Sunday, August 30, 2009

Town Brawl Intimidators

The people who disrupt a town hall meeting when people are trying to have a rational discussion with their representative and the people who stand outside with guns are using the last tactic they can - intimidation. Chris Broughton, the day before he brought an assault rifle to an Obama town hall, was listening to the sermon of Steven Anderson who said he was going to "pray for Barack Obama to die and go to hell." This kind of talk was going on during desegregation in the 50's and 60's and lead to the death of civil rights workers and leaders. It is dangerous. These so called Christians are actually hate mongers. The KKK calls themselves Christian as well. They are bullies who don't believe in government, and since the government is we the people, they don't believe in democracy of, by and for the people. They would rather the special interests control things and as far as health care is concerned, they believe in pay or die, and that the CEO of United Health Care deserves $100,000 an hour.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Against a virtue?

Before picking Sonia Sotomayor as a nominee for the Supreme Court, Barack Obama stated that he was looking for a person who had empathy. According to the dictionary, empathy denotes a "deep emotional understanding of another's feelings or problems." To most people, that personal quality would be a virtue.

But Republicans pounced all over the word empathy as a code word for "activist judge," and leftist causes, such as "classism, racism, sexism, and homophobia." The antonym of empathy is apathy, misunderstanding, unfeelingness.

Another antonym would be callousness. If empathy is so bad, would callousness therefore be a virtue in the Republican party? They certainly seem to callous of the poor, and workers, and people without health care, and people of color, and people languishing in prison. They claim to be Christians, but the poor are mentioned in the Bible more than 3000 times. Jesus was himself was the embodiment of empathy. He would certainly not make it through the confirmation process.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Debt Monster

The economy has an insatiable appetite for debt...and it's eating us all. We all know the cookie monster. He's a big blue hairy guy who lives in a garbage can and just can't get enough cookies. There's another monster with an insatiable appetite. He's the Debt Monster. We created him, and now, like the Frankenstein monster, he's turning on us. This monster is similar to Frankenstein, because we made him with spare parts, like our own lust and greed. We feed him with things like carbon-based fuels, which have been more or less eaten up here at home, and are now only available to us from foreign countries that don't share our best interests. In order to keep feeding it, we've had to start imperialistic wars with to satisfy the monster's addiction. Unfortunately, instead of satiating, this creates another appetite in the monster called the military industrial complex. This is not only fed with oil, but with lots of money.

We used to tax ourselves to feed the monster, but now we have to borrow from countries like China. The monster has eaten over 10 trillion dollars, and still wants more. We tried to figure out how to somehow create more money to feed it, even though we didn't have any, so we invented funny money, complicated things like mortgage-backed securities, and derivatives, along with insurance, if the debt monster ate them. We created a quadrillion (a thousand trillion) dollars worth of those, but he was still hungry, so the debt monster went to Wall Street and ate all that up along with the banks and investment companies that they came from, as well as the insurance companies that backed them (AIG), which just received another 30 billion dollars. After it was finished downtown, it went to Main Street, then into the suburbs, eating one house after another. This is Godzilla on steroids.

Now people are losing their homes, and their jobs. It is a disaster of worldwide proportions. What to do? Maybe we should confront what caused it - our own lust and greed?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

There is no military solution in Afghanistan

When I heard that Obama signed off on a predator drone attack into Pakistan, my heart sunk. It sank again when I heard that Obama is going to commit an additional 30,000 troops to the region. Many experts and historians say that there is no military solution in Afghanistan. There is only a political solution.

The Pashtun region that includes a wide swath of border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been called "the graveyard of empires," because of the rough terrain. Look what happened to Genghis Khan, and the British and Indians in the first and second Afghan war. The Soviets, a century later, had 150,000 troops, yet were soundly defeated, and the entire Soviet Union was economically bled dry and crumbled into pieces.

Some may say, "Now we have 'predator drones' so we don't have to put so many troops in harms' way." That may be less controversial, but "strategic bombing" doesn't "demoralize the enemy." It kills a bunch of other people around. Therefore, beyond a shadow of a doubt, we recruit more opposition than we get rid of by killing the one person at that we wanted to kill. Historian Marilyn Young argues that bombing, even when successful, does not win hearts and minds, "I will not be grateful to you for harming someone I don't like in the course of which you kill my kid."