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.

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Location: Maine, United States

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Red Pill

This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.
-Morpheus, The Matrix
The Blue Pill People
Never take anything for granted nor trust without question. Do I know where this portal leads? Hardly. Will I follow the links? Perhaps...
THE THIRD WAY: Politics Of The Radical Center

The Red Pill

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Surprise!

Man, you never know what you're going to find when you turn over a new stone these days. Here's one for the record books, though. The John Birch Society blog.
http://www.thenewamerican.com/birchblog/

This looks like fun. I'm always wary of "disinformation" when I get into something new, especially if it's seriously critical of the Bush government. I'll bear that in mind, but I think I'll explore this rabbit hole a little bit. Care to join me?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Plame Again

I've almost finished reading Joseph Wilson's book and along comes a completely new angle on the story. But there's something that I just can't figure out at all about this. Well, actually it's two things, but they're related. I must just be blinded by my prejudice.
Conservatives keep saying that the reason the White House kept telling reporters that Wilson's wife was CIA was because it discredited Wilson's objectivity since his wife was an expert in weapons of mass destruction, WMDs. In other words, the message White House officials were feeding the reporters was essentially, "You can't trust that Wilson. His wife's a WMD expert for the CIA. She's the one that recommended him for the Niger investigation."
What is there about that that I just don't get? Why does it discredit Wilson's objectivity even if his wife were somehow involved, which there's no evidence that she was...? But even if she was, why does that discredit Wilson's objective perspective? And this is especially true considering that Wilson was right about Niger. Why was it necessary to the White house to point out to the press that she was CIA?
My second question, and again I must be blinded by my prejudice because I just can't imagine a good answer, is this. If, as the White House now claims, it was perfectly legitimate to do what they did, if Plame wasn't under cover as they claim she wasn't, and if they are innocent because they didn't know she was a covert operative, and if they didn't tell anyone she was, why did they then turn around and mislead the American public, the FBI, the President, and the Grand Jury about their involvement? Why didn't they just come out and tell the truth? Why did they hide the truth?
Even if all they were after was to discredit a political opponent, why did they hide the truth about their involvement if they all knew they hadn't broken any laws? Why did they keep secrets and let it fester into the mess it is today? Why did they deceive the investigators?
Anybody out there got any good ideas?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Double Shot

Last night I drove down to Waterville for a Railroad Square movie date with my daughter. We had debated whether to see the Steve Martin movie Shopgirl or the George Clooney movie Good Night, and Good Luck, about Edward R. Murrow, the CBS commentator who took on Senator Joseph McCarthy's liberal bashing. We chose Clooney's movie.
Laced with political commentary that is as pertinent to today's liberal-bashing atmosphere as it was back in the early 50s, this black-and-white movie placed me right into the CBS studios and back rooms where journalists finally came to terms with McCarthyism and decided to face it head-on.
After the movie, I drifted on up the hill to the Colby College campus and went to a showing of the new movie Walmart: The High Cost of Low Prices. As I sat waiting for the crowd to build before the movie began, one very young lady in the seat in front of me turned to her girlfriends and said, "So, where will we shop after this?" I have an idea that she just might never shop in WalMart again because this was an extremely persuasive movie!
I won't get into details, but I highly recommend this movie. To me, it perfectly exemplifies what I see as the reality behind the applied theory of "Reaganomics." WalMart succeeds by encompassing the full spectrum of Reagan conservative economics, complete with the high-priced CEO whitewashing over all of WalMart's shortcomings, while simultaneously exploiting its workers and even advising them to get onto state aid at taxpayer expense.
I feel like making a big sign for the back of my pickup saying "Boycott WalMart" and finding strategic places to park. If you want your eyes opened, find a place to see this movie.

Monday, November 14, 2005

What If

What if the President - this one or any other - and members of his administration actually were lying about national security issues and were using lies and propaganda to deceive the American people into supporting an immoral agenda? Is there any scenario in which critics of such a lying administration could actually be seen as responsible, patriotic Americans?
I'm not talking about Oval Office blow jobs here either. I'm talking about torturing people. I'm talking about hijacking the U.S. military and using it to further the imperial goals of a wealthy ruling class. I'm talking about serious lies and serious misuse of power.
Is criticism of Bush an exception, an aberration of something that would otherwise be considered the right thing to do? Or is the office of President of the United States above reproach no matter what? What ever became of independent thought and critical thinking? Who swapped my America, the one I grew up in, the one I served my country to defend, the one we always compared against countries in which criticism was not allowed, for this ditto-head one that we have now?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Missing Link

Have you heard the good news? It seems that televangelist and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson has found the missing link between "intelligent design" and God.
From CNN.com:
Robertson warns Pennsylvania voters of God's wrath
"just remember, you just voted God out of your city"
I guess that settles that debate, huh?
Do you suppose that Robertson's mission is apolitical? Do they pay taxes to the IRS?

Women

Boy, some women you just can't trust to be discrete...
Rep. Sherwood Settles Alleged Abuse Suit

Lies Lies Lies

It all depends on what your definition of "is" is and it all depends on what you define a lie to be, but the Washington Post wasn't very impressed with President Bush's Veterans Day speech in which he claimed the high ground with respect to the blundering of pre-war intelligence on Iraq.
Asterisks Dot White House's Iraq Argument
By Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, November 12, 2005; Page A01
Page A01, that's the front page, isn't it?
In the past, the mainstream media would never have covered something like this so blatantly. They knew that if they were critical of the President, they would lose the inside scoop from the White House. But after the Judith Miller fiasco with the New York Times, maybe the mainstream media has lost interest in the inside scoop from the White House. Maybe the media is figuring out that being the voice of propaganda for the White House in a political climate full of propaganda and outright lies isn't healthy for the survival of their reputation as a reliable source of the news. Maybe this article is damage control.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Friendly Foe

President Bush gave a Veterans Day speech today before a friendly crowd in Tobyhanna, PA. A little bit of it was on the nightly news this evening.
Bush used the occasion to proclaim that it is the right of Americans to voice dissent against the Iraq War immediatly before he declared, as usual, that those who do so give comfort to the enemy. Figure that one out. But to what one would assume to be another of the cherry-picked audiences for Bush's propaganda speaches, Bush, referring to the claims that his administration cherry-picked intelligence before the war, said, “While it’s perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began.”
In other words, you can criticize me all you want just as long as you don't call me a liar for misleading you. Dissent all you want as long as you agree that I was as deceived as you were. Don't suspect or investigate because that would be "deeply irresponsible."
One thing that is encouraging, though, is that Republicans are eating this stuff up, loving it. The old George is back! Yea! Rally around your fearless leader, all you faithfuls, while we watch this Titanic split right down the middle and sink to the deepest darkest depths of the cold North Atlantic. We're already rowing the lifeboats as far from this wreck as we can get 'em so don't count on us to come save you. Enjoy the ride, boys.

Deadly Interrogation

Jane Mayer was on Democracy Now today talking about an article of hers in the New Yorker titled "A DEADLY INTERROGATION: Can the C.I.A. legally kill a prisoner?"
When you think about it, this argument about whether our government should give the CIA the right to use certain kinds of non-lethal torture or torture which stops short of doing permanent physical harm is simply a cover-up, another of the many lies of this political season. The discussion bears no relevance to what is actually going on, nor does it bear any relevance to what the proponents actually believe. It is merely a facade, a lie, aimed at silencing any debate about the real agenda of our government.
What I mean by this is that those who are advocating for torture, the Bush Administration and their supporters in Congress along with the public propagandists, really could care less about whether the people being tortured are harmed or killed by their torturers. They perceive the people being tortured as "scum" and therefore care nothing about their welfare or survival.
But while the public propagandists are free to speak the truth about their philosophy, our elected officials know that it would be political suicide to speak the truth about what they really believe. Not only that, but if the truth were to come out, the American people would rise up against it because the majority of the American public still knows the meaning of morality and understands the importance of American law and justice. The American public is wise enough to know that if we create a system that bypasses our system of justice, eventually that system will come back to haunt us here in America.
We recognize fascism when we see it and we are seeing it now in the Republican leadership in Washington.

Veterans

Veterans Lash Out at Loss of Voice on Capitol Hill
Those ungrateful vets...
Always looking for a handout...
Long live King George!!!
3 More Years!! (unless we impeach the bastards)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Lilith

I won't comment on this other than to say that it was a rather interesting read for me. Some things come to us only when we are ready to hear them:
http://www.lilitu.com/lilith/khephprint.html

Intelligent Dover

It's good to see that the people of Dover, PA got the "intelligent design" issue straightened away this week... at the polls:
http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-evo10.html

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Charmed Life

There's this ongoing debate in some circles about whether or not Jesus could have sinned. There seem to be three possibilities. One, of course, is that Jesus was a free man and could have sinned if he had chosen to do so. That's controversial in the sense that it is unimaginable that Jesus could have chosen to sin, but it does allow that Jesus was human and could at least associate with the temptations that we all face as humans.
The second possibility is that it would have been impossible for Jesus to have sinned since he lived not only according to the Jewish Law but also according to divine and absolute morality. In other words, it was impossible for him to violate God's moral law. Jesus was restricted in this sense. Some things he was forbidden and thus incapable of choosing to do. For instance, He was celibate and could not possibly have married or had sex in his life. When Satan tempted him, he could not possibly have accepted Satan's offers.
The third possibility is a little more complex. I think the best way to describe this third possibility is that Jesus led a charmed life. Whatever he chose to do, no matter what he chose, was not sin because Jesus was God and God creates reality as he goes and whatever God chooses to do, by very definition it isn't sin. If it ever had been sin before, when Jesus chose to do it, it ceased to be sin, even if only for Him. The Prophet Mohammed lived just such a life. The Quran was being written during Mohammed's life and some of the Quran was written after the fact to justify what Muhammad had just chosen to do. This seems especially so when you study Mohammed's various wives.
I tend to accept the first possibility, that Jesus didn't sin because he knew the Law and chose to obey it. The second is a possibility also, but I reject the third explanation. I reject the notion that reality exists at the whim of a supernatural being.
I wish I could remember where I read it, but I recently read in someone's blog that he (this blogger) was talking to someone in the White House who was explaining to him about the difference between how it used to be in Washington and how it is now. Basically it went something like this. In the past, the media used to analyze what went on in Washington and report on it to the public. But now, you can analyze Washington reality all you want, but as soon as you do, the reality changes because in the White House, "We now make reality." That isn't word-for-word, but it is how I understood the conversation.
What it means is that the White House is exercising option three above, that reality is conforming to the Bush White House. When Bush said Saddam had WMDs, they existed. When Bush said he didn't, they didn't exist. No problem, no conflict, no worries. Yesterday I heard Bush explaining about the need to get information from the terrorists to protect Americans. Bush was presenting the argument being used to justify the secret CIA torture camps. Then he said basically that whatever we do, we don't torture. When Bush says America doesn't torture, then no matter what America does, it isn't torture. The reality of what torture is shifts with the Bush doctrine.
You see, America, it all depends on what your definition of "is" is.
I'm not sure that the American public is catching on to this yet, but many are becoming suspicious. Many are able to recognize that there's been a major shift in America's policies under Bush, a shift for the worse. Americans are beginning to understand that they don't understand the Republican leadership in Washington and they're beginning to suspect that the problem is a credibility problem. The problem is that whenever we think we're on solid ground, the ground shifts beneath us, and we're realizing that it's an eerie feeling. We're beginning to see that it's because of George Bush and his administration and certain other Republican leaders in Washington that we're getting this creepy feeling.

On Top

Once again, I bring this up on top for all to see. Yesterday I pointed out a story on the blogs and on CNN that it appears the leak of information about the secret CIA-run torture camps in Eastern Europe may have come from a meeting Vice President Cheney had with fellow Republicans on the Hill. One might even note that Trent Lott's discussion is confirmation of those camps: http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/006956.php
Mike made the assumption that I was now saying the leak should be investigated now that it appears a Republican did it. He even calls me "a two-faced rat" presumably because I wasn't interested in seeing this investigated till now:

Oh so now you want an investigation. Before you told me to ignore this topic but now you can't wait to talk about it. How convenient. You once again show how conveniently you can respect or ignore the law depending on how it serves your political views. You are a two-faced rat. It's really quite pathetic how I have become the obsession of your blog. You are a bitter old man upset that he is so insignificant and powerless to shape the world into his twisted view. When I close my door tonight, I will pray for you, Bill. Jesus still loves you.I hope there is an investigation. If they find Cheney leaked the information I hope they throw him in jail. What do you think about that, Bill? But I'm not saying Cheney should resign just because somebody says the leak "may" have come from him. Trent Lott has a lot of political axes to grind ever since the party made him walk the plank over the Strom Thurmand statement.

LOL
You make assumptions, Mike, that aren't true.
You see, Mike, I don't care who leaked this information about America's secret slide into fascism. If it was a Republican, I'm glad, but that's as far as it goes for me. If you want him prosecuted, fine, have at it. But if that is true, and really we don't know yet if it is, then chances are the Republican leadership will cease investigating the "leak."
No, Mike, what is important to me, and I tried to tell you this earlier, is that now we know the truth about our government. Now we know that our government secretly advocates, condones, and carries out torture of prisoners by the CIA. Now we have the information that we need to debate this as a representative democracy. Now the fascists in the White House, Pentagon, and CIA have been exposed for who they are and what they represent.
Why you think, Mike, that I would want anybody investigated, prosecuted, or punished for releasing that truth to the American public is beyond me.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

No...!

Could this be possible? Mike, where are you now? LOL
New "leak" probe exploding in GOP's face. Trent Lott says it was likely GOP Senators, or Cheney, who leaked it

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Mike Way

In comment to my November 4 post titled "Blinded by the Right," Mike posted a comment containing this paragraph:
Jesus would not condone torture. Neither do I. However, what defines torture? In my mind, doing irreversible bodily harm is torture. Making someone "feel" like they are drowning is not torture. Making someone "think" we are going to kill their family is not torture. Putting a gun to their head and telling them cough up the information or die, as long as you don't pull the trigger, is not torture. Forcing them to strip naked and have women laugh at them is not torture. All of these things can be reversed. They are temporary conditions.
Here is a man who not only claims to be a Christian, but actually posts in his blog The Deep Freeze a weekly prayer to his God, the Father of his Savior, Jesus Christ. Yet somehow, Mike seems to be implying that his Lord Jesus wouldn't have any problem understanding America's need to terrorize, demean, demoralize, disgrace, violate, and in any other way torture those we perceive at the moment to be our enemy, as long as we don't do any permanent harm to our enemy's body. Wow, huh? Wow...
Presumably Mike understands The Golden Rule so he understands that whatever we feel we have the right to do to our enemy, we give our enemy assurance that we expect the same in return from them.
Is it any wonder that I have a problem with right-wing Christianity? Mike thinks I just have an anger problem. No, Mike. I have a problem with your immoral religion.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Torture Debate

It is simply unbelievable that our government is debating this at all. Pass the ban, for Christ sake!
Hagel: Torture Exemption Would Be Mistake

Spong

I was just doing the dishes on a Sunday morning and decided to tune in one of my favorite radio stations, WERU, which broadcasts from down on the coast near Ellsworth, Surry or Blue Hill or East Orland, or somewhere like that. One thing about WERU is that I never know what I might hear next on it, but whatever it is, it's likely to be controversial. Today was no exception.
I was greeted part-way into an interview with former Episcopalian Bishop John Shelby Spong who was talking about his new book The Sins of Scripture. Suppose you tuned in to a radio station on a Sunday morning and heard this:
That many churches today practice psychological abuse, convincing members of their utter worthlessness as fallen sinners and their only hope was to remain faithful to the church and its precepts.
That the Apostle Paul was probably struggling with his homosexuality and went through a transition from fighting it legalistically to accepting himself for who he really is.
That the church attempts to saddle us with guilt to control us socially. One source of that guilt is the assumption that Jesus died because of our own sins, thus laying on our shoulders His death. The result is our social obedience to Christianity.
That and more...
Imagine walking into a Bible-believing Christian church of the Evangelical strain and hearing someone speak like this. The congregation would have the man nailed to the cross right then and there, or if not that, thrown out on his ear, wouldn't they? This man was speaking things which for over a decade I have wished I could hear in an actual church, but realized I will never hear that way. I think I'm going to have to read that book.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Ethics Classes

Mike should appreciate this article. It seems that the White House has decided to subject itself to ethics classes with a prime focus on tightening the noose on classified information. According to the Washington Post:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/04/AR2005110402040.html
Somehow I get the impression that the White House uses a different dictionary than I do.
From dictionary.reference.com
ethics
A set of principles of right conduct.
A theory or a system of moral values: “An ethic of service is at war with a craving for gain” (Gregg Easterbrook).
ethics (used with a sing. verb) The study of the general nature of morals and of the specific moral choices to be made by a person; moral philosophy.
ethics (used with a sing. or pl. verb) The rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the members of a profession: medical ethics.
Now I suppose meaning number 3 could apply here, as in "White House ethics." But that assumes that the White House is a profession in itself, which it should not be. Maybe a broader meaning would be "political ethics" but that's what Rove has been all about, and DeLay, defining political ethics standards for a new generation of American politics.
But I don't see in the above definition anything about the ethical importance of keeping state secrets in a democracy.
What I do see, though, in the Washington Post article is more of the same from Bush. More secrecy. And as we all well know, that secrecy is used in the Bush White House to hide unethical activity. So are we to believe there will be any change to that standard after these ethics classes or should we simply accept that there will just be a tighter reign on these unethical secrets?
Oh, and I wonder if Bill Bennett will be hired to teach the courses!!! He wrote the book, after all...
http://www.bennettmornings.com/

Friday, November 04, 2005

Blinded by the Right

Well, here we are again in the middle of a hog fight with Mike. I'll bring this thing back up on top where it can be seen by any of the readers Mike claims I don't have. I refer back to my November 2 posting titled "Pure Black" where I suggested that the secret torture prisons being operated in other countries were reminiscent to me of the Soviets and Nazis, not of the America that I know.
Mike commented, "I guess nobody cares about these types of CIA leaks. Shouldn't anyone who leaked secret information about prison camps be investigated too?"
Mike's comment, for anyone who doesn't easily pick up on these things, is sly and slimy in true form to Rush Limbaugh-style conservative propaganda. Note that in his comment, he doesn't specifically (overtly) attempt to justify the torture camps or defend the fascist Bush regime for authorizing the camps. Mike would never do that. He is too Christian to do such a thing as that, although one should take note of the fact that his comment has the (subversive) effect of invalidating my main point, suggesting a scenario where neither I nor any of my readers nor the majority of the American public should even know about the existence of these torture camps. Mike suggests that whoever revealed to us their existence should be investigated for revealing classified information.
Once again, though, even this point is slimy because this isn't even his point in commenting. I would suggest that Mike could really care less about who revealed the secret and would only want an investigation as retaliation for the investigation of the White House leak against Joe Wilson's wife that is tarnishing the Bush regime now. Mike supports that notion in his second comment when he asks, "Should whoever leaked the locations of the secret camps get the third degree like you have been giving Rove and Libby?"
To Mike and all my other readers, my original post had nothing whatsoever to do with leaking of CIA information even though we might assume that the information asserting the existence of torture camps approved by the Bush Administration may well have become public through a leak of classified information. I would suggest to Mike and anyone else that the existence of these camps has been publicly known for quite some time by many people around the world. What is new is the notion that it is becoming openly controversial in public debate here in the United States. Whether the original information was leaked, observed, reported by detainees, or merely deduced beyond denial really isn't the point. The point is that we now know about it so how, as a civilized society, do we feel about it? Are we fellow fascists with the Bush regime in supporting the need for torture in our prisons or are we true Americans liberated from this repressive and totalitarian approach? Prison torture is nothing new to civilized society. Is it now our choice to embrace it into our own?
Cleverly, and in buckets of red slime, Mike dodges the issue and inverts reality, twisting it to criticize and invalidate the effort to bring to justice those in the Bush White House who by exercising the very same red slime technique used here by Mike revealed classified information about Joe Wilson's wife to discredit and silence Wilson, a critic of the Bush Administration's lies about Iraq, and then lied to investigators and under oath to the Grand Jury to cover up what they had done.
So in one simple sweep of red slime, Mike not only justified the Bush Administration's use of torture as a modern American debriefing technique casting America back to the Dark Ages, he also justified using illegal political slime to silence the critics of this Fascist regime.
I kid you not.
Just who does Mike thinks he prays to, anyway? Mike, do you really expect me to believe that this slime comes from Jesus?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

As If

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051102/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/al_qaida_escape

Pure Black

An Orwellian nightmare conducted by agents of the United States government. Applying the Golden Rule to this story, what would you conclude?
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9890829/
"CIA holds terror suspects in secret prisons: Debate grows within agency about legality, morality of approach"
This is something that throughout my life we Americans have detested, ascribing this sort of thing to the Soviets and before my time to the Nazi Germans. But now most Americans don't even seem concerned that we ourselves are doing it. What has become of us? How did we ever get here and now that we are here, where will the next generation in America take us? At this rate, if these are America's new values, then we will deserve exactly what the world gave to Germany, pure hell.
Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Finally

The big news Friday was the Scooter Libby thing. The big news yesterday was the new nominee for the Supreme Court. Normally that would have swept a lot of the dust from Friday under the carpet. But the big news today was Senator Harry Reid's speech to the Senate before moving to put the Senate into closed session. Read his full statement here:
http://www.tpmcafe.com/story/2005/11/1/144647/999
I am impressed that someone in the Senate finally had the guts to say this!
A small segment of his speech was on Public Television's New Hour tonight, but nowhere near enough. They also showed a short clip of Bill Frist's response. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Frist appeared emotional to me, almost to the point of tears. This hit his leadership hard, no doubt about it.