who does not like Catholics or anyone who does not see Biblical interpretation as he does and worse wants to bomb the Middle East to create a Revelationist rapture? How about more talk surrounding McCain's visit to Liberty University to pay a social call on Jerry Falwell, a religious extremist who espoused vitriol and hate? McCain's relationship with THESE religious extremists is far more damaging than Obama's relationship with Reverend Wright. These religious extremists McCain courts have managed to weasel their way into the echelons of power creating an explosive brew and risk to our country. They make egregious comments which have absolutely no validity and yet a presidential candidate has decided to share a bed with them now that he perceived he needed them to get nominated. How about the media talking about that?

McCain has many sins. How about the media devoting equal time to pounding the American public over the head about them?

Friday, April 11, 2008

To Torture or Not -- Fundamental Questions :

This administration will always claim 9/11 as its rationale to do anything it wishes. My anger against them is harsh because I love the ideals of the Enlightenment upon which our prescient Founders formed our American experiment. I do, though, of course, want this country protected from harm in a post 9/11 world. I want to know if the extensions of executive power are keeping us safe. I do not know who our government is capturing, what their charges are, or what methods of "enhanced interrogation techniques" are being used. Because there is no habeas corpus for those apprehended, they languish in jail, without trial, many of them probably tortured for nothing. Some, it seems, if one believes documentaries such as "Taxi to the Dark Side", simply found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time and end up dead. I ask the question: is the abridging of the guarantees of habeas corpus, fair trial by jury, and prohibitions of cruel and unusual punishment justified?

If the government is throwing a dragnet over many who pose absolutely no real threat to anyone, that is problematic. It is a colossal waste of time, money and manpower to coordinate a Herculean effort to house people in jails without trial or without charges and to torture them forever. It has been shown that torture, indeed, does not work giving us faulty intelligence. In addition, it makes some who are subjected to this inhuman behavior very angry. So why torture? Our government has not shown sufficiently to me that because of these internationally unlawful tactics we are safer.

I want to know if there is justification for our government's controversial practices. The public is inured to the erosion of so many hard-won principles which have been the bedrock upon which western culture rests. Our nation's reputation in the world is severely compromised. Somehow I do not feel safer. Do you?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

This was a response to someone who commented on my blog. It's a stream of conscious so it's not that well written but it gets my thoughts and philosophy across.

I perused your blog rather quickly. I am true to my zodiac sign although I surely do not believe in astrology. I am, if I were to characterize myself, a true Libra. I weigh everything and look at things from different angles.

Having said that I consider myself on most issues a progressive. At times, I do support the WISE use of military action. I do not, however, believe in American exceptional ism. I think our country does things usually for its own interests and, has occasionally fought the noble war. I believe the noble wars driven by men of great wisdom and ideals were the Revolutionary War, perhaps the War of 1812, the Civil War and World War II. Wars post World War II, in my opinion, were sheer folly and have led to countless unnecessary deaths of thousands. This latest Iraq War has been a tragedy which is still playing its hand. The consequences could be catastrophic and already have been disastrous because we took our eye off the ball which was, of course, Al Quaeda in Afghanistan, the real perpetrators of 9/11.

The Iraq invasion and occupation has been prosecuted with phenomenally inept leadership and begun by sheer hubris. In my opinion, although I supported the war in the beginning because I did not know that the "facts" used to justify the war were lies, much to my constant embarrassment, this war rises to the level of a war crime. The stupidity of it is staggering. The preparation for it was non existent. Our soldiers were put at great risk and our nation has paid out soon to be trillions. Our blood and our treasure has been squanderd. Billions have been lost and unaccounted for. Unsupervised cronies such as KBR and Blackwater steal our money, perform abysmally and get away with anything they choose. I believe, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and others are war criminals.

Military conflict should be exercised ONLY when absolutely necessary and with great precision examining every angle and possible truth. Bush made up his own truth to fit a war.

I would never vote and never have voted Republican. I am an ardent Democrat. In my opinion, if you are not part of the top 10 percent in wealth then you have been duped by the Republican party to support a cause which is not in your interest. Patriotism is not only wrapped in symbols and phony utterances, it truly is a commitment to the ideals of those men of the Enlightenment who knew what it meant to curtail the power of government, who knew the risk of unbridled power and who, most especially, knew the dangers of a marriage of church and state. We have come a long way since that date but we have at least within the past few decades become lost. Bush II has been, in my opinion, an American tragedy and possibly the worst president in US history bar none.

I am hoping that the Democratic party will prevail this time and, although I was initially a Hillary Clinton supporter, I do support Obama because I believe he is the best possibility we have to utterly revamp American foreign policy and its constant penchant for war. I believe he can help change the course of this nation to one that cares about its own people and less about its own imperial power. I believe he can reintroduce to the world the America I knew and loved as a young child.

One thing I know no matter who wins, the inept, unqualified, corrupt, ludicrous, unconstitutional excuse for a leader George W. Bush or anyone like him will, hopefully, never darken the White House corridors again. He cannot shine the boots of the real giants of American history who, I believe, were Washington because he eschewed never ending power, Adams because he wrote our exemplary Constitution, Jefferson because he wrote the Declaration of Independence and expanded our country via the Louisiana Purchase, Lincoln and FDR for obvious reasons. These men truly saved our nation and made this country the envy of the world. Just my opinion.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

ABC News online carried a story about Bush's discussion he had with a reporter about his alcoholism and his quitting drinking. He said he was not a "walk on his knees" drunk but definitely had a problem. I reacted and posted an opinion:

It would have been good for 4000 plus dead Americans and thousands of wounded, for our nation and indeed the world if Bush had never quit drinking. He would not have been president and not have presided over the most corrupt, immoral and illegal administration in US history. Iraq never would have happened and the recession emanating from it would not have occurred. People would have their limbs who now have none and sight would be given back to those now blind. Iraq is Bush's war. It is Bush who will have to, as he puts it, "walk on his knees" to ask that higher power he talks about for forgiveness as only that power has the power to give.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Fitna a Fitting Film for our time: I watched both "Fitna" and the film clip of "Obsession" which speaks to Islamic religious fanaticism sent to me by a Globe columnist with whom I occasionally correspond. I attach the links below. The word chilling is an understatement. All those centuries of hard-fought-for values of the Enlightenment can be gone in a flash. I do often believe mankind is going backwards. We must sit up and take notice. Those of all political and religious persuasions should know our will is the only thing sitting between tyranny and a just free society. This is not a left wing or a right wing issue. This is not a Jewish, Christian or just simply an Islamic issue. It is an every wing and every man issue meant for all of us who love our ability to think, reason, and question all things at all times.

www.themoviefitna.com
www.obsessionthemovie.com