Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Boasting of the flesh

In my reading for today, I read chapters 5 & 6 of Galatians and Psalm 41.  I'm reading The Daily Message by Eugene Peterson, which means that I get a scriptural reading in The Message translation.  And what I came across really struck me.

A while back, I wrote this response to the LA Times that got the Far Right all in a "twitter" about my evil liberalism.  I have read comments and letters carrying such incredible venom, that I can hardly stand it.  I have been charged with many things, perhaps the scariest is that I am a good Episcopalian!  Oh the horror!

It is with this frame that I came across Paul's teaching to the Galatian church that got me thinking.  In Gal. 6:12-16, Paul states:
It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that try to compel you to be circumcised--only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.  Even the circumcised do not themselves obey the law, but they want you to be circumcised so that they may boast about your flesh.  May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.  For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything!  As for those who will follow this rule--peace be upon them and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. [NRSV]
Of course, this wasn't what I read, but what I turned to after.  This is the translation I read from The Message:
These people who are attempting to force the ways of circumcision on you have only one motive: They want an easy way to look good before others, lacking the courage to live by a faith that shares Christ's suffering and death.  All their talk about the law is gas.  They themselves don't keep the law!  And they are highly selective in the laws they do observe.  They only want you to be circumcised so they can boast of their success in recruiting you to their side.  That is contemptible!

For my part, I am going to boast about nothing but the Cross of our Master, Jesus Christ.  Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate.  Can't you see the central issue in all this?  It is not what you and I do--submit to circumcision, reject circumcision.  It is what God is doing, and he is creating something totally new, a free life!  All who walk by this standard are the true Israel of God--his chosen people.  Peace and mercy on them!

In reading this, I could not help but wonder about what causes the radical right such anger and begets such ire. I also couldn't help but notice the circumcision argument.  The first great fight in the church, Paul vs. James over the notion of circumcision represents the greatest theological conversation in church history. In some ways, we are still dealing with its repercussions and ramifications. 

On the one hand, you have Jewish law and scriptural-based traditions that required every Jew to be circumcised.  Further, the practical rationales included the simple fact that Jesus, James, Peter, John, and even Paul were all circumcised.  To be a follower of Jesus, from this view, was to be Jewish.  Some might consider this to be orthodoxy before there was such a thing.

From the other point of view, we have Paul's ministry to the gentiles.  Paul (rightly) recognizes Jesus's willingness to bend and break Jewish laws when they impeded the Great Commandment.  This means that Paul's understanding of Jesus's teaching was to spread the Good News to all people, regardless of their heritage.  By this, I think, we are still in unanimous agreement.  Where it gets sticky, though, is in the part where Paul does not require circumcision of the gentiles, that new converts no longer have to follow the Jewish laws to which we previously adhered.  This is a very different suggestion--and considering the current debate--one that we would not have an easy time today in answering.

And this brings up the root of the hypocrisy.  If scripture is the central authority, how can we denounce Paul?  It appears to me, that if we believe that the "orthodox" (James?) thing to do is to adhere to the law and the authority of Scripture, then how are we to respond to Paul's interpretation of the law?  How do we teach this lesson?  Do we then denounce Paul and throw into question or standing on scriptural authority?  Or do we agree with Paul and, as the Pharisees, appear hypocritical in matters of theology?  Or, as Sunday's gospel suggests, do we pretend that we don't know the answer?

As if that weren't enough, this was in the Psalm today (from The Message):
I said, "GOD, be gracious!"
     Put me together again--
     my sins have torn me to pieces."
My enemies are wishing the worst for me;
     they make bets on what day I will die.
If someone comes to see me,
     he mouths empty platitudes,
All the while gathering gossip about me
     to entertain the street-corner crowd.
These "friends" who hate me
     whisper slanders all over town.
They form committees
     to plan misery for me.

Hey, with friends like these...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bailout failure brings country's memory back

In the midst of the hardest decision Congress as ever been forced to make in recent memory, the House split over the bailout. Perhaps the split (which defeated the president's plan) represents the closest thing to the first public victory in the new millennium. Seemingly for the first time, the wishes of the people trumped the leaders of both parties, and loyalty to constituencies trumped loyalty to party.

This doesn't mean that the Democratic and Republican representatives that broke from their leadership did so out of unity or for the same reasons (they certainly didn't), but they did so in the midst of the most terrifying time in cultural memory. In September of 2001, the people were in shock--but certainly not this kind of fear. Market volatility and banking crises seemed, for the first time, to be linked with the recent past for people. All of a sudden, deregulation and free trade, gas prices and green energy initiatives, executive pay and unemployment seem to be colliding into the moment many have been waiting for: not a depression, recession, or any other condition, but in a great awakening of consciousness. Its as if things are new today and that our understanding has fundamentally changed.

Suddenly the Keating 5 and the Savings & Loan scandal, which has somehow eluded the election process, despite Sen. John McCain's unethical ties and personal experience from the 1980s having an eery similarity to today's conditions, is now coming up. In fact, it is coming up as people are trying to honestly assess the conditions and feverishly hope to find something in the past to inform our current status and have found it in Reagan's first great boondagle. And the fact that McCain (and his favorite economist, former Sen. Gramm) not only failed to learn the lesson of the S&L bailout, but in some twisted way, seemed eager to replicate it with our banks.

More surprising, I actually heard the following argument on the radio: an economist admitted that there isn't anything we can do. That the only thing that could have been done had to be done a decade ago. That nothing can be saved--perhaps only rebuilt.

And most shocking of all is perhaps the former genius, the former rock star of economics (and former Fed chief) Allen Greenspan is now on the hit list, taking a great deal of the heat for his "love of all things bubble" as it was recently described. His chairmanship, taking Reagan's reverse-economics to the extreme, gambling the entire economy on a principle that doesn't generate wealth for the country or for the poor or middle class, but a principle that could only and always, create wealth for the wealthy, these machiavelian economic philosophies are now being scruitinized for seemingly the first time.

And this moment, this time of political fear and economic shock, a time when it is bad to be a homeowner, a stockholder, or an employee, we are having a truly great awakening, a moment where the country can examine its leadership of the last three decades with sober eyes and say this: how did you fail us? You took an oath. You used your position for personal gain, selling out the country (not unlike politicians in the 1880s and 90's) and brought about the very conditions of a new Great Depression. How dare you ask for a second chance.

Oh, that Tina Fey

Tina Fey is at it again! Her portrayal of Gov. Sarah Palin on last week's Saturday Night Live is even funnier than her first. But it does something truly incredible: it is helping expose the truth better than any news agency.

As Kurt Vonnegut so understood, and often quoted his literary predecessor, Mark Twain, truth is most successfully understood through humor. That is why it is comedians that have directed our cultural future throughout the 20th century (and why the Jerry Seinfeld era was so mind-numbing). In fact, Saturday Night Live was at one time the standard-bearer of understanding our politicians with Chevy Chase's Gerald Ford and Dana Carvey's George H.W. Bush leading the way.

Other comedic voices led the way in the 1990s--late night talk show hosts. Jay Leno--using Clinton jokes well after his presidency was over--and David Letterman directed our understanding of the Clinton years. The increasing influence of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report have begun doing the same for George W. Bush.

But now, it seems as if something is breaking through the fog: SNL seems to be taking on the establishment that it was too afraid to do for a decade and a half--and in so doing, is revealing the danger of mediocrity.

Tina Fey's Sarah Palin is hilarious, and the truly standout performance, with true witty, blatant gags for laughs, with truly subtle undertones of Palin's behavior, revealing the world what all the blather so eagerly overlooks: her intentions to be unqualified and to game the system.

But as you watch the video, make sure you watch Amy Poehler's terrifically understated Katie Couric--representing not just the opposite of the flambouyantly bubbly Palin--but portraying a journalist that can't figure out what to do with Palin; doesn't know how to deal with gibberish; doesn't know how to confront a sitting duck; doesn't know how to reveal truth in the midst of incompetance--perhaps only hoping that other people recognize what she sees.

This short skit reveals the political moment with such clarity (and of course, humor) and such beauty, it actually brings both shame to this industry of the exclusive interview and hope for the political process. It reveals the truth about a craven politician and an innept corporate media in a way that know 'hard hitting expose' or New York Times article ever could.

And it kind of makes me want to watch SNL for the first time in a decade.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I'm tired of the 'spin' spin

It is getting pretty ridiculous when we can claim innocence for blatant lies by suggesting that we intended (A) but had no idea that (B) might go along with it.  That has been the entire defense of Iraq, the Swiftboat attacks in 2004 against Sen. John Kerry and seems to be Sen. John McCain's entire platform.

So that's what comes to mind when I heard this incredible news:  that a shadow group is sending out DVDs through the New York Times that are a racist, anti-Islam documentary.  According to Ali Gharib, these DVDs will reach 28 million Americans and the company that produced them, the Clarion group, suggests that they aren't trying to influence the election.

I'm sorry, but what else are you doing just over a month before the election, by sending out vile fear-mongering?  What else is there than that?  Are you next going to claim that it is coincidental that the DVD's subject mirrors some of the more disturbing elements of John McCain's platform?

It is funny, that the same week that McCain trashes the paper for being "in the tank" for Obama, they would except money for an "advertisement" of this sort.  It is funny that McCain is trying to play the refs when the refs aren't even paying close enough attention to how they are being played by anybody.  Oh, what craziness is this?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

McCain's "base" no longer sharing the love

I found this today with the best headline ever: "Press Frustration With McCain Bubbles Over: 'Has Your Bus Become the No Talk Express?'.

We let Bush get away with this in 2000 and continued to let him manipulate the press (he is currently doing it over the $700B bailout).  But here is the press finally getting tired of being played.  And it just may cost him...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Racism and the Irish?

This is an interesting note. Senator John McCain has had many different positions on immigration reform, sometimes supporting undocumented workers and other times not. His position was most prominently changed after that recent immigration debate.

So now, the presidential candidate is in favor of giving immigrants a "path to citizenship" (ie. amnesty)...as long as they are Irish.


McCain supports the Irish immigrants but no longer supports immigrants from Mexico and Latin America? Are you kidding me? What could possibly be different about immigrants from Ireland and Mexico? Hmmm...

So when can we actually deal with the racist elephant in the living room?

The scourge of the purge

In Michigan, as elsewhere, we are seeing the further advancement of the election tactic known as purging the voter rolls.

In advance of the 2000 election, the state of Florida passed an incredibly undemocratic law removing the rights of convicted felons to vote. This allowed the secretary of state (remember Katherine Harris?) to purge millions of voters from the rolls. They did it again in 2004, bringing their total purged well over 5 million.

This, as well as the broad discrepencies in exit polls and inconsistencies in many Florida districts brought the nation's attention to election procedures. This, of course, is a good thing. Republicans, however, turned their attention away from fixing the voting problems and turned instead toward caging and purging--two acts intended to bring down the number of people voting. These acts also disenfranchise the poor and the unrepresented in our culture. This action seemed to have the added effect of appearing to be the needed "election reform" that we wanted after watching the 2000 recount. They passed this off as the needed changes (because inconsistent voting machines should be blamed on having too many people voting?).

Now we have this coming to Michigan. This article here outlines the problem. It is illegal to purge voter rolls based on returned mail, and yet, the secretary of state (a Republican) is doing just that.

The problem, as with everything else, is that there is little time to do anything about this through the legal system. Urging Secretary Terri Lynn Land hasn't worked, and we are just over a month from the election. Even if a lawsuit by the ACLU gets a positive result before the election, it stilly may be impossible to get those individuals purged from the list back on it--and state law prevents them from reregistering that close to the election. Not to mention that the only way most of these people will learn that they have been purged from the voter rolls is when they show up to vote.

This is the height of unethical and immoral (not to mention illegal) procedure. True election reform must happen before the 2010 midterm elections, but if the last 8 years are any indication, I don't expect to see that happen. We must have the political will to make it a priority or injustice will be the standard.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Paul Reiser gets it.

In my last post, I decried McCain as a monster.  Here's another way to look at it supplied by Paul Reiser (yes the comedian), posted on the Huffington Post.  McCain as the childhood bully.

Adding to this the way the Right frames their discussions, there is a certain blogability to the infantiling of the American people by their Republican "Fathers"...perhaps that's next!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

McCain: I’m being an ass because Obama said 'no' to me

Senator John McCain has revealed himself over the last few months to be something truly different as a presidential candidate. No, not a maverick. I'm talking more like, say, a monster or the political version of a serial rapist. Here's what I'm thinking. McCain has said several times, including in Thursday night’s forum on service that had Sen. Barack Obama agreed to tour the country doing joint town hall meetings, the campaign would have a different tone today. It is an interesting suggestion, and probably half-true, since McCain wouldn’t be an ass with Obama on the stage with him. But this forgets political advertising, the very thing that has set this negative tone. I can’t imagine the Republican National Committee and their surrogate 527s running feel-good ads in any event.

The simple problem with this argument is that McCain is comparing Xs and Os. Apples and oranges. Or better yet, Xs with 4s. Town hall meetings—like any in-person campaign event—is a time of conversation with people. Political advertising, on the other hand, the source of tremendous negative mudslinging by the McCain campaign, are one-sided attacks beamed directly into people’s homes without any opportunity for rebuttal. Doing the former in no way precludes the latter. If Obama and McCain did a town hall meeting every night together, we would still have political ads.

And this leads to the grotesque underside of McCain’s argument: if you examine McCain’s comment from the other perspective you see that he is suggesting that because Obama did not acquiesce, he was forced to attack him viciously with lies and slander. The heart of McCain’s argument is, essentially, “she shouldn’t have worn that dress”. He is saying 'I was forced to become a monster because a) I didn’t get my way and b) Obama was allowed to exercise his own judgment.'

This, more than anything I have seen, exposes the darkness within the heart of McCain. It shows how he deals with failure, disagreement, and disappointment. It shows how cynical he is and how little he trusts others. It demonstrates not only an unwillingness to work with those with which he disagrees, but an unwillingness to deal with them humanely and decently. Like the recent article that encourages us to tilt our understanding of McCain to who he was before he was a POW (a bomber pilot, eager to kill thousands of civilian Vietnamese in collateral damage and direct attacks), the recent weeks have exposed John McCain—and the true monster that resides in his soul.

McCain Campaign: A House of Cards

The truth of the house of cards is that it always looks sturdy. It looks like a regular house. Or at least like a strangely-patterned one. It looks like it is strong, well-built, and of appropriate significance—until you blown on it, sneeze near it, or say, walk on the floor within a 20 feet of it.

The truth of the Republican smear machine is that they’ve built the McCain-Palin ticket like a house of cards. Our brains tell us to not trust them (for so many reasons, but let’s just say this: hypocrisy), our guts tell us to worry about them, and yet our hearts seem won over by the tails of gallantry, self-sacrifice, and “realness”. At least that’s what most of us are left with. The corporate media feels comfortable pretending as if they play no part in this, even though they spent the entire Democratic convention trying to expose some underground plot by Hillary’s secret army and the entire Republican convention fawning over the supposed “Tina Fey lookalike”. And this week we had the first public interview by Gov. Sarah Palin, which will do more to inspire confidence in the status quo than it will expose Palin’s true character. A letter circulating around the Internet, written by a Wasilla, Alaska native that knows her, is certainly doing a better job of that than Charlie Gibson seems capable of.

In truth, McCain-Palin are offering us very little reason to support them. In fact, in last night’s event, John McCain was asked about the negative tone of the campaign so far, with the moderator stopping short of nailing McCain on setting that tone. McCain then proceeded to put the blame on Obama, as he has over the last week and a half saying “if he had only agreed to the town hall meetings I suggested.” I don’t think I would have gotten away with that at home if I made a mess and blamed it on my sister: who was in the other room at the time. But the worst of it is that McCain actually stated that the way we know how tactics work is the way people vote; that the winning strategy determines future campaign strategies. What McCain all but admits is that he is running an almost entirely negative and schizophrenic campaign this year because a) it worked in the past and b) if it works again, Republicans will use it in 2012.

But here is where the house of cards analogy comes in: the media is obsessed with polls showing McCain and Obama in a dead heat (despite ample reason to doubt the veracity of the polling, especially an over-representation of Republicans polled in the recent batch) and with the Palin and convention bump. At the same time, they are reluctantly reporting on Palin’s baggage and occasionally pointing out one of McCain’s lies. BUT, they seem to be tied to this need to not be seen as picking on McCain, so they have to either tread lightly or makeup a story to run about Obama to “balance” it out. As of today, the corporate media are the unwitting accomplices to McCain’s lie, lie, suck up, and lie some more strategy. The pessimists in us want to give up—the corporate media isn’t going to do their jobs…unless they do.

What happens to the McCain campaign when somebody gives him the tough questions and makes him answer them, not with lies or pander (The McCain robot’s seemingly only two settings) but with accountability for what he says and for what those around him say. What happens if reporters are actually allowed access to Palin in the way expected of any other candidate? She’s been in the spotlight for a week and a half and has already lied enough times to fulfill an entire term in the House of Representatives under Tom Delay. What happens when the corporate media actually wakes up? All it would take is the slightest movement and all of the cards come crashing to the table.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Perhaps the most fitting September 11, 2001 tribute

I still don't like referring to it as "9/11" or simply "September 11th" as it is not a fitting title or descriptor of the day. I'm not sure what to call it, other than perhaps saving the day for a different purpose. Reserving the day for remembering self-sacrifice and help for others is natural, and is already the feeling many have.

But here is something else. Since I'm on a video kick, check out last night's "Special Comment" from Keith Olbermann:

On a day that still is reserved in many people's hearts as a day of frightening realization, and marked off for at least a decade's time as a day in which much of the world slows down, even still, we should be reminded of what it means to be a human being. We should, as we stop and reflect, take the time to be real people, with compassion for others, not political manipulations.

The truth is that Olbermann's defense of 9/11/01's memory is a fitting tribute, better than shooting lights in the sky, glorious speeches about the human condition, or musical tributes. Olbermann defends the day from crass and cynical exploitation. But more than that, he is defending you. He is defending your right to feel outrage and fear and sadness and worry and joy and all of our human emotions without fear of emotional manipulation. To use the horrors of mass murder as a political ploy is as disgusting as it gets. This isn't telling a story that tugs at your heartstrings or framing the issue to your benefit--this is exploiting America's trust on something we all agreed was off-limits. Shame on you, Rudy, John, and Sarah. Shame on you RNC. This is the lowest of the low.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Real McCain

For more, visit their website here.

No she can't.

Another picture I like:

Lie, Lying, Liar

Lie. It's a good word. We use it to expose more than falsehood. It exposes the root attempt to deceive. We lie because we aren't just spreading an untruth, but we are willfully doing so, directing others' attention to different things.

We use the word lie to expose that root attempt to deceive. We say that someone is lying because we don't want to pull our punches on this: this deception is too big, too important to leave as a "misstatement", "falsehood", or "untruth". It is a lie.

A liar is one who willfully deceives. A liar is a person that is trying to screw you over, swindle, and take from you. A liar is a petty thief or sniveling whelp. A liar is one who is much more than inauthentic, but a boaster and abuser. Liars are unethical and immoral. When we are liars, we are the worst versions of ourselves.

That's why this made my day! It's an article about McCain and why the corporate media seems so reluctant to "Call McCain What He Is: a Liar" as it suggests in its title.

And here's the thing. McCain has become a serial liar of the worst kind: achieving what he can't seem to achieve otherwise. He is the hypocrite that chose mudslinging before he even thought of what his campaign would be about.

The dirty, sick part of McCain, the serial liar, is that it appears to be a strategy. I don't just mean that he is telling "white lies" or that he is "stretching the truth" or using "spin" or any other gentle euphemism for lie. No, I'm talking about willful deception: out-and-out lying. He adopted this stance from the beginning, playing off of the "dottering old man" picture of him that was developing. But first, just think about the last 8 years. Think back to what Governor George W. Bush was saying he would do in the White House and then what he didn't. Think about all of the lies Bush told: about the economy, about terrorism, and yes, about Iraq. Think about Bush's constantly changing reasons for being in Iraq and making claims before he rejects them (and then claims that he never made them in the first place). McCain is inheriting a platform that is based on lies and seems to whole-heartedly embrace an agenda of lying.

Then, we have the lies that are the harmless non-truths. These are the statements that we all make when we've joined the bandwagon late and need to make up for it, so we make zealous remarks about how we feel about it. It's the "hey, I'm the greener candidate" McCain lie. This isn't spin, really. And we don't really want to think of it as an exageration or total lie, right? We just all know that McCain isn't a green candidate, never was, won't be on January 20th, but is using this issue to deceive for political gain. So yeah, McCain really is lying.

Politicians pray that you don't have a long-term memory. They want to say anything today, regardless of yesterday and tomorrow. They want today to be all that matters. Journalists, with their obsession with the "now" story, only feed into that eternal "now". They want today's story to be more important than yesterday's or tomorrow's because they have a scoop.

We are a people of yesterday, today, AND tomorrow. We cannot afford to let lying and other willful deceptions to change our tomorrow, just because everyone seems stuck in today (or last night).

Monday, September 8, 2008

Real Leadership

I'm not sure where this originates, but I found it on An Inch At A Time here.

Oh, and I'll add this: "True that!"

Thursday, September 4, 2008

And that's not all!

With Bush, it's like shooting fish in a barrell, but this was irresistable. Bush, taking any opportunity to push a radical agenda--regardless of his tonedeafness--suggested that Hurricane Gustav represents the perfect reason for offshore drilling. Huh? As I put it a moment ago, that argument is like suggesting that 1 + 1 = apple.

We recognize that the pre-storm efforts were important, and so is
the follow-up efforts. In other words, what happens after the storm
passes is as important as what happens prior to the storm arriving.

Spoken like one of the people that ignored the need to upgrade the levees prior to 2005. He soon suggests:

There are some encouraging signs. For example, during Katrina, rigs
would be -- rigs moved because of the force of the storms and their
anchors drug across pipelines, which caused there to be infrastructure
damage. We didn't see much of that this time, although I will tell you
that it's a little early to be making any forecasts.

Since there wasn't that much damage to the rigs that are there, we should load up out on the shelf! Now he's making the equation 1 + orange = apple.

One thing is for certain: When Congress comes back, they're got to
understand that we need more domestic energy, not less; that -- and one
place to find it is offshore America, lands that have been -- you know,
have been taken off the book, so to speak, by congressional law. And
now they need to give us a chance to find more oil and gas here at home.

Considering that the industry is currently running at capacity and has well over one hundred unused drilling permits, what we need for getting more oil is handing out more permits! Makes perfect sense to me. While we're at it, let's see if McDonald's can sell more cheeseburgers by authorizing the building of more franchises without the company showing any interest in doing so!

I'd much rather, you know, American consumers be buying gasoline
produced from American oil than from foreign oil. I'd rather our
dollars stay at home than go overseas.

Spoken like a man that hasn't paid any attention to what is going on with his country's labor force for, say, three decades! Yes, who wouldn't rather we be energy independent and using the local resources--but your suggestion here doesn't jive with the calls for drilling you are making. New oil discoveries would lead to production for international consumption, not local. And besides, when did you ever care about maintaining U.S. funds in the hands of its citizens--you ran up ridiculous debt to the Chinese and Saudis.

Actually, this is the paragraph that I find the most insulting, because it is something I whole-heartedly believe and it is something that he doesn't give a rat's behind about. He's just trying to sound positive, dressing up a pig, if you will. That is the height of cyncism and makes Bush the most dispicable man in America (VP Cheney is overseas at the moment).

And, you know, I know the Congress has been on recess for a while,
but this issue hadn't gone away. And this storm should not cause the
members of Congress to say, Well, we don't need to address our energy
independence, it ought to cause the Congress to step up their need to
address our dependence on foreign oil.

Another jab at Congress taking a recess--where they go home to both vacation and meet with their local constituants--by a president that is on vacation over 40% of the time!

And there's the part where he is using tragedy to justify drilling. He's back to 1 + 1 = apple.

And one place to do so is to -- is to give us a chance to explore in
environmentally friendly ways on the outer continental shelf.

There's the coup! He thinks by stating that this hypothetical solution to energy independence that won't touch the current price of gas, and won't have it's potential $0.01 price drop for another 10 years will simply make it happen. But better than that, while its hypothetical and not actual, let's throw on there its direct opposite to make it more palitable! Let's call it an "environmentally friendly" hypothesis. Yes, and clean coal won't still be about burning carbon.

Thank you very much.

No, George, thank you!

Bush compares liberals to torturers

Yes, the president has finally flipped. Check out this quick blog which posts Bush's speech for the Republican National Convention on Tuesday. In it, Bush claims that
“If the Hanoi Hilton could not break John McCain’s resolve to do what
is best for his country, you can be sure the angry Left never will.”
Yes, that's right. Bush compared the "angry Left" to the North Vietnamese.

I also like Matthew Yglesias's assessment of Bush's often-used trope of believing that liberats are "self-consciously pushing a bad-for-America agenda". When will America turn off his microphone?


The media isn't sexist. Or at least not in the way the candidates think it is.

Gov. Sarah Palin is running on a platform of extremism packaged as "traditional" values. She has the slimmest resume of any candidate in decades, but that isn't the real concern. The biggest concern is her blatant obsession with power.

Prior to her nomination, Palin showed no interest in the pressing issues of the day, especially Iraq, saying "I haven't really focused much on the Iraq war." Instead, she pursues the eradication of medical freedom (her stances on abortion--anti-choice--and stem cell research), scientific freedom (pro-teaching creationism), and sexual freedom (anti sex ed--pro abstinence-only) with the heavy-handed approach of a dictator.

But here is the rub: she portrays herself as a "typical" hockey mom. She invites us to see her, not as the strong, commanding VP (the one that's half a breath away from the Oval Office), but the supportive, dutiful wife. Her entire candidacy is not only based on sexism (let's add a woman to steal women voters away from the other guy), but she is running on a platform of sexism. She doesn't want women to have equal pay with men. She doesn't want women to have a choice in their sexual health or to make appropriate arrangements to prevent unwanted pregnancies. And her approach to the office from day one has been is not one of equality, but of subservience. She embodies sexism.

The charges of sexism leveled against the media are truly ridiculous. The Republicans spent all of yesterday making this allegation--for the media's depiction of Palin as inexperienced. Experience level is not an issue of sexism and they can't have it both ways: you can't claim Obama is inexperienced while saying that same charge against your candidate is out of bounds. Please.

So here it is. The truth. Sexism is about putting the needs of the dominant sex above the needs of the other(s). Sarah Palin represents that same arrangement, not just the status quo, but of the eating away at your rights and libirties. In short, the most sexist person in this campaign is Sarah Palin. And that's just sick.

And don't let her aww-shucks approach fool you--it's won her a lot of support already, regardless of her political positions. She is hungry for power and the ability to tell you what to do (or not do) in your home, your bedroom, and in your community at large.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The real Republican National Convention.

While there are occasional fireworks inside the hall, the real story is what is going on outside the convention. This is where protesters are being arrested illegally by the city police in conjunction with the FBI. Take a look at one person's account here.

Several of those assaulted and arrested by the police include journalists, including Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!.

Apparently the Republican Party can't handle protests that include peace and poverty rallies, so the police beat people up.

Nice work, McCain!