Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Name:
Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Deadly Alliance

Sattar Abu Reesha a Sunni sheik was assassinated by a roadside bomb days after meeting with Bush in Iraq. He worked with the our military to fight al Qaeda in the Anbar Province. It’s very dangerous to do business with the Americans in Iraq.

In Iraq, Americans are seen as occupiers and there are certain inherent risks for doing business with them. This is why translators who work for the Americans are being executed in their homes.

Sheik Sattar Abu Reesha was the head of what’s known as the Anbar Salvation Council. Al Qaeda of Iraq has claimed responsibility for the roadside bomb assassination. They have been slaughtering anyone involved in a program, which seeks to bring the Baathist insurgents, who commanded Saddam’s army and intelligence apparatus, to join the fight against al Qaeda. Al Qaeda has used car bombs, bus bombs, suicide chest vest bombers, even chlorine gas bombs to strike at the Sunni, who are working with the Americans.

The Sunni insurgents have the Americans at the negotiating table and are helping us with al Qaeda and Iran. The Baathists offered the Bush regime this deal back in 2003. They pointed out that they hate al Qaeda and that they used to be our allies against Iran. They’re willing to normalize relations, which was the deal the ideologues, who were running the occupation back in 2003 refused.

We’ve seen four years of bloodletting on both sides to get to this point. The Bush regime has finally come around and accepted the Baathists’ offer and so far it’s been successful. It will continue to be successful, because these Sunni insurgents are working to assassinate al Qaeda and they’re not likely to give up, because they face assassination like Sattar Abu Reesha.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

“Mexican Messiah”

Mexican President Felipe Calderon is struggling to end the chronic poverty that has driven many of his countrymen into the United States as illegal aliens. Recently, Calderon won an important victory, when the Mexican Congress approved a plan for tax reforms. However, Calderon's chief political rival, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, insists that he is the legitimate president of Mexico.

George Grayson’s book entitled “Mexican Messiah” is about Lopez Obrador, who has about 30 percent popularity in public opinion polls. Obrador is considered to be the redeemer, the savior for the downtrodden and those who have been exploited. He's barnstorming the country hoping to become president in 2012.

Obrador lived for five-and-a-half years eating, sleeping, working alongside of the Shantou Indians He's a populist with a true commitment to the less fortunate, who make up about half the population in Mexico.

Mexico's wealthy live like princes and pay very little taxes. They turn a blind eye to their countries desperate poverty. George Grayson writes: "Mexico's elite finds it much less expensive and much more convenient to thrust onto U.S. taxpayers responsibility for the malfeasance by using its northern border as an escape valve for this nation's have-nots."

Calderon knows that he'd better deliver or they could have a second coming by savior Lopez Obrador, in just a few years. Calderon has got to raise taxes, increase expenditure on education, improve job training and given more people access to health care or the Mexicans are going to turn to Lopez Obrador.

Grayson is pessimistic about Mexico's future, because Calderon faces a great deal of opposition in Congress. Until Calderon breaks the back on monopolies, like Telmex, the giant phone company, or open Pemex, the state oil company, to private investment, Mexico is doomed to sputter along at about 3 or 3.5 percent growth.

Mexico has incredible resources, but the reforms have to take place. By keeping our borders open, we keep that safety valve open and the pressure off Mexico's elite to do right by their own citizens.

Mexican president Felipe Calderon said: "Mexico doesn't end at the border and wherever there is a Mexican, Mexico is there." About two-thirds of Mexicans believe they have the right to enter the United States and there's no legal restriction.

If Calderon is unsuccessful, perhaps Mexico’s wealthy will be forced to flee to the United States to maintain their elitist life style.

Friday, September 28, 2007

“Neocons”

The following letter written by Richard Stinson was published in the the Oneonta Daily Star on 9/24/07. Dick lives in South Kortright and has participated in Peace Vigils in Delhi, Margaretville and Stamford N.Y. He wrote:

“What's in a name? ‘Neocon’ is a favorite word of the right-wing politicians and pundits, but what does it really mean?

“ ‘Neo’ is easy, it means new or recent. ‘Con’ stands for conservative, which Webster describes as "tending to preserve old institutions, methods, customs and the like. Adhering to what is old or established."

“It's clear that the right-wing "Neocon" is just another bit of Orwellian ‘truthspeak’ or, as George Lakov has pointed out, ‘framing’ by the Republicans. Framing is giving an action or program a positive-sounding title like ‘Clean Air Initiative,’ ‘No Child Left Behind’ or ‘Mission Accomplished’ while the administration follows a course that makes it all a lie, or at best, a misdirection.

“The Republicans are actively trashing the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, habeus corpus, the First Amendment and anything else our nation was built on that gets in their way. They have certainly not been fiscally conservative by turning a huge fiscal surplus in 2000 into a record debt that doesn't show any signs of abating in 2007.

“The Neocons are anything but conservative and, worst of all, they no longer represent the voting public. They work for the lobbyists of huge corporations, not you or me ... and yet we have the power to replace them on Election Day.

“We just have to shrug off our complacency and lethargy and demand more for our money. We must demand honesty, transparency and loyalty to their constituents, plus an end to the partisan stone walls that make it almost impossible to get anything accomplished. Let's see some old-fashioned conservatism where it counts, in preserving our Constitution, laws and economy ... and, with a nod to the religious right, a healthy dose of Christian charity, humility and love. Remember to ask yourself, ‘What would Jesus do?’”

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Unpatriotic and Servile

Theodore Roosevelt said: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but it is morally treasonable to the American public.” 

Those Democratic members of the Senate, who found it advantageous to join with the Bush regime and our imperialistic military industrial complex to condemn Move On have lost credibility. Move On spoke the truth about Bush’s puppet General Petraeus. Bush and his Senate Republican underlings were joined by twenty-two Democrats in an attempt to stifle dissent from the right wing of their party.

Petraeus is a soldier not a policy maker. The commander-in-chief hid behind Petraeus, by sending him to Congress to defend the failed policy of the Bush regime. Petraeus has betrayed the troops, because he cares more about selling Bush’s failed policies than the safety of our troops and the American people.

The Democrats in Congress claim they will fight to change the strategy in Iraq by working with leaders of both parties. Attempting to work with the Bush’s lapdogs in Congress is silly nonsense. Voters respect solidarity and a firm commitment to purpose. Again the Republican succeeded in making all 22 of those Democrats that condemned Move On look like a bunch of pandering wimps, who don’t have the backbone to lead this country in a time of crises.

Democrats require 67 votes in the Senate to override Bush’s veto and he is going to veto everything. Like a bunch of fools the Democrats in Congress hoped that Petraeus report would win over enough Republicans to set deadlines and begin to withdraw our troops. Obviously, that is not going to happen.

John Warner and Chuck Hagel might eventually come around, because they’re leaving the Senate. In the end, nothing will materialize from Gordon Smith, Susan Collins, Olympia Snow, John Sununu and Norm Coleman, because they are playing Bush’s deadly game of delay. It comes down to how many of our troops are going to be dead and how many more wounded, while this game plays out.

Assuming, Democrats could persuade 100 percent of the Congress to agree to set a time line for withdrawal. Bush wouldn’t allow anyone to tell him how to fight “his” crusade. The next step would be the Supreme Court, but “his” Supreme Court would insist it’s a political question.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Times Up

The Bush regime finds it easier to criticize an ad in “The New York Times”, which was purchased by Moveon.org than make its case for the war in Iraq. In order to end this tragic war, we must start to loudly reject the Republican “spin” that the invasion of Iraq was about establishing a democracy.

Alan Greenspan, who served as chairman of the Federal Reserve for almost two decades has written: “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”

General Petraeus has provided misleading facts as to how well things are going in Iraq. His plan for “withdrawal” would merely return troop levels to where they were before the surge. The withdrawal is necessitated by a lack of troops, which the Army knew would occur before the surge started.

The Bush regime cherry-picked intelligence to make the initial case for war and since then has distorted the truth to sell their failed strategy to the rest of us. According to the Washington Post, many experts have questioned data behind the general’s optimistic assessment of the war, accusing the Pentagon of “cherry-picking positive indicators.” Even in December 2006, the Iraq Study Group reported “significant underreporting of violence.”

Everyone from the U.S. Government Accountability Office to Iraq’s own Ministry of the Interior recorded no drop in violence. The “decrease in violence” was accomplished by not counting deaths from car bombs.

Bush and the Republicans in Congress have been telling us to wait for “Petraeus Report” for months before we change the course in Iraq. With no political solution in sight, Bush wants more time for his failed war. Republicans have used the so-called “Petraeus Report” to delay dealing with growing antiwar sentiment. They accuse Democrats of setting arbitrary dates for withdrawal, but it’s the Republicans who set arbitrary dates for delay.

Furthermore, when it comes to the Iraqi government, there’s even less progress. The surge was supposed to help give breathing room in the political process, but the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that two and a half years after the first election, the Iraqi government has met just three of the 18 benchmarks set by Bush.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Wasteful Spending

The bridge collapse in Minnesota has many wondering if Congress has been spending our tax dollars wisely. Federal highway money should be spent exclusively to keep the nation’s roads, bridges and other key infrastructure safe.

Instead of spending more money on safer roads and bridges our tax dollars are being spent on Congressional pork projects. Congress has just approved money for what government watchdogs charge are wasteful projects.

Despite the protests over wasteful government spending, in the aftermath of the Minnesota bridge collapse, we continue to get congressional pet projects. The Senate transportation and housing bill is stuffed with $2 billion in pork. The earmarks include $450,000 for the International Peace Garden in North Dakota, and half a million for a new baseball stadium in Billings, Montana.

We have the largest number out of compliance bridges in our history, but Congress is making a choice to spend money on pet projects rather than the high priority projects.

A report from the Transportation Department’s inspector general discovered more than $8 billion in pet projects last year. They concluded many earmarked projects, which we’re considered low priority have been funded over higher priority non-earmark projects.

Members of Congress are addicted to earmarks and are getting more sophisticated in hiding their pet projects, by replacing the word "earmark" with the phrase "congressional directed spending."

In the House, a new transportation bill calls for a 5-cent hike in the gas tax for bridge repairs, but it also includes $250,000 for a new bike path located in the Minnesota district of the Transportation Committee chairman, Jim Oberstar, a cycling enthusiast.

My wife and I are cycling enthusiasts and have traveled all over America to ride exceptionally beautiful bike paths. However, we would prefer to get to them on safe roads and bridges.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fear

No matter how the impact of 9/11 has been sensationalized, it was not masterminded by the government of a foreign state. It remains a terrorist act perpetrated by a Saudi Islamist fanatic and 19 men armed with box cutting knives.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell doesn’t think it’s terrorists that pose the greatest threat to this country. Recently, Powell said: “People will say it's terrorism, but are there any terrorists in the world who can change the American way of life or our political system? No. Can they knock down a building? Yes. Can they kill somebody? Yes. But can they change us? No. Only we can change ourselves. So what’s the great threat we’re facing?”

Powell went on to says that he would approach the problem of terrorism differently. He says that this doesn’t mean that there isn’t a terrorist threat, but that we are “taking too much counsel of our fears,” adding we shouldn’t destroy ourselves and use fear for political purposes.

Historically, our government has been more dangerous to our liberty, than the enemy it claims to protect us from.

President John Adams insisted that the Alien and Sedition Acts were necessary, and our ancestors watch him use those acts to jail newspaper editors, for things they wrote about America.

President Woodrow Wilson insisted that the Espionage Act was necessary, and our ancestors watch him use that Act to prosecute 2,000 Americans most of whom were guilty only of advocating peace in a time of war.

FDR insisted that Executive Order 9066 was necessary to save American lives. He use that order to imprison and pauperize 110,000 Americans while General DeWitt, told Congress: “It makes no difference whether he is an American citizen. He’s still a Japanese.”

Roosevelt’s internment of the Japanese was the worst blight on his presidency, and eventually necessitated a formal apology from our government to those citizens whose lives it ruined.

We have a long and painful history of ignoring the words of Benjamin Franklin that “those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Al Qaeda is Stronger

Recently, the National Intelligence Estimate warned of the resurgence in Pakistan of al Qaeda. The NIE is the intelligence community’s collective analysis of pressing national security issues.

According to a senior government official who has seen the NIE, al Qaeda is the strongest it has been since the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Despite a campaign of military action and counterterrorism operations, al Qaeda has regained its strength and found safe haven in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

Bush continues to claim that “Al Qaeda in Iraq” makes Iraq the central front in the war on terror. The Bush regime insists: “over the past six years, we have prevented attacks from al Qaeda by taking the fight to them.”

Former analyst and head of the CIA’s bin Laden unit, Michael Scheuer believes that al Qaeda may follow us to America long before any insurgents in Iraq do. Michael Scheuer wrote “Imperial Hubris”, which describes what the terrorist’s convictions are based on.

The Pentagon reports that Iraqi forces control only 8 percent of Baghdad and that American and Iraqi forces control only about half of Baghdad. The surge is clearly not as successful as General Petraeus would have us believe. Should those threats become a reality while America continues to be bogged down in Iraq, it will be a major blemish on the career General David Petraeus.

It’s been four years and the Iraq military hasn’t stepped up. Reportedly, 400,000 Iraqis have been training for four years. We train our youth in 16 weeks, put them on a plane, send them to Iraq and expect them to do battle over there for a year. Those Iraqis in the military need the pay, but most are not interested in dying to help an occupying imperialistic corporate power steal their oil.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Threatening Crises

Our government is threatened by fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare underfunding, immigration and overseas military commitments.

Comptroller General, David Walker issued an exceptionally critical assessment of our country’s future in a report that warns of dramatic tax increases, slashed government services and the large-scale dumping by foreign governments holdings of US debt.

Walker warned there were similarities between America’s current situation and the factors that brought down Roman Empire. These similarities include an overconfident and overextended military in foreign lands and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government.
 
Walker is a nonpartisan in charge of the Government Accountability Office, which is described as the investigative arm of the Congress. He was a former senior executive at a prestigious auditing firm and was appointed to a 15 year term during the Clinton administration.
 
Walker said: “I’m trying to sound an alarm and issue a wake-up call... As comptroller general I’ve got the ability to look long range and take on issues that others may not be in a position, to take on... We are a great country, but we face sustainability challenges that we are not taking seriously enough. With the looming retirement of baby boomers, spiraling healthcare costs, plummeting savings rates and increasing reliance on foreign lenders, we face unprecedented fiscal risks... Our current policy on education, energy, the environment, immigration and Iraq are unsustainable.”
 
The recent bridge collapse in Minneapolis was a sobering wake-up call, because greater demands are being placed on our infrastructure. Billions of dollars will be needed to modernize everything from highways and airports to water and sewage systems. 

Our elected representatives need to make fiscal responsibility one of their top priorities. Walker believes that we still have a chance to turn the current situation around, but if Congress doesn’t act, the risk of a serious crisis rises considerably.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Senator Obama on Iraq

Senator Obama recognized that the war in Iraq was wrong from its conception. Unfortunately, Obama continues to avoid the heart of the matter.

Obama recognized that there was not an imminent threat of weapons of mass destruction and that it was overstated. He says many in Congress demonstrated a lack of judgment by not anticipating that, once we went into Iraq, it would be very difficult to get out.  The question was not whether we could overcome Saddam Hussein‘s army, but what would happen once we were there. Obama foresaw the possibility that the invasion would inflame anti-American sentiment throughout the Middle East and distract us from the fight that we still have not finished in Afghanistan.

Obama insists: “We have no good options in Iraq left.  We have got bad options and worse options.  He believes the best option is to make certain that we begin a phased redeployment, that we’re as careful getting out as we were careless getting in.”

Obama favors bringing our troops home, and sending a signal to the Iraqi people and the warring factions that there is not going to be a military solution to their problems, because there are only political accommodations to be had.

We should be talking to countries like Iran and Syria and let them know that they’re going to have to take some responsibility in keeping a lid on this situation. Obama expects to create a regional framework that allows us to scale back our commitments and start bringing our troops home.

Obama believes that Bush’s biggest problem is that he is driven by ideology, as opposed to fact. Bush isn’t concerned with what’s happening on the ground, because he has certain ideas and hopes that the world will conform to his ideas. Senator Obama points out that unfortunately, events have not conformed to Bush’s ideas. Americans were told that we would be greeted as liberators, which didn’t happen.  We heard that this would only take a few months and cost us a few billion dollars, but it didn’t happen.

Iraqi oil has been the heart of the matter for the military industrial complex from the very beginning. The occupation of Iraq has been a tremendous success for “those masters of men.” 

They would be wise to recall the last line of Dalton Trumbo’s timeless antiwar masterpiece “Johnny Got His Gun”: “You plan the wars you masters of men and point the way and we will point the gun.”

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Rock the Boat

John Edwards has said: “It’s the establishment elite versus the American people. Instead of serving the people and the nation, too many politicians play the game of trading favors and campaign money, influencing votes and compromising legislation. It’s a game that never ends and it’s time to end the game.”

We’ve seen lobbyists throwing cash at the politicians and heard politicians walk away from their promises. Nobody has calls them on it, because there is a go-along-to-get-along rule in Washington, D.C.

John Edwards would like us to join him in making waves, because the establishment doesn’t like it that he’s rocking their boat. He has called on all Democratic politicians to reject contributions from federal lobbyists.

It’s time for the Democrats in Congress to tell the big corporation lobbyists, who have been running things for too long that it’s over. It’s time to challenge our politicians to put the American people’s interests ahead of their own calculated political interests, and say no to lobbyists.

We must reform the Democratic party and make it the party of the people. Thereby, we’ll expose for all time who the Republicans in Washington are really working for.

The American people deserve to know that their presidency is not for sale, the Lincoln bedroom is not for rent, and that lobbyist money can no longer influence policy in the House or the Senate.

We need real change in America. We deserve universal health care, a halt to global warming and an end to the war in Iraq. However, before those changes can occur, we have to fix the broken system in Washington.

It’s time to be counted, and fight for what we believe. Start writing letters to the editor of your local newspaper and letters or e-mails to your representative in Congress.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Follow the Money

Last January, Bush declared that “America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced.” He promised: “to give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country’s economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis.”

The reason for this was that oil is the only thing Iraq has going for it and the only reason that the occupation has continued. Without an agreement for sharing oil revenues Iraq is a collection of armed gangs fighting for control of this resource.

Bush’s pledge hasn’t happened and on 9/12/07 all attempts to arrive at a compromise oil law collapsed. The cause of the breakdown occurred after the provincial government in Kurdistan, defied the central government, and passed its own oil law. It’s been announced that the Kurdish provincial government had signed a production-sharing deal with the Hunt Oil Company of Dallas.

Ray L. Hunt, the chief executive and president of Hunt Oil, is a close political ally of Bush. Furthermore, Hunt is a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, a key oversight body. Thus, we have a businessman with very close ties to the Bush regime undermining his stated policy. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since Halliburton continued to sign business deals with Iran after Bush declared Iran a member of the “axis of evil.”

As a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, Hunt undoubtedly was well-informed about the actual state of affairs in Iraq. By putting his money into a deal with the Kurds, despite Baghdad’s disapproval, he’s betting that the Iraqi government won’t get its act together. Hunt is betting against the survival of Iraq as a nation. His access to insider information made him confident that the surge had failed and the war is lost.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Destroying Democracy

President Eisenhower said, “The cost of one modern heavy bomber is: a modern brick school in more than 20 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.”

Furthermore, Eisenhower made the following statement: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hope of its children."

Can you imagine such statements coming from a member of the Bush regime or for that matter one of our Democratic representatives in Congress?

Our politicians profit immensely from funds awarded to corporate enterprises associated with the military-industrial complex. They have bankrupted our nation by allowing our actual national debt to rise to a little over 59 trillion dollars.

Our government’s use of unethical accounting practices that intentionally misinform the American people with respect to unfunded promises to repay Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and an assortment of federal retirement programs.

Lobbyists are highly paid representatives of the corporate world, who converge upon our elected officials and coerce them into conducting business in a manner that usually benefits the rich at the expense of the poor. We are led to believe that our votes count, but our votes frequently elect members of Congress, who are waiting for corporate bribes that will fill their electoral coffers.

A well paid, post retirement position awaits members of Congress, who use their congressional knowledge to bribe those who take their place. This results in a revolving door of immense corruption that is destroying the foundations of our democracy.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Not To Reason Why

Retired Army Major General John Riggs the former director of Objective Force Task Force said it best: “They only need the military advice when it satisfies their agenda.”

On 9/11/07, General David Petraeus testified on the situation in Iraq and evaluate the progress of Bush’s troop increase.

Republican Senator John Warner asked General Petraeus: “Are you able to say at this time, if we continue what you have laid before the Congress here as a strategy, do you feel that that is making America safer?”

General Petraeus replied: “Sir, I believe that this is, indeed, the best course of action to achieve our objectives in Iraq.”

Senator Warner press on: “Does that make America safer?”

Many were shocked when General Petraeus responded: “Sir, I don’t know, actually.  I have not sat down and sorted out in my own mind. What I have focused on and been riveted on is how to accomplish the mission of the multi-national force Iraq.”

Immediately, I recalled the verse of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade.” “Not tho’ the soldier knew. Someone had blunder’d: Their’s not to make reply, Their’s not to reason why, Their’s but to do and die: Into the valley of Death”

Bush is hiding behind his loyal field commander, who can’t say whether the sacrifices he’s asking his troops to make has made their country safer. Apparently, Petraeus follows orders and doesn’t reason why.

Petraeus admitted that he’s given no thought to the wisdom of the Bush policy of fighting this war in Iraq. Since, Petraeus can’t tell us whether achieving that mission is worth it, what are we doing in Iraq, if the commanding General doesn’t know whether it’s doing us any good in terms of our national security?

The answer: blood for oil.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Disenchanted Progressives

Bernard Weiner, Ph.D., has taught government & international relations at universities in Washington and California, worked as a writer/editor with the San Francisco Chronicle for two decades, and currently co-edits The Crisis Papers (www.crisispapers.org) .

The following excerpt from an article entitled: “Twenty-Two Things We Now Know Six Years After 9/11” is most relevant to the Democrats in Congress.

“But the Democrats, who were given the majority in Congress by voters anxious and desperate for major change, seem content to fritter away their political advantage by nibbling around the edges of Cheney/Bush policy but rarely attacking them frontally, especially on the continuing war in Iraq and the attack on Iran coming down the pike, and on impeachment. It's more or less business as usual in the nation's capitol.

“It's possible that the Democratic leadership believes that because the war is so unpopular and the scandal-ridden GOP is self-destructing from within, the Dems should just keep their heads down and coast to a victory in 2008.

“But a lot can happen between now and November 2008 that could prove disastrous for Democratic chances. For example, if the Dems nominate the wrong candidate for President, or continue to demonstrate their cowardice and timidity on the major issues of our time, the disenchanted progressive, anti-war wing of the party could decide to sit on their hands in November or join with the Greens for a third-party bid. A U.S. attack on Iran potentially could change the political chemistry, as could a Mushareff fall in Pakistan, or a bad recession or depression in the U.S. and world economy.

“The Democrats are not politically pure, to be sure. Too many are beholden to the same interests that have corrupted the Republicans during the Cheney/Bush years. However, in enough instances that matter - and assuming their base could force them to move forward aggressively from a more activist, ideological position - the Democrats would be different enough to start to turn the ship of state away from its reckless, dangerous extremism and back more toward the center and maybe even, on some issues, in the direction of progressive liberalism.”


 


 

 

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Reduction of Troops

General Petraeus has testified that he’s recommending a drawdown of troops over the next year to 139,000, from the 169,000 we’re at now.

The primary motivation for this is that the Army and Marine Corps are in deep trouble and the Pentagon is having a very difficult time maintaining this deployment.  By withdrawing 28,000 to 30,000 troops, the Pentagon will be able to provide longer periods of time at home, making it much easier on the troops and their families. 

The Army has said they are undermanned, but Petraeus is now saying they’re not undermanned. Could the Bush regime be trying to provide some political cover to keep the Republicans in line on Capitol Hill? 

It has been known from the beginning that the surge could not be sustained. Under the best of circumstances the Pentagon would still need to have a drawdown by March of next year. Petraeus announced the drawdown as though it was some kind of great marker of success, when in fact, it’s something that they had predicted was logistically necessary. 

A couple months ago, Colin Powell said that there’s going to have to be a reduction in force by the end of next spring. Petraeus is merely declaring that as policy. It’s reality, not a marker of success.  

It’s disturbing that the Bush regime has been able to spin the drawdown, as some kind of success. The public has already decided, in overwhelming numbers that Americans don’t care about those nebulous concepts described as success or winning. At this point they are irrelevant. They want our troops home safe and sound with their families. 

Eisenhower warned: “I think that people want Peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of their way and let them have it.”

Friday, September 14, 2007

We’ll Stand Down

Bush has said: “Our strategy can be summed up this way: as the Iraqi’s stand up, we will stand down.”

An independent commission headed by General James Jones, former top commander of U.S. forces in Europe, reports Iraqi forces are not ready to stand on their own. It finds the national police are operationally ineffective and should be disbanded and reorganized. The Interior Ministry, vital for support of the police, is dysfunctional and sectarian and the border security forces are generally ineffective and riddled with corruption.

The study offer praise for the Iraqi army, saying it’s gaining size and strength, with soldiers willing to fight against enemies of the state. However, it adds they will not be ready to fulfill their security role within the next 12 to 18 months without significant coalition support.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insists: “The facts are self- evident that the progress is not being made. Now, they might want to find one or two places where there’s some progress and cherry-pick in that way.”

The White House wants people to look at the western part of Iraq, Al Anbar province. This is hard-core Sunni territory, who had supported Saddam Hussein. Every assessment said Al Anbar would be the hardest part of this country to pacify, but our military have switched tactics. They’re focusing on trying to make tribal leaders accept a national government dominated by Shiites. Our military is suggesting to the Sunni's that they work together to drive al Qaeda, who are causing problems, out of Iraq. The Shiites are unhappy with the buildup of the Sunnis and they’re fighting among themselves for control of given areas.

The big question comes down to whether Iraqi forces can protect any of these gains if the coalition troops pull out? By virtually every assessment right now, they can’t. Bush insists that is the reason our troops can’t leave, but Democrats insist that is the reason we have to leave. After all these years, the Iraqis are still not ready to stand up in order to allow our forces to stand down.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Savvy Politicians

We claim to want politicians that are truthful, but savvy politicians, that want to be reelected, are fully aware that most Americans can’t handle the truth.

Presidential candidate Mike Gravel said: “Our soldiers died in Vietnam in vain.... There’s only one thing worse than a soldier dying in vain. It is more soldiers dying in vain....Vietnam would have turned out the same, whether our troops had been there or not, and insists, so will Iraq.”

All our troops are doing in Iraq is killing, destroying and dying. It’s infuriating, when one considers the lives wasted in Vietnam and Iraq. Antiwar demonstrations are a patriotic way to criticize the way this commander-in-chief is squandering the precious lives of our youth in the global war for oil.

There were no weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein had no ties to al-Qaeda. The invasion of Iraq was an avarice, calculated, imperialistic plan to gain control of the world’s second largest oil reserve. Instead of making Americans safer, we are creating more terrorist every day. Everything had been going according to plan, but enlistments are down. The Pentagon recently realized that it has underestimated the significance of what they sarcastically refers to as the “mommy factor.”

Corporate racketeers are using our troops to steal oil from the Iraqi people, under the pretense of bringing them democracy. Bush has commandeered our military to be gangsters for capitalism, and they’re being used as economic cannon fodder by the military industrial complex to ensure outrageous profits for multinational oil corporations.

It’s difficult, to appreciate the service of our troops in Iraq, while they’re serving the interests of corporate racketeers and their occupation is making Americans less safe. Those troops reenlisting for $20,000 to $40,000 bonuses, serve as mercenaries and remain willing pawns of corporate racketeers.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

“Milestones”

Sixty years ago, Syed Qutb perceived America to be a spiritual wasteland and was inspired to create a radical brand of Islam. He was an Egyptian Sunni Muslim, who came to America in 1948 to study. He spent two years in America and it turned him into a militant Islamist. He resented the deep philosophical secular roots of American society. He resented the way women and men interact in society. He resented the obsessive nature of America materialism.

Qutb returned to Egypt and preached a message of restoring Muslim nations to their religious roots. The secular Egyptian government of Gamal Abdel Nasser imprisoned and tortured him; and in 1966 executed him. His writings of the 1950s laid the foundation for the modern jihad movement and inspired the likes of Osama bin Laden and his lieutenant, Ayman Al-Zawahiri an Egyptian doctor. His views have influenced and shaped how radical Islamists and radical jihadists view Americans.

Syed Qutb most radical book, “Milestones” was written from prison. It advocated violent jihad, even against Muslim governments. His writings and what many saw as his martyrdom, inspired generations of Muslim radicals.

Ayman Al-Zawahi is second in command to Osama bin Laden. He and bin Laden were part of what came known in the Muslim world as the awakening, a religious movement in the 1970s that pitted young, reform-minded Sunni Muslims against their established governments.

Syed Qutb provided the inspiration for these future jihadists, and Afghanistan was their call to arms. In 1979, the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union, an atheist and communist government was an affront to Islam. Thousands of young Muslims signed up for a holy war against the invader. Osama bin Laden was one of them, and his exploits in Afghanistan gave him credibility as well as a base.

Osama bin Laden said: “I have benefited greatly from the jihad in Afghanistan. It would have been impossible for me to benefit as much from any other opportunity.” The Soviets, worn down by the Mujahedeen, would eventually withdraw from Afghanistan.

Bin Laden would go on to establish al Qaeda and Zawahiri would become his adviser, both men inspired by the words of Syed Qutb.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Six 9/11’s Every Year

America is the only industrialized nation that doesn’t have free and universal health care. We have shorter wait times than everyone but Germans when seeking non-emergency elective procedures like hip replacement, cataract surgery or knee repair.

However, when it came to waiting for a doctor’s appointment for a medical problem a survey of six industrialized nations found that only Canada was worse than the United States.

Last year, the Commonwealth Fund showed that of the top six countries, we were second to last. It showed that when the British public call to see a doctor, 71 percent get to see the doctor that day or the next day. It’s 69 percent in Germany and 66% in Australia

Democratic candidates for president must give specifics on how they would remove the private insurance companies from the equation. America shouldn’t have profit involved when we talk about taking care of people’s health.

It has been 14 years, since Hillary Clinton’s health care plan was removed from the agenda. Our own government admits that because 47 million aren’t insured, we have about 18,000 people a year that die in this country simply because they don’t have health insurance. That’s six 9/11’s every single year. Not having universal healthcare for the pass 14 years has added up to an additional 252,000 Americans having died, because they didn’t have health insurance.

Mrs. Clinton hasn’t put forth a specific plan, those of us that care about our fellow Americans should write to Hillary Clinton and insist on universal healthcare for everyone who lives in this country. It will cost us less than what we’re presently spending, because we won’t be lining the pockets of private health insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. There’s still a chance to have an effect on people like Hillary.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Shiites Muslim Jihadists

Twenty eight years ago God’s Muslim warriors rocked the world and gave America a tasted fundamentalism, when Islamic revolutionary students stormed the embassy and took American diplomats hostage for 444 days, which set off a wave of Islamic fundamentalism throughout the Muslim world.

The Iranians were reacting against decades of Western interference. You could see this as Iran’s declaration of independence. The ruler of Iran, the Shah, had been restored to power in the 1950s in a CIA coup. He was rushing to modernize his country, like his father before him.

The Shahs in Iran used to make their soldiers go out with their bayonets at the ready, ripping off women’s veils and tearing them to pieces in front of them in the streets. Mohammed Reza Shah ruthlessly crushed dissent and exiled mullahs who challenged him. The most prominent, a firebrand cleric named Ayatollah Khomeini, blasted back, calling the Shah the enemy of Islam.

He brought Iranians out onto the streets by pointing out the injustice of the Shah's rule. With Iran’s constitution in one hand and the Koran in the other, Khomeini offered up Islam as the antidote to and Western dominance of Iran. Many Iranians saw it as a purifying ritual. Khomeini and the revolutionary mullahs were able to speak to Shiite traditions, not to Marxism or secularist ideas that had no grassroots among the ordinary people.

Khomeini’s revolution created the world’s first modern theocracy, a fundamentalist Islamic republic that stood up to Americans and humiliated a superpower. The relationship between Iran and America has never recovered from the takeover of our embassy in the heart of Tehran.

Back in 1979, Dr. Massoumeh Ebtekar was the voice of the revolution. She would eventually become Iran’s first female vice president and is presently pushing for more democracy.

Recently, Dr. Ebtekar has said: “We felt very strongly for the independence of our country. We felt very strongly for the dignity of the Iranian people. We felt very strongly about the intervention of the American government in our affairs. We were not terrorists. We were not militia. We had no military training. It was a genuine student movement and the hostages were considered spies working in the United States embassy.”

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Defensive Jihad

Osama bin Laden released a videotape in which he mentioned by name former CIA analyst and head of the CIA’s bin Laden unit, Michael Scheuer. Bin Laden said: "If you would like to get to know some of the reasons for losing your war against us, then read the book of Michael Scheuer in this regard." Scheuer’s book “Imperial Hubris” is about terrorism and describes what the terrorist’s convictions are based on.

Regarding the videotape Scheuer insists: “What bin Laden said was exactly what he's been saying for 12 years, that this war is not about elections or liberties, democracy or women in the workplace. It's about the impact of our policies in the Islamic world. And because we won't talk about that here in America, we're not adequately defended.”

By invading Iraq, we fulfilled the grounds for a defensive jihad. We're an infidel power that invaded a Muslim country unprovoked, occupied it and tried to put in secular laws. According to the Koran, it’s the responsibility of Muslims in that situation to respond violently against an occupier.

In our county, Republican presidential candidate, Dr. Ron Paul is seen by many Republicans as marching to al Qaeda's drummer. However, Scheuer says that the truth of the matter is that all of the Democrats and Republicans candidates for president, except, Dr. Paul and Dennis Kucinich are marching to Osama bin Laden's drum. It’s not American values or culture that galvanize bin Laden and al Qaeda it’s what we do. The fact that we are in Muslim lands, occupying Iraq, and support Israel leads bin Laden to attack us.

With respect to the hunt for bin Laden, Bush’s homeland security advisor, Fran Townsend said: “It is not for a lack of resources devoted against that task. It is a huge priority for us to capture and kill bin Laden.”

Michael Scheuer reply: “Ms. Townsend is fighting a losing rear guard action. We have 30,000 American troops in Afghanistan. They're supposed to build a democracy, rebuild the economy, defeat the Taliban, keep Mr. Karzai's government in power and eradicate the poppy heroin industry and in their spare time maybe find Osama bin Laden. The idea that we have sufficient resources devoted against this is just laughable.”

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Change of Course

Bush is seeking $50 billion more to fund the war in Iraq.

John Edwards has called on Congress to force Bush to change course on Iraq. He said that instead of arguing with the White House over whether benchmarks have been met for progress in Iraq, Congress should force Bush to change policy by setting the start of troop withdrawals in war funding bills. Edwards insists: “It’s time for the Congress to stand its ground. If there’s no timetable, there should be no funding.”

The Democratic presidential candidate is calling for the immediate withdrawal of 40,000 to 50,000 troops and the redeployment of the rest of them over a nine month period. Edwards said Congress faces a critical moment to do the will of the American people and resist what he called an incredible PR campaign by the White House to continue the current Iraq policy.

Congress and Bush are heading toward a showdown on the war, with conflicting reports on progress on the ground, since the so-called surge of 30,000 additional forces in and around Baghdad.

The Government Accountability Office recently reported that of 18 benchmarks, the Iraqi government had met three, partly met four others, but had failed to meet 11 key benchmarks. Army General David H. Petraeus is expected to deliver a more positive assessment to Congress.

Edwards argues: “Bush is stubborn and Congress needs to call him on this.” He wants the Democratic-controlled Congress to force a change in policy through the power of the purse, and push Iraqi leaders to a comprehensive political solution.

Semiautonomous regions for the Shia, Sunnis, and Kurds makes sense to Edwards, but that’s a decision for Iraqis to make. It’s anybody’s guess what will happen after American forces leave Iraq, because no one can predict with any confidence what will happen.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Pope John Paul II

“As I have loved you so you should love one another.” (John 13:34)

Pope John Paul II’s said a new respect for international law was the only way to achieve peace and guarantee against the arbitrary use of force. His message appeared aimed at the U.S. antiterrorism campaign. In particular at Bush’s preemptive war in Iraq, which was launched without the specific authorization of the United Nations.

John Paul was a vocal critic of the Iraq war, dispatching envoys to Washington and Baghdad to try to prevent hostilities from breaking out and exhorting world leaders that war was not inevitable. In fact, John Paul II’s last big battle was against the Bush administration’s “preemptive war” doctrine.

In 2004, Catholics nationwide voted for Bush, by a margin of 52% to 47%. Thus, continuing a preemptive war of death and destruction in Iraq. They were told that in order to be pro-life, you’re expected to support a candidate whose mission is to overturn Roe vs. Wade. However, pro-life is not just being concerned about the womb. It’s about being concerned about life. Studies have shown that there’s a direct correlation between poverty and abortion. Perhaps, the best way to lessen abortion in society is to vote for the candidate that you think is going to do the most about poverty.

Sister Joan Chittister author of “Called to Question: A Spiritual Memoir”; pointed out the religious right say nothing about a doctrine of preemptive war. Either the religious right considers life is of value or it’s not of value.

Since, Bush was elected life has been increasingly difficult for most families, because they’re working harder to stay afloat with fewer benefits, insufficient incomes, more stress and less job security. The gap continues to grow between the obscenely rich and the desperately poor.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

End of Time

“Religious institutions that use government power for support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the ‘wall of separation between church and state’, therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.” - Former President Thomas Jefferson

Bush has been funneling billions of dollars to “faith-based” organizations. Grants are now so widespread inside government agencies that federal watchdog officials have serious difficulties accounting for how much money has actually been spent.

Furthermore, Bush has transformed our military. For example: Lt. General William Boykin announced: “George Bush was not elected by a majority of the voters in the United States. He was appointed by God.” Boykin made headlines in 2003 when he said that America was engaged in a holy war as a “Christian nation” battling Satan. Adversaries can be defeated, he said, “only if we come against them in the name of Jesus.”

Bush’s personal minister, Franklin Graham, has called Islam “evil and very wicked.” And said, “Let’s use the weapons we have, the weapons of mass destruction if need be, and destroy the enemy.”

For Bush a war with Islam is not something to be feared. Reportedly, “end-time Christians,” make up as many as 40 million Bush followers. All may not fully subscribe to the doomsday theology, but they are inundated with books and on Christian broadcasting stations that reach millions of the faithful. Their church’s are almost entirely dominated by end-time preachers. Their message to true believers is that the time of “rapture” is close. In the days before the final battles, God will draw the faithful up into heaven.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Addicted to Oil

Former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca endorsed Bush in 2000, but not in 2004. In his recent book, “Where Have All the Leaders Gone?” Iacocca writes:

“Oil is behind the war in Iraq. Oil is the reason we give fundamentalists, terrorists breeding theocracy in Saudi Arabia a pass. Almost every important Bush administration official has a connection to the oil industry.”

Iacocca points out that if our goal is to spread democracy throughout the Middle East, why don’t we do Bush’s friends a favor and call for a regime change in Saudi Arabia? Why don’t we bring them democracy? If it’s good enough for Iraq, it’s good enough for Saudi Arabia.”

In Bush’s 2006, State of the Union Address, he said: “America is addicted to oil.” According to Iacocca, that’s like a drug dealer accusing junkies of being addicted to drugs. The Bush regime has done nothing to help American’s break it’s addiction to oil. Instead, it presented a budget that cut spending for projects that improve energy efficiency.

Carpool lanes haven’t worked, because it’s too much of a sacrifice for American’s to share a ride. We pay money at the pump to the oil cartels. We have the cheapest gas in the world, because of our low taxes on gas. Federal and state taxes average 47 cents in America. In England, the tax is about $4.24 a gallon. In Germany, France and Italy the tax is close to $4.00 a gallon. In 2006, gas was $6.70 a gallon in Italy.

Europe drive fuel efficient cars. We should increase in our federal gas tax, and use it to develop alternative sources of energy, such as solar, wind, electricity, ethanol, natural gas and biodiesel.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executives of the five largest oil companies earn almost a billion dollars in compensation.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Christian Warriors

They are called “God’s Warriors” and you’ll find them in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Scripture is their blueprint to life and living and they are absolutely sure of their mission. Their role is to redeem the entire world and they have a great deal in common.

The ancient city of Jerusalem is filled with sacred meaning for three great religions. Apparently, God promised Jews, Christians and Muslims, that he would one day return to the Holy Land. The ultimate sacrifice, for “God’s Warriors” is to give their soul as a gift to God the creator and their country. Each religion believes that modern society has lost its way.

They say God is the answer, but their battle to save the world has caused anger, division and fear. For the past 30 years, religion has exploded as a powerful political force, with an army of followers who share a deep dissatisfaction with modern secular society and a fierce determination to bring God and religion back to the seat of power. God’s Christian warriors have transformed America’s landscape with a mix of faith and politics.

Religious historian Bruce Lawrence of Duke University points out that in 1973, the Supreme Court decision “Roe v. Wade” allowed the right to abortion and touched off a Christian counterrevolution.

By the 1980 presidential election, the Moral Majority mobilized millions of voters to give Ronald Reagan a landslide victory over Jimmy Carter and 12 Democratic senators lost their seats over issues like abortion.

Until his death, Jerry Falwell continued to connect liberal beliefs to Islamic terrorism, by blaming the attacks of September 11th on the prevalence of abortion in America. He caused a huge amount of controversy after 9/11 when he said that the Lord was removing his protection from America.

Radical opponents of a woman’s right to make choices about her own body waged their holy war against abortion clinics. Bombings, arson, assassinations terrified many women. The bombing at a Birmingham clinic killed a police guard. From Boston to Florida, Christian zealots murdered seven people, three of them doctors. The violence frightened a number of abortion clinics into closing.

The courts became the new battleground over the unborn. Year after year, the religious right lost every Supreme Court decision on abortion. Falwell and others were determined to reverse that, using their political clout to make sure new justices passed the Christian conservative abortion litmus test.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Media Spin

The following are excerpts from Norman Solomon’s “Media Spin on Iraq: We’re Leaving (Sort of)” “But it turns out, what will happen when we leave is that we won’t leave.

“Urging a course of action that’s now supported by ‘the best strategic minds in both parties,’ the Time story calls for ‘an orderly withdrawal of about half the 160,000 troops currently in Iraq by the middle of  2008... and A force of 50,000 to 100,000 troops would dig in for a longer stay to protect America’s most vital interests...’

“But there’s not a  single ‘major’ candidate for president willing to call for withdrawal of  all U.S. forces -- not just ‘combat’ troops -- from Iraq, or willing to  call for a complete halt to U.S. bombing of that country.

“Those candidates know that powerful elites in this country just don’t want to give up the leverage of an ongoing U.S. military presence in  Iraq, with its enormous reserves of oil and geopolitical value. It’s a good bet that American media and political powerhouses would fix the wagon of any presidential campaign that truly advocated an end to the U.S. war in -- and on -- Iraq.

“The disconnect between public opinion and elite opinion has led to reverse perceptions of a crisis of democracy. As war continues, some are appalled at the absence of democracy while others are frightened by the potential of it. From the grassroots, the scarcity of democracy is transparent and outrageous. For elites, unleashed democracy could jeopardize the priorities of the military-industrial-media complex.

“This is all relevant history today as news media are spinning out umpteen scenarios for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. The game involves dangling illusionary references to ‘withdrawal’ in front of the public.

“The Associated Press reported on July 14, ‘the Air Force has quietly built up its hardware inside Iraq, sharply stepped up bombing and laid a foundation for a sustained air campaign in support of American and Iraqi  forces.’

“This kind of development fits a historic pattern -- one that had horrific consequences during the war in Vietnam and, unless stopped, will persist for many years to come in Iraq.

“Even when calls for withdrawal have eventually become too loud to ignore, officials have put forward strategies for ending war that have had the effect of prolonging  it -- in some cases, as with the Nixon administration’s strategy of  Vietnamization, actually escalating war in the name of ending it.

Between mid-1969 and mid-1972, American troop levels dropped sharply in  Vietnam -- while the deadly ferocity of American bombing spiked upward.

“The presence of large numbers of U.S. troops in Iraq during the next years is a likelihood fogged up by fanciful media stories asserting --  without tangible evidence -- that American troops will ‘pull out’ and the U.S. military will ‘leave’ Iraq. The spin routinely glides past such matters as the hugely militarized U.S. embassy in Baghdad, the numerous  permanent-mode U.S. bases in Iraq, and the vast array of  private-and-often-paramilitary contractors at work there courtesy of  U.S. taxpayers. And there’s the rarely mentioned prize of massive oil reserves that top officials in Washington keep their eyes on.

“The matter of U.S. bases in Iraq is a prime example of how events on Capitol Hill have scant effects on war machinery in the context of  out-of-control presidential power. “The House voted overwhelmingly to bar permanent United States military bases in Iraq,” the  New York Times reported on July 26. But the war makers in the nation’s capital still hold the whip that keeps lashing the dogs of war.

“As the insightful analyst Phyllis Bennis points out: ‘The bill states an important principle opposing the establishment of new bases in Iraq  and not to exercise United States control of the oil resources of  Iraq. But it is limited in several ways. It prohibits only those bases which are acknowledged to be for the purpose of permanently stationing U.S. troops in Iraq; therefore any base constructed for temporarily stationing troops, or rotating troops, or anything less than an  officially permanent deployment, would still be accepted. Further, the  bill says nothing about the need to decommission the existing U.S. bases already built in Iraq; it only prohibits establishing' military installations, implying only new ones would be prohibited.

“Despite all the talk about how members of Congress have been turning against the war, few are clearly advocating a genuine end to U.S. military intervention in Iraq. Media outlets will keep telling us that the U.S. government is developing serious plans to leave Iraq. But we would be foolish to believe those tall tales. The antiwar movement has an enormous amount of grassroots work to do -- changing the political terrain of the United States from the bottom up -- before the calculus of political opportunism in Washington determines that it would be more expedient to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq than to keep it going under one guise or another.”

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Christian Zionists

Pastor John Hagee is a Christian warrior for Israel. A Christian Zionist believes that the Bible supports Israel and they emphasize Genesis 12:3 saying, I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you.

There are voices in the State Department calling for the city of Jerusalem to be divided, to make way for a Palestinian capital, but John Hagee makes it clear: “There shall be one Jerusalem that shall never be divided not now and not ever.”
He’s got his own pro-Israel lobbying group and in a recent meeting in Washington included a written greeting from President Bush. The meeting drew people like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senators Lieberman and McCain.

Hagee’s group went to Capitol Hill, to tell members of Congress of their strong support for Israel. Their visit last year coincided with fighting between Israel and Lebanon and they made it clear what they expected America to do. They asked Congress to give Israel the opportunity to respond to those that had attacked them not to send someone from the State Department over there to get the war stopped. Israel can do no wrong in Hagee’s eyes, and he’s identified his enemy. Hagee sees Iran and its defiant president as a threat to both the U.S. and Israel.

Hagee insists the sleeping giant of Christian Zionism has awakened and are united, indivisible and together will reshape history. According to his scenario, Russia and its Arab allies will invade Israel. The antichrist will appear as the head of the European Union. Armies will mass and there’ll be a final battle at Armageddon resulting in a sea of human blood before Jesus returns to slay nonbelievers and reign over an era of peace. Critics accuse Hagee of supporting Israel and favoring war with Iran to hasten the second coming, but he claims Christian Zionists support of Israel has absolutely nothing to do with the prophecy.

Hagee does not try to convert Jews, but he’s confident that when Jesus does return, the Jewish people will accept Christ as their messiah.

Irrational extremists in all camps exploit injustices that fuel the fires, which they ignite. A secure Israel and a fully free Palestinian state are essential for peace to reign.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Restrict Role of Women

Former President Jimmy Carter is the product of a strong Christian upbringing. His father, a deacon and Sunday schoolteacher taught his son that faith and politics should not mix.

Carter remembered that Thomas Jefferson, claiming to speak on behalf of all the founding fathers, said we should build a wall between the church and the state. While running for president, he described himself as a born-again Christian and won a majority of the Evangelical vote in 1976.

Carter never had any religious services in the White House and never expressed any preference for his own Christian faith compared to others. However, his presidency was defined, by the emergence of Islamic warriors for God. Notably during the Iranian Revolution, where Islamic fundamentalist took over Iran, making God and country one and the same in their new Islamic Republic. Islamic fundamentalist Ayatollah Khomeini felt it was their right to hold foreigners hostage.

Fifty-two Americans were held captive for 444 days and it was a major reason that Carter was a one-term president. Many Evangelicals, who supported Carter as a committed Christian Democrat in 1976, switched to the not-so-churchgoing Republican, Ronald Reagan, four years later.

Carter returned home to Plains, Georgia, to teach adult Sunday school. But in the 1990s, he watched the Southern Baptist Convention grow progressively more conservative and more political, contrary to his faith. In effect they adopted a creed that said if you don’t agree with this written document in its entirety, you cannot be a pastor in a Southern Baptist Church.

Especially troublesome to Carter was an amendment to the group’s statement of beliefs on the role of women. Henceforth, like Muslims and Orthodox Jews, Southern Baptists would restrict the role of women.

Carter was shocked to learn: “Women must be submissive to their husbands and no woman can be a leader in the church as a pastor or deacon in the church and that women are precluded from instructing men.”

When, the Southern Baptist amendment on a woman’s role passed in 2000. Carter publicly broke with the convention. He’s continued to speak out against what he sees as the growing influence of fundamentalism in many religions characterized by rigidity, male domination, and exclusion.