Sunday, August 31, 2008

Vinyl Cafe

Last night I listened to an extraordinary radio program on WFYI, Indianapolis's NPR station. The Vinyl Cafe is a show that originates on CBC in Toronto. The host's name is Stuart McClain.

It would be an injustice to call Stuart the Canadian Garison Keiler. Both men are outstanding communicators but where A Prairie Home Companion is 80% entertainment and 20% human interest, The Vinyl Cafe is 80% human interest and 20% entertainment.

At any rate, I urge you to find the show on your nearest NPR station. It's on WFYI Saturday evenings at 8 PM.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Book Review

The Way of the World The Way of the World by Ron Suskind

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
If you read this Pulitzer Prize winning journalist's most recent book, be prepared to experience a myriad of uncomfortable feelings -- grief, shame, anger, fear, embarassment, sadness, helplessness. The Way of the World ultimately is a story of greed and incompetence in and around the White House and betrayal and cowardice by the people who work for the man who lives there.

This is a story full of revealed lies and subterfuge. It is a story of how the freedoms Americans cherish were wiped out, not by a foreign enemy but by fear mongering at the highest level of government and through executive orders.. It is about a Congress that abrogated their responsibilities because they trusted a commander-in-chief who this book proves was not to be trusted.

Warning: If you rtead this book, it may be difficult for you to believe your government again. That may be the saddest thing about it. What a legacy for George W. Bush!

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Presidential Elections

Let me preface this short commentary by announcing Ron Paul was the candidate I would vote for in November if the GOP had the wisdom and courage to nominate him. He is the only Republican I would vote for.

In 1992, I worked tirelessly and voted for Ross Perot. In 1996, I wrote in Bill Bennet for president. In 2000, I voted a straight Libertarian ballot. The 2004 election was crucial and I didn't want to squander my vote so I held my nose and voted for John Kerry.

The last Republican Party endorsed candidate I voted for in a presidential election was Ronald Reagan. Before the gipper, Richard Nixon got my vote. I voted for both in two elections.

I never could bring myself to vote for George Bush the Senior. He and his family profited from the savings and loan debacle. He was a bigger crook than Tricky Dick. George the Junior didn't get my vote in 2000 or 2004, not because he is a crook but when he was Governor of Texas he showed himself to be a complete nincompoop. In 2004, a combination of his total ineptness and extreme lack of veracity that turned me off.

This year, for the second time in my life, I intend to vote for a Democrat. I cannot stand the idea of anything ressembling four more years of Junior. Since John McCain has been the president's lackey, senate-vote-wise, for the past eight years, why would I expect him to change?

And our country desperately needs change. Bush's stupid war in Iraq has demoralized and nearly decimated our army, an army I proudly served in from 1968 to 1988.

I protested the Iraq War before Bush even began it, by marching in an anti-war parade in San Antonio in early 2003. After he started his war and my former comrades started coming home in body bags, I continued to protest it through letters to editors, members of Congress and the president himself.

If we had stayed the course in Afghanistan, kept our eye on the prize, instead of going to war with Iraq, the number of terrorists would have greatly decreased. Instead, Bush created a cause celeb for every freedom hater on the globe and turned a country into one big training ground for terrorists. One result of the Iraq War is now we have more anti-American terrorists in the world than we had before 9/11.

It's bad enough that Bush started an unprovoked war with his dubious pre-emptive strike against Iraq, he lied, more than once, about his justification. The Iraq War is the single biggest disaster ever perpetrated by a United States president.

Now I don't know if Barak Obama will make a good president, but its a good bet he will be a damned sight better than the yahoo who has held the office for the past seven years and eight plus months. That's why he is getting my vote.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

An Open Letter to Clinton Supports

Dear Clinton Voters Who Now Support John McCain:

"Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." That adage came to mind when I saw a Hillary Clinton supporter announce in a political ad that she is now going to vote for John McCain.

Although I am not a member of any organized party (I am a libertarian-leaning independent), I can't help but feel sorry for the Democrats. Because this and a few other backers of Senator Clinton didn't get their way, they petulantly abandoned their party's choice even though he mirrors most of Clinton's ideals.

McCain is the very antithesis of Clinton and Obama. Yet this woman, who can't stand not getting her way, abandons her party to stump for him.

This woman had no interest in the country. She obviously supported Clinton because she was a woman. No doubt she would vote for any woman on any ticket, be her name Ann Coulter or Minnie Mouse.

This phoney democrat would rather give George Bush four more years in power by supporting his Republican surrogate than to cast her ballot for real change and voting for Obama.

The Republicans have effectively turned our democracy into a totalitarian state by skillfully playing on the fears of its citizens. Bottom line for this woman in the political ad is this: Lady, to elect John McCain guarantees four more years of bad government.

Clinton Supporters -- better you sit this election day out then take America further into the abyss. Please spend November 4 in bed pouting rather than going to the polls and casting a vote for John McCain.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Book Review

Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism by Sheldon S. Wolin

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Despite the fact the theory set forth by the author describes what I have believed for some time has happened to my country, the journey he takes the reader on to defend his premise is very disconcerting indeed. From the beginning of the book, he compares The Triumph of Will, a pro-Nazi propaganda film of the 1930s with the May 1, 2003 performance by President Bush on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln beneath the backdrop of a huge banner reading "Mission Accomplished."

The author is careful not to actually compare Bush to Hitler, but he does introduce the concept of "Inverted Totalitarianism." His theory is the Bush regime's politics and style of governing mirrors the totalitarianism of Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini. Wolin goes on to aver this new style of totalitarianism could very well be an "epitaph for democracy in America."

The book points out that "Fascism is the product of democracy gone wrong, that had working constitutional systems which they gave up voluntarily." Wolin says recent studies have argued that "democracy has contributed importantly to the rise of Nazis and Fascists, and even served as a preparation." The same citizenry which democracy had created, proceeded to vote into power and then support movements openly pledged to destroy democracy and constitutionalism.

Bush's response to 9/11, in a very real way, caused thye perversion of America's democracy. "...Elements of invereted totalitarianism could not crystallize in the absence of a stimulus that would rouse the apathetic just enough to gain their support and obedience," says Wolin, "The threat of terrorism supplied that demand."

The Bush Administration used a document called The National Security Strategy of the United States (NSS), issued in 2002, to declare the president's intention to "reshape the current world and define the new one -- 'In the new world we have entered, 'it declared grandly, 'the only path to safety is the path of action.'" Wolin says at that instant, a new world [order?] had been born and the old world had been superceded.

This new doctrine was "an attempt to reshape the existing political system by enlarging the powers of the executive branch of government, including the military and policy functions, while reducing the legal protections of citizens."

Wolin explains how Bush used the elements of fear and power to "promote an awesome concentration of state power and authority" by representing that outcome as the product of popular consent. He made the only other alternative out to be chaos. Terrorism became Bush's boogeyman and scapegoat all rolled into one.

Wolin states "[Iraq] was fated to be selected as a testing ground..." In the NSS, "unilaterally, the United States declares it is justified in reconstructing the infrastructure of other societies." First, we subjected Iraq to awesome destruction, then after we destroyed the nation we went to work to try to reconstruct it into the an Islamic democracy.

What Wolin doesn't mention and may be the biggest wrong in the entire Iraq debacle: It was the American CIA that originally put Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party in power in Iraq, in the late 1940s. I guess you could say we built it, we broke it, now we are going to try to fix it.

Other evidences of the inverted totalitarian nature of what our republic has become is the belief that preemptive wars are alright, America can violate treaties and ignore international law. Wolin calls this the Superpower mentality.

The author accurately points out the Iraq War had its origins not in Southeast Asia but in Florida "where power without legitimacy was first envisioned. That was when power brokers found out that, if sufficiently determined, they could overcome the inhibitions of democratic constitutionalism." Perhaps if Al Gore had won the election of 2000, America might still be a democracy.

Democracy, Inc. is a serious and important work that can only contribute to our understanding of how and why the Republican Party has hijacked our country. The author holds out little hope that we can convert our country back into a democracy from the inverted totalitarian state it has become. I'll be damned if I vote for a Republican this year!

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Book Review

In Justice: Inside the Scandal That Rocked the Bush Administration In Justice: Inside the Scandal That Rocked the Bush Administration by David Iglesias

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
It's quite bad enough that the Bush Administration turned out to be the most inept in the history of the republic, but when you add his corruption into the mix, you get a toxic recipe that not only adversely affects the evil-doers in the executive branch, but also poisons the democratic process and those who try to make that process work honestly and ethically.

In Justice is about a bad president gone worst, how he and his immoral political operatives and appointees ruined the honor and reputation of the Department of Justice and ruthlessly killed the careers of several honest US Attorneys. It also reveals how certain Republican members of Congress let dirty politics replace any patriotism they may have had.

David Iglesias's story clearly demonstrates the old adage, "Honesty is the best policy." If Bush had demanded at least a modicum of ethical standards of not only himself, but of the men and women who worked for him, this book would never have been written and the president would not have had the distinction of being the most unpopular president in America's history.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Book Review

Mama Rock's Rules: Ten Lessons for Raising Ten (or Less) Successful Children Mama Rock's Rules: Ten Lessons for Raising Ten Successful Children by Rose Rock

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Rose Rock is comedian Chris Rock's mama. She raised seven children and this book tells you how she did it. It may be the most important child-rearing manual since Dr. Benjamin Spock published his seminal work.

Moma Rock's Rules ius chock full of practical advice that will make any mother's job much easier. If a parent took half the tidbits called "Mama's Mojo" that are spread throughout the book and put them to use, he or she would find raising his or her child a piece of cake.

In 10 informative chapters Mama Rock does what a whole season of Super Nanny tries to do. Each chapter includes a summary of rules and strategies at the end. I like the way the book is laid out almost as much as I do the incredible information contained in it.

If you are serious about parenting and want to raise some great kids, buy this book. At $22.95, it is a great investment in your child's future.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Book Review

The Insanity Offense: How America's Failure to Treat the Seriously Mentally Ill Endangers Its Citizens The Insanity Offense: How America's Failure to Treat the Seriously Mentally Ill Endangers Its Citizens by E. Fuller Torrey

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
In the mid 1960s, America began emptying and closing its mental hospitals, all in the name of civil rights. California was the first state to do so and by the mid 1980s, the other 49 states had followed suit.

The author calls this "one of the great social disasters in recent American history." It has created at least 175,000 homeless mentally ill men and women in this country, many of whom become victims of violence -- muggings, rapes, murders. Many of these same mentally ill are responsible for an increased number of violent crimes against their own family members and other hapless citizens.

Let's look at some statistics from California:

* California has 38,000 sverely mentally ill homeless living on its streets on any given day -- mostly in LA and San Francisco.

* About 9,000 severely mentally ill individuals who are in dire need of treatment are incarcerated in California's county jails. That's about 11% of the total jail population.

* Worse, about 32,000 severely mentally ill inhabit California's state prisons. That's about 20% of the total of state prisoners.

* Between 1970 and 2004, severely mentally ill individuals who were not receiving treatment were responsible for 4700 California homocides. Each year they commit some 120 more murders.

Each state has its own mental illness statistics that when added to California's paint a grim picture indeed. Our concern for the civil rights of the mentally ill have caused tens and thousands of innocent American citizens to lose one of their most precious rights -- The right to life!

Torrey uses statistics, court records, news reports and other sources to hammer home the seriousness of this problem. If cold statistics are n ot enough, the book also contains poignant interviews the author had with the mentally ill, their families and their victims. One only needs to read this troublesome book to realize the system isn't working and needs to be replaced before it creates even more victims.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Lest We Forget

A Place Called Waco: A Survivor's Story A Place Called Waco: A Survivor's Story by David Thibodeau

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have the distinction of having been at Mount Carmel in 1993 during the seige, covering the trial of the Branch Davidian 11 in San Antonio in 1994 and being in Jonestown, Guyana after the massacre there in 1978. I doubt anyone else can truthfully make that claim.

Like David Thibodeau in his Waco book, I also wrote about my experiences in Jonestown LINK. I found David's work to be much more compelling than mine. I did meet him once, maybe twice, as well as two elderly ladies who survived the seige. I found David and Catherine Matteson, who I interviewed at length, to be honest spiritual souls who were totally committed to their beliefs.

David's book is a compassionate and passionate account of what I have always believed is the most blatant example of religious persecution of an American religious group since the Mormons were driven from New York to Utah. Thank you David Thibodeau. Because of your work, the past will not be forgotten.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Y'all are CRAZY!!!

State of Confusion: Political Manipulation and the Assault on the American Mind State of Confusion: Political Manipulation and the Assault on the American Mind by Bryant Welch

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
The author makes the case that the US electorate (at least the ones who were scared into voting Republican in the last presidentail election)are collective victims of a mass psychosis that was purposely caused by the right wing.

He makes his case well. I am proud I am one of the sane voters who didn't vote for Bush and I certainly hope everyone who did will take the time to read this book and hopefully have their pyschosis cured.

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Bad Medicine

Healthcare, Guaranteed: A Simple, Secure Solution for America Healthcare, Guaranteed: A Simple, Secure Solution for America by Ezekiel Emanuel

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Anyone who disbelieves the American healthcare delivery and payment systems are terminally ill has never been sick themselves. American medical technology is arguably the best in the world, unfortunately the systems that bring it to the consumers are flawed.

The author uses government and industry statistics and facts to prove it. If facts and figures were not enough to get his point across, he presents heartbreaking personal anecdotes of patients throughout the country who have been victims of the American medical mess.

In Chapter 1, the author points out:

* American healthcare costs more per citizen than it does in any other country in the world. Switzerland comes in second, spending 50% less per capita than the USA.

* The infant mortality rate in the USA is two times that of Japan, Sweden and Norway.

* The USA has a lower life expectancy rate than Japan, France Canada or Germany.

* Annually, the USA has a higher percentage of people die from diabetes than any other developed nation in the world.


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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Read This Book!!!

Right Is Wrong: How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America, Shredded the Constitution, and Made Us All Less Safe Right'>">Right Is Wrong: How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America, Shredded the Constitution, and Made Us All Less Safe by Arianna'>">Arianna Huffington


My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ms. Huffington has written a veritable compendium of right wing sins committed over the years of the Bush Administration that have literally ruined our country militarily, economically, diplomatically and culturally. I did not truly appreciate the breadth of the evilness nor the depth of the ineptitude of the right in general and the Republican party in particular until I read this book.

Not only does this self-confessed former Republican cogently describe the damage far right wing politicos have caused our country, she also exposes how the hapless news media conscioulsy and unconsciously contributed. Reading this book will also make it apparent that Republican presidential candidate, John McCain is nothing more than an old fashioned politics-as-usual demagogue who not only flip flops on issues but, a la Bush and his ilk, are not above lying and saying what it thinks the voters want to hear to get elected.

Please, please PLEASE read this book before you vote in November.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Can You Say 'Sudatanland?'

Russia knew exactly what it was doing a week ago yesterday when, in reaction to the Republic of Georgia's military incursion into the Atonomous State of Ossentia, it sent troops into two separatist regions of Georgia. It's a safe bet the military minds of the Kremlin reviewed their history of World War II and assessed the ability and willingness of the rest of the nations of the world to react before sending its 'peacekeeping' troops and their tanks, artillery and MIGs into South Ossetia and then Georgia itself.

Now Condi Rice is trying to convince the president of Georgia to sign a peace deal that allows Russian troops (peacekeepers?) to remain in the separatist states and parts of Georgia for six months. This agreement could have been authored by Putin himself. And Rice claims she's an expert on Russia? It seems to me that Bush and Rice, although they don't realize it, are dancing to Putin's song.

Wait a minute. Ther's more! Since Poland has decided to allow the USA to install a missle defense system on the former Soviet satellite's territory, another dangerous aspect has been added to the region's troubles. Was it really that important we get these missiles into Poland at a time when the region is broiling over? Is Iran really poised to nuke Israel or Europe? Make no mistake, this senseless and unnecessary agreement approved by Poland yesterday did absolutely nothing to foster peace between Russia, its pro-western former satellites and the USA.

In fact, Russia says the Poland/US defense pact will not go unpunished but it doesn't say who will be punished. You can bet a truck load of Polish sausage it won't be the USA. But the big question is what will or can the USA do to protect Poland?

Like the Russia/Georgia War, this military geopolitical clash between Putin and Bush is far from over and Russia is in the catbird seat.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Non-Interventionalists 1 - Butchers 0

Imagine my pleasant surprise when I heard the health reporter on Channel 6 News announce last night that a new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) says angioplasty is not as efficacious as medication in treating chest pain. Well, quite frankly, that's been known by the patients of the late Howard Wayne for many years.

In 2004, a well-known and respected invasive cardiologist in Indianapolis tried to coerce me into receiving a quintuple coronary artery bypass graft to treat my angina. The whole story is reported in this blog so I won't go over it again. If you are interested, just read this blog from the beginning.

What I do want to discuss is the naivity of the Channel 6 health reporter. She thinks this will decrease the number of angioplasties performed by cardiologists as they opt to use medication in their treatment rather than the invasive procedures they now use. WRONG!

That might be true if the motivation of the physician was to treat the patient in the best way possible. Unfortunately, many of these invsive cardiologists are not motivated by treating you right, they are motivated by money. Angioplasty and bypasses make doctors and hospital piles and piles of money. Writing prescriptions does not.

Bottom line, remember what I've been preaching all these years -- if your doctor wants to cut, get a second opinion from a noninterventionalist cardiologist!
Living Longer with Heart Disease: The Noninvasive Approach that Will Save Your Life Living'>">Living Longer with Heart Disease: The Noninvasive Approach that Will Save Your Life by Howard'>">Howard H. Wayne


My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Another great book by a great cardiologist who exposes medical terrorists for what they are. This was Howard Wayne's first book. Published ten years ago, it was very controversial when it first came out. Wayne was criticized by colleagues who disagreed with him. It is great to see that after a decade, an article in the Journal of American Medicine proves Wayne was right all along.

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How to Protect Your Heart from Your Doctor How to Protect Your Heart from Your Doctor by Howard H. Wayne

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Dr. Wayne literally saved my life after I turned to him for a second opinion. My cardiologist told me that despite a strong heart, since my coronary arteries were clogged, I needed a quintuple bypass to cure my angina and prevent an imminent heart attack, stroke or death. I opted for Dr. Wayne's treatment and remain alive and kicking more than three years later.

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Do You Really Need Bypass Surgery? A Second Opinion Do You Really Need Bypass Surgery? A Second Opinion by Howard H. Wayne

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Always get a second opinion when cardio-thoracic surgeons want to cut. To say Howard Wayne was a pioneer in the treatment of heart disease and angina is an understatement. To say he was courageous and doggedly persistent in his beliefs will be obvious when you read this book.

This book will save your life if you let it.

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Broken Promises - Delayed Peace

Russia now says it is going to remain in the disputed autonomous regions of Georgia it occupied last week. The other day it sang a different song.

"To the victor go the spoils," is an old adage of war and Russia is apparently believing there are no other countries with the wherewithall to challenge this thought, decided to change its mind.

In fact, Russia continues to occupy Georgian cities and territories two days after it signed a peace agreement to pull back to positions it occupied before August 8. Again, who will enforce this agreement?

The US government is sending humanitarian aid, responding quicker to this crisis than it did to the plight of the American victims of Hurricane Katrina. Don't be surprised if the Republic of Georgia doesn't receive more aid from the USA than did the residents of the Gulf Coast.

Bush obviously has received a double injection of testosterone since the Russian/Georgian War began. White House saber rattling is getting louder by the day.

Condi Rice is globetrotting and adding to the outraged rhetoric for all the good it is doing. As Vladamir Putin said, "Blah, blah, blah, blah."

And remember, dear reader, the Republic of Georgia precipitated all this on August 6 by sending its forces into South Ossetia. It looks like America will be paying for Georgia's mistake.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


It is far easier to talk peace than to make peace. Each side in the Russian/Georgian war is accusing the other of violating the cease fire it both agreed to.

The United Nations has been extremely silent. It is like a eunoch in a roomful of nymphomaniacs. No matter how badly he wants to do something, he is ill-equipped to do so.

The president of the United States is akin to a Daddy Warbucks eunoch. He condemns, threatens and throws money at the problem but his mantra is so old, no matter how many billions he offers to rebuild, he also is unable to get an erection.

The European Union diplomats, led by the French, have done little more than build up their frequent-flyer miles. And we know these airline perks don't go as far as they used to.

Russia and Georgia continue to throw accusations at each other and civilians and soldiers alike on both sides continue to be slaughtered. Where and when will it end?

Book Reviews

Culture Warrior Culture Warrior by Bill O'Reilly

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
A well written book. I was pleansantly surprised.

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Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism by Sean Hannity

My review

rating: 1 of 5 stars
I couldn't finish this sorry book. Hannity is a naive literary lightweight with a jingoist agenda. He comes to faulty conclusions. I don't think he and 99 other chimps could write a decent book if they were locked in a roomful of typewriters for a thousand years.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Stupid Wars

Stupid Wars: A Citizen's Guide to Botched Putsches, Failed Coups, Inane Invasions, and Ridiculous Revolutions Stupid Wars: A Citizen's Guide to Botched Putsches, Failed Coups, Inane Invasions, and Ridiculous Revolutions by Ed Strosser

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I finished reading this book last night. It covers stupid wars from the Fall of the Roman Empire in AD 377 thru the attempted Soviet Coup against Gorbachev in 1991.

No doubt, a second edition will include the Republic of Georgia's 2008 incursion against South Ossetia. I'll bet President Scharivezi of Georgia wishes he could turn the clock back a week before he foolishly sent his troops into the Autonomous Region of South Ossetia.

Of course, the little, but incredibly brutal and destructive war isn't over yet, despite Russian president Mededev's pronouncement that his country's objectives have been met. These include:

* Protecting Russian citizens in South Ossetia and Russian "peacekeepers that were sent there.

* Destroying Georgia's military capacity to attack and occupy South Ossetia.

* Remove Georgian troops from the two autonomous regions in question.

* Punish Georgia for its agrression against and occupation of Southh Ossetia.

I fear it isn't all over yet. Oh, Mededev has promised to end hostilities and pull his troops out of Georgia but that hasn't happened yet and Russia aircraft and artillery continue their missions in Georgian territory.

With the west's response limited to diplomacy and vague threats against Russia and NATO and the USA's willingness and ability to enforce demands extremely limited, one must wonder what motivation does Russia really have to end hostilities?

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Monday, August 11, 2008


The USA? With an American president who thinks the Russian prime minister is his buddy, an American military already stretched beyound capacity in its multi-front war on terrorism and a European Union relying on France to broker peace, the answer is, "No one."

Russia is claiming its troops in Ossetia are peacekeepers. The Russian government is making the case to the world that it is in South Ossetia in the role of peacekeepers defending an autonomous state filled with citizens who hold Russian passports who were attacked by the Republic of Georgia two days before Russia sent those peacekeepers in.

Anyone who doesn't see a comparison betwee Russia and Nazi Germany of the 1930s is holding a white cane or using a guide dog. With Russia's apparent quick success against the former Soviet state of Georgia, with its American trained and equipped Army, other former Soviet satellites and their neighbors must be waiting for more shoes to drop.

The world has only Georgia to blame because it started the whole ball rolling last Wednesday when it sent troops into South Ossetia in the first place, giving Russia all the excuse it needed to put Georgia in its place. If Georgia fails to obtain military support from NATO (and time is rapidly running out) which it was close to becoming a member of, Russia will take that as a sign that other former states who continue to receive aid from or are sympathetic toward the USA, can expect the same treatment it is now handing Georgia.

In a very real way, the globe is closer to a world war than it has been in 65 years.


My day begins before the sun is up as songbirds outside my window announce the coming of another dawn. It ends long after that orb completes its westward journey, hours after the last cardinal has gone to roost for the night.

While he sleeps, I darken my room and wait for another sound, the first, faint mournful whistle of a freight train as it approaches a highway about a mile from where I lay. The sound of its huge diesel engines grows as the train nears and rumbles by, sounding its whistle once again until it becomes a vibration on the rails, leaving me in silence until the next freight rolls by.

This nightly procession repeats itself two, sometimes three, times before my nightly meditations are replaced by dreams. I don't know if its the trains or dreams or my angry bladder than wakens me around 3 AM, but I rise, relieve myself and go back to bed again to meditate while I wait for the final dreams of the night, the ones that come before the sun is up as songbirds outside my window announce the coming of yet another dawn.

Must Read!!

The New Cold War: Revolutions, Rigged Elections, and Pipeline Politics in the Former Soviet Union The New Cold War: Revolutions, Rigged Elections, and Pipeline Politics in the Former Soviet Union by Mark Mackinnon

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Anyone who doubts the significance petroleum plays in the most recent conflict between the Republic of Georgia and Russia need look no further than the subtitle of this book -- Revolutions, Rigged Elections, and Pipeline Politics in the Former Soviet Union. The pipeline in question is the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC)and it would not have been built without the financial and military support and backing of the USA.

When it came on line on May 25, 2005, the BTC pipeline was the longest and most expensive ever constructed. It was built at a cost of $3.6 billion. Is it any wonder that the USA supports Georgia in its most recent clash with Russia?

If you want to learn the real reason Bush backs Georgia, begin with this well-documented book. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to better understand the significance petroleum plays in world politics.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Book Review

Great American Hypocrites: Shattering the Big Myths of Republican Politics Great American Hypocrites: Shattering the Big Myths of Republican Politics by Glenn Greenwald

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
If you are an American voter, this m ay be the most important book you read this year. You must read it before you go to the polls in November. Not only that, you must get your friends, neighbors, co-workers, acquaintances and complete strangers you meet in the mall or supermarket to read it too.

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Georgia on My Mind

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post on my Nigeria Safety & Security Update blog in which I said every future conflict will be over petroleum. A few days ago, Georgia (the former Soviet state, not the one in the southern USA) sent troops into South Ossetia, a separist region it surrounds.

Virtually all of the residents of South Ossetia hold Russian passports, ergo, they are Russian citizens and it is perfectly natural for that country to defend its citizens from Georgian aggression. Georgia is also an ally of the USA, a fact that prompted President George Bush to come to its defense, at least rhetorically.

Guess what Georgia has in common with Afghanistan and Iraq? No, they are not all part of titles of songs sung by Ray Charles. That's right, all three countries are major players in the petroleum business. Afghanistan and Georgia have significant gas and crude oil pipelines that run through their countries and Iraq is a major source for petroleum and natural gas.

This burgeoning conflict may be the most serious threat to world peace since Bush invaded Iraq and manipulated the American people with lies to justify that war. I'll be the Darfurians wish they had oil under their sands.

I do not believe Bush caused Georgia to invade South Ossetia. He's stupid, but he's not that stupid. I don't think he will provide troops or weapons to Georgia either. Oh, he will bluster and threaten to do that but the fact that our military is spread thinner than the ice Bush frequently finds himself standing on is a great deterent to American military involvement in Georgia.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Book Review

The New Blue Media: How Michael Moore,, Jon Stewart and Company Are Transforming Progressive Politics The New Blue Media: How Michael Moore,, Jon Stewart and Company Are Transforming Progressive Politics by Theodore Hamm

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
If you are fans of Michael Moore, Al Franken, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, The Daily Kos and or The Onion or if you despise Bill O'Reilly, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Maureen Dowd, or Rush Limbough, you will love this book. I did.

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Book Review

The Kingmakers: The Mainstream Media and the Road to the White House The Kingmakers: The Mainstream Media and the Road to the White House by Mike Gravel

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
When America's news media fails to do its job, it becomes an enemy at least as lethal as the terrorists our country purports to be at war with. By allowing Bush and his cabal to control them, journalists allowed them to wage an illegal war in Iraq with impunity. In a very real way, the news media's malfeasance, neglect, sloth and incompetence caused hundreds and thousands of deaths.

View all my reviews.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

It's a good bet President Bush wishes he still owned the Texas Rangers. It hasn't been George's best week.

First, Pulitzer Prize winning author, Ron Suskind, revealed the Bush Administration ordered the CIA to lie in a letter designed to give Bush a reason to attack Iraq.

Then, in what was touted by the president and his men to be a trial of one of the most dangerous terrorists being held at Gitmo, Bin Laden's driver has the most serious charge against him thrown out and is sentenced to a few months more than the time he has already served!

Coincidentally, I started reading Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myth of Republican Politics (Crown Publishers) by Glenn Greenwald today. Guess what president is colorfully caracatured on the book's cover?

By the way, the Texas Rangers are 11 games out of first place in the American League's West Division. But at least they are in second place!

Life Goes On...

or so I'm told. It's been a rather rough year. I won't rehash my medical conditions, they've already been mentioned in my last post.

I won't expand on or reveal any more compulsions, obsessions, addictions or other bad habits I've been fighting of late either. Suffice it to say, at this point, I think I've fought them to a draw.

I appreciate the 10 comments that were made about my last post of July 24. I never realized there were so many people out there who thought so well of me.

My days have been taken up with reading for the past several weeks. In the morning, I go to my nearby local public library to return the books I read the day before and check out new ones. Then I go back to my small apartment and spend the rest of the day, late into the night, reading.

I listen to NPR religiously. Sometimes I write letters to the editor of the local newspaper in the little town where I now live. I post the books I read on my wordworks2001 page at, sometimes with a short review. I don't own a TV.

In September, I plan to begin publishing the revision to my book on my Ghosts of November blog I hope to complete the project before the 30th anniversary of the Jonestown Massacre -- November 18.

Most of my days are spent in introspective solitude. I go days without discourse or conversations with other human beings. Exceptions occur occasionally when I go to the supermarket or laudrymat. In fact, the last time I used my voice was a week ago tomorrow when I visited the local laundry. I have no telephone.

This may seem like I difficult lifestyle, especially to those who know how gregarious I am and how much I enjoy talking. I love conversation! But I've also grown to appreciate aloneness as well.

My life has become a meditation. Silence has become a gift I truly treasure.

I invite you to participate in or at least observe my simple life by reading my posts on this blog and checking out the revision of my book on the Ghosts of November blog.