Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sad News Out of Washington Today (May 17, 2011)

The GOP today blocked Dem efforts to end tax breaks for the Big Five Oil Gang.

I can’t fully express my sorrow on this one. To me, it feels like a kick in the gut, a low blow, a blind-sided clipping … and there’s no one to penalize them, or red-card them, except the voter.

I’ve been saying now for years that the GOP, an extension of The 400, has been guarding and guiding the largest transfer of wealth ever seen – from the pockets of the many to the investment accounts of the few, draining our economy of working capital, creating fewer jobs in America and out-sourcing everything they can, taking it out even more cruelly on the working poor, our children, our schools and our cities.

Meanwhile, flooding the talk-show airwaves with a particularly cruel blarney – that if folks just hang a little, boot out the Dems, forcing the working stiffs to make “necessary sacrifices,” like pensions and wages and health care, one of these days, we’ll find glory-land and everyone will be happy.

I can’t believe how many good and decent folk believe this nonsense and continue to support the GOP. The magic words are “lower taxes, smaller government, cut spending and create jobs” – except we never quite get to jobs, while our public schools and roads and national parks and city and state services are falling apart, and if the GOP track record says anything at all, they’ve never cut the budget, but simply move it away from the social welfare of the nation to the corporate profits of The 400, supporting war, which, of course, is the largest welfare program in the world, moving billions of our dollars through the defense industry, the military-industrial complex of which Eisenhower so forcefully warned us.

Thousands of Christian churches have aided and abetted this hoax, but holding up wealth and happiness as a personal goal, if, of course, you do as the preacher says. And though wealth and happiness rarely come to the many, it does, of course, come to a few, who are the then paraded across the stage as role models, and publish books and get interviewed on FAUX news – keeping the illusion alive for the masses.

These churches have long ago left the gospel behind, reducing Jesus to some kind of personal trainer or spiritual guru who will make them wealthy, or at least get them to heaven.

I heard the news today of the GOP “victory,” and felt a darkness descend on my soul.

Only to be intensified by the news out of Sacramento, as the GOP in CA continues to hamstring our governor and further the disintegration of public services.

Sadly, for the GOP, creativity has died. But, then, when you’re working for the Koch Machine, who needs creativity? The sledge hammer approach works just fine to hasten the transfer of wealth, destroying unions, buying our legislative bodies through obscene campaign contributions, enlarging the corporate wealth-care of the rich, who then fatten the wallets of their political toadies.

I had to laugh today as Newt Gingrich actually seemed to have some sense in his criticism of Paul Ryan, and then quickly backtracked, like a stray sheep yanked back from the precipice of reason with a mighty yank from the shepherd’s staff.

McCain, as well, seems to have reclaimed some sense, but the t-bags are clearly strangling the life out of the party, choking off reason and commonsense, stripping the GOP of it’s conservative character, turning the GOP into a reactionary force serving the interests of The 400.

Erik Prince and His Killing Machine - a Prince of a Guy!

A good friend and colleague, The Rev. Dr. Robert Dahl, recently wrote a thoughtful and hard-hitting piece about Erik Prince, America's Dark Night, so to speak. Since my friend and I have spent a lot of time in West Michigan (my friend still lives there), we have a considerable interest in the religious goings-on in that part of the world. Erik Prince, in my sense of things, is the perfect example of the devolution of right-wing insanity - from humanity to bestiality, with blood dripping from tooth and claw. Anyway, when I read my friend's essay, I knew that I wanted to share it with as many as I could.

Read on and learn from my friend and colleague.


"What a Prince of a Guy"
The Prince of Darkness?

What a clever, enterprising boy that Erik Prince is. What a prince of a guy!

It is so hard finding work in this economy, so ever resourceful Erik found employment in somebody else's economy. He recast himself as a modern day Paladin: "Have Gun, Will Travel."

No doubt he will send some of his hard earned cash back to the states to help out his family members. That's what a lot of Mexicans have been doing for years for their families. With at least as much risk of harm to their person as what Mr. Prince faces, Mexicans have crossed the US border to find work so they can send money back to their financially strapped families. Apparently, we are just catching on to the selfless, sacrificial conduct of these despised illegal aliens.

Thank goodness Mr. Prince is setting an altruistic example for the rest of us. I’m sure he got the proper documentation to enter Abu Dhabi, the country he now calls home.

You know with the economy in the states being what it is, any good, red, white and blue blooded American should consider "Peace Corp" type work like Erik. We could all go to Abu Dhabi as ambassadors of good will like Mr. Prince and improve the image of the stereotypical "ugly American."

Besides, if any of us gets into legal trouble back home, we couldn't be extradited. What a fortunate side benefit! With all of Mr. Princes' surely bogus but bothersome legal issues that just don't seem to want to go away, I wonder if Mr. Princes' lawyers thought of that? Mr. Prince has gone away, and he can't be sent back.

A mercenary army of 800 soldiers employed by the Muslim country is owned by Erik Prince and hires all non-Muslims to fight for it because Muslim mercenaries couldn't be counted on to kill other Muslims. Imagine that -- religious people with a conscience. They have reservations about killing other religious people, well religious people like they are.

During the last century and now into this century, the same couldn't be said for Christians. Apparently Christians will kill anyone anytime regardless of religion. Christians killed millions of Christians not to mention millions of Jews in the 20th Century. The potential enemies the Muslim country employing Mr. Prince are concerned about, apparently for now, are other Muslims. So, the political leaders of the Muslim country don’t mind killing other Muslims; it’s just the everyday, ordinary Muslims who aren’t crazy about the idea.

Hiring non-Muslims to do the killing is not without its problems. According to the New York Times and the Grand Rapids Press in a May 15, 2011 article, Prince employs South African mercenaries who have been employed by African dictators and Columbian mercenaries who have previously done what? Protect drug cartels? Who knows? Maybe they were all, as children, good do bees and acolytes at mass. Of course, many of the Columbians have washed out of boot camp in the desert because of drug problems. Go figure. However, we can assume that the mercenaries from South Africa and Columbia are Christians hired to help Muslims kill Muslims. At least there is no problem there. You can bet on those Christians not having a conscience.

But what about the language barrier and awareness of cultural differences? South Africans speak Afrikaans and English; Columbians speak Spanish. Who speaks Gulf Arabic? Have the South Africans and Columbians, at least the ones who are left, been to cultural sensitivity training? On a cold night, you don’t want African and Columbian Christians burning Korans to keep warm. Just leave that to fundamentalist Christian preachers in the US.

Erik Prince, a child of the Christian Reformed Church and now a Roman Catholic, attributes his Christian faith, his high moral principles and patriotic loyalties to what he learned as a child growing up in the conservative West Michigan community of Holland. Bravo for the second happiest city in America! There goes one more happy kid to kill for Christ.

As you may well know, Mr. Prince spoke at Tulip Time a year ago at Hope College's DeVos Field House, named after Erik's sister's in-laws. He gave the Tulip Time Luncheon speech. Of course the event it was sold out. Everyone wanted to bask in the glory of the local boy who made good. The guests were probably popping their buttons with pride. I'm sure all the Hollanders were happier than ever except for a few old party poopers who gathered outside DeVos Fieldhouse to protest Mr. Prince’s appearance at Tulip Time and the use of Hope College property for his speech.

Eric Prince, now owner of a mercenary army hired by a Muslim country to kill enemies of that Muslim country, was hosted by Hope College, a Christian school, to give a speech on Hope property donated by Prince's sister's in-laws who happen to be super-rich evangelical Christians with right wing political views. At the time, mercenary employees of the company that Prince then owned, Blackwater, were killing civilian Muslims in Iraq.

He was contracted by the American state department to kill Muslims if need be. He got into a lot of trouble doing that. It seems a lot of innocent civilians got in the crosshairs. How could that be? Now he's contracted by Muslims to kill Muslims if need be. Perhaps in Abu Dhabi he needn’t be as concerned about civilians in the crosshairs.

I guess Erik's mercenary troops aren't exactly ready to get out there and do an efficient job of killing, so in the mean time, to hold up the guys' spirits they were taken from the secretive compound into town for a quick visit to a brothel. Hey, that's a good Old Testament practice.

Maybe Erik, who is known for his righteous, religious stance against homosexuality otherwise known to psychologists as homophobia, wanted to make sure the guys kept shooting straight. Let's see, in the general population anywhere from ten to fifteen percent if not higher are homosexual. So, out of 800 soldiers maybe a hundred of those macho boys are gay. Good grief! I hope Erik has a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy" and someone to keep constant surveillance on the shower room.

Gee, where do Hope and Western stand with all this? Well, it's obvious where they stand regarding gays. Hope has its own version of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and it comes with a big religious stigma and Old Testament type judgment. That, of course, fits right in with the opinions of some of the schools' major donors.

You know, I thought the schools' mission, in part, was to advance the cause of the Prince of Peace. How could they, in good conscience, accept money from those who advocate violence and killing, let alone killing for profit?

By now I am so confused. I thought evangelical, right wing Christians supported Israel against Muslims. Israel is part of the original covenant and they, along with true Christians, are part of the covenant community. Muslims are anti-Israel and anti-Christian according to right wing Christians. They are to be converted to Christianity or they will be lost. Now, a right wing Christian American patriot is working for Muslims. I'm having a hard time figuring out where Jesus is in all this.

Maybe the saving grace or rationale is that this patriotic American, conservative Christian makes his really big money running a mercenary army employed by a Muslim country to kill other Muslims who might threaten the country he works for.

Okay, I'm beginning to get it. Make a gazillion bucks working for Muslims to kill other Muslims, presumably all to the glory of God and Allah and perhaps, in a stretch, for the good old US of A. Muslims killing Muslims. That's okay. Americans getting money from Muslims to kill Muslims? Priceless.

But what if Christians and Jews get in the way somewhere along the way? Or what if, on down the line, his Muslim employers call on Erik, the super American patriot, to kill Americans for some reason? You know international politics and how fickle countries can be. However, you don't want to bite the hand that feeds you and that's not chicken feed Mr. Prince is getting. Even a super patriotic American has to champion the cause of market capitalism. That’s where religion comes in. Anybody knows that the Christian God endorses free market capitalism. The first Christians tried socialism and that was a total failure. The first apostles heard the Word from on high, “Now get out there and make some money!”

Can we all now all sing "Onward Christian Soldiers Making Mucho Money Marching for Muslims to Kill Muslims and then Anyone Else Who Might Happen to Get in the Way”?

Hey, this might even afford a fund raising opportunity for Hope College and Western Theological Seminary. The development offices could contact the Prince family, those family members who are still in the states, congratulating them on Erik's good luck and wishing them all the best. Actually no one short of the presidents is called for here. The personal touch helps during these tough economic times.

A lot of Americans are having a hard time keeping food on the table let alone a roof over their heads what with all the foreclosures. We just don't know how much the Princes have to share during these tough times. Yes, the personal touch is essential if donations are to be made.

Okay, now I get it. The money the schools might get will come from families that support Muslims killing Muslims. I guess that leaves the Christians and Jews safe to wait for the rapture. Let's hope the rapture comes before Erik is called on to kill Christians and Jews or just plain old American citizens for a Muslim country.

By the way, are there any new building projects on the campuses? If so, what names will adorn them?

In a play on words, perhaps one could be named "Piece of Prince."

Or even better, how about "Kingfish Hall," after Erik Prince's code name instead of "King of Kings Hall"?

In conclusion and on a somber note, what I hadn’t previously mentioned in this article, but which can safely be assumed given Prince is working for an undemocratic regime, is that the American patriot Erik Prince was hired, in part, to help put down any potential pro-democratic uprisings among the citizens of Abu Dhabi.

How ironic is that? Erik Prince may be called on to kill people simply seeking to be politically free and have a vote.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

What Really Built America?

In all regards, the greatest strides this nation has made for liberty and well-being have been crafted and driven by what we might call progressives or liberals.

The reactionary forces want to dismantle our freedoms and feed us to the corporate monster.

It was socialism, if you will, that built the Hoover Dam and the TVA and got us out of the Depression and built our interstate system; it's "socialism" that funds our military and safeguards our airways (before the Reagan deregulators took over) and our schools (no wonder the GOP fights against school-funding) and health-care system (what's left of it).

It was a liberal vision that fought the Revolution, that sought the abolition of slavery, that gave us the 8-hour workday and a living wage. Come on folks - it wasn't the wealthy who made this nation great. It was the working men and women working together, organizing, along with a strong government, that built this nation and made it great - so that a bozo like Trump might wear his hair oddly and prance around like he was actually a citizen of value.