Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Thanks to Pope Francis!

The Pope's efforts in Cuba along with the President's have been nothing short of miraculous and in time for Hanukkah too freeing Alan Gross after 20 years in a Cuban jail.  This man has made a difference for the better. 

I who have been an ardent critic of historic Vatican policy now say as I have often said after the Pope's many humanitarian efforts, I love this man who has made a positive impact in our sad world!

Cuba Libre

 Yet another reason to elect a Democrat to high office. This is BIG!

What are the odds this would have happened under Romney?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

130+ Children -- Angels' Lost Wings

The Pakistan school massacre of 130+ CHILDREN should strain the credulity of all of us; Australia, Canada, Boston, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Israel, Gaza, Pakistan, Newtown and so many more I am sickened by ALL and I do mean all the violence.  When a child dies like this or any way by the hand of man many angels lose their wings! 

What an unnecessary loss of life everywhere over the last 13 years.  It can never be justified.

The whole world mourns for these children, all children and everyone who suffers because of man's inhumanity to man.

Peace begins with us all.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Transparency through the Opaque

This latest budget 1.1 trillion buck madness bill stuffed with funds for our eternal wars and goodies for Wall Street has now somewhat transparently passed in Congress differently from its usual opaque nature, the contents of which are often hidden from the public. Eventually, we often find out when another social program or regulatory agency that worked for us has been dismembered and finally killed taking us, the 98%, with it. This time someone smart found the bank stuff out as Elizabeth Warren the Great of Massachusetts railed from the Senate floor against the stealth bombing.

Mostly Republicans (although not entirely) through corporate contributions to their war-chests, the massive minions of money intend to seize it all and eradicate, by any means necessary, those who would oppose them. Through their mendacious tactics, suppressing the minority vote and the use of gerrymandered electoral districts they will get all of it. As George Carlin in his oft-quoted-by-me "American Dream" soliloquy so accurately put it “…. they already have captured the Congress, have the courts in their back pockets, have the media that controls the news and information you get, and have most of the state legislatures and local governments.” They control it all with their legions of lobbyists filling bloated congressional coffers with unlimited amounts corporate Citizens United cash.

They defund education keeping us unquestioningly dumb, underfund regulatory agencies and anything that keeps a vigilant eye on our environment, our money and our health. Polluting oil, coal and fracing gas corporations for profit can do anything vile they want to us and get away with it. As Carlin said. “Soon they will be coming for your Social Security. And they will get that too ….”

Bank deregulation over decades brought you the Great Recession and soon you will be welcoming another. Congress approved the 1.1 trillion buck budget and at the same time took out one of the most important mandates of the Dodd/Frank bill passed after the 2007 Great Recession. Republicans continue to snow us with trickle down economic lies that really trickle up and not down. 

Dodd/Frank tried, at least somewhat, to ensure the crushed economy did not get crush again by prohibiting government bailouts to the banks if they engage in risky stock and hedge fund bets that tanked the US and the world economy in 2007 putting millions out of work, out of homes, out of health care and out of luck for years and still counting.

Our do nothing Congress finally did something. They slid this return to Wall Street deregulation under the radar into the middle of the budget bill nearly word for Wall Street word and then the good Christian hypocrites quickly got out of town for Christmas, the alleged birthday of the Prince of Peace, the nation celebrates. This move of madness by the corrupt swill that has paired money with power and has become Washington Corporate Lobbyist DC made me cringe.

The budget bill, yet again, allows banks another life at selling risky Wall Street bets to the woefully ignorant. If the bets fail not to worry you and I will pick up the tab for the multi gazillionaires while they walk away with our billions and bonuses to boot and the 98% walk away with a colossal headache.

In bipartisan fashion unheard of in our time there were many Democrats and Republicans who would not sign onto this bill but in the end it, of course, passed. The president to avoid another Republican threatened government shutdown unenthusiastically signed the horrific thing. That is what corporate money in the hands of Congress gets you – total access to unlimited power.

Add to the budget psychotic event the Republican electoral stomach turning result in November, the unjustifiable killing of unarmed Black men by white police everywhere and SCOTUS, their hearts made of unethical stone, declaring a "post racial" nation as the noxious five eviscerated the 1965 Voting Rights Act and I am temporarily yelling “uncle.” The film Network’s character, Howard Beal, said it best: “I’m mad as hell and cannot take it anymore. I'm a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE! Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!”

Unlike Howard Beal, though, for the moment, I must retreat from the cacophony of music screech blowing a hole in my eardrums -- okay maybe for a day or two or three. If I do not, for those of you who watch "Newsroom," I will end up as the ethically good ACN Newsroom boss Charlie did. [Spoiler Alert] He compromised with evil to keep the company afloat and ended up flat out massive heart attack dead!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Elizabeth the Great!

No time now BUT Elizabeth Warren showed why the great state of Mass. elected her and why I keep her picture up on my wall.  She is a force and that is an understatement.  Long may she occupy that seat.  What a great replacement for Teddy not that Markey is not good but Elizabeth is better and brilliant!

More later. 


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Torturous Examination of American Exceptionalism

I am trying to wrap my mind around the torture our nation has perpetrated on human beings in various Middle East black sites around the world during the last ten years.  It has done so in our name with seeming abandon allegedly in response to the horror of 9/11.  9/11 was, no one can doubt, a killing field monstrosity – 3000 innocents crushed into the dust of falling buildings that became their coffins on a sunny day in NYC.  It was destruction on a massive scale.   Many others were killed at the Pentagon with half a building taken down and in Shankesville, PA. in a plane on track to hit the Congress but crashed instead into a lonely field killing everyone on board.  The audio of passengers’ stating “Let’s roll” still rings in our ears as they tried valiantly to stop the perpetrators of the doomed flight.  We, over and over again, keep reminding ourselves of that day of its own infamy which prompted our nation to commit the illegalities of a war based on lies and torture on a scale most thought unthinkable.  The president and vice-president of the previous administration enlisted a host of eminent lawyers within the Bush Department of Justice to compose the legalese rationales for it. 

Never forgetting the reasons for the perpetration of torture by this nation, I try to think of other reasons for man’s history of Torquemada-like torture using Middle Ages techniques and the modus operandi of tyrannical Communist and Fascist regimes evidenced in modern history.  How, but more importantly, why would such things be done to human beings?  We could collect quite a menagerie of numerous instances of monstrous description but rather than disgust you with the unimaginable details we must find some other explanation for them besides a response to 9/11.

From the torture chambers of the Middle Ages and its religious wars, to the trenches of World War I and the use of poison gas, to the gas chambers of WWII Europe and its mass murder containers of six million dead Jews, to the Agent Orange of Vietnam, to the Iraq War based on lies, and to the ISIS beheadings man never stops killing brutally.  And yet some, perhaps most, put a brake on our basest inclination to perpetrate a violent act and, simply, refuse to do it.  Most would not nor could not hurt an innocent.  Most would not nor could not hurt an animal.  

What was done through torture by our nation in our name after 9/11 is repugnant to those of us who like to think we are humane.  It rises to the highest level of brutality and flouts Nuremberg jurisprudence a once great yardstick against man’s inhumanity to man.  Its ethical verdict was supposed to be universally applicable.  In history, though, examples of man's inhumanity to man are legion.  Human depravity perpetrated against another is commonplace. We ask how a man is ethically able to do the most repugnant things to another.  The salient question, though, we must ask is:  why is man capable of doing repulsive uncivilized things to his fellow man without becoming nauseatingly sick?

There are those among us who, I am convinced, incredulous though it may be, enjoy torturing.  Yes, they like it and take pleasure in the strength that torturing someone else allows them to feel.  Some take pleasure in revenge but it cannot be denied, I think, that some who signed up to inflict torture including, mind numbingly rectal torture, simply liked to do it and worse the more vicious the torture the more pleasurable it became to them.  Sadism is a word, a condition, and it is an illness which some men have but others do not. The larger question, therefore, becomes why can some do such heinously repulsive things and, indeed, rationalize it but others cannot. What separates some people from other people who enjoy the sadistic impulse to maim and kill?  Perhaps the answer to this cancer, lies in one’s DNA and the organization of one’s genetic code. 

What the nation has done in our name is surely not new but it is different.  What makes it different to those of us with at least a shred of empathy is that this nation was founded on principles that are supposed to ensure men with power not stoop to man's lowest madness. Our Founders knew the most important thing was to put a brake on man's most murderous instinct, government's legal authority to perpetrate it and man's ability, through government sanction to abuse power.  Our Founders gave birth to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights – the fundamental bases on which our much touted exceptionalism rests.  The nation's perpetration of torture makes mockery of that.  No one will be held accountable for these egregious acts but a Black man allegedly selling loosie cigarettes is killed for it.  What is wrong with this picture?

I feel duped, I feel sad, I feel powerless and wonder if the nation can ever recoup our own Jacobian birthright to its exceptional character again.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Georgeous Poetry

A W.H. Auden poem though written in 1939 is for our
time as we await in fear the Torture Report.

mber 1, 1939, W. H. Auden

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odor of death
Offends the September night.

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offense
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
****Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return. ****

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analyzed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.
From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.