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Thursday, August 26, 2010

So where is the Palestinian Gandhi?


This is a post from a few months ago with the quote about the fact that the Palestinian Gandhis everyone's always demanding are languishing in Israeli prisons:

http://notanotherpoliticalblog-j.blogspot.com/2010/07/palestinian-nonviolence-relies-on.html


***
Recent news:

EU rebukes Israel for convicting Palestinian protester

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11099394


The guy was arrested for protesting without a permit. You might say he was rightfully arrested...until you read a little about Israeli laws and what applies to Israeli Arabs and what applies to Jews. Arabs can't even get permits to work or to build houses, let alone protest!

The Israeli Declaration of Independence stated that the State of Israel would ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex, and guaranteed freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture. While formally equal according to Israeli law, a number of official sources acknowledge that Arab citizens of Israel experience discrimination in many aspects of life.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_citizens_of_Israel#Civil_Rights

Palestinians outside Israel are in worse shape, being denied access to their own water supplies, among other issues of curfews, closures, raids, incursions, political imprisonment, home demolitions, blockades, withholding tax money, withholding permits and visas, not allowing entry or exit even for schooling and family reunification, etc:

http://baltimorechronicle.com/2010/080610Lendman.shtml

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8327188.stm


Some human rights sites if you had any question as to the dire situation Palestinians are in:

http://www.alhaq.org/

http://www.phrmg.org/

http://www.hrw.org/middle-eastn-africa/israel-and-occupied-territories

http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/israel-occupied-palestinian-territories

http://www.miftah.org


***

For other posts like this, see my posts labeled non-violence in the right hand column.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Christians arrested for preaching... or not...


There is enough actual persecution of Christians in various parts of the world. Why are we inventing this nonsense? This is like that thing in California where a Bible study was “busted” and prevented from assembling because of zoning and other concerns, but it was posted everywhere as a violation of freedom of religion. It was said many times- I never thought I'd see that in my lifetime!"


I say this not to bash Christians or evangelism, but as a reminder to be careful about how you do it. There is a tactful and respectful way to approach any topic. Sometimes this is lost in an effort to be direct and clear. Or other reasons. I don't really know.


I commented on something on the web about the “Ground Zero mosque” (Park51/ Cordoba Project) and the person brought up this video of possible Christian persecution by not so much Muslims as Dearborn police who are overly protective of Muslims because obviously Muslims have taken over Dearborn- if you believe some people…


The video:


‘Sharia Law in Dearborn Michigan’

http://americanelephant.com/blog/commentary/sharia-law-dearborn-michigan/


(And by sharia, they mean that you can’t evangelize or that Christianity is restricted. What sharia really means, most people are clueless. Including me.)


The video shows people passing out part of the Bible outside what they call a Muslim festival (15th annual Arab International Festival). They are swarmed by police and arrested. That definitely could look like a violation of rights.


I had a sneaking suspicion that it wasn’t the whole story. And it wasn’t.


Upon further investigation, the group called Acts 17 Apologetics was harassing people in many cases and caused an angry incident/confrontation either in 2009 or this year. This year, the police were called when a (non-Muslim?) festival worker was being harassed and videotaped. The group kept returning to the site and nearby area to see how close the police would let them get. Never mind that they could have gotten a booth inside the event and spoken and leafleted til their hearts were content. Or, they could invite a Muslim leader or individual to a debate or series of debates. Or offer to study and exchange beliefs together - a group of themselves with a group of Muslims. But, no, they chose a more confrontational method that got them in trouble.


And everyone’s upset about the police not allowing the filming. That’s not new. Some states have laws against it. Here’s an interesting NPR piece I heard recently on this topic: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128387108


I found bringing this up completely irrelevant to the mosque debate. Those Muslims weren’t harassing people, disregarding laws, leafleting, or attending Christian events to convert them to Islam. They are praying there now and want to build a community center and mosque.


***


In addition to also lumping this with the Park 51 mosque issues, Gingrich has this to say:


Newt Gingrich continues to demonstrate his unusual (for a politician) awareness of the stealth jihad threat. In this case, he quite rightly points out that Christians trying to preach to Muslims or convert them to Christianity is not illegal under U.S. law; it is only illegal under Sharia.


http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/08/gingrich-on-christians-arrested-in-dearborn-they-were-on-a-public-street-outside-an-arab-festival-in.html


***


Most of what I saw when I googled Christians arrested at Dearborn festival were blogs and news items sensationalizing this and seizing on the fact that Christians were arrested and “all they were doing” was passing out copies of the Gospel of John. All the usual suspects picked up the story.


http://radio.foxnews.com/2010/06/21/christians-arrested-for-witnessing-at-arab-fest/


http://www.answeringmuslims.com/2010/06/arrested-for-being-christian-preachers.html


http://thepersecutiontimes.com/three-christians-arrested-by-dearborn-michigan-police-during-muslim-outreach/2010/06/19/


http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=169577


Very few bothered to see if there were other circumstances. What is the background info? What are the rules in Detroit for gathering? What are the rules in Detroit when a festival is present? Who is this missionary group and what is their track record?


***


The city’s response:


Arrests at Arab Fest a Matter of Public Safety

http://www.cityofdearborn.org/government/city-services/public-information/latest-news/441-arab-fest-response


The mayor’s 5 page letter of response, including background info:

http://www.cityofdearborn.org/images/stories/PDF/Government/Mayor/mayorletter07-09-2010.pdf


***


Here’s a Muslim weighing in on the issue of the so-called missionaries arrested by Dearborn police. He includes bits of the police reports that prove preaching lovingly to Muslims weren’t “all they were doing.”


http://thefactsaboutislam.blogspot.com/2010/08/dearborn-police-report-proves.html


***


Here are some interesting points made by a ( I assume) former Muslim whose site most likely aims to find holes in Islam’s teachings. I don’t know much about it. I know even less about the incident surrounding a Mr. Caner to which he goes into detail in this post, however.

The points critical of the missionaries are interesting and telling (and maybe more honest?), given what his site aims to do.


http://husseinwario.com/blog/2010/08/06/acts-17-apologetics-claims-examined/


***


In this blog, the person was first critical of Dearborn police, wrote the Department, got a letter back (I assume it’s the 5 page letter the mayor put out- see above), and found that there were details she hadn’t considered and maybe was too quick to judge:


http://studygrowknowblog.com/2010/07/10/city-of-dearborn-responds-to-arrests-of-arab-christians-at-festival/

Monday, August 23, 2010

Last post on the Great Mosque-oversy?

I hope so. I heard nothing about it on the way in to work today. Maybe it's fizzling already and won't be an election issue after all.


Protest sign: “I learned all I need to know about Islam on 9-11.”

Newt Gingrich: "We can't let the Nazis put up a building next to the Holocaust Museum"

There's also a protest sign talking about Ground Zero being a burial ground, but from what I understand, there's a mall planned or already built right inside the very soil of Ground Zero, not two blocks away. A tacky expression of our consumerism and excess is ok for the burial ground, but a place of worship (several blocks away from and not visible at Ground Zero) reinforcing the first amendment and community center that plans to bring people and faiths together is an insult.

The so-called Christian American reaction is interesting (and bugs me) for two reasons (maybe more):

One is that in the Bible it talks of the doctrine's propensity to cause offense. The way it is often misused - righteous anger replaced with slander and vengeance. When you're sinning, you're wrong and you realize it, this causes shame and maybe defensiveness. When you realize your family is in error and they don't want to change, this causes friction. These are the kinds of offense I think scripture talks about. It is the right thing to do to hold to the truth even though it causes offense. Sometimes, as I felt in this mosque controversy, it seems that Christians feel entitled to say hurtful things and spread lies and put it in the same category as the righteous offense described above. If the response had sparked a real doctrinal discussion rather than - they want to kill us, they're trying to get rid of Christians or Christianity, etc- I'd have still thought that Muslims have the right to practice and build that mosque, but I'd have also been able to be proud of the Christian or American response. When Christians of any kind discuss Islam, it tends to end up that way. I've heard and read very few real discussions and comparisons of teachings - meaning discussion of actual Muslim beliefs rather than an extremist caricature written by a Christian highlighting every verse that can possibly be interpreted negatively. I for one, have more faith in the Bible that it can stand up to a real discussion. Jesus was provacative, but he used truth; he didn't go around making things up or repeating rumors that reflect negatively on the people he reprimanded.

The other reason, finally, is the Ramadan connection.

So, this thought ran through my head last month during the Palin comments on the mosque, but in commenting on all the garbage that was out there, I forgot to add it.

Ramadan started August 11. Palin's comments or tweets (she loves her some Twitter; no room for annoying nuance in 140 characters) were in July; I don't know when in August I started hearing about mosque opposition and protests on TV each morning, but it could have been around then.

Ramadan. The Muslim holy month. The time when they focus on giving to the less fortunate. In fact, if I understand correctly, the fast is to help them identify with the people they are supposed to help. It's a bit ironic or hypocritical that Christians would choose this month to get all up in arms about Muslims. This is when similarities should be quite evident (if we knew anything about Muslims beyond the TV stereotype). They've been praying at that spot for a year with no one saying anything and now they want a mosque. Big deal. And they are focusing on helping the less fortunate now. What on earth is wrong with that? Christians should probably do less complaining about Muslims and more of that. Same goes for me about complaining about those complaining about Muslims. :)

Instead of any mention of this relevant item, we are hearing repeated lies and generalizations about Muslims. They kill their children. They hate us. They want to wipe Christianity off the map. They hate Jews. A mosque near Ground Zero is a monument to terrorists.

Another criticism was it's 9/10 or 9/11 opening. How could they be so insensitive? That is actually the end of the fast this year. It is always a big deal with feasting and visiting family, things not uncommon to the rest of us who have ever observed a holiday. Should we expect them to cancel their holiday and/ or curb their freedoms 9 years out from the national tragedy that also claimed Muslim lives? Who is really being insensitive? Is it non-Muslims or is it Muslims?

I also put this analogy forth on Facebook. I think it's valid. Maybe I'm off the mark. Many say Muslims have the right to build, but they should relocate because it is proving divisive and insensitive to 9/11 victims. Besides painting all Muslims with the same broad brush, this brings to mind this problem. Let's say a black man invades my house and kills a family member. Would I have a negative feeling about all black people? Should I? Would it be acceptable of me to ask all black people to respect my sensitivities and quit plans to build or move within a 2 block or mile or whatever radius of me? Or would I be racist? The example doesn't quite fit in that Muslims died on 9/11, too, but you get the idea.

Soldiers are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan (however rightly or wrongly depending on your understanding) because of 9/11, like it or not. While I don't think our soldiers in either place are fighting for our freedom, as many say, are they not fighting for the freedom of religion which would allow Muslims to practice in the same way as anyone else with no restrictions?

Maybe this hazing is indeed part of becoming American (see last post). Many an immigrant community has endured this sort of thing, including violence against them. I mean, at one time we tried to scientifically prove that black people were inferior. I have a picture of the textbook illustration depicting this burned in my brain. This kind of thing is absolutely dismissed, considered ignorant and racist today. As it should be. It's hard to believe that it was once mainstream and popular. I hope it will soon be the same with the crazy stuff said of Muslims.




Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Obama and THE Mosque

Here is the first time I commented on this mosque debate:

http://notanotherpoliticalblog-j.blogspot.com/2010/07/she-could-have-been-our-vp.html


I thought Palin was a lone wolf crazy lady on yet another issue. Turns out, 80% of America is with her this time. Doesn't make her right, though.


And now the President weighs in.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/14/barack-obama-ground-zero-mosque

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100814/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_ground_zero_mosque_obama

Muslims have the right to build it. But he's not commenting on the wisdom of it. So, is that him saying that it isn't wise? Or is he really saying that it's not his business to comment on the wisdom. I hope it's the latter. Because really, what's the big deal? Whose business is it besides the zoning committee in that area of NY? Who cares if there is a giant catholic cathedral or a mosque or a religious buffet squarely on top of Ground Zero (let alone however many miles from it)??

I just don't understand the opposition: "It stabs hearts." "It's an insult to those who died on 9/11." "It's pouring salt in our wounds." "It's a slap in the face."

Isn't this America? The place people flee to when they want religious freedom or freedom of expression? Didn't Muslims also die on 9/11? Why are we still lumping together extremists with a political agenda who were hanging out in a bar and not acting too Muslim (who rammed planes into buildings) with the majority of normal Muslims who generally have the same basic values as Christians and Jews?


And what about the other mosques near ground zero? Why are they no big deal? They don't have community centers. Is that the issue? If this one is such an insult, will we insist that these others be closed? Should Muslims be banned from Ground Zero, NY, the northeast, public office, the US?

When we talk about having a few already in Manhattan, so there should be no problem with adding one more, the counterargument is why one more? Why can't they go to existing mosques. I guess that would be an ok argument if you were prepared to apply it to Christianity and Judaism as well... If we want our rights/ freedoms/ privileges preserved, we're going to have to protect those of others. Or cease being a democracy and haven for free expression and freedom of religion. It's a decision one has to make.

Prevailing wisdom says that we have to attack "them" there before they attack us here and "they" attacked because they are jealous of our freedom. This is backwards. They are not going to be able to walk in and take our freedom; that is something we are free to give up. I have been arguing since 9/11 that those who are opposed to mosques or Muslims are actually doing the terrorists' bidding. That is what they (terrorists, not Muslims) want. They want us to hate them and attack, so that they will be justified in what they do. The best thing for us to do is to stick even more firmly to American values and allow Muslims the freedom to worship anywhere just like anyone else. The more we allow hate and ignorance to dictate our policies against Muslims here and abroad, the more freedom we give up. We become less American and more like those nations which inspire such hatred in these discussions. Today, we may eliminate freedoms for Muslims. That may be fine for you as a Christian or Jew- for now- but watch out. You may be next. In nations that are in the business of limiting freedoms, you have to worry about such things.

Stats are being reported as 75-80% of Americans oppose it and 25% support it or something like that. I was hoping most would say it's the residents' and zoning boards' business, not say- "Muslims. Eeew."


Despite all the opposition, one family member of a 9/11 victim had this to say, though:


The mosque is "in many ways ... a fitting tribute," said Colleen Kelly of the Bronx, who lost her brother Bill Kelly Jr. in the attacks. "This is the voice of Islam that I believe needs a wider audience," said Kelly, who is Catholic. "This is what moderate Islam is all about."


A point was brought up on NPR's Talk of the Nation that everyone (or at least many groups) has been an outsider in this country at one time or another and it is part of the awareness and becoming American. I thought that was an interesting idea.

Another point on the same program, TOTN, was that more mosques mean more discussion among Muslims about the "radical" and "moderate" interpretations and less radicalization rather than more, so allowing mosques is probably more beneficial than banning them. There was an example of an imam in Virginia being kicked out as a result of this process and discussion. Food for thought.


And some satire on this from Jon Stewart if you like:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/17/stewart-rips-fox-news-for_1_n_684467.html


And CNN's Fareed Zakaria returned his award from the ADL over this. Go Zakaria! It's easy to see why- it was a First Amendment Freedoms Prize- and you can guess the ADL's stance on this issue.


With greater equality comes greater responsibility, ladies

On Facebook: Israeli soldier posed with bound Arab
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100816/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_palestinians_facebook



While no abuse is depicted, unlike the Abu Ghraib photos, I have to agree with these statements:

"This shows the mentality of the occupier," Khatib said, "to be proud of humiliating Palestinians. The occupation is unjust, immoral and, as these pictures show, corrupting."


Yishai Menuchim, head of the Israeli Committee Against Torture, also criticised the images, saying the incident "reflects an attitude which has become the norm and consists in treating Palestinians like objects, not like human beings".
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-10994668


The comments on her photo are perhaps as telling or more so than the photo itself, though that is pretty disgusting. Her friends tell her she's sexy posing with captured Arabs and wonder if the captive men have Facebook so they can tag them in the photo.

When attitudes such as these are the norm, how can one doubt there are abuses by the Occupier? Why doubt Goldstone and why believe Israel when it says it was justified when it attacked the Turkish aid vessel?


And she still doesn't get it after hearing the news coverage and disapproval of many, including her state's military:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-10997011

The pictures are taken down, but she still ha no clue as to why these are offensive. Many Americans probably share this view. How about this. Think about a white policewoman smiling prettily as she poses in front of some cuffed black men she and her men are holding as guilty until proven innocent. For a souvenir. To remember her time on the force. Our society as a whole once found this amusing, no doubt, like this girl and her friends do. Stuff like this upsets me. I would guess I am in the majority in the case of the similar event happening in this country. At least I hope so.


Some female Israeli (former) soldiers get it and are critical:


Thursday, August 12, 2010

You Made Your Bed, You Should Have to Lie In It



http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8524723.stm



Israel is deporting East Asian and African migrant workers who have had children while in Israel. It seems like the same sort of mess we are dealing with in the US with the enforcement of immigration law.

Same sorry attitudes:

"Look around this part of town," he says, listing to me dozens of nationalities who hang out here, especially at night.

"This is an Israeli street, a Jewish street, but I feel the stranger here."


They have made it rather easy to exclude people, though, since it's hard to get residency unless you are Jewish. They don't just have it in for Palestinians, don't let the home demolitions and special place of hatred for them fool you. The children of Mexican illegal immigrants are often US citizens by birth. I think that's the way it should be.

I think, if I understand this correctly, that in Israel's case, the parents are legal foreign workers, but their children who were born there aren't legal workers (obviously) or citizens and can't or won't be given any sort of legal status temporary or otherwise. They don't want to look like jerks for deporting children. They should have to allow the children at least temporary legal status according to their parents' documents; at most, they should be citizens. Their insistence on this Jewish state where non-Jews don't get certain rights and benefits is what brought them this flood of foreign workers who dare to have babies on their soil.

Israel increased the number of work permits it issued to South East Asian workers in particular after the start of the second Palestinian uprising.

They've taken the place of Palestinian workers; Israel's government severely restricts their permits and presence in Israel for security reasons, it says.

If Palestinians filled this need for workers as in the past, they could just hop on over the border (assuming it took 15 min instead of half a day to cross...) to go home instead of them having "illegal" babies inside their borders. But then, there's the effect and resentment of the Occupation to think about. End the Occupation. Stop arresting, killing, destroying, starving the people who could do you a favor- if you really don't want those East Asian babies hanging around. Whatever. Israel's wrong on both counts.

End the Occupation. Problem solved. Make it one state for all. More problems solved.



The Best Hammock Quote Ever


This is the longest and best description of the hammock experience I've seen. If you haven't lounged in a hammock, you should. I lost the clipping of the quote and tried for awhile to look it up online even though I couldn't remember much about it but 1 or 2 phrases in the whole thing. Came up with a whole lot of nothing. The other day, I found it while looking for a picture of me when I was little that my daughter was asking about (a picture of me with Zippy, a slightly scary, dated, stuffed monkey which I still have and showed the kids. Think Planet of the Apes).

July 1997 is written on the back and I know it's from a
Reader's Digest. I don't know if July 1997 is a guess or the actual issue, though. Seems like when I wrote it, I'd had it for a little while.

Enjoy:

A hammock is the best place to spend a midsummer afternoon. When you climb into a hammock, you are linked to reality only by the narrowest of cords. Suspended in time and space, you shed any sense of weight or corporal substance. As you sway with the gentle rhythm of the breeze, you drift and dream between heaven and Earth, glimpsing the blue truth of sky beyond the wagging treetops.

Then suddenly the spell is broken by a dog's snout poking you, a rumble of thunder or a child's cry, and you are brought back to a world you temporarily left behind. But the hammock's solace is not forgotten. Its gentle crescent lingers.

--Robert S. Kyff in Hartford, CT, Courant


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What Would Jesus Forward?

Also called "No Forwards, Just Lattes."

More on the Obama Hitler forward. Get the scissors and forceps. Time to dissect. Obviously, my comments are in another color. I think it will be orange, unless this thing has a mind of its own again.

*** *** ***
I am a student of history. (You know this is true because I mention Hitler later... ;) ) Professionally, I have written 15 books on history that have been published in six languages, and I have studied history all my life. I have come to think there is something monumentally large afoot, and I do not believe it is simply a banking crisis, or a mortgage crisis, or a credit crisis. Yes these exist, but they are merely single facets on a very large gemstone that is only now coming into a sharper focus..

Something of historic proportions is happening. I can sense it because I know how it feels, smells, what it looks like, and how people react to it. Yes, a perfect storm may be brewing, but there is something happening within our country that has been evolving for about ten to fifteen years. The pace has dramatically quickened in the past two.

(Curious thing this "something afoot". It has been brewing for 10-15 years. Indeed, the author later tells us everything has been getting worse for decades even. But of course it is Obama's fault- alas- it has quickened in the last 2 years. And not quickened a little. Dramatically!)

We demand and then codify into law the requirement that our banks make massive loans to people we know they can never pay back? Why?

We learned just days ago that the Federal Reserve, which has little or no real oversight by anyone, has "loaned" two trillion dollars (that is $2,000,000,000,000) over the past few months, but will not tell us to whom or why or disclose the terms. That is our money. Yours and mine. And that is three times the $700 billion we all argued about so strenuously just this past September. Who has this money? Why do they have it? Why are the terms unavailable to us? Who asked for it? Who authorized it? I thought this was a government of "we the people," who loaned our powers to our elected leaders. Apparently not.

(I'm glad something was done. I am not among those who say the market would have ironed itself out in time had we done the correct thing, which is nothing. The markets are perfect and capitalism is our religion. I disagree. De-regulation wasn't the answer.)

We have spent two or more decades intentionally de-industrializing our economy... Why?
We have intentionally dumbed down our schools, ignored our history, and no longer teach our founding documents, why we are exceptional, and why we are worth preserving. Students by and large cannot write, think critically, read, or articulate. Parents are not revolting, teachers are not picketing, school boards continue to back mediocrity. Why?

(Why are you blaming Obama?)

We have now established the precedent of protesting every close election (violently in California over a proposition that is so controversial that it simply wants marriage to remain defined as between one man and one woman. Did you ever think such a thing possible just a decade ago?) (Protesting every close election isn't Obama's fault; that strategically placed gay marriage bit will strike the intended target, though) We have corrupted our sacred political process by allowing unelected judges to write laws that radically change our way of life, (Didn't that happen with Bush?? Or any President? And as for gay marriage, how does that change my life??) and then mainstream Marxist (??? Honestly!) groups like ACORN and others to turn our voting system into a banana republic (Helping people register to vote. Banana republic. Not following.). To what purpose?

Now our mortgage industry is collapsing, housing prices are in free fall, major industries are failing, our banking system is on the verge of collapse, social security is nearly bankrupt, as is Medicare and our entire government. Our education system is worse than a joke (I teach college and I know precisely what I am talking about) - the list is staggering in its length, breadth, and depth.. It is potentially 1929 x ten... (This stuff- not Obama's fault. Sorry. He inherited quite a mess, yes. And you expect to fix it with tax cuts?) And we are at war with an enemy we cannot even name for fear of offending people of the same religion, who, in turn, cannot wait to slit the throats of your children if they have the opportunity to do so. (Now this is outrageous. Maybe it's just bad grammar. It looks like they are saying the people with the same religion as the terrorists will slit your throat. That is a(n) big, fat offensive lie. It's not even the offense or political correctness that conservatives love to hate that is the issue, though. It's the spreading of lies and half truths and ignorance- which fuel hate- about other human beings. What does the Bible have to say about that? After making generalizations and assumptions based on stereotypes, do you then expect them to be so impressed by your Christian attitude that they convert immediately?)

And finally, we have elected a man that no one really knows anything about, who has never run so much as a Dairy Queen, let alone a town as big as Wasilla , Alaska .. (Again with the Obama Palin comaprison! The election's over. Palin will never be in the running again. McCain would be the one you would compare Obama with. Or Bush. Whoever. No one knows anything about Obama? After that election, we know quite a bit. He wrote two books, there might be something in there. Did I miss something, was McCain mayor of something? Oh, that's right. That's why they used Palin's "experience". As I recall, McCain never ran any Dairy Queens either. Not that that has anything to do with the Presidency. My local Dairy Queen sells (sold) moldy bread. Don't want them to be President!) All of his associations and alliances are with real radicals in their chosen fields of employment (I think you can find my posts on these so-called radicals and associations. Most are quite a stretch.), and everything we learn about him, drip by drip, is unsettling if not downright scary (Surely you have heard him speak about his idea to create and fund a mandatory civilian defense force stronger than our military for use inside our borders? (I heard him speak of mandatory service like Peace Corps, community service, etc. I think that is a brilliant idea. I don't think it was ever implied that it would replace the military like this seems to...) No? Oh, of course. The media would never play that for you over and over and then demand he answer it. (Jeremiah Wright anyone? Among others.) Sarah Palin's pregnant daughter and $150,000 wardrobe are more important.) (Irresponsibility and contradictions are kind of relevant. I believe Palin used her daughter quite a bit, too- remember the 'we've got morals because she didn't get an abortion.' The media didn't do all the damage. Palin herself helped.)

Mr. Obama's winning platform can be boiled down to one word: Change. Why?
(It was good. McCain wished he'd thought of it and tried to steal it: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/sep/05/uselections2008.johnmccain2 Obama is a welcome change from Bush. I don't like it when Presidents look for reasons to go to war and when they don't find one, they go anyway. I happen to think that's wrong. )

I have never been so afraid for my country and for my children as I am now.
(Again, that was Bush. Making enemies right and left. Ditching diplomacy and allies.)

This man campaigned on bringing people together, something he has never, ever done in his professional life. (???) In my assessment, Obama will divide us along philosophical lines, push us apart, and then try to realign the pieces into a new and different power structure. Change is indeed coming. And when it comes, you will never see the same nation again. (Same old, same old. We hear this from the opposing side every election. Bush actually did this quite well. We turned from diplomacy and made enemies where we need not have. That's not the same nation. From Powell doctrine to Bush doctrine. From having the world behind us after 9/11 to acting alone in Iraq. From moral authority to embracing torture. From defense to preemptive strike.)

And that is only the beginning..

As a serious student of history, I thought I would never come to experience what the ordinary, moral German must have felt (Love how this goes from election rumors to moral Germans are American conservative Christians today and Obama is Hitler. (???) Is Obama gassing Jews? What??? REALLY PEOPLE!) in the mid-1930s In those times, the "savior" (A nod to the conservative accusation that liberals think Obama is Jesus. Also ridiculous. Light years better than Bush, absolutely. Obama as Jesus is as crazy as Obama as Hitler, honestly. Obama is a man- fallible, yes; dictator, no.) was a former smooth-talking rabble-rouser from the streets (Is Obama from the streets? I didn't think so. And if he were, would that make him a bloodthirsty dictator? Obama a rabble-rouser? Bush was the party animal. Still doesn't make them dictators.), about whom the average German knew next to nothing. What they should have known was that he was associated with groups that shouted, shoved, and pushed around people with whom they disagreed (Which groups like this is Obama associated? I got nothing. But take a look at how the Bush admin dealt with opposition- see manual.); he edged his way onto the political stage through great oratory. (Ooooh. That's Obama, for sure! He is Hitler reincarnated! All politicians have an "in" like this. Maybe they are a great speaker. Maybe they are folksy. They know what the public wants and they make us think they can deliver. It's the nature of politics, not
necessarily just dictatorship.) Conservative "losers" read it right now. (And you thought this Hitler piece in red letters had nothing to do with Obama. Just a history lesson from a student of history.)

And there were the promises. Economic times were tough (oooh, like now), people were losing jobs, and he was a great speaker. And he smiled and frowned and waved a lot. And people, even newspapers, were afraid to speak out for fear that his "brown shirts" would bully and beat them into submission. Which they did - regularly. (Where are Obama's brown shirts? Are people being beaten? Can we not still dissent? How did this letter get out? Did you get beaten for writing it? If you're wondering why people object when you call Obama Hitler and Mao and the US a dictatorship, this isn't proof Obama's got us under his thumb and we can't say otherwise, it's because they think you're crazy to think we don't live in a democracy anymore.) And then, he was duly elected to office, while a full-throttled economic crisis bloomed at hand - the Great Depression. (Totally now. Recession. Depression. Same thing. I apologize to anyone who lived during that time for even joking about that.) Slowly, but surely he seized the controls of government power, person by person, department by department, bureaucracy by bureaucracy. The children of German citizens were at first, encouraged to join a Youth Movement in his name where they were taught exactly what to think. (Is this the fear of community service??? Sad. Sooo, if you work in soup kitchen or teach for America, you are a communist? Or maybe they are confusing Obama with the Georgian President?) Later, they were required to do so. No Jews of course, (Does Obama hate Jews?? I missed that. He's pretty nice to Israel. He said he would talk tough, but we are still funding their ethnic cleansing of Palestine, occupation, and illegal settlements. They've got a few Jews there. And Rahm Emanuel. Would Hitler have hired him? I just don't see the evidence for the Jew hating thing.)

How did he get people on his side? He did it by promising jobs to the jobless, money to the money-less, and rewards for the military-industrial complex. (This is what politicians do. As a student of history, perhaps you have studied more campaigns than 2008's? Or listened to other politicians speak, other than Obama?) He did it by indoctrinating the children, advocating gun control (Gun control! Communist for sure! Conveniently, this is a Democratic plank.), health care for all (Ooooh, that's just evil!), better wages (Who would want or promise such a thing?), better jobs (No, not better jobs!), and promising to re-instill pride once again in the country, across Europe , and across the world (Anything but that. Certainly no President of ours would say such things! All of them promise that and people want that.). He did it with a compliant media - did you know that? And he did this all in the name of justice and .... . ... change. And the people surely got what they voted for. (No, they didn't! They got murder. That's clearly not happening with Obama. He is nothing like Hitler except that they are politicians and politicians tend to promise such general things for the general welfare as the above, minus indoctrinating children.)

If you think I am exaggerating, look it up. It's all there in the history books. (I don't want to read the history book you read. Or maybe I do. It'd probably be a hoot.)

So read your history books. Many people of conscience objected in 1933 and were shouted down, called names, laughed at, and ridiculed. (Like people who opposed the Iraq invasion and occupation or like people who oppose Israel's occupation, or like people who say Islam is peaceful? It happens on both sides. It's not an Obama conspiracy. Not to mention, people calling Obama Hitler are not equivalent to people objecting to Hitler's massive extermination of Jews and others he felt were unfit.) When Winston Churchill pointed out the obvious in the late 1930s while seated in the House of Lords in England (he was not yet Prime Minister), he was booed into his seat and called a crazy troublemaker. He was right, though. And the world came to regret that he was not listened to.

Do not forget that Germany was the most educated, the most cultured country in Europe. It was full of music, art, museums, hospitals, laboratories, and universities. And yet, in less than six years (a shorter time span than just two terms of the U. S. presidency) it was rounding up its own citizens, killing others, abrogating its laws, turning children against parents, and neighbors against neighbors. (After 9/11 there was a period where I was a bit fearful for my husband because of the backlash against Arabs and people who "look Arab". In the back of my mind I thought they could be rounded up and sent to internment camps like we did to our Japanese citizens. Thankfully, it didn't happen, but with the hysteria, fear, hate, and Bush's policies I thought it wasn't crazy.) All with the best of intentions, of course. (Best intentions being killing Jews? No offense to the others who died in the Holocaust. That was just wrong.) The road to Hell is paved with them.

As a practical thinker, one not overly prone to emotional decisions (I disagree with both points given the charged language and tone in this thing. He's not hysterical, but you know which way he leans and that this is neither objective or logical like he thinks. Or historically accurate.), I have a choice: I can either believe what the objective pieces of evidence tell me (even if they make me cringe with disgust); I can believe what history is shouting to me from across the chasm of seven decades; or I can hope I am wrong by closing my eyes, having another latte, and ignoring what is transpiring around me. (You' be better off with the latte, trust me. No forwards, just lattes.)

I choose to believe the evidence. (If there was some presented, perhaps we could evaluate it. Why are people "scared"? Why do they think America is on the verge of becoming communist or that Obama is a dictator? I would still like to know. The reasons listed here can't be it. It makes no sense. Hitler and Obama are good orators, so they are both communists??? Does not compute.) No doubt some people will scoff at me, others laugh, or think I am foolish, naive, or both. To some degree, perhaps I am (Thank you! The most sane thing I've heard in this screed.). But I have never been afraid to look people in the eye and tell them exactly what I believe-and why I believe it. (Can't object to that. Not that typing is looking people in the eye, which is why I like it. Typed or face to face, I do like that quality. No beating around the bush. I still think he's crazy.)

I pray I am wrong. I do not think I am. Perhaps the only hope is our vote in the next elections.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Another Obama- Hitler email. They are still trying. Hard. And it shows.

This one seems to be called:

What if he's right

or

Something of historic proportions is happening


Love how it says to stay neutral and read with an open mind, talks about spending, then launches into an ACORN ruined our voting system, a Sarah Palin comparison and Hitler reference. They all seem to read the same way. This one also had the "if Obama's elected (or re-elected), this nation will cease to be free, cease to be the US, etc and the earth will stop spinning or collide with the sun or something.

Yes, please do read it objectively, though, that way you'll understand how truly ridiculous this actually is sooner than you normally would if you relied on the right- left divide.

Wow. My eyes hurt from rolling them so many times while reading this! Hope they won't stick like that.


It struck me as election 2008 material right away. And yet it's still circulating (I got it today) as though we've not heard and debunked more than a few of these things since Obama's candidacy rumors. Comments like this followed it in my copy: "HOPE THIS MESSAGE IS AS WRONG AS IT CAN BE BUT WHAT IF IT IS NOT!! Read James 4:17 and say a prayer for America and the entire world. Thank you. I love each of you!" What if it's not? Really??? Come on!

I'll hit you with the snopes link before the garbage this time:
http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/proportions.asp


Here it is (The color is from the email I got, not my addition, with the Hitler portion in red. Nice touch, dontcha think? ;) ):

I hope
you find the time to read this with an open mind. It's interesting. Please read it with the open mind rather than immediately breaking it down into left or right, but rather look at it from the neutral viewpoint of right or wrong. It's like the line below says, "what if he is right?"


Take the three minutes to read this. Maybe he is wrong, but what if he’s right?


David Kaiser is a respected historian whose published works have covered a broad range of topics, from European Warfare to American League Baseball. Born in 1947, the son of a diplomat, Kaiser spent his childhood in three capital cities: Washington D.C. , Albany , New York , and Dakar , Senegal .. He attended Harvard University , graduating there in 1969 with a B.A. in history. He then spent several years more at Harvard, gaining a PhD in history, which he obtained in 1976. He served in the Army Reserve from 1970 to 1976.

He is a professor in the Strategy and Policy Department of the United States Naval War College . He has previously taught at Carnegie Mellon, Williams College and Harvard University . Kaiser's latest book,The Road to Dallas, about the Kennedy assassination, was just published by Harvard University Press.


Dr. David Kaiser


History Unfolding

I am a student of history. Professionally, I have written 15 books on history that have been published in six languages, and I have studied history all my life. I have come to think there is something monumentally large afoot, and I do not believe it is simply a banking crisis, or a mortgage crisis, or a credit crisis. Yes these exist, but they are merely single facets on a very large gemstone that is only now coming into a sharper focus..

Something of historic proportions is happening. I can sense it because I know how it feels, smells, what it looks like, and how people react to it. Yes, a perfect storm may be brewing, but there is something happening within our country that has been evolving for about ten to fifteen years. The pace has dramatically quickened in the past two.

We demand and then codify into law the requirement that our banks make massive loans to people we know they can never pay back? Why?

We learned just days ago that the Federal Reserve, which has little or no real oversight by anyone, has "loaned" two trillion dollars (that is $2,000,000,000,000) over the past few months, but will not tell us to whom or why or disclose the terms. That is our money. Yours and mine. And that is three times the $700 billion we all argued about so strenuously just this past September. Who has this money? Why do they have it? Why are the terms unavailable to us? Who asked for it? Who authorized it? I thought this was a government of "we the people," who loaned our powers to our elected leaders. Apparently not.

We have spent two or more decades intentionally de-industrializing our economy... Why?

We have intentionally dumbed down our schools, ignored our history, and no longer teach our founding documents, why we are exceptional, and why we are worth preserving. Students by and large cannot write, think critically, read, or articulate. Parents are not revolting, teachers are not picketing, school boards continue to back mediocrity. Why?

We have now established the precedent of protesting every close election (violently in California over a proposition that is so controversial that it simply wants marriage to remain defined as between one man and one woman. Did you ever think such a thing possible just a decade ago?) We have corrupted our sacred political process by allowing unelected judges to write laws that radically change our way of life, and then mainstream Marxist groups like ACORN and others to turn our voting system into a banana republic. To what purpose?

Now our mortgage industry is collapsing, housing prices are in free fall, major industries are failing, our banking system is on the verge of collapse, social security is nearly bankrupt, as is Medicare and our entire government. Our education system is worse than a joke (I teach college and I know precisely what I am talking about) - the list is staggering in its length, breadth, and depth.. It is potentially 1929 x ten...And we are at war with an enemy we cannot even name for fear of offending people of the same religion, who, in turn, cannot wait to slit the throats of your children if they have the opportunity to do so.

And finally, we have elected a man that no one really knows anything about, who has never run so much as a Dairy Queen, let alone a town as big as Wasilla , Alaska .. All of his associations and alliances are with real radicals in their chosen fields of employment, and everything we learn about him, drip by drip, is unsettling if not downright scary (Surely you have heard him speak about his idea to create and fund a mandatory civilian defense force stronger than our military for use inside our borders? No? Oh, of course. The media would never play that for you over and over and then demand he answer it. Sarah Palin's pregnant daughter and $150,000 wardrobe are more important.)

Mr. Obama's winning platform can be boiled down to one word: Change. Why?

I have never been so afraid for my country and for my children as I am now.

This man campaigned on bringing people together, something he has never, ever done in his professional life. In my assessment, Obama will divide us along philosophical lines, push us apart, and then try to realign the pieces into a new and different power structure. Change is indeed coming. And when it comes, you will never see the same nation again.

And that is only the beginning..

As a serious student of history, I thought I would never come to experience what the ordinary, moral German must have felt in the mid-1930s In those times, the "savior" was a former smooth-talking rabble-rouser from the streets, about whom the average German knew next to nothing. What they should have known was that he was associated with groups that shouted, shoved, and pushed around people with whom they disagreed; he edged his way onto the political stage through great oratory. Conservative "losers" read it right now.

And there were the promises. Economic times were tough, people were losing jobs, and he was a great speaker. And he smiled and frowned and waved a lot. And people, even newspapers, were afraid to speak out for fear that his "brown shirts" would bully and beat them into submission. Which they did - regularly. And then, he was duly elected to office, while a full-throttled economic crisis bloomed at hand - the Great Depression. Slowly, but surely he seized the controls of government power, person by person, department by department, bureaucracy by bureaucracy. The children of German citizens were at first, encouraged to join a Youth Movement in his name where they were taught exactly what to think. Later, they were required to do so. No Jews of course,

How did he get people on his side? He did it by promising jobs to the jobless, money to the money-less, and rewards for the military-industrial complex. He did it by indoctrinating the children, advocating gun control, health care for all, better wages, better jobs, and promising to re-instill pride once again in the country, across Europe , and across the world. He did it with a compliant media - did you know that? And he did this all in the name of justice and .... . ... change. And the people surely got what they voted for.

If you think I am exaggerating, look it up. It's all there in the history books.

So read your history books. Many people of conscience objected in 1933 and were shouted down, called names, laughed at, and ridiculed. When Winston Churchill pointed out the obvious in the late 1930s while seated in the House of Lords in England (he was not yet Prime Minister), he was booed into his seat and called a crazy troublemaker. He was right, though. And the world came to regret that he was not listened to.

Do not forget that Germany was the most educated, the most cultured country in Europe . It was full of music, art, museums, hospitals, laboratories, and universities. And yet, inless than six years(a shorter time span than just two terms of the U. S. presidency) it was rounding up its own citizens, killing others, abrogating its laws, turning children against parents, and neighbors against neighbors.. All with the best of intentions, of course.. The road to Hell is paved with them.

As a practical thinker, one not overly prone to emotional decisions, I have a choice: I can either believe what the objective pieces of evidence tell me (even if they make me cringe with disgust); I can believe what history is shouting to me from across the chasm of seven decades; or I can hope I am wrong by closing my eyes, having another latte, and ignoring what is transpiring around me..

I choose to believe the evidence. No doubt some people will scoff at me, others laugh, or think I am foolish, naive, or both. To some degree, perhaps I am. But I have never been afraid to look people in the eye and tell them exactly what I believe-and why I believe it.

I pray I am wrong. I do not think I am. Perhaps the only hope is our vote in the next elections.

David Kaiser
Jamestown , Rhode Island
United States



Pass this along. Perhaps it will help to begin the awakening of America as to where we are headed.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Homemade Iced Coffee

I think I have to make it. Soon. Is it the record number of 100 degree days or the sweet coffee goodness? I can't say.

I'll admit I'm no gourmet. (If this had one more rhyme, I'd have to delete this post...) I know it's cool to like black coffee, but I've alwys needed sugar and recently gotten into the habit of using quite a bit of milk. I like McCafes, though I admit they are more dessert-y. I like au lait, thanks to my husband bringing back some Louisiana chickory coffee. I like cappuccinos and lattes at Starbucks and iced chai tea lattes at Panera, though I can't remember if it's cooler to like Starbucks or hate it. :)

So about iced coffee...

So I was under the impression everyone just brewed the coffee, maybe on the strong side because of ice and stuff, mix the sugar in and cool it and add the milk product of your choice. My two issues were how ot get the sugar dissolved and how not to dilute your coffee/milk/sugar with ice when you "ice" it. It makes sense to dissolve the sugar while the coffee's hot, which will require me to know exactly how much I like per cup... Not impossible. I read about coffee/milk/sugar ice cubes, which makes pretty good sense. Didn't think about that.

Apparently, there is a cold brew method that makes the coffee taste even better. Not iced coffee maker coffee; 12 hours at room temperature, no filter. Crazy. I know. You use a dark or French roast, which I like anyway, coarse grind, and oh- by the way- it takes 12-15 hours... :) Guess it's going to take some advance planning. :( The concentrate spoken of in one of these articles keeps for awhile in the fridge, though. There is a fancy contraption(s) to brew this stuff, but I'm partial ot the method shown below that uses a mason jar, coffee filters and sieve.

The sugar issue is definitely present here. I'm not a fan of artificial sweeteners, so it looks like I will be experimenting with sweetened condensed milk. Or Vietnamese do (does it rhyme with pho I wonder...) I will definitely have to start running again. Or use artificial sweeteners. I should start running again anyway, I guess.

When I get the coarse grind and remember to make it, I'll have to give it a try. Guess I should try both methods if I'm going to do it right. :) Maybe I will have to update this afterwards.


I normally like to have the link spelled out, but the computer's acting wierd, so I'm going with the "inline" variety only today. There are two up there. Have fun!