Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Culture War Recruiters

Today while slogging through the neocon blogs I came upon a delusory article written by Dennis Prager defining America's cultural wars as being between those who believe in biblical law (see my Dec. 25 post) and those who do not. After reading Mr. Prager's article, I'm reminded not only of the sociopaths by which the cultural wars are being fought but their methods of doing so.

To get a sense of how revolutionary the political fight for power in the U.S. is, we need to look at a few quotes from what has been dubbed, "Paul Weyrich's Teaching Manual," the Free Congress Foundation's strategic plan on how to gain control of the government of the U.S. Written by Eric Heubeck, and titled, "The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement," the document is no longer available at the Free Congress Foundation's website for obvious reasons. But excerpts are published at the Theocracy Watch. The excerpts explain the rules the Dominionists use; the tactics they endorse are sheer Machiavellian:

1) Falsehoods are not only acceptable, they are a necessity. The corollary is: The masses will accept any lie if it is spoken with vigor, energy and dedication.

2) It is necessary to be cast under the cloak of "goodness" whereas all opponents and their ideas must be cast as "evil."

3) Complete destruction of every opponent must be accomplished through unrelenting personal attacks.

4) The creation of the appearance of overwhelming power and brutality is necessary in order to destroy the will of opponents to launch opposition of any kind.

The article posted on Hugh Hewitt's website, "The culture war is about the authority of a book" written by Dennis Prager clearly illustrates his training. The tone of his article comes off like a benign statement of facts instead of assertions with no point of reference. He clearly believes that if you assert something with authority, conviction and innuendo that people will be swayed by the power of your convictions. Notice, for example, the following subtlety:

"Many members of all these different religions have found it quite remarkable how similar their values are to those of members of these other religions. An evangelical Protestant who might regard Mormonism as nothing more than a heretical cult will find himself seated next to Mormons at a rally on behalf of the Boy Scouts."

Implying, it would be highly unlikely to find an atheist, agnostic or non-bible believer at a boy scout meeting. Then of course, there are the clear, outright lies which all good Dominionists are trained to triumph on any given day:

"Which is exactly how most conservatives regard most leftist beliefs, such as: there is nothing inherently superior in a child being raised by a mother and father rather than by two fathers or two mothers; men and women are not basically different, but only socially influenced to be different; Marxism was scientific; that the Soviet Union was not an evil empire; it was immoral for Israel to bomb Saddam Hussein's nuclear reactor; morality is relative to the individual or society; there is no moral judgment to be made about a woman aborting a healthy human fetus solely because she doesn't want a baby at this time; material poverty, not moral poverty, causes violent crime, etc.

This divide explains why the wrath of the Left has fallen on those of us who lament the exclusion of the Bible at a ceremonial swearing-in of an American congressman. The Left wants to see that book dethroned. And that, in a nutshell, is what the present civil war is about."

I will leave it to the readers' discretion to judge the merits of these views. Personally, I do not recall ever hearing a liberal claim any of these things. As to using the Bible to swear in an American congressman, the Bible has never been used for such a purpose. The official swearing-in ceremony is done in the House chambers, with the Speaker of the House administering the oath of office en masse. No Bibles or other holy books are used at all.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Dominionists Ultra-Retro or Just so Modern?

Jack Handey's "Deeper Thoughts,"

You know what's probably a good thing to hang on your porch in the summertime, to keep mosquitoes away from you and your guests? Just a big bagful of blood.

The Dominionists (Christian Fundamentalists) suffered a setback on the November 7th elections. It would be a mistake to underestimate their staying power. They are entrenched, well organized and well financed. Their goal of replacing our Democracy with a theocratic state is not diminished in any way.

Numbers 31:17-18 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

Theonomy (Greek for "God's Law") includes the concept that "God’s revealed standing laws are a reflection of His immutable moral character and, as such, are absolute in the sense of being nonarbitrary, objective, universal, and established in advance of particular circumstances (thus applicable to general types of moral situations)." 6,7 Thus, each of the 613 laws given to Moses and recorded in the Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the Hebrew Scriptures) are binding on people of all nations, cultures, and religions forever, except for those laws which have been specifically rescinded or modified by further revelation.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/reconstr.htm


One of the most tenaciously held beliefs of Christian Dominionists is that the United States was founded as a Christian nation and must therefore be restored to its biblical roots. "The Christian goal for the world," Reconstructionist theologian David Chilton has explained, is "the universal development of Biblical theocratic republics." Scripturally based law would be enforced by the state with a stern rod in these republics.

Those who would face execution include gays, blasphemers, heretics, apostate Christians, people who cursed or struck their parents (my favorite), females guilty of "unchastity before marriage," "incorrigible" juvenile delinquents, and adulterers. And that's to say nothing of murderers and those guilty of raping married women or "betrothed virgins."

The Biblically approved methods of execution include burning (at the stake for example), stoning, hanging, and "the sword." Gary North, the self-described economist of Reconstructionism, prefers stoning because, among other things, stones are cheap, plentiful, and convenient. Punishments for non-capital crimes generally involve whipping, restitution in the form of indentured servitude, or slavery.

This needs to be worked-out beforehand. Otherwise something like the bar scene in "Pee Wee Herman's Big Adventure" will likely ensue. If you recall, it took an inordinate amount of time for the bikers to decide how to execute Pee Wee after he knocked over their choppers. Remember also that Pee Wee almost tricked them into letting him go with his remarkable ability to throw his voice.

Friday, December 22, 2006

A Few Thoughts, Friends, Things That Really Matter

"Even while understanding that friendship includes a great number of important advantages, it must be said that it excels all other things in this respect: that it projects a bright ray of hope into the future, and upholds the spirit which otherwise might falter or grow faint. He who looks upon a true friend, looks, as it were, upon a better image of himself. For this is what we mean by friends: even when they are absent, yet they are with us; even when they lack some things, still they have an abundance of others; even when they are weak, in truth they are strong; and hardest of all to say, but also most deeply felt: even when they are dead, in truth they are alive with us, for so great is the esteem of a true friend, the tender recollection and the deep longing that still abide with them."


- Marcus Tullius Cicero, De amicitia, lib. vii (ca. 45 BCE)(my transl.)(in the Loeb edition of the works of Cicero, vol. 20, p. 132).

I have learned over the years to use the term friend sparingly. A friend will never betray you, will celebrate your successes and lament your failures. I've had friends do things that I believed were completely contrary to their best interests and I've told them so if they've asked. But whatever their decision, they are still my friend.

The greatest gift you can give a friend is to never judge them and to be available for them emotionally whenever they need you. Most import, friends will never reveal one another's secrets. They can confide in one another their most intimate thoughts and feelings and know they'll be locked away forever in the friendship treasure box.

Betrayal is friendship's dagger. I believe it is a character flaw that many people can never overcome. The ability to keep information confidential is like eating broccoli and not becoming nauseous for some people, it's just not possible. That is why friendship proceeds tentatively, cautiously; we've all experienced the sickening pain of that dagger and it's a pain like no other.

But for those of us who know true friendship, we forgive and forget and keep trying. It's worth it. Those few jewels in my life that are real friends of mine are simply amazing.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Confessions

Thursday, December 14, 2006

U.S. Government: You can't believe Jose Padilla when he says we tortured him because he's crazy from all the things we did to him.

This argument has been used by authoritarians throughout the ages. During the Inquisition, when a woman was accused of being a witch, she was tortured until she admitted to witchcraft and then put to death.
The Malleus Maleficarum (The Witch Hammer), first published in 1486, was used as a guidebook for the Inquisition, and was designed to aid Inquisitors in the identification, prosecution, and dispatching of Witches.

The Bush Administration is empowered by the Patroit Act and suspending habeas corpus and is encouraged to cover up its mistakes by simply ignoring them because it can. Since he was jailed in May 2002, Padilla has been held in isolation and most likely subjected to "severe psychological stress." So much so that a government psychiatrist, Dr. Angela Hegarty, has stated that Mr. Padilla is incompetent to stand trial due to post-traumatic stress disorder. The trauma being his incarceration. If Jose Padilla were found competent to stand trial, his allegations that he's been tortured at the hands of the US government may also be true.

The Bush Administration originally arrested Mr. Padilla because they suspected him of planning to blow up apartment buildings with natural gas. In fact, John Ashcroft advertised him as "The Dirty Bomber" when they arrested him 3 1/2 years ago. However, that charge was dropped last November when he appeared before a Republican appointed judge in Miami. The judge also disparaged the government's case as "light on facts." The governments case is now so fundamentally weak that he will most likely be acquitted if he ever gets to trial.

Jose Padilla is suppose to have his day in court in January 2007. By then, it appears almost a certainty he'll be incompetent to stand trial.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Great Moments in History

Source: Anderson County News, May 24, 1913
contributed by Susie Bullock

Both Eyes Shot Out
Joe Wilson Shot At Briceville By Wife Sunday Joseph Wilson a young miner residing at Briceville was shot by his wife Sunday morning while seated in the door of their home.The ball entered the temple near the eye passing through the head dislodged both eyes from the socket.The wife claims the shooting was an accident: that she palyfully took the revolver from the mantel and pointed it at her husband in jesting spirit. The husband told another version of the affair claiming the shooting was intentional.They had not been dwelling together in harmony lately.The wife was arrested and allowed bond pending her husband's condition.

Now he only has eyes for her.

Source: Anderson County News, October 23, 1915
contributed by Susie Bullock


Tragedy At Caryville

A deadly pistol duel took place at Caryville last Saturday evening in which Deputy Sheriff Harvey Murray of Campbell county was shot twice and killed by Wilburn Leach, who in turn received a severe wound in the intestines.Both men it is said drew their pistols and fired at the same time.Murray was shot in the forehead and breast.Deputy Murray had arrested his slayer Sunday on charges of being drunk and placed him in Jacksboro jail. Later in the afternoon friends secured his release and he returned to Caryville when the duel occurred.Both men were married.Murray is about forty and Leach is ? years of age. Bad feeling existed between the men for years/Leach was taken to a Knoxville hospital for treatment, and chances are he may recover.

That's one way to handle harassment by the local authorities. Mr. Leach still has that drunk and disorderly charge to deal with though.

Source: Middlesboro Daily News, Middlesboro, KY April 4, 1923
contributed by Angela Meadows

JELLICO CHIEF IS SHOT BY BROTHER OF SLAIN ROBBERS

Everett Perkins, 15, Takes Revenge on Chief of Police Heatherly - Victim on Churches, Assailed from Rear

Reports Says Perkins Mother Carries Gun for Officers

JELLICO,Tenn., Apr. 4. Chief of police George W Heatherly was shot and perhaps fatally wounded at 2:45 clock yesterday afternoon by Everitt Perkins, 15 year old brother of Walter and George Perkins, who were slain March 2, in a battle with a prohibition posse, of which Chief Heatherly was a member. Chief Heatherly was shot three times, first in the right heel, then in the right breast and the third time in the right arm. His boy assailant is believed to be at the home his parents near here, but no effort has been made to arrest him. The chief was going down Main street by the aid of his crutches. Fifty yards in front of him was Everett Perkins, the 15-year old brother of the slain Perkins brothers. The boy saw the chief and stepped into a restaurnt until Heatherly had passed, then followed when he had shortened the distance, which at first was about 50 feet, witnesses say, the boy drew a revolver and fired at Chief Heatherly, the ball hitting Heatherly in the right heel. In an instant Heatherly had swung round on his crutches and had drawn his own revolver. As he wheeled the Perkins boy fired again, the shot taking effect in Heatherly's right breast about on a level with his heart. Although weakened by the shot and by his old wounds, Heatherly was able to keep his feet under him, and began firing at the youth, who dodged behind a brick building. The next bullet from the boy's pistol hit Heatherly in the right arm. The next bullet from Heatherly's gun smashed a plate glass window near the Perkins boy, who beat a retreat along a cross street towards the mountains. It is generally understood in this vicinity that Mrs. Perkins, the mother of the two brothers who were killed and of the third boy who shot Chief Heatherly yesterday, had carried a pistol herself since the shooting March 2. She is said to have declared that she was on the lookout for the officer's and would shoot them if she saw them. Chief Heatherly had been warned of possible death If he returned to Jellico and Everett Perkins is said to have made threats against Heatherly but on account of his youth Chief Heatherly did not take the matter seriously. The first public appearance here of Chief Heatherly after his return from Knoxville was at the revival at the Baptist church, of which he is a member, conducted by Rev. F. F. Brown of Knoxville. The wounded chief has a wife and three children.

Is it ethical to shoot a man 3 times when he's on crutches? There ought to be a law.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Intellectual Honesty

Merry Christmas, December 25, the birth of Jesus Christ. Coincidentally, Dec. 25 happens to be the day when the "pagan world celebrated the birth of their Sun Gods-Egyptian Osiris, Greek Apollo and Bacchus, Chaldean Adonis, Persian Mithra-when the Zodiacal sign of Virgo (the sun is born of a virgin) rose on the horizon. Thus the ancient festival of the Winter Solstice, the pagan festival of the birth of the Sun, came to be adopted by the Christian Church as the nativity of Jesus, and was called Christmas" (Crosbie).

The choice of December 25 was probably influenced by the fact that on this day the Romans celebrated the Mithraic feast of the Sun-god (natalis solis invicti), and that the Saturnalia also came at this time(Collier's Encyclopedia).

I mention this because the war on Christmas might very well be taking place at the wrong time. Now that the conspiracy has been uncovered here it seems only reasonable that it should take place under the proper time frame. Constantine and the Roman church did Christianity a great disservice by incorporating the pagan Babylonian, Greek and Roman system into the Christian faith around 321 AD. Jesus was probably born in the Fall.

Monday, December 11, 2006

You Can Spin To Win Until You Lose

It appears that Republicans interpret the Nov. 7 election from inside the same bubble they watched their defeat. As a consequence, our country is still left without a major political party that represents conservatism. Redefining conservative to mean the union of neoconservatism and fundamentalist Christianity, is an illusion only Republicans can see. A bleak prospect for voters who still believe in a small, unobtrusive, government. As a result, libertarians have a real opportunity for transforming into a major political party. Moderating their platform may come as a natural consequence of real conservatives migrating to the party.

The other possibility is that Republicans will continue blundering towards the political fringe and lose the party to a conservative coup. Either way, it appears the change will be dreadfully slow. Hoping for a spark of self actualization after the Nov. 7 election was unrealistic. Republicans are so throughly embedded in their own perceptions they've lost the ability to look at themselves critically or to listen to anyone but the small interest groups they represent.

Americans recognize how poorly they were represented. Even though their message was clear, the party continues a bizarre, ritualistic dance around ideas that have nothing to do with the facts of their defeat. They are blaming the Iraq's for missing their chance at democracy and impatient American citizens for losing the war the party won't admit to losing. They are responsible for the unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation. First to rid Iraq of WMD's and then spun to the idea of bringing them democracy. This would be a good starting point for analyzing their defeat.

Instead, Republicans continue to ignore the deep seeded corruption, the flagrant incompetence and fiscal recklessness so evident under their management. The party is desperate for honest answers to the obvious question of how they allowed this to happen under their reign. Blaming forces beyond their control has stopped working as an excuse. Yet, they haven't been able to face that conclusion.

Blaming someone or something for your mistakes is a behavior most parents try to discourage in their children. Republicans still flay admitting mistakes and once exposed automatically shift to blame and denial. Rationalizing defeat, their post election attacks on Clinton, Democrats who aren't even in office yet, the press and the voters who rejected them; Republicans still believe rhetoric can substitute for truth. To many of us who were looking forward to a rebirth of conservatism this has been very discouraging.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

James Kim Was Never Alone

"Death is sad enough when we have to face that it's random -- Death is indifferent to our wishes -- but when we're told to believe that it happened "for a reason". . . ??? You can only swallow so much of that crud before you throw it back up.
In talking with friends tonight about James' loss, we all agreed that our emotions had been helplessly invested in the story of this stranger, more deeply than we quite understood. Yes, it has something to do with the fact that he was an Everyman, just a nice working/family guy off on holiday with his wife and two sweet babies. He could have been any one of our friends. . . On the other hand, how many Muslim peasants died in violence over the past ten days, and had their families ripped apart under circumstances no longer even remotely within their control? My heart cringes for them. . . yet not in the same way as it did for this man, James, who was trying to rescue his family after a lovely holiday trip went horribly wrong.

I don't understand exactly why this is the case, why empathy can run much deeper when we relate to the people involved. . . but I suspect that, while it does not speak well of how broadly or constantly I'm able to extend intense, tear-inducing empathy, it also doesn't make me unique. We can be very tribal when it comes to what we have emotional capacity to focus on. . . and James was part of my tribe, I guess? Can anyone help shed light on why we do not, or cannot feel equally grieved over each and every being who dies under what we think of as unjust circumstances? Certainly the media helps it along, with pictures and backstories that deepen the investment. . . but it's more than that, isn't it? Help me pin it down, because I'm bothered that I didn't spare the same amount of emotion today for some Iraqi infant in who got blown to pieces by one of his terrorist brethren.

I feel so dreadfully for James' wife. I know her hope must have been stretched almost unbearably thin by the time she got the news, but it never matters how much you brace yourself for the worst. Losing your mate is the end of the world, at least for a very long time afterwards. Kudos to her brave husband for giving it the best try he possibly could. "

Posted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 6:33 am By Mia on "The End of Faith"

Having lived in the Pacific Northwest for ten years and hiking much of that country, I too was particularity moved by the death of James Kim. The beauty of that country can mask it's underlying brutality especially to the uninitiated.

Mia's eloquent observation speaks to us all in a uniquely feminine, insightful way. At one time or another we've all wondered why it is that as human beings we attach more "emotional capital" to a death like James Kim's than we do to others. Truly, it is tribal in nature and transcends the other slim divides between us like religion or race. James Kim could have been any color. Yet our instinct for empathy with his death is not diminished, because we see the circumstances of his life so clearly in our own.

We personalize his desperation, his anger and dismay that somehow those silent, jagged rocks could outwit him. Wondering for hours back to the same place, if his family was suffering the same fate, the injustice of dying in that place; we attach ourselves so clearly to the death of Mr. Kim. His life was so much like our own. His nemesis, whimsical, unjust; foreshadows us.

No heart is colder, less forgiving than the mountains in which he died. Even the least inclined of us takes pause and is in some way reminded of our own mortality. Truly, this is the source of our empathy. Despite our best efforts to comfort ourselves, we see the same end and feel the same sense of injustice and rage. The cold, indifferent, mountains still stand even paved and manicured, damned and diverted or climbed and conquered. Like Mr. Kim we are lost. Angry at the indifference and our lack of understanding; no matter our strength or determination we too succumb, wondering where is our family.

We find answers most often by asking the right question. Mia wonders , "
Can anyone help shed light on why we do not, or cannot feel equally grieved over each and every being who dies under what we think of as unjust circumstances? " It is questions such as these that increase our humanity. Perhaps the quality of debate in our country is so poor because we are simply not asking the right questions. By not asking the right questions we are reduced to contemplating that which does not serve us in pursuing those things which we can control.

Beginning with respect as a basis for what is and humility for what we do not know, questions like Mia's are profound to us all. So much of our social and political interaction is based upon questions whose answers we think we already know. A psychological trick to reinforcing our own illusions, it is understandable but a trick none the less. Asking questions about which you truly want answers, in and of itself is an exercise in humility. Oddly, humility is often perceived as a form of weakness. Yet the consequences of arrogance are debilitating.

Marginalizing arrogance, emphasizing curiosity, humanizes us and leads to collective progress. Take a look back 10, 20, 50, 100 years at how our society has progressed. Technology, because science is the art of genuine curiosity, compounds upon itself. At the same time, the quality of our social debate remains unchanged. As a consequence we are dealing with the same problems using different tools.

Technology adds a layer to our illusion. Humanity has progressed not at all. Asking questions about what we assumed to be true about the physical attributes of what is around us led to "the miracles of science." There are lots of other miracles waiting to happen if we only do the same for ourselves.

Friday, December 8, 2006

I Wonder if Bill Conroy is Part Indian

The local press here in San Antonio, The Express News, hasn't mentioned a word about a local freelance reporter, Bill Conroy, who's been writing about Homeland Security and the DEA's alleged involvement in the "House of Death" scandal. Conroy who at some risk to himself, has gone to great lengths to cover this story and is a local resident here.

In better times, the involvement of a US government agency in the torture and murder of 12 people would be front page news all across the country. Before all of our major media outlets were owned by The Big 8, multinational corporations and businessmen weren't making the decisions for the news people, Bill Conroy would be receiving a great deal of media attention. Now, he's not even mentioned in his hometown newspaper, owned by the Hearst Group. If there was ever any doubt that mainstream media, as an oligarchy, is screening what stories it chooses to show Americans, their choice to ignore corruption that goes to the very core of the radicalism of the current Administration is on more piece of evidence to the contrary.

If Bill Conroy disappears, we'll know to address our condolences to his quarters in Guantanamo Bay. In one way or another we're all going to pay a price for the rights we've relinquished in the name of fear. It's usually our heroes that are the first to suffer the consequences because they are the first to act against attacks on our Democracy.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

There's a Right and a Wrong Way to Love the Stones

Pictures make home schooling so much easier. Especially when you are teaching your kids that the earth is 6,000 years old. Dennis Lindsay, president of Christ for the Nations Institute believes every word that is written in the bible. Once a science buff, Rev. Lindsay's attitude only began changing on a mission trip to Mexico in the early 1970s, where he ended up spending two weeks under the tutelage of a Canadian archaeologist in Puebla who happened to be a creationist.
“If it’s true that the earth is millions of years of age and that death has always been a part of creation,” Lindsay says, “then death is just a natural cycle. Therefore the Bible is false, because the Bible says that death came as a result of man’s sin.

This rationale has driven Reverend Lindsay to write 15 volumes on the subject, with five more on the way. Some of the volumes have been translated into Spanish, Russian, Japanese and German. One of his most compelling pieces of evidence for the young-earth theory; space dust. The absence of “space dust,” which he says can be distinguished from earth matter and continually falls on the planet. “There isn’t enough on the earth to support an age of a billion years old,” he says. Furthermore, he claims, the astronauts found relatively little on the moon–barely enough to plant their flag in.

Oddly, I could not find one peer-reviewed scientific study that backs the "space dust" claim. Neither could I find any evidence to support the assertion that the natural cycle of birth and death is a result of "sin". However, people like the good reverend may be doing the rest of the population a favor. They are proudly and boldly segregating themselves from the rest of society. If and when the U.S. emerges from the darkness and re-enters the age of reason, the purveyors of myth should be easily identified.

We need to encourage these people to marry outside their immediate families. I suspect that genetically, they have too much in common. Professionals in psychology and sociology need to be brought to bear on this problem. First, the idea that people are free to believe what they choose is amiable and kind, but the destruction wrought by fundamentalist Christian beliefs affects us all. Their influence is stripping away at our democracy, putting our youth at risk and threatening the very planet we live on.

Reason and intellect cannot be ushered into our society until we are willing to reject the ideas of Reverend Lindsay and the people who believe in him. Clustering into voting blocks and forcing their beliefs on the rest of us has to stop. The best way to start is through confrontation, not acceptance, of their beliefs. Americans are basically a kind people who try to respect one another's beliefs no matter how bizarre. In the case of fundamentalists Christians, this has to stop. Every moronic illusion, from the rapture to young-earth, should be challenged publically and the believers mortified. This one change in attitude could be enough. After all, the Flinstones aren't real, right?

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Surrounded By Cowards

Many American Indian cultures believe that respect is the base on which all values are built. It is key to the development of the character. From this foundation stems the four values of fortitude, generosity, bravery and wisdom. It is a way of life passed down from generation to generation not because it is demanded by a holy book or federal statute, but due to a matter of practicality. It was an effective, meaningful way to live.

Today while having lunch with a client the subject of "The House of Death" article in the Sunday Observer, a UK publication, came up. There has been almost no coverage of our Homeland Security's involvement in paying an informant $220,000 per year while he murdered and tortured at least 12 people in the name of the War On Drugs. here

Curiously, while my client and I were chatting about this over fish and chips he off-handedly mentioned something that shocked me. He echoed exactly what I was thinking. Our country is being run by a bunch of cowards. People who are afraid of taking personal risks, people who try to cover up their mistakes rather than admitting them and who don't think twice about hurting other people who are weaker than themselves.

Worse still are their enablers. The media voices and scribes embedded with company management. The intellectuals in the comfort of their think tanks who are funded from a distance by the moneyed elite who imagines every scenario that somehow, somebody will figure out how to take their fortune away. Thus, we have the War On Drugs. Created by the finest propagandists money can buy and funded by American citizens to be used against American citizens only in cases of extreme emergency. Keeping the infrastructure in place all the while lubed with the lives of the poor.

Then today after lunch, I discover that we have a local hero right here in San Antonio. A writer by the name of Bill Conroy who is an editor with the local Business Journal turns out to be the man who as a freelancer uncovered the original story of the "House of Death" years ago. Turns out the article in The Observer plagiarized his work from an website called The NarcoSphere. here. Turns out the DEA paid Mr. Conroy a visit a couple of times. More than likely he must have been concerned about being classified as an enemy combatant.

It's nice to know there are men like Bill Conroy in journalism. I'm wondering if he might be part Indian.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Could You Say That Again?

More than 100 Southern Baptist leaders gathered in Arlington at Cornerstone Baptist Church today. They put aside issues like aid to the poor, tutoring low income children or winter homeless shelters and instead focused on the pressing problem of speaking in tongues. Evidentially, this issue threatens to split Pentecostals from the Baptist side of the family. Prayer language, as described in 1 Corinthians 14, could be the answer to any number of social problems including global warming. Personally, I still haven't mastered conversational Spanish so speaking to god is something I consider completely out of my league.

Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition

The issue of the M-16 jamming during the Vietnam War was never really settled in my mind. I remember hearing about it off and on mostly from my anti-war friends during my college days. Somehow, the idea that the armed forces would supply it's soldiers with faulty rifles seemed prosperous and I wrote the idea off as urban legion.

As a matter of curiosity, I did a web search today and came across a two part autobiography by a retired marine by the name of Dick Culver. here Sadly, I was wrong. Anticipating a firefight knowing that your weapon will more than likely completely shut down at some point would have been enough to convince me to apply for Thailand citizenship. Particularity after reporting the problem after seeing your friends dying in combat and being told that you are the incompetent for not keeping your rifle clean.

Who knows how many American boys were slaughtered during the years it took for the military to admit first, that it had made a mistake and second, to correct their error by supplying the troops with the correct ammunition. We are seeing the same sort of behavior with today's leadership and their enablers in the press with an added twist; character traits like honor, integrity and fairness are completely foreign to them. As a result, their style of leadership is based upon the only way know, fear.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Distractions

John Bolton resigned today. In a statement President Bush exclaimed that he is "deeply disappointed" that a handful of senators prevented Ambassador Bolton from receiving the up or down vote he deserved. Somebody needs to tell President Bush that he is using worn out spin vocabulary. With us or against us, cut and run, fight them there or fight them here; these are all deflated 109th congress think tank expressions. If the Heritage Foundation or AEI can't come up with something new, then the president needs to find a part time articulator until they do.

In the case of John Bolton, something like "pull my finger" seems an appropriate response to the senate blocking his nomination. John Bolton bullied and belittled his staff, a style known as management by personality flaw. His strong suit was a knack for the petty and a volatile temper. It's no wonder Hugh Hewitt and the guardians of truth were prepared to raise money for his salary and put it in trust should Ambassador Bolton once again be appointed during recess. There are only a handful of people in the country who know everything. It's only natural that they should want to stick together.

Once again, the media and our people are distracted with a poor decision that should have never been made. In the meantime, no mention today of the real problems our country faces at home and internationally. Mexico, for example, appears to be slipping further into chaos. From my perch in San Antonio, I receive a rather unique view. My mother and father-in law were both born there and visit on a regular basis. Rose (my wife) and I, are also visited regularly by relatives from different parts of Mexico. As a non-Spanish speaking Englishman, I started from scratch learning about the Mexican culture.

One thing we are always hearing is how violent Mexico is becoming, more so than at anytime in the past. This they attribute to the ever increasing concentration of wealth, lack of jobs and the enormous increase in the drug trade which got an extra boost when the U.S. pushed the production of methamphetamine into Mexico. As a result, there are a number of drug cartels all vying to fill our voracious appetite for recreational drugs.

Mexico's central government, who's newly elected head is conservative president is Flipe Calderon was just sworn into power on Dec. 1 of this year. Add to that a shadow government headed by liberal Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who refused to concede defeat after the last election and claims to represent to poor and unemployed, and it would seem to an untrained geopolitical eye like my own that our neighbor to the south may be facing an unstable if not explosive situation.

So much for Michele Malkin's idea of Reconquista; why exactly would Mexico want to occupy the Southwestern U.S. with their unemployed citizens? Best to give the Gringos what they want.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

How Should The Government Proceed When They Decide They Need Information About Us?

I've been meaning to create this blog for a long time and today I've finally gotten started. My reason for doing so is over time I'm hoping to create a dialog between libertarians, conservatives and liberals that explores issues we can all agree on. Politically, I've been a libertarian my entire adult life. As a consequence, I'm use to compromise. However, at this juncture neither conservatives, liberals nor neoconservatives are even meandering close to the libertarian point of view. On the contrary, we are seeing more government intrusion into our lives and being told it is for our own protection.
As a libertarian, this is a source of great irritation for me. So irritating in fact that for the first time in 40 years I voted for Democrats this last election. Being that I've heard absolutely no open debate on this issue on the floor of the House or Senate, I'm interested in the point of view of any conservative or liberal on this issue.
My attitude is that if the government is going to monitor my telephone calls, for example, I need a through explanation as to their reasons why. I would like to hear an extended, open debate on the floor of the House and the Senate. I would like to hear the testimony of the best and brightest constitutional scholars in our country. Finally, I would like to see the legislation voted down.
To my way of thinking there is no level of terror that is worth relinquishing my constitutional rights. To the people who say "Let them listen to my telephone conversations, I've got nothing to hide" I say to you how quickly you dishonor those who have died to protect those freedoms you so flippantly put aside. Are you truly that disrespectful or are you afraid?
I'm interested in comments on this issue. Let me know what you think. Today the news is Homeland Security has been profiling airline passengers for years. The really bad news is, if they make a mistake it's almost impossible to change it. Random thought, these are the same people responsible for Katrina emergency relief.
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