Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Palin is not a lightweight candidate

Rachel Maddow MSNBC, God bless her, is absolutely right.

Sarah Palin is a Dan Quale choice.

She is not even a lightweight. She’s featherweight.


In the dangerous world in which we live,

particularly with the main man being 72,

the primary characteristic of a VP to be chosen



She is not such because John McCain says so.

There is no way whatever that Sarah Palin fits this requirement.

No national experience, no international experience.

Take a person whose only elective executive experience is being governor, make them President, and give them a serious international and domestic crisis and what do you get?

An illegal, immoral war of choice that is the greatest strategic blunder of our short history as a nation, with incalculable costs in youth, blood and money.

You can bet she was not thoroughly vetted and

many things are to be exposed about her Stand by.

Since she has no apparent qualification for President then it is obvious she was chosen for political balance alone.

What a stunning revelation of the judgment of John McCain.

Choosing the VP is the first example of judgment and leadership.

McCain fails, and fails miserably

in the choice of this featherweight candidate

to be a single heartbeat away from the most powerful position in the world.

This is another Dan Quale type of choice,

mainly for cosmetic and political reasons.

Her choice is an insult to all of America.

Truly an insult to each and all of us.

We deserve no better than this?

Yeeks. Her high squeakily voice is a measure

of her emotional depth alnd her intelleclual reach.

Big Red flag for McCain's temperament and judgment. Look out America, Here comes another cowboy, with a cowgirl.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Lesson with my Jail Inmates, Aug 25

Lesson with my Jail Inmates, August 25.

Prevalence of Negative Feelings in our Society
and the role of forgiveness
and a few other things like this election.

Even non-violent addictive repeat offenders have lots of anger and resentment, hurt , fear and despair.

Living together 8 to a pod in bunks in a room not much larger than a middle class living room is a minute by minute, hourly challenge. Tensions are frequent, often between races, especially if Latino flavors are mixed in. Disagreements are frequent. The constant challenge is not to be everywhere dy anger, fear, feelings of resentment and loss of hope. Especially since they have often betrayed loved ones, and more important, betrayed themselves by repeated addictive behaviors. Context.

After listening to people’s problems for 35 years including about 20 years in correctional settings, I shared with them some insights about negative feelings. One, they are not from God; Two they will sabotage self and relationships; Three, few of us have much skill or practice in dealing positively with negative feelings, which is one reason they are so prominent and wholesale today; Four, the more negative a person is the more they are both blind to t themselves, a and the more they hate themselves; Sis, Forgiveness is the key to life, and te biggest challenge tis to forgive oneself; Seven, Forgiveness must start with self-forgiveness, but extend to all others, and is never finished. Then, we learned and practiced a Kything experience for 15 minutes that they found useful.

One of the reasons I despise Talk Radio is that it is about hate and judgment and stereotyping. I gave up on my good friend of some time, a Rush Limbaugh fan, who started referring to Democrats as "Communists."

One curious thing about this election is theuse of Attack Ads. Why are they so common? Simply because they work. People are more ready to feel fear, anger, blame, or disgust than to think for themselves. Hopefully the Democrats are more ready for the Republican attack ads this time. Maybe they learned from Kerry’s slow response to the Swift Boating. In the last election, 75% of the Republican ads were attack ads. They worked then and they still work.

I believe the Prince of Lies goes around the world seeking whom he may devour. He does this principally by pride. Ego, fear, anger, hate, envy and projection of evil inside out there on others, and through the primitive attraction to negative feelings. I have found tha the more negative people are about others, the more ready to blame and fear and avoid,the more they hate themselves. Foregiveness and trust and compassion are very difficult because they have never learned to love themselves. They project outward their feat, anger and hate.

Solzhenitsyn said most penetratingly, “If only there were evil people somewhere, insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being,/ And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”

I think the Dems are more ready for attack ads this time. Discussion on TV this am. On MSNBC was among other things, whether Obama could, would be tough enough. I am not sure he must take off his sleeves and become a street fighter, but if he is going to have a real chance, he is got to show that he has a heart of a lion for this job and this work. That remains to be seen.

Personally, I do not think Obama can win unless he is 15 points up by election day, because of the "Bradley effect." Whatever people say in the polls, it is different inside the voting booth when they decide to pull the lever to pat a Black man In the White House as our Commander in Chief. He will need to show he can temper vision with toughness.

It is going to be an interesting fall.

Paschal Baute
Noblesse Oblige

Hear Michelle Obama tonght at 10:00. Make your own assesement. Comment here.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Will the Real Pro-Life Party Stand Up?

August 15, 2008
Zack Exley

In my opinion, the Republican line on abortion--the singular focus on banning it--was just a cynical ploy. I know that many GOP leaders were sincere, but overall the strategy was simply to oppose abortion symbolically while doing nothing to reduce abortions in real life. Moreover, there is evidence from history and from around the world that banning abortion would not even reduce abortions (have we ever banned anything successfully?).

Will the Real Pro-life Party Please Stand Up?

Posted August 15, 2008 | 10:51 AM (EST)

Joel Hunter is a conservative, Republican megachurch pastor in Central Florida. He's giving the Democrats some free advice, if they care to hear it: Even if you stick with Roe V. Wade, you can show evangelicals that you are the pro-life party by showing us how you will actually reduce abortions--and how you will support "life" in other areas besides abortion. From Steve Waldman's Beliefnet column today:

Hunter makes a practical argument: providing women with economic help in carrying babies to term can actually reduce the number of abortions more, and more quickly, than focusing on overturning Roe v. Wade. "With eight years of Bush the abortion rates have not declined. Every indication is that with financial support and different forms of supporting pregnant mother and then some post birth help also we could come close to 50% reduction in abortions. That's huge. That's huge."

Continuing with the same culture war paradigm is therefore morally dubious. "If we insist on keeping this an ideological war we're literally not saving the babies we could save. The Democrats have a huge opportunity here to really steal the thunder from those who are seen as traditionally pro life."

Keep a look out for other Christian leaders popping up with the same message. What's causing this is the failure of the Republicans to significantly reduce abortions, even with 20 years of Republican presidency since the rise of the Christian right. Many Christians are finally getting fed up.

In my opinion, the Republican line on abortion--the singular focus on banning it--was just a cynical ploy. I know that many GOP leaders were sincere, but overall the strategy was simply to oppose abortion symbolically while doing nothing to reduce abortions in real life. Moreover, there is evidence from history and from around the world that banning abortion would not even reduce abortions (have we ever banned anything successfully?).

Pro-life Christians are finally getting this. If the Democrats take Joel Hunter's advice, and stand up as the real "pro-life party," they will not find formerly Republican Christians falling into lock step with them. Many of these Christians are so burned by their experience with the GOP that they will not join another party. However, in their pro-life calculations at the voting booth, many will choose the Democrat.

But how many? That depends on Obama, and if he will take Joel Hunter's advice. If Obama can boldly articulate a pro-life platform to reduce abortion, care for children and families, reduce arms and prevent war then he could bring about a seismic shift in electoral politics that makes the "Reagan Democrat" phenomenon look like nothing.

For many pro-choice advocates, that will feel like a concession. But has the status quo stand off worked any better for them over the past few decades? Abortion is still legal, but access to safe abortions for women who choose them has all but disappeared for many working class and rural women--right alongside other medical and social services. For sure, embracing a politics of "life" is a risk for pro-choice advocates. But Christian leaders who reject the status quo are taken an arguably greater risk: with their own congregations, with their national reputations and with anti-abortion extremists.

y one thing is certain: It's going to be fascinating to watch how change and risk will be embraced or rejected by various advocates on both sides of the debate through this election and an Obama presidency.

Paschal: Obama will need to lead by ate least ten points going into the votint booth, because a large minority, more than non collelge educated white working men, will not, simply not, bring themselves to pull the lever for a Black men to be our President. Look it up. It is called the 'Bradley effect," and this is the hidden unspoken belief of both Clintons why Barack cannot win.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

REligious Belief as an evolutionary adaptation? (yes)

"Religious belief itself is an adaptation"

Sociobiology founder Edward O. Wilson explains why we're hard-wired to form tribalistic religions, denies that "evolutionism" is a faith, and says that heaven, if it existed, would be hell.

By Steve Paulson

Mar. 21, 2006 | For a man who's obsessed with tiny critters, Edward O. Wilson has a strange knack for stirring up controversy about life's biggest questions. The Harvard biologist is a renowned expert on insects, co-author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book "The Ants." But it was his seminal 1975 book "Sociobiology," which laid the groundwork for the new field of evolutionary psychology, that made Wilson a scientific luminary -- and a major intellectual force in America. That book, along with its Pulitzer Prize-winning sequel, "On Human Nature," argued that many human behaviors -- including aggression, altruism and hypocrisy -- are shaped by evolution. Wilson's tilt toward nature in the age-old nature/nurture debate may have put him on the map, but it also made plenty of enemies. Fellow Harvard biologists Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin denounced sociobiology, saying it provided a genetic justification for racism and Nazi ideology. Wilson's classes were picketed. In one famous incident, demonstrators at a scientific meeting stormed the stage where he was speaking and dumped a pitcher of water over his head, chanting, "Wilson, you're all wet!"

Over the years, sociobiology -- once so controversial -- became a widely accepted branch of science. Ultimately, Wilson won the National Medal of Science for his scholarship. And his own popularity soared when he emerged as a champion of biodiversity and a passionate advocate for endangered species. His 1992 book "The Diversity of Life" became a bestseller. But he stirred up more trouble in the late '90s with another book, "Consilience." This was his attempt to outline a unified theory of knowledge, which had the effect of elevating science at the expense of religion and the arts. In his view, knowledge of the world ultimately comes down to chemistry, biology and -- above all -- physics; people are just extremely complicated machines. Wendell Berry, among other critics, railed against Wilson's scientific reductionism, calling it a "modern superstition."

Wilson is now retired, though -- at 76 -- he still spends plenty of time at his Harvard lab. And he continues to write and lecture. He recently edited a collection of Charles Darwin's books titled "From So Simple a Beginning" (W.W. Norton). In person, Wilson is a courtly Southerner. He's an affable man who laughs easily and -- unlike many scientists -- is quite willing to speculate on the most cosmic questions. This was evident when he stopped by my radio studio before giving a sold-out lecture at the University of Wisconsin. We talked about Darwin and the growing rift between science and religion, as well as Wilson's own take on religion -- his "provisional deism" and his personal horror of an eternal afterlife in heaven.

What were the personal and intellectual qualities that made Darwin such a great scientist?

A relentlessly inquiring mind, a love of natural history acquired as a child, the extraordinary opportunity presented by the voyage of the Beagle to travel around the world at exactly the right age when the mind is opening, the opportunity in the scientific world to make a major discovery, and -- I should not overlook -- being a country squire with no economic pressures.

Did he have any particular agenda when he set out on his voyage on the Beagle?

I don't think so. He was a deeply religious man. He hadn't thought about evolution at all. What he was was an all-purpose observer, with a particular interest in natural history, and of course in beetles, which were the love of his life.

And it's worth pointing out that when Darwin first set out on the Beagle, he brought his own Bible. He had to overturn his whole upbringing to come up with this revolutionary idea.

Darwin departed England a devout Bible literalist. After failing his effort to become a doctor, he had in fact trained as a minister at Cambridge University. As he says in his autobiography, he would even pull out the Bible to settle some argument with other members of the ship's crew. But then as the trip went on, for reasons Darwin really never disclosed but I don't think had to do with the idea of evolution, he gradually dropped his Christian beliefs. Becoming a man of the world and much more aware of other cultures and religious beliefs, he realized that the stories of the Bible were basically no different than the stories of these other religions.

But what really turned him against religion was the doctrine of damnation. He said if the Bible is true, you must be redeemed in Christ and be a believer in order to go to heaven. And others will be condemned. And that includes my brothers and all my best friends. And he said that is a damnable doctrine. Those are his words.

Darwin's own transformation from devout Christian to non-believer obviously raises significant questions in our own time. It raises a very provocative question: If you fully accept the theory of evolution by natural selection, does that logically lead you to atheism?

Well, it does up to the origin of the mind and spirit. And one of the Vatican's scientific spokesmen, incidentally, just recently turned thumbs down on intelligent design. John Paul II took the position that evolution's been pretty well proved, and certainly was acceptable as God's way of creating the diversity of life. But the human soul was injected by God. So that's a kind of compromise position that a lot of devoutly religious people have taken.

But that begs the question, when did the soul enter? I mean, if you accept evolution, at some point humans evolved out of something that came before. So do all creatures have some kind of soul? Or do only humans have a soul?

Yeah, that's the dilemma. Of course, there is no reconciliation between the theory of evolution by natural selection and the traditional religious view of the origin of the human mind.

Are you saying we have to choose between science and religion?

Well, you have to choose between the scientific materialist view of the origin of the mind on the one side, and the traditional religious view that the spirit and the mind are independent of the process of evolution and eventually non-corporeal, capable of leaving the body and going elsewhere.

This is not a view that all scientists subscribe to. Stephen Jay Gould famously talked about how science and religion are two entirely separate spheres. And they really didn't have anything to do with each other.

Yeah, he threw in the towel.

He dodged the question.

He dodged the question, famously. That's no answer at all. That's evasion. I think most scientists who give thought to this with any depth -- who understand evolution -- take pretty much the position that I've taken. For example, in the National Academy of Sciences, which presumably includes many of the elite scientists in this country, a very large number would fully accept the scientific view. I know it's 80 percent or more who said, on the issue of the immortality of the soul, they don't care.

It would seem that religion and science have two entirely different ways of understanding the world. Science is founded on reason and deduction and empirical study. Religion, on the other hand, is grounded in faith -- often a leap of faith, in mystery, in living with the non-rational part of your mind. Are those two utterly alien ways of looking at the world? Or is there any common ground?

The only common ground that I see is the one that was approached by Darwin himself. Religious belief itself is an adaptation that has evolved because we're hard-wired to form tribalistic religions. Religion is intensely tribalistic. A devout Christian or Muslim doesn't say one religion is as good as another. It gives them faith in the particular group to which they belong and that set of beliefs and moral views.

What about the sense of awe, of wonder? That's something you hear about all the time among religious people. And you also hear about it from some scientists as well.

Well, you do. You hear about it from me. Awe is hard to put into words. But it certainly involves a sense of the mightiness and splendor and almost indecipherable intricacy of something greater than ourselves. A lot of religious mysticism arises directly from it. But it's equally experienced by the secularist whose mind opens to the splendor and intricacy of the material universe.

I've talked with some atheists who've suggested what they really need is a spiritual atheism. They need the sense of awe. They're competing with religious traditions, with very powerful stories, that have been passed down through the ages.

Yeah, that's true.

Does the scientist, does the non-believer, need that as well? Can the non-believer have that?

The answer to the second question is yes. The answer to the first question -- do they have it? -- is usually no. The problem with secular humanism is that it does lack it. I think it was Camille Paglia who talked about Foucault and the almost religious awe that the French post-structuralist philosophers once had in France. She compared it to the power of the Judeo-Christian tradition and said 3,000 years of Yahweh beats one generation of Foucault.

Would you be comfortable saying that science can have a sacred dimension?

Sacred, yes, in the sense of spirituality. This would be based upon a deeper understanding of just how intricate and surprising the universe is. The story of the origin of life on this planet -- the time scale, the magnitude of it, the complexity of how it has been put together -- all of that engenders in me even more awe than I ever felt as a devout Southern Baptist growing up.

You grew up in a religious family?

Oh yes, I grew up fundamentalist. I grew up as a Southern Baptist with strict adherence to the Bible, which I read as a youngster. As a child, I was warned by counselors and routine religious training that the truth was in the Bible. Redemption was only in Christ and the world is full of Satanic force. Satan himself perhaps -- but certainly his agents, witting and unwitting -- would try to make me drop my belief. I had that instilled in me. You have to understand how powerful the religious drive is -- the instinct which I consider tribalist but probably necessary -- in most societies for continuing day-to-day business.

That's an interesting perspective. Basically, you're saying it's necessary but it's wrong.

Well, you see, that's the dilemma of the 21st century. Possibly the greatest philosophical question of the 21st century is the resolution of religious faith with the growing realization of the very different nature of the material world. You could say that we evolved to accept one truth -- the religious instinct -- but then discovered another. And having discovered another, what are we to do? You might say it's just best to go ahead and accept the two worldviews and let them live side by side. I see no other solution. I believe they can use their different worldviews to solve some of the great problems -- for example, the environment. But generally speaking, the difficulty in saying they can live side by side is a sectarianism in the world today, and traditional religions can be exclusionary and used to justify violence and war. You just can't deny that this is a major problem.

To return to your personal history, when did you reject that early fundamentalist belief? When did you start to question the literal interpretation of the Bible?

One thing I did was grow up as an ardent naturalist. I never grew out of my bug period. By the time I got to college, I was steeped in natural history and biology. I didn't learn much else in the high schools of Alabama, but I was really steeped in that.

By the time you got to college, had you rejected your religious background?

In college, I did begin to get a good education. As soon as I got to the University of Alabama, I discovered evolution and the new synthesizers of evolutionary theory. I read them all. This was an epiphany. I realized that all I had loved about the natural world, and all I had learned, now made sense. And that's what converted me.

So you spent your whole youth out in the fields, observing nature, but in some ways it didn't add up because you hadn't understood evolution.

It didn't. And it can't. That's the problem. You cannot explain the patterns of diversity in the world, the geography of life, the endless details of distribution, similarity and dissimilarity in the world, by any means except evolution. That's the one theory that ties it together. It is very hard to see how traditionalist religious views will come to explain the meaning of life on this planet.

Let me follow up on this because I've heard you call yourself a deist.

Yeah, I don't want to be called an atheist.

Why not?

You know, being a good scientist, and having been drawn up short so many times on my own theories and speculations -- as all honest scientists are -- I don't want to exclude the possibility of a creative force or deity. I think that would be a mistake to say there is no God or supernatural force. As the theologian Hans Kung once said, how are we to explain there is something and not nothing? Well, that's a question I'm happy to leave to the astrophysicist -- where the laws of the universe came from and what is the meaning of the origin of existence. But I do feel confident that there is no intervention of a deity in the origin of life and humanity.

That is the distinction between theism and deism.

That is the distinction. So I am not a theist, but I'll be a provisional deist.

To be a deist, you're saying maybe there was some creator, some presence, that set in motion the laws of the universe.

Maybe. That has not yet been discounted as a hypothesis. That's why I use the word provisional.

It's fascinating because everything you've said up until now suggests that you should be an atheist. Why hold out the specter that maybe there was some divine presence that got the whole thing going?

Well, because there's a possibility that a god or gods -- I don't think it would resemble anything of the Judeo-Christian variety -- or a super-intelligent force came along and started the universe with a big bang and moved on to the next universe. I can't discount that.

Let's just play this out for a minute. If there was this creative ... whatever you want to call it...


This intelligence that got our universe going, what happened to that intelligence? Did it go off to the next universe?

That's what I mean. That's exactly what I said. (Laughs)

Thirteen billion years ago, it left and went somewhere else?

Well, they are now either lurking on the outer reaches of the universe, watching with some amusement as the eons passed, to see how the experiment worked out, or they moved on. Who can say?

I think this is actually of great importance when we're talking about science and religion. There are a lot of people who discount the literal interpretation of the Bible because it does not square with modern science. And even God is such a loaded word. What if we put that word aside? Can we talk about energy or some sort of cosmic force?

That's why I say, I leave this to the astrophysicist.

Not the religious scholars?

Oh, of course not. They don't know enough. Literally. I hope I'm not being insulting. But you can't talk about these subjects now without knowing a great deal of theoretical physics, particularly astrophysics and developments in astronomy concerning the origins and evolution of the universe. But one thing we may very well be able to understand from start to finish -- we haven't done it yet -- is the origin of life on this planet. And that's what counts for human beings. Where we came from. And it's beginning to look -- it's looking pretty persuasively -- that we are in fact ultimately physical and chemical in nature, and that we evolved autonomously on this planet by ourselves. There's no evidence whatsoever that we're being overseen or directed in our evolution and actions by a supernatural force.

But this raises another question. I know evolutionary biologists disagree on this point -- whether there is some inevitable progress in the course of evolution. In other words, once the simplest forms of life appeared on Earth, was it inevitable that eons down the road, some highly intelligent creature would evolve -- like humans?

Yeah, philosophers love this question, and scientists like to stay away from philosophers. To get involved is like a bird landing on tangled foot. Let me see if I can square away the idea of progress. If you define progress as an increase in complexity -- say, going from a simple bacterium-like organism up to an advanced animal or human society -- there's no question that evolution has progressed. But if you see it as some kind of teleological force that is moving evolution along, that there will be progress in the universe from A to Z, you cannot see that in evolution. Progress is basically a human concept.

On the other hand, if you subscribe to the evolutionary viewpoint, but you also want to find some larger purpose, it would seem to be comforting that evolution moves toward greater complexity. It will keep evolving into something that's bigger and greater.

Well, I'm an existential conservative. I take the view that the human species has evolved to be a biological part of this biosphere. We belong in this biosphere. We are intimately connected to it. Our physiology, our psychology. This planet can actually be a paradise if we use our intelligence to make it so. That, to me, would be progress.

You're saying humans have purpose here.

Yeah, they have purpose to live long and be happy.

More than that. They have purpose to be good stewards of this Earth.

I believe so, yes. When you unpack happiness into satisfaction, fulfillment, vision, awe, a sense of higher purpose and quality, we have that ability. And I think it will be reached not by traditional religious faith but by knowledge and human self-understanding.

There are some people who talk about evolution as a kind of secular religion. The philosopher Michael Ruse has made this argument. He talks about "evolutionism." If you want to identify the characteristics of a religion -- a complete, all-encompassing worldview, with an origin story, you can find that in the theory of evolution.

Maybe Michael, who is a friend of mine, was talking about me. I often write in a spiritual tone, particularly on issues like biophilia -- our relationship to the natural world, which is now a well-founded psychological principle. But let me say something about scientists, including those who work on evolution. Basically, they don't worry about things like this. They're not uplifted in this manner. They are journeymen doing this. They realize that the commerce of science is original discovery. That's our silver and gold. When you talk with them, they won't have a conversation like the one we're having now. They'll talk about the latest findings on ecosystems or the organization of California tidal pools. They go home, and watch television, and maybe go fishing. But basically, they are journeymen. There are relatively few people who are doing anything like a spiritual search.

You're saying scientists, for the most part, don't have existential crises?

That's correct. Most are not religious. They're quite happy with what they have. Therefore, scientism -- or science as an alternative religion -- is not in my opinion a valid comparison. I don't see it as having the qualities of a religion, in terms of obeisance to a supreme being or of an urge to proselytize.

Suppose, miraculously, there was proof of a transcendental plane out there. Would you find that comforting?

Sure. Let me take this opportunity to dispel the notion, the canard, that scientists are against transcendentalism, that they want to block any talk of it, particularly intelligent design. If any positive evidence could be found of a supernatural guiding force, there would be a land rush of scientists into it. What scientist would not want to participate in what would be one of the greatest discoveries of all time? Scientists are simply saying -- particularly in reference to intelligent design -- that it's not science and it's garbage until some evidence or working theory is produced. And they are suspicious because they see it coming from people who have a religious agenda.

I guess I'm asking a slightly different question of you personally. Would you like there to be evidence of God? Forget about this as a great scientific discovery. Just personally, given your background, would that be thrilling? Would that be comforting?

Well, it would certainly give you a lot of material to study and think about the rest of your time. But you didn't ask me the right question.

What's the right question?

Would I be happy if I discovered that I could go to heaven forever? And the answer is no. Consider this argument. Think about what is forever. And think about the fact that the human mind, the entire human being, is built to last a certain period of time. Our programmed hormonal systems, the way we learn, the way we settle upon beliefs, and the way we love are all temporary. Because we go through a life's cycle. Now, if we were to be plucked out at the age of 12 or 56 or whenever, and taken up and told, now you will continue your existence as you are. We're not going to blot out your memories. We're not going to diminish your desires. You will exist in a state of bliss -- whatever that is -- forever. And those who didn't make it are going to be consigned to darkness or hell. Now think, a trillion times a trillion years. Enough time for universes like this one to be born, explode, form countless star systems and planets, then fade away to entropy. You will sit there watching this happen millions and millions of times and that will just be the beginning of the eternity that you've been consigned to bliss in this existence.

This heaven would be your hell.

Yes. If we were able to evolve into something else, then maybe not. But we are not something else.

-- By Steve Paulson

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Comments, week 1 of August on politics and morality

In response to several FWDs from
conservative or Independent cousins of late.

In my opinion, nonsensical as any,
both campaigns have been pitiful.

But I still would rather vote for the one who was, IMO, right about the stupidity of the Iraqi war, taking out troops from Afghanistan. I view this mistake as one of the greatest strategic mistakes in our nation’s history, which will cost us billions and blood for decades to come. The human cost is simply incalculable. Leadership is about judgment. No more critical decision has been made since 911`1 than the one to go to war against Iraq.

This war has cost us immensely, not only in blood and money, but served to vastly fuel Muslim radical terrorists world wide and has not made us any safer, despite the exhaustion of our military in serving 3 and 4 combat tours. The NeoCon view that we could impose democracy on a tribal society was blind. Saddam had no WMD, and the evidence is now clear that #43 rapped up a huge propaganda machine to convince us.....

Two simple facts: the Military now was the highest suicide rate in history, and 300,000 vets with PTSD, often from knowing that they on orders killed civilians. We cannot fight two wars with a volunteer army.

Anyone who was blind enough to vote for the worst and most corrupt president, not only in our life time but maybe ever, I make bold to suggest has no judgment of character. He never had any integrity to begin with.

I do not think Obama can be elected. Not because he lacks judgment or leadership ability or smartness, or charisma, new ideas or the ability to work across party lines.

In difficult decisions, humans always go for the safer way. McCain seems safer. Most Christians, including the Vatican and the Pope, chose the safer brand of Christianity, not the riskier and more vulnerable vision and lesson spelled out by Jesus in the judgment scene in Matthew 25:vv 31 ff. (sheep and goats)

It is certainly the one passage mostly overlooked by Conservative Christians who tend to prefer the presumably black and white issues such as abortion and gay rights. We are, said Jesus, responsible for our brothers no matter where they are, and on this response, shall we be judged. Oops.

Obama to win, would have to be, IMO, ten points ahead going into the November voting booth, or the Bradley effect will defeat him. I do not think that polling margin will be enough, plus I do not think the South will vote for a Black President, As I listen to friends here, many convinced that he is Muslim. That is a code word for Uppity Nigger, since it is clear that he is a Christian.

I do not think either campaign is yet speaking to the pocketbook issues. Both parties are responsible for this urgent energy crisis we have... the writing was on the way from the oil crisis of the early 1970s, but no one would listen. We have had no leadership in D.C. for years.

But if you are an investor, the economy always does better under Democrats. because of the blind knee jerk reaction against all government regulation of the Repugs which is the root source of the current mortgage crisis. A few millions dollars of regulation would have saved billions of taxpayer money now used to bail out banks and financial institutions carried away by corporate greed.

On and BTW, Repugs are always leery of government welfare for individuals. Never mind government welfare to corporations. Consider the no-bid contracts to Haliburton, Blackwater etc. since 9/11,

My opinion is no more valid or noteworthy than most. But my political education began in 1940 when my father ranted and raved against FDR as a communist or at least a socialist for his government programs in the race against Wendell Wilkie in 1940. The American Medical Assn opposed every government program as the first step toward socialized medicine.

I would say to my conservative Republican friends, every time you get your social security check or Medicare benefits, thank the Dems because your own party was against these.

I find the many smears and fears against O. typical of the dirty tricks in campaigning started by Dirty Tricks Nixon who got elected to Congress the first time by tarring his opponent, Helen Gallagher Douglas. Typical Repubs "family values" is the Machiavellian win at all costs.

Nevertheless this is the most interestng and exciting political campaign I have seen in my lifetime since I was awakened to political realities by my staunch Republican father.

God bless you all. Have a great day.
August 5, 2008

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The RC Church will change only.....

"The Church will begin to solve its problems and resolve its tensions, when, and only when,
clericalism and its adherents reverse priorities
and place truth and justice ahead of institutional image."
(Msgr.Harry S.Byrne, former Chancellor of the Archdiocese of New York)

Monsignor Byrne in his article refers to Canon Law 1395
which states that any cleric who causes
scandal by sin against the sixth commandment is to be punished by suspension,

and Canon 1389
which requires anyone in ecclesiastical office who,
through culpable negligence,
omits the exercise of ecclesiastical power of office
to be punished.

While we are lead to believe
that a very small percent of priests fall under Canon 1395,
it is obvious that a very large percent of bishops should be punished
(according to Canon 1389)
for covering up clerical pedophilia.

Instead, there has been an attempt to blame all Catholics
such as when Pope John Paul II called for
a "purification of the entire Catholic community."

Not one guilty bishop has been called to accountability or punished.

What are Catholics to think
when those who make the Church laws
feel free to disregard them?

While Monsignor Bryne rightly calls for
a change of clerical priorities,
might the rest of us exercise the same freedom
and follow the Episcopal example to ignore Church law when needed –
like women's ordination,
support for the Church,
mandatory clerical celibacy, etc., etc.?

While we suffer the shame,
we have a right to not be held guilty of the crimes of our imposed leaders.

Do we
not have the right to redress under the laws they themselves make
and are to enforce?
Even with Archbishop Burke heading the Vatican Court?
(Ask St. Stanislaus parish!).

ARCC reaffirms Monsignor Byrne's statement:
"The Church will begin to solve its problems and resolve its tensions,
when, and only when, clericalism and its adherents
reverse priorities and place truth and justice ahead of institutional image."

The Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church (ARCC)
is encouraging and helpful.
Read more at ARCC
Circulate freely,
but kindly acknowledge the source.
Comments to or call 1-877-700-2722 (ARCC).