Thursday, September 28, 2006

Clinton Strikes Back

I hope to God some of the invertebrate Democrats took notice of Bill Clinton's interview with Chris Wallace. Could the Democrats be developing a backbone in this election season?

The question: "Why didn't the Clinton administration do more about Osama Bin Ladin?" Put on your seatbelts ...

Part I:

Part II:

You can agree or disagree, but I applaud the chutzpah!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Invasion USA?

The "logic" being thrown around by the White House is astounding. In justifying the new bill on the treatment of terror subjects, the White House is hanging its straw hat on semantics. Let's not even touch how the proposal of an "annual review" of the suspect's case is a thinly veiled joke. But catch this - they are justifying the suspension of habeas corpus, one of the fundamental aspects of our legal system that prevents unfair imprisonment, on the basis that we have been invaded!! To quote Bradford Berenson, former associate White House counsel:

“There was a physical invasion of this nation on Sept. 11,’’ Mr. Berenson said.

“Is that invasion still going on?’’ asked Senator Spector.

“If there are still Al Qaeda cells at work here, it is,’’ responded Mr. Berenson.

Based on that criterion, the invasion will never end, just like the War on Terror will never end. Or the War on Drugs for that matter. There will always be terrorism, smaller groups exerting violent force using guerilla tactics because they can't prevail in open battle. Just because you call it a war, doesn't it is one.

Logically the White House is setting a precedent to throw out the Constitution - forever and whenever convenient. Over time, I think all of the creative circumnavigation by this administration will be deemed unconstitutional. From wire taps without a warrant, scanning emails without consent, to holding prisoners without trial, re-establishing precedent will take time.

In the meantime, can someone release the White House LSAT scores?

Politics: The Truth is Out There

It's much easier to attack politicians with half-truths and marketing slogans than to take a meaningful stance. Summoning the memories of the John Kerry campaign immediately brings up "flip flop" in my head. Fantastic marketing, poor democracy. Where are the savvy political marketers that can move beyond the age of sleazy car salesman to a level of sophistication?

With politics being a multi-billion dollar business, where is the candidate that has a web site that explains his/her stance on every issue? Distributed video clips of such discussions that can be consumed by the news or bloggers? A blog that takes stances, defends unwarranted attacks, and explains each vote that they make in the House or Senate?

Oh, it’s right here with Hilary Clinton or Bill Frist. Well, almost.

Contrast that to Jeb Bush with literally no information. ?!? Or take a look at George Bush’s stance on the environment. So 8 years, and all you can talk about is a marine park in Hawaii? At least there is a picture with Bush and a tree. You can really sort out the BS. For fun, compare against the minority leader Harry Reid. No pictures, but a lot more than you will want to read. I need a summary. Talk about a track record.

But let’s not pick on trees and Bush’s because that is partisan and too damn easy. How about Charles Shumer? Is that 5 month old content? One NY Senator isn’t eying the presidency or reelection. Clearly a lame duck. This voting season I am ranking web sites.

With voting season here, how much research are you doing on the web? Do you just vote along party lines? What about the primaries? Do you know the candidates? Do you know the issues? Don’t be uninformed and apathetic (previous post). Spread the word!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Jesus Was a Democrat

Continuing on religion, politics, and hypocrisy from the last post, I wanted to add something that has bothered me for a while. What separates Christians from Jews and other religions is their belief and study of the New Testament. In a single sentence summary, I would say that the New Testament through the story of Jesus as the son of God sets forth a new paradigm of morality based on “turn the other cheek” and greater compassion and understanding compared to the Old Testament’s crueler “eye for an eye” sense of justice. This could be one-dimensional or simplistic, but if you have a better single sentence, I am all ears.

Jesus would be against the war in Iraq, the notion of nation building, and democratization through violence. He would invest heavily in diplomacy, and welcome immigrants, even illegal ones, and provide paths to citizenship. Jesus would be against torturing prisoners or deporting them to torturing states.

Jesus would be against the death penalty. Jesus consoled sinners and would be for drug counseling and against “three strikes and you're out.” Jesus helped the poor and asked the rich to repent. He would be for progressive taxation and against dividend cuts for the rich. Jesus would be for more social programs rather than less. He would pour more money into the public school system. Jesus would share his healing hands and nationalize health care. And with a penchant for turning water into wine, maybe he is a little like Ted Kennedy without the driving record.

On the other hand, Jesus would be pro life, (maybe) for a religious government, and would teach religion in schools, although not to dictate morality for the sake of condemnation. Then again, he taught openly rather than imposing his views on others.

Overall, wouldn’t Jesus be a Democrat? How is it that the Republicans have hijacked Jesus and made him a big business, death penalty loving, you’ll burn in hell slurring, war monger? Either the Christians aren’t very Christian-ly or I have the New Testament and the Old Testament really bass-ackwards.

Monday, September 18, 2006

It's Time for a Little Humility

The only thing scarier than a fanatical Islamic cleric talking about jihad may be a fanatical Catholic talking about jihad. The Pope’s recent address enraged Muslims around the world leading to violence including the shooting of a nun. In quoting a medieval Catholic prince, the Pope described Islam as “evil and inhuman” in an address he described as designed as “an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue.” Well done, sir. I say, well done.

The Pope retracted some of his statements by saying he was reading a medieval text “which do not in any way express my personal thought.” Well, then why did you read it? So what you are saying is that this was an antiquated and inaccurate text as opposed to the more antiquated, but accurate Bible?

The whole affair from the initial speech to the apology stinks of hypocrisy. Any Catholic who demeaningly quotes that Muhammad “command to spread by the sword the faith he preached” has little understanding of the violent history of the Catholic Church. And the speech was “largely criticizing the West for submitting itself too much to reason” according to the NY Times. The Church has a long history of attacking science and reason, from imprisoning scientists for suggesting that the sun is the center of our solar system hundreds of years ago to attacking the volumes of scientific evidence for evolution today. History has shown that over time, science and reason has won most of those battles. Maybe it’s time to be using more reason than less, be more tolerant and a little more humble.

Perhaps the most interesting storyline here is that this is the first time (!?!) in recorded history that a Pope has apologized for his remarks. It is shocking to me that religious leaders are still highly regarded as infallible. They may be walking the path, but everyone has missteps.

The primary dimension by which I regard and respect organized religions is by their tolerance of other beliefs, in essence their own humility. I respect Buddhism and generic notions of personal spirituality and have gradually more objections as you approach Catholicism and then Islam.

Why is it so hard to understand that as long as you call the other person an infidel, an evil doer, or tell them they are going to hell, you are building barriers, not bridges. You are creating wars, not building peace. You are causing suffering.

Well, if the Pope can finally apologize for his remarks, maybe it’s time for us all to admit that we could be wrong. And by us, of course, I mean you. Just kidding.