Through the years, and during the duration of this blog, I have been called an atheist, communist, socialist, Jew, Moslem, ad infinitum. So, it is fair to directly deal with it. What belief system do I adhere to? None, but I take from most of them. I am not out to save my own skin for eternity. I do not believe in man-made religions, which major religions are. The three major religions of the Western World all have much of their foundation in the patriarch, Abraham. I like him. In Genesis he confronts God about God's vengeance and over-reaction and brutality, and the God depicted in the Bible certainly needs that confrontation. But none of those 3 major religions follow the "good" parts of the Bible. They claim they do, but simply look at the actions of the people who wear their religion on their sleeve.
Here are some quotes that help me forge morals, ethics, compassion, empathy, love, tolerance, etc.:
Several school districts around the country will not be broadcasting President Obama's address to them. What are these parents and these school districts afraid of? Truth? Intelligence? Insight?
For many years the conservative elements in the U.S. have been telling people of color to "pull yourself up by your bootstraps." That was a comfortable way of keeping these people in bondage. No way could they succeed with Jim Crow laws, quiet bigotry, unfair courts, separate housing and schools, etc.
A resident of Idaho was stopped and treated like a terrorist because he had a Moslem-sounding name. We invaded Iraq on trumped up claims because right-wing leaders needed to get that long-dreamed thing done. We tapped innocent citizens phones with no court permission. We tortured prisoners. We had Osama bin Laden trapped in Torah Borah and let him get away...personally I think that George W. Bush had something to do with this because his family made its fortune off of the Saudi family by illegally trading with Nazi Germany. The same with arresting American citizens after the 9/11 tragedy and yet allowing ONLY Saudi citizens in the U.S. to fly out of the country. Remember, bin Laden is a Saudi and made his wealth under the Saudi umbrella...and so did Prescott Bush!
John Ashcroft will now be charged in court by a citizen of Idaho for treating the American illegally. How in the world John Ashcroft ever became Attorney General of the U.S. strains my belief apparatus. And Senators like the "liberal" Senator Russ Feingold, who sat in the Senate chamber with Ashcroft for years, could bring themselves to vote to approve the nomination of Ashcroft for Attorney General strains my rationality. To meet John Ashcroft is to instantly realize he has a screw missing. And his extreme right-wing religious beliefs are truly zany. He immediately insisted on covering up the naked statues in a government building. He must certainly think that the statue of David is profane. The voters in Missouri came to recognize the goofy thinking and actions of U.S. Senator John Ashcroft, and swiftly voted him out of office. George W. Bush picked up the strange pieces of rubbish and nominated him for Attorney General. Imagine, the most powerful nation in the world being run by John Ashcroft, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and George W. Bush. Imagine!
Driving along in Shorewood, I noticed a kid on his bike. He was alone, He looked sad. I was mentally transported to my own childhood. I was sad often. My childhood was lonely, desolate, isolating, and I lilterally fed and clothed myself from the age of eight. I shined shoes in taverns, I sang for coins, I did whatever I had to do to exist. That boy on a bike, a kid I knew nothing about, had got me in touch with my own childhood years.
It is easy for adults to chastise kids today who seem to have so much. We over-reach in stating how tough we had it and that "I had to walk ten miles to school, and up-hill both ways." It turns kids off. Yet there is not happiness in toys, trinkets, electronic equipment, etc. And, of course, there are millions of kids in America who have nothing, or worse than nothing. Their lives are filled with fear. They see violence all around them. They either cower in the corner, or they act out themselves in order to survive.
It is interesting, sometimes hilarious, the conclusions people draw about me from my blog. Remember, this blog is but one tiny piece of who I am. And I have tried in the past to post information about myself, but people come in and out of reading here, and they have no idea who I am. So...
I suppose it is fair to label me a liberal. I'm certainly not a right-winger. But the word liberal has been so prostituted from uneducated and unread people from the right, that it has lost its meaning. I am an egalitarian, I suppose. Yes, I believe in a democracy like the U.S., if there are some benefits offered to some people, then they should be available for all. We are individuals in the U.S., but we are also a collective society of equal partner citizens. Therefore I share my benefits and my hardships with everyone. I am proud to feel this way because I see it as the true responsibility of a citizen and a human.
Yes, Congressman Wilson of South Carolina, you showed some lack of civilized decorum in blurting out what you did. As a guest in your House, President Obama, should not be subjected to some crude comments by an elected official in the highest legislature in the land. You shamed the room, you shamed your party, you shamed your country, and you shamed yourself.
However it is also unfair to try and make too much political capital out of this incident. And it should be pointed out the Republican members of Congress chastised Congressman Wilson and encouraged him to apologize. He did it quickly, and the President accepted it. But this goes beyond just that.
The right-wing talk shows are ablaze with dire warnings about the government. You can't trust the government! Talk shows and Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the right-wing media ranters warn us over and over that the government cannot be trusted with health care or anything. Every right-wing politician screams against the government, even when the President is addressing Congress. There are warnings about the government everywhere. Except...
The right-wing loves to have the government of the United States at war. In Vietnam. In Grenada. In Nicaragua. In Iraq. In Afghanistan. Then, miraculously, you can trust the government. Wait, hundreds of millions of dollars have been pilfered by Halliburton alone! Blackwater uses secret torture and killing in our name! We kill innocent citizens with our bombs! Collateral damage is what we call killing innocent citizens. The waste in the Pentagon is astronomical! And in the process, thousands of Americans are killed and wounded. And the guy who started the war in Iraq, George W. Bush, has the gall to underfund the veterans' benefits and recovery programs. That is considered OK. Collateral damage of Americans.
OK, scream at me for playing the race card. Is it just coincidental that about 10% of white voters in Alabama and Mississippi voted for Barack Obama? That used to be the heart of the Democratic Party until it supported civil rights legislation. Now the South is hard-core Republican and conservative. Could it be that there was some racism involved? Are you kidding?
Hordes of white Americans were given all the advantages of race in the U.S. Millions of whites used excuses about their lack of accomplishments or education because they came from one-parent families. "My parents were too poor to send me to college," is a white excuse. Yes, a black kid, confronted with racism daily, a society tried to mold him into failure, he only had one parent, grew up in something far less than elite surroundings, and became an outstanding student at a prestige university and law school. Then a U.S. Senator. Then President of the United States.
During one of my graduate study programs, a M.A. in history, my major thesis paper was on the Middle East. That was long ago. I have carefully followed events and developments in the Middle East and parlayed it with my historical background in the area to bring things into clearer view.
It has always been very difficult to bring democracy, especially a particular flavor of it as the U.S. tries to do, to an area in which that is a new political concept. It was difficult to do when the Austro-Hungarian Empire dissolved and the many smaller nations evolved from the stability of the Empire. It has caused wars in Europe, and has seen countries evolve and then dissolve or split up [e.g. Czechoslovakia]. It has seen small nations cobbled together by a super power, as Yugoslavia was made home of the "southern Slavs." As long as those newly forged nations were ruled by an iron hand, they survived. When Tito ruled Yugoslavia, it remained a unit, but when he died it fell apart into Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia, and is still splintering between Serbia and Kosovo. In the Middle East it is far more difficult.
Whether you are a Jew, Moslem, Buddhist, atheist, or any flavor of Christianity, we live in the United States of America, a country that is heavily influenced by pseudo-Christians and fundamentalist-Christians. They often use the Bible for their authority and have become very skilled at pulling out of context certain passages that support right-wing perspectives by twisting and falsifying the words.
The New Testament, especially the so-called direct quotes of Jesus of Nazareth, is clearly progressive. It is far easier to offer support for left-wing philosophies than right-wing philosophies using Jesus and the Gospels for guides.
President Barack Obama must move past the stalemate created by right-wingers and greed-capitalists who want to see him fail, even if it harms America terribly.
Obama was elected to CHANGE things. In an effort to try bipartisanship, he has hit a stone wall built by Know-Nothing Republicans. It is hopeless for they are dug in to see him fail.
As President Obama carefully considers our role and mission in Afghanistan, I express my appreciation to him for giving proper time and thought to this extremely important subject. The horrible mistakes and proactive bumbling by the Bush administration must no longer be tolerated.
My hope is that advice will come from the military leadership, the diplomatic corps, AND some insightful people outside those two areas and apart from the government. Thus far military and diplomatic advice leaves much to be desired. Mistake has been piled upon mistake.