Thursday, September 28, 2006

putting my mouth where my money is

Blogging just has to go for a while. If you get a call from someone at asking you to vote, roust other voters or just generally get busy electing a congress that can arrest the slide of our democracy toward fascism, that someone might be me. Probably won't be me 'cause there are a lot of us at these phone banks but just maybe.

You could help us out yourself!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Real Security

So an "inevitable" milestone has been reached. Who, by the end of the first year of the second Iraq war could not have predicted we would lose more American lives in the war than in the attacks, even though that war really had no sound cause in those attacks? But now that the grim number has arrived nearly on the exploited milestone of the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, what understanding have we demonstrated about those lost lives? Have we at least honored these innocent lives by assuring that lives will not be so easily wasted by those who hate us?

No life is more precious than one which can be given up to save the lives of others.

The lives our fighting men and women have willingly offered in the belief that it was their duty to help and in hope that they would somehow make this awful butchery henceforth impossible are such precious lives. The very least thing we owe them is to use our intelligence and our effort in every sphere of influence beside the battlefield to make sure that their sacrifice does buy some kind of peace, does diminish the heartless hatreds and wounded pride that drove the al-Qaida attackers. Quite simply, Bush and his policies have done the opposite. As precious as those lives wasted by murderous jihadis on September 11 were, Bush is wasting even more precious lives. Who will step up for our defense when we can't be sure it is necessary or correct to fight a war? Who will step up for our defense if they have seen combat will make things worse instead of better? It is from that wasting of lives, as well as of wealth, that we will come to feel our weakness. The war stalls on two fronts: we did not execute or supply a war effort that could have kept peace or forestalled insurgency and we have sapped the will of Americans to support the now completely discredited intentions claimed for the war.

hat tip to Sister, since I have not been able to get at my huffpo feed this week.

21st Edition of Carnival of the Liberals!

And by now you know better than to take my word for go read it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

no thyself

High holidays are looming. When they do, this old joke makes the rounds:
The rabbi was preparing for the day of atonement. In the deserted sanctuary, he stood before the ark and prayed softly "How careless I have been with my self and others this year! My efforts have been self serving yet I am like a nobody, I am as nothing when I stand before my G_d". He went to a pew in the shadows and sat in contemplation. Noticing this little drama as he passed the santuary door, the cantor was moved and thought it was time for him to also get into spirit of the holy days. He went before the ark and made a similar, more fervent confession and then went to sit quietly in the pew behind the rabbi. The janitor had taken all this in from the choir loft [hey, its reform here!] where he had been dusting. He too was stirred by this and went down before the ark to plead his insignificance in broken English. Then the cantor turned to the rabbi and said "Hey...look who thinks he's nobody!".

I observe that none of the Abrahamic religions have a monopoly on loud humility nor on the quiet practice of kindness to others. Self denial and self abnegation are however, still a focus on "I" if only by casting a shadow rather than a spotlight. "I am nothing" can be a powerful clinging to the illusions of self.

Do not say "no" to yourself and think you are through. Forget you ever thought you had a self and start working.

Monday, September 11, 2006

How to serve just desserts

Try to honor all claims. Do not dispute announced intentions. Repeat them taking great care that all will know whom to credit for them. Leave the dishonoring to those same mouths that make the proud pronouncements.

I find nothing more damning of the current administration's claims and agendas than their old press photos, their own words and those of their revered predecessors. [No, you probably don't spend enough time reading Crooked Timber.]

Truthless is toothless.

I have taken a little enforced break from trying to be who I might be to reprise who I once and often and strenuously was.

Now I know. What seemed like engagement was distraction. Even chopping wood and hauling water, done until one falls blistered and bone weary into bed, can be illusion: only the fatigue is real. The purposes get away from you like a bushel of slimy little fish you try to gather in your bare arms. The accomplishements become someone else's and mock your longing backward gaze.

There are moments when I doubt I know anything at all. What chutzpah to write sayings and protest the cruel stupidity of others. These are long dark moments. But truthless is toothless. The truth is slightly more than nothing yet so much simpler than the hungry crowds, the goverments and the godplagued have asked us to believe--I must keep on.

Iran is emboldened to advance its little empire because it watches the US stumble in Iraq and sees clearly that truthless is indeed toothless.

But if I say nothing and Cheney says nothing that is true, how different are we two?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Don't strike out, psych out.

Some say you should always spit out anger. Some say you should just swallow it. I see both approaches fail and anger only growing. I say never open your mouth to let the anger in.

Some say anger is like strength. Some say anger is our protection against hurt. I see the angry among us do most of the hurting. I say stay with the hurt, looking right at it, so you may pull it up by the roots like a weed.

Some say fear makes cowards of us. Some say we all have fear but the cowards just can't be in the same room with their own fear. I see that pain is real and fear is unreal, just the contemplation of pain. I say learning avoids the pains that are avoidable, fear only defers pain and wisdom barely distinguishes pain from other sensations, regarding all as learning aids.

This blog will self deconstruct

I hate to raise my voice. You'd hardly guess it from my run-on blathering here but I am, in person, taciturn and most inclined not to confront others over little differences. I have all the politcal instincts and training of a cabbage. But it seems even cabbages have feelings. I wanted my blog to be the me I don't usually get to be. But even then, I wanted to avoid feeling cheap when I looked back and saw a trail of angry words.

That turns out to be difficult because [a] I am reactive as much as proactive, [b] there appear to be several underexpressed personalities walking around in this skin and [c] that ADD thing I mentioned in my very first post may be evident in the numerous proposals that crop up here and there in my posts but are then accompanied by lax follow-through.

What to do? This blog wanted to not stray too far from analyses and sentiments that offered a light but steady cargo of liberal values by asking and answering on sundry social and political issues "Given the way we humans operate, what is most fair and enduring understanding and course we can adopt?" Meeting that objective at all, let alone doing so in a calm tone of voice has proven beyond my powers. I don't think shrill works. I am still going to try to avoid it. But I am going to diaper that attempt, carry it out in a different container so that the voice heard in this particular blog is more consistently the abstract, hopefully insightful me that I work for with paltry results. The more partisan and topical stuff will, if I can maintain such a deliniation, henceforth appear in the idle A Bomb A Nation blog. That was always the intent of that blog but with an important election coming up, my ongoing failure to speak softly would really begin to pollute Executioners Thong with shrillness that turns stale within a day of its posting. Success of this attempt will be for others to judge, I expect to fail, as I have all along. The difficulty is that philosophy and politics both devote a significant portion of their energies to questions of what is the "right" perspective or the "right thing to do" and in this pursuit may each tackle exactly the same question with the real distinction being the practicality of politics vs the
theoretical of philosophy and the populations of politics vs the personal in philosophy. But persons and voices may be distinct, whatever they speak of. Perhaps a sign of success would be more exclusive mention of friends in ET and more exclusive mention of the dispicable and their fans in A Bomb A Nation

This leaves a technical problem for the RSS feeds that point here. We will experiment with that a bit so nobody has to adust their reception who does not want to feed exclusively on my amateur polemics.

[and yes, the carpentry got done, the painting got done, the carpet went in on schedule this morning...but the home[improvement]work is still eating the blog]