Friday, May 23, 2008

Thankfully, we live in this great nation

A word from Zimbabwe, where an aging, embittered despot has absolutely stripped the former "breadbasket of Africa" to the bone. Earlier this week , Mugabe's rival in the upcoming runoff election opted to remain in exile because of the prospects of his assassination had he returned, after a month away. To date, since March, 43 opposition leaders have been murdered by Mugabe's henchmen according to BBC. The latest body found was that of Tonderai Ndira. Mugabe'e war against opposition over the years has claimed thousands of lives and his fury was directed against white farmers as they were chased away and Mugabe's cronies allowed the spoils. Zimbabwe was fairly conciliatory with white business and farm owners because Zimbabwe would have been doomed after the war to unseat the white leadership of the former Rhodesia. Their opposition to his bloody regime changed all that and now Mugabe seems content to destroy the nation outright.

The phrase "freedom isn't free" certainly come to mind when considering the hell into which Zimbabwe has been dragged by Mugabe. No leader in Africa seems to give a damn about the old man's death grip on his own people. Mbeki of South Africa has practically aided and abetted the murder and mayhem of Mugabe. What could a presidency of Obama do to change the hearts of African leaders toward Mugabe? I'm not sure it would mean anything more than business as usual. More brave folks like Ndira will die before the deadly Mugabe regime is toppled or he dies, finally. Hopefully, Mugabe's face will be shattered before they end his life like Ndira's. Sad times in southern Africa.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mother Jones:" Myth of Moral Majority" repercussions

I'm going to sound like a honest-to-goodness rightwinger at this point. Mother Jones had an online article about the myth of the moral majority in America reporting the claim by Pew of 40% weekly church attendance in America. Actually, it seems 20% is the absolute cap on regular church attendance. An excerpt about writer Christine Wicker, a prodigal Southern Baptist who returned to her childhood denomination, but questioned the realities thereof:

"Take that 40 percent church attendance stat. Looking around her half-empty Southern Baptist church outside Dallas, Christine Wicker had her doubts. Wicker, a veteran Texas newspaper reporter, was born again when she was nine but drifted away from her evangelical roots in adulthood. A few years ago, she returned to the Southern Baptist Church to both renew her faith and write The Fall of the Evangelical Nation, an insider's look at evangelicals' power, wading in where secular journalists feared to tread. When she started looking into the numbers on church attendance, she found that researchers could vouch for only 18 percent of Americans being regular churchgoers—less than half the accepted figure. That led her to wonder about the already widely reported claim that 25 percent of Americans are evangelicals; could the real number also be less than half that?
In size, only the Catholic Church dwarfs the Southern Baptist Church, the biggest evangelical denomination and by far the most organized and fastidious of the Protestant record keepers. But Wicker discovered that the numbers the Southern Baptist Convention (sbc) releases for public consumption tell a much different story than the ones it uses internally. The organization claims 16 million members, but as one reverend cracks, "the fbi couldn't find half of [them] if they had to." A 2006 sbc report states that only 11 million of its members live in the same area as their home church anymore; that number includes those who've been double- or even triple-counted elsewhere. It also includes perennial no-shows and those who attend services at "bedside Baptist" (they sleep in on Sunday but show up for Easter and Christmas). And that's not to mention those who've lost their religion or converted to another faith. If their names were ever on "the roll" at a Baptist church, they're probably inscribed there for life."

I grew up a Southern Baptist "evangelical" who has certainly opted not to follow that hateful religious path. Many of those with whom I grew up in the same denomination have joined some of these "megachurches" that spring up with more dangerous ideology because they don't answer to a broad organization that keeps an eye on orthodoxy. James Dobson occasionally says things that may be objectional to SBC leadership, particularly the predominance of "charismatic" believers in the evangelical movement. SBC will never advocate charismatic tongue talking, at least not in my lifetime.

I know that the SBC still counts me as an SBC believer as well as those friends I mentioned who haven't darkened an SBC door except when they visit parents(not me, I never go to church with my parents when I visit) or attend funerals. The SBC have always counted practically anyone who has ever joined an SBC congregation. I know of some who have become UMC or Presbyterian faithful as well as SBC members who converted to the Catholic church, the " Great Whore" mentioned in the Revelation according to every SBC pastor I've ever known or heard preach personally just like John Hagee, the Hitler and anti-Catholic enthusiast. Hagee and the evangelicals political coalition relied heavily on Catholics to vote down Dems and voting their "values" at the polls and selling out America to the devils Bush and Cheney(along with Kristol, Krauthammer, Wolfowitz, et al---I suppose I'l be accused of anti-Semitism--nah, just anti neo-conism).

My point of emphasis concerning the article, which is questioning the actual impact of outright evangelicals. I haven't read the book, I just read this article about The Fall of the Evangelical Nation, so I won't critique in-depth (I'm wrapped uo in AR history reading now). My problem is going to sound xenophobic. The cultural identity of the nation can be in the balance if we don't wake up and find a way to embrace a church-going mentality and try to save the old denominations that tend to moderate with time such as most Methodists, Presbyterians, and others of the old faithfuls that aren't tied particularly to the disastrous nexus of intolerant evangelicalism and politics these days. I don't want to be in Europe's position with declining population and declined church attendance--almost zero in some places--and an alarming growth of the numbers of Muslims and the possibility of their ideology finding more believers and actual mosque-attenders. I don't mind other believers finding America's virtually tolerant society(as opposed to what our nation was not too many years ago--invidiously racist)to their liking and moving here. Let's face it;Islam could never create this kind of tolerant nation. Islam's Golden Age, dating back to our Dark Ages and ending at the advent of the historical modern age(circa. 1500). Wahhabists began to dominate in the Islamic heartland Saudi Arabia about 1700s, but Islamic tolerance of the scholarship during the Euro middle ages blessed the folks who started the Renaissance in Christendom with the works of the ancient Greeks, who engendered classical republican democracy we enjoy today(or a more liberalized version evolving through the years). Islam has been more progressive centuries ago and threatens to descend the depths over the current crises in the world and the Islamic populist martyrdom movement hatched by Carter's arming and training of Islamic reactionaries and the GOP orthodoxy of supporting ideological nutjobs to fight the Soviets. Presdient Zia of Pakistan was a fundamentalist Islamic servant and he supported like minds fighting in Afghanistan, including bin-Laden. Blowback is hell and we have felt it since 9-11.

We shouldn't rejoice in the demise of Christian religious belief; we should be mortified. Christianity gave us an undeniable cultural center for our democratic government, though I disagree with the evangelical assertion that the founders of this democratic republic blindly followed their narrow view of God. That assertion is simply untrue and church attendance and membership have been much lower percentage-wise than today. We noticed so-called great awakenings over the years of evangelical moments over the years in the late 18th century, 1840-1860s and the 1950s because church attendance and active belief was so low from the start, particularly in rural areas including the South, where Southern Baptists began their great baptismal push in the mid 19th century and the 1950s with Billy Graham's ubiquitous crusades for Christ. The greatest humanists who ever lived in the english-speaking world or any world or age founded this nation and hammered out this constitution we all hold dear. I have heard enough of the "secular-humanist" bashing. Bash Jefferson or Franklin if you must, but I believe their ideological stubborness was good for America. Yes, Franklin describes moments he would pray or Americans should pray, hardly a deist's mentality, but Franklin has more evidence in the historical record of his secularist leanings.

I'm sorry to sound like a xenophobe, but I suppose since I supported Hillary that many left-leaning Dems would accuse me of unspeakable evils(monstrous), but I know I'm right on this one. We must moderate our Christian beliefs away from the most hateful possible worldviews. America is a marketplace of commerce, ideas, and certainly religion. As talk radio has become dominated by hateful right-wing talk shows because of their relative popularity; American Christianity has suffered an equivalent bastardization. The most vocally hateful, malcontented who need to hate the other, yet harboring a gregarious need to find at least a few like-minded toxic fellow faithful so they can hate the other together and carve out a heaven for themselves they don't mind sharing with a few select folks. Commercial religious belief has pushed aside the more social beliefs that want to promote at least a hint of utopian endeavor and improve the earth on which they'll live all their natural lives. I'm not saying SBC faithful don't try to ease the suffering of the less fortunate; my parents have worked their tails off in disaster areas to help with cleanup and helping those with immediate daily needs like food, clothing, and shelter on behalf of their denomination. On the whole, though, supporting right wing ideology in America paints them with a hateful brush denying healthcare to Americans unfortunate enough to work for employers with deficient if any affordable health care access. Their stubborness over healthcare reform is sickening to me. It's part of why I rejected my youthful fundamentalism and SBC membership. On social issues, SBC ideologues have missed the mark entirely in my view. Social issues MUST not be reduced to anti-gay lobbying, anti-immigrant hell-raising, and assorted other objectionable planks these past few years. The SBC was the major problem with the continuation of Jim Crow legislation into the 1960s and some components lasting as actual law until the present day(e.g. legislation banning interracial marriage or sodomy, not exactly Jim Crow, but it fits nevertheless). Their blindly following a war profiteer electing him not once, but twice, Dubya, is one memory I'll never let go. I would never return to the SBC on that demerit alone. Supporting an obviously toxic ideologue like Bush is a fault I can never forgive(I know, that's not very Christ-like)

Again, I have rambled, not gonna proofread, so enjoy.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Election postscript: Benton County/Obama

I'm happy to say Benton County residents aren't complete fools. Keith Ferguson, Robin Green, and Courtney Henry all won their elections. Ferguson is the old time officer I knew growing up around the fire department, where my dad was a volunteer for many years. He's not a great public speaker, but he's a professional who does his job without all the self-promotion bullshit common with Andy Lee. Robin Green caught a lot of flack over her handling of the Trooper Norman shooting. I knew law enforcement folks who vilified her for prosecuting Norman, but I believe she handled the prosecution acceptably. Also, Courtney Henry bashed the HIM(Higher Image Marketing)-Holtinista Brigade over the head crushing her opponent. In case you haven't read Brummett's column I'm describing Jim Holt's HIM "agency's" work on behalf of Williams in a supposedly impartial race (by law it must be impartial after an amended act during Huckabee's time). There are some runoff races remaining, but these three elections showed some brainpower on part of the NW AR GOP, the most reactionary group in the state, next to of course, Pulaski County white-flighters.

Let's all hope Obama's inexperience doesn't completely bite him on the ass. Obama MUST win this election and try to begin reversing the GOP disaster. I'm praying Dubya the Dumbass doesn't hand Obama a nation at war with Iran as well as the Iraqi people and the Islamic diaspora's lost youth who are easy marks for those who would foster endless jihad against modernity. It's time America had another liberal in leadership. I voted for Hillary and I'm better described as a moderate Southern Democrat, but I'm not completely unhappy to push a real liberal into the White House. Carter was more liberal after office than at the end of his days in office, so he doesn't count as a liberal. Johnson was a liberal until Vietnam dragged him into the military-industrial complex's form of gutter politics. You have to admit though, the Cold War was GOOOOODDDD for business in America. If one wishes to promote the vast military-industrial complex (Ike), you are a socialist because those are technically, actually rather, government jobs. I have relatives who made a lot of money working for defense contractors.

Guaranteed health care is an HEW responsibility for our government and it's time we became a more humane nation and provided for our people. However, the lingering costs of the wars and the cost of our major companies crumbling may preclude Obama's ability to make lasting positive changes for America. He has to be a crisis manager from the first hours of his presidency. Sorry, cart before the horse; he's got to BEAT MCCAIN first! I want all those 20-somethings to get their ass to the polls and complete what they brag about having started. Obama won the nomination, sort of.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A word about ANB's collapse

Since George W. Bush has opted to declare war on the history of the United States attempting revision of FDR's impact. Now FDR is an "appeaser" of Hitler, according to the legendary genius Dubya. I personally bank at the old ANB and I want to thank FDR and his economic advisors for founding FDIC to protect folks like me who had nothing to do with the bank's poor leadership provided by Dykema. From the articles I've read in weeks prior to the takeover FDIC's was definitely a possibility. No bank would have offered to purchase ANB with the shape they'd been in since the Bush economic disaster began to truly affect us even in NW Arkansas, where we'd been practically immune from Dubya's failure of leadership. I am happy that the government was there to protect me and my assets. FDR's programs weren't enough to lift Americans out of the depth of Depression, but the programs certainly rescued Americans from complete destitution by actually trying to have a positive impact on life, unlike the GOP self-righteous assault on all but the wealthiest. Such a whine in the news today about how Dubya has actually lost some of his personal wealth since he ascended to the presidency. He's rewarded his father's people for giving the Bush family a second shot at ruining the economy for the underclasses.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bush World: Denying the Bush family role in arming and financing the Nazis

President Evil again shoots off his mouth accusing FDR of appeasement of Hitler. The looney-tunes right wing headed by America First advocates like Robert Wood of Sears Roebuck and Eureka Springs famed Christ of the Ozarks builder Gerald L. K. Smith who wanted no more American intervention overseas and were in love with Hitler, you know, the looney-tunes right wing that drove the prosperity for the under classes into the ground the past 7 -8 years. If Bush wants to point fingers at appeasers, there were many in this country who bitched about FDR's Lend-Lease Act. Not only could Bush have pointed fingers at "appeasers", he should have pointed fingers at abettors to the crime of aiding the Nazis in building their war machine. Of all people, a history major from Yale fails to point out his family's role in building the Hitler war machine. His grandfather was up to his ears in complicity with the Nazis during and after WWII. Hell, there was a Congressional investigation in 1942 if you want to read about it. (Averill Harriman was one of them and he actually was a major part of FDR's wartime diplomatic effort and he was against the Churchill idiocy of overthrowing an elected prime minister of Iran in the early 1950s to be fair.)

The Bush family have been described as Merchants of Death in years past and the American people who voted for W the Disaster Bush are completely oblivious. I was an 18 year-old kid when I voted for the elder Bush, but I didn't repeat the mistake in 1992, nor did I vote for the His Royal Highness Dubya in 2000/2004. Prescott Bush was involved with multiple companies seized by the US government for trading with the Nazi enemy. No bigger fool has "served" this nation as president. Is there even a question over whether the Bush's aided and abetted Hitler and profited from the war which killed millions of human beings throughout the planet? Go to hell Mr. President. Retire to the island you voted to move Helton's corporate registry and never touch American soil again! Traitor!

The nerve of this blithering piece of shit Dubya:

JERUSALEM (CNN) – In a particularly sharp blast from halfway around the world, President Bush suggested Thursday that Sen. Barack Obama and other Democrats are in favor of "appeasement" of terrorists in the same way U.S. leaders appeased Nazis in the run-up to World War II.
"Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along," said Bush, in what White House aides privately acknowledged was a reference to calls by Obama and other Democrats for the U.S. president to sit down for talks with leaders like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
"We have heard this foolish delusion before," Bush said in remarks to the Israeli Knesset. "As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American Senator declared: 'Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Race Ahead

Obama has all but sewn up the nomination. Let's hope he'll displace the criminally negligent Bush administration and the morally corrupt GOP majority in Congress forever in this cycle of elections. My take on the Obama pastor debacle is that Obama's history does not suggest that sort of radical thinking Wright espoused. If we narrowed our view on GOP pols' preachers, hopefully most sensible Americans would be equally horrified. I've heard my share of reactionary idiocy as I grew up in a fundamentalist Baptist environment. One of my parents' church's former pastors was a close friend of Bill Alexander, erst of 1st Congressional district, but he was no Rev. Wright. Never heard any inflammatory racial views from him. Politicians routinely visited my family church during election time and none ever took the mic. Never heard such political preaching from any of my family's pastors through the years, save the reminder that this right to vote is from God and it's a duty to exercise your right. My church had liberal Democrats as well as DINOs who eventually switched allegiance to the GOP, particularly a number of farmers who should be ashamed of themselves for supporting GOP candidates. What the hell have GOP pols ever done for American farmers? The Reagan years were such a wonderful time for family farms-shhittt! Reagan cared nothing for those platitudinal agricultural values he espoused. All propaganda, while family farms crumbled throughout his administration. Dubya's done a hell of a lot I suppose as commodities prices rise with each passing day of his disastrous administration and global food shortages threaten famine and war. So much for family values. I will support Obama with no hesitation, though I'm certain our nation would be in better hands with Hillary as our president. Too bad she failed to earn the nomination.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


I have always despised Oprah Winfrey, admittedly. I hate talk shows. I hate half-truths, and I hate phony populism. Bill Moyer's program on the rush to the Iraq War and Oprah's show "exposing" Saddam's nuclear arms buildup, despite 12 years of virtually unchallenged coalition bombing(you remember, the real coalition the elder Bush gathered prior to ousting Saddam's forces from Kuwait and southern Iraq) was an eye-opener about the woman who single-handedly hopes to push Obama on the Democratic party. Oprah wasn't propagandizing, she was just telling her viewers what is, er, wasn't. I'd be willing to wager Oprah has assets which have directly profited from the war profiteering president and vice-president's selective invasion of Iraq, which, by the way, many administration insiders tried to push Bill Clinton to undertake in 1998 (see PNAC). For the record, I will vote for Obama if he hangs on to defeat Hillary for the nomination, but I'm four-square on the side of Hillary. I have my suspicions about Obama's chances for victory over McCain because of a mixture of racism, distrust, and outright fear of a black president who rubs elbows with firebrands like Rev. Wright among white voters. I've known many black pastors over the years personally who make Wright's rhetoric look tame in comparison. My family's unexpected presence at a service at one of Arkansas' oldest black churches(in dire need of saving--Centennial Baptist in Helena---so sad to see its dilapidated condition last time I was by there), broke up a political rally planned to really turn up the hate, according to one of the flyers the ushers were removing as we entered the church. We heard the commotion when we were spotted in the parking lot and one of my father's political rivals was helping the ushers hide the pamphlets. I would have felt better about voting for Obama in the general election and I'm as fair-minded a person as most will meet. We have got to remove the War-Profiteer's Party from power, hopefully forever, and Obama has narrowed his voter pool significantly by waiting to denounce Wright. He needs white folks to vote for him too and that doesn't mean 20 somethings alone (though it's about time many appeared at the polls in droves for once) and I believe Obama can't win the older white middle class constituency because many were waiting to say "I told you so...Obama's a reparationist just like the rest of 'em (black Democratic politicians)!" Someday a black person will be elected president based on what I've seen in this election cycle. Obama nearly pulled it off, so there is hope for black Americans to have one of their own in the White House. Certainly, Obama may yet cling to victory for the Party and for the White House. If he wins, I will feel much better about his prospects for success than I ever did for Dubya the Witless. It's Hillary's time to lead this country under these circumstances. She's certainly been baptized by fire and made some very public mistakes in her time. She's also proven she has some very good ideas for America.