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

Heeeeeeeeeer's Roger!

My favorite columnist, Roger Cohen, has a delightful piece in today's Times. Ordinarily his subject matter is mostly of a political nature.

In this piece his subject matter is of a natural nature.


Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Steve Benen took the words right out of my mouth. His piece today in the Washington Monthly reminds the Dems that elections have consequences, and provides a great illustration to back it up.

He concludes by telling the Dems "You won".

I've almost been screaming that from Cape Cod to DC for weeks now. What's this bipartisan shit kemosabe? ( I have no idea how to spell what Tonto called the Lone Ranger, but here's my phonetic stab at it.)

Quite A Surprise From David Brooks

Here's a column which I really didn't expect to read.

Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, July 6, 2009

Even If It's Broke

Here's a piece which I wasn't surprised to read, though it took smart people to draw it to my attention and to yours.

Social Security Numbers, in our age of sophisticated computers and computer users, are not safe in the sense that they were deemed to be safe when the system was created, when the concept of a computer existed only in minds like Einstein's and at the Institute For Advanced Study at Princeton.

Like dangerous intersections it's likely that no action to prevent this highly predictable, waiting to happen accident, will be taken until many people are seriously hurt.

There's a kind of perverse logic to this, as Mr. Spock might say.

Those who study personality preferences are aware that three out of four people, though they complain about the way things are in their lives, are skeptical, even cynical, about sudden and major change. When three out of four people agree on anything, it's not surprising that they dismiss the differing view of the fourth person.

This preference, if not instinct, gives rise to sayings like, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water", and "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

The minority view which is summarily dismissed is likely to be taken more seriously by the majority only when necessity rears its ugly head. Then they congratulate themselves by spouting the old shibboleth about necessity being the mother of invention, as if they suddenly want to identify with those who have advocated change.

Predictable and even predicted accidents occur at dangerous intersections, which are re-engineered only after a tragic accident.

Protection against stealing identities through the cracking of the Social Security Number assignment system code will ultimately have to be addressed and dealt with.

Sadly it's not likely to even be addressed any time soon, though many of us have already received notices from our credit card banks that our accounts have been cancelled due to a breach in their own security systems, and that we have to jump through the hoops of their arcane IT language without any training.

Sometimes, and more often than not, it takes far too much time for the public to tell their elected officials to take action, long after those who took the trouble to investigate alerted us to the danger.

Lighthouse Keeper

A Most Unusual and Moving Journal Entry

Here's Roger Cohen's column in the Times, 7/6/09.

Mr. Cohen is an unusual man, strong of mind and empathic of spirit.

He has written numerous columns on and from Iran over the past several months.

Before the so-called election he was writing about the democratic spirit in its people. He was also writing about the decent life Iran's Jews were enjoying. He was anticipating good results from the election.

Since the theocracy stole the election and crushed the resistance Mr. Cohen has been disconsolate. This particular piece is a most unusual entry by a journalist in his journal and which he has shared with the rest of us.


Site Meter