Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

This is not my holiday, but it is hard to miss the signs that it is one celebrated by many others in this country, though Bill O'Reilly and his colleagues think otherwise. Oddly, by mystical coincidence, Shabbat and Christmas coincide this year. To many confused people, Chanukah is a supposed equivalent holiday to Christmas, but it's not. Shabbat, on the other hand, means Jews and Christians will be praying at roughly the same time. My faith in faith is not sufficient to think this is going to make much of a difference except maybe more people will be a bit more spiritual today than otherwise. (Wonder if anybody is being bar/bat mitzvah on what some of us call "December 25").

As has become customary, Regina Spektor has posted a view of the Christmas season which is shared by your blogger:

i'm one of the many jews who really love when the christmas spirit gets everyone to light up New York all pretty...

but it is also the sense of generosity of spirit, the idea that we have an obligation to one another and the sense that we have a higher calling than to make as much money as possible. The formal religious rituals which move another wise person worth consulting, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, may not be as meaningful to all of us but, as Rabbi Yoffie says, it is a time when people

despite frenetic preparations and gift buying -- [are] simply friendlier, more relaxed, more outgoing and more inclined to smile at holiday time... [T]here is such a thing as the spirit of Christmas, and the goodwill of the season always manages to extend its reach, in a lighting-fast and almost effortless way, to Americans of all faiths and religious traditions.

Let's not get confused, though. The last weeks of the 111th Congress moved this country forward not because of Christmas spirit, but because Republicans would rather go home than keep fighting, and, the masquerade they have worn for almost two years seemed to be fraying at the egdes. Paul Krugman made a good point this morning about where the Republicans fit in as part of Dickens' Christmas Carol, and, as noted by many, you really cannot miss today's congressional struggles as portrayed in It's A Wonderful Life either.

Last week, those of you gathering as families were implored to start trouble by telling those who cannot see it, what has been going on, and why none of it is in anyone's interest, except that of the very wealthy and, frankly, not them either. (The czars had plenty of money, but things did not work out for them and the New Deal would not have been possible if the wealthy among us did not understand how all of that could apply to them. They hated and still hate FDR, but they know how he saved them, too.)

This week's offering is pointed more at the progressives or liberals at your dinner table: the ones quick to tell you how disappointed they are in the President, the ones who stayed home in November, or are mumbling things such as "Nader," "Kucinich" or, absurdly, "Hillary." And, of course, it is Rachel Maddow who, again, sets the stage:

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Getting [the START] treaty ratified is a huge victory for President Obama and something that republicans said they would deny him. It is a political win for the president because it has been on his agenda for a long time.

It is a signature issue for him, a tactical win because Republicans said he wasn't going to get it. It is a save the world win because if you care about, oops, it's the nuclear end of the world you care about treaties like this getting passed.

[Its ratification] caps an astonishing period in American political history.
For the last two years, democrats have held the White House as well as big majorities in the house and senate. The record of achievement in that time, even in the face of unified at times totally random Republican opposition, Republicans had proposed in the first place, unified Republican opposition to their own ideas?

Their track record even in the face of that is historic. Whether you agree or disagree with what democrats have done in the first two years of President Obama's presidency, they have freaking done it.

The Fair Pay Act for Women, expanding children's health insurance, new hate crimes legislation they said could not be done, tobacco regulation, credit card reform, student loan reform, the stimulus -- which in addition to helping pull this country back from the brink of a great depression, was also the largest tax cut ever, the largest investment in clean energy ever, the largest investment in education in our country ever.

There was also a little thing you may have heard of called health reform. Also, Wall Street reform, the improvements to the new G.I. bill, the most expansive food SAFETY BILL SINCE THE 1930s.

And tomorrow, president obama will officially sign a repeal of don't ask, don't tell....President Obama not only made a commitment to get it done and refused to cave on that commitment but he devised the strategy by which it could be done.

From the beginning of the term he worked to create the conditions in Washington, painstakingly to create conditions under which it was more likely that don't ask, don't tell would be repealed than not.

The conditions under which killing that policy was more possible than keeping it.
It took two years of solid work. He did not waver and in the end made it happen.

There are big things this administration said that it wanted to do that it hasn't done yet. Energy reform, immigration reform, the bush tax cuts for the rich were extended, closing Guantanamo.Those are some of them. Today it looked like one of the important judicial nominees will not get a vote to become a judge this year.

There is territory the White House has said it would like to cover that it has not yet covered. By my estimation it is halftime, right, in the first term and with this vote tomorrow they will have gone 85% of the distance they said they wanted to go in the first term of the president.

This is tough sledding, folks. We are a nation of happily ignorant people, with a government that goes where the money is, often in the face of public opinion. We are broke, angry, and watching a country in decline with little faith that we can reverse that slide.

But we have elected a man suited for the presidency as none have been since President Johnson had to leave after the war took over his presidency and as inspirational and well read as President Kennedy who told this blogger, and many others, what are our responsibilities as a citizen in a republic.

This president can be maddening, of course. He looks for the better angels in people trying to destroy him and harm us. His election was made possible by disgust in the fool who preceded him, but that man has been forgotten by a public that otherwise is made uneasy by a president who looks the way this one does and who has a name that sounds so foreign. We are not in a post-racial period, my friends, as much as we wish we were.

On top of all that, he is opposed by a political party which controls a television "news" outlet, which would rather endanger our national security than give the President a victory. There was less substance to the pig headed opposition to a treaty every reasonably serious person knew to be important, than in the absurd opposition to the League of Nations by roughly the same idiots who by keeping the United States out of it all but guaranteed the horrible events which followed.

Our fate, our hope lies in his presidency and in our efforts to support what we all want to happen. This will not be easy, and there will be days when it looks hopeless. As discussed last week, reforming the Senate rules, even if it is possible, will not turn the tide unless people get behind the issues before the Congress.

Nothing said here is meant to suggests one may not criticize the president. That criticism must, though, recognize his importance to this nation and to our cause and the imperative that he be re-elected and able to restore the House to Democratic control. A discontent that suggests we made a mistake in 2008 is both absurd and not in anyone's interest.

So, there are your marching orders. Nobody should be complacent and everyone has an assignment. It's really very important and the best Christmas present you could give to our posterity.

Again, Merry Christmas and, well, Shabbat Shalom.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Road Ahead or Barth Wants to Ruin Family Get Togethers

There is nobody on "our side" of the political gulf who did not cheer, feel vindicated, or thought of the many people in their lives who just have to read the University of Maryland study of the misinformed viewers of what is laughingly called "Fox News." When we calm down a bit, it might occur to contemplate that a) what is being done is a deliberate political strategy and b) is working.

The general stupidity of our fellow Americans, and their consequent disdain for facts, history or context is a constant refrain in these pages. It can be tsked, tsked here, and can lead to all the pain that comes from banging one's head against a wall, but it is as much an operative fact about the country in which we live as any of the well accepted truths which Fox viewers are either not told about or about which they are taught falsehoods.

Your faithful correspondent has fallen into the trap of arguing against the obvious way too many times. Most egregiously , while railing against the foolishness that passes for political thought, the foolish blogger pointed to the comments of a high level member of the Bush II White House to Ron Suskind during their mysterious heyday following the 9/11 attacks

the reality-based community, [defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from ... judicious study of discernible reality' don't understand that t]hat's not the way the world really works anymore...We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do

as if this was the craziest, most foul thing ever uttered in the White House when, in fact, it was pure wisdom. Cynical, maybe, but the observation which seemed so shocking to this dense fool, was, in fact, the exposition of a brilliant political strategy.

It is by following that strategy that these forces of the the right, the protectors of all that is wealthy, the defenders of those who, in Senator Sanders' memorable words, want it all, win even when the are in the minority and then, by preventing anything from being accomplished, can run against Democrats by arguing that they have not done anything.

Once again (or, "as usual"), Dr. Maddow is called upon to frame this point:

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What you‘re looking at there is the breaking of the United States Senate as an institution. What these are is filibusters. This is when the Senate decides to take the extraordinary measure of making something take 60 votes to pass instead of 50 votes.

And that‘s impossible. Supermajorities are impossible. You cannot actually pass things with supermajorities in an ongoing way. This is not the way that legislatures function. It is never the way that America‘s legislature has functioned.

If you‘re going to require a supermajority, it means that effectively this body has ceased to function. It has ceased to function as a normal majority rules legislature.

This is how Republicans broke the Senate. They have turned the Senate into a Republican stronghold not while they were in the majority, but since they‘ve been in the minority. Since they lost the Senate, they have turned it into a stronghold for their own party by using power that the Senate minority is usually entrusted not to abuse. They‘ve used that power to break the institution.

Even though they are the minority, even though there are less than 50 of them, significantly less than 50 of them, they exert all of the leverage. They get what they want. Which not only means that policies get changed to try to appeal to them, it also means that the calendar just stretches on and on and on and on with nothing ever getting done. That is -- that‘s their preference.

They are filibustering the funding of the military right now. That‘s passed every year for 48 years. It is being filibustered by Republicans right now. It‘s on the docket.

They are filibustering the appointment of people to relatively low-level political jobs at middle management levels at cabinet agencies you cannot remember the names of—people who are not famous, people who are not controversial, but who are nevertheless subject to this extraordinary supermajority rule. This extraordinary thing that was never supposed to be used the way it‘s being used. But because Republicans are using it the way they are, nothing gets done. And they have found that strategy to be in their political interest—to get as little done as possible.

And here's the bad news, the part you may not want to hear, and the part that could make you even angrier that you wasted time on this post:

Why is this happening? How do they get away with this?

It is all your (our) fault.

OK. Not "all" but there is plenty of fault to be laid right at our doorstop.

Again, Rachel explains:

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One of the consequences of the big, big Democratic victories in the House in 2006 and 2008 is that it allowed us to see, it allowed us to know what sort of laws you can get passed if the Democratic agenda, President Obama‘s agenda is enacted. Health reform with a public option, no more “don‘t ask, don‘t tell,” energy legislation that finally cuts the carbon emissions, a greater amount of disclosure in corporate campaign contributions, no more bonus tax cuts for the rich—all of this was campaigned on by President Obama.

All of this has been done by the House. All of this has been achieved by Nancy Pelosi. And all of it died in the Senate slowly and painfully shortly thereafter.

The distance between that world—what is it Pelosi-stan, right -- the difference between that world, the House, where all of those things were achieved and the world that we have got with Congress now on the verge of extending bonus tax cuts for the richest Americans, even though Democrats are the majority in both houses right now. The distance between those things, the distance in what the House has done and what has been done overall, that‘s the enthusiasm gap. You‘re looking for it, there it is.

The right turned out in the last election and the left did not turn out in the last election. That‘s the gap they fell into. And, ultimately, that‘s what the United States Senate being broken has wrought. What the House has giveth, the Senate has taketh away, with the endless filibusters, with the endless obstructions and delay tactics, one of which proved to be successful tonight.

The margin that Democrats have over Republicans in the House and the Senate has been equal. Things have died in the Senate, not because Democrats didn‘t have the votes. They had the votes. The Senate broke.

Rachel and Senator Tom Udall believe the have the answer in a rules change to be brought on by a ruling by the Vice President, as president of the Senate on the first day of the new session, changing not only the Senate's rules by the longstanding view of the Senate as a continuous body, since only one-third are elected at a time as opposed to the House where everyone runs every two years. Many of us are dubious that this plan will work. And even if this dangerous tact did (remember that a prior Vice President, Cheney, was going to rule against filibusters of judicial nominees, to allow President Bush to seat even more hacks---see the Virginia health care decision of the past week) there are numerous other devices that a determined minority can employ---frequent quorum calls, or requirements that a bill be read by the clerk in full, or any number of other refusals to make possible the "without objection" that the Senate almost always needs to proceed further, to achieve the same end.

It is not a rules change that is needed. It is public opinion which needs to change. The get away with this because nobody cares: Nobody cares about parliamentary procedures, just as nobody cares about campaign finance reform which is just as boring a subject.

They are hardly as much fun to talk about as millions in tax breaks for millionaires, or calling President Obama a "sell out." But what is wrong with our politics, and why we are moving backwards as fast as Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Johnson move us forward or tried to, is right there. Nothing will change if Republicans can just stop the Senate from doing business and not pa an political price for it.

If and when your family gatherings or parties with friends lead to political discussions, many will try to change or avoid the subject, lest unpleasantness ensue. We all know the rules: try to keep politics and religion out of social gatherings.

To do so this year, in this atmosphere, could be disastrous, though. The meme that the President can do whatever he wants but has failed to do what we want needs a response. This is not to say that the President is not without fault. He propagates the foolish Bush thing about being "the decider" or something close to a king, when he is not. The constant use of the first person as in

So I pass a signature piece of legislation where we finally get health care for all Americans, something that Democrats had been fighting for for a hundred years

is foolish and is not only wrong, but perpetuates the fiction that the all powerful sovereign has failed to do what he said he would do.

The reality is that Congress goes where the money is and the money wants to protect those who already have it. If there is a way to fight back, it is only by political action, by noise from those who expect something else from their government. That is where we, the people, come in.

So, we close with a couple of frequently quoted exhortations of presidents:

First from our greatest president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt as he took office on March 4, 1933:

If I read the temper of our people correctly, we now realize as we have never realized before our interdependence on each other; that we can not merely take but we must give as well; that if we are to go forward, we must move as a trained and loyal army willing to sacrifice for the good of a common discipline, because without such discipline no progress is made, no leadership becomes effective

The second from the most inspirational president of the lifetime of many of us, when he was sworn in on January 20, 1961:

In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.

Now the trumpet summons us again -- not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need -- not as a call to battle, though embattled we are -- but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation,"² a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.

What both presidents needed, and our current one needs now, is that we show those in our lives who will not see it, what is happening and why. It is boring, pedantic and may ruin a few dinners or even friendships. But, my friends, it is the only way.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

This is how it works...

The founders of this nation did not, we have often been told, envision the formation of political parties and there remains a resistance to the idea that the party is more important than the actual office holder. There have been times, indeed, when the party label meant less than than the politics of the time. Stephen Douglas, for instance, was a Democrat when that party stood for slavery but, at best, it was unclear whether he did. In modern times, Clifford Case and Jacob Javits, both Republicans (Lincoln Chaffee even more recently) but far more progressive than people who were members of the Democratic Party, and not just southern Democrats.

Those days are over, at least for now. The Republican Party, minority in the Senate, have successfully transformed Rule XXII to make it impossible for any bill to be voted upon without the proponent having at least the technical ability to obtain cloture. They can do that for two reasons a) they stand to together as a bloc irrespective of the merits of a particular piece of legislation, thus insuring cloture cannot be invoked and b) they get away with it in what laughingly could be called "the court of public opinion."

These Republicans are no better or no worse than any other bloc that has formed in the Senate. If southern Democrats could have gotten away with filibustering everything, they would have done so, not simply to block civil rights legislation, but the New Deal itself. They could not, because the "public" or more accurately, the elites whose consensus means something in Washington and other power centers, would not allow it or stand for it.

The success in stopping serious civil rights legislation from being enacted in 1957. in 1958 (after Little Rock) and 1963 (at and around the march on Washington) was because there was insufficient outrage at the filibuster mounted against it. After President Kennedy was murdered in November, 1963, the public demand that legislation he championed be enacted in his memory made it impossible to prevent cloture and both the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts became law. It was not that the public suddenly accepted the merits of the legislation (the country had been divided on the subject at least since 1957, but were it not for the filibuster, there were probably enough votes to enact it), but that filibustering the bill had become, with the president's death, unacceptable to enough people that the two bills could pass.

So it matters not, today, that Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe are considered "moderate." If the Republican Party can block legislation by uniformly voting against cloture, all that matters is whether a Senator is a member of that party. After Arlen Specter voted against cloture as a Republican in 2009 he had to change parties (which coincided with electoral realities in his state). Senators Snowe and Collins say they are for repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell but Senator Snowe voted against cloture to prevent the Defense Authorization bill, which included the repeal, from being debated and voted upon this week, and Senator Collins did the same thing over the summer citing some objection to the way Senator Reid restricted the amendment process.

This is why voting last November, and not just in presidential elections, was important. This is why, whether you like the Senate leadership, or every White House position, it was important for Democrats to be elected. Even more importantly, this is why whatever anger there is over the failure of this country to address the so many critical issues facing us needs to be directed at the reasons for this.

It is not President Obama. Yes, he does not appear to be the best negotiator there is and his unreciprocated respect for his political opponents, whether real or (more likely) feigned, is almost childish but that it not why so much that needs to be done is not, and cannot. Mourning Joe and others can keep talking about the control of both houses of Congress, but it is not so, as anyone with half a brain can see.

If sixty votes are required to declare Arbor Day then "control" of the Senate means little more than control of the committee chairs, and the floor agenda; not insignificant, but not the stuff that makes history. If the stimulus was too little, which it surely was, it was because it could not get sixty votes. If the health care reform, historic though it was, did not have all that we wished it did, it was because it needed sixty votes. If we have done nothing to deal with the requirements of a green economy and competing with the many other nations which are galloping past us in that area, in education, and countless other areas, it is because nothing can get done unless Senator McConnell allows it to.

Yes, the bully pulpit is something, but citizen action means much more. We have a Supreme Court that is likely to prevent any serious campaign finance reform from becoming law, giving an even greater advantage to those who have the funds to bestow upon needy politicians seeking re-election and to overcome that, if it can be overcome, requires a daily onslaught of angry voters on an otherwise bought and paid for Congress. We have not seen anything like that in any sustained fashion; just blogging and whining. Lecturing the president will not do the trick. Bombarding Congress might, but we seem incapable of that.

In an interview in The Promise, Jonathan Alter's excellent narrative of the President's first year, Mr. Obama tells the story of a 2009 trip to South Korea where he was told about Korean parents pressuring their government to provide more English teachers to first graders to satisfy a demand that their children learn that language. President Obama lamented that when he, in a press conference he held while still in Korea, he tried to discuss the importance of American parents making similar demands, U.S. reporters wanted to know whether he had yet read Sarah Palin's book. Of this intense interest in fluffery and bullshit are the seeds of the decline we see and lament over and over.

'Twas ever so, of course. It's just that more people saw garbage to be garbage during the better parts of our history. Were they around today, of course, Father Coughlin or Westbrook Pegler, among others, would be spewing his hate on Fox News, instead of being snickered at by most of the movers and shakers. And you have to laugh when the "new Nixon" we kept being told had appeared in the 1968 campaign (while many progressives stayed home to protest against President Johnson and Vice President Humphrey since there was supposedly "no difference" between them and Nixon) is further unmasked to be just the rank nonsense the sane among us knew then, even if we were only 16 years old.

Just as there was not a word Senator Sanders said yesterday, at least among those which reached these ears, with which any reasonably sane person could have disagreed. Sadly, there are not sixty of them in the United States Senate.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

What's about to happen and why

When we were young Joni Mitchell told us:

you haven't really changed...
It's just that now you're romanticizing some pain that's in your head
You got tombs in your eyes but the songs you punched are dreamy
Listen, they sing of love so sweet, love so sweet
When you gonna get yourself back on your feet?
Oh and love can be so sweet Love so sweet

but after a decade of Reaganomics, that whole dreaming thing seemed a bit darker:

The street was loud
From an angry crowd and
I thought of you, I
thought of you
Land of the free
No hungry bellies
Impossible dreamer

Have you spent the week wishing President Obama would stand up to the Republicans? Are you stupefied by the prospect of a Congress that won't extend unemployment benefits and continue a middle class tax cut, unless the wealthiest get an even bigger tax cut? Can you barely sit still for a Senate unable to ratify an utterly uncontroversial treaty required for a thousand a half reasons, but mostly to lessen the chances we we will all be blown away by some fool and nuclear weapons? Because the Senate has not extended tax cuts for the wealthy?

Don't be.

There was nothing President Obama could have done. This is the Congress we have elected. It is the Congress that comes forth in a country which auctions its legislature off to the highest bidder and prevents any change in such a perverse system by expressing a sudden devotion to the principles of the First Amendment. (Yes, the same First Amendment which permits radio stations to be fined if a someone says a "bad word" on it or allows Congress to regulate how music should be played on radio stations which archive their programs on the internet. It means nothing then, but is an iron shield against any regulation of campaign contributions.)

Get used to this, my friends. John McCain has pointed out that elections have consequences and what we are seeing this week are just that. With the election of the Great Reagan in 1980, the dreams of those President Roosevelt called

the old enemies of peace--business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering

to destroy the New Deal and the forward looking outlook that made it, and the great prosperity it brought with it, were realized. Government is bad, they told us, and we believed them.

And, except for eight years when a moderate Republican masquerading as a Democrat served in the White House (though they impeached him), they held the White House for almost thirty years.

President Obama, some thought, could just fix all of that with the snap of newly empowered fingers. Most of us knew better, but when he could not repair the damage of thirty years in just two, it was decided to go back to the exact way of thinking that has brought our country to its knees.

The other day, Bob Schieffer tried desperately on Face the Nationto get distinguished biographers of two of our greatest presidents to reassure him and us that as before something will happen or someone will come to save the day. Neither historian would bite, however:

RON CHERNOW (biographer of George Wahington in Washington: A Life)
Well, Americans like to look back on the Founding Era as the golden age. And there are good reasons and bad reasons for doing that. Indeed the Founding Era had these men who were brilliant and erudite and fearless. We had in a country of three million people simultaneously active in American politics, a Benjamin Franklin, a George Washington, a
Thomas Jefferson, a James Madison, a John Adams, and Alexander Hamilton and a John Jay.

We would all be hard pressed to think of a single individual of the stature of any of those seven people even though the population today is one hundred times greater.

EDMUND MORRIS (biographer of Theodore Roosevelt in Colonel Roosevelt):

the progressive middle class movement ... volcanically erupted in 1910, exactly hundred years ago. And reached its peak in 1912, the campaign where Theodore Roosevelt became the almost third party candidate for the presidency and humiliated the sitting Republican President William Howard Taft and split the Republican vote and elected Woodrow Wilson...[based on a ] feeling of exclusion, exclusion from
the privileged interplay of a conservative Congress, financial institutions-- ... the corporate elite, [wwhere] the middle class feels disenfranchised, angry, overtaxed and perplexed. And this anger is
something quite formidable. And I would not be surprised if it doesn’t ... give us real trouble in 2012.

We have, as Frank Rich explained last week, a bought and paid for Congress, out of touch with the issues facing our country and doing the bidding of elites who mean no good. This is what we elected and this is what we got.


A brief word on today's events, happening as we type. When the Senate votes 53-36 to in essence, pass a middle class tax cut extension, they have not, as the Times has it right now, "rejected" the plan. They have failed to impose cloture which, under the new view of what the filibuster means, makes it impossible for the Senate to pass the bill. But a body does not "reject" something when 17 more of its members vote for it, than vote against it. In the Beltway, it may mean they "rejected" something, but not anywhere else.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Giving Thanks

Thanks. There is no reason to repeat why this is a great holiday, whatever its supposed derivation, or the more accurate and quite understandable basis for it. It is, in the end, a day for us to become one: an entire nation eating roughly the same foods and celebrating together, as best we can.

And yet, nothing works that way. President Lincoln tried hard to bind up the wounds of a divided country but, close to 150 years later, he has not succeeded. This year, again, we saw how the greedy among us see the holiday, but their assault on the rest of us is not new. When President Franklin Roosevelt had the date changed to the second to last Thursday, to accommodate the commercial needs of the Christmas season, the same general people derided the holiday altogether and calling it "Franksgiving."

We are, obviously, not one nation either under God, or not and it is hard to find any but a few isolated moments when we were. The other day, Bob Herbert seemed a bit surprised about the level of ignorance about one of our most inspirational presidents, but the half of the country that considered President Roosevelt a traitor could never accept President Kennedy until his death forced them into silence for awhile followed by years of assaulting his memory.

These two nations, divided de facto roughly the way as the attempt do divide us de jure that was what was at stake when President Lincoln inaugurated Thanksgiving as a national holiday, are unable to look at the same thing and see the same things, nor indeed, do they care about the same things.

A portion of the nation reads about the massacre of over 50 people attending a Catholic church in Baghdad and shudder at how futile the task undertaken in our name was, while the other half natters on about how we "won" a war there.

The massacre, despite its obvious attack on Christianity (usually a best selling issue in this country) gets scant coverage in our country, while the same people who blamed President Obama for not doing enough to prevent attacks on us such as the man who tried to secrete a bomb in his underwear last Christmas, scream, yell, carry on, and suggest creeping Nazism when the government tries to prevent others from doing the same thing. Ah: there's some news to cover incessantly. There will be protests throughout the country as the civilly disobedient shut down air travel near the busy Thanksgiving weekend. Until nothing of the sort takes place. Onto another crisis!

They tell us that we are a Christian nation (which we certainly are not, and for good reason) but the vassal state we think we have created in Iraq certainly is not. To discuss that would be, though, to admit to a grave mistake which, to about half the country, is impossible.

So, yes, being thankful for what we have inherited seems worthwhile. Yet, it remains hard to consider oneself part of the same anything as people who say, in the face of the mounting evidence to the contrary, things such as this on Meet the Press a few weeks ago:

DAVID GREGORY: You were, as I said, in Iraq and Afghanistan. You just heard David Axelrod say any withdrawal will be conditions based. Is that not enough to satisfy you?

SEN. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ): Well, I'd like to see the president say that it's only condition based. According to Mr. Woodward's book, his problem is the political--the left base of the Democrat Party. You don't fight and conduct wars that way. You win and then you leave. And that's what we've done in Iraq.

She will never be elected president, and what's left of the Republican Party leadership can probably keep her from winning the nomination, but were she their nominee, more than forty per cent of your fellow citizens would vote for Sarah Palin to be President of the United States, with or without knowing the difference between North Korea and South Korea or that Africa is a continent and not a country. Barbara Bush can direct Gov Palin back to Alaska with her acid comment, but the same people elected her son (in a manner of speaking, anyhow) twice and not only elected President Reagan twice, but they keep talking about it as if it were a brilliant idea.

This is not an electorate which can be depended on for the future of this nation's well being.

"You win and they you leave. That's what we did in Iraq."


Monday, November 22, 2010


I was just going to do a short thing about people I do not like. There are plenty of people out there who would not like me if they had a real chance of getting to know me.

I do not like Conan. I don’t like him. I do not know him in person, as they say. I just cannot stand his persona. There is nothing personal in a persona really. He looks like a bunch of sticks in an expensive suit and every frickin time they advertise that nothing show of his, I switch channels on principle.

I bet he is a nice person. He might even be a Democrat. I just do not like him.

Leno I know is a repub. I have watched him for years. He is probably one of those moderate repubs who thinks we should help poor people once in a while; we just should not over do it. I gave up on him on principle for what he did to Conan. That makes no sense. But my likes and dislikes make no sense, really. Of course, I have given up on Leno long ago and never watch the guy.

Now I do not like Sarah Palin. I cannot stand her voice, I cannot stand her mannerisms, I cannot stand her oratory.

But when you add her ‘message’ to this ‘persona’ it is too much for me to handle.

I never met the lady and I hope I will never meet the lady. Her message contains every single thing I hate about this country and her persona grinds on me like skates on a blackboard.

Michelle Bachman is just Palin’s mini-me. In point of fact, Bachmann might end up being a bigger threat to the country than Palin.

Personae and messages are really two different things. If you add bios to all of this you may create a three point examination; things can become even more intense.

I have been thinking about the persona and message and bio lately. Maybe I am all wrong about this. What do I know?

But then I run into quotes like this:

"When we think of heroism in battle, we used the think of our boys storming the beaches of Normandy under withering fire, climbing the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc while enemy soldiers fired straight down on them, and tossing grenades into pill boxes to take out gun emplacements," wrote Fischer, director of issue analysis for the AFA, a longtime lobby on the Christian right. "That kind of heroism has apparently become passé when it comes to awarding the Medal of Honor. We now award it only for preventing casualties, not for inflicting them."

Bryan Fischer said this.


Bryan Fischer is the Director of Issues Analysis for the American Family Association, a blogger and a public speaker.
He has an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Stanford University, and a graduate degree in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary.[1]
In 2004, he co-founded the Keep the Commandments Coalition a group dedicated to keeping a controversial monument in Julia Davis Park in Boise, Idaho. From 2000 to 2005 he served as a commissioner for the city's Park and Recreation Department.[1]
He is a strong supporter of conservative causes, such as the Right to life, and opposition to national health care and has been active in city and state politics.
ischer has often attracted attention with his comments at public events or in print.
  • Fischer wrote on November 6, 2009 that "It is time, I suggest, to stop the practice of allowing Muslims to serve in the U.S. military. The reason is simple: the more devout a Muslim is, the more of a threat he is to national security."[2] [3]
  • On May 7, 2010, Fischer wrote:
Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews.[4]
As evidence for the claim that Hitler was homosexual, Fischer went on to state:
In 2001, noted German historian Lothar Machtan published the book, "Hitler's Secret: The Double Life of a Dictator." As the far left London newspaper, The Guardian, reveals, not only is it a well-established matter of historical record that Hitler was a practicing homosexual, he murdered those around him who threatened to expose his sexual preference to the public.[4]
Within this, the phrase "As the far left London newspaper, The Guardian, reveals," was linked to a news article in The Observer that noted of Lothar Machtan's forthcoming book that: "Adolf Hitler was gay - or so says a sensational new biography on the Nazi dictator due to be published tomorrow."[5]
  • CBS News reported on 12 August, 2010 that Fischer was opposed to the construction of a mosque near the former site of the World Trade Center. He pointed out, because of their, "subversive ideology, Muslims cannot claim religious freedom protections under the First Amendment."[6]
  • On his 9 November 2010 blog entry, he commented on a fatal attack by a grizzly bear, calling for an "open season" on the animals in Yellowstone National Park and incidentally referring to the notion that humans are to blame for climate change as a "fantasy."[7] The Talking Points Memo article on this wondered "Does Stephen Colbert know about this guy?"[8]
  • On 16 November 2010, the day after Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta was decorated with the Medal of Honor -- for his bravery in an episode during which, according to Barack Obama, he had wounded one enemy insurgent and killed another[9] -- Fischer took exception on his blog, "So the question is this: when are we going to start awarding the Medal of Honor once again for soldiers who kill people and break things so our families can sleep safely at night

Yeah, but who is Bryan Fischer?

Indeed, while Fischer's column irked many of his allies, his views are in keeping with a strain of conservative American Christianity that frets about the "feminization" of the faith as evidenced by the widespread emphasis on God's love and mercy rather than his anger and punishment, for example. And some such Christian conservatives are also concerned about efforts to accept gay clergy and to portray Jesus as a passive, wimpy victim rather than a tough-guy martyr like the Messiah portrayed in Mel Gibson's movie, "Passion of the Christ."

"Jesus' act of self-sacrifice would ultimately have been meaningless -- yes, meaningless -- if he had not inflicted a mortal wound on the enemy while giving up his own life," Fischer wrote in his original column on Giunta's Medal of Honor. "The cross represented a cosmic showdown between the forces of light and the forces of darkness, and our commanding general claimed the ultimate prize by defeating our unseen enemy and liberating an entire planet from his bondage."

With repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy still possible during the lame duck session of Congress after Thanksgiving, it's likely that Fischer -- and others -- will have plenty of other opportunities to make their point, and perhaps with more support from their own troops on the religious right.
Listen to me. Wiki is supposed to be a starting place for research on a person. But I cannot even find out when the fuck he was born.

I found five links, hell ten, but I still do not know when he was born or where he was born or who is parents are or anything else.


This man never served in the military. This man never went into battle. This man never risked his life for a fellow soldier.

And yet, he gets press.

In the old days we never ran into this problem. I mean Kennedy and Nixon fought in the world war. Eisenhower fought in two and won the second as head of the ETO.

How in the fuck can you attack a brave soldier who went above and beyond and you never touched a battlefield?

Bryan Fischer is the director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy at American Family Association, where he provides expertise on a range of public policy topics.
Bryan Fischer has an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Stanford University, and a graduate degree in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He served on the staff of Cole Community Church in Boise, where he founded the Cole Center for Biblical Studies and served as its director for 13 years. He then founded Community Church of the Valley, where he served as senior pastor for 12 years. Prior to joining the leadership team at American Family Association, Bryan served as Executive Director of the Idaho Values Alliance which was the state affiliate of the AFA.
In 2004, he co-founded the Keep the Commandments Coalition in an effort to protect the Ten Commandments monument in Julia Davis Park in Boise. After the monument was removed, he spearheaded the initiative drive which collected 19,000 signatures to give citizens in Boise the opportunity to vote on a new Ten Commandments display for the park.
Bryan served as the chaplain of the Idaho State Senate in 2001, and served the Boise community from 2000-2005 as a commissioner with the Boise Parks and Recreation Department.
He received the "Friend of Life" award from Idaho Chooses Life in 2003, and the "Christian Statesman" award from the Biblical Worldview Learning Center in 2005. He was recognized by the Ridenbaugh Press as one of the top 25 "Influencers" in Idaho in 2005, and one of the top 25 conservatives in Idaho by Idahoans for Tax Reform

Yeah, but who is Bryan Fischer?

Bryan has been married to his bride, Debbie, for 32 years, and they have lived in Idaho since 1980. They have two grown children, Jana and J.D. Jana is a graduate of Willamette University (in literature, music, and philosophy), while J.D. is a graduate of Whitman College where he majored in molecular biology and played baseball. Jana is currently pursuing a doctorate in literature and philosophy at Purdue University, and J.D. is working as research scientist at the University of Washington.
Several Iowa veterans, along with the LGBT-rights group One Iowa, called on Vander Plaats to publicly denounce Fischer for the statements. But despite numerous ties to Fischer and the American Family Association — which includes AFA spending $140,000 on Vander Plaats’ successful campaign to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices and an appearance by Vander Plaats on Fischer’s radio program — Vander Plaats says he won’t answer for something someone else said.
“As the son of a World War II veteran, I understand the sacrifices those in the U.S. military such as Staff Sgt. Giunta make to preserve our liberties and freedoms,” Vander Plaats said in a statement to The Iowa Independent. “It is disappointing a group would try to settle a score and try to make me accountable for words that aren’t mine. Bryan Fisher and AFA do not speak for me or Iowa For Freedom, and we don’t speak for them.”
Vander Plaats has previously faced criticism for his association with Fischer and the AFA. Last month, a group of religious leaders labeled the AFA an “extremist hate group” and called on Vander Plaats to “denounce hate-filled comments” Fischer has made.
Fischer has said homosexuals should be barred from public office and called gay sex “domestic terrorism.” He said Muslims should be imprisoned because “that’s not religion, that’s treason,” and argued that inbreeding may have done “irreversible damage to the Muslim gene pool, including extensive damage to its intelligence, sanity, and health.”  On women, Fischer agrees with U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint that unwed mothers should not be allowed to teach in public schools

This Fischer has got to be one of the worst human beings on the face of the earth.

I cannot help these feelings of animosity I have for this fellow.

I never met him.

I have never interviewed others to discover what alms he has paid to the poor.

I have no idea what things he has done for those imprisoned.

I have no idea what things he had to sacrifice to help his children and his wife of a hundred years.

I have no idea what sacrifices he has made for others in his life.

I do know that I despise this gentleman with my whole heart, my whole mind and my whole soul.  I cannot even imagine one issue facing this country which could become a common challenge to both of us.

I am sure that Sarah and Michelle and Sean and Rush and Glenn and a host of others love this man.

Just answer me this:

How am I to let loose of this animosity and hatred?

By the way, read about the hero who received the medal. I saw the fellow interviewed a few times on cable. It was all:  Why me? This man is a saint.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Celebrating November 22

Monday is November 22. That month with that date next to it always appears as dark, sad, searingly so. It is the date which needs no explanation to almost anyone who lived through it and, amazingly, of little significance to everyone else. It is the date on which Everything Changed.

People who missed the brief Kennedy administration often think that those of us whose political awakening took place then, tend to romanticize the era or the President. Others feel that by discussing his personal failures or even a few political ones, they can bring a perspective to the period that many of us are said to deny.

Both miss the point. What the Kennedy administration means are not its accomplishments, though there were many, including the prevention of nuclear annihilation. Is there anyone who thinks that the Cuban missile crisis would have ended the way it did had Richard Nixon been seated in the White House in October, 1962?

Though saving the planet was a good day for him, and us, the President told us on the day he took office that what we were undertaking was not something that could be measured simply by day to day accomplishments:

All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.

President Kennedy stood, for so many of us, for a new way of thinking about this country and our place in the world. That was his lasting legacy and it survives in our dwindling number despite the assault on its underpinnings from the moment Richard Nixon took the office, through the disgrace of the the Bush-Cheney period which presented an image of this country directly opposite from that of President Kennedy.

Yes, the Kennedy administration was about romance; and what is wrong with a romantic view of our place in the world? What is wrong with with setting this as a goal?

and if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved.

We could achieve real greatness, he told us, but not by watching him wrestle with Congress:

In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.

Now the trumpet summons us again--not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need--not as a call to battle, though embattled we are-- but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation"--a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself.

Many Americans have been brainwashed by the cynicism that settled on our country when, in the extremism of the time, with echoes of newspaper columnists, and other political commentators in print and broadcast media, calling the President a traitor, suggesting that members of the Supreme Court be hanged, and threatening violence, Lee Harvey Oswald did what others talked about.

But it was not just on inauguration day that President Kennedy spoke to our better angels:

What is the issue which divides and arouses so much concern? I will take a case which may be typical, a family which may be found in any part of the United States.

The husband has worked hard all his life and he is retired. He might have been a clerk or a salesman or on the road or worked in a factory, stores, or whatever. He's always wanted to pay his own way. He does not ask anyone to care for him; he wants to care for himself. He has raised his own family, he has educated them--his children are now on their own.... He has twenty-five hundred or three thousand dollars in the bank. And then his wife gets sick--and we're all going to be in a hospital, 9 out of 10 of us, before we finally pass away, and particularly when we're over 65--now she is sick, not just for a week but for a long time. First goes the twenty-five hundred dollars--that's gone. Next he mortgages his house, even though he may have some difficulty making the payments out of his social security. Then he goes to his children, who themselves are heavily burdened because they're paying for their houses and they are paying for their sicknesses, and they want to educate their children. Then their savings begin to go.


We are concerned with the progress of this country, and those who say that what we are now talking about spoils our great pioneer heritage should remember that the West was settled with two great actions by the National Government; one, in President Lincoln's administration, when he gave a homestead to everyone who went West, and in 1862 he set aside Government property to build our land grant colleges.

This cooperation between an alert and Progressive citizen and a progressive Government is what has made this country great--and we shall continue as long as we have the opportunity to do so. ...

All the great revolutionary movements of the Franklin Roosevelt administration in the thirties we now take for granted. But I refuse to see us live on the accomplishments of another generation. I refuse to see this country, and all of us, shrink from these struggles which are our responsibility in our time. Because what we are now talking about, in our children's day will seem to be the ordinary business of government.


First examine our attitude towards peace itself. Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many think it is unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable, that mankind is doomed, that we are gripped by forces we cannot control. We need not accept that view. Our problems are manmade; therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man's reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable, and we believe they can do it again. I am not referring to the absolute, infinite concept of universal peace and good will of which some fantasies and fanatics dream. I do not deny the value of hopes and dreams but we merely invite discouragement and incredulity by making that our only and immediate goal.

Let us focus instead on a more practical, more attainable peace, based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions -- on a series of concrete actions and effective agreements which are in the interest of all concerned. There is no single, simple key to this peace; no grand or magic formula to be adopted by one or two powers. Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts. It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenge of each new generation. For peace is a process -- a way of solving problems.

With such a peace, there will still be quarrels and conflicting interests, as there are within families and nations. World peace, like community peace, does not require that each man love his neighbor, it requires only that they live together in mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement. And history teaches us that enmities between nations, as between individuals, do not last forever. However fixed our likes and dislikes may seem, the tide of time and events will often bring surprising changes in the relations between nations and neighbors. So let us persevere. Peace need not be impracticable, and war need not be inevitable. By defining our goal more clearly, by making it seem more manageable and less remote, we can help all people to see it, to draw hope from it, and to move irresistibly towards it.


The heart of the question is whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities, whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated. If an American, because his skin is dark, cannot eat lunch in a restaurant open to the public, if he cannot send his children to the best public school available, if he cannot vote for the public officials who will represent him, if, in short, he cannot enjoy the full and free life which all of us want, then who among us would be content to have the color of his skin changed and stand in his place? Who among us would then be content with the counsels of patience and delay?...

We preach freedom around the world, and we mean it, and we cherish our freedom here at home, but are we to say to the world, and much more importantly, to each other that this is the land of the free except for the Negroes; that we have no second-class citizens except Negroes; that we have no class or caste system, no ghettoes, no master race except with respect to Negroes?...

We face, therefore, a moral crisis as a country and a people. It cannot be met by repressive police action. It cannot be left to increased demonstrations in the streets. It cannot be quieted by token moves or talk. It is a time to act in the Congress, in your State and local legislative body and, above all, in all of our daily lives. It is not enough to pin the blame on others, to say this a problem of one section of the country or another, or deplore the facts that we face. A great change is at hand, and our task, our obligation, is to make that revolution, that change, peaceful and constructive for all. Those who do nothing are inviting shame, as well as violence. Those who act boldly are recognizing right, as well as reality.

It is to the everlasting shame of our nation, that it took President Kennedy's death for the country to take the steps he said we must, but those steps led inexorably to the election, so many years later, of the next president who was a member of the Democratic President, but not for the south. The election of President Obama made it appear that we could resume the course set for us by President Kennedy, but the rot that had accumulated in our political system in the interim, with one president forced to resign and another impeached, has brought us to a point where a new Kennedy administration seems well beyond out reach, while the evil noise that killed him has come raring back.

But there is reason for hope; there has to be. The muse named Regina Spektor will issue a live album and DVD on November 22, meaning that, for the first time in memory, this blogger will not dread the date. A ghost she has conjured up tells us (though not on the CD/DVD to come out this week) that

people are just people
they shouldn't make you nervous
the world is everlasting, it's coming and it's going
if you don't toss your plastic
the street won't be so plastic

and, in the same song, that

well maybe you should just drink a lot less coffee
and never ever watch the ten o'clock news (especially Fox)

which seems like a good idea, except that we have a president who says things such as

We welcome all the time championship sports teams to the White House to celebrate their victories. I thought we ought to do the same thing for the winners of science fairs and robotic contests and math competitions -- because those young people often don’t get the credit that they deserve. Nobody rushes on the field and dumps Gatorade on them -- (laughter) -- when you win a science award. Maybe they should. (Laughter.)

So I got to meet these incredibly talented and enthusiastic young men and women. There was a team of high school kids from Tennessee that had designed a self-powered water purification system....

The last young person I spoke to was a young woman from Texas -- she was 16 years old. She was studying biology as a freshman, decided she was interested in cancer research, so taught herself chemistry during the summer; then designed a science project to look at new cancer drugs, based on some experimental drugs that are activated by light. They could allow a more focused treatment that targets the cancer cells while living, healthy cells remain unharmed.

She goes on to design her own drug; wins the international science competition. And she told me that she and her high school science teacher are being approached by laboratories across the country to collaborate -- (laughter) -- on this potential new cancer treatment. This is a true story -- 16 years old, taught herself chemistry. Incredibly inspiring.

And at a time of significant challenge in this country -- at a moment when people are feeling so much hardship in their lives -- this has to give us hope for the future. It ought to remind us of the incredible potential of this country and its people -- as long as we unlock it; as long as we put resources into it and we celebrate it and we encourage it, we embrace it.

so, yeh, let us begin.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Me and my cat named dog

The bipartisan panel created to investigate the roots of the financial crisis voted Wednesday to delay the Dec. 15 publication of their report despite Republican opposition, foreshadowing disagreements that are sure to arise when the commission attempts to reach a consensus on the causes of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission's 6-to-3 vote came after the panel's four Republicans argued privately against the decision to ignore the statutory deadline set by Congress. One of the Republicans, former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, was unable to participate in the vote, though he made his dissent known. The report will now be released in January.

Supposedly those who delve into conspiracy theories are people who have nothing better to do.

I will never forget the scene in some forgotten seventies film where this young man is explaining the events of November 1963 that took place in Dealey Plaza.  During his narration he is drawing the presidential route on a naked woman’s body with lipstick.

 By the way, did you know that C S Lewis and Aldous Huxley died on November 22, 1963?
The crisis commission is also looking into the matter, said Phil Angelides, the panel's Democratic chairman. The Republicans on the panel are resisting further inquiries, according to people familiar with the matter. Angelides said in an interview that "there are very powerful interests" seeking to undermine the panel's investigation.
"People who have trillions of dollars at stake who have been watching our efforts closely," Angelides said. "There have been efforts throughout the year to undermine me and my fellow commissioners."

The discovery of the use of "robo-signers" -- employees whose sole job was to rubber-stamp documents without actually reading them or verifying their contents -- "may have concealed much deeper problems in the mortgage market," the Congressional Oversight Panel reported Tuesday.
During an April hearing, the panel heard from Richard Bowen, former chief underwriter for Citigroup's consumer-lending unit, who said he discovered in mid-2006 that more than 60 percent of mortgages the bank bought from other firms and sold to investors were "defective." Investors were not informed, however.
The crisis panel isn't the first to unilaterally delay the release of its congressionally-mandated report. The Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism blew past its deadline, as did the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare and the Commission on Affordable Housing and Health Care Facility Needs in the 21st Century.
Those panels, however, didn't have subpoena authority. And their reports were largely advisory. The FCIC can make criminal referrals to the Department of Justice.
Like the FCIC, the 9/11 Commission also had substantial powers, and it, too, extended its own deadline. However, the 9/11 panel got its extension from an act of Congress.
Look at this diagram drawn by an expert that traces the actual owners of his personal mortgage.

It is kind of like tracing a drop of urine deposited by a doe into a rivulet somewhere in the  Upper Midwest that ends up in the Mississippi Delta.

The dems are actually the ones who are attempting to delay the publication of the final report; much to the consternation of four repubs who wish the report to issue December 15th as mandated by Congress; except for the fact that the law establishing the commission specifically grants an extra 60 days for publication if necessary.

Why would the repubs push for an earlier date of publication? Why are the dems on the commission so hot and bothered?

There is something happening here
And you don’t know what it is
Do you Mr. Jones?

Just as an aside….

I really feel that there is a cultural purpose for these commissions. The cultural purpose outweighs any purpose that involves ‘fixing things’ or ‘bringing the perpetrators to proper justice.’

A structural anthropologist might put it this way:

A President has been assassinated. This is the thesis.

One person benefited from this felony far more than any other suspect and he is the President. This is the antithesis.

A commission is formed to synthesize these bipolar opposites.


The King is dead.

Long live the king.

But there has to be a rite of passage to bridge the gap between the dead king and the live king.

And a photograph taken on a plane just does not do the trick.

So a commission is set up to write a complete report concerning the assassination that will put to rest any suspicions that live king had anything to do with the murder of the dead king.

This has nothing to do with the truth of any suspicions concerning links between LBJ and the assassination of Kennedy. That really has nothing to do with nothing in my book.

After all, when the king is dead the tribe needs a new king who is recognized as the new legitimate king.

So too, the Twin Towers went down in flames while the center of our Department of Defense was severely damaged by Saudi Arabians.

That fact alone led us down a road from which there was no return.

The Commission also concluded 15 of the 19 hijackers who carried out the attacks were from Saudi Arabia, but found no evidence the government of Saudi Arabia conspired in the attacks, or that it funded the attackers.[2] Mohamed Atta, the leader of the attacks, was from Egypt. Two hijackers were from the United Arab Emirates, and 1 was from Lebanon. According to the Commission, all 19 hijackers were members of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization, led by Osama bin Laden. In addition, while meetings between al-Qaeda representatives and Iraqi government officials had taken place, the panel had no credible evidence that Saddam Hussein had assisted al-Qaeda in preparing or executing the 9/11 attacks.

Now to me, Saudi Arabia was the logical foe in all of this hub bub. That is, pretend for a second that fifteen of the 19 hijackers had been Russian and two came from the Ukraine.

Now the commission set up to look into all of this took 441 days to issue a report—taking an extra 60 days to complete its investigation.

We had a President who wished to attack and invade Iraq before he was ever elected President.

Saudi Arabia has an oil-based economy with strong government control over major economic activities. Saudi Arabia possesses 25% [3] of the world's proven petroleum reserves, ranks as the largest exporter of petroleum, and plays a leading role in OPEC.

So it was clear that the commission could not find that the Saudis or the UEM for that matter had anything to do with the attacks on 9/11/01.

Our President had to somehow down play the national origins of the hijackers and link them to some demonic cult; a tangible cult led by a Saudi who came from one of the largest and richest families in Saudi Arabia.

We came to know that the leader of the conspirators was a Saudi who had renounced his citizenship and who had moved his residence to one of the biggest hell holes on this planet…Afghanistan.

It was an easy thing after that tale was woven with the cooperation of our press to attack and invade Afghanistan which had been ruled by some organized tribe known as the Taliban; a totally different tribe than the organization known as al Qaeda.  All the propaganda network had to do was play a tape of these Taliban satans hitting women with sticks over and over again; on our standard news outlets, on our cable news programs, on our internet…All day and all night for weeks and weeks following the attack.

Okay, so Osama sent video tapes to the news outlets whereby he confessed to the conspiracy against the United States; tapes that were played over and over again for years.

But think of this. What if the hijackers had been Russian and Ukrainian? And further suppose the leader of the conspiracy had absconded from Russia and was hiding in Tibet.

First of all, how quickly would our government be able to prove that the leadership of Russia knew nothing of the attack?

We never even heard of an investigation as to what the Saudi government knew and when they knew it.

The Saudi government is made up of rich blood lines. It is a monarchy with a Consultative Assembly; and all this recent blubber about Sharia Law in the U.S.? Well, Saudi Arabia is a Sharia Law State and its constitution is the Quran.

I have never heard one word from repubs about plans to attack Saudi Arabia. I have never heard on complaint against Saudi Arabia from a repub. The Bush family has had business interests with the Saudi’s forever.

The fact is that Saudi’s attacked our shores on 9/11/01.

The fact is that our most powerful corporations have important economic interests in Saudi Arabia.  These corporations had very little economic interests in the countries of Iraq or Afghanistan—hell in Iran for that matter.

These assumptions are polar opposites. Somehow they must be synthesized.

The 9/11 Commission supposedly ‘reviewed’ two and a half million pages of documents in 441 days. My calculator tells me that the commission would have had to review 5600 pages each and every one of those days. No Xmas or turkey day or Sunday excepted.

The 9/11 Commission issued its 571 page report. (By the way The Warren Report was 888 pages)

The Commission also concluded 15 of the 19 hijackers who carried out the attacks were from Saudi Arabia, but found no evidence the government of Saudi Arabia conspired in the attacks, or that it funded the attackers

There is a pattern here.

When there are theses and antitheses; when there are contradictions that cannot be solved; synthesis must take place one way or another.

One way our culture synthesizes its contradictions is by commission. But there are rules as to who comprises these commissions and how they perform their investigations.

Hold most of the commission’s actions in secret, far away from the prying eyes of the public.

Make sure that that commission at least purports to review millions of documents.

Make sure that members of the commission come from both political parties.

Make sure that the commission issues a report comprised of hundreds upon hundreds of pages that only a relatively few die-hards will ever read. And of course this ensures that those die-hards will publish books comprised of hundreds upon hundreds of pages that only a few die-hards will bother to read.

And make sure that the conclusion of the report is only a few pages and that it easily refutes the most obvious conclusions arising from the incident, emergency or felony.

Now it is true that for 99.9999% of our population, the commission’s report will fade from memory two days after it is published. Actually, well before the report ever issues, most people will forget that there was ever a commission formed in the first place.

Forever after the report issues, anyone who raises a voice challenging the synthesis found in the commission report will be told to read the report along with five or six books reviewing the report.

And we must be honest about all this.

There is no frickin way I am going to review 2 ½ million pages of documents.

And if I did perform such a task, I would most probably pick and choose sentences and paragraphs and pictures that supported my conclusions reached a few days after I began my review.

Getting back to the mortgage bank/security crash of ’08, I know that the commission’s report will be hundreds and hundreds of pages that few people will read thoroughly. I also know that five or more books discussing the report will reach the best sellers list.

This time though I think that a few people are going to have to be thrown under the bus. There will be a few folks from GS and other institutions who will be sitting in some minimum security prison for a couple of years.

The repubs will ban together and fight any new regulations that might be recommended by this commission; most probably because a few repubs on the commission will disown its findings. 

The dem leaders will jump up and down and dems like me will yell and scream; we will all be full of sound and fury and signify nothing as far as the voters are concerned.