Thursday, May 29, 2008

New Posts

I promoised I had a plethora of posts ready.

Read below for all of them. Or check out the list to the right.


Huckabee's Comments at the NRA

OK, I know all the talk has been about Hillary's statement about teh assaination of RFK in '68; but I think the real coment that should have been played was Mike Huckabee's. (Who by the way was also invited to McCain's VP try-out BBQ last weekend, but was going on a cruise with his wife--political naivete or just confident he doesn't have to "go through the motions" of interviewing . . .we'll see.

But anyway, back to his comments. He was at an NRA meeting and there was a loud noise or bang heard off-stage. Huckabee said: "That was Barack Obama. He just tripped off a chair. He's getting ready to speak and somebody aimed a gun at him and he -- he dove for the floor."

Now he apologized for making a "bone headed" remark, but I think it is telling about the man, his character and the fact that todays fundamental Christian-right were yeterday's "Segregationists" and last century's "State's Right-ers".

I think Mike Huckabee is a good man, but I think there is a problem in ANY philosophy where that kind of joke could even be possibly thought of and delivered.

I went to see Obama in Tampa!!!

Last Wednesday I was priveleged to go to an Obama rally in Tampa. It was awesome. 20,000 people in attendance. I was right behind the stage, on the front row. I got to shake his hand and we got tons of pictures--I'll try to get some posted.

He was every it as inspiring in person as he is on TV. There was not a group he did not cover and his IDEAS are just as powerful as his WORDS.

I hope that our country is smart enough to elect this man to be President. I am sure he will make mistakes, I am sure more flaws will show themsleves; but for what he is wanting to accomplish, for where we are, and where we want to be--I think he is the man who can take us there.

If he comes anywhere near you, make the effort to go. We got up at 3:30 and drove 3.5-4 hours to Tampa to be there 4 hours before the start of the rally. AND I WOULD DO IT ALL AGAIN!!!


The Problem with Islamic Extremism As I See It

All religions have fanatics; and good points. The difference as I see it is that while Christianity has somewhat moved into a new paradigm and modernity recently--Islam in the Middle East has largely not. This coupled with the friction always existing between "western" Europe and the Islamic east (since ancient times) has served to escalate the issue. Bush and the neo-cons trying to give religious credence to this hasn't helped either!
Part of the issue is we need to get off our high horses and remember our history, even in this country--let alone that of Christianity--has not been as noble and progressive as some are arguing.
That DOES NOT mean western civilization is not the most advanced (in some areas) up to this point--I for one would rather live ANYWHERE in the western world than in the Middle East. But it CANNOT mean that we ignore the contributions they have made and their potential to make more.
Americans are somewhat blindsided by our relative youth. Iran traces its civilization back to Persia (as you all know); but imagine how that must feel. Look at how we react to the surge of India or China or the resurgence of Russia. Just because Iran has been largely third world in our lifetime; doesn't mean that the people there don't know there own history and know that before our "founding fathers" even set foot on this continent--their civilization had invented many of the discoveries we take for granted today.
Is Islamic extremism wrong--ABSOLUTELY--should the Arab leaders/nations do more to help their people and openly condemn Islamic Extremism--ABSOLUTELY But it is also healthy for us to humble out a bit--put down the flag and cross and realize we are not exactly innocent and also look at how our best intentions might be misunderstood or miscommunicated to the Arab/Islamic audience.

A Pacifist's Appeal For a Practical Approach to War

Just to make it clear . . . liberals are not talking about not defending America and not fighting terrorism. We're saying we have to be smart when we do so.
We cannot fight them half-feartedly or with pumped up patriotism (see the South prior to April 1860.
We have to be smart--nee' smartER.
If we are indeed destroying terrorists at a slower rate than they are joining up--we are failing.
This was one of the blunders of the British army in the American Revolution. Our Continental Army didn't line up on one side and blast away til last man standing--they fought undercover and smarter and the British didn't/couldn't adapt.
The same is true now, NO I am NOT saying our Continental Army were terrorists but they were insurrgents. We have to SHOW that we are smarter than the British were in the 1770's. We must adapt and we must fight the terrorists smarter. Fear mongering, holding on to failed policies and not approaching the quagmaire of Iraq honestly will not help. AND let me ask everyone--"Would the surge be as effective if Muqtada al'Sadr hadn't also declared a cease fire around the same time?" Petreus, McCain and the rest of Bush's war machine aren't mentioning that!
By the way--I am a pacifist personally--but am practical that war is not always avoidable.
I would just hope we would never enter into it casually (oops to late) or fight blindly (dang, two for two).

Christian-Right focus on Revelations and End Times

As a Pentecostal raised person I would be remiss if I didn't speak to the unique role Revelatiosn and "end times" plays in our culture and theology. As a child I remember attending the evangelical equivalent of haunted houses: "Tribulation Hoses" which were designed to scare the SHIT out of you and get you saved in some room with faux clouds, cheezy praise music and black lights, along with the requisite actor playing Jesus. In classes and sermons we did all the analysis about the anti-christ and Babylon rising. I think this is what Rove/Delay/Rumsfeld/Bush and Cheney didn't quite get--a lot of those Christian-right backing their support REALLY believe all this. They (some of the Christian-right)wanted us into Iraq because they felt it was fulfillment of biblical prophecy. I had been hearing sermons my whole life about how America will be "embarassed and taken down a notch" before the 2nd Coming.

Then also, the whole Obama anti-christ tie-ins fit right in.
I am not saying everyone should be liberal--we need conservatives and moderates for discourse--but someone needs to do something about these right wing nut jobs--they are dangerous. At the very least we eed to realize who we're getting in bed with, who Republicans are getting in bed with? What A LOT of the Christian Right believes, etc . . . They are not into suicide missions and may be more "advanced" than Muslim insurrgents--but some of their rhetoric and philosophy is scary and dangerous all the same--trust me I know, that is where I came from.

What the FUCK is wrong with protecting civil rights!

Why is the choice always framed as "What's more important - politics or a nuke at a major sporting event?" when dealinng with civil rights, national security and foreign policy.
The issue is not that liberals don't have concern for public safety and strong defense, but rather the way it is gone about.
There are already laws and procedures in place that allow for clasified wiretapping and getting a "subpoena" after the fact.
The issue Liberals have with this administratio is it is violating OUR (yours and mine) civil rights. We are not opposed to the government doing what is needed to protect us from terrorism, we just don't think civil rights should be a casulty--but when we say that--Bush and the rest come back at us with "politics" and make it out like we're in favor of terrorists nuking sporting events.

Here is my argument to the Bush/McCain politicians,conservative pundits and policy makers and conservative/evangelical voters: why not sit down and take our concerns into account--believe that we are not in favor of letting terrorists run unchecked; and we'll give you the credibility that you are not trying to run a police state. There are valid points in both camps--and this is exactly what Obama is and has been saying. But what we won't accept (and shouldn't from ourselves or conservatives) is more of the "painting with the political wide brush."

Liberals have NEVER said you have th RIGHT to call terrorists. We do say we have procedures in place and we should be open to discussing strategies that will indeed protect us--but NOT at the expense of civil liberties. It is not one or the other--we can and should have both.

Benjamin Franklin said "The nation that trades civil liberties for security will recieve neither." that is the tenant I am operating from.

This indeed is absolutely fundamental. This is why we have checks and balances; why we should want an independent judiciary.
If given this right to randomly collect at his will--with no deference to the rule of law--then who can say who will be next. We need to remember, ESPECIALLY in this time of "terror" that it is not the president who RULES, but the People and the RULE of LAW.If not we follow the Romans and our Senate becomes a rubber stamp while the plebes are having bread and circuses.
Most conservatives/Republicans do not want the all powerful executive; but the flaw (at least as I see it) is the argument Bush and the rest have that we are to "trust" that they will not abuse it:
"Give us this ability to protect you--we promise we don't want facism any more than you do."
2 Problems with that:
1> Power corrupts--absolute power corrupts absolutely.
2>What about the next guy? What about the next war? What about dissent? It is not hard to see that this could and would be abused.
Which is all that Liberals are saying. We're not trying to tie anyone's hands or help teh terrorists.
1> You are covered under the current process and laws2> If there is a loophole; lets figure out HOW to close it without denying the people their rights.
If we give up our rights, are we really American? and if we give up our rights, then what the HELL are we fighting for?

Fear mongering would be us stating unequivocally that "VOTING FOR BUSH's WIRETAPPINGS IS TURNING US INTO NAZI's"
We are not Nazi's and are not "sounding the alarms". We are debating WHY FISA is in place and does and can work, and why there is no need for liberals to be painted as "pro-terrorist" or the American people to have to choose between a nuke free sporting event and freedom. I personally want both.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Premonition or Just the Same Gripe?

I found this letter, that I wrote in January of 2004 (before the Kerry/Bush election)

Thought it was interesting:

The case for America's crimes could be made from> our> state sponsored assainations and attempts, our> support> of dictators and installing puppet regimes, on our> playing God on the world stage and damn the> consequences; BUT what about the crime of NOT doing> the right thing, of not supporting the ideals we set> forth in our Declaration of Independence and> COnstitution, of not being a leader instead of a> bully, of not helping our fellow man. We left> Afghanistan to waller in their own filth after they> helped us by getting rid of the Russians, and look> at> the price we paid, and yet we do it again, complete> attention has been turned from Afghanistan to Iraq,> why because we only keep our attention where the> action is, Afghanistan is conquered and subdued for> the moment we can leave them alone but we played> that> game once before and we payed a heavy price.> In the Middle East they call Ammerica the great> Satan, and the Christian right goes bezerk, but in> Islam Satan is not the harbringer of evil, and> antithesis of GOd he is in Evangelicalism, he is a> trickster, a deciever, someone whol lies and> manipulates you for his own good, to get his way. > Do> we really need to draw out the comparison anymore,> just> in that description of their concept of Satan we> stand> accused and condemned and yet we still do NOTHING.> > MY GOd, I am so taken over by this grief and anger. > The scales need to fall from the eyes, we need to> wake> up the apathetic voting bloc, Damn the ignorant> masses> for the time being we've got to get ourselves above> water. I don't do enough, not just to help right> the> situation but to help my fellow man. I let my voice> and cry be diminshed because I'm concerned with> status> quo, I'm guilty becasue I don't say enough, or I> don't> say it loudly. WHO will speak for the Truffula> trees,> the tres have no tongues they can't speak for> themselves, or the Brown Barbaloots, or the> SwammeeSwans or the Humming Fish. I should be> speaking louder lest I regret my attempt like> Schindler, I should be shouting louder lest ther be> no> one to speak when they come for me.> We stand at a crossroads, with unimaginable power,> yet> we have lost respect. and how do we remedy that? by> demanding it, by forcing it, by fear, by conniving,> by> subversion, by ignorance! I repeat the prayer of> St.> Francis of Assisi "God grant me the ability to> change> the things I can, accept the things I can't and the> wisdom to know the difference" All too often I've> looked at that from the standpoint of not fighting> some battles, of accepting life, and while that is> true, the converse is true as well. We ned to look> at> the things we accept and seee if they can be> changed.> My heart will not stop crying out, beging for a> voice, yearning to right the wrong. Where are the> true patriots, the ones willing to stand up for the> universal rights and betterment of man. Where is> our> Thomas Paine, where is our Common Sense. And dare I> say it, not in literal sense but figuratively where> is> our Brutus, where is our well meaning believer who> only wants to save the republic? Where is he, the> one> who with altruistic purposes joined the conspirators> against a comrade because he was first a friend of> Rome. I do not advocate violence of any sort, and> I'm> being more literary than literal, but where are our> patriots?> I know I'm preaching to the choir, I know I'm a> voice> crying in the wilderness but surely I'm not speaking> in vain, surely there are others who feel as> passionate, why don't I know them, why aren't I> involved. I must be a Thoreau lest by my inaction I> am judged a hypocrite or worse, a conspirator by> apathy> and inaction, by those who come after me.> It is WE the people not THEY who hold power, THEYonly have power when WE give it to them. I must bemore active as a WE, I alone will not help fight the"THEY" For the sake of the WE, we must shout loudenough to wake US up!