Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Magic of Moyers: How many times can Bill Moyers deliver the most excellent commentary on television? Friday's segment about the ties of big oil to the Iraq War was one of the best. One can so clearly see the i's dotted and t's are crossed. It is not surprising but it IS gut wrenching.

Bill Moyers made it ever so crystal clear. No WMD, no democracy, no freedom. Oil is it. The Iraq War was all for oil. Alan Greenspan said it in his book, Cheney and Wolfowitz said it way before 9/11 as the oil barons under cover and in secrecy met with the big guys on campus right in the White House. The Supreme Court upheld the secrecy of those meetings. Oil, said Rupert Murdoch, after Iraq was going to be twenty bucks a barrel. 4000 dead, thousands horrifically wounded, millions displaced, trillions spent -- 130 bucks a barrel later, a recession if not a depression looming the rationales for the Iraq War go down the toilet. We are suffering and our planet is suffocating.

I don't know how these guys sleep at night. They simply do not care. That is the nature of the American right wing or maybe any right wing. It's what they are all about. They just do not care about anything except money and power any way they can get it. If it means rolling over the Indian, carting human cargo in slave ships or bombing any country into oblivion some administration perceives as defeating American monied interests, they will do it. Perpetrating deception and lies is how they operate. Middle America and low income Evangelicals fight their battles and are duped into thinking Republicans and yes a few bought blue dog Democrats too support their cause. Then the robber barons laugh all the way to the bank as big money and big God walk hand in hand to get there. Maybe they are the ones that have it correct as they bestow their fortunes upon them from one generation to the next on the backs of our blood, sweat and tears. This time they win big IF they have a planet left to bestow!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The following is a response to my letter to the Metro West News of June 8, 2008 by a George Hickey. His letter appeared June 20, 2008. See:
My response is as follows:

I thank Mr. Hickey for his compliment and criticism of my letter in the June 8, 2008 edition of the MetroWest Daily News which was entitled 'Do We Dare Hope.' My letter supported Barak Obama's candidacy. I will address a few of Mr. Hickey's comments. First, yes, the stain of slavery has been 'lightened some' after over 300 years. Barak Obama still, however, has had to suffer insults and worse, threats to his person consistently. Moreover, African Americans everywhere suffer every day the slings and arrows of outrageous racism which stings and burns like the nooses of ropes which are still used to intimidate them. It has been an inch by inch crawl for a person of color to achieve that which the rest of us take for granted.

Second, I give no credit to George W. Bush for anything including as Mr. Hickey mentions 'keeping us safe.' As a matter of fact many experts with whom I concur believe that the responsibility for the attacks of September 11, 2001 belong squarely at the feet of George W. Bush. Who can forget Bush's flip response when he was told by the CIA that Bin Laden was 'determined to strike in US'. He crudely said 'All right now you have covered your ass' dismissing it and then he did nothing. In addition, many also believe that invading Iraq far from making us safer has, indeed, put us at risk by angering potential terrorists and empowering Iran.

Third, equating the eloquence of Barak Obama, a candidate for the presidency, with a Frank Sinatra or the movie 'The Notebook' is an incongruous non sequitur. I might equate Barak Obama's verbal inspiration with other presidents such as Lincoln or Roosevelt. Words mean something and give us reason to hope our historical reality could change for the better. Sinatra sung beautifully but I did not think he had the power to determine who shall live and who shall die.

As I write this response there have been, this week, dozens killed in Iraq including some US soldiers. It is folly to think because of this colossal foreign policy error that we are 'winning' or that we are somehow safer. Gore Vidal once said 'fighting terrorism is like fighting dandruff. It is impossible.' Continuing to blast, as war hero John McCain would, often innocent people into oblivion sending millions into exile has not made us safer. I submit, it has put us more at risk. I believe we need a new new deal. I will have the audacity to hope there is one.
The following is a reply to my Obama blog below. Below that is a reply by me.

Slavery existed for thousands of years and the cost is horrible. It is very sad reality that people have enslaved people on all the continents of the world. Slavery still exists in many countries today. Americans did not invent slavery but embraced it. And fortuantley we have outlawed it. Christians were slave in Rome. Jews were slaves in Egypt and the list goes on. It is a horrible thing and a horrible way to treat humans. And Africans had enslaved Africans even before the Europeans got involved. Europeans enslaved other Europeans. There was a serf system and that was slavery. Slavery existed all of the world. There is no excuse to treat people horribly or to force any humans into slavery. All humans deserve respect and love.

And I agree that we are all genetically the same. I believe that there is only one race. We are the human race. Our skin color has to do with how close or far from the equator our ancestors come from. It takes generations. The darker the pigment of the skin the more melanin to protect our skin from the sun. The lighter our skin the less protection. We have brown eyes, green, hazel eyes. Hair can be black, brown, blond or red. Some people have freckles some don't. Really no one is black or white. People have shades of brown from very dark to very pale and shades in between. So why make a big deal of the differences?
No two humans look exactly alike. We are all unique yet we are all similar, we need to respect each other and stop making a deal out of how people look. We need to let go of any grudges or anger we have and go forward and make the world a better place. We have to start with ourselves. Improve our own attitude and take care of our families and community and respect ourselves and our neighbors and all humans. We

My Reply to the reply:

I will briefly comment on your comment to my blog. I agree with you too. There has been slavery for as long as homo sapiens has existed on the planet. It is often quoted Biblically which probably indicates it existed over 5000 years ago as well.

What makes our slavery a bit more egregious, in my opinion, is that the nation itself was, of course, founded on an egalitarian principle. A dark man, though, was considered less than a man and was, therefore, not included in the sentiments of the nation's founding. Not until events leading up to the Civil War and many decades afterward was the black man included in our foundational documents. That is, as I see it, the stunning irregularity of the American experience and its most uncomfortable truth.

The candidacy of a Barak Obama is long overdue. All those who fought for that to happen have a right to their anger. I am angry too. It simply was not fair that this was so.

Many things are surely not fair. We must, though, play the ball where it lies. It is lying just short of the goalpost waiting for the votes to kick it through. Barak's candidacy is a HUGE step to that moment of glory. This time we will score a win for humanity -- for ALL humanity. The world is watching as victory awaits.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The ghost of race, the politics of hope:
The first African slaves were brought to this country at Jamestown, Virginia in 1619. The “peculiar institution” of slavery, as it was so often historically referred, gained steam by the mid 1700’s. It ultimately, of course, flourished until, the events leading up to and including our most human-life costly Civil War. Our country has been, even to this day, rent with and divided by the discord of race. Its costs have been huge.

Science through the discovery of the unarguable DNA tells us that we are one species, homo sapiens. The National Geographic Genographic Project yet again reaffirms all of us, each and every human on earth, has their etiology in one place -- Africa. We are, indeed, all related and science proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Still, undeniable proof of these facts is not enough. Four hundred years later, the ghosts of slavery and race continue to chain our conscience, plague our culture and enslave all of us so that still we truly cannot be free. The sands of change shift slowly. Since the first slave ship in 1619 unloaded its human cargo, much blood has been spilled, much controversy generated but much progress has been achieved. It has been a slow hard slog in order that a man so simply, as Dr. King eloquently said nearly forty-five years ago, would be judged not by the color of his skin but by the content of his character.

Who would have believed in 1619 or in modernity today that an African American man, Barak Obama, would seek and most possibly achieve the highest office in our land? The time for that is long overdue. The time is right. The time is now. The world waits with hope and so do I.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Politics of Pride: I have gone to Boston Pride for over two decades. This time it seemed like something was missing. Perhaps it is the fact that rights for homosexuals in Massachusetts have progressed so much that the fervor has gone out of Pride. I continue though, as in other years, to think the carnival-like atmosphere is tactically unwise. The visuals are often so gross and so, in my opinion, obscene, there are times I had to look away. I believe the profanity of Pride often goes overboard. Women with naked tops covered only by tattoos or pasties and men whose covering leaves nothing to the imagination are vulgar. Worse, it is politically inexpedient. Of course, I am an ardent believer in our First Amendment. I am not in any way advocating censorship. I would, though, unlikely as it may be, love to see some self restraint.

Groups that support gay right such as certain churches, Jewish groups, businesses, PFLAG, hospitals, nurses, doctors and others like them help dramatically. The overt anomic sex display, I believe, does not. We all know right wing extremists and religious fundamentalists come to various Prides and photograph only the bizarre, show it to their groups and say see this is what your children will be exposed to if you let them have their way or let the Democratic party rule. They instill fear. It serves their purpose but does not serve ours.

The lewd part of Pride is not representative of most and it does not, I think, help compatriots in other states secure what should rightfully be the benefits of everyone. It does quite the opposite. Pride has turned into, in many cases, a cheap carnival. Men from leather bars on floats with graphic movements and outlines of things many would rather not see turn a lot of potential allies off. The right to free expression is important but when that free expression impinges on the ability of a minority group to gain important survival rights and benefits from the much needed mainstream I can only hope political expediency takes precedent.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A DATE WITH DESTINY: Franklin Roosevelt talked about the Day of Infamy which was, of course, December 7, 1941, the attack on Pearl Harbor. This event galvanized a nation. Barak Obama and we the people have A DATE WITH DESTINY on January 20, 2009 as Barak Obama will be sworn in as this nation's 44th president to galvanize a nation once again.

It is inconceivable to me given the utter corruption, lies, failed policy and even treason which so many within the Republican party have committed that once again this nation could deliver itself into the uncaring arms of yet another chaotic and despotic rule. John McCain tells you he is for change but that is a ruse. He is not for change he is for more of the same. The Republican party has lied to such an extent and committed our country to such disastrously failed policies that, I believe, THEY BELIEVE their own lies to be true. $135.00 dollar a gallon oil is proof positive that a war which was supposed to have produced cheap oil did anything but and we the people are suffering its terrible consequences.

Alas, as Joseph Welch said to Joseph McCarthy during the Army/McCarthy hearings as Joseph McCarthy sought to ruin lives based on lies: "Have you no sense of decency sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?" I say the same thing to Senator McCain. At long last, sir have you no sense of decency? Have you not the decency to admit your party is rife with corruption, saturated with lies and you cannot and will not break away from that course. The lies of Senator McCain's party and its corruptions have cost this nation dearly in lives and treasure. John McCain acquiesced to it all. We MUST have a DATE WITH DESTINY to reverse this disastrous course, to change policy and to make Barak Obama our 44th President of the United States. Our hour and our date with destiny is now. YES WE CAN, YES WE WILL AND YES WE MUST!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Do I Dare Hope?: So many times Barak Obama has moved me to tears through his verbal eloquence. So many times I wondered in comparison to the uninspiring opposition, how Obama can lose. I need look to a grain in the sands of yesteryear’s time to see how. The brilliance of our Founders extraordinary experiment over two centuries ago to hammer out a more just political process, despite the nation’s obvious inequities, cannot be denied. Will, though, the seemingly indelible, indefatigable and haunting historical stain of slavery still not be washed clean?

At our country’s most perilous moments, great leaders have emerged. Washington, arguably the greatest of our presidents, for our nascent nation, chose not to claim the mantle of monarchy. Lincoln was determined, by any means necessary, to keep the nation united despite its intractable differences over slavery and its legal underpinning of “states rights.” When the Great Depression enveloped our land and the cacophonous discords of war in Europe could be heard, Franklin Roosevelt breathed into us new national life with his melodious tones of hope and faith in our country that encouraged us to prevail.

Now, in our own time, we face, perhaps, an equally dangerous shift in the historical sands. Our nation desperately needs hope, it needs unity and it needs to chart a new course. A new leader in the Democratic party now can give us this new course to chart to ensure our nation survives to see a new day. Do I dare have the audacity to hope?