Saturday, December 22, 2007

Patriots and the World Series

Josh Marshall of TPM tells Mitt that the Patriots haven't won the World Series since Yastrzemski was quarterback.

Good Grief.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Name this Tune

Sometimes it's hard to encapsulate what one thinks and feels with just a few simple words, as in a Title. I've tried to find some words that jumped to mind when I decided to write what I think and feel about this particular thing. I've struggled to find a title for it other than thing, but without success.

And so I ask you, dear readers, to suggest a name for this post.

A few weeks ago Hillary appointed Sandy Berger to her team of campaign advisers. If I'm not mistaken Berger is a former member of President Clinton's cabinet, whose security clearance was suspended when it came to light that he played fast and loose with his access to secure information.

I wrote about it then expecting that Hillary would be pilloried for rewarding a crony. I said then that I took no pleasure in writing about this, worried that the Dems can still snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I continue to be fearful that the GOP will somehow snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

To my astonishment more than my consternation her opponents gave her a free pass. On the surface it seemed to be a slam dunk for the GOPhers, or at least her Dem opponents.

Is it possible that a sense of decency, even forgiveness, surfaced and embraced Hillary's detractors?

Personally, Sandy Burger doesn't come across to me as a criminal or burglar, and I suspect that he made a stupid mistake; perhaps even deluding himself that he would be admired and rewarded for his assiduous pursuit of stuff he thought his patrons desired. Perhaps he believed that by having access to and using secure stuff he was just working harder, working at home, demonstrating his dedication and loyalty to those he thought, however naively, held in mind the best interests of the people, the country and the Constitution.

The name, Sandy Berger, has disappeared from the scene, at least to the extent that one might look for his name in the Main Stream Media or what I call the Fifth Estate, the Web Log Media.

I have no quarrel with Sandy Berger. I am neither his advocate nor detractor.

And I am not pointing my accusatory finger at either political party.

My quarrel is with the so-called Main Stream Media. The problem with that kind of quarrel is that it is about tilting with windmills, as Don Quixote demonstrated and so taught us.

I am no longer surprised by the MSM compliant, if not hinged heel, whoreish behavior.

I'm concerned about what forces are at work when information which most of us would call significant, disappears from both our view and hearing?

The Hillary/Burger thing is likely not all that significant. But the simple fact that it got suppressed so quickly and easily, without anyone complaining and drawing attention to what happened, scares the shit out of me.

Monday, October 15, 2007


I just saw that Kilroy-60 provided a link to my blog on his Carnival post at Gonzo-Fear and Loathing.

This is to thank him for that and also to tell all that he is a really neat guy. I tend to think well of folks who think well of me.

Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Hillary and Berger

A week ago I thought Hillary would be pilloried for the addition to her team of Sandy Berger.
A tsunami that didn't develop.

Frankly I'm at least surprised. Neither party's candidates did anything with it. It had a brief life on Fox News, but then nothing.

In my earlier blog I wrote that it gave me no pleasure to write about it; and that anything the Dems do to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory is at least worriesome.

I must have missed something. If anyone reads this and knows what I don't I hope you will enlighten me.

Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, October 8, 2007

Hillary and the Company She Keeps

Hillary might have really blown it. The news that she's put Sandy Berger on her team will no doubt result in howls and hollers from the right. Frankly, I believe she deserves the opprobrium. Sandy Berger is known as one who made illegal use of documents, and has had his security clearance suspended. Clinton's judgement will be and should be suspect in putting him on her team.

Even if she now relieves him of any position and influence on her campaign, and makes a public statement to that effect, the damage is done.

I take no pleasure in my view on this. I prefer Obama, but anything the Dems do which can result in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory is at least disheartening.

Lighthouse Keeper

Helen Thomas Speaks for Me

Helen Thomas of Hearst Newspapers has a piece dated Oct 4 which can be found on

It's called The Democrats Who Enable Bush. She points to the three Dem front runners dodging a question about what they will do by the end of their first term to get us out of Iraq.

She sites Pelosi as knuckling under to political pressure by deleting from a funding bill language that would have required Bush to get approval from Congress for action against Iran.

She concludes by asking the question: "So where do the voters go who are sick of the Iraq debacle?"

I'm one of those voters.

Lighthouse Keeper

Saturday, October 6, 2007

As Good As It Gets, For Now

How many nights does one go to bed having witnessed the Red Sox winning in the ninth, the second game of the ALDS, resulting in their leading that series 2-0; and also witnessing the Yankee's losing in extra innings in their ALDS, falling behind 0-2?

Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, October 5, 2007

"Conservative": From Admiration to Scorn; Adjective to Noun

David Brooks, New York Times columnist, has a piece in the Times today entitled The Republican Collapse.

He observes how the Republican party has moved from what he calls Republican by Temperament to Republican by Creed.

He writes about what he sees as the changes in the GOP which led to my own decision to change my voter registration from Republican to Independent.

The first definition of the word "conservative" in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is "preservative".

Enough said tonight. Stay tuned.

Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, October 4, 2007

For Shame!

Mikhail Gorbachev spoke to a group in Kentucky last night in which he said "The World is facing a global political crisis". He made his comments to the Global Issues Forum at the Kentucky Center for the Arts, arguing that today's leaders need to reach mutual understandings about issues rather than using force to impose their will on one another.

Here we have a former top dog of the Communist Party, head of the former USSR, who is a Nobel Peace Prize winner. It's at least embarrassing, if not horrifying, to admit that this man is to be admired, and our own President is thought by many, including this writer, to be a shameless war criminal.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

What, Me Worry? Take it Easy!

My own take on what's going on in the campaign for president is that no one, not the candidates nor their supporters, should feel either good or bad, upbeat or downbeat at this point in the so-called race.

Consider who is excited and involved at this point. Is it the voting public? I doubt it. Not yet. So why is the media so full of campaign "news"?

As usual, if you don't understand something follow the money. Who is making money at this point in the "race". It's those who want us to get worked up about the "race" right now. The candidates themselves, to bring in contributions, and the Main Stream Media, the same folks who hyped the news to get us worked up about the "threat" from Iraq, and now want to get us worked up about the "threat" from Iran.

No, I'm not claiming a conspiracy unless you believe that competition for the almighty dollar is a conspiracy. The key word here is "competition". If there is anything in common among all the players in the Main Stream Media it is the market, the public, the audience, the consumers of news, the buyers of newspapers, magazines, and newsletters, and their counterparts who go to the Internet for their news.

The media wants to sell us their conveyances of news, whether it's newspapers, magazines, newsletters or websites. They know that controversy, shock, horror and fear grab the attention of the public. "Extra, extra; read all about it" was not about obits, weddings and recipes.

But Tim Russert, George Steph', Chris Mathews, Chris Wallace, Bob Shieffer, Hannity and Colmes, Bill O'Reilly, et al are doing what they can to hype the start and first turn of the race, the first few games of the baseball, football, basketball, etc. seasons because they have to, to make money for their employers. They like to point to polls which are supposed to indicate the public's preferences. But the real polls they pay attention to are the TV ratings of their programs, the size of their subscriber base and the number of "hits" on their websites.

This time around the campaign for president started shortly after the last one. Instead of having three plus years of government by and for the people, we have one year or less, and three years or more of campaigning for the next election. As a result we are denied the chance to evaluate those in power on their actual performance over several years, and instead we are inundated by their claims of competence, ideology, experience and negative statements and accusations against those of their own political party. Then they expect the public to forget all of that and rally around just one of them as the savior.

Is it any wonder that the public is dubious, if not cynical at this stage of the game, or more accurately, this stage of the season. Not everyone in Red Sox Nation is charged up from March to October. Most folks get involved, if and when they do, toward the end of the regular season, and into the playoffs. That's when they pay attention.

The Red Sox led the American League East Division by 12 games early on in the season, and 14 plus games over the hated Yankees. They ended up winning the division by two games, but it felt closer than that. One of the Dems seems to have an early and reportedly insurmountable lead in the Democrat division or league in the game of politics. May it will be a wire to wire win, but it's too early to tell.

The real "Deciders" aren't yet paying attention. It's a bit early to proclaim victory. We haven't even got to political mid season and the All Star Game yet.

Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Quote of the Day

"The Only Klingon I'm afraid of is my wife after she's worked two shifts."

Lt. Tom Paris, Star Trek Voyager.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Jerk of the Day

The Jerk of the Day award goes to Rep Tom Davis, R-VA for sending a letter to Henry Waxman demanding that The New York Times be made to testify under oath about things surrounding the ad about General Petraeus.

This from a Bush/Cheney sympathizer who have claimed that executive privilege protects anyone they want to protect from testifying under oath.

Is there no end to this hypocrisy?

Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Shooting Ourselves in the Foot

Michael Kinsley has a pithy piece in the current issue of Time, also found on It's about the "outrage" over the ad; how the "meanest of hombres" are suddenly "feeling faint" in their shock over that ad.

I won't be surprised if he has a follow-up piece on the Iranian President Ahmadinejab's invitation to speak at Columbia University in New York tomorrow.

Of course the guy deserves all the negative adjectives and opprobrium one could heap upon anyone of ilk. Of course he's to be despised for mouthing off about wiping Israel off the map. (Two Offs don't make an On) Of course he's to be vilified for denying the Holocaust.

But, though perhaps we might like to shut him up, by the very fact that he is scheduled to address the UN and has been invited to speak at Columbia, he is in fact a player. Whether we like it or not, this foul mouthed man, who exhibits all the classic behaviors of Narcissus, is a person who has managed somehow to get a significant role in a play on Broadway, bypassing Hartford and the Actors Studio. To discount this is classic denial.

Senator Chuck Hagel R-NE said something like, we as a country continue to act in ways not ourselves. That's from a decorated Vietnam vet.

I know, I know, all my right wing friends and family will ridicule me for writing this. They might say things like I was never the same since going to a liberal New England college, and later on deciding to live in Massachusetts. Funny it's now called a blue state, when once it was viewed by the right as very pink. Isn't pink a pale form of red?

I wish to point out to my right wing friends and family that one of the tenets of the so-called Iraq Study Commission, which was headed in part by James Baker, not one known as a lefty, called for having dialogues with those who oppose us.

Here's the real problem. I think whoever said that Hitler would have been invited(was it the president or dean of the university?) got too caught up in a perceived need to provide a defensive response. Talk about pouring fuel on the fire!!! But then maybe that's what he or she wanted to do.

If so he or she hasn't earned, nor deserve, any more respect or less flack than the guy invited to speak. Invoking the name of Hitler as someone who also would have been invited went too far over the top for most reasonable and sensitive, objective and subjective, thinking and feeling and regular, normal and common people. That is as bad a mouthing off as the little guy from Iran. It's designed to stir and turn up the heat under the pot.

By virtue of zeal, they have positioned themselves on the fringe of thought, equal to and opposite of those who position themselves on the opposite fringe. The result, usually by design, is those positions are guaranteed to block consensus.

I've long thought that the pendulum is an apt symbol of life. It represents the reality that life depends on its swings. Even though they encompass extremes, it's those swings which provide the energy for life.

There is a phrase associated with those who feel stressed; "Stop the world, I want to get off."

All of us have felt that way from time to time. The poem Desiderata advises us that most fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Our wish that everything would stop is actually a death wish. When the pendulum stops at the mid point of its swing, it exhibits the ultimate lack, and depletion, of energy; the end of motion, full stop. Entropy. Death.

Physics has it that the pendulum, when swinging, makes two other stops in its cycle; at the extremes in the equal but opposite ends. It has to stop in order for it to begin swinging in the opposite direction. This a vastly different kind of stop though. The one in the middle is the result of total depletion of energy, whereas the two stops at the extremes exhibit a quite different level of energy. It's known as potential energy and its potential is at its peak when the pendulum stops at those extremes.

Those who object to the Iranian president's invitation to speak at Columbia University might ask themselves why. Is their need for the lack of tension in their lives so strong that they are fearful of opposing views and the energy inherent in them? Have they forgotten that often the audience of the speaker can have a significant impact on the speaker? Have they forgotten that sometimes the critics of our culture and ways of living find themselves questioning their criticism and might actually become advocates of our culture and ways of living, having actually experienced them.?

If that is too much pie in the sky, at least consider that there is a possibility that by hearing what this guy has to say might help us understand better what motivates him to oppose us and what we stand for.

In spite of what George W. Bush says he believes, that all are God's children are the same in what they believe and hope for, it's still just his belief. Believing doesn't make it so.

Had W even audited an introductory survey course in Cultural Anthropology 101 he might have paused awhile before he acted upon his either /or, black or white, good or evil simplistic needs.

George W. Bush was took office by appointment of the Supreme Court. At that time was support by well meaning people who think of themselves as conservative, small "c". That is a fine philosophy and worthy of respect. That was before 9/11 and before the neo-cons, as opposed to traditional conservatives, let the dogs out.

I've asked myself over and over again how it came to be that this adult child was re- elected to the highest office of our land.

The best I've come up with is at least depressing. Garrison Keillor called George W. "that small dim man". Either more small dim people voted in 2004 than large bright ones, or, as it has been suspected, especially in Ohio, the election was in fact stolen.

Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Quality of Masks Is Strained

As one more blogger among many who have been ranting for four years about the war in Iraq being about oil, I take some pleasure in the fact that the Great Greenspan has said so.

Now, how should we evaluate what he said? Should we accept it as confirmation, or be skeptical of his motive for saying so? I purposely framed this as a question implying a yes or no, up or down vote. But what occurrs to me is that every time we turn around we are inundated with opinions, which, by definition are designed to influence us to believe in an opinion as fact, adopt it as such and spread it around as fact. But it started its life as an opinion.

George W. Bush is on record as saying that it's important to repeat something over and over again, until it becomes reality to the people. Only then can it be used by those in positions of authority to garner support for their agendas. When that is accomplished, the skeptical and the cynical are rendered impotent.

Of such is the essence of attempts to influence; the self serving but seemingly benign by projecting a happy face on the targeted consumer; and propaganda, which when recognized as such, conjures up the frightful face. Human nature is predisposed to want the happy face.

We have here the the two faces of theatre. But wait, they are called the masks of theatre. The implication is not insignifant. Masks, by definition, obscure and hide the wearer of his true self. But the expression "two faced" is understood universally to describe one who cannot be trusted to be honest, to tell the truth, and as such is deemed not to be trusted.

In my earlier post, It's the Oil People, I took the stand that the oil actually is the real and valid justification for taking out Saddam. We simply cannot take the chance that the second or third largest known oil reserves on the planet(one can find both estimates in the media) might fall into the hands of those who oppose us. Bob Woodruff, months ago, said that such a happening would lead, not to an economic crisis, but to an economic disaster.

Alan Greenspan, promoting his new book, "The Age of Turbulence", on Charlie Rose, called such a scenario "calamitous", and said that he advised Bush that taking out Saddam was essential to assuring a reasonably assured, though not guaranteed, access to oil.

Currently we have, I think, two carrier task force groups in the Persian Gulf. It's interesting that Admiral Fallon, the current Centcom Commander, balked at having a third there because he saw it as too provocative. Was he thinking that two are enough to keep the Straits of Hormuz open, so that oil can get out of Iraq?

Fallon is reported to have little respect for General Petraeus, who seems to have become the new PR guy for the administration. Speculation has it that he has an Ike complex, but without the humility. I hope Fallon is listened to at the Pentagon.

Clearly Petraeus has been stroked, (instructed?) by the White House to listen to them; to use his image as a competent, trustworthy, highly decorated officer with a PhD, but still a good soldier who is sworn to obey his superior, to make a sours ear look like a silk purse.

The Ad

I thought it a childish, schoolyard taunt; and I bet they felt oh so clever at the doggerel rhyme, which was so obvious that it must have occurred to most all who pay attention to the news.

Fortunately most adults held their tongues.

But shame on the politicians, especially the Democrats, who voted to condemn the ad.

How many more times are we going to deny and avoid facing the reality of the trashing of our Constitution?

I'm reminded of the not so funny joke going around when the Iraqis were trying to write their Constitution. Why don't we give them ours? We're not using it.

Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sound of the War Drums is Becoming Louder

As the expression has it, "Be afraid, be very afraid".

In today's media, more in the so-called blogosphere realm than the so-called Main Stream Media realm, one can easily find reports of the US Pentagon's development of at least two plans for military attacks against Iran.

General Abasaid, the former Centcom Commander in charge of military affairs in the Middle East, said today that the world can live with a nuclear armed Iran, just as it has lived with the nuclear armed Soviet Union, in what was called the Cold War; and now has lived for many years with the nuclear armed China, Pakistan, India, Israel, et al.

What's the difference? What makes Iran having nuclear weapons more of a threat than those we've been worrying about for years?

I've read that George W. Bush is so narcissitaclly driven to his need for a significant legacy that he is determined to go out a winner any way he can.

I've read that Cheney is so Machiavellian that he has no problem sucking up to George W. Bush, if he can use him to get his way. What is his way is so far beyond this observer's ability to comprehend, let alone understand, that I have to defer to those who have invested years in the study of behavior and its consequences.

As a not so casual observer, I, like Maureen Dowd of the Washington Post, think that Cheney is dangerous because his behavior is so revelatory of one whose view of life is that of a paranoid.

Whatever I have come to say about this is limited to my own views.

Please leave our views in comments which you can express below.

Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, September 10, 2007

You Can't Borrow Your Way Out of Debt.

The title of this post became clear as I watched the Petraeus/Crocker show.

As one who has experienced the cycles of business, early on as a grunt, and later as an officer, some expressions come to mind. Depending on one's perceptions such expressions can be considered truisms or shibboleths.

The one that most came to mind today, as I listened to the Petraeus and Crocker sales pitch for staying the course in Iraq is: "You can't borrow your way out of debt."

Their testimony reminded me of what the Enron executives and their spokespersons said to buy time in what turned out to be the vain hope of avoiding the inevitable collapse of their house of cards.

Lighthouse Keeper

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Hello? I Don't Get It

Hello? I don't get it.

Or maybe I do.

If I do, I fear that I'm even more cynical than I thought.

Enough Dems were elected in 2006 to give them a majority in Congress. I know, I know, it's a slim majority; it's not filibuster proof, nor veto proof.

But I remember seeing Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, et al, raising their held hands high in triumph. Also I remember my own feelings of that scene; something like, finally we can reverse the disastrous course the Bush administration has set us on.

Not only do I not see a reversal of the disastrous course, I see caving and compliance, talk about dropping demands for time lines and statements coming from the leaders of the Dems which, in my view, reveal their continued fear of being labelled unpatriotic and "cut and run" politicians.

In case you haven't picked up on the implied severity of the "cut and run" accusation, it is the essence of a charge brought against actual military deserters on the battlefield. It's up there with the charge of treason, the penalty for which has often been death.

So the backers of the Bush approach have thrown down the gauntlet and taken off the gloves; though perhaps not literally, clearly figuratively, and nevertheless coming from a position and view of life that winning is all; meaning winning the White House, and a veto overriding Congress.

Coming from my most cynical self I am not happy to conclude, but can't deny concluding, that both the Republicans and the Democrats are more interested and committed to winning whatever it is that they think defines winning. Clearly it has more to do with a win/lose, zero sum fight than a genuine commitment and desire to represent the views of those who elected them. There is a tragic disconnect between Congress and the voters.

Shame on all of them. Said Mercutio, "A pox on both their houses".

A Washington Post/ABC poll released today finds the American people as cynical as I about the so-called Petraeus report, what is now known as the Bush/Petraeus report. Other polls show a figure in the teens on the question about how Congress is doing.

As a registered voter I will continue to reject being identified as either a Republican or a Democrat.

But I will vote.

Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Selection Process; Natural or Considered?

Many Americans love to dismiss the French as ungrateful for what we've done for them when they were in great need, WWII for example, or call them old Europe as Rumsfeld did. In today's vernacular that would be translated as "so last century". I'm lousy at remembering facts and statistics, but I seem to remember that their recent voter turnout for the highest office in their land was at a level that is the envy of all democracies. Only tyrannies which pretend to be democracies by holding rigged elections, exceed what we saw in France recently.

I make no case for their judgement, knowing next to nothing about their chosen one. But I was impressed by the size of their voter turnout. If we Americans turned out to vote in 2000 and 2004 in those numbers, I suspect that we would be dealing with very different issues today.

I was put off though by the new French president's need to kiss the ring of the American President by conveniently deciding to vacation near where our Pope Wannabe was enthroned.

The new French leader, the new British leader, the new German leader, the new Israeli leader, and other new so-called leaders before them, seem drawn, as moths to flame, to an audience with George W. Bush, whose narcissism is so frighteningly evident that he makes the Pope appear humble.

Such seems to be the power of whoever is President of the United States. But it's not the person, it's the position the person happens to hold at the time. She or he could be an idiot, as were some of the kings and queens of other cultures, and still be viewed and considered as worthy of respect, not for who they were as persons, but because they, for a time, had ascended to the top position in their particular tribes.

Even after more than two hundred years divorced from the Europe of Kings and Queens before whom the citizenry bowed and worshiped, we, as a species, have not yet thrown off that gene, meme or instinct to bow before the Alpha Male, the current occupant of the most powerful position in the tribe.

I suspect that this instinct has far deeper roots. Humans seem to exhibit similar behavior to those of animals who form packs, troops and tribes. In those communities which are patriarchal, there is an Alpha Male who, by competition, wins the allegiance of his subjects. Though matriarchal societies are not the norm, one would expect that the Alpha Female would be awarded similar obeisance.

Creationists are not likely to give these thoughts credence, since to do so is tantamount to acknowledging that such a connection to the past, genetically or memetically is valid.

If I were ever put in the position of meeting George W. Bush, according to the manners I was taught, and expected social obligation, I would accept his hand shake. However I hope I would have the guts and presence of mind to whisper to him, "I am shaking the hand of the president of the United States, the country I love; but don't take it personally".

It has to do with my view, as stated in the profile of my Blog, that respect should be limited to those who demonstrate that they are an authority on important things of life, not simply because they, for a time, occupy a position of authority.

Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Sound of War Drums

Today's web sites and blogs are full of the stuff we read, saw and heard five years ago at this time. Then it was a plan to invade Iraq. Today it's a plan to attack Iran.

The credentials of today's authors are impressive. International journalists, middle east specialists, intelligence agents to cite a few.

Their message is clear. Stop the Cheney/Bush plan somehow. Impeachment was mentioned as a possible way to make them at least pause.

By and large these writings are not in the Main Stream Media. However the two columnists of the NYT today are good examples of trying to wake up the public before it's too late.

The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post aren't touching this stuff. They are running reports and opinions about the threat from Iran.

It's all too familiar, the rhetoric, the claims of trying to work through diplomacy while at the same time rattling the sabres, and the timing. And there are reports of a Cheney instigated media blitz right after Labor Day, today. The usual shills are to be used, Fox, The American Enterprise Institute, The Wall Street Journal to name a few.

And this morning we learned of a dramatic and surprise visit of Bush, Rice and Gates to Anbar Province; meeting with Petraous and Company, and calling out Maliki and Company from The Green Zone to meet Bush on Bush's terms, in Sunni territtory. A masterful performance; has Rove's fingerprints all over it. His swan song, a parting gift or has he just removed himself as the lightening rod on the roof of the Bush administration? I believe the latter. These people will do and say anything, truth be damned, to advance their cause. They're view of the public is that of P.T. Barnum and the snake oil huxters; the view that there are enough fools out there that they don't need to worry about the rest.

Lighthouse Keeper

Saturday, September 1, 2007

A Different View of the Political Divide

I've been reading some of Glenn Greenwald's stuff on Salon, and just now watched a C-Span program on which he was defending his new book, "A Tragic Legacy".

He made an interesting point in his talk. He said that in contrast to the former Right and Left political views which moved people to choose, today the polarities have come to be between those who are concerned about the trashing(my word) of the checks and balances provisions of the Constitution and those who think the Executive Branch needs unfettered power.

Those who champion the latter often defend it by harkening back to other war times when the president was rarely challenged in what he said was necessary. Perhaps true and defensible during WW II. But Cheney/Bush got the Senate to give them essentially carte blanche power for the "War on Terrorism", and since, by definition, that is a war without end, such powers have no end.

I read that Nancy Pelosi took Impeachment off the table. Why? Is is because she thinks it would backfire on the Dems in the 2008 elections? Is it because she doesn't believe that justified and defensible articles of impeachment could be drawn? Is it because she believes that we will be in Iraq for years to come because of its oil reserves, and is just politically motivated by her desire for the Dems to be in power?

I am more and more inclined to believe the last thought. In an earlier post I wrote that I don't think much will change in Washington after Nov. 2008, even if the Dems get the White House and/or retain control in Congress.

I guess that's why I'm an Independent.

Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Cheney and Iran

Juan Cole, a Middle East authority, has a new post on his blog, Informed Comment, entitled

Cheney & Iran; Here we go again?

He cites sources he respects as telling him that Cheney has issued instructions that a media blitz supporting attacking Iran is to be rolled out in early September. The propaganda channels of choice include The Wall Street Journal, Fox, The American Enterprise Institute and The Weekly Standard. No surprises there.

His post cites other news pieces which indicate Cheney/Bush are beating the drums for war, just as they did before invading Iraq.

Is there no way to stop this madness? Impeach Cheney and Bush on charges of violating their oaths to uphold the Constitution.

Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fred Thompson and the Image Game

The more I happen to come across appearances of Fred Thompson on TV, the more my view of him compares more realistically with a former President than a current candidate for the 2008 nomination.

This afternoon I watched a clip of Mr. Thompson on TV, in which he talked about having two young children, and how energized that makes him feel.

For weeks now his handlers have been successful in getting the main stream media to feature his wife as a strong influence on him; smart, savvy and strong minded to be sure, but the underlying, if not intentionally subconscious message put out there is that he is a stud, by virtue of his late-in-life fathering of children, and the youth and good looks of his wife, the mother of his children. He seems to enjoy telling the papparozzial behaviors of the so-called Main Stream Media that she is both his wife and his campaign manager.

One wonders what psychologically conscious and unconscious responses his handlers have indentified and targeted as easily subject to being swayed by their propaganda.

I spot here all the earmarks of an advertising, propaganda and spin campaign which his handlers believe is necessary to create an image of candidate who embodies the best of the wise old man and the virulent stud.

They also try to make him out to be today's Ronald Reagan. The only similarity I see is that both men made a good living as an actor, but at different times in their lives.

Lighthouse Keeper


Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Blogosphere and the Fifth Estate

The generally accepted definition of the Fourth Estate is that it is comprised of a community of journalists; a rather broad definition which takes in all levels of the media, from the so-called Main Stream Media to the writings of individuals. This definition says nothing about quality, ownership, editorial views, agendas, sources of revenues and impact or influence.

The phrase "Main Stream Media" has become common in today's parlance and seems to connote institutions with aspects and qualities of power, continuity, influence, availability, acceptance and impact.

For purposes of this essay, I include as elements of the Main Stream Media, in addition to the major print media institutions, the major TV networks and the major Cable news companies. All qualify by virtue of their reputation for power and influence, ratings and as readily available to a mass audience.

What brought about the need to differentiate between the so-called Main Stream Media(MSM) and other media institutions, and why is it important to discuss it?

One example can be found on Alternet,org; Norman Solomon's piece about the news director of CNN, and his complicity with the Pentagon to sell the war in Iraq in return for their imprimatur for employing retired generals. The obvious purpose was to promote and enhance CNN's appearance of credibility. It was a hidden agenda in that there was no public disclosure to the viewers of CNN of any deal with the Pentagon.

It's unlikely that one would find accounts of such complicity in the MSM, at least not on the front page, let alone above the fold, nor in the pre-break hooks of the TV media, Network or Cable. The story of huge sums of taxpayer money spent by the Bush administration on contracts with PR firms to provide pre-packaged, administration -friendly propaganda to that same MSM is more likely to be found on Internet Sites like,,, and in the writings of those who are publishing their own independent views on the Internet.

Fortunately, Nature abhors a vacuum, and in this case the vacuum is comprised of an absence in the MSM of honesty. Hidden agendas and quid/pro deals sacrifice credibility, to which consumers of news are awakening.

Nature is filling that vacuum by what we might call the re-emergence of the Fifth Estate, the expressions and writings of those who understand and appeal to the market of honest and outraged citizens who have had it, will no longer buy the spin and who are looking for authors of knowledge, honesty and credibility. They want to read and hear commentators who are willing to hold to account those who cloak a suspect agenda in the guise of familiarity and previous reputations of respectability; but no longer deserved.

I refer to those authors who wish to use the Internet to make respectable, high road contributions, regardless of their point of view, on politics, culture, religion, science and such. By contrast, there are those who use the Internet to make ugly, sleazy, low life contributions of pornography, hate, racism, xenophobic and homophobic rants and the like. I understand that such labels are subjective, but as it is said about pornography, you know it when you see it.

Many of us who are interested enough to be involved and have opinions will wait to express them by voting in November, 2008. That's the provision provided to objectors by the writers of the Constitution. Unlike Parlimentarian governments, which can be ousted by votes of no confidence most anytime, our Constitution provides for ousting a government, or supporting it, by a public vote on a scheduled basis.

Unfortunately and sadly, many of us will not be able to vote in 2008 due to difficult and understandable circumstances; overwhelming problems of daily survival due to health, physical, mental and emotional problems.

Then there are those of us who just don't bother, don't respond to any kind of overture or appeal, and are seemingly unreachable. They will always be with us.

Even with such discounting, the number of citizens who can vote but don't is about half of those who could. One wonders how the world might look today if that half of voters who didn't bother, did.

I believe that some don't bother to vote in part because they have lost respect for politicians as a whole, and also because they have come to distrust the MSM to publish facts, be independent of political pressure and not engage in quid/pro deals to enhance their appearance of credibility by agreeing to support the agendas of those with whom they make the deals.

Some of us have decided to write about what we believe, not influenced by pressures to be profitable, nor by a need to maintain good relations with politicians in order to insure access to them.

We post essays to our blogs on the Internet blogosphere, what, to me, is the modern manifestation of the Fifth Estate, the voice of the people. Some respected journalists have likened it to the pamphleteers of our Founding Fathers era; Ben Franklin's "Poor Richards' Almanac" and the writings of James Madison, for example.

Contributions such as Norman Solomon's mentioned above, and those of other authors, are published on professionally designed and managed Internet sites like Truthdig, Truthout and Alternet. In my view they are also examples of the Fifth Estate. Though more institutionalized than individual bloggers, they don't seem to pull their punches when it comes to the need to be critical publicly of politicians. The ones I've cited lean toward left of center, but are critical, especially lately, of the feckless Democratic majority.

Total objectivity is an abstract concept. The very fact that a human being expresses a view, that view is, by definition, subjective; it represents the subject's view. In this essay I have tried to make the case that the Fifth Estate, as represented by independent bloggers and authors published on Internet sites, are less likely to be influenced by pressure of profitability and access than the Main Stream Media. Being for or against the Iraq war for example is not what I'm talking about. Making quid/pro deals with anyone, for or against anything, is what I am warning against.


Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Deja Vu All Over Again?

Is it politics or policy that is behind today's reports that Bush is about to label the Iran Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist body? Is it both?

Is the Cheney/Bush group trying to go to the well one more time to set up a scenario that puts us in a new war, and so wants to be able to say, as they did in 2004, that you shouldn't change horses in the middle of the stream?

Why haven't we heard from the Main Stream Media much about Sec. Rice lately? Has Cheney succeeded in marginalizing her as he did with Sec Powell? Why are we reading the name Petraous more frequently than Gates?

Is the Main Stream Media still cooperating with the administration in what they publish, so as not to lose access to sources of power and news ? Did you read how much money the administration has spent on disseminating manufactured news?

George I got high marks for his Gulf War, but it was over too soon to save him from defeat in his bid for a second term. The economy sunk him. George II, always looking for ways to upstage his old man, sees Wall Street in a dither, usually a six month advanced indicator of the economy, and figures he has to go back to being a war president to distract the public from the "Homeland" problems. But he needs a new war to do that, and the only way he can get that done is to attack Iran, by declaring them the source of his problems in Iraq.

By the way, are you as nervous as I about the resurrection of the term "Homeland"? That is so "Old Europe", to quote Rumsfeld, and carries with it a frightening connotation of nationalistic, emotional militarism, reminiscent of the 1930's and 1940's.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Rove v Bush and The Art of Spin

Spin, the modern euphemism for the selling of lies, formally known as propaganda, has it that Bush feels bereft by Karl Rove's resignation. For those who are tempted to believe that,

"Abandon all Hope ye who enter here."

Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, August 10, 2007

An Ironic Force for Unity in Iraq

Joshua Holland has a piece on about the so-called Oil Law which Washington and Big Oil want passed in Iraq.

I've written about this several times.

The interesting part of Holland's contribution is his view, backed up by some polls, that Iraqis of all stripes are coming together against this law.


Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Talking with Grampa

Richard Cohen has a wonderful piece in today's Washington Post. He makes terrific use of a great literary device.

Grampa comes back to ask boychik what's happened to the Democratic Party?

Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Playing the Other's Game; Dangerous

Anyone who has participated in organized sports is likely to have learned one of the toughest lessons of competition; the danger of getting sucked into playing your opponent's game. It usually happens when your opponent knows he is unlikely to beat you at your own game, and has nothing to lose by trying to take you out of it, hoping to strip you of your advantage. I learned a lot of life's lessons in the process of playing basketball up through college at the NCAA level. Thus my use of the game of basketball as a metaphor to illustrate a point.

The classic case is a short but fast team up against a tall and disciplined team. When the disciplined team starts playing the run and gun game of the short fast team they forsake their strength, begin to worry and lose confidence in themselves. Sometimes the game can actually get away from the "better" team. The wise coach spots it and often can avoid a bad outcome by getting his players' attention that they need to trust themselves, and their own game plan, and not get sucked into playing the other's game.

It's becoming distressingly evident to me that Barack Obama, who, among the current candidates running for the office. I hope will become President, is starting to play the other's game. People have been attracted to him because he seems to see the big picture, has taken the high road, is smart and articulate, and has come across as a statesman, not just another politician competing for a job.

However, his handlers, not to be confused with coaches, like Kerry's before him, seem to be pushing him to come across as the testosterone candidate, the micro tactician, the tough on terrorism image. Recently he said that he would take military action in Pakistan, even though Pakistan publicly warned us away from that course. Pakistan was warning Bush away, knowing that Bush is weak at home and vulnerable to criticism. With that comment he essentially, though hopefully inadvertently, aligned himself with Bush, the vulnerable. And Barack's the one who called Hillary Bush Lite. What was he thinking? Or, more importantly, what happened to his thinking? He's playing his opponent's' games.

Hillary, in the last debate, ironically, made the more testosterone response to the viewer's question about talking to our enemies. She began with "No". Obama's response has been characterized by the media as soft on terrorism.

He was guilty of making a classic rookie mistake, not seeing the trap until it was too late. He answered the question from his conviction that we must try to establish dialogue with those who oppose us, a major recommendation of the Iraq Study Commission. But he fell into the trap of answering a Yes or No question, used by lawyers to entrap witnesses, with his honest belief that, Yes, of course we need to talk to those who oppose us, rather than preceding his yes or no response with the sensible caveats his response needed, and which he mentioned, but too late in the game.

I hold the view that we have a social obligation to respond, but not to answer.

What disappoints me most is that after his opponent ran the floor and scored on a steal and fast break, he fell into playing the opponent's game, trying to make a quick score, in retaliation, and playing catch up. But playing catch up is rarely successful, relying on tactics more than strategy.

The sports metaphor breaks down here. Unlike that simplistic example in which the coach is the source of wisdom, Obama must rely on his own wisdom and his ability to articulate it. Roles should be reversed here. Obama is the player/coach and he must tell his advisers that he knows best, and that he sees them as being in support roles, like assistant coaches, chart keepers and trainers.

Problem is sometimes a player/coach can become confused and ineffective by trying to handle both roles. It's rare in the world of sports that it works. I suspect that it won't work well with Barack either.

So someone needs to get his attention that he is playing his opponent's game, and remind him of, and get him back to playing, his own game. I'll phrase my response in the form of a question.

Who is Mrs. Obama?

Lighthouse Keeper

The Main Stream Media Then and Now

Norman Solomon writes today about his take on the Pollock/O'Hanlon piece in the Times.

I have personal knowledge that supporters of the War, who call it laudable and winnable, are pointing to the Pollock/O'Hanlon piece with great delight, including the association of the authors with the claimed liberal Brookings Institution, and that, up to now, the two authors have been critical of the way Bush has waged this war.

Solomon points out what he sees as the apparent repeat of the Bush Administration/New York Times collaboration before the war, and the appearance on the talk shows of admin types then and now,. pointing to the Times support for the war, and being sure to include that the Times is not especially friendly to the right.

Sometimes the truth is in the middle, but I must admit that I can't find comfort there on this.

Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Would You Talk To---Part 3

Obama's sense of vision got him in trouble in a recent debate when asked if he would talk with those who are said to be our enemies? He said he would. That response was pounced on by those who see the world and its threats as issues they can ride to get elected.

Obama sees those issues as opportunities. He wants to separate himself from the Cheney/Bu$h/Rice approach of not talking to opponents because it gives them air time, propaganda time, which they claim provides our enemies with an advantage.

Obama gets it.

Lighthouse Keeper

Would you talk to---part 2?

The Main Stream Media has set up the game between Clinton and Obama as being between the veteran and the rookie. Consequently they will be looking for examples which support their view.

I just published a post a few minutes ago about how Clinton's response has been portrayed as an example of a veteran response. The tough guy or gal, the seasoned one, the one who's been there and approaches those who oppose us with cynicism. Hard to argue with that, though that approach, or rather that non-approach, is tantamount to accepting the lousy and bleak view of the future of our relationships with other countries and peoples, some who actively oppose us, and some who simply disagree with us.

"No" is considered the safe position, at least in the short run. One can always move up from that toward a compromise. It's often the position of choice of those who take a negative view of the future, and also of those who run for office as a politician, not a stateman, focused on first things first; getting nominated, then getting elected, and then using the connections and realtionships established over the last several years to consider how to use them to their advantage, which too often means doing what is necessary to continue in power, whether or not that is in the best interest of the country.

Here's the rub. To Whose Advantage? Yours as the President, your political party, or the Constitution you hope to take an oath to uphold, and by extension, the citizens of the country you have been elected to lead; all of them, not just those whom you think are on your side. If you think the way of whose side are you on, you are no different than George W. who said you are either for us or with the terroists. Terrorists, opposition party senators and representatives, disagreeing journalists, opposing lobbyists.

Would You Talk to -----?

This is about the responses of Obama and Clinton to a debate question regarding talking or not to our enemies; which became le sujet de jour of today's talk shows.

Clinton seems to be getting the positive nod. Was it because she gave the testosterone response to the delight of her supporters who are worried that she'll be seen as not tough enough, being a woman, to deal with the nasties of the world?

The testosterone crowd is conveniently ignoring how frightening a female of most any species can be when what she holds dear is threatened; and I'm not just talking about mama bears.
Where did the saying, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" come from? I submit from the experiences of the testosterone crowd who ran into Mama.

Here's a poem from my 2001 collection, The Poet and the Pendulum.

A Man's Lament

If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy;
A truism most of us men know well.
It frightens and freezes us, leaves us quite helpless
About what we can do to avoid living hell.

In desperation we might opt out of marriage,
Or other arrangements which we thought had such promise
Of partnerships comfortable, from our point of view;
Only to learn we're much less than a novice

In terms of her needs, desires and wishes.
We're apt to confront or avoid them it seems.
But neither approach is ever much help,
And we find that we need to let go of the means

Which we've often relied on to get what we want.
They often can lead to undiagnosed traumas.
We still haven't learned how to please and appease
That woman in life, like the needs of our Mamas?

More on Iraq and Oil

I recommend Ben Lando's piece on You can click on the link in my sidebar for

The author of the blog MinstrelBoy tells me via email that he has read the most recent version of the oil law and finds it to be sensible, my words, and not particularly skewed to the advantage of private big oil firms as some have journalists have asserted.

By the way is a very good blog. The author has a particularly strong stake in what goes on in Iraq, which you can discover by reading the first to links he shows in his sidebar.

Lighthouse Keeper

Saturday, July 28, 2007

It Starts at the Top

This following is pure personal opinion. There's no way I could prove the connection I am about to assert or back it up with facts. It's one of those, "you'll know it when you see it" things.

I have, though, spent a lifetime in business, thirteen as CEO, and have seen how the behavior of the top exec affects an organization, mine and those with whom I have had close relationships.

We are reading many disturbing articles lately having to do with our own troops committing murder and various other atrocities, even the possibility that Pat Tillman was murdered by one his own team.

Over the past several years in Washington we have been witnessing lies and subterfuges coming out of the White House. Lately we're seeing the royalist behavior in Cheney/Bu$h, a level of arrogance not seen in government in a long time.

Here's my assertion.

This behavior on the part of the President and Vice President, not following the accepted rules of conduct, in fact ignoring rules, choosing what laws are convenient to obey and ignoring those inconvenient, is not lost on our troops and our citizens. Whether conscious or not, those down the line seem to be behaving as if thinking, "well if they can do it, and they're in charge -------. You can complete the thought yourself. It's the excuse and behavior of the schoolyard projected onto the stage of war.

This assertion can't be used in an Impeachment process, but nevertheless it is one of the most insidious influences one can imagine coming from the President/Commander in Chief; the guy at the top.

Garrison Keillor, The Old Scout got it right. He refers to Bu$h as the currant occupant and labeled him, "that dim, small man".

Lighthouse Keeper

Lucky Bear

Using the "View Blog" button I stumbled upon a blog I find refreshing and interesting. The author is a Vicar in a church in New Zealand. I find his views on religion to my taste, seeing the Bible as pointing us to God not as written by God, for example.

I especially enjoyed his essay on Satan and the history of Satan.

Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, July 27, 2007

Iraq Media Spin

Norman Solomon has a clear and insightful piece on about Leaving Iraq, sort of.

More Main Stream Media willing to publish the Cheney/Bush propaganda.

Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, July 26, 2007

High Tech Medicine

My family doc wanted me to have two MRI's one for my head and brain stem, and one for my thoracic back.

This afternoon I spent a half hour in a tunnel, with jack hammers, horns, drums, and all number of high decibel noise makers. What an experience. I pretended that the noise makers were the percussion section of a band playing Stars and Stripes Forever. That helped.

My doc also gave me a Valium tablet to take before the tests. That helped too. The last time I had an MRI for a back operation in Maine I had some claustrophobic feelings because the tip of my nose was only 1/16 inch away from the roof of the tunnel. Today's machine was larger and less confining. All in all it wasn't that bad, though I wouldn't volunteer for one.

Lighthouse Keeper

Family Ties

In early May my number four son, his lovely wife Amy and their one year old son came from Memphis for the weekend.

This was a special visit because it was our first visit with the grandson. He is named for my Father who was Henry Valentine Lindeman. I am not Junior, so my son is named Henry Valentine Lindeman II, and his son is Henry Valentine Lindeman III. He's the happiest one year old I've ever seen, so both parents are doing many things right.

When I decided to move from Brunswick, ME to the Cape in 2001 to be with Betsy, Henry II visited me there. I had to shed a lot of furnishings because Betsy's home was fully furnished. We had two trucks at the house, one for the Cape and one for Memphis. On the Memphis truck we loaded virtually all of my dad's things that he bequeathed to me in 1970. Henry II was thrilled to have them, the stuff of his namesake. And the really neat thing is Amy loves them too.

Lighthouse Keeper

Family Weekend

Last weekend my number two son, his wife, two girls and his mother-in-law were with Betys and me.

I was a bit apprehensive of their visit because Ken had a bad time when his parents divorced some years ago. But from the minute they arrived to the minute they left I witness the happiest family I've ever known. The relationships between each parent and their kids is based on respect and friendship with no visible corrections made by either parent to a child, and none were needed. Mom-in-law is high energy, close to all and told me how proud I should be of my son as a husband, father and son-in-law.

We took a whale watch boat out of P'town and saw many whales, though not as active as I've seen before, but the girls were thrilled.

Annie, age 11 wanted to play the trumpet when she got into fourth grade last year, so I sent her my 60 year old Conn solo trumpet which my dad bought for me in Plainfield, NJ when I was in fourth grade in Westfield, NJ. They had it cleaned, polished and dents removed. Annie brought it along and had some music sheets from her fifth grade band. I've been teaching myself the Clarinet, a little quieter in the house. We performed many duets for the family. What a thrill to experience this actually happening.

Emily who is 13 years old has matured early and is lovely. She enjoys clothes and stuff. Em is in the drama club and chorus. She will be in 9th grade, first year high school this fall. She make a great leading lady.

One great blessing is that they all adore Betsy, my unlawful wedded wife. Betsy has five sons and their families. I have four sons and their families. We've been together for 20 years, and decided long ago that with all those kids and grandchildren we would not complicate things with marriage.

We hadn't seen these folks in several years, and still have a glow as a result of a wonderful experience with them.

Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

With Friends Like These ---------

Most any newspaper or blog includes today's story of Pakistan's warning to the US that any attempt to use military force against Al Qaeda and/or the Taliban in Pakistan is "unacceptable".

Musharraf is supposed to be our ally. What's that about?

What that's about is that Bush is now seen as such a joke in the international community that few take him seriously, have any respect for him, and consequently believe that they can ignore, and, in the case of Pakistan today, defy the will of the American people, thought of as represented by Bush.

The international community knows that he(and we, by extension) can huff and puff but can no longer blow any one's house down. Our military strength has been compromised, if not neutered; our reputation as a stalwart leader of freedom has become a joke due to our actions against a sovereign country, Iraq, which posed no threat to us, but which sits on the planet's second or third largest deposits of oil; our political and moral divisiveness is common knowledge around the globe; our elected politicians' bought and paid for blind allegiance to Israel enrages virtually all peoples in the Middle East and likely other peoples who resent those who want to rule by fiat (executive privilege in today's spin) and anyone who believes that their shit don't stink.

I've talked to many of my friends about Impeachment. Most of them still think it's a waste of time and focus, a diversion from attention to the fiasco of Iraq. I used to think that way too.

I have changed my mind and now believe and support those Constitutional scholars and lawyers who are saying that Impeachment is not a Constitutional Crisis but a cure for a Constitutional crisis.

The Founders of our country anticipated this, having revolted against those who wanted to rule, not govern. It's likely that earlier generations in our country were concerned about this, but I suspect that what is going on today is perhaps the closest we as a people and country have come to being faced with a challenge from those who have such a desire for control and rule that they have no qualms about riding roughshod over our Constitution and all its values and safeguards, plus the views, wishes and hopes of those who voted them into office.

Yes, Iraq is a sickness, an illness of great distress, but perhaps is a symptom of a plague which has the potential to wipe out all the progress of society's efforts of the last two centuries to provide a social and cultural system which recognizes, appreciates and values the synergistic expression of enormous numbers of individuals, as recorded by their private votes, whether well considered or not; but certainly at least self-interested, and as such were made as a personal expression of hope that the future will be better than the past.

Cheney/Bush should be brought to justice through the process of Impeachment, the legal terms and articles of which can be drawn by Constitutional lawyers and scholars, but which, in effect, represent what most citizens believe is criminal intent and inimical to the health of America and it's people.

Lighthouse Keeper

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Blog Topics, Then and Now

As you would find if you read my first post I began this blog because I have lost trust in the so-called Main Stream Media to write the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Unfortunately, as I have written, the MSM pulls punches in their reporting of what goes on in Washington, being willing to accept the spin and propaganda put out by the Administration, while still perpetuating the ruse of opposition to the Bush policies and actions.

I've said that I want Congress to impeach Bush and Cheney, based on their lies about Iraq and their attacks on the Constitution. I want most of our troops re-deployed out of Iraq, knowing it will take a year or more to do it safely and effectively. I want those in government who are not invertebrates, to cite Bruce Fein's label of Congress, to tell the truth that we are in Iraq to secure it's oil and keep it out of the hands of our enemies, Iran, Syria, Russia for example, and that we need to keep enough troops there to do that. I've written about the corrupting power of lobbies which are able to buy support from politicians who sell out to them because they need the money for their campaigns to get or keep their fabulous jobs.

At this point I feel maxed out, and further writings might just become rants and carpings.

I expect to continue writing, but probably not about politics and world events for a time. Yet again something might come along in the world of politics that gets me energized anew.

Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, July 20, 2007

Stopping the Funding of the War in Iraq

There is an article on, July 20, about 70 House members telling Bush that they will not pass more funding without a troop pullout stipulation.

This is the antidote to Monarchy, Regal arbitrary behavior(Executive Privilege in today's lingo) which our Founders provided Congress. That along with Impeachment.

The elimination of funding can't happen until this fall, but it's a start.

Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Role of Congress; But Not the One This Congress Likes

Once again today I ask that you read Robert Scheer's essay of July 17, about James Madison and King George, found on Added on July 19th. Also check out Norman Solomon's piece on about speaking from the grave. Note in particular the last paragraph

The "way forward" (even writing that phrase makes me gag) for Dems in Congress is to accept the GOP challenge, and not so veiled threat, to suck it up and de-fund military action in Iraq. Notice that I did not say "de-fund the war in Iraq". Read on.

What's hard to understand, and actually baffling, is that the voters in 2006 clearly told Congress to stop the fighting and killing in Iraq. Why do the Dems continue to fall prey to the Cheney/Bush ploy, by using the language and terminology of war? For Senator Reid to say, "the war is lost" is to admit, acknowledge, that we have been at war, when Reid and Company, or their predecessors never declared war, as the Constitution provides. It's not OK to call it semantics. It's the law under the Constitution, what keeps us together, and it's being threatened by power hungry people, Cheney/Bush and Company, who want to rule, not govern; the very thing James Madison and Company thought and worried so about and tried to prevent.

The Constitution, according to Scheer, and what he thinks were the views of James Madison, one of our most astute Founders, provides that Congress has the power to declare war and to fund war. That is not vested in the President. Once declared and funded the President is Commander in Chief of the military, and, in that capacity, is charged with managing war.

Cheney/Bush, not wanting to be fettered by such inconvenient things as the Constitution, snookered Congress into voting for a resolution giving them what they needed to use military force, while not actually declaring war. Cheney/Bush, of course, interpreted that as tantamount to a declaration of war, but had in their pocket their packed Supreme Court ruling that the President, as Commander in Chief is allowed to respond to a "state of war" against the United States.

Many in Congress now say they didn't see it coming. Horseshit. They saw the mood of the country after 9/11, Cheney/Bush riding that mood, and they caved. Why? Is it because they didn't want to lose their jobs in the next election by being seen as soft and unpatriotic, or is there something else which no one wants to touch or talk about; one or more elephants in the room? I've written about that in an earlier blog, "It's the Oil People"

Lets see what we get, if we can strip away the spin, propaganda, political posturing and gotcha maneuverings of politicians on both sides of the aisle, who are more interested in scoring points in their little political games, and keeping their jobs, than they are in looking after the health of the Republic.

What are the facts? What can't be denied or spun by anyone?

Congress didn't declare war on Iraq, but essentially authorized it in a back door, cover your ass, way. Congress has continued to pass legislation to fund "the troops" in Iraq, but technically haven't passed legislation to fund a war because they did not declare a war which they can fund. Consequently they have no authority, under the Constitution, to pass legislation for funding what is going on in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere. By definition, according to the Constitution, we are not at war with anyone.

Then, what the hell is going on? Politics pure and simple; wanting control of the White House and Congress. The arguments are campaign rhetoric, smoke and mirrors stuff designed to make the voters think they're doing what they can, for or against the "war" in Iraq.

The Dems are posturing to be seen by the voters as against the "war", and as long as they can keep the dialog going on that basis, they can say they are trying against all the odds and impediments thrown up by the Republicans, to do the will of the people. But they know they can't without a veto proof Congress, and that's their cover.

For a more specific analysis of why I see it that way, please read my post, "It's the Oil People", and also read what Robert Scheer has to say about the power and influence of the military/industrial complex which Ike warned us about years ago, and how that influences politicians of all stripes.

You just might begin to view what you read and hear about in the so-called Main Stream Media in a different light. And if the thought of impeachment crosses your mind please know that some very smart Constitutional lawyers and scholars are beginning to go public with their conviction that impeachment is not a Constitutional crisis, but the appropriate cure for the Constitutional crisis we are faced with today.

Lighthouse Keeper

James Madison and King George

Please read Robert Sheer's essay of July 17, 2007, and ask yourself about impeaching Cheney and Bush.

Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Q&A Time

Rather than say what I'm thinking, since I'm not sure how to articulate those thoughts, let me start by asking some questions.

If geologists had concluded that Iraq had no oil reserves, or that their oil reserves were virtually gone, depleted, wiped out, or at least would be so expensive to retrieve as to make them economically unfeasible to tap, what would we be arguing about today?

Considering a list of known tyrants in the world over the past several years; e.g. Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Kim Il Jong, Saddam, etc; what was it about Saddam that made him the target of choice for the Cheney/Bush administration?

If Al Gore had become president in 2000, having won the popular vote of the millions cast, but denied the office by a five to four vote of nine people who were not elected but appointed, what would we be arguing about today?

If Dick Cheney had not appointed himself the Vice Presidential candidate for the 2000 election what would George W. Bush's presidency be most known for?

Acknowledging that the events of 9/11/01 justified and required us to react to, and focus our military strength against, the aggressor country, as we did after 12/7/41, and if we stayed that course and not invaded Iraq, what would be the status of Al Qaeda and the Taliban today?

These questions can be viewed as rhetorical, and clearly biased, but nevertheless, responses to them can be useful in focusing on what is going on, how complicit we are in that, and what questions to ask of those who claim they want to be our next president.

Why would anyone of those 18 to 20 declared or undeclared candidates want to be president now? And the corollary question is, what will you be looking for that will convince you to support one of them, or another person who has yet to come on the scene; experience, political identification (GOP, Dem, Ind), gender, race, age, appearance, charisma, least objectionable, party platform, specific agendas important to you, immigration reform, Iraq, health care, educational issues(no child--, integration), I just like him or her, don't ask me why, I don't like any of them, or what other options are there as spoilers(Bloomberg, Nader?) because I can't support either of the two major party's candidates?

The first few questions are essay questions. We all hate those because they make us have t think. The last one is multiple choice. That might be the easiest to answer, except that I provided a rather lengthy list. I'll make it a little easier. In your response to the last question mention as many as you like.

I'm posing these questions to adults, and as adults we don't have to account for our beliefs and actions to others. You will not be graded on your answers by anyone but yourself. I'm one of those pain in the ass people who want you to take a stand, any stand, and think about how and why you take that stand. Here's why.

In this country, supposedly the model of democracy in the world, voter turnout is frighteningly low. People are elected to crucially important offices by less than half of those who are eligible to vote. Stories abound, as they did again today, that political shenanigans are at play to keep or discourage certain ethnic or economic groups from voting or redistricting ploys to keep certain incumbents in office.

What worries me most though is what feels like a prevailing malaise, lack of interest, loss of hope, feeling of powerlessness to make a difference; leading to apathy and the what's the difference feeling. There are many legitimate reasons why someone doesn't vote; sickness, unforeseen events, problems and impediments with getting to the place to vote, etc.. Even discounting all of those as inevitable on any given day, the results of our elections are determined by the votes of half or less of those who could vote, and whose lives and livelihoods can be imposed on them by those elected, in part because they didn't think or feel that their vote had any meaning.

What is needed to energize the apathetic voter? Is it a crisis, and if so, what is the nature of that crisis? In the 18th century, in America and France, there were crises of such great proportions that they resulted in the extinguishing of thousands of lives. Very few apathetic folks in those days. In 1941, no apathy then.

What do you call what's happening today in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Israel, not to mention the horrors of Africa? What is the difference? Is is that these thousands of lives extinguished today are mostly those with whom we have little or nothing in common; they are other than us?

How about the American lives lost? Well that's easy for apathetic people to rationalize. They're volunteer soldiers, not conscripts, not drafted against their will. They took a chance so they could get a little extra income from being in the guard or reserves; their meetings were kind of fun, the guys night out once a month, and an annual summer camp. Or they are Regular Army, wanting to travel, get money for education, break out of the sorry life they were leading as civilians. They enlisted.

They Came

First, they came for the Jews and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew

Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist

Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out - because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me - and by then there was no one left to speak out for me.

Pastor Martin Niemoller, German anti-Nazi activist

I think I hear drums, and they're coming closer.

Lighthouse Keeper

Society's Color Blindness; an Oxymoron

Like military intelligence, societal color blindness is kind of an oxymoron.

I hope you will follow the link shown here to Sean Gonsalves' op-ed column on this subject.

This author raised four sons in Atlanta, GA in the sixties and seventies. Mayor Ivan Allen was an effective and wise politician. He successfully steered Atlanta away from the storms which blew across Birmingham, AL at the time, by bringing in the most talented, wise and dedicated leaders of Atlanta's black community to bridge gaps in the Atlanta culture.

But while there were few riots in the streets, and no one stood on school house steps, concerns about quality of education of one's children was the topic of conversation in most any group of white parents. I was not privy to the conversations of black parents on the subject, but the black leaders, as one would expect, were vocal in their efforts to insure that black kids got a good education.

The City of Atlanta public school system was ninety percent black. Whites who could afford it put their children in private schools, justifying it by saying our kids are only this age once and if they don't get a good education now they will not be equipped to make it in life.

Atlanta is in Fulton County, with mostly white suburbs.

I married into a rather well-off Atlanta family, with in-laws very conscious of their position in society. I had attended public school in New Jersey and Connecticut and wanted my kids to do the same. I lost that battle, and my kids went to private school after our oldest attended the local public grammar school just through second grade.

Atlanta and Fulton County tried a unique approach. Rather than bus children they assigned black teachers to schools which were pretty much all white, and white teachers to all black schools. What developed, according to most white parents, was that a child could have a good teacher in one grade and a poor one in the next grade.

But these parents were not color blind. There was an assumption that the poor teachers all were black. There was enough evidence that some were not up to par that white parents felt exonerated in their decisions to pull their kids out of public school, by claiming their children's education was a stake.

My kids got a terrific education, probably better than they would have in public school, if one defines education only as learning subject matter. But they went to school only with other wealthy white kids, plus a few blacks from wealthy families, which prevented them from getting a good education in the mix of real life.

Sailorcurt has posted some comments on The Old New Englander blog, a really great blog by the way, about his experience with their children attending mostly black schools. His comments are important and worthy.

The Supreme Court is made up of nine very well educated people. Aren't you a little surprised that the Chief Justice fell back on a tautology as the basis for the ruling which gives up on at least trying to make integration work in schools?

Society is comprised of humans and humans are not, and cannot be, blind to color. Humans can acknowledge color awareness, and use it to mitigate inequalities in education for the good of all children.

Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, July 16, 2007

Could It Happen Here, Now, Really?

It's not likely that many Americans will go to the library and check out Gibbon's "The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire". That's a shame because it's becoming more and more apparent that our country, more accurately, we, the citizens of our country, can be seen as exhibiting behavior similar to those which historians have ascribed to the cross section of values and attendant behaviors of the culture and society of the Roman Empire as it began to falter and become vulnerable.

Concentration of power in the hands of the head of state is the most obvious threat. Caesar as God in Roman times.

Cheney/Bush blowing off Congress, using signing statements to declare themselves not bound by laws, declaring almost any document secret, removing from public view, energy task force meetings behind closed doors, cloaking even the names of the participants, packing the Supreme Court to back up almost anything they do, and on and on. These are the examples of playing God in our times.

Serious Constitutional scholars, lawyers and some journalists are now talking about the need to impeach both Cheney and Bush. One author is reminding us that Impeachment is not a constitutional crisis but a cure for a constitutional crisis.

I entitled a recent post to this blog, Changed My Mind. Until recently talk of impeachment was viewed as carping by opponents of Bush, and not realistic. However with the entry into the argument of serious players I hope the general electorate will support the idea.

Bruce Fein, a conservative in the Reagan administration, and who wrote the articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton, takes the view that the behavior and actions of Cheney/Bush are more dangerous than Clinton's, and justify impeachment of both.

You can watch all or part of Fein's and Nichol's(the author I mentioned) interviews with Bill Moyers on several web sites. Try,, or

We must not forget history or dismiss it as not being applicable to us because of the too high risk of having to repeat it.

Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, July 15, 2007

It's the Oil People!!

Are we "winning" or "losing" in Iraq? Can the "war" be "won" or is it "lost"?

No reasonable person, if separated from his or her tribal/political loyalties, could make a rational argument that this is a "war" that anyone from outside Iraq can "win". It is a sectarian free-for-all. There are no fronts in the normal use of the term. Iraqi soldiers, supposedly on our "side", have been caught and killed while laying roadside bombs; identified by the ID's they were carrying.

It's a civil war in that it's a fight between different groups who are citizens of one country. But it's not the usual civil war which is about fighting to take and hold the territory of your enemy, and by so doing, causing that enemy to surrender because he is overwhelmed. It's classic tribal hatred payback on a grand scale, using terrorist tactics, inhuman atrocities, no holds barred, non-Geneva Convention, internecine eye-for-an-eye, Old Testament butchering.

There is almost nothing left that one could call a functioning country. There are no safe places behind the "lines", because there are no "lines". In most wars there are cities and war machine manufacturing plants behind the lines. In Iraq all cities are past, current or potential battle zones.

The professional class, doctors, teachers, etc. have left or are leaving. The country is, on its own, separating into three or so areas, along the lines of Sunni, Shiite and Kurd, thousands have become refuges in Syria and Jordan.

So why does the Cheney/Bush administration continue sending our young men and women into this meat grinder, and actively participating in the slow, agonizing destruction of a once, and would-be, sovereign country?


Cheney/Bush used 9/11 as cover to get it. The war, which was real in 2003, was to invade Iraq, knock off Saddam and take over control of the oil. An awful thing happened on the way to the Oil Fields. The hornets from the nests which Cheney/Bush stuck their sticky fingers in swarmed, stung and multiplied. How do you convince hornets, once attacked and let loose, to go back into their nests?

The Bush administration has changed the definition of victory several times over the past four years, because previous ones had been exposed as propaganda and discredited. They continue to use language, however, designed to keep the public thinking in war terms. The term "Surge" is calculated to bring to mind an image of moving forward, killing and capturing the enemy, the traditional way one talks about winning.

It's time both political parties in this country stop the charade and admit that what victory really would look like is private oil companies getting what they have only dreamt of; an Iraq oil law that de-nationalizes Iraq's oil industry, and opens it to private oil companies, with thirty year contracts guaranteeing them 50% of oil revenues. That is the main focus of the so-called oil law that Cheney/Bush are trying to pressure the Maliki government to pass. But Maliki's a Shiite, in cahoots with Iran, his Shiite neighbor, who is arming Shiite militias in Iraq. Why would he want to turn against Iran by rewarding the US with the plunder they came for?

The Cheney/Bush crowd keep talking about the oil law as if it were a humanitarian measure, a commitment to share oil revenue with the various sectarian groups in Iraq; needed to stabilize the country and make the central government actually a stable unity government. There is evidence that the administration actually changed the language of their talking points to disguise the true purpose of the oil law. The Main Stream Media has bought into this, is currently using this new spin, and in so doing is hiding the truth from the public.

Both parties in Congress know this too, and yet continue the charade of arguing about winning or losing, pulling troops out or surging, stopping or not stopping the funding of the "war", by saying they need to keeping funding the "troops", so as not to be called unpatriotic. That's why, sadly, I don't expect anything major to change after the 2008 elections, even if a Democrat wins the White House.

There are as many elephants in the room as there are big oil companies drooling on the furniture, and politicians whom they pay to support, or at least ignore, their greed.

Ironically and frighteningly, trying to get control of Iraq's oil might be justified, given the stonewalling by oil companies and related industries(automobile and power) on developing alternative energy sources, and resisting improving mileage standards. They want to keep the goose laying golden eggs, make hay while the sun shines, and all other shibboleths of short term, hang the future, thinking.

If Bin Laden were to succeed in overthrowing the Saudi Monarchy, his stated goal, and if we were to leave Iraq, both Saudi and Iraqi oil would likely be lost to us, at least on the terms on which we have access to it now. Iran would likely walk in and effectively take control of Iraq's oil. They might use the Maliki/Shiite government as their proxy for propaganda reasons, but for all intents and purposes Iran would decide to whom it would sell that oil, how much and at what price.

Some statistics indicate that Iran, on its own, sits on the third largest oil deposits on the planet. If Iraq is second largest, Saudi is largest, and if Iran consummates its new pacts with Venezuela, if China gets its way on oil in Africa, if Bin Laden controls Saudi oil, and Russia has or controls it's own substantial reserves, the world will suffer not an economic crisis, but an economic and political disaster.

Then there would be some serious talk about a real war against Iran, complete with air and ground assault, front lines and all the rest. Nuclear arsenals all over the place, India, Pakistan, Israel, possibly Iran itself, Russia and the US.

Iraqi's are waking up though, and the more the true facts come to light, and the hidden agendas are exposed, the less likely they are to give away rights to their only real source of income, their patrimony. Is that good or bad? It's bad if Iraq and Iran team up. It could be good if they don't, and if some deal is made that keeps Iraq's oil out of the hands of our enemies.

What to make of Maliki's announcement yesterday that Iraq can get along just fine, any time we want to leave? He denies he really meant that today.

This is why staying or leaving is a red herring. We can't leave, never intended to leave, and won't leave.

The real question is what should our troops be doing in Iraq, and where should they be doing it? We will have troops stationed there for decades, as we have had in South Korea, Europe and the Balkans. That's already been admitted by Defense Secretary Gates, and stated as policy. What can and should be done is a drawing down of troops, by getting those in the greater Baghdad area out of that maul, and reducing the total of those deployed in Iraq by that amount. Protect the oil industry, do what can be done on the borders with those remaining.

There are hints from time to time, unconfirmed in the media, that western Iraq, Sunni territory, might actually be sitting on substantial oil reserves. And so the prize might be even more enormous.

It's often said that sunlight is the best sanitizer. What can the public do to get the shades pulled up in the news and editorial rooms of the Main Stream Media, and the halls of Congress? It's clear that the power is out at the White House and the shutters are closed and fastened. One might conclude that they are purposely hiding the truth by putting it where the sun don't shine.

Lighthouse Keeper

Saturday, July 14, 2007

What's Out There

The Old New Englander posted something about his experience using the "Next Blog" button. He had an encounter with an NRA type. His comment was "Sheesh".

I seriously worked over that button this afternoon and found out how much porn is out there. I'm not particularly surprised. I didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday.

I also was interested in how much variety of other language stuff is out there. No surprise there either. It is, after all, the World Wide Web. I found a couple of sites in French, a language which I have always wished I had in my repertoire. I posted a comment on one about looking for a French speaking person who had the patience and interest in having a one-on-one blog language exchange.

I bought myself a laptop a few months ago. To me a desktop screen is OK for information exchange, but I've never liked it as a place to read for pleasure. The laptop though is like a book in my lap, a kind of magic carpet, which with a few strokes of my fingers, can take me anywhere I want to go.

I have spinal pain problems when on my feet, though not when sitting. Steven Hawking, who suffers from ALS, said that it's good he found a life that requires his brain, not his body. I understand that.

Lighthouse Keeper

Niccolo' Cheney has a two part series on the Psychology of Dick Cheney. Revealing. Wait till you read about his wife. The profile that comes across reminded me of the Dedicatory Letter to "The Prince", from Machiavelli to His Magnificence, Lorenzo de' Medici.

Here's that letter.

Those who wished to be viewed with favour by a ruler usually approach him with things from among their possessions that are very dear to them, or with things they expect will please him.
Hence, it often happens that they are presented with horses, weapons, a clothe of gold, precious stones or similar ornaments, which are worthy of their exalted position. Wishing myself to offer Your Magnificence some token of my devotion to you, I have not found among my belongings anything I hold more dear or valuable than my knowledge of the conduct of great men, learned through long experience of modern affairs and continual study of ancient history: I have reflected on and examined these matters with great care, and have summarized them in a small volume, which I proffer to Your Magnificence.

And although I consider this work to be unworthy of Your Magnificence, I trust very much that your humanity will lead you to accept it, since it is not in my power to offer you a greater gift than one which in a very short time will enable you to understand all that I have learned in so many years, and with much difficulty and danger. I have not embellished this work by filling it with rounded periods, with high-sounding words or fine phrases, or with any of the other beguiling artifices of apparent beauty which most writers employ to describe and embellish their subject-matter; for my wish is that, if it is to be honoured at all, only its originality and the importance of the subject should make it acceptable.

Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought; Machiavelli ; The Prince: Edited by Quentin Skinner & Russell Price

Site Meter