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Deafening Silence

June 19, 2009

It was all about oil back in 1953, when the CIA ousted the hugely popular democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran, Dr. Mossadegh. Just two years earlier, he nationalized Iran’s oil industry, and thought America would be a strong ally. Foolish Iranian’s, we think all the world’s oil belongs to us, and democracy – real democracy – isn’t too terribly important. So we re-installed the Shah, who was nearly universally hated in his own country, and proceeded down a path of meddling in the affairs of the Persian people that would last for decades.

When seething hatred for America’s puppet, one of the worst human rights violators in history, boiled into a revolution in 1979 , President Carter boldly stated, ” ‘I fully expect the Shah to maintain power in Iran and for the present problems in Iran to be resolved. The predictions of doom and disaster that came from some sources have certainly not been realized at all.” We all know what happened then…

Through the tumultuous Iran-Iraq war, America supported Saddam Hussein’s slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Iranians, while Reagan and Bush were secretly selling weapons to the Ayatollah. All the bluster in the world couldn’t hide the fact that America put a pretty low value on Muslim blood. Fact is, America’s track record, with presidents of both parties, is pretty horrible.

Fast-forward to the present. Iranians just had a farce of an election; the people’s voices were not heard, and there’s rioting in the streets once again. All indications are that casualties will sharply increase now that the Supreme Leader has given his final word on the election results. Oh, yeah, he also threatened to have anyone who disagreed with those results killed on the spot…

And for the first time in decades, the American President has been virtually silent. He’s commented on the human rights aspect of the situation, but not the politics therein. This has infuriated his detractors, both at home and abroad. Good. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just sit back and let a situation play itself out, not inject yourself into the mix. Right now, it’s clear the Iranian people are on our side, it’s the leaders of that “democracy” that are not. 

And no amount of political posturing can beat that.

Happy Birthday!

June 17, 2009

Today, June 17, 2009, two things occurred. The “Smartest Man in the Room”, Newt Gingrich, turned sixty six years old. I guess that would be the first thing, since the second happened on my way home from work. I discovered the “Smartest Man in the Room” isn’t the “Smartest Man in the Room” anymore.

See, right before Newt misquoted the Declaration of Independence, he stated in no-uncertain terms, that President Obama has already failed.

My trip home usually takes about ten minutes, but over the past week or so it’s been a little longer each day. It’s because I pass three different road crews, with their annoying American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signs, hard at work. I’m guessing I’ve seen maybe a hundred folks who are getting a paycheck that were unemployed not too long ago.

I don’t know the exact correlation, but I also pass a few mom and pop diners, and I’ve noticed their parking lots are full again. A few months back they were empty. One parking lot that was practically empty was the lot at the unemployment office. I don’t have any hard numbers, but it sure looks to me, at least, that things are beginning to look up. Which means the naysayers, like Newt the Genius, are gonna have to start looking for something new to blame President Obama for.

Republicans, don’t let me down!

Note: I wrote this before I saw Kantor and Boehner release their four-page health-care reform plan…

When Will It All End?

June 11, 2009

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends, family and loved ones of  Stephen T. Johns, the 39 year old security guard who was senselessly gunned down yesterday at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum by 88 year old neo-Nazi James von Brunn. Just another case of right-wing terrorism fomented by the fever-pitch of hate speech vitriol Americans are being bombarded with on talk radio, cable news and the internet. When will it all end?

James von Brunn attacked the museum just days after President Obama gave a stirring speech at Buchenwald, where he was so emotionally moved at seeing the place where thousands of Jews, as well as thousands of political prisoners and Soviet prisoners of war; were detained, tortured and killed. The President caustically rebuked holocaust deniers, and von Brunn took exception.

This tragedy occurred on the heels of the assassination of Dr. George Tiller, who, among his many duties, provided “late term” abortions. Right-wing terrorist Scott Roeder, who shot the doctor in church, had become fanatically consumed with Fox News’ jihad against “Tiller the Baby-Killer”.

And let’s not forget that horrifying day in Pittsburgh back in April, when right-wing Second Amendment zealot and White-Supremacist Richard “Pop” Poplawski opened fire, and ended the lives of Officers Stephen Mayhle, Paul Sciullo and Eric Kelly amid thunderous warnings on talk radio that President Obama was going to strip away the Right to Bear Arms.

Well, I’m sorry, but it’s not just another news story to any of the human beings that mourn the passing of Stephen T. Johns, or Dr. George Tiller, or Officers Stephen Mayhle, Paul Sciullo and Eric Kelly. Please, PLEASE, if we can’t stop the hate, let’s at least dial it back a notch…

And Put On The Full Armor Of God While You’re At It

June 7, 2009

I don’t know why so many people are upset that the New Bethel Church of Louisville, Kentucky is planning to hold an Open-Carry church service on June 27th. It’s the opening salvo of their Fourth of July festivities. America is all about God and Guns, so what’s the big deal? It’s not like any abortion doctors are expected to attend…

Look, the church is the perfect place for families to come packin’ heat. The God of the Old Testament was always running around smiting folks and ordering His flock to kill every man, woman and child that refused to bow down before Him. And His Only Begotten was no slouch in the kill-or-be-killed world of high spiritualism. He came not to bring peace, but a sword, remember?

Now, Pastor Ken’s flock will be worshipping the Almighty with patriotic music and a gun raffle. If Jesus had thought of that, instead of just overturning the tables of the moneychangers in His Father’s House, the Pharisees might not have been so pissed at Him. And if Our Lord and Savior had turned the water into tea, instead of wine, he might have even gotten King Herod’s gig.

Let us pray…

Standing-O In Cairo

June 4, 2009

Those on the far-right have been criticizing President Obama’s speech for the past forty eight hours, now that he’s actually given it, the fireworks are really going into overdrive. If you want to get right down to specifics, there weren’t very many differences in actual policy from what Bush said before he was ducking flying shoes. But this wasn’t a policy speech. It was a new beginning. A chance to find common ground and work toward peace – which, after all, is what nearly everyone on the planet wants.

The President touched on everything from the genocide in Darfur, to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to the threat of a nuclear Iran to the innocent blood al-Qaeda has shed throughout the world. He held out an olive-branch to moderate Muslims everywhere. He quoted Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson to remind Muslims that America has been a friend to them for many, many years. He quoted from the Koran, the Talmud and the Bible, all the while the audience of Muslim students cheered again and again and again.

So of course, bin Laden accused President Obama of antagonizing Muslims. Zawahiri, who likes to call our President names (house-negro), is now calling him a criminal. Others on the far-right back here in the States have dubbed this Obama’s apology tour, and have called the speech “Carteresque”.

Listen, President Obama gave a historic speech which was designed to do one thing, and one thing only. Extend an open hand to the Muslim world. The mere fact that he was given a standing ovation, as opposed to a pair of flying loafers, proved that it was a success.

A Moment In Time

June 2, 2009

Dick Cheney was right all along. Sure, he could have chanted, “Nah, nah, I told you so!”, but he’s too classy a guy for that. When Scott Roeder executed Dr. George Tiller on Sunday, as “Tiller the baby-killer” was worshipping at Wichita’s Reformation Lutheran Church, America suffered it’s first terrorist attack in nearly eight years.

Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano warned that an attack by a right-wing lone-wolf would happen, but that’s little solace to Tiller’s friends, family and loved ones. I have to wonder, what would Dick have done differently? In a situation where everyone that had any contact with Roeder knew he was a hairs-breath away from doing something terrible, America’s intelligence community failed us. And no, I don’t think waterboarding Randall Terry would have been the answer.

Now, Fox News did not put the gun in Roeder’s hand, but they’re not innocent babes, either. They ratcheted up the rhetoric, targeting Dr. Tiller on no less than twenty eight separate occasions, coming dangerously close to inciting murder. I have to say this: Bill O’Reilly needs to publicly apologize for his part in this tragedy.

Not long ago, President Obama made his plea for an honest, reasonable discussion on the hottest of all hot-button issues;  abortion. I pray this tragedy gives us a moment in time to have that discussion. Then maybe, just maybe, Dr. George Tiller’s death might not be in vain…

Back in the ’60s, poor young women were dying from botched back-alley abortions while girls of means were able to erase their indiscretions with relative ease. Liberals saw the injustice and tried to right the wrong, extremists on both sides have been at war ever since. Because Dr. Tiller was one of the few willing to perform “late term” abortions, he was a prime target for the Operation Rescue folks. Please remember, some of Tiller’s patients discovered late in pregnancy that their fetuses had severe or fatal birth defects; and he also aborted healthy late-term fetuses in cases where this would prevent “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function” for the mother. That’s the law.

So, as we mourn this tragedy, I have to ask, where do we go from here? Are conservatives willing to shell out tax dollars to pay for the health-care, welfare, housing and education subsidies poor girls desperately need if they’re even going to consider bringing a new life into the world? While home-schooled churchgoing teens are just as sexually active as inner-city kids, their future prospects are quite different.

Are we going to get serious about sex education? How about contraception? Would you allow a gay couple to rescue a fetus otherwise doomed to be aborted? Or do we just ignore the hard questions and rev up the vitriol while we wait for the next terrorist attack…

Why I Can’t Be A Christian

May 29, 2009

I remember, years ago, when I was just a dumb kid, believing in the Golden Rule, “turning the other cheek”, and all that sort of stuff. Everyone I knew understood that “taking the Lord’s name in vain” meant that you weren’t supposed to use God as an excuse to do something that was wrong. Faith, science, morality and compassion could all exist simultaneously.

What an idiot I was…

In Catholic School, I came to doubt the veracity of transubstantiation. In Bible College, I came to doubt the wisdom of translating every word in Scripture literally. And every time a national election was coming to a head, I came to doubt the message I heard time and time again in church after church: You must vote for the Republican, or you’ll burn in hell forever.

I am going to burn in hell forever – I finally broke down and voted for a Democrat.

Don’t get me wrong, my fundamental belief system is still intact. I think the Genesis accounts of Creation, the Garden of Eden and other stories are moral tales, and have a place of importance. The notion that God – whoever or whatever that Being might be – is more concerned with the condition of a person’s heart than if they ever violated some subsection of labyrinthine doctrine, still resonates with me.

But I can’t hate a person or group of people because they look, talk, act, or even think differently than I. I can’t judge another person, especially when – according to the Bible – I’m not even permitted to walk a mile in their shoes. I can’t pigeonhole my thought process to an interpretation of God’s Word solely based on a group of folks working in conjunction with Fox News. That group would be Zondervan – look it up.

It’s wrong of me to have hope that there is any goodness to be found in mankind, I know. It’s called “humanism”, and it’s a sin. But since I’m going to hell anyway, I’m going to cling to that thin thread of hope; as tightly as I can, for as long as I can.