Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Another Cross of Gold: The similes and metaphors of the deception in this decade and its politics are astounding as a relative of mine illuminated to me. From the balloon boy, Tiger Woods, and the Salahis to Iraq and to heath care, the recipients of that deceit are we the people and the change that is needed is systemic and all encompassing. That our oligarchic form of government is failing us cannot be disputed. Howard Zinn, professor of history at Boston University, says change comes from the bottom up. I think, at times, he is delusional to think we the people have the power to perfect that kind of change. Change, if it comes at all, is incremental measured in inches one century at a time. Revolutions in histories past often replace one tyranny with another, the hope dies and the populous is left in stuporous resignation to their repetitive fate.

I feel the next generation will have to perform the wizardry needed to redo our bleak house. Indeed, Dicken’s “Bleak House” captures the futile essence of it all. My politically aware life has been spent fighting causes. We and like-minded allies fought on college campuses the murderous anti-Communist hysteria with its trumped-up enemies duping the powerless to do the corporate bidding trading in their lives and lives of a million innocents so that others could make bundles of cash. Again, in this time, we fight in Iraq for oil, revenge and pure greed while people burn along with our planet from the filthy oil that makes a few inordinately filthy rich. The list is infinite as we trade in the people’s lives so that insurance companies can make their crosses of gold.

We have reaped the history and policies we have sewn and still want to know why other nations hate us. It is not our freedom they hate but our invasive policies which make the few obscenely rich at the expense of the many while the policy-makers’ lives are sheltered behind closed doors which see no light or blood on the many battlefields. Health care is no exception to this rule.

Obama, who really held out some hope for me, seems to be, at least initially, succumbing to the weight of the corrupt blocks of stone that are placed on his shoulders attempting to crush him like the block of stones in Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” used unjustly to kill the innocent. Maybe even my hero FDR could not have endured its fury. This is a different global age and the culture of corruption is everywhere. The vastness of it stretches far beyond the boundaries of this country. Our fate and corruption are tied to other nations’ corruption as the Kharzi Afghanistan regime we are propping up is exemplar supreme. The press who often exposes this corruption sometimes is in bed with it. So where can the people turn? I can only hope there are a few ethical ones left and they will continue as Anderson Cooper says “Keeping them Honest”.

Robert Frost: “The woods are lovely dark and deep but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep and miles to go before I sleep.” I feel, though, my energy waning and my sleep approaching all too quickly and I see promises which we may never keep. I face the harsh reality that my generation cannot do it all and, soon, the battle will be left to the next generation to fight.

Still, one has to reflect on our history, how far we have come and the human rights we have achieved. It gives me hope while it makes me see the thoughts we could do it all in 1968 were born out of the naive innocence of youth. The fight for a more just and honest world will, as long as we are not catapulted from this planet, go on even when I have long vanished returning to the earth from whence it all began.

I hope for a better year. Although my expectations are dimmed the fight continues. Happy, healthy New Year and a better year for our nation!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Not a Zero in Life: John Skoyles wrote a beautiful editorial (Boston Globe, Monday, December 21, 2009 link below) entitled “Pawing her way into my heart.” My heart ached and I cried at the end of it for the little bull dog runt-of-the-litter pup Mr. Skoyles embraced despite the blindness and other severe orthopedic disabilities with which the dog named Zero, was born. She could not see and barely walk but she tried and he stuck with her until the dog’s body couldn’t suffer anymore.

I could relate to orthopedic disability being a polio victim since age five. Now at 61, paralysis plus the cursed reality of aging, severely compounds my ability to do what I always wanted to since a child – dance, run, skate and ski. I marvel at the birds whose mighty wings catapult them to places about which I can only dream and envy my cats whose run is like a prance of lithe beauty with swift speed climbing trees and, best of all, they never seem to fall. How I wished and still do I could dance, run, skate, ski and most especially never fall.

The end of the article, though, touched me the most. John Skoyles says of his deformed and pain-plagued runt-of-the-litter bulldog named Zero“I could only think she never seemed meant for this world, and I recalled the hunchback’s words when he hugged the gargoyle along the ledge of the cathedral, ‘why was I not made of stone, like thee’?” I can relate to the harshness of life with its physical pain when one wishes, at times, to be even an inanimate object rather then face the pain a body not of one’s choosing can inflict.

Zero may have been the little pup’s name because of a white zero-like tuft of hair on her back. She was, however, anything but a zero in life despite the short one she lived.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A response to a blog about Santa -- The Health Care Sleigh Ride:

Yes, when Virginia grows up she will have a RUDE awakening. Things ain’t (pardon the colloquialism) what she was taught they were. One premise with which I take issue is that our country was founded upon great principles of freedom and equality. I do not think it was exactly so. Without the discussion of the inherent inequalities of slavery which the country had from its inception as a colony of Britain, the revolution was initially manifested because of a tax on tea. The initial spark was about money. The Bill of Rights ensuring our freedoms was an afterthought inserted as the first ten Amendments to the Constitution some ten years later when radicals within the revolutionary movement demanded something be written within it to guarantee a check on the power of government.

Moreover, our country was founded by men of privilege and class who changed the Constitution after the Declaration of Independence was written (which said people have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness) to people have a right to life, liberty and PROPERTY. That was an important change. It attached an importance of property that has remained to this day even within our attempts to create a more just nation. I do believe that that very concept of the importance of property and money made it possible for a corporation to be accorded the same rights as a person when in the 1886 case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, during the presidency of Grover Cleveland, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a private corporation is a person and entitled to the same legal rights and protections the Constitution grants to an individual. We all know what that did. Our entire government is controlled now by the corporation at the expense of the individual person’s rights simply because it has the wealth that the average person does not possess to essentially buy the government it wants.

Our present wholly watered down so called health care bill proves that point. The little guy of no pecuniary standing will ultimately have to pay huge amounts of money he cannot afford to the health care industries because Congress, the presidency and the political parties receive hundreds of MILLIONS of dollars from the insurance, health care and pharmaceutical industry and the bill without a public option will mandate coverage. The corporation and the state are now inextricably bound to each other and nearly impossible to untangle. The state is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the corporation.

Virginia will have to learn if she is not among the fortunate to have been born into wealth OR with the brains to acquire that wealth in this country she will be out of luck and even perhaps out on the street! Yes, Virginia there may be a Santa Claus for one day but the other 364 days belong to Wall Street.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Maybe I'll offer one other excuse for the president. He just does NOT know how to govern. He does NOT know enough as to how to do that, how to wield power and how to threaten those who will NOT tow his former liberal line. I don't get it, I may never know.
The Batty Beck: Glenn Beck presents, by far, the most insane and ridiculous inanity of any contemporary “news commentator” on the planet. He is, though, not the most frightening political phenomenon of our day. The most frightening phenomenon is that anyone with a brain could buy into his money gushing idiocy. He is no question capitalizing on the historically systemic white racism that exists in the country. One has only to look at signs so called “tea baggers” proudly carry at their events. This rancid racism has persisted in different forms for over 300 years and has not been completely eradicated even today. It shows its ugliness from Glenn Beck to Limbaugh and worse. The most frightening thing about it is that a nationalist fascist-like militarist movement is sitting as a cobra waiting for right moment to strike and unleash its venom intending toward, of course, a takeover of the power structure of the United States government.

I am hoping that this is not representative of most of the people in this country. There are many here who are much more intelligent than the cerebrally challenged and intellectually unsophisticated minions of Glenn Beck. I hope I am correct. Nothing less than the liberating fruits of the Enlightenment which took hundreds of years to cultivate are at stake. The Enlightenment, which our Founders knew, brought a science-denying violent barbarian from the darkness of irrationality and superstition into the sunlight of reason, truth and social advancement. This is in danger of subversion by right wing extremist movements which are the opposite of the very freedom and patriotism they claim to espouse.

I won't believe that will occur until I see it. I am seeing, though, disturbing images that say to me this nationalistic militarism hovers in the primitive arena of man’s limbic brain and within the muddy archeological muck of a distorted philosophical layer of some. I am hoping it lies deeply dormant and will not rise at the perfect moment to pose a threat overthrowing the ideational underpinning of our government as we know it.

Make no mistake, it is every bit as threatening as Islamic fundamentalism and maybe even more so because it occupies a place as a recessive gene within the chromosomal DNA of American politics. Now, it legitimizes itself in the tea bag and other right wing movements which Republican politicos are more than happy to milk for all the power and every penny they can.

Be afraid of that be very afraid!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Glen Greenwald a historian's historian: Here is another analysis as Obama’s polls are falling like a rock among his base (including me). Glen Greenwald gave a FANTASTIC analysis and even appeared on David Shuster’s MSNBC this afternoon. This may be even more explanatory as to just what is going on or NOT going on in the Obama White House. It hurt me to read it but Greenwald is one of the best historians and news analysts I have ever read. I urge you to read the following and pass it on. If any change is to happen it must happen at the grass roots level and we should put Obama’s feet to the fire. He has, in my opinion, abrogated his responsibility and down right lied to us. He has betrayed his sacred trust as every other politician has done since the beginning of time. I THOUGHT he was different. Wrong again. Here is the link:

A suggestion: If Barack Obama continues to be this disappointing and downright mendacious to his own base we have the right to run opposition in the Democratic primary in 2012. Obviously, we should not jump the gun but rather remain vigilent and never forget we have this option. If he continues as he has I would want to see someone truly progressive defeat him.
The Powerless Power: I must be true to what I have thought for quite some time. There is SOMETHING missing in our president. He was beloved by the world and by me, initially, but he is NOT now what I thought he was. There is something that is vacant in him which I saw during Oprah’s Christmas interview. There is a coldness maybe some say aloofness but I am not so sure it is that. I believe it is something deeper. I perceive a controlled anger that, perhaps, if you can suffer some armchair psychology, has as its etiology his childhood and festers in him as a half black man whose father was absent. There is SOMETHING about him that is absent that a successful president should have but seems to be missing in him. He does not give me a sense of power or control that, for example, a Jack Kennedy or certainly LBJ and FDR had. He has charisma as the first African American president and he gives a wonderful speech but on an interpersonal level it appears to me he does not manifest the necessary ability to wield the immense power he has been given and is inherent in the presidency complemented most especially by a Democratic Congress.

I say, the white guy powers are steam rolling over him. Whether it’s the bank CEO’s three of whom including Blankfein of Goldman Sachs did not show up for the presidential meeting allegedly because of fog an apt metaphor or the generals in the ramp up of the war in Afghanistan which is slated to cost ultimately trillions not to mention the human cost in blood I believe he cannot stand up to power. At this ever so critical moment in history I am seeing a president who caves in the face of it. I am fearful. Today, Iran launched a test which could carry a nuclear warhead missile which could reach Israel and parts of Europe. This is a serious time and requires a president of IMMENSE power and the ability to use it presciently and masterfully as FDR knew how to do. I am NOT seeing that in this president.

I suspect the CEO’s left laughing when the President politely asked them to loan to small businesses. Oh sure, yes Mr. President, sure will, Mr. President, in a pig’s petuti, Mr. President. I think he cannot stand up to power especially white power and the white men know it. I truly think there is an issue with who he is and his blackness is a part of that. He’s trying like hell to fit into the white guys club by a pathological appeasement of a Republican foe who wants no part of him and kicks dirt in his face at every opportunity. Even African Americans are showing a disappointment in him as an article in, I think, Huffington Post today said.

Something is missing in Barack Obama and health care is merely a symptom and a reflection of it. Health care passed with a strong public option should have been successfully completed by now but the President waivers and equivocates to appease the conservatives. The conservatives should be appeasing US. I would like to see more Malcolm X in him than MLK. The ONLY way one fights power is by any means necessary and he simply is either too inexperienced or psychologically unable to do it. I believe he is less at ease with who he is than one might think but does a fantastic job of masking it and making us think the emperor is wearing clothes when it is clear he is not.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

As a Jew I am disgusted. As an American I am simply sick. How Joe Lieberman, a pious Jewish man, could have sold us the American people, out is beyond anything I can fathom. He sold us out on something even HE advocated for as little as three months ago and even more strongly when he ran for vice president. He has been for universal health care all his political career EXCEPT now when we need him the most. Why? The blogs say he is angry at the weak support which was accorded to him by Democrats in 2004 and even angrier at his loss in the Democratic primary to Lamont in 2006 when he decided to do an end run around his party, managed to bamboozle the Connecticut people and get elected as an Independent. Understandable BUT that is about HIM this is about us. This is about lives our lives not his. He will have health care but SO many of us will not.

With the prodding of Rahm Emanuel, the President's front man and a pious Jewish person himself, we the American people are getting the rawest deal we have ever gotten in American politics bar none. The president's leadership abilities to me, a huge supporter, are SERIOUSLY in question. I am sad, depressed, and demoralized that he has betrayed all of us who were behind a huge movement to get him elected. Once we did, one by one he betrayed us on many issues but this is the epitome of madness. We should all be devastated.

All those politicians' words who went on to the progressive talk shows who sounded so upbeat and so positive are empty promises they mean nothing. To have one man, Joe Lieberman, a religious man, derail and subvert the destinies nay the very LIVES of millions is beyond anything I can fathom or words I can use to voice my fury and emotional destruction. It is a sad day, a very sad day and an even sadder day for the American who needs health care so desperately but will not be able to afford it even now with a Senate of sixty votes. Some no many will die because of this. I am simply disgusted and ever so depressed. If THEY are not for us who will be and if not now when?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

If you get a chance to see it I suggest you view Bill Moyers "Pushing a People's Agenda" which included in the second half a discussion with Howard Zinn, a leftist professor of history at Boston University with whom I have been acquainted and who influenced me immeasurably in the late 1960's. They rebroadcast this discussion on PBS OR you can Google it and see it online.

Moreover, on the History Channel Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. (I think) there will a program entitled "The People Speak" and will include selections from Zinn's collection of voices of poets and writers from the American past performed by actors including Marissa Tomei, Matt Damon and many others. From the trailers I have viewed it appears it is extraordinarily inspirational as it reflects Zinn's view that social change is made from the bottom up by average people doing extraordinary things.

I wrote the following on the Moyers blog about this segment:

I am 61 and have known Howard Zinn nearly all of my adult life although he has not known me except in present day via email. I was a student at Boston Univ. in the late 60's and had the occasion to be involved in student protests and to have been fortunate to hear lectures of Prof. Zinn at that time protesting the Vietnam War.

I adored him and still do. I have read much of his "People's History" and his views of our government surely shed new light on some egregious, nefarious and destructive-to-human-life our government, in our name, has perpetrated. He opened up a world of thought to me which remained unknown certainly within the structure of a public school system which never told the flip side of the story. History nearly always is written by the victors and at that time the US, in my naive and innocent mind, was victorious (and good ... nay exceptional) in everything it did. So many told me that fact.

After hitting the steps of Boston Univ. in the late 60's, hearing Howard Zinn, Murray Levin, Edgar Bottome and others I swiftly did a cerebral about face concerning US history. Still, during the many years I have had to think about events, age brings a jaded cynicism as to just how much progressives can change a quagmire and how much can I do to affect that change within my lifetime. I began to question who is correct in their world view the left or the right. Perhaps, is it really somewhere in between.

I would love to have asked Prof. Zinn more questions. Does he really believe the basic nature of man is non violent? Does he really think no matter how non violent a society we could be there would not be another nation state somewhere at some time who would want to attack us? Negotiations with such a state would be fruitless and that if we did not strike first another country would.

Obama said that the United States has underwritten, like an insurance policy, the security of the world. Professor Zinn surely does not believe that. I suspect he believes quite the opposite. I would have liked Bill Moyers to have put some tougher questions to Professor Zinn the kind of questions we, who call ourselves progressives, have to answer when confronting the opposition every time we express an opinion.

Mr. Moyers came close when he talked about Palin as a populist and Prof. Zinn said yes she had some elements of that but she was militaristic. I wanted Moyers to follow up on that. I would like to know from Professor Zinn how threatening the populist tea bag movement, who loves Sarah Palin, is to the other populists or progressives of my ilk who would lock horns in mortal combat with Palin's populism if it came to that extreme.

How much civil disobedience is possible and how much will be tolerated? What if during the protests we meet up with various gun loving, god fearing, gay loathing populists who do not like our message and who would be stronger them or us?

There is a split, as I see it, in this country. Both the left AND the right hate what Washington is about and yet the left and the right hate each other possibly even more than they hate the nature of Washington DC itself.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Does Death Exist? New Theory says No.: I urge you to read a very interesting article written by Robert Lanza, M.D. entitled Does Death Exist? New Theory says No. It has a rather unique perspective in that it refers to quantum physics and its hypothesis of parallel universes which transcend time and space. It also says that matter can neither be created nor destroyed negating the reality of death as our human minds know it. Yes, it is a bit esoterically obtuse but nonetheless fascinating to contemplate. It is done so in the world of physics all the time but most of us know little of that. Here is the link:

I have heard of parallel universes and watched a Science Channel documentary about quantum physics which dealt with the concept. I found this article endlessly interesting since, of course, being human I have thought about, been scared of and would do anything to avoid my own death. Except I know the time will come when one cannot, no matter how much tofu one eats, how many chips one avoids or how many miles on the treadmill one can run we will not be able to avoid the unavoidable or will we?

I believe, at some point I will cease to be. That is difficult for me to conceptualize. Is it possible that I will not hear or see what my brain sees and hears now? Worse is it possible I will not see ever again those I love, or another news broadcast or not know what happens in the Middle East with Israel and Palestine or know if the glaciers melt or if humans adequately adapt to global warming and even worse, will I not know ultimately if a Democrat will lose the White House? (Well, maybe I do not want to know that!) As much as it is inconceivable that I will probably not know the answer to some or all of those questions death will be something, I believe, I simply will not be able to avoid and that there is nothing else beyond it. Or is there?

When I was a student I took ancient history and stupidly, in my naïveté, thought those people did not apply to me. That was then and this is now. They, of course, apply to me because I will be like they and there is nothing I can do about it. It is life's conundrum. I envy my 19 year old cat who I am very sure has no idea she will, sooner rather than later, cease to be. Only Homo Sapiens is, sometimes unenviably, bestowed the understanding of that which is hard to understand – our own death. At the same time because we know that we also can appreciate its opposite – life, the beauty and wonder of it all the understanding of which seems to have been bestowed only upon us. So how can we just let it go? Maybe we do not have to.

This article, if I understand it correctly, is saying “death does not exist in a timeless, spaceless world.” The article goes on to say “immortality doesn't mean a perpetual existence in time without end, but rather resides outside of time altogether" and death can never be because matter is neither created nor destroyed. It says, I think, that when we die we will also live too and that because of parallel universes what we experience now lives somewhere else in another dimension. This is a positive contemplation. There is hope my energy will never die.

Still, will I know that? That is the question, indeed. Personally, I suspect not although I am open to other scientific hypotheses. I say, as I always do, prove it. Until then I suspect this is all there is that I will be able to understand and we should appreciate the beauty, stop killing one another, and honor the life, for however long it is that some energy somewhere has bestowed it upon us. We can always hope, though, in some parallel universe we will experience existence in another form once again.

Monday, December 07, 2009

A Minuet with the Minaret: Ross Duthart of The NYT wrote an opinion "Europe's Minaret Moment" (Link Below) to which I responded.

What a conundrum: to keep or not to keep minarets in Switzerland. Can't we all just get along? Apparently not. Mankind has been going at each other since he came down from the trees and probably even before then. It's one thing to fight over food, small swathes of territory or mates and it's quite another to fight over religion, cultural ideologies and power, with huge pieces of geography in play not to mention the possible threats of nuclear war or the acquisition of WMD's. The stakes are certainly higher than in Australopithecus Boise's day.

The events of 9/11 and George Bush's destabilization of the Middle East hardened Islamic resolve across the globe. It now walks hand-in-hand with the U.S.'s utterly failed economic con games and has catapulted not just the US but the entire globe into a threat which need not have existed IF the powers-that-be AFTER 9/11 played their hands right. They surely did not. They created a catastrophe initiated by Iraq helped in no small part by a stupid, unquestioning and derelict-in-its-duty media including the prestigious New York Times.

Islamic rebellion is now a global problem. Europe who needed the labor of immigrants and who wanted to purge themselves of guilt for their own sorry treatment of the "other" now reaps what they have sewn. The Europe that gave us the glorious Enlightenment is threatened and the US is leading the charge against the threat with more attacks through its Afghanistan surge. It has its own horrific Christian fundamentalism with which to contend as more and more of the power brokers seek to cozy up to their religious fanatical base. It is a poisonous brew.

One can only HOPE that more rational thought prevails in BOTH the Islamic and Judo-Christian world. I THOUGHT Obama would be the conduit to do just that. I thought he would give us hope by fundamentally changing US policy on a myriad of fronts. It appears in many ways he is mirroring his presidential predecessors. Admittedly, he was handed a can of rancid policy botulism. Still, he could do so much. Instead, he appears to be acting in the same old way listening to the same old folly of generals who are leading him and us into yet another abysmal trap to what end I have not the foggiest idea. I hope I am consummately wrong because the dance of the Minuet with the Minarets of Europe will pale in comparison to the threat of the all out war with its attendant nuclear peril the clash of cultures and civilizations could certainly bring!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

To Go or Not to Go to the Jersey Boys That is the Question: In response to Betsy Hart’s December 5, 2009 Metro West Daily News editorial about her dilemma in taking her children to see The Jersey Boys because of its profanity I have some thoughts.

I absolutely want to see The Jersey Boys. The vulgarity of it, however, is the part of the cultural shift beginning in the late 60's that bothers me. Nothing is verboten and when nothing is verboten most EVERYTHING is permissible including not only a profanity of language but a violence of behavior. Things I would not have dreamed to have said to my parents are said by some of my acquaintances' children today with no hesitation. Worse they get away with it. It's the culture the adults say. What can you do? Well, if I had a child I know what I would do if disrespectful language were said to me. I have no children so I cannot fathom whether I would take mine to see The Jersey Boys or not. But I do believe, as the cultural raconteur Steve Allen once said, vulgarians are at our gate and have been for a long time.

I always thought if I had had children my home would be a vulgarity free zone. I thought, too, I would have introduced them to life by reading, reading and more reading. I would have showed them the great masters of classic literature, listened to classical music and made frequent trips to science and art museums. It is easy when one has no children to think of the perfect scenario. Unfortunately, it does not always work out the way one wants and at some point in time children, I suppose, must emerge from the domestic cocoon.

Yes, I have used profanity and yes I love some of the utterly necessary changes in culture of the late sixties which took place so that people could finally breathe free and not feel oppressed, suppressed and repressed. It is the dialogue between people, the illiteracy and ignorance of so many that to me is disheartening. One can hear public vulgarity used by even children to each other, who, in times past, never would have said such things in private much less in public. These relaxed attitudes of speech are reflected in how people dress or lack of it, modesty or lack of that, the high rate of divorce, and sexual promiscuity which allows for the higher transmission of disease, unwanted pregnancy, mothers who are children themselves and a generally unpleasant so often violent milieu. It takes a toll on all of us and even extends to the marketplace. On Wall Street anything and everything CERTAINLY was permitted which introduced a gilded age the excesses of which led to unparalleled greed resulting in the near catastrophic collapse of a global economy, and an economic system which became unhinged with all of its attendant social pathology.

The human animal needs structure, it needs a stable and loving home and most of all it need limits. Would I want to go back to the fifties when SO much was denied, and so many were unhappy and even suicidal but could not talk about it? No, absolutely not. However, I do wish there were some way to put that part of the liberated genie which has created such vulgarity, excessive greed, and an extremely angry divided country, back into the bottle. As an adult though, I still, hope to see The Jersey Boys.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Audacity of Hope: I do not know as of 6:00 p.m. December 1, 2009 what Barack Obama is planning for Afghanistan. All signs point to a 35,000 or so troop escalation supposedly with caveats and boundaries for exit. I am worried. The President courts disaster and he courts a schism within his own party. Is he strong and right enough to hold us together? I do not know. Many Americans stand to die and many Afghans among the innocent will die as well. That is a given. In war many things can go wrong and often do. It is delusional to think otherwise.

There have been some decisions the President has made I clearly do not understand. This is one of them as it seems to go against what he stood for in the Senate. I am hoping he knows what he is doing and trusting he does. This one may be the most important decision of his presidency and, in fact, a second term could rise or fall on the success of it.

If one uses the yardstick of history in this particular country, Afghanistan, is probably the worst place besides Mt. Everest or Russia in winter to wage war. The conditions are brutal and our forces are stretched thin. Afghanistan has been the graveyard of other powers at other times. The stakes are high; as high as they have ever been. The die is cast. Our way of life, our economic life, and even our physical security depend on the success of this very risky venture. Quagmire is not an option.

Beyond knowing that there is not much I can do except harbor the audacity to hope that in the end it will have been worth it and those who live now, if they die, will not have died in vain.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A New Psychological Malady: World Anxiety Disorder -- the Remedy? A Paradigm Shift: As if the world could not get any more precarious and anxiety ridden, follow closely the MSNBC news story "DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Dubai's main stock exchange dropped more than 7 percent and Abu Dhabi markets slid more than 8 percent on the first day of trading in the United Arab Emirates since officials went public that conglomerate Dubai World was struggling with its $60 billion in debts." This is completely worrisome for the entire globe. If that part of the world sneezes it makes me want to hide under the covers. It goes on to state: "The drop eclipsed the declines seen in world markets last week after Dubai officials on Wednesday announced that Dubai World, the emirate's chief investment and development engine for years, would seek a six-month delay in paying creditors. The news stoked fears that the conglomerate — and the emirate's — debt woes could be a symptom of broader financial instability elsewhere in a still fragile world economy."

This in tandem with a trillion other variables makes the Afghanistan decision loom in importance.

Moreover, in Uruguay a very left of center candidate won the election. His name is Mujica. Who cares about Uruguay? We should. It's in our own back yard and is another thermometer for where that part of the world with Venezuela (oil) and Cuba could lean ALTHOUGH Mujica seems like a different left wing variety as he claims to eschew the typical blabber of the left AND the right. He is very popular now. It can be a yardstick for how many South American countries will be vociferous and active against right wing dictatorships in that part of the world as we historically have just loved them.

We need, in my opinion, of course, a paradigm shift of values as a lot of handwriting is on a lot of walls. Our historical policies have often come back to seriously bite us as there are things we cannot control. We need to take note of the various canaries in various coal mines.

Again, Obama's greatest legacy, in my opinion, COULD be this paradigm shift of values taking great care as to the nature of the regimes across the world with whom we bed down.
The cause of 9/11?: Some historians have said that US misadventures in the Middle East have sewn the seeds of destruction. For example, and there are many of them, the US rid Iran of Mosadeq, a democratically elected leader because he wanted to nationalize Iranian oil and the US put the Shah in as his replacement. He was hated and overthrown hence the Ayatola Khomnei and radical Islam a true adversary and threat.

There are many instances of the US propping up corrupt governments such as Pakistan's Musharaf because that part of the world has our and everyone else's life blood...oil. We have bobbed and weaved a curious pattern. Some have suggested that 9/11 was a reaction to that i.e. an anger simmering for decades. It is a precarious balance of power and without being directly involved in state department politics it is hard to assess the true realities. I simply, often, admittedly do not know.

I am now reassessing my own opinion. In one of my opinions I talk about a path not taken which is sometimes irremediable. I do not know if this country MUST do what I think the President is going to tell us it must. I do not now really know. The President is entrusted with the awesome task of protecting the country which means all of our lives. I want to hear, of course, what he says Tuesday night addressing this life and death policy issue. I would not want to stand in his shoes and have such dominion over who shall live and who shall not.

Perhaps, there is no other way of protecting this nation AND MOST IMPORTANTLY the nuclear arms of Pakistan. THAT is the true worry as I see it. If the Taliban were to take over Afghanistan again they could have access to Pakistan's nukes as Pakistan is utterly fragmented since Musharaf stepped down, Bhutto was assassinated and her husband Zadari took over but is steeped in legal trouble.

It's a mess, upon a mess upon a mess which is why General Colin Powell said if you break it (meaning Iraq) you own it. The invasion of Iraq has destabilized the entire region. I suspect the President wants to keep a lid on a potential Vesuvian eruption in Pakistan and also keep Afghanistan from harboring Al Qaeda training grounds once again.

Monday morning quarterbacking is easy but I do it anyway. If I had the power to turn back the clock I would never want Iraq invaded as they posed a buffer power which hated Iran. I would as we almost did get bin laden in Tora Bora...we had him and it was stopped. Why? My suspicion based on no known fact is that Iraq was Bush's baby and he wanted it at all costs. Why again? There are many theories but suffice it to say he did.

Right in the beginning of the invasion of Afghanistan we rid it of the Taliban and had Bin Laden cornered in Tora Bora. Then he hid in the torturous region between Pakistan and Afghanistan. That ball was dropped to invade Iraq. To say that was bad policy is an understatement but what to do when we have to play the ball where it lies is the hardest decision of all.

Sometimes, existentially, there truly is no way out.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

War -- the Exception to American Exceptionalism: This is a response I sent to a relative who has a blog. It was a blog in which she stated our values must change so national health care can be a reality and so money is not wasted on our huge military. It was a very good blog. I sent the following response to her. It is not as well written as I would have liked but it gets, I think, the point across.:

What you say has truth and validity. I THOUGHT I was getting that with our president. I thought I was getting VALUES, human values and not just platitudes or speeches well delivered. I THOUGHT I was getting health reform and that the public option was imperative; couldn’t be health care without it. That’s what I thought I was getting.

The word on the street is that our president is committing 36 thousand more troops to Afghanistan. No shock he said Afghanistan was so much more important than Iraq. It was. Emphasis on WAS. Will that be enough? No OF COURSE NOT.. so then it will be 20 more thousand troops, will that be enough of COURSE NOT then it’s 40 thousand more troops until he hands off to the next administration if he does not win 2012 (which he may, in fact, not win unless Republicans stay divided as we hope they do) an Afghanistan of probably well over 100,000 troops. Sound eerily Vietnamish familiar? You BETCHA it does. How much will this cost until it stops IF it stops? Answer: TRILLIONS. If you ask an “average” American what he/she would want more health care or WINNING war I am so certain that the popular answer would be WINNING war IF honesty prevailed.

This country LOVES to win war. They don’t like to lose war or sustain casualties or look at flag draped caskets or look at the slaughter of innocents from our bunker busting bombs but they LOVE WINNING WAR. As long as the powers that be (Obama included) tell them that war is winnable, a light at the tunnel can be seen and it is oh so necessary and cannot be done ANY other way … NO PROBLEM here’s more money for more troops and more war. Congress worries about being labeled unpatriotic don’tcha know. Face it despite the shining city on the hill BS that we are fed from birth, despite the bull pucky of American exceptionalism, the true reason we go to war is why? Because we like it!

How many wars since WWII have we been involved? When you know this you will know why a public option will NEVER pass. We love war MORE MUCH MORE than we love healing our sick and our poor. It’s really as simple as that. Values? What values? At the risk of vulgarity: Values other than the value of more war is a load of horse sh*% . Here are the numbers of wars our country has been in since WWII:

Second World War (1941-1945)
Korean War (1950-1953)
Lebanon crisis (1958)
Bay of Pigs Invasion (1961)
Dominican Intervention (1965)
Vietnam War (1957-1975)
Operation Eagle Claw (1980)
Grenada Conflict (1983)
Beirut Confict (1982-1984)
Panama Invaison (1989)
Persian Gulf War (1990-1991)
Somolia: Operation Restore Hope (1992-1993)
Kosovo War (1996-1999)
Yugoslavia Conflict (1999)
War on Terrorism (2001–present)
War in Afghanistan (2001-present)
Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines (2002)
Liberia peacekeeping (2003)
Iraq War (2003-present)

The list prior to WWII is too huge to post here but you can go to the link below to find the answer to that. It MAY… I say MAY astound you. Change our values? What are you smoking?

Monday, November 23, 2009

I wrote to Neil Swidey in response to his article in the Boston Sunday Globe Magazine entitled "Where's the poetry, Mr. President?"

I have VERY mixed emotions about Obama so far. The glow has gone out of his presidency, in my opinion. I do NOT like what I am seeing and I am sorely disappointed on many fronts. Time will tell as to how inspiring his presidency will be and how historians will view it. It is surely better than the alternative but, sadly, I think I will never see what I have always wanted to see and what my parents did see -- an FDR (flaws and all). Here is what I wrote.

Mr. Swidey: I agree with your article in the Sunday, Nov. 22 Globe Magazine. I have been an ardent Obama supporter. I have been moved to tears by some of his speeches especially the ones to which you refered. His win after Iowa made me become an ecstatic supporter and what I felt I wrote in a letter to the NYT which was printed.

Throughout the year, however, almost from his inauguration which held some disappointments such as the invitation to Rick Warren to speak, I have been feeling that something is missing. Something seems not quite right. Your article seemed to hit the proverbial nail on the head. The poetry has gone out of his speeches and a dull prose has taken its place. I worry that he is not what I thought he was. What happened? What went wrong? Why am I feeling this way? Since the inauguration my response when people ask my opinion about him is I simply do not know. People say he is so bright, people say he is so deliberative and yet he is doing things that the Barack Obama I knew and loved I thought he would never do.

I take issue with his economic team, I take issue with his possible escalation of war, I take issue with his anemic support of those who were his most ardent supporters. Moreover, I have not seen him run strongly with the public option ball. As a matter of fact he downright waffled on what he said was the most important aspect of health care. Where is the dynamism, where are the speeches that left me breathless? Where was the FDR for whom I yearned in contemporary time. I was thrilled and inspired when at Grant Park after his victory the earth seemed to move. It seemed a new America was born; an America I knew and an America I loved. It seemed the long dark Bush nightmare was over and we had America back again. And then, it stopped. The Wall Street economic team was chosen, transparency took a back seat, no accountability for the most egregious Bush illegal acts occurred. To the contrary holdovers from the Bush administration were selected for cabinet posts, hands reached out to Republicans who would not reach back. We heard birthers, death panels and the most vicious white racism with wingnuts carrying GUNS to where a president was speaking. It all went unaddressed by the man to whom those vicious slurs were addressed. Barack Obama seemed to go silent just when our liberal causes needed him to be the most vociferous. Where is he? I don't know.

Maybe he works behind the scenes, maybe there is more to it then my eye far away from Washington can see. The light that was Barack Obama for me has dimmed. You are right to ask where is the poetry? I would love to know if you find the answer to that. Globe Magazine article below.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Deja vu all over again: If you have not already done so I suggest viewing PBS Bill Moyers Journal and the LBJ tapes as LBJ agonizingly wrestles with the decision whether or not to send more troops to Vietnam. The similarities of Vietnam to Afghanistan are staggering complete with other powers losing in that murderous terrain long before we arrived on the scene. The generals and the Pentagon thinkers do their thinking, the grunts do the dirty work and come back in coffins. Usually it is NOT the policy makers whose sons end up horrifically disabled or dead.

It is, in my opinion, a question of CHANGING once and for all the national psyche from a nation which, in its geographical isolation, loves war and loves winning war to a country that will declare war and wage war ONLY when absolutely existentially necessary. Our country from afar sees war like a football game but does not want to see the blood and guts hanging out of its soldiers during war or experience what it means to lose a war and what it does to the national will.

Our country is falling apart at home. We simply cannot afford more war. We have no money and no more national will to fight it. Our soldiers we do have are whipped serving sometimes four and five tours of duty which is bone crushing. We do not even have enough troops if we were, God forbid, threatened anywhere else including at home. If President Obama will not pull our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan and send NO more I believe we are among the doomed. We will be in a state of perpetual endless war forever. We can never sustain that.

The man who should have been president, John Kerry, was 100% correct. Terrorism should be fought as a police action with intelligence and particular strikes with special forces at the right time and right place but NOT with thousands or hundreds of thousands of troops on the ground 7000 miles away in an alien place with no end in sight. The Iraq War was nothing short of devastating to our military at best and illegal at worst. Yet again, the American people fail to learn history, fail to understand the polices that emanate from the leaders it elects who never have to bear the burden physically or monetarily.

We won OUR own revolution because the British could not keep up a force across the sea fighting a group who knew the terrain and had the WILL behind their existential cause. It matters whether a fighting force has conviction or not. A draft would mean drafting men (and now women too) in a country which would never countenance that. It will NEVER be done, over time, successfully with simply a volunteer army ... EVER.

I only wish Bill Moyers could have convinced LBJ, within whose administration he worked, of the folly that was Vietnam and now I hope someone shows this segment to President Obama so history does not eerily repeat itself all over again!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Obama's Afghanistan Objective: In my opinion, the main US objective for Afghanistan has absolutely nothing to do with Hamid Karzai. I do not give a whit about the Karzai regime or ANY regime that the tyrannical, corrupt and opium driven Afghanistan power structure can invent. I do not care about turning a tradition, steeped in thousands of years of tribal warfare, into a Jeffersonian democracy. That is an impossible task. I do not care about oil, I do not care about a balance of fragmented Middle East power, and I do not even care about the inhumanities inflicted on the Afghans by their own people including 1/2 of their population, women. I do not care about these things not because I am inhumane but because this country simply CANNOT do it all.

What I DO care about is the safety and security of the American people and that is the ONLY thing about which I have ever cared. If Obama were president on 9/11 his main effort would have been devoted to striking those who struck us, getting Bin Laden, which he would probably have done, and wiping out bases from whence the attack was nurtured and honed. It would not have been war with Iraq.

It is impossible now because of the wasted time in Iraq to wipe out the tidal wave of Taliban in Afghanistan, ensure the stability of a corrupt Karzai regime or to eliminate the opium trade that sustains the Afghan economy. None of that is worth ONE more American life. What is worth life is keeping a laser-like eye on the wells from whence Bin Laden or those like him could spring to launch another attack. This is true NOT only for Afghanistan but it is true all over the world. Committing thousands more American troops to Afghanistan or anywhere else will do nothing but erode our military even more than it is today and risk subjecting our country to endless, intractable, and permanent war which could propel us to ruin.

We need to regroup, use what we have now in our technological and intelligence arsenal, invent NEW technologies, secure our borders and stay out of visual presence in the Muslim world. We need to wage a smart war, removed from Muslim populations by using technologies and intelligence which can, already do and, in the future, will keep us safe without returning to another Vietnamesque quagmire with all of its collateral damage inflicted on innocents.

This nation cannot afford more war -- not in troops, certainly not in treasure, and not in the hearts and minds of our OWN people much less in the hearts and minds of most of the Islamic world.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lost in the Wilderness: Concerning MDN November 14 editorial response "Letter: GOP not lost in the wilderness." I submit both parties are "lost in the wilderness." It is not an anti-Republican party nor an anti-Democratic party but an anti INCUMBENT party which is catching on. Independents, some Democrats and many Republicans loath the way Washington runs its sluggish digestive system. It gets little done and is reduced to constant tugs of war between the culture warriors and earmark warriors with the stalemate of the archaic tyrannical FILIBUSTER in their arsenal. The stew has been thick with argument and indolence. There MUST be a better way to collect and spend the people's money so it is not subject to the waste, fraud, abuse and stalemate that has been Congress's legacy for decades.

There must be STRICT meaningful campaign finance reform taking the corporate pigs out of the trough swallowing our money whole and buying the entire congress with few exceptions. I want to know how come the bank CEO'S who put us into this mess got bonuses, did swimmingly and are now vacationing on yachts in Tahiti doing, according to Golman's CEO, God's work? I want to know why the president put Goldman Sachs graduates Geithner, Summers, and others -- the penultimate foxes who ate our chickens -- guarding the next chicken coup. How did Geithner who did not pay his taxes get to lord over TRILLIONS of our tax dollars? How come necessary strict investment bank regulation is pilloried by some and shot with loopholes in favor of, naturally, the banks? Until the congressional pigs are not bought off and in bed with the corporate swine making babies, the American public will continue to swap economically one similar party for the other.

Moreover, why are some of the most middle class and vulnerable people DUPED into thinking the Republican Party is about them? It's NOT. It is about representing billionaires and its driving force includes mean, nearly all white, exclusionary, irrational religious fanatics who are taking it to the brink of demise. It is choked by social conservative mostly religious view points which have been a controlling albatross around a Republican party's neck exterminating moderates within that party who have credible conservative viewpoints, including church/state separation based on rational thought, fact and not a dizzying array of mythological fantasy.

Both parties need to rid themselves of those forces holding the rest of middle America, blue collar America and jobless America down, and truly create a government FOR the people not against them!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I think I just fainted: Okay it's not marriage I know but still who would have thought the below link involving the Mormon church coming out (so to speak) against discrimination of homosexuals in employment and housing would ever happen? I had to rub my eyes and pinch myself to see if I was dreaming.

Victor Hugo: "Nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come."

Saturday, November 07, 2009

I wrote this in response to the November 7, 2009 Boston Globe editorial.

A Speech Impediment: I am an unequivocal Obama supporter. Having said that the editorial in the November 7, 2009 Globe "Obama's delayed empathy" had credence. I watched as the events of Ft. Hood unfolded and waited impatiently for the president's response and words of comfort about it. I, too, was disappointed at the president's slow-to-issue remarks and surprised as the Globe editorial noticed the same thing. The moment I waited for, as he stepped to the podium of the Tribal Nations Conference, I thought, fell extraordinarily short. I, too, could not believe how long it took the president to speak directly to the grave Ft. Hood events.

In his defense, perhaps, the president thought he did not want to short change those attending a Tribal Nations Conference hosted by the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs by making an American military issue more important than their own. It has happened that the American government has done just that and worse to native Americans throughout its history.

However, he is our president and I too picked up on what I thought was this gaping flaw in the president's speech. Barack, we hardly know ye. At times it seems I don't know you at all.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Response to Jeff Jacoby the Globe resident "conservative" about his column today on health care.

So Jeff, perusing your wonderfully humane article "An option of public: less government more choice," I had the stomach to read, one bold paragraph caught my eye: "De-link health insurance from employment."

You know for a second that sounded pretty good as I have always thought what a pain in the rear it is that I am stuck to a job just because they offer health insurance so your paragraph on first line read SOUNDS rather, well, cheery. It was a PHEW moment. Thank God I won't be stuck in THAT job for my health care. Then I begin to think. Dangerous thing thinking don't you think? My first question is what if you are not working and the income stops with which you pay for your own health insurance? What happens then? Where is the safety net for those who have no job which applies to so many in the Bush whacked economy right? Tearing down the state-to-state barriers is great BUT if you don't have a job it doesn't matter what state-select insurance barrier you jump! Hey that's a great name for it "State Select!" Just thought of that. I digress. From where will the money to pay for health care come? What do people do if they are out of a job and get sick? How can they pay for it? I know, Alan Grayson had the BEST IDEA...DON'T GET SICK and if you do get sick DIE quickly! Now THAT's a selection that captures my own heart. I think HE is on to something!
A better written letter than the last sent to various sources:

I URGE gay civil rights workers NOT to make a concession speech in Maine or anywhere else to this hateful group of mean spirited ugly anti gay civil rights activists as homosexuals attempt to gain their rights to equality. To make a concession speech you would be doing so to the Fundamentalist and other hypocritical churches, which should be the main object of the fury, because they have been the main financial force behind foiling human civil rights and often just barely. You should say, rather, you are really not giving a concession speech but making a pledge that the next time will be fought even harder. It was close in Maine and better each time gays try in certain areas of the country.

It is the religious fanatics who are the barbed wire imprisoning all of us. We need to stand tall and like black people in the 60's keep forging on. We MUST make sure to elect senators and house members who are Democrats to ensure that they do not do this again.

Maine, you put up a GREAT contest. When I went to bed the no vote was ahead. The country is split right down the middle like it is in every other way. This is what it has been about since the late 60's. Everyone who wants civil rights has to claw and scratch their way to the top whether it's civil rights for blacks, women's rights or gay rights. Some day at some perfect time at some perfect hour justice will prevail as it did for others. It took years and, for many, centuries. Maybe it won't be in my lifetime but it is significantly better than it was 35 years ago. It's just not perfect .. not yet.
I sent this to the No on Maine marriage referendum which was razor close. It is not well written because it's too early and I wanted to get my feelings out to them. This is what I sent and this is how I feel:

It's so early in the a.m. consequently I do not know if you made a concession speech but one of the gay newspapers online says you haven't. I URGE you NOT to make a concession speech to this hateful hateful group of mean spirited nasty excuses for human beings. To make a concession speech you would be doing so to the Fundamentalist and other hypocritical churches which should be the MAIN object of the fury because they have been the main financial force behind foiling human civil rights often just barely. You COULD say you are really not giving a concession speech but making a pledge that the next time will be fought even harder. It was close and better each time gays try in certain areas of the country.

It is the religious fanatics who are the barbed wire imprisoning all of us. We need to stand tall and like black people in the 60's keep forging on. We MUST makes sure to elect senators and house members who are Democrats to ensure in the more liberal states that they do not do this again.

Maine, you put up a GREAT contest. When I went to bed the no vote was ahead. The country is split right down the middle like it is
in every other way. This is what it has been about since the late 60's. Everyone who wants civil rights has to claw and scratch their way
to the top whether it's civil rights for blacks, women's rights or gay rights. Some day at some perfect time at some perfect hour we will win as our compatriots did. It took years and, for them, centuries. Maybe it won't be in my lifetime but my goodness it is a hell of a lot better than it was 35 years ago. It's just not perfect .. not yet.

You did a GREAT job. DO NOT concede anything! Just my opinion.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Health Care -- A Glass Half Full/Empty: If this country can find a way to ruin things it surely will. I am a glass half empty person. I have a malady called by me Patriapessimistic phobia. (Patria is the Latin word for country.) The way I see it, since the end of WWII our immersion into nearly everything has been more often a disaster than not. Why should health care or anything else be an exception?

Yes, we have a good health care bill (not the best of course, not the best which COULD save the most money but, okay, a semi-good bill which could help.) If there is a way this country can find to ruin something even semi-good I bet it will. If this passes I will get rip roaring inebriated. Since I am not a drinker and probably would get sick you can see I am betting this country kicks itself in its posterior once again.

If you think I'm bad on this topic of health care I won't ruin anyone's day talking about US foreign policy or our economic catastrophe because this blog needs to stay on topic.

Suffice it to say, post World War II we have been on the losing side of most everything. Even Obama with his anemic administration is one of the biggest disappointments I have experienced so far since when he ran initially I caved in and hopped on gleefully to the Obama wagon only now to have one foot off. Well, today, (and just today) I'm leaving the glass half full and letting myself have the audacity of hope! Here's hoping ... but while I'm seeing the glass half full today I know a thirst for water is just around the corner.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Go Goshay: Ms. Goshay's October 27, 2009 editorial in the MDN entitled "Between Dissent and Hatred" link at the bottom, is WONDERFUL. I appreciate when one writes well, succinctly and most importantly correctly on issues. Her editorial was one of the best I have ever read in the Metro West News. She touched every base on this issue.

I have had many of my letters printed and spend hours trying to compose my thoughts in a grammatically precise fashion making sure I am syntactically correct. It is MOST distressing to me to take time to fashion a coherent opinion only to have the mildest comments eviscerated by mostly those on the right who take hatred to a new level. It is astounding to me how mean, often vulgar and insensitive so many are. Some have been so bad that I decided not to write any more only to reverse my once adamant position because I simply cannot suffer right wing politics in silence.

The subject matter on which Ms. Goshay wrote was SO precise and her thoughts so on point that I secretly wished I had written it myself. The insults that our president has suffered, often, I believe, racist in nature, are astounding. Even the most benign thing the president does is harshly reprimanded by some often by stating blatant untruths. It is true that I was often vociferously angry at George W. Bush and still am BUT the issues were more than his taking more vacation than any other president especially in a time of war but included much well deserved criticism of a war he did not need to wage that has taken more lives than were taken on 9/11, lasted longer than World War II, AND a policy that was based on fabrications to boot.

If Obama had been guilty of even one half the number of things George Bush was he would have been pilloried, impeached and, I believe, convicted handily. Thank you, Ms. Goshay, for your wonderful editorial. I hope to be reading more of what you write and often
The Road Not Taken

There are times in everyone's life when a road was not taken or a turn was missed. One looks back and thinks, well, maybe I can do such and such and this will make it better but in reality a certain road not taken or a certain turn missed will permanently affect one's life. It cannot be changed and one either has to live with the consequences or, well, I don't know what.

The US is in such a bind in Afghanistan. The road not taken was the Bush administration's EGREGIOUS lack of focus on the real problem after 9/11 which, of course, was NOT Iraq but getting Bin Laden whom we almost killed in Tora Bora near the Afghan/Pakistan border to try then to ensure Af-Pak (a nuclear armed Pakistan) security. I believe the order NOT to kill Bin Laden came from the highest echelons of the Bush White House despite the fact that, as testimony indicates, the US had Bin Laden in its cross-hairs. Bush/Cheney chose not to get Bin Laden for a reason. Killing Bin Laden would have made Bush's coveted Iraq War unnecessary. So this treasonous and poisonous policy brings us to our present moment as that administration did what it did and now WE, certainly not the cerebrally inept George W. Bush, have to live with its consequences. The US death toll in Afghanistan mounts and there is a reemergence of an insurgency in Iraq which our invasion of it produced.

Iraq and Afghanistan are LOST. Face it, they are LOST because the road was not taken to secure Afghanistan FIRST and not to throw blood, money and time into an Iraq war based on lies. It is amazing how this nation of 300,000,000 consistently elects incompetents to do the most important job -- to protect 300 million people of this nation.

Now, what to do? Good luck, President Obama, no matter WHAT you do failure is at the end of this road because the country MISSED a vital turn eight years ago!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Check out the Sunday Ideas Section K of the Globe. Link below: The Heading: "Islam's Darwin Problem In the Muslim world, creationism is on the rise." Link below.

This article makes STEAM blow out of my ears. If there is anything that is my STRONGEST held belief it is academic excellence and the progression of science. There are some things that are simply SCIENTIFIC FACT that cannot be denied like the earth is round, like it orbits the sun, like gravity exists, like DNA exists and like DNA EVOLUTIONARILY MORPHS OVER TIME. It is NOT hypothetical supposition but it is FACT that humans like all other mammals changed over time and evolved out of Africa from APES our closest DNA mammalian relative. There is NO doubt about it. It is FACT.

This is exactly why orthodox, fundamentalist religions of ANY stripe are an anathema to me because they DENY fundamental truths of science if it does not fit into their fairy tale totally impossible to prove myths of sky gods, angels, and Red Sea splits or life beginning a mere 5000 years ago. If you deny the truth of science then mankind cannot progress in his quest to understand our beginnings and in his efforts against disease to ensure his OWN survival. That is what it is about ... SURVIVAL. This is exactly why the ideas of the west are light years, with all of the west's frailties, better than any other place on earth. The west MUST prevail because any other possibility is out of the question and will mean the demise of homo sapiens which DID, as proven, evolve over 100,000 years ago. The evidence for that mounts every day.

This article makes the top of my head blow off. I wonder if it does to anyone else!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Say it ain't so: I, a Boston Red Sox fan from birth, watched the Yankee/Angels championship games off and on growling every time those damn Yankees made a great play or hit in the clutch. I watched as Johnny Damon stood in left field, made great outfield plays and know he can be counted on for his solid hitting. I know this because once Damon was a part of the Red Sox miracle 2004 World Series win when children visited their parents’ graves to tell their dearly departed that the Red Sox FINALLY won the World Series! My father waited all of his life for it but to no avail.

I notice Johnny Damon’s former Red Sox long locks are shorn into a Steinbrenner fascist like cut. Could this be the same Johnny Damon who was part of the self proclaimed “Idiots” who miraculously broke the Babe Ruth curse, won the greatest play off game ever against the hated Yankees by impossibly sweeping the last four games and miraculously went on to win the 2004 World Series? Was this the same Johnny Damon who hit two home runs (including a grand slam), to lead the Red Sox to that victory over the Yankees? In the World Series he also hit a home run as Boston swept the St. Louis Cardinals. No it cannot be he can it? With his compadres Varitek, Nixon, Millar and others they made up the band of “idiots” whom Red Sox Nation adored … NO worshiped. On December 20, 2005, Damon signed a 4 year, $52 million contract with the New York Yankees as the Red Sox refused to compete with the all-about-the-money pinstripes.

So what’s my point? The nation here in Boston was furious at Damon. How could he betray us? We LOVED him so and could not understand why love did not trump all. We as humans yearn for things to be not ALWAYS about the money. Alas, I am afraid money is what it is all about. It’s true in sports, finance, health care and politics. It’s true in nearly everything. It’s almost never about love or the little guy who makes the big guy run. Money is the bottom line and I suspect we who help them make that money wish so often it were sometimes just about us!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Beauty through the noise: I found a video with an Eva Cassidy song entitled "You Take My Breath Away" put on Utube by mnnorthcountrygirl1. Ms. Cassidy died from cancer at a very young age. She was a wonderful song writer more of whose talent we had not enough time to enjoy.

With the din and the cacophony of so many different strongly held opinions (mine included), as the person posting the Utube says, "it will give you a taste of the beauty to be found during even the harshest of seasons." I think that is a metaphor for the times we have been cast into for decades.

The song is gorgeous and makes one, I think, stop to listen to the music, appreciate the life we have been born into and try to still our anger, give pause and think about what we say, how we say it and what we can do to make it better. Here is the link:
This is a stream of conscious not well written but some thought I had when I first woke up to see some news. Through the fogginess of post sleep I post the following:

This story simply makes me completely not understand about people in the west going to Pakistan and Afghanistan to train. Maybe some are Muslims in Europe but some are not and a few from the US are not Muslim. I don't know I am changing my opinion slightly. Maybe the drone attacks are really seriously cutting into them and this will in fact be a never ending war extending into infinity if this country should last that long certainly beyond our lives. Maybe it truly is east against west.

I wrote a post just off the top of my head to respond to this nuttiness. Who can ever understand why some here would go to terrorist camps and to train with them?:

People will take a good thing like the freedom one has in the US and the west and go and seek out something that will create horrors, discord, killing and ANYTHING but freedom. I do NOT get it. People will do things that will end up killing them and us for nothing absolutely nothing. Are they insane? What do they think will happen? They will become all powerful and there will be Nirvana on earth? No there never will be Nirvana on earth.

Life is so short. You must take the best of what we have here in the US and in the west and run with it and make it work the best you can. It won't be perfect but it will be a heck of a lot better than the radicalism left OR right that they are seeking. It's just plain crazy. I simply do not understand it.

Franklin said we have a Republic if you can keep it. He knew how humans have behaved over millennia. This is the last best hope of mankind to work within a peaceful. free system and avoid chaos and death. Why would someone give this up or not try to work within it for tyranny, and constant war? I have no idea!

I am 61 hope and idealism are fading fast...or maybe they already faded. God I used to be SO hopeful and so inspired...waaht happened?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Exceptional Editorial: Kudos to Neal Gabler for his October 13, 2009 op ed "One nation, under illusion." (See following link for Gabler's editorial It was brilliantly thought out and beautifully written. The sooner this nation expels its ridiculous notion of American exceptionalism the sooner, perhaps, our nation can really do the exceptional and stop its perpetual wars levied against innocents, provide health care to all its citizens and afford to do other humanitarian things such as help advance educational excellence. All these things truly make a nation great.

This country has a lot to learn from other advanced nations. We think we are exceptional? As our income gap becomes wider, as Wall Street criminals get away with all the fraud they have perpetrated, our health deteriorates because of insurance scams and lack of affordability, as our soldiers die in wars without end and our planet melts, think again!

Monday, October 12, 2009

I emailed the writer of an editorial on the series "Mad Men" and David Letterman in Sunday's Globe entitled "Letterman demonstrates 'Mad Men' isn't history." Link to her article below and my short response below that.

Dear Ms. Weiss: I loved your editorial on the series "Mad Men" and the realities of the David Lettermen sexual saga. There are so many sagas involving the rich and famous much too numerous to mention. I have been immersed in "Mad Men" since I am a lover of the 1960's -- pre 1963 and post. I experienced both those tumultuous and contradicting eras. The late 60's was the happiest time of my life bar none but I have politically changed and re-changed and changed again since that controversial period. A discussion, however, I once had at that time with my seventyish aunt (long since deceased), who loved talking about current events with me, lingers. When we talked about the "sexual revolution" of the late 60's which loosened up sexual morality so dramatically she said: "Ah, we had the same thing going on in my day but we just did not talk about it."

I am riveted by "Mad Men" because I think about the early sixties and am thankful for the changes which ensued later. My aunt was perhaps right though. It seems often things have not changed all that much because in 2009 we are STILL talking about it and talking about it and talking and talking .... which brings a reminder of another conversation I had with a rather radical student friend of mine in the LATE 1960's. The discussion was entitled: "Do your gonads rule your head or does your head rule your gonads?" I took the position that your head rules your gonads and that we had control over our biological impulses. He said I was consummately wrong and that gonads trump all. I suspect he was correct. We are STILL talking about it and, in fact, are doing it whether by societal proscription or not. I suspect it has been so since the symbolic Adam shared his tent with Eve and I think we always will. Both my aunt and my friend were right. Our gonads do rule and it is nothing new.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Noble Obama and the Nobel Prize: Obama has an 80% approval rating in Europe. They like his calm and rational intellectual style. We should be thankful since half of the US is anti-intellectual and has the collective intelligence of an incurious 13 year old with an attention span of about 12 minutes. It is why this country has the highest gun violence of any in the industrialized world. Part of this country not only is anti-intellectual but combines that low intellectual sophistication with a love of guns and a belligerence unmatched in modern western culture. It spells out a horribly violent society where VA Tech killings happen with stunning frequency. We are, or at least half of us are, a very violent and stupid nation where little attention is paid to those who win a spelling bee much less to those who are able to write a grammatically correct sentence.

Many who obtain higher education here leave because they do not think the astounding divisions and hatred they encounter would make for a safe place to establish their career. It is to our detriment that we have such a cerebrally diminished and explosive society. I did not grow up thinking this country was anti-intellectual. I grew up thinking it was unbelievably wonderful that I could challenge anything. I was incredulous when my black friend said she could never be secretary of our high school class because she was not white. It took years in college before I learned she was right. She, in that era, would not have been allowed to become secretary of our high school class because she simply did not look like the rest of us. I was too naive then to know what I learned after my college experience, how, indeed, correct she was.

It is Obama's refreshing intellectual refinement, his intelligent curiosity and his rejecting of unilateral cowboy diplomacy so characteristic of the Bush years that the Europeans welcome. In addition, they welcome him as the first half African American president of a country whose founding was enmeshed with the submission of an entire people because they were born with dark skin. For all these reasons it is why I think he was awarded the Nobel Prize. Admittedly, the President’s accomplishments of peace after only nine months in office are thin but it is the essence of his potential and America’s change for the better that, I think, the Europeans laud. They need this country NOT as it was for the past eight years but as it can be for the ensuing years. Europeans know Europe's fate is linked to our own and they hope President Obama can help ensure it.

Friday, October 09, 2009

I posted on a UK web site called The Independent UK about an interview conducted with Gore Vidal. He was asked about his views on many things some of which I agree and others I do not. The interviewer asked Vidal if he thought, although Vidal is in a weakened state at age 84 and in a wheelchair, if he would live another 8 years. Here is the link to the Gore Vidal interview. I think he has always been a fascinating personality. My comments are as follows:

I have loved Gore Vidal ever since I saw his debate with William Buckley in the late 1960's in which Buckley's feathers became riled when Vidal called him a fascist. I loved seeing Buckley's feathers aflutter. Still, I do not always agree with Gore Vidal. I agree with his assessment about the nature of US imperialism but I do not agree that every single thing the US does is motivationally in error.

I most especially do NOT understand how he could become romantic about the essence of Timothy McVeigh, the domestic terrorist who blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995 (one day before Hitler's birthday.) Maybe I just do not have the cerebral capacity to understand Vidal's infatuation with McVeigh. McVeigh was, in my opinion, a beast who was a member in good standing of the violent extremist racist right wing. I thought Gore hated the right.

David Koresh, of Waco fame and McVeigh's raison de guerre, was asked to come out of his lair by the FBI and wouldn't after many hours of standoff so the FBI used force hoping Koresh would give himself up. If one does not do as the FBI asks then I believe one must face the consequences. Unfortunately there were children in the Koresh compound and it exploded in flames as Koresh's huge cache of ammunition was struck by FBI fire reducing the dwelling to ashes. Koresh was a right wing religious extremist and most probably a pedophile. This is supposedly why McVeigh blew up a federal building killing children and other innocents? Me thinks Gore's homosexuality, which he denies homosexuality even exists though he has admitted to hundreds of encounters with men, is aroused by McVeigh. I cannot think of one other reason that could account for Vidal waxing sentimental over this murderer. Vidal is enigmatic on that point. He reminded me of Truman Capote's infatuation in his novel "In Cold Blood" with the Clutter family murderer, Perry Smith.

I believe the left, of which I consider myself a part, errs when it thinks the world is filled with tabula razas just waiting to become good. Government is about the management of power and some states manage it better than others. I believe there are situations when war, which should be avoided when possible, is a sad necessity at times and fascism in Europe during the 1930's and 40's was such a time. Whatever this country's faults, and I agree lack of an educated populous in the US is one of them as Vidal suggests, all of its wars were not in error. Japan was an imperialist power, Germany certainly was an imperialist power as was Italy and even the somewhat neutral Franco's Spain. If the US did not act the Axis powers would have certainly obliged. What is Vidal thinking?

Still, I love Gore Vidal and envy his absorbent intellect. I wish I possessed a corner of it. I do hope he lives another eight years and another eight after that.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

I sent this in response to a negative article in by Mike Madden posted as follows ( It was about Olbermann's Special Comment on health care last evening. Olbermann delivered, in my opinion, a wonderful comment. If you did not hear it google Keith Olbermann and listen. It is well worth it.

Olbermann's Genius: I LOVED Olbermann's special comment last night. Going into an explanation of details of the health care bill and why we need it would NOT have captivated an audience but his recent personal experience did. Making the real subject about death, a fact to which everyone can relate, surely made its point emotionally relevant. I was glued and even cried at the end.

Americans LOVE personal experiences and hate the complex minutiae of listening to the nitty gritty of the health care bill. He said some of the things Salon's Olberman crtic Mike Madden mentioned as well but Olbermann made it personal. Nothing wrong with that. It does not have to be the end of his explanation of health care but it was a fabulously delivered speech as only Olbermann can craft. He made the enemy clear and the need for a public option absolute. He knows (and all of especially the choir know) that what we really need is single payer. That won't fly but what is being offered may.

Everybody's got to be a critic. I do not see Salon on the tube doing better. Olbermann and a popular MSNBC show are iterating what needs to be said. Maybe he picked up a viewer or two or three or four hundred whose mind he changed. That's good enough for me. Olbermann is genius. I'm glad he is a progressive genius on our side. The choir says praise the Lord!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I sent this to Glen Greenwald from He is a brilliant political commentator and one with whom I agree most of the time. This time, though, I did not agree with parts of what he said. I related that to him and posted it on my blog appending the link to his site below.

Mr. Greenwald: I Saw you on CNN’s Dylan Ratigan and read your post on Your commentary, as always, is excellent. Still, you, the political left and I diverge on Israel. I am NOT anti-Israeli. I think Israel faces threats no one can understand without living there. You are correct Iran has not bombed anyone BUT it has been involved in arming regimes which are hostile to Israel and which support the spread of world wide Islamic fundamentalism. IF they could I firmly believe Iran, along with other forces, would eradicate the Jewish state.

I am a generation very closely related to the years of the Holocaust. I missed it – thankfully -- by a very little. I was born in the year Israel was founded. I believe most who are Jews cannot be unmindful of our history no matter how removed from the Holocaust one gets. Benign reticence for the Jewish people spelled our near doom. We are unlike, I believe, now any other people on earth. Israel and Jews will do what Israel and Jews must do to reinforce our existence as Malcolm X said about HIS people "by any means necessary." We have paid a high price -- TOO high a price -- to let our destiny depend on the wishy washy sentiments of others all over the globe. It cannot be so ever again.

Furthermore, I do believe there is a cultural difference between much of the Arab world and the Jewish state. As the US Supreme Court said about another matter “I know it when I see it.” Likewise, I know an advanced, free civilization when I see it. Israel is such a country.

Iran, despite doing nothing to hurt anyone YET, will, I believe, when and IF it can, eradicate the Jewish state as it has promised to do many many times. You may say words are merely words but, I believe, words mean something. They did in Hitlerian Germany just before the Holocaust and, I believe, they do now. I agree with you, however, there must never be a George W. Bush preemptive war based on nothing again. That does not mean that nothing should ever be done. Something must be done with respect to Iran's attempt at securing a nuclear arsenal in that dangerous part of the world and I thought the President’s call on that was quite correct.

I am assuming you are Jewish and wonder if it ever gives you pause to laud a religious tyrannical state which you know would destroy Israel and our people if it could or support one who even SAYS it would. If you are a Jew, I submit, you will be a Jew to them no matter how understanding your thoughts may be. You will be, I believe, a Jew first, last and always whether you want to admit it or not.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Awesome Days: On the Jewish calendar at this time of year are marked serious moments called the Days of Awe. It is between the New Year, usually in September, of Rosh Hashanah, and, a week later, during the holiest day of the year for Jews, the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, in which the individual can evaluate his or her life and repent its wrongs. It marks a plea, nay a plaintive wail, which asks forgiveness so that one may be able to make right those wrongs which have been committed. All vows between creation and oneself become null and void so that we can try to begin again, wipe the slate clean and start anew. It is, in its solemnity, a beautiful time, whether one is religious or not, to look closely at one’s self and ask, with the utmost sincerity, have I been the best that I can be as a human being and, if not, can I do better.

I think most of the major faiths provide that avenue to a much flawed humanity. It is important, I think, for all people who know that the egregious behavior they may have committed or hurtful things they may have said during the year can be rethought, reevaluated, ultimately changed and forgiven by something bigger than ourselves. It enables us to get a fresh start and begin again to improve on, in this year, what we think, say and do. It is hoped, too, because of our earnest commitment we will, as the Jewish prayers ask, be sealed in the book of life to enjoy yet one more year and see the magical universe yet one more time.

A Happy New Year to all my Jewish brethren, a happy and healthy year to those who are not, and most certainly a fervent hope for our country to remain secure and free.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dowd Does it Again: Yet again, Maureen Dowd, New York Times editorialist, brings her brilliant mind and translates her thoughts into creative writing often showing her mastery of literary masterpieces to create one of her own. I wholeheartedly agree with her editorial -- link below. The intellect and wit of Steve Allen, cerebral raconteur of the 1950's and 60's, wrote a book called "Vulgarians at the Gate" which illuminated the coarse crudity to which American culture had sunk. That fact is reflected in every arena, whether sport, music, radio, online blogs and now in the halls of Congress by Congressman Wilson, confederate flag waiver supreme as he rudely called the president a liar in a joint session of Congress, an act which had never occurred in a joint session before.

I believe in evolution but I also believe in devolution as a culture and a country reverse the the evolutionary assent toward perfection to a descent into verbal anarchy and cultural chaos. Mr. Wilson should be more than rebuked. He should be sent home by the voters of South Carolina.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

STUMPED: The posting is what is appearing on the Huffington post blogs. I will admit to having some misgivings about our president. I always have BUT publicly I do not write about them. This is, I think, the first blog I wax critical because I am dismayed and perplexed. I STILL do not know who Barack Obama is.

I cut and pasted if ANYONE cares or anyone reads these things. I think this is SERIOUS stuff. I am SO dismayed I think my head is spinning the speed of light. I have NO idea what is going on with him and what he is about. Either he doesn't care and just is in there for a laugh or it is just impossible to get anything done. I suspect he still thinks he's at Harvard Law Review and wants to make nice with the opposition OR he think or wants to be like Jesus and pull everyone together. There is time for Jesus but Washington is not IT. With the House, the Senate and the White House in Dem. control it staggers my mind to read these.

1. You are being very kind and polite to call the president naive, since, c'mon, you know that the man just isn't that naive; if he were really trying for reform, his proposal would have some sharp regulatory teeth which it doesn't. The speech is for show just like last week's health speech; they make it look like he cares and that he's trying, but we won't have even a public option and we won't have WS reform. I think he knows exactly what he's doing.

2. Then do you think that this president is UTTERLY duplicitous and that everything he told us is a sham that he said things simply to get elected and says things now he knows his base wants to hear but he has NO intention of forcing the issue?

My reply: Then what is this guy we put into office? What the hell is he? My whole family LOVED him and I osmotically believed what they were saying. I thought they say this guy is brilliant and more than that he is ethical beyond belief. So am I in Alice in Wonderland where up is down and down is up? I feel like I am going totally crazy with this guy? Who is he? What does he REALLY think? Does he care at all?

So far he is simply NOT what I thought he would be. Sometimes talks a good game but behind the scenes it is NOT what he has been about. He is IMPOTENT and ineffective and his adversaries he is trying to pull along and they kick him. I want to say Mr. President you are NOT Jesus Christ. You need to kick some posteriors. What is up with him? Your post makes me shake my head. Who is right you or my family? I just do NOT know. STUMPED!!

3. Obama has betrayed us on healthcare and Wall Street reform. He will not be getting my vote when reelection time comes, and I will not vote to reelcet my democratic representative. I will vote third party or sit at home. If it cost the Deomcrats the election, perhaps they will finally learn that they have to keep their promises.

4. I think it WILL cost the Democrats the forthcoming elections, both 2010 and 2012. For a while I've felt deep down that BO is a one-termer. Wonder what he'll do after that? I see he's been lunching with Bill Clinton. Maybe he's getting a few pointers on life after the presidency? In any case, no change to health, no change to Wall Street, no c hange to war. An impotent president isolated and pushed into irrelevance by his opponents. Quite a sad thing to watch.

5. I'm afraid Obama, while well-intentioned, just doesn't have the backbone to fix or even instigate the numerous fixes we need, be they in health care or on Wall Street.
We elected a guy who wants to be class president. Alas, the times call for far something different. The first ominous clues were in the choosing of his economic team. Maybe, like his hero Lincoln, Obama will evolve and grow. But frankly, the challenges can't wait.
We need a genuine progressiv­e/populist third party. Perhaps our system won't allow for something like that. Or maybe, things will get so bad, society--the voters--will demand nothing less.
One can hope.

7. This has been our problem since Bill Clinton's term ended- no real leadership. Mr. Gore is showing his real colors, global warming is critical but he totally sold out for the money. John Kerry is well, John Kerry. Obama was pushed into the limelight far to early because no one else is stepping up. Hillary, my vote went to her, would have been a much better choice. I'm afraid, like with Carter, we're going to suffer for a long time when his one term is up. The speeches are fantastic it's the follow-up that's very weak.Heard an economist today say that all Obama's financial "reforms" will do is white wash the cracks. He gives good rhetoric but can't deliver on transformational change which means he will be merely a transitional President. The question is a transitional President to what? Given the ignorance of large swaths of the public, a corrupt and complicit 4th Estate and a political class motivated by their own self-interest and cynicism the most likely outcome is that of total corporate fascism. 200 + years in the experiment of self-governance would seem to be drawing to a close.

I have sent a sample of these blogs to the White House. They NEED to wake up before it is too late!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

This letter to the Globe is in response to a letter to the editor by a Gifford Weber in the September 12, 2009 issue of the Boston Globe. The respondent criticized Kennedy most for his "public flaying" of Supreme Court rejected nominee Robert Bork and thought that took a back seat to even the Chappaquiddick episode. I thought otherwise.

It is inconceivable to me how Gifford A. Weber (letter to the editor September 12, 2009) thinks that the main reason one should not forgive Senator Kennedy is because he zealously tried to block the admission of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. Logically, if Mr. Weber is to be believed, one should criticize the late senator for the barring of Justice Bork from a place on the Supreme Court more than, he says, Senator Kenndy's lapses at Chappaquiddick where a young woman died. I have made peace with the Senator's private life missteps. He more than atoned for them.

The barring of Justice Bork from the Supreme Court, in my opinion, was one of Senator Kennedy's best efforts. Robert Bork was a right wing extremist and would have rewritten settled law. He would have been an activist right wing judge something conservatives supposedly loath except when its decided in their direction. In my opinion, Justice Souter was a solid justice. He was a happy surprise to those of us who care about human rights and progressive causes and see the Constitution as a flexible not static document subject to interpretation. One can hardly blame Justice Souter for, as Mr. Weber puts it, the "poisonous atmosphere" in Washington. I suggest Mr. Weber look to his own right wing for that.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I wrote this in response to Washington Post editorialist Colbert I King. His article "A Dangerous Kind of Hate" concentrates on worrisome hate filled attacks actually calling for not only Obama's failure but chillingly his death. His article appears at the link below and my response is below that.

A Paliative Remedy for Hate: Mr. King, I read your article "A Dangerous Kind of Hate" and had chills running down my spine. I worry about our president every single day. It may be a few on the lunatic fringe who are the most vociferously poisonous but I worry about the Republican mainstream climbing in bed with the white nationalist cause.

I never like to compare histories because truly history is different depending on the perspective and the times but the echo of 1930's Germany keeps clanging in my brain. Race hatred and economic catastrophes are the toxic brew out of which weak democratic governments fail and sometimes implode.

I worry about our president and wish so sincerely that he take a more strength infused path, bypassing those who will hate him no matter how many hands he extends, and concentrate on the party and people who elected him and those who love him.

As a Jew I have learned the lesson that if one cowers in fear or continually HOPES one's enemies will extend their hand that hope is often dashed as all hands pull away and backs are turned. Intelligence coupled with STRENGTH is the only palliative remedy to stop these race-bating haters from gaining power. Our president needs more than prayers, he needs to present STRONG leadership and he needs our verbal offense which provides him a STRONG DEfense! Our power crazed opponents do NOT want to compromise with him. They not only want him to fail, but, indeed, some, horrifically unthinkable, want him dead. We live in dangerous times.