Monday, March 31, 2008

The Crazy Man Cometh

And wouldn't you know, I suggest we take a look at that crazy man, McCain and look what falls into my lap, but a Top Ten McCain Quotes List! How perfect. Take a look. I'm especially fond of numbers 6 and 2--McCain the crusader against special interests. I'm sure lobbyists are shaking in their boots right now with McCain on the attack!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Isn't anyone paying attention to McCain?

I know the soap opera of the Clinton Delusion and attempts to turn Obama into a serial killer have been much more satisfying lately, but there is another interesting story: John McCain has gone bonkers.

The guy is old. This isn't normally a big deal, as long as the guy is "fit" (unless you're Ronald Reagan and you get a free "illness-enduced pass" after destroying the country--don't pick on those that can't fight back: as if that has anything to do presidential policies!), but you know, this guy is an old 71. There's 71 like my grandfather a decade ago with my grandmother feeding him greens and granola, and then there's this 71. A life in politics, half-a-decade as a POW. That puts a strain on a person. Well the cracks are showing.

So here's what we've really got: either he's lying to us and trying to manipulate us or else he's senile and forgets things, such as mixing up Shi'a and Sunni. Those are our options? Either he's evil or he's demented. Either he's completely unsuited or completely unfit. Either he's dangerous or he's dangerous. Or maybe dangerous.

He's admitted to having no economic experience and has no economic aptitude, suggesting he should have somebody teach him this stuff. OK. He also said that in 2005. And in 2000 when he ran the first time. One would think if he cared the least bit about this, he would have spent an hour a week for a semester of Econ at a community college sometime in the last 8 YEARS!

And he is using the same technique as Bush: he is trying to associate Iran to Iraq the way Bush (temporarily successfully) associated Afghanistan to Iraq. That, and both have tried to link al Qaeda to a country they are eager to bomb. And this is the foreign policy 'expert' in the race!

I know you are tempted to like McCain. He's folksy, grandfatherly (assuming your grandfather is unnaturally obsessed with bombing Iran), and he rides in a bus he calls "The Straight-Talk Express". He ran against Bush in 2000 and only lost because the Republican Party wanted a puppet president. He was a free thinker and showed great deference to those things that excite the populists among us. That 2000 McCain was so appealing. But he's gone. 2005 McCain took him out in the back and shot him in the back of the head. 2005 McCain has since evolved into 2008 McCain--the more senile, pandering, lying, demented version of himself. He has done the very thing that decent men in the Republican Party have been doing for decades: selling his soul to the devil for a shot at the top. Relatively decent men like George H. W. Bush and Bob Dole suddenly take a swan dive from the diving board of sanity into the pool evil and incompetence. We watched principled men of character making shady deals with the scum of the party to bring them along, pandering to the likes of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell (for McCain, it's John Hagee) changing principled positions to the party line and sacrificing the one positive attribute they had: their character. John McCain, the straight-talker sold it years ago, sold it during the 2004 election, to hop in bed with George W. Bush, the great villain of recent presidential politics.

Which leads us to today. McCain, after his little Joe Lieberman-inspired correction, is still using as his platform for president that he should take us to war with Iran. This is what he's got. I sure hope we aren't this stupid.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Oh, Hillary! Really?

It's a long drop from the top, isn't it? Just when you think you see the bottom, it keeps getting further away. And the longer you fall, the longer you deal with that rumbling, shifting nausea in your stomach. Where is the ground, already?

Yes, that's Hillary's career we're talking about. This isn't just a question about presidential aspirations, this is about her future in politics. The longer she scrapes and grabs, the longer the evil sees the light of day. With most other candidates in a primary process, they shrink back from the potential greatness and return to their day job, for those in Congress, this means actually running the government (Biden, Dodd, Kucinich). But Hilary is staring at the abyss and jumping in!

How does a crazy, kitchen-sink-abusing, narcissistic, lying, sleep-deprived, partily-challenged Democratic junior senator from New York have a shot in the next congressional election? The Republicans will trot out the next rising star to challenge her with easy accusations of coniving, disloyalty that puts personal ambition above the needs of her constituents. And do you think this won't stick with her forever?

This blog by Andrew Sullivan hits the right notes: "I was sleep deprived".

But the true tragedy is that I never wanted to be that guy. I loved the Clintons irrationally throughout the 1990s. I was an apologist in a conservative climate. When critics charged them as being poll-driven and wishy washy, I thought it was great that they actually listened to people. Yes, I was naive. The truth, however, has taught us something else.

And the sick and utterly depressing thing of it all? If it were between Hillary and John (McCain), I would vote for her. But isn't that just further masochism?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Isn't this what Rev. Wright was talking about?

If there is anyone in the world that thinks we are over racism, just take a second to think about the death penalty.

And while you are thinking about it, think about the case of Troy Davis, on death row still, despite testimonies from 7 of the 9 witnesses saying that they lied and were coerced by the police. New evidence, making it nearly impossible to conceive that the right man has been incarcerated for 18 years doesn't seem to be enough for the Georgia court system.

There isn't a doubt in my mind that his race is the primary factor. How sick are we?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Good! I'm not the only one!

I found an article over on Alternet about the racism of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright media circus fandango. As the article suggests, insane, bigoted, (dare I say evil?) white men are allowed to spit venomous diatribes and slanderous statements about anyone and anything and it is cloaked under religious freedom, but a black man can't criticize federal policy? Man!

Not-so-happy anniversary

We have now been in Iraq for five full years.

Here is a Collect For Peace (BCP, p. 258)

Almighty God, kindle, we pray, in every heart the true love of peace, and guide with your wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth, that in tranquillity your dominion may increase until the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Don’t dare call it reparations.

Ooh! What a scary word. But here is what I’ve been thinking about:

Imagine that you steal a TV set from your neighbor. It’s illegal now, but when you stole it, it wasn’t really stealing; more like permanently borrowing. And it’s an expensive flat screen.

So you take your stolen TV and get $1,000 on the black market for it. You take that $1K and invest it, strike it rich, and instantly become a millionaire. You are loaded.

You take that money and save it, giving the lion’s share to your descendents. They invest it and become ridiculously wealthy: so wealthy that they never run out of money, generation to generation.

In this scenario, we think that the original owner deserves something, right? At least the cost of the TV, but some damages as well, right?

Now imagine that the government encourages millions of us to steal TVs from our neighbors and makes it so that each of us gets that thousand dollars, regardless of the type: flat screen or tube. Then imagine that Wall Street is set up to turn TV earnings into “strong” investments that lead to wall-to-wall wealth creation. Then add laws that consider this money untouchable and a permanent fixture within households, generation to generation, making the loss of this money impossible.

Now imagine that these millionaire families continue to gain legal privileges that will only support them and their wealth, because they are essential to the economy.

If your grandfather had his TV stolen, how would you react?

And what of those families that still benefit from that TV money? The money that has grown with each generation and continues to serve the needs of that family?

Wouldn’t these people have a right to outrage? And shouldn’t those that have benefited feel some regret and deal with some repercussion; some leveling of the hands of justice?

So what is our response going to be? If we don’t have some return TV sets or repay them (with or without interest) damages, isn’t there another solution? Can’t we tear down those regulations that benefit the thieves? Can’t we eliminate/diminish inheritance? Can’t we raise the quality of life for every victim? Aren’t these the least we can do?

Our lives don’t exist in a vacuum

The strange reality of the Obama/Wright controversy is that there is no founding for controversy. [Though it did make Wikipedia already.]

For those that don’t know, Sen. Barack Obama has for a decade and a half attended Trinity United Church of Christ (Congregationalist) in Chicago. The UCC is a mainline protestant denomination that shares a great deal of theological territory with the traditional protestant churches such as the Presbyterian, Lutheran (ELCA), and Episcopal. Like Evangelicals, we believe that the grace of God saves humanity and like Roman Catholics, we believe that what we do makes a difference. We are much inline with what is often called a “social gospel”—that Jesus was on earth, not to save us from our sins (and all the myriad of definitions we have for this), but to help re-establish the Kingdom of God in the midst of us.

The chief pastor at Trinity, The Rev. Jeremiah Wright is clearly a member of this tradition. He is also African American. His father was a Baptist preacher. His congregation is urban and predominantly African American. Preaching in the midst of his community about the Kingdom of God has to be about the African American experience. He would be dishonest if he didn’t. He wouldn’t be serving his congregation with integrity if he didn’t.

So what is this controversy about? He had the audacity to suggest that some evil acts are retaliation due to instigating evil acts! Can you believe it? The horror! Cover your child’s ears! Shield him/her from the sight! What insidiousness is this? Evil begets evil? No! Say it isn’t so!

Let’s think about this for a second. The two startling statements that I’ve heard amount to this:

  1. U.S. involvement in the Middle East, blatant support of Israel against Arab neighbors, and inconsistent relationships with nations that are predominantly Islamic inspired al-Qaeda’s 2001 response.
  2. U.S. policy since the 1960s with regards to African American communities and urban communities has been one of abuse and is of violent nature.

Am I missing something here? Where’s the controversy? What is awful about pointing out that our government has been consistently racist? Didn’t we have this exposed with Katrina? Hasn’t the national conversation turned more productive than this?

It is the colorblind/vacuum hypothesis. It isn’t about the instigator, it’s about the actions. Like the Jena 6 trial inLouisiana. Who cares about the race-bating, the incidents of violence perpetrated by whites, or the noose hanging from the tree planted as a sign of racial integration—those black kids deserve the harshest of penalties. According to the District Attorney, these incidents must be treated as separate, as existing in a vacuum. Heaven forbid we recognize our own complicity!

Hopefully Obama’s speech tonight will address the blatant racism and irrational fear behind this non-issue. But then again, this is the politics of the 20th Century that refuses to go away.