Friday, December 30, 2005

I am having an interesting dicussion

I am involved in a debate over at Ezra Klein about healthcare. I am not up to posting right now but I will be soon. Thanks to Blue Girl for kind of sort of sending me to Ezra's place. . .

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Revisiting Democracy - Real Democracy

I have received a few comments and not a few e-mails (I mailed my prayer for our country to a lot of non-blogging friends who don't realize that I would prefer their words in the comments) about this post.Most of the comments I have gotten tend towards "Well, that's a great idea but it will never happen." Or "You have your priorities wrong, we need to get the two parties to work together more."

I truly fear it will never happen. It won't happen because we the people won't make it happen. We won't demand it as we should. Understand that if it doesn't happen it is our faults. The republicrats won't make it happen, don't want it to happen. That would make them accountable to us. They do not want to be accountable to us. They want to make the money, live the life given them by the lobbyists who court them. If they were to actually clean up Washington and kick out the lobbyists they would lose out. The only way we will get change is to demand it. It may be possible to make our representatives represent us regardless of their party affiliation but in the end that will break down the party system. The party ceases to be relevant - eventually ceases to exist if the members don't follow the party line most of the time. The lobbyist cease to be relevant if we demand our politicians be accountable to us. That means that all the corporate donations to political races dry up - leveling the playing field.

We will not get the parties we have now to talk. The closest we get, the best we get is when we have a congress in opposition to the president. A lot of lefties I know talk about how much better the economy was, how we gained a surplus in budget under the democrats. This is because it was close - in congress the parties had to work together - if they didn't legislation didn't get to the oval office. But things weren't as good as they could be - if they were the neo-cons would never have gained power. Sure there are a lot of reasons aside from that that got them there but it never would have happened if the nation wasn't so polarized. Now I do not honestly believe that people in this country are truly that far apart - I know a lot of people who agree with me more than they disagree on various issues yet they still voted republican. I also know a few who just refused to vote for president because they didn't like any of the candidates. I voted for Kerry - I regret that, and not because he took the state I lived in at the time with a comfortable margin. I regret it because he had no stance, no policy, no bloody plan. He is a democrat and that is where his loyalty lies. I was voting against bush and that is not democracy.

Democracy is voting for someone who in most things believes what you believe, supports policies that you support. Voting for someone who's policies aren't as bad as the other guy will never get you the country you want to live in. Voting for the party that generally isn't quite as bad as the "other" choice still gets you a country that's hard to put yourself behind.

I love America, land of the free, home of the brave - the greatest nation in the world. I do not love bush's vision of America, I did not love Clinton's vision of America. This country needs to change with the times, I won't argue it doesn't - but what should those changes be? Should we leave those changes to a select few who decide what agenda the party will push? Should we continue to let corporations guide the helm of government? Or should we the people decide our own fates, as the founders intended?

Upcoming midterm congressional elections put us at a cross roads. Those elections are anyone's game - a lot of seats are going to shift. Who are we going to put into this power vacuum and are we going to demand their accountability? We have to tell the people we are voting for why we are. We need to tell the candidates what we want from them and make sure they give it to us - if they don't we need to tell them to leave and get someone who will. We need to stop voting for a party and vote for people. We need to take our nation back - and keep it.

If you would like to make a comment please click on "comments" and leave it there - I love e-mail but I prefer others see the comments and have an oppertunity to reply if they wish.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Oh my, the boy is too funny. . .

Last Christmas post. My son received a car hauler, a tonka truck w/horse trailer and a dirt devil cleaning set among other things. I have had the fun of him today and just found it too amusing that he has yet to put the horse back in it's trailer or any cars in the hauler. He has loaded and unloaded his legos and his new lincoln logs from both trailers repeatedly today, focused mostly on the horse trailer. I was just putting his toys away - a very rare treat for him - as he's now in bed and I just found the handles of his dust mop and broom shoved in a wrapping paper tube. He did help me clean earlier, managing to oversweep his piles over his dust-pan and onto his hand most of the time but other than that the only thing he's done with the cleaning set is put them into the tube and pull them out again - apparently he thinks they should live in the tube when not in use. . .

Sunday, December 25, 2005

My prayer for our country. . .

I normally will write about my prayers at my other blog, but tonight I would like to share this one right here. I am at a loss. While the neo-con GOP has done so much to destroy the very foundation of this country it is just indicative of the larger problem. A true democracy cannot rest upon the back of a two party system. It's easy to say, "oh, the democrats can save us." Or "we just need to get those evil republicans out and everything will be better." It won't.

This country will remain sharply polarized as long as we depend on one of two groups to represent us. They can't possibly represent us. Changing campaign finance laws is only a band-aid - ultimately the only thing that will get the corporations out of government for good is to break free of the republicratic system of government. Voting against the "other" guy does not put our interests into the political mind. It is not going to "save" America. This country has survived this long in spite of the system not because of it. To go on this way is to invite the kind of crap that Bush and his puppet-masters have rammed down our throats to arise again and again. We will never get past it until we decide we've had enough.

We must support, not only support but push into the light independents. We need to come out and run for office. We must demand campaign finance reform and demand that the courts enforce it. This is our country - we need to act like it. Instead of voting for a candidate because he espouses a belief in one or two issues we believe in we need to find people who believe in more of what we do and demand they fight for laws accordingly.

The corporations do not vote these candidates in - we do. We must demand accountability. I agree with a lot of different people on a lot of issues but I know very few whom I agree with everything. When our politicians feel that way we need to tell them how to vote. When we become distracted, allow smoke to be blown in our faces we need to take the time to sift through it and find out what's really happening. When our politicians are going to make decisions we need to tell them what we want those decisions to be.

We are on the brink of losing our nation altogether - there are people in power right now who want to keep us stupid. They don't want us to think, they don't want our opinions. They want us to trust them, allow them to decide everything for us. They are using fear to take away our freedoms, they are using wedge issues to divide and weaken us. And they are winning.

My prayer for this country, tonight, is simple. "Dear Lord, please give me the words, give my friends the words, allow their Gods or lack thereof to loosen their tongues that together we can make this a great nation. Lord we are divided, on some things we always will be, but open us up, bring us together that we might fight for our country. The man who calls himself president told us that we must fight them over there so we won't have t fight them here - show us that the fight is here and has been all along. Lord help us fight for the right to all be represented here, allow all our voices to be heard. Let us all make clear that we will not go silently into the night, to be ruled by an elite few, to be cattle. We are human, we have dignity, we are equal in your eyes, let us be equal in every eye. Dear Lord, I am afraid. Help me rise above my fear, to be a man, to demand my rights, and the rights of everyone. It is my prayer Lord, that you would light a fire in the hearts of this nation, our hearts, that we might take this nation back. In your son's holy name I pray this, Amen. . ."

What a great Christmas

We had wonderful fun today. I got to open presents with 3 three year olds including my son. They had such a wonderous morning it was truly awsome. And contrary to what those at FNC have been reporting, the joy happened even as I was the only Christian there. And most of the people there not only believe in great organizations like the ACLU, they're also vegetarians and environmentalists. . .I hope all of you had as wonderful a day as I did.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

I now embark on my Christmas horror. . .Have a blessed holiday

The time has come when I must - wrap presents. It's not that I don't like it, it's that I really suck at it and hate to do it. And thanks to my lovely friend Beth and her gift of cash that came with her wonderful cookies I have a couple more to wrap. When my son is at his mothers he lives with two other kids about his age. Their mom's don't usually get them a lot. Cay's mom bought them both a couple of things and as I now have a little extra I decided they should both get a copy of Caleb's favorite new book, "Good Night Opus" by Berkley Breathed. A great book propagandizing the wonders of infinite imagination.

I am going to spend Christmas morning at Cay's mom's house and then if all goes well he and I will go sledding after. We may, however wait until we can go with a couple who are my good friends and there daughter who is Cay's good friend. In any case we will have a wonderful time and his roommates will each have wonderful new book.

I am now going to procrastinate just a short while longer before I pop in a movie and get to wrapping. Have a lovely and relaxing holiday and peace be yours. . .

update; several hours have gone by now, I had to get tape and tarried at Amy's (Cay's mom) to give the boy one of his presents. Now I go to wrap the rest of the presents. . .And watch a movie. . .

Update; I have finaly finished with the wrapping about ten hours after I intended to start. Thanks again to Beth and also thanks to my roomie for leaving a little bourbon when he left town which helped the process once I finaly started. . .

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The consequences of Not Impeaching bush

mr bush Has set a dangerous precedent. He has said clearly that he has absolute power in this country. He can do whatever he wants with impunity. Sure, he's out in a couple of years anyways - or is he? If he decides he can break the law and undermine the constitution as he sees fit, why should he leave? Why relinquish his power or at least the power of his presidency? Even if he were to go peaceably what is to keep his predecessor from taking even worse totalitarian stances. We just bottomed the slippery slope and went off the cliff. If this maniac is not removed from office the damage he has done to our already tenuous democracy will be irreparable.

A false sense or even a real sense of security is just not worth it. Even if we really were more secure because of these draconian, fascist measures it would not be worth it. Hundreds of thousands have given their lives so that we might have these freedoms that this son of a bitch is pissing away. And the truth is we are not a modicum more secure because of it. When will people wake up and understand that with every illicit act, with every divisive stance this regime takes, the fucking terrorists are winning. They want us afraid, they want us to change - that's the point. Every freedom we let this regime take from us is another point for them. bush Is their kind of people. He's a fundamentalist that absolutely thinks he is right and that frees him to do anything he sees fit - so does Osama, so did Saddam, so did Hitler - need I continue? There is no difference between them - they think they have the authority, God given in the case of all but Saddam.

And that is the crux. bush Thinks his authority comes from God not his constituents so he doesn't need to heed the will of the people. If he isn't stopped he will destroy America and much of this planet with it. . .

Monday, December 19, 2005

Arlen Spectre

Seems to think that spying on Americans without a court order is unconstitutional. He thinks rather than jumping to conclusions we should wait for the hearings. This implies there will be some - this from a republican't. . .

On the possible impeachment of bush

I have been hearing a lot about this topic lately given the potentialy illegal and obviously dangerous intrusion into the lives of American citizens. I have heard the argument that impeaching bush this close to the Clinton impeachment would set dangerous precedent. That this could lessen the signifigance of impeachment.

Bullshit, forgive my language but thats what this argument is. I would argue that the impeachment of Clinton set a dangerous precedent and has saved bush from impeachment all ready. Enough is enough. This "president" has lied to us, killed over 2,000 American troops, has killed over 100,000 Iraqi civilians and decimated our economy. Those are to me, impeachable offenses but our legislature has avoided the I word for the above mentioned arguments. When will we decide to remove this criminal - what is the last straw? Will we wait until he decides to go after petty drug dealers with "terrorist" ties to the environmental movement? Will we wait until he spies on gay rights activist because of their ties to AIDs patients who might splash their blood at the hick kicking their ass, obviously a terrorist act? Will we wait until he spies on journalists who call over seas to those with ties to terrorists? Hmmm. He may already be doing that. He has been spying on Americans with no oversight. Sure a few congressman knew about it but couldn't taljk about it - the problem is that the courts are supposed to provide that oversight - they are the only ones with the proper authority and for some strange reason they have been left out of the equation.

This is insane. bush has shredded the constitution and wiped his tail with it. We need to decide that enough is enough. The other argument I hear is that because of the Republicant controlled congress it just wouldn't happen. I think we may have finally reached the straw that breaks them too. Repubs joined the dems in fillibustering the patriot act - they may just surprise you and join in impeachment too. This is a blatantly criminal act that needs to be redressed. We must demand that our lawmakers remove this criminal from the oval office. Before the riech marches into all our homes and puts us against the wall. . .

Sunday, December 18, 2005

For the record I am not a democrat - though I am pretty angry. . .

I just read mr bush's speech from this afternoon. He gave a lot of rhetoric, though to his credit he apparently cleared his desk and stared into the camera, and the gist was that anyone who disagrees with the war is an angry dem. . .I'm not a democrat. I am quite irritated with the dems too. I just tend to rant more about the republican'ts because they are the ones currently screwing up our country. The only conccesion I will make to the dems was they didn't try to take away so many of our rights as the right did. They didn't screw up our economy quite the way the right has. And they at least talk the talk about health care - something I lack unless I do it myself. The right just seems to give a big F*** YOU!!!

I cannot begin to understand it. A so called culture of life that glories in the death and destruction of civilian populations, that executes prisoners for heinous crimes - even though they might, just might be killing an innocent so they can have revenge. They deny millions of men, women and even children healthcare or a means to get healthcare and tell them it's their own fault. They cut off food subsidies to the poor while they give corporations multi-billion dollar tax breaks and even give our tax dollars to bail corporations. They tell us they love education while they cut those budgets to shreds. They allow over 6,000 US citizens to remain unaccounted for 3 months after a horrendous natural catastrophe, including many children.

This is not a culture of life - this is a culture of death. They revel in it, they love it, they friggin worship it. Death and human suffering, as long as it belongs to someone else - is owned by someone else and their insular lives are protected from it's remotest presence they are just fine. Take care of each other and pat each others asses - or at least their wallets with our money and screw everyone else. They can starve and burn with fever because they do not matter.

I have not seen a doctor in two years, I can't complain too much, am bright enough that I should have a job that would allow that. My problem now is that if things get much worse, I could soon be saying the same about my son, just shy of four. Millions of children in this country go without healthcare already and that is going to grow if this "culture of death" isn't stopped.

It Is Time To Take Democracy Back, Before We Die. . .

Many hours - many cars moved to get 30 miles home

I am now experiencing ice and snow in Portland and the worst is yet to come. . .I took 3 hours getting home. Much of it was taken up by helping people stuck on the ice. I was not a moment too soon buying chains for the truck today. I still need tighteners but even slightly loose they got me moving. If only more folks had gotten them I might have gotten home sooner.

It's kind of funny though because my son and I had been planning to go into the mountains for snow today but his mis-behavior at school on Friday precluded that. Apparently, God decided to bring the snow to him instead. I had to help a friend move a washer and dryer after church today (just before the snow hit) so Cay was with a friend his age when the snow hit - I, alas was on the road with a trailer. He got to go out and play in the snow for about an hour while I fought my way back through the ice.

We got just a sprinkling of freezing rain that crystallized all the moisture 0n the road while I took him to momma's before heading over the Columbia to get home. I would estimate I helped move about 75 cars - many were a necessity to get through, some were just to be kind. It took a while but was a good lesson to my son about being neighborly. I have just the perfect amount of bourbon left to kill the pain and here I am warm and blogging. . .

Friday, December 16, 2005

I've got the joy!.!.!

I am sure many of us are sighing in relief to know that some Republicans joined the Dems in filibustering provisions of the un-patriot act. I know I am along with singing prayers of thanksgiving. I am guessing the news that mr bush giving an executive order allowing the NSA to spy on us without warrants gave many, Republicans and otherwise, pause in their pursuit of the shredding of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

I also had an interesting day with my son. We were in heavy traffic after I picked him up from school so I turned on the radio hoping for a traffic report that would give me a better route. The radio was tuned to Air America and Randy Rhodes was on. I went to change it to find a traffic report when my son started to throw a fit - apparently he decided he loves Randy. So we listen to it and head on (at 15mph avg.) and stop at Trader Joe's on the way home. While we were listening, Randy played a clip of Sen. Byrd's speech in congress today - it was inspiring, and I would imagine convinced some Republicans to reconsider their position. So we get to Trader Joe's, get our stuff and go to the check-out. When we get up to the counter the woman ringing us up asks my son how he's doing and he says he is really happy. When she asks him why he says; "that old bird man saved us from those damn republicans today." The look on her face (and a few others) was priceless. When the guy running the lane next to hers asked him where he heard about that he replied, "I heard it on Randy's show - I love Randy." I give him points for asking, "Randy Rhodes?"

Later, as we are finishing our books in bed time, we do our hugs and kisses - then we pray. We prayed for our friends and family and everyone else we love and the boy finishes with; "And thank you Lord, for saving us from those damn republicants, can you help us with those democats next Lord? Amen. . .

The moral of the story is - even at just under 4 - your kids pick up a lot more than you realize. I said nothing bad about the "democats" - today. For that matter I mentioned how much I appreciated the decision making of some republicants as well. But we do occasional have some interesting political discussions - more often than not me complaining about the state (or lack thereof) of democracy in this country.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Ford has decided to advertise in gay publications again...

Apparently the fact that while the AFA boycott garnered very little attention, the fact that Fords caving to the pressure from that hate group made it to national media attention changed some minds at Ford. Congratulations and thanks to everyone who let Ford know just how they felt about this. Now lets let the gov. of Mississippi know how we feel about Cory Maye and the justice denied him. E-mail the governor:

Hey Pentagon!!!

Now I can't be sure I am on any list, am being "watched" but if I am, I am afraid of you. I am afraid of being put in jail and being unable to provide for my son. That said I will not stop. I will not let that fear silence me. I will go to protests and both vocally and in writing say what I believe. During the Vietnam war you were playing these silly games but apparently you didn't learn; Americans don't like being spied on by our military. If your goal was to swell the ranks of the peace movement, congratulations because if I know Americans, that's just what you did. I fear being imprisoned. I fear being unable to provide for my son. I fear far more the nation I will leave my son if I shut up, if I cave into that fear. So go ahead and watch - just remember, we are watching you too. . .

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Death Penalty

It has been loud in the news the last few days, Tookie to be executed - now gone. I have posted about Cory Maye in Mississippi. I have been finding myself really exploring my feelings about the death penalty a lot and I think if any good comes from the coverage of Tookie Williams it should be precisely this process. I have long held the opinion that I support the death penalty in any case that is 150% proven - i.e. none of them. The risk of executing the innocent far outweighs the "value" to society. My thinking has undergone great changes in the last few days - forced to truly consider the ramifications.

It has been shown in countless studies to have no effect as a deterrent to capitol crimes. There have been no statistical differences in the number of such crimes committed in areas where one could be executed for them vs places where there is no death penalty. I would theorize that while some people may well be deterred from such a crime if their life could be forfeit, others may well fear life in prison more than execution. Whatever the reason there is no statistical justification for the death penalty as a deterrent.

Some argue that execution helps bring closure to the families of victims. While some may feel "better" knowing that the perpetrator of some crime against a loved one is dead, I suspicion many more feel no better for the vengeance society has enacted for their benefit. When we watch television and the movies showing a death chamber scene, the families getting "peace" it's easy to get swept into the emotions and feel a certain satisfaction in that resolution. I think this is mainly something that exists only in the movies. The reality is that revenge eats away at the soul. It is not peace it is a hollow "victory" whose effects regardless of anything else will not bring back the victims.

It is easy to say "if that happened to my kid I'd kill the fu^$#@!!" But that is why we have a justice system - we don't have to take that into our own hands. We have courts to decide whether a person is guilty and what the punishment should be. When we decide that the punishment should be death, though, this lessens us as a society, as a whole. We become the criminals, advocating behavior that, for all the self righteous indignation, makes us no better than them.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Mississippi "Justice" strikes again. . .

I posted the other day about a Cory Maye in Jefferson Davis County, Mississippi who has been found guilty of the capital murder of a police officer. Publicola has provided Mississippi statutes on justifiable and excusable homicide.


"(1) The killing of a human being by the act, procurement, or omission of another shall be justifiable in the following cases:

(e) When committed by any person in resisting any attempt unlawfully to kill such person or to commit any felony upon him, or upon or in any dwelling house in which such person shall be;

(f) When committed in the lawful defense of one's own person or any other human being, where there shall be reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a felony or to do some great personal injury, and there shall be imminent danger of such design being accomplished;"


"The killing of any human being by the act, procurement, or omission of another shall be excusable:

(a) When committed by accident and misfortune in doing any lawful act by lawful means, with usual and ordinary caution, and without any unlawful intent;

(b) When committed by accident and misfortune, in the heat of passion, upon any sudden and sufficient provocation;"

The emphasis is mine but when you consider that it was late at night and the police were executing a warrant on Maye's duplex neighbor - not him - it becomes clear that there were clear grounds for Cory Maye's actions. His daughter was sleeping in the same room when a man in assault gear breaks in the door. Maye has no reason to believe that this is a cop - he was sleeping - why wouldn't he fear he and/or his daughter is threatened? They live in a "bad" neighborhood. I lived in a bad neighborhood for quite a while and would probably use deadly force if someone in black kicked my door in when I was asleep with my son with whom I share a room. I don't have a gun as handy as Mr. Maye but I have practiced getting it and removing the safety lock in past years. I do so no longer but have considered it at times. I do know that I would use any means possible to defend my child in such a circumstance as Cory Maye was placed in when the police mistakenly broke down his door.

Radley Balko has called the circuit court clerk for Jefferson Davis County, Mississippi and while he has yet to read the warrant had the clerk check - she did not see Cory Maye's name on the original warrant that the police were serving when they broke into his house. He had no record. He was a dad defending himself and his child. He has been sentenced to die.

All right folks, Ford has caved to bigoted hate groups - time for a Boycott

I don't always agree with John Aravosis but he provides an excellent forum for media stories about the right and their abuse of the American way of life. Another reason for my appreciation of John is his commitment to equal rights. He primarily talks about gay rights but he shares in my belief in equal rights for all Americans, and the people of the world. Right now those rights are under fire from yet another corporation - Ford. This attack takes a very interesting form in that Ford has decided that gays don't have the right to be advertised to in gay advocacy formats in the U.S. Also they have decided to stop including open homosexuals in there advertising.

This policy comes after negotiations to end the boycott by the American Family Ass. This story has been picked up by a number of media outlets in recent days. Now I am trying to get into the habit of not posting a lot of links and using this blog as a forum for opinion. I am going to add more links in the side bar so folks can look into the sites and sources I use for news and look into things themselves. In this case however I am kind of ticked - well really ticked.

John mentioned that the Jaguar affiliate of Ford was rather angry with Ford. So when I sent out e-mails to Ford and it's affiliates I was very polite to the folks at Jaguar sending them a even nicer letter than I did the rest of my list. Here is what I wrote to them:

I am sorely dissapointed in Ford's decision to remove Jaguar's advertising from GLBT publications. I have been iffy on Fords in the past but I have bought them - no more. I also hoped that at the point in my life when I could afford one I would own a Jag - I have dreamed of it. If this policy is not reversed I will not even consider it an option any more. I am not yet able to buy a car in that range but I am growing a small business and will within the decade. I realize that one sale lost isn't that big of a deal to you but I pray I am not the only one - and it is rather a big deal to me. Please, pressure the execs at Ford to reconsider this bigoted, hatefull policy - it is beneath you all. And for the record so you understand that this is an issue that effects more than the LGBT community, I am not gay - I just feel very strongly about equality for everyone - including the right to have you trying to sell them cars.

This was their response:

Dear DuWayne Brayton,

Thank you for contacting Jaguar Cars.

We were sorry to learn of your dissatisfaction regarding our projected advertising plans.

Jaguar has decided not to advertise in gay publications in 2006. The decision was taken entirely for business reasons, and reflects a sharpening of our media focus and pressure on our marketing budgets. We have chosen to work with much fewer print title partners across the board next year. For instance, Jaguar will cut the general market print titles it uses from 56 in 2005 to 34 in 2006 (equivalent to a reduction of 40%) and it will reduce automotive enthusiast titles by 25%. Obviously, marketing plans for future years beyond 2006 have not been determined.

Jaguar values diversity among all of our constituents and pride ourselves on strong and clear values – respect for our customers, communities, employees, suppliers and dealers; acceptance of our differences; inclusion of different people with different perspectives; and integrity to always do the right thing. We value all people – regardless of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and cultural or physical differences. This is a strong commitment we intend to carry forward with no exception.

We can only hope that, perhaps in the future, you will give us a chance to restore your confidence in Jaguar.


Colleen Hogan
Jaguar Cars

If you have any questions or require additional information, please feel free to contact us at 1-800-4-JAGUAR, option 9, or by e-mail.

Why are you so angry? you might be thinking. Well, Ford has now admitted that they made this decision based on negotiations with the AFA rather than the claim that they did it for strictly business purposes - before Jaguar sent me this e-mail with Fords previous lie intact.

After I finish writing this poast I will be writing a snail mail letter to Jaguar, letting them know that I do not appreciate being lied to. And I will explain that the only way to get my business - ever will be to change this hateful and bigotted new policy. It is loathsome that they would choose take away the rights of gays to simply be targeted for marketing - not to mention ridiculous. Here is Jaguar's web contact page when e-mailing choose customer relations center as the subject and other as the sub-catagory. This is their snail mail contact which would carry more wieght than e-mail:

Jaguar Cars, Attn: Customer Relationship Center
555 MacArthur Boulevard
Mahwah, NJ 07430-2327

I pray for and thank you for your support in this. Equal rights is the responsability of all of us. This is America, if we deny anyone the right to be who they are we ave all lost it. And keep in mind that equal rights are not special rights they are only the same rights the rest of us enjoy.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Why it's time to leave Iraq

I have had a lot of conversations about the war in Iraq lately and then heard a soldier's letter to O'riely this evening. The theme I keep getting is that we need to stay - that we are winning. The problem I have is that we are fighting a war against the Iraqi people as a whole - not the insurgents. They want us to leave and stop killing them. Instead of defending them against tyranny we have become the tyranny.

The other them I run into is that if we leave the genocide is just going to start again. This is where the UN needs to step in and help clean up the mess we have made. All that we are going to achieve in Iraq at this point is to keep the Haliburton feeding trough open for business. If we stay Iraq is going to continue to spiral into civil war and disintegrate. If we leave there is a chance that the UN can step in and facilitate that disintegration in such a way that the killing may stop. I am not nieve enough to say this is a certainty but it is better than the alternative - thousands more dead American kids, hundreds of thousands more dead Iraqis and proof to the world that we are a rogue nation.

With the pre-emptive military policies of our current administration we would bomb Iran, bomb Syria and really sink ourselves into an untenable position in the Middle East. The bush regimes policies will only continue to lead to more and more death and instability in the region. We need to say that enough is enough. We need to demand that our "president" pay for his crimes.

I am not saying I am a fan of the Iranian regime. They are ruthless, inhumane, a totalitarian regime that is flat out evil. That does not mean we can just go in and destroy them the way we have Iraq. If we are going to push for regime change in Iran it has to be done considerably differently than we went about it in Iraq. We need to learn from our mistakes and try not to destroy everything in order to remove the current government - one we are responsible for. We may not have put them in power directly but they are there due to our interference installing the previous totalitarian regime. A lot like we installed Saddam in Iraq.

As for attacking Syria - they have new leadership that has yet to get a chance to form a new government. He was educated in the west, by many accounts didn't intend on being the ruler - he got it by default when his brother was killed. I am not going to say he is going to be a savioer to Syria but I think we need to see what is going to happen before we decide to bomb them into submission. The Middle East policies of the bush regime are broken and directly embroiling us into decades of death in that region. . .

A post from the agitator. . .

I rarely get over to Balko's blog but I noticed this somewhere else and just had to mention it. Yet again we have a victim of the War on Drugs and a broken justice system. This is about a man on death row for shooting a cop. The cop broke into his apartment - the second in a duplex housing a drug dealer. When the officers came in he feared for his 18 month old daughter sleeping in another room. He shot and killed the first person he saw - an officer dressed in assault gear - not identifieing himself as a police officer. This is a sick and twisted case - read it and weep - I did.

To explain my beliefs

I will cross post this to my other blog as it is what I started it for.

As a Christian I believe it is not my right to judge others - that is God's job. I have a responsability to live my life in accordance to God's word and reflect Christ in me. I must do my best to be the sort of man that makes people want to emulate me. I am not perfect - Lord knows I'm not but I try and usually do reflect the joy and love given me by the Holy Spirit. I know some people who claim the bible renounces homosexuality and those who say it doesn't - that is between a person and God. When a person prays and meditates up[on God's word and allows the Holy Spirit to so fill them that the things of man are washed out of them the Spirit will put upon their hearts what is right.

I do know that the bible tells us that there is no greater sin than to drive a person away from the truth of God. The bible also tells us that greater than hope, greater than faith even is Love. This is what I choose. The best way to drive a person from God is to judge them and foster hatred of them. This is unforgivable as it imperils those who have been pushed away from ever knowing God's love.

Love does not judge. Love does not choose this person over that. Love is unconditional. I am learning to think first of love when people upset me, to pray for them rather than curse them. The more I do this - the moe I truly live love in every way the more the pains and worries of the world slip away - the stronger I feel.

When it comes to secular law I believe that it is just that - secular. When any church interposes it's will on secular law it demeens both the Church Family and society as a whole. God gives us free will to be what we will. When churches force their way into the secular that free will is taken from all and makes us slaves incapable of reaching for ourselves the joy of Christ. I do not believe our nations founders left one theocracy to found another. They went so they might worship in their own way. Worship is between a person and God so too is sin - it is not to be interfered with by our government. . .

I am having issues with spell check - sorry if my spelling isn't up to snuff. . .

Peter Singer and my own beliefs on Gay marriage. . .

I recently picked up "The President of Good & Evil" by Princeton proffesor of ethics Peter Singer. I just read the preface to the new edition in which he discusses bush's beliefs on states rights. I have been criticized in another blogs comments for my strong belief in states rights because it was "code" for allowing states to set there own civil rights laws or lack thereof. I would like to address this first. The US constitution clearly puts forth equal rights for all people - it has been interpreted differently but unless you claim certain people aren't people it more than justifies federal civil rights laws. The example Pro. Singer used was bush's initial attitude was that gay marriage was a states issue - but when the Mass. Supreme Court legitamized gay marriage suddenly bush decided to push for a federal constitutional ammendment to define marriage as being between a man and a woman.

I should clarify before I continue that I am a Christian. I also believe in equal rights for all people - not just straight people, not just white people and not just the wealthy. It is my belief that if the federal government were to get into this discussion of gay marriage at all it should be with the attitude that no state should be required to recognize the legal marriages of other states. It has no business defineing mariage at all.

On a state level I believe that the criterea should be one of two things.

1. That for legal purposes any couple seeking the legal bond of marriage and the benifits it offers should be allowed to do so. I was listening to a women who is the child of a gay father. She has talked with many people including children over the years about being the child of gays. A number of children she has spoken to since this debate regained national prominance wer not, until they saw it on the news, aware that their gay parents were not in fact married. There ae over ten million children in this country with same sex parents. What politicians and religious leaders do and say directly effect all of these children. This is not some abstract debate too them - it is their lives being debated.

2. Short of allowing anyone and everyone to marry the State should refuse to legaly recognize any marriage. It is a religious institution and thus should be treated as such. The seperation of church and state is a bullwark of our religiously tolerant society - therefore if marriage should be legaly denied anybody it should be legaly denied to all. Removing marriage to the bounds of non-secular law is the only way this country can claim equality for all peoples. If one wishes to embark upon the institution of marriage it should be up to the church to decide whether that couple should marry - not the state.

I have grown up in a society where the divorce rate is more than half of all marriages. When I hear people talking about defending the sanctity of marriage I retch. Heterosexual couples have done more to destroy the sanctity of marriage than queers ever could. I have spent years swearing off the idea of marriage because I saw it as a joke - produced by straight people. There was no sanctity, it wasn't sacred. I have since decided that I was mistaken. That those who entered marriages so lightly were not truly married. They had the legalities down but it was all a sham. The most distructive force in marriage is in fact the legality of it. It needs to be removed from the legal arena to settle back into the religous arena.

I do believe that anyone wishing what are now the current legal benifits of marriage should be allowed to enter civil unions - even those who have been married by their church. Denying people the legal benifits of a loving relationship is wrong no matter what ther beliefs or sexual preferences. But saying that marriage is the way to achieve those ends is truly the destructive force eating away at the sanctity of marriage.

They took my grandpa off support

He died at 8:15 pc last night. He was on dialasis when his liver started to fail as well - he would not have survived the night even on support. He was a Christian. . .

I am at a loss on how to explain this to my 3yr old son. He only met him once for a collective 15 hours or so but when we talk about all the people we love his great grandpa always comes up. Strangely enough a few times over the last couple of weeks he has specificly mentioned him during our bedtime prayers. Usualy we are specific about his moma, me and him - the rest of our friends and family are lumped together except where there are specific needs. I hope this is a sign that talking about this will be easier than I am expecting.

Now I am trying to sort out my feelings about this. Though we never realy had a relationship I think I can honestly say that I did love him. I think I saw him a collective 3-4 days in the last 20 years but he was my grandpa and a part of my history. I do regret not knowing him better. When I said he wasn't a good man I miss-spoke. He was a solitary man who held his feelings close in as many in his generation (and even this one) did. And while he wasn't much for expressing his love of others my mom has made clear that he did in fact love us. While I never had the chance to make peace with him in a meaningful way my mom and her sibs did.

My grandpa was a linemen on the Alaskan pipeline. He sent years running over 200 miles of pipe through the Alaskan wilderness. After he retired he ran a small toystore for a few years then went to work in Texas overseeing pipeline construction - after he was forced out he went to work for another union and supervised even more pipeline. I believe he was 78 when they finaly made him retire. He had three pensions from two unions, social security and was either working or trying to find work up until his death.

He was a workaholic who couldn't, well, express his feelings. He was a less than ideal father. He was a less than ideal grandpa. But I shall miss him and regret never truly getting to know him. . .

Monday, December 05, 2005

My grandpa had a massive heartattack last night. . .

My mom told me the progmosis isn't very good - she's flying out to Pheonix today to be with him.

It gives me a lot of mixed feelings. My grandpa isn't a very good man - he wasn't a good dad nor much of a grandpa either. But he is a part of my history and I haven't ever had the chance to realy know him. I suppose I do love him but he never tried to convince me I should. In fact I don't recall him ever telling me that he loved me.

The thing is I decided a long time ago that I should get to know him - that it was important that I do. Back when I was hitch-hiking the country I thought a few times about visiting him - but I never managed to get to it - even when I was as close as 113 miles from his home - I couldn't be bothered to see him. Now it's likely I will never get that oppertunity.

It is hard to grasp that the oppertunities I have to know and make peace with a few of my family members I am not close to are rapidly slipping away from me. It is upsetting in the least that I have procrastinated with even something this important. It is indicative of my personality that I should do so - and wrong. I hope and pray for the strength and ability to raise my son to be a very different man than myself. Oh sure, I have some great qualities but where do they take me - I live in poverty, I am destroying my body to live this well and I have failures of health due to my own rampant drug and alchohol use as a younger man.

It is amazing that the onset of what will likely be the last few days of a man I hardly know, my grandpa, have opened up a vast panorama of introspection - with an intensity I usualy try to avoid. . .

Saturday, December 03, 2005

There seems to be a problem with word verification - I am disabling it temporarily, hopefuly very temp. . .

Friday, December 02, 2005

mr bush is Trying to Turn America into a Rogue State

Let me reiterate, the Iraqi government wants us out. They have legitimized the killing of US troops. The bush regimes answer; to call the insurgents terrorists and refuse to leave. bush Has flat out said he will ignore the wishes of the soveriegn Iraqi government, the American people and even members of his own regime - "We will stay the course."

At home he wishes to wittle away at our liberties and privacy, our religious freedoms and rights to due proccess. He is allowing policy to be made by religious fundamentalists and trying to give our tax dollars to religious groups. This makes the US more like Iran than the land of the free and the home of the brave. We just seem to get farther and farther away from the "America" I grew up with in school. . .

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Still our "President" insists on his course

The Iraqi government has legitamized the unsurgency, the American people want us to pull out, Condi said we'll pull out and the Iraqi government is demanding a staged withdrawl - having us out in 2 years. Yet our "great leader" insists we will stay the course. Rummy identifies the insurgents as terrorists - something the Iraqi governement claims is not the case. A whole passel of draft dodgeing cowards call decorated warriors cowards - yet I dare say they would discourage their own kids from going into this war. Funny that, no one in this administration had the courage to go to war themselves but they so easily send our children to fight and die or be maimed, don't want to take care of those wounded and then dare to call those who have been to, sent their children to war and ask that we pull out cowards. In fact they cal seventy some percent of Americans cowards. At least Nixon had the courage to resign in disgrace instead of being forced from office kicking and screaming - mr. bush will likely be the first president of this nation to actualy be removed from office. He truly is the worse president ever.