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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lost - general

Christian- where is his body?? - airline lost the casket in season 6- season 1 Jack found the casket, but his body wasn’t there- he has been seen in the cabin and talking to Rousseau-esque Claire

Don’t know if this is significant or just the real life and on screen pervasive theme of women’s fathers thinking the prospective husband is not good enough… Desmond with Penny’s father (Widmore) is like Jin’s trouble with Sun’s father. Both seek jobs with the father-in-law and marry their daughters. In Desmond’s case, he marries Penny eventually against all odds and Widmore’s various efforts (boat race, refusing to give his blessing to an engagement) and doesn’t end up working for him. Did Widmore move the island to keep Penny away from Desmond? In Jin’s case, he agrees to work in Sun’s father’s business doing hit jobs, extortion, etc and becomes like Sun's father and a man Sun can’t respect. Widmore and Sun’s father have some connection- I can’t remember what- business?- but Sun finds Widmore through her father I think. Does this have any foreshadowing or clues for our convoluted plot’s resolution?

Ben appeared to know everything, but we find he knows nothing and lied about being able to see Jacob in the past. He seems to be a chronic liar- is this because he’s an evil force in the good vs evil theme or is he lying for the greater good somehow. Like the pressing need some feel to kill those infected or compromised- Rousseau probably killed her team, Dogen tried to get Jack to kill Sayyid.

Why didn’t Ben’s cancer heal or not happen on the island - Locke can walk, Rose went into remission/ why did he get spinal cancer anyway/ Natural causes? Something related to the Big Game?/ Punishment?/ Is it related to why he seems to be in charge or seemed to be chosen- maybe he was- but did something that got him demoted and the change or thing he did resulted in him getting cancer.

Many think Unlocke was in Christian at that point, but why take Christian’s body but make a copy of Locke?

Why can smoke monster kill in smoke form, but not in human (or at least Locke’s) form?
Ben and Alpert have seemed like they knew a lot at times, but Unlocke reveals that they don’t know anything; they’ve just been running Jacob’s errands no questions asked. Ben had Widmore exiled for breaking the rules, so perhaps he wanted to take Widmore’s place, but knew he wasn’t a candidate or supposed to?


Whidmore has connections to a lot of characters- he fathered Farraday with Eloise and Penny with someone else off island...hmm

There is a focus on Jack, too. His half sister is Claire, His dead dad is walking around on the island, Jacob is trying hard to get him to realize what he needs to do- whatever that is.

When Ben first meets his "daughter" Alex:
“Ben was angered that Widmore had not informed him of the baby prior to accepting the mission. Widmore demanded that Ben kill her, claiming it to be the will of Jacob. Ben refused, and instead proposed that if it were indeed the will of the Island, Widmore should be able to do it instead.”
–Lostpedia

Another parallel incident is when Alpert brings wounded young Ben to the Others camp to be healed and Widmore is upset about it. Lostpedia says Alpert tells Widmore it's Jacob's orders...but he could be lying and it would fit a pattern with Jacob and Ben lying. But if Widmore is as big as I am thinking, wouldn't he know what Jacob wants and what the real deal is??

Whidmore seems to be in charge in 1989 when Ben and Ethan were told to kill Rousseau. In 1954 Whidmore was young and under Alpert’s command. Where is Alpert in 1989? Whidmore seems to be under the same rules as Unlocke when the boy tells him “you can’t kill him” and Ben when he seems not able to kill Whidmore even when he had the opportunity off island.

More on rules like “you can’t kill him”:“Some time after the Purge, Ben had Widmore exiled from the Island and supplanted him as leader of the Others. As Widmore was led to the submarine by armed guards, Ben came to say farewell. Widmore, however, felt Ben had come to "gloat" about his victory in having him exiled. Widmore had been exiled for "breaking the rules": namely, for regularly leaving the Island, and for having a family off the Island (specifically, a "daughter with an outsider"). Widmore scornfully told Ben that one day he would have to choose between Alex and the Island. He was then led to the submarine and exiled. ("Dead Is Dead")” --Lostpedia

Desmond- the rules don’t apply to him, he travels through time a number of times at will- as opposed to Losties which flash through time randomly (could these be linked?)- because he wants to change things and be with Penny, he saved Charlie a number of times. He eventually ends up with Penny and their kid on a boat, happy. What does this have to do with the major story of the Losties?

Candidates and recruits mentioned...significant difference or are they recruited to be candidates?Candidates seem to refer to Jacob's replacement as island protector or keeper of the rules? And Ilana said Unlocke was recruiting...for what? I hope it's not for a major war like some are predicting. I think that would be pretty lame.

Is the island really just an island or is that a lie by Unlocke to ensure Sawyer continues to want to get off the island?

Lost-The Substitute

The Substitute-

First, off I thought smoke monster vision was pretty fun. Better than the underwater view in the premier. I'll cut them slack on those special effects, though. It's a great thought-provoking show.

Helen told Locke they should elope and pick up his dad on the way. Do Locke and dad have a good relationship- he didn’t abandon and or steal kidney? If that’s true, are Sawyer’s parents still alive since Locke’s dad didn’t kill them? And Sawyer didn’t write the revenge letter and maybe he’s at peace and not a con man? And if Locke and dad have a good relationship, why is he still in a wheelchair if dad didn’t push him out of a window? Rose went to a faith healer as the reason to go to Australia- it would be funny if after getting denied the Walkabout and still ditching the conference Locke heard about the same faith healer and thought why not (ties into wanting to walk Helen down the aisle, talk of destiny, he had faith in the island, why not try God in the flash sideways? etc)- don’t know what it would have to do with unraveling our so far convoluted plot, but might be fun to see another coincidence or connection between characters

When Unlocke returns to Sawyer from chasing the "you know the rules" boy, Sawyer asks if he found the kid and Unlocke asks "what kid?" and acts like he doesn't know what he's talking about.
It struck me as significant, but I don't know why.


My husband seems to think Unlocke said that simply because he knows the kid wasn't really a kid (he's something in a kid's body), just like Unlocke isn't really Locke. If that's the case, why wouldn't he say "that's not a kid" like Claire did of Unlocke- and she followed that up with "that's my friend". Maybe that's not Unlocke's style, but he seems in the mood to answer an awful lot of Sawyer's questions (why not this one?)- admitting he's dead and not Locke, he's experienced human emotions before, he showed the cave with the list, so I think there's another explanation.

--A few of my ideas on why Unlocke was playing dumb:

He could be trying to make Sawyer forget about the kid, but if so, it would be disappointing - Sawyer and Unlocke already had the exchange about the fact that Sawyer could see him, why play dumb now?

Maybe Unlocke didn't see the kid as a kid (maybe something scarier- though a kid with blood on his hands is pretty scary), but everyone else who can see him sees a kid

The Unlocke that comes back from going to find the kid is a different person or different somehow than the one we have been seeing and legitimately doesn't know "what kid" Sawyer's talking about

Unlocke knows Alpert was near - he asks Sawyer who he's talking to - and doesn't want Alpert to know about the vision of the kid for whatever reason- i.e. regardless of whether or not Alpert can see the kid, perhaps he knows what seeing the kid would mean and Unlocke doesn't want that to happen

Unlocke knows Alpert was near and since Sawyer wouldn't tell him who, Unlocke also decides to play dumb and not answer his question

-- Geranimo Jack’s Beard (Jorge Garcia's podacest) talked about it and in stage directions it said ‘touche’, so maybe it’s not that significant after all.

Lost- The Lighthouse

In the first season or two, I did this for a few episodes to keep myself straight on what's going on. Then, I got a little fed up with not getting any answers and realizing it was going ot be more sci fi than I would have liked so I kept saying I was going to stop watching. But, it's the last season, and I'm back on board. I'll now join the thousands of people giving their 2 cents on this show...


The Lighthouse

Christian's will- the Arabic writing is "Jacob". Is it a legal mix up? Are they the same person?

This is just interesting, not really a Lost question…In Jorge Garcia (Hurley)’s podcast, Geronimo Jack’s Beard, he told us Jacob’s instructions on his arm are a water tattoo so they’d stay on better than pen and they had him write it out himself. It was too neat at first- they wanted it to be sloppier so if people hit pause they couldn’t read it completely, though he didn’t think there was anything but the instructions to the lighthouse and didn’t seem to be saying *we’ll see*, wink, wink or anything.


Another interesting thing was what Dogen said to Hurley when he was told by Jacob to get out of the temple and find the lighthouse. Three translations from Japanese, depending on who you ask:

"You're lucky that I have to protect you. Otherwise I'd have cut your head off."
"I don't know who's protecting you, but I guess you're lucky"
"you are lucky i have to protect you. otherwise i would have cut your head."


Unlocke, Sawyer and Claire seem to be a team of sorts. Sawyer’s the only normal one, though, with Unlocke not really being Locke and Claire being crazy or compromised (Dogin told Jack the same thing that is happening to Sayyid happened to Claire already). Do you just have to be willing, regardless of whether your body is inhabited or you’re crazy? Why is Sawyer normal and still with these two? Will Sawyer be killed or compromised to really be on the" team"?

I wonder what will become of Jin. Jin's playing along with Claire at this point, telling her what she wants to hear so she won't get angry and go nuts. Unlocke had a look on his face- not mad- not happy- more like "fancy meeting you here" and "I know something you don't know and aren't going to like."

Now for the best part of the episode- The names on the lighthouse wheel and mirrors

List of cave and lighthouse names and numbers
http://lostpedia.wikia.com/wiki/Candidates

Above the mirror, backwards= "show not your face, but your daddy issues."
Is this more significant than just pointing out many of the daddy issues on the show? I doubt it, but it was fun to hear the references. I'm not that familiar with Alice in Wonderland and less so with Harry Potter, but apparently people see similarity. For Alice it's the reading in the mirror and for Harry Potter there is a mirror that says "Show not your face, but your heart's desire" or something.

Jacob’s list/Losties- Jacob physically touched certain people. Alpert watched or found or was sent to find Locke when he tested him and he chose a compass or something. Alpert seemed important at this point, but not so much when Unlocke laughs at him for carrying out Jacob’s orders without knowing or trying to find out why.
*My husband with the perfect memory reminded me that when Locke was time traveling, he told Alpert certain things to look for. Now I think that when they actually happened, Alpert (and others) must have tought he was Somebody, like he knew what was up with Jacob and the lists and such, but really he was just nobody. Kind of like when I thought Ben was Somebody and was seeing/ communicating with Jacob, but when Locke appeared on the scene, we saw that Ben (and Alpert for that matter) wasn't anybody and everyone kind of thought Locke was Somebody instead because of what he saw and heard from Jacob.

Names crossed off in the cave and lighthouse- Does it mean they failed, aren’t candidates anymore or that they have accomplished their purpose? Apparently there are some crossed off who are alive or the other way around. Jacob is really trying in this episode to get Jack to realize what he has to do, whatever that is. Why is Jack so important? Will him realizing his purpose help the other not crossed off Losties see their purpose? Is their purpose about the island (protecting it, hiding it, destroying it, etc) or realizing something about themselves so they can go back off the island and be better people?

2 questions from candidates link
1. In "I Do", Danny Pickett mentioned that "Shephard wasn't even on Jacob's list".

It has been said and I agree that Ben could have told them to take Jack even thought he wasn’t on Jacob’s list because Ben wanted Jack to take out the tumor. BUT…

2. In "Par Avion", Mikhail states that Kate is not on the list because she is "flawed"; Sayid is not on the list because he is "weak and frightened"; and Locke is not on the list because he is angry.

I need to go back and see what the deal is with Mikhail. I don’t remember his story very well.

Their names were in fact on the cave wall and or lighthouse wheel. Were their names on Jacob’s list or did Ben or Alpert or someone lie and tell them they weren’t for some reason? Were they originally not on the list, but were added- doesn’t make sense because it seems you’d have to renumber…

Ben and his Others that he seemed to be in charge of at the time we saw the book club and New Otherton seemed to use satellite info, going off island, and other ways of gaining intelligence about the Losties.

Could the lighthouse wheel and mirrors be the way they via Alpert via Jacob knew this stuff
or did Ben or Alpert know about the wheel and he made the files that way?


BUT wheel showed Jack his childhood home and various buildings that represent other people as it turned. Can you actually spy on people or does it show something specific relating to what the individual needs to see to accomplish this thing Jacob is trying to get Jack to realize? Does it show just inanimate objects or people also- didn’t see any people in the mirrors as of yet?

Interesting line- Unlocke makes a point to say" that’s not your house" to Sawyer's New Otherton house- Is that to guide/nudge him off the island and remind him he doesn’t belong- true, he already want to get off since Juliet’s gone...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mossad and its murders

**I don't think the link feature is working today. I don't have time to fix it manually right now. You'll have to copy and paste to see the links I guess.

This is something I was thinking about when I wrote the thing on the recent Mossad success or failure- depending on what you think should have been the end- murder or murder and secrecy.


In most publications, the murder of Naim Khader and other moderates has been attributed to Abu Nidal as kind of a collaborator killing type of thing. I think Khader was working unofficially on a peace deal with Israel with the help of Europeans or the UN or something.

http://www.wrmea.com/archives/november02/0211048b.html


In Victor Ostrovsky's book, By Way of Deception, among other observers, there is another school of thought- that Mossad was responsible. The first link below explains it rather well why this is more plausible than the typical Palestinian extremists killed the moderates line.

http://randompottins.blogspot.com/2008/04/voice-that-was-silenced.html


http://www.uruknet.info/index.php?p=62595

Thoughts on "The Heart of Liberalism..."

This is a draft that has been in my folder for 9 moths or so. I was conflicted about putting it out there because I thought maybe I should go to the author to express my concerns, but on the other hand the article is out in the public domain and this is just my take on it. Plus, the number of people with the author's point of view is not small, so it may be a relevant thing to put out there and discuss in a bigger format than just a confrontation of reader to author. If anyone has thoughts on that, definitely write me. I may yet contact the author or publication (if it's the right thing to do), but it may have to come from a less emotional place...

Anyway, here it is:


I read an article in the June 2009 issue of the Carolina Messenger that reinforced the fact that you should be reading the Bible more than bothering with Christian publications, no matter how sound or great a preacher they might be. I suppose since the article had this effect, one could argue that it did some good. But, I think the article wasn’t exactly on target and it generally just ruffled my feathers.

'The Heart of Liberalism...' was the title, and I should have just stopped there. If one has read enough (conservative) religious material, one can see where this is going.

Before I go further and get off my chest what is bothering me about this, I will say that I imagine (and hope) it was well-intentioned and did eventually make a few points I wholeheartedly agree with. The point was slow in coming (as it started out with politics) and not as clear as it could have been (as it only discussed liberalism and not all political persuasions and/or man made teachings), but I did see a point. This point is:
When liberalism attacks or replaces the foundation, it becomes a cancer. I agree. Though, I fully believe the Bible can withstand attacks and I hope people question and search the scriptures and don't take people's word as gospel. But, where the article isn't completely honest is that this is true for conservatism or any other belief system as well as liberalism.

I do think it was too broad in that it began with politics and moved to the church, which I don’t think was especially factual except in certain cases (a trend toward “change” that translates to denominationalism among some in the church). Or perhaps the wrong definition or impression of liberal was applied. Political liberalism is not the same force as the "agents of change" or the force that would like to see compromise on scripture such that everyone is right and truth is not absolute. The two are often confused and I think this is where some begin to see some political issues get pulled in- like unregulated free market is good versus whatever liberals want is evil, etc.

The article rather one-sidedly also focused on evils of liberalism when certain evils being spoken about (anarchy, going to extremes, bringing politics into the church, losing focus on Christ and his message in favor of said political views) are equally true of conservatism or other political and assorted movements.

Calling liberalism a "religion" and "war cry" (to quote the article) could be said of the conservative movement as well. In fact, I think allying with denominations on certain elements we have in common- Jesus as the Christ, being against abortion and gay marriage/rights could lead us to adopt their agenda which is often influenced heavily by premil doctrine (think blind support of Israel). I think it has led some well meaning members of the church to go off course in advocating other denominational/premil side issues like fear of a conspiratorial New World Order, fear of UN strength, various Obama urban legends (birth certificate isn't real, he's really a Muslim but doesn't want you to know that, etc), obsession with support for Israel to name a few. Perhaps snuggling up to denominations has created a false division among political lines in the church that really shouldn't be there. Just as liberals have to be careful they don't compromise on truth to keep peace or seek change over God's old and consistent truths, conservatives also have to beware of their political bedfellows and not let it influence or replace God's word as their focus.


Some choice quotes that got me going:

He calls peace "the Big Deal,". He also says that now "it's all about 'peace'." Like peace is an unrealistic childish fad he hopes will go away soon. The flippant attitude toward peace is quite appalling. Is peace so contemptible? I understand and agree that we must not compromise our Bible beliefs to keep the peace, but as far as politically where we aren't dealing with the church and compromising truth, what's so bad about peace?? Must we be ready to fight and up in arms at the smallest thing? What about as much as it depends on us be peaceable to all men? Must we invade every country that doesn't "look right" to us and impose our will and our style of freedom and government on them? I felt like he was alluding the the "liberal" anti-war protest for Iraq, but I don't know if he was. That was far from bleeding heart. People are always right to question and find the truth and once we did, we had good reason to oppose the war. It wasn't about pacifism for a lot of folks. It was the reason, or lack thereof, for the war. I'm getting off topic again...

you cannot get a dedicated liberal to stand by your side in any real struggle for right

safety in overthrowing parents, private property and patriotism (?? )

"acquiesce to the Moslems for peace" even if we lose religious freedom (?? )

liberals believe: don't believe anything so much you go to war over it

liberals have a blanket disregard for anything worth dying for


And then we come to the last premise. The one that begins in the title- "The heart of liberalism
is not the heart of Christ." I don't know that Christ would have advocated either movement, liberal or conservative. Would Jesus have protested war? Probably not. Would he have condemned or belittled people who valued peace or the idea of peace, though? I doubt that as well.

Nothing says tolerance like building on a cemetery...

Take a look at the building. Now that's some in your face tolerance!
http://www.ipcri.org/files/unbuilt.html
The BBC link below has an aerial view.


Maybe this is just one of those definitions you have to learn to understand the conflict. Demographic time bomb means Palestinians having babies (faster than Jews). Natural growth in settlements means stealing more land. Tolerance means disturbing your neighbors' remains and topping it with a giant, gaudy building. Here are some more examples:
http://www.counterpunch.org/rooij0912.html


Whether you call it an Occupation or insist Israel gave up control of most a few years ago, Israel controls the entire West Bank and Gaza- who and what goes in and out, who is an acceptable elected leader, who can go where and when, they control borders, airspace, sea. Give them the cemetery for crying out loud! We in the US aren't allowed to build on Native American burial grounds as far as I know. It's the least people who tried to annihilate another can do.


A guest on this segment of Democracy Now is Rashid Khalidi, one of a handful or guys Palin
tried to vilify in 2008. I hope she gave him more name recognition. Once people see what he's about, they will see that he's not a terrorist and he makes a lot of great points about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


A sign in this BBC link hits the nail on the head:
'Israeli Racist Occupation Violates the Dead as well as the Living'

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Killing one bird with several stones...

I apologize for so many links, but on a story like this, you’re going to have to read from more than one angle to get any real details or anything that makes sense.

Edit: I apologize as well for not telling you what this post is about! There was a murder of a Hamas man in Dubai. About 4 actually did the deed. Apparently a cloud of 6-12 Israeli dual citizens have fake passport troubles (and may have helped in surveillance and other ways) in relation to this case.

Several birds, one stone
http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2010/984/re63.htm

(Interesting and plausible idea that Israel is trying to provoke militants- Israel can claim they weren’t involved in this and so the attack would be “unprovoked” – little, tiny, innocent Israel remains the eternal victim)

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1150126.html


http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=168902


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8518481.stm


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35426268/ns/world_news-mideastn_africa/



I wonder what the US response to this blow up will be? Hmm

A) Not our problem. No comment. We’ve got an economic crisis to take care of.
(Look how little was done about the non-violent American protester, Rachel Corrie, the IDF killed, not to mention we can't really criticize the extra judicial killing of people we deem terror suspects given our current foreign entanglements)

B) Nothing publicly, but to Israel we tell them they’d better keep this stuff more secret because it has the potential to make us look really bad (like they care- we always assume they do)

C) A public statement that our position remains that both sides must take (keep taking) steps to achieve peace.


Mossad has to be responsible. They have targeted political leaders and those working on a peace deal for murder in the past. Look at who the victim is. Not exactly spotless. There's no question Mossad is involved.

Evidence is also said to point to a "European hit squad." I guess it could be a weapons deal gone wrong, but a Palestinian in weapons has an Israeli target on the back of his head from day 1. Israel will know where he is and want him dead, so I have no doubt that Mossad offed him. Intervening or aiding a weapons deal gone wrong would have provided the perfect cover, but the ID theft thing appears to be the cover. The independent European hit squad is highly questionable. I think either Mossad is the European hit squad, they formed the hit squad or they teamed up with them to do this hit. The Mossad has a hand (or at least a listening device) in everything.

Some will think I've lost it for saying Mossad is everywhere and sayanim help them stay (or appear) inside the law. It sounds unreal and conspiratorial, I know. If you’ve read anything about past Mossad operations, though, Ostrovsky’s book or accounts of Mossad encounters from US government officials, you’ll know I’m not delusional!


Here are a few ideas for possible explanations I had when I read about the faked passports:

“Stolen” identities
  • The ID theft victims are sayanim and actually volunteered their old passports
  • Members of the stolen identity victims’ families are sayanim and gave passports without the knowledge of the ID theft victims
  • Mossad stole dual citizens’ (old?) passports
  • If the identity theft victims are actually involved (Mossad ends up being not as amateur as they are looking) with Mossad in more than just a sayanim or helper capacity.

Here are my ideas on …

Why Mossad got caught:

  • They aren’t as good as they used to be in the pre-1980s era
  • They wanted to be caught on camera for some reason (i.e. to help with an ID theft conviction )
  • They don’t care if they’re caught because, honestly, no one can or will really do anything about it
  • It’s harder to fake passports than it used to be
  • The ID theft victims are actually involved somehow, but that’s how the Mossad plans to get out of trouble- let some (possibly disgruntled or less than perfect) agents take the fall for ID theft rather than admit to being caught assassinating another Palestinian political or military “target” without charge or trial and committing illegal acts on foreign soil.


Several of the ID theft victims have spoken to the media. Laying the groundwork for the ID theft story. I wonder if what they say will shed any light on the situation. Probably not. They'll get whacked if they say anything useful. Or suffer the fate of Mordecai Vanunu.


Melvyn Adam Mildiner is widely mentioned and quoted:

"I don't know how this happened or who chose my name or why, but hopefully we'll find out soon,"

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100216/od_uk_nm/oukoe_uk_uae_hamas_israel



There are apparently at least 3 other dual citizens in Mildiner’s position: Michael Lawrence Barney and Stephen Hodes.


My blog posts about Israel spying and assassinating and such:


http://notanotherpoliticalblog-j.blogspot.com/2009/10/israel-doesnt-spy-on-us.html


http://notanotherpoliticalblog-j.blogspot.com/2009/10/another-israeli-spy.html


http://notanotherpoliticalblog-j.blogspot.com/2008/04/american-accused-of-giving-nuclear.html


A Mossad hit from two years ago- not sure I wrote about this one:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-514130/Did-Mossad-blow-Hezbollah-Master-Terrorist-kidnapped-Terry-Waite.html



You may remember other Mossad antics:

Lillehammer- oops we extra-judicially assassinated the wrong guy

The New Zealand passport debacle. NZ took it harder than the US does.

Israeli "art students" who got caught on Capitol Hill snooping in classified material. Oops.

Monday, February 15, 2010

No-brainers - but finally in print

I get Sam Bahour’s epalestine newsletter by email. He’s got a lot of good stuff, but I was really pleased and surprised to see some of these ideas in print.

Two very sensible points in this article. I was incredibly surprised to hear this was in the NYT. But in a good way.

Both points I highlighted below I have heard put forth in various discussions and in both cases the cry of anti-Semitism has been used to try to shut down the presentation of any POV but the one favorable to Israel. Hopefully, that won’t happen this time and maybe- just maybe- people can freely think about the subject at hand rather than whether or not they are an anti-Semite.


The article:
Hard Mideast Truths
By ROGER COHEN
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/12/opinion/12iht-edcohen.html?th&emc=th



Point 1:

“It makes sense for America to assure Israel’s security. It does not make sense for America to bankroll Israeli policies that undermine U.S. strategic objectives. “

The first sentence is up for debate. The second is what we are doing. We need to ask ourselves why.



Point 2:
“And this: Obama needs to work harder on overcoming Palestinian division, a prerequisite for peace, rather than playing the no-credible-interlocutor Israeli game. The Hamas charter is vile. But the breakthrough Oslo accords were negotiated in 1993, three years before the Palestine Liberation Organization revoked the annihilationist clauses in its charter. When Arafat and Rabin shook hands on the White House lawn, that destroy-Israel charter was intact. Things change through negotiation, not otherwise. If there are Taliban elements worth engaging, are there really no such elements in the broad movements that are Hamas and Hezbollah?”

People want Palestinians to demonstrate perfect democracy and society as a precondition for a state. I have said for awhile that this is backwards. Have we forgotten what negotiation is or what it is supposed to do? Seems so.

***

The following quote and article are along these same lines, but an Israeli politician is stating it, which is notable and interesting.

Usually just a mention of a non-Jewish Israel regardless of context will get you called anti-Semitic, so this is rather remarkable. I’m guessing this is a statement to support a two state solution, since both non-Jewish and non-democratic are equally unthinkable for Israeli Jews.

I still can’t believe I heard an Israeli leader break the situation down like this: “If the Palestinians vote in elections, it is a binational state, and if they don't, it is an apartheid state.”

It’s true. I agree. I agree with Ehud Barak. And I can’t believe I just said that.


The article:
A retractionist-retentionist discourse
By Daniel Levy
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1149369.html



The quote:
“In his keynote address at last week's Herzliya Conference, Ehud Barak summoned up the most dramatic case for changing the status quo: "If, and as long as between the Jordan and the sea, there is only one political entity, named Israel, it will end up being either non-Jewish or non-democratic ... If the Palestinians vote in elections, it is a binational state, and if they don't, it is an apartheid state." “

And just to ground you... No, Israel hasn't rejected discriminatory attitudes and policies... They recognize the apartheid- and embrace it.

Israeli poll: 75 percent favour deporting fellow citizens; Netanyahu favours birth control

http://jnoubiyeh.blogspot.com/2010/02/israeli-poll-75-percent-favour.html

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Obama's First Year

I guess I was more hopeful that Obama would deliver on fundamental change in Washington since he worked at the grassroots, was a community organizer and so knew what the problems in Washington are, and he was a Constitutional law professor, so he would know how and what to do to fix (or improve) things in a way possibly never seen before. He didn't talk like Sabato (see previous post) in calling for amending the Constitution and adding Congressmen, so I guess I shouldn't have expected anything out of the ordinary. Perhaps I and others read things into Obama that he never promised at all.

On the other hand, I think he’s not been a failure, like many are writing him off to be after just one year. He’s accomplished quite a lot. We get bogged down with the economic situation and wars, both of which he inherited and had no way to solve in a year (4 years is rather optimistic).

He’s not passing things left and right due to his pragmatism and respect for both sides, rather than ineffectiveness or bad leadership. Other folks in his position might present big and far left ideas to Congress. Republicans can whittle it down a bit and he can still come out with something. Instead, presents what he thinks is fair and can pass (he’s playing nice) and it gets whittled down to nothing. He’s not rolling over the minority like other presidents might. He has no plan to push things through despite Republicans who have promised not to work with him and try their best to make him fail. For this fairness he is judged a failure and disappointment.

I’m not a fan or even a “real” Democrat, but Obama’s done some things.

This particular list is campaign promises- he's kept 90 and almost 300 are in the works. Hopefully I'll get a list together of of things he's done that I like. Until then:


PolitiFact.com, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking service of the St. Petersburg Times, are as follows:

* No. 6: Create an Advanced Manufacturing Fund to invest in peer-reviewed manufacturing processes
* No. 15: Create a foreclosure prevention fund for homeowners
* No. 16: Increase minority access to capital
* No. 33: Establish a credit card bill of rights
* No. 36: Expand loan programs for small businesses
* No. 40: Extend and index the 2007 Alternative Minimum Tax patch
* No. 50: Expand the Senior Corps volunteer program
* No. 58: Expand eligibility for State Children's Health Insurance Fund (SCHIP)
* No. 76: Expand funding to train primary care providers and public health practitioners
* No. 77: Increase funding to expand community based prevention programs
* No. 88: Sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
* No. 110: Assure that the Veterans Administration budget is prepared as 'must-pass' legislation
* No. 119: Appoint a special adviser to the president on violence against women
* No. 125: Direct military leaders to end war in Iraq
* No. 132: No permanent bases in Iraq
* No. 134: Send two additional brigades to Afghanistan
* No. 154: Strengthen and expand military exchange programs with other countries
* No. 167: Make U.S. military aid to Pakistan conditional on anti-terror efforts
* No. 174: Give a speech at a major Islamic forum in the first 100 days of his administration
* No. 182: Allocate Homeland Security funding according to risk
* No. 184: Create a real National Infrastructure Protection Plan
* No. 200: Appoint a White House Coordinator for Nuclear Security
* No. 208: Improve relations with Turkey, and its relations with Iraqi Kurds
* No. 212: Launch an international Add Value to Agriculture Initiative (AVTA)
* No. 215: Create a rapid response fund for emerging democracies
* No. 222: Grant Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send money to Cuba
* No. 224: Restore funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne/JAG) program
* No. 225: Establish an Energy Partnership for the Americas
* No. 239: Release presidential records
* No. 241: Require new hires to sign a form affirming their hiring was not due to political affiliation or contributions.
* No. 247: Recruit math and science degree graduates to the teaching profession
* No. 266: Encourage water-conservation efforts in the West
* No. 269: Increase funding for national parks and forests
* No. 270: Increase funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund
* No. 272: Encourage farmers to use more renewable energy and be more energy efficient
* No. 277: Pursue a wildfire prevention and management plan
* No. 278: Remove more brush, small trees and vegetation that fuel wildfires
* No. 284: Expand access to places to hunt and fish
* No. 290: Push for enactment of Matthew Shepard Act, which expands hate crime law to include sexual orientation and other factors
* No. 300: Reform mandatory minimum sentences
* No. 307: Create a White House Office on Urban Policy
* No. 325: Create an artist corps for schools
* No. 326: Champion the importance of arts education
* No. 327: Support increased funding for the NEA
* No. 332: Add another Space Shuttle flight
* No. 334: Use the private sector to improve spaceflight
* No. 336: Partner to enhance the potential of the International Space Station
* No. 337: Use the International Space Station for fundamental biological and physical research
* No. 338: Explore whether International Space Station can operate after 2016
* No. 342: Work toward deploying a global climate change research and monitoring system
* No. 345: Enhance earth mapping
* No. 346: Appoint an assistant to the president for science and technology policy
* No. 356: Establish special crime programs for the New Orleans area
* No. 359: Rebuild schools in New Orleans
* No. 371: Fund a major expansion of AmeriCorps
* No. 380: Bolster the military's ability to speak different languages
* No. 391: Appoint the nation's first Chief Technology Officer
* No. 394: Provide grants to early-career researchers
* No. 411: Work to overturn Ledbetter vs. Goodyear
* No. 420: Create a national declassification center
* No. 421: Appoint an American Indian policy adviser
* No. 427: Ban lobbyist gifts to executive employees
* No. 435: Create new criminal penalties for mortgage fraud
* No. 452: Weatherize 1 million homes per year
* No. 458: Invest in all types of alternative energy
* No. 459: Enact tax credit for consumers for plug-in hybrid cars
* No. 460: Ask people and businesses to conserve electricity
* No. 475: Require states to provide incentives for utilities to reduce energy consumption
* No. 480: Unprecedented expansion of funding for regional high-speed rail
* No. 483: Invest in public transportation
* No. 484: Equalize tax breaks for driving and public transit
* No. 494: Share enviromental technology with other countries
* No. 498: Provide grants to encourage energy-efficient building codes
* No. 500: Increase funding for the Environmental Protection Agency
* No. 502: Get his daughters a puppy
* No. 503: Appoint at least one Republican to the cabinet
* No. 506: Raise the small business investment expensing limit to $250,000 through the end of 2009
* No. 507: Extend unemployment insurance benefits and temporarily suspend taxes on these benefits
* No. 513: Reverse restrictions on stem cell research

***

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/white_house/jan-june10/obama_01-19.html


http://wamu.org/programs/dr/10/01/20.php


http://www.slate.com/id/2236708/


http://www.france24.com/en/20100119-accomplishments-setbacks-stalemates-obama%E2%80%99-first-year-review-0

http://themoderatevoice.com/57560/obamas-first-year



***
Some more things- may have been mentioned above- not sure:

ERIC ALTERMAN: Net neutrality. Government--

BILL MOYERS: That's really big in Massachusetts.

ERIC ALTERMAN: Government trans-- well, they're not the kinds of things that excite people. But he--

MELISSA HARRIS-LACEWELL: Lily Ledbetter Equal--

ERIC ALTERMAN: Releasing the torture memos.

BILL MOYERS: But not closing Guantanamo.

ERIC ALTERMAN: Canceling the F-22. I mean, these are all things that President McCain would never have done. Sonia Sotomayor.

from: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/01222010/watch.html

--



Constitutional Convention?

I just wrote about the Tea Party movement. The big complaint there is that no one is listening to us and government is broken. Progressives often say the same things at times. Seems like the answer is not to get one or the other in office via new groups or new parties, but maybe we should all consider radical change to a government that hasn’t seen an amendment in quite some time and hasn’t responded to our growing population with more representatives to make those new voices heard. One Congressman used to represent 60,000 people; now one represents some 670,000. No wonder we feel like no one is listening!

Sabato in this book below and Lessig in a podcast (farther below) both mention Constitutional Convention. The Tea Party movement just held a convention, but perhaps we need something bigger and more bipartisan than that movement can offer?


http://www.amoreperfectconstitution.com/23_proposals.htm

A More Perfect Constitution by Larry Sabato

A rather boring book, I just couldn't get through it. If I wrote a book, that’s probably how mine would turn out- too long and super boring! ☺ There are some really good points made, though! I don't agree with everything, but it is interesting stuff.

Here are Sabato’s suggestions:

Congress:
1. Expand the Senate to 136 members to be more representative: Grant the 10 most populous states 2 additional Senators, the 15 next most populous states 1 additional Senator, and the District of Columbia 1 Senator.

2. Appoint all former Presidents and Vice Presidents to the new office of “National Senator.”

3. Mandate non-partisan redistricting for House elections to enhance electoral competition.

4. Lengthen House terms to 3 years (from 2) and set Senate terms to coincide with all Presidential elections, so the entire House and Senate would be elected at the same time as the President.

5. Expand the size of the House to approximately 1,000 members (from current 435), so House members can be closer to their constituents, and to level the playing field in House elections.

6. Establish term limits in the House and Senate to restore the Founders’ principle of frequent rotation in office.

7. Add a Balanced Budget Amendment to encourage fiscal fairness to future generations.

8. Create a Continuity of Government procedure to provide for replacement Senators and Congresspeople in the event of extensive deaths or incapacitation.



Presidency:
9. Establish a new 6-year, 1-time Presidential term with the option for the President to seek 2 additional years in an up/down referendum of the American people.

10. Limit some Presidential war-making powers and expand Congress’s oversight of war-making.

11. Give the President a line-item veto.

12. Allow men and women not born in the U.S. to run for President or Vice President after having been a citizen for 20 years.



Supreme Court:
13. Eliminate lifetime tenure for federal judges in favor of non-renewable 15-year terms for all federal judges.

14. Grant Congress the power to set a mandatory retirement age for all federal judges.

15. Expand the size of the Supreme Court from 9 to 12 to be more representative.

16. Give federal judges guaranteed cost of living increases so pay is never an issue.



Politics:
17. Write a new constitutional article specifically for the politics of the American system.

18. Adopt a regional, staggered lottery system, over 4 months, for Presidential party nominations to avoid the destructive front-loading of primaries.

19. Mend the Electoral College by granting more populated states additional electors, to preserve the benefits of the College while minimizing the chances a President will win without a majority of the popular vote.

20. Reform campaign financing by preventing wealthy candidates from financing their campaigns, and by mandating partial public financing for House and Senate campaigns.

21. Adopt an automatic registration system for all qualified American citizens to guarantee their right to vote is not abridged by bureaucratic requirements.



Universal National Service:
22. Create a Constitutional requirement that all able-bodied young Americans devote at least 2 years of their lives in service to the country.



National Constitutional Convention:
23. Convene a new Constitutional Convention using the state-based mechanism left to us by the Framers in the current Constitution.

***

I listened to Lessig talk about a constitutional convention on Democracy Now at the time I was trying to read Sabato’s book calling for a constitutional convention.

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/2/5/how_to_get_our_democracy_back


Lawrence Lessig, professor of law at Harvard Law School. Co-founder of the nonprofit Change Congress. His cover story in The Nation is titled, How to Get Our Democracy Back

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20100222/lessig


This guy’s focus seems to be more campaign finance reform or maybe he was just responding to the recent Supreme Court decision (Citizens United) that allows corporations to spend more to influence campaigns. The discussion made me think of Sabato’s stuff.

Tea Party, but not the fun kind.

We will occasionally have a tea party with the kids and everyone loves those, but that's not what I'm talking about, here...


From Tea Party Nation website:

Who are we? Our members have joined us from all over the nation, from every state and even from foreign countries!

Tea Party Nation (or TPN) is a user-driven group of like-minded people who desire our God given Individual Freedoms which were written out by the Founding Fathers. We believe in Limited Government, Free Speech, the 2nd Amendment, our Military, Secure Borders and our Country!

Please join us, make and form strong bonds, network, and make plans for action. We are doing what we could not do alone, to preserve that which we value.

http://www.teapartynation.com/



***

What is the tea party movement? It seems to be a far right fiscal conservative movement given the name and fact that it started around tax time, but what is the goal? Are they a real revolution or lunatic fringe?

It seems to want to remain leaderless and not affiliated with a party, but I don’t think either of those are a success.


***

Some issues, comments, questions about the movement:

Why do the tea party thing when you’ve got Steinhouser’s FreedomWorks whose goal is ‘Lower Taxes, Less Government, More Freedom’ ? Is it not anti-Obama enough for them? In an interview, the representative from that group seemed far more reasonable than what I've heard from the tea party elites and supporters.

Once it went national, doesn’t that mean it isn’t grass-roots?

Tea Party Nation is for profit

Tickets are $549 and $349- lobster and steak on the menu
(kind of funny since there was some Obama bashing at this gathering and during the campaign, some Republicans said Michelle had room service deliver lobster and caviar for over $500- NY Post retracted the story after it was found to be totally false.)

Said to have no leader/head; it’s about everyone- Judson Phillips seems be, though. It’s not like everyone just sent out a text message and met all together.

“Not having a leader”- is it populist or is it just an easy way out when you invite people and they say something (crazy) that’s either not in the scope of the event or that could hurt momentum or seriously bigoted that makes all look bad

They claim that their voice is not being heard and the democracy is not working. I’d give them that if the popular vote didn’t match the electoral college result. I think we all feel that way. I think my post about Sabato’s book provides better suggestions (Sabato’s suggestions, not mine). The tea partiers are all about getting a conservative in the White House; Sabato outlines some real fundamental changes.


***

Here are some interesting (as in offensive) points I heard in reports about this tea party convention:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/02/05/tea.party.convention/index.html


Tom Tancredo said and Judson Phillips agrees:
"people who could not even spell the word 'vote', or say it in English, put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House.

(also mentioned literacy tests- possibly in a Spanish accent (???)- which incidentally were once used to keep blacks from voting… he claims to have meant more of a civics literacy test...hmm)

In another bit of irony- Sarah Palin wrote notes on her hand. She poked fun of Obama’s teleprompter during the campaign.

Phillips added that he thinks "Tancredo doesn't feel like a lot of people who supported Barack Obama understand the basics of this country."
This (condescendingly) echoes exactly what a McCain supporter (equally condescendingly) emailed me when I responded (replied all) to a ‘don’t vote for Obama unless you hate America, freedom and don’t want planet Earth to implode!’- type email I got during the campaign. If you only knew or were educated, then you wouldn’t vote for him- as though I didn’t do research or wasn’t educated.

I looked at that email again and had forgotten someone I am related to told me to wake up and stop drinking the Kool Aid- Obama’s a Muslim, not born in this country, a socialist, friend of terrorists, and a few other myths. I’m crazy for not believing already debunked myths!

Anyway…

***

Tancerdo also talked about "Islamification" and the "cult of multiculturalism"

I heard this but have yet to get a reference to see what the deal was. I still don’t see what is so evil about respecting other cultures. And sorry, the US is not being “Islamified.” Whatever that means.

***
Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily was a speaker at the convention and spent a quarter of his speech on birther “questions” (Still, people? Really?) This kind of thing delegitimizes the movement IMO by promoting these urban legends, previously debunked myths and such.

http://washingtonindependent.com/75949/birther-speaker-takes-heat-at-tea-party-convention

***
Objectionable placards- don’t know that it needs much comment…
On the Diane Rehm Show about the Tea Party movement, Phillips said he didn’t see anything offensive except from one Democrat.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/16/10-most-offensive-tea-par_n_187554.html


***

Friday's planned sessions at the Convention featured such titles as "Defeating Liberalism Via the Primary Process" and "Why Christians Must Engage."

Good title in the latter, but I can only suspect that it is about getting conservatives elected, not about actually governing in a Godly manner or behaving in a Godly manner toward the President and Democrats as well as those we agree with.

A Saturday Session: Speaker, ANA PUIG-“Correlations between the current Administration and Marxist Dictators of Latin America”

I’m only going to say: ??????


*** *** ***
Sites weighing in on the Tea Party Movement:

http://wamu.org/programs/dr/10/02/09.php

Great points are made and Diane Rehm tames unruly guests in her tea party feature. One guest points out similar movements throughout history. Another interesting point is made about Republican (and Focus on the Family) control Colorado Springs

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123221091&ft=1&f=1014


http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/02/06/sarah-palin-goes-obama-tea-party-convention/




Tea Party the movie was featured at the convention:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHJ6dSyohCc

Polls about how people feel about the tea party movement:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-zogby/boiling-tea_b_451306.html

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Church and State

The previous post on the Blackwater book talking about abortion as a "culture of death" and the whole political Christianity thing with The Family and Blackwater stirred up more (or the same?) thoughts on the topic I continually think about - politics in religion and religion in politics. Church and state.

I always think about the big 2 - abortion and gay marriage and wonder how these got to be political issues. Why not go after a divorce ban- except in the case of death or infidelity? Surely that's of equal moral concern as homosexual marriage? Why choose these 2 and claim them as "Republican values"?

There is a strong sentiment in the Church (less so in the greater religious world) that unless you vote Republican you are not doing everything you can to stop or oppose abortion and gay marriage. I, on the other hand, don’t know that that’s the most effective or best way to oppose it. Let’s say we banned abortion and gay marriage in this country. Would those sinners be any closer to knowing the gospel? Would we as a nation or individually?

I think in our zeal to oppose these things politically, we can lose sight of the real goal.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t preach and listen to sermons against abortion and homosexuality- not at all. I’m only saying I think we go too far when we say or imply that voting Republican (or supporting candidates and laws against these) is the only solution or only way to be faithful.

I know some will think I’m a sentence away from falling away from the church or supporting or condoning abortion and gay marriage, but I just think we need to be careful to preach what the Bible teaches and nothing more or less.

First, we are to spread the gospel, not necessarily to keep people from the physical acts of sin. The latter would be nice, but that alone won't save their soul. Just like we can get caught up in the head count of congregations or the number of baptisms per week rather than making sure we are active and faithful, I think we can get caught up in number of laws passed to gauge how Christian our nation is. Numbers won't tell you the group is faithful and a heap of 'moral legislation' won't tell you how Christian the nation is or how hard we have tried to spread the gospel.

Who is to say that teaching people about the gospel, when life begins and that abortionis murder is less effective than assaulting people with pictures (and gory details) of aborted fetuses and telling them to vote Republican. I agree that a picture can say a thousand words, having seen my share of pictures and videos of blown up and bleeding children and bloody stumps traded back and forth in discussions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but I have reservations and issues with using this as a primary tool of persuasion. I think it appeals too much to emotion and can displace reason and logic. I also feel bad about using someone's child and pain in a campaign (albeit a worthy one) to end the conflict or abortion.

Second, voting for a candidate or party lumps a whole lot of other issues together that could have equal or different spiritual concerns.

Sometimes in the fight against abortion and gay marriage it appears we forget that Christ came teaching individual, not national responsibility and salvation.

Some will think me contrary, confrontational, wanting to sit on the fence, not having a desire to fight for right – I will respectfully disagree.

Blackwater: Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army

Blackwater: Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army

By Jeremy Scahill


These are just some notes on the book so far. If I finish it, I may summarize or review it.


***

I found some people and some policies of confidentiality and secrecy to be reminiscent of The Family. I need to look at the foot notes to see if he references it. So far, he hasn't mentioned them in the text.

P 16 Council for National Policy - started 1981 by Rev. Tim LaHaye to oppose Council on Foreign Relations

***Red flag- this guy is the same LaHaye of the Left Behind novels that promote the false doctrine of premillennialism. Christians would do well to take note and be careful of throwing their support behind such people just because they "appear Christian" or support other right wing causes that Christians tend to support!

Council for National Policy

-Members are told to keep when and where and who attends meetings (before or after) secret from media

-“to strategize about how to turn the country to the right” 102

***Interesting. I have had conservative friends proudly say this is a center right country. Is it that way because people have Republican leanings or because they were manipulated by this and other groups like it that may have politicized and made divisive certain issues or however else they "turned the country to the right"... ?

Erik Prince is unconfirmed as a member of this group, but he has given money to it and is close with other attendees such as: Jerry Falwell, Phyllis Schlafly, Pat Robertson, Tony Perkins, James Dobson, Gary Bauer, Ralph Reed, Holland Coors (beer), Wayne LaPierre (NRA), Richard and Dick DeVos, Oliver North, Grover Norquist, Frank Gaffney, GWB- addressed group in 1999. Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bolton, Ashcroft, Dan Senor (top aide to Bremer), DeLay, Frist (given an award by them) - Many of these are in The Family...

***

P18 Chuck Colson (also influential in The Family)

Prison ministry

2002 speech - praised Erik Prince, talked of need for political and religious alliance of Catholics and evangelicals

P. 20 Colson, Richard Neuhaus and others - document Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT)

Common missionary cause “all people will come to faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior”

(This doesn't sound bad- it sound good- but I disagree strongly with where they take it.)

“The document recognized the separation of church and state, but “just as strongly protest[ed] the distortion of that principle to mean the separation of religion from public life…The argument, increasingly voiced in sectors of our political culture, that religion should be excluded from the public square must be recognized as an assault upon the most elementary principles of democratic governance.” “ (p20)

(Again, I agree that separation of church and state shouldn't mean religion is banned in public life, but I also disagree with how much and what kind of religion is put into public life and how it is done. I also take issue with branding those who disagree with the way, say Republicans, aim to use or keep religion in public life, you are un-American, undemocratic and un-Christian)

Religion is “privileged and foundational in our legal order”

Need to defend “the moral truths of our constitutional order”

(This is a religious declaration- or so I thought. What is the constitution doing in it? God doesn't care what type of government we're under. The teachings are the same. This phrase seems to put the Constitution on the level of the Bible in the minds of some or that we should legislate all Bible truth in order to be faithful.)

Abortion was a big topic in ECT- called “culture of death”

(Abortion is murder, but "culture of death"?? This is Bush-style hype.)

Advocates “moral education” - giving future generations our cultural heritage, that is, Christianity and Judaism.

(Why a Christian would put Judaism on the level Christianity is beyond me. Given other moral issues they take a stand on, it seems they would want to make the Biblical distinction that Jews are in the same boat as Muslims today- they need to obey Christ. But, instead, they uphold Israel and it's war crimes as honorable and Muslims as incapable of anything good.)

“We contend for a free society, including a vibrant market economy.”

(Again, I'm fine with a religious statement. I'm not saying I'm going to endorse it, but go ahead if it reduces animosity between Catholics and Protestants. Help people find Christ. That is truly a great goal. Now, what on earth does salvation have to do with the economy???)

“We affirm the importance of a free economy not only because it is more efficient but because it accords with a Christian understanding of human freedom” (also something I can’t wrap my brain around- is there some Biblical example or preference or word on type of government or economy we should advocate for?? Total garbage. The Bible is about teaches one to be faithful and teaching others about Christ) “Economic freedom, while subject to grave abuse, makes possible the patterns of creativity, cooperation, and accountability that contribute to the common good.” (Sounds like more of a nod and help to the billionaires that started The Family, CNP, etc, but putting a Biblical spin on it so everyone else can voluntarily help them stay rich at their own expense.)

“renewed appreciation of Western culture”

(Sounds like a bit of American hubris, but what comes next is much more sinister...)

“We are keenly aware of, and grateful for, the role of Christianity in shaping and sustaining the Western culture of which we are apart.”

“Multiculturalism” most commonly come to mean “affirming all cultures but our own”

(Scary as a similar sort of thing appears in white supremacist type rants. Perhaps black folks are meant to be included in "our culture", but like I said, this is unsettling. Even if this does include African Americans, I disagree with the statement and think adopting a French style culture protection is wrong- especially given that most of us aren't Native American and so don't really have the right.)

The document says that now is the time for Catholics and Evangelicals to be Christians together in a way that prepares the world for the coming of Christ. It is a noble enough goal, but in the context of the political and economic goals also mentioned, it really doesn’t have much to do with this goal. And another issue is the differences in doctrine between the two and more importantly, how much should we in the Lord’s body be involved with these two. Should we use them to the extent that they follow the Bible, or just blaze a new trail?

I vote for the latter since I have no use for either the Republican or Democratic party.


Nisour Square

Linkhttp://abcnews.go.com/WN/vice-president-joe-biden-us-appeal-blackwater-ruling/story?id=9645950

I hope this is true that Biden will make sure this case is revisited. If we're lucky, it will lead to more investigations and banning or at least making very little use of private security contractors AKA contract killers AKA mercenaries...

I have pretty well been able to keep out of the 'human interest' side, but this week I read the account of the Nisour Square murders. Horrifying. I cannot imagine being those parents. It's bad enough when you just look at the victims' stories, but when you look at the fact that we're not supposed to be in Iraq, Blackwater wasn't supposed to be at that place that day, it was most likely deliberate and not in response to anything. It didn't have to happen.


Here's an exerpt from Scahill's new article about the event:

Blackwater's Youngest Victim

ByJeremy Scahill

January 28, 2010

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20100215/scahill

"But this past New Year's Eve, federal Judge Ricardo Urbina threw out all the criminal charges against the five Blackwater guards. At least seventeen Iraqis died that day, and prosecutors believed they could prove fourteen of the killings were unjustified. The manslaughter charges were dismissed not because of a lack of evidence but because of what Urbina called serious misconduct on the part of the prosecutors.

Then, a few days after the dismissal of the criminal case, Blackwater reached a civil settlement with many of the Nisour Square victims, reportedly paying about $100,000 per death.

Blackwater released a statement declaring it was "pleased" with the outcome, which enabled the company to move forward "free of the costs and distraction of ongoing litigation." But Mohammed Kinani would not move on. He refused to take the deal Blackwater offered. As a result, he may well be the one man standing between Blackwater and total impunity for the killings in Nisour Square."


***********
Here is Democracy Now's report, featuring Scahill:

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/1/29/exclusiveblackwaters_youngest_victim_father_of_9

**********

On a similar note....

I still don't know what the most recent news of the Haditha "incident" is. It looks like most of the charges were dropped.
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/03/15/60minutes/main2574973_page6.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody