Saturday, January 29, 2005

t r u t h o u t - Abolish the Federal Death Penalty

t r u t h o u t - Abolish the Federal Death Penalty

Wow! Feingold rocks!

Canadian Clobbers Coulter: How to Talk to a Fool (If You Really Must) | This Is Rumor Control

Canadian Clobbers Coulter: How to Talk to a Fool (If You Really Must) | This Is Rumor Control

Exposed as the fraud and liar that she is! I still can't believe she's employed or even taken seriously...anywhere.

Is the World Safer Now?

t r u t h o u t - The Independent | Is the World Safer Now?

A long article, worth reading.

Lincoln was probably gay

Powell's Books - The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln by C A Tripp

If anyone has seen any mention of this convincing revelation in any major newspaper, magazine or TV news, please let me know who reported it! I just read today that Bush keeps a bust of Lincoln in the Oval office (an empty promise to blacks).

I hope that Bush knows that Lincoln was gay and actually wrote a poem where two men were married and had a child together. Whoa!!!!!!!!!! But who am I kidding? Does Bush actually believe his anti-gay religious B.S. or not? Probably not. It's all cash and power for those guys...

Thursday, January 27, 2005

My friend Barbara on Pro-Life/Pro-Choice

Barbara talks derisively about "pro-life" people who say, "Yeah, every baby should be born."

She was a cop for 30 years, she is currently a court-appointed advocate for children so she works with orphans, abandoned children, appointed guardians, and abusive birth parents.

L.A. currently has about 600 children that are waiting to be adopted, there must be thousands in foster situations and group homes. One group home recently had to shut down and find housing for 600 difficult children. 200 of those children are currently unaccounted for--they ran away from their foster homes. Barbara says that those are the kids that wind up on Hollywood Blvd, in jail, or dead in ditches and the desert. [She noted that President Bush does the same for our children when he sends them to war.] Most of the children for whom she advocates have severe learning disabilities and poor relationship skills. She's seen pregnant mothers loaded on crack and other drugs, the saddest thing she's ever seen, and she says their children usually wind up going to jail.

I think you get the gist. Our society doesn't care about children after they are born [in my mind, we don't care about them enough even right when they are born].

I've long judged "pro-lifers" for abstracting fetuses from the mother's womb when they argue their position--as if the child can breath without her. In their paradigm of "life" the mothers, or pregnant women, become as abstract as the baby who seems to be irrationally seen by "pro-lifers" as an independent entity.

Whenever you encounter arguments from the pro-life position, liberal or conservative, the argument rarely, if ever, addresses the issue that a fetus and growing baby is completely dependent on the mother for life. Their concern is limited to the erroneous interpretation of an independent life--the growing baby--and the inherent violence of terminating that life. The woman's life and health is of no concern to them.

But what happens when we prevent a woman from terminating an unwanted pregnancy? She is forced, by law, to give birth to an unwanted child. "Lifers" generally don't address the physical and legal aspects of this issue.

Sadly, although abortion is legal, we still have a lot of unwanted and unplanned children in this world. I was unplanned and my mother didn't want me. She had the freedom to abort me, but she was poor and a Catholic home offered her care and a safe birthing process. I was one of the lucky one's who was put up for adoption as a baby and I had a relatively (compared to Barbara's world) safe upbringing. But the older I get the more I realize that even I entered the world in a rough way. Like many adoptees, I never bonded with my mother in the first year, and that simple vacancy pulls at the core of my being and my relationships with others every day. Many unwanted or unplanned children experience far worse and damaging situations than I did. They are neglected, abused, and shifted from one home situation to another. They are continually disappointed and let down by adults, and they struggle their whole lives within our meritocracy. Anti-social and criminal tendencies easily emerge from violent and emotionally poisonous upbringings. Our society ignores this fact.

Who cares for the unwanted and unplanned children that every "pro-lifer" wants born? Many birth parents raise these children in abusive situations. We have blind governmental organizations that place many of these children in foster homes with a monthly allowance. It is a good allowance, but often it is not spent on the foster child's well-being, instead it goes to the house decor or car payments. Often, abusive birth parents are allowed by the state to intrude on that child's complicated life in fits and starts.

How can we help prevent unplanned children?

Birth control stops unplanned and unwanted children from coming into being--many "pro-lifers" oppose birth control.

Abortion gives pregnant women control to prevent unwanted and unplanned children from being born--"pro-lifers" oppose giving women full control over their health and reproductive abilities.

Public and private support of pre-natal care and adoption centers is desperately needed--especially in state's where access to abortion is severely restricted. "Pro-lifers" often oppose governmental funding for adoption services and foster care.

In summary, "pro-lifers" are often extremely limited in their promotion of decent lives for unwanted and unplanned children.

No, it's not P.C. to imply that unwanted and unplanned children are better off not being born--I'm not implying that this is the case for anyone who has been born. NO ONE is hopeless, but the future of our society is better when most children are both planned and wanted. We must stop living in a blind, abstact, or fantasy-driven vision of life and death in our culture--there will never be a perfect world where every child will be planned or wanted.

But if we really care about the quality of life that people live, as well as stopping abuse, curbing drug addictions, and ending poverty and homelessness among children and adults, then birth control (including abortion) is necessary. Let abortions be legal and rare.

The better a society takes care of itself, its economy, AND WOMEN, the fewer abortions it needs. We create greater responsibility in ourselves and others by giving attention to and showing respect to ourselves and each other--this works as individuals, in families, in companies, and in societies.

It seems to me that Democrats are engaged, at least philosophically, in helping and creating communities that help families whereas Republicans are philosophically uninterested in helping communities. To a Republican, the market provides everything--money is separate from morality--so their moral issues are essentially cost-free. They get upset about individual behaviors (abortion, gay lifestyles, sex) rather than expensive social issues (poverty, homelessness, healthcare). Essentially, they believe that Democracy means Captalism. How do you live with a political philosophy based in win/lose economics? Some people win, some people lose, no biggie. In Democracies, all the people should win. Basically, Republicans today think competatively, "I've got mine, or we've got ours, get yours," whereas Democrats think cooperatively, "Let's work together and we'll both win."

FINALLY! - Kennedy Lays out Plan for Withdrawal from Iraq

t r u t h o u t - Kennedy Lays out Plan for Withdrawal from Iraq

Leave the rational, humane approach to a big fat Democrat (yes, I wish it were someone other than the popularly unforgiven and womanizing Kennedy, but he is big and eloquent).

t r u t h o u t - Seymour Hersh: "We've Been Taken Over by a Cult"

t r u t h o u t - Seymour Hersh: "We've Been Taken Over by a Cult"

We, as a society, are not looking for answers, we're not asking questions. Most of us actually want the Iraq war to stop, but nobody's actively campaigning for that. We are being conned, cajoled, and ignored by the Bush people, and our press is weak, terrified of, and colluding with the Bush people. Seymour Hersh points out how fragile Democracy is. We have an incidious form of intellectual tyranny at home and we don't know it. We have a blatant, imperial form of tyranny in Iraq, and we don't know it...yet.

Bull Moose's advice to liberals

Bull Moose

Excellent post! Let us not become like the right wing extremists and the hypocrites, no one is perfect and pure. Morality includes tolerance of, debate with, and even deferal to others (although I do percieve Democrats doing too much defering to right wing "power"...).

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Hooray, the Democrats grew defiant today!

I want it noted that it took a brave WOMAN, Barbara Boxer to start the ball rolling as the opposition party takes shape. Sen. Kerry, never one to turn away from a strong woman, was inspired to stand with her. Now there are other Democrats joining them to vote against slimy Gonzales. FINALLY!

The debate is starting to bring back memories of Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas, I keep hearing Republicans pull the race card. Orin Hatch was basically arguing that Gonzales should be appointed because Hispanics are watching. WHAT? Oh yes, let's make sure our first Hispanic Secretary of State is a corrupt and irresponsible lawyer who advocates torture and gets rich bastards off of jury duty (and out of embarressing and illuminating situations).

It's not hard to have principles, it's just hard to stick by them. Republicans often don't care about morals, and Democrats are often afraid to be moralistic. The irony is absolutely Orwellian.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Hey urban Republicans, do you like being played like a fiddle?

t r u t h o u t - Vincent Jauvert Secret History of a Reelection:

"Bush's men target their messages with an unheard of precision. Even billboards. County by county, their computers indicate the typical route 'Republican sympathizers' take from home to work. All they have to do is reserve the billboards along the way. The same for the small screen. Buying big blocks of television time is now out of the question. They want everything tailored. They know which are the favorite programs of each category of electors. With some surprises sometimes. White House advertisers nearly fainted when they discovered that women 'moderately sympathetic to the Republican Party' adore a gay TV series. But they got over it quickly and conceived some commercials specifically for that audience, carefully avoiding, naturally, any reference to Bush's frankly homophobic discourse (that specifically intended for white Protestant men who drive 4x4s and read 'Hunting Magazine').

The Bush team segments its message with perfect cynicism. An example: 'We made lots of radio commercials for rural areas, but we made sure that the radio stations in question were not broadcast in the cities,' explains Paul Curcio, one of the most frequently seen advertising specialists in Republican circles. Why take such precautions? 'Because rural people on the right are very very right wing,' he explains. 'So we speak to them in very muscular tones. Urban dwellers, generally more moderate, mustn't hear it. They would be frightened.' "

Hi Middle America, do you like being played like a fiddle?

t r u t h o u t - Vincent Jauvert Secret History of a Reelection:

Take my privacy, please...

"With the Bush team, fishing for votes is no longer an art; it's a state-of-the-art technique. Jan van Lohuizen, recounts: 'In the swing states, we succeeded in reaching millions of Republican sympathizers, one by one, in a personalized way.' How? The operation, which mobilized all the best programmers, is unique in American political history. 'In America,' he explains, 'there are companies that specialize in collecting and selling information about individuals. It's entirely legal. They can supply an incredible amount of data about each person: the brand of their car, their income, their level of education, their favorite magazines, their favorite television programs, whether the person is a home owner or a renter, the number of telephone calls made abroad, the church a person goes to, their children's schools... Big firms like Visa constantly use this information for their advertising operations.' But no one had used it yet to get a president elected. 'We bought all the data about everyone (!) registered to vote,' Van Lohuizen explains. One important point: some citizens' party affiliation was known from these lists. We crunched all this information in our computers. That allowed us to identify about thirty different types of voter and then to imagine the most convincing arguments for each one of those types. Then all we had to do was classify each individual within those categories and send that person the corresponding message.' "

t r u t h o u t - Democrats Show New Fire on Rice Nomination

t r u t h o u t - Democrats Show New Fire on Rice Nomination

"If we were right to intervene in Iraq to overcome a tyrant, why would we not consider intervening in Sudan, which is guilty of genocide and has its own relations with Bin Laden and Al Qaeda?" asks P.J. Crowley, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, who worked under President Clinton's national security adviser.

Good question, similar to Sen. Obama's question to Rice during her first hearing, which before this article, I'd never heard reapeated in the press...I hope that that truth-speaker hires some big, bad security.

The Artist's Way

I'm a painter and I just started a "cluster" group run by an experienced therapist (who tries to keep us from insulting one another) inspired by the book The Artist's Way. It's quite extraordinary to go through the exercises that basically bring out the self-critic and critical monsters from your past (I didn't think I had any monsters, but they were deeply buried).

In a group, other people's examples make you realize how universal and unique you are. The book's exercises also affirm the good things that have happened to you as a creative type. Atheists might have a hard time with the God language--but I believe that it's good for one's ego, and real, to place enormous power in something outside of yourself (life).

Most of all, thinking about these issues (artist blocks) makes me realize that when you're creative, it's okay to be seen as stark raving mad. That's profoundly freeing for me.

SpongeBob welcomed by UCC

United Church of Christ News Release: SpongeBob welcomed by UCC

Wow, my heart warms! I feel like Rev. Thomas is channeling my progressive father, a Jewish-born Methodist minister who spoke up in his conference for the acceptance of gay ministers and with compassion for women who had unplanned pregnancies. At its heart, Christianity accepts everyone without judgement and relies on their faith in God to lead them in life. Jesus spent his whole life advancing notions of non-judgemental behavior (except when it came to money changers--you know, the guys who funded the inaugural for). He was progressive rabbi and a precursor for reformed Judaism (the latter being my chosen religion). Amen to more Christians like Rev. Thomas getting PR to help drown out the loud, vindictive and ridiculous voices of reactionaries who use Christianity to promote their fears and baseless suspicions.

Monday, January 24, 2005

What the Bush years have done to conservatives

I've always been a liberal but I've often listened to conservatives and have respected many. But as I've watched conservatives line up behind the man who will go down as the worst President in U.S. history, I've stopped
respecting a lot of conservative folks.

It's true, I stopped trusting George Will in the early 90s when he argued against a pro-choice position, but I still respected some of his opinions. This week, as my husband pointed out to me, Will makes the most ridiculous argument for private accounts instead of Social Security. I will no longer respect his opinions.

I used to think Tim Russert kicked ass--but then shortly before the 2004 election he allowed the post-9/11 crazy thug Rudi Guliani a platform on This Week to skewer John Kerry without interruption or a single counter point. It was outrageous! Tomorrow, he's giving a platform to two privatization supporters and not a single defender of Social Security. The only intelligent, discerning conservative I've heard lately is that Australian Tony Blankely that appears on the McLaughlin Group and on NPR's Day to Day show. He went after Bush's inaugural speech and declared it more Wilsonian than Wilson. Sanity!

I do feel that the tide is changing, with nutsy neo-cons calling for Rumsfeld's head. True and moderate conservatives are rebelling against private accounts for Social Security, and support for the
Iraq "war" is waining. This country might be waking up--but I've been so deeply disappointed by people believing and ignoring so many lies (including that whopper con job speech this week) I won't believe it until I see it.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

In full: President Bush's speech [with my comments]

George W Bush has been sworn in as the 43rd President of the United States. Here is his speech in full.

At this second gathering, our duties are defined not by the words I use [you can't believe what I say], but by the history we have seen together [you’ve witnessed the history that we’ve fabricated, and allow me to milk 9-11 for my entire presidency].

For a half century, America defended our own freedom by standing watch on distant borders.

After the shipwreck of communism [it came to a natural death in Russia and we seem to be okay fine with communism in China at the moment] came years of relative quiet, years of repose, years of sabbatical [Sabbatical?! Is this a swat at leftist academics? Nevermind Nicaragua, Panama, Guatemala and Bosnia]- and then there came a day of fire [allow me to milk 9-11 for my entire presidency].

The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom [soon we will have forced two elections in Muslim countries, and as of yet neither country is in any sense of the word "free." What exactly are we expanding since it's not freedom? Mayhem and torture? This is the core of his speech, and it brings to mind one of Bin Laden's major beefs with the U.S.--our presence in Saudi Arabia and Israel...and now we're in Afghanistan, then Iraq...] in all the world

We have seen our vulnerability - and we have seen its deepest source [what exactly does he mean by this? Targeting our civilians is our deepest vulnerability? No wonder he doesn't name it, since we're targeting Iraqi civilians right and left.].

For as long as whole regions of the world simmer in resentment and tyranny - prone to ideologies that feed hatred and excuse murder [wow, some of our ideologies feed hatred and we've got a hell of a lot of Americans excusing the murder and torture of innocent Iraqis] - violence will gather [sure does], and multiply in destructive power, and cross the most defended borders [we can], and raise a mortal threat [we're all in there...].

There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom [that might include freedom from...occupations? Regime changes? Captialistic imperialism? I might have chosen a less passive force, like justice. Besides our approach to spreading freedom is anything but passive].

We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: the survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands [If we actually allowed Muslim countries to rule themselves without our intervention, we might know liberty from Muslim terror sooner rather than later].

The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world. [If Iraq, which the President never mentions by name during this speech, as if material specifics don't matter, is his example of how we expand freedom in all the world, every American should wake up and smell the continuing, useless war he's pushing. Saying that you're expanding freedom in the world through war is the very opposite of allowing nations of the world to be free].

America's vital interests [safety, liberty, economic security] and our deepest beliefs [hasn't this always been true?] are now one.

From the day of our founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights [except slaves and women], and dignity [except slaves], and matchless value [except women and the poor], because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and Earth [how soon we forget this about human beings when we endorse torture].

Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave [the U.S. has felt that way for about five to seven generations, I believe, and what does slavery have to do with self-government, e.g. any form of government that has no occupying nation?].

Advancing these ideals [Anti-slavery ideals? This is a terrible speech...] is the mission that created our nation [let's assume that he's talking about rights, dignity and matchless value here]. It is the honourable achievement of our fathers [couldn't he have said mothers too? Would that have been too "hard", too "liberal?"].

Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation's security [rights, dignity, matchless value, anti-slavery for just us or all the people of the world?], and the calling of our time.

[Okay, to summarize, our country's long-held ideals and beliefs have now become an urgent requirement of our nation's security, and the calling of our time. This really sounds like pull-it-out-of-your-ass speech writing. Is this a joke? It is Bush and his administration that have been a threat to the civil rights of Arab Americans, dissenters, and liberals and to human dignity/matchless value for gays and the countries we occupy (torture victims, civilian deaths).]

Ending tyranny [Udate: just kidding]

So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every [!] nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world. [Even conservatives must be balking at this whopper. Later--Update: they are, they are particularly unconcerned about tyranny in other countries and don't think it's a U.S. job to end tyranny in the world--Bush went off the deep end here]

America's influence is considerable [well, it used to be...], and we will use it confidently in freedom's cause [Is this the most puny, veiled attempt to prevent another Abu Ghraib?]

This is not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary [and also whenever we, the elite, feel like putting our poor and middle class citizen soldiers at risk to fuel our re-election and military-industrial complex interests].

Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen [ur, except in Iraq, although I guess we'll be able to say they chose freedom after they vote in the election we arranged...], and defended by citizens, and sustained by the rule of law [the rule of law, which Bush and co. manipulate to trap and destroy political enemies, like in Ohio right now...] and the protection of minorities [just remember that like the U.S., minorities in Democratic nations should not expect to vote without enduring hardship].

And when the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different from our own. [He's talking about Iraq! Freedom (or in this case imperialism in order to spread democracy) is like a box of chocolates for President Bush...]

America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling [just our removal of nasty dictators, guns, our construction businesses, and our new worldwide campaign against tyranny].

Our goal instead is to help others [who are assumed to be just like us] find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way.

The great objective of ending tyranny is the concentrated work of generations.

The difficulty of the task is no excuse for avoiding it [what are you willing to have us sacrifice for this utopian goal, President Bush? I really hate how you've sacrificed our young fighters thus far].

America's influence is not unlimited, but fortunately for the oppressed, America's influence is considerable [he keeps thinking we're still rich and influential], and we will use it confidently in freedom's cause.

My most solemn duty is to protect this nation and its people against further attacks and emerging threats [Nice, although I get the feeling that great Americans are hard at work protecting us with or without Mr. Bush's support].

Some have unwisely chosen to test America's resolve, and have found it firm [we're proudly stubborn in our incompetence].

We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: the moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right [This sounds like Jewish prayers! This is serious theology here...].

America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies [no one aspires to live at the mercy of Cheney and Rumsfeld--so fire the latter bully ASAP--of course Cheney is safe since the election confirmed that America likes bullies that cuss on the Senate floor].

We will encourage reform in other governments by making clear that success in our relations will require the decent treatment of their own people [Let's talk about Saudi Arabia, George. The long-held Bush relationship with the Saudis proves that this utopian dream to end tyranny is all bull shit--but they are again telling us not to believe our lying eyes].

America's belief in human dignity will guide our policies, yet rights must be more than the grudging concessions of dictators; they are secured by free dissent [HA! Just not around him or on Fox news] and the participation of the governed [except in minority districts].

In the long run, there is no justice without freedom [this is a crap line that no one in that adminstration any longer aspires to (maybe Powell did)], and there can be no human rights without human liberty.

Some, I know, have questioned the global appeal of liberty [another, even laughable, crap line, questioned? Let's just try to observe and describe reality, George.] - though this time in history, four decades defined by the swiftest advance of freedom ever seen, is an odd time for doubt [the doubts are about your policies, President Bush].

Call for freedom

Americans, of all people, should never be surprised by the power of our ideals [what is he thinking here, "I ran into Madge the other day and she looked surprised that Amerians want to promote liberty?"].

Eventually, the call of freedom comes to every mind and every soul [this is so vague and uninspiring].

.. the allies of the United States can know: we honour [and need it back again] your friendship

We do not accept the existence of permanent tyranny because we do not accept the possibility of permanent slavery [here he goes setting us up to end tyranny all over the world again, and making a clumsy rhetorical nod to his pro-life supporters who equate abortion to slavery, even as they work to make pregnant women slaves to the states].

Liberty will come to those who love it.

Today, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world:

All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors [Let's start with Saudi Arabia!! Oppressed folks, you know not to hold your breath on this guy's utopian promises...].

When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you [in spirit, like in Sudan...].

Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are: the future leaders of your free country [or at least, those leaders will think like you did before you died or rotted away in jail while we're busy chasing oil and strategic interests--hey, we could use some of these leaders ourselves, especially among the press corps...].

The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: "Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it." [Again, idealistic and no beef, at least we really hope for our sake that there's no beef...]

The leaders of governments with long habits of control need to know: to serve your people you must learn to trust them [I like this a lot! But no one distrusts his subjects more than King Bush does--President Ford walked among the people...until got shot at...okay, where are we with this trust idea?].

Start on this journey of progress and justice, and America will walk at your side [spiritually speaking].

And all the allies of the United States can know: we honour your friendship, we rely on your counsel, and we depend on your help.

Division among free nations is a primary goal of freedom's enemies [wow, and we've helped them!].

The concerted effort of free nations to promote democracy is a prelude to our enemies' defeat [I'm fairly sure that democratic nations promote democracy, what else does this man want from them?].

Today, I also speak anew to my fellow citizens:

From all of you, I have asked patience in the hard task of securing America, which you have granted in good measure [yeah, we're asleep, actually].

Our country has accepted obligations that are difficult to fulfil, and would be dishonourable to abandon [but we might anyhow, unless we can get Allawi in and figure out some way to control the oil].

Yet because we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom [nevermind the hundred thousand who gave their lives for it].

And as hope kindles hope, millions more will find it.

By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well - a fire in the minds of men.

It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world [I can't believe they used fire as a metaphor for terrorism and freedom in the same speech--as in the fire of 9-11 right at the beginning of this speech].

Courage triumphs

A few [a few?!] Americans have accepted the hardest duties in this cause - in the quiet work of intelligence and diplomacy... the idealistic work of helping raise up free governments... the dangerous and necessary work of fighting our enemies [he mentioned our fairly useless diplomats before our soldiers?!].

... life is fragile, and evil is real, and courage triumphs

Some have shown their devotion to our country in deaths that honoured their whole lives - and we will always honour their names and their sacrifice.

All Americans have witnessed this idealism [let's ignore the realism], and some for the first time.

I ask our youngest citizens to believe the evidence of your eyes [without context].

You have seen duty and allegiance in the determined faces of our soldiers [but we've been actively making sure that you haven't seen the coffins and the injuries they'll always live with].

You have seen that life is fragile, and evil is real [forget that serious theological and rational differences and questions arise over seemingly simple comments like this], and courage triumphs.

Make the choice to serve in a cause larger than your wants, larger than yourself [yeah, like he did during Vietnam, oh, but this is different, and my husband adds that while he's asking young people to potentially sacrifice their lives for his militaristic vision, he's not asking older folks to sacrifice one penny of higher taxes for it...]- and in your days you will add not just to the wealth of our country, but to its character.

[It is absolutely frightening and a chilling red flag that he put wealth before character, or frankly, wealth at all, into this statement. I think it shows the Bush administrations true colors and I can't believe he's asking for military and not tax sacrifices to build American wealth. He has specifically hurt American wealth and character through his misapplication of the military and our economic policies.]

America has need of idealism and courage, because we have essential work at home - the unfinished work of American freedom [I don't think he means what I mean here...what does he mean?]. In a world moving toward liberty, we are determined to show the meaning and promise of liberty.

In America's ideal of freedom, citizens find the dignity and security of economic independence, instead of labouring on the edge of subsistence [oh, he's talking about freeing us from social security and other social safety nets].

This is the broader definition of liberty that motivated the Homestead Act, the Social Security Act, and the GI Bill of Rights.

And now we will extend this vision by reforming [eliminating] great institutions to serve the needs of our time.

To give every American a stake in the promise and future of our country, we will bring the highest standards to our schools [tests and insufficient and inequitable funding], and build an [on your] ownership society.

We will widen the ownership of homes and businesses, retirement savings and health insurance - preparing our people for the challenges of life in a free society [let's check out his record on these issues thus far...].

By making every citizen an agent of his or her own destiny [since when is the govt endowed with the powers of our Creator? They can't make what is already true for each of us], we will give our fellow Americans greater freedom from want and fear, and make our society more prosperous and just and equal [we just haven't moved in this direction for the poor, minorities, gays and women yet, and by the way, if you're not advocating Christianity talk to the hand...].

In America's ideal of freedom, the public interest depends on private character - on integrity, and tolerance toward others, and the rule of conscience in our own lives [I often ask myself where the Bush family conscience is on Iraq, the environment, and needy children, as well as members of his cabinet, the pentagon, and the people who believe his bull-shit and voted for him again].

Self-government relies, in the end, on the governing of the self [this is a crap line that misuses the concept of self-government again].

That edifice of character is built in families, supported by communities with standards, and sustained in our national life by the truths of Sinai, the Sermon on the Mount, the words of the Koran, and the varied faiths of our people [he completely ignores agnostics and atheists, he could have just slipped in ethics after faiths].

Americans move forward in every generation by reaffirming all that is good and true that came before - ideals of justice and conduct that are the same yesterday, today, and forever. [This has a particularly regressive tone--a "fundamental" difference between conservatives and liberals is that conservatives idealize our checkered, violent past while progressives desire to improve on what has come before.]

Heart for the weak

In America's ideal of freedom, the exercise of rights is ennobled by service, and mercy, and a heart for the weak [this is a good thought but not poetic].

We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom

Liberty for all does not mean independence from one another.

Our nation relies on men and women who look after a neighbour and surround the lost with love.

Americans, at our best, value the life we see in one another, and must always remember that even the unwanted [gees!] have worth.

And our country must abandon all the habits of racism [it's really good for him to say this], because we cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at the same time.

From the perspective of a single day, including this day of dedication, the issues and questions before our country are many.

From the viewpoint of centuries, the questions that come to us are narrowed and few. Did our generation advance the cause of freedom? And did our character bring credit to that cause? I doubt that historians will find few and narrow questions about this generation, and the answer to Bush's questions are no and no.

These questions that judge us also unite us [together, like the character issues of the Abu Ghraib incident], because Americans of every party and background, Americans by choice and by birth, are bound to one another in the cause of freedom [no we're not bound to his vision of "freedom"].

We have known divisions, which must be healed to move forward in great purposes - and I will strive in good faith to heal them [I'm holding my breath].

Yet those divisions do not define America [He can ignore the divisions, but they do define America's philosophical markers which consume my mind as I try to bridge them--you can't bridge them if you ignore them. Also, debate should define America. And dissenters better have a hand in defining America because we are the only ones who seem to be fighting for civil rights, equality, and a moral and intelligent foreign policy].

We felt the unity and fellowship of our nation when [the] freedom [to be irresponsibly chummy with Saudi Arabia and Israel] came under attack, and our response came like a single hand over a single heart [our fear driven response seemed much more confusing and deadly than that simple gesture].

And we can feel that same unity and pride whenever America acts for good, and the victims of disaster are given hope [thank G_d for disasters we can feel good about helping...], and the unjust encounter justice, and the captives are set free [he's sounding Jewish-prayerbook again--what plagarism!].

We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom.

Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; it is human choices that move events [just don't ask us to take responsibility for those choices].

Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation; God moves and chooses ["He really does choose us, I'm just being humble"] as He wills.

We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul.

When our founders declared a new order of the ages; when soldiers died in wave upon wave for a union based on liberty; when citizens marched in peaceful outrage under the banner "Freedom Now" - they were acting on an ancient hope that is meant to be fulfilled.

History has an ebb and flow of justice, but history also has a visible direction, set by liberty and the Author of Liberty.

When the Declaration of Independence was first read in public and the Liberty Bell was sounded in celebration, a witness said, "It rang as if it meant something." [what a meaningless quote!]

In our time it means something still.

America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world [we proclaim liberty for the whole world? This is just hot air!], and to all the inhabitants thereof.

Renewed in our strength - tested, but not weary - we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom [the 27th appearance of the word freedom in this speech, he uses the word like he means something].

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/01/20 17:43:35 GMT

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Angels - Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael

More on the bible and angels. Stuff for the imagination...

JHOM - Angels - Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael

The Bible

So I started reading Genisis because of my curiosity about Judaism and angels. Are there angels in the Tanakh? Yes, they help destory Sodom and Gomorrah during Abraham's time. But it is actually cherubim (my husband and I believe that this is plural) that are posted outside the gate of the Garden of Eden, with the flaming sword. The bible doesn't get any cooler than that for me.

Anyway, it doesn't take very long to run into a moral crisis when you start reading the bible. So according to Genesis, God says that man has the responsibility to kill men who kill other men (I find this extremely problematic). God also doesn't mind when Lot makes his daughters pregnant (actually, they got him drunk so Lot was pretty clueless about the whole thing). So thus far, Genesis' God looks pretty nuts to me.

How anyone can "live by the book," especially THIS book, shocks me. I think of Bush saying, "I look for a strict interpretation of the text" with a judge. Wow, that's easy...interpretation is so, well, gray matter.


King Bush the robber; Boxer and Kerry

I haven't blogged for awhile so this will probably be quite random.

I've never felt so disgusted and blue about a Presidential inauguration. All the king's men and his corporate interests are lining up to line their pockets this term.

I am one of the few that I personally know that really believes that this election was stolen with unverifiable electronic votes ( A lot of people wonder, though. I don't think Kerry won by much, but I do believe that he won. I'm not even sorry that he's not President because it wasn't his mess to clean up, but I'm just sorry that Bush is still making messes.

My husband and I are expecting a child in July; we are filled with joy about this little one. But I am blue about our world. The 20th century was the most violent, deadly, evil century man has known. The more we know, the more we kill through war, genocide, chemical accidents and bad enivronmental policies.

9-11 killed approximately the same number of innocent people that the American Union Carbide pesiticide plant leak in India killed. How many Americans have heard about the latter? Corruption and greed cause just as many deaths, if not more, than terrorism has.

I really do feel lucky to be alive and comfortable, but I wish this was true for more people around the world. In our country, I wish that people wouldn't abuse their children, spouses, and families. This helps us become obedient enough to follow a leader with dictatorial, corrupt, waring tendencies. I hope that America never gets back what she has dished out. That is why I speak up, that is why I give to different charities. Only Americans can try to counter, prevent and repair the violence that other Americans cause and favor.

At least the President's Social Security plan is coming to light. What a sham. It's in good shape, the trust fund is growing. I think this is all coming to a head because business and conservatives realize that social security is quite healthy (right now taxes pay more than retirees receive, the excess builds the trust fund which helps us save for boomers later) and they want to cash in the trust fund on Wall St. and stop contributing to it. It looks like boomers are in the position to screw themselves (and everyone after them) on social security with British-style (failed) private accounts. Just think, Bush could probably (with public support) steal from the healthy, conservative trust fund to help the "transition costs" for our radical private accounts. That's spending our future retirement, disability and death benefits on a gamble. He's not a king, he's a robber.

I wonder if Kerry and Boxer are on some conservatives hit list. I worry for them sticking their necks out like that and voting against Condi Rice. I'm proud of them for dissenting in public and standing up against the war and a government that refuses to admit and correct mistakes. I am terribly confused about the conservative talking heads. I heard Bill O'Reilly yesterday complaining that liberals were anti-American because they criticize the war and Bush. I heard another radio guy calling Barbara Boxer "the new Michael Moore (aka Goldstein)" because she dared to challenge Condi yesterday. He and a conservative doctor made Boxer into a pariah for confronting Condi instead of blindly welcoming her to the new post. Where is the respect for dissent in this country? Just the freedom of it? But then I hear O'Reilly saying we're not fighting for freedom in Iraq like the President says, we're fighting for U.S. economic and strategic interests. Well, nothing's working thus far and we're certainly not fighting for freedom at home (for outspoken liberals anyway) let alone in the rest of the world.

I found the notes I scribbled when tuning in to the local liberal turned neo-con radio host, he and his conservative doctor friend were using the following words to describe Boxer's dissent, "embarressing," "horrifying," "just making her constituents happy," and already mentioned "The new Michael Moore."

Soon we'll bomb Iran, if we miss something, there goes Israel...boom...what a golden Middle East policy.