The Madness of Genuine Respect for all People

 Politics, Presidency, Religion, Right Wingnuts  Comments Off on The Madness of Genuine Respect for all People
Jan 212009

The fine christians (Dr. Gary Cass) at the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission have their knickers all twisted because Bishop Gene Robinson had the nerve to pray to God to help us get past mere tolerance and to a place of genuine respect for all people. Obviously, according to these demented idiots, we can have none of that. I mean really, what would Jesus think if we went around actually respecting one another.

According to an article on their site, Obama’s inauguration was going to be, “the most perverse in Presidential history.” And what made it so perverse? Well, there’s a whole list of horrible things going on which includes:

  • America’s most radical homosexual minister (I suppose their referring to Bishop Robinson here, but I’m not exactly sure I’d call him radical);
  • A homosexual choir (and we all know what sins singing can lead to);
  • A homosexual marching band (I assume it’s the allure of the piccolo that has Cass wrapped up about this).

Well, actually that’s the entire list of perversions they could come up with…but I’m sure there were more somewhere.

Really you can’t make this shit up. In the article, Cass makes a huge deal of being happy that, due to a scheduling mishap Robinson’s prayer wasn’t part of the HBO broadcast, and that the PA system screwed up meaning a lot of people on the mall couldn’t hear his prayer. Then, they post the YouTube and the text of his prayer on their website (in case you missed all the perversity I guess).

But what really has their knickers in a wad is that Robinson Apparently had the gall to ask God to help us learn to respect one another. Directly from their website, here’s what have to say about that:

In a galling act of reckless boldness, Robinson prayed that tolerance be replaced with genuine respect for all people. This is madness. Some people rightly do not deserve to be respected because they act in wicked and disrespectful ways.

It’s madness, madness I say to expect us to respect one another. As I’ve said so many times, God must weep.

Jan 202009

I took time out, as did a lot of Americans, and watched today’s ceremonies swearing in Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States. As you might expect, I have some opinions on the ceremony and some of the participants.

I was as upset as anyone who despises hate mongering and bigotry, especially when perpetrated for personal gain, at the selection of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation. Well, karma’s a bitch for the new President. In an otherwise flawless, stately, and eloquent ceremony,  Rick Warren was the low point. His speech was halting and confused. He was long-winded, and frankly sounded like some corn-pone hick (and being one myself, I know ’em when I hear ’em). His inflection and style lacked gravitas and humility and at times he seemed false, and was clearly mugging for the camera instead of concentrating on the prayer.

The next lowest point for me, frankly, was the poem. I admit to not being much of a reader of poetry, but that thing had me completely dumbfounded. I guess Mya Angelou’s poem, “On The Pulse of Morning,” at Clinton’s inauguration spoiled me. She had me in tears.

Rev. Lowery’s benediction was better poetry, and his rhetoric certainly more lofty than Warren’s.

And then, since he had to foist one last screw-up on the American people, Bush’s Chief Justice didn’t seem to bother to memorize the Constitutionally mandated oath of office. The only oath proscribed in the Constitution is the one for President, and John Roberts, Chief arbiter of the Constitution, apparently couldn’t be bothered to memorize it or at least write himself a crib note.

Obama’s speech was excellent, and touched on all the right themes. He seemed to offer a very strong repudiation to the fear and hate mongering of the past eight years. I hope his administration goes all out to reverse the scorched earth left by Bush/Cheney, Inc. He’s got a lot of work ahead of him, and he rightly called on Americans to be prepared to help. If we do, there really isn’t anything we can’t accomplish. It was a speech that called us to task for taking our eyes off the prize, and giving in to the Republican dogma of “us vs. them,” free-market greed above all else, and the fallacy of trickle down economics.

“We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.”

And despite all that, I think the part I enjoyed most was watching Yo Yo Ma playing the John Williams piece with the quartet. It wasn’t so much the music, as the expression on Ma’s face. While the other performers had the usual and expected expression of concentration, Ma just had a smile of pure joy and excitement at what he was doing.

I’m a sucker for the ceremonies of state, and today’s was “high church.” Barack and Michele Obama, and his children, were just the height of grace and beauty, and it does give me some hope that maybe a new day has begun.

Sarah Palin and The Moose She Rode In On

 Corruption, Crime, Election, Featured, Politics, Presidency, Religion, Right Wingnuts, Society, War  Comments Off on Sarah Palin and The Moose She Rode In On
Sep 112008

I’ve been trying to see how (or if) the dust would settle around Sarah Palin prior to writing a post about my feelings on the subject. It doesn’t appear the dust is settling, as John McCain hides behind her skirt. So I’m going to offer up my two-cents on the nomination. (Did you think I’d do otherwise?)

I’ve been unable to discern Palin’s motivation for her move into politics, and her acceptance of this nomination, but I’m feeling like she’s a great fit on the Republican ticket. I really do not get the sense that Palin is truly interested in public service, but in having power and taking what she can from it. She has definitely shown herself to be pushy and arrogant when holding public office.

As Mayor of Wasilla, AK, Palin fired the popular town Librarian for refusing to ban books that Palin didn’t like. This clearly shows an abusive side, and anyone wanting to ban books based on their belief system is scary to me. I encourage every person to develop their own set of beliefs, and work to instill those in their children and family, but you’re not entitled, in America, to dictate to me.

Oh, but what was I thinking…that was not America, but Alaska, and Sarah Palin and her husband seemed to be affiliated with a political group advocating the secession of Alaska from the Union. This may be, in fact, one of the more disturbing things that’s been uncovered about Palin. She was a member, never was a member, her husband definitely was, (it’s all being clouded by the Republicans) but she definitely gave a talk, as Governor, welcoming the group to one of their meetings, and invited them to, “keep up the good work.” Now, do I believe that Sarah Palin wants Alaska to secede from the Union? Actually I don’t think so, but that just means her little welcome speech was so much bullshit, meaning she’s prepared to say whatever it takes to score political points.

Palin would never support Alaska pulling out of the Union, because she takes too much money from Washington, by way of earmarks. All this money to a state that has no income taxes, and rebates money to it’s citizens every year. Now some would say that’s how the system works, and a good governor tries to get all the money out of Washington he/she can. I’d say that’s true. The problem is the ad naseum repetition of a stump speech in which Palin claims to be an agent of change, of being against the system of Washington earmarks, and of how she told Congress “no thanks” on that bridge to nowhere. It is now indisputably established that Sarah Palin supported that project, and even campaigned on the issue two years ago. She turned against it only when the Congress was about to cancel the project…and she kept the money. In fact, one of the bridge approaches has been under construction the past two years, even though there are no plans to build the bridge. Again, a person prepared to say anything, even outright lie, for political gain. A good Republican candidate. Don’t lie and say you’re against a system that you so vociferously took advantage of.

Palin has billed the State over $16,000 dollars for food and lodging while she’s at home instead of in the State Capital. She’s charged the state over $43,000 for her daughters to travel between Juneau and her home.

Speaking of fiscal management, here is what a longtime resident of Wascilla who has watched Palin up close for years had to say about her:

During her 6 years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over 33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they benefited residents.

The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration weren’t enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it with indebtedness of over $22 million.

Then there is troopergate. Strong evidence indicates that as part of a nasty divorce in her family, Palin ordered the head of the Alaska Highway Patrol to fire her (soon to be ex) brother-in-law. Just like as Mayor, when he refused to do her bidding, she fired him. Much is being made of this, and if we’re lucky, it has some legs.

The Republicans and pundits were all over Barack Obama for things said by his minister that appeared to negatively portray America. Barack wasn’t even at church that day, but Palin sat through a few Pentecostal sermons that were not very patriotic. Senior Pastor Ed Kalnin of Wasilla Assembly of God Church in Wasilla, Alaska, where Governor Palin was a member until 2002, made the following comments about John Kerry back during the 2002 election suggesting that voting for Kerry would result in a person going to hell. “I’m not going tell you who to vote for, but if you vote for this particular person [Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry], I question your salvation. I’m sorry.”

And for those Jewish people thinking they should vote for the McCain-Palin ticket, CNN online writes of her current church, Wasilla Bible Church:

David Brickner, the founder of Jews for Jesus, was a speaker. He told congregants that terrorist attacks on Israel were God’s “judgment” of Jews who haven’t embraced Christianity. Brickner said, “Judgment is very real and we see it played out on the pages of the newspapers and on the television. When a Palestinian from East Jerusalem took a bulldozer and went plowing through a score of cars, killing numbers of people. Judgment — you can’t miss it.”

Now, do I believe people should be held accountable for every idiotic thing that streams from the mouth of their preacher…God no! But that didn’t stop the Republicans from being all over Obama for things Jeremiah Wright said, so they set the standard. Where’s the outrage against Palin for these comments?   Continue reading »

Election Roundup for 08-07-2008

 Congress, Corruption, Election, Politics  Comments Off on Election Roundup for 08-07-2008
Aug 072008

I thought I’d consider a single post to provide my observations on the election shenanigans.

McCain’s still getting pretty much a free pass from the media, but I hope it won’t last. He’s flip flopped on the Bush tax cuts, offshore drilling, campaign finance, immigration reform, the religious right, negative campaigning, torture, etc., etc., How is it possible for anyone to go on television and say that McCain is still the “maverick” of the 2000 election. Perhaps his adoring fans in the media are just having a tough time coming to grips with the fact that their old buddy is no longer recognizable.

Then there is a little issue with a Charlie Crist/John McCain campaign contributer/bundler. McClatchy is reporting:

Alice Rocchio is an office manager at the New York headquarters of the Hess Corp., drives a 1993 Chevy Cavalier and lives in an apartment in Queens, N.Y., with her husband, Pasquale, an Amtrak foreman.

Despite what appears to be a middle-class lifestyle, the couple has written $61,600 in checks to John McCain’s presidential campaign and the Republican National Committee, most of it within days of McCain’s decision to endorse offshore oil drilling.

A former FEC official said that it’s possible that the Rocchios had the means to make those hefty contributions – their first reported donations to a federal campaign. But the official, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter, said that their donations also could trigger a complaint or otherwise catch the eyes of the agency’s enforcement staff, tasked to ensure that companies or wealthy individuals don’t illegally circumvent contribution limits by using employees or other third parties as “conduits” for cash.

And it looks like there are some other questionable “donor’s” along with this couple. McCain’s been fast and loose with the election laws, but it looks like this story might get some legs. There are a lot of people involved.

The McCain campaign has managed to push around the Obama camp, and many Democrats are getting concerned. They believe Obama is not fighting back hard enough, and I tend to agree with that. The guy has ideas, but unfortunately, Presidential campaigns are no longer about ideas…they’re about mudslinging…and the Republicans have that down to an art.

Speaking of Good-Time Charlie Crist, Mr. “I’m a live and let live kinda guy,” is apparently still campaigning to be McCain’s running mate. He’s quickly gone from opposing off-shore drilling to being in favor of it, and he’s gone from taking no position on Florida’s Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment to being in favor of the amendment. As we’ve noted previously, despite his life-long status as a  bachelor, it appears he’s now also found a girl toy and gotten engaged (can you say Fag Hag?). I actually had some respect for the guy at one time, but that’s all blown away now.

I also find it interesting that a whole bunch of Republican Candidates in tight races are saying they just don’t have time to make it to the Republican Convention. They all seem to have scheduling conflicts. That’s completely understandable with such short notice given on the dates for the convention. (snark) It appears they’re not even sure if George and Dick will make an appearance. Of course McCain has an ad out now attacking Bush and saying that Washington is broken. I’m sure he’d prefer it if the current administration stayed home. I wonder if they’ve told him yet that they aren’t leaving office regardless?

Apr 272008

I’d written back in February about my relative indifference regarding Clinton and Obama, and had discussed the good and bad points of each. In balancing these back at the time, neither came out as a favorite.

I have finally made a decision on who I support as the Democratic nominee. I am supporting Obama, but that support is less dramatic than that expressed by many of his supporters. I continue to harbor some concerns over a perceived lack of patriotism on the part of Obama, and further, I don’t think he marks the dramatic change that everyone else believes he will bring.

That being said, this decision is based more on how Clinton and her campaign have comported themselves than it is about anything Obama has done to gain my support. I know the stakes are high, but nothing justifies the scorched earth policy the Clinton campaign has employed recently. I believe, had Hillary stuck to attacking McCain and the Republicans and offering up her ideas, I would most likely have decided I would support her. That has not been the case.

I’m not sure what she is trying to accomplish, but it is not becoming, and does not denote the change that people are seeking. Obama needs to stay on top of his game, and he needs to keep to the high road. Thus far, he’s given that perception, even if some his surrogates aren’t a lot better than Hillary’s.

I don’t think the in-fighting has irreparably hurt the Democratic Party…yet. However, if it continues beyond the North Carolina and Indiana primaries, I believe it will begin to cause damage to Democratic chances in November. I’m all for fighting it out to the end, but only if Clinton can learn to conduct her campaign appropriately, and, at this point, I don’t believe she can. For that reason, I hope Obama has definitive wins in those two primaries. I hope that will pretty much end the election.

The last thing this party needs right now is a brokered convention.

Feb 262008

We have already held the primary here in Florida, but of course our vote didn’t count (more on that in another post). At the time John Edwards was still in the race, and I voted for him. I believe he was the most sincere candidate running, and he seemed to have the most radical ideas for change, and some radical change is needed. Of course you know he’s out now, and it’s down to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. So who will I be voting for in the general question? Well frankly, I’m still debating who I hope gets there for the Democrats.

I don’t know if there was ever a time I would have voted for John McCain, but there was a time I could have probably lived with him as President. I have completely changed my mind about him. I think he’s been in Washington long enough to have become pretty much as corrupt as the rest of them. Despite his rants against the lobbying industry in Washington, he’s more connected to it than anyone. His complete support for The Bush/Cheney War and their attempts to circumvent the constitution makes him unsuitable to be President.

There was a hint today that Mitt Romney might “un-suspend” his campaign. While it’s obvious the religious wingnuts don’t like McCain, I hope the Republicans won’t reward this Ross Perot move (I’m in, I’m out, I’m in again.) Of course this has been typical of the Romney campaign. He’s changed his position on practically every issue since he played to liberals to get elected in Massachusetts. So his dishonesty makes Romney unsuitable (but a perfect Republican candidate).

Ralph Nader has said he plans to enter the race again. I’m sure there are a bunch of Republicans whispering in his ear to run, and I suspect they are lining up the appropriate funding for his campaign. Ralph Nader used to have my respect, but his feeble attempts at politics has diminished his legacy. I do believe his 2000 campaign helped King George ascend to the throne. Nader hasn’t even been an active consumer advocate for the past years. He brings nothing to the table. Mervin Malone at ARIA Blog has a great post examining Nader’s motivation.

So, that leaves the choice between Hillary and Barack. I have to admit up front that I can’t imagine not voting Democratic, but I am waffling between these two. I think they started off pretty strong, but have both fallen into the trap of attack politics.

I think Hillary does have more experience/exposure. She would also have access to many of Bill’s former staffers, so she could get up and running much faster than Obama. That will be critical in this time of war. Also, let’s be honest, Bill Clinton is very popular around the world, and frankly, America could use someone like him as a roving Ambassador to help restore our reputation world-wide. I am still a believer in single payer healthcare, but that’s going to require a real leader, and we’re not yet there. But I do like Clinton’s healthcare plan better than Obama’s.     Continue reading »