Tuesday, March 29, 2011

To Tell the Truth: The president’s explanatory speech about our latest military incursion into, this time, Libya was delivered succinctly and well. It reminded me of so many others in US military history of, most especially, the past century. I kept hearing as I have decades before about the always “helpful,” spread of democracy through US invasion. From the World War I edict making the Wilsonian world “safe for democracy” fast forwarding almost a century to Libya our president delivers yet another, tired, tedious message with yet another tired tedious rationale for war. Again, again and again the US desire is to attempt merely to set one country or another free so democracy and human rights can take root. T’were American leadership so concerned with our own human rights at home!

The President’s somnambulant speech rang to me hollow as Lyndon Johnson’s speech delivered on August 5, 1964 did lying about the Gulf of Tonkin incident. It gave the US cover to conduct a full scale war undeclared in Vietnam for nearly a decade which ultimately incurred nearly 60,000 American dead, hundreds of thousands wounded, one million Vietnamese killed and a Vietnamese country side devastated by chemical defoliation Agent Orange responsible for birth defects today. I have written often on endless, perpetual, constant war with no end in sight ultimately costing our country in precious blood and trillions in treasure. It is always justified by a theater-of-the-absurd rationale which allows the sheeple to allow the carnage with no ability to question the nourishment of the pabulum they are fed.

The illogical inconsistencies are glaring. After the horrific 2001 attack on the Trade Towers in New York, the Iraq War ensued in 2003. It was justified to remove a dictator because the US was 100% sure he possessed weapons of mass destruction. Of course, he did not have them and the Bush cabal managed in brilliant form to bamboozle the American public wounded from the 2001 dastardly attacks. Why did we furnish Sadam Hussein weapons years before when Iraq was at war with Iran? Later Iraqis loyal to Hussein would use those very weapons to kill American soldiers. Ah politics! One can count on the fact things political will often not be the least bit rational. I would not mind that but we are not playing a game. We are talking about human beings sent to their deaths or inflicting and incurring horrifically permanent injury upending the course of human life both of our soldiers who fight it and the innocents who are simply part of the psychopathic term “collateral damage.” Collateral damage; I wonder if it were YOUR child or YOUR life’s love if you would refer to their death at the hands of an enemy as “collateral damage.”

So I ask: Why Libya and why not Darfur, Syria, Saudi Arabia and ultimately even Iran when it cracks the heads of its own people who allegedly want democratic change? The questions and the hypocrisies are endless. War, any war can be justified by a US president IF he uses the words humanitarian and democracy in the same breath.

If ONLY our leaders would wax more honest. I could take that. When they take me for a fool and put one over on the unknowing, unquestioning and unaware, American public who will be the ones to fight leadership’s wars, a cerebral explosion within me occurs.

Our ventures are, of course, NOT about spreading democracy, however, advantageous or disadvantageous that would be. Our rationales are about empire and most especially, in that geographical locale, to keep the oil flowing through the Suez and the Strait of Hormuz to the rest of the world! Okay, I’ll buy that!

So far the Saudi sheiks are in control of their huge oil reserve and we want it that way. We want stability for one of the largest oil depositories in the world – the Middle East. If Bush had been interested in visiting punishment on a nation responsible for 911 he should have chosen Saudi Arabia since 15 of the 19 fanatical Islamics who perpetrated it came from there, but he didn't. There is good reason for that and oil, of course, is the answer. One cannot bite the hand that feeds one. Our wars are with nations we can clearly defeat and ones which our footprint is and stays on or near oil's soil. Hegemony and control in that region is the ONLY rationale that makes sense because the other rationale the president gives makes NO sense. Libya feeds Europe oil so they will, of course, be interested in deposing Kaddafi and facilitating – WE HOPE – stability at a revolutionary time. Does one think the rebels in Libya are so humane? I suspect not. I suspect they have committed their share of brutality and atrocities on THEIR enemy, the loyalist Kaddafi forces. Certain things this nation cannot control and that is the reaction of human beings and natural disasters. So the nation accommodates as it sees fit.

This latest presidential speech is not for the invasion of Iran ... yet. Soon it may be. This is the price of empire and hegemony and it will spell bankruptcy sometime soon! If radiation from the soon-to-be-greatest nuclear plant catastrophe on planet earth does not get North America courtesy of Japan than the economics of perpetual war with its hefty price tag will. If only our government, for once, would tell the truth. I could take it -- really I could!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Who Do You Trust?: I do NOT trust anyone in the mainstream media regarding the Japan leak. I do not trust MSNBC or NBC, CBS or ABC and surely NOT Fox No News News to give straight answers because they are enmeshed in the corporate pushing of nuclear power. I do NOT trust most especially any government either Japan or the United States to tell the truth.

Here is the truth: The catastrophe is being downplayed, saying Plutonium is a small amount of the total radiation. A microscopic speck of Plutonium can kill. Larger amounts can wipe out entire cities and leave permanent contamination. Stuff's been leaking for almost 3 weeks. Millions of Japanese alone will die. Many others across the entire northern hemisphere, including Boston and Chicago possibly will as well.

A single milligram of MOX (uranium/plutonium) fuel is 2 million times more deadly than enriched uranium and lasts forever. Also, virtually the entire Gulf of Mexico is biologically and chemically toxic and unsafe. Now THAT'S the truth!
Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here: Rolling Stone Magazine has published and plastered all over cyber space without a doubt the MOST gruesome pics taken of acts allegedly committed by The Kill Team -- American Stryker Brigade in Afghanistan. It shows pics of tortured and dismembered Afghanistanis some probably innocent and unarmed who were allegedly just creamed by our soldiers even dismembering bodies, heads and limbs. It is sickening beyond words -- Holocaust type sickening. Is this the level to which we have stooped -- the level of the oft touted barbarity of our enemy? If you are the faint of heart do not click on the link.

I do not care how many tours of duty a solider has, I do not care how difficult the task a soldier is asked to do, I do not care how psychologically sick a soldier has become because of the nature of war the judgment at Nuremberg instructs -- NO it DEMANDS -- that a code of conduct be followed by the civilized world. The men who perpetrated this madness breached that code, need to be court marshaled and tried for murder. Then the International Criminal Court should try them for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

It metaphorically in pic No. 9 shows a sign with words taken from "Dante's Inferno": "Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here." I would say that sums it up just fine.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Cure: My family member's latest blog is on Libya (link below) and the alleged US-led planned ground assault which the president promised would never happen. The question becomes is it true. Time will tell. The more interesting question to me is how American power lies and deceives an unknowing, uncaring, and grotesquely uninformed American public. What kind of a country have we morphed into since the declared just war of World War II? From Grenada and Libya to Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq I and Iraq II we have been at perpetual war with few interruptions for nearly sixty years. Is our cause always just? Or in the alternative, has the history of man been solely a territorial quest for money, raw materials, land and power? If our citizenry were given true information would that obviate war? Must we be lied to like children in the face of the certain killing and death war brings not to our leadership who will NEVER fight it but to the legions of our middle and working classes who always bear the burden of war but often never reap the benefits?

I do not know why Christian verbiage is preoccupying my mind lately but it is. I think it does because so much of it speaks to justice and advocates for the least powerful among us. In view of that I ask as the New Testament does what profit a man if he gain the whole world but lose his own soul? Is the world that tarnished, that corrupt, evil, violent and cruel that we must stoop to the level of Attila the Hun to keep our population safe and our powerful in riches? I submit our politics keeps us UNSAFE as nations do not stagnate. The cerebral synapses for some remain fixed -- forever transferred from generation to generation creating the pattern of a nation’s quilt. One has a tendency not to forget bombs dropping on and killing relatives, torture, Agent Orange or the poisonous phosphorous inflicting devastation on crops and even mutating human DNA as reflected in birth defects of the very young.

Much remains secret, of course, until in our computer age it is transferred to the cyber world in a nanosecond. Nuclear war is but a finger tip away from a two bit dictator or tin pot patriot to begin. How safe will you feel when a foreign nation remembers an American inflicting so much pain on an innocent? The cure for this malady is knowledge. The cure for this malady is to remain involved and know what the country in which you live does and most especially so when it says it does not.

US-Led Libyan Ground Assault Planned

Friday, March 25, 2011

End of the Best of Times: I cannot believe what my eyes see when I awaken and check the news. It is the first thing I do. The story at first light I click on is about the Japan nuclear catastrophe spinning out of control (link below.) There are admittedly times when I wish so I could accept belief in a higher power as others do. I wish I could have a faith so strong that it believes what it does despite what science tells us is true because our own problems and the worldly ones go to our own nuclear core reactor. I do believe we are in one of the most dangerous eras of human history. I can understand, at least, why End Times belief lives.

If one reads the link below about the Fukushima reactor it truly seems like the end of the best times and the Beginning of the worst. The sadness of the globe is mind numbing from the destabilization and revolt in the entire Middle East, the nuclear disaster in Japan getting worse every day, economic free fall with a weak recovery and the profound visceral division of hate on both sides of the political spectrum in our own country.

If I believed I would plaintively ask as Christ was said to have asked on the cross in Aramaic "E-lee e-lee l-maa-naa saa-baach-taa-nee?" "My God, my God why have you forsaken me?" I am not a believer but there are times when I wish I were. It seems, if I believed in End Times, that this would surely be it.

What is there left for those of us to do who cannot ameliorate any situation, want to but lie helpless at the hands of man and fate? I wish I believed in something I truly do! If I prayed I would get on bended knee and ask God to save the Japanese people and with them, all of us!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Actress Extraordinaire: I was going to try to write an opinion that I hoped would do justice to one of the premier actresses of my time, Elizabeth Taylor, who died this week then I read one written on Salon.com entitled "Paglia on Taylor: A luscious, opulent, ripe fruit!"

I thought Paglia wrote in exquisite form about this actress and woman extraordinaire we just lost. I loved Elizabeth Taylor and so did the writer for Salon, Camile Paglia, who is one of the most unique feminists to grace our political and editorial landscape. She is not the traditional feminist but brings her own unique sardonic wit to the feminist cause.

Camile Paglia is right on the money. Her description of Elizabeth Taylor and the fact that she is possibly one of the greatest actresses that has ever appeared in American film is totally correct.

Elizabeth Taylor was GORGEOUSLY sexy, an actress like none other and Camile Paglia surely can write a BRILLIANT piece about her. I attach the link below as an example
of excellent writing which is about Elizabeth Taylor who is an example of film excellence.

I can only envy the breadth of knowledge Paglia brings to her writing and wish that I could do the same!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Harmless, REALLY? Please read this latest New York Times story (link below) entitled "Radiation Over the US is Harmless, Officials say."

It begins: "Harmless traces of radiation from the stricken nuclear complex in Japan have been detected wafting over the East Coast of the United States, European officials said Monday. Since last week, the officials have tracked the radioactive plume as it has drifted eastward on prevailing winds from Japan — first to the West Coast and now over the East Coast and the Atlantic, moving toward Europe."

I will refrain from the I told you so. The question becomes DO YOU BELIEVE THEM? I submit NO radiation is harmless. Sure get a couple of x-rays or CT scans if you want. I personally have had my share but add to that the normal background radiation everyone gets and at least for the Japanese now and maybe for us later what the food has or will have in it why would you want to chance more including the poisonous cesium and, perhaps, at some point, even deadly plutonium irradiating your body over the next ten years?

Man has POLLUTED the earth in case you have not noticed. It has been most egregiously perpetrated by our country and the industrialized world. This country does TWO things VERY well. It BOMBS people into the stratosphere and it has a wonderful way of making rich people even richer at the expense of those who can least afford it -- the elderly, young, disabled and/or poor. But if you are the CEO of Goldman Sachs or a company like it you literally can get away with anything you want including our billions and the billions in bonuses of those billions even if you made that money immorally or illegally extracting a HUGE profit from the marrow of middle class bones! Moreover, if you are the CEO of a nuclear power company YOU can even get the government to pay for it because it's just too darn hard to get insurance for a nuclear power company. Still, you will reap millions. It's a great job IF you can get it but most of us will not.

Do you believe the post below? If you do I ask REALLY? REALLY? Why would ANYONE -- after what has been perpetrated on the middle class by corrupt and incompetent government seizing power, money and control making endless war on our backs -- believe any government irradiating us and feeding at the corporate trough while they do it?

The moral of this story: If you are rich, a rich corporation, or if you are rich and in a position of great power you have it made. But guess what? Radiation from nuclear power plants even THE rich and their children will not escape. Mother Nature WILL take her revenge for man's raping of her beautiful environment and in this case she is an equal opportunity employer.


Monday, March 21, 2011

An Editorial of Import and an Overview: This editorial which appeared in Huffington Post entitled "Barack Obama Gets In Touch with his Inner Neocon" written by Doug Bandow of the CATO Institute a Libertarian think tank (link below) illustrates in fine fashion my qualms about this latest Libyan US-led war. I believe this policy is fraught with danger and goes against the foreign policy Barack Obama said he believed in principle during the 2008 campaign.

This does NOT mean I am abandoning the president on other progressive issues for which he advocated and won. I do not forget the repeal of DADT, the Lilly Ledbetter law, the strengthening of the hate crimes bill, two very qualified rather progressive appointees to the Supreme Court and, as Rachel Maddow enumerated on her show, many many more achievements which go under the electorate's radar screen. I do not forget, too, some positive economic reform and some important aspects of the health care law even though it missed on the public option. He is infinitely brighter and appreciated for that intellect in the international arena significantly more than his know-nothing-and-proud-of-it predecessor, George W. Bush.

Because I support certain policy does not mean I do not entertain important doubts and dismay of other policy. On many of the big-ticket items the president is not the man with the hefty progressive ideas I thought he was. At times he seems like George W. Bush light. He was ineffective in the explanation of the health care law and he was absent in the extreme to help ratchet down the right wingnut Tea Bag insanity of the 2010 election eve summer of discontent. It, in part, I submit, accounted for the Democratic shellacking, as the president put it, in 2010 and the ugly takeover of the House by Republicans most of whom are radical right religious extremists. He is all but absent in securing union rights for which he said he would don his comfortable shoes and take to the streets to walk with workers. The Republicans' plan is to crush unions and voter registration of groups like ACORN singularly to destroy any chance of the president's reelection.

I contend the president has punted on the policies of war, morphing war, extending war, abandoning civil liberties and has sorely lacked economic initiatives. He has shown a paucity of economic policy reform and an insufficiency promoting the Holy Grail of present-day politics -- JOBS! Does that mean I think a Republican could do better? HELL NO! It simply means I hope the president realizes the irritation of his base -- people like ME.

The article below sets out many of the thoughts I entertain on this latest military excursion in Libya costing our country $100,000,000 to $3000,000,000 -- yes MILLION -- per week! How's that for deficit busting! I THOUGHT he would go after military expenditure. I HOPE in lieu of that he does not go after the necessities of Social Security and Medicare. The larger problem for me is I don't trust him.

The editorial below is one of import on important foreign policy I think one should read.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Unsafe at Any Speed: I wrote an opinion the other day called “The Change.” It had to do with the change the disasters in Japan had created in me philosophically, politically, and even psychologically. The opinion appeared in my local newspaper. One blogger, most often less than complimentary toward me challenged and dared me to answer why it changed me politically. I responded:

I was softening about nuclear power and became convinced as to its general safety. I had changed my opinion to a more moderate stance. I believed the government and in particular the Obama administration's view, that because oil is so fraught with deadly ties to the Middle East, so imbued with the costly effects of pollution and its attendant global warming and, moreover, because oil is not without end, that nuclear power was more feasible despite my initial fear of the lack of proper waste facilities. I thought it, perhaps, good to advance on a clean burning fuel with the risks our technological age of expertise now could handle.

Then Fukushima happened. Japan has experienced the worst nuclear power disaster, perhaps, ever recorded on this planet. I believe it to be even worse than Chernobyl although one will never hear that from the mainstream media, nor the government or those corporate big wigs coping with the Herculean effort of clean up. Although the reports of nuclear leaks already are severe, the corporate powers that be and their government lackeys who have so much to lose if nuclear power is stopped cold in its tracks, are, even today, minimizing this nuclear cataclysm.

The catastrophe in Fukushima, Japan has made me return to what I initially thought was true and changed my opinion yet again. I returned to what I knew in my heart was true from the beginning. Nuclear power is UNSAFE at any speed and I believe over the coming years, if we all survive the military disasters around us, the world will see a huge spike, especially in Japan, but maybe even in other parts of North America as well, in the cases of thyroid, bone, leukemia and other cancers caused from this deadly leak.

This was not just one reactor at risk of meltdown like Three Mile Island but SIX reactors plus the leaks in the containment vessels of the spent fuel rods themselves. Radiation is now as you read and I write this showing up in various vegetables and in the milk of cows that eat the grass in Japan. The disaster happened only a little over a week ago. I believe we are all at risk. If you think we are not simply wait for time to pass. Maybe, and I fervently hope, I will be proven wrong. I would love to be wrong on this issue certainly more than I care about being right!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My Japanese Friend: Through my post polio support group I recently became friendly with a lovely Japanese woman whose name is Miwako Hosoda. She is a visiting research fellow at Harvard School of Public Health and is from Tokyo, Japan.

After the disaster in Japan she has been working closely with a newly developed grass roots physicians’ organization and wrote the letter below concerning the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear tragedy which letter, hopefully, will appear in print soon.

Japan, as we all know, has suffered unparalled multiple tragedies heretofore unique in our besieged world. We all have a common humanity which I think should compel us to act. As our charismatic President, John F. Kennedy stated so eloquently “… in the final analysis, our most basic common link, is that we all inhabit this small planet, we all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children’s futures, and we are all mortal.” I believe we should remember those words, treat other’s suffering as our own and take all steps necessary to help ameliorate it with all deliberate speed!

My friend states as following:

Japan Needs Help

On March 11, 2011, an 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck Japan. A subsequent tsunami and nuclear power disaster from it ensued. It has killed ten of thousands of people. People have lost their loved ones, sometimes entire families, their houses, and all their possessions. Entire villages have been swept away leaving a tremendous and incalculable void in their lives.

In response to this disaster many people are helping through fund-raising and other activities. Surprisingly, I have read articles in some media such as the New York Times and Reuters which report that the government keeps refusing the aid, most especially medical aid, from foreign organizations. The reasons for this are hard to fathom. It may be a language translation issue but, I believe, not to accept help does a great disservice to the Japanese people.

According to a grass root physicians’ network in Japan, many healthcare providers who have been working in the affected areas are severely overwhelmed and suffering from a shortage of human power as well as a shortage of drug and medical supplies. Some have not been able to go back to their homes and are working at hospitals without knowing whether their family members are safe or not. In addition, there are a lot of overworked healthcare providers too who are treating so many patients from the affected areas round- the-clock.

Therefore, we urgently need your help. I ask people in the United States and around the world to continue to donate to organizations such as Red Cross, globalgiving, and Mayor’s fund to advance New York, and Japan Society which links I provide below.

There should be no barriers between people who suffer catastrophes such as this. We are all one race, the human race, and obstacles such as language and customs can and should be overlooked. Our main concern as human beings must be the survival and healing of our fellow individuals. Now it is Japan’s moment to ask for help. I urge you to continue to donate to some of the organizations listed and know that the Japanese people will be forever grateful.

American Red Cross

Japanese Red Cross Society

Mayor’s fund to advance New York,

Japan Society
Lady Liberty Through the Rubble: This picture (link below) brought me to tears! Japan's Statue of Liberty stands whole amid the rubble. It is said a picture is worth a thousand words and this one surely is.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Nuclear Nightmare -- Ralph Nader speaks the truth:

In The Public Interest
Nuclear Nightmare
By Ralph Nader

The unfolding multiple nuclear reactor catastrophes in Japan is prompting overdue attention to the 104 nuclear plants in the United States—many of them aging, many of them near earthquake faults, some on the west coast exposed to potential tsunamis.

Nuclear power plants boil water to produce steam to turn turbines that generate electricity. Nuclear power’s overly complex fuel cycle begins with uranium mines and ends with deadly radioactive wastes for which there still are no permanent storage facilities to contain them for tens of thousands of years.

Atomic power plants generate 20 percent of the nation’s electricity. Over forty years ago, the industry’s promoter and regulator, the Atomic Energy Commission estimated that a full nuclear meltdown could contaminate an area “the size of Pennsylvania” and cause massive casualties. You, the taxpayers, have heavily subsidized nuclear power research, development, and promotion from day one with tens of billions of dollars.

Because of many costs, perils, close calls at various reactors, and the partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania in 1979, there has not been a nuclear power plant built in the United States since 1974.

Now the industry is coming back “on your back” claiming it will help reduce global warming from fossil fuel emitted greenhouse gases.

Pushed aggressively by President Obama and Energy Secretary Chu, who refuses to meet with longtime nuclear industry critics, here is what “on your back” means:

1. Wall Street will not finance new nuclear plants without a 100% taxpayer loan guarantee. Too risky. That’s a lot of guarantee given that new nukes cost $12 billion each, assuming no mishaps. Obama and the Congress are OK with that arrangement.

2. Nuclear power is uninsurable in the private insurance market—too risky. Under the Price-Anderson Act, taxpayers pay the greatest cost of a meltdown’s devastation.

3. Nuclear power plants and transports of radioactive wastes are a national security nightmare for the Department of Homeland Security. Imagine the target that thousands of vulnerable spent fuel rods present for sabotage.

4. Guess who pays for whatever final waste repositories are licensed? You the taxpayer and your descendants as far as your gene line persists. Huge
decommissioning costs, at the end of a nuclear plant’s existence come from the ratepayers’ pockets.

5. Nuclear plant disasters present impossible evacuation burdens for those living anywhere near a plant, especially if time is short. Imagine evacuating the long-troubled Indian Point plants 26 miles north of New York City. Workers in that region have a hard enough time evacuating their places of employment during 5 pm rush hour. That’s one reason Secretary of State Clinton (in her time as Senator of New York) and Governor Andrew Cuomo called for the shutdown of Indian Point.

6. Nuclear power is both uneconomical and unnecessary. It can’t compete against energy conservation, including cogeneration, windpower and ever more efficient, quicker, safer, renewable forms of providing electricity. Amory Lovins argues this point convincingly (see RMI.org). Physicist Lovins asserts that nuclear power “will reduce and retard climate protection.” His reasoning: shifting the tens of billions invested in nuclear power to efficiency and renewables reduce far more carbon per dollar (http://www.nirs.org/factsheets/whynewnukesareriskyfcts.pdf).

The country should move deliberately to shutdown nuclear plants, starting with the aging and seismically threatened reactors. Peter Bradford, a former Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) commissioner has also made a compelling case against nuclear power on economic and safety grounds (http://www.nirs.org/factsheets/whynewnukesareriskyfcts.pdf).

There is far more for ratepayers, taxpayers and families near nuclear plants to find out. Here’s how you can start:

1. Demand public hearings in your communities where there is a nuke, sponsored either by your member of Congress or the NRC, to put the facts, risks and evacuation plans on the table. Insist that the critics as well as the proponents testify and cross-examine each other in front of you and the media.

2. If you call yourself conservative, ask why nuclear power requires such huge amounts of your tax dollars and guarantees and can’t buy adequate private insurance. If you have a small business that can’t buy insurance because what you do is too risky, you don’t stay in business.

3. If you are an environmentalist, ask why nuclear power isn’t required to meet a cost-efficient market test against investments in energy conservation and renewables.

4. If you understand traffic congestion, ask for an actual real life evacuation drill for those living and working 10 miles around the plant (some scientists think it should be at least 25 miles) and watch the hemming and hawing from proponents of nuclear power.

The people in northern Japan may lose their land, homes, relatives, and friends as a result of a dangerous technology designed simply to boil water. There are better ways to generate steam.

Like the troubled Japanese nuclear plants, the Indian Point plants and the four plants at San Onofre and Diablo Canyon in southern California rest near earthquake faults. The seismologists concur that there is a 94% chance of a big earthquake in California within the next thirty years. Obama, Chu and the powerful nuke industry must not be allowed to force the American people to play Russian Roulette!
A Letter to Rachel Maddow: Quoting from an MSNBC story: "Crucial to the effort to regain control over the Fukushima plant is laying a new power line to the plant, allowing operators to restore cooling systems. The operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., missed a deadline late Thursday but said Friday that workers hoped to complete the effort in 10 to 15 hours, said nuclear safety agency spokesman Minoru Ohgoda. But the utility is not sure the cooling systems will still function. If they don't, electricity won't help."

This is, in my non expert opinion, Chernobyl on steroids. What the hell will they connect electricity to? Rachel so well has shown the ugliness and destruction of those plants. They are, understatedly, a total MESS. It would be one thing if it were just another area but it's NOT it is a NUCLEAR area and nuclear reactors that are destroyed. A prediction: ALL of those reactors will be encased ultimately by the Japanese in cement with Borax as Chernobyl was forever. The area surrounding them will be uninhabitable for decades maybe centuries. There will possibly not be at least part of a northern Japan that will exist for human habitation. I cannot say how much I HOPE I am in error, I am wrong and I eat my words. I would love nothing more than to do so.

The optimism does a disservice. People MUST be given the truth for their own physical safety. I believe a cloud will pay a visit to our west coast relatively soon -- not as badly as Japan but who needs it AND if they do not get it under control the plants will still be spewing radioactive material and STILL incurring a multi-meltdown possibility the resulting danger of which will grow exponentially, over years. There will in the future be an increase in deaths from cancer (thyroid, leukemia, bone) especially in the young, the sick and the elderly. There will, of course, be the inevitable birth defects in future generations. Again, I surely want to be in error. The risk of nuclear power is simply not worth it. When it runs well it is wonderfully clean BUT it takes only ONE failure whether human or natural to create an epic catastrophe.

On another bleak front: A THIRD war is opening up in the Middle East similar to Iraq. IF the UN (the US, France, Britain, Germany, etc.) wins we will be there for DECADES with the US in the lead and they will resent our footprint. One only need hear one of history's greats our own Secretary of Defense Gates: He said IF we put another soldier in another country in the Middle East we are crazy. I think we are CRAZY. If we don't win, well, I cannot even contemplate that! And how about that deficit?

President Obama's policy on this one has been sorely lacking as the military industrial complex and neocons wield their ugly might again. Who can stop them? I believe, if one in halls of power advocates for war THEY must physically fight it, Congress should declare it and there should be a draft. They, of course, will not do that as the American public by all polls wants OUT of war in the Middle East and would in Vietnamesque fashion revolt.

If we are dropping bombs on Libya for humanitarian purposes then why did we not go into Dafur? We all know why. Oil, money and the power it bestows are unstoppable. Humanitarian rationales are a Trojan Horse!

UPDATE: Libya Declared a cease fire. This story is still developing. I would LOVE to eat my words on this one!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Change: The catastrophe in Japan has changed me in ways I never could have imagined -- philosophically, politically AND even psychologically as the Japanese people are incredibly accepting of their fate. It should, I think, teach us the lessons they seem to have learned. I cannot believe the peacefulness, lack of violence and gentleness of this people at least so far. They have shown a fortitude few seem to have.

This catastrophic experience shows, I believe, life and its resources are limited for all of us. We live on life's precarious delicate balance, moored by the laws of physics to a fate which often is not tipped in our favor but can occur at a moment's notice. It is a thing, I believe, we must accept and do what we can do today to show love to those we care about and to help remedy the condition of man one human being at a time!
An event NOT related to the disaster:

Planned Parenthood is a WONDERFUL organization. They, of course, are PRIMARILY involved in family planning and women's reproductive heath care which is the majority of what they do. They save lives! It is important, in view of the radical right wing insanity attack on it, that people who care about family and women's health, support it.

A rally is being organized this Saturday in Boston to do just that. Click on the link below for those of you who are in the Boston area, who think it important as I do to attend, to see the details of the event. For those of you out-of-state, please forward this to any you know in this area or even not in this locale who you may think would want to attend.

Thanks much!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Red Alert in Japan: An Unfolding Nuclear Catastrophe": Accept this or reject this source as you see fit. It is one man's point of view. This man has been writing, interviewing on his radio show and involved in politics of a left wing persuasion. He is a graduate of Wharton School of Business at Harvard (Donald Trump's alma mater if that means anything.) As I said it is one man's opinion but everyone has a right to hear it, read it and decide for themselves what to believe. I paste his blog below.

In my opinion, it is now out of our hands except for what SHOULD be prescient future policy with regard to nuclear energy and its cousin nuclear weaponry. Japan is crying out and we as part of the human species must help them and heed nature's warning. It is up to you if you want to leave your fate and the future generations which harbor your DNA, to religious stupidity and mythological thinking. If you think a god will come down out of the heavens and swoop you up to safety, I suggest you are in grave error and put your family in grave danger as well to fend off the dire consequences of that disordered thinking. Again, it just my opinion. You and I must choose the correct path. I know where I stand. Do you?


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Visit: Hell came and paid Japan and all of us -- all of the human race -- a visit. Maybe nature or fate came down and said nuclear should not be in our vocabulary. Rachel Maddow explained the overview of a nuclear reactor and what is in it, what fuel rods mean, and how it is constructed. She said, and she is right, a nuclear reactor, is NOT a nuclear bomb BUT -- and this is the important thing -- the two are inextricably linked. This is why the world goes berserk at the thought of nuclear weapons in the hands of unstable states OR really ANY state. It is why when J. Robert Oppenheimer and others who created this monster at the Manhattan Project during WWII to be ultimately dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki quoted from the Hindu scripture the Bhagavad Gita "Now I have become death destroyer of worlds."

Humans, do well to head this quote and see what our capacity for evil has done. This can never be undone and nuclear war can never be undone either. Mark well what Japan has shown us. It is our modern day example of the danger of things nuclear. This existential threat can and must never happen again!
THIS is my real feeling after the Japan holocaust taken from CREDO.COM

CREDO Action | more than a network. a movement.

President Obama: Reverse your support of risky nuclear power.

No nukes. Not now.

Nuclear Energy: Not Now, Not ever!

Clicking here will add your name to this petition:
President Obama: Reverse your support of risky nuclear power.
Take action now!

First came the earthquake. Then the tsunami. Then multiple explosions at nuclear reactors. Several Japanese nuclear reactors are at risk of melting down with unthinkable release of radiation.

The crisis in Japan is heart wrenching. The latest reports suggest at least 10,000 dead from one of the most powerful earthquakes in recorded history followed by a devastating tsunami. And that number is likely to rise.

But perhaps the worst is yet to come as multiple nuclear reactors in Japan are redlining and officials frantically release radioactive steam into the atmosphere in hopes of averting a total nuclear meltdown.

Tell President Obama: No more nukes. Not now. Clicking here will automatically sign the petition.

Even now, politicians of both parties are so beholden to the nuclear industry, that they are racing to microphones to say that the U.S. must EXPAND its taxpayer support of building even more nuclear reactors.

President Obama's 2012 budget includes $36 billion in loan guarantees to the nuclear energy industry. With Congressional leaders competing to cut public spending, we face a spectacle where senators in both parties were quick to defend nuclear power in the days following earthquake. Sen. Chuck Schumer, vice chair of the Democratic Senate caucus, has joined with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, in refusing to support a moratorium on building new nuclear reactors in seismically active areas in the U.S.1

Nuclear power generation is so financially risky that it requires government intervention to obtain sufficient financing for development. Even nuclear power proponents admit the stakes. According to John Rowe, the CEO of the nation's largest nuclear operator Exelon, said "Except with massive subsidies, there's really nothing one can do to make a whole lot of nuclear plants economic right now."2
Tell President Obama: We need investment in clean, renewable energy, not more nuclear time bombs. Clicking here will automatically sign the petition.
What does it take for Congress and President Obama to get the message? In just the last year, we have suffered massive disasters as a result of declining and risky energy technologies. Coal, oil, and now nuclear power have been the center of soul searching crises in the past 12 months. First came the massive coal mine collapse in West Virginia courtesy of the rapacious Massey Energy. Then came the massive BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico which failed to slow significant advances by the oil companies in drilling offshore of the United States. And now comes a massive nuclear crisis in Japan, the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. Yet nothing has been done.

It's time to stand up and defend the planet. Tell President Obama: Enough is enough: No new nukes.

Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

P.S. If you want to help fund relief efforts in Japan through progressive organizations, Doctors Without Borders, a group CREDO members have long supported with their phone bills, is on the ground with medical teams. Find our more here. Another CREDO supported organization, Mercy Corps, is directing donations to its local partner Peace Winds Japan. You can get updates from Peace Winds Japan and find donation information here.

1 "Will nuclear industry feel the fallout from Japan?," Politico, March 13, 2011.
2 ibid.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Off the top of my head Modest Proposal: I just had a brilliant idea because I was thinking of Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal." For all those Republicans (and a few conservaDems too) I think that they should begin a state of their own. How about transporting them to Idaho. Then move ALL the nuclear power plants to Idaho with them. Then they can all be together and make love to as many nuclear power plants and the waste from them that they want. They can even swim in the waste plants in summer. While they are there they can work very hard because, sorry, no health care UNLESS the free ever so free market will offer health care which they can purchase at a HUGE price but they won't mind because the glories of the free market will make sure they are rich, VERY rich.

Moreover, they could pollute to their hearts' content (as long as the pollution stays in Idaho) and they can even deny global warming and rev those car engines up twice as much and business would not even have to monitor their smoke stacks or waste plants. Hey chemicals just add to the high of swimming in a stream they roll into in summer. They could EVEN pull cigarette warnings from packages. When they get cancer, heart attacks and strokes well such is life they just die and a new generation takes their place. God will surely protect the ones who do not have heath care and there is ALWAYS heaven. In addition, while they are at it they can take evolutionary developments in bio-chemistry and the prevention of disease OUT of their books. Nope creation "science" only. When new flues evolutionarily morph the Idahoians will have to go it alone and, well, they can pray. Yep there is always prayer which is a sure cure for disease.

Now, gays well they present a problem. If a Republican has a gay son or daughter, they can enroll them in a "Change a Gay" Christian program and again pray a LOT and presto their kid is straight or they can just give them the death penalty if they don't change.

And oh yes, guns. They can have ALL the guns they want. Feel free carry them everywhere, into the mens' room, the ladies' rooms, to school, to church even into surgery in case the doc screws up you can just shoot him.
A NOT WELL WRITTEN JAPAN RANT: This Japan disaster makes me want to SCREAM...FURIOUSLY because now I just tuned in to CNN and NOW they are saying how dangerous this nuclear cloud could be. It just keeps getting worse the more you tune in ..it's never contained because they CANNOT -- let me repeat that for the Republican and some Democratic IDIOTS who JUST LOVE nuclear power and who may read something as good as McClathchy News(Link below)...governments LIE ALL THE TIME they lie and News LIES all the time why? MONEY. That's what it comes down to. Lives second MONEY first. Last evening nuclear physicists "scientists" came on totally minimizing the negative effect of nuclear blasts from power plants. Saying this is not even like a CAT scan. BULL PUCKY that's what I say to them. Where did they get these "scientists" from the Midwest and south where these universities have HUGE contracts with nuclear power building.

Now the news is much worse on CNN now they are talking about the USS Reagan moving further away .. WHY? Not to get a ride but because of the radiation. This is WORSE MUCH WORSE than any scientist has said on the LAME stream media. IF MONEY is involved you cannot believe ANYONE related to it or to the building of waste plants or nuclear power facilities. They have a vested interest in keeping the public STUPID. DON'T LET THEM MAKE YOU STUPID. LIVES your kids lives, you elderly parent's lives are at stake! NBC is owned by GE a builder of one the Japan reactors that exploded..SO HOW objective will they be? ---- NOT!


Sunday, March 13, 2011

An Adult's Response to a child's alleged writing below. I was recently sent an email by someone who obviously is a believer and a Christian. I paste it below my response for your enjoyment.

I hesitated responding to this email. I decided to do so as long as it was sent to me so I could iterate my thoughts.

I do have strong liberal opinions, which I send to my own list and include those thoughts in my blog about the political, social and cultural issues of the day. Some may take issue with what I say and I can accept that. Sometimes I even encourage it. However, I have asked in the past, that those who forward me emails which are imbued with utterly phantasmagorical religious nonsense concerning angels with wings, clouds, rainbows and alleged "proof" of the existence of religious indoctrination, brainwashing and myth, refrain from sending that to me.

I object to this seemingly benign email on the following grounds:

1. I suspect while it may have been a school assignment, that it was written by an adult for a child. I have no proof, of course, that this is so but I personally suspect it is.

2. I am Jewish and while I eschew faith in general I PARTICULARLY dislike anyone sending me references to Jesus. Let me be perfectly clear. I do NOT believe in the divinity of Jesus, I would NEVER believe in Jesus, I never have believed in Jesus and it infuriates me that some make an apriori ignorant assumption that everyone does. Everyone does not. I beg to differ with that less-than-brilliant boy who wrote the letter. Atheists exist EVEN in Chula Vista, California!

3. The third, and perhaps my most vociferous objection is that the boy actually received an assignment like that from a public school. I understand if he attends a religious school which instructed him to write about that but assigning that in a public school should be beyond the parameters of the mandate of our Constitutional church state separation.

Our Founders as much as the extremist radical right loves to deny it were prescient to include "Establishment Clause" in the First Amendment separating church from state because these men of the Enlightenment KNEW how contentious religious belief was AND how lethal and divisive it could be for the state to be involved in or advocating for it. The state should be neutral in these matters.

While I would be thrilled to debate even the undebatable, because proof of god has never existed, does not exist and most probably will never exist, I cannot endure emails that waste my time with the indoctrination of religious myth and folly. Religions have seen man's need for the explanation of creation, suffering, pain, illness, and death to take advantage of many and in the process have made MILLIONS and attained the heights of power. I accept nothing as truth UNLESS science proves it. Religion is NOT science. It is faith. Either one has it, one doubts or one does not have it but it cannot be judged as truth.

I would bet there are thousands in Japan today who would wonder if the two god theory behind what that boy said is true why the two
standing god guards fell asleep. While he is at it I wonder if he could explain why a benevolent all powerful god did not answer the pleas of his doomed six million in Auschwitz. Please save your proselytizing for someone who could believe it. If you want an academic debate I would be glad to hear your point of view. A ludicrous letter, allegedly written by a less-than-genius child is almost insulting and falls on MY adult deaf ears. Save your effort.


Little Boy's Explanation of God -- Fabulous!!!
Out of the mouths of Babes-- [MY EDIT: OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES INDEED!]
"And a Little Child Shall Lead them"

(I certainly don't think an adult could explain this more beautifully!)


It was written by an 8-year-old named, who lives in Chula Vista, CA. He wrote it for his third grade homework assignment, to 'explain God.' I wonder if any of us could have done as well? [DO YOU REALLY WONDER ABOUT THAT??? REALLY???]

(And he had such an assignment, in California, and someone published it...I guess miracles do happen!)

EXPLANATION OF GOD: 'One of God's main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn't make grownups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way he doesn't have to take up his valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.'

'God's second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times beside bedtime. God doesn't have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this. Because he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off.'

'God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn't go wasting his time by going over your mom and dad's head asking for something they said you couldn't have.'

'Atheists are people who don't believe in God. I don't think there are any in Chula Vista. At least there aren't any who come to our church.'

'Jesus is God's Son. He used to do all the hard work, like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn't want to learn about God. They finally got tired of him preaching to them and they crucified him. But he was good and kind, like his father, and he told his father that they didn't know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.'

'His dad (God) appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth so he told him he didn't have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So he did. And now he helps his dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones he can take care of himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important.'

'You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time.'

'You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there's anybody you want to make happy, it's God!

Don't skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And besides the sun doesn't come out at the beach until noon anyway.'

'If you don't believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can't go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He's around you when you're scared, in the dark or when you can't swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids.'

'But...you shouldn't just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and he can take me back anytime he pleases.

And...that's why I believe in God.'

(If you believe in God, please pass this on, and may God bless you too.) Have an awesome day, and know that someone has thought about you! [SIGH]

"Nuclear Meltdown in Japan" -- an Interesting blog: My relative politically is left of center to put it mildly. I agree with some of what he says BUT not all of it. Today, though, he wrote a piece entitled: "Nuclear Meltdown in Japan." I urge you to read it. We disagree vehemently on other issues but NOT on this one.

I believe he is not being unduly alarmist. To the contrary, in view of the Japanese disaster, the lives of millions are at stake!

The link to his blog is below.

The Sage Helen Caldicot--Japan and the Relevance of Science: When I read MSNBC at first light each day the headlines about Japan are worse than the day before: Someone sent me a quote from Helen Caldicott. Wiki states: "Helen Mary Caldicott born 7 August 1938 is an Australian physician, author, and anti-nuclear advocate who has founded several associations dedicated to opposing the use of depleted uranium munitions, nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons proliferation, war and military action in general. She wrote Nuclear Madness (1979), Missile Envy (1984), If You Love This Planet: A Plan to Heal the Earth (1992 and 2009), A Desperate Passion: An Autobiography (1996) hosts a weekly radio program, If You Love This Planet." How prescient was this scientist who for years, my relative stated, warned in her 1978 book, "Nuclear Madness," and I quote"

As a physician, I contend that nuclear technology threatens life on our planet with extinction. If present trends continue, the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink will soon be contaminated with enough radioactive pollutants to pose a potential health hazard far greater than any plague humanity has ever experienced.

One wonders if the intellectually compromised who eschew science and whose attention span is about ten minutes, will FINALLY pay heed. I doubt it but I can hope. If this does not change a right wing extremist's Know Nothing view NOTHING will.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Japanese Disaster: For once in my life I am at a loss for words. This post says it all and gives all relevant information as how to help Japan. My Facebook page also has much info. The quake moved the earth 8 feet and actually as I have read even moved the earth's axis. Is that possible?

I am not a praying person but sometimes I admit I do. What else can we do for those besieged people? Send what you can.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

George Carlin the Brilliant: I enclose yet again this Utube of George Carlin entitled "The American Dream" which was made years ago. Especially after Wisconsin, it is THE most prescient of his renditions. How could a man be so brilliant? If you object to profanity then do not open it but I believe it is one of his best and says it all!

PBS Punts: Public financing of PBS is on the line. NPR shamefully fired their top fundraiser, Ron Schiller when they were caught in yet another Republican scam by the Republican scam artist and takdowner of ACORN, Andrew Breitbart through his "master" of disguise James O'Keefe. Republican lies win another round because their progressive opposition does not know how to defend itself and fight back. I urge people to support PBS when they can. It is the best in educational programming. I wrote to them the following:

NPR and PBS are the BEST that broadcasting has to offer. HAVE WE LEARNED NOTHING from the 2010 elections? The biggest plus Republicans have is they do NOT bend. Just look at governor slime Walker of Wisconsin. He did not bend and used every conceivable trick in the book including doing something illegal to pass what he wanted. This should be a lesson to all of us who favor humanitarian causes and good journalistic practice. PBS, YOU CAPITULATED TOO FAST as Dan Rather did when he reported on the draft dodger Bush. Rather resigned too quickly because he was right and should not have resigned, but should have waited, defended himself and CBS should have backed him up.

Progressives, STAND UP FOR YOURSELVES and do not shake in your boots at the first sign of Republican attacks. When they attack one should know it is dubious and what one is saying is most probably true. Shirley Sherrod was yet another victim of Republican malfeasance and was railroaded by the head of the Obama appointed Dept. of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, progressives and even the NAACP who were afraid of Republican attacks. She was innocent of the Republican charges and she was innocent of bad Republican film editing. It did not matter. The Department of Agriculture secretary and the NAACP threw her under the bus because they were frightened.

PBS, DO NOT BE AFRAID OF YOUR SKIN! Saying the Tea Party is teaming with racists IS CORRECT. It is. Do not back down. Stand up for yourself because truth is most often on your side.

Your best financiers are those listeners of PBS who support PBS as I do. Barack Obama was elected by people like us. DO NOT DISAPPOINT us by cowering in the face of Republican onslaughts. Republicans are neither truthful NOR patriots and that is most especially true of the Tea Baggers within their party. What was said negatively about them is true and there is a plethora of evidence to prove it.

Shame on PBS for falling for the toxic Republican lies and playbook. I thought you were better than that.
Walker's Plank Walk--A letter to the Democratic Party and Unions: We all know what that slime excuse for a governor in Wisconsin did last night was abhorrent and anger provoking to our very core. He broke the law by using illegal political tactics to rid state workers of their collective bargaining right. We know, this is the Republican Party's national strategy and we ALSO know this is the Democratic Party's moment. The union giants which were in a state of somnolence are, I think, awakened -- FINALLY. It is up to the Democratic Party and the unions to unite again during, ironically enough, the anniversary of FDR's New Deal and at a time of the renewal of spring to take advantage of this resurrection for Democratic power that Scott the know nothing Republican governor so dutifully handed to us. The Democratic Party with the unions at our side needs to organize again all across the country. Take the "victory" of this shameful governor and turn it into his defeat.

Democrats continue to represent the interests of majority of the population but simply cannot and have not been able to get their message across strongly and well. Our president, sadly, has not and still does not do enough to help the union cause. Walker and so many others of his ilk took advantage of the political anti-government climate against the bailouts and through the Republican amazing ability to manipulate the media and the message convinced those who SHOULD be a part of a Democratic base to vote Republican and those like Walker into office in droves. Ironically, Walker has served to alienate a HUGE part of what was sadly part of his own base.

One can SEE clearly what happens when you take your vote for granted and do not show up. Walker happens and it is sad because the preponderance of the country does NOT believe as he does. 400 people, as Michael Moore said, control over 50% of the wealth. Walker and those like him in TRUTH do NOT represent the country. They did, however, in brilliant Republican style manage to steal the message any way they could even if they had to lie to do it. Republicans are TERRIFIC at the game and best of all for them the Supreme Court hand them the weapon of choice through their loathsome Citizens United decision making it possible for oligarchic election control.

Do NOT fail to capture this moment. It is here for a brief time and as we know about life, spring fades and winter ensues. Our president SHOULD be right at your side, walking, as he said he would, WITH the unions in their quest for economic parity and not cater to those forces who want desperately to unseat him. Those with whom he wants to compromise are NOT his friends. They are the wolves in sheep's clothing and the Trojan horse was their gift but it will, in the end, open up to destroy his presidency.

Do NOT let this happen and do not let this moment pass. Organize, organize, organize and make the so called governor Walker walk the electoral plank. Fix America by making hateful Republican politics, especially Tea Party politics, irrelevant to the American Dream.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Health Care Competitive Fix: A response to Jeff Jacoby's March 9, 2011 Boston Globe Op Ed (link below) I agree with him in part. I am, of course, in favor of a national health care single payer system BUT if I cannot get that, I agree, AT LEAST open the market up to competition the lugubrious salivations of the lovers of the free market say will bring costs down. Let the free market do what those who have an orgasm over it say it WILL do if the savior of all -- competition -- is allowed to thrive.

I want markets opened up to ALL and I do mean ALL health care insurance AND I want the drugsters i.e. big pharma competition to be open up as well. The individual, the libertarians and lovers of free market everywhere say, should have the ability to make their own free choice even if it means purchasing drugs CHEAPLY from Canada. The consumer SHOULD have nothing standing in the way of his/or her free market ability to choose. Putting a restriction on from whom we can purchase health insurance or the drugs that can help us is the binding tie between government power holding hands with big corporate everything. It is a corrupt union, indeed, as the middle class chokes when it has to pay its health care bill but the insurance executives get their millions of dollars in revenue and bonuses taking fun trips to the Bahamas in their yachts. When THAT Gordian knot is severed MAYBE just maybe health care costs would go down IF consumers get the biggest bang for their ever dwindling buck!


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Just Want to be Free – the Mistakes of Tyrants: There are some in my family who are convinced the CIA/US is behind the Arab uprisings. For the life of me I cannot understand THAT one. The left sees the US behind every nefarious activity and plot and the right sees leftist socialists as the men behind the curtain pulling the strings. I'm very confused. Doesn't anyone think that human beings can act in their own self interest and impulse without anyone necessarily being behind it?

Allegedly this all began when one Tunisian vendor had had it up to his earlobes with his government's injustice. If true that was quite a feat. It seems our own revolution began when someone got a bit miffed that a tax on tea was levied and they had no say in the matter. Then bam in an instant British Red Coats fired on a group of probably drunk rabble rousing colonists. John Adams later argued the British were intimidated and it was merely self defense. That may be so but I bet the British said, if only if only as they lost what would become later quite a thing of value, their colonies. If only George the III did a small thing like say hey wait a minute I'll give you some representation. Seems like it would have been a small price to pay for what would become George the III's BIG mistake.

So how does this apply to the Middle East? Well, if only the Tunisian government under Ali, the Egyptian government under Mubarak, and now the Libyan government under Qaddafi could have been so prescient to have seen all that oil money they made, hid in banks and squandered on great villas, estates, cars and women could have been distributed through jobs to their people paying them for work and thus giving them a better life and little less unemployment.

There are, I think, lessons to be learned for ALL governments including our own. When 2% of the people own 98% of the wealth, gas prices and food prices are in the stratosphere unaffordable for most, the housing of the American Dream foreclosed upon do NOT for a happy country make.

I say to our illustrious elected representatives, CEO's of our HUGE banks, corporations and hedge funds LOOSEN UP A LITTLE WILL YA? How about releasing ALL that cash so our country can stand upright again even IF it might stand upright during a black president's administration? It might just ensure, in the long run, your way of life prevails and someday even under a white Republican. Injustice is a nasty thing. It makes people very mad.

I suspect while Qaddafi is holding his Tripoli, in the long run, he will lose just as the Brits in 1789 lost the colonies. People get mad as hell and will simply not take it any more and they have the wind of purpose at their back.

If only George III had thought of that. Instead of Old Glory flying high on our Capitol the Union Jack just might have. This is food for thought you tyrants and holders of all the wealth in the world. “People everywhere”, in the end, as the Young Rascals of the late sixties sang, “just want to be free”!

Monday, March 07, 2011

The Shine is off of Sheen: The New York Times says Sheen fired from 2 1/2 Men:

Good! Can we now talk about news that TRULY is worthy. I do not give a whit about him. My opinion: He deserves what he got. These foolish foolish people who make such a GOOD living, are SO fortunate and, indeed, SO LUCKY that they got some breaks in life and they squander it. It is as if someone gave you a satchel of gold and you left it on a park bench.

He should be hugging the executives who gave him such a good job, shut up and ACT and thank God or fate or something that shone its light on him. How many of us would give their right arm and a pint of blood for such good fortune. Shame on Sheen. He deserves everything he gets and then some!
Walker's Walk: Wisconsin and other states which for a brief moment in 2008 understood that the George Bush Republican era of horrid and corrupt politics had to end but in 2010 did the very same thing and overwhelmingly voted in Republicans all across the board. Wisconsin is prime example of what it REALLY means to vote against your economic interests.

Democrats continue to represent the interests of about 98% of the population but simply cannot and did not get their message across strongly and well. Our president, sadly, did not help the matter. Walker and so many others of his ilk from Bachmann to Boehner and beyond took advantage of the climate and through the Republican amazing ability to manipulate the media and the message got those who should not have voted Republican to vote the Walkers into office.

One can SEE clearly what happens when you take your vote for granted and do not show up. Walker happens and it is sad because the preponderance of the country does NOT believe as he does. 400 people, as Michael Moore said, control over 50% of the wealth and Walker and all those like him in TRUTH represent them. They did, however, in brilliant Republican style manage to steal the message anyway they could even if they had to lie to do it. Republicans are TERRIFIC at the game and best of all for them they got a Supreme Court to hand them the keys to the Emerald City of Citizens United.

If you do NOT want this to happen again, if you want the country to get out of our economic malaise, if you WANT the country to represent YOU do NOT, I repeat do NOT vote Republican.

Yes, I know Democrats aren't perfect but believe me IF they could gain a significant majority who will be as steadfast as their Republican adversaries, our country WILL thrive. I am SURE of it.

Krugmanesque and Elizabeth Warren polices should prevail and our president should get this message LOUD and clear. Second term: OUT with Geithner, OUT with Bernanke, OUT with the policies that allowed the banksters to get away with economic murder. We want Washington to regulate; we want Washington to PROSECUTE and we want the perpetrators of the biggest economic fraud in history not to have gotten away with a ten buck slap on the wrist. How many of you think that will suffice and that these bad boys will have learned their lesson? Oh none? You are right. So keep electing Republicans and Conservadems and you will continue to be pilloried by not understanding the politics of power. It's IMPERATIVE as fast as we voted these
know-nothings in we can vote them out JUST AS FAST. Make Walker and those like him walk the electoral plank and DO SO WITH ALL DELIBERATE SPEED!
Michael Moore's speech in Madison -- greatest speech I have heard maybe EVER! I link it below:


Friday, March 04, 2011

Presidential Power of Middle East Politics: Roger Cohen's March 3, 2011 editorial "Go to Jerusalem, Mr. President"(link below) advocates for President Obama to make a trip to Jerusalem to calm Israeli fears amid the present upheaval in the Middle East so that Israelis will be assured that the US will remain Israel's most important ally.

I do not envy those in positions of Israeli power nor do I envy our president's decisions that he will have to make about the latest intractable Middle East morph. It is unsettling, to say the least, when nothing IS settled. Surely there must be some wise men in Israel and at our president's side to act as counsel. In the final analysis, it is his decision to make and it is he who will be held accountable as the buck stops at his desk and goes no farther.

Obama has played most things close to the vest. I believe he balances political prudence for the 2012 elections and his legacy with some idealism left over in some crevice of his senatorial and campaign 2008 DNA. I have found myself throwing up my hands when the president goes against what he said to those of us who elected him in 2008 but then retreating from my criticism when he does something I deem wonderful which he has many times. I have come to the conclusion after arduous reflection about my deflation of 2008 ebullience that this president is president of ALL the people not just his Democratic coveted base of which I am a member in good standing. In short, as president, he must be more careful, infinitely more discerning as to what he says, where he goes and for which policy he advocates. I live in Massachusetts BUT Massachusetts is NOT Indiana nor is it Tripoli or Tel Aviv. I cannot expect it to be.

The Middle East, that cauldron of bombastic never-ending upheaval and death, is VERY hard to predict. I suspect some Israeli and US policy makers are having late night Pepto Bismol moments while they have the darnedest time trying to craft effective Middle East policy while alienating few and at the same time saving the lives they were entrusted to protect. Would a visit to Israel allay some Jewish fears? Perhaps it would. Would it prompt other Arab militancy to retrieve their anti-Israel/US signs which have been, so far thankfully, absent? It's possible. Some say life is about risk. That is true when one is starting a corporation or going to the race track but when one is crafting Middle East policy it means the risk is life and death. Decisions in this neck of the woods must be made carefully, analytically and intelligently after much deliberation and at the same time with all deliberate speed. I think our president's proclivity for cool means that slow and steady is his rule and, I think or at least I hope, in the final analysis, where the Middle East is concerned it will win the race!

The Power of Art: Recently a relative of mine wrote a wonderful piece on the beauty of art and said we should support it. I strongly agreed and it prompted some thoughts. I wrote the following:

I LOVE the arts. It is amazing how many different forums there are to soak up both historical and contemporary creativity. Even if one is not able financially or physically to support or attend artistic events, one can seek out in many different ways artistic talent.

I agree with my relative it is the culture of art, music, literature, theater and today film which will live on. When the Taliban blew up the ancient statues of the Buddha those of us who adore antiquities let out a collective wail. It reinforced how toxic extremist belief is to man and how important it is to contribute to saving those irreplaceable and priceless pieces of man’s artistic creation. The civilization that produced the Buddha statue in Afghanistan is long gone but that remnant of man’s creativity lived until religious dogma blew it up. I read a piece recently which reported they are trying to recreate the statues. I pay tribute to that but also know modern efforts at reconstruction while laudable often do not take the place of the original. That’s okay. I’ll take what I can get. When I went to Dusseldorf, Germany some years ago we were taken to a museum which was built around the destructive obliteration of a building during World War II. Inadvertently that bombing uncovered a gorgeous mosaic of Roman art. I took that as a metaphor that even through the destruction of war the art survived!

Many (I included) complain and loathe some of the pitiful violent garbage on television made to appeal to minds of a dull 10 year old (I guess they have their rights too.) My cable provider, however, if one wants to search through a myriad of channels, offers endless artistic viewing from PBS to Wealth TV which is non stop classical, baroque, and other music and art of the great masters. It takes one on a film journey through their historic world. It is better than any drug, alcohol or other mind altering substance because it provides a wonderful escape into the auditory and visual magnificence of another world and it does not dull the senses but enhances them.

Art is everywhere but so many in our society carry a poisonous asp in their pocket wanting to kill much that breathes beauty and life into our world. I have written about the sinew of anti-intellectualism that runs through some of our country’s sclerotic veins. It is sad because this country has, indeed, produced some wonderful works of art in a variety of venues. They deserve our undying support in any way we can.

There is so much to learn and so little time to learn it but if you have children and even if you do not I believe you owe it to the generations that come after us to imbue them with an appreciation of art, hone their abilities to create it, and support endeavors the best one can to finance it. Devoting our collective dollars to the waging of war, the propping up of tyrannies, and the proliferation of destructiveness will end up on the ash bin of history but art, hopefully will live on long after we do, unless, of course we destroy it in the process.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Forgive for what?: I respectfully disagree with Rabbi Hier of the Simon Weisenthal Center (link below) thanking Benedict XVI for absolving the Jews for the death of Jesus. While this is a good thing for the Jewish people, I find myself INCREDULOUS as to even discussing this utterly insulting matter. That one even needs to give credence to these moronic accusations is testament (forgive the pun) to the stupidity of the human race. Pardon me if I say to his Holiness, Benedict, I was NOT staying up nights pacing, worrying and wondering IF the pope will pardon me. Really, pardon me for what?

That this accusation of deicide has been an albatross around the Jewish neck for millennia culminating in the orgasmic slaughter of the six million cannot be denied. Absolving the Jewish people by his Holiness, Benedict XVI for our collective guilt for the death of Jesus I find patently and absolutely absurd! The dastardly deeds committed by the Church with respect to the Jewish people have been done and cannot be undone. Let the Pope ask God for His forgiveness. I for one thank the church for nothing!

How Washington Works: Glen Greenwald says it all in his "Chris Dodd Shows How Washington Works" article in Salon.com. If you REALLY want to know how Washington works read his article in its entirety. I should say read it and weep! After you have a good cry DO SOMETHING!

Free Speech Means Free Speech: Quoting in pertinent part Supreme Court Justice Roberts writing for the Court's majority upholding the rights of the Westboro Bapitst Church to carry hateful signs at US soldiers' funerals:

“Speech is powerful,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority. “It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and — as it did here — inflict great pain.”

But under the First Amendment, he went on, “we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker.” Instead, the national commitment to free speech, he said, requires protection of “even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate.”

I must concur. As difficult as this SCOTUS decision is and as disgusting to see as those hateful signs carried by the insipid Westboro Baptist Church attendees is, our First Amendment freedom of speech is THAT precious to us that the Court’s decision to uphold free speech trumped its prohibition no matter how noxious the content of that speech.

The HOPE that the First Amendment bestows upon our nation is that odious speech if brought into the light will allow other speech which would, one trusts, counteract it. As much as I loathe these messengers of doom who spout destruction, lies and hate, I love our Constitution’s First Amendment more which gives ALL of us the ability and the duty to speak out against them.

Forcing groups underground does a disservice not only to our coveted freedom but does a disservice to law enforcement as well. The disgusting hate-filled signs protesting at service men and women's funerals, who have given their last full measure of devotion to our country, when out in the open can serve to alert those who keep a close watch on hate so that we are aware of the monstrous threat within.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The con, the cons and the can -- No bankster or stock rater jailed for the grossest economic fraud ever -- Rolling Stone -- Matt Taibbi Here are some salient points (link below) written by Matti Taibbi in the March issue of Rolling Stone Magazine in his article entitled "Why Isn't Wall Street in Jail" about the Wall Street bucket of fraud drenching the taxpayer and even their own investors which ultimately sank the economic ship. We are feeling the effects of it, of course, in triplicate today.

Apologies for some of the profanities in Matt Taibbi's quote but I think it is appropriate because of the dastardliness of the crime. It is what happens when one lives in an oligarchy where HUGE banks grease the wheels of government and government is beholden to them and NOT the people. Please see the documentary "Inside Job" as well which just received the Academy Award for best documentary film.

If you are a billionaire and someone says to you hey you did something wrong which was terribly illegal and immoral so pay 10 million bucks in fines. What do you say? You say WHEW gladly and then also have the ones you perpetrated the crime upon pay the fine. Nice work if you can get it and the banksters can, have and will continue to unless their cans are carted off to the can to be with the cons cans even if just for six months. I hear the cons will treat the can of the Wall Street cons very well.

Taibbi says the following:

Not a single executive who ran the companies that cooked up and cashed in on the phony financial boom — an industrywide scam that involved the mass sale of mismarked, fraudulent mortgage-backed securities — has ever been convicted. Their names by now are familiar to even the most casual Middle American news consumer: companies like AIG, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley. Most of these firms were directly involved in elaborate fraud and theft. Lehman Brothers hid billions in loans from its investors. Bank of America lied about billions in bonuses. Goldman Sachs failed to tell clients how it put together the born-to-lose toxic mortgage deals it was selling. What's more, many of these companies had corporate chieftains whose actions cost investors billions — from AIG derivatives chief Joe Cassano, who assured investors they would not lose even "one dollar" just months before his unit imploded, to the $263 million in compensation that former Lehman chief Dick "The Gorilla" Fuld conveniently failed to disclose. Yet not one of them has faced time behind bars.

Instead, federal regulators and prosecutors have let the banks and finance companies that tried to burn the world economy to the ground get off with carefully orchestrated settlements — whitewash jobs that involve the firms paying pathetically small fines without even being required to admit wrongdoing. To add insult to injury, the people who actually committed the crimes almost never pay the fines themselves; banks caught defrauding their shareholders often use shareholder money to foot the tab of justice. "If the allegations in these settlements are true," says Jed Rakoff, a federal judge in the Southern District of New York, "it's management buying its way off cheap, from the pockets of their victims."

To understand the significance of this, one has to think carefully about the efficacy of fines as a punishment for a defendant pool that includes the richest people on earth — people who simply get their companies to pay their fines for them. Conversely, one has to consider the powerful deterrent to further wrongdoing that the state is missing by not introducing this particular class of people to the experience of incarceration. "You put Lloyd Blankfein in pound-me-in-the-ass prison for one six-month term, and all this bullshit would stop, all over Wall Street," says a former congressional aide. "That's all it would take. Just once."

But that hasn't happened. Because the entire system set up to monitor and regulate Wall Street is fuc*&^ up. Just ask the people who tried to do the right thing.

For the rest of the story read "Why Wall Street isn't in Jail" link below: