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

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