Monday, March 7, 2011

Where the "TEA Party" went wrong

It has been a long time since I last visited this blog since my blog at wordpress is a lot of fun to use and gets a lot of views. However, I had already posted something substantial to the blog there about people who whether in seeking to maintain a lifestyle through spendy real estate that also potentially makes it a spendy prospect for businesses to operate here. And because of the deals that countries like China offers them, there goes the manufacturing plant and the jobs too. Or trying to maintain a lifestyle through sports in colleges or universities at the expense of actual education means that we have people today who no longer have a sense of priorities to bring this country back to being a first, either in cutting edge technology or any where else. You have to have top rated education for this, sports teams won't achieve that.

But since Rand Paul, the face for the "TEA Party" showed up on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," I found some cause to visit here again. We all know that the guy will stick up for the super-wealthy like the Koch brothers who helped fund the "TEA Party," but what really took the cake, was when Paul held the view that only capitalism could punish the wicked on Wall Street or the banks. At one point he complained about the intervention of government that enabled people in corporate offices to walk out with mega-bonuses. To put it bluntly, the dude had his facts completely twisted. They were walking out with mega-bonuses long before government intervention. The intended intervention from the GW years to the first year of Obama's presidency was to keep the banks from toppling and money flowing. But for obvious reasons, the people who ran the corporate HQs weren't interested in anything but mega-bonuses for themselves and screw the rest of the marketplace. So, Rand Paul, how would capitalism punish people with that kind of attitude? Banks are part of the commercial landscape, you really can't do business without them. But then, what can you expect from a guy who pushes this radical ideology to the limits and against all reason?

So, let us take such a Paulian concept into the real world and argue that "too much government" can be whined about and we have a burdensome regulation, when it comes to crime in your neighborhood. Even a guy like Rand Paul would agree that the mugger in the back alley, the shoplifter, the armed robber, the killer; should face their punishments to the full extent of the law. On the other hand, when it comes to banks like Capital One: Holding such a bank legally accountable for wrong doing suddenly becomes a no, no. In the case of the bank capitalism must be the sole judicial system.

All right, we are talking about a bank, one of many banks and credit card companies that sought through the Republican-controlled legislature, that it step in and intervene with the downside of capitalism. IE, that aspect of capitalism in which a bank card holder runs up an unsustainable debt on his account, declares bankruptcy, and leaves the bank holding the bill. If capitalism was the means of punishment, then it seems to me that banks could have used the bankruptcy itself to set up red flags. Notifying other banks that this person had run up unsustainable debt on his or her account(s) and then declared bankruptcy. A flag on that individual submitted to any and all banks would have told them that such a person was a credit risk and not to do business with him/her. But the banks did not choose to do that, instead: they went to Congress and demanded that government intervene in the marketplace. Further, they treated any bankruptcies that were won as an erasing of all debt and encouraged the individual who went bankrupt to get into debt another time. Well, then I would certainly have to argue that these banks weren't thinking in capitalistic terms, but only in how much money they could get for pushing easy credit. Capitalism you see would take foresight and planning. The banks instead took the path of least resistance and ended up (as portrayed even on The Daily Show Face Book page) causing a catastrophic economic collapse. Well then, how would capitalism punish these banks if they simply abandoned the rules of capitalism?

The above link shows you what Capital One Bank did to get around consumer safety rules. Just as following the GOP passed bankruptcy reform act, they also failed to follow The Fair Credit Billing Act of 1999. Yeah, following the bankruptcy reform act, Capital One decided they could screw with the accounts through billing and payment errors, charge excessive debt to the accounts on the basis of billing and payment errors, tried to create bankruptcy conditions, would not allow the accounts to be closed, would not allow the accounts to be paid off so that the accounts would be closed... And for such predatory lending practices, they should be free, according to Paul, to continue on in these questionable and criminal practices and only capitalism should punish them. Punish how?

Meghan's law became possible because of some truly brutal killing of a young child. The "three strikes" law became possible because of the judicial system's tendency to engage in catch and release. If you are caught for some criminal offense for the third time, then you get to go away forever. But, we should not hold banks legally accountable when they fail to follow the FCBA or the changes in credit card laws since they were passed in 2009 and implemented by 2010. Yeah, laws to hold the banks legally accountable when they fail to follow the rules of doing honest business with their customers. Instead, it is twisted into burdensome regulations that unduly interferes with the marketplace. Check out the link above, there is your undue interference with the marketplace. Yes, it is absolutely necessary to hold those who commit crimes accountable. No matter if they are waiting for you in the back alley or sitting comfortably in a corporate office.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Afghanistan: What is our priority?

As much as I respect and agree with Trudy Rubin (republished in the Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Washington 21 June 2010), it still begs the question that after 9 years of our presence in Afghanistan, just exactly what are our priorities in that country? Remember when we first invaded Afghanistan? It was around a month after 9/11/2001. Our reasons were simple, getting the terrorists who attacked innocent people here in America. Go after the people who gave them safe harbor. Then our priorities shifted from going after terrorists to forcing a democratic society on a people who were not really ready for such a society. Then our priorities shifted again. Instead of dealing decisively with the Taliban and Al Qaeda; the GW administration decided that "terrorism" was a greater issue in Iraq and so went after Saddam Hussein. In the meantime, the Hamid Karzai gvt became increasingly corrupt, ceded greater control of the general countryside to the Warlords, the Taliban began re-emerging and gaining stronger footholds in Afghanistan and had positions of security in Pakistan itself. The GW administration did not choose to work with Pakistan to deal decisively with the Taliban. With the end result that the Taliban had free rein to begin destabilizing Pakistan as well.

Back in the day when all this was going on under a GOP president, and it was the Democrats who wanted a time line for withdrawal from Iraq; exactly what did Senator McCain have to say about any "re-emergence" of anti-Democratic forces? Or did he simply join with fellow GOP voices in Congress to utterly condemn the Democrats as failing to support our troops and spineless in the face of terrorists? Was there mention of negotiating with the U.S. installed Iraqi gvt to assure a stable country that the U.S. Military could eventually leave and the Iraqi people and gvt could handle their own security from then on? Or was there a failure on the part of the GOP led gvt to make the sort of decisive demands: now that we got rid of a brutal dictator for you and paved the way for you to achieve a democratic state, how about stepping up to the plate and working to make a better society and gvt for yourself? As long as GW and his administration weren't prepared to make such decisive demands, they also left themselves no room to negotiate with what ever actual society and gvt the Iraqi people would eventually create. That all we would do is simply prop up a dependent "state" rather than ceding back to a sovereign people the free will to decide their own future. As long as we are there, a "dependent people" don't have to make any decisions as to their own future. As long as we are there, there would be factions prepared to resent our presence and to go on the attack against their fellows just because other factions desire the presence of Americans. Apparently, it never occurred to anyone, inclusive of Senator McCain during the heyday of the GW administration to bring all sides together and have them negotiate a peace pact. If Shi'ite Muslims worked out a peace pact with Kurds and other minority peoples and beliefs living in Iraq; then it would have been possible for the U.S. presence in Iraq to have left years sooner. Instead of negotiating peace with actual warring parties after the fall of Hussein, GW decided instead that he could simply impose a western style (and Christian) type of gvt on that people. After he left office, President Obama as his successor proceeded to put forth a time line for withdrawal of troops from Iraq whether warring parties within that country were ready for it or not.

The time for negotiating the peace is after you have fought the initial fight and put the enemies on the run. You don't put off such negotiations for a later date or abandon them all together. GW had made it readily apparent that he wanted to go to war and use being a "war president" to personally boost his ego and keep a GOP lock on Congress. But he also made it readily apparent that he didn't know how to run a war or bring one to a successful conclusion. That is why, two years after he has left office, we are still dealing with the Iraqi situation that could have been concluded a long time ago and Afghanistan who's people we actually did abandon before invading Iraq. GW was ultimately not interested in negotiating the peace after the battle was won. Had we actually been prepared to do that, we could have strengthened the hand of the newly installed gvt in Afghanistan and that of the people to more thoroughly resist Taliban incursions. The fact that McCain couldn't be bothered discussing that fact back when GW was still in office, and was simply one more Republican voice opposing the Democrats in a polarized partisan contest of who should ultimately reign supreme in Washington, D.C.; makes it a little late for him to argue negotiation and prospective abandonment of the Afghani people today. Make that, 7 years to late. No war is truly over until you have left the enemy no room to maneuver and no further reason to fight you. GW loved the "glory of war," but not the work it would take to actually end one and leave behind a stable society. After all, given his treatment of this American society, how should he be bothered with giving greater consideration to countries he invaded and left destabilized as a consequence? It says a lot about the people he put into his administration. It says a lot about himself. And it says a lot about Senator McCain who lacks the necessary graciousness two years after his defeat at the polls to consider his own lack of willingness to truly challenge the last administration when it would have counted the most. Waiting 8 years and challenging this one really begs the question of why do it now?

Should the Obama administration begin negotiating the peace between the Afghani peoples and all factions that could prove detrimental to a stable society? Absolutely. That there can not just be a time line for troop withdrawal; there must also be a firm commitment between the peoples and their gvt to create a society that they can live with and resist any effort on the part of militant Taliban to recreate the sort of intolerable conditions where human rights are concerned, that was partially why they were ousted in the first place! The Afghani people should be informed about what sort of choices they should have. Negotiate the peace between them and deny a philosophical foothold that allows the Taliban room to maneuver and then go on to attack the rest of their society and gvt, or face a return to a nightmare situation pre the American invasion. Given this sort of decisive either/or demand; the Afghani peoples would indeed know where they would stand once the American forces did leave. As long as the American forces are there and propping up a corrupt gvt, no such decisions have to be made. Nor does the American gvt have room to negotiate. If the Afghani peoples wish to be a sovereign peoples in a post-Taliban world, they will have to make a decision as to their own future. Further, to negotiate with the American gvt as to what they want that future to look like.

Also in the news, Al Qaeda making a threat to the Obama administration that if you don't pull troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan there will be grave consequences. Shall we say, stand in line behind financial institutions allowed to run amok then collapsing? The BP oil spill? Business interests that use any excuse to continue to outsource jobs? Excuse me, but we have now seen more harm from our "friends" than our enemies.

Our original rationale for going to war in Afghanistan was about terrorism. Terrorism must continue to be the focus of this and all other succeeding administrations until that day comes when those who currently engage in violent extremism see no further cause to do so. Let a sovereign people build their own nation. If they truly desire to do so. It can not solely be up to us to take care of them as though they were "orphans." We can assist, yes; but ultimately, the decisions as to their futures is their own to make.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Latest book review

"Anti-Semitism in America." I had that book around for a while and after finishing the "Swords of Riverside," finally picked this book up to read it. So far, it is a particularly disturbing book. Anti-Semitism has been around since the founding days of Christianity. And the rationale for it is found in the New Testament. I do have a number of questions regarding that rationale for Anti-Semitism and they are thus: did someone forget to remind these "Christians" that Christ was a Jew? Are the alleged "anti-Semitism" in the New Testament actually a direct quotation of Christ or words put in his mouth long after the fact? Especially as to the latter, the final compilation of the New Testament was hundreds of years after the birth and death of Christ. In that time, the vast majority of converts to Christianity weren't Jewish, but rather Pagan. If that tells you anything. And you can be sure that pagan influence would be the underpinnings of any final compilations of the New Testament. And it is because "Christians" felt that they were so superior to any other belief, that they felt quite safe in denigrating those who hadn't "converted" to their beliefs. How long after the fact could you possibly make the claim that the Jews did agree to the torture and final execution of Christ and make it official in the bible? 100 years? 2oo years? The religious council that finally put together what would become the modern version of the New Testament? In that time, considerable enmity could and would spring up between pagan Christians and Jews unconvinced that Christ was the Messiah. Because of that enmity, it would always be easy to make biblical claims long after the fact that Christ had it in for his fellow Jews and that the Jews would simply prefer to sell him out to the Romans. Which makes the argument that the bible carries a degree of "Christian" mythology and a rationality for their hatred of those who do not believe as they do.

The next question would certainly be: when Christ instructed his followers to "love their neighbors as themselves," and even to "love their enemies," why is it then that "Christians" would prefer to engage in religious bigotry? Sorry, but one is hardly supportive of a "superior religion" if one does not live up to the teachings of Christ. And the hatred of Judaism, the violence against them, the mockery of them; does not square with biblical morals. But, "Christians" went through 2,000 years plus justifying it.

When reading this book, as the author Dinnerstein began to discuss the increased hatred of Judaism in general and Jews in particular at the turn of the 20th century and the "Progressive era," seems that the "liberalism" of that time didn't extend to those not of the Jewish faith. And when Bolshevism overturned the last Tsar of Russia, it was a taint that Jews in America could also carry along with earlier questions about their loyalty.

Today, a Glen Beck can on Fox News equate "progressive" with Marx or Hitler. But, he used exactly the same language against "progressives" that were used against the Jewish faith from the early 1900s. Wonder if the guy has any kind of historical understanding of the fact? Today, Obama is attacked for his "socialist" views if he employs government to aid those left out or left behind. It is exactly the same language that was used against the Jews in an earlier era. Today, Democrats are complained about if they push for too much government or the gvt take over of _________. A parallel argument of what was complained that those "shyster" Jews who would use their "influence" to take over gvt and ultimately bring an end to a "Christian" nation. Literally, the same or comparable language of those who "fear" gvt because of whom might ultimately control it.

Not so long ago, "Christians" claimed a Judeo/Christian set of values. That is, until a Rabbi sought to put up a Menorah at Sea-Tac airport and rather than put up the Menorah, Sea-Tac officials took down the trees. The resulting uproar that led to across the board attacks on the Rabbi and demands by "Christians" that their pagan trees be put back up in the airport. The trees were put back up and the Menorah was never installed. Yeah, Judeo/Christian values up and until a Rabbi wants to put a Menorah honoring his holiday in an airport that only wants to honor a pagan/Christian holiday. That should tell you a lot right there. Or when a battle erupted in Florida, such as Jews putting up Menorahs to honor their holiday in a public setting and "Christians" who decided that Nativity sets could be placed in the near vicinity. In a land of diverse religion, why would "Christians" feel the need to compete for attention with the Jews? Given the particular history of "Christian" refusal to respect beliefs outside of their own, that exploiting the Nativity as a competition with the Jewish holiday comes as no surprise. Hanuka is recognized on the calenders. But we don't take a week off for the festival of lights as we do for "Christmas." How about that.

And it is "Christianity" after centuries of abusing those of other beliefs, then turns around and tries to claim that they are "victims." War on "Christmas" anyone?

I'd have to say in closing however, that much of what "Christians" had to say about Jews in particular, sounded exactly like the worst demons of their own beliefs. Merely a case of projection.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The thugs vs the U.S.

Fhrida Ghitas is fortunately not published in the Spokesman-Review very often. I think it is actually a blessing that she isn't. If there was ever a definition of liberal, she would meet that definition to a "T." So, reading her republished editorial in the 5 January 2010 edition of the Spokesman-Review, you could immediately get the impression that because Iranian President Ahmedinajad only happens to be an extremist who undoubtedly hates the west as much as he hates Israel and the U.S.; our failure to "make nice" to such a thug and make him see sweet reason, well; it can't be GW's fault, now can it? No kidding? Really?

Let's lay aside for the minute that countries with governments and leaders who absolutely detest this nation; one of the lasting legacies of GW was that he spent more time alienating his friends than putting together at any time an effective foreign policy. Only if you ignore such a legacy as Ms. Ghitas sets out to do, then you can opine away that GW can't be blamed for countries with "mutually exclusive" policies (that at the same time, hate us). Well no, if for example Iran spent better than 20 years calling us the "Great Satan" regardless of who was in office, that would be true
. On the other hand, how about attacking France for refusing to step up to the plate on a contemplated invasion (by the U.S.) of Iraq. Anything associated however loosely with France could be renamed: Freedom Fries, Freedom Toast; and French wines could be dumped down the gutter. And "French cleaners" could get vandalized with graffiti written all over the building, etc. I am quite sure that the French government (that was demonstrating mutually exclusive policies when it came to GW's two terms in office) breathed a sigh of relief when GW was replaced by Dem successor President Obama. As did other nations known to be our allies before being confronted with the last president's belligerence.

Now to take into consideration, Hugo Chavez. Would it be impossible for the man to not know the world's opinion of President Bush when he was in office? The point to be made is, that of course the man isn't stupid, he'd have radio, TV, some kind of newspaper, and without a doubt the capacity to obtain international news. Just as he would travel to other nations at odds with this one, quite prepared to make deals with those countries just to p.o. the last administration in particular. Ever consider that Chavez is a master manipulator very capable of pushing the hot buttons of people most passionate? Well, yeah; is the Pope Catholic?

I remember when people started screaming away about President Obama's poor choice of "friends." In letters to the editor in the Coeur d'Alene Press and again in the Spokesman-Review and even on blogs. President Hugo Chavez who gave Obama a book, Chavez who at one point spoke approvingly of the new president before the U.N. brought a rain of rants that insinuated a question of disloyalty by Obama to this nation. And from there, attacks on the (old) left in general. So, when Chavez who'd be just as capable of knowing all about the criticisms of American media such as CNN and Fox News about Obama obtaining the Nobel Peace Prize so soon into his presidency; well now it wouldn't be impossible for the man to simply capitalize on that American-based criticism and change his opinions about Obama "his dear friend" in a matter of months. While I did not hear about Chavez' mutually exclusive domestic and foreign polices vis a vis Obama until Ms. Ghitas brought this matter front and center. I do know that there did come a time when Obama wasn't being attacked for his anti-American "friends." Not now, anyway when one of them turns on him.

No, I don't guess that diplomacy is going to work on Ahmedinajad. But neither did drawing a line in the sand, backing away, drawing another line in the sand, backing away and drawing another line in the sand; which was the Iranian foreign policy under the GW administration ever effective either. So, what should we do? Well, we reduce our dependence on foreign oil and begin to do something toward cutting off Iran's oil profits, which no doubt does go a long way toward funding Ahmedinajad's nuclear ambitions. We ask the rest of the western world to follow suit. Then we turn to Iran's neighbors and tell them that it would be in their best interests, that whenever Ahmedinajad throws a tantrum, to send him to his room without supper. Maybe applying the right sort of diplomacy not directly with Iran but with those who do business with Iran would do more to curtail Iran's thuggish attitudes. If Iran no longer had the profits to support a nuclear program, how quickly would Iran come to the negotiating table?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Decent and enlightened Republicans

I thoroughly enjoyed Leonard Pitts, jr.'s editorial this morning (republished in the Spokesman-Review) about what the Republican party was commencing to do wrong when it came to expanding its own base and trying to make that long climb back into power. Namely, being a little too prepared to continue to alienate what ought to be a natural constituency—African-Americans. His column is definitely worth reading for the anti-racist rant that is the message he puts forth. And his appeal to decent and enlightened Republicans to tell their party about what ought not a party platform any longer; precisely: using racial and racist overtones against this nation's first African-American president.

It brings to mind a quite clumsy and laughable letter published in the Coeur d'Alene Press of recent vintage, where the writer complained about the current administration in exactly the manner that Pitts had decried. Being happy with a GOP president who could balance a Dem Congress (but he was also white, wasn't he?), who "kept them safe" (not really); who only spent "millions" (that is around a few 0s off of what the last administration had actually spent) as opposed to Obama's trillions. But who wouldn't have been treated as both "racial and a radical." Well, let's put it bluntly, that racism was behind Rush Limbaugh's encouraging the GOP to go to the polls in open primary states and vote for Hillary Clinton. Had Clinton won the Dem nod on overtly racist votes; not necessarily would she have become president because the same racists would have been equally appalled at the idea that a woman might just ascend to the highest office of the land. Vote for the woman in the Dem field of presidential wannabes only because that "black man" scares the heck out of these people. And let us also put it bluntly that Dems weren't holding TEA Parties during the last administration because they were absolutely scared spitless of how they would get treated if they did. As indeed both radical and anti-American. They got that jammed in their collective faces anyway over the last 8 years for any number of reasons. So if the writer could claim now that Democrats were out protesting excess spending by the current administration; perhaps so. But it is also safe to say that they could more safely protest the current administration than they could have the last one. And that anyone on the political spectrum could more easily protest the current administration than they could have or would have the last one. Because, this administration at least is more democratic in nature. Even though it did have valid questions for the motivations of the TEA Party activists. Well now, it would be good for the writer to have gotten the Spokesman-Review and had a chance to read Pitts' editorial; that would answer a few questions. The GOP is infested with racist hold overs; they and the religious activists are about all that is left of the party's base. In short, the TEA Parties were driven in part by racism and radicalism. If the Dem president had been white, would there have been TEA Parties? Probably not. The last time there was a Dem majority in Congress and a Dem President—Bill Clinton, no TEA Parties were held at all. So, seems to me that what scared the heck out of these TEA Party participants and had them organizing their opposition to the current administration was indeed based on race. And TEA Parties weren't in vogue when this country was in more difficult times back in the 1930s when FDR got sworn into office. How about that. After all, an activist gvt was hard at work trying to bring an economically crippled nation back into full production. The same as now. FDR was all about excessive spending to put people back to work. The same as now. The GOP lack of gratitude for FDR's helping them to achieve a middle class and higher status would only appear decades after the fact. Unlike now. Afraid that unless the TEA Party participants can really prove otherwise, race was a factor in why they organized their protests.

But, I would like to offer a couple of corrections now as to Pitts concepts of conservatism: when racist "states' rights" proponnents get called "conservative," what's "conservative" about being a bigot? Christ was a Semite, people go to church to hear the teachings that initially came from a Semite; then they go out and demonstrate nothing but hate for anyone who doesn't look like them, think like them, hold a political or religious philosophy different from their own, or even behaves differently from how they behave. The people who proclaim themselves to be biblical literalists; yet do not value their own book so as to actually live up to its teachings in their own lives. The same people, ladies and gentlemen, who'd attack the enlightened and decent as "liberal." The time that pure hatred gets called "conservative" has to be scary to anyone. The time that "love your neighbor as yourself" an erstwhile Christian commandment if there ever was one gets attacked as "liberal," as though something nasty lay underneath it; that says a lot about what has become the radicalization of the GOP. Why would anyone truly conservative go against what he says he values most? Who's actions and behavior can only be destructive of the canons of his belief? He wouldn't. In short, someone who happens to be truly conservative would be both decent and enlightened. As of now, they truly don't exist among the GOP.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Don't know much about history

Kathleen Parker's 1 May editorial republished in the Spokesman-Review demonstrated a real snit fit over the very idea (apalling) that President Barack H. Obama (pro-choice) could accept an invitation from Notre Dame University (Catholic) as a commencement speaker and even get an honorary degree. So she starts her editorial off with this declaration; "Here on planet 'What about Me,' principled people are so rare as to be oddities. Thus it was a head-swiveling moment Monday when former Vatican Ambassador Mary Ann Glendon quietly declined Notre Dame's Laetare Medal." Seems Ms. Glendon is a Harvard University law professor and a respected author on bioethics and human rights. That is, given the tone of Parker's column to follow, Prof Glendon is thoroughly anti-abortion. And that it is on this highly political stance that Ms. Glendon won't accept this medal [in part] because Barack Obama was invited to be a commencement speaker. —Parker. Quite frankly, I'd suggest that "faith" wasn't behind Ambassador Glendon's refusal to accept such a medal so much as her political opposition to President Obama and his ideology. Which then begs the question, we know that GW Bush authorized the use of torture against terrorist suspects. GW being invited by Notre Dame to be a commencement speaker and a recipient of an honorary degree despite his history on international policies and the contravening of the Geneva Conventions; would a Ms. Glendon refuse such a medal on the grounds that GW wasn't a supporter of human rights or accept it because GW was opposed to abortion and stem cell research? But if Ms. Glendon were acting on the principles of "faith," to put it bluntly, her respected authorship on bioethics and human rights ought to put her at odds with the very church she was only an ambassador to; given the history of the church itself as not being a supporter of human rights. Under the circumstances, I wouldn't accept such a medal.

But, I highly doubt that "faith" had anything to do with it. Rather, as I suggested above, it was all about the politics.

Parker goes on to say, "It has always seemed to me that the truest form of feminism, as in the earliest days of suffrage, would be to hold abhorrent the state-sanctioned destruction of women's unique life-bearing gifts." Excuse me? Suffrage was all about women's equality. And along with Margaret Sanger's push toward the equality of women also included birth control and family planning. Thus it can be said without equivocation, that Ms. Sanger was the founder of Planned Parenthood. But at the time of the earliest days of the feminist movement, the "conservative" reaction was to oppose women taking their place in society as workers, voters, politicians, having an independent income and managing it on their own, deciding for themselves just how many kids they'd like to have and when. The "conservative" reaction was that women's only role was to be that of wife, mother and home maker. In the century since women's suffrage made many political and economic gains, the "conservative" reaction is to now put a new dress on a very old argument; precisely, the only acceptable feminism is the woman who is wife, mother and home maker. And this comes from the pen of a woman who is not herself only a wife, mother and home maker... presumably. No, Parker actually does work for a living in the newspaper business. And is therefore a beneficiary of the feminism that Sanger helped promote. And as for the "state-sanctioned destruction of women's unique life-bearing gifts," I think she does not recall any too well what the state allowed in the 19th century as to doctors being able to neuter women who were regarded as [retarded] by giving them hysterectomies. That is the only "state-sanctioned destruction of women's unique life-bearing gifts" that I know of. Rendering such women as incapable of bearing children. Talk about your euphemisms that not only shoot wide of the mark but head off into Never Never land. There is no life-bearing gift in getting pregnant. Only if you possess the well-functioning equipment to get there at all.

With reference to Glendon refusing to accept the medal Parker had this to say,
  • President Obama won't be doing all the talking. Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, will be speaking as the recipient of the Laetare Medal.
  • We think having the President come to Notre Dame, meet our leaders, and hear a talk from Mary Ann Glendon is a good thing for the president and for the causes we care about.

"Glendon, who is no mortal's pawn, decided she couldn't accept the award."

Apparently, "faith" insists that neither will Prof. Glendon act very Christian, either. I am fully familiar with the bible. I am fully familiar with that scripture in Luke that advises the followers of Christ to love even their enemies. With reference to God loving even sinners by the gifts he bestows (sun and rain) upon them. True love, according to Christ, does not stop at the gate of someone you regard as a foe. In today's political language, Glendon as a "Christian" should have been more than happy to seize on an opportunity to assist Notre Dame in educating the President on the causes both she and the university cared about. But instead, she let political opposition stand in the way of Christian morality. That I regard as a real loss to herself and Notre Dame that "faith" in accordance with the bible wasn't the "principle" she wished to stand on. So, a trip down history lane: until the rise of the feminist movement, abortion really wasn't an issue from the 18th to the 19th centuries. It did occur but the precise records of how often the occurrence, how many hundreds, thousands, of women might have obtained such a procedure is not known. With the rise of feminism, only then did "conservatives" and religious activists go on record with a political opposition to the procedure. Anti-family planning laws were passed to include prohibiting the birth control pill as well as rendering illegal the abortion procedure. But regardless of the effort to render illegal the abortion procedure, women still sought out and obtained abortions, at great risk to themselves. "Faith" wasn't the article that drove such opposition. Rather the politics that opposed the existence and rise of feminism in this nation. If "faith" was the principle that Glendon was applauded for by Parker, well, it wasn't very evident by Parker's description since any dogma concerning abortion must also be met with respect as well for one's fellow Christians. Glendon had no such respect. The politics came first. Glendon might have been an ambassador for Christ and she refused. Good for her as she most certainly shot in the foot what credibility Christianity might have got in this world. But why should Obama bow out? He has demonstrated more than once his willingness to love even his political enemies.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The errors of hysterical screeching

E. Thomas McClanahan who is a member of the Kansas City Star editorial board and republished on 4 April 2009 began with a comedy of errors when it comes to the use of polls to argue the failure of the Obama administration barely into its 4th month. The highly partisan Zogby poll was specified. For anyone who recalls the Zogby poll, the Spokesman-Review's blog Huckleberries online made consistent use of the Zogby poll because I do believe the blog's author didn't really care to see Obama win. But compare the Zogby poll to other polls, even to that of CNN's polls of polls, and the Zogby poll was artificially too low during the primary and general campaign season of 2008. I sure wouldn't much trust the Zogby poll that can as easily track voting demographics as can John King's "Magic Wall." And therefore, asks questions of people and only those people who wouldn't have supported Obama in the first place, before making "random calls" of anyone else. I'm sure the Zogby pollsters would have been still surprised despite their skewed attempts at polling that President Obama still has such strong support. But McClanahan, who seems to want Obama governed solely by polling sees a man who is polled in the mid 50s as a failure. Actually, Obama would have to poll worse than GW in his last year in office, about 19%, by the end of his first year in office, to be regarded as an utter failure. "Many people are worried?" Or only those people who are actually polled with typically loaded questions, worried.

One of the issues that McClanahan brings out is the cap and trade environmental policy that can only wreck our manufacturing base. We have a manufacturing base? Beyond the auto industry, most of our manufacturing base does not exist in this country any more. Perhaps one cause can be past environmental regs (which GW proceeded to relax and the manufacturing industry fled this nation regardless) but the other greater cause was the desire for cheap labor. No, cap and trade environmental policies would only affect polluting energy producing companies. They aren't going to outsource to say China before sending the energy they produce back to the consumers locally. Either a staff member of the Kansas City Star is badly misinformed or he hopes that his readers are ignorant. Given the fact that Lou Dobbs of CNN has bemoaned the fact that we don't really make anything in this country any more, then McClanahan could have watched his colleague on TV, even contacted him more personally to discuss our lack of a manufacturing base that GW's own environmental policies would not have discouraged these industries from continuing to operate here. Excuse me, but the well informed don't to date have a problem with Obama's policies or presidency.

On the health care front, health care and the insurance has become unaffordable here in this nation. The insurance policies that cover less while costing more. The "tests" that doctors perform to assure that they don't get malpractice lawsuits make hospital stays unaffordable. Doctor visits unaffordable. What has that got to do with the economic crisis that swept through Europe? Actually, nothing. While whipping away at Obama, McClanahan ignores some truly crucial factors that started economic collapses across many nations and led to the G20 Summit in the last week. Banks such as Citigroup that looked for foreign investors to keep it financed as it continued to engage in out of control business practices. Lou Dobbs faithful following was informed of that back in 2007/2008. Citigroup that went from national to international in its out of control desire to obtain more capital; as its inevitable collapse loomed, so it began to create an economic crisis in countries that had provided it with capital. As did AIG. The heavy speculation in oil futures, driving up to obscene levels the price of gas at the pump, that too was a factor in economic collapses across nations. It heavily hit the most impoverished to the point of starvation and violent rioting before gas prices began to reduce to more affordable levels. It literally caused local businesses to close. But if you want to scapegoat GW's successor, then do by all means ignore all that. But the above is exactly why the people put Obama and not McCain into office. With McClanahan, you do have to wonder who suffers most from short term memory problems.