Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Oregon Charleston Connecticut Boston Isla Vista – in Memory

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

I’m as tired of updating this post as Obama is speaking about the massacres.

If it Were Up To Me

Written and performed by Cheryl Wheeler

 Every time there is a mass shooting in America, someone puts together a video featuring this song and posts it on YouTube. No doubt there’ll be another version out shortly.

It’s Nixon time again

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

OK, fellow boomers,

It is time – unfortunately – to confront yet again that spectre of our youth, Richard Milhous Nixon. It seems that more of his papers and of course those infamous tapes have been released recently and some luckless soul tasked himself with updating our image of the man, documenting his endless tricks and missteps.

And endless they are, from sabotaging a Vietnam peace deal in ’68 – before he was elected! – so he could beat Humphrey, to spending weeks drunk in ’73 during the Yom Kippur war, leaving decisions to Kissinger and Haig and almost triggering a nuclear war.

Terry Gross interviews Tim Weiner, the guy who documents all this, on a recent Fresh Air episode titled “The Tragedy of Richard Nixon”. You can find it here on the web or search for that title on your phone’s podcast app.

Why should you listen? I suppose one reason is for “closure” though I hate that word and the idea behind it. A better reason is to remind yourself that things were every bit as fucked up in our younger years as it seemed at the time. Or, if you don’t want to go home again, listen to better understand why we are in the mess we are today.

But don’t eat right before you click “play”: once again, Richard Nixon will make you wretch.

Disasters that come from the mouth

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

The guy with the gun pulled the trigger in Tucson. But the constant vitriol of hate and demonization by political “leaders” and others helped set the stage.

In 1998, there was a flurry of anti-gay hate speech. Religious groups, sports figures and politicians fell over each other in their eagerness to get in front of a camera and denounce homosexuals, all because President Clinton had appointed James Hormel as ambassador to Luxembourg. Hormel’s sin was being gay.

In June of that year, Trent Lott, then Senate Majority Leader, happily pandered to his base by upping the volume of venom considerably, very publicly comparing gays to alcoholics, sex addicts and kleptomaniacs, characterizing gays as sinners and a “problem to be solved.” (more…)

A scathing exit

Friday, October 15th, 2010

I heard an interview on Fresh Air with Tony Judt, a British and American historian, or, as he preferred to call himself, a teacher of history. Judt’s interview with Terry Gross starts with his battle with ALS, which consumed the last two years of his life. As compelling as that story is, it was his description of his last book, dictated during his medical travails, that riveted me.

Ill Fares the Land is a summing up of the lessons Judt learned from his lifetime of studying and analyzing the 20th century.

Short and to the point, the book is a brutally honest description of our world today: what we’ve we’ve surrendered as a society and who we’ve surrendered to.

Given the hellacious election season now underway in sad and mad America, what Judt says about politics and politicians pierced like a honed dagger.

Below is an excerpt describing our current crop of “leaders” that really caught me.

Ill Fares The Land

By Tony Judt
pg 133-135

The men and women who dominate western politics today are overwhelmingly products or, in the case of Nicolas Sarkozy, byproducts of the ’60s. Bill and Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown are all ‘baby boomers’. So are Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the ‘liberal’ prime minister of Denmark; Segolene Royal and Martine Aubry, the bickering challengers for leadership of France’s anemic Socialist Party and Herman Van Rompuy, the worthy but underwhelming new President of the European Union.

(more…)