Archive for November, 2010

Put the Wars On Hold

November 29, 2010

Here we go again.  This time in North Korea.  Lest some of you call me an “ugly American”, as one of my readers on DailyKOS did (I totally anticipated that call from that site), let me offer further explanation of my post from yesterday, “No More Posturing: Stand Up Straight, America”.

I do not consider myself xenophobic.  However, there are limits to everything, including entering into wars abroad, tearing down that country and then using our funds to rebuild it.  Pray tell: what is the point  of responding to provocative behavior from other countries if the cost, in terms of American lives and capital, will be the downfall of our own country?  What good is it to defend freedom and justice abroad if the ultimate result is the disintegration of such ideals at home?

After so many forays into nation-building elsewhere, we just might wind up having nothing to defend or save at home.  Limits: there is a tipping point from which there will be no turning back.  I believe that for our own domestic survival, we have reached that limit.  Obviously, the empty-headed GOP feels differently.  John McCain said yesterday that there needs to be a “regime change” in North Korea.  Wait: wasn’t that the fall back explanation to our entry into the Iraq war, after the WMD logic turned out to be a lie?  The leadership in North Korea is dangerous and vile, but as for a regime change, that is not our responsibility.

Additionally, how can that moron Sarah Palin offer comments on foreign policy in Korea?  Her gaffe of saying that we need to support our allies in North Korea aside, can you imagine a mind like hers, a fixation like hers on public notoriety, her lack general intellectual capability and her carelessness in conveying that emptiness, all point to the blind leading the blind.  And yet, McCain (in the same article cited above) praised Palin because she is such a “visible” force in American politics.  Hell: Spongepants Bob and Mickey Mouse also have incredible visibility.  Should they be considered viable Presidential leaders?

As for my harsh words for China in its lack of action to the Korean aggression, I could care less if they sit on their fake communist, real capitalist asses in this matter.  What I do resent is China’s call for “meetings” on the Korea situation with the implication that countries other than themselves, i.e. the warmongering United States with the seemingly endless military capacity (false), do the dirty work.  This cartoon by Mike Keefe says it all:

Mike Keefe Editorial Cartoon Dealing with North Korea

So call me whatever names you want.  I am too old to let it bother me.   Just remember: everything in moderation.  No, wait: skip that moderation business.  Once we have declared war, moderation has no place.  We need to initially prioritize those international issues that demand our attention and then weigh the risks and rewards to our own domestic situation BEFORE we enter the firefight.  Our war activities need to be limited immediately, or else we will have no country left to defend.  There will be nothing left over which to “save face” except an empty shell of a country populated with the  frail and sick, the uneducated, the jobless, subsisting in a decrepit, ravaged nation with no means of recuperation.



Advertisements

GM Says Thanks

November 29, 2010

Call me naive.  Call me a bleeding heart.  I just love this GM commercial:

 

 

Nothing wrong with gratitude and saying “Thank you.”  My mother would have called GM a mensch.

 

No More Posturing: Stand Up Straight, America

November 28, 2010

Here we are at the tail end of a lovely Thanksgiving weekend waiting to see if our respond-and-bait tactics off the coast of Korea will have a warning effect or a war effect on the North.  We have sent troops there to work in tandem with the forces of South Korea in what we are calling “joint naval exercises.”

I hope to the heavens that President Obama will be cautious enough so that this obvious display, in response to North Korea’s aggression, will not sorta, kinda, spill over into another war.  America is broke, both financially and ideologically, and there is no more room left for another face-saving war.

Spin will not cut it.  Fighting for our allies, like South Korea and cowardly and money-hungry China, is not an acceptable justification of the United States entering into yet another war.  President Obama knows this: since our midterm elections, when the Democratic losses were interpreted to be a result of a lack of attention to our high jobless rate and other dire domestic economic problems, he has been directly engaged in facing those situations head-on.  The national economy has been his number one issue.

Totally expected though, now that he has addressed our national dilemma, the opposition, along with reality, has stepped in and started to criticize him on our foreign policy.  Beside the fact that the Presidency is a complicated job often faced with surprise elements, this spin by the President’s allies as well as his enemies is drenched in political vindictiveness.  Even the liberal Huffington Post is more interested in raising the alarm on any and all of our current events rather than just reporting the facts.  After all, anger and panic sell more than pragmatic analysis.  I will never forget Huffington’s disgusting headlines as they were pulling out the Chilean miners.  The headlines did NOT read “Miner’s Freed” or “Wonderful Reunions on Top” or “Finally, Freedom.”  Instead, Huffington posted the headline “Wives and Mistresses Fight Up Top.”

I do not want this Korean episode to expand on our dime or on the backs of our soldiers.  I cannot fathom that President Obama would incur such a strategy.  At any rate, “they” (the good guys and the bad guys) are going to talk about him anyway.  He is damned if he does and damned if he does not.  Please let us see a President in action here who will use his heart and mind exactly the way we anticipated when we elected him.  No more spin, no more “glorious” war to support our industrial-military complex and absolutely no more posturing ourselves into another war for the stupid sake of political capital over the well-being of our own citizens here at home.

Thomas L. Friedman got it right this morning in his Op-Ed, “Got to Get This Right”:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/opinion/28friedman.html?_r=1&hp

American needs to nation-build in her own back yard.  In fact, some character-building might be in order also.  No excuses accepted, not even our tendency to blame others for our own very apparent problems.  We are the masters of our ship and it is high time that we turn our attention to that ship and refit her.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

November 24, 2010

From Virginia to Maine to the redwood forests to the gulf stream waters, have a great Thanksgiving.  Robert Indiana said it best, in his “EAT” sculpture sitting atop the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine.  The quintessential essence of Robert Indiana, of Thanksgiving and of America’s favorite pastime:

Robert Indiana and Yo Mama.

Yo mama at the Farnsworth.

Eat and be merry.

Personal Freedom Versus National Security: Grow Up, America!

November 21, 2010

The debate on personal freedoms versus national safety continue in the widening and inflammatory issue of TSA scans and pat downs.  Both sides have valid points.  The rancor is old hat, as we schizophrenic Americans once again want our cake and eat it too.

On the side of personal rights, this rancor reminds me of another issue.  Some people believe that the chipping away of our individual rights has happened ever so slowly and over a great span of time that citizens acclimate themselves to the process until, one day, like today with the invasive TSA pat downs, they realize freedom has been taken away from them.  This reminds me of the thirty- and twenty-somethings who have no clue as to what our health care and doctors’ visits used to be like.  When they need medical attention, any physician in  the many super-specialty, group practices will fill the bill.  There is no such thing as a doctor who has gotten to know the patient over years; there is no relationship.  The youngsters do not mind this because since they never experienced doctor-patient longevity, they do not even know what they are missing.

So it is with the ever-ratcheting up of the loss of our privacy at our airports.  What is interesting to me is the huge public outcry over the pat downs but virtually no outcry over the scanners.  What about the potential radiation liability?  At any rate, I understand the outrage over the very personal examinations.  On the other side of the coin, however, all we need is another terrorist attempt or actual attack on one of our airplanes and the ensuing accusations of inadequate protection will be a heck of a lot louder than the complaints about being felt up by the TSA.

Read this article on the indignation Americans are experiencing while being subject to the TSA’s gropings:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/21/tsa-pat-downs-passenger-anger_n_786493.html

The author, Adam Geller,  points the finger of blame at the fact that the TSA has not taken the time and effort to explain the rationale and procedures to the public.  Hogwash.  This is reminiscent of the Obama-naysayers who condemn his lack of promised legislation and policies of “change”  by pointing to his lack of explanation and communication with the people.  Let’s face reality: Americans are just pissed off at the gropings of the TSA and the moderate (versus totally liberal) ideology of President Obama.  Truly, both the TSA and President Obama have explained their actions over and over again.  That is not the true cause of our citizenry’s anger; they simply do not like the underlying policy.

To consider both sides of an issue requires maturity and the importance of compromise.  Americans, knee-deep in their cowboy mentality, have exhibited neither.  And so the debate will continue.  Are we being personally violated by the practices of the TSA, or are we willing to accept more risk in our skies to safeguard those rights?  Our multiple personalities will not cut it.  We have to be reasonable.    This is called adjusting to circumstances, which are ever in flux.  This is called growing up.

The Grizzly Apprentice

November 18, 2010

Welcome to the greatest show on earth!!!  We have performing animals, freaks of nature but above all, we have clowns!

Sarah Palin, in her new book, has ripped into Levi Johnston for his taking advantage of the Palin’s family renown after McCain chose our Sarah as his running mate.  Further, she condemns the press (what better strategy is there, really, to excuse the crassness of the Palin’s behavior?) by adding that “It was disgusting to watch as his fifteen minutes of fame were exploited by supposed adults taking advantage of a lost kid.”  Here’s the entire, though brief, report.  You gotta read it:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/18/palin-book-slams-levi_n_785383.html

Hold on.  Wait just a sec.  Johnston was a “lost kid” who nonetheless used the Palin family’s celebrity to benefit himself?  What do you call Sarah’s reality show?  What do you label Bristol’s participation in “Dancing With the Stars?”  How would you typify Willow’s classy comments on Facebook ?  Silly me.  I suppose Sarah’s, Bristol’s and Willow’s media endeavors are just so much more admirable and noble than Johnston’s.  Clowns, all of them.

Now Donald Trump has made himself available for one of the three circus rings come our next Presidential election.  It is amazing in and of itself that the usual three rings will actually be sufficient after the Palin family usurps so many of them.  Anyway, the Donald has said that if Palin runs in 2012, he just might have to jump in the ring (if any are available) and run against her on the Republican ticket.  Imagine: Trump the savior.  It is like the blind leading the blind.  Another clown, the Donald.

Life is stranger than any fiction.  These clowns might morph into the Mama Grizzly and The Apprentice, AKA The Grizzly Apprentice.  Need I say more?

Send in the clowns!

Kudos and Catcalls: November 2010

November 17, 2010

As a means of reviewing current events, I present some stimulating recent developments.  There is a lot of reading involved, but I know you will do your homework.  My overall theme today is the elective process versus governing.  Our country thrives on the excitement, the opportunity for inflammatory rhetoric, the obscene fundraising and the general circus of running our elections.  Once elected, however, our pols dilly-dally, as we are faced with obstruction after obstruction, fulfilling only one goal: the next, often continuous election cycle.

As a prologue to the numerous messes in which America finds herself, I guess it is rather urgent that Jim Morrison of The Doors receive a pardon for his past sins, despite the fact that Morrison has been dead as a door nail for decades.  How relevant, meaningful  and world-altering this action is, proposed by outgoing Florida governor Charlie Christ.  NOT.  Christ, whose party flip-flopping was the demise of his most recent run, still cannot just leave office with a shred of dignity intact.  No, no.  He must wring out every ounce of political capital and media sensationalism during his last days in public service.  As if real issues of important substance were not already on the table, Christ needed to manufacture one last publicity-grabbing event.  Catcalls to Christ and his wastefulness.

Children of public figures, as a rule, should not be fair game in the media.  Yet, when these children voluntarily put themselves in the arena of media attention, backed by the their parents who will use even their own offspring for their own public ambitions, all is fair.  So we have the savvy Willow Palin conducting her own political dialogue on Facebook.  She offers such perceptive, high-class insight into our world.  Could her tirades be construed as typical teenage venting?  Sure.  But additionally, she clearly is imprinting her mother’s mouthy, trashy, dumb, divisive behavior.  Yet another Palin who makes me cringe as she is just about to open up her mouth.  I offer my sincere catcalls to Willow Palin for following in her mother’s footsteps and a hearty censure to Sarah for being such a terrible parent and role model.

And speaking of role models, here is an honest take on the Mama Grizzly persona.  This is just another example of the accoutrements of power actually having precedence over the real job of getting things done.  Make no mistake about it: individual differences make no difference as to whether a politico is effective.  There are just as many crazy, extremist female politicians as there are male political hedonists, e.g. Palin, Angle and McDonnell.  There are just as many political crooks who are members of minority groups as there are WASP thieves, e.g. Rangel.  Gender and race have no bearing on upstanding, acceptable and legal behavior.  Catcalls to all of those political newbies and old-timers who thought they had “arrived” at the status of acceptability by falling prey to the same corruption exhibited by their colleagues.

My final entry in the catcall column relates to the sacrifice of governing for the perennial attainment of elective office.  As we stand now, we have six weeks to push through legislation that is meaningful, i.e. the repeal of DADT, the repeal (or at least, the re-vamping) of the Bush tax cuts, immigration reform and even some environmental fixes.  Will Congress act, or just continue to use the issues as a stepping stone to their public image and their next election?  Here is an informative article by Michael Moore on some considerations for legislation during the last weeks of 2011.  Will the GOP obstruct once again, drooling at the thought of their majority come January?  Will the Democrats muster some backbone and enact an agenda before their majority runs out?  Doubtful on both sides.  The needs of the people are the farthest things from their minds.  These elected officials do not know how to govern or answer to their constituents who voted for them.  The only game they participate in is saving their necks for their next election.  Catcalls to these lawmakers who in reality, enact few pertinent items of legislation on the major issues.  Ya’ know —- like pardoning Jim Morrison.  Truly a major, historic piece of legislation, no?

On to the kudos earned in recent events.  Let me begin by turning to the music field once again.  Bruce Springsteen has released a new album, “The Promise”, derived from earlier works but nevertheless the recipient of much acclaim.  One of my favorite truths is “She ain’t a beauty but hey, she’s all right”.  Here is commentary from Andrew Sullivan and other bloggers on the timelessness of Springsteen’s latest endeavor.  Kudos to Bruce for being an honest artist, true to himself and the words he has penned over the decades.

Sometimes it is difficult to offer kudos to my commonwealth of Virginia.  It is such a politically schizophrenic state, perennially purple.  In 2008, Virginia went decisively Democratic, yet in the following election races, she took a turn for the GOP.  I guess everything is subject to flux.  Here is a new poll that shows there is still hope for my Virginia.  Can this survey be indicative of a state bordering on the more progressive political side, or is it an artifact of the organization conducting the polling?  Is Virginia really as conservative as previous studies have shown or is she moving over to a more liberal stance?  Who knows.  At any rate, I hold out hope for my state and if Virginia has the guts to move forward and demand real legislation and not just showmanship for re-election, I offer her kudos.

Finally, since this country is more interested in elections rather than governing, here is the latest political news, fresh off the presses: Michael Bloomberg is contemplating a run for the Presidency with running mate Joe Scarborough.  I truly do not know if this development deserves kudos or catcalls, so I will err on the side of optimism and offer kudos.  New blood could be good blood.  I wonder if Bloomberg will flip-flop party affiliation again.  I wonder if Scarborough had to seek permission from the head of MSNBC to even contemplate this move.  I wonder if Bloomberg and Scarborough will spend time, effort and focus on policies they may embrace that would actually help Americans, or if their all of their attention will be concentrated on their own elective ambitions.

Dearie me.  Same old, same old.  But hope springs eternal.  Jim Morrison might get a reprieve and in the end, although America aint a beauty, hey, she’s all right.

POSTSCRIPT:

Sorry for this late addition.  My highest kudos goes to Maureen Dowd for her column today, as it echoes similar thoughts on Bush/Cheney in my posts “Bush/Cheney: Duck, Duck, Duck, Goose” and “Bush’s Laziness Redux: Criminal Intent”.  It is a fantastic article, i.e. concise, simple and reeking of the hurtful truth.  By the way, is the truth so damn obvious or are MoDo and Yo Mama keen observers of the way things are?  Or the way they used to be.  Or the way they still could be.  Or the way we were.

Bush’s Laziness Redux: Criminal Intent

November 15, 2010

In my post of 11/12/2010, “Bush/Cheney: Duck, Duck, Duck, Goose”,  I accused George W. Bush of laziness with a limited capacity for intellectual ability.  How much should we detest this man due to his blatant abrogation of due diligence in carrying out his oath of office to the American people?  Even though Dick Cheney was the malevolent policy pusher, enabling the spoiled brat Bush to avoid his responsibilities while using Bush’s devil-may-care attitude to enact his own evil objectives, Bush must answer for his lack of responsibility in the following matters:

1.  Starting a ten-year war in Iraq based on lies.  He had received information that there were no weapons of mass destruction in that country.  When he got caught in this lie, he changed, and to this day upholds this belief, the premise for beginning the war from destroying the WMD to destroying Saddam Hussein.  This was a switcheroo in policy that Bush felt was validated because both objectives played to making America “safer”.  This action was the result of his own lack of responsibility and bowing to the propaganda of his advisers, i.e. Cheney and Rummy.  He thought he was smart enough to rely on these masterminds’ advice but he did not even consider their own agenda, which was quite removed from anything at all that resembled “patriotism”.  Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.

2.  The outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame.  As if committing 150,000 American troops to the war in Iraq wasn’t  bad enough, he never punished those advisers who orchestrated the outing of Plame.  So make that 150,001 lives put at stake by Bush and Cheney.  Scooter Libbey was fined and sentenced, a jail term that Bush pardoned.  It is a moot point that even though he did not pardon the fines, he did pardon any jail time.  Thus, Plame’s career and life was another casualty of a war based on lies and conducted for political and economic reasons.  Where was Bush’s moral backbone?  I guess that would have taken time and effort to muster; better off to leave the details to Cheney, who we know had no heart.

3.  Bush’s insistence that waterboarding was a justifiable tactic.  To this day, Bush states that the torture of our enemies was essential to a safer America.  Did he not realize or consider that his stance on waterboarding would affect how American prisoners would be treated?  Once again, a decision made without taking the time to weigh the consequences for human life.

4.  An erroneous sentence to execute a Texan .  On Bush’s last day as Governor of Texas in 2000, he signed off on the execution of Claude Jones.  Please read the gory details here.  The only piece of forensic evidence to tie Jones to the crime for which he was given the death penalty was a hair.  However, DNA analysis showed that the hair came from the victim, not Jones.  Bush’s aides had prepared a three or four page summary of the case for the Governor to review before his stroke of the pen would kill Jones.  These aides, to whom Bush typically and lazily delegated power, never included in their report this physical finding of evidence.  Sound familiar?  Kind of similar to the omission that no WMD’s were ever found in Iraq.  Hence, Bush took pen to paper and directed Jones to be put to death.  And so he was.  Prisoner number 152 to be executed by the state of Texas under Bush’s tenure.  Laziness and intellectual limitation withstanding, Bush apparently makes the same mistakes over and over again.  To be the arbiter of any human life, whether it is a soldier, a dedicated government employee or a supposed felon on death row, demands discipline and seriousness the likes of which Bush never embraced or developed.  Certainly he must be ashamed of his laziness that led up to his disregard for human life.

5.  The possibility of plagiarism in his new book “Decision Points.”  After relating the above four sins of Bush, this one, sadly, is no surprise.  As if his personal and public actions were not offensive in and of themselves, Bush never re-visits his dastardly deeds.  His new book is no different.  No admission of “borrowing” material from other sources has been forthcoming.  Will he blame his researcher (ghostwriter?) for not doing the thorough job that Bush himself should have done?  Or perhaps Bush will say he lifted entire paragraphs from other sources because it was the patriotic thing to do, and it made America “safer”.

All in all, this man George W. Bush is digging a deep hole for himself from which, one of these days, he will not be able to crawl out.  He started out as a spoiled child of privilege and grew up without ever growing out of that stage.  I cannot believe that since Bush left the White House, his wife Laura picks up his dirty socks and towels, which he so cavalierly leaves on the floor.  There is just so much a person can rationalize, or lie about, before the truth will do one in.  Bush was not an evil man, just a stupid, lazy person.  However, at some point, his irresponsibility becomes criminal, especially when it affects human lives.  The party mentality of his younger days is still reflected in his devil-may-care, excuse driven banter.  We are not just talking about Good Time Charlie anymore, as his actions have had national and international consequences.  His personal recklessness and dull sense of intelligence spilled over to affect the world.  There is only one thing worse than the lies Bush told: being Bush and living in his shoes, lie after lie, day after day.

Late Fall Beauty of Maine

November 14, 2010

Seasonally correct, Maine is now in decline, dormancy and death.  Yet it is apparent that my Maine is still delicious!

The constants stay the same.

Day in, day out.

The forest floor is just sleeping.

Tangled and gnarled splendor.

Beautiful birch bark.

Golden.

Beckoning.

Always welcoming.

Closer.

An embrace.

I take my leave .......

Bush/Cheney: Duck, Duck, Duck, Goose

November 12, 2010

Stunning.  Simply shocking.  Why hasn’t the media and above all, my loyal readers, picked up on this?

I have been in Maine for the week with little exposure to the news.  I happened to catch about ten minutes of Matt Lauer’s interview with George W. Bush, upon the publication of his new book.  I was astounded at Bush’s appearance.  He was slouched in his chair, clearly a defensive exhibit of body language.  His overall aura was one of defeat and depression.  I know that I am a totally visual person but come on!  Didn’t any of you notice?  Some might attribute his appearance to being relaxed.  Not me.

There is just so much “ducking” a person can do to avoid responsibility.  I have never considered Bush to be an evil person; just lazy, intellectually limited and imbued with an upbringing of entitlement.  But evil?  No.  That part was signed over to Dick Cheney, sprinkled with a bit of Donald Rumsfeld.

Bush never assumed responsibility for his life.  Why did we expect him to do so with our country?  He treated his college years as one big party and he never full attended to his military service.  Further, instead of doing the diligence and homework required to ably fulfill the duties of the highest office in our land, he handed the details over to his VP.  Once lazy, forever so, in Bush’s case.

Perhaps the biggest crime was that Cheney knew exactly with whom he was dealing.  He absolutely knew what Bush buttons to press in order to get his agenda passed: international conflict based on lies, national business deregulation to benefit the “insiders” of corporate America and an insidious manipulation of social policies to fill in any holes that the economic policies might have missed.  Cheney is the epitome of evil and greed.  He knew Bush’s lack of intellectual discipline, so he used that weakness to play to his cronies in business.  And if conservative social policies automatically followed, that was just fine (until of course, Cheney’s daughter announced that she was gay).  Oh yes: Cheney provided the “goose factor” to Bush’s constant ducking.  There was a huge opening and Cheney grabbed it.

I remember the day John McCain introduced his running mate, Sarah Palin, to America.  The sound just happened to be totally muted on my television, but I was overwhelmed with her bravado, her “here I am ” attitude and her aggressive demeanor.  That was with the sound off.  Then I turned up the volume.  Her blowsy, crass and intellectually empty language stunned me further.  Palin presents an attractive exterior package as she is a truly beautiful woman.  But I cringe just waiting for her to open up her mouth.  What proceeds to come out of her mouth is so un-beautiful, crude, unintelligible and downright mean.

This is the same severity with which Bush’s appearance hit me during his interview with Lauer.  What you see is what you get.  For a man raised in the arms of privilege, wealth and endless opportunity, he is still suffering from a sense of inferiority.  And why not?  He never really tried to better himself, to pull himself up by the boot straps and advance his mind.  This supposed “man of the people” is what America wanted and embraced.  Then Cheney used it to his own advantage.  Sinful.

Both Bush and Cheney tried to soften their violent policies and practices by offering a  mantra of patriotism and ultra-conservative morality.  Neither man was moral: Bush because he was too lazy and Cheney because he only wanted the power and money.

Here we are two years later.  Bush presents himself as a person who is more to be pitied than censured, still ducking the truth.   Cheney is on his last legs with end-stage heart disease.  Fortunately, he is unable to goose anyone anymore.  I have read that he needs a new heart.  Coulda fooled me.