Friday-Sunday, June 24-26, 2005
Billy Graham's Last Crusade
"If I get up and talk about some political issue, it divides the audience, and what I want is a united audience to hear only the Gospel. Many times (in the past) ... I went too far in (dividing on) such issues, and I think this time I want to stick only to the Gospel."
-Billy Graham in a press conference before his first of three crusades at Shea Stadium, NY
After his mistakes during the Nixon years, where Rev. Graham was heard on the infamous tapes disparaging Jews, Billy Graham had learned his lesson... Religion and Politics don't mix. "Uniters" stick to the message while "dividers" "frame" the message for their own use. That's fine for political operatives but not for religious leaders. It's what radical Muslim Clerics do; its what Ayatollahs do; its what many evangelical US preachers do as well.
"Billy Graham ... has been unwilling to draw lines that would alienate other people or rule them out of his circle. (James) Dobson and many of the other conservative Christians who are involved in politics are not only willing to do that; they seem bent on doing that."
-William Martin, author of "A Prophet with Honor," Billy Graham's biography
By the way, here are some of Rev. Graham's beliefs:
-The administration of the death penalty is biased against poor people
-Homosexuality is a sin "but no more so than adultery," and "There are worse sins."
-Although opposed to abortion, Re. Graham believes exceptions may be warranted in cases of rape, incest or if the mother's life is endangered
-Rev. Graham does not profess to know that good people who deny Christ will go to hell
Instead of preaching against one group or another (like gays or unwed mothers), Billy Graham stresses social issues, like poverty. When was the last time you heard Jerry Falwell or Dobson come out to help America's homeless, no strings attached?
One wonders if Billy Graham was starting his career today, being the man he is today, what kind of preacher would he be? What would Falwell, Dobson and Pat Robertson say as he defended the "life of a mother" or when he said "adultery was just as much of a sin as homosexuality"? Maybe something like this:
"I was watching Ralph Reed (formerly of the Christian Coalition) on 'Meet The Press,' and he said something like, 'If we had to make a compromise (on abortion), then we would consider making exceptions for rape and incest and to preserve the life of the mother.' And Dobson lit into him for being willing to compromise to that extent."
"I'm looking forward to seeing God. I'm looking forward to seeing God face to face, and that could happen any day."
-Rev. Graham, when asked about a fear of death
I wonder if Jerry Falwell, James Dobson and Pat Robertson feel that same way?
I admit, as a Jew I knew little of Rev. Billy Graham, but I view him differently now. He is today what I picture Christ would have been like today: Tolerant; contemplative; smart; and a lover of life - ALL LIFE.
Recently I made public my views on Pope John Paul II, a man with faults, but, in the end, one I admired. He was a man that the world was better off having than not.
Reverend Billy Graham, I feel the same way about you.
Welcome to China's America
Unocal, a large American Oil Company is about to be bought out by a Chinese-owned Oil Company, further making the United States reliant upon Communist China (yes, they are still communist, with no freedom for the people but plenty for the few rich elite).
President Bush's comment has been this:
No, I didn't use white letters on a white page. No, I didn't "accidentally" "cut" without "pasting". President Bush has been silent on the takeover.
Think of it... A large American Energy Company in the hands of a country that practices no civil rights for its people; practices no fair trade to its trading partners; keeps political prisoners in gulag-type jails; and has stolen intellectual property from the United States for years.
Almost makes you wish for Dick
Cheney's friend Ken Lay and Enron, doesn't it? (I said
Hey Mr. Bush, how is this going to make US less dependent on foreign oil? Do you think that China is kicking itself for not invading Iraq first, claiming Saddam needed to be removed or a fear of WMD's, then stealing the oil for themselves?
The only difference would be that the Chinese government, itself, would be stealing the oil, not a company friendly to their leaders (like Halliburton).
"We have so much on the plate with China, how do you come down hard on them for this deal?"
-an adviser to President Bush, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the president discourages unauthorized discussions about internal deliberations (From The NY Times)
These "punks" won't even go on the record!
Hey guys... WE are the consumers.
Whatever happened to "The consumer is always right?"
The ever-increasing trade-deficit with China and our growing national debt (thanks to "G"lobal "W"arming Bush and the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople Party) have led to this New York Times Comment:
"But there are other strategic reasons to keep the relationship (between the US and China) on an even keel. The financial stability of the United States, with its chronic budget deficits and propensity to spend far more than its saves, depends increasingly on the willingness of China to buy American government bonds. Any breach in relations could lead to higher interest rates."
And who's fault is that, Mr. President?
Similarly, what would happen to the US economy if Saudi Arabia took its $3 trillion or so dollars out of our banks?
Not only are we more dependent on foreign oil, but under "G"lobal "W"arming Bush and company, we are more dependent on foreign EVERYTHING!
"This is a piece of the larger and single most important challenge facing Americans. How do we compete in a global economy we know is good for us but that individually leads to less security rather than more opportunity? Unless we deal with that as a country, we will lose our predominant position."
-Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), a former senior adviser to President Clinton before, since elected to Congress in 2002
As "Dr. Phil" might say, "It's so simple,"
China and Big Al
Alan Greenspan and Treasury Secretary Tony Snow testified yesterday about the US-China trade policy. The usual questions came up on how to close the trade deficit with China. Once again, Dr. Greenspan claimed that jobs are outsourcing to China because of insufficient skilled workers.
The "good doctor" (Big Al) continues to recite
Chamber of Commerce propaganda.
Dr. Greenspan said education in the K-4 through K-12 levels is weak compared to the rest of the world. I won't dispute that. Therefore, grammar/high school education should be a high priority. But alas, the House just approved a spending bill that eliminates a $200 million Education Department grant targeted at underachieving schools!
Of course, the Congress did vote to continue "Leave No Billionaires Behind" policies by eliminating the estate tax, extending tax cuts to the top brackets and increasing corporate welfare. Contradictions abound in the policies of the (G)reed (O)ver (P)eople party headed by President Bush.
Another Bad Week, America
Oil broke $60 dollars a barrel today closing on a historic high. The Dow Jones dropped 300 points in two days closing 3.1% lower for the week, S&P Index was 2.1% lower and Nasdaq dropped 1.8%.
So, where's the trickle down from Dubya's economic policies? The job market is weak, real wages are down, costs of living is up and even the financial markets are going nowhere. The answer is simple - there was no trickle down from Reagan and there won't be any from Dubya.
Of course, there is trickle up for the upper 5%.
Thanks for nothing Mr. Bush. Perhaps, you can take a three year vacation like your Daddy and let us recover already.
Wal-Mart and the Case of the Whistle-Blower
The Associated Press reports that Wal-Mart recently fired a whistle-blower. James W.. Lynn of Searcy, Arkansas is suing the company on the grounds that he was fired for reporting poor working conditions in Honduras and Guatemala. Apparently, Wal-Mart violated local wage and hour laws, padlocked fire exits, failed to provide access to bathrooms and drinking water for it's employees.
With the recent negative publicity, I expected Wal-Mart to at least try cleaning up their act yet they remain defiant. Why does Wal-Mart expect that worker abuse will be tolerated?
-Maybe, it's an administration that turned the Labor Department into a sham.
-Maybe, it's an administration that trashed overtime and safety laws, made forming unions difficult and encouraged the outsourcing of jobs.
-Maybe, it's the anti-worker GOP and leaders such as Bush-Cheney-Rove.
Take your pick but I would bet that all of the above are factors.
Or, "Do You Trust Them?"
"The specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the state from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory."
"Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private property, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms."
"As for the victims. The government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more. The Founders cannot have intended this perverse result."
-Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, In a bitter dissent, stating the 5-4 majority had created an "ominous precedent"
Justice O'Connor could not be more right. Now, any developer with deep enough pockets to influence state, county or local politicians will be able to "condemn" the homes of the middle class to make way for more McMassions! Eminent Domain used to be for the benefit of the whole. I wonder how this decision benefits the whole?
Justice O'Connor's fellow dissenters were Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.
Talk about a role-reversal.
Today, Meet The Press (MTP) interviewed Secretary Rumsfeld. What was their counter-balance? Bono, give me a break! Once again, the mainstream media (MSM) deserves criticism for bias toward administration policy. The MSM should always have an opposing point-of-view when giving the administration access to the airwaves.
I protested their shoddy journalism by emailing them
I let them know that I refused to watch their show because there was no possibility of an opposing point-of-view in the second half of their show. The Iraq war is too important to drown out balanced discussion.
the insurgency "could go on for any number of years."
What about Dick "Go <F---> Yourself" Cheney's remarks that the insurgency is in its "last throes"? Does the Veep know that you're disagreeing with him? Can someone with all of the military experience of a Dick Cheney possibly be wrong?
Huh? What's that? Dick Cheney has NO
MILITARY EXPERIENCE WHATSOEVER? He asked for and received 5
deferments because he had "better things to do"?
There was even a rumor that he got married and had children so he wouldn't have
to go to fight in Vietnam?
I wonder who went in VP Cheney's place? I wonder who went in "G"lobal "W"arming Bush's place? I wonder if they're still alive?
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