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

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