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

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The First Debate

Last night I watched the first debate of the race to the finish by America's two main candidates for president. You all know that I am an Obama supporter so my impressions will certainly be colored by that fact.
I felt disappointed.
Why? Because I felt that Obama was pulling his punches the very same way that John Kerry pulled his punches back in 2004. Obama was trying not to come across as an attack dog. He was trying to be civil and respectful. McCain, on the other hand, showed no respect at all for his opponent. The moderator, Jim Lehrer from Public Television's News Hour, tried right from the start to get the two candidates to face each other and direct their replies to one another. Obama did that throughout the debate, but he was met by McCain's stubborn refusal to turn and speak to Obama. McCain came across as a snob whose hatred for Obama was so strong that he couldn't even look the man in the eye.
It wasn't that McCain didn't leave the door wide open for Obama to criticize, it's that Obama missed virtually every opportunity he had to point out the open hypocrisy of the McCain campaign - McCain's choice of the earmark queen of the world as his running mate, McCain's inside meddling with the nation of Georgia organized by the lobbyist for Georgia's high level connection to the McCain campaign and leading to the Russian invasion, and McCain's contradictory lobbyist connection to Freddie Mac even when McCain used these issues to attack Obama. In my mind there's simply no excuse for him not pointing out that McCain's positions are hypocritical considering the people he has chosen to be at his side in this campaign.
It seems clear to me that Obama has made a conscious choice not to bring these things up, probably hoping that the Pandora's Box of anti-Obama lies the Republicans are throwing around wouldn't be opened by McCain. Maybe that's good strategy and maybe it isn't. Maybe those outrageous lies need to be exposed for what they are. Maybe Obama can't win this thing if he hides from these lies.
But it was clear to me that Obama was shying away from pointing out McCain's weaknesses last night when he should have been presenting a forceful image of himself as a leader and as a commander. Strike one against Omaba.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bailing Out the Boat

My days of boat bailing go way back. In the 50s and 60s when I was growing up and Wilson Pond was my playground, my dad had a little business going on the side to supplement his meager government retirement as well as to share his love for Wilson Pond. He ran a little boat landing on Wilson Pond where people could come for a day or a weekend or even a week and put their boat in, maybe dock it overnight, maybe even camp out. In those days ten bucks went a long long ways. He also rented three or four old flat-bottomed wooden boats. Every time it rained, someone in our family, often me, would go to the landing and bail out those boats using old one-gallon oil cans with their tops removed and their rims bent into a V. If it had rained hard enough, we might bring a larger bucket.
This proposed government bailout of Wall Street has absolutely no similarities to bailing out those boats. Yes some would have you think that Wall Street is just about to sink into the Atlantic unless we begin bailing like madmen. I tend to think that's not the case. The Dow is still hovering around 11,000. It's still inflated by all the easy money of the Clinton and Bush years. And then there's all that money that the Bush tax cuts put in the hands of the wealthiest Americans. There's a lot of money still out there. Real estate prices are still well up there in the housing bubble range. They haven't dropped to pre-bubble levels. Gold is up. Energy is up. New car lots are full of gas-guzzlers still. Our highways are clogged with SUVs and full-sized pickups. There's no panic for lack of money.
No, this bailout isn't because Wall Street is going under. It's not.
This bailout is the golden parachute for the outgoing Bush team.
Bush is asking Congress to hurry up and pass legislation that puts $700 billion borrowed dollars, borrowed from God knows whom, into the hands of the Bush team as a blank check with no oversight and no legal recourse in case of abuse. It's the biggest bank heist in the history of the world if Congress goes ahead with Bush's demands.
Why does that come as no surprise to me. Bush is on his way out of Washington. Why shouldn't I expect him to suck the treasury dry on his way out the door? It's become the American way.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

POW

Have you ever wondered how it came to be that John McCain was actually in charge of his release date when he was a North Vietnamese POW? I mean, it is McCain's claim and now the claim of the Republican Party that John McCain is a genuine war hero because he refused to be released out of sequence, refused an early release. How did he do that? How was it that the North Vietnamese weren't in control of the release date? What authority did McCain have over the North Vietnamese in this matter?
Well it turns out that McCain has other problems as well concerning American POWs after the end of the war. An online article in The Nation Institute dated September 18, 2008, claiming to be an expanded version of an October 6, 2008 article in The Nation, delves into McCain's record in Congress of obstructing the POW/MIA movement.
John McCain a war hero? Yeah right. Not quite the right stuff for that claim to hold water.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I'm Melting! I'm Melting!

As we sit by our TV sets watching the meltdown of Wall Street, things are going on behind the smokescreen.
Make sense of this one!
I don't think I heard any mention of this in the media in the coverage of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy over the weekend. I'm no money guru but doesn't this Bloomberg report say that this $138 billion in loans to Lehman Brothers since the bankruptcy was immediately repaid by the Federal Reserve Bank? Isn't the Federal Reserve Bank the one that insures all of our FDIC backed bank deposits? Um, gee guys, but is that the money I'm supposed to feel good about?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Christian Liars

For many years I have wondered what sort of rationalization it takes for Christians to tell lies. Somehow lying isn't that much of a sin in Christianity. It's seen as somewhat of a Santa Claus thing, it's OK to do it as long as someone benefits from it. But why? Why isn't lying just as much a sin as any other sin? Why doesn't the truth matter for Christians?
If you approach a Christian with this thesis, she will deny it. She will look at you as though you've lost your mind. She doesn't lie. Bush doesn't lie. McCain doesn't lie. Palin isn't telling lies. But in even my own personal experience working for Christians and having Christians in my extended family, I know how easy it is for these Christians to repeat obvious lies. And the lies clearly benefit the liars.
I'm not talking about run-of-the-mill liberal Christians here either. I'm talking about Bible-thumping right-wing "fundamentalists" who point fingers when they see sinners. I'm talking about right-to-lifers and anti-gay activists, people who are delighted to commit themselves or their children to the mission field. I'm talking about solid "family values" Republicans. I'm talking about people who you would think would know that the Bible doesn't advocate lying. Or am I wrong about that? Does the Bible justify lying for Christians? If so, where? Give me book, chapter, and verse.
This weekend something relating to this occurred to me that I hadn't really paid much attention to before.
Years ago, fundamentalist preachers used to preach and write about how Christians need to separate themselves from the world. God's domain is heavenly. The world belongs to Satan. Christians need to separate themselves from Satan's realm, die to it spiritually, and be born again into God's heavenly realm, not through physical death but through the "born-again" experience of salvation and righteous church-based living and fellowship.
I don't attend church anymore, but in the trailing years of my church attendance there was some controversy over that concept of separation. It was argued that Christians couldn't effectively witness to the "unsaved" if they were separated from them and if they held themselves to somehow be living more righteously when in truth we all know we are sinners. Salvation-based righteousness seemed hypocritical to the unsaved even if not to the saved. Because of this controversy, the idea of Christian separation from the world slipped into the shadows. It became, for those who still believed it, something that was kept in the closet.
But the basic concept that there is God's heavenly realm and then there is the world has remained strong in right-wing Christianity. And it is clearly understood that when you pray or when you read your Bible or when you fellowship with your Christian brothers and sisters you don't lie. You are in the presence of God or the Holy Spirit when you do those things and lying in that presence would of course be a sin.
But outside of that realm, when you are in the world, dealing with worldly ideas and powers and problems, you aren't dealing with God. Satan rules the world. The Bible tells you so. So how can it be considered a sin to lie to Satan?
So I ask again. Give me book, chapter, and verse to justify telling lies to the world. Clearly you do it for your own personal gain. Explain why that is not tarnishing your soul when you do it, when you make that bargain with the Devil. We all stand at the crossroads every day, every moment of our lives. We all face the same temptation - join Satan in the bargain and gain personally in the world or stand with God and your commitment to truth and suffer the consequences. Where in the Bible are you told to strike that bargain with the Devil?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bush Doctrine

The bloggers on the left have for days been discussing how Sarah Palin fumbled her way through the Charlie Gibson questions about the "Bush doctrine." But I have to give the credit here to Palin. If someone sat me down and in the middle of an interview asked me what my views were of the Bush doctrine, I wouldn't have a clue what I was being asked about. I might ask instead of trying to pretend I knew, but I don't think the Left is winning anyone from the center or the Right with all this criticism. Chances are most Americans are as clueless to this phrase as I am and would side with Palin in this criticism.
There was another similar situation in the Gibson interview regarding "entitlements." I still haven't figured out what that's about but something about Social Security and Medicare not being entitlements? What the f***... Coulda fooled me!
Are the left trying to outsmart themselves or something? This is a sure course to defeat if they are. Palin may be somewhat clueless but so are the people who will elect her to the White House. We aren't winning any political points by pointing out that she is clueless about the things the majority of Americans are clueless about.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Low Blow

I stumbled on a YouTube video yesterday that's hilarious. It's hard to imagine this being doctored footage but who knows anymore. Anything's possible. The way Cindy McCain's expression changes and she shifts on her feet and looks aside makes me think she knows what she's dealing with here.
Have a look.
John McCain's Wandering Eyes
Running mate or playmate? It doesn't look to me like Sarah is all that turned on about McCain's softer side.

Friday, September 12, 2008

War the First Option

I didn't watch the Charlie Gibson interview with Sarah Palin but I've read and watched excerpts of it. This exchange caught my attention:
***
GIBSON: Do we have the right to be making cross-border attacks into Pakistan from Afghanistan, with or without the approval of the Pakistani government?PALIN: Now, as for our right to invade, we're going to work with these countries, building new relationships, working with existing allies, but forging new, also, in order to, Charlie, get to a point in this world where war is not going to be a first option. In fact, war has got to be, a military strike, a last option.
***
Palin has the appearance of being a yellow-ribbon "Support the Troops" ditto head of Rush Limbaugh and George W. Bush but on this one point she seems to be on a plank of her own. The way she framed her answer where she says we need to "get to the point... where war is not going to be the first option" would seem to imply that we aren't at that point now. We are not now at the point where war is not the first option. To phrase it without the double negative, we are currently at a point where war is a first option. We need to work toward changing this, but this is where it stands right now.
This stands in sharp contrast to what the Bush administration has been saying for the past six years. The Bush gang has been assuring us that war has to be the last option. Even Obama agrees on that point. But Palin says we aren't there now. Palin says we have to work with our allies and work on building new relationships before we can reach that point, that in fact as it now stands war is our first option.
I wonder if anyone else picked up on Palin's comment. Did she misspeak or is this how she actually frames the issue in her mind? And if this really is how she thinks about this, is she right? Is war the first option under Bush?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Evidence

I have been following the rumors that have been circulating around the Internet suggesting that Sarah Palin lied about giving birth to Trig, that Trig is instead Bristol's baby. All speculation on this seemed to end when Bristol's parents and the McCain campaign announced that Bristol is herself now pregnant, five months along, making it impossible for her to be Trig's mother. For most, that was evidence enough, but for me, that was campaign related and furthermore relied on the honesty of the one whose honesty was in question, circular reasoning.
I've been keeping my eyes open for any evidence that might help settle this question. The evidence would need to come from an independent source, not from Palin herself and not from the McCain campaign. So what is this evidence? It isn't strong but it certainly seems to be real and independent. It is a letter from a Wasilla resident Anne Kilkenny. Snopes.com confirms Kilkenny's letter.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

2008 Fly-in Weekend

It's Saturday morning in Greenville, Maine, home of the Seaplane Pilots Association International Seaplane Fly-In. This year is the 35th year of this event. How time flies!
I'm not a pilot and this fly-in originated and remains primarily a pilot event, but it has become a major tourist attraction here in Greenville extending the summer tourist season by one week. Fly-in weekend is always the weekend after Labor Day come rain or shine, come doggy summer heat or chilly Arctic cold, come hurricane too. This year it's Gustav and Hanna whose effects are supposed to blow by later tonight, or tomorrow. But the weather was good yesterday for flying in and is supposed to be good today for the fun.
There was a stiff southwesterly wind yesterday. I came into town around 2:00 PM to check on a few things and had a treat from the top of Indian Hill. I'd just come out of the credit union and was about to get back in my car when I heard a roar in the distance from the direction of the Junction Cove. I looked westward just as a very large Grumman Albatross rose up above the tree line on what appeared must have been a southerly take-off run. Its engines were roaring and continued to roar as the pilot sharply banked the huge plane eastward, still in his bank as he went just south of me at maybe 600 feet above the ground. Not fighting gravity the pilot let his nose drift level and then begin to drop as the plane turned northward and dropped out of sight below the tree line heading up the lake over the East Cove. Where is that camera when you need it!!
This is also air show weekend down at the Brunswick Naval Air Station but do they have a crafts fair down there? Sure they have the Blue Angels but do they have a bomb drop contest like ours? Do they compete to see which canoeist/pilot team is the fastest to get out to a dock, strap the canoe to the plane's floats, fast taxi around a pylon, and get that canoe back to land right in front of the crowd who are still trying to dry off from the spray the airplane kicked up when it blasted its way out into the lake? And all this is just the side show. The main event is having all those beautiful airplanes and all their rigging filling the Fish and Game's Stobie Hanger, the East Cove, the municipal airport, and the air all around Moosehead Lake.
I wonder if anybody blogs these fly-ins. Someone really should.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Convention VP Speech

I just watched Sarah Palin's acceptance speech at the Republican convention. I have to admit, this lady wins hands down. I wouldn't want to be running anywhere against her. I'd lose for sure. She has a certain appeal that can't be denied. She's fierce. What was that joke she told? What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick. She had her lipstick on for sure.
But something just occurred to me. For anyone concerned that John McCain would be George Bush's third term? Heck, there's no comparison at all now that Sarah has arrived on the scene. This woman IS George Bush the Third! She is completely convincing to anybody who listens to political speeches without trying to fill in the gaps the speakers deliberately and cleverly leave out. If you don't ask who, what, when, where or why, this one is for you.
In fact the whole Republican convention is for you. There have been so many lies spun out from that podium this week it makes my head spin! But oh the cheers! My how those Republicans love to hear those lies! It's almost like wouldn't it be cool if McCain actually did win so we could actually live the proof that this is all just a pack of lies. But you know, we did that in 2004 and nobody in that party learned a thing. This is 2004 all over again. Four more years all over again.