Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"Christian" killing

I've had it with a radically conservative Christianity that leads supposed Christians to grisly murders based on their whacked-out idea that the Devil has taken over a child, a parent, a spouse, a friend or a stranger.  I just read of an actor who claimed to see the Devil in his mother, and stood shouting scripture while he hacked her to death with a sword.  Yes, I understand there is mental illness involved in many of there, but I also understand, as a progressive minister myself, that when people are brow-beaten by screaming pastors who see the Devil in anything that doesn't fit their limited view of acceptable.  I've had to work through counseling with people who were sure they were damned to hell because of something in their past.

Strangely, these so-called Christians will quote the Ten Commandments, then support war, capital punishment and preemptive strikes to take out "enemies."  So, You will not kill becomes something with all kinds of leeway.  And they will be the first to proclaim their own innocence should their teaching lead to something like the crime I just mentioned.

It is time for Christians to start doing what I've been advocating for years - live by the teaching of Jesus, not the teaching of Paul or the teaching of Moses.  Doing that will stop a lot of the backbiting nastiness of different factions of Christianity.  Doing that will remove many of the controversial issues of our times.  Doing that will put Paul into perspective - a divorced man who never left his Jewish faith, and thus made the teaching of Jesus legalistic, but based in faith-salvation.  In the centuries since, Christians have made Paul the sole theologian of Christian faith.  Now, it is time to get back to the teaching that was the basis of the faith of the disciples.  What Jesus taught is that faith we need to live!

If Jesus is the Prince of Peace, then we need to live our lives that way!  If Jesus said love others as I have loved you, then we need to do that - being willing to give of ourselves, sacrificially to help others, being willing to follow the examples of soldiers who have jumped on grenades to save their fellow soldiers, as a sign of our faith and love.  Jesus said that people would know we were Christians by out love, not by our hate-filled rhetoric, our savage invective against those we consider too different to be acceptable.

Enough is enough!

Monday, November 22, 2010


I just saw a very refreshing and insightful interview on Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC.  The interview was with Rapper Russell Simmons (I think), and he made the point that the divisiveness of the far right could lead to the same kind of ethnic cleansing that has been seen in Africa, Eurasia; he spoke of his job - and the job of every American - is to try to defuse that divisiveness, to work for the betterment of everyone everywhere by doing our best to make our own corner of the world the kind of world the Creator would be proud to visit.  This is a man who made a load of money in a disparaged music style, has now started philanthropic efforts through 5 charities, and reaches out through campaigns on issues he feels strongly about, and offers help and advice to others.  Hm, maybe he has a point, and we all need to make wise choices, do supportive and helpful things for those around us, and LEARN from those who are different. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

True Colors

I don't think any progressive or honest person was surprised when the Republicans went into stall mode as Congress got ready to get back to work after the mid-term elections.  That party has shown itself in recent years to be long on rhetoric and very, very short on truly wanting to work for the betterment of this nation.  They are willing to send us into wars based on trumped up information, but unwilling to work with the current president to end  that war, claiming he is weakening our nation in the world.  They claim to want to help working Americans by extending cuts, but even the very rich in this country understand that the time has come for the rich to pay taxes, instead of getting breaks the common worker can never match!  Who in their right mind thinks it is fair, right or good for the country when the topmost of the wealthy pay a lower rate of  tax than the middle income people who carry  the nation on their taxes and work?  Yet that is just what the Republicans want to do!

I remember when Steve Forbes ran for President and wanted to initiate a flat tax of 10 percent on everyone, no exemptions.  Many decried that thought, but perhaps Mr. Forbes indeed had it right.  If everyone simply had 10 percent of their earnings given over as their tax, it would simplify the mad tax scramble every year, and the government would have more money to work with,, because the rich and the corporations would also be chipping in to support the nation's efforts to encourage economic growth and erase the deficits that were created by the Republican president and control of Congress which preceded the current administration.  Democrats have been charged with reducing and removing the deficit the last two times they have controlled Congress, and occupied the White House - while the Republicans have taken a healthy economy and trashed it!  And still they portray themselves as "fiscal conservatives.?"

Time to wake up, folks, and smell the real garbage in Washington and in the states!  Let's look for and elect fiscally responsible people, and let the Republicans and Tea Party cool their heels until they understand the difference between calling oneself a fiscal conservative and acting like one needs to do all possible to line one's own pockets at the expense of anyone you can put below you.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cut the Deficit?!

I was just reading a news story about the anticipated results of negotiations on extending the Bush Tax Cuts.  An eye-opening line was that if the Republican desire - a permanent extension of the tax cuts to those earning $250,000+ - the result will be a cost of $700 billion over the next ten years.  I truly hope that if this permanent extension should happen, progressives and others will remember that little statistic, and bring it up regularly in the 2012 campaign for President of our country.

I am amazed at the short memory of people when applied to the national deficit.  Bush Sr. helped continue Reagan's big spending and left a huge deficit when defeated for the presidency by Clinton, who, over eight years, reduced that deficit, in fact, as I recall, erased it.  When "W" took office, the deficit burgeoned more and more.  After his eight years, we were in deep trouble - but for some strange reason, the Democrats got the blame.  Our president took office, with the economy in the tank, and got Republican support for bailouts, but then they turned on him, blaming him for the horrible condition of the economy.

Reality bites, and I'm hoping it will bite those who put us in this mess and then played the blame game!  It is time to hold people accountable for their public posturing and their actual performance.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Veteran's Day Revisited

One of the angers I feel, surprisingly, aims directly at some of my fellow progressives - specifically at those who want to demonize those who serve in our country's military.  Why that anger, because their demonizing of these people shows a two-faced danger.  They rely on there service people to protect the freedoms they flaunt, but then try to make them monsters that betray the freedoms they fight for. 

Do I think all military people are paragons of virtue?  No, I've seen too many stories of people who over-react or let their true nature come out and slaughter innocents.  There are some demons in our military, but those demons exist in churches, corporations, social service organizations, and as mercenaries who fight for money - money determines who there enemy is, not whether someone has become a true threat to humankind.  But I've known too many of those who serve, who do so with honor and devotion to duty, following orders and protecting not only our citizens, but those who are innocent and in need of protection as well.  I've heard too many stories of the selfless acts of soldiers who give up their lives  to protect others, who have shown enormous character and grace through their acts and thus made allies for us in the most unlikely places. 

Our military people are just like us - PEOPLE, with all the faults and bright spots of brilliance as the rest of us.  So, let's all learn to honor the service, the service men and women, while keep an eye out for those demons wherever they may be - realizing there are demons in Democratic circles as well as Republican circles, and I could name a few that I think are there, but you know them as well as I do.

Remembering their service, we need to be a nation that honors our commitment to those who serve, providing jobs and care for them when they return home.  Providing a seriously meaningful debriefing process that makes them able to re-enter society without battle honed instincts that might threaten others through no fault of the returning service personnel.  Yes, I've seen, heard and read those stories as well.

Don't get me wrong, I think we as a race need to start looking for some way other than war to solve differences between nations, but some leaders will simply not respond to attempts to peacefully solve differences, and truly become threats to the whole world.  Hitler is perhaps the easiest personality to point to - he was a truly evil person who affects a nation-wide mania to rid the German people of any HE determined to be defective or less than the "super humans,"  The armies of free world needed to rid the world of this leader and his cadre of similar demons.  But we need to be growing beyond that as a race.

But for now, it is ultimately important for us to honor our nation's military personnel, their service and sacrifice and live up to our commitment to them.

Thank you, Navy sailors, Army soldiers, Air Force airmen and women, and Marines!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Deficit Reduction Plans?!

This morning I was listening to the hosts of Morning Joe and was struck by the information about the panel considering reducing the national debt.  The proposals are radical in the extreme, drawing criticism from several sources.  One says the plan throws the nation's seniors to dogs, under the bus - choose your metaphor.  The hosts talked about the amazing proposal to rewrite the tax code so there are no exemptions, one commenting that the current code certainly needed amending given that heads of "small businesses" that are actually national corporations, and pay a lower rate of taxation than a plumber.  There was nothing but incredulity in the tone of his comments.

I find myself in complete agreement.  A proposal that the retirement age be raised, yet again, because is has been raised again.  That proposal isn't particularly surprising, and is probably consistent with the realities of our age.  I personally don't think I'll be retired much before the age of 70, simply because the two crashes of the stock market since I started a retirement account have devastated the nest egg I thought I had set aside to take care of my wife and I in our senior years. 

How do I feel about such plans, well, it's a mixed feeling.  Some of my feeling is that shock at the amount lost to us, by a system that should have helped protect out investment.  Some is a feeling that this is simply more of what we have seen in recent years.  I'm dismayed to have become so skeptical of our elected officials, but there it is!  Anybody else feeling the same way?

Angry, writing, and planning to write again.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Post Election Reflections

Well, the mid tern elections are over, and the pundits are weighing in on what it means.  Well, here is what angers me, a progressive that has decided to sound off a bit, some pundits are saying the message of the midterms is that Democrats are going to have to start working with Republicans.  Excuse me?  The last two years have seen the Democrats trying to reach across the aisle, to no avail because the Republicans from day one have been obstructionist, refusing to work with the Democrats or the President.  They have NOW announced they will obstruct to the point of gridlock in order to kill the legacy of our President.  Where is the criticism of the Republican leadership that had obstinately refused to work across the aisle?

Am I enthralled with our President?  No, I'm a bit disappointed, to be quite honest.  Why?  Because there was a candidate that promised to make things different in Washington, to represent the progressive agenda, to repeal "Don't ask, don't tell," and he has fallen away from most of what he promised to work for - probably because of political expediency, but it still is disappointing that so much of what Dub-yuh put in place is still the direction of the country.

Why are we still so strong in Iraq, why are we still such a presence in Afghanistan - when the promise was a withdrawal beginning after the election that put the US in line with so many other countries by electing a Black person to the chief executive office?  Why have we not moved stronger to stop hate crimes, even to the place of bringing the law down on those members of Congress who want to use the speech of "uprising" and hatred in order to express their point of view?    I live in Minnesota, and quite frankly, I'm embarrassed that we have to be represented by a nut-case like M. Bachmann!

I have been told for years that conservatives are more willing to get in people's faces to get their view across, while progressives are reluctant to do so, because we want people to think for themselves - maybe we need to wake up to the reality that by letting people "think for themselves" we've abandoned the very ground we claim to hold for our world.  We need to be willing to match the Tea Party with the Progressive voice.  We need to get our voice in front of the nation, so there really is a grand debate and people can hear two or three or six sides to a discussion.

I'm tired of listening to right hammer away at the progressives, and I plan to speak up regularly. 

And a point that needs to be made today is that even progressives honor the sacrifice of our nations warriors!  Thank you to our veterans, our active duty service members - Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.  There is a real need for this nation to honor our service people by providing ALL the support that is needed for our returning service people - emotionally, physically, with regard to employment, housing, and the decompression that is needed for warriors to return to civilian status.  Morning Joe is addressing this issue even now - but the government is NOT doing enough for our veterans!

Enough for today!  I'll be back!