Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

My Photo
Name:
Location: Maine, United States

Friday, September 30, 2005

Christian Environmentalism

In light of the evidence and the conflict raised here since my Whimsical Creationist post earlier this week, I think this site might be worth reading:
http://www.grist.org/news/maindish/2004/10/27/scherer-christian/
This site gives reader feedback:
http://www.grist.org/etc/letters/2005/01/21/letters-godly/
While the main article articulates my own concerns about biblical literalists, big "A" is well represented in the feedback. Clearly, there are two schools of thought within American Christianity regarding the environment. Unfortunately, the school now in control of our government seems not to represent either big "A" or myself. While the conservative political right in America does not enjoy my support, however, it does seem to receive the support of the majority of Christians. The only thing I can point to for an explanation is the thoroughly recognized complacency that Christians have toward the environment. They are not complacent about abortion or homosexuality or the fear of terrorist attack, but they are about global warming, pollution, fossil fuel consumption, protection of the forests, etc. So they vote right-wing based on their fears and sit idly by while they allow powerful corporations to rape the environment. But along come big "A" types who claim that indeed Christians do care about the environment, "prove otherwise."
Go figure...

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Science or Not Science

Again I write in reference to the ongoing debate here between myself and anonymous Christian big "A" regarding the topic of "Intelligent Design." Today I was driving to Orono to attend a presentation about peak oil - feeling guilty that I was driving there at all burning way too much gasoline in my old pickup. Halfway through my trip, I tuned the radio to the local hate radio station, WVOM, 103.9. I listened to this station most of the rest of my trip down and back and you know, it's just like drinking poison straight from the bottle. I can't imagine listening to this on a daily basis and not being sick to the core from it.
But I digress...
It just so happened that just after I tuned in, the talk show host (whose name escapes me but he's a regular and this was not Rush Limbaugh's show) introduced the topic of Intelligent Design. He ranted on about it for nearly an hour, tearing to shreds anybody who dared to call in and criticize his points. One thing, however, came through loud and clear. Intelligent Design is the new scientific theory to replace Darwinian evolution. I kid you not. And I am not misquoting. This conservative radio talk show host made the claim repeatedly that this is a scientific theory more modern than and truer than Darwinian evolution.
For anybody to claim, and this pertains directly to you, big "A," that Intelligent Design is not being promoted as science is a total in-your-face lie. That might explain why the White House is trying to say it isn't science:
http://www.space.com/searchforlife/seti_bush_id_050818.html
But the fact is that even in the Harrisburg court case, it is in the biology classroom where intelligent design is intended to find its home. Claims to the contrary are best understood if you simply see them for what they are, very obvious lies.
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1111626,00.html

Dr. Ray Bohlin

Again, I bring the topic of Intelligent Design back up to the surface from the comments areas of my recent posts starting with my "Whimsical Creationist" post. My anonymous Christian reader whom I refer to as big "A" gave these two links in response to my request for "a thesis written by a prominent evangelical Bible literalist explaining the responsibility of all Christians to maintain sustainable life on earth":
http://www.forerunner.com/ccbc/X0004_Christian_View_of_th.html
http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/ecology.html
Both of these links are to articles written by Dr. Ray Bohlin who, according to the following link, is Administrator of Probe Ministries:
http://www.probe.org/content/view/1008/41/
Two statements in this Probe site seem to indicate that Dr. Bohlin is not a biblical literalist. In the section subtitled "POSITION STATEMENT ON CREATION/EVOLUTION" the site claims:

5. The plain language of Genesis 1 seems to teach a recent literal six-day creation. There is much data from science, however, that indicates the universe and earth are billions of years old. I do not believe that certainty regarding the age of the earth is either necessary or possible at this time. Tension in areas of conflict between science and biblical interpretation should not necessarily be viewed as either questioning the inerrancy of scripture or a lack of faith. This issue should not be the focus of the creation/evolution debate at this time.
6. The plain language of Genesis 6-8 teaches a violent universal flood which would be expected to leave discernible scars on the earth. However, it is difficult to assimilate all geological formations into a model of a single worldwide flood only 5,000 years ago. There is also a significant amount of geological data that is not easily explained by uniformitarian principles. Research of a water canopy/universal flood model should be vigorously pursued, but belief in such should not be made a litmus test of true Christian belief.

If this suspension of judgment characterizes dogmatic biblical literalists, then there's some duplicity going on here because that is not the stand taken by any 6-day Creationists that I am aware of. But conveniently enough, big "A" has alerted me to a Christian leader who actually supports some of the claims I have been making about right-wing literalist Christians. Let me explain, but first let me point out that the two references above which big "A" gave me share some paragraphs in common. They seem to be two versions of the same thesis and I will use them as one thesis.
Dr. Bohlin states:

It is not hard to notice that the environmental issue receives very little attention in Christian circles. There are so many other significant issues that occupy our attention that we seem to think of the environment as somebody else's issue. Many Christians are openly skeptical of the reality of any environmental crisis. It is viewed as a liberal issue, or New Age propaganda, or just plain unimportant since this earth will be destroyed after the millennium. What we fail to realize is that Christians have a sacred responsibility to the earth and the creatures within it. The earth is being affected by humans in an unprecedented manner, and we do not know what the short or long term effects will be.

Big "A" commented, "You suggestion that Christians don't care about the environment is wrong and you have provided no facts to back up your crazy assertion other than your own crazy hair brained theory." Yet, within the first paragraph of Dr. Bohlin's thesis, he points to Christian complacency, citing the very same claims that I have cited, and like me, giving no references for those claims. Well, big "A" I cite Dr. Bohlin.
Dr. Bohlin's thesis is a warning message aimed not at atheists, but at complacent Christians, pointing out that believers are instructed in the Bible to take care of God's creation. His introductory paragraph makes it clear that Christians don't live this way, aren't concerned about the environment, and even are complacent because they think environmental concern is "unimportant since this earth will be destroyed after the millennium."
Why is it, big "A," that if I say it, it is, as you so eloquently put it, "your own crazy hair brained theory" while when Dr. Bohlin says essentially the same thing, it is proof that Christians care? My experience over the years and even now with Christians is that they essentially don't care about the environment as long as they can continue living a prosperous life. The people who do care, the people who are actually putting Dr. Bohlin's recommendations into practice, are not Christian, in large part because they find their life choices condemned by complacent Christians who brand their lifestyle (in Dr. Bohlin's words) "liberal" and "New Age propaganda," in both cases meant by Christians as slander.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Reply to big "A"

This is a reply to the comment on yesterday's post titled "Whimsical Creationist."
First, if the theory of "Intelligent Design" and the belief in Creationism are not the same thing, then do creationists believe in intelligent evolutionary design? Are creationists supporting the teaching of intelligent design in schools or are they opposed to it because it involves evolution? Intelligent design as a theory is a foot in the door for Creationism. You and I both know it.
Second, in Genesis 9:11 and 9:15 the Bible states that God promised not to destroy the earth or "all flesh" by flood. II Peter 3:10 says, "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."
The thing is, big "A," Christians don't have a clue what is to become of the earth, but there is a tendency for Christians to think that the end is near, that the "rapture" and everything following it is near, and that things like conservation and sustainable living don't make a lot of sense considering all the destruction that is soon to come. That was my point. The concepts of survival, conservation, and sustainable living are foreign - almost to the point of being atheistic and/or demonic - to religious people who hold dear the belief that the rapture of the believers and the end of the world is near.
I read Genesis 1:28 and I don't find in it the concept of maintaining anything or of living a sustainable lifestyle or of conservation or even of survival. If the Bible supports those concepts - something I have never heard preached from a pulpit - it must be someplace else. It clearly isn't in Genesis 1:28.
While Biblical literalists long for the Rapture where they make their escape from the terror to come and begin their eternity in paradise, many evolutionists long for a peaceful future, a sustainable world, and sanity. Those who believe the end is near see no need of passing a sustainable world on to future generations, but those of us who do see the need for survival realize that for mankind to survive, the earth must survive, the environment must survive, and all of life on which our own survival depends must survive. Even those who subscribe to Darwinian "survival of the fittest" know that the key word in that term is "survival." While the religious have their mystical heaven and thus don't need this earth, realists know that without the earth, at least for the time being, mankind is lost.
I sense a certain confusing duality in big "A"'s arguments. If big "A" is Christian, which does appear to be the case, then he or she knows that "intelligent design" implies a creator and a creator implies God and God in a Christian nation implies Biblical creationism. Yet, big "A" denies this fact. II Peter tells us that the earth and the heavens will be destroyed by fire, yet big "A" denies that God will destroy the earth based on a false interpretation of Genesis 9. In general, Biblical literalists live as though there is no tomorrow because in their view there aren't many tomorrows left before the rapture, yet big "A" falsely cites a verse in Genesis 1 claiming it commands Christians to "maintain" the earth. What are we to make of these contradictions? Are we to take big "A" at his or her word, or are we to realize that these right-wing "pro-life" Christians have no problem at all with sending other people's sons and daughters off to war, no problem at all with killing thousands or even millions of innocent people in war, no problem at all with building and sustaining nuclear arsenals capable of destroying life on earth, no problem at all with driving gas-hogging SUVs miles from home to church or miles from home to work or miles from home to take their kids to school or miles from home to WalMart or the nearest NASCAR race while innocent people are dying in the U.S. effort to secure the world's oil supply for American corporations.
And big "A" has the nerve to call us hypocritical and Godless. Go figure, huh?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Whimsical Creationist

While I'm on the subject of religion, I'm beginning to realize that there are a lot of religious people in today's world, or at least here in the US, who actually see God as some sort of whimsical creationist. This "Intelligent Design" debate is a smokescreen for creationism which asserts that the whole universe was assembled by God in six days and it all took place around 6,000 years ago. In other words, in both geological and human terms, all of the universe is recent and was relatively easy for God to create. After creating the entire universe, Creationists assert that God only needed one day to rest.
Translating this into human terms of value, creation isn't worth much. What God created in only six days, God can and will destroy and it won't be much of a loss to Him. He can do it again any time he wants in the mere span of six days. For those people holding such beliefs, humanity has no responsibility at all for the survival of life on earth. God created it on a whim in only six days and can do it again any time He wants.
This doesn't set well with evolutionists who believe that the universe, the earth, and life here on earth are billions of years old. Evolutionists realize that if life here on earth is destroyed, it will never return, and if life is dealt a significant blow, if it ever does recover, it could take millions or billions of years to overcome the damage. From the perspective of people with this belief, humanity has a deep responsibility to the survival of life here on earth.
From the perspective of "Intelligent Design," isn't it ironic that the people with little or no respect for God's creation are the religious people while it is the evolutionists who have a deep and abiding respect for life? If there is a Satan, which perspective do you think would better serve his agenda?

A Religious Dilemma

It's been a long time since I last wrote something on religion, but I just started a book titled The Sophists by W. K. C. Guthrie, Cambridge University Press, 1971, which had me looking online for a brief explanation of the Sophists, and I came across a couple of concepts describing something that has been on my mind for the past five years. What started it all five years ago was when I was assigned to read Plato's Euthyphro.
The two concepts that I came across today are:
The Independence Problem
http://www.philosophyofreligion.info/independence.html
and:
The Euthyphro Dilemma
http://www.philosophyofreligion.info/euthyphrodilemma.html
Until now, I had no idea these concepts existed, but from reading Euthyphro I knew there was a serious issue at stake. Socrates posed, seemingly indirectly, a serious challenge regarding the very definition of God in this argument with the pious Euthyphro. The question regarded that which pleases the gods. Basically Socrates asked if there is something which precedes or overrides the gods or if everything good comes from the decrees of the gods. Is it one or is it the other?
The problem is that neither case works. Both are false. Socrates and Euthyphro go full circle with both propositions and find both of them flawed. While an atheist might find this rewarding, I found it challenging and in fact, it became the basis for my conclusion that God must not actually be a being. If God were a being, then either there are things above Him like morality and truth and beauty or else things like morality and truth and beauty are nothing more than the whims of a dictator. Neither one satisfies the call to worship God unless you're into worshipping dictatorships, which I'm not.
So while the atheist would say this proves there is no God, I say that this proves that if there is a God, then God must be these things, these ideals of morality and truth and beauty. God is not their author because they have no author. Instead, God is the existence of these things. God is the fact that these things exist, that morality exists, that goodness exists, that truth exists, that beauty exists, and yes, even that even evil exists. God isn't the all-seeing being who contemplates these higher things and God isn't the all-powerful author who commands these things into existence. God is the concept of all these things, a concept which exists with or without the existence of any thinking beings. God is not a thinking being. He simply can't be.
So it was rewarding to discover that these dilemma concepts exist. Someone else saw in Euthyphro that which caught my eye the most.

Deputy Attorney General

Again, it was pointed out recently that I have an anger problem and should seek professional help. Another daily blog which I read had an interesting post this morning concerning the conservative sources of some of the money floating around that people like Tom DeLay use to influence politics. Warning, this article involves Karl Rove:
http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/week_2005_09_25.php#006629
Again, do I have an anger problem? Yes indeed I do. How can I sit idly by when people who claim to be acting in the Will of God go about politics this way? What would a professional tell me to do, bury my head in the sand the way you people have done? What would God have me do? Just ignore it?

Support the Troops

I have been accused here of having an anger problem. Someone recently even suggested that I seek professional help. This morning, one of the daily blogs that I read had a post which might, no guarantees, but might help explain a little bit about why I might seem a bit angry. You see, I wasn't born after the Vietnam War. I was a young adult during that war. What you will see if you follow this link is a reflection of the callous indifference to life that is represented by war. Nothing you might see, if you choose to look at this link or at the sites subsequently linked in this post, is new to someone who had his or her eyes open back in the late 60s and early 70s. Conservatives call John Kerry a liar for reminding us of the horrors of the Vietnam War. But here are some of the horrors of today's wars. If this doesn't trigger your anger, then it is you, not I, who needs professional help:
http://americablog.blogspot.com/2005/09/us-soldiers-allegedly-trading-pictures.html
Am I angry? Yes indeed I am. Am I sick? Yes indeed I am. But ask yourself this. Why am I angry and why does this make me sick when it doesn't bother you? Just who really is the sick one here?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Admitting

You know, something just dawned on me. Yeah, big surprise, right? But a puzzle had been bothering me for quite some time and finally just now it dawned on me what is going on. I still don't understand the deeper reasons why this is happening, but it certainly is happening. Maybe it satisfies the need on the right for parental authority and thus for the need to keep it hidden from the authoritative parent. I suppose the breakthrough for me in realizing this originated with my reading of the book Moral Politics where it is pointed out that conservatives think of both politics and religion within the framework of an authoritative parent.
Growing up under an authoritative parent, children learn that if they want the same liberties that other more fortunate children enjoy, they can enjoy those liberties but they have a dire need to not admit it to their parents. They instinctively know that the problem isn't enjoying what is forbidden, the problem happens when they admit to their parents what they are enjoying. That's when the shit hits the fan.
Living under that model as adults, conservatives instinctively know that it is when you admit to your unsavory behavior, that is when you will be held accountable. You need to keep that sort of thing secret. Does anybody recall Lynne Cheney's reaction to John Kerry mentioning the homosexuality of the Cheneys' daughter in one of the debates? Kerry was asking Bush to admit to Ms. Cheney's homosexuality. Lynne reacted as though Kerry had broken the rules of engagement. In conservative circles, the rule is that you can be gay, you just can't admit to being gay. You need to stay in the closet with your dirty laundry. You shouldn't expose the public to that dirt.
Unfortunately, that same problem with it being OK to do it but not OK to admit it extends beyond homosexuality. For instance:
It is OK for US soldiers to torture war prisoners but it is not OK to admit the torture. You won't get punished unless you get caught doing it and if you were the first to admit doing it, you will be the first one punished.
It is OK to lie about weapons of mass destruction as a justification for war, but it is not OK to admit to the lie. Even if it is crystal clear that you lied, and that you are continuing to lie about other nations, you will not be held accountable as long as you don't admit to being a liar.
It is OK to botch relief efforts in a natural disaster, but it is not OK to admit specific instances of where you and your fellow federal authorities botched it. If you admit your errors, you will get canned.
Until today I knew this was how things worked in the Bush Administration, but I didn't really know why it worked that way. Now that I can see it from the perspective of a child living under an authoritative parent who needs to be kept in the dark, I understand. Still, one thing baffles me about this. If God is all-seeing as it is claimed that He is, and if God is the authoritative Father that the Christian Right makes Him out to be, then how does a conservative hide his closet behavior from God? In fact, that's such a mystery to me that I actually question whether conservatives think of God as all-seeing at all. Maybe that explains why the Christian Right sees the Bible as the written "Will of God" who died on the cross and then went to Heaven?
Such Christians say that we are to "hate the sin but love the sinner." To me, that's like "Support the Troops" or such things. It's an oxymoron, a contradiction. If you support the troops at war, you support what the troops are doing. You could give a shit really about the troops. The troops are just people you don't know who could die tomorrow and you'd never know it. You support the war. Same thing with sin. If you love the sinner, you love a person whose choice in life is to sin. That is a reflection of who you know yourself to be, a person who loves to sin. It isn't the sinner you love, it is sin itself. We all love our forbidden pleasures.
But just how we can believe that God doesn't see what we do in the closet... Man, that one is beyond me to understand. Admit who you are and what you enjoy. God already knows it. Air out your closet and do the laundry. And for all you people who need authoritative parents, authoritative governments, and authoritative gods, grow up.

Roberts Support

http://supportgayjudgeroberts.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

RNC Email

Here's a good one. I received this today in my Hotmail account from:
Ken Mehlman, RNC Chairman
Dear William ,
Last year, when I served as President Bush's re-election campaign manager, you were an essential part of our historic effort. Today, as chairman of the Republican National Committee, I would like to welcome you back to our team with this email.
Our victory in 2004 was historic in many ways. Not only did we help the President win more votes than any other candidate in history, and increase our majorities in the U.S. House and Senate, but we did so through an unprecedented grassroots campaign that depended on the widespread use of email and the Internet.
Through these new technologies, we worked hard to keep you up to date on the progress of the campaign, and the important issues that the President and the Republican Party were addressing. We also used email and the Web to give supporters like you opportunities to get involved, whether by communicating with us to help shape strategy and tactics, by volunteering to help the grassroots effort in your local community, or simply by passing the word along to your friends and neighbors.
Now, at the RNC, we are committed to continuing our groundbreaking use of new technology, and I hope you will join us. In July, we were proud to unveil our completely redesigned Website. We have launched a brand new eCampaign that will, in the coming weeks and months, use email to keep loyal supporters like you fully informed as to how we are working to enact the President's reform agenda and maintain our majorities in the House and Senate and in the states, and what you can do to become more involved in your community.
I hope you find these emails useful. Now more than ever, it is important that Republicans across the country keep fully informed and involved with the important issues that we face as a Party and as a nation. We will fight to ensure confirmation of the President's judicial nominees such as Judge John G. Roberts, who last week answered questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee with humility, humor and thoughtfulness. He showed once again that he is an extremely well-qualified candidate with a sharp legal mind. We will continue to support the war on terror. We will be preparing for important elections in 2005 and 2006. And, we will work to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina rebuild their lives as the reconstruction effort begins in the Gulf Coast.
You are a part of our team. We want you to know what our plans and goals are. We also would like your help in achieving these goals. As we email you, please don't hesitate to email back to let us know what your views are on these important issues. And I hope that you will join us in the party-building activities that we will be informing you about within these regular email updates.
If you would prefer not to receive these emails, I understand. But I hope you will consider remaining a part of the Republican online community. We depend on people like you to keep the Republican Party strong. And with your participation, we will continue our strong record of success and accomplishment.
Sincerely,
Ken Mehlman
Chairman, RNC

Now really, guys... Do you really want to know what I think about you and your gang? I mean, do you really really want to know that my opinion of President Bush is that he is a drug-induced puke? Really now...

Perhaps Now

Perhaps now you are ready to hear from another source what you have been refusing to hear from me. Let's just say I told you so:
http://kurtnimmo.com/?p=32
Of course, why would you want to believe Kurt Nimmo, right? So don't. Launch your own search for who these Brits were and why it was so vital to storm the Iraqi police headquarters in Basra. When you find the truth, let us know.

I wonder what will be made of this story by those who think escalating bloodshed in Iraq is a measure of the failure of US policy, and not its success, and who believe black ops and false flags are figments of our paranoiac fantasies. Probably, as with so much that would bedevil their worldview if only they were intellectually honest enough to permit it, this too will be filtered out and forgotten. But our burden is we won't forget. And damned if the Iraqis will.

http://rigorousintuition.blogspot.com/2005/09/carry-on-killing.html

Bolton Miller Plame

No comment. Read it for yourself...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/plamegate-the-john-bolto_b_7648.html

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Calvi Murder

Leave it to me to stumble onto something like this...
http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/calvi4.htm
This reminds me of something I read about a couple of years ago, namely the conspiracy theory involving "The Black Pope."
(Not "Black" in the Afro-American sense of the word either)
Find your own links to that topic...

Monday, September 19, 2005

Lottery

From the President's September 15 address from New Orleans regarding Hurricane Katrina relief:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/09/20050915-8.html

And to help lower-income citizens in the hurricane region build new and better lives, I also propose that Congress pass an Urban Homesteading Act. Under this approach, we will identify property in the region owned by the federal government, and provide building sites to low-income citizens free of charge, through a lottery. In return, they would pledge to build on the lot, with either a mortgage or help from a charitable organization like Habitat for Humanity. Home ownership is one of the great strengths of any community, and it must be a central part of our vision for the revival of this region.

For some reason, this use of the word "lottery" caught my ear the other night. Several thoughts have came to mind.
First is what about the low-income people who don't win this lottery? What becomes of them? How many will apply and how many such house lots will be given out by this lottery? Just the idea of a lottery suggests that not everyone will win. What will the people who have lost their property and then lose this lottery do?
Second, does the federal government own land developable for housing in New Orleans? If so, where did it come from and why hasn't it been developed before?
Third, it seems to me that only certain people would be allowed to qualify for this. People would need the financial means to build homes that conform to federal zoning regulations as well as local, state, and federal building codes. New houses like that cost a lot of money to build and a lot of money to maintain over the years. Taxes alone would be much higher than the poor in New Orleans had been paying, let alone the cost of insurance required for any mortgage. Would the real poor of New Orleans have the means to cover these costs or would the lottery process filter out those who don't have the means?
One key, I suppose, is the president's use of the term "lower-income." Lower than what?
But the real puzzle in my mind is this idea about identifying "property in the region owned by the federal government." I would expect that the president's speech writer must have known what property the president was referring to. But I sure don't know. And he certainly didn't tell us. So all we can do is speculate what this property might be. I have one suggestion.
It seems natural to assume that poor people in the region, predominantly but not entirely poor black people, owned the property on which their homes were built. Maybe that's assuming too much, but whether they owned or rented in not the issue. The issue is whether or not the federal government will rebuild the homes damaged or destroyed by the flood so the original residents can repopulate the land. Will all of the poor of the region be allowed to live where they lived before if indeed that is what they wish to do? Will the federal government enable that to happen? Or will the federal government settle with these people and take over ownership of their property? Will federal seizure of the land be a condition of the settlements? Will the feds settle the claims by paying for the losses, then take over the land, raze the damaged homes, and then run this lottery to see who gets to build on that land?
My guess would be the second option rather than the first. My guess is that a Republican-run federal government would not repopulate poverty-stricken neighborhoods with the black poor who were displaced. My guess is that those people would be resettled in other parts of the country, their property seized, and more affluent people allowed to repopulate the land. Some of the reading I have done recently would suggest that this is an agenda which the well-off Republicans in the region have been contemplating for quite some time. All that was needed to carry out their plan was a large storm like Katrina.
Perhaps that is why Louisiana's Democrat governor was a little bit leery of turning the disaster over to federal management. Perhaps that's why she looks so unhappy when she appears in President Bush's photo-ops. All conjecture, mind you. Who am I to know what's really going on down there?
It's just conjecture. I hope I'm wrong about this.
All but eight months remaining of "four more years." What next, George? What next, Karl? What comes next?

Missing Billions?

On the one hand you have a billion or more dollars missing from Iraq's defense budget:
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article313538.ece
This missing money deeply cuts into Iraq's ability to police and defend itself, resulting in the need for US troops to stay longer in Iraq.
On the other hand, you have two US contractors brutally slain in Iraq late last year after notifying officials including a Pennsylvania Republican US Senator and a Pennsylvania Republican US Representative about financial problems with their contract, warning of the concerns of graft. The Senator notified Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld of the contractors' concerns. Soon after, the contractors were ambushed and killed.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A25285-2005Jan20.html
I was reading Baghdad Burning yesterday and came across an interesting tidbit about the Iraqi draft constitution. It seems that an article in the draft, Article (16), proposing that it would be forbidden for foreign troops to use Iraq either for military bases or as a corridor, has vanished in the final draft.
And then there's Zarqawi...
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3483089.stm
Phantom of Iraq, enemy of not only America but also the Iraqi people, yet like bin Laden himself, unstoppable, uncatchable, working overtime killing Shiites to terrorize the Iraqi people, the American public, and the world into realizing the need to maintain a strong US military presence in Iraq and the Middle East.
Call it coincidence if you must, but a pattern is a pattern.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Alternative to Flimsy Theories of Origin

I just stumbled on this website this evening. Considering the debate raging in Kansas now, and around the country, this site definitely deserves your time and effort of thought:
http://www.venganza.org/

Friday, September 16, 2005

Sobering Thought

Here's an ABC News article that offers a sobering thought:
http://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/Investigation/story?id=1130392&page=1
No wonder Bush had that book about the flu epidemic on his vacation reading list.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Piss On Rove

You know, for quite awhile I avoided commenting on the hurricane and all the political bickering that has been going on over who did what to impede whom and who promised what and didn't deliver and who was on vacation when he or she should have been in Washington coordinating their staff. I submit that it's one thing to point out that things went wrong. It's quite another to turn a national disaster into a political pissing match. But despite Bush's "blame game" snub, the official White House strategy since the end of the first week has been political damage control. First they tried to blame state and local officials and even the victims themselves. Then they initiated what may become a meaningless avalanche of confessions of responsibility. The White House has been anything but above the fray. For that, we can thank Karl Rove and Dan Bartlett.
http://thinkprogress.org/2005/09/05/rove-katrina/
Rove, of course, is the one who outed Joe Wilson's CIA wife and then apparently lied to prosecutors and to Bush himself about his role, yet continues in his Machiavellian role of smearing Bush's reputation beyond recognition. Bartlett, reportedly, is the one who somehow made Bush's Texas Air National Guard records disappear.
I can be petty. That's my right. But what's the point in the White House being petty? That I don't see.

Strange Thought

A strange thought came into my head today when I was out gathering firewood. I've been wondering for awhile why conservatives seem to link multiple partners in with the gay agenda suggesting that it is going to break down the institution of marriage. I mean, even if some gays do have multiple partners (ignoring the fact that some heterosexuals do too which, if anything, would undermine the concern about homosexuals), what connection is there between that and heterosexual marriage? How would that destroy heterosexual marriage? Are conservatives concerned that the legal definition of heterosexual marriage will be expanded to include polygamy?
Well it dawned on me today that fearing polygamy could very well be a Freudian thing. I mean, if polygamy were legalized, it isn't very likely that the majority of polygamous marriages would be one super woman with multiple husbands. Chances are that most polygamous marriages would be one husband and multiple wives. Yes some marriages would involve multiple husbands and multiple wives, but in general, women would tend to group up on one man. At least that's how polygamy has been in the past and it makes sense that it would be that way if polygamy became legal.
However, some men might be afraid of the consequences of such a thing. I mean, some men might have a Freudian fear of inadequacy, a fear that if women were allowed to choose, they might group up on and choose the best endowed men and leave the less adequate men out in the cold, either unable to attract a wife or forced to accept an unattractive woman as their wife, all because some men don't have an adequate male apparatus. I'm not saying that women would use that criteria to choose, but isn't this how Freudian fears work?
Did Freud ever contemplate this? And why is it predominantly the conservative and Christian men who have this concern?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Never Happen

Some say this will never happen. I say it can...
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0828-03.htm

Blame Game

I haven't written much on Hurricane Katrina or the aftermath, although it has certainly been plastered all over the political landscape. It bothered me that the President, Vice President, and Secretary of State were all on vacation during the hurricane's immediate aftermath. That seems inexplicable to me, but so did Bush sitting in on a second grade reading class photo-op four years ago looking dumb long after he had been notified that the second World Trade Center had been hit - same sort of irresponsible and totally inexplicable behavior. I'm guessing we won't understand it this time any better than we did back then. We'll all just forget it, except for Michael Moore, that is. He won't forget it. Maybe he'll remind us a year or two down the road. I read that he is considering making a film about Katrina and New Orleans.
It's pretty obvious that some things happened before, during, and after Katrina landed that probably shouldn't have happened. FEMA's head Brown really does seem to have messed up. Then there's the fact that a contingent of Louisiana's National Guard were over in Iraq. It was in the Maine news when some of them came through Bangor International Airport last week heading home to Louisiana. Normally states rely on the National Guard in emergencies for rapid response.
I think what really stunk, other than FEMA's slow response, was the political posturing and strategizing, the Rove effect, the defense used by the White House against criticism, the "blame everyone except us" approach. That may have passed now that Bush has accepted responsibility for any federal failures, but the damages has been done. The political posturing against the state and local officials was divisive and will resonate in the conservative and liberal spin machines for a long long time. It just should never have happened.
But Bush's "blame game" snub bothers me. It is a snub. It berates the need for a timely accounting of what went wrong and why. It brushes off the obvious arrogance of top White House officials during that week when they were on vacation, and it further widens the gap between Bush and his critics. It divides us even more, just as every other display of presidential arrogance has divided us since Bush came into office. Accounting for the reasons why people died isn't a "game."
To be fair, though, Katrina was a killer. No matter what, that storm would have killed people, lots of people. Louisiana and Mississippi were not prepared for that big of a storm. Yes, stronger dikes might have saved New Orleans this time, but what about next time? And what about all the surrounding flood plains where rural people live? Katrina didn't hit New Orleans head on. What if another storm does do that five or ten or twenty years from now? And what about all the other cities that can be hit by hurricanes? Big storms like that are killers. Is it realistic to think that the federal government, FEMA or Homeland Security or the Pentagon or whoever else in Washington, can save everyone's life? Somehow I just can't imagine that it is.
Personally, I think each state should work with the National Guard on preparedness. Every locale should be prepared as best it can be. State and local governments should provide as much support as possible in a flood like this to local citizens for immediate search and rescue. No agency, local, state, or federal, should refuse to enable citizen rescue efforts. I hope they didn't after Katrina. But the role of the federal government immediately after a disaster like this should be to send in as much support as is possible as soon as possible. Food, water, gasoline, communications equipment, experienced coordinators, medical supplies and professionals, evacuation vehicles, any and every possible help. And the help should come automatically, without political posturing, without territory disputes, and without delay.
What is needed now is an accurate accounting to determine to what extent these things were not done and why they were not done. How can all the red tape that separates the federal government from the people in times of emergency be removed? Forget the political posturing. Forget the defense. Forget the "blame game." Forget manipulating the accounting to cover up mistakes. Figure out what went wrong, who hindered who and why, and start making the changes that will prevent these mistakes from being made again. Don't do what we did after 9/11. Don't cover up the truth and concoct new layers of bureaucracy. Trim the fat and empower the people themselves to save lives in their own areas. Streamline government to work with the people in emergencies.
And finally, bring the National Guard home from the war. Americans need them here at home. Stop using the Guard as if it was the regular Army and bring them home to American soil where they belong.
Anyway, that's my take on this. Maybe I'll have more thoughts on it later, but that's it for now.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Flagging Empire

This link is a fairly long read, but it points out a few things I hadn't read before, and a few things I have but you may not have. The tone is a turn-off for a proud American, but if you can get past that, the info is worth reading, and the many opinions stated, worth filing in the databases of our minds.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20050910.wxcover10/BNStory/Front/

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Something Worth Considering

Here's a website worth reviewing in light of the FEMA/Katrina scandal:
http://www.sonic.net/sentinel/gvcon6.html

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

email today

Here is part of an email I received this morning. In the wake of an insane week of the hurricane disaster and of the insanity of $3.62 per gallon gasoline and $2.55 a gallon heating oil and following a week of "vacation" tidying up a potentially self-sufficient house that my nephew is selling, I think maybe it's time for me to admit that there just might be truth to this notion that we need to break free of this idea that corporate globalization is our salvation.
But then again, I did shop in a "co-op" store in Belfast last week and noticed the "fair trade" bananas for $.99 a pound. I didn't buy any.
The email read:
Please join PICA for the 2005 Fair Trade Festival, a free day long festival at Bangor Waterfront Park, Saturday, September 10 from 11am – 6pm. Vendors, craftspeople, musicians, and activists will be coming together to show that another world IS possible when we make the choice to honor workers and the Earth, celebrate diversity, and strengthen local economies by buying fairly traded products. The festival will include:
A keynote address by Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch program (http://www.citizen.org/trade/,) a national and international leader in the movement for a fair economy and against corporate globalization, who will help us envision next steps and new directions for the fair trade movement.
A performance by Rev. Billy and the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir. (http://www.revbilly.com) The Reverend has traveled the world “Transgressing in chain stores, unlocking the hypnotic power of Transnational capital, breaking through the commodity wall,” and is coming to Bangor to help us break free of the curses of corporate dominance and mindless consumption.
Music by Ethan Miller, the Peace Choir, a brass quintet, and more.
A Clean Clothes fashion show featuring the best in sweat-shop free clothing.
Vendors offering art, local and organic food, sweatshop-free clothing, fairly traded coffee, and more.
Children’s activities including face painting.
For more information go to http://www.pica.ws/ftfest2005.htm . Join us to celebrate Bangor's leadership in the movement to build a fair economy!