Sunday, May 02, 2010

How well can you see?

May 2, 2010

Mine caves in in West Virginia, water main breaks near Boston, no potable water in the area. Oil rig catches fire and sinks off shore several fail safe systems fail, and slick reaches Gulf Coast mainland at Louisiana. Excuses and apologies all around, Condi Rice’s cry of, “Who could have predicted...” is heard through the land. Who could have predicted that systems would fail and the consequences.

Well here is Psalm 74:19:
“Do not deliver the soul of Your turtledove to the wild beast; Do not forget the life of Your afflicted forever.”

The spill looks to me like we have delivered the soul of the turtledove, the Gulf ecosystem for you literalists, to the wild beast, in this case “Dig, Baby, Dig”. Who could have predicted? Anyone who understands that all systems eventually fail, everything degenerates - rocket ships, computers, oil rigs, that person could have predicted.

Have we learned anything?
Here is Jeremiah 8:7:
Even the stork in the sky Knows her seasons; And the turtledove and the swift and the thrush Observe the time of their migration; But My people do not know The ordinance of the LORD.

Mine cave in, water main break, oil spill - can you take a hint?

Monday, May 04, 2009

The Republicans tried to frighten us by calling Obama a Socialist; that did not stick. Their new favorite smear word is "Fascism", a philosophy many of them have pursued for years. Here are a nine aspects of a fascist government. Let's see whom the shoe fits.

1.) Powerful and Continuing Nationalism: Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2.) Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights: Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

Torture victim's records lost at Guantánamo, admits camp general.
Bush signing into law that will get rid of habeas corpus, allow hearsay evidence, and allow the President to determine what is allowable torture.
Bush Offers Himself Amnesty for Human Rights Crimes
Bush threatens to veto $442b defense bill if Congress investigates detainee abuses.
Guantanamo Judge: I don’t care about international law. I don’t want to hear the words ’international law’ again. We are not concerned with international law.”

3.) Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause: The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
4.) Supremacy of the Military: Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
5.) Rampant Sexism: The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.
6.) Controlled Mass Media: Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokes people and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
James Dale Guckert (born 1957) posed as a conservative columnist who worked under the pseudonym Jeff Gannon as a White House reporter between 2003 and 2005, representing the news organization Talon News. Gannon first gained national attention during a presidential press conference on January 26, 2005, when he asked United States President George W. Bush a question that some in the press corps considered "so friendly it might have been planted." Gannon routinely obtained daily passes to White House briefings, attending four Bush press conferences and appearing regularly at White House press briefings. Although he did not qualify for a Congressional press pass, Gannon was given daily passes to White House press briefings "after supplying his real name, date of birth and Social Security number."
7.) Obsession with National Security: Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses
Cheney warns that if Kerry is elected the nation will suffer a devastating attack.
WASHINGTON Jan 20, 2006 — Embattled White House adviser Karl Rove vowed Friday to make the war on terrorism a central campaign issue in November.

8.) Religion and Government are Intertwined: Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions. NC Republican congressman Walter Jones urges law to make it okay to preach politics from the pulpit.

9.) Corporate Power is protected. The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
The I.R.S.’s scrutiny of the nation’s biggest companies is at a 20-year low, according to the study, conducted by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, or TRAC, a research group affiliated with Syracuse University. NY Times 4/20/08
Federal regulators have allowed mine operators to avoid fines for thousands of health and safety citations, despite a federal law that requires monetary penalties for such violations, government officials have confirmed.
Over the last six years, the Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration did not assess civil penalties for about 4,000 violations, according to preliminary MSHA data. Charleston, West Virginia Gazette, 1/27/08
The 15-month proconsulship of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) disbursed nearly $20 billion, two-thirds of it in cash, most of which came from the Development Fund for Iraq that had replaced the UN Oil for Food Program and from frozen and seized Iraqi assets. Most of the money was flown into Iraq on C-130s in huge plastic shrink-wrapped pallets holding 40 “cashpaks,” each cashpak having $1.6 million in $100 bills. Twelve billion dollars moved that way between May 2003 and June 2004, drawn from accounts administered by the New York Federal Reserve Bank. The $100 bills weighed an estimated 363 tons.

Once in Iraq, there was virtually no accountability over how the money was spent. There was also considerable money “off the books,” including as much as $4 billion from illegal oil exports. The CPA and the Iraqi State Oil Marketing Board, which it controlled, made a deliberate decision not to record or “meter” oil exports, an invitation to wholesale fraud and black marketeering. The American Conservative, 10/24/05
There are 6 Congressional Committees investigating the Oil-for-Food (UN) scandal, yet not a single Republican Committee Chairman will call a hearing to investigate the whereabouts of 9 billion dollars missing in action.

What has emerged recently is that the corruption is beyond the scope that anyone could have possibly imagined.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Answers to a questionnaire

a credo of sorts.

1. Do you believe in ghost? Sometimes.

2. What is LOVE? St. Paul said it all.

3. What do you think of President George Bush? Not very much

4. Do you believe in God or a higher power? I believe in god and gods.

5. Is there such a thing as UFOs? Yes. They are unidentified and they fly.

6. Is there evil? if so how and why, if no, why not? I like Zoroaster’s answer to the problem. Two competing prime principles, one good, the other evil. Good will eventually triumph thru the aid of virtuous human effort and actions.

7. Do you believe in the death penalty? Absolutely not!

8. What is the worst thing you have ever heard or seen? My best friend with a self inflicted bullet in his head.

9. What is the best place on earth for you? My home

10. Do you believe in miracles? Yes, the small, everyday kind. I’m suspicious of the “big bang” miracle.

11. How do you feel about child abuse? It’s beyond my ken.

12. What is a perfect day for you?
A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread—and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness—
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!

13. How do you feel about drugs? Some are legal, some are illegal.

14. How do you feel about alcohol and smoking? Re: alcohol, From my mother: “One glass of wine is golden. Two are silver, and the third is lead.”
Re: tobacco: I don’t smoke.

15. What was the happiest day of your life? I don’t know, I haven’t finished with it yet.

16. Explain yourself in 10 different words? Quick, intelligent, well educated, personable, mercurial, 73, feisty, basketball coach, chess player.

17. What do you feel about terrorism? I wouldn’t want to be one or associate with one.

18. Who is your favorite famous person in History? there have been several great exemplars, Zoroaster, Buddha, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad. They all delivered the same “love one another” message. I don’t distinguish among avatars.

19. What is your sign? Gemini

20. Why are you on this earth? I dunno, still working on it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Herodotus and The Republicans

Herodotus Book 1 Ch 60
...Megacles, wearied with the struggle, sent a herald to Pisistratus, with an offer to reestablish him on the throne if he would marry his daughter. Pisistratus consented, and on these terms an agreement was concluded between the two, after which they proceeded to devise the mode of his restoration. And here the device on which they hit was the silliest that I find on record, more especially considering that the Greeks have been from very ancient times distinguished from the barbarians by superior sagacity and freedom from foolish simpleness, and remembering that the persons on whom this trick was played were not only Greeks but Athenians, who have the credit of surpassing all other Greeks in cleverness. -my emphasis. There was in the Paeanian district a woman named Phya, whose height only fell short of four cubits by three fingers' breadth (about 6' tall), and who was altogether comely to look upon. This woman they clothed in complete armor, and, instructing her as to the carriage which she was to maintain in order to seem her part, they placed her in a chariot and drove to the city. Heralds had been sent forward to precede her, and to make proclamation to this effect: "Citizens of Athens, receive again Pisistratus with friendly minds. Athene, who of all men honors him the most, herself conducts him back to her own citadel." This they proclaimed in all directions, and immediately the rumor spread throughout the country districts that Athene was bringing back her favorite. They of the city also, fully persuaded that the woman was the veritable goddess, prostrated themselves before her, and received Pisistratus back.

Sounds like McCain was there and borrowed the idea.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Nice speech. I was glad to hear it, but what counts is not what you and I think; what counts is what the pundits and the talking heads tell us. In other words, the spin's the thing whereby we'll crown a king.

NPR this morning focused once again - and it's not just NPR; it's all of the major news sources - on personality and not issues. "Was he charismatic, did he sound presidential, what will the Republicans do to counter", and on and on with no real emphasis or analysis of content beyond how the speech played to the public. Everything gets reduced to poll numbers, and content goes out the window. We seem to forget that the person embodies the policies, and it's the policies that count. The candidate is the salesman, the policy is the product, but the press insists on a cult of personality and obfuscates the issues. Obfuscation of issues is a great boon to Republicans.So, yes, I liked Obama's speech.

The policies are what counts and are how I'll base my choice. Pundits be damned.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

More Georgia
In March 1991, Georgian militia units loyal to Zviad Gamsakhurdia, the first freely elected leader of Georgia in seven decades took over in South Ossetia. One of Gamsakhurdia's first acts as Georgian president was to cancel the political autonomy that the Stalinist constitution had granted the republic's 90,000-strong Ossetian minority.
The South Ossetian town of Tskhinvali had been ransacked by Gamsakhurdia's militia. The Georgians had trashed the Ossetian national theater, decapitated the statue of an Ossetian poet and pulled down monuments to Ossetians who had fought with Soviet troops in World War II. The Ossetians were responding in kind, firing on Georgian villages and forcing Georgian residents of Tskhinvali to flee their homes.
The Ossetians view Georgians in much the same way that Georgians view Russians: as aggressive bullies bent on taking away their independence. "We are much more worried by Georgian imperialism than Russian imperialism," said an Ossetian leader, Gerasim Khugaev. "It is closer to us, and we feel its pressure all the time."
When it comes to apportioning blame for the latest flare-up in the Caucasus, there's plenty to go around. The Russians were clearly itching for a fight, but the behavior of Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili has been erratic and provocative. The United States stoked the conflict by encouraging Saakashvili to believe that he enjoyed American protection, when the West's ability to impose its will in this part of the world is actually quite limited.
The points to be stressed here are John McCain's strong anti-Russia comments on the Georgia situation and the fact that his top foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann, is part owner of a lobbying firm that provides strategic advice to the Georgian government in Washington. McCain's bellicose bluster will accomplish nothing towards settling the situation, and Russia will have its way. McCain, however may be able to gain a few more votes from the "kick ass" crowd here at home.
Get over the hysteria and look at the facts. We have the Monroe Doctrine which treats the Caribbean as one of the Great Lakes and Russia has historically looked to secure its borders, their own version of the Monroe Doctrine. Before some of you froth at the mouth let me be clear about what I'm saying which is that the Monroe Doctrine has no status under international law and is maintained by force of arms and that Russia maintains the states on its border via force of arms. No moral or international authority is in play here. It's straight power politics and all we can do is bluster about it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Georgia on My Mind.
It's quite simple. Russia is doing what Russia always does when she is strong. She pushes her borders and gobbles up smaller neighbors. It's been going on since Czarist days and it caught the Bush administration, again, with its pants down. Not even Condi Rice, the Russian studies expert, was on this.

We relaxed as a country after Bush famously looked Putin in the eye and saw his soul. Problem is that Putin then spit in Bush's eye. McCain, the resident neo-warrior and tough guy, with worlds of experience was caught off guard. It's only a matter of time for the Republicans to blame Barack Obama for situation and tie it to 1) his lack of experience, 2) his naivete, 3) Michelle Obama.

Russia knows very well that we're helplessly bogged chasing weapons of mass delusions in Iraq in a war that we were to win by expending a blitzkrieg force, subduing the country and reaping it's oil crop. All at little or no cost to us as the oil revenues would rapidly recover initial expenses and then roll in monthly profits like the rose petals Iraqis were going to strew in our path.

Bush was soul sighting when he should have been soul searching, and he was definitely wishfully dreaming while a mesmerized, stars in the eyes, bunch of Washington politicians got in line behind him as their constituents cheered the U.S.'s grand march to mediocrity. Obama opposed all that crap, and he's portrayed as the poor innocent who knows nothing, while at the same time as a cynical grasping, effete, elitist politician who is bound to ruin the country. Well it's too late for the latter, the Republicans have already managed to do the job.