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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Cut and Die

In the forgotten war, Afghanistan's President (and former Unocal executive) Hamid Karzai admonished and condemned the United States for an air strike which killed 10 Afghani policemen in Southeast Afghanistan. 16 other people died in "Taliban-Land" including another US soldier who was killed by an old Soviet Land Mine.

Boy, those Soviets knew had to make a land mine, didn't they?

I'm "shocked and angered,"
"I have repeatedly asked the coalition forces to take maximum caution while carrying out operations and I want that incidents like this must not be repeated,"
-Karzai, about the bombings

President Karzai, who is recognizable as the guy in the fur coat/ cape and hat, obviously doesn't know his place as a Bush Puppet.

Much like most of the other Bush "successes" around the world, the Taliban is back and they're launching suicide bombings in the land they used to rule. They said there will be more such attacks, following the two bombings today.

Where does the Taliban get the volunteers? Who's paying off their families of these bombers? Why do they sacrifice themselves like this? Does anyone remember Osama bin-Laden?


Does anyone remember this?


BOB SCHIEFFER (CBS News, Face the Nations host and 2004 Bush-Kerry Debate moderator at a debate) : Where is Osama bin Laden?
BUSH: I dont know. I dont really think about him very much. Im not that concerned.

According to a US military spokesman, two trucks, like the ones carrying the 10 soon-to-be deceased policemen, had perpetrated an attack on a US-Afghani patrol. Someone then pointed out these vehicles as the ones which carried the attackers (dare we say "insurgents"?) and the US attack occurred. There were no survivors.

So what is the excuse? Should we assume that our troops were "tricked" into killing "friendlies"? Should we say that these men were the attackers and that they weren't in fact, "friendly Afghani policemen"? Maybe they should go with the time-tested "They all look alike" defense. In any event, I'm sure that this will be quickly and quietly investigated and swept under the rug. Maybe some PFC will spend a weekend in the stockade for passing along bad information. After all, what's a war without a few low-level patsies to blame things, on?

The Taliban is making headway in Afghanistan... again. This time the US is playing the part of the Soviet Union of the 1980's. We had a real cause in Afghanistan after the terrorist bombings of 9/11. We had the whole western world behind us. But, today, the land of poppies has been restored as the heroine producing capital of the world and the only safe place there seems to be (relatively speaking) is in Kabul.

The troop level in Afghanistan is less than that of the NYPD. The troops that could have finished the job in Afghanistan, captured or killed Osama bin-Laden (Bush's buddy's brother) and made that nation safe, are being used as targets in an Iraqi civil war.

Priorities to the Bushites are simple: Make a buck for their "base" of "haves and have-mores", no matter how much the cost in human lives; and paint a rosy picture despite all of the thorns. Nothing else matters to them.

And when the Bushites say the Democrats want to "cut and run", I ask,  ust what would you call their plan?


"Cut and Die?"


Too few troops and too little heart. That's part of what it takes to be a Bushie.

-Noah Greenberg

Terror, Terror and More Terror

From all official statements so far, we are led to believe that the men arrested on August 10 in Pakistan and Britain on charges of plotting to blow up US airliners were the key players in a highly developed, far-advanced conspiracy, under surveillance for some time, which could have been put into action within just a few days. And perhaps 8/10 really was the biggest thing since 9/11. But then again, perhaps it wasn't. We don't know yet. And, as James Galbraith writes, it's not too early to ask the questions on which final judgment must depend.

As William Greider added, "We do not yet know enough to be certain. The early reporting does not reassure or settle anything. Tony Blair is no more trustworthy on these matters than Bush and Cheney. British investigators are as anxious as their American counterparts to prove their vigilance (and support their leaders). The close collaboration with Pakistani authorities doesn't exactly add credibility."
-From The Nation

I think this is another political stunt. These alleged "terrorists" did not even have explosives. How were they going to immeniently carry out a plan without them? To be certain, the Bushitas had nothing to do with it nor is their NSA wiretapping program a factor. If anything, the British people were just doing their job ... perhaps overzealously, time will tell.

-Forwarded and commented by Robert Scardapane

On Joementum

"A group of Senate Democrats is growing increasingly angry about Sen. Joe Lieberman's (D-Conn.) campaign tactics since he lost the Democratic primary last week. If he continues to alienate his colleagues, Lieberman could be stripped of his seniority within the Democratic caucus should he defeat Democrat Ned Lamont in the general election this November, according to some senior Democratic aides."
-The Hill

Joementum is alienating Democrats. Recent Q-Polls shows the race tightening; Lieberman has a 10% lead. By the way, the Republican candidate only has 4%. What does that tell me? Most Republicans are already backing Joementum while Lamont is picking up Democrats and Independents. I think this is going to be a close race and I am not at all worried that the Republican will win by splitting Democrats.

And Then...

Rasmussen poll:

Connecticut Senate: Two Days After Primary, Lieberman Ahead by 5 Lieberman 46%, Lamont 41%

Lieberman's "lead" is disappearing fast as Democrats dump him. I don't Lieberman can win by carrying mainly Republicans with some Independent/Democrats. I feel good about Lamont's chances; he is gaining steam and Joe just doesn't have the Joementum but he sure has plenty of advice from Rove, Bush and Cheney - that will be his downfall.

-Robert Scardapane


Good Judges Follow THE LAW

"A federal judge ruled Thursday that the government's warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and ordered an immediate halt to it.
"U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit became the first judge to strike down the National Security Agency's program, which she says violates the rights to free speech and privacy.
"The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of journalists, scholars and lawyers who say the program has made it difficult for them to do their jobs. They believe many of their overseas contacts are likely targets of the program, which involves secretly taping conversations between people in the U.S. and people in other countries.
"The government argued that the program is well within the president's authority, but said proving that would require revealing state secrets.
"The ACLU said the state-secrets argument was irrelevant because the Bush administration already had publicly revealed enough information about the program for Taylor to rule."
-SARAH KARUSH in The Associated Press

We Need More Judges Like This

-Forwarded and commented by Sean (Mr. Blue-Sky)

In response to, "Americans rank LAST in belief in evolution," Jenny Hanniver writes:

I couldn't say that I have a problem with "all kinds" of religion. Far from it, and I feel most persons who didn't grow up with religion and turn to it, or who depart from religion then come back, are not running away but are running toward something to help explain the tragedy of existence. And if not for our (hard-wired?) religious impulses we'd be pretty robotic, I expect--too much so for my taste, too blandly literal and non-metaphorical. The challenge of metaphor, discovery, mystery is what I live for! That's why I love science. And poetry.

The problem of religion lies with those who've gone beyond being Seekers and are absolutely convinced that they've found The Answer (emphasis on "absolutely")! (Read Charles Kimball's insightful book, WHEN RELIGION BECOMES EVIL). But many religions--all of those that have evolved beyond fear, sacrifice and shamanism to some kind of ethical basis--furnish wisdom we can learn from. We don't need to accept a religion whole cloth, nor, on leaving a religious faith, toss out the baby with the bathwater. (I did that for a while when I was 19, and regret it.)

Now, at age 70, while I don't agree with a good many aspects of the theology of my grandmother's Lutheranism, my dad's childhood conservative Calvinism, my mother's combination of scornful secular Humanism with Methodism, my ex-husband's childhood Catholicism, his teenage outspoken Atheism, his adult Kundalini Hindu practice, my daughter-in-law's Korean combination of Buddhism and Confucianism, one of my oldest close friend's Islam, and the Methodism I grew up with, I'm very grateful to have been exposed to all these traditions and challenged by them. I surely do respect them and have learned many valuable insights. I truly love my own Unitarian Universalism, because it not only permits, it ENCOURAGES all of us to develop our own personal theology. In fact our most popular adult Religious Education course, which I've both taken and taught, is entitled Building Your Own Theology. It's been "running" for years--to full classes!

The religious urge--strange as it may seem--appears to be ethically neutral. It's only one of many ways to come to grips with the mystery and reality of existence. Those who try other paths of life (as I've done and still do), including secular humanism, art, music, athletic excellence, and science, are heading in the same direction and most of them are living fine lives, too.

But. . . all of these--even music, even athletics, and certainly religion--can be perverted by sociopaths to the ruin of society and the destruction of our most developed and highest values. Conversely, all of them can be vehicles used by great-hearted, passionate, wide-embracing lovers of the universe to elevate us to new heights--not only to epiphanies of mystical communion, but to higher levels of ethics that raise us a little more out of the black hole of ignorance and make us look more deeply at our own behavior.

I choose religion as a way of life because one method it has for changing people's values is to make us embarrassed for the ones we currently have, and I know of no other path of life that uses shame to such moral advantage. For some reason "shame" and "guilt" have become bad words as curatives for social and personal ills, but they seem necessary to shake us out of behavior routines that hurt others. I know shame and guilt have helped me. When I blush I know I've learned something--either about an activity that I shouldn't repeat, or something I'd ignored but should have been doing. Excessive shame and guilt aren't productive, but of course excessive ANYTHING is not! The Greeks were smart: "Everything in moderation."

My own personal theology has evolved to become a combination of Process Philosophy (God is evolving along with the universe) with multi-sourced Judaeo-Christian theology and wisdom ((1) Orthodox--especially Augustine, the Medieval Schoolmen and the Reformers from the 11th century to John Wesley and beyond; (2) Unitarian--the courage to stand naked before God with no mediators; (3) Universalist--God's all-forgiving grace, embracing believers and nonbelievers everywhere; (4) Heretical Medieval and Anabaptist dissent, to our own day--an unceasing passionate wellspring of social justice from the vision of the City of God on earth; (5) Neoplatonist--natural mysticism, including Unitarian Transcendentalism, joy in existence, and knowing the need for humility from recognizing our place in the vast universe; (6) Donatist--honesty and plain-speaking in opposition to obscurant hypocrisy; and (7) Pelagian--daring to exercise free will and accepting responsibility for our choices). These make up the background of my beliefs, and to them I'd add elements of Deism and secular Humanism, and, as a big "miscellaneous", respect for insights that emanate from any non-religious source of wisdom. Now and then these various sources squabble like cats in a sack, but generally they get on quite well.

Something similar to these beliefs have informed my daily life for at least 51 years, from the time I converted to Unitarianism. Before that I was a Seeker, and I look back and realize that I must have been a deeply religious child. I remember from the age of 11 pestering my parents, ministers, Sunday School teachers, librarians, and childhood friends with many existential questions. One was, "Who really understands everything that I am? Is that what 'God' does?" Another was "If God really understands everything about us, why doesn't he stop us when we think bad thoughts and do things that hurt others?" Fortunately I usually received quite thoughtful answers. Often it was "I don't know any more about that than you do," which was honest if not very helpful. A few years ago I woke up one morning--thankful, as usual--and suddenly realized that probably not one single day had gone by since age 13, or maybe earlier, when I hadn't stopped to ponder some question involving what most people would call "religion". Yes, it is a way of life for me.

In response to Rhian's, "I have one question. If oil people have ALL the money, and everyone else is broke, including banks, what is that called?" Robert Scardapane answers:

It's called the America of the 1920's. It's called depression and it can easily happen again.

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-Noah Greenberg