Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Death Panels, Birthers, and Common Sense

Since President Obama was elected, the nuts have come out from under their rocks. People you thought were normal, commonsense types have gone completely berserk. There are more conspiracy theories than you can count and many people that I know have swallowed them hook, line and sinker. There were Sarah Palin's death panels. Supposedly, if a national health care law was passed, there would be government panels who would decide if you deserved health care or not, especially if you were a senior citizen. Makes complete sense, doesn't it?

Then there are the birthers, those who would have you believe that the President is not an American citizen. The fact that he was born in Hawaii, has a birth certificate, and his birth announcement was published in a Hawaii newspaper has no effect on those who buy this claim. The coup de grace of course is the fact that his mother was an American citizen, which automatically makes him a U.S. citizen. No president's citizenship has been questioned like this. Even politicians who were considered to be somewhat sane, have jumped on the birther bandwagon, and, now, with the recent T-publican gains in state legislatures, there is talk of bills being introduced in state legislatures, requiring future presidential candidates to show proof of citizenship before their name is placed on that state's ballot.

Intertwined with the birther movement is the Obama is a Muslim foolishess. The President attends Christian services regularly and has for years. He often invokes his Christian faith in speeches. Yet, the Muslim haters regularly accuse him of being a Muslim, using his middle name and fake documents as proof. I often receive emails, falsely claiming that he is giving Muslims special treatment and planning a Muslim takeover of the U.S.

In today's news, comedian, Rush Limbaugh questions the President's Thanksgiving proclamation, saying,

"[Obama] said that Thanksgiving is about the Indians saving us, with their agriculture and everything else. The true story of Thanksgiving is socialism failed. Of course we showed them gratitude! We shared our bounty with them, not because we didn't know how to make it. It was because we first failed as socialists. Only when we turned capitalists did we have plenty. The Indians didn't teach us capitalism."

Now I ask you. Does this make any sense whatsoever? Yet, I'm sure there were people listening to this buffoon, nodding their heads in agreement: "Darn right. Them socialist Puritans deserved to die for being Socialists." Socialists? The Puritans? I'm still scratching my head on this one. Talk about revisionist history!

Common sense. Such a great concept. However, common sense requires, as we used to say, "using one's head for something besides a hat rack." In this particular case, putting ones prejudices aside helps a bit as well.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Love Abortion?

My most recent post was about voters and how they are led like sheep to vote against their own best interests. There were several comments, one of which stumped me, because it had no relation to the post. This isn't unusual because I have found that reading comprehension is a major issue out there. However, this one had me shaking my head.

One of my blogging friends, Rainlillie, commented that Teapublicans maintain issues to keep voters roped into voting for them. The issue she used as an example was Roe vs. Wade. She indicated that if Teapublicans ever allow the repeal of that decision, they will lose a major wedge issue that keeps their platform alive for that segment of their voting population. I responded to that with an amen.

Then an anonymous reader responds with, "Why are you in love with Roe v Wade? Do you hate babies? Murder, pure and simple. I hate it!" Obviously, this person did not read the post, which had nothing to do with Roe vs. Wade, and did not even mention it. When I questioned the comment, the reader responded with, " I think you removed something from your post so that you can deny it." Of course I did not edit the post. The fact that the reader did not read the post in the first place became very evident with the second comment.

Emotions override common sense and make people take things for granted without checking the facts. This is so often the case in politics. TV viewers watch Glen Beck and take everything he says as gospel. Their emotions are so provoked that they often commit acts of violence. Others read an anonymous email that really makes no sense, but they are incensed and pass it on because it confirms their fears. It makes for great fun at their expense, but it is also very sad that they are so easily manipulated.

Love Abortion? Who does? I don't know a soul that "loves" abortion, but this anonymous commenter apparently has been lead like a lamb to slaughter to believe that there are those who do. It's all about emotion over common sense.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

We Often Bite the Hand That Feeds Us

This week I showed my cousin my grandfather's (his great grandfather) miner's union card. He told me something I did not know. My grandmother received a small pension from the union as a result of my grandfather's death in an accident in the Pocahantas Mine in West Virginia. It was a small amount, but in 1920 and the years following, it was a lifesaver for a widow with six kids in the N. Georgia mountains.

Ironically, my father and his brothers spewed hatred for unions, as so many southerners have done over the years. My father worked in construction over the eastern part of the country. In many instances his company was working in union territory. He often carried a firearm in order to fight unionization. All of this to "preserve" his pittance of a retirement fund. His company paid low wages and gave the impression to its workers that its profit sharing plan was the best. After 30 years, my father had little to show for his hard work. Yes, it was his choice, but he bought into the idea that so many have today that unionization is bad. It IS bad. Bad for the bottom line for companies, but not so bad for workers.

We owe a great deal to unionization. The minimum wage, eight hour days, vacations, sick leave, pensions and safer workplaces. However, in today's world unionization is still considered a bad name, especially in the South. The Teapublican Party of today rails against unions, against pensions, retirement, government safety regulations, health care provided by businesses (and government) and the minimum wage. Low income workers voted in droves for Teapublicans in the election this month. Teapublicans rail against Social Security and are determined to destroy that lifeline for so many elderly citizens as well.

It is my opinion that, should Teapublicans be successful in destroying Social Security and retirement plans, along with affordable healthcare, and government regulation, unions my very well be destined for a comeback. I would say they are poised for a major resurgence, as American workers suddenly realize what they have lost. Unionization was the result of a long and bitter struggle by workers to improve their lot through collective bargaining. It is a lesson that will once again have to be learned the hard way as voters continue to vote against their own best interests.

Monday, November 8, 2010

GA Voters' Strange Twist

Here in Georgia last week, the voters spoke. But what did they say? There was an item on the ballot to fund more trauma centers, which the state woefully lacks. The funding would have come from an addition ten dollar fee on vehicle adveloram taxes. The voters in this state voted it down. Even in my home country where there were several serious accidents a few weeks before the election requiring victims to be airlifted to Atlanta, 100 miles away. Local voters voted against it. It has been said that, statewide, voters voted against this item, because they didn't trust the money to the politicians, although it was to be put in a designated fund.

Yet, voters in this state voted in a Gubernatorial candidate so corrupt, he was voted one of the 15 most corrupt people in Congress, and that's pretty corrupt. This article outlines much of Gov-elect Deal's sad dealings. At the same time, voters re-elected a Lt. Governor, who was immediately stripped of his powers in the Senate by the Republican leadership. Why? Because of his corrupt dealings with lobbyists, one of which is purported to have been his squeeze. It seems, according to this article the lobbyists were lining up at the Lt. Governor's door instead of the individual Senators. It probably wasn't his corrupt dealings that took away his powers, but he fact that the Senators weren't getting their slice of the lobbyists' money. Nevertheless it confirms what the Lt. Governor's opponent kept trying to point out. The Governor's opponent, of course, did the same.

Here in my home district where the trauma center bill was also voted down, a state representative was re-elected, although he was shown to be infinitely corrupt as well. He and his father, for years have help ministers set up dummy corporations whereby they could steal from their congregations. His father was disbarred in 1996, when they were sued by the FTC for illegally trying to get around the no-call list. They both left a metro Atlanta county to escape their past, coming to our country to continue their misdealings.

So why did the voters turn down a much needed bill but vote to continue corruption in Atlanta? Simple. The candidate were all Republican. In Georgia party trumps corruption. It does so, because Georgia Republican politicians tout their anti-minority, anti-immigration, anti-Obama, anti-poor, and anti-elderly feelings at every opportunity. Georgia Republicans today are Georgia Democrats of the pre-1970's. The parties have flipped. Democrats today are more like Georgia Republicans of the early 20th Century. They are more the party of Lincoln, whereas, Republicans are the party of Lester Maddox, George Wallace, and Eugene Talmadge. Nuff said.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Attack Iran?

Lindsey Graham, of S.C. has given us a glimpse of what will happen, should the GOP triumph in 2012. In a speech in Canada, Graham called for an attack on Iran to remove it's military and nuclear capabilities. He stated that he "hoped" that the people of Iran would take the opportunity to remove the current government. This is kind of like George W. Bush attacking Iraq in the "hopes" that there were WMD. We know how that turned out.

For years Republicans harped on the fact that the United States shouldn't try to be the world's policeman. Now, it is very clear that, should, they regain control of the armed forces, this country could expect to become the policeman of the world with a professional military than could not successfully prosecute two limited conflicts at the same time. Expect such action to be couched in terms of a religious war against Islam, especially by the Tea Bagging arm of the GOP.

Once an attack is made upon Iran, it will be easy for the Republican leadership to move on to conquer the Palestinians for Israel. Israel could then move to settle that territory and keep the Palestinians in servitude. Of course all of this kind of action will simply inflame the Arab world and provide recruits for the extreme elements there, much like Bush's dirty little war in Iraq.
We can expect a major terrorist response in the Middle East as well as a renewed effort to attack the U.S. on its own soil.

The Republicans are itching to regain control of the military to continue to "Christianize" it for their crusade against Islam. This may sound far fetched to some, but many of the extremists teabaggers and fundamentalist politicians have advocated this very thing. Their goal is to turn this country into a fundamentalist Christian state and then launch a war against their declared enemy, Islam in order to spread their brand of Christianity. They already advocate the destruction of public education in order to replace it with government financed Christian education, thus moving a step closer to their goal.

An attack on Iran in the "hopes" that it will turn the people against their government is wishful thinking. Taking an extreme measure such as this with nothing more to go on than "hopes" is terrible foreign policy, but then it is nothing more than what we can expect of today's GOP. They act on impulse and religious fervor and little else. Let's hope that voters in this country wise up before 2012. I think that with Repubs such as Palin, Graham, Boehner, Bachman, Paul and the rest acting up, voters will be clearly ready to vote them out in two years.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Turning Back the Clock

As I write this we are seeing the clock turned backward in this country. Only two years after the Republicans were turned out because of the horror of eight years of their leadership, they are being elected right and left. Simply amazing. They got this country into the mess that it is in with eight years of typical Republican fiscal and social irresponsibility, and voters actually vote them back into a leadership role.

In my home county and state party means more than integrity. Locally, we had a good man running for the state house. His opponent, the incumbent Republican, is incorrigibly corrupt, and he is also a very dirty politician. It looks as if the incumbent will win. The same goes for the governor and lieutenant governor. Both the Republicans are known to be corrupt, but they will win the election.

It is a sad day to see our country turn the clock back and turn the U.S. House, at least, over to a group of people, who have openly touted their racism toward African Americans, Latinos, Gays and Muslims. These same people want to tear down the wall of separation of church and state and are bent upon widening the gap between the rich and poor by destroying the middle class. I just heard a former Bush official talking about raising the retirement age and ending retirement pensions, both of which will surely hasten the destruction of the middle class.

The next two years will be standstill years in our government. The Republicans will see that no appointment made by the President will be approved. They intend to bring the government to a standstill, maybe even destroy it. Who knows where we will be in two years? I thought two years ago that the Republicans were on their way out. However, it only took two years of racist rants, talk of revolution, and spreading fear through its mouthpieces on FOX Noise to bring them back to the forefront. It does not bode well for this country.

Friday, October 29, 2010

That Old World Mentality

This week a new neighbor took issue with my comments on Facebook, regarding the RV park across the creek. My comments were rather negative and revealed my consternation that fall is hear, the leaves are falling, and now the eyesore is becoming very visible. He immediately began to laud the fact the many of the RV's were more expensive than his house and, therefore, it must be a great place. This is the same way that middle class Americans legitimize their for voting for Republicans. Republicans stand for making the rich more powerful, and, therefore, they must be right.

As I watch this election cycle come to an end, I am amazed that middle class Americans seem to be supporting those who would wreck their lives. Republicans favor raising taxes on the middle class, while lowing them on the rich. They favor repealing the health care bill, thus enriching the already fat cat insurance industry. The GOP has already begun its quest to destroy public education, a move that would very adversely affect the middle and lower classes. Finally there is Social Security and pensions. If the GOP comes to power it is apparently ready to try to privatize Social Security the straw that might break the middle classes' back.

When our ancestors were serfs in Europe, they were trained to enamor the rich. The rich were powerful. They were beautiful. They had everything. They took care of our ancestors. Therefore, it was our ancestors' duty to serve them. If our ancestors didn't work hard to provide for the rich and make sure they were comfortable and well fed, then they, themselves, would starve.

Today's Republicans are fostering that old world mentality. We, the middle class, must sacrifice for the rich. We must pay higher taxes, give up social security, pay more for health care, if we have it at all, and we must sacrifice our access to education. All of this to ensure that the rich get richer and are comfortable in their ivory towers. After all, without the rich, we would be nothing.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

This Baffling Election

As we approach the mid-term elections. I find myself baffled as to the outcome. I feel in my bones that the polls are wrong, but there is this undercurrent of racism and misinformation fostered by FOX News, the Internet, and the teabagger Republicans that is unmistakably scary. Are Americans so racist and so stupid that they will vote to put the Republicans back into power?

After eight years of George Bush, his unnecessary war and poor economic policy, and now an openly bigoted segment of the population spewing hatred toward, minorities, gays, women, and Muslims, the social atmosphere in this country has been turned upside down. Will gays stay away from the polls because of there disappointment with the President? Will African-Americans, who voted in record numbers, turn their backs on the President by not voting?

The free thinking segment of the population must realize that any disenchantment with the President must take a back seat to keeping the teabagging Republicans under their rocks where they belong. We cannot and must not allow this backward move toward a church state, with no public education, poor health care coverage, persecution of minorities, and an ever widening gap between rich and poor, as the middle class rapidly declines.

At the same time, we must be on guard, should Democrats prevail. The climate will be ripe for violent reactions, fostered by the Republican minions on FOX noise and the likes of Karl Rove, Sarah Palin, Sharon Angle, Joe Miller, Christine O'Donnell and many others. The President must govern strongly, and he must avoid the weakness of continuing to try to be bi-partisan. I know that he promised to do so and he has tried desperately to fulfill his campaign promises, but it hasn't worked. He must move beyond the GOP, basically, ignoring it, unless it chooses to be statesmanlike and compromise.

The election will be "electric." There is no doubt about it. I can't predict the outcome and I do not think the pollsters have a real grasp of it as well. Hopefully, common sense will prevail and the country can move forward, rather than return to the dark ages of Republican rule.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Georgia's Uphill Battle

In Georgia these days we have an uphill battle against backward leaning Republicans. From the late 1960's to 2000 Georgia progressed in so many areas. We had a nationally recognized Department of Transportation, a highly regarded State Parks system, and a strong environmental lobby with a sound environmental policy. Our barrier islands were and still are the best preserved on the east coast. We had sound fiscal leadership and our political leaders were generally honest.

For the last eight years we have seen every area of state government deteriorate. Our DOT is riddled with poor leadership from top to bottom. One of our state owned barrier islands is in danger of being over-developed by cronies of the current governor. Environmental leaders have been forced from boards. Our governor has governed from a "what can I do to help me personally" viewpoint. Our Speaker of the House was so corrupt he was finally forced out of office. The Lt Governor barely has a high school degree and has no clue about governing other than to line his pockets. You have probably guessed by now that these people are of the Republican ilk.

We now have a Republican gubernatorial candidate so corrupt that he left the U.S. House to escape an ethics probe. He was selected as one of the 10 most corrupt persons in Congress just prior to his resignation. The GOP candidate for Attorney General promises to waste millions of our tax dollars on a suit to overturn the "unconstitutional" health care law. Here in my home district we have an incorrigible Republican candidate for the state house. He has been involved in corrupt legal dealings for many years. His father was disbarred in 1997 because of a corrupt deal. Our representative has continued where his father left off, creating dummy corporations to help "preachers" steal from their congregations.

The Republicans seem to have a lock on everything political in this state. It is an uphill battle for Democrats, who ruled this state from 1870 until 2000. Now the racist appeal of the Republican party has captured the heart of many Georgians. We have a great candidate for Governor in Roy Barnes. A wonderful Georgian, Carol Porter, is running for Lt. Governor and here in our district and fine young man, Jack Lance, is running for the state house. All are honest and fair and all are making great inroads against the corruption that has overtaken our legislative and executive branches. It remains to be see how well they will do on election day.

Locally, I believe we will prevail. Statewide I hope we will prevail, but I am very worried that Georgians will go to the polls and elect more corrupt politicians, who will continue to bleed our state dry. As on the national level Georgia's GOP pols follow the racist, anti-American Republican rhetoric, spouting hatred for the President, minorities, gays, the unemployed, the elderly and the poor. It will be a sad day for our state and our nation if Republicans prevail in November.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Upset at Dems So Sit Out the Election or Vote Republican?

Reportedly, at least according to this news story, Gays are upset at Democrats and the President, so some are planning to sit out the upcoming election or look for someone else to vote for. This makes absolutely no sense to me. Yes, the Democrats haven't moved as fast as many would like, but taking a chance on putting Republicans back in charge?

For gays especially, voting Republican or not voting Democratic is playing with fire. Republicans are openly hostile to gays. They constantly rail against homosexuals, precipitating violence, and at the same time, voting against hate crimes legislation. If they return to power in Congress, DADT will certainly be continued. If they gain power in states, gay marriage bans will continue to be the norm. In short, putting Republicans back in power means going backward, while leaving Democrats in charge means there are still chances to progress.

Granted, I'm not gay, so I cannot totally empathize. However, it simply doesn't make sense for gays to stay home and refuse to vote in November. It definitely makes no sense whatsoever to vote in any way, shape or form for a Republican. Certainly things may not have moved fast enough, but give it some more time. Two years isn't a long time. With Democrats in power the chance for change still exists and pressure can still be exercised. With Republicans in charge there will be nothing but backward movement and more difficulties for gay Americans.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Latest GOP Ploy

Early voting seems to be swinging toward Democrats, yet according to Republican polls, the GOP has a tremendous lead. John Boehner has been touring our state making promises about whom he is going to appoint to committees after the GOP takeover next year. Republicans are assuring the American public that they will "retake America." But wait. Could there be something more sinister here? With the GOP anything is possible.

It seems quite plausible. Publish your in-house polls showing your overwhelming lead. Tour the country promising committee appointments. However, if the American voter sees through your scam and knows what a horrible move it would be to return you to power after eight years of corruption, the destruction of the middle class, and and an unnecessary war, then you lose in Nov. What better way bring up Acorn and voter fraud, foment discontent, and talk revolution against the Muslim in the White House? It's a win win situation. If by some accident, you do accomplish a takeover in the Congress, then you say I told you so and all is right in the world.

The current state of incorrigible GOP hatred that is spreading around the country is a perfect setting to do further damage to this country. Republicans are openly fomenting racial hatred toward Muslims, Latinos, and African Americans. They continue to arouse hatred of gays and Muslims through their fundamentalist religious arm. One has to wonder where all of this hatred will lead if the GOP does not make the tremendous gains it is predicting in the coming election. It is not a good sign for the future of this country. Hopefully, saner heads will prevail somehow, yet the GOP has no statesmen to speak sensibly and take charge of an increasingly violent core.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The GOP's Goal: Kill Public Education

Recently, a tea party candidate in California expressed his opposition to public education, saying that it is unconstitutional. Across the country others have expressed similar views. Collectively, they promise to destroy the Department of Education. Here in Georgia the Republican administration has cut millions from the education budget.

It is very easy for the GOP to give lip service to improving education. However, Republicans are not talking about improving public education. They are referring to their continuing efforts to undermine public education in favor of private, so-called Christian education. For several years the GOP has pushed the idea of vouchers, funded with tax money, to support the enrollment of the middle class in private schools. The idea is to siphon away students and tax money destined for public schools, thus beginning a slow decay of the public school system. Oh, did I mention that most of these students would be white students?

This effort is no more than a return to segregation. Poor whites and minorities would be relegated to the public schools, where, as in the days of segregation, little would be done to improve facilities or curriculum. By accomplishing this, the Republicans would have developed a controlled environment whereby the private school system, funded by tax money, would produce young minds, brainwashed in Republican thought. In the meantime, through poor education, the increasing numbers of poor whites and minorities would be generally relegated to the menial labor jobs and kept in financial slavery.

In my home district we have a Republican incumbent, who has never attended a public school in his life. He home schools his children, and has no interest what so ever in improving public education in Georgia. He is incorrigibly corrupt and thus so much like many other modern day Republicans, including our GOP candidates for governor and lieutenant governor. If he wins, he will join the others of his ilk in Georgia and across the country as they continue to chop away at the American tradition of public education that has brought so many millions to successful lives and our country to greatness.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Should We Legalize Pot?

Last week the President of Mexico spoke out against Proposition 19, the move to legalize marijuana in California. He explained that the passage of this proposition would create an inconsistency in the drug laws in this country. Obviously, he is correct. Californians would be able to legally possess the drug, but citizens of the other states would still be arrested and imprisoned for the same practice.

One has to wonder if the good President, for all of his good fight against the drug cartels in his country isn't just a bit concerned that the huge sums of money being returned to his country from the U.S. might be dampened a bit by the legalization of the drug. If California legalizes marijuana, then the other states might begin to follow its lead. Legally sold, marijuana would fetch a much lower price. In addition, in California at least, citizens would be able to grow their own. Oops, Mexico would lose a huge export, illegal though it is.

One would think that President Calderon might be happy that the U.S. might one day legalize marijuana. What a great day it would be for Mexico. The drug cartels would suddenly be out of business. The killing and maiming of Mexican citizens would come to a close. The U.S. border patrol could concentrate more on illegal border crossings instead of the constant search for marijuana. The drug cartels might shift their focus to cocaine and meth, but the demand is not nearly as great.

The years of alcohol prohibition in this country brought a crime wave so very similar to the drug wars in Mexico. Rival gangs battled for territory and supremacy, and there was open warfare. Execution style killings were prevalent, and political corruption, associated with the illegal liquor trade, was rampant. The end of prohibition brought an end to the violent crime.

I have never smoked marijuana, but it appears that the drug is no more harmful than alcohol. In my opinion legalization is the answer. The medical applications for the drug, especially for pain, are a good enough reason in themselves. There are side affects, but it is doubtful that they are any worse, probably less so, than the side effects of so many of the prescription drugs that we take now.

The American public seems to be thinking along these lines, and I believe that the drug war, over marijuana at least, may be coming to an end in the not too distant future. Maybe then, law enforcement can concentrate on cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine instead of filling the prisons to overflowing with marijuana users.

Monday, October 4, 2010

God, the Whipping Boy

Everywhere I turn these days, someone I know is blaming their bad decisions or bad experiences on God. God led them to quit their job. Now they are complaining because they have no money. God led them to quit their job and move away from their home to a new town. Now they complain because they do not know anyone and maybe it was not a good move. But they are all praying real hard the God will help them make another decision.

I have news for them. When you make a decision to quit your job in the middle of a bad economic downturn, do not blame God. Blame yourself. Man up and take responsibility for your bad decision. When you are greedy, over extend yourself thinking you are going to be rich, and then you lose everything, do not pray that God will deliver you. You made the bad decision. You spent the money.

It has all become very tiring to me. I about throw up every time I read another post on Facebook about God. No one I know seems to be able to make a move or write a sentence without a reference to God, and I am not exaggerating. It is an epidemic. It is amazing how I went though life for over 50 years, and I knew few people who were like this. As a child, adults did not constantly harp about God and how He ran every single aspect of their lives. They could make a move without bragging about how they prayed about it before hand. They did not make reference to God in every other sentence.

We have a new neighbor, who labels himself as a missionary. God, so he says, controls his every move. He, apparently, prays constantly and whips out his Bible at the drop of a hat to find an answer. He and his wife have moved to our town, apparently on a whim or as he says, God led them. His wife has a job a couple of hundred miles away in their old home town, but the job ends soon. They do not know what they will do. But God is leading them. He intends, it appears, to open up his own church and cater to 20 somethings. He is age 60. Another neighbor says she might want to run a background check on the guy.

A friend's husband was critically injured in an automobile accident last week. If he survives, he will face months of therapy and hospitalization. If I hear one person say it was God's will, I think I will surely go berserk. So...God made the motorcyclist brake unexpectedly, cause the following too closely motorist to swerve into the path of the husband, sending him on a helicopter flight to a level one trauma center in Atlanta. God is making him suffer and making his family do what? Teach them a lesson? They are good folks. What kind of lesson is that? I know that I am going to hear all kinds of excuses, but few saying that it was simply an accident that might have been prevented had a few circumstances been different. Maybe someone had been less careless.

One comment on a previous post made reference to how the U.S. has become a Godless country. A new church has cropped up in the last few weeks in my area. That is just the one that I have seen advertised. There are probably a few others. We have numerous storefront churches in addition to the countless stand-a-lones. Everyone is a Christian. At least that is what they tell me. I used to be very wary of those who wore their religion on their sleeve. Now it seems almost everyone I know does it. Should I be suspicious? Probably. They are hiding something. That's why I'm suspicious of the new neighbor. A friend from his past recommended him to us, but she hasn't known him in thirty years. Who knows why he left his job in another town. He may be a criminal hiding behind God. After all, politicians and preachers do it all the time. I think a large segment of the "lay" population is hiding behind Him as well. They don't want to be responsible for their own lives and their decisions, so they always blame everything on God. What a whipping boy He has become!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Join the Army , See the World, Fight and Die at the Whim of Politicians

Sec. of Defense, Robert Gates has been traveling around the country, making speeches about the challenges facing the country's defense. In particular he talks about the state of the military and the difficulties which face a nation with an all volunteer army. In this speech he speaks of the apparent detachment most Americans have for the Afghanistan "War" and the fact that they see it as a war for someone else to fight. In other words, let the professional Army fight it. It isn't our problem.

Daily, we see various groups and individuals drumming up support for our troops. We are asked to send them toiletries and other necessities. We are told all of the things that they need. It seems to be a constant thing and it is usually coming from someone connected with the military in some way, usually through a relative or friend. I have always wondered why the military does not provide these things for them. Is it because they are a professional organization and expected to provide their own necessities? They are trained to become a professional killer, just as a person in the private sector is trained to do their job. The only thing the only thing provided is the equipment to do your job, just as in the private sector.

Why then, is the public "detached?" Why is is harder to recruit and keep people in this professional army? Finally, soldiers and the American public have seen the folly of joining the army at this point in history. Vietnam was a nightmare and the last administration used the military for a preemptive invasion of a non-threatening country, possibly because of a personal grudge. Thousands of unsuspecting young men and women were killed and maimed because a misguided president chose to send them to into harm's way unnecessarily. That same president mismanaged the Afghan invasion, and we are now bogged down in a country that no country has ever conquered. His successor has been unable to focus a strategy that will either take Bin Laden or disengage our country from a very potential failure.

I would never think of joining the U.S. military at this time. If the extremist Tea/Republican Party were to come back into power in its present form, God only knows what will happen to our foreign policy. These people are openly hostile toward most of the world and would not hesitate to use the military, particularly against Muslim countries. I do not think it is out of the question that they would support an Israeli attack on Iran and a takeover of the Palestinian territories. I expect they would also militarily support such an effort, which could finally blow the lid off the Middle East. The young people of the United States would do well to stay away from the military at this time. Take a wait and see attitude. It is no wonder that the American public is "detached."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Democrats, Independents, Republicans Who Think for Yourselves - Vote in this Election!!

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him, Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, "You're in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above ground elevation of 2,346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.

She rolled her eyes and said, "You must be an Obama Democrat." "I am," replied the man. "How did you know?"

"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct. But I have no idea what to do with your information, and I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help to me."

The man smiled and responded, "You must be a Republican."

"I am," replied the balloonist. "How did you know?" "Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are -- or where you are going. You've risen to where you are, due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. You're in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it's my fault."

COMMENT:You are hearing from political pundits that the party of President Obama, the Democratic Party, will not do well during the upcoming election. It's an easy call based on historical fact (the party in power always loses seats). Let's change that!

It's clear that the Republican Party has no interest in helping the President fix the economy or anything else and if they regain power the country will be in far worse shape. We all know that the withering attacks that this President faces daily are often racially motivated. In spite of how the media couches their words we know that white (tea party) America does not believe he should be President under any circumstances.

The President has done some good things and he deserves our support. This could be the most important midterm of our generation. Encourage your family and friends to participate; the party that got us into this mess is trying to compound what they did. Do not allow this to happen. If the Democrats lose control of the Congress, the Republicans will not help Obama to govern, thus he becomes a lame duck and the country will be headed over the cliff.



Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Pat Answer

This article from Yahoo explains how, in the writer's opinion, the U.S. is losing its influence in the world. It is a reasonable explanation of how a country with everything going for it has become too fat and lazy to keep up in the world. Other, once third world nations, have worked hard to overcome their deficiencies and are making their own way in the world. In areas where the U.S. once controlled and exploited the natural resources of these countries, they are now taking control of their own destinies. Their children have taken advantage of the educational opportunities the U.S. offers to gain the vital knowledge required to take their countries to the next level, while, Americans have sat on their laurels and allowed science and math in secondary education to take a back seat to sports and leisurely studies.

Yet, looking at the responses to this article by readers, there are several instances of the pat answer from those who look no farther than the end of their noses for the answer. It is the movement away from God. Lack of prayer in the schools is another reason given. Is it, really? Look around you. Churches abound in this country. New ones crop up every day. Some churches claim thousands of members. Entire radio and TV networks are devoted to religion. The majority of my Facebook friends almost daily make some reference to religion in their posts. Some of them incessantly, almost fanatically.

God is the general reason given for most negative happenings by so many. They rarely look for the real reason. Carelessness in the case of accidental deaths. Poor investment or management of money for fiscal losses. Do not blame God. Blame the real reason. In the case of this country's fall from international power, blame the American people. We are lazy. We want high wages for minimum effort. We condone the waste of our natural resources. We elect officials that start preemptive wars that break the country's coffers and force the borrowing of money from our direct competitors in world power. Finally, there is the fact that the last 100 years of bad foreign policy have made enemies of the third world, which now races to put us in our place. There is plenty of blame to be shared. God did not do it. We have done it to ourselves. As Pogo said, "we have met the enemy and he is us."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Musings and a Break

As of late, I have been taking a break from blogging. I have often felt a need to post, but couldn't get up the energy to do it. The political scene, which I often post about, is very disheartening. The Democratic Party had an opportunity to change the direction of this country, but unfortunately, with lackluster leadership from the President and the Congress, and a GOP pent upon destroying the political process, little has really been accomplished in the first two years, beyond a watered down health care law.

Now the GOP has been hijacked by an extremist, racist, bigoted group of small minded individuals, which has appealed to the baser side of society, much like the NAZI's in post WWI Germany. Unfortunately, the election of an African-American President, was the catalyst that appears to be throwing the country out of gear. The coming election, if the polls are correct, could be a devastating blow to this country.

One can only hope that Democrats will turn out in large numbers, but I fear that the enthusiasm of two years ago has been dampened by the disappointments of recent months. As of this moment, the Democrats with their less than stellar record of late are the only hope. Surely, independent voters in this country are wise enough not to put Republicans back in power after the devastation of the eight Bush years. Bush and Cheney were moderates compared to the so-called Tea Partiers. These people are totally racist and bigoted toward non-Caucasians, non-Christians, and gays. They have no sensible platform on which to run, only their negative prejudices, which appeal to the small minded voters.

President Obama has two more years to get his act in gear. If he does not provide strong leadership to the Democratic Party, he may very well be the 21st Century's version of Neville Chamberlain. This country could fall into a right-winged, extreme abyss from which it might not recover, at least in the form that we have known it for over 200 years.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Freedom of Religion is Theatened

As I write this, freedom of religion in this country is being threatened by the very people who frequently advance the myth that there is a government conspiracy to somehow limit the Christian religion. There is no evidence of such a conspiracy, but we hear it, especially at Christmastime. However, the threat about which I write is a very real one. There are currently two Islamic mosques near the site of the World Trade Center tragedy (notice I didn't use the term, "ground zero.") Both have been in existence for years. The Muslim population has grown in such a way that the two no longer have room and have decided to consolidate and build a new facility.

Enter the right wingnuts, who say that building such a mosque near the site of the Trade Center is somehow an affront to those who died there and to this country. No matter of course that many Muslims died in that horrific action, perpetrated, by a group of nuts who claim Islam as their religion. How dare Muslims build a new church near this site. It has become a shrine for fundamentalist Christians in this country, who advance hatred for the Islamic religion and desire to keep the flame burning. They are, of course, supported by their enabling politicians, who use the site as political fodder to keep reminding the American voter that they are vigilant watchdogs of this country's safety.

So, using this logic, let's say a member of a Baptist church becomes a serial killer of the most horrific kind, who uses his religion to justify his actions. Near the scene of one of his murderous acts, a Baptist congregation decides to build a new church. Let's say that his victims are all Jewish, because he hates Jews, and the new church site happens to be near a synagogue. Jews everywhere rise up and protest this act on the part of the Baptist congregation as being an affront to Jews everywhere. Jewish politicians rant about it on TV. Ignorant Alaskan presidential hopefuls spew forth hatred.

What are Christians to do? There is, obviously, an effort, here, to limit the Christian religion. What happened to freedom of religion? Oh, yes, there was that little thing about the Muslim mosque. Nothing much, really. Just a minority religion and they aren't even true believers. All of them are crazy killers, who single out Christians...

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Eric Johnson Annointed by God?

“My ministry in elected office is probably over. It was a wonderful journey. There is no doubt that I was called and I answered. There is always joy in that. God certainly has blessed me.” - Georgia State Senator, Eric Johnson (R) Savannah.

This poor politician just lost his run for the Republican nomination for Governor of GA, and it addled him so badly that he thinks God anointed him, called him, to be the Senator from Savannah. I know the GOP THINKS that it is God's party, but I certainly am not aware that God has been "calling" them to political office. The last time I checked an election was required to attain such a position. Leave it to the GOP to try to fit God into an election loss. I suppose that it was God's will that Johnson remove himself from the Senate. I know that I am thankful that God chose to do so. That's one more disagreeable Republican out of office.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

God's Social Club?

This past weekend some friends from college days visited us. Over the course of the weekend there was much talk about church. One lady would often ask about someone, then ask to what church they "belonged." There was also much discussion about trips abroad to the Philippines, Costa Rica, etc. These trips were youth "mission" trips.

In a couple of other discussions with some local friends recently, one lady commented that many of the local youth use the new gym at her church. Another commented on the competition between churches over which has the biggest and the best "campus." An article about the millions leaving organized religion stated that over the past decade 40 million people starved to death, while churches spent 10 billion on their "campuses."

This all set me to thinking. For most people church seems to be more of a social club than anything else. They "join" the club, taking an oath of allegiance to God. Like most club joiners, they really do not mean it, they simply want the prestige of "belonging" to the club. For a nominal fee they get to use the facilities and attend the social events that occur. They get to see and be seen each Sunday. Regular church goers in my part of the country are highly regarded as "good folks."

They also get the privilege of bragging on their membership. They may "belong" to the same church as some of the local movers and shakers, thus rubbing elbows with them and dropping their name at work or at social events. Their church "campus" may be the biggest and best and its cost may be in the millions. Something else to brag about. Someone locally was once quoted as saying, "you are nobody here, unless you belong to the First Baptist Church."

Finally, "belonging" to the club gives you travel opportunities. Your kids can take "mission" trips abroad using the money donated by the church membership. That gives them bragging rights during the next school year. They can one-up other church youth groups, who might have stayed home and actually helped someone locally who might have been starving. Adults can travel on Christian tours alongside like minded folks to places like Israel and Egypt or they may take a trip to visit the ultimate in church waste, the Chrystal Cathedral. There they can drool and get ideas for the next upgrade of their "campus."

I know this is cynical, but look closely at this phenomenon. It happens. Churches are in fierce competition for members and money. The more attractive they can make the club, the more people will join it. In our town they advertise in the paper with slogans. They talk about the church family and the warm welcome you will get if you join them. They talk up the facilities that will be available to you should you decide to take the big step. They now have neon signs with digital displays that advertise their wares. One local church has an "Extreme Outdoor Ministry" complete with elaborately painted new trucks and off road vehicles. They wear camo's and have a local TV show to strut their stuff.

It's mostly about numbers. Numbers of members in the club. Numbers of dues paid. Dues aren't required, but they are expected and the weekly and annual sales pitch puts the pressure on to contribute. Not to help in the community but to pay the bills and keep the club functioning. Millions go for new facilities and their upkeep. The paid staff includes several ministers (youth, music, the elderly, etc.), baby sitters, custodial staff, and food service staff for the rental facilities with commercial kitchens.

So...join up now. See the world, enjoy the modern facilities, play on the ball teams, hunt in a Christian atmosphere, attend church with local celebrities, and see a great show on Sunday morning. There you will experience God in his finest moment, complete with the latest in digital video and sound equipment. The preacher and musical director are the finest money can buy. You will not find a more comfortable environment in which to worship God. Afterward, have dinner in the cafeteria and play basketball in the gym. You can work out on the best exercise equipment in the gym and spa. Why would you want to join anywhere else?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

More About Idiots

After having read the comments from UGA "fans" regarding Damon Evans' fall from grace, I found myself gagging from some of the remarks. There were so many who wanted everyone to pray for him and give him a chance to have time with his family to repair the damage, etc. I see this a lot when people such as John Edwards, possibly Al Gore, Mark Sanford, GA Pol, Glenn Richardson, Tiger Woods, a host of preachers and so many others make a royal mess of their lives.

Such people are adults. Most are very successful. They know the consequences of their actions. Why should I feel sympathy for them? Damon Evans knew what would happen if he got caught red handed. At least he did not try to make a silk purse out of a sows ear, and he did not cry and ask for forgiveness, saying that God had forgiven him. He and only he will be responsible for his actions and will have to answer to his family and friends. He has already paid a high price as he was disgracefully removed from his job.

Why do they do it? Just like everyone who gets themselves into such a position, they do not think about the consequences. For some, especially celebs, pols, and preachers, it is simply a power thing. They use their position, fame, and money to accomplish their dirty deeds and, if they have an entourage, they expect loyalty. Their hangers on are often the enablers, maintaining a web of secrecy surrounding their boss. After all, that is where their bread is buttered, and it gives them a sense of power over their boss as well.

No, I have no sympathy for these folks. I will not pray for them. I personally do not care one way or the other what happens to them. They made their bed. Let them figure it out.

Monday, July 5, 2010

College Sports Fanatics

I have never really understood anyone who is fanatic about anything, but college sports fanatics really stump me. Living in the state of Georgia, one has to put up with UGA sports fans and their constant whining. It all began with the one national college football championship, which the school won on the back of Hershel Walker, the phenom running back. Since that time, it seems, Bulldog fans have decided that they are supposed to win every year. If they do not, the whining begins.

This past week the UGA athletic director, Damon Evans, was arrested for DUI. To compound that there was an unruly passenger, who couldn't keep her mouth shut and was arrested for being drunk and disorderly. The problem here? She wasn't his wife and the trooper who made the arrest reported that her panties were in Evans' lap. They were red, incidentally, the UGA color. I don't know if they were the UGA brand.

This was simply another incident in a long line of criminal activities that that have frequented the UGA athletic program over the past few years. Some say it is simply a tradition that followed football coach, Marc Richt, from Florida State. I think it is a sign of the times, especially, when there is little oversight and positive influence from the athletic department.

All across the country there are supporters of college athletic programs who almost take these kinds of things personally and get angry and upset. Many of these people are not even alumni of the college. I have never been able to understand them. I followed UGA football for many years, but tired of the constant whining and the boorishness of many of the other supporters. I never wore red, had stickers all over my car, or shouted "woof, woof" at the top of my lungs.

I graduated from a small college that has had a strong football program for many years, now. I hardly noticed, other than to make a point to watch a championship game or two on TV. I watch college sports and I pull for various teams, but I don't buy their wares, and I can't tell you a short time later which one won the game. I guess I'm just not a fanatic about it. It will be interesting to watch the process of choosing a replacement for Damon Evans. I'm sure a portion of the "Bulldog Nation" will be displeased, but in the end the choice will become the best there is in the country. That's the way it is at UGA. Theirs is always the best.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

We the People

I hear complaints about illegal immigrants, and the BP oil spill on a regular basis. The government and the oil companies are usually blamed. Yes, there is enough guilt to spread around, but in the end who is really to blame? We the people.

We the people hire the illegal immigrants to work for low wages and no benefits, while we complain about illegals taking all the jobs. If we did not hire them, they would not come. If we demanded that employers who hire illegals be prosecuted, we would be run out of town on a rail. Politicians rave to the voters about the evils of illegal immigration, while carefully avoiding the real issue.

We the people have an insatiable appetite for petroleum products. We demand large, gasoline hogging vehicles and refuse to convert to alternative forms of energy. We depend upon foreign oil from countries hostile to us, while we try to escape their clutches by resorting to drilling in deep water and the pristine natural areas of our country. We continue to elect politicians, who are in the back pockets of the oil companies, and when there is a tragedy, such as the one in the Gulf of Mexico, we blame the oil company and the government.

As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

Sunday, June 6, 2010

GOP Wants to Have its Cake and Eat it Too...

Republicans are itching to blame the President for the Gulf oil spill and the government's response to it. Mississippi Governor, Barbour and Louisiana Governor, Jindal, continue to yell drill, baby drill and to minimize the effects of the oil on their coasts. Barbour characterized the news coverage of the spill as negative and stated that the spill has had little impact on the coastline. He also criticized the President for placing a moratorium on drilling in the Gulf. Other GOP lawmakers have criticized the President for the moratorium and continue to call for open season on the Gulf and other pristine areas of the continent.

But, wait a minute. There's no disaster here. No oil washing up on the coastline. No birds and sea life affected. Yet, this is what Barbour said when asked his opinion of the President's actions: "The American people are making up their minds pretty clearly about what they think of the administration's performance in this disaster, and I'll let it stand at that. You know, Napoleon said never interfere with the enemy while he's in the process of destroying himself."

Leave it to the GOP to talk out of both sides of its mouth. It is imperative that Republicans oppose the President, so big oil will continue to throw millions in their direction. On the other hand, acknowledging that there is a disaster by blaming it on the President endangers the future of drilling along the coastline. It sounds as if the Republicans are between a disaster and a hard place. What else is new?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Remember When?

Do you remember several years ago, when Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks said that the group was ashamed that the President of the United States was from Texas? Do you remember what happened? The Dixie Chicks were basically blacklisted by the Republicans and their followers. Their concerts were cancelled, DJ's wouldn't play their music on the radio. You would have thought they had committed murder on stage.

Then along came President Obama. The GOP has routinely referred to him as a terrorist, a Communist, a Socialist and a Nazi. It has repeatedly used racial slurs to refer to the President and his wife. It has associated him with Islamic fundamentalism, questioned his birth certificate, and most recently referred to him as a "raghead." A bit worse than being ashamed to be from Texas, wouldn't you say?

Now the man with the painted on tan, John Boener, has the gall to demand an apology from Paul McCartney for joking about George Bush's intelligence? Who is he kidding?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Offshore Drilling A Disaster

Those of us, who have opposed offshore drilling, have held our breaths for years awaiting the big spill disaster somewhere on the U.S. coast. We were disappointed when President Obama extended this accident waiting to happen. Although he had nothing to do with the current mess in the Gulf and the government is not equipped to take over the capping of an undersea oil well, he will have to pay a price, because he has endorsed drilling. The President's opponents are the "drill, baby, drill" crowd who are defending BP to the last man...and woman, yet they will find a way to reverse the charges and blame him, forgetting how they stood shoulder with BP.

The environmental damage this spill will ultimately do in the Gulf and elsewhere is enormous. Coastal fisheries and wildlife in that area will be damaged for years to come. Some scientists believe that some of the damage may be irreparable. Such are the shortcomings of our insatiable thirst for oil and our politicians' insatiable thirst for the wealth and power that the support of big oil brings.

It appears that little research, preparation, and enforcement have gone into precautions that would prevent or contain such a spill. Like the big banks, big oil has a power base in Washington that controls a "look the other way" mentality on the part of government watchdogs. Eight years of big oil men running the government did not help the situation. BP and the rest of the oil industry have been allowed to reap obscene profits over the past several years. Obviously, few of those dollars have been spent to ensure the safety of offshore drilling.

BP will be very lucky to survive this disaster, but there will be another company waiting in the wings to absorb it and continue the rape of the coastline, Alaska, and other pristine lands in this country and around the world. We will continue to use fossil fuels at an alarming rate, as the world slowly burns from the damages wrought by climate change. The sad part is that, ultimately, it will have all been for nothing. The oil supply will finally run out, and the world will be left a crumbling shadow of its former self. Meanwhile, the deniers of climate change will continue to bury their heads in the sand, stuff their pockets with big oil money, and say it must be "God's will," because there is no way that man could do this by himself.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Israel Does it Again

How many more times will the Israelis get away with attacking ships in international waters and killing their occupants? They did it in 1967 with a US Navy ship, killing 34 crew members. Their excuse was that it was a terrible error, but they attacked with airplanes and torpedo boats without first identifying the ship.

Once again the Israelis have attacked in international waters, killing at least 10 people. They say their boarders were attacked and that they retaliated. One would naturally expect anyone in international waters to defend themselves, when they are attacked. These people, who were on a relief mission to Palestinian Gaza, apparently attempted to repel the boarders with sticks and, possibly, pistols taken from the Israeli commandos. At any rate the Israelis have taken the boats and their occupants into custody and one can bet their side of the story will not be heard for some time.

In the case of the attack on the US ship, Liberty, both countries said it was a terrible mistake, and the Israelis paid millions to the US and the families of those killed and wounded. The case was closed, without even a Congressional investigation, so strong was the Israeli lobby in this country. In the current case, given the atrocities that Israeli soldiers have said happened in the latest Israeli attack on the Palestinians, I do not think that Israel is going to get off quite so easily in the court of world opinion.

Already, Netanyahu has canceled his U.S. visit this week and returned to Israel. Turkey, Israel's strong Arab ally, has condemned the attack and recalled its ambassador. I do not expect a strong show of support from the U.S. This country cannot continue to condone these acts of piracy in international waters by the Israeli government. It is high time that this country took a stand against the haughty actions by Israel that continue to take the Middle East farther and farther away from any chance of peace. As long as the U.S. continues to support Israel's rogue actions, the chance of our freedom from Arab terrorist attacks wanes even more.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Terrorist Chosen as Miss USA

Well, it has happened. The liberals have even infiltrated the Miss USA pageant. It was only a matter of time before Hussein Obama would begin to show his true colors. An Arab terrorist has been chosen as Miss USA. One of his own, of course.

There is little that the Arab killers will not do to further their agenda, and the liberals follow them like sheep. This woman even shuns her own religion to get herself in the spotlight and try to make these terrorists seem peaceful. On her home soil she would be stoned or beheaded for showing her body, but here in the USA she is willing to do anything to infiltrate and destroy.

This is a slap in the face to that wonderful young woman who was so maligned last year. Sure, there were sex tapes and nude pictures, but she was such a CHRISTIAN young woman and a true conservative.

What more can you expect when the liberals and their Messiah, Hussein O, are in power? The once pure USA is slowly being trampled by foreigners, bent on taking this country from us. First the liberal, Abraham Lincoln, freed the black slaves. Now Hussein O is allowing an onslaught of Mexicans to overrun this country in the hope of weakening us even more. With attention focused on this catastrophe, Hussein O will slowly bring the Muslims into his power circle and the USA as we know it will be history. This terrorist Arab Miss "USA" is only the first obvious step.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Faces of Hatred

Take a long look at this woman. She is Arizona governor, Jan Brewer, and she is the face of hatred in Arizona and of the "new" GOP. She and her GOP run state legislature are leading the charge that is rapidly leading to the oppression of Latinos in this country. Interestingly, you can almost see the hatred in her expression. At the very least she doesn't look like a person that one could warm up to. Certainly not a sweet grandma.

We all are frustrated by the onslaught of Latin Americans, who are coming to this country illegally. It is stressing so many areas of public service and it is costing many tax dollars to provide services to their children, who are legally citizens of this country. Yet, in a free country with open borders there is little that can be done, short of building a concrete wall and staffing it with armed guards. Can you say Berlin? A round up of millions of people, which many Republicans seem to want, is impossible as well.

Then there is this man. He is Eric Johnson, a GOP candidate for Gov. of Georgia. I have had the distinct displeasure of meeting with this man on a few occasions. He is a rather unpleasant person. Now he is pandering to the Latinophiles in our state by making an example of a young Latina college student, who is the child of illegal immigrants. Read about this case here. The bottom line is that this young woman did not come here on her own. She came as a child and is trying to make something of herself. In other words she is doing it the American way.
Both Johnson and Brewer and many other politicians are starting to build their careers on the backs of people such as this young student and the many Latinos who are in the country legally. As they rail against undocumented aliens they build up resentment toward Latinos in general and encourage racist actions. In Arizona the GOP is working very hard to build its racist base and it will be using this base to build support mainly in the border states that have been hit the hardest by the illegal immigrant onslaught. Unfortunately, it is often in these states that racism is inherent, so such policies will be very popular.

The GOP does not seem to get the fact that there are millions of legal Latinos in this country and they will vote, especially if they are put down. But then, there seems to be little about reality that the GOP notices. It is the party of the negative, the racist, and the fundamentalist Christian. It appeals to the extreme right, but alienates the independent and the moderate. Unfortunately for the GOP, that is where the real power lies.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Post That All Christians Should Read

John Shore says it all right here. I do not need to comment, except for the fact that I have felt this way for years.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Interesting Read on Perceived Religious Persecution

An interesting post from an evangelical Christian at Baylor University in Texas. It is interesting how these so-called religious leaders twist the truth to garner power within the political ranks. England is still, indeed, somewhat of a church state, and it was that church state that had become too liberal that the early Puritans left for the "freedom of religion" in the New World. They, as we know, wanted the "freedom" to persecute in their own way.

Franklin Graham is playing to the perceived fears of evangelical Christians in this country in order to continue to build his political power. Where his father ministered to presidents, he apparently wants to be a political minister. There is no persecution of Christians in this country. Every time I drive around town I see another empty store front that has been converted into a church, and I'm not exaggerating. Fortunately, as the blogger writes, we do have a constitutionally protected freedom of religion in this country. If it is in danger, it is because there are those like Graham, who would force a particular brand of religion into power in government. Then, like the Puritans and the Church of England, anyone who worships differently, will be in danger of losing that right.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Where Do You Belong?

As a kid growing up in the Bible Belt, I often heard the question, "Where do you belong?" It was a simple question, asked usually in an early conversation with a new acquaintance. It was not a philosophical question. It was quite simple and direct and it meant, where do you go to church, or more directly, where is your church membership. The answer would be, "we belong to the Baptist Church."

In our small town and lightly populated county, the churches were primarily Baptist and Methodist. There were a very few other denominations, usually "holiness" or Church of God. These were assumed to be the "holy rollers," who shouted and were yelled at by their preachers. The preachers would "honk" every few sentences to get their breath and give the listeners' minds and ears a slight respite from the din. At the same time, if the listener were trying to make sense of what the preacher was saying, he might use that few seconds to try to figure out what was just said.

In our church, the Methodist Church, the preachers calmly brought their message on Sunday morning, occasionally raising their voice to make a point. They were normally well educated in seminaries and their sermons were well organized and delivered. Emotional outbursts from the congregation were unknown. The choirs wore robes and the pianists played classical preludes prior to the service.

Whatever the case, it was assumed that you "belonged" or at least attended a church. Only the lowest of the lowest did not at least darken the doors of the church occasionally. Our church would be packed at Easter as the married children and their families came home and a few husbands made their annual visit to the church. Some people "belonged," but only came to church at major events, such as the aforementioned Easter, Mother's Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

As most did, I went to church and Sunday school regularly. As I got older I had to be coerced by my mother, on occasion. Poor dear, she had an awful time, between my not wanting to go and my sister getting up and ready at the last minute. We gave her fits some Sunday mornings, but we got there on time and sat in the obligatory Sunday school class, then through the sermon. My sister made it through easily because she loved music, and ultimately became a music director of several large churches.

Today, I rarely go to church. I don't "belong," although my wife continues to try to get me to help her find a "church home." Frankly, in the last few months as my therapist has gotten me to look inward, I have begun to think about what I believe and who I am. When it comes to religion, my beliefs probably do not mesh with the majority of Christians. At least I do not think so. My guess is that there are many out there like me who never really question themselves as to what they truly believe. Many are probably afraid to question their own religious beliefs, fearing that they will be condemned to hell or worse, ostracized by their peers. Others simply do not think to ask questions. Religion is something they have grown up with and were expected to accept. They assumed it to be the absolute truth.

As a realist and, even as a historian, I have problems with much of the Biblical story. Did Jesus exist? Surely. Was he crucified? Surely. Did he arise from the dead? I rather doubt it. Did he perform miracles? I rather doubt it. The Bible tells us these things, but it was written by men well after the fact. They had a religion to spread and a man to deify, much like authors such as Samuel Weems, who concocted stories to create the early American heroes. In Weems' case it was George Washington. In the case of the writers of the New Testament it was Jesus.

At the same time, I cannot positively say that all those things did not happen. I just do not believe in the supernatural. How did these things happen one time, but never again since? Because there has only been one Jesus? People often ascribe happenings to God. Certainly miracles seem to happen on occasion. But, on the other hand, many happenings that are explained as God's will are far too inconsistent. How does God tragically take this child, but spare this one. Both are just as precious. Because their parent's "sinned?" Because there was not enough prayer? Why punish the child for something the parents did or did not do?

Jesus' teachings, as described in the Bible, are wonderful lessons. They are, if truly followed, a fine prescription, for living one's life. Yet, they are often used to condemn and ostracize. Preachers preach eternal damnation and condemn people with whom they do not agree or do not understand. Religion is often used more in a negative way than in the positive way that Jesus taught. Words taken out of context, either in ignorance or in spite do great harm to the Christian religion and to the memory of Jesus. I belong? Probably not, at least in the minds of many who might read this. I believe in some of the Biblical happenings. Others are not proven to me. Do I say they absolutely did not happen? No. Do I say they absolutely did happen? No. It has not been proven to me. Agnosticism is what it is called. Those who condemn would say it is Atheism because they only see black and white. You are either "saved" or condemned to Hell. There is no middle ground for them. It is my life. I try to live in a good and positive, some would say Christian, way. I will deal with the consequences...if there are consequences. If not, then does it really matter?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

You Didn't Get Mad...

I received this in my inbox today:

We had eight years of Bush and Cheney, but now you get mad!

You didn't get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.

You didn't get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.

You didn't get mad when a covert CIA operative got ousted.

You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act got passed..

You didn't get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.

You didn't get mad when we spent over 600 billion(and counting) on said illegal war.

You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq .

You didn't get mad when you found out we were torturing people.

You didn't get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.

You didn't get mad when we didn't catch Bin Laden.

You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.

You didn't get mad when we let a major US city drown.

You didn't get mad when we gave a 900 billion tax break to the rich.

You didn't get mad when, using reconciliation; a trillion dollars of our tax dollars were
redirected to insurance companies for Medicare Advantage which cost over 20 percent more for basically the same services that Medicare provides.

You didn't get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark, and our debt hit the thirteen trillion dollar mark.

You finally got mad when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all okay with you, but helping other Americans... oh hell no!!!!!

Moderate Republicans Will Survive as Independents

Gov. Charlie Crist has switched his status to Independent. Once regarded as a front runner for John McCain's VP running mate (McCain probably rues that day he didn't choose him.), Crist has fallen behind the GOP teabagger candidate, Rubio in the polls for the Florida GOP primary senate race. Yet as an independent Crist leads the extremist, Rubio.

Since moderates have become unpopular in the new teabagger, extremist GOP, we will most likely see more GOP candidates going "mavericky" as independents, as they face the Palinista candidates. Since most close races are normally decided by moderate and independent voters, it is likely that GOP moderates, facing opposition by the extremists will move to independent status. Another sign of the impending doom of a GOP overrun by the racist, extremist teabaggers?

The rise of these moderate independents may signal the rise of a new conservative party that will be more inclusive and closer to the center. If that is the case, Democrats may face a huge problem as an alternative party for moderate Republicans, who cannot stomach the racist and extreme rhetoric of the GOP Palinista teabaggers, begins to form. It might very well appeal to moderate Libertarian-leaning voters, who cannot stomach the extreme edges of that party, not to mention more moderate Democrats. This might be the straw that brings moderation to U.S. politics. Lord knows any group with Sarah Palin at the forefront won't be able to survive for very long.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How to Shoot Yourself in the Foot

The GOP continues to endear itself to various groups of the American public. There are those who desperately need affordable health care. There are millions registered latino and African American voters in this country, and most of the American public has been mightily screwed by the big banks. In each case the GOP and its Tea Party wing continue to alienate these segments in a rapid pace. Then we should also remember last week's fau paux, when they advised a congresswoman to go back to the kitchen. Oops!

The teabaggers, the extremist arm of the party, continually flaunt their racist signs and their verbal taunts, railing against immigrants, African Americans, and those without affordable health care. The Arizona GOP has now passed and signed into law a hughly discriminatory anti-immigration law. I feel quite sure that we can see other GOP run states pass similar legislation now that their sisters in Arizona have broken the ground. This week the GOP has successfully blocked debate on financial reform, siding with the big banks, who continue to flaunt their billions in profits and their millions in bonuses.

The GOP lets its teabagger extremist arm do the dirty work, while the leaders of the party try to stay, rather unsuccessfully, above the fray. It is clear that Sarah and her "baggers" are the front for the GOP, so they aren't really fooling anyone. The question that will arise in the fall is whether the backlash from the groups who have borne the brunt of the hate-filled tirades from the "baggers" and the mainstream GOP will put the party in its place once and for all.

The Democrats have not carried the banner of sanity very well. They weren't forceful enough in their opposition to the GOP roadblocks. Instead they dilly-dallyed around until the GOP was actually able to make them look rather weak, even by being simply obstructionist. It would have been better for the Democrats to have borrowed a play from the GOP playbook and run rough-shod over the Republicans with health care and every other vote that has come up. Such actions would have demonstrated to the American people that they were moving forward and doing something.

Now the Democrats are going to have to work from a defensive posture and hope that the GOP continues to shoot itself in the foot with large segments of the voting public. I don't think we have seen the polls yet that show the effect that these extremist GOP positions will have on the voting public.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Moment of "Reflection"

Today we attended Honors Day at the Georgia Institute of Technology, a public university in Atlanta better known as Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech is a top 10 school of engineering and attracts students from all over the world. In fact the honorees today were representative of a cross section of the student body.

At the beginning of the program a representative of the campus ministries association was called to the podium to present a "reflection." This is, of course, a substitute for the Christian prayer, which was probably a tradition for the majority of years at the institution. Many would have lambasted the school for "caving in" to the liberal, heathen, un-American pressures of separation of church and state. They would say that this country is a Christian nation and therefore a Christian prayer should have been said.

Yet, as I looked across that full ballroom and as I heard name after name called and heard many different accents, it was very appropriate to have had a nice moment of reflection upon the values that make the institution and its students great. My guess is that there were Shintos, Buddhists, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Atheists, Agnostics and who knows what other world religions and views represented. To have said a prayer to a Christian God would have been totally inappropriate and an affront to all of those religions and views.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Are We Experiencing the End of Today's GOP?

"The country is so given up to the spirit of party, that not to follow blindfold the one or the other is an inexpiable offence." So wrote John Quincey Adams about 1803. The country was in the throes of extreme partisanship between the Federalists, led by Hamilton and the Republicans, led by Jefferson. The partisanship was about to come to an end, however.

Jefferson, the strict constructionist, was about to step away from his long held constitutional views to make a move that would bring down the Federalist Party. A typical Virginia planter, he was always on the lookout for more land, and the lands west of the Mississippi beckoned. His scientific and geographical interests also came into play as he wondered what those mysterious lands held. Like others of his day, he felt that there might be mammoths still roams the western lands. Then there was, of course, the desire to find a water route to the Pacific.

Jefferson engaged his younger friend and neighbor, Meriwether Lewis to begin planning an exploratory trip though the west. In the midst of planning an unexpected wind blew Jefferson's way in the form of an offer to sell what became known as the Louisiana Purchase to the United States. Jefferson was ecstatic. The Federalists were not. Like the modern day Republicans, they immediately opposed something that was ultimately for the good of the country and its people. Unfortunately for the Federalists, the American people did not agree with them.

A couple of weeks ago the president signed into law a comprehensive health care reform plan. The Republicans, as we all know, vehemently opposed the plan along with those least likely to benefit from it, the health care and insurance industries. Although, as we know, the reform bill included the Republican idea to have mandatory health care. Mitt Romney proposed it in MA and Scott Brown voted for it. It may very well be that the Republicans have ultimately sounded their own death knell. It may also be that they have suddenly realized that. In the last few days Republicans seem to have begun to distance themselves from Sarah Palin and her anti-health reform Teabaggers, the openly racist and extreme wing of the Republican Party.

The Republicans vehemently opposed Medicare at its inception. Now of course, everyone looks forward to the day when their medicare kicks in, especially those with expensive and poor health insurance coverage. There are millions in this country today without health care. Do the Republicans really think that these people are going to vote them into office, if there is a chance that they may have affordable health insurance soon? Of course not. My guess is that the Republicans may have a surprise awaiting them in a few months. They may very well find themselves fighting for their political lives in many states around the country.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Another of Those Silly Anti-Obama Emails

A couple of days ago I received the following email in my Inbox:

Some have said that the stimulus hasn't saved any jobs, but here is a case where at least one job was saved.Oregon State University Athletic Director Bob DeCarolis was considering firing their basketball coach, Craig Robinson, after an 8-11 start (2-5 in the Pac 10 conference). When word of this reached Washington, Undersecretary of Education Martha Kanter was dispatched to Corvallis with $17 million in stimulus money for the university. Craig Robinson's job is safe for this year. For those of you unfamiliar with Coach Robinson, he just so happens to be Michelle Obama's brother. Just a coincidence I'm sure!

Of course as most of these go, it was immediately suspect. In the first place colleges rarely replace their coaches in the middle of the season. After checking out Oregon State's basketball program I found that this season was Craig Robinson's second one at OSU. He inherited the program after an 0 - 18 season. It then became very clear that he had no where to go but up and would not have been fired after but one season. After all, he won 18 games his first season.

In the second place it is highly doubtful that 17 million dollars would have been quietly given to a college to save a basketball coach's job. I am sure there are enough Republicans in the state college system in Oregon to find out about such a move. It would have hit the news outlets big time. I further doubt that 17 million dollars could have saved a coach's job, if the alumni wanted him out. Finally, stimulus money would very doubtfully have gone straight to a school without a middle man somewhere along the way.

After this bit of research and thought, which took a couple of minutes at best, I went over to to see what that site had to say about the situation. As I suspected, it put the email in the "fiction" category. No surprise. It is scary to see how these silly emails get passed along by people who want to believe this nonsense. The friend who sent it to me responded to me that he was glad that he sent it on because it was so "heart warming." In other words he wanted to believe it and he wanted others to believe it.

Just another example of the lack of thought and consideration about the plethora of misleading information on the internet and on the airwaves. If it is written, they believe it. If it is spoken, it is the truth. After all it is passed on by such trusted sources as FOX Noise, the Washington Post, unfortunately now, the Wall St. Journal, Rush, Sean, BillO, and their ilk.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Teabagger Who Made his Bed

The young man, Chris Reichert, who harassed an elderly man who suffers from Parkinson's says he is sorry for what he did. I am so glad that this fellow's actions were filmed and then spread far and wide through the Internet and the news networks. It showed these imbecilic teabaggers for what they really are. It also showed what mob actions do to people who are easily swayed by misinformation.

Mr. Reichert says that he snapped and that what he did was shameful. He says he has not slept since. This is good. I hope there are others out there who are having restless nights as well. They have been whipped into a frenzy by the propaganda of the likes of FOX Noise, Limbaugh, and the rest of the extremist rabble rousers. In Reichert's case he says he had never been to such a "political rally." He also says he will never go to another.

The organizers of the mob condemned the actions of Reichert and the others who harrassed the man. One has to wonder if the organizers are really sorry. They got the publicity that they sought. Nothing is better than seeing counter protesters being put in their place by the mob. I would guess that there were many who saw Reichert's actions as justified.

History shows that most revolutionary activities are carried out by mobs created by the fomenters of the revolts. It is pretty easy to set mobs in motion. Usually the are made up of the ignorant and the violent elements of society which are easily manipulated. We are seeing this sort of activity among the teabaggers. They are being set in motion by the extremist elements of the Republican Party and their media hacks. The white supremacists and other racist elements, the extremist anti-tax/anti-government groups have moved to the teabagger groups to garner acceptance by more of the masses. I fear that we are very close to assassinations of government officials from politicians to bureaucrats.

Now is the time for saner heads to prevail. Unfortunately there are no statesmen among the Republicans today who might take a stand and bring sanity back to their party. There have been some half heated attempts at condemning the violence, but most of the Republicans fear for their seats. They are too spineless to take a stand. Instead they simply fall further victim to the extremist rhetoric and move themselves further to the right in an attempt to maintain their power and status. They are certainly not "patriots." It is a sad time in which we live.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Health Care, Republicans, and the Future

Now that the big bad ogre of health care reform will soon be on the books, what lies in the future for the opposition? Will US citizens accept it? How will Republicans and their vile, racist, military arm, the teabaggers, oppose it? It is interesting to ponder these questions.

Some Republicans are suggesting that their opposition to health care reform may be their final downfall. Millions of our citizenry have no health care for various reason. They may be jobless. They may have a pre-existing condition. They may simply be unable to afford it, yet they do not qualify for Medicare. What are they thinking about the backward Republicans and their minions? What about the millions who voted for the President because of his stand on health care reform? These people may very well be the "silent majority."

We are hearing, mostly, from the vile and vocal teabaggers, but their primary goal isn't to kill health care, although, killing appears to be in their vision. They are lead by an extreme and racist element, which is in the minority in most sections of the country, except the south. The Republican leadership is playing to them, but are their numbers really high enough to make a real difference? I seriously doubt it. The teabaggers talk big about sending incumbents home, but their primary goal is to send Democratic incumbents home. They are not going to touch John Boener and his crowd. Here in GA the Republican Senators and Congressmen are safe. All Republican elected officials are safe unless they profess to be anywhere to the left of Hitler or Stalin. Actually, I suppose I should have used Cromwell as an example, since he was a Puritan, and Puritans are heroes of the right wing Christian elements.. Hitler and Stalin were leftist, atheistic, Socialists.

I think the teabaggers will make it through the fall elections...maybe. They will for the most part be history by 2012. I will be surprised if Obama does not win in 2012. I think the passage of the health care bill and subsequent legislation that will be passed by the Democrats will change the minds of independents and any Democrats that may have been wavering. The man is doing what he was elected to do. I think it has taken him awhile to figure out that he must forget about the obstructionist Republicans and move his agenda forward. He does not seem to be worried about whether he will lose votes or not. He is interested in doing what he promised to do. That, in my mind, is what elected officials should be doing. It is what some of the teabaggers truly want, but they are too blinded by their hatred to see it.