Friday, December 31, 2010

Peace in our time: We know a lovely family which is composed of a Palestinian husband, a Jewish wife and their three lovely children. My words are beyond their ability to do justice this family's goodness. I was wished a happy New Year from them and responded in kind. I can only hope what I said to them is what transpires for all of us in a New Year. If I had the power I would make it happen. Collectively we can if we want it fervently enough and simply address our hearts and minds to its occurrence. We must strive to do better and retract the claws of intransigence and hate.

I said to them and I post on my blog for public reflection to all for the New Year:

You are surrounded in a sea of love and that is a wonderful thing.

We are privileged to get this one chance, albeit short, to view the awe inspiring wonder of our earth, the wondrous expanse of the universe and the beauty in each other. Man is truly a work of phenomenal art in both his body and mind. The next step is to perfect that beauty and work together for peace in our time!

A happy and peaceful New Year to all!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Supremely Good Choice: I wrote to the NYT the following opinion which was in response to its article entitled "Sotomayor Guides Court's Liberal Wing." (Link below)

This is exactly why to those of us who call ourselves progressives the election of a Democratic president Obama was CRUCIAL. I thank god or fate every day that someone occupies the oval office with a brain. I do not always agree with him on some policy but his elevation of two eminently qualified justices to the highest court in the land is a breath of fresh air and testament in and of itself why elections matter. I only hope fervently for our president to have the possibility of naming (and having confirmed) one or two more. Even just one would change the balance of the Court from a long time national progressive nightmare corporate Republican lackey activist Supreme Court to a significantly fairer court which would have the middle class and the poor more at heart. Most importantly, it could reverse the rancid Citizens United decision which put money at the heart of American politics as if it were not there enough already. Now it is there on steroids!

The elections as they exist now are and will be bought and paid for with OODLES of corporate cash. It is the worst legal quid pro quo our nation, ever in its history, including during the time of the robber barons, has experienced. It, in my opinion, nullifies one man one vote because in Orwellian "Animal Farm" fashion although all men are equal, we know some men with hundreds of millions in cash are infinitely more equal than others!

Thank you, Mr. President, for two solid intellectually stellar justices who come with, I hope, a progressive bent. We desperately need it!

Friday, December 24, 2010

GAAHEAD MAKE MY DAY!: In reference to the Globe article 12/24/10 about the Republican possible Tea Party primary challenge to Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown because of his vote Yes on DADT and the START treaty, I have one thing to say: Gaahead make this Democrat's day! Kudos to Scott Brown for not marching in lock step towing the Republican right wing extremist party line and for putting his country first!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Eating Crow?: Obviously all that the president and his administration pushed through in the last two weeks of a lame duck congress is impressive to say the least. I support him and will continue to do so into the 2012 elections. Having said that, MSNBC telejournalist Lawrence O’Donnel on his show “The Last Word” which you can Google, interviewed four authorities, journalists and policy interpreters that one could say are part of President Obama’s ardently liberal base. The question was asked in view of this landmark legislation including the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, START, the 911 responders successful legislation and more, do they feel that their criticism of him is now muted.

I will write more on this subject because my criticism of some Obama policy and, indeed, criticism of the systemic institutional decay of our nation and the world resulted in a significant disagreement with a relative whose opinion I value. They are an ardent Obama supporter, who takes umbrage at my criticism of him and the perceived aura of negativity that she thinks I often, display. There are methods to my madness. I do not need affirmation of my position but it is helpful to hear others more qualified than I still have similar indictments. The four people Lawrence O’Donnell questioned shared much of my opinion assessing the Obama presidency so far. I cannot go into detail now but will try later to give the minutiae of what they said, some of which even surprised me. Indeed, I am not alone holding a microscopic lens over anyone who occupies the most powerful position in the world even if it is the current president whom I more often than not support. More to come.
A Letter from Michael Moore: The following is a letter I received from Michael Moore, the documentary film maker. It shows just how far power will go NOT to help those whom they serve but to protect their OWN power. It is why we must be ever vigilant no matter who holds the reins which determine who shall live, who shall die and what the fate of our country and world will be. They literally play god with our lives. The letter he wrote which left me both incredulous and, its opposite, not surprised, I paste below and after that I enclose MY own response to him:

Subject: Another WikiLeaks Cable from the Bush Administration About My Movies -- a note from Michael Moore
Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Twice within four days, my name has popped up in the Bush-era secret cables uncovered by WikiLeaks. Lucky me. Though nowhere near as earth-shattering as the uncovering of American misdeeds in Iraq and Afghanistan, these classified cables provide a stunning and bizarre peek into the paranoid minds of the Bush White House when it came to the subject of one Michael Francis Moore.

And considering how WikiLeaks has released only 1,826 cables of its planned drop of 251,287 -- and I've already played a starring role twice -- I can only say I await with bemused anticipation how the moi-storyline will play itself out.

The most recent secret cable revelation is in today's Guardian newspaper of London. It's entitled, "US Intervened in Michael Moore NZ Screening." Oh yeah, baby! New Zealand! That's where we'll stop Moore and his band of evildoers!

The date was July 30, 2004. 'Fahrenheit 9/11' was already a huge hit in the United States. Just to give you an idea how huge, it had hit #1 at the box office, the only documentary to have ever accomplished this feat, and had made more on its opening weekend than 'Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.'

But it was no easy path to get there. Disney (which owned Miramax) was apoplectic when they saw the final cut. So they pulled the film from its theatrical schedule. Then they put a permanent block on its release, insuring no one would see it. But then the New York Times, in a front page story, reported that the real reason Disney hated 'Fahrenheit' was they were worried about the tax breaks it got in Jeb Bush's Florida for Disney World. This caused some embarrassment, so Disney then sold 'Fahrenheit' to the Weinstein Bros., who said they'd spend their own money to distribute it.

The release of the film caused concern at the White House, as this was the re-election year. They hired a pollster who told them the film might tip the election. That was enough for them to swing into action. Much of July was a nonstop barrage of attacks on me and the movie. But that just resulted in more tickets being sold.

Which brings us to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. There are few nations on earth further away from us. A local chapter of the ruling Labor Party apparently had decided to do a fundraising screening of 'Fahrenheit 9/11.' It was to be hosted by the Prime Minister's Cabinet Secretary for the Environment.

Well, when the U.S. Embassy in Wellington got word of this, it was like all heck broke loose. America was offended! Phone calls were made to the Prime Minister! Then to the Cabinet Secretary! We ... are ... not ... happy!

Apparently, the Kiwis backed down and the Cabinet Secretary withdrew as the host. A sigh of relief whiffed its way through the American embassy. Moore stopped! The cable back to Washington showed the embassy had no problem taking credit for putting the kabosh on yours truly:

"... it is probable that this potential fiasco may only have been averted because of our phone calls -- it is apparent to us that neither the Minister nor anyone else in the Labour government seems to have thought there was anything wrong with a senior Minister hosting such an event."

So here's my question:

Really? I mean, seriously -- really? This is how the Bush State Department was spending its time -- on a single screening of 'Fahrenheit 9/11' in freakin' New Zealand? Was this kind of interference happening just to New Zealand? Call me crazy, but I gotta feelin' it doesn't stop there.

Just as a health insurance executive has now come forward as a whistleblower to reveal the millions spent to smear 'Sicko,' I can't help wait for that day when the whistleblower from the Bush White House comes forward to tell the fascinating tale of how the Bush team believed they had to do something -- anything -- to stop 'Fahrenheit.' Or worse (like the "Plan B" the health insurance companies discussed -- to "push Michael Moore off a cliff."). I didn't want to think about what the Bush Plan B would be. Just wasn't worth the crazy-making. So I ignored the things I'd hear, kept my head down and motored on.

But, it does make you wonder. And I ask you, is it fair to pose the question: If they were this focused on some insignificant screening in New Zealand, what else were they up to? And I don't mean in regards to me. I mean anyone who was on their enemies list ...

I can't wait to read more classified cables.

Michael Moore

P.S. Of course, given the false claims the State Department made in the other "secret" cable about my movie 'Sicko,' I guess anything was possible.

P.P.S. Don't miss the REAL revelations from just the first batch of WikiLeaks cables. For instance, the Obama administration worked together with Republicans to kill an investigation by Spain into Bush's torture. Pfizer hired a private investigator to dig up dirt on the Attorney General of Nigeria. Bush's ambassador to France planned to "retaliate" against the country for standing up to Monsanto. And we're less than 1% of the way through [the leaks] ...


Michael so many love you (including me) and depend on you for the revelatory information you expose through your appearances and through your documentary film making. When you are on any programming (radio, TV, film, or if you are sending smoke signals) I watch or listen!

Keep doing what you are doing and, PLEASE stay healthy because many love you, need you and people like you to shed the truth. I worry about you as I do ALL people whom I think are SO important to be our voice of REASON, artistic excellence and who are instrumental in speaking truth to power. You have changed the importance of the documentary film because you shed light on those who create madness with their toxic, self-serving, cruel, deceitful, explosive and often illegal use of power they should never have had but did and probably will again because the people do not know the truth.

It is wonderful we, who do not have much power, have people like you and many others who bring light to the darkness and show the insects which depend on that darkness for life, scurrying for cover.

Long may you live!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Summing up--Leadership of the Possible

A relative, who is an Obama supporter, to put it mildly, writes opinion. I am an Obama supporter too as those who know me could attest but at times, when warranted, I levy criticism. I am going to paste in what I said to my relative when they summed up the two-year Obama presidency. My relative sees things realistically pragmatic and emphasizes the good this progressive president has done especially given the divided nation in which we live. Everything is a work in progress to which I wholeheartedly agree.

I do not, however, believe in political self-censorship. I believe in speaking truth to power no matter who it is. It is not only ideal it is pragmatic and the essence of the democratic system in which we live. A president or at least his administration must know the criticism especially when it is criticism within the base of the party. The Internet affords the public the unique possibility, not enjoyed by the electorate of bygone eras, of conveying sentiment instantaneously both to the administration itself and to the public at large. This is distinctively characteristic to our time. Those of us who vote in party primaries serve to ultimately choose a candidate. I believe it is my duty to praise and make public that praise but also my duty to criticize power when I deem it necessary. I do and will, of course, not stop. I offer support and have many times when it is my opinion. I did so in my response to my relative's blog below and to offer an end of the year summary in response to that as well.

I wrote the following:

I cannot help but LOVE your perspective even though I may be a curmudgeon at heart.

Yes, we are a split down the middle divided nation and we MUST get our Democratic side out to vote in 2012. A Republican president is what I am afraid of most. I am a pessimist out of mainly fear even though, my hero despite his shortcomings, FDR said that is the only thing we do have to fear.

Another relative of mine told me that the Obama naysayers should just shut up or they WILL get a Republican president next year. The image I had of myself is a little kid maybe like Peanuts or Linus with head lowered, walking away sucking his thumb and dragging a blankey feeling just a bit cowed. Sometimes, indeed, the glass is half full and we should enjoy the drink.

When one ties everything up in a bow it truly is amazing that the president has managed to do what, in fact, he has done including hate crimes legislation, DADT repeal, The Lily Ledbetter law, two progressive female SC justices, and probably a SALT treaty and more. The opposition he had would have overwhelmed any another man even the strongest. I do stare at him sometimes in amazement.

I am happy but I am worried. If one thought these two years were difficult with an intractably hateful other side of the isle, just think what is in store in the next two years. In one of my posts I asked the president to keep his handy dandy veto pen close at hand. Thank god or fate that a Democrat is sitting in the oval office to be able to use it. Remember Sarah Palin? She is always out there making one realize how good it is to have defeated the likes of her.

I, a proud member of Obama’s liberal base, still support him enthusiastically for 2012. The alternative simply chills me to the bone and yes, he has done much good and presented us with a new definition of leadership of the possible. He saw a path to compromise and did so! We did get some rather than getting stuck with none. More than even that is he is a historical figure of monumental import elected to our highest office in our time. I am most happy I had the chance to live to see that, indeed!

Happy Holidays and Happy Healthy New Year!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wall Street’s Theft and Its Hold on Power: Back to reality after the high of the DADT overturn. Good feelings cannot last forever especially since the American public’s Wall Street ire has seen fit in its infinite wisdom to elect Republicans (the party of Wall Street) who are double the right wingnut extreme of the last Party of No in the 111th Congress. This one will provide, I suspect, even more hair ripping moments for people of my political persuasion. Moreover, since many of the state legislatures are in Republican control the Congress for the next election may prove even more difficult for Obama’s 2012 hoped-for victory. My good mood, therefore lasted exactly 24 hours.

Quoting from MSNBC:

The 2010 census report coming out Tuesday will include a boatload of good political news for Republicans and grim data for Democrats hoping to re-elect President Barack Obama and rebound from last month's devastating elections.

The population continues to shift from Democratic-leaning Rust Belt states to Republican-leaning Sun Belt states, a trend the Census Bureau will detail in its once-a-decade report to the president. Political clout shifts, too, because the nation must reapportion the 435 House districts to make them roughly equal in population, based on the latest census figures.

I love the NYT economic editorialist Paul Krugman. Mr. Krugman has a way of putting one of the most complex Wall Street theft stories and its parasitic hold on power into simple terms the Everyman can understand. I believe what he says in his NYT editorial last week. I link his post “Wall Street White Wash” below.

I have thought from Day 1 of the Obama presidency and during his ultimate selection of the banksters for his economic advisers -- the foxes who got the chickens nearly killed -- that he should have put Dr. Krugman and forces like him who are allied to the middle class and not to Wall Street, at his side. Krugman's predictions so often are correct.

President Obama did not do all I thought he would when I voted for him. The repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has tempered my otherwise down-in-the-dumps feelings but I have for two years been scratching my head and wondering why he is not the man I thought I knew whether it was about health care, tax cuts, civil liberties or war. Here is some of the analysis about which I gave a great deal of thought:

I believe the president knew from the moment he stepped into office that there are forces of money and power in Washington, in the country and, indeed, in the world that even the president cannot control. He realized in no time that they, in fact, controlled him. I believe he, too, has a compromising personality as his time on the Harvard Law Review suggested. The tax deal and health care were symbolic of his understanding that legislation is about compromise. The question becomes, however, will the other side accept that premise too especially in our new even more decidedly “conservative” majority House and with the Republican gains in the Senate as well. Mr. President, keep your handy dandy veto pen in close proximity.

Washington is bought, sold and owned by huge corporate banking and industrial (often military) moneyed interests. While the fact of this monstrosity may not have been Obama's cup of tea he had a proclivity to politely drink what he was offered knowing it was probably an offer he could not refuse.

He knew he could not overrule the banks and their lobbying interests stuffed with cash. Moreover, (I'm going out on a limb) maybe he even feared for his life if he challenged them. Recently, I have been reading a book entitled "Family of Secrets" about the Bush family dating back to W’s grandfather and H.W. Bush’s father, Prescott Bush.

Their Yale Skull and Bones comrades and other good-ole-boy connections with their attendant right wing political and business ideological rigidity always remained secret but a source for the acquisition of monumental power. Many of their connections were in banking and oil and, in the book, there is speculation, albeit unverifiable, about their relationship to the JFK assassination. The author suggests that a cozy clandestine relationship of right wing business and government interests had a desire to see JFK removed from office. The author submits that certain high powers within our government thought JFK was not sufficiently committed to their military, industrial, anti-Communist acquisition-of-oil from-South-America purposes. Who knows if there is truth to the author’s writing? I suggest you read the book. Let’s just say, I am reasonably satisfied that what is true about the JFK assassination is not contained in the government-produced “Warren Report.” Kennedy made a lot of enemies especially on the right.

Perhaps, the president senses the real truth of government power, has a personality amenable to compromise, and ignored much of his take-for-granted base which he gave a few but nonetheless important tidbits. Much of his presidency is an extension of the oligarchy that has, in truth, existed for decades and it will, indeed, pay any price and bear any burden to keep that power and wealth situated in the same hands of a few at the expense of the many.

If we as progressives cannot win policy even with formerly the most liberal member of the Senate elected to the pinnacle of power then we, perhaps, never will. Unless there is a true non-violent uprising of the people for humanitarian purposes on the left and not just the corporately bought off white tea bagging often ignorant nationalist clones on the right, we might have a better chance! Until then Wall Street’s theft and hold on power will be, seemingly, eternal.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Press Pass – Fact not Fiction: I wrote this in response to an MSNBC story “Will Wikileaks Prompt Crackdown on Journalists.” link below.

One of the biggest culprits in the run up to the Iraq war against people, who were not involved in 911 and who did nothing to us, was the press. The press may be even guiltier than the ones who actually perpetrated wholesale slaughter for nothing because the press collectively did not do its Fourth Estate job, an imperative in a democratic state. How some at the Washington Post and the NYTimes (the big journalist guns) can sleep at night I will never know.

Those of us who have huge consciences when our nation becomes a perpetrator of war waged for no damn good reason have trouble sleeping. It makes me thrilled I never entered federal government service because I would have died of sleep deprivation. It bothered me when I inadvertently killed a bird that flew into my car window. Yes, I laud myself for that because the essence of who I am is that I could not hurt even a fly. This should not be an extraordinary human characteristic.

What is wrong with our humanity? Did we flush morality down the sewer? If I live to be 120 I will never understand the inhumanity of man against man. Nothing is worth unjustifiably taking a human life that is not yours to take. War should be the last option not the first and this country and any country should think long and hard before the first bomb is launched. Most importantly, pertinent to this article, is that the press should have examined scrupulously whether a violent action is justified and whether government is telling its people fact. The press should not hesitate a millisecond to uncover lies and speak truth to power. War is not worth the price paid by our brave troops who, ultimately, when they die, get lost in time and to other innocents who are taken way before their time if war is not fought for profound truths such as, in the case of Iraq, the existence or non existence of WMD.

Shame on much of the press for not asking the necessary penetrating questions to uncover the truth about the facts of the Iraq War, before not after the dastardly deed has been done. The press's Fourth Estate law should be, in fact, a preemptive war of the word so that we the people who do not have access to the truth can know it. It is better than a nation waging a preemptive war that kills thousands without close scrutiny of the rationale for doing so. The press could actually have saved these thousands of lives if it had doggedly pursued the rationale or lack of it for war. But the press, indeed, got a pass. They chose to cower in fear of power instead of confronting it. They are guilty of stupidity or collectively they are an immoral accomplice to wholesale murder or both!

Those who are in the echelons of power should be held accountable but they never will be because this nation’s new mantra of moving forward ignores looking backward to those who unnecessarily killed thousands, unleashed a civil war, destabilized an entire volatile region, handed our arch nemesis, Iran, hegemony and exiled over a million in our name. All of you in the press who ignored the truth that there were no WMD are as guilty as are our leaders of perpetrating an unjust, illegal, immoral war based on lies while our people slept. Next time, show some spine. Investigate and discriminate between what is fact and what is fiction. All of our lives may, indeed, one day depend upon it!
DO ASK AND DO TELL: DADT will be repealed! FABULOUS!! I am crying from joy. Lt. Dan Choi and so many others who have been at the forefront of the effort at great risk to themselves and who have been so oppressed, come out come out wherever you are. YOU ARE FREE! Finally, a simply difficult 111th Congress has done the right thing and without the president who will sign it this could not and would not have been done.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

SALT of the Earth: I held off sending this because it is extraordinarily serious. Then I watched NBC News with Brian Williams talking about the preparation one can do if confronted by a nuclear blast. Is NBC News kidding when they had Brian Williams say "maybe duck and cover wasn't such a bad idea". Really? Really, Brian Really? Our government does NOT tell us the truth. We could not even cope with Katrina which would make a nuclear blast look tame. I was So enraged by this utter NONSENSE story I decided to send the following. Make sure you DO click on the link below to UNDERSTAND what nuclear war really means!

I send this link below not because I am a pessimist, although I often am, but because I am an optimist too as the reality of nuclear war is so unfathomable, so utterly devastating, so easily could wipe out civilization on earth and even, perhaps, obliterate the earth itself, that I believe man, as inhuman as he can be at times, will be sane enough to realize nuclear war is not only unwinnable but unsustainable to life itself.

Others responded to my sentiments I sent previously to the NYTimes site and one included this link below which I think all should study. I am sure there will be those who will ignore the site because it is so frightening and that is everyone's prerogative. I say, ignore it to our peril. It is why this latest SALT treaty signed by President Obama awaiting ratification by the Senate is so gravely important. It is, though, certainly not an end to the nuclear threat but part of the beginning looking forward to the end. All foreign policy experts from all sides of the political spectrum all over the world want it. It should be ratified in as short a time as it takes to send this link.

This anti-nuclear link is phenomenal. I have never seen anything quite like it because of its thorough complexity and user friendliness. It is why everyone, everywhere in all corners of the globe should push for an end to global systemic and unsurvivable war. All war even conventional war has the potential, in our age, to lead to nuclear war. This site is a testament to the mind of man. If man's mind can create such things surely our minds can work for the greater good.

We are the only ones who can stop this madness and stop it we must and, CERTAINLY, duck and cover will most emphatically NOT be enough! I attach the link below but caution those whose children are computer savvy that this may be disturbing. This is, however, the reality we face and as Openheimer, the director of the Manhattan Project during World War II which created the nuclear bomb, said when he was interviewed about it later on a television program:

"We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita; Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty, and to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, 'Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.' I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.' "

Two quotes from "Nuclear Darkness"

Deterrence will continue to work only as long as all sides remain rational and fear death. Many extremist groups, however, are undeterred by any credible threat of retaliation, regardless of how large that threat might be. And history is filled with examples of irrational leaders and decisions which lead to war. Nuclear weapons combined with human fallibility not only make nuclear war possible, they will eventually make it inevitable.

Should we choose to accept the assertion that “there is no realistic path to a world free of nuclear weapons”, then we sentence the children of the world to a dark future indeed. We must instead reject this 20th century mindset, which is still driving us towards the abyss, through an understanding that nuclear weapons pose a threat to the human species.

I think this just about says it all!
THINKING FOR ONCE: The New York Times printed an article today (December 16, 2010) entitled “US Rethinks Strategy for the Unthinkable” (Link below) which is about surviving a nuclear blast. Through interviews of various “experts” the article suggests that more can survive a nuclear blast by not leaving one’s house but by going to one’s basement. Yes, that’s right … one’s basement! The article states:

"Taking shelter in a place with minimal protection, like a car, would cut [the death] figure to 125,000 deaths or injuries. A shallow basement would further reduce it to 45,000 casualties. And the core of a big office building or an underground garage would provide the best shelter of all."

I promised a relative I would not use caps. Forgive me this lapse. The NYT article was so explosive to me (pardon the pun) I could not help but break my new promised rule just one more time. I blogged in less than my usual perfect prose (I jest) on the NYT’s site the following:

Excuse me but can I say something impertinent? This article is NUTS! Are you really kidding me? Running to one's basement MAY reduce harmful radiation and maybe more could be saved but the question is who would WANT to be saved and in what kind of Twilight Zone world would we be surviving?

I remember well the "duck and cover" age of the 1950’s. I look at past newsreels of these "teachable" moments on old films of it and laugh. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? School kids ducking and covering under a desk to "save" themselves from a nuclear blast is, to say the least, LUNACY.

Assuming we are "saved”, what kind of disruption to society do the bright bulbs in our government or ANY government think will make surviving simply the radiation a prudent goal to "save more than we think?"

Guess what you unthinking lack of cerebral ability robots? A basement will NOT save you! A nuclear BLAST -- a true BLAST -- will destroy MOST EVERYTHING of what we know and count on to survive in life. Even the article itself states

“A nuclear blast produces a blinding flash, burning heat and crushing wind. The fireball and mushroom cloud carry radioactive particles upward, and the wind sends them near and far.”… Moreover, a bomb’s flash would blind …”

Where will the supermarkets go? How will food be delivered? Will it be uncontaminated by radiation? What will happen when the gas stations explode or the oil is not delivered or worse non existent? What if the electricity is gone? What if the media is unable to broadcast or no one can tune into an HTDV or ANY TV? I assume Brian Williams may be hiding in his basement too or he may be dead! What if the police get killed and the police stations are destroyed? Let’s talk about doctors and hospitals. Are the doctors somehow caring for the injured while they expose THEMSELVES to radiation? Are the hospitals destroyed as well? Where will they practice medicine? What about sanitation, what about going to the bathroom, taking a bath, or doing ALL the routine things one does to make life livable. And oh yes, what about the children, granny, aged relatives, the disabled, and, of course, our pets? I assume they will just fend for themselves in fine fashion. Yes, let's just all huddle in our basements that will save us -- NOT.

Nuclear war is NOT an option and it is NOT survivable as much as insane men cannot wait to push the button to see the fireworks or employ their "that'll teach ya" message. It teaches nothing except it teaches death and it teaches that man lives on a precarious balance as a fiddler on the roof every day. Yes, sending us all to our basements (and by the way MY basement has no heat or water and I live in snow and ice area) will do VERY little if society is blown apart from the blast and firestorm.

Moreover, if, God forbid, it did happen here I ASSUME the nation would retaliate. If Iraq is any indication of what kind of conventional war the US wages think about what the US would unleash on ANYONE who tried a NUCLEAR blast on this country? Whatever carnage is sent to us multiply the retaliation by 10,000 or 50,000. Their civilization and ours will be GONE in the instant it takes to push the poisonous button. Hiroshima was an example of a SMALL bomb. It was an atomic bomb and not a hydrogen bomb which is much worse. I assure YOU and THEM it is NOT heaven that will await.

The question becomes NOT how to survive the blast but who would WANT to survive the blast. Count me as one of those who does not! Now it's morning here and I think I will eat my oatmeal -- while I HAVE it!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

No Taxation Nation: I utterly fail to see how this tax package can be anything but horrible for the ledger sheet of our country. The Republicans and most especially the tea baggers are supposedly about the mantra that one cannot spend more than one takes in. And yet Congress with significant Republican support, thought to have gotten the ever-so-big message from the American people, will pass a near 1 trillion dollar unfunded tax bill, borrowing the money from who else but China to explode the deficit even more. Worse, the bill is filled with earmarks and pork. I simply do not get it.

The problem is the American people have no idea what it means to trim the budget and how they must sacrifice while doing it. They want, proverbially, to have their cake and eat it too. They cannot. The method for reducing the budget is simple without even touching Social Security and Medicare which so many thank god for every day of their life. A tax cut for the top 2% is insanity. It will not trickle down to create jobs as it has not done in the past and the Republicans darn well know it. The tax cuts for the middle class will be like a drop in the ocean. It will not mean a thing.

What we really need is for the tax cuts to be allowed to expire for each group or, if that will explode the minds of too many Americans, then the tax cuts should expire for the top 2% wealthiest in the nation who can afford it. Couple that with other spending cuts in the military industrial endless black hole (about which even President Eisenhower spoke) with its trillion dollar expensive eternal wars must be reduced to, let's say in Grover Norquist, the president of the Orwellian-named Americans for Tax Reform, fashion, the size of a postage stamp! I am sure spending cuts of other non-essential programs could be figured out as well.

The extra tax revenue the government adds to its ledger sheet when the tax cuts expire should be used by government to spur the growth and repair of infrastructure, create alternative energy and other projects of necessity to create jobs. The tax cuts and even unemployment insurance of this bill will create few jobs. It is a temporary feel good fix.

There is, however, a method to Republican madness. The Republicans are eventually, of course, hoping for the economy in 2012 to still be in the tank. An American public which has about a minute and one half attention span will blame it on Obama who will occupy the oval office then. This time Obama will not be able to say unemployment was not on his watch because it will be and the Republicans will get their true wish which is to defeat the nation’s first black president.

In 2012 my prediction, if the tax cuts are extended two more years, is an economy still in the sewer and maybe worse. Republicans with their tax cut boring mantra which does not work but gets the public all goosepimply will win the whole enchilada – the House the Senate and the presidency. They then will extend the Bush/Obama tax cuts permanently. Republicans will say not enough tax cuts were pursued and unemployment insurance created debt. When in control they will then seek to cut more. Say hello and goodbye to Social Security and Medicare, vital social safety nets for over seven decades first passed in 1935 by FDR after the Great Depression. This is exactly what the Republicans have wanted -- no Social Security, no Medicare, no economic regulation, health savings accounts bought from Wall Street, and taxes for the military only.

Good luck America with that. The Wall Street bubble, soon to be seen again, will by most economic experts’ concurrence eventually burst another time. All that retirement account investment in lieu of Social Security to the tune of trillions for which Wall Street salivates will go into the pockets of Goldman Sachs’s Blankfein, J.P Morgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon and other corporate CEO’s like them – you know, the top 2%. They will laugh all the way to the bank (pardon the pun) with their profits and bonuses courtesy of you and me. We the middle class who are left standing will be standing in bread lines. It is deja vu 1929 all over again. Happy New Year? Nothing happy about it!
The Herculean Holbrook: A relative of mine wrote well about the amazing Ambassador Holbrooke. It sparked some of my own thoughts too. Many of you may know Ambassador Richard Holbrooke died this week. Those of us who follow international relations and US foreign policy certainly knew about him. He had a mountain of experience in the diplomatic arena. He was in part responsible for the Dayton Accords which brought peace to the war-torn genocide of Bosnia/Herzegovina Yugoslavia. Mr. Holbrooke was a towering force for peace in many other world wide conflicts as well. Although some say no one is irreplaceable, I believe he was one of the few who is. He was a strong and an insistent sower of peace for decades. His goal was to end grinding hostility in many places of a world of war and discord. His tasks were not easy!

I was praising Mr. Holbrooke when another writer iterated over and over again to me that I was just part of the sheeple population accepting propaganda about which I had no understanding. Naturally, he was not very complimentary toward Ambassador Holbrooke. I suspect he is wrong on the sheeple part about me but no matter. It reinforces the scientific law that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

How can we know all things? I never knew a person who did not have a side about which I was not thrilled. I have read Ambassador Holbrooke was, indeed, a tough man. Look at with whom he had to negotiate. I might call them tough -- very tough. When some lefties wax extreme and anti everything that is the United States and Israel, my blood runs cold and I freeze myself out of the debate. Nothing is black and white. There are always shades of gray. To quote another humanitarian: “He who is without sin cast the first stone.”

I do not know of a nation on earth that is not deserving of critical analysis and the US is certainly no exception. In our own personal human relationships and experience, however, we weigh the good against the bad on the scales of justice. Even Jesus had another side when he furiously tipped over the money changers in the Temple but he also said “In so much as ye do it unto the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me.” I’ll take that part of his legacy over any other. It is a metaphor for my feelings about Ambassador Richard Holbrooke. In the final analysis, I think this Herculean diplomat tried do the best for his country and the world in very difficult circumstances. It probably cost him his life. Was he perfect? No. Who of us is? Thank you, Ambassador Holbrooke, for a job well done!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Art is in the Eyes of the Beholder: The following is a blog supporting the brilliant NYT editorialist Frank Rich who wrote the December 11, 2010 article "Gay Bashing at the Smithsonian." It is a cry against the hypocritical censorship of a piece of art which depicts one artist's feeling about AIDS which was killing him and killing so many artists two decades ago. It indicts societal institutions especially religious institutions and so called Christian believers who cast a blind eye to mostly homosexual suffering including the artist's own at that time suffering with AIDS. I link the piece below and I stated the following on the NYT blog.

When one is so enamored by our country's fundamental free speech value, it becomes so tiring throughout the decades to realize that the censorship of art -- especially religious art -- STILL must be fought even in our enlightened time. When will it ever end? The true irony is that The Family Research Council and the William Donahues of the Catholic League in our age are the true hypocrites as they make a mockery of Christ's true message of acceptance and love of all of nature's creation. Christ who, if he lived in our time, would RAGE against a church who stood deaf and blind to its scourge of hierarchical hypocrisy and the abuse of children no matter what the priests' sexual orientation. It matters not that all the reputable science in the world teaches sex abuse is NOT inherent in homosexuality and that most abusers are INDEED heterosexual but Mr. Donahue would not know truth if it hit him over the head in broad daylight.

Groups and people like them make me shiver with rage. Art often is the critical cultural expression of institutions which need critical analysis. It is questioning, it is damning and sometimes it is accepting of the vicissitudes of life which are ushered in by man's corrupt hypocritical nature and ones which are merely a declarative sentence of the way life is.

Whatever its purpose, art must be allowed total freedom as art is, indeed, in the eyes of the beholder. One man's art is another man's poison. I view Mel Gibson's \"The Passion\" not as art but as a violent film which serves only to attract through its violence inflammatory anti-Semitism perpetuating centuries of unjust and sickening anti Jewish hatred. Others, like Donahue will love that film because it is used to indict the Jew, a minority in all time, but indicted by a Christian majority throughout centuries culminating in the orgy of the Holocaust which Donahue does not mind depicting but, indeed, lauds the film. The Jew who during the Passover/Easter Passion season used to dread its coming especially in Europe because Jews knew Christian violence might be and often was perpetrated upon them for the fantasy and myths indicting Jews as Christ killers. Indeed, here are two different views of so called art.

Donahue and those vitriolic perpetrators of hate against homosexuals and other minorities find refuge in the new Republican Party with its narrow mindedness, stupidity, racism, homophobia, anti-rationalism and yes, in some corners, even anti-Semitism. These spewers of venom MUST be fought and established institutions such as the Smithsonian must NOT capitulate to their ultimate tyranny. If they do these purveyors of censorship and evil will, in fact, triumph as we more progressive questioners of the status quo fight this never ending sometimes losing and tiring battle for the expression to breathe free! Yet again, Frank Rich, with his Dickensian name speaks the richness of truth. It would do well for a society that calls itself free to listen!
For those of you who have doubts PLEASE read: This article by Colbert King in the Washington Post "Memo to the Left" (link below) convinced me. I have been recently coming more and more to a realization of exactly what he said and that is IF President Obama is challenged in any way in 2012 we are through as a Democratic party in many important elections both federal and state for decades as the Republicans will be circling the entrails and pick up the carcass.

Even though Barack Obama sometimes has not done all that I, a progressive, wanted he has done a LOT (enumerated in King's opinion) AND it is a truth, as the president said himself, he is governing a HUGE country. We are not the only ones. Look at the contention he has had to face coupled with horrendous racism. He could withstand a challenge BUT he would be weakened and the birds of prey, the Repbulicans, would be waiting to eat. His far left philosophical base is NOT enough to propel him into a second term IF he is weakened. The other parts of his base, African Americans men and most especially women as well as Hispanics (who will be increasing) in 2012 too are part of his base. They will NOT come out for anyone else like they did for Barack Obama as we evidenced by the horrible midterms. We ALL need to stick together and take advantage of the wonderful diversity that comprises the Democratic party.

King is, I think, correct as he enumerates ALL the president HAS done in two short years and what would NOT have gotten done if it were a McCain/Palin presidency. Please read it and pass it around to all you know. We CANNOT let what Mr. King so insightfully says will happen if the left (including me) sinks the rest of the party. We MUST see that compromise is the ONLY way and it is a way that appeals to the majority of the American people as well. If Barack Obama IS elected to a second term, who knows, we may get MUCH more of what we so desperately as progressives want since we will get a president who is much freer to act on his core beliefs and not risk losing another term.

Mr. King got a convert today -- ME! It is a wonderful article. Please read.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

GUILTY: Joanna Weiss wrote a very insightful piece entitled “The boo of the bored” in the Dec. 7, 2010 edition of The Boston Globe (Link below). She talked about our superficially driven instant gratification demanding generation by analyzing what took place at a recent discussion led by the comic and satirist Steve Martin (tickets costing $50 each) which evidently did not go well. Expecting, I think, a lot of razzel dazzle instantaneous humor that Steven Martin is known for the audience received a more serious format which seemingly lost them. They immediately, of course, voiced their displeasure and subsequently were offered their money back. Martin was angered and "Tweeted" it. Read the article of Ms. Weiss for her further discussion and analysis of what occurred. I offered, to the Globe and Ms. Weiss, my comment:

Dear Ms. Weiss, you wrote an excellent opinion entitled, "The boo of the bored," yesterday, December 7 in the Boston Globe. I finally had the time to read it today. Of course, my life was filled with things to do yesterday so I did not have even the nanosecond it took to read your perceptive piece. As an incessant blogger and fluid opinion writer, I am able to give MY well thought out opinion at the drop of a hat. Curiously, I began to feel ever so guilty of exactly what you iterate in the article. I am utterly HOOKED on the instantaneous gratification of the Web and the information it gives immediately if not sooner. I write editorials and have my own egotistically driven blog. Naturally, what I write, is well thought out (or not) opinion. In reality -- if I can allow myself a more introspective look -- much of what I write is knee jerk reaction of Vesuvian feeling about one hot button issue or another which may offend or appeal to my prefabricated politically progressive sensibilities.

Now I feel guilty! Of course, what other feeling is there for the nice Jewish woman I am to have? I swear it is ethically driven by my Jewish DNA (if there is such a thing.) After generational years of being pummeled in every land the Jew took root where he or she could, learned to cower and waited for the next blow to arrive. OF COURSE it often did. I begin to think every malady on earth is ALL my fault. I jest, of course. Yet, there is truth to some of that statement which further reinforces my guilt for disseminating too many opinions without carefully thinking through each idea. Guilty as charged.

Realizing this fact, after reading your article, may I offer the explanation that we are the McDonalds's generation no matter which generation we are. We expect instantaneous everything from food, to cures, to love, to acquiring money, to solving the deficit without thinking through thoroughly the choices we make.

McDonalds, if we eat enough of it WILL, in fact, PROBABLY kill us (or maybe it won't.) Buying homes with sub-prime loans thinking tomorrow is another day and we will, as the Popeye cartoon character and hamburger-loving Wimpy would say, surely be able to pay tomorrow what we cannot pay today (or NOT.) We will pay alright; right into the poorhouse of the streets with no money, no bank account, no shelter, no health care to keep us safe. Next step the grave. Now THAT'S a FACT and, if given enough time, I most probably can prove it (MAYBE.)

Excellent article and certain worthy food for thought!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Laramie, A Labor of Love: We went to see the play "Laramie Project" at Framingham High School Saturday evening. It was a SPLENDID play about, of course, the torturous death of the young gay man, Matthew Shepard, in Laramie, Wyoming in 1998 at the hands of two homophobic brutal malcontents. The performance was POWERFUL. It was sold out and we understood why. We absolutely loved it. The actors and the community that showed its incredible support were nothing short of wonderful. It made me proud to be from my town as we drove past the candlelit crowd standing up to the forces of hate exemplified by Fred Phelps and his merry family from the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas holding their "God hates fags", "God hates Jews" and God hates everyone except us signs. Somehow he thinks he is the only one God loves.

It is astounding that these wretched human beings have the unmitigated gall to actually hold those rancid signs up in front of families mourning the death of our soldiers and their loved ones. How dare they commit such an atrocity? Yes, it is Phelp's free speech rights that our country is loath to curtail. It is the very foundation that makes this nation what it is. That those signs were not ripped apart and Phelps & Co. led off in hand cuffs for incendiary speech is tribute to our system, indeed. We do not do things that way in this country. We simply let these mentally sick misfits hang themselves with their own words.

A THOUSAND kudos to the actors, the director, Ms. Wresinski, and the town. Ms. Wresinski's sentiments that "life isn't about the breaths one takes, but the moments that take one's breath away" echoes our own. We did not join the hundreds that came out in candlelight support and love before the performance. Our hearts were with them though if not in body most certainly in spirit. My mind evokes the lines of one of my favorite poets, John Donne, in his "Meditations": "Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee..."
Science, Truth and God: Interesting article from "Politics Daily" linked below entitled "Does a New Life form Mean God is Dead?" Its subject is about the recent discovery of a new form of bacteria which has arsenic as part of the DNA genome rather than heretofore thought all necessary ingredient for DNA life element phosphorus. Life now, it has been verified, can exist without the phosphorus molecule. To the layman this, perhaps, is not a big deal. It is though. It is a VERY big deal in the scientific realm. Some are using this as proof that a god is not the creator. I, however, see it differently. I believe it does not matter (pardon the pun) and said so on the "Politics Daily" blog. I also include the article from the NYT "Microbe Finds Arsenic Tasty; Redefines Life" to explain what the new discovery is about and why it is important. I wrote the following:

It does not, in my opinion, matter what science discovers in terms of its work to analyze the origins of man and his universe. The existence of a god as a creator will, I propose, NEVER be found. Whether life can use the molecule arsenic or the molecule of phosphorus in stabilizing its DNA matters not. Until evidence is found in substance and form of an actual being or thing that one can observe, others can duplicate AND pray to in order to get results then nothing changes the war between truth of science and fantasy of mythical beliefs which make people FEEL oh so good and oh so protected but are, in truth, the fiction of a human's very creative mind.

In reality the ONLY protection are those things which man and science have discovered to ensure man's survival. Other than that one can pray from morning to night and in between to some morphed or amorphous being it will not matter one whit because whether one is lucky enough to have escaped a tornado is so because the laws of physics have determined it to BE so. His poor good friend with a sweet faith-driven wife and six kids across the street who were torn limb from limb and killed by the same tornado has nothing to do with a sky god protecting one and not the other but has EVERYTHING to do with the science of physics to explain why that doomed family could not escape the tornado's wrath!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

A Wikileaks Dichotomy: I have mixed emotions about Wikileaks. Are Mr. Assange's motives as noble as he THINKS they are? I do not know. I feel differently toward his dumping hundreds of thousands of secret US State Department documents than I do about the POTENTIAL (although I have seen NOTHING yet) of dumping of big bank documents.

I simply do not see foreign policy as black and white. Who is Mr. Assange helping Al Qaeda? Would he REALLY like to be involved in Al Qaeda or live under an Islamic or any other religious tyranny? The US has been guilty for years of clandestine sometimes illegal behavior of that there is no doubt. My question to Mr. Assange is WHICH COUNTRY IS WITHOUT SIN and WHICH political organization is not guilty?

The calculation of foreign policy, while sometimes irreparably devastating and even murderous like Bush's Iraq invasion, I assess it in a lesser of evils modality. IF the dumping of those documents gets people killed then how is Assange different from those he purports to want bring to justice? IF what he has done gives assistance to Islamic radical or ANY radical organization from the right OR the left ANYWHERE than that is an egregious consequence which, I believe, should NOT happen. There are other ways to expose bad behavior of governments too numerous to mention here.

I would choose western culture and thought over what many other parts of the world have to offer. US illegal or torturous behavior is impossible to defend but, truthfully, those who would act against the US are NO paragons of virtue. To the contrary they kill at will and they kill THOUSANDS of innocents every single day. They even kill their own people.

Maybe Mr. Assange is not mature enough to see the folly of his beliefs and understand political realities. One does the best one can to move the arc toward justice making sure not to do the very thing for which we criticize power. While criticism of foreign affairs is good, IF it compromises the safety of us AND indeed the world what GOOD is IT? Western cultures are some of the freest on earth. It is why we grapple so ardently with the protection of civil liberties against the reality that those who want to do the most devastating harm to us do not think even TWICE about such things.

Religious fanatics always think heaven awaits. We who are much more inclined to reason and base our thought in a reality oriented universe with physical laws KNOW heaven does not await but destruction does. Anything nuclear in the hands of those who have been given permission by their religious leaders to use it is UNACCEPTABLE. Why would he court the danger of such a thing? What good will it do?

I think DIFFERENTLY about Assange exposing the banks. I FEEL the intense anger that so many feel when I try to understand the tornado of destruction these economic purveyors of greed and UNETHICAL behaviors have committed. They compromised an innocent public in pursuit of their own fortune and take unseemly bonuses at taxpayer expense. The taxpayer saved THEM but who saves the taxpayer? NO one.

Government we see -- EVEN Obama government to which I held out the HIGHEST hopes -- is absolutely IMPOTENT in the face of HUGE Wall Street money and the power of government it buys. I would LOVE nothing more than to see those at the top of this feeding frenzy chain of avarice and those who sold unmitigated fraudulent securities, hedge funds, junk mortgage securities as well as the securities rating companies with their fake ratings go to jail permanently.

The Congress will not even vote, nor does seemingly the president have the ability to wield power, to grant a measly extension of unemployment benefits during this holiday season. I KNOW Congress and the Wall Street banksters will have a FINE holiday filling their bloated bellies while the innocent among us go hungry and homeless after losing jobs, 401K retirements, pensions, health insurance and even, in some cases, because of those losses will forfeit their own lives from the loss of those necessities that sustain life. Many will even, I have no doubt, kill themselves and the banksters are responsible for ALL of it!

If Wikileaks exposes those banking powers who NEED to be punished for their dastardly deeds I look forward to seeing what documents Assange puts forth, if any, to accomplish that goal. At this point I see nothing. The more quickly these ambassadors of pain and hurt who are responsible for the economic ruination of millions know justice the better many of us will sleep at night as I know those who are responsible for all the sorrow of others absolutely do!