Sunday, December 27, 2009


Here's a very trenchant essay on war by Tom Engelhardt. Worth a full read.

Lighthouse Keeper.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tora Bora, The Story of How Bin Laden Was Allowed to Get Away.

Here's a six page account by a well respected writer on terrorism, Peter Bergen, of how Bin Laden was allowed to escape capture at Tora Bora.

If you wonder how it all went down, this report is likely the most authentic you will find.

I'm cynical about this. I actually believe that the Bush/Cheney administration did not want Bin Laden captured. He represented the head of the terrorist hydra that was needed to keep the public in fear. So long as Bin Laden was free he was the symbol of the enemy the administration needed for propaganda purposes to justify the war on terrorism, and to justify invading Iraq.

I hesitate to call this a conspiracy because the word brings on great ridicule. But it was at least a hidden agenda. Semantics? I suppose so.

Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dust And Ashes

Here's a column by Russ Douthat of the Times which I didn't expect to enjoy, but did.

As one who is agnostic about God, I found this piece to be thought provoking and rather well written.

Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Spin City

Here's Frank Rich's Sunday Times column. It needs no comments from me except that I hope you read it.

Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, December 18, 2009

Speaking Truth to Those Who Pretend To Have Power

Here's a link to my email response to Senator John Kerry who, in an email, tried to hit me up yet again for a donation to finance Dem ads to combat GOP propaganda.

Let me know what you think.

Lighthouse Keeper

Update: Postmaster said my email is undeliverable. So, once again we have a one way communication, precluding a dialogue. They can solicite money and shield themselves from disagreement. Don't you just love technology?

Perhaps I'll go to the trouble of finding Kerry's web site and look for a link to send this where a staffer might even read it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"The Unspeakable" A Must Read

To call something a conspiracy is to invite ridicule. So just try talking about hidden agendas. We see these every day in politics.

But "conspiracy" is a much more trenchant and proper name for what has been called "The Unspeakable", what the permanent war military/industrial/intelligence complex has done and is still doing, through subterfuge and even assassinations.

Here is a link to an article on Truthout, comparing what JFK faced and what Obama is now facing.

JFK refused to escalate the Vietnam war. He was assassinated. LBJ who did escalate that war died of natural causes.

Of course this is a much too simplistic statement of cause and effect. The article however fleshes out details and facts which might make the reader more open to the possibility of there being an endless, permanent war cabal; that which Ike warned us about, what he labeled the military/industrial establishment.

With his decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan, Obama has been rolled by those who practice "The Unspeakable". If he continues the willingness to be rolled perhaps he will get to die a natural death.

This article, which is a critique of an important book, is a must read, not just for it's claims and warnings, but for its citing of specific details and historical facts, lending credible support to the reality of the ongoing conspiracy it exposes.

Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Sleazing of America

It's often said that money is the root of all evil.

Au contraire; I like money, and as a retired and financially challenged man, I'd like to have a lot more of it. I would welcome an influx of big money from winning the lottery, or inheriting big from a wealthy relative I didn't know I had. I'll happily take the chance, assume the risk, that having significantly more money might make me evil.

But there is real truth to the acknowledgement that money is the root of all evil, as long as the shibolith is modified to say, "Money used to corrupt is the root of all evil.

It's also often said, that if you don't understand something, follow the money.

I don't know about you, and I'm sure others have wailed against the decline in decency over all of recorded history, but I seem to be inundated with sleaze whenever I watch TV, surf the Web, check out the newstand or take in a movie.

I'm no prude. My real concern is that the sleazing of America, perhaps more accurately called the sleazing of civilization, leads to the decline and fall of decency, which knows no country.

Censorship leads to even more corruption, like what happened during Prohibition. That's not the solution.

It's often also said that in all organizations, small to large, the tone of the culture usually reflects the values of its leaders.

In the US, at least for the previous eight years, our leaders essentially told us that they were above the law. If the law is what keeps regular folks decent, and if our leaders say they don't have to follow it, it's not a stretch to conclude that, consciously or unconsciously those who follow the leaders will take on the same attitude.

What do you think? Use the comments option to chime in.

Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

"The Modern Denial of Human Nature"

The title of this post is actually the sub title of the book, "The Blank Slate", by Stephen Pinker. who was a professor of psychology at MIT when his book was published in 20o2.

This commentary on my part likely qualifies as an expression of a voice crying in the wilderness.
Like the age old philosophical question about a tree falling in the forest with no one around, does it make a sound.

I write this as if it is a virtual tree falling in the cyber forest. You don't have to be around during the actual event, my writing this. If you find it interesting you will have confirmed the event.

Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist and theoretical thinker of the first half of the twentieth century
postulated that we don't come into life a blank slate, but that we come into life with predispositions about how we see our world and how we prefer to make decisions about what we see.

Steven Pinker, the an MIT professor, wrote a book a few years ago called,The Blank Slate, The Modern Denial of Human Nature, which espoused, in an up to date way, the same idea.

Our leaders, politicians, business executives, and in some cases, our teachers, and in most cases our parents, operate as if we all come into life a blank slate, and the Nurture, by itself is what shapes us, makes who we are.

WRONG!!! Any one who has parented more than one child knows this. Kids, siblings, raised in the same environment, the family and home, subjected to the same Nurture, rarely behave alike,
but display their own unique personality. Some have postulated the birth order is at play.

I'll leave that to others who are more knowledgeable than I to flesh that out, but birth order and/or at birth inherent preferences both tell us that to assume we all should be considered blank slates and equally easily influenced by our authorities, parents, teachers, mentors, coaches, bosses, politicians, is more than naive, it's destructive.

What do you think? Use the comments option to chime in.

Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, December 3, 2009

"Commanded- In- Chief"

Here's Tom Engelhardt's detailed summary of how the Commander-In-Chief surrendered to his own Generals.

One of the most important, revered and essential elements in the foundation of our Constitutional Republic has been that a civilian, the President, is in charge of the military. Clearly, that's been compromised. And this is different from a Latin American military coup how? It's actually bloodless politically in the strict sense of the word, but it will be bloody enough militarily.

More Neocon war, somewhere, all the time. That's apparently our future. Tragic.

Who will be the Edward Gibbon of our time? Who will write The Decline and Fall of the American Empire?

Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"The Generals Won _ Everything"

Retired Colonel Patrick Lang's piece on Obama's decision is on his blog, Sic Semper Tyrannis, which can be found here.

Lang says the generals "rolled" Obama. So sad, so sickening and so true.

So $30 billion more per year will be poured down the rat hole which is Afghanistan. Just think what that could pay for in nation building right here, ours. Bridges, schools, environment, medical research, job creating work-----you get the picture.

The only word for this situation is 'obscene'.

Be sure to read William Rivers Pitt's, The Angst of a Liberal, dated 12/1/09. Here's a link to it, if you haven't used the link I provided in an earlier post.

Lighthouse Keeper

He Speaks For Me

William Rivers Pitt speaks for me.

Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Throw The Book At 'Em Or Thank Them; Just Don't Let Them Profit From It.

On one hand, to say that the uninvited couple who somehow got into the state dinner "crashed the party", might be funny to those who like to embarrass the high and mighty, but it ignores the reality that they got past the screening devices, and could have done that with concealed biological agents or other hard to detect means to assassinate the president and create havoc.

On the other hand their self centered, narcissistic need for attention which they hoped to parlay into lots of money by being sought after for interviews and TV contracts, just might have done our nation a service, by exposing holes in the security apparatus designed with the intention of providing absolute security to our president.

I appeal to the media of all kinds not to give them money and publicity. They should be ignored by all except the Secret Service. Being ignored is the one thing they fear the most.

Lighthouse Keeper

Enough is Enough

Here's Mark Shields on Wall Street greed.

He cites the wisdom of Joseph Heller on how much is enough.

Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Religious Wars

Here's an interesting piece by Nicholas Kristof in today's NY Times, discussing the impact of recent books about religion and God.

It's an appropriate topic for our secular holiday, Thanksgiving.

As an agnostic I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Principles Versus Politics

I have no particular written piece, nor even a group of written pieces, to cite for this post.

I have only my personal observations of Obama in his first year as president.

(Personal disclosure, should that be important to you.) I was and am an Obama supporter, and reserve the right as an individual American citizen to criticize those I've chosen to lead.

I'm drawn more to analyzing patterns inherent in the incidence of specific events and pieces of anecdotal evidence, than to each and every specific event or piece of anecdotal evidence.

The pattern that I perceive has it that Obama ran a campaign based on principles, but in office, faced with the possibility of being a one term president, he has succumbed, as so many presidents have, to the fear that he might not get re-elected if he leads based on his principles.

During the campaign in 2008, as many of you know, I predicted no significant change in how things are done in D.C., regardless of who was elected president.

Sadly it seems I was correct in that prediction.

Lighthouse Keeper

Secret Societies

Hat Tip to Old Dude for leading me to this article.

Here's a piece which sheds the Cape Cod Lighthouse beacon on the shadowy presence of secret societies in our midst. In this case it's known as The Family, and its C Street House in the DC area.

Many of its members are well known politicians and other assorted public figures. Some of them have had, and are having, important impact and influence on pending legislation, like the Stupak amendment to the health care bill.

This particular society is Christian Fundamentalist in nature, far right wing extremist in character and allegiance to big money in practice.

There have always been secrete societies, with a wide variety of tenets and goals, but usually fundamentalist and elitist in nature and character. A common thread is their obsession with keeping secret, and out of the limelight, the names of participants, as well as insistence on unwritten discussions, plans and agreements.

In Boston it's been known as The Vault. In Catholicism, it's Opus Dei.

In the 1970's Taylor Caldwell wrote a historical novel called "Captains and the Kings". Its plot was about a secret society of wealthy people around the world whose allegiance was to money, but no particular country, regardless of the source of their citizenship. It was an arms dealer cabal which supplied both sides of the Civil War. (By the way it's a great story, with a rather transparent inclusion of the Kennedy family's involvement in it, going back to the patriarch, Joseph Kennedy.)

This NPR interview reveals some rather striking similarities to the group Caldwell wrote about, including the inclusion in the cabal of people from all around the globe. It's the living proof that Follow the Money, especially when it's wrapped in Fundamentalist disguise, is the mother of all axioms, and truths.

I'd be most happy to receive a large and wide variety of comments on this post. Treat it as an open thread.

Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mr. President, Perception is Everything

Here's a piece of news that makes me wonder why the White House doesn't get it when it comes to appointing regulators of systems who have long ties to those same systems. Talent and experience of course are important, but not if they are used, or are even perceived to be used, to protect those same systems.

In this case it's about the Financial System's clear need for stronger regulation.

It's being rumored that Jamie Dimon, current CEO of J.P.Morgan Chase,
who has made vast sums of money on Wall Street and Banking is being considered a likely successor to Tim Geithner, who used to be the head of the NY Fed, should Geithner resign or be kicked out.

Whatever the talents and view points Dimon might have to make him seem appealing, the public perception would be all about more of the same; another insider of the good old elite boys club, likely to protect his buddies in the face of needed regulations. Geithner has been accused by some to have protected his buddies, perhaps the same group that Dimon would favor.

Why give the GOPhers even more ammunition.

Lighthouse Keeper

Triple Dipping; Corruption in the Military/Industrial Complex

Here's a piece to get your blood boiling. And we complain about corruption in Iraq and Afghanistan. A glass houses and stones story. Scandalous.

Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, November 20, 2009

Today's Must Read

Here's a link to Tom Engelhardt's excellent piece on Afghanistan, including a speech he wishes Obama would make soon, written by Tom himself.

Conventional wisdom has it that if Obama were to make this speech he would be dead meat politically. Some of us think that the majority of Americans would cheer. Who knows, as Tom points out, what would happen in 2012? If the economy turns around, and it is shown to have turned around, as least in part, due to a jobs program that worked, Obama could win a second term easily.

Remember that George Bush, I, was considered a hero war president after the Gulf War, but lost a second term because the economy tanked after that war.

How soon we forget.

Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Music Woman

Here's a really good piece by Max Blumenthal at, a great place to read in- depth analyses of current events and phenomena, and yes from an anti-imperialist, anti-neocon

It's a brief history of time in the age of Palintology.

Like the Music Man, Sarah Palin is all about drawing attention to herself by stirring up trouble "Right here in River City", the image and symbol of what she calls "Real America". Like The Music Man, she's the classic Charlatan, taking in the rubes who are easily swayed to follow someone who promises good fortune, if only they pledge their meagre treasures to her as their leader.

Sarah Palin is currently a media lightening rod, and probably can count on media exposure between now and at least 2012.

If I were a late night comedian I'd be grateful to her, as a cause celebre because she has spawned some of the funniest TV shows and videos, like SNL's spoofs starring the adorable Tina Fey.

If Palin were to be denied media coverage she would fade from the scene rather quickly. That's not going to happen because the liberal media make money off her, and the conservative media want to promote her.

Actually, the media coverage of Palin might be for the best from a moderate to progressive point of view. That coverage includes both conservative and neoconservative evaluations of her, which include a range of criticism, from Unqualified to Joke.

Max Blumenthal has captured and exposed the Palin phenomenon well.

Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Securing The Barn Door After the Horses Got Loose.

Here's an essay, the gist of which won't escape you for long. My hope is that the message of this essay becomes fodder for real discussion around kitchen tables everywhere.

Tip of the hat to The Old New Englander for sending it to me.

Lighthouse Keeper

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Gene Robinson Gets It

Here's Eugene Robinson's recent WaPo column on Afghanistan. He makes a strong case for bringing home the troops.

He is so right, but, like a lot of thinking Americans, he's likely to be disappointed.

Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Courage to Be President

Here's a report which both encourages and frightens me.

Obama is not rubber stamping his military advisors' requests, if not demands, to escalate the war in Afganistan.

That encourages me.

Those military advisers who have gone public with their views, have violated their oaths to adhere to and follow the chain of command, including advising and ultimately following and obeying the orders of their Commander-In-Chief.

That scares me.

It scares me for many reasons, but what scares me the most is the possibility that the far right wing, neocon, military/industrial complex might even contemplate a scenario in which Obama was eliminated, taken out, as was JFK.

JFK resisted pressure from the military to escalate the Vietnam war. He was assassinated. His successor, LBJ, rubber stamped the military demands. He died a natural death.

Attempting to connect the dots in the form of similar information and clues to look for a pattern of criminal behavior and related cover up, and making a connection from the past to the present exposes one to ridicule as a conspiracy nut job; to be ignored, dismissed as an out of touch, mentally disturbed voice crying in the wilderness, a kook.

Accepting an institution's conclusion that it absolves itself of all blame and culpability, based on having investigated itself, should expose one to ridicule as intellectually challenged, naive, one who can be manipulated by ideologues and is to be feared as surely as those who manipulate the gullible dunces.

Obama knows and understands this. That is why he should be supported and encouraged for the courage he exhibits daily as president. He knows that he is putting his life on the line every day.

Lighthouse Keeper

What a Revoltin' Develpment This Is

This is the sorry state of affairs in the place they call Afghanistan. It is a country in name only. Actually it's a rogue state, a home to unimpeded corruption from top to bottom. It is not worth one more American or NATO life, nor one more dime.

I'm delighted that McChrystal is "furious" that our Ambassador to that rat hole advised our president to hold off on adding more troops and money until their so-called president, the chief of tribal corruption, cleans up his act. The sweet irony is that our Ambassador is a retired general, who was the senior U.S.military commander in Afghanistan for two years.

Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Perfect is in the Eye of the Beholder

President Bill Clinton had it right today when he to told his Democrat Senator audience that there is no perfect bill. Perfect to whom, would be the obvious question.

I read recently how the law which enacted social security for the retired was passed with terrible initial inequities, e.g. farm workers were excluded so that plantation owners would vote for it. It's value was in getting something made into law which could be, and subsequently was, improved to be the safety net program we have today.

We are facing again today just that kind of hold- your- nose need to compromise on health care reform legislation. Just get it done, however imperfect it is, because subsequent Congresses will have something to improve upon, which is much easier to do than breaking all new ground, radical change, which three quarters of the population is inclined to resist, if not fear.

Even the most conservative of our citizens are open to change if it's incremental and gradual. That is why improving an initially radical change law is possible. Even if the bill which gets Obama's signature contains language which restricts insurance coverage for a woman's right to chose, that is likely to be changed, corrected and improved in future sessions of Congress.

As Obama has said, in his pragmatic way, don't let the perfect get in the way of the possible. He said as much again today when he told Congress that it was a health care bill, not an abortion bill, and urged Congress to get it done now.

I've learned that we don't have time to make it perfect, but we will have time to improve it once we "Git-R-Done" as Larry the Cable Guy exhorts us.

Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, November 9, 2009


Reading this piece by Nick Turse at, my wish that Obama would get us out of Afghanistan turns out to be a pipe dream.

The Pentagon is running and ruining our country. The billions they get to build infrastructure to support our empire building around the world would likely upgrade our own infrastructure and well as pay for health care and education, etc..

Instead it's being poured down the rat hole which is Afghanistan, and preparing the killing fields for young American lives.

Also read this piece from describing the atrocious treatment of AWOL and PTSD soldiers and how they are offered amnesty if they agree to deploy again to Iraq or Afghanistan.

It's nothing short of criminal.

Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sadly True

Here's Tom Friedman's take on the Israel/Palestinian conundrum. Sadly it makes a lot of sense to me.

Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Power of Entrenched Interests

Here's a Times editorial which exposes the military/industrial complex entrenched interests which Obama, like all presidents, is up against.

When Ike became president Harry Truman was said to have been sorry for the former general, because he would be frustrated by giving orders and wondering why nobody followed them.

Russ Baker writes about this also in his piece, "What Obama Is Up Against". Read it here.

Gene Robinson of WaPo treats it as well here.

As a retired former CEO of an industrial company I can't imagine wanting to be POTUS.

Lighthouse Keeper

"One Nation Under Contract"

Here's an important piece by Tom Friedman on the expanded use of civilian contractors to provide war support services which once were provided by the military.

My only quarrel with Friedman is that he's too accepting of this practice while claiming to be worried about it.

Prof. Stanger has done the country a service by exposing this invitation to corruption.

Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Wisdom of Matthew Hoh

Thanks and a tip of the hat to Old Dude who drew my attention to the interview of Matthew Hoh.

Here's a link to that interview. As Old Dude pointed out in the comment he left on my earlier post about the time machine to the 14th century which is Afghanistan, some of the questions posed and statements made are troubling.

As Matthew said, this is a political issue. Even a dove leaning president does not want to be painted as weak on war. The neocon propaganda machine is formidable and to be feared. They support war somewhere, all the time. There's huge profits to be made. Their connections and ties to the Pentagon are tight, and the military/industrial establishment is essentially an unbalanced and unchecked separate branch of the government in the U.S.

As always, follow the money.

Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Afghanistan: "Time Machine to the 14th Century"

Here's Maureen Dowd's great piece on Obama's dilemma.

Lighthouse Keeper

Saturday, October 31, 2009

David Brooks' Gratuitous Insult to Obama

Here's Glenn Greenwald's critique of David Brooks' vapid expose on what Obama the man has to be, tenacious and convicted about winning in Afghanistan.

Brooks cites military experts, without naming any of them, that their big concern is Obama the man. Does he have what it takes to be a war president? This is nothing but a gratuitous insult to Obama.

Sadly, it seems that being tenacious about domestic needs, health care, infrastructure, education, etc.. carries no currency with these unnamed people whose careers and jobs are all about making war. The billions being poured down the rat hole which is Afghanistan could improve, if not solve, many of our domestic problems.

Brooks writes like the neocon he truly is, all about war somewhere, all the time.

He should not enjoy, because he does not deserve, the admiration he gets as a Times columnist. Don't forget that he worked at the Weekly Standard with Kristol and company before he went to the Times. He's little more than a slightly sophisticated Fox News talking head.

Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, October 30, 2009

What Makes a War President? The Vapid Opinion of David Brooks

Here's what I judge to be an opinionated and politically slanted, to the point of dishonesty, column by David Brooks who likes to market himself, pass himself off as, a well informed, objective and intelligent purveyor and analyst of ideas and facts, as a columnist for the New York Times.

Please know and be aware that his former employer was the Weekly Standard, the far right neocon
slanted web based virtual newspaper, headed by William Kristol. whose neocon credentials are unimpeachable.

I can't help but think that Brooks has found a great paying job which provides him with a credible forum for his neocon opinions.

Lighthouse Keeper

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sadly,The Prevailing View is Endless War

Here's an article which suggests, if not predicts,
that McChrystal's view will prevail in the debate about what to do in Afghanistan.

And here is Glenn Greenwald's latest essay on how and why it is a permanent fiasco.
It's the best commentary I've come across on endless war.

Health care, like Heaven, can wait, according to the Washington Post.

Lighthouse Keeper

Gloria Patri

Here's two views on war and warring; each one toxic:

The surprisingly hawkish view of Roger Cohen of the Times, a guy I admire for the most part, but not on this.

The satirical and sardonic view of Jo Comerford at

Unending war is becoming so accepted by the public that future generations will see it as an American meme.

Who will be the Gibbon to write about our decline and fall?

Here's the Gloria Patri as sung in the Church of the Holy Pentagon:

Glory be to the soldier and to his son and to their holy ghosts.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, war without end, Amen, Amen.

Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Asking the Wrong Question

What is the exit strategy? That's the wrong question. Neocons and the military/industrial complex don't want an exit strategy because their job descriptions are about waging war and making the tools of war.

The correct questions are: What would success look like, how long would it take, and what are the chances of achieving it? The last part is the crux of the problem. Afghanistan is almost a stone age country, ruled in a tribal fashion, and the central government is so corrupt that the masses of people turn to the tribal chiefs, the war lords, for protection.

There are no reliable partners for peace there. Obama should heed McChrystal's warning that the war is unwinable, and dismiss his qualification "unless" we make a massive expenditure in lives and money at a time when we have neither available.

It's about time Americans acknowledge that flag waving patriotism has nothing to do with these wars of choice, which include all conflicts since WW II. The Korean War was officially called a 'conflict' because, like other use of our military since WW II has been authorized, not by declaring war, as is the prerogative of Congress, but by abdication on the part of the Congress, ceding that responsibility to the executive branch which the Founders consciously tried to guard against.

My other blog, on which I have not written lately, is called, "A Voice Crying in the Wilderness". I got to thinking that there was a serious implication of conceit in that name.
I am no prophet, as the title might imply, so I've been writing for the past several months on this blog, Cape Cod Lighthouse, A Beacon to the Adrift, and Illumination for the Washed Ashore.

My goal is to shed light on dark places and shadows.

Lighthouse Keeper

Far Right Fringe or Not? What Say The GOP Leaders?

Here's a link to a revealing piece about another example of the depths to which the far right fringe of the Republican party has descended. Add this to the claims of charlatans like Beck and Limbaugh who accuse Obama of being a racist hater of white people and a Nazi, and those who claim Obama was not born a US citizen and so not a legitimate president.

Off the wall fringe groups might be ignored, simply because they promote a clearly propagandist position which, yes, comes across as off the wall to voters, hopefully even those of us who are dealing with daily issues of keeping our heads above water financially.

The real danger to the republic is not the hateful stuff but the silence, in the face of it, of the elected and public figures who don't ascribe to the hate filled messages, but who in and by their silence, should be found,by default, complicit

Lighthouse Keeper

Demilitarization: It's Time

Here's a fine piece on the facts of our unsurpassed militarization since WW II. As James Carroll pointed out in his recent Boston Globe column, endless war has become so prevalent that future generations will accept it as America's foreign policy. It has become an American cultural and political meme.

Our 'Defense'* budget is larger than all other countries on the planet put together. We supply 70% of all arms and armaments. That should get attention and scrutiny, but the average citizen is ho hum on the issue.

Our domestic problems could be funded and fixed with even a modest redirection of Pentagon funds. It's time.

*It used to be called the War Department for obvious reasons. Defense Department is a euphemism.

Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Why We Have Perpetual War

Here's a revealing piece by Glenn Greenwald on who is behind the perpetual war policy in America.

Politicians like Diane Feinstein, a Democrat, are pushing for perpetual war for, you guessed it, the money to be made. 'Follow the money' is the axiom again validated. Feinstein's husband makes millions in war.

Neocons don't have a lock on greed it seems.

By its continuance perpetual war is fast becoming a cultural and political meme, and thus uncontroversial to future generations.

Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, October 16, 2009

Our Imperial Presidency

Here's a piece which should be required reading in all civics classes and by anyone who votes.

It appears on the blog which is run by Tom Engelhardt, a man who sees the big picture and finds authors to articulate the issues.

In this case it's a commentary on how the executive branch has become a virtual monarchy, regardless of the White House occupant.

In this space I've often observed that I didn't expect much to change in Washington, regardless of who won the White House. Sadly I seem to have been correct in that believe.

Lighthouse Keeper

We're Screwed, Over and Over Again

Here's a most discouraging article about health care reform. Seems it's working best for the private insurance industry.

It's all too true that Congress is filled with the best politicians money can buy.

That includes the Snowe job.

Read it and weep here.

Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, October 9, 2009

What Prize?

Here's Glenn Greenwald's appraisal of the Nobel committee's choice for this year's Peace Prize.

I believe he has done an admirable job at seeing both sides, and, reluctantly, I agree with his conclusion. At the very least it was awarded prematurely.

It will be interesting to hear what Obama has to say about it this morning.

Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

America Interrupted

Here's Tom Friedman's column in the Times exposing the zeitgeist of today's America, comparing and likening it to that of Israel when Rabin was assassinated.

He shines a lighthouse beacon on the shadows in which such anger breeds and thrives, bringing it out where all can see it and acknowledge it as a problem; essential to addressing it.

This was the topic of our weekly lunch group yesterday. Pat Lang of Sic Semper Tyrannis sees a parallel to JFK's dilemma in Vietnam with Obama's dilemma in Afghanistan. JFK had been resisting the military's call for a massive troop escalation in Vietnam. That escalation happened, but only after JFK was assassinated.

Frightening is too tame a word to describe American discourse today.

Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ken Burn's National Parks Documentary Series

This is to recommend, just in case you aren't aware of it, a documentary series on PBS TV about our National Parks, by Ken Burns.

I've set my TiVo to record the six episode, twelve hour series, and have watched about half of the first episode.

The scenery is stunning of course, and the influence of and insight into people like John Muir is captivating.

Don't miss it.

Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Did McChrystal Do Us A Favor?

Perhaps the general did us a favor by portraying a very dim view of the war in Afghanistan.

We must get out of there as quickly as possible.

One can only hope as Bob Herbert writes here and as Gene Robinson advocates here.

Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, September 21, 2009

Neocon War, Somewhere, All The Time

This piece about more troops for Afghanistan or the war is lost is a cynical and erroneous assessment.

"The" war is actually two wars. We won the first one, but Bush chose not to consolidate it. He started another war in Iraq,which ate up the resources, the troops and equipment needed in Afghanistan and provided the Taliban with an open invitation to keep the fighting going there; thus the second war which is already lost.

For the Neocons the first Afghan war was too successful, too quickly.

A recent cartoon showed a huge vehicle called 'Empire' crashing in Afghanistan with the caption "Where Empires Go To Die".

When will they ever learn? Likely never, because they don't want to learn.

Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, September 18, 2009

Missile Defense In Europe; An Insight?

Every now and then I read something which makes the hazy picture a little clearer.

Here's an article about the rationale being made public for the change in missile defense in Europe.

As you read it pay special attention to the part about surrounding Iran with anti-missile and military might; our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Navy ships in the eastern Med and in the Persian Gulf. Also note that this kind of pressure is already in place in Asia to protect our allies in that region.

I hadn't made this connection before. Economic sanctions are all about depriving a country of money. They also deprive the decent citizens of that country. Military sanctions have a less direct negative impact on those decent citizens.

The holdout dead-enders of the Cold War, like John Bolton, call this appeasing Russia. Russia is a kind of ally of Iran, but it also doesn't like missiles aimed at them.

I've always enjoyed finding a way to solve more than one problem and a time. This just might be one of those occasions. We remind Iran that they are surrounded and isolated militarily, reduce the tension between the US and Russia and get some points with the Israelis, and perhaps reduce the chances that they might act on their own against Iran.

Russia's figure head president praised Obama for doing this, and the Defense Minister in Israel has said publicly that Iran is not seen as an existential threat to Israel. No coincidence in either of these statements.

Of course all these observations are from the point of view of one(me) who likes to find logic in events. Often that search for logic is naive, being taken in by propaganda and spin. I still believe that the Neocons are a cabal, with a war and American global hegemony agenda(I don't call it a conspiracy because I don't want my views to be dismissed as silly and nutty).

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out at the UN meeting coming soon.

Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, September 17, 2009

An Important Essay at

Here's another important, and well written essay by Tom Engelhardt at It should be required reading for all voters at least.

He, and the other writers he publishes on his site, select important topics and articulate their positions extremely well.

This essay is about endless war as an American way of life. The so-called Global War on Terror is just such an endless war, by definition. It's the sick genius strategy of the Neocons. There's so much money to be made in war.

Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cry Uncle, or Holler Like a Dutch Uncle?

How is it that Obama, riding a wave of popularity and with a majority in both houses of Congress, is getting rolled? The rollers are lobbyists in the employ of special interests, and members of Congress in the clutches of those same special interests.

Here's a very discouraging analysis of the power of money to block Obama's agenda. Just read the numbers and dollars and whose pockets are being lined by whom. The so-called revolving door results in House and Senate staffers going to work as lobbyists, exercising huge influence on members of Congress. It surely looks like a one-sided fight. In boxing it's called "taking a dive".

When you add in the ugly racist agenda it's truly discouraging.

Until voters are feared by politicians as much as they fear special interests it isn't going to get better.

Holler like a dutch uncle or cry uncle?

I'm a hollower. That's why I blog. Please holler.

Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, September 14, 2009

More Than One Moral Issue

Here's James Carroll's must read column in the Boston Globe.

Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Maureen Dowd Says It Like It Is

Here's Maureen Dowd's Times column saying publicly that racism is behind the ugly and dangerous things being said about Obama. This takes some courage, as she's likely to be targeted by loonies who shout, "You lie", boy.

As I've written here several times, there is a sub culture in this country which just cannot deal with a black man occupying the White House.

Lighthouse Keeper

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bob Herbert Makes Interesting Points

Here's Bob Herbert's NY Times column in which he makes the point that it's the public which is skeptical.

A while back David Brooks said that seldom is a major legislation made in a lousy economy. Bob Herbert is seconding that opinion when he mentions the fear in the minds of the public.

Saying that billions will be saved by eliminating waste and fraud doesn't get it.

So far what seems passable is a bonanza for insurance and drug firms. Not what Obama had in mind.

Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Maureen Speaks For Me

Here's Mo on Bo.

Less Spocky and more Rocky covers it nicely.

Lighthouse Keeper.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

'A Battle of Wills'

Here's Harold Myerson's Salon article comparing George Will, Traditional Conservative, to William Kristol, Neoconservative.

That's what I'm sayin'.

Myerson concludes that George Will is a quaint relic in Republican circles.

My view is that the Neocons will have their way in those circles so long as Republicans of all stripes are willing to do anything and say anything to bring Obama down.

Should Obama reverse course in Afghanistan, as George Will, urges, he would be vilified as a wimp on terrorism and national security.

The American people are not supportive of a long term effort in Afghanistan, according to most polls, but neither are they worked up about it in the face of loss of jobs, health care costs and all the domestic problems we face.

And as long as there is no draft only the families of volunteers are worried for their relatives in uniform. And as long as the Pentagon's hiring of soldier of fortune private firms to replace support troops in combat zones goes unchallenged, the American public is not likely to rise up against war in Afghanistan any time soon.

We seem to have been raising a private army to fight along side our volunteer armed forces. I wonder where they fall in the chain of command of which the president is Commander-in-Chief.

The Neocons like it the way it is. There are plenty of former soldiers, security guards and other aggressive kinds of people to fill the ranks of the private security firms. The pay is good and fighting bad guys with deadly weapons suits their lifestyle and world view.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Cat's Meow of Cartoons

Enjoy. thanks to Kevin Drum at Mother As one of two staff members for two cats in our home I say this is a classic.

Lighthouse Keeper

Two Links to Blog Posts on Afghanistan

Here's a link to a private citizen's analysis of our folly in Afghanistan. He is a blogger friend of mine, at The Old New Englander.

And here's a link from a reputed Marine general on the same topic, as posted by Col. Pat Lang on his blog, Sic Semper Tyrannis.

Read 'em and weep. I wish we could reshuffle the cards and deal an all new hand.

Lighthouse Keeper

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Brief History of a House

Here is a moving story about Iraq as experienced by a house.

Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, September 4, 2009

Stages of Grieving

David Sirota articulates here what I've sadly come to acknowledge.

Elizabeth Kubler Ross gave us The Five Stages of Grieving. It is an incremental, slow, sometimes halting process. I haven't got to the final stage, Acceptance, yet, and am stuck somewhere between Stage 2, Anger and Stage 4, Depression. I've clearly passed Stage 1, Denial, and don't remember much about Stage 3, Bargaining, except I tried to be patient with Obama, though less patient with Congress.

I listened to my Obama loyalist friends who have been more patient than I, that he's only been president for(name the number of months of your choice) and that it takes a lot of time to turn the Queen Mary around in her berth. But the captain and his crew have not even loosened the dock lines. They are not trying to turn things around. We've still got Bush's secrecy, detention and rendition policies in place. Like W, Obama is rewriting laws with signing statements, to cite a few things that we were told would change.

I am one of those who has felt stabbed in the back by Obama and the Democrat Party. They are guilty of false advertising, bait and switch behavior, if not outright fraud and dishonesty.

Neocons are still able to get war funding passed, the Pentagon is still able to keep the president in line. The military/industrial complex still lives and controls The War Department.(The Defense Department is a euphemism). We are doubling down in Afghanistan to keep the unending, by definition, war on terror going.

As I wrote during the campaign, I hoped for, but didn't really expect that we'd see much if any change in DC, regardless of who won the White House and held majorities in both houses of Congress.

Still I hoped.

But it's pretty clear that just as many Democrat as Republican Senators and Representatives compromise their integrity with acceptance of huge campaign contributions from vested interests; defense, energy, health insurance, finance, auto, etc.. These are vested interests in the status quo located all around the country and around the globe.

Here's Ralph Lopez at Truthout on this point. He cites a 1976 Supreme Court decision which equated money with freedom of speech. He makes the pithy statement that it granted the right to buy your own Congressman, but not expressly mine too.

So the wars roll on, we're still in a Great Recession, unemployment is almost 10%( and that doesn't include people who could work, but have stopped looking for work), nothing substantive is getting done about climate change, the outlook for real improvement in health care is bleak, the financial tycoons are laughing all the way to the plush offices in their banks, the so-called financial regulators are themselves reined in by those they are supposed to regulate, nuclear proliferation seems inevitable, immigration reform isn't even talked about now; and that's just for starters.

It's business as usual in D.C. Follow the money. Them's what has, gets. The more things change, the more they stay the same. So what else is new?, hope for the best but prepare for the worst, and any and all other sayings and shibboleths that come to mind.

Do we just resign ourselves to total and complete cynicism and Depression, Stage 4 or do we find solace in the line from Desiderata, 'No doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should', Stage 5, Acceptance?

The Lighthouse is still on; a beacon to the adrift and illumination for the washed ashore.

Lighthouse Keeper

'The Status Quo Sanctification and Extension Act'

Here's David Brooks on having a magical hour to advise President Obama.

He seems to be ignoring the partisan/ bipartisan aspect of the fight, focusing more on the vested interests in the status quo. Though by implication the politicians in the pockets of the vested interests are included as adversaries of change.

Brooks is known as a Conservative columnist. Conservatives are generally uncomfortable with change unless it is truly incremental. In this column Brooks is recommending the fundamental, not the incremental. However the fundamental view of things is also a Conservative principle, as in getting back the fundamentals of blocking and tackling.

I would have preferred that he use the analogy of the forest and the trees, the big picture versus the fundamental, incremental components.

As a student of personality theory espoused by Carl Jung, I'm aware that only about a fourth of the human population is comfortable with the big picture approach. The other three fourths are uncomfortable with major change, which is what Obama, with audacity, hoped to accomplish.

Perhaps Obama has gone incremental in hopes of passing something, anything; like "The Status Quo Sanctification and Extension Act" as Brooks calls it.

Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Public Fire Fighting, Policing, but not Public Health Care?

Here's Nicholas Kristof's straight forward and sensible talk on health care reform.

I doubt that any sensible American would want to go back to private companies hired as fire departments, or as police departments. Nicholas Kristof tells us why we made these needs public services.

The corruption and poor service that led to these becoming public services is rampant in the private companies which insure health care.

It's way past time for making health care a public service, paid for by tax dollars, just as fire fighters and police are paid by tax dollars. The government doesn't do the fire fighting and policing, it hires people who are good at doing those things.

Government does not do the health care provided by Medicare, it pays those who are good at it.

Perhaps we are a socialistic society to the extent that we make some services like fire fighting and policing public services. We should not be scared off of doing just that with health care by those private companies who know their profits would suffer, when they could no longer use corrupt and discriminatory practices to cause human suffering.

Follow the money.

Lighthouse Keeper

American Militarism

Please read this essay by a retired Lt. Colonel. It might surprise you and hopefully disturb you, the essay itself that is, not its author.

I also recommend that you book mark Tom Engelhardt is a mature voice of reason.

Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

'Bush's Third Term'

Here's a piece which rings true to me.

Two years ago I wrote that I doubt we will see much if any change in policy regardless of who wins the White House. Sadly, I was correct.

Lighthouse Keeper

Saturday, August 29, 2009

What Gives?

What gives? is the rhetorical question Charles Blow asks in his Saturday Times column.

There's no accounting for what people think. The stats that Blow shows us don't appear to add up, logically at least.

Check it out.

Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, August 24, 2009

Oh Go, Oh Go, Emmanuel

Not long ago I wondered here where the tough guy Emmanuel was, not seeing him as using his toughness to get health care reform passed.

Well, here is the answer to that question, sorry to say.

I had not been aware that the Blue Dogs are Emmanuel's people. I've been blaming Obama for not being tough enough on them, but if they're protected by the Chief of Staff I have to admit now to thinking that Obama is naive.

Or is there a method to his madness?

Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mental Health Break

Do yourself a favor by reading Nicholas Kristof's column in today's Sunday Times.

It is a perfectly delightful essay on a very important topic.

I also highly recommend Tom Friedman's piece in today's Times about Nature and Africa. It is enlightening and also about what's been lost in the age of technology. Read it here.

Lighthouse Keeper

Frank Rich Says It All

Here's Frank Rich's Sunday Times piece warning Obama that if he fails to beat back the right wing fringe it will be his own fault.

This week has seen a large number of progressive leaning journalists take on Obama for not living up to the campaign rhetoric, and not realizing that his pandering to right wing fringe nuts, and right wing pot boilers in Congress is making him appear to be a weak kneed appeaser.

Many of us who supported Obama for president have yet to see the president we voted for.

Lighthouse Keeper

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mark Shields Adds His Challenge to Obama

It's beginning to look like piling on. Finally progressive/liberal columnists are speaking truth to power.

Here is Mark Shields' contribution.

Obama must listen and learn.

Lighthouse Keeper

And Another; Charles Blow Chiding Obama

Here's Charles Blow's criticism of Obama on his health care reform stance.

I wasn't aware how many columnists agreed with me:-)

Lighthouse Keeper

Bob Herbert Also Speaks For Me

Here's Bob Herbert's column in today's Times, also taking Obama to task for neither leading nor listening.

It's all about the anxiety Mr. President.

Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, August 21, 2009

Open Thread; War and Warring, Tell Me What You Think

Much has been written lately about wars and warring.

The expanding number of adjectives used to attach labels to wars rivals even the actual number of wars at any given time and place.

We read that wars can be appraised as if they were no more important as a question of value than the objects on Antiques Road Show.

Labels of War extant in the Main Stream Media, include, but are not limited to, choice, preventive, defensive, necessity, to name just a few used to justify war.

Obama, for whom I voted, has recently applied the label "war of necessity", to justify our military and expanding presence and it's almost daily change in strategy and tactics in Afghanistan.

What's wrong with this picture?

Lighthouse Keeper

Gene Robinson Also Speaks For Me

Here's Eugene Robinson's appraisal of Obama in today's WaPo.

Like Paul Krugman he is spot on with his analysis. "A little more passion, please".

Lighthouse Keeper

Krugman Speaks For Me

Here's Paul Krugman spot on column in today's Times, upbraiding Obama for all the right reasons.

So far I haven't seen the president I voted for.

Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Barney Frank's Treatment of an Idiot

MA Rep Barney Frank helped me today.

I've felt frustrated with not knowing how to respond to those who make statements and claims which, when subjected to a factual and historical account can only be categorized as ridiculous

Some make them because they are recruited to make them, some make them because they are frustrated with loss of jobs and the income of those jobs, and some make them out of ignorance and blind allegiance to those who manipulate them in their distress to lash out and shout down those who have been elected to represent them.

Barney Frank's response to a woman who likened health care reform to Nazi Germany's final solution is most instructive. Sarcasm was called for and he did it well in ridiculing the woman. "On what planet do you spend most of your time?" he asked.

Lighthouse Keeper

Snake Eyes

Here's a piece which exposes Senator Charles Grassely, R-IO for what he really is; a purely partisan political hack.

Note that he said that he would not vote for reform even if it had all the provisions he wants, though he insists that he's still trying to get a bipartisan bill. Why would anyone feel the need to continue courting him as a supporter of reform? He is clearly intent on defeating it for purely political purposes; to damage Obama and embarrass the Democrats.

The GOPhers are not negotiating, they are campaigning for 2010 and 2012.

John Kyl made it easy yesterday when he said Republicans wouldn't support a health care reform measure. That takes the Dems and Obama off the hook of trying to get a bipartisan bill done.

All they have to do when accused of freezing out Republicans, which will happen, is throw down the gauntlet by simply quoting these clearly obstructionist and partisan statements.

Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Afghan Neocon Agenda

Here's Pat Lang's welcome and needed view of what's really going on, and not going on, in the AFG/PAK war.

It's a continuing Neocon propaganda war. Unfortunately Obama has drunk their Kool Aid just like all presidents since Ike.

The genius of the Bush administration was its success in convincing gullible Americans that a Global War on Terrorism was justified. It essentially provides an ongoing blanket and standing cover for any military operation anywhere and any time.

The Neocon "scum" as Colonel Pat Lang labelled them on this blog, Sic Semper Tyrannis, understand that arms manufacturers are huge employers and huge campaign contributors to politicians, open to being bought to support all kinds of arms and armaments, even those the Pentagon says it doesn't need nor want.

Lighthouse Keeper

Daschle Down and Dirty

Here's a piece outing Tom Daschle as an obviously corrupt politician, now lobbyist.

It's dispiriting to realize that a politician you thought might be fairly clean is actually very dirty.

Something very Faustian about this.

Lighthouse Keeper

Off the Bipartisan Hook

Here's a piece which should relieve Obama and all Dems from any obligation to find a bipartisan solution to health care reform. John Kyl says there is no solution.

OK. Now Obama and Dems do what you were elected to do. Get this thing done. Blue Dog Dems get on board and remember how you got elected and by whom. If you have any integrity left at all, do this in spite of being bribed by those who don't want reform.

Lighthouse Keeper

A Cartoon Worth a Thousand Words

Here's Dan Wasserman's cartoon in today's Boston Globe.

It speaks for itself.

Lighthouse Keeper

Gene Robinson; Always On Target

Washington Post columnist Gene Robinson says that we elected Obama to be a great president, not an expedient one.

He also says that Obama should remind the Blue Dog Dems who is president and who is not.

These are just two of the many important points in this very direct column on health care reform.

Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, August 17, 2009

Republican Intelligence: An Oxymoron

Here are some sad statistics. The link takes you to, but please click on the Plum Line link to get the whole story.

What does this tell us about the level of intelligence of those who make up the GOPher base?

Add to this the public comments by people like Orin Hatch and Chuck Grassley, who are supposed to know better, and mix it in with the witches brew conjured up by the Limbaugh, Gingrich, Palin, Hannity, Beck cabal and you've got the most toxic of stews imaginable being served up as nourishment to the public.

As a small business executive I used to be a Republican when it meant holding responsible, truly conservative and non-interference- in- other- countries principals.

They're called Neoconservatives today, because the Neo, or New part they've foisted on America has shifted the polarity of the party 180 degrees.

They left me and millions of others who are deeply offended by their world view. I still hold the same principles, but now find myself more philosophically comfortable with Democrats. I vote as an Independent.

The Republican Party has become a very weird mix of highly intelligent liars and the mentally challenged who eat up that toxic stew, even though it's not in their financial, nor health interests to do so.

Polls like this one shine the Lighthouse Beacon on just how dark a view of America they, the liars and the gullible, have.

Lighthouse Keeper

Another James Carroll Gem

Carroll does it again. Read it here.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

President Obama's Op-Ed on Health Care Reform

Here's the president's op-ed in today's Times.

All citizens should read it. Not all citizens read the Times. This posting is a small attempt to put it in front of a few more. If you blog, or discuss please post about it and/or tell your friends about it.

It's important.

Lighthouse Keeper

'Mad Men' II

Here's another treatment of the past fifty years. Also a good read, written by Timothy Egan in today's Times.

Lighthouse Keeper

'Mad Men'

Here's Frank Rich's column in today's Times. It's about the past fifty years in America, and it's a great and sobering read.

Lighthouse Keeper graduated college in 1959, and it's fascinating to hear it called, "the year everything changed".

It sure was.

Lighthouse Keeper

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Will The Real Death Panelists Please Stand Up?

Here's an interesting and revealing piece by Joe Conason at Truthdig. He cites specifics, statistics and facts that thousands die each year due to insufficient or no health care, and/or benefits being denied them by their insurance companies.

Talk about irony! Talk about hypocrisy!

Obama should take this information to Town Hall Meetings.

Lighthouse Keeper

Return of the Militias: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Update Below:

Here's a report which is truly frightening. Perhaps the most frightening part of it is the reality that elected politicians like Bachmann, DeMint and Perry are fanning the flames of racial hatred.

It's become all too obvious that Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin have as their agenda the bringing down of Barack Obama, perhaps for mostly political, ideological reasons. However, they stop at nothing in trying to accomplish that goal, including inciting racist militias.

These are the people who practice and promote racism, by calling those they hate racists, Nazis, Marxists, Socialists, etc.. These charged words are all transparent substitutes for the N-word which most of us don't want to write or speak.

They understand how to stir up the emotions of those who are incensed that a black man is occupying the White House.

Update: Here's another frightening example of hate speech which could get someone(s) killed.

Lighthouse Keeper

My Guy Shield

Here's a wonderful tribute to Eunice Kennedy Shriver, with a LOL preamble about presidential siblings.

Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, August 14, 2009

You Better Believe It!

Here's a piece which speaks for me about the level of stupidity we are again having our noses rubbed in.

How did they all find their way to Town Hall Meetings?

They must have been given connect- the- numbered- dots maps, courtesy of health insurance companies, big pharma and health care lobbyists.

Lighthouse Keeper

'Whose Religion Is This Anyway?'

I'm a big fan of Gershom Gorenberg, an Israeli Orthodox Jew, who writes against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.

Here's an insightful piece by him on the problem of confusing identities in his country.

Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, August 13, 2009

"Biking Out of Iraq"

Here's an unvarnished piece about the Neocon sponsored war in Iraq. It's a fine compilation of the distortions, lies and cover ups foisted on Americans and the world for the past six plus years, and which are likely to continue with no discernable end in sight.

The author is Tom Engelhardt, of

His blog should be checked out regularly by anyone who's felt betrayed
by Bush/Cheney and the Neocon cabal and their cozy relationship with the Pentagon and the military/industrial complex.

Lighthouse Keeper

Helen Says It All

Here's the latest post from Margaret and Helen.

I've been ranting about the object of her ire for weeks, and she said it all in just one post.

Do yourself a favor and read this in full. It's a fabulous mental health break.

Lighthouse Keeper

Obama, Please Tell Us What The Wars in Pakistan and Afghanistan Are About.

William Pfaff asks the president to tell us what the wars are about.

Here's his Truthdig piece.

I don't know what Obama might say, but these wars, like all wars since 1945, have been and are about Neocons and their Pentagon friends making huge profits.

The military/industrial complex is real. I try not to use the word "conspiracy" because it leaves one open to ridicule for believing that there's an enemy behind every tree. But clearly these people have their own agenda, and it's war baby, war all the time and anywhere.

Mr. Pfaff astutely points out that the Taliban are no threat to us. It's also true that if Al Qaeda loses its safe haven in one country they infiltrate another; Somalia maybe?

Afghanistan has nothing the US needs, though there's a rumor that the mountains are full of copper ore.

Neocons always need a practice field on which to try out their newest killing machines, using disposable soldiers.

That's what the wars are about.

Lighthouse Keeper

Wanted: More Whistleblowers

Here's a piece on Truthout about a former insurance exec blowing the whistle on insurance companies for fomenting the town hall turmoil.

Recently a former health care exec outed his industry in a similar fashion.

Trouble is the mobs don't read Truthout. They mainline Fox News Venom.

Lighthouse Keeper

"Generating More Heat Than LIght"

I just got around to watching my TiVo recording of Brooks and Shields on last Friday's News Hour.

On the topic of the disruption of Health Care Reform Town Hall Meetings, Mark Shields earned honors for Best Insight of the Day when he observed that the disruptions are "generating more heat than light".

Those who are shouting down, and threatening politicians who are holding these August "recess" meetings as a way of sponsoring rational debate, so far are succeeding in changing the focus and coverage in the media to the disruptions and away from the important health care issues.

Those who are financing the travel and attendance at these forums, generally understood and known to be people who are fearful that their health care gravy train will be derailed if genuine reform is passed, are playing to the basest of human instincts of those who are most easily manipulated into saying outlandish and outrageous things via emotional outburst.

One has only to acknowledge and consider the actual and recorded rantings at these meetings by those who rely on the government managed and financed health care program called Medicare to keep them out of financial bankruptcy, that "the government should keep its hands off Medicare".

Charles Blow's column in last Saturday's Times captures the essence of this frightful phenomenon when he wrote, "Belligerence is the currency of the intellectually bankrupt". His column is worth a full read.

There is a sub culture which is easily inflamed when reminded that a black man is occupying the White House. Those who have the most to lose if health care reform happens are cynically playing to the basest of human instincts of that intellectually bankrupt sub culture, hoping to derail the democratic process of reasonable debate.

Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Needed: Inconvenient Citizens

Here's a great wake-up piece on what coal and oil companies are doing to obstruct any and all who have the timidity to challenge their right to make huge profits by poisoning our planet.

The title of this post refers to a statement in the essay that it will take enough people who are willing to engage in civil disobedience to obstruct the extraction of coal, and burning of coal to become sufficiently "inconvenient" to get anything done by legislation.

The obvious example is the civil rights movement led by Dr. King. It took that very inconvenient civil disobedience to get action in Washington to end legal segregation.

In 18th century France the cry was "aux barricades!" Dr. King showed us that civil disobedience is the non violent way to "get-er-done".

Lighthouse Keeper

Snake In The Grassley

Here's today's worst hypocrite in the world.

Sen. Charles Grassley, thought of by Obama as a supportive Republican, told a crowd in his home state that the government could pull the plug on Grandma.

This is inexcusable behavior, even for a partisan snake like Grassley.

One can only hope that most of the public isn't buying this crap, and that
Senators and Congressmen will have the guts to bring Obama a decent
health care reform bill.

Lighthouse Keeper

Substituting for the N-Word

Here's another article exposing the racist element of the town hall meeting mobs.

This article "wonders" if calling Obama a Socialist might be a rather transparent substitute for the N-word.

The vitriol and venom spewing from these rabble rousers is too reminiscent of Southern White Segregationist hate speech to ignore.

Like Limbaugh's using the Nazi N-word as a substitute for the other N-word, it's despicable.

There is a sub culture, especially in the South, which simply can't deal with a black man occupying the White House. By the first amendment it's all legal, until one spark ignites a conflagration which leads to physical harm.

As Charles Blow wrote in last Saturday's Times, "Belligerence is the currency of the intellectually bankrupt". The most striking clue to the accuracy of that statement is the line being repeated by members of these mobs, 'Keep the guvmint's hands off my Medicare!'

The cynicism of the right wing nut jobs and mafia style lobbyists behind this obviously orchestrated country- wide movement is staggering.

Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Gene Robinson Dragging Health Care Into The Lighthouse Beacon

This column by Gene Robinson in today's WaPo is likely to generate as much heat as light.

He acknowledges that health care reform needs to take into account expensive and often unnecessary, if not useless, tests and procedures, and that a substantial number of those tests and procedures are performed at or near the end of life.

Palin, Limbaugh, Gingrich et al are likely to jump all over this, by extracting from the column the words and phrases they can use to say, we told you so. They will no doubt ignore Robinson's point that conflating this argument with the argument for covering all citizens could doom health care reform again.

Lighthouse Keeper

Perpetual War

Here's an essay on the cost of perpetual war in Afghanistan. It's worth a full read.

Lighthouse Keeper

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Wit of Mark Shields

Here's this week's contribution to the discussion by Mark Shields. He's on my top ten list of journalists, and I'm not sure who the sixth to tenth are.

Lighthouse Keeper

Charles Blow Nails It

Here's Charles Blow's column in today's Times. He's on target with his observation that those who favor health care reform are standing on the sidelines, while those opposed are hollering, shouting down and disrupting meetings which are designed for rational debate.

But Blow makes a really powerful point with his truly elegant statement, "Belligerence is the currency of the intellectually bankrupt".

He goes on to add, "Trapped in their vacuum of ideas, too many Republicans continue to display an astounding ability to believe utter nonsense, even when faced with facts that contradict it," and the GOP "is not a party of Einsteins".

There is a sub culture which simply can't deal with a black man occupying the White House. Limbaugh went way over the top when he called Democrats Nazis, substituting one charged N word for the other charged N word.

These hooligans are of the same sub culture as those who claim that Obama was not born in the USA. It is racism, pure and simple.

Gail Collins, in her column in today's Times, makes the point that perhaps the public will reject the hooligans, and we should arrange many more town hall meetings, and give the list to Limbaugh. I hope she's correct.

Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, August 7, 2009

Krugman Gets It

Here's Paul Krugman's column in today's Times.

The telling message is that the mobs are reacting less to what
Obama is doing and saying than to what he is.

Some people just can't deal with a black man occupying the White House.
They are the sub culture dregs our of society, and are being manipulated
by health care interest groups to block health care reform which would
revoke their license to steal.

Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, August 6, 2009

"It's 1963 Again"

Here's Col. Patrick Lang's view of Afghanistan.

He is one of a very few who talk straight about that place.

It might have been Col. Lang who wrote recently that Afghanistan is Vietnam
for slow learners.

Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Playing to the Dregs at the Bottom of the Barrel

Here's a cartoon that would be hysterical were it not so sadly true.

The GOPhers are playing to the bottom of the barrel public, with success. It's at that level that racism is still very real. Some people simply can't deal with a black man in the White House.

Check out the results of a Daily Kos poll which measures the responses to Obama's birthplace question by Party and by Region of the Country. Wait till you see the numbers for Republicans in the South. Scary shit.

"Deliverance", the movie, is a true slice of the South, if not a true story. I lived there for far too many years.

Lighthouse Keeper

A Tale of Two (Lost) Cities

This is a rather long piece, but it needs to be read.

It's about the unthinkable which has to be thought.

Lighthouse Keeper

Ike's Warning Unheeded

Here's an expose' of the military/industrial complex which Ike warned us about in 1961.

Like that warning this expose' will go unheeded as well.

Congress: what a crock, what a sham!! It's no wonder the public is so cynical about government and politicians. They have a license to steal.

Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Afghanistan Truth

Here's an Afghan woman's truth. Hat tip to Old Dude for bringing it into the lighthouse beacon.

I'm very sorry to say that I have come to the conclusion that Obama is drinking the Neocon Kool Aid just like recent presidents.

There will have to be another war somewhere to take the place of Afghanistan/Pakistan before we get out of that one; and getting out is likely to be another delusion. It's about American imperialism. I refer you to the recent essay by Chalmers Johnson on

Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, July 31, 2009

Healthcare Facts and Realities

Here's Paul Krugman's excellent straight talk about health care and the government.

In his column in the Times today he throws the lighthouse beacon on how government has been making the private insurance system work for a long time, by keeping the insurance companies reasonably honest.

Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Essay on American Imperialism

Here's a sobering review of American imperialism as measured by hundreds of military bases in a large number of countries.

At what financial and moral cost?

Link Chalmers Johnson tells us here.

Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Kevin Drum Shines The Lighthouse Beacon On The Shadows

Kevin Drum exposes the strange but understandable discrepancy between seniors' opinion of Medicare and those still too young to participate in it.

Medicare is the quintessential example of a government run health care option. It's terrific and it's a bargain compared to the premiums charged for private insurance.

What's going on in the shadows is a whole lot of lying and hollering by right wing politicians that Medicare is terrible and expensive. Those still too young to participate hear the lies so often they seem to believe it, based on surveys of both groups.

Kevin Drum of Mother Jones states the statistical facts.

Disclosure: I've had Medicate for seven years now, and all my experiences have been positive. I do carry a private supplemental policy. That premium and the Medicare premium together still compare very favorably with the cost of a private insurance plan.

Lighthouse Keeper

Mental Health Break

I'd come to understand and make peace with not living forever. But this story has the power to alter my views on death and dying:-)

Let's hear it for evolution. Wonder how the Creationists will deal with this.

Lighthouse Keeper

Sad and Maddening

This report is just plain sad and maddening for those of us who were elated with the Dem gains in the House and Senate last fall.

What good is a 60 vote majority when the party which claims to have the 60 votes forms a circular firing squad? When is Obama going to start cracking heads?

I got tapped out making contributions to Obama's campaign in hopes that he would be a real leader of his own party. So far, not so much.

Lighthouse Keeper

Best Congress Money Can Buy

Here's a report signalling the death of the public option for health care, a death financed by health insurance companies.

So much for democracy. It's death has been bought and paid for too. It's actual executioners though are those who claim to be public servants, our much corrupted bunch of Senators and Representatives, the best Congress money can buy.

Lighthouse Keeper

Hot Topic

Here's a sobering view of Obama's priorities. It seems that the Pentagon budget will continue to dwarf the budget for dealing with climate change .

This, in spite of the increasing evidence that climate change will result in great instabilities world wide, a truly universal security threat.

Recommended reading:

"Resource Wars", by Michael Klare, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2001

Lighthouse Keeper

No Laughing Matter

This truly is frightening. Steve Benen of Washington Monthly exposes the truly sick propaganda coming from the right.

Lighthouse Keeper

No Laughing Matter

This truly is frightening. Steve Benen of Washington Monthly exposes the truly sick propaganda coming from the right, scaring people into thinking that health care reform would give the government say over how you wish to end your life.

I mean how low can they go? Apparently a lot lower than I would have thought, even a few weeks ago.

The GOPHERS have morphed into a political party which appeals to the most ignorant, and therefore most vulnerable of our citizens. That's their strategy to get back in power. It has nothing to do with what's good for the country. It's just a ruse to claw their way back into power.

If that actually works, god forbid, the strategy will change as necessary. There are no principles to be upheld, just lies to be told as needed.

Lighthouse Keeper

"Keep Your Government Hands Off My Medicare"

Now here's a piece which documents the ignorance of so many. Were it not so sad and frightening it would be hilarious.

Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Pundit Defends Her Opposition To National Health Care

Here's an essay by Megan McArdle, found at The Daily Dish, which grabbed my attention initially because the author entitled her piece, Why I'm Against---. That was an indication that the author was prepared to make a case based on considered judgment, using logic or values, and not simply because she has an ideological agenda.

I started to read it, and found that I wanted to save it, or savor it, but at the same time share it with readers of this blog, in hopes that you will read it and comment, while I'm not able to spend the necessary time to do so right now.

It didn't hurt that she began the defense of her position by displaying a good sense of humor. Lord knows we need more of that.

Lighthouse Keeper

Juan Cole on the 'Dangers' in Pakistan

The Middle East expert Juan Cole writes here about the long history of Western empire types exaggerating the danger of the Pakistani tribal threats to the security of the West.

Lighthouse Keeper is certain that this pattern of warnings comes from those in whose interest it is to make war somewhere, all the time.

Try to follow the money trail in the world view of the military/industrial complex.

Obama apparently has to be included in those who hold such a world view.

How terribly disappointing that is.

Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, July 27, 2009

Netanyahu and Christian Zionists

Here's MJ Rosenberg's instructive piece on what Netanyahu is trying to do when he cozies up to Pastor Hagee whose Christianist group supports a complete Jewish return to the Holy Land

That agenda includes support for expanding settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank and expanded occupation of Palestinian land in general.

This far right wing Christian fringe believes that the Bible is literally true. The so-called End Times requires that all Jews in the Diaspora are back in the Holy Land, and then the Anti-Christ, the Second Coming of Jesus, and all things related to the Apocalypse, can and will happen.

It wouldn't be a good time to be a Jew.

They deserve each other, Netanyahu and Hagee that is.

Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Removing All Doubt

Here's a piece which removes all doubt about the suspicion that cynical, law dodging, pork stuffing members of Congress are still having their way with our money.

Old Dude, you got it right.

Lighthouse Keeper

Gun Laws

Here's more evidence that politicians will support a very stupid and even dangerous bill if they think they'll be turned out by their constituents if they don't .

Note Harry Reid's vote, as a clear example.

This is a kind of follow up to my earlier post about the trouble with democracy.

Lighthouse Keeper

A Must Read For Our Times

Here's an essay which looks at our military/industrial complex, our self vision as a people, our acceptance to being governed, or ruled, by those who project, plan for and execute serial wars, and how these things have changed in only the last sixty years.

It's a view from 40,000 feet, a sorely needed perspective, which offers a chance to see the big picture which those who promote serial war work to obscure with their constant fear mongering.

This author doesn't just call out "Neocon scum", to quote Col. Patrick Lang on his blog, Sic Semper Tyrannis. President Obama and SecDef Robert Gates are also caught in the beam of the Lighthouse, as are most of our ruling and powerful politicians since WW II.

It should be a must read for our times.

It's heartening to know that such thinkers and writers like David Bromwich still exist, though each tends to be a Voice Crying in the Wilderness. I hope you will share this near and far.

Lighthouse Keeper

In The Pocket

Here's the Ann Telnaes animated cartoon depicting the health care industry power to block health care reform.

A new meaning for "deep pockets".

Lighthouse Keeper

Friedman on Afghanistan

Here's Tom Friedman's assessment of our Afghanistan newly adopted baby.

It's a realistic appraisal, which makes me even surer that we should not be allowed to adopt such babies.

Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Problem With Democracy

The Old Saw is that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others which have been tried.

Cutting to the chase, it's likely that democracy's appeal is tied to the wishful thinking that we all define Nirvana in the same way, when in reality it's like herding cats.

Today's makeup in Congress is the classic example which proves the point. Democrats, as acknowledged as a "party", have voting control in both the House and the Senate. But they are quarreling among themselves, and, left to their own devices, they will shoot themselves in the foot, proving that they can't stand prosperity.

It's likely sad but true, as Old Dude commented on my recent post about Roger Cohen, that Dems have used stimulus money for pet projects, and it's not obvious that they resulted in the desperately needed increase in jobs.

That's democracy at work, a system which recognizes and permits, even encourages all kinds of people to ask for, demand and get what they want, the big picture be damned.

If you've ever attended a small town meeting where everyone has his or her say, you've seen a microcosm of a democracy at work.

This is at best frustrating.

However, the larger threat is from the big moneyed lobbies who own the Congress. Politicians like their jobs. (What a job! Good pay, best health care system ever devised, which they want to deny their constituents, a work place where bloviation and pontification is expected, etc.. ) Trouble is they have have to be elected and re-elected to get and keep those jobs. That's why they sell themselves to the lobbies, who in return for big campaign donations, expect unwavering support for the lobby's agenda.

It seems ownership is spread around. The financial lobby kills regulation against it's excesses, big pharma and big insurance get obfuscation against health care reform, the military/industrial complex gets support for its war making toys, the NRA gets support for it's arm the nation agenda.(Did you see that TN now allows patrons of bars to pack heat, loaded guns? Madness!!!)

Total democracy is chaos, as in small town meetings. Representative democracy is organized chaos, as in the system the founding fathers envisioned. Patronage democracy, that which we have now, where follow the money is the clue to what is and isn't done, is oligarchy, bordering on monopoly. This is what we got when we eschewed monarchy. George Bush almost got us back to that.

It's not about governing, it's about ruling.

Chose your poison.

Lighthouse Keeper

More Roger Cohen Wisdom

Here's Roger Cohen's latest Times column on Iran.

Because I find it sad but true, and because his message needs to be read by as many people as possible, I'm providing a link in the hope that even one or two people might find it here, who might not find it at the New York Times.

Lighthouse Keeper

Drum Roll Please

Here's Kevin Drum's excellent summary of how the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Kevin, formerly blogging for Washington Monthly, is now doing his very good thing at Mother Jones. Check it out.

Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, July 20, 2009

James Carroll, The Bible and Climate Change

Here's a most unique argument for taking climate change seriously.

The columnist, author and theological critic, James Carroll, uses his knowledge of religion and the Bible to awaken us to the reality that an apocalyptic world view is inhibiting us from caring for our own home planet.

Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Alice In Wonderland Upside Down World of Fox News

Here's a Washington Monthly piece quoting Peter Orszag, the president's budget guy, talking to Chris Wallace.

Right off the bat it appears that Wallace opposes doctors making health care decisions.


Isn't that why I consult a doc when I'm sick? Isn't that what doctors do, what they are for?


Lighthouse Keeper

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Obama Digs In

Here's M.J. Rosenberg's Friday post at Israel Policy Forum.

We should be grateful that such people speak out this way.

Lighthouse Keeper

Obama Get Tough

Here's Mark Shields' column on the need for Obama to "splain" to the waffling Dems what loyalty means, and the consequences of being disloyal.

Republicans fall in line. Dems fall all over each other.

Lighthouse Keeper

Mental Health Break

If you don't read anything else today, please read this roast of Walter Cronkite by Art Buchwald, on the eve of Cronkite's retirement as CBS News anchor.

Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Stumbling Over Self Made Obstacles

Thanks to Steve Benen of The Washington Monthly for focusing the Lighthouse on the intellectual inconsistency exhibited by Senator Tom Coburn, MD in challenging Judge Sotomayor.

Please read about it here, and be sure to read the comments left on Benen's post. It will give you an idea of why I rarely leave a comment. It has to do with company kept.

Lighthouse Keeper's personal observation: When one closes the mind's eye to further illumination, one flails around in the dark, and often stumbles into self made obstacles.

Remember that you read that here.

Lighthouse Keeper

Sotomayor's Dilemma According to Ellen Goodman

Here's a really pithy piece from Ellen Goodman on gender and race issues being addressed in the confirmation hearings.

It's a good read.

Lighthouse Keeper

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