Sunday, January 31, 2010

Renaming the Super Bowl

All college football bowl games these days have commercial sponsors. Why not "Professional" football?

(It's really not professional in the sense of talent and ability, but professional in the commercial sense. All participants are paid help, however amateurish their skills. )

And so I suggest that CBS and the NFL recognize and acknowledge this by renaming the Super Bowl the 'Focus On The Family Evangelical, Witnessing and Proselytizing Super Bowl'. Call a spade a spade, and propaganda, propaganda.

With my TiVo I regularly record my game of choice and delay watching it long enough so that when commercials come on I can fast forward past them. You can't do that if you watch a game in real time. It only takes about five minutes of delay to arrange this.

Next Sunday I will give myself this option. Truth be told I do want to experience one episode of the 'Tim Tebow Thirty Seconds of Sharing' show, if only to be able to discuss it honestly if necessary sometime.

BTW, I read somewhere recently that the law of the land where his mother was pregnant with him made abortion illegal. If so she had no choice in the matter unless she was willing to break the law. And if she had had a legal choice she would have made her decision not to abort within a Pro Choice philosophical or religious belief/conviction system.


Lighthouse Keeper

My Kind of Cleric

Here's an ode to Howard Zinn which I found moving.

I do hope that the Rabbi's idea comes to fruition this July 4th.

Lighthouse Keeper

The Headline Says It All

Here's a most revealing headline. "Can Palin raise enough money to win in 2012?"

The implication is clear: enough money will buy you anything; experience, values, talent, honesty, integrity be damned.

I'm reminded of the old joke, 'Everything I have is for sale except my wife and my dog, and I'm not so sure about my wife'.

Geesh, what a world.

Lighthouse Keeper

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Matt Taibbi; Today's Must Read

Here's a terrific piece by Matt Taibbi on David Brooks' hypocrisy.

He's to be thanked for drilling beneath Brooks' writing about populism
and exposing it for the bull shit it really is.

Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, January 29, 2010

Schadenfreude Lives

You just have to read this piece by Roger Cohen in today's Times.

He mocks up events in 2040, when China has replaced the US, and the US has exited stage right and left.

Fantasy? Perhaps not, if you believe as I do that people don't change; only the labels change.

I smiled as I realized that I was enjoying a schadenfreude moment.

Lighthouse Keeper

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, David Brooks Style

As I was reading through David Brooks' column in today's Times I almost began to believe that he was speaking real truth to power, but I also began to be on the lookout for his usual disguised wolf's teeth hidden somewhere in the sheep's clothing.

Sure enough, after talking sense to lure in the progressives and the independents, he showed those fangs, if only in a brief and fleeting expression.

Look for it toward the end where he asks Obama if he, as the second coming of Ross Perot speaking truth to the country, is willing to offer a tax increase on the lower 98%. Shameful, deceitful hypocrisy David Brooks style.

Lighthouse Keeper

The Party of No

Here's a TPM piece about a strict party line vote on fiscal discipline. Guess which party voted for it. If you said the GOP you'd be wrong.

The GOPhers rant daily about deficit spending, blaming all of it on the Democrats. Then all forty GOPher senators voted against a pay as you go bill.

The GOPhers are only interested in blocking anything the Democrats want done. Screw the voters. Screw the country. It's politics only baby.

Any questions?

Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Over-Educated? How Stupid Is That?

Here's a great example of terrible journalism, if you could even call it journalism.

I don't know anything about Sam Stein except for this really stupid, ignorant, class clashing claim.

Who qualifies to be among the over-educated? Clearly Stein need not worry about being included if that label has anything to do with intelligence.


Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

We Go Forth on the Feet of Heretics

Here's an obituary for Howard Zinn who passed away today at age 87. He didn't leave much on the table.

Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bob Herbert Gets It Right

Start of rant.

This column in the NYTimes by Bob Herbert says it all. He speaks for me.

I've often said that GOPhers fall in line and Dems fall all over themselves.

But the real message in Herbert's column is that Obama hasn't really changed anything that much.
He's being rolled by the Pentagon and Neocons, he's being rolled by the drug and health insurance companies, he's being rolled by his own Congress on several issues, he's continuing Bush secrecy policies, etc.. Change, what change? Some way it would have been worse had McCain won. How much worse? I don't know.

GOPhers only position is to take a position opposite Obama, regardless of the issues. Obstruct! And they make no bones about it. Par example: Jud Gregg's comments, threats, about reconciliation.

End of rant.

Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Frank Rich Gets It Right

Here's a column by Frank Rich in today's NYTimes.

I think it is today's Must Read.

If Obama, unlike W, reads the papers I sure hope he reads this piece.

Lighthouse Keeper

Mental Health Break

Here's a charming, tongue in cheek, wishful thinking piece which tells a truth.

That truth is "---we all want a wife", even wives.


Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, January 22, 2010

Is Main Street Now Totally Screwed?

According to this summary of the state of the union by Andrew Sullivan on his Daily Dish blog for Atlantic Magazine it seems so.

I appreciate his getting all this shit together. It's a powerful list of just what has screwed us.

Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, January 21, 2010


This cartoon says it all.

Lighthouse Keeper

Finally Paul Volcker Gets Obama's Attention

Here's some encouraging news. Paul Volcker who has been able to be objective about big banks, even though he has known the major players for years, is starting to influence Obama that there need to be regulations which reign in high risk taking on the part of the banking industry.

Geithner and Summers are too chummy with the big fish in the big pond.

Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I Don't Get It. Clearly I'm Out of Touch.

I am really at at loss to account for how and why Martha Coakley was defeated in her bid to succeed Ted Kennedy in the US Senate.

Please enlighten me.

It's not lost on me that though I sign my posts as Lighthouse Keeper, there exist those who do their best to hide themselves from the light, which they know and fear will expose them for who and what they truly are.

Lighthouse Keeper.

The French, Hugo Chavez and Haiti

Here's a report of a government minister of an assumed ally, the French, claiming that the US efforts to help Haiti are all about occupying Haiti. Seems our guys, who are trying to make the best use of a damaged airport, waved off a French plane, which landed safely the next day.

In a recent post where I exposed my concern about this possibility I wrote that I expected those who hate us and our elected officials for whatever reason, be they terrorists or GOPhers, would make this kind of accusation.

I really didn't expect to read that the French had taken such a cheap shot.

They now have earned the dubious distinction of being lumped together with Hugo Chavez for claiming that the US is using token and grossly insufficient numbers of aid workers as cover for occupying Haiti.

Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Multi-Level Tragedy That Is Haiti

The most obvious level of tragedy in Haiti is the reality of the huge death toll, the injured not being able to get help, the potentially huge numbers of people buried alive who will not be found in time, and of course the lack of potable water, food and medical supplies.

Those food, water and medical supplies apparently have arrived, but mob rule is a huge problem preventing those who want to help the individuals who make up the mob from being able to do so.

Emerson wrote: "The mob is man voluntarily descending to the nature of the beast".

It's tragic that marshal law is likely the only way to stop mob violence, meaning that those upholding marshal law can shoot to kill the beast if necessary.

Who should instigate marshal law? Since the Haitian government seems to have ceased to exist itwould have to be another state taking over. I hope a state other than the US takes charge. If we were to do it those who detest our government, terrorists and the GOP, would use it as evidence that our government is a super power bully, and is trying to take advantage of a helpless people for nefarious reasons. It doesn't have to make sense, just repeat it over and over again until it becomes a fact to the most dim witted of people everywhere, who seem to outnumber those who see through the propaganda and spin.

A catch twenty-two situation to be sure.

Lighthouse Keeper

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Finally, Obama Gets His Back Up. Is It Genuine?

Finally, President Obama has gotten his back up and called out the heads of the financial institutions, often known simply as Wall Street, whose greed has known no bounds, and who have had no regard for the financial plight of the element of our society often known simply as Main Street.

Genuine or political posturing? I wish I could be certain that it's genuine, but I also understand and accept that it might be needed political posturing?

Obama made his populist declaration today with members of his economic advisers flanking him (I wonder to what extent they are actually "at his side"), including Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner. Summers' facial expression was pretty much implacable. Geithner's however resembled a deer in the headlights. Both should be fired, based on conflict of interest and flagrant hypocrisy.

The most conspicuous in his absence was Paul Volcker. He speaks truth to power. Perhaps that's why he was absent in the photo op and his experience, skills and wisdom are absent from what Obama is hearing from his economic advisers who, clearly, are incapable of objectivity in the discharge of their assignments.

Unlike Summers and Geithner, Paul Volcker's years of experience in dealing with people like Blankfein, Dimond, Lewis, etc. seem not to have jaded him in his evaluation of right and wrong.

Question: Why has Obama marginalized, as in publicly excluding Paul Volcker, and has essentially ignored, if not actually dismissed, Volcker's advice and counsel? Tell what you think.

Lighthouse Keeper

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

There'll Be A Change In The Weather and a Change in The Sea,

Here's a short piece on right wingers using cold spells to dispel rumors that climate change is real.

I draw your attention to only the first part of this piece, the one about the difference between weather and climate.

I haven't read the other parts of the piece, so I can't speak to them.

This piece makes the crucial point that changes in the weather do not correlate with changes in the climate. So when and if you encounter someone who mocks climatologists' claims of global warming you are on solid ground, not thin ice, if you refute their position with this truism.

It's the change in the sea, a sea change, which is crucial.

Lighthouse Keeper

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Frustration: When What's True Isn't What's Right

Here's a really good essay by Stanley Fish in today's Times on frustration.

We all have our stories. His stories are especially relevant in today's society.

Lighthouse Keeper

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Power of Martydom

Here's Sic Semper Tyrannis blog writer Colonel Patrick Lang's, (Army Retired) ,take on OBL getting exactly what he wants. The conflict might be classified as an unholy alliance between enemies who thrive on their mutual need for each other.

Lang writes assuming that OBL is alive. Even SecDef Gates says we haven't had good intelligence about him for years. OBL dead or alive, could be a valuable and most useful Straw Man, used by Al Qaeda to capitalize on and milk his charisma to recruit impressionable, disillusioned and thus vulnerable to propaganda, idealistic young people to take up jihad. That seems to be the case in the Christmas, thankfully inept, airline bomber.

It's said that Jesus was executed by crucifixion, at the hands of Roman authorities who wanted to crush a growing insurrection. Pilate was able to wash his hands of Jesus' blood, thanks to a complicit Jewish hierarchy which also wanted to quash a threat to its powerful and corrupt hold on Jewish society.

Jesus was martyred, and that martyrdom has accounted for millions of adherents to Christianity over two thousand years. OBL is already a martyr, dead or alive, with untold numbers of adherents to his agenda of jihad against the West.

Martyrdom can be a powerful force, especially when those who want to exercise control over vast numbers of impressionable people, use it to promote the acceptance of myths, as historical fact.

Lighthouse Keeper

Acting With Intelligence Versus Acting On Intelligence

The most recent proof that "Military Intelligence" is an oxymoron would be comical if it hadn't been so tragic. It's the the story of the double agent, trusted by his handlers, who blew away himself and seven CIA agents recently.

Here's a Boston Globe column which raises an interesting point of view regarding what Afghans might and might not be capable of in fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban. I think H.D.S. Greenway might be on to something here.

Since it's been observed several times recently that if our goal is to bomb Afghanistan back to the Stone Age, the problem is that it's been done already, and we're just reorganizing the rubble.

On top of that, counting on getting uneducated and illiterate people, with little and no experience in forming effective hierarchical, top down, command and control organizations, is a fool's errand. Such institutions assume the existence and participation of trained, disciplined and motivated military and/or security personnel who accept being a part of such organizations.

These peoples' vast experience over hundreds of years is of a tribal nature, a far different cultural animal than we are asking them to accept, embrace and believe in.

As usual, our tunnel vision, black and white, keep it simple bureaucrats and military commanders, could benefit greatly by immersing themselves in the study of cultural anthropology, focused on backward, to our way of thinking, people. They need to understand that because a geographical area on the planet has been given a name, Afghanistan for example, it doesn't follow that such an area is a successful nation state in our sense of the term. At best the successful cultural and political unit is the tribe.

The disconnect, as in trust and respect, between the tribes and the Kabul government is obvious. The only thing they seem to have in common is the assumption that corruption is a part of, and way of living.

As we get more involved in Yemen, as it seems we are, we will find this true in that inhospitable land as well. Al Qaeda needs sanctuaries that tribal cultures can provide; locals they can woo and bribe, who will, as tribes do, protect them as their own. There are many such cultures available to them; those in the lands called Pakistan and Afghanistan are clear examples, and they see Yemen and Somalia as other lands, nations in name only, in which to thrive, thanks to the sanctuaries of inhospitable, to outsiders like ourselves, terrain and indigent peoples.

One of the great ironies in history, as I see it, is that America exists today because tribal like units in the colonies, used guerrilla tactics to defeat the disciplined, trained, hierarchical, top down command and control, British Army, but since then we've reverted to that same top down, command and control strategic model our revolutionary, guerrilla colonists fended off.

It seems to me that, historically, the usual outcome of such conflicts, those pitting close to the land defenders against regimented would be colonial occupiers, could more accurately be described not as defeating the enemy so much as denying it victory.

The psychological, perhaps spiritual, advantage which defenders have over offenders of their lands and cultures is at least two fold, which on first blush might seem to be inconsistent in terms of human nature. One is passion and the other is patience. Passion without patience can be vulnerable to destruction and defeat. Passion with patience is likely to prevail in most conflicts in which humanity is prone to engage.

You heard it here first. I want my epitaph, carved into my headstone, to read, "When Will We Ever Learn?"

Lighthouse Keeper

David Brooks: A Candidate for The Most Pretentious Pundit Award

Here's a link to a David Brooks recent NY Times column.

I have two complainst about Brooks and this column. One has to do with what he claims Tea Partiers are against, and proceeds to lump all kinds of elements of society which the
Tea Partiers are against under the label, "The Educated Class".

Check out what and who he claims the Tea Partiers are against in this segment of his column.

This is a direct quote:

"The tea party movement is a large, fractious confederation of Americans who are defined by what they are against. They are against the concentrated power of the educated class. They believe big government, big business, big media and the affluent professionals are merging to form self-serving oligarchy — with bloated government, unsustainable deficits, high taxes and intrusive regulation."

I don't know about you but when I read that he lumps big government, big business, big media and affluent professionals together as what Tea Partiers are against, and read that he sets them off against a group which he labels The Educated Class, I am moved to call attention to his use of class warfare language to ingratiate himself with those who feel disenfranchised, powerless against whatever is big, when big is a synonym for the power of money.

The other complaint and one which cannot really be separated from the first, is Brooks' pretentious use of cultural and anthropoligical ideas and terms in promoting his neo con agenda.

Lighthouse Keeper

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Important Observation Re: Airport Security

I found this comparison beteen Israeli aiport security and our own TSA airport security fascinating. Israel screens potential and would be passengers; our TSA screens for things on potential and would be passengers.

How about that?

Does Israel practice profiling? Since everyone who wants to enter their airport terminal is screened, it seems that the answer to that question is "No".

It can be argued that this is not an apples to apples comparison, based on the difference in the sheer number of passengers passing through the respective airport terminals.
Perhaps it's unrealistic to expect that our TSA could implement an Israeli type passenger screening due to the vast numbers of passenger screenings which would be required.

What got my attention in this article is that apparently the last preboarding screenings of would be passengers at Israeli airport terminals are conducted by well, if not highly, educated professionals who receive additonal education, yes training, to be security guards, as opposed, and in sharp contrast, to the general image we have of our so-called TSA security guards.

Lighthouse Keeper

Kevin Drum's Good Idea

Here's a piece by Kevin Drum at Mother Jones with which I heartily agree.

He quotes FDR on politics and hatred during his administration. It sounds so contemporary.

Lighthouse Keeper

Friday, January 8, 2010

An Antidote to the Main Stream Media

Here's a link to which, in my not so humble opinion, is an absolutely indispensable source for big picture analysis of what's really going on.

Tom Engelhardt, the publisher of this blog, makes clear what he is trying to do, in his mission statement for "A Regular Antidote to the Main Stream Media".

When I stumbled upon his website several months ago I realized, even before I read his mission statement, that he was doing what he could to wake us up to the distortions, lies, deceipts and propaganda spins which the Main Stream Media contines to publish on it's front pages, above and below the fold, as well as on its editorial and op-ed columnist pages.

Lighthouse Keeper

Michael Klare on Blowback

Here's an important addition to the public discourse on what this new decade will bring to or on us.

I'm especially interested in the fourth of his points, what the planet itself is likely to bring to or on us.

Michael Klare is a futurist thinker and needs to be listened to. He is the author of 'Resource Wars' of a few years back and which I heartily recommend.

Lighthouse Keeper

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