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

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

George Will on McCain

"The queen had only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small. 'Off with his head!' she said without even looking around." -- "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"

So begins George Will's thoughtful column on John McCain's response to the economic crisis at hand.

Will's last paragraph says it well ...

It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama is not ready for the presidency. It is arguable that McCain, because of his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited to the presidency. Unreadiness can be corrected, although perhaps at great cost, by experience. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?

Will, of course, writes from a conservative perspective, but the kind of conservatism once the bedrock of the GOP - when the Greedy Old Party was once the Grand Old Party.

A kind of conservatism that wanted to save a few dollars, promoted a strong military, could work the other side of the aisle, whose bark was worse than its bite. When it comes to the GOP as it should be, I recall the Senator from Illinois: Everett Dirksen, with his unmade-bed hair and his annual plea to make the Marigold the national flower. Without his cross-aisle work, it's doubtful if Lyndon Johnson could have succeeded passing his landmark civil rights legislation.

What has happened to the Greed Old Party is nothing less than tragic, becoming a sham under the hammer of the far right.

I can appreciate how difficult it must be for a man like George Will to raise these kinds of questions about McCain, but McCain, whatever he might have been, is now ensnared in the Rovian Universe of the Queen of Hearts.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fundamentalism's Secret Program

Are we under attack, not from without, but from within?

Are the real enemies religious zealots, fundamentalists, fascists?

Check out Jeff Sharlet's new book: The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power."

Having spent a good part of my life in Michigan, I've gotten to know something of the West Michigan cabal of right wing Christians - legends in their own minds, they're right, they're powerful, they're well-connected, and they are utterly convinced of their lock on Jesus and politics - since they can do no wrong, there is no inherent reflection or caution, but only full-speed ahead with their agenda, and all opposition be damned. Linked with a strange element within Dutch Calvinism - that wealth proves the blessing of God - these mega-rich folks have no sense of restraint. How could they? They are blessed by God; every dollar they have proves the point of their righteousness.

Blackwater, the insidious "private army" is headed by a man who grew up in the wealth and ideology of Western Michigan - Erik Prince - from the Prince family, a super-rich family hidden away in Western Michigan religious circles.

If anyone reading this post has read, or plans to read Sharlet's book, leave a comment.

I'm getting it this afternoon.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Religion and Politics

Do religion and politics mix?

Not really, but then neither does olive oil and vinegar … you give ‘em a good shake, and they intermingle for awhile, but ultimately, oil and vinegar go their separate ways. But what’s a salad with one of them missing? A good salad needs both!

Religion and politics are like neighbors with a a Tim Allen (“Home Improvement”) kind of fence between the two; yet Tim and Wilson talk most every day over the fence.

When Sarah Palin says our war in Iraq is a righteous cause given by God, I take a deep breath and pause.

I suppose it’s possible to say that … yet, it’s just as likely that one could say, “It’s not a righteous cause; it’s expansionist and driven by hubris.”

Religion says a lot of things about a lot of things, and it’s terribly important to know when to say what in any given moment. It’s a delicate conversation requiring wisdom and discretion.

Like good neighbors, neither tries to tear down the fence and move in. Rather, we speak to one another, maybe even shout and argue now and then, but the fence remains, and we stay in our own backyard.

Whenever religion and politics get too close, history reveals lots of problems.

When the crown and the crosier become indistinguishable, when the crown uses the crosier to further it’s pet projects by dressing them up in religious garb, and when the crosier enjoys the status and influence of state power, coercing folks into belief and parading around in the pomp of huge buildings and glorious processionals, it’s a formula from hell.

For centuries, the fence was torn down in the Western world, and it was virtually impossible to say who lived where. From time to time, a religious war would erupt; the pope would excommunicate the king, and the king would invade and send the pope packing, but most of the time, pope and king, crosier and crown, were hand-in-glove in controlling the empire and dominating the thoughts and values of its citizenry.

The Western world has paid an enormous price for this marriage – the crosier has lost its ability to challenge the crown, other than in irrelevant bedroom issues, and the crown has cravenly used the faith to cover its own immoral tracks. We see these issues anywhere in the world where the fence has been torn down. Whether it be some of the Islamic nations, the State of Israel as it is dominated by the Conservative wing of Judaism (they decide who’s a Jew and who isn’t when it comes to citizenship), or efforts by far right Christians to impose a theocratic model upon America through courts and congress.

Maybe another image will help.

Think of Dancing with the Stars – it takes two to tango, and when it’s done right, it’s powerful. Neither partner surrendering to the other; each engaged in a playful, if not serious, effort to prevail; yet if one prevails, the dance fails … the dance goes on as long as neither partner wins!

Religion and politics?

Good neighbors … great dance partners!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Repub Mantra

Low taxes, less government, less regulation of the financial industry - well, Mr. Reagan, the Great Liar, and every Repub administration since then, has sustained these lies, and millions of Americans unwittingly bought them.

Meanwhile, unions were gutted, deficits soared, the financial industry devised a million schemes to up their profits, worker benefits were reduced, folks laid off in competition with lower-wage workers overseas, jobs shipped abroad, and now the results are in.

Mr. Reagan, God rest your soul, but your mindless vision of America, backed by John Wayne images and a convincing smile, sowed the seeds of a bitter harvest.

We had another great President in the worst of times, and his name was FDR who understood that America's greatness rested upon a partnership of government and business - that taxation was the means for controlling greed and funding needed government programs.

Long derided by the Repubs, yet celebrated by folks who care about this nation and how it works, and how well our greatest resource is being treated - the women and men who put their backs into it, FDR saw the picture clearly when his Repub predecessor, H. Hoover, didn't. Does history repeat itself? Hardly in the specifics, but in general, yes! It's time for a Democrat to come to the rescue once again and get this country up and running on the right course.

The Repubs have raped the land ... it's as simple as that. Greed, the underlying principle of the GOP (Greedy Old Party) has run its course, as it always does, all downhill.

America is living proof of the simple Biblical observation: the love of money is the root of all evil.

Sometimes folks misquote the bible and say, "money is the root of all evil."

Not so. For money, in wise and kindly hands, can work wonders for all the world. Money, well-spent, can change the course of the future for good. When the economic engines are well-regulated by a government that dares to be a conscience, reminding us of our mutual obligations, especially to the folks on the margin, money is the energy of transformation.

All the religious jabber of the Repubs has been nothing but a cover for covetousness.

It's time for us to recover a genuine capitalism, and it's time for people of faith to get their act together and help our nation rise to its best.

Joe Biden - True Patriot

The following was written in reply to a ton of snotty remarks made about Biden's take on patriotism and taxes - see original story HERE.

I wrote:

Americans are sick when it comes to taxes, and we can thank Reagan, the Great Liar, for the disease. We expect the moon, and keep borrowing money like an adolescent child, putting off responsible policy for another generation. Yes, it's patriotic to pay taxes. All of us need to pay a little more and spend a little less on our toys and personal pleasures, most of which end up in next summer's garage sale and leave us wondering why in the world we ever bought it.

Corporations need to pay more in taxes, to make them lean and thoughtful - do they really need billion dollar mega-buildings, and tens of millions paid out to executives who are just as inept and clumsy as the rest of us?

The sickness of greed always results in disdain for the poor ... but I wonder how many of the blather-heads who've written their scalding notes about poverty know anything about it, how infected our economy really is, and the sickness of greed.


We don't know what it is, and we haven't known for 50 years ... we've been on a silly lark of spend, spend, spend. Even as the Trade Towers were falling, Bush said, "Go out and shop." Shop till you drop, and we've dropped now.

Can we really be patriotic? Can we stand together with one another? Can this nation recover its regard for one and for all? Can we spend less on ourselves and more on our infrastructure, health care, education, and green technology?

Patriotism is all about sacrifice, and it's been a long time since we've had any help in learning the lessons of patriotism. We’ve settled for a fake instead: flag-waving and god-bless-america stuff without thought about the flag and what it really means, and what it really means to invoke the divine for our wellbeing.

Joe Biden is right. But the truth hurts, and the snotty retorts reveal just how tender the spot it. We’re selfish as hell. Our raw capitalism has fed the coffers of the wealth while depleting our treasury.

It's time to undo the lies of Reagan; it's time to recognize the falsehood of the Repub/Neo-con mantra, a philosophy of lies that has undone our greatness, ruined our reputation, sunk our economy, mired us in a senseless war, filled our minds with empty rhetoric and worsened the infection of greed.

It's time for us to pay attention to someone who has the guts to tell the Bible thumpers and the so-called shoot-'em-boys the sobering truth.

Joe Biden is a patriot of the highest kind!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Patriotism - a Christian Take

Check out this fine piece on patriotism from a Christian pastor ... click HERE.

Catholic Bishops and Joe Biden

I'm a Presbyterian, a Protestant.

So I'm not inclined to happiness when Roman Catholic Bishops haul out the middle ages and begin threatening people - barring Joe Biden from communion and telling folks that Roman Catholics cannot vote for anyone who differs from the church's stance on abortion.

And remember, as Pope Benedict said upon his departure from the US, "Obeying the teaching of the church is a part of Roman Catholic faith."

I've written a piece about the bishops latest effort to control for the congregation I serve. Check it out HERE.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Predator State

New book, "The Predator State" by James K. Galbraith, details how "conservatives," beginning with Reagan (the lie-creator) ceased being conservative and became minions of the corporations.

And the outcome? The mess we're dealing with right now.

Kevin Horrigan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, writes:

It's hard to find a true conservative any more. As economist James K. Galbraith points out in "The Predator State," a book to be published next month, what we call "conservatism" today is actually "an economic system wherein entire sectors have been built up to feast on public systems built originally for public purposes and largely serving the middle class."

His theory: There's no such thing as a "free market" anymore. The market has been rigged and the government taken captive by predators posing as conservatives. Truly principled conservatives have disappeared into irrelevance, where they join liberals who still are trying futilely to bend market theory to fit their social goals.

"There are those who praise the free market because to do so gives cover to themselves and their friends in raiding the public trough," Galbraith writes. "These people call themselves 'conservatives,' and one of the truly galling things for real conservatives is that they have both usurped the label and spoiled the reputation of the real thing. And there are those who praise the 'free market' simply because they fear that, otherwise, they will be exposed as heretics, accused of being socialists, perhaps even driven from public life."

Galbraith argues that the Reagan Revolution of the 1980s created philosophical cover for corporate conservatives to seize the government and use it for narrow, private goals rather than to serve broad public goals. The practice has reached its apotheosis during George W. Bush's administration.

Click HERE to see more.

See my earlier blog about Lehman Brothers.

With the announcement tonight of the bailout of AIG, we see the Federal Government called upon to pick up the pieces left by corporate leaders who all retain their bonuses and golden parachutes, their homes in the Hamptons and their yachts. This kind of imbalance encouraged risk-taking without danger - and now that the house of credit-cards has failed, go crying to Uncle Sam.

And, yes, it's a mess, and if AIG fails, it's hard to say just how far-reaching the fallout will be. In their unrestricted greed and unprincipled behavior, they have entangled millions here and abroad in a dangerous web.

Conservatives say, "Let 'em fail."

I say, "If we're going to bale them out, let's also put together a comprehensive regulatory reform program to see that such never happens again. Beginning with the Great Liar (Reagan), and accelerated under Bush, we have welcomed the fox to the hen house by asking big biz to police itself.

And let's get back to a decent and reasonable tax system.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Could High Taxes Save Us?

Billions for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae ... and who can calculate the final cost of Lehman Brothers .... billions more, all around the world. Gone, and what's left except sagging bank accounts and depleted portfolios?

Could high taxes save us from this insanity?

Would high taxes draw dawn corporate profits so corporations would have to be more thoughtful and less risky about their work, their investments, their expansion programs?

Would high taxes compel the super-rich to be a little more thoughtful about their extravagant life-styles?

Would high taxes destroy incentive for making money?

That's been the sick mantra of the free-market idiots who've brought us to our knees.

Heavens no.

Folks always want to make money, and they'll make in spite of taxes.

So why high taxes?

High taxes will diminish disposable income, that's for sure, and it's high time we fat, sassy, silly and self-indulgent had a little to spend on ourselves.

And a whole lot more for good government ... the kind of government that funds universal health care and then really cares for the environment, safe products and the kind of food we eat, because now the government is picking up the health tab.

Education for all - the billions spent on failing corporate dreams cooked up on the third cocktail on the fantail of a 90 foot yacht would provide every child with safe and healthy schools, with plenty of toilet paper, computers, white boards and well-trained teachers with well-trained aids.

A living wage - do folks really have to live 100 million dollar life-styles when working Moms still have to rely on minimum wage, terrible working conditions and multiple jobs, without health benefits?

And what about our infrastructure - everything from rail lines to sewer lines; our bridges and our highways; our public transportation system could be the best in the world. High taxes could make this country shine!

High taxes would well put a stop to charity without change. Yes, billions for charity, but hardly dime to change the conditions that produce poverty. Yes, charity makes the giver feel good, but is that the goal? To feel good about dropping some big bucks into the Salvation Army bucket? Reminds me a bit of the Pharisees and their bags of gold, and the utter disdain Jesus showed for that "kind of giving."

We need fundamental changes in attitudes and structures in order to lift up millions from the slough of despond, millions who deserve it; yes, deserve it, because they work harder than any corporate board president, their fret and fear endlessly about the next meal, and they hurt ever so much when they can't afford decent medical and dental care for their children, not to mention themselves. Yes, they deserve something better than a handout, and something far better than charity without change.

I'm not a Utopian, but civilized countries around the world shake their head in disbelief as carry on so foolishly.

Let's hear it for high taxes - a corporate morality of mutual care and building for the future!

Lehman Brothers - Bankruptcy!

Curious about the kind of Raw Capitalism created by Reagan and reinforced by free-market Repubs ... bringing us to the incredibly sad time: the mortgage debacle, the Feds taking over Fredie and Fannie, and now Lehman Brothers going belly-up.

Their mantra: No Regulation.

Yeah, right ... and then when their greed and foolishness brings them to their knees, and millions of decent and honest employees and small investors (the big ones are just as greedy and irresponsible, adolescent actually) to their knees, they go crying to Uncle Sam.

Does this make sense?

Perhaps, but it makes sense only if our Federal Government can regain the rightful regulatory role of government.

Traditional Capitalism has always been a partnership between business and government, a partnership that created and sustained the Middle Class, the success of America's economy.

Without that partnership, we end up where we end up: the rich getting richer by taking more and more of the pie, and the poor getting poorer, with fewer and fewer opportunities to make headway.

An economy, unregulated, like the board game, "Risk," ends with all the cards being held by one player - in this case, the super-rich, with a very thin middle class, and all the rest, struggling to make ends meet, many of whom will plunge into deep and irreversible poverty.

I don't expect business to have much of a conscience - it's supposed to make money, and make as much of it as it can, but if Wall Street is the only force, if the bottom line is the only reality, if the profit margin at the end of the year is the only thing that counts, then we're all in trouble and our way to becoming a nation of serfs.

Shall we bail out Lehman brothers?

Not if we're going to continue the present course.

But we if we regain our senses and create a government of the people, by the people and for the people - not just the super-rich, but for the entire nation, especially those who are otherwise without voice and power, then let's bail 'em out and get back on course.

Let's kick out the Raw Capitalists who are nothing more than Fascists wrapped in God and Country.
Let's recover Traditional Capitalism ... and get on with the work of being America.

Flirg ... Cankles

SNL skit - awesome ...

Can't believe the similarity between she-who-won't-be-named and Tina Fey!

By the way, if you're wondering ...

Cankles ... when the ankle has no defintion ...

Flirg ... First Lady is really a guy ... and other variations.

Enjoy the day.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

She’s Not Ready

With Gov. Sarah Palin, it’s not about agreeing or disagreeing with her on the issues. It is that she doesn’t appear to understand the important issues.

read more | digg story

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Mayor Palin Charges Rape Victims

Who is she?

Is she so determined that every conception is of God, that she wouldn't support long-standing local police policy to pay for rape victim's exams? But rather to charge them? And then fire the police chief for not complying with her foolish policy?

Who is Palin?

Just how sick is she?

Take a look HERE.

More and more will be revealed in the weeks ahead ... and by the way, how well Charlie Gibson trapped her - she's not prepared to be VP, and light years away from presidential qualifications.

Will women around the country rally to the truth? That Sarah Palin is a conservative woman-hater? Will femisnists stand their ground and make it clear that just because Palin is a woman by gender, her agenda is anything but favorable to women?

Check THIS out.

Thank goodness folks are starting to connect the dots!

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Tangle of Repub Lies

Slowly, under the hesitant light of investigation, we're learning more about the Hockey Mom from Alaska. Her husband has just been subpoenaed in connection with the firing of a state official.

Palin's interview with Charlie Gibson revealed a person totally inept, totally reliant on script writers ... she knows very little about anything.

In the weeks ahead, America's love affair with Palin will cool, and McCain's views on abortion and the economy will turn many Americans to Obama, a candidate who has REAL ideas to move this country back to the center where freedom is allowed and freedom of choice is cherished.

A country that can wage peace, care for its citizens, and restore our economy - that's the kind of country Obama can give us.

Keith Oberman - Truth-Teller!

Friend of mine sent this to me - a piece by Keith Olbermann (one of the few truth-tellers left in the intimidated media) detailing how the Repubs have hijacked 9/11 for their own perverted fear-mongering purposes.

It's a brilliant piece - click HERE to read it.

In thanking my friend, I wrote the following:

Thanks for sending this along ... Olbermann is one of the few truth-tellers left in the media mostly intimidated by the right ... so often accused of being sympathetic to the left, they're running with their tails tucked between their legs.

The Repubs have hijacked 9/11 and continue to spread the message of fear ... a message that plays right into the heart of the Republic right now, because lots of Americans know that something is profoundly wrong, but rather than addressing the core issues - health care, poverty, global warming, federal debt - most Americans would rather just shout a little louder, shove a little harder, and go shopping.

McCain and Palin are full of lies ... and many Americans are gobbling it up like pigs with a bucket of slop. I know some folks who are right of Attila the Hun - amazing how skewed their thoughts are - peppered with words like "socialism, communism" and "Obamanation" and "He's a Muslim" - that folks could think this way stuns me.

I was at the opening of Obama's SoCal headquarters last week - lots of fun, lots of energy, and maybe a thousand or more folks ... I said to one young lady, "Glad to see you here. I was worried that Palin would influence too many."

She looked seriously and said, "Not if they think about it."

Let's just hope folks will think about it.

God's Peace and Vision ...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Palin Lies? Pipe Dream?

From the New York Times ... regarding her great "pipe(line) dream" ...

The reality, however, is far more ambiguous than the impression Ms. Palin has left at the convention and on the campaign trail.

Certainly she proved effective in attracting developers to a project that has eluded Alaska governors for three decades. But an examination of the pipeline project also found that Ms. Palin has overstated both the progress that has been made and the certainty of success.

The pipeline exists only on paper. The first section has yet to be laid, federal approvals are years away and the pipeline will not be completed for at least a decade. In fact, although it is the centerpiece of Ms. Palin’s relatively brief record as governor, the pipeline might never be built, and under a worst-case scenario, the state could lose up to $500 million it committed to defray regulatory and other costs.

When all is said and done, the Palin phenomenon will fade like a cheap shirt.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Why I'm for Obama!

I am for Obama,

Because he will help us:

Address the war in Iraq and withdraw our troops from a war that we should have never undertaken.

Refocus our attention on Afghanistan and real war on terrorism.

Open up for us the discussion of a national health care program, as most of the civilized world has adopted.

Bring justice to our economy. Ever since Reagan, we have been on a Fascist road - privilege for the few; crap for the rest. It's time for us to visit FDR and traditional capitalism - not the raw capitalism envisioned by the Repubs which has led us down a dark road of deepening debt and war.

Help us be a better society ... with justice and mercy at the center - the American principle: "We help one another."

Remind us of our place in the world ... that we have to be a player with the rest of the world. It's time for America to realize that our "national interests" are related to the well-being of the entire world, including global warming.

Restore our international reputation. Much of the world laughs at us, and when they're not laughing, they scratching their heads. Our behavior has been nothing but adolescent.

Bring sanity to our economic policies ... it's time to address our enormous debt, crippling our economy. We're no longer spending our own money; we're spending money borrowed from China and giving it to the Saudis to buy oil. It's a disaster waiting to happen.

Bring mercy to our way of dealing with the poor.

Heal the perpetually damaged relationship between labor and management. When will corporate boards see their employees not as enemies, but as partners? Justice is profitable.

It's time to deal with issues ... the problems ... the real stuff.

The Repubs won't go there ... because their program is crippled ... and all they have is rhetoric ... noise and nonsense.

And maybe help us realize how intimidated the media is - they've been accused by the right of being favorable to the left, and they're bending over backwards to the right - Palin has been on the cover of every mag and newspaper of any influence. That the right should continue to use this mantra is another example of the power of the lie.

This is an incredibly dangerous time ... that our nation is flirting with fascism is no joke. The love of power linked with the sense that we can do no wrong; that our rights ought to be recognized by the world - lebensraum - and that our interests are first among the nations - this is the stuff of insantity, and John McCain and his Vietnam memories, and Sarah Palin and her hunt-wolves-from-the-air attitude are leading us down a dark and deadly path.

They're fascists at heart ... privilege for the few, and the rest of us be damned.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Time to Get Back to Basics

Is Sarah Palin a Trojan Moose?

Ariana Huffington writes:

Did Sarah Palin wrongfully push to have her ex-brother-in law fired? Was she really against the "Bridge to Nowhere?" Did she really sell Alaska's plane on eBay, or just list it on eBay? Did she actually have any substantial duties commanding the Alaska National Guard?

The correct answer to all these questions is: who cares? Which isn't to say these aren't valid questions, or that Palin and the McCain camp aren't playing it fast, loose, and coy with each of them. The point is that Palin, and the circus she's brought to town, are simply a bountiful collection of small lies deliberately designed to distract the country from one big truth: the havoc that George Bush and the Republican Party have wrought, and that John McCain is committed to continuing.

The mess left by Bush will be worsened under the inept leadership of McCain/Palin - the Repubs have made a fine mess of this country, but seeminly the media and much of America is unable to clearly focus their attention on the real stuff.

Someone once described us as "entertaining ourselves to death."

The Palin circus, with all of its idiocy and lies, has totally distracted us - "give 'em cake to eat."

Frightening what's happening to our character.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Daily Show - Wow!

Check out this video ...

How the Repubs speak outta both sides of their mouths.

Oh well ... one lie begets another ...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

McCain Reckless?

A reckless man is a danger in a volatile world.

Check out this fine article detailing McCain's proclivity to fight - by Rachel Kleinfeld, executive director of the Truman National Security Project. (Full biography.)

I have believed for a long time that McCain is still fighting the Vietnam War, still living there in that Hanoi Hilton, fuming over his perceived notion of poltical interference with the military, itching for a chance to prove himself, and to prove the might of the American military unhindered by diplomacy.

If Bush Jr. wanted to fight his Daddy's war anew, then McCain wants to fight Vietnam again - the man is spoiling for a fight, and he will use his office to bring closure to his own wounded psyche, his loss of pride and the boiling temper within.

He's a dangerous man, and when linked to the Neo-Cons and their perverted image of the world, there's no telling what craziness McCain will bring about.

As time goes along, more will come out about McCain's ineptitude and Palin's goofiness - click Here.

Time for Obama and Biden

Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, "Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs."

So let's be clear: The culprit is John McCain. He may have chosen Palin out of change-envy, or a belief that women can't tell the difference between form and content, but the main motive was to please right-wing ideologues; the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or ever has been a supporter of reproductive freedom. If that were not the case, McCain could have chosen a woman who knows what a vice president does and who has thought about Iraq; someone like Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. McCain could have taken a baby step away from right-wing patriarchs who determine his actions, right down to opposing the Violence Against Women Act.

From a great LA Times op-ed piece by Gloria Steinem ... given time, we will learn just how silly Palin is ... touted as a tax-cutter in a state that has neither sales nor income tax, and she's won the favor of Alaskans by tapping the state's treasury and given $1,200 to every resident.

God, guns and gays ... this remains the agenda of the far right, and right now, they have taken the once Grand Old Party all the deeper into the darkness of a twisted and dangerous ideology.

I pray that Americans will wake up!

Wrapped in the flag, crap is crap, and this message of the far right, the Neo-Cons and theo-cons is nothing but fascism ... privilege for the few, and the rest be damned.

For the Christian right, the damned are all those who don't believe as they do, and for the Neo-cons, the damned are those who question their agenda and dare to raise thoughtful questions about our future and the role we play in this difficult world.

America, stand up with me ... fight with me ... for what's true and good.
America, stand up with me ... fight for peace and liberty ...
And fight for a world ... in which America plays a vital role, but it's not about us ... it's about billions of people who hunger and thirst for life.
America, stand up with me ... fight with me for a balanced and sane America fit for the 21st Century - a global world in which diplomacy trumps violence and bullying.

Obama and Biden will pull us back from the brink of disaster.
They will lead us as 21st century leaders ...
They will help us recover our international reputation ...
They will deal positively with health care and education ...
They will end our militarist adventurism in Iraq ...
They will deal with terrorism and make us safer ...
They will know how to talk to the world ... and more importantly, listen not only to our allies, but to our enemies as well ...
They will deal with the economy and restore sanity to the housing and oil markets ...
They will appropriately tax wealth ... as it should be ...
They will reduce the deficit and protect working families ...

Obama and Biden ... for the 21st Century!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Paylin Buys Votes?

Interesting article from the Seattle Times ... Palin uses oil profits to "buy" her popularity. When other states are struggling, Alaska is prospering with our hard-earned dollars.

Rightly so, Alaska is "taxing" the oil companies. Goodness, did I say that naughty word. Palin has stayed with the windfall profits tax created by President Carter, a tax fought by the oil companies. But Palin recognized how low taxes had done little to spur oil exploration, so why not tax the barrels being produced, and return some of that money to the citizens of Alaska?

Why not share this with the rest of the nation?

600,000 souls ... 300 million Americans.

Alaska - our own Saudi Arabia.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hockey Mom?

She said it, "What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? ... lipstick!"

The Repubs have their attack dog, and hats off to them for picking a vicious human being with a smile on her face, and because she's a woman, a mom, with a special needs child, and a pregnant teen, she's the most well-protected candidate to ever hit the stump.

The Repubs sling the mud ... they do it with uncompromising skill ... and now with a "hottie from the coolest state," (they said it, not me), they've got a spokesperson who's essentially untouchable. Any question raised about her will be rebutted with charges of sexism or some pretended violation of the sacred role of motherhood.

I'm sick to my stomach.

Her right-wing agenda is clear.

How about:
Creationism in our schools ... pseudo-science ... religious ideology over truth.

How about:
No abortion, ever ... even in the case of rape and incest.

How about:
Free-market health care ... and more folks outside the medical safety net?

How about:
"It's God's will for our troops to be in Iraq" - check out this YouTube video from her church.

How about:
Abstinence as a social policy. Yeah, right. Apparently both mother and daughter have some difficulty with this as a personal value.

How about:
Lower taxes for the wealth and growing federal deficits, as we continue to borrow from the Chinese to buy Saudi oil. And have you noticed lower oil prices? Hey, did this just happen by coincidence? The oil companies are eating some of their profits to lower prices right now, because more than anything else, they want another Repub administration - a president who will promote their international projects and who knows what drilling in America's shrinking wilderness. Why, they've made so much money in the last three years, they could give gas away for the next two years and still have money in the bank.

How about:
More war, because war has apparently become God's will to protect our national interests around the globe, and pity the nation that doesn't have our interests at heart.

On and on it goes ... beneath the smile and the rhetoric, Dick Cheney in drag, adding to it a James Dobson/Mike Huckabee overlay of Jesus-talk - smug, self-assured, and oh so right.

What most sickens me is that I'm a follower of Jesus, too, but the Jesus I know and love, the Jesus I worship and follow, is vastly different than the Jesus offered up by the religious right.

Hockey Mom?

Mayor of a small town.
Governor for 22 months of a state whose population is smaller than a couple of square blocks in Chicago's south side.

Someone said to me today, excited about Sarah Palin, "She's a regular person."

I don't want a regular person, nor does this nation need one. We had "a regular person" for the last eight years.

We need greatness ... heck, even Reagan, of whom I'm no fan, was certainly no regular person. Neither was Richard Nixon, and neither were John F. Kennedy or FDR. We need folks of vision and courage, experience and depth.

One of Palin's introductions included her high school basketball record: she was captain of a team that won the state championship. Who the hell even remembers what they did in high school, and if being a beauty queen and a runner-up in Miss Alaska qualify her for the highest office in the land, then good golly Miss Molly, about 100 million folks are qualified, too.

Well, the Repubs have what they needed: an attack dog, and it wears a skirt. Hats off to the Repubs - they've pulled a fast one, and a lot of Americans are gullible enough to fall for it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tough Cookie?

Repub spokesperson, excuse me, spokeswoman: "She's one tough cookie." Having little else with which to defend McCain's choice, they're playing the gender card, and will likely play this card repeatedly, because it's the only card they hold right now in the Palin game.

If McCain wanted to divert attention from the hollowness of his campaign, the continuing sadness of our war in Iraq, our fumbled war against terror, global warming, the mortgage crisis, the falling dollar, our international reputation, health insurance questions and the well-being of the Republic, he's done it.


I think of Bush choosing Harriet Meirs for the Supreme Court - without credentials, but with all the Bush-loyalty and ideological fidelity, she would have, if confirmed, carried on the fundamentalist agenda, which is the heart and soul of a political party no longer capable of serious thought.

McCain describes Palin as a soul-mate. Not his soul-mate; I doubt if McCain has any soul left, having sold it to the fundamentalist interests of the party. Not a soul-mate, but a hook for the gun-tottin' religious nuts that now constitute a serious voting block in the one-time Grand Old Party of Senator Everett Dirksen.

The gender card, like the race card, isn't a card at all.

Those who play it, either to engender (so to speak) favor or sow seeds of discontent, aren't playing the game at all. But this year, what with all the serious issues facing us, issues created mostly by failed Bush policies, the Repubs haven't a leg on which to stand.

The debate is already in full swing: parents relating to children. Children and pregnancy. Being a working mother. Mighty important stuff, but is this where the presidential debate needs to be heading right now? The "sympathy" votes are already being counted in the swank restaurants of St. Paul.

Is this the ultimate Karl Rove move? Take the gender values of the Dems, turn them inside out and upside down, use them to create an impression of feminist commitment, while in fact, setting back the cause of women a hundred years, using Palin to promote a right-wing, anti-woman, agenda.

Yup, one tough cookie. To survive being used by the GOP, she'll have to be tough, and even tougher, her family.

And let's hope the American people will be a whole lot smarter.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Bristol's Pregnant

Okay, what's the big deal?

She's 17 ... five months pregnant ... and going to marry the father.

So, life isn't much different for an uptight, rigid-thinking, right-wing Bible-thumpin' Repub. And whatever happened to abstinence? Apparently both mother and daughter have been unable to practice this essential tenant of GOP social strategy.

Life is filled with millions of choices and decisions, few of which are clean and easy. Hats off to them for standing with their daughter - see Juno.

Anyway, hope everyone can leave Bristol alone ... and let's hope the Repubs don't use this "hockey mom" and her family to obscure how they stand on the issues, and hopefully the Dems won't lose sight of the real craziness of right-wing thinkers like Palin.

But let's cut to a chase here.

I have been pro-choice for years, and I hope that Bristol was given a choice, or will the Repubs use her to prove their point? The religious right, as the TV grandchild of backwoods fundamentalism, has to have the better idea, trading in success stories and "before-and-after" conversion melodrama.

The simple reality: life bears no resemblance to the the kind of life promised by silver-tongued preachers, but the pressure within their ranks is incredible, so that folks begin to act as if it were all true, encouraging one another, and warning one another to prevent defections - a lockstep religion, in other words, hyper-fearful of freedom.

For millions of families, without the resources of care, an unwanted pregnancy is a disaster and abortion, always a tragedy, is the only way out for many. Palin's daughter will be surrounded with all the care needed and then some. But such is not the case for so many living in poverty-inducing Bush policies.

I'm not a dreamer, and because I believe fervently in God, I know God works in and through the hardships of life, including those decisions to end a pregnancy.

In an ideal world, out-of-wedlock pregnancy wouldn't occur, but in our world, it does, and thus it's important that we maintain the right of the mother to make decisions. A democracy can do no other.

There are those, of course, who would dismantle our democracy and replace it with a theocracy, a system harsh and unyielding, subject to the interpretation of folks like James Dobson and the now deceased D. James Kennedy, men who are right at home with religious fanatics who think beheading is a good thing (see Chris Hedges, American Fascists).

The Christian Right, armed with the Bible, the gun and in bed with the neo-cons, are a clear and present danger to the well-being of the Republic. In the twi-light years of the Bush disaster, their influence has wained, but there are millions of unthinking Americans who have linked their faith with this kind of religion. Full of easy answers and spiritual assurance, this kind of religion is attractive and binds its adherents into an unthinking group.

Palin's Bible Church is a part of this dangerous movement.

My greatest fear: this young girl will be put on a stage to give her testimony. Wait and see. I hope not, but in a time when the fundamentalist world needs a celebrity, she could well be the one they've been praying for.