Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bush-Cheney Myths ...

That torture made America safe ...

That the surge brought us "victory" of sorts in Iraq ...

Read HERE for a fascinating review of these preposterous ideas ...

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Evangelical Hoax

Evangelical Christians are under intense pressure to offer a Jesus better than any other Jesus, and a way of life full of power and miracles ... but it's just not the way it is: it's illusion rather than reality:

From recent research:

Teenagers who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are just as likely to have premarital sex as those who do not promise abstinence and are significantly less likely to use condoms and other forms of birth control when they do, according to a study released today.

The new analysis of data from a large federal survey found that more than half of youths became sexually active before marriage regardless of whether they had taken a "virginity pledge," but that the percentage who took precautions against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases was 10 points lower for pledgers than for non-pledgers.

"Taking a pledge doesn't seem to make any difference at all in any sexual behavior," said Janet E. Rosenbaum of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, whose report appears in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics. "But it does seem to make a difference in condom use and other forms of birth control that is quite striking."

Once again, the vaunted "evangelical" better-than-you promise is revealed for what it is - nonsense.

I am a Christian, but the "selling of Christianity" like cars - "bigger and better" has gotten the evangelical wing of the church into deep trouble - they've promised more than they can deliver and they've done great harm to a whole generation of children - sure, they didn't beat them with switches (maybe they did); they just backed them into a corner from which they escape as all humans do - just by being human.

There is good news ... there is grace for human beings being human ... there is grace for us all ... just as we are.

Bush Fails Right to the End

With the latest over-the-top aggression by an incoherent Israel, Bush tells Hamas to lay off the rocket attacks, and if so, this will bring about a peaceful resolution.

That's like telling the hens to lay off the fox for awhile - sure, the rockets hurt, but now there are 300 dead Palestinians and how many more wounded - many times more than dead and wounded Israelis.

Let's be truthful - Israel, illicitly founded in 1948, has been America's bad boy ever since, and with tacit American approval, Israel is bent upon eradicating both Palestinians and Christian Arabs within its boundaries.

Not every Israeli favor this madness, but the henchmen of death hold all the cards.

A two-state arrangement - "yes, yes" everyone says, but Israel will never allow it, and as long as America refuses to both challenge and protect Israel, this will be "war to the end."

The brutal treatment of the Palestinians is inexcusable and continues unabated, and when Palestinian resentment and despair reach a boiling point, then American jumps all over them, "condemning" the violence and cheering on the Israelis, to keep the Middle East destabilized, because a Mid-east in turmoil is beneficial to the Neo-con dream of oil domination. A peaceful Middle East would pose an enormous threat to our hegemony, just like the European Union does.

As long as the neighbors are fighting amongst themselves, we're at liberty to pick their apples, and if they get a little fussy about it, we just stir 'em up a little bit more - see HERE for a BBC article.

American policy is abysmal - a failure in every respect, and though I believe Israel to be an illegitimate state, it exists, and there's no going back in time.

The Palestinians need restoration; they need to be freed from their virtual imprisonment in Gaza and elsewhere, and Israel needs to protected.

This could be accomplished in a heartbeat, but for the lack of American resolve and the madness gripping much of the current Israeli leadership.

Check out THIS for more insight ...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

From Huffington Post ...

Laissez-Faire Capitalism Should Be as Dead as Soviet Communism

The collapse of Communism as a political system sounded the death knell for Marxism as an ideology. But while laissez-faire capitalism has been a monumental failure in practice, and soundly defeated at the polls, the ideology is still alive and kicking.

The only place you can find an American Marxist these days is teaching a college linguistic theory class. But you can find all manner of free market fundamentalists still on the Senate floor or in Governor's mansions or showing up on TV trying to peddle the deregulation snake oil.

Ideologies, by definition, never work, simply because they're conjured up in the mind with a perfect universe, and in a perfect universe, either Marxism or Laissez-Faire Capitalism would work.

A strong economy will be a working partnership between the conscience of Marxism and the energy of Capitalism ... a realpolitik rather than ideology.

Toyoto Takes a Hit

New York Times -

In the United States, for example, it has halted work on a plant in Mississippi and enrolled idled employees in classes at its truck factory in San Antonio, because fewer of them are needed on the production line.

Analysts said the industry shake-out was likely to get worse next year, with weaker companies being forced out of business or acquired by stronger competitors.

The Southern Autoworker will feel the pinch, and who will go to bat for them?

Monday, December 22, 2008

More About Unions

So, the Prez wants the unions to make further concessions, to bring themselves into line with the transplant auto companies.

Union busting is the heart and soul of the Southern Repubs ... why?

Look, the Southern auto worker is making good money ONLY because of the UAW in the north.

But if the UAW is dismantled, or further weakened, guess what? We're gonna see southern wages and benefits slashed.

The worst thing that could happen right now is to force the UAW to surrender its worker protections, because all workers, everywhere, will suffer ... while the rich folk dance on its grave.

Meanwhile, billions more for Wall Street.

Make any sense?

Only if your a fascist! Government for the rich, by the rich, of the rich!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What DOES the Bible Say?

Click HERE to see my post in a Facebook discussion for a group working to repeal Prop 8.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Union-Busting #2

Senator Phillips Corker, Jr, a millionaire real estate developer, led the fight to defeat the bailout. While enjoying the best of the best, he tells millions of middle class auto workers to take a wage cut and surrender benefits. And apparently it all came down to a timeline. Ron Gettelfinger, head of the UAW, has given plenty of ground since becoming head of the UAW in 2002, but Corker, resolute in his effort to bush the UAW, stood his ground and the deal went down.

Who is this FRESHMAN senator from Tennessee? A millionaire ... a fascist ... and a (you fill in the blank - just about anything low down and dirty will do).

Betraying a huge GM plant in his own state ... but let's put the pedal to the metal - I wonder how many of those folks are so-called Reagan Dems - voting Republican for ideological reasons - the Pro-Lie position? Religious reasons? Evolution?

Who knows, but Tennessee went Republican ...

Okay, enough ... what was was.

But can it be? The Repubs putting in the last few nails on their fascist coffin?

Whatever one thinks of the auto industry, it's a huge part of America, larger than the Wall Street Jungle and the twenty- and thirty-something goons that broke our back.

Millions of hard-working, honest Americans, making their housepayments and sending their children to college are in jeopardy because wealthy fascists are plotting to bring even more foreign auto plants to the south, with the promise, of course, that unions won't interfere.

I'm pretty disgusted, and I hope you are, too.

Union-Busting Southern Republicans

Let's be honest. The GOP (Greedy Old Party) has never been about workers, but only capital. In other words, they're fascists, pure, plain and simple. Billions for Wall Street, but not a dime for Main Street.Link
Here's a great quote from Robert L. Borosage at the Huffington Post:

What was the sticking point? It wasn't getting rid of the CEOs that drove the companies into the ditch. It wasn't forcing the creditors to cut their loans in exchange for stock, giving them a stake in the future. It wasn't accepting an auto czar to enforce the agreement and drive a transition to fuel efficient cars. That was agreed to. No, led by benighted Tennessee Senator Bob Corker -- known previously solely for his "call me" race bait campaign ad that helped him win election -- Republicans wanted to break the union, and punish the workers.

And why?

The South is emerging as a major player in the auto industry, but non-unionized. With plenty of new plants and more on the way, the Southern labor market is enjoying an unusual prosperity, and when it ain't raining, who needs a union.

In time, as the work force ages, and questions of retirement and medical benefits emerge, we will witness a new climate for unions. When this younger work force experiences the harshness of the corporate world - a world devoid of compassion, driven as it is by Wall Street, they will begin to ask, "Who will defend us after we defended the company? Who will go to bat for us after we've spent ourselves for them?"

We see this emerging with FedEx employees. There was a time when FedEx employees received the same wages as UPS (unionized), but with the slightest vagaries of the economy, wages and benefits have been stripped away like a child pulling leaves off a branch. Suddenly, a union looks pretty good, but it's an amazing story how the head of FedEx, Fred Smith, crafted the company in partnership with fascist elements in our government - I mean Repubs, and all those silly and foolish Reagan Dems - to make unionizing a very difficult process. A brilliant and evil man.

But the Teamsters are working hard in conjunction with local groups to come to the defense of the FedEx employee. Check out the work of CLUE (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice) and LAANE (Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy).

The crudeness and callousness of corporate America is a poison in the American soul, and justice is the antidote.

I write this blog as a Christian, and I know that justice is the heart and soul of a living faith. A faith without justice, a faith that talks Jesus and fails to build a Jesus world is an imposter of the worst kind. Women and men of faith everywhere need to take up the cause of American workers, and workers around the world.

Perhaps there was a time private companies had some compassion for their workers, but that element is long gone in publicly traded corporations.

Sure, the auto companies made plenty of mistakes, but so did Wall Street, and no one clamored for wage concessions for Wall Street employees. Granted, some Republicans weren't too keen on bailing out Wall Street either, because core Republican philosophy is essentially Darwinian - survival of the fittest. While fighting Darwinism in the schools, the Repubs practice it economically with a passion.

Sure, poorly managed companies ought not to be rewarded, but a bailout for the auto industry isn't a reward, but a means by which a new industry might emerge, and new unions also, in partnership with a new government.

With a disdain appropriate to a medieval despot, Southern Republicans are throwing the north away - a final battle in their Civil War.

Lincoln was right: the economic philosophy of the South was corrupt, and it still is. Fascist to the core!

What with all the last-minutes rules emerging out of the twisted remains of the Bush Administration, the fascists are well on their way to adding their final flourish to the mess they've made. In their dash to the finish line, implementing more failed policies in a near-suicidal craze - like an insane lover - "If I can't her, you can't either."

Oh for a new vision of life, a vision of compassion and cooperation - recognizing the role of a real government, of the people, by the people and for the people.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A President with a Heart

President-elect Obama has issued a statement about workers at a Chicago factory (Republic Windows and Doors) - they deserve what they've worked for.

Here's a bit more of what Obama said:

"When it comes to the situation here in Chicago with the workers who are asking for their benefits and payments they have earned, I think they are absolutely right," Obama said Sunday at a news conference announcing his new Veterans Affairs director. "What's happening to them is reflective of what's happening across this economy.
    "When you have a financial system that is shaky, credit contracts. Businesses large and small start cutting back on their plants and equipment and their workforces. That's why it's so important for us to maintain a strong financial system. But it's also important for us to make sure that the plans and programs that we design aren't just targeted at maintaining the solvency of banks, but they are designed to get money out the doors and to help people on Main Street. So, number one, I think that these workers, if they have earned their benefits and their pay, then these companies need to follow through on those commitments.
    "Number two, I think it is important for us to make sure that, moving forward, any economic plan we put in place helps businesses to meet payroll so we are not seeing these kinds of circumstances again,'' he said. "Have we done everything that we can to make sure credit is flowing to businesses and to families, and to students who are trying to get loans? And to homeowners who have been making payments on their homes but are still finding their property values so depressed that it becomes very difficult for them to make the mortgage payments?
    "That's where the rubber hits the road and that's going to be the central focus of my administration."

Amazing - we have a President with a heart, and we will all learn that heart matters. We will see our economy recover, with benefit for all the people, not just the upper tier. What has happened since the Great Liar is a travesty, a crime of now imaginable proportions - the pillaging of the once-great American economy.

A union official said: "Here the banks like Bank of America get a bailout, but workers cannot be paid?" said Leah Fried, an organizer with the union workers. "The taxpayers would like to see that bailout go toward saving jobs, not saving C.E.O.'s."

But then this follow up by Bank of America: ... "Neither Bank of America nor any other third party lender to the company has the right to control whether the company complies with applicable laws or honors its commitments to its employees."

Talk about evasion of responsibility ... but this much I know: they'd care and they'd get involved if the company didn't pay them.

The American financial industry has become a-moral,  without moral orientation, and therefore immoral ... it's all about money, and that's a dark pathway for them, and for the nation as a whole.

The wheels of God's justice turn slowly but surely ... and if, like the ancients, we begin to think that God isn't looking at us, that God doesn't care what we do, we compound our error and further the injustice. It isn't just about doing something for the sake of doing something; it's doing what's right, because what's right works, and works well.

Justice is profitable.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Best and the Brightest?

A thoughtful op-ed piece by Frank Rich ... delineating the difference between intelligence and wisdom. Calling on some parallels between Kennedy's and Obama's team-building, Rich reminds us that "the best and the brightest" failed Kennedy and the nation. Be sure to read his last paragraph. With a team so bright, it will be all the more imperative for Obama to be sure the buck stops with him.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Chambliss Wins Georgia

Chambliss wins ... America loses ...

A disappointment, but not a surprise ... those crackers would as soon die in a failed economy then to give up their pro-lie positions and low taxes mythologies ...

Clearly a win for the palintologists ... and Neanderthal christians ...

Oh well, for a spiritual break, read Jan Karon's book, "Home to Holly Springs."

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Jack Lessenberry, a Michigan journalist, wrote recently of the grim Michigan economy (click HERE), and had this to say about the auto executives in Washington:

The automakers arrived to beg for a bailout. Pasty and blank-faced, looking alike and lacking a clue, they flew in on their corporate jets. That's something like renting a top hat and tails and showing up at Cass Corridor mission and asking for Thanksgiving dinner.

They looked like jackasses, in short. They tried hard to add to the perception: Alan Mulally, the hired gun Ford brought in from Boeing, said his $21 million a year was about right. (Lee Iacocca asked for a salary of $1 a year when Chrysler was seeking a bailout.) None of them was willing to give up the corporate jets. And Rick Wagoner said changing the leadership of these companies wasn't necessary.

I heard Jack speak some years ago when Jennifer Granholm was elected governor at the end of 2002 - he said something like this: Granholm will inherit an economic mess that is not likely to be solved with any easy solutions.

Jack has always been able to put his finger on the essential nature of an issue, and I remember so clearly the sense that our economic mess, not only for Michigan, but for the nation, was going to take in some mighty dark places.

Jack's words have become painfully true for Michigan, for the United States, and because of us, for much of the world.

The Reagan House of Cards has come tumbling down.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

UAW - Give 'em a Break

Folks in Detroit have been giving one another lots of concessions ... but the biggest hit in the last ten years has been on the UAW - the gals and guys who actually build the cars we drive.

White collars have felt it, too - plenty of downsizing and cutbacks all over the place ...

But what I hear these days reflects a wretched bias against unions - that if only the unions would go away, we could have labor nirvana ... and business, of course, "will take care of its workers."

Bullshit, if I may say so.

We easily forget the hideous history between labor and management, and we forget that labor money is trickle down money - the working folks buy the homes, the TVs, the golf clubs and everything else that drives America's middle class economy.

But the moneyed buy $27,000 bathtubs (yup, saw it advertised the other day) or $25,ooo wrist watches - that doesn't trickle down very well.

Without the unions, there'd be no middle class.

When the Great Liar (Mr. Reagan) busted the Flight Controllers Union, he added another brutal, selfish, chapter to the American story and it's prejudice against the working class. Even a lot of the working class bought the story for a long time - everyone wanted to be rich, so many of the working class felt that if they gave up their union, Mama would take care of them.

But what we see with Wall Street and the latest from the auto execs, when they actually get out in public - they don't give a damn about the folks working for them. They care deeply about themselves, sustaining their preposterous lifestyles, and keeping up appearances for the sake of their investors.

I think we ought to bail 'em out and then buy 'em up! The working millions need our support, and it's time for Uncle Sam to set the pace!

Michael Moore has it right - we need a World War 2 approach - the government has to tell them what to build - not only hybrids and hyper efficient cars, but mass transit - to rebuuld the nation's infrastructure. We've done it before, and we can do it again.

Obama the Articulate

I enjoyed this chuckle piece ...

Stunning Break with Last Eight Years

In the first two weeks since the election, President-elect Barack Obama has broken with a tradition established over the past eight years through his controversial use of complete sentences, political observers say.

Millions of Americans who watched Mr. Obama's appearance on CBS' "Sixty Minutes" on Sunday witnessed the president-elect's unorthodox verbal tick, which had Mr. Obama employing grammatically correct sentences virtually every time he opened his mouth.

But Mr. Obama's decision to use complete sentences in his public pronouncements carries with it certain risks, since after the last eight years many Americans may find his odd speaking style jarring.

According to presidential historian Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota , some Americans might find it "alienating" to have a President who speaks English as if it were his first language.

"Every time Obama opens his mouth, his subjects and verbs are in agreement," says Mr. Logsdon. "If he keeps it up, he is running the risk of sounding like an elitist."
The historian said that if Mr. Obama insists on using complete sentences in his speeches, the public may find itself saying, "Okay, subject, predicate, subject predicate - we get it, stop showing off."

The President-elect's stubborn insistence on using complete sentences has already attracted a rebuke from one of his harshest critics, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska .

"Talking with complete sentences there and also too talking in a way that ordinary Americans like Joe the Plumber and Tito the Builder can't really do there, I think needing to do that isn't tapping into what Americans are needing also," she said.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Prop 8

Something I posted to Facebook in response to a query about being a Christian and being pro-gay:

Precisely as an avid follower of Christ - he made it clear that marriage and family, though important, were not the last word in God's scheme ... family could be the source of one's greatest opposition - Jesus reminds his followers to be prepared to "hate" the family, that is, "reject if necessary" ... and when asked about who would be married to whom by the Sadducees, he says there will be no marriage in heaven.

As a Christian, I have looked long and hard at the relevant Scripture, including the Leviticus material which you well know also condemns a farmer who sows two kinds of seed in the same field and anyone who wears two-fabric clothing. The Bible says everything, so, in effect, it says nothing, until we put our hand to it.

If there is a final law, our Lord said it: Love ... love trumps all other laws!

I stand with Paul when he wrote his letter to the Romans - they accused Paul of being a libertine - what with his grace, they suggested that he was allowing anything to have a go. Paul rightly protests, but Paul is clear: if an error of judgment is going to be made, he makes it on the side of grace, not of law.

He'd been there, done that ... and after being "enlightened" on the Damascus Road, he opts for grace first.

I'm not sure any of this addresses your questions, and I have long since ceased trying to dissuade or persuade anyone ... but I try to bear witness to the Lord I love.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Having lived in Detroit from 1990 - 2006, I know something about the unions and the companies which have labored long and hard to eradicate them.

Without the unions, there would never have been a middle class.

And in the last 15 years, the UAW has surrendered millions of dollars in wages and benefits to the selfish demands of management who've taken increasingly larger and larger chunks of the pie, while ignoring the public cry for better cars and pandering to the sickness of the Street (Wall, that is, not Main).

The upper levels of auto management, along with their fellow crooks at Wall Street, have plundered their companies while padding their own pockets, all under the blessing of Reaganomics, one of the greatest lies ever created, and one of the most tragic turns in the American story.

The Unions strove for wages and benefits appropriate to the profits being made, and when profits began their plunge, the Unions reduced where they could, but not management, as we see with their corporate jets and perks so carefully created and hidden from public view.

The blame for the present debacle must be laid at the feet of an arrogant leadership contemptuous of America, forcing more and more relinquishments from their workers, and forcing 3rd and 4th tier suppliers to outsource their work, putting millions out of work ten years ago.

Take a look at Flint, Michigan to see how GM pillaged a once-viable community, while deflecting the blame to the workers, pocketing the profits, enjoying their benefits on the backs of millions of middle class Americans.

Michael Moore has it right - we need a World War 2 approach - the government has to tell them what to build - not only hybrids and hyper efficient cars, but mass transit. We've done it before, and we can do it again.

But only when we all awaken to the reality: We are our brother's keeper!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Stevens Defeated

Good News.

I breathed a sigh of relief upon reading of Alaska Senator Steven's defeat. This secures an additionally needed seat for the Dems and avoids the possibility of She-Who-Won't-be-Named appointing herself in his stead, had he had been elected and then removed by the Repubs.

Though the good folks of Alaska have been much maligned as of late - and some of it well-deserved - there are lots of good and decent folks in that fair state who can see a far better vision for America than that proposed by the GOP and the religious ideologues who have taken control of that party.

Now, if only Franken can clear the Minnesota recount, and if the Dems can take the runoff race in Georgia.

And, by the way, I find it amazing, if not exhilarating, to hear the names of FDR and Lincoln so frequently included in political discussion as Obama takes office.

These are critical times, and only great leadership, like FDR and Lincoln, will see us through. I believe Obama is up the task.

Monday, November 17, 2008


The Republican Party is in a state of total collapse.

It's principle literary energy - The National Review - is without moral compass with the loss of the two Buckleys, one by death (Bill) and the other by resignation (Christopher) after his endorsement of Obama.

Palin continues to flap her wings, a parody of herself.

Mike Huckabee has a new book coming out - click here - but it's full of old ideas. Though he tries to move beyond the ideology and orthodoxy of the GOPalin group, preliminary reviews indicate that the GOP is very tired, and very irrelevant to the times.

He proposes a sales tax rather than income tax. Sound simple? I suppose it is, but it's discriminatory toward the poor, because in a sales tax structure, the poor always pay more than the rich - ten dollars out of a hundred is a whole lot more than a hundred out of a thousand, and so on. The biblical observation holds true: of those who have much, much is required.

And Biden was right - it IS patriotic to pay taxes, just like it's right to pay for your groceries. The Reagan lies - that we can have everything we want, without strings, without cost, without taxes - is the greatest lie every told, and the greater story, however, is that so many of us believed it.

The Greedy Old Party - for now, put it to rest and let it alone. Who knows, in another ten days, Palin will have disappeared from the media - let her hunt moose (hope she misses like she did in the campaign - the moose deserve a better life than being a trophy for her raging ego and limited intellect).

It's time for thoughtful and mostly liberal folks to understand that we've won a major victory, crossed a bridge no one knew to exist five years ago, and it's time for a new vision for America - not an ideological vision, but a NEW New Deal fit for the times - a globalized economy, environmental degradation, wars and rumor of wars on a regional scale rather than some post-Depression world war; the need to narrow the gap between the haves and the have-nots, health care, education and a well-regulated Wall Street.

Toward this end, I believe that Obama will bring a depth of thought and creativity - not to mention, civility - with the persona of authentic conviction long needed in the White House.

It will take years - the New Deal required a lot of time, and incurred a number of missteps along the way, but the New Deal rebuilt the nation - though a World War likely contributed mightily to the renewing of the economy.

As for the bailout, we need to put a lot of cash into the public sector - mass transit, bridges, school, playgrounds - to put folks back to work. Even an auto bailout, with plenty of strings, would be far better than paying the bills of Wall Street's greedy stupidity.

We have a chance.
America has a chance.
The world has a chance.

Let's make it work.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Dick Cavett has written a New York Times piece, The Wild Wordsmith of Wasilla

A brilliant piece expressing his utter surprise at Palin's popularity.

It's an entertaining article as he reviews her interviews ... what with sentences going on and on long after thought ended.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mormon Church and Prop 8

The role of the Mormon Church in the passage of Prop 8 is now being uncovered, and it's quite a story.

Click HERE to see a fine NY Times article offering the details.

An interesting piece of the puzzle as well - the sister of chief strategist for Prop 8, Frank Schubert, is a lesbian.

From the article:

For his part, Mr. Schubert said he is neither anti-gay — his sister is a lesbian — nor happy that some same-sex couples’ marriages are now in question. But, he said, he has no regrets about his campaign.

“They had a lot going for them,” Mr. Schubert said of his opponents. “And they couldn’t get it done.”

Was this just a game he was playing, for the fun of it, to see who could win?

Is this not about life and liberty?

I wonder how he sleeps at night?

When the dust settles and folks have had a chance to think about it, many who voted for Prop 8 will come to regret it. The campaign was saturated with lies, and the biggest lie of all: We're not against gays; we're for marriage.

I battled this in the Presbyterian Church some years ago when we passed our "faithfulness in marriage and chastity in singleness" amendment to our constitution - I said then, and say it still, the proponents of this measure were not interested in marriage or sexual purity, but in crafting a device to effectively bar gays and lesbians in a relationship from seeking ordination.

The cause of good is never served by lies, and shame on Frank Schubert and his organization, and shame on the Mormon Church and a variety of evangelical groups, who engaged in falsehood to promote their version of the truth.

A sad day for California.

A sad day for our nation.

Do what you can to overturn the measure.

And, remember, if the popular voice had won the day, interracial marriage would still be illegal in many states, folks of color couldn't buy homes in white neighborhoods, and women would have had to wait many more years to vote.

And it was the people who voted for Hitler and all of his lies.

This is why we have court systems and legislatures - we elect and/or appoint such folks to help us think through the larger issues.

We are a nation of representative democracy - not mob rule.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Prop 8 - May It Be History

A new organization is taking root to undo the passage of Prop 8 here in CA.

Here's their web site ... check it out, and if you're so inclined, join with us to end this sad moment in CA history.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mormons, Catholic Bishops and evangelicals - Argh!

Thanks to the Mormon and evangelical churches for sinking millions into the Prop 8 effort.

Now the Catholic bishops take on Obama and his views on abortion (click HERE).

I am a Christian, have been a Christian all of my life, but I have never been in one of these camps.

They don't speak for me, they don't speak for millions, nor do they have the last word on the Bible, or anything else for that matter.

The simple reality: the Bible says everything, so, in effect, it says nothing, until we put our hand to it. Jim Jones of Jonestown put his hand to it, and so did Mother Teresa. Take your pick, if you will, but the point is this: there's no automatic pathway to the truth. Neither the president of the Mormon church or the pope in Rome can claim some special revelation or right of interpretation.

I am a person of generous spirit and have tried throughout the years of my ministry to be a builder of bridges - to any and all groups of faith, but at what point does one recognize the difficulty, if not the impossibility, of trying to befriend a viper.

As I reach out, they pray for the salvation of my lost soul.

As I try to build a bridge, they dig a deeper ditch?

As I articulate a gospel that welcomes and includes an array of thought, they articulate a gospel that excludes me and likely sees me destined for hell.

At what point does one say: too much is at stake to let this one go?

Is it time for folks all around the world to stand up and put a stop to the power-plays of the very groups who would take away our freedoms in a heartbeat, who would undo American democracy for a theocratic dictatorship? They are not, and have never been, the friends of American democracy - only using it to protect their own interests. That Democracy should defend the rights of those who would destroy it is the particular genius and burden of Democracy - a marvel these groups cannot, and will not, understand.

I have no clear answers, but I'm distressed.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

What Happened to the Repubiican Party?

The Wall Street Journal has published an excellent piece noting the decline of the conservative intellectual once represented by William Buckley et al. The recent selection of Sarah Palin as a VP candidate and then tauted as a potential leader of the Republican Party reveals the decline of the right into populist anti-intellectual demagoguery.

A thoughtful article full of quotable quotes - check it out HERE.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Obama and the Economy

I'm 64, and can't recall a time when a President-elect had quite so much on the plate. I believe comparisons to Lincoln and FDR are appropriate.

The headlines this morning: Obama calling on economic experts for their advice.

It's going to take a lot of cool-headed thinking to find an approach, likely, multiple approaches, to resolving the world's financial crisis brought about by ideological thinking.

As Greenspan noted in his recent testimony to Congress, "everyone has an ideology."

That's true, but some ideologies are spelled with capital letters and others are a bit more fluid.

When Greenspan admitted that his Ideology, held for forty years, was flawed, he might well have said, "Any Ideology, spelled with capital letters, is flawed." Life doesn't yield to superimposed models (see Chaos Theory). Life requires a fluid, responsive, approach - a commitment to principles, but a willingness to revise the game plan and made lots of mid-course adjustments.

What we've seen since the halcyon days of Reagan has been an IDEOLOGY - ill-thought, never tested in a complex modern economy, looked upon as foolish by our Allies, and for my take on things, essentially fascist - the linking of business and government via the instruments of deregulation and low taxes. The fatal flaw of Greenspan's Ideology: what's good for business will be good for everyone.

Now is not the time for Ideology ... now is the time for intelligence.

Does Obama and his team have what it takes?

I believe so, but only time will tell.

The magnitude of our problems is immeasurable ... it took a long time for us to get here, and it will likely take some time for us to find our way through and out.

But I am heartened by Obama's style - to consult with the best and to think his way through, reminding us with the truth: it will take time - a year or two, maybe even the first time. This is the kind of honest talk we've needed to hear for a long time.

If confidence-building is one of Obama's primary tasks, it will be done with the truth!

And, as Jesus said, "the truth is what sets us free."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Free at Last

The river turned a bend last night ... for me, like waking up from a bad dream ... 8 years of insanity, not only for our nation, but the whole world who rejoices with us right now.

I think historians will mark this election as one of the most significant in our history, and with that, the Neo-Con Repubs have been put out to pasture. Libby Dole is gone; my only disappointment is Minnesota - a goofy third-party candidate diverted enough votes from the Dem to return Michele Bachman to Congress - she will be isolated and with few allies, but the real loss is Minnesota's 6th District - their voice in Congress has been seriously compromised.

Our friend from Germany called yesterday to say, "We're all praying for Obama."

What a joyous day ...

Hats off to McCain - his concession speech revealed the real McCain - I think he will be a major part of America's healing ... and Palin? She's history - she'll be a star on the fried chicken circuit - but unless she changes her tune, she's a has-been.

What a glorious day for our nation ... yesterday, the real America lifted its head to let the world know that the last 8 years have been an aberration, not the norm.

America the Beautiful ... another chance to be great in the best sense of that word.

Obama's the man who will lead us into the 21st century.

Monday, November 3, 2008

I'm Tired

I'm tired.

I hope Obama wins ... I'll be saddened beyond despair if he doesn't ... and gladdened incredibly if he does.

The Reagan/Bush web of lies cannot go on much longer. It has already proven disastrous for the nation and the world ... yet so many Americans continue to believe it's lies of small government and low taxes. Surely a formula for ruin, yet lies have life - and it takes a resolute effort to undo them, their tentacles wrapped tightly around the brain.

The heart of this great nation has been shrinking and growing meaner - think Michele Bachman and Libby Dole, not to mention Palin. Which, by the way, proves that idiocy is no respecter of gender. 

Only a president of great-hearted proportions can clean house and tell these nut cases to take a hike: they represent neither Jesus (whom they all claim to have in their back pocket) nor the American people (whom they purport to support).

They're American fascists - melding big biz and government - the greatest of all dangers: see Italy and Germany, 1935. Fascinating to note how Hitler screamed constantly against the socialists/Communists, and how the Vatican tragically opted to quietly support Hitler and his stance against "godless" Communism. For all of his vile ideas, Hitler remained in the good graces of the Roman Church. I wonder why he was never excommunicated!

Anyway, back to the election at hand ... 

More tomorrow ... when it's over.

And I hope that Obama does it convincingly enough to cancel the need for recounts and law suits, for either side ... and may the Supreme Court never again hand us a Bush!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Focus on the Family

Has Dobson completely lost his marbles?

FOTF has published a fear-mongering, "left-behind," scenario looking back from 2012 on an Obama presidency.

Check out Dobson's insanity HERE.

Noted last week in Christianity Today, reader response has been overwhelmingly negative, giving me hope that the "evangelical" community is clearly transforming itself, escaping from the iron grip of Dobson's dogma.

I added my two cents worth:

FOTF is nuts! What else can one say? Their fear-mongering, "left-behind" imagery (which they gleefully relish), is part of a fascist effort to link far-right Christian groups and powerful corporate entities with government, further eroding the middle class, stripping this nation of its essential freedoms, imposing a Taliban-like control on the American bedroom and completely redefining Jesus according to Dobson’s dogma. Let’s face it: Dobson hates gays, hates freedom, hates folks who see things differently – he’s been drinking the Reagan/Bush elixir of power and control for a long time, riding the conservative crest of the last 20 years. With “total victory” once in view (Bush’s second term), Dobson has seen his evangelical world collapse and his control erode. He’s now an angry, marginalized, man desperate to regain his “empire.” His letter, this doomsday scenario, is the stuff of cheap novels and b-movies – that anything like this should be published in the name of Jesus is so far over the top as to defy understanding. For Dobson and FOTF, much prayer – to be freed from the demons of fear and to regain a “salt of the earth/light of the world” (modest metaphors) sense of identity. Enough of worldly power; now is the time to reclaim the power of Jesus who came, not to be served, but to serve and to give his life that we might find ours.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bush Doctrine

When will the idiocy stop?

With cross-border incursions into Syria and Pakistan, the Bush Doctrine of preemptive military action is leading us into ever-more dangerous actions.

I think of the Roman Empire fighting endlessly on its borders ... until men and money were utterly depleted and the Empire could stand no longer.

All of this takes on a new sense of urgency after seeing "W" yesterday - a good film portraying "W" as a simple man seeking to escape his father's shadow, a man utterly befuddled by the office, unable to catch the fly ball at the end because he's lost sight of it. The most chilling parts of the film are the portrayals of Rove, Cheney and Rumsfeld - ruthless and power-hungry; Colin Powell comes off well: the lone-voice of sanity in the Bush Asylum ... and C. Rice, a total sycophant, a complete suck-up.

It will take decades for historians and economists to uncover just how flawed everything Reagan/Bush has been.

From ripping off the White House solar panels installed by Jimmy Carter to busting the air controllers' union, Reagan set into motion an ideology (a bunch of lies) that have dismantled the middle class and sent this nation down the road of ruin.

Bush the elder had reservations about it all, but not the courage to resist it. Getting elected by Rove and Atwater was all the finally counted. If ever there has been a cancer in the political system, it's Lee Atwater (who repented on his death bed) and Karl Rove - monsters inside the Beltway.

Hats off to Alan Greenspan for admitting the flaws of ideology, but I wonder if we'll ever hear it from "W" and Gang? Will Rumsfeld follow in the footsteps of Robert McNamara who finally admitted the error of thought that led to the Vietnam debacle?

During Oliver Stone's film, I felt a clear sorrow for W - a man way out of his league (pun intended), a man of simple principles unable to think critically, convinced of his own god-purpose, and it just made me sick to see how Christianity has been prostituted by evangelical/fundamentalist christians (small "s" intended) who sold their souls to the likes of James Dobson and Jerry Falwell, men utterly out of touch Jesus, victims of their own dogma, trying so hard to believe in their own rightness, drawing firm lines of inclusion/exclusion, shouting all the louder, proving everyone else wrong in order to be right.

Biblically speaking, these are the false prophets who bedeviled Israel's kings, telling them they could do no wrong, assuring them that every military adventure undertaken has god's blessing and will be met with success. Jeremiah and Isaiah have strong words for the likes of these throne-kissing prophets who were feathering their own beds as well.

From my perspective (that and $5 gets me a latte at Starbucks), a McPalin victory would only hasten the decline of our nation by further injections of Moose-Hunting, Wolf-Shooting wing-nut poison. McCain is increasingly helpless, if not senile. Palin is utterly dangerous. Much like Bush, no critical senses, only a grasping, unmitigated lust for power.

Monday, October 27, 2008

White Church-Goers favor McCain?

Is this true?

Poll: McCain leads among white churchgoers
Published: Oct. 27, 2008 at 8:23 PM
Order reprints | Feedback
PRINCETON, N.J., Oct. 27 (UPI) -- White weekly churchgoers say they support Republican presidential nominee John McCain over Democrat Barack Obama by a 37-point margin, a poll indicates.
Among those who go to religious services nearly every week or monthly, McCain has a 12-point advantage.

Meanwhile, Obama has a 19-point advantage over McCain among those who seldom or never attend worship services, the Gallup poll indicates.

Gallup also found that black voters overwhelmingly support Obama regardless of their church attendance. The poll indicates that blacks who attend church weekly give Obama an 84-point margin, only slightly lower than the 92- and 88-point margins among blacks who attend almost every week or monthly and those who seldom or never attend religious services.

"A positive correlation between religious intensity and voting for the Republican candidate for president has been a part of the American political landscape for a number of years," Gallup said in its analysis.

The poll is based on telephone interviews with 23,111 registered voters, aged 18 and older, conducted Oct. 1 to Oct. 26. The maximum margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2 percentage points.

© 2008 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

I go to church every week ... and I don't support McCain ...

Yeah, I know, I'm a bone-headed liberal.

I'm 64 and counting ... wouldn't have it any other way.

I've waited along time to see a change in our nation's direction.

I love America, but I've despised the right-wing idiocy under which we've lived for too long.

Reagan the Great Liar.

George H - a decent man, but did nothing to change the character of our drift toward facism.

Clinton - a great president, but trapped in the Gingrich swamp.

George W - a total idiot manipulated by fascists.

Can we break with all of this garbage?

I hope so.

Conservatives Trying to Rewrite History

The conservative movement meltdown is going into overdrive, if Peter Wehner's op-ed in the Washington Post today is any indication. With most Republican candidates explicitly running on a platform promising a revival of Reagan conservatism and berating the supposed "socialism" of Democrats, this former Bush hack writes that "it is a mistake to assume that significant GOP losses, should they occur, are a referendum on conservatism."

For the full article, click HERE.

That America might repudiate the lies of Reagan and the deceptions of the Bush administration is nothing less than a miracle.

The Reagan and Bush lies appealed to the worst in our psyche - power, domination, nationalism, superiority, innocence (we do no wrong), white supremacy, militarism and endless success.

Americans bought this garbage hook, line and sinker, and it's nearly killed us.

I'm a Christian, and I'm ashamed of how so many "christians" have bought into this idiocy - while "believing" fervently in Jesus, they have followed other gods - nationalism, personal achievement and a feel-good philosophy.

Could we be on the verge of national renewal?

To really be a nation influenced by Christianity?

And Islam?




All the great faiths that hold up to the light the values of peace, compassion, kindness, fairness and love.

It's time for a new day.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What a Baby Did to My Friend

I'm tired of the campaign, and all things related.

Blah, blah, blah ... and if truth is the first casualty of war, it's likely the second casualty of a campaign.

Anyway, a little diversion ... 

A good friend of mine and his wife had a child a bit later in life (for him especially) - it's his first biological child, and what a journey it's been. 

Lots of things he expected, but some unexpected developments as well.

He shares his insights HERE.

Stop by and pay Toby Jones a visit.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

McCain and Goldwater


That two senators from Arizona should lead the GOP into the wasteland - Goldwater and McCain.

Click HERE to check out this thoughtful article by Richard Cohen.

I've known a good many Republicans over the years who were fiscally conservative and supportive of our military, who wanted smaller government and tilted toward the needs of the wealthy ... but who would have nothing to do with the "bedroom politics" of anger and bigotry that has now captured the GOP.

I watched Palin on SNL - I couldn't help but think of a terrible disconnect between the fun she was obviously having and her religious ideology - who is Palin?

Like so many of her fellow travelers, it's a religion without connection - hence, without compassion, without reason, without a positive purpose, intent only on discrediting what others believe and wanting to impose restrictions and controls on sex and abortion, jealously infatuated with power!

The GOP today is not the party of Eisenhower or Dirksen - it crashed and burned in the ashes of Barry Goldwater, Nixon, Reagan and W. I mostly exempt the first Bush from this scenario, because I think H was more in line with earlier GOP traditions, although every Republican presidency has had to dance to the far-right tune of folks like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, especially since the days of Roe v. Wade.

Colin Powell is the quintessential Republican, but in his move to Obama, we see something of the greatness of a Senator Dirksen whose cross-aisle work enabled Johnson to pass his monumental civil rights legislation.

I'm a Democrat, and I made that decision when I was first eligible to vote - for me, the Dems are all about the people, and the welfare of all, not the few. It's a big vision, and for me, a person of faith, a Christian, entirely consistent with the way I see the world.

But to ensure a healthy political process, we need two parties (a third party won't do it) totally healthy. We need traditional Republicans - we need the GRAND Old Party.

May they find their way, and who knows, maybe in the next go-around, after Obama's 8 years, we'll see a REAL Republican enter the fray.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Colin Powell - Man of the Hour

I am stunned, I am shocked, that some would suggest Powell's endorsement of Obama to be racist. OMG, and I mean that; I believe in God, and I can only pray that minds so sick, souls so corrupt with prejudice and hatred, might experience some grace and find their way through to the sunny side of the street.

Powell is a leader, a military man, and he got there like any of us do - by the help of others. Is anyone on top of the heap by solitary effort? Never.

But to suggest that Powell's achievements are anything less than his, and his decision to back Obama nothing more than racist is the lowest of the low.

Our nation has to deal with this demon lucking in our souls. This is a remarkable moment for us to cast it out, but for some, I'm afraid, it's a moment to nourish the demon and give it greater life.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Newspaper Endorsements Roll In

From the Huffington Post:

First, Philadelphia talk radio host Michael Smerconish:

On his talk show on WPHT today, conservative Philadelphian Michael Smerconish endorsed Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

Smerconish did so by reading a couple paragraphs from his pending op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

"I've decided," he said. "My conclusion comes after reading the candidates' memoirs and campaign platforms, attending both party conventions, interviewing both men multiple times, and watching all primary and general election debates.

"John McCain is an honorable man who has served his country well. But he will not get my vote. For the first time since registering as a Republican 28 years ago, I'm voting for a Democrat for president.

"I may have been an appointee in the George H.W. Bush administration, and master of ceremonies for George W. Bush in 2004, but last Saturday I stood amidst the crowd at an Obama event in North Philadelphia," says the Republican.

Then, the Chicago Tribune, a newspaper that has not endorsed a Democrat for president since it was founded in 1847, followed suit. From their editorial:

Many Americans say they're uneasy about Obama. He's pretty new to them.

We can provide some assurance. We have known Obama since he entered politics a dozen years ago. We have watched him, worked with him, argued with him as he rose from an effective state senator to an inspiring U.S. senator to the Democratic Party's nominee for president.

We have tremendous confidence in his intellectual rigor, his moral compass and his ability to make sound, thoughtful, careful decisions. He is ready.


It may have seemed audacious for Obama to start his campaign in Springfield, invoking Lincoln. We think, given the opportunity to hold this nation's most powerful office, he will prove it wasn't so audacious after all. We are proud to add Barack Obama's name to Lincoln's in the list of people the Tribune has endorsed for president of the United States.

Colin Powell Endorses Obama


Check out the VIDEO from Meet the Press.

See also, The Huffington Post ARTICLE.

Eloquent, insightful ... a real American speaking out for real values.

Oh that our nation could rise to its best character.
Leave behind the meanness, the callowness, the innuendo of suspicion ...
To be great in heart and faith,
Acceptance and affirmation,
To live the truth emblazoned on our Statue of Liberty:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me.

Hats off to Colin Powell, good soldier that he is.

I watched his UN effort, and my heart broke for him.
In subsequent remarks, Mr. Powell has undone the damage;
he's admitted - the UN appearance is a "blot on my career."
He tried his best to stand with the Republicans, but he's a centrist, and as Mr. Powell noted this morning, the GOP has moved further and further right.

And he would be distressed with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court.

The Court is, and should be, above politics, but politics are very much a part of the appointment process, and politics play a hand in the game.

For the Court, and for the White House, we need those who can rise above the fray and see the greater good. We need women and men free of narrow ideological demands, who can genuinely weigh the options, listen to various voices, and make a decision on behalf of the whole nation, a nation diverse, a land of freedom.

Obama is that kind of man.

And we need him in this hour of crisis.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Michele Bachman - Dump Her

The iron grip of the fascists on the news media ... though they cry stridently that much of the media are liberal, it's a lie, because much of the media, especially print media, are scared out their wits because of a declining readership. For years now, the media have pandered to the powers that be ... often owned by powerful interests committed to the worst kinds of fascist philosophy.

Why has the Minneapolis Star Tribune refused to publish the hateful remarks made by Michele Bachman over the years.


Take a look at this blog piece -

Dump Michele Bachmann: First Time in Eight Years: Local Newspaper Reports Bachmann Extremism

Michele Bachman

Dear Senator McCarthy,

I watched your performance on Hardball ... amazing ...

And you're a representative to Congress for the good people of Minnesota?

I wish I knew you better ... because I'm trying to figure out from whence folks like you come ... how you think?

Do you really believe that Congress is filled with un-American folks?

Or is this just the sick party line written by Rovians?

Like Joe McCarthy of old, that kind of thinking, that kind of talk, is un-American, in the worst sense of all - sowing seeds of doubt, building upon fear and suspicion, throwing around meaningless words, the very tactics used by the Fascists and Nazis to undermine democratic rule.

Whatever happens in this election, it's clear in my mind that you are the perfect representative of the decline of the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln and Senator Dirksen. Republicans, beginning with the Great Liar, Ronald Reagan, have worshipped at the altar of power and business - have brought this nation to its knees economically, ruined our international reputation, weakened our military and pitted us against one another via the non-issues of abortion and gays (bedroom politics) while our environment degrades, millions died from poverty, disease and war, and 40 million Americans are uninsured, with our health status in decline.

Anyway, Joe, welcome back. I guess your ghost never entirely goes away, lurking in the dark corners of the mind and soul, feeding on hatred, and coming out of the closet now and then to hurt and malign.

P.S. check out the Dump Michele Bachman blog HERE.

And stop by HERE to sign a petition to censure Bachman.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Republican Hate

Living in Northern Michigan a few years back, I had some auto work done and needed a courtesy ride from the shop. A retired gentleman from downstate (Detroit) drove me home; he told me how much he enjoyed living up north because downstate, he no longer felt at home. There were just too many foreigners and too many Blacks.

I'll not forget the conversation ... I listened, he lamented.

I suspect some of the hatred spewing out of the far right at the McPalin rallies reflects the "homelessness" experienced by many Americans who were born and reared in one age and now find themselves strangers in a strange land.

Check out the following video - look and listen - are they not "homeless" in America? They've been uprooted and made to grow in a radically new environment, and they're scared, even as they can't, or won't, comprehend the world as it is.

"Pinko Communist," an elderly man shouted. Talk about a time-warp, a blast from the past, but he was using an epithet he had used in the McCarthy era - something sure and solid, something for certain. When all else fails, start name-calling. It feels good for the powerless and the lost.

They're sad for the loss of orientation, and the loss of feeling important and valuable. They're frustrated because what they once knew doesn't fit very well any more. Their children have likely moved on; retirement pensions are shrinking. They no longer feel at home, and now McPalin gives them an opportunity to reach down into all of that fear, all of that hatred (for we hate what we fear, if the fear continues long enough), and give vent to it.

And something darker ... life is always about who's on top and who isn't. Only by grace does one overcome such instincts, but for millions of white folk, the position of privilege was never questioned, even if you were a redneck sharecropper, down on your luck, you at least black folks to despise.

Barbara Kingsolver, in her delightful book of essays, High Tide in Tucson, observes in an essay on bad science in service of racial superiority: the privileged have not yet tired of hearing how righteously they came by their place at the table (essay entitled, "Semper Fi").

There have always been racists and hate-filled people - it's a DNA thing, but many of the McPalin folks live decent lives. Quiet lives, likely never thinking very much about ultimate values - they work too hard, their churches are not likely to help them grow emotionally or intellectually - good and decent folk who watch a lot of TV.

They're afraid.

P.S. If you want to see a sad example of how the church fails these folks (since most of them would be either conservative evangelical/Baptist types or Roman Catholics, check out this video of an "evangelical" pastor giving the invocation at a McCain rally - an example of a terribly distorted understanding of Scripture and a pandering to the powers-that-be.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

McCain Booed

I disagree profoundly with John McCain, but he did something profoundly honorable at one of his rallies. When confronted with the worst kinds of fear and ignorance, he corrected the audience, defended Obama and was booed for his efforts.

In such a clear and convincing moment, the real John McCain is evident - a man of honor and truth.

The far right cabal that hijacked the GOP is now running amok - it's hatred, bigotry, insanity, rising to the surface, for which all thoughtful Americans can be grateful - sometimes, we have to stand in front of the mirror of our own soul, and America's soul, often great and generous, has some seriously dark stains, and we're seeing them revealed at the McCain/Palin rallies. Even John McCain is embarrassed. I wonder about Palin? Does she care? Does she think?

Hats off to McCain for challenging the worst in his audience, and hats off to the all the Republicans who have challenged the hockey mom from Alaska and are trying to rise above the dirt.

Whatever happens, I believe that we are watching the death throes of the far right and it's deadly grip on American politics and the GOP. When all is said and done, they will retreat back into the holes from which they've crawled. They'll never go away, but it will be long time before they gain their former ascendancy. That anyone could have thought that Dobson, Falwell, Cheney, Rove, trickle-down economics and shock and awe diplomacy could win anything of value boggles the mind, but ever so often, even a great nation has to fall in order to sort out its values and regain its balance.

Can we regain our composure?

Of course we can, and I believe we will.


Friday, October 10, 2008

GOP Anger

Reality TV has nothing on these angry anti-Obama people who are connecting to the deepest levels of bigotry found in the underbelly of our nation. Words escape me - how to describe the depths of ignorance and hatred.

These are not nice people, no matter how you slice it.

They're angry and bigoted, spewing a venom often hidden from view - whether it be in some posh suburb or a backwoods bar and grill, it's all the same - racial and religious hatred directed at Muslims and Gays and anyone of color. That Americans could still think this way is beyond my grasp. That shreds of this might yet exist in our psyche is not hard to believe, but to hear and see it at this volume is mind-boggling and embarrassing.

But necessary?
Sometimes a people need to embarrass themselves so badly in order to confront the demons within.
Is this a potential embarrassment?
When these folks see themselves on YouTube, what will they think?
Can they be proud of themselves?

Where now are the Catholic Bishops who rail on abortion?
Where now are the high-minded fundamentalists who preach Christ? And claim to have an inside track on God's truth?
Where's the Republican Party of Lincoln and Eisenhower?
Where's the likes of a Bill Buckley when the conservative wing needs him?

Can McCain possible accept any of this?
I doubt it, except for the price of election, and if this is a price he's willing to pay, he's not fit to be President of the United States ... maybe some local chapter of the KKK.
And Palin?
We all know where she's at - down in the gutter politics of slam and slice - shooting wolves from the air is sport for this kind of sick mind playing to the worst in our character, groveling in the dirt of hatred and prejudice as if it were the key to winning anything of goodness or value. She's clearly not fit for office of any kind.

And though she touts her faith, I can only wonder about the kind of god she worships. Oh yeah, I forgot, the kind of god who goes witch hunting.

Check out this ARTICLE and follow the YouTube links if you want to get sick to your stomach.


Just saw a pathetic, emotion-laded video on the "evils "of Obama and his stance on abortion.

Check it out if you will, right HERE. Check out all the related crap - amazing how some folks fail to think, and how they hide their bigotry behind religion.

A friend sent it to me ... sent to her by a "friend."

Here's what I wrote in response:

What about the 30,000 children who die every day from starvation, who die hideous deaths wrapped in filthy blankets, in part, because the Bush Administration fights family planning, has failed to even try to stop genocide, and has failed to help the world redistribute food stuffs to the most needy.

The right-wing turns a blind eye to all of this suffering and then goes all-out on abortions, most of which are done early-on, and most of which are done well.

Abortion remains a hard choice that belongs to every family, every woman ... not that every family or woman makes the best choice, but then not everyone with a driver's license drives well. In so many instances, the choices are not between good and bad, but between bad and bad. It's a hard world, and for millions of mothers, only hard choices.

It's about fundamental freedoms, and both as a Christian ("for freedom Christ has set us free") and as an American, we enjoy tremendous freedoms. At what price are we willing to forgo such freedom?

Since many unwanted pregnancies occur under harsh circumstances, dealing with poverty, sex education and improving people's circumstances will go a long way in limiting unwanted pregnancy.

We have to deal with the REAL issues rather than salving our emotions with emotional nonsense like the video.

We have to choose to think, and those who follow Jesus have to be comprehensive thinkers and doers, because God so loves the world. To ignore the 30,000 children who die every day from starvation brought about by war and disease, and to get all put-out about a very few late-term abortions here in America, is the highest crime against God and humanity.

Shame on Christians who turn a blind eye to the big picture and strain a gnat out of the cup - isn't that what Jesus said to the Pharisees? And getting spiritually uppity on a very small matter while ignoring the tide of death sweeping our world, now intensified by the economic collapse brought about the Reagan-Bush doctrine, will only intensify the power of death.

Just some thoughts ... pray that the hardened hearts of the religious right will be thawed by the grace of Jesus our Lord.

For Jesus ...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

AIG's Big Party

To quote Mr. Reagan, "there ya' go again."

AIG's Big Party.

Whatever the "legitimacy" of this event may be, I question the whole thing - where is the restraint? Where is the sense of management? Could not a lesser venue be found? A few of the trimmings trimmed away? Is business so self-indulgent? So blind to its moral ineptitude?

The love of money is the root of all evil, and here is a gang who loves money and loves it profoundly. While millions of Americans wonder where the next meal is coming from, how they're going to pay the rent and purchase the prescription, AIG throws away a half mil as if it were nothing, and plans to throw even more away.

Of course, these are money-making subsidiaries. Well why not take that money and start paying back the American taxpayer? Shame on the Reaganesque insanity that big business is our savior. They should all be fired.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Health Care

Flogging a dying horse - to think that we can succeed with a failing health-care system built upon an illusion: that the market is the best means to care for the nation's health. There isn't a civilized nation on the face of the earth, and even a few uncivilized, that pits its citizens' health against market factors.

A single-payer health-care system is the only answer, and the sooner we get on with it, the more quickly millions of Americans who live and die without adequate care will be on the improve, lowering costs, improving productivity and adding to the overall security/happiness scale that plays such a huge role in any society.

The only folks who continue to argue for the antiquated illusion of the current system are those who have sufficient income to purchase their care. But, then, hasn't that always been the character of an unregulated free market: the wealthy enjoy the benefits on the backs of millions who suffer quietly in the shadowed corners.

Most significantly, we tolerate in our food supply and in our product manufacturing toxic chemicals outlawed in Europe. Why? Because we don't give a damn, especially for the struggling middle class, and we've forgotten the poor.

European standards are much higher? Why? THEY PAY THE BILLS FOR THE HEALTH OF THEIR CITIZENS!

When will America give up its illusions? The current financial debacle proves the point: business is incapable of moral decisions, and that's all right, as long as we can tell the truth. Good government has proven itself time and again as the only means whereby the average citizen can enjoy a safe and abundant life. As we've seen in the last few weeks, the wealthy privatize the gains and socialize the losses. Shame on all of them for pretending to have a conscience, and shame on all of us for failing to create a conscience-driven system to monitor the Wall Street Jockeys and finally build a decent health-care system.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Lehman Brothers

Poor Mr. Fuld, former CEO of the new defunct Lehman Brothers - he awakens at night wondering what might have been different.

Poor man.

With $500 million since 2000 ... land holdings including two lavish homes: an ocean-front home in Florida and one in Sun Valley, Idaho ... a multi-million dollar art collection ... and who knows what else ... oh my, how he suffers.

What about the 90-year old widow in Cleveland evicted from her home after living there for 38 years? And the poor woman tried to shoot herself, only to wound herself, now to face even more misery.

What about the man in LA who just shot and killed his family and then himself because of financial woes brought about by men like Mr. Fuld?

I'm sure Mr. Fuld's a good man ... but a man without a conscience, living in the rarefied air of corporate boardrooms, hiding behind the salary scales set by boards around the nation - each paying one another huge, impossible, sums of money.

As Mr. Waxman so wisely said, "privatizing gain and socializing loss."

Shame on them all and their tribe. They have bilked the nation, no, the world, of billions and have hurled millions of innocent families into the pit of despair.

Yea, he awakens at night wondering what happened. So do millions living on the edge of poverty, or full in its grip.

Is it any wonder that Jesus repeatedly describes countless woes for the wealthy who repeatedly show their vanity, while congratulating themselves and suggesting that "you, too, could be rich like me."

So let him awaken in his mulit-million dollar mansions ... let him lie awake for many a night pondering the misery he and his clan have brought upon the whole world.

Before Congress, not one word of apology or remorse.

Is this any different than a cold-blooded murderer facing his victims with a snarling smile?

Poor Mr. Fuld.


Bill Maher's Religulous see HERE for my review.

As part of a growing effort to unmask the idiocy of the far right, much of it empowered by skewed religious ideas, Maher's documentary is a breath of fresh air. A real hoot, but substantive, too.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Dark Material

Wrote to a friend this morning:

McPalin is sinking ... I suspect we'll see them both, in their respective styles, grow increasingly petulant and cutesy ... she was nauseating - that anyone could watch that "say it ain't so, Joe" performance and believe she's fit for the office of VP, not to say the Presidency, has to be nuts.

Or as one young "pro-hate," I mean pro-life mother in Texas said (she's 25), we stand with Sarah on the matter of abortion - this is the kind of mindless support being produced by the religious right - the very folks who snapped their arms and hands upright to salute Hitler and Mussolini ... and I'm serious when I say that - they'd trade away the Republic in a heartbeat and create an oligarchy/theocracy to dismantle the Constitution and refashion us to look like a Saudi Arabia.

As Biden said, "Cheney is the most dangerous VP we've ever had."

In my darkest moments, I wonder - are the Neo-cons counting on McCain's death or illness, if elected, so that Palin would assume office? She'd be putty in their hands.

P.S. Check out this fine and thoughtful piece by Frank Rick, New York Times, Oct. 4 - about "pitbull Palin" - that the GOP is counting on her to win the day, maybe even having McCain flip the ticket ... her hubris, her uncontrolled ambition, her lack of intelligence - the GOP virtues.

Friday, October 3, 2008


Naomi Wolf has a new book, an excerpt of which is posted HERE.

It's all about patriotism, the real kind, or the fake kind.

And we've had plenty of fakery as of late.

Don't miss this fine piece of writing ... and the extraordinary Second Inaugural address by Lincoln.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tainted Milk?

China 2008 ... New York City, 1858 ... in New York, thousands of babies died when fed "swill milk" - only government regulation and the passage of the Food and Drug Act, 1906.

The similarities between China today and New York 150 years ago shouldn’t come as a great surprise. Adulteration on such a scandalous scale occurs in societies with a toxic combination of characteristics: a fast-growing capitalist economy coupled with a government unable or unwilling to regulate the food supply. In such get-rich-quick societies, there is a huge temptation to tamper with food, particularly when margins are low. The rewards are instant, and it’s not always easy for consumers to detect the difference between the pure and the doctored — particularly with a substance like milk, which we have been taught to trust implicitly.

Check out this thoughtful article HERE.

Such scandals are not bad luck. They are symptomatic of a deep failure of politics. Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s hasty gestures — punishing the dairies, forcing the head of the food quality agency to resign — have done nothing to deal with the underlying regulatory vacuum.

A simple reminder that good societies are regulated by good government ... when left to themselves, markets always exceed the boundary and begin to cannibalize themselves, leaving us to pick up the pieces.

The Free Market System is never free ... but costly beyond compare, in lives lost and hopes broken when the system fails, as it always does, like an adolescent on a spending spree.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Southern Baptists and "Female Preachers"

Just when I think I've heard it all, get this: more than a 100 Southern Baptist bookstores have removed a magazine featuring the work of "female pastors."

Gospel Today was snatched from more than 100 Lifeway Christian Bookstore racks because the women on the cover are church pastors.

For this incredible story, click HERE.

Are we living in the same century?

What does this say about their ideological climate?
And speaking of climate, I'll give ya' one guess about their take on global warming ...
And maybe another guess on McPalin ...
And creationism?
And guns?
And gays?

This kind of "christianity" is so far off the beaten path, it boggles the mind.
What's the difference here between Nazis burning books and artwork in Berlin, 1933?
This kind of control, manipulation, twisting of reality - for what purpose?

Some kind of arcane doctrine?
A misreading of the Bible?

Wasn't it the women who first entered the empty tomb?
Were they not given the first commission?

Were not women co-workers with Paul?

The few texts that allegedly prohibit women from speaking have been accurately re-interpreted by evangelical women who are helping the entire church understand these few texts (and why would a few texts, anyway, be used to exclude an entire gender from the life of the church?) and how men have twisted the reading and bent the interpretation to maintain a male hierarchy dismantled by Jesus and Paul.

See Christians for Biblical Equality for more on how evangelical women are re-reading these texts.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Enemy Within

Conservative churches are preparing to challenge the IRS ruling that prohibits congregations from endorsing specific candidates.

A spokesperson for the group told the Christian Science Monitor that he was endorsing McCain and had told his congregation they couldn’t vote for Obama because of Obama's stance on abortion.

The pastor defends his position by saying his positions are “according to Scripture,” and he has a constitutional right to share his political views with his congregation.

Well, yes, he has right to share his views, but the IRS wisely keeps the wall of separation in good repair by prohibiting a congregation from becoming a political pawn.

And doesn’t it seem reasonable that a healthy congregation would have a diversity of voices within its ranks?

And how can anyone be so sure of knowing what the Scriptures say, and is this what the Scriptures are all about anyway?

As you might guess from what I’m writing, I have a very different take on this.

And suggest to you, the thoughtful reader, that some conservative religious groups are opposed to our democratic freedoms, and if given their way, would create a religious state similar to the more conservative Muslim nations.

We have to keep the wall of separation in good repair, to preserve the integrity of both our religious institutions and our American freedoms of thought, choice and behavior.

The conservative group behind this “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” is dangerous to the well-being of the Republic. The Alliance Defense Fund, though describing itself as a defender of liberty is anything but. In a heartbeat, the ADF would strip away our freedoms, control our thoughts, and tell us what to do, because they “know the Bible and what it teaches” – without question, without doubt, and, I might add, without thought!

Such groups pose a real and present danger to America. They are the enemy within.

Palin Update ...

Did she say anything?

Interview with Katie Couric is laughable ... check HERE and HERE.

And a little bit more ... HERE ... yikes.

Katie Couric, in the comments on the interview, demonstrates a great deal of restraint, but body language and demeanor say it all - Ms. Couric was not impressed with McPalin.

Now I know why they won't let the media have at her!

Bush Administration and the Tactics of Fear

The Bush Administration has presided over the dismantling of America to profit the few.

Now that all of this has come crashing down around their ears, they're threatening us with imminent disaster and further woe if we fail to give them a blank check to bail them out.

The President - buffoon that he is - took to the airwaves and used the language of fear again. If it's not 9/11, then it's the melt down of the economy. Is fear the only thing Bush knows?

Fear is the only thing Karl Rove knows - it's a tired tactic, but I'm afraid it works, though in this case, threats about the economy are likely to be met by skepticism because we all know who did this to us.

The very man warning us about dire consequences if we fail to act is the man who engineered the final chapter of Reagan's play book, coached by folks like Rove and cheered on by the Great Idiot, Rush Limbaugh.

And what's this with Rice:

Senior Bush administration officials held a series of meetings in the White House in 2002 and 2003 to discuss allowing the CIA to use harsh interrogation methods on Al Qaeda detainees, according to a written statement Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently provided to Senate investigators.

Rice's written response to investigators on the Senate Armed Services Committee marks the first time a high-ranking White House official has formally acknowledged the White House discussions, which led to the CIA's use of waterboarding and other coercive methods.

Shame on all of them.

Not only did Bush give us the current economic mess, but he and his cronies, criminals they are, gave us the tactics of a Central American jail.

It's time for America to say no to the manipulators, those who would use us to further their own agenda - a Neo-Con agenda of empire and oil linked with an "evangelical" agenda of guns, god and gays - amassing untold wealth for the few on the backs of millions of good, hard-working, Americans.

And what's up with McPalin? Off to Washington to fix the mess? So he can repeat the Keating Five episode? McPalin has been a man of feigned integrity, a man without a center, if you will, so he relies on his war experience to create an image, a front, inconsistent with his life, a life of scrambling to the top of the heap, marrying women who can further his career, taken chances without reason, and reasoning without logic.

Touting the "fundamentals of our economy," and when subsequently queried, defining the "fundamentals" as the working men and women of our nation - yeah, sure, as if they mean anything at all to the repubs - who have screwed the average American out of jobs, benefits, health care, education and hope.

Shame on Bush, shame on Rice for her total lack of courage and integrity (she should have quit long ago like Colin Powell did), shame on McPalin - a team made in hell.

Obama and Biden represent a healing of our nation - men of accomplishment and intelligence, who can see the needs of the many, who can deal with the leaders of the nations and help us recover our character, rebuild our economy, honor working women and men, restore the health of our military and build us up again.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

White Privilege

If it weren't for race, Obama would be ahead everywhere by 20 points.

Sadly, race is still a factor in this nation; it's the elephant in the living room, the hidden current beneath the calm surface. Just ask any person of color, and if they're in an honest mood, they'll tell you the truth - racism in America remains profoundly subtle and pervasive.

Tim Wise offers the following article ... in a timely way, he reminds us how privilege spells a huge difference for the way we look at people and life.

Read carefully ... and prayerfully ...

For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you’ll “kick their fuckin’ ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.

White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don’t all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you’re “untested.

White privilege is being able to say that you support the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance because “if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me,” and not be immediately disqualified from holding office–since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the “under God” part wasn’t added until the 1950s–while believing that reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), is a dangerous and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals.

White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you.

White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto was “Alaska first,” and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you’re black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she’s being disrespectful.

White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do–like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor, and people think you’re being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college–you’ re somehow being mean, or even sexist.

White privilege is being able to convince white women who don’t even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a “second look.

White privilege is being able to fire people who didn’t support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.

White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God’s punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you’re just a good church-going Christian, but if you’re black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you’re an extremist who probably hates America.

White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a “trick question,” while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O’Reilly means you’re dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.

White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism is, as Sarah Palin has referred to it a “light” burden.

And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren’t sure about that whole “change” thing. Ya know, it’s just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain.

White privilege is, in short, the problem.

By my posting of this is in no means saying Barack Obama is a flawless candidate, but I think he has a lot more upside than the Republican candidates running against him. Please let me know what you guys think by posting in the comments section. I think this article is a perfect catalyst to start a real dialogue about the going-ons of this the presidential election and the general make-up of race relations in America.

By Tim Wise