Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Interstate 35: Highway to Heaven

Originally published January 2008


It's Sunday morning and the TV is filled with oh-so righteous pastors preaching the 'good word' to the folks and, by the way, keep sending your checks. I saw a clip of several Christian folks babbling incoherent phrases with their hands raised to the sky, not in one of these churches, but on the berm of I-35. No kidding, these 'believers' think I-35 is the biblical highway to heaven.

CNN showed a clip of these believers this morning; Gary Tuchman of CNN took a look at some folks who believe it and have set up a prayer campaign for the road: If you turn to the Bible -- Isaiah Chapter 35, Verse 8 -- you will see a passage that in part says, "A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness."

Now, is it possible that this "highway" mentioned in Chapter 35 is actually Interstate 35 that runs through six U.S. states, from southern Texas to northern Minnesota? Some Christians have faith that is indeed the case...

The Dallas Morning News points out that the original spelling of Isaiah is "Yesha'yahu." which starts with a "Y" sound, not an "I." Further 35 just happens to be the numbering that was done many centuries after it was supposedly written.

Yet, as we have seen, scientific and factual data never hampers 'true' believers.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Does the GOP Think We're All Stupid?

Originally published January 2007

The GOP presidential candidates must be hoping that there are enough dumbed-down Americans left to support their run for president. They may be right. But wouldn't you think that the voter might be looking around at their own economic situation from time to time?

Do the GOP candidates think that they can once again bamboozle the electorate with fear tactics and ethnic divisiveness? Safe borders and the war on terror don't solve the money woes of the majority of Americans. Are Americans willing to watch their economic future dissolve in order to 'feel safe?'

Today's news headline: Trade Deficit Soared in November : Record Price for Foreign Oil Pushes U.S. Trade Deficit to Highest Level in 14 Months. Here's another one from Yahoo Financial News: Stocks Fall on Bank Writedown Worries And another: Consumer Confidence Sinks to Record Low

Tell me that American citizens are worried about a terrorist strike or about Mexicans coming across the borders to pick strawberries. Or about gay marriage. If they are more concerned about these issues than the recession that we are already experiencing, then they ought to vote Republican in the fall.

Monday, December 29, 2008

"Anxious about the economy," Mr Bush said

Originaly published Jan. 8, 2008

He's 'anxious.' Oh really? Seems Mr. Bush is always eighty steps behind reality. It is as if he is in that TV commercial where the guy delays his response as if he is in a time warp and loses the girl. Were it only the loss of the girlfriend we Americans might laugh. Rather it is the loss of just about everything with this nincompoop in charge for the last seven years. 

Yesterday the word 'anxious' actually flowed from the lips of Mr. Bush when he referred to the American economy. Anxious. Rather innocuous term. Children are anxious about the next snow; I'm anxious to see how the New Hampshire primary turns out tonight.

What about 'scared to death!' What about 'mortified!' How about 'terribly frightened!'

Yet, we must recall the calming words that George Bush used on May 1, 2003: "Mission accomplished."

Anxious about trillions of dollars of U.S. debt held by China? Anxious about $100 oil? Anxious about the stock market slide? Anxious about the sub-prime mortgage fiasco? Anxious about declining job figures? Anxious about rising food, fuel and health care costs? Anxious about foreclosures? Anxious about the falling dollar?

Anxious. Not concerned, not worried. Of course, he has no plan to address the issue. He never has a plan, only talking points and verbatim speeches to deliver.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Black Boy at the Bus Stop

An older post from December 2007


Whenever I drive downtown, I am amazed at the number of folks at the main TARTA Bus Station on Erie Street or around the corner on Jackson. I haven't taken a bus in years. Didn't have to. Of course, our 'cleaning lady' had to take the bus from her house on Pinewood to get to her cleaning jobs in Old Orchard. Two buses.


When I wrote the story yesterday on the church shootings in Colorado I came to realize how many homegrown terrorists are white boys. Black boys don't blast away in shopping malls, schools, and churches killing scores of innocent people. Why is that?


Are they easily profiled and therefore stopped dead in their tracks, assault rifle in hand? Only rarely. It's the white boy, the angry white boy with the weapon who shoots indiscriminately into his helpless victims.


No, the black boy learns early on that he has no privilege like the white boys do. Doors aren't opened for him, he has to push his own open, if he can. He takes the bus; white boys ride in their soccer mom's SUV.


Do white boys know that they are born with a 2-point advantage? Add money and it becomes three. No, white boys don't know that. They were born into these advantages, but when frustration sets in, they often go out of control fast. They don't like locked doors; they don't like 'No!' Black boys find many locked doors and 'no' as they grow up. They learn frustration, they live frustration. White boys don't. So when they find themselves in one of those situations, they go wild.


Maybe white boys ought to sit on bus bunches more often in their growing-up years. A boy can learn a lot sitting and waiting.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Council for Secular Humanism

Originally publiched December 2007

I stumbled across a website called the Council for Secular Humanism. Whoa! I didn't know that secular humanism was a real body of knowledge. I always thought it was a slur, spit out of the mouths of uber religious folks. But there it is.

Here are the FAQ's about this organization:

About the Council for Secular Humanism

The Council for Secular Humanism cultivates rational inquiry, ethical values, and human development through the advancement of secular humanism. To carry out its mission the Council for Secular Humanism sponsors publications, programs, and organizes meetings and other group activities. The Council's specific objectives are:

• To promote secular humanist principles to the public, media, and policy-makers

• To provide secular humanist activities and communities to serve the needs of nonreligious
people and foster human enrichment

• To demonstrate the viability of the secular humanist eupraxophy as an alternative naturalistic life-stance

• To engage in research relating to the critical examination of religious and supernatural claims and the humanist outlook

• To conduct educational programs for all age levels


Wow! did you see the word eupraxophy? Never knew the word existed so I Googled it and Wikipedia gave this entry:

Eupraxsophy (previously "eupraxophy" but updated) [1] is a nonreligious life stance or worldview emphasizing the importance of living an ethical and exuberant life, and relying on rational methods such as logic, observation and science (rather than faith, mysticism or revelation) toward that end. The word "eupraxsophy" was coined by Paul Kurtz, and comes from the Greek words for "good practice and wisdom." Eupraxsophies, like religions, are cosmic in their outlook, but eschew the supernatural component of religion, avoiding the "transcendental temptation," as Kurtz puts it.


So now we know. Perhaps some folks, when asked, "What is your faith?" could respond, "I'm an Eupraxscophist!" Maybe I'm one of them and never knew it. Let's see: cosmic in my outlook [√] eschew the supernatural component of religion [√] avoiding transcendental temptation [√]


Well, that about does it: I'm an Eupraxsophist! Now I'll have to learn how to spell it.
[here is a link to Paul Kurtz's editorial on this topic]

Friday, December 26, 2008

Catholic Priest and Sister Applaud Toledo's Domestic Partnership Registry

An older post from December 2007


Homophobes are still in denial and anger over the decision by Toledo City Council to offer partnership-registry for couples who might enjoy work-related benefits from such a partnership. 

Homophobes are an angry lot, aren't they? You have to wonder what the source of their outrage is. Especially so-called Christians because Jesus never spoke out about homosexuality and, in fact, attracted quite a few disenfranchised and marginalized folks to his following. Three words say it all: 'Love one another."

A Catholic sister from Adrian, Sr. Pat Schnapp, no doubt a Dominican Sister, penned a letter to the editor of The Blade today praising the partnership registry. Apparently she understands Jesus' message very clearly. She begins her letter:

Congratulations to Mayor Carty Finkbeiner and Toledo City Council for their creation of a domestic partner registry. In a climate where, sadly, even the churches are often ambivalent about embracing their homosexual members, it's heartening to see this humane and compassionate response.

Fr. Earl Loeffler, a wise retired Catholic priest wrote:

Has anyone observed or commented that the majority of the letters regarding the civil registration of same-sex persons sharing a residence assume that sexual behavior is occurring? We don't assume such for heterosexual couples, do we? No wonder, these prejudged couples seek some form of legal status and protection.


Perhaps Catholics are more tolerant than other expressions of Christianity if we can judge by these two letters. Two weeks ago, Lutheran pastor Rev. Martin Zimmann wrote about this issue:

"I will say this - faith and human reason show me that we strengthen a community if we are willing to welcome people into it. If we choose to define our community by whom we exclude from it, we run the risk of shunning talents and resources that we cannot afford to lose."

It is good to see that ministers of the church understand the message and commandments of Jesus and practice them with those they encounter in their lives.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

I'm Invited to a Kwanzaa Celebration Tonight

Originally published December 2007.

The word Kwanzaa often brings a bit of smirk to the faces of some people. In fact, quite a few joke about it or ridicule the celebration. Right-wingers love to scoff at it altogether. I suppose that is because it essentially is for black folks and you know how the right-wingers like to have their kicks over 'those' people.


Seven candles, each with an African name, each with a quality of life that is deemed an important element in the quality of life in a societal setting. Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, former chair of the black studies department at California State University, Long Beach, to "reaffirm and restore our rootedness in African culture."


Another reason that the right-wingers dislike Kwanzaa is because it is viewed as anti-Christian, especially as it begins right after Christmas. They feel that it takes away from the birth-story of Jesus.

The celebration teaches the 7 elements of family and community living:


Umoja (Unity)To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)To build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Nia (Purpose)To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Kuumba (Creativity)To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Imani (Faith)To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.


I find it interesting that many right-wingers trash and negate the Kwanzaa celebration without knowing what it is all about. If they did understand the seven principles, would they realize that this celebration attempts to uplift the black child and his family, perhaps giving him a lesson in self-determination, a lesson of hope to be a better person, a better citizen, a better parent?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Many Americans Looking for a Scapegoat

Originally posted in December 2007.


A young Incan girl sacrificed to the gods so that the people would have a good harvest was a yearly custom.

A goat that driven off into the cliff as part of the ceremonies of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, in Judaism during the times of the Temple in Jerusalem was prescribed in Leviticus 16.

Jesus, himself, was the scapegoat for an original sin thought to stain the soul according to many Christians.

The Lottery, a short story by Shirley Jackson that I read with mouth gaping in college, is another example of a society's need for scapegoating.

Today that word has become a metaphor, referring to someone who is blamed for misfortunes, generally as a way of distracting attention from the real causes.

An interesting conjunction of events has occurred that may or may not have any bearing on scapegoating here in America. We are a depressed nation at this time in our history. The economy is in a grand slump. Oh, not for the wealthy, but for the middle and low income families: rising gasoline prices, food, insurance, and heating costs and no compensatory increases in wages. The housing market is dead and mortgage rate fiasco has snagged millions of Americans. The Christmas buying season is upon us as we struggle to pay our bills on time. And behind all of this the wars go on and on.

It a depressing time in America and even more so in the rustbelt city of Toledo. Population is falling, taxes and fees have risen, jobs are going overseas, schools are under-performing, and the dark days of winter cast long shadows om empty factories and businesses.

We need a scapegoat, a distraction from what is going on all around us.Somebody, some group of people to pay the price, to appease the gods, to satiate or ameliorate our nervousness and uncertainty.

But who? What group? Let's think about the victim or victims we should choose...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

We Came From Outer Space!

A post from November 2007 while I am on sabbatical.


"We are star-stuff." I loved to hear Carl Sagan say those words each week as our family watched his series, Cosmos. One can float back to those wonderful episodes [complete with music] at the Carl Sagan Portal.

Well, in fact, he was right some 30 years ago. In a new article entitled, New evidence for extragalactic life-forming matter, it states:

"Astrophysicists believe that organic molecules were present in the cloud of dust and gas from which our solar system formed, providing the raw materials for life on Earth. Astronomers can see these molecules throughout our galaxy, which is one reason why many believe conditions may also be ripe for life in other parts of the Milky Way, and perhaps further afield."


The article goes on to say that scientists are looking to find carbon-based molecules in other galaxies similar to the ones that once floated in interstellar space are thought to have been later incorporated into Earth, providing the raw materials for life.


Through spectral analysis the chemical signature of a class of organic compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons [PAC] can be seen in the way they absorb light from distant stars. The second word, aromatic, conjures up the smell of life-stuff, whatever that is.


Star stuff. Hug a friend; touch a star!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Theistic God is All But Unemployed; Outsourced

A post from September 2007 while on sabbatical.

So many of the things that we once attributed to the theistic deity, the God in the Sky, we now explain with no mention of supernatural power at all. English theologian, Michael D.Goulder, a New Testament professor at the University of Birmingham, explaining his withdrawal from the Christian church, said that the theistic God of traditional Christianity no longer had any real work to do. He was unwilling to worship what he called an "unemployed deity."

What an interesting phrase: unemployed Deity. Ought we to feel sorry for this state of affairs or breathe a sigh of relief? For millennia, that deity, whatever the name, was 'busy' keeping order here on earth: the winds, the rain, hurricanes, floods and all sorts of weather-related duties. Old texts call upon this deity to calm winds, bring rain, stop floods and all sorts of meteorological deeds. Today, of course, we know better: meteorological science explains it all.

Let's see what else? Oh, yes, cures. The Great Deity was called upon to cure illnesses that fell upon the people. Naturally [rather supernaturally], illness was often seen as punishment for sin, but people still prayed for a cure. Today microbiology and medicines take care of that task.

Weather and illness take a rest. Gosh, I almost forgot about holding up the heavens so that they do not come crashing down to earth. The Great Deity held the sun, moon, and stars in place so that there was a regular day and night cycle along with the seasons. The Deity also stopped the sun from slipping further and further down into the depths of winter. Luckily our prayers and bonfires appeased this Deity and the sun began to rise once again in the sky. Galileo and Newton rescued the Deity from that duty.

Smiting the enemy was big stuff for the Deity, especially for his chosen people. This Deity even held the sun from setting during one battle so that his chosen people could completely destroy their enemies. The Deity was also asked to whip up several plagues of locusts as well as drought to smite the enemy. Today military science has produced smart bombs and Agent Orange to take care of that smiting thing.

Smiting, weather, juggling the universe, medical cures all now 'outsourced' from the Deity. What about magic? Aha! There you go: magic- levitation, ghosts, bi-location- things like that. Now we are in the realm of the Great Deity. So, unless some smarty can come up with how this magic happens, there will still be plenty of work to do.

Amen.

update:

I was thinking about how deflating the concept must be to those who have been snugly wrapped up in this theistic deity all of their lives. What if it is true? Is that a devastating psychological blow? If one has, for all of their lives, 'depended' upon this deity to guide them, to help them, to reward them at the end time, and there is no such entity, then is everything for naught?

It could lead to massive depression among the believers. In fact, I suppose that many folks will cling to their 'belief' despite the logic of reality. After all, what else is there to live for, if not for some eternal reward at the end? And what about the punishment for all of those 'bad' people who have not 'obeyed' the laws of righteousness? After all, they deserve eternal damnation, don't they?

So many thoughts about this issue will, I'm afraid, make the believers cling to their sinking ship rather than seeking real life in their own humanity. After all, Jesus, speaking through John said: "I have come that you have life and have it more abundantly."

Abundant life here on earth, fully alive, fully human- being all that you can be as a fellow traveler here on earth. Lifting up others along the way, helping them be all that they can be so that they, too, can have life and have it more abundantly.

update 12/22/2008

There were 29 comments on this original post, more than half from the resident 'authority' on all things biblical [and her alter-ego son].  In one of the comments Mrs. Righteous was castigating the group of people on a French blog for not accepting her beliefs.  It is to be noted that, after hijacking that French blog, she was forced to leave it, but, naturally, returned , hijacked it again, and was forced to leave it permanently.

Since then she hijacked this blog and twice was asked to not post here, but, of course, in her most-righteous style, refused to do so.  The sad thing about these righteous fundamentalists is that their 'belief system' is so entangled and depends on an interconnected  string of beliefs, that when one 'belief' is tugged, the entire 'system' comes unraveled.  Thus the need to post volumes of quotations in a defensive strategy, much akin to using a machine gun to kill a squirrel.

Were this group to merely proclaim their set of beliefs and go about their own business, that would be perfectly tolerable. The Amish are a great example of a knot of people who hold a particular set of beliefs and customs and go about their lives in rather a parallel culture to ours.  The Christian fundamentalists, on the other hand, are not happy at all merely interacting with each other.  Sadly, they feel a missionary spirit is demanded of them and therefore take an active role in culture and society, hoping to change or modify society with their belief-system.  They are determined to 'fix' our society and bring their Bible-based rules and regulations into this American culture.

Naturally they are now in mourning because of the Obama victory.  You can be sure, thought, that they will spend the next 4 years attempting to disrupt, criticize and end his presidency much like the right-wing Republicans sought to impeach President Clinton on specious charges.  The righteousness of the Christian fundamentalists knows no boundaries.  They alone have the knowledge.  They alone know what is best for our American society.  Be careful.  They are a dangerous lot.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The 3 Most Scary Sentences George Bush Uttered

An older post [September 2007] while I am on sabbatical.


Two days ago I read the headline on BBC about a conversation between President Bush and former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar during which Bush has said something revealing. I did not read the details. This morning Slate.com has the story with the headline, Learning From Bush's Mistakes: How a prewar conversation can help us pick the next president.

I was curious, so I dove in. Apparently Mr. Bush had asked Aznar to join him as a charter member of 'The Coalition of the Willing" in Bush's preemptive invasion of Iraq. No doubt, Aznar asked Bush about the details, the facts which led him to the conclusion that the preemptive invasion was the right thing to do.

The question in the back of Aznar's mind after he heard the plan was this: "The only thing that worries me about you is your optimism."

Seems a good question and a great observation. Perhaps Aznar knew that Mr. Bush's life was excessively parochial: he had not travelled the world; he had not been interested in geopolitical studies; he had a limited knowledge of world history. No doubt, Mr. Aznar was aghast at this first-ever preemptive military plan that Mr. Bush had just laid out before him.

"The only thing that worries me about you is your optimism," might be a tangential question to the real question that was not said [according to the transcript] in the meeting. Were I the president of Spain, a member of the EU, a nation dependent on EU commerce and EU cooperation, I might have asked Mr. Bush: "Why won't France and Germany join your confederation?" Why not Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Ireland? Perhaps that would be too embarrassing to ask; after all, Europeans have learned politeness.

Rather, the question was, "The only thing that worries me about you is your optimism."

Not unexpectedly, the Bush response was philosophical rather than militarily. It was, well, a hunch. We have come to expect that from Mr. Bush: why use your brain, your advisers, the lessons of history to guide decisions? One's hunch is a perfect guide. Often my own adolescent years were based on hunches. Nearly all were wrong, then I grew up.

BUSH: I'm an optimist because I believe that I'm right. I'm a person at peace with myself. It was our turn to face a serious threat to peace.

Yes, that's what he said.

That's what he believed.

That explains the mess we're in.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Helen Thomas: Last Woman Sitting

An older post [September 2007] while I am on sabbatical.

She gets the last laugh. Good folks always do. The scoundrels scamper off after pooping on the carpet. They always do.

The veteran White House correspondent who has sat in that press room ever since John Kennedy was elected, mused on the departure of Tony Snow in her latest article, Like others before him, Tony Snow drifts out of the White House.

She must feel vindicated realizing that she still sits there but three Bush press secretaries have bit the dust. Vindicated also by the fact that she was relegated to the back row of the room because she was asking questions of Mr. Bush deemed 'too tough.'

It must feel good knowing that for all of her 57 year career, she has been true to her vocation. Regardless of the party of the president, she would ask the tough questions. Only this administration could not handle them. Thus her back-row seat.

Brings to mind Rosa Parks. Another sage woman who grew tired of Jim Crow in the back seat of the bus. Women who sat in the back but shouted their truths to the very front.

The last lines of her Tony Snow article especially caught my eye. She said:

"As a showman, he was able to deflect tough questions with the lift of an eyebrow, or by expressing mock astonishment that anyone would dare to question the president's motivations.
It was a great game and he played it well. Someday he may ponder whether he was true to his chosen profession of journalism, which upholds the people's right to know what is being done in their name."

Indeed it does, Ms. Thomas. Hats off to you!

Friday, December 19, 2008

"The Single, Most Important Image Ever Taken By Humanity."

A post from September 2007 while I am on sabbatical



The Hubble Deep Field Video on YouTube is a fascinating 5 minutes of viewing that attempts to show just how enormous the universe is. Great narration and background music add to the wonder of it all. Here is the video on large screen.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"I can operate as an intelligent free agent."

An older post [August 07] while i'm on a self-imposed sabbatical until the Inauguration.


That title line is on page 38 of the book, The Spiral Staircase, by Karen Armstrong. The rest of the book's title is, 'My climb out of darkness.' Armstrong became a Catholic nun but, after 7 years in the convent, she left the order. Her leaving was not smooth and she had physical problems emanating from the stressful stifling of her life as a nun.



That line, "I can operate as an intelligent free agent," The metaphor she uses to describe her life is of a Chinese woman whose feet are tightly bound, as was an ancient custom. She refers to her brain as being similarly bound tightly during her years in the convent. Then she says of the woman, "If the restraints had been removed too late and she would never walk normally again."


I think of children who are raised with their brains likewise bound by the overpowering belief system of their parents. Children who are not permitted to think beyond the imposed boundaries of their authoritarian parents. Often these 'beliefs' have been handed down from their parents and grandparents.


Easily coming to mind is racism, 'carefully taught' to one generation after the other. Ethnic hatred is another damnable, taught belief, which can be seen throughout the world. African and the Middle Eastern cultures are skilled agents of ethnic hatred.


I think also of those children who are indoctrinated in religious beliefs at a tender age. Author Karen Anderson entered the nunnery as a teen, taking with her all of the Catholic beliefs that were indoctrinated in her 12 years of Catholic school. Authoritarianism, we read in her story, was extreme, even for a church traditionally steeped in top-down mandates.


And so she utters the words of freedom as she exits the convent. Freedom to think, at long last. Freedom to make up her own mind about that 'faith' that engulfed her and nearly drowned her. My own faith story is much like hers, having grown up in a house where religiosity ruled the roost. I nearly drowned too.


My mind could never get around those bible stories I was fed; something seemed odd about it all. Naturally, I could never articulate my confusion because, after all, 'God wrote it.' Then there was the Jesus story with all of the magic, especially at the beginning and end of the story. Was Jesus human or divine? Whose chromosomes made up the other 23, I wondered in high school when I learned the biology of the fertilization of the egg. How could a 'super-man' be an example to we humans? So many questions and no room for answers.


I think about one family I know who are evangelical Christians with 4 children. The Bible rules in that family and weekly Wednesday bible class was mandatory. Now some are off to college where they will meet others of different faith traditions, or no faith at all. How will they cope with it all? Will their brains remain bound tightly like the feet of the Chinese woman? Or will the bandage be ripped off by new insights, new ways of thinking?


Those events may not be pleasant and the child may begin to think that, for all of those years, they were fed a load of nonsense, passed on from generation to generation. Hopefully, there will be no resultant emotional damage through the process. Yet, I wouldn't doubt that there will be many permanent emotional scars.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Solar Ethics: it Beats the Bible

I offer an older post [August 2007] for review while on a self-imposed sabbatical until the Inauguration.

Don Cuppit's interesting theory of ethical behavior can be found in his 1995 book, Solar Ethics. In the book he describes the 'moral life' as living as one wants to. Using an analogy with the sun, he says that people should live their life fully in the midst of others (and for others), unashamedly declaring who they are (and want to be). This is in stark contrast to the view which says that the best life for us is the one lived for God, and as God decrees it should be lived.

His website says this: "He rejects all ideas of gaining salvation by escaping from this world of ours. "All this is all there is", he says and he now sees true religion in terms of joy in life and an active attempt to add value to the human lifeworld."

Why the sun? Cupitt says, "We should live as the sun does. Its existence, the process by which it lives, and the process by which it dies, all exactly coincide. It believes nothing, it hasn't a care, it just pours itself out. Its heedless lifegiving generosity is its glory."

His newest  book is titled, Above Us, Only Sky. Surely this title will wrinkle the panties of our fundamentalist folks even more than Solar Ethics.

They need a good wringing out anyway. How the modern American can cling to the 3-tired Heaven-Earth-Hell structure of life is beyond my ability to fathom.

My life-long friend and frequent poster on this blog, Upthe Flag, is now living in the Evangelical South and keeps me up-to-date with the latest happenings there in the Bible Belt. Both of us shared grade and high school together and each of us went off to a Jesuit University. This Jesuit education expanded our thinking and enriched our philosophical brains. We both have trouble with organized religion, although he has not yet declared the God of Abraham a myth. Perhaps he will comment about that here.

I am drawn to Cupitt's theological/philosophical statement, he sees true religion in terms of joy in life and an active attempt to add value to the human lifeworld. That is a wonderful thought and surely more attractive than that hell and brimstone fanatical pulp spewing out of the mouths of those self-righteous fundamentalists.

How simple it is: joy of life while adding value to life. Jesus would approve, I'm quite sure.

"We should live as the sun does. Its existence, the process by which it lives, and the process by which it dies, all exactly coincide. It believes nothing, it hasn't a care, it just pours itself out. Its heedless lifegiving generosity is its glory."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Jesus Camp:The Dangerous Evangelical Christian

I present this post from August 2007 while I am on self-imposed sabbatical until the Inauguration.

My wife queued up Jesus Camp for our Saturday night movie last evening. That was a shocker! Childhood indoctrination and hate fairly well sum up that film. Here's a link to the subject matter: Wikipedia

The camp itself was scary enough, but that was only one week in the lives of the children. The other 51 weeks were merely a less intense version of the camp experience. Young minds of 8,9, 10-year olds brainwashed with religious intolerance and hate makes the viewer want to vomit. What do these young people need to know about aborted babies? Why do they have to act out a play with swords and army camouflage paint? Why must they be driven to sobbing tears over their 'sins?'

If there ever was a documented case of child abuse this was it.

A cardboard George Bush was 'venerated' one evening.

The parents were happy to have their children learn the lessons which were reinforced at home during home-schooling. One 'science' lesson debunked evolution. The student was fed the theological data and was not able to have a differing opinion. Public schools were openly criticized as was liberal thought.

The scariest aspect of this movement is that they vote. It is their goal, as stated in the film, to change America into a Christian nation through the ballot box. And there are an estimated 80,000,000 evangelical Christians world-wide and here in America 25% of adults consider themselves evangelical; and they vote in high percentages.

Dangerous religious zealots whose goal is the overthrow of the government of the United States. And there is a whole generation of brainwashed children ready to enter the voting booth in a few years.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bin Laden wanted US to invade Iraq, Bush Granted His Wish

While I am on a self-imposed hiatus until the Inauguration, I offer another old past, this from August 2007.


Bin Laden wanted US to invade Iraq, author says, is the headline from ABC News. The article begins:

" As coalition troops continue to die on Iraqi soil and the US Government's military spending on the war bleeds into billions of dollars, a new book says that not only could this have been avoided, but it was all predictable, as long as you had read the Al Qaeda manual.

Abdul Bari Atwan is one of the only Western journalists to have interviewed Osama bin Laden, spending three days with him in the mountains of Afghanistan in 1996.

He is the editor-in-chief of the London-based Arabic newspaper, Al-Quds Al-Arabia, and the author of The secret history of Al Qaeda."

Well, our neardowell president granted bin Laden's request with real gusto! Seems the Bush family has been enamored with the House of Saud for many years. They must have some 'spell' that they cast on the Bushes and lead them around with a ring through their noses. How many 9-11 bombers were from Saudi Arabia? Or, doesn't that count?

The American people have been buffaloed by the House of Saud and apparently the bush Family is like Jell0 in their hot little hands. We suspected that Dick Cheney was Bush's Puppetmaster, but we didn't realize that the House of Saud was the producer/director.

A question arises which is extremely important: Has the American electorate learned any lessons from the Bush fiasco? Asleep on 9-11, a war perpetrated on lies, 3600 American military deaths, and nearly a trillion dollars drained from the Treasury.

What is the lesson, my fellow Americans? What lesson did you miss 7 years ago and 3 years ago? Go ahead, give me the answer: what lesson did you sleep through in high school civics class?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Kenneth Parker: Artist Photographer

Another old post [July 07]



Kenneth Parker is a large-format landscape colorist working principally in remote pristine wilderness areas throughout the world where he has trekked and kayaked extensively. He is inexorably drawn to the elemental earth/ocean forces and their compelling magic, translating into arresting imagery the depths of these feelings, rich in power, radiant. His early experience as fine art color pioneer Eliot Porter’s field assistant helped to nurture a loving eye devoted to isolating and capturing the mysteries in nature that he struggled for decades to unravel as a research scientist in oceanography and global climate change. Paul Caponigro has also been a principal influence on his development as a consistent mentor to Parker since the mid-70s.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My Flag is Out Today

This is another older post, originally published July 4, 2007, while I am on sebbatical until the Inauguration.

The art work at right is from allposters.com and is a great visual representation of our two national symbols. Kudos to the artist.

When I was a lad, my family never flew the flag. I suppose that was because of the war that had just ended and our German heritage. Rather than flying the flag, my father sent CARE packages to our relatives in Heilbronn and Koblenz, both heavily bombed cities.

Just yesterday my daughter in Cleveland called and told me that they bought a flag for their new home, "Just like you and mom did," she said. Our son in Toledo flies the flag too.

I flew the flag right after 9-11 day and night, feeling the pride of community, as all Americans joined together in common grief and shock. Flag-waving.

As I recall, we put our flag away during the Nixon Watergate scandal, not unveiling it until Ford took office. In the run-up to George Bush's attack on Iraq my flag remained inside my garage. I did not want to think that I was caught up in that zealous patriotic fever that swept across this land initiated by "WMD's" and "Mushroom Clouds." I could see right through that propaganda bunk. Emerson's famous line tempered my enthusiasm: "When a whole nation is roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands and purity of its heart."

Our hearts have not been pure and neither our hands. Patriotic fever allowed many here in America to be duped by the propaganda spewing from the White House into their living rooms, unfiltered by thoughtful and wise members of the media. Thomas Jefferson warned in 1787, "...were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."

America is paying the price for wild patriotic fever: 3,500 dead military men and women and 30,000 wounded. Three-quarters of a trillion tax-payer dollars down the drain [and into the coffers of Halliburton.] Why were we so badly duped? Why did so many fall for the propaganda? Had it been to long since we learned the lessons of the German people in 1939?

The eagle as our national symbol ought to be studied more closely. She is powerful yet cautious. She observes well and is prudent in her actions and seldom misses her target. The recent actions of our nation are more akin to a pigeon than an eagle.

My flag hangs out today. Not in some knee-jerk patriotic reflex. Rather, as a symbol of what this nation could and ought to be. It is not a symbol of warmongering, but of hope. Emma Lazarus' famous words, "Give me your tired, your poor,/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." Lady Liberty in the New York harbor holds a torch, not a gun. A torch to light the way, to welcome those for whom 'liberty' is only a dream.

My flag is out today.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Reprise:Lee Iacocca: Where have all of the Leaders Gone? Part 1

Originally posted in June 2007:

On Father's Day, my daughter gave me a copy of Lee Iacocca's new book, Where have all of the Leaders Gone? This Border's link gives some excerpts from the book. My daughter shares my anger with the current administration in DC; she and I, along with my wife and son, are very worried about our Democracy. Something has gone terribly wrong. My children worry about my grandchildren as do I: they know that, unless something drastic happens, the America that they grew up in will be only a memory. WE, as a people, are in terrible trouble.

Mr. Iacocca is also a grandfather and in the introduction to the book, he says what others have suggested to me.

My friends tell me to calm down. They say, "Lee, you're eighty-two years old. Leave the rage to the young people." I'd love to—as soon as I can pry them away from their iPods for five seconds and get them to pay attention. I'm going to speak up because it's my patriotic duty. I think people will listen to me. They say I have a reputation as a straight shooter. So I'll tell you how I see it, and it's not pretty, but at least it's real. I'm hoping to strike a nerve in those young folks who say they don't vote because they don't trust politicians to represent their interests. Hey, America, wake up. These guys work for us.

Exactly. I've been saying that for years. My family and friends and I understand the cry, 'Wake UP America!' I am one lone voice, but Mr. Iacocca voice adds thunder to our message. Perhaps after reading the book, other voices will be raised in anger and patriotic fervor.

I am going to discuss the salient points of the book as I read it. This morning I'm on page 35, but what a powerful 35 pages! The man knows the problem and tells it like it is. Here's his opening volley to set the stage:

Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, "Stay the course."

There it is. Clear enough? By the way, where IS the outrage? Where are the hordes of people in the streets with signs shouting? Not in Toledo. Well, a handful each Sunday at least. The Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition continues its patriotic protest every Sunday since 9-11, urging the citizens passing by to raise their voices in protest, in protest against the war and in protest against the fascist government now running our nation. Some passers-by honk and wave, and there is an occasional middle finger salute by some right-wing punk. This is a great improvement over the 'reaction' they received at the onset of Bush's War on Iraq. Fingers, spit, and hateful remarks greeted these same people then. They were called 'unpatriotic communists' by many passers-by. Not so much these days. Folks have wised up some.

So where's the outrage?

Are we sheeple? Have we been drugged? Thoroughly propagandized? Or don't we realize what is happening to us?

Some of each, I suspect. It's the frog in the pot. You know the old story: if a frog is put into a pot of cold water, it will stay there as the water heats up because it can't detect the difference in temperature. It gets cooked.

Middle America is being cooked, slowly cooked. And, like the frog, most don't know that the pot we are in is being heated. The frog never jumps out; we can.

Gasoline is $3 a gallon; milk is $3.59. Americans still buy both as if there was no other choice. Sheeple. Many are still 'buying' the War in Iraq as a war on terror. Propaganda. Our wires are tapped, our civil rights are taken away, our nation tortures and we keep on watching Dancing With the Stars.

We spend a billion dollars every two days in Iraq, but can't fund our neighborhood schools. Our states are choking on debt, yet Congress doles out money as if it were candy to corporations for political payback. Congress would rather tussle with gay marriage and stem cells than alternative energy research and environmental stabilization. Health care reform? Of course not. Building a fence on our southern border is more important and so this week, Congress will use up one of its precious weeks discussing that rather than the public health of its citizens.

And the American people watch the ball game and eat themselves into obesity.

What will it take to awaken the citizens? Will the 'pot' need to get steamy before they wake up and jump out?

Or will their obesity weigh them down so much that they can't escape?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Reprise:Master Mural Painter and Urban Artist

A post from June 2007 revisited while I'm on sabbatical.


An old mall in Niagara NY before Eric Grohe was commissioned to enliven it.








Below is the same wall.


















He and his wife Kathy transform plain, drab walls into works of air. Here is Eric 30 feet above the ground, working on another wall.

Grohe, 62, is a gentleman. Born in New York City, he served a tour of duty in Vietnam and eventually made Seattle his home — more or less. Most of the couple’s time is spent on public projects throughout the United States, and as far away as Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.











Below is the before and

after photo of the same wall.


The wall is flat, but through his

artistry, it appears to be 3-D.




















You can read more about Eric and his wife on their website


Click on the 'Projects' link to see other pieces he has created, including one in Bucyrus, Steubenville, and Massilon Ohio.
Here is a cement block wall in Bucyrus.









Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Reprise: Reason Magazine: The Aquarians & the Evangelicals

Here is  another old post [June '07] while I am on sabbatical until the Inauguration.


The July cover of Reason Magazine portrays an image of Jesus behind a tie-died shirt, opening the discussion: did left-wing hippies and right-wing fundamentalists create the Libertarian Party?

It is an interesting read and gives some solid arguments that the far-left and far-right in the American political spectrum cancelled each other out and made room for the middle-thinking libertarians.

The author, Brink Lindsay, is from the CATO Institute, a libertarian think tank. Lindsay makes an interesting comparison regarding 'religion' which strikes me as sensible. He argues that the so-called Hippies, Peaceniks, Environmentalists, and Civil Rights Workers on the 'Aquarian' end were just as religious and zealous as the Fundamentalists on the right. The difference is only in interpretation.

He could be right. Fundamentalists and Pentecostals, now preferring to be called Evangelicals, hold to a belief system based on God, Jesus and the Bible. Yet the Aquarians also cling to a belief system just as arduously, without the interjection of a Deity and a book of writings. it all depends on the meaning of 'religion.'

How libertarian ideals will become recognized in the grand political arena is another question altogether. A third party in American politics never does well. Is this the year for such? Who will run in local and state elections on the 'libertarian' ticket?

Questions to be addressed.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Reprise: Star of Wonder: What is Truth?

As I am on a self-imposed hiatus until after the inauguration, I thought I might republish some pieces from the past. We have, in fact, received our first Christmas cards and, indeed, the 'star' appeared thereupon...

[originally posted Dec. 2, 2007]

Star of wonder, star of night, Star with royal beauty bright, Westward leading, still proceeding...

No doubt we will receive several Christmas cards this season with the famous Star of Bethlehem scene, based on Matthew 2:1-11.

Today's bible study scriptural reading is from John 8: 25-47 which has the famous quote from Pilate, 'What is Truth?' during the supposed conversation between Jesus and the Roman governor of Judaea.

The Sadducees ruling the Temple at that time were quite the literalists, basing much of their interpretation of the Law in Leviticus. They often clashed with the Pharisees in which law to follow. The classic example of this difference between the two is in the adage, 'An eye for an eye...' The Sadducees demanded an actual eye-plucking. The two disagreed about resurrection as well.

Enter the modern-day Christian who may ask, 'What is truth?' or 'what is the truth?' The fundamentalists hold fast to the literalness of the Bible, rejecting any suggestion of myth or other literary styles which may call into question actual events. The 'truth' however becomes very fuzzy at this time of the church year.

Of the five major canonical New Testament writers, just two write of the birth of Jesus and each story differs greatly. Only Matthew mentions the star. So today's Christian must ask, 'was the star literal or figurative?' What is the truth? Are we more Sadducee or Pharisee?

We will forgive the Greek scholar who spoke of the star in the East leading the wise men of the East as they travelled west. Yet we cannot be so generous with this part of Matthew: "and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was." That little tin star that we hang above the manger scene is appropriate in size according to this text. Only this size 'star' could pinpoint the particular spot as accurately as the GPS does today. Were it an actual star or comet, it would illuminate the entire continent.

Thus, today, we are left with that same question that Pilate supposedly asked regarding 'truth.'

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sweet Molecule Could Lead Us To Alien Life


ScienceDaily (Nov. 26, 2008) — Scientists have detected an organic sugar molecule that is directly linked to the origin of life, in a region of our galaxy where habitable planets could exist.

The international team of researchers, including a researcher at University College London (UCL), used the IRAM radio telescope in France to detect the molecule in a massive star forming region of space, some 26000 light years from Earth.

The molecule – glycolaldehyde - has previously only been detected towards the centre of our galaxy where conditions are extreme compared to the rest of the galaxy. This new discovery, in an area far from the galactic centre, also suggests that the production of this key ingredient for life could be common throughout the galaxy. This is good news in our search for alien life, as a wide spread of the molecule improves the chances of it existing along side other molecules vital to life and in regions where Earth-like planets may exist.

The study is published on the Astro-ph website. Dr Serena Viti, one of the paper’s authors from University College London, said, "This is an important discovery as it is the first time glycolaldehyde, a basic sugar, has been detected towards a star-forming region where planets that could potentially harbour life may exist."


----------------------------------------------------------

"Imagine" that! Sweet science.  Life outside of planet earth has always fascinated me ever since I was a child.     Of course now, with all of the technology out there beaming information back to us, that imagination is more of when than if.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Why the universe may be teeming with aliens

No, this is not a continuation of my zombie post of this morning; it is science.  The title is from the NewScientist website. 'We are not alone!' has always haunted me over the decades.  My interest in the stars and planets piqued in late grade school when my father purchased an 8 in. reflecting telescope.  On dark evenings he and I would peer at the stars and wonder what and who were out there.

The article states:

Now, though, it's becoming increasingly clear that the question of what makes a planet habitable is not as simple as finding it in just the right spot. Many other factors, including a planet's mass, atmosphere, composition and the way it orbits its nearest star, can all influence whether it can sustain liquid water, an essential ingredient for life as we know it. As astronomers explore newly discovered planets and create computer simulations of virtual worlds, they are discovering that water, and life, might exist on all manner of weird worlds where conditions are very different from those on Earth. And that means there could be vastly more habitable planets out there than we thought possible. "It's like science fiction, only better," says Raymond Pierrehumbert, a climate scientist at the University of Chicago, who studies planets inside and outside of our solar system.

Near the end of the article is this:

Last year, a team of astronomers led by St├ęphane Udry of the Geneva Observatory, Switzerland, discovered Gliese 581c, the first likely rocky planet orbiting a sun-like star in another solar system.Given the size of its orbit around its star, initial calculations suggested it should be in the Goldilocks zone - at about the right temperature for liquid water. But other scientists soon pointed out that if it had an atmosphere containing greenhouse gases, it would most likely be far too hot for liquid water. However, the same effect could make a planet called Gliese 581d, orbiting further out round the same star, suitable for life.Then again, Gliese 581d may be too big to be a rocky planet. The team that discovered the planets point out that Gliese 581c could still be habitable if it is very cloudy, and it remains the best candidate so far for a habitable planet in another solar system. With new planets being discovered all the time, though, there are sure to be others.

Naturally, all of this science conjecturing complicates the philosophical, ethical and religious fields of study.  The complication is this: are the theorums and theories of these fields of study earth-bound or do they apply to all creatures, alien and all?

"Wrap it up in Iraq"

Wrap it up in Iraq is the title of an editorial in today's Toledo Blade.  Interesting title. The sham war, the Bush Folly. We Americans will be plagued for decades for this war not unlike the fate of the German citizens over the two world wars.  

When ideologues get into office all judgement and rationality are left at the doorstep as we Americans easily witnessed with this Bush Administration.

The painful memories [and the pain of injuries to our military] will last a long time.  The question that is most important as we look back on the fiasco is this: Has the American electorate learned an  lesson on the the importance of carefully vetting their choice for the highest office in the land?  The jury is still out on that one.

Ohio's Blackwell Still Doesn't Get it

George W. Bush owes his 2nd term largely to Ohio's evangelical Secretary of State Ken Blackwell.  Voters in Ohio 'rewarded' him two years later by electing his rival as governor. Too bad they weren't as keen in '04, but the voters rectified their gross error in judgement in '08.

Mr. Blackwell, however, continues to do his dirty work for the GOP. He penned an OpEd for the Washington Times today which says, "Now, after two disastrous election cycles, it is clear the Republican Party must refocus again. A reenergized GOP must make Republican principles appealing both to its base and also to the changing face of America. If the party of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan wants to return to power, it must become the party of the 21st century"

The party of Lincoln. Is that so?  Our 16th president must roll over in his proverbial grave each time he hears a christocrat refer to him.  And TR as well?  The man who fought to preserve the environment and railed against Big Business?  At least Blackwell got the Reagan reference correct.  That bloated Reagan deficit that he created pales in comparison with the Bush whopper!

Yet here is the most humorous part of the Blackwell tome:  "On these and many other issues, the Republican Party embraces what the majority of Americans believe, and the Democratic Party opposes those same positions." 

Yes, he said that.  He, like other christocrats, live in the 'I believe' world of their own creation. Why would anyone doubt that the majority of Americans support Republican issues?

Let's see:  Obama won 365 to 173 electoral votes, 53% to 46%, 67,000,000 to 58,000,000.  Democrats took 8 Senate seats from the GOP and more than 20 House seats.

Looks like Blackwell was right:  America favors the Republican Party.

Friday, November 21, 2008

QUICK: Pass the Disinfectant!


I did it.  I knew that I should have worn protective clothing and gloves, but I went in unprotected.  It was the Joe the Plumber message board. Yes, the Samuel Wurtzelbacker Sell-A-Book website.  By the way, have you pre-ordered yet?  It comes out on December 1.  Hurry!

It was dark in there and musty-smelling as if the windows hasn't been opened in quite a while, like a cottage that has sat vacant for months. Earlier I reported on this blog that I had visited his website [book selling site] and that the 'free' forum button took me to the 'pay' forum.  It cost $19.95/year for the Freedom Membership [autographed copy of book included] but yesterday the 'free' area was open and I walked in.

Have you ever wondered what Right-Wing Talk Radio would look like in printed form? There it was.  All of the reactionary-right topics and dittoheads had gathered there to rant their gripes.  Joe's 'breech of privacy' [Joe's Battle to Seek Justice in the State of Ohio] thread was one of the more hot topics there.   Joe's feelings on Israel thread was, suspiciously 'closed.'  Gun Rights, of course, drew many comments. Voter Registration and Fraud drew the usual ACORN commentary and there was even a thread on Rahm Emanuel asking if he is the 'right man' for the job.

I've washed my fingers several times already, but I can't seem to get them fully clean.  Any suggestions?

Unitarian minister recalls night in 1965 that changed history


The Blade featured Rev. Clark Olsen, civil rights leader, who returned to the Toledo area to give a talk this Sunday on Civil Rights at the First Unitarian Chruch.  The Blade says:

He had gone to Selma, Ala., on March 9, 1965, after the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., asked U.S. clergy to join a voting rights demonstration. While African-Americans had a right to vote, election officials in some areas made it difficult - or impossible - for most of them to register.

In an emotional talk yesterday morning to about 200 students at his alma mater, Ottawa Hills High School, Mr. Clark choked back tears at times as he described how he and two fellow Unitarian ministers were attacked by three "white rowdies" from Selma who were angry at outsiders supporting African-Americans' right to register to vote.

One of the ministers, the Rev. James Reeb, 38, of Boston, died from injuries suffered in the attack, and his death led to nationwide protests and ultimately the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

It was a night of terror, intimidation, and hatred, Mr. Olsen said yesterday at the high school and during an earlier interview with The Blade. On Sunday, he will speak at First Unitarian Church of Toledo.

What is interesting to me, personally, is the fact that I lived through this time.  In fact, I almost went to Selma with a group of college friends, but our transportation fell through and the trip and the experience faded away.  Yet I recall those days, that ugliness as if it were yesterday.  The scenes on TV - images of blacks being harassed, beaten, sprayed with water canons and bitten by police dogs-  are etched into my memory forever.  I was outraged that fellow humans would be treated that way just for the color of their skin.  Perhaps that experience itself set me on the course that I have followed all of my lifetime- to fight for the rights of the downtrodden, the weak, and the defenseless.

The Obama campaign mantra, 'Yes we can!' means a great deal more to black Americans than to white. They lived this racial bigotry all of their lives; they suffered the racial slurs and the closed doors and all of the other injustices that bigoted Americans threw at them.  'Yes we can!' has become an affirmation of equal justice under the law and a dream [now a reality] that a black man in America can open any door he chooses to go through.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Lessons of Niccolo Machiavelli

The Lessons of Niccolo Machiavelli

By Engineer of Knowledge

 

This article is another installment as part of my mission to keep informing the new young voters, educating them with the truth, exposing stupid arguments and countering the blatant lies that the extreme conservative political right wing put out on a daily bases.  Please pass this article to the young voters who have come of age.

Niccolo di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, who was born and lived in 15th century Florence Italy, has been given credit as the father of modern political theory.  Machiavelli’s most famous quote that is stated most often is, “Absolute power will corrupt absolutely.”

Although Machiavelli had written many books in his lifetime, it is noted that his book, “The Prince” which has the warning within the main theme that, “All means may be resorted to for the establishment and preservation of authority; the end justifies the means, and that the worst and most treacherous acts of the ruler are justified by the wickedness and treachery of the governed.”

For too long Americans have been willing to excuse and embrace ignorance, paranoia, poor performance or anti-social behavior in the name of political conservatism.

By using Machiavelli’s own words I will give the current examples of what he was referring to.

1.      “All Means May Be Resorted To For The Establishment And Preservation Of Authority” when properly registered voters were purged from the Florida’s rolls in 2000 to reduce those who would not vote as you desired.  This fact was even praised and accolades were presented to the person responsible of accomplishing this.  Let’s address the examples of inaccurate voting machines that would change a person’s vote right before their eyes and yet these machines recorded vote numbers casted were accepted as being accurate in 2004.  There were examples of candidates voting for themselves but noted that their vote was registered as being cast for their opponent.  Yet those who rose up to protest this fraud and were quickly labeled as trouble makers by those who viewed themselves as being righteous and pious because it continued their status quo of corruption in the name of Conservative Religious Values.  The hypocrisy of the act of preaching a certain belief of religious truth and way of life, but in fact not holding these same virtues for oneself was so blatant.

2.      “The End Justifies The Means” aspect with regards to the religious context, it became OK to lie or commit crimes so long as it furthered their agenda.  Truth be damned.

3.      The Worst And Most Treacherous Acts Of The Ruler Are Justified By The Wickedness And Treachery Of  The Governed” where the example that too many in this country could not concern themselves or chose to ignore the abuses, accept the lies and the crimes committed over the eight years of this outgoing administration.  Those that had misdirected reasoning’s of their ignorance and apathy because of it being wrapped up in “Conservative Religious Values.”

 

Now in conclusion the good news in all of this is that power that is obtained by these means has no longevity.  The population masses will finally recognize the corruption, abuses, and lies.  This is when the majority will rise up to throw off the shackles of this oppression.  To the benefit of those who had mislead and lied to obtain rule by this means for the last 14 years since 1994, this latest timely overthrow by those of clear minds was by our democratic means instead of a violent overthrow.

Monday, November 3, 2008

By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: November 3, 2008
Source: Nyt...November 3, 2008

This opinion by Paul Krugman in the NYT today
hits the nail right on the head. We have made
essentially the same points here before, but
this is a succinct writing about the Republican
Party. To be sure the Republican Party is not
going away as was predicted previously with Hoover
and the great depression and Nixon and the
Watergate. I would not like that scenario as
neoconservative theological Republican Party would
go underground. It's better to have them out in
the open as a minority party. It lets us know
where they are. Regardless of who wins the
election, this should become one of our missions,
that is, to lessen the influence of this group in
U.S. politics. Krugman gives a good summary of
what problems this "rump" Party can foment.
Hopefully there will be some type of party transformation
in which the Republican Party becomes a minority people,
and the Democratic Party along with a growing viable
Independent Party will develop.


Paul Krugman,The Republican Rump

»Most of the post-election discussion will presumably be about what the Democrats should and will do with their mandate. But let me ask a different question that will also be important for the nation’s future: What will defeat do to the Republicans?

You might think, perhaps hope, that Republicans will engage in some soul-searching, that they’ll ask themselves whether and how they lost touch with the national mainstream. But my prediction is that this won’t happen any time soon.

Instead, the Republican rump, the party that’s left after the election, will be the party that attends Sarah Palin’s rallies, where crowds chant “Vote McCain, not Hussein!” It will be the party of Saxby Chambliss, the senator from Georgia, who, observing large-scale early voting by African-Americans, warns his supporters that “the other folks are voting.” It will be the party that harbors menacing fantasies about Barack Obama’s Marxist — or was that Islamic? — roots.

Why will the G.O.P. become more, not less, extreme? For one thing, projections suggest that this election will drive many of the remaining Republican moderates out of Congress, while leaving the hard right in place.

For example, Larry Sabato, the election forecaster, predicts that seven Senate seats currently held by Republicans will go Democratic on Tuesday. According to the liberal-conservative rankings of the political scientists Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal, five of the soon-to-be-gone senators are more moderate than the median Republican senator — so the rump, the G.O.P. caucus that remains, will have shifted further to the right. The same thing seems set to happen in the House.

Also, the Republican base already seems to be gearing up to regard defeat not as a verdict on conservative policies, but as the result of an evil conspiracy. A recent Democracy Corps poll found that Republicans, by a margin of more than two to one, believe that Mr. McCain is losing “because the mainstream media is biased” rather than “because Americans are tired of George Bush.”

And Mr. McCain has laid the groundwork for feverish claims that the election was stolen, declaring that the community activist group Acorn — which, as Factcheck.org points out, has never “been found guilty of, or even charged with” causing fraudulent votes to be cast — “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.” Needless to say, the potential voters Acorn tries to register are disproportionately “other folks,” as Mr. Chambliss might put it.

Anyway, the Republican base, egged on by the McCain-Palin campaign, thinks that elections should reflect the views of “real Americans” — and most of the people reading this column probably don’t qualify.

Thus, in the face of polls suggesting that Mr. Obama will win Virginia, a top McCain aide declared that the “real Virginia” — the southern part of the state, excluding the Washington, D.C., suburbs — favors Mr. McCain. A majority of Americans now live in big metropolitan areas, but while visiting a small town in North Carolina, Ms. Palin described it as “what I call the real America,” one of the “pro-America” parts of the nation. The real America, it seems, is small-town, mainly southern and, above all, white.

I’m not saying that the G.O.P. is about to become irrelevant. Republicans will still be in a position to block some Democratic initiatives, especially if the Democrats fail to achieve a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

And that blocking ability will ensure that the G.O.P. continues to receive plenty of corporate dollars: this year the U.S. Chamber of Congress has poured money into the campaigns of Senate Republicans like Minnesota’s Norm Coleman, precisely in the hope of denying Democrats a majority large enough to pass pro-labor legislation.

But the G.O.P.’s long transformation into the party of the unreasonable right, a haven for racists and reactionaries, seems likely to accelerate as a result of the impending defeat.

This will pose a dilemma for moderate conservatives. Many of them spent the Bush years in denial, closing their eyes to the administration’s dishonesty and contempt for the rule of law. Some of them have tried to maintain that denial through this year’s election season, even as the McCain-Palin campaign’s tactics have grown ever uglier. But one of these days they’re going to have to realize that the G.O.P. has become the party of intolerance.

More Articles in Opinion » A version of this article appeared in print on November 3, 2008, on page A31 of the New York edition.

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