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

Bush,Big Oil and the Iraqi Oil Law

There's an informative piece on today, Saturday, July 14 on the Iraqi Oil Law.

It's a common misunderstanding that the so-called oil law is mostly about revenue sharing with all Iraqi sects.

The real reason for the pressure from Bush and Congress to get the oil law passed is it provides private, non-Iraqi oil companies(Exxon-Mobil,etc.) with 30 year contracts and up to 50% of oil revenues from Iraqi oil. That's the revenue sharing Bush is interested in. As the article mentions, this is something oil companies have only dreamt about.

It's tantamount to stealing Iraq's patrimony as Matt Taibi wrote in Alternet a while back.

Note also in the article how the mainstream media has gone along with changes in language put out to the public, clearly in efforts to disguise the real intent.

As I titled one of my first posts, "Follow the Money". All else is window dressing, smoke and mirrors and the War of Fog.

Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, July 13, 2007

Manners and Protocols

Now in my seventh decade, looking back, I've had many opportunities to experiment and try many things which one does with others. Because others are involved these things have their own manners, protocols, rules and regulations designed to make participation work for the players.

Two months ago I decided to experiment with blogging. I've received some comments, positive and negative, as expected and hoped for.

I like to establish interesting relationships in anything I do. Sometimes, in the pursuit of my interest and curiosity, I get hints or outright objections to my questions and probings, a sure sign that I need some coaching on manners and protocols.

In golf and tennis, for example, one sometimes learns the hard way about the manners of the game. It can be embarrassing to say the least. Blogging isn't really a game in the strict sense, but it is a game in the broader sense that most bloggers hope others will read what they write, which makes it a kind of game in that there is anticipation that another will play with you, hit the ball back, putting the ball back in your court, as it were.

However, this Blogging "game" seems somewhat different. Readers of blogs are not active participants or players unless they choose to be, and when they do, by posting comments, seem to be virtual players; but yet they are not. They are real people; they just seem to be virtual because the only sense one can use reliably to know them, play the game with them, is the sense of sight required to read another player's comments. The other four senses are not in play, and therefore are subject to the vagaries of imagination, the so-called sixth sense, more often than not resulting in a negative feeling of the experience. On the telephone, for example, even a relatively small pause on the other end is often experienced by the last one to say something as negative; eyes are rolling, quiet laughing or amusement, but nothing that can be verified by the other four senses. I doubt that I would enjoy playing competitive games online, with no ability to use my senses, backed up by my intuition, to get a feel for how the game is going in other players' minds.

I'm soliciting comments about this. Tell me about what's appropriate or not, welcomed or not, in terms of asking other bloggers about themselves.

Lighthouse Keeper

Loosening Up For Learning

I'm a fairly new blogger, only a few months posting. It's been interesting to see the different styles, and I'm not talking about political preferences. Some write lengthy essays, some post simple thoughts that come to them, and of course some do both. I think doing both seems to be fairly common.

My training in humanities, as an English major, has conditioned me to work for well thought out, well articulated, contributions when I am trying to communicate in writing. I write poetry and prose, and in both expressions I'm likely to spend four times as much time in editing than in writing.

But I'm really happy to see some stuff just thrown out there for all to read, stamp on, praise or ignore. So, in that vein I throw the following out there for stamping or whatever.

I'm learning much from other bloggers, and part of that learning is reading about whom they like to read and listen to. So here's my partial list of favorites(as they came to me, not in order of importance to me, nor based on political leanings). I've used a small number of categories, but acknowledge that many of these people will be found in more than one category. I apologize in advance for any misspellings of names.

Here are my favorites. What are yours? I look forward to finding comments. I moderate them, not for agreement or disagreement, but only for abusive language.

Eugene Robinson
Frank Rich
Sean Gonsalves
David Ignatious
David Brooks
Mark Shields
Richard Cohen
Maureen Dowd
E.J. Dionne
Michael Gerson
James Carroll
John Burns
Chris Hedges
Richard Engel

Jim Lehrer
Gwen Ifil
Judy Woodruff
Brian Wilson
Tim Russert
George Stephanapoulous

Non-Main Stream:

Jon Stewart
Al Franken

That's more than enough for now. It's not important who is on my list. I know what I like. I want to know what you like.

Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, July 12, 2007

How to Snatch Defeat From the Jaws of Victory

I posted a comment to The Gonzo Papers blog tonight in response to Kilroy's thoughts on the 2008 election.

It got to be longer than I had anticipated, and I don't feel like trying to duplicate it here.

The major point is that, though the Dems should win the election by a knockout, I can imagine a scenario in which it doesn't happen. It has to do with Hillary. If you're interested, and try not to pre-judge before reading, please go to, and look at comments on his July 10 post, Stand Up and be Counted.

Lighthouse Keeper

Recommended Reading

Leanderthal recommends the David Ignatious piece in the Post of yesterday. "Consensus Waiting to Happen". I find him to be objective and wise, looking for ways out, not just carping.

Also Robert Sheer's column on "Bush's Pakistan Paradox", found on or Check out the Navy Seals on C130's part of the column. Stunning!

Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Keeping Options Open or Spineless

Over the past few days I have observed behavior and more evidence, that even those politicians who are willing to express disagreement with the leaders of their parties, continue to vacillate and come up short of taking a stand which is in more accord with the views of their political opposition party than their own. This even though what they say would lead one to think that they actually agree with those of their opposition.

Isn't it finally time to call a spade a spade.? This is tribalism, pure and simple. Protect, promote, exonerate the members of the tribe; hang the public, and their naive views of fairness, justice, truth and honesty. Take care of your own, the rules of the Mafia, our elected Mafia.

My solace is to remember the admonition of Desiderata: "No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should". That helps me try to let it all go, and trust that my children and their's will somehow find a way as those of us in our time have.

Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Public Servants?

Our elected officials, from president on down, love to claim that they are privileged to be our public servants. Horseshit!

They are not public servants. They are politicians. I know, I know, I'm using a broad tar brush here. But look around people. Consider the used car salesman analogy. Tell me which politician you would buy a used car from?

The comparison between advertisements and political campaign statements is revealing in their similarities. Both assume that we as citizen/consumers are idiots, and as such can be led to believe whatever they claim.

Why is this? Clearly politicians want to get elected to a great job, and now and then need to get re-elected to that same great job. They'll do almost anything for that. They will lie, cheat, pontificate, spread false rumors about their competitors, hire people whose job performance ratings will be based on how they manage to suppress the vote of their enemies, and increase the votes of their supporters, living, dead, animals or fictional characters.

Am I cynical? You bet; and so should you be.

When will we as a people wake up to the realization that we have been had? In "Old Europe" they're wondering why the streets of DC, and major US cities, are not filled with hundreds of thousands of irate people. Europeans are still scratching their heads that we actually re-elected the guy who is the successor to the original Butcher of Baghdad.

The only defense against the opinions of those abroad that Rumsfeld came up with was to call them "Old Europe", and anything they contribute has become irrelevant.

In a court of law, which thankfully we have, "Joe Friday's "just the facts mam" rules. It needs to be so in order that we not condemn anyone based on a bias. I do feel the need to encourage the discouraged to hold their own course, deny the liars their great jobs and demote them, (that's how they would see it), to ordinary citizens. Here's where the hypocrisy is most clearly exposed. The so-called public servants have actually behaved and operated as if we, the voters are their servants, subject to their self serving decisions, not ours.

Too many politicians who actually believed in the higher values and morality of democracy, have, in succeeding generations come to believe that they know best what is in the interest of their constituents. "I know best" got corrupted by the the desire to get elected to, or keep their great jobs.

After all, where else can you say most anything you want with impunity, and have it be only recorded in some kind of record, which you can later claim was taken out of context?
And where else could you work just two or three days a week, and get the best guaranteed benefit package available anywhere on earth--- - health care, no deductibles and no co-pays for $35.00 a month?

So, who are the public servants?

Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Changed My Mind

There is an important article on about retired General Odom's position on Bush, and by extension, Cheney.

He recommends Impeachment.

I had not wanted to support that because:

A. I thought that it would be seen by the voters as just a tit-for-tat, retaliatory move by Democrats,wanting to get back at Republicans for impeaching Bill Clinton.

B. As much as I despise the hubris and arrogance of Bush/Cheney and company, and the damage they have done to our spirit, pride and faith in who we are as a people, I was not sanguine about the prospects for Impeachment. The requirements for bringing this action are so specific, even narrow, that the Bush crowd could not only fend them off, but turn them against their opponents as being frivolous and without merit.

C. However one might feel about the actions of one's government, pro or con, whether based on principal, faith or opinion, it is not admissible as cause for dismissal of that government.

Based on our Constitution, designed and established for our protection against the tyranny and excesses of monarchy, we were given, and have come to rely on , the vote to express our opinions; to trust that, on balance, the will of the people, as expressed in the outcome of their vote, is a valid expression of the people as a whole, a nation.

That requires patience to wait for the next election. Being a human being can include a wish, if not need for, immediate satisfaction; as in I'm hungry and need food. In the parliamentary system one gets, by proxy. a more immediate chance for satisfaction than in our system.

But, I have come to believe that there is a need to bring into play the Impeachment process provided by our Founders to protect us from those who want more to rule, than to govern.

Those who want to rule are clever but not wise. They are careful to cover their legal bases so as not to be found vulnerable to challenge on a strictly legal basis. They rely on the literal view of the law as opposed to the spirit of the law.

Those who ascribe to this approach have recently become more confident that they can have their way in view of the shift to the right of the Supreme Court, based on the apparent and recently obvious partisan votes of that so-called august and independent body.

Looking at this from the 40 thousand foot view, trying to see the forest for the trees, it seems to me that the Bush crowd is feeling its oats in their challenges with Congress over legal matters, in view of the Supreme's recent rulings, which obviously have been biased toward supporting Conservative agendas. The Bush crowd knows that this is their chance to get what they want done. Even if the Legistlative branch of government, Congress, stands up against them, they are feeling cocky enough to stonewall Congress and assume that they can count on the Supreme Court, as currently constituted, to rule in their favor.

General Odum expresses confidence in the moral power of the commonweal. I have come to back this idea, though not especially sanguine that it can work. But it should.

Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Tribalism and The Power of Four Percent

Chris Hedges' piece on TruthDig, entitled "Declaration of Independence from Israel", should be must reading. If only half of what he claims is factual it is truly frightening to realize how strong an influence on our democracy 4% of the American population can be.

I am an agnostic. I have no bone to pick with anyone over whatever religion. Meaning I am not anti-semitic, any more than I am anti-Catholic, anti-Protestant, anti-Islam, or any other mythology one chooses to believe in.

I have become anti-Zionist though. I do have bones to pick with anyone or any group whose behavior is clearly inhumane. What irony that millions of people of a particular religion are annihilated, followed in only a few short years by adherents to that same religion visiting horrors on those of another faith.

A friend pointed out to me recently that abused children often become abusers; his way of responding to my rant that societies should stop pulling punches with Zionists who continue to use the Holocaust as cover for getting away with most anything they want to do to others for their own benefit. Confiscation of property, unlawful imprisonment and killing, to name just three, are common to both the Holocaust and the Palestinian occupation.

Hedges' piece concentrates on the power of the Israeli lobby in this country, AIPAC being perhaps the most visible. He cites a number of instances in which this lobby has been able to throw their weight(money) around to get their way: e.g. since 1982 the US has vetoed 32 UN resolutions which were critical of Israel, more than the total number of vetoes cast all the other memebers of the Security Councel. He claims that Dennis Kucinich is the only candidate for president who is not beholden to the Israeli lobby. Presumably that means Obama, Clinton, Juliani, Romney, etc are. He claims that George H.W. Bush was denied a second term in office because he aroused the ire of the Israeli lobby.

Hedges cites many other examples in history of our unconditional support for Israel, including about $3 Billion aid annually, one fifth of all US foreign aid. He points out how this blind allegiance is responsible for the Arab world's hate for and distrust of the US. He accuses Israel of using the US as its military proxy, doing the fighting for them in the first Gulf war, when Israel was a spectator, not a part of that coalition. And he cites the neo-con(read Zionist) propaganda which was designed to scare the American people into supporting the invasion of Iraq. He names names: Perle, Wolfowitz, Wurmser, Feith, to name a few.

Now Senator Lieberman, who changed colors so as to retain his job and his advocacy for Israel, is hyping the need to take military action against Iran. That might be good for Israel, but not for the USA.

I make no claim for the noble purposes of the Palestinians. On any given day, or at least week, one side or the other is doing horrible things to human beings; that's the nature of a tit-for-tat, Hatfield/McCoy fight. Each group is only retaliating, claiming the need to defend itself. It has a kind of perpetual motion element, as in the physics maxim, a body in motion tends to stay in motion; or more accurately, any action has an equal and opposite reaction.

Looking at the situation from forty thousand feet, trying to see the forest for the trees, in order to avoid being drawn into focusing only on the latest retaliatory crime against humanity, it seems to me that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land needs to be acknowledged as the ultimate cause. In this way it becomes clearer that confiscation of property, unlawful imprisonment and killings are the outrages committed in the process of effecting occupation.

Claiming that giving back Gaza did no good is a red herring. Israel continues to hold those in Gaza hostage. Nothing passes in or out of Gaza without Israeli permission.

Now our government is once again backing Israel in support of Fatah and it's fight with Hamas. Here's why that stinks. Hamas is the party which was duly elected in a democratic process. Yes, they have their killers, their terrorists, yet they were elected because they were known to look after the needs of their citizens. Fatah, on the other hand, even with its suit and tie wearing leader, is still in cohoots with Israel, making money as the Israeli paid toll keeper of Palestine; screw the needs of the citizens.

Reading "How Israel Lost", by Richard ben Cramer is enlightening. He is a journalist of the Jewish faith who is appalled by what Arafat(read PLO and Fatah)and Israel have done to the detriment of Israel and the Palestinians.

Like Chris Hedges' treatise, it's about the corruption of politicians and governments, by the cynical use of the power of money.

I came away from reading Hedges' essay wondering if our democracy can withstand the apparent onslaught of the power of money used to sway our so-called public servants. We want to believe that our point of view is sincerely and genuinely backed by people running for office to represent our point of view.

What are we as citizens to think and do about the revelations that our elected officials have been and are compromised by accepting campaign money from a lobby which is an advocate for a foreign government, more interested in the priorities of that government, Israel, than those of America?

Please read Chris Hedges's piece. What I have written here is only a smattering of the meat in it.


Lighthouse Keeper

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