Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ignorance, Arrogance and Meanness.

There is a fatal and dangerous amalgam of factors in the far right represented in a FB comment found on a new friend's site where she posted a piece noting how the TX governor goes begging for Federal Funds for the wildfires, but otherwise condemns Federal Dollars as evil.

Anyway, here's the comment:

Unfortunately it is the poor and lazy who are draining our country dry. Why is it that I have to work for a living and some can chose to let the gov give them money. I started with nothing and have earned everything I have. The low life scum in America need to do the same. Texas isn't begging for money, but they have paid taxes unlike a large majority of Obama supports, and Texas deserves the support they requested long before these disasters happened in AL.

I haven't a clue where one could begin with a mind like this, seared, as it is, like a cheap piece of meat left on the grill far too long.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

GOP Shenanigans in Michigan

The Rev. Dr. Robert Dahl, a good friend since 1967, and a fine writer, offers the following observations on the GOP in Michigan, where Bob resides and ministers, and the state wherein I have spent the majority of my years. What's going on there is tragic, but I'll let my friend's words say it better than I can:


The Governor of Michigan and the Michigan Legislature through legislation granting new powers to "emergency managers" have nullified the democratic process and therefore the United States Constitution and have invoked absolute powers in two Michigan cities -- Detroit and Benton Harbor.

Granted the Detroit school system needs emergency surgery if it is to survive and Benton Harbor politics is allegedly as corrupt as it gets (I worked there eighteen months), but the solution is not to strip duly elected officials of their power and declare complete power in the office of the governor executed through non-elected emergency managers appointed by the State Treasurer's office.

Police in Detroit handcuffed and hauled off pregnant teens recently who had gathered at their alternative school in Detroit to write protest posters about the possible elimination of the school. Did you get that? Police handcuffed pregnant teens and hauled them off to jail.

I saw it on TV and thought I was watching a scene from a film version of a dystopian novel such as Nineteen Eighty-Four, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, Animal Farm or pessimistic existential works like The Trial and The Stranger.

I can only assume the powers that be justified the arrests on the grounds the young ladies were on school property on a day when school was not in session thereby constituting trespassing. That school has a 90% graduation rate and promises to get all of its graduates into college. The school is on the budget chopping block and, if I understand correctly, the duly elected school board has no power to stop any such action.

The democratically elected mayor and council members have been stripped of their executive and legislative power in Benton Harbor.

One member of my church, normally a pretty progressive fellow with credible credentials in the business world, told me during the campaign when it looked like the Democratic candidate would lose that Rick Snyder would be just fine because he was a social progressive and fiscal conservative.

The action coming from the governor's office since the election belies the campaign rhetoric. Budget proposals by the governor would negatively affected working people, public employees, the middle class and the poor. Only the rich and corporations would benefit. This doesn't sound like social progressivism or fiscally sound action. Tax breaks for the rich and corporations don't create jobs; they just enlarge the divide between the rich and the poor and the only thing that trickles down is the middle class.

And the actions by the emergency managers is aimed at predominately poor and minority populations. Action certainly is needed, and the governor may think this is the way to do it, but it is heavy handed, autocratic, undemocratic and smacks of bias and prejudice.

First Congregational Church, Benton Harbor where I served as a specialized interim minister turned over all buildings and its trust fund in 2007 to Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago to take over and begin a new ministry in the community.

I hope and pray the congregation, the Southwest Association of the Michigan Conference of the United Church of Christ of which the congregation is a member, the Detroit Metropolitan Association of the Michigan Conference and the Michigan Conference itself stand up to Governor Snyder and the Legislature and oppose this unconstitutional and, therefore, illegal action.

I hope the Mayor of Detroit and the City Council stand up to the state government regarding the emergency manager's actions related to the Detroit school system.

Also, I hope the Department of Justice steps in to stop the unconstitutional legislative activity in my home state.

Robert E. Dahl,
Specialized Interim Minister
United Church of Christ, Retired
Holland, MI

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A letter from Big Biz to Obama - "You Scare Me"

Recently came across this letter penned by a former exec at Procter and Gamble - he claims to have sent it to the NY Times, but it was never published. According to SNOPES, it's a real letter that has now achieved some influence in the far-right hinterlands of cyberspace.

I share it with you simply because it reveals a cancer in the American business community, an overbearing arrogance that success in soap, or whatever, qualifies one to critique the President of the United States. But we all know that success is niche-oriented, and while one may climb to the top of the ladder in one arena of life, success rarely translates into another career-culture. But wealth feeds the ego a rich diet of pride, and that's why Jesus said, "It's easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for a person of wealth to enter the kingdom of heaven." A camel at least has a chance!

The cancer of arrogance seeps through big biz these days, fueled by the t-baggers who worship in Dagon's Temple, doing the bidding of their priests - company CEOs and their ethically-challenged MBAs who are still wearing diapers and sucking pacifiers - too young to know or care about the consequences of their cavalier machinations with our money!

As you will see, it's a note filled with the poisons of greed and arrogance, and the same old songs that the far right have sung for decades - they sang it during the Civil War when Lincoln rose to the challenge of slavery and the cotton empire, they sang it when Teddy Roosevelt busted the trusts, when FDR rescued the nation and built the world's best social safety net, when Eisenhower proposed a federal health-care system, when Nixon sought to include China in the UN, and even sang it with Reagan when he moved away from the JBS and the more extreme evangelical/christofascists of his era.

It's the same old song, and if you listen to the tune, it's poorly composed, and the words are a fog of meaningless images and emotions.

The man who wrote this letter is un-American to the core!

He's a high priest in Dagon's Temple.

Below, the "you scare me" letter:


By Lou Pritchett, Procter & Gamble

Lou Pritchett is one of corporate America's true living legends- an acclaimed author, dynamic teacher and one of the world's highest rated speakers. Successful corporate executives everywhere recognize him as the foremost leader in change management.

Lou changed the way America  does business by creating an audacious concept that came to be known as "partnering."

Pritchett rose from soap salesman to Vice-President, Sales and Customer Development for Procter and Gamble and over the course of 36 years, made corporate history.


Dear President Obama:

You are the thirteenth President under whom I have lived and unlike
any of the others, you truly scare me.

You scare me because after months of exposure, I know nothing about you.

You scare me because I do not know how you paid for your expensive
Ivy League education and your upscale lifestyle and housing with no
visible signs of support.

You scare me because you did not spend the formative years of youth
growing up in  America  and culturally you are not an American.

You scare me because you have never run a company or met a payroll.

You scare me because you have never had military experience, thus
don't understand it at its core.

You scare me because you lack humility and 'class', always blaming others.

You scare me because for over half your life you have aligned
yourself with radical extremists who hate America; and you refuse to
publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see America fail.

You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the 'blame America'
crowd and deliver this message abroad.

You scare me because you want to change America to a European style
country where the government sector dominates instead of the private sector.

You scare me because you want to replace our health care system
with a government controlled one.

You scare me because you prefer 'wind mills' to responsibly
capitalizing on our own vast oil, coal and shale reserves.

You scare me because you want to kill the American capitalist goose
that lays the golden egg which provides the highest standard of
living in the world.

You scare me because you have begun to use 'extortion' tactics
against certain banks and corporations.

You scare me because your own political party shrinks from
challenging you on your wild and irresponsible spending proposals.

You scare me because you will not openly listen to or even consider
opposing points of view from intelligent people.

You scare me because you falsely believe that you are both
omnipotent and omniscient.

You scare me because the media gives you a free pass on everything
you do.

You scare me because you demonize and want to silence the
Limbaugh's, Hannity's, O'Reillys and Becks who offer opposing,
conservative points of view.

You scare me because you prefer controlling over governing.

Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second term I will
probably not feel safe in writing a similar letter in 8 years.

Lou Pritchett
This letter was sent to the NY Times but they never acknowledged it.
Big surprise. Since it hit the internet, however, it has had over
500,000 hits. Keep it going. All that is necessary for evil to succeed
is that good men do nothing. It's happening right now.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mother Drowns Herself and Her Children

LaShanda Armstrong and her children, driving into the Hudson River - just one story among many, the quiet desperation that overwhelms millions of people in our GOP world.

When a nation fails to provide good education, good jobs and a reliable safety net, and tells people they're on their own, and get a job, and make something of yourself, desperation engulfs millions of people who are born without connections, without privilege and without hope.

There's no doubt that Ms. Armstrong was working hard and trying her best to improve her lot, but the odds were stacked against her, and there came a moment, when she could no longer see her way clear, for herself and for her children.

This isn't a personal failure; it's the failure of a soceity growing cold and callous and greedy. This is the story of a GOP world - where the few live in comfort and pleasure and millions struggle to make it through a day.

Her sorrow is the sorrow of a nation gone crazy with greed and power. The 400 have gained the upper hand and are stripping away our values, turning life into a nightmare for millions. The 400 have destroyed unions, weakened public education and have bought the soul of our government.

Is this the kind of world in which we want to live? Ms. Armstrong could no longer find her way in just such a world. Is that important? In the kingdom of God, it's the only thing that counts! She and her children are in heaven now, while we continue to create a hell on earth!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Right to Work????

"Right to work" is one of the most clever word-inventions ever coined. 

You have the right to work as long as you toe the line and behave, and don't ask for a raise, and don't raise up issues of quality in production and pollution, and work over time when we ask you, without pay, of course, and until the owner sells the company to some big corp somewhere on the 35th floor of a skyscraper in Manhattan.