Monday, March 28, 2011
It's not like every soldier would do this kind of horrible thing. Most go to war, and if they are part of the killing end, they come back hurt inside for what they had to do. They didn't do it out of desire for glory but rather with an understanding sometimes it's what you have to do.
Huckabee just said he'd rather we be feared than liked as a way to put down what Obama has tried to do across this world. That is the mentality of many from the right wing, especially the extreme end.
What Huckabee should have said is he'd rather be respected than just liked. I'd have even agreed with that. We won't be respected when we take into our military the dregs of society which clearly we have had to do when we won't pay the price of the wars we support. And that doesn't mean every soldier signing up is the dregs. Most are upstanding people. We have had to though take those into the military that earlier would have been rejected due to having been in trouble other ways. The military should not be expected to clean up the messes other people made with their children.
Respect, whether it's for a nation or an individual, is earned not demanded. You can't just say you are the best in the world. You have to demonstrate it.
One good thing about what happened with that kill team is they were charged and are going to pay a price for it, but it isn't the price they'd have paid if they had done the same thing to Americans. Does that earn us respect?
Saturday, March 26, 2011
When we look at how consequences play out on a global scale, whether in our own country or around the world, the predictability factor gets even worse for computing results. What sounds good and noble often ends up anything but.
The United States watches as the Libyan people try to gain their freedom from a brutal dictator. The conflict turns violent as the dictator strikes back to maintain his power. Sympathy. Desire for doing what is right. Emotions boil. Any talk of looking at history is tossed aside.
Under the banner of the UN, the US enters into the conflict the usual way-- bomb bomb bomb
Iran Libya like what McCain once joked. What will be the consequence? It might be democracy. It might be another dictator rising up, after the people get tired of the puppet the West puts in place, and either might end up as vile as Qaddafi. Consequences
Do nothing/do something/do anything and with any option we might end up with more people in the Middle East hating us. Not only that but how do we pay for what we are doing? Not paying for Iraq got us to where we are today. The people who want war often also don't want taxes to pay for it. Consequences
The US decides to help Afghanistan establish a democracy, which means eliminating the Taliban. The military then has a reason to stay in the war zone after its original purpose (getting bin Laden) failed. Chaos, the unpredictable enters the picture and the end result this time has ended up with some soldiers murdering and brutalizing innocent Afghani citizens. Consequences
Excuse me, but what did Americans think war was all about? When you look at the consequences of teaching people to kill others, of inuring them to the results, what happens in the war zone, once they return home? War is about killing and breaking things. Teaching and hardening some people to do that can also have other results when they come home. Consequences.
This goes beyond war to other more obviously humanitarian actions on a global scale. The Gates Foundation is putting a lot of money into inoculating children in Africa. They want the US to put money into that also. So happily the children grow up, you know the ones who would not have. We take the unexpected, death by disease out of the picture, but does this happen in a land without jobs, without physical resources?? How will they live? Will the foundation be there for them then? (This applies to the right wingers who don’t want any abortion but also don’t want any programs to help the children after they are born.) Consequences.In the case of Libya, to evaluate even full possible consequences would require looking not just at our history with them, yes, we do have one, but also to what has happened other places with such 'peacekeeping' interventions-- or not.
Many use the example of Bosnia and justify this intervention because that worked out. Well first of all after all the years of ethnic hatred there, can we really say that situation is over? It might be peaceful for now, while peace keepers are in place, but it's a long life and nothing like that is for sure over.
It didn't require bombs being dropped in Northern Ireland but a negotiated peace. Maybe it was because the sides were not broken into convenient bomb dropping zones, but there they resolved it as well as they could. Negotiating is what some see as having no value. It's all guns and bombs for them.
In Libya, this isn't ethnic cleansing. It's a civil war. Should other nations become involved in such, no matter how horrific it is, unless it involves them as it did England with Northern Ireland? If the outside forces take one side in a civil war, can their involvement end short of the other side losing? Then do they have to stay to ensure the results remain? What happens when the losing side also begins killing civilians with brutality?
We didn't get involved in Rwanda in 1994, and it is claimed 800,000 people were murdered in acts of genocide. No oil there though. Does there seem to be a connection to why the West does go to war over humanitarian concerns? Oil there-- we get involved. Route to oil there-- we get involved. No oil, forget about it. Friend of ours, we stay out. Guy we don't like, we go in.
If we do something and it was for a truly peacekeeping goal, it has more chance of being helpful than if we do it to secure oil or some other resource for our corporations. While we talk about how we don't occupy, the US does have some forces in friendly countries all around the world, not counting the (current estimate) 120,000 in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq. Arab worlds might not see that as being no occupation if it lasts in the Arab countries.
We have a very powerful, intimidating (and it is purposed to stay that way) military force. It's like the guy on the block with all the AK47s but it's not supposed to worry the neighbors. In 2008 (we have been increasing our force since then) of our 1,430,895 troops on active duty, we had U.S. armed forces stationed at more than 820 installations in at least 135 countries. There were almost 78,000 in Europe, 47,236 in East Asia and the Pacific, 3,362 in North Africa, the Near East and South Asia with 1,355 in sub-Saharan Africa and 1,941 in the Western Hemisphere not including the US. The US clearly thinks it has a global mission but what exactly does it accomplish with these forces?
When we took part with the UN action over Libya, and it was a lot ours, the Tomahawk missiles fired were so expensive ($1,000,000 each) that most nations wouldn't even think of using them. We blew off nearly a hundred from what I read. Nothing to us... other than the fact we are supposedly so bankrupt that we can't afford to fund women's birth control in our country...
Consequences, even when well intended are sometimes ill fated. Still we cannot avoid actions out of the fear of that. We have to have good intentions and accept that sometimes what starts out to be good will end up anything but. I hope Libya won't end up that way. Based on history, I am apprehensive.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
How many times does war actually settle anything? Sometimes it looks like it did-- for awhile. but maybe it really just encourages quick solutions that force through the will of the strongest. Maybe it encourages a people to see violence as a better solution than negotiating. I am not one to believe no war is justified but I am one who thinks a lot of them are entered into very naively for what they can accomplish.
If we had done nothing in Libya, there would have been a massacre of those who had been encouraged to believe their revolution had a chance. But once we stepped in at all what did that require? What will it take to change the path there?
Part of the reason the right wing likes the idea (and some lefties) of fighting a war in Libya is that Qaddafi is a bad guy. But then how many wars have ever happened when the one side didn't see the other as the bad guy? Saddam was a bad guy. Was it the job of the United States to get rid of him? When we got rid of him, how did we guarantee a government we would like better? Is it one nation or even all nations' right to decide that for another sovereign nation?
If the rebels in Libya can hold their ground, they will have to have arms given to them, training offered as these are ordinary citizens there who have gotten caught up in a cause. It won't be enough to do air strikes. These men will have to be helped.
Anybody remember Afghanistan where we also armed a rebellion? The Mujaheddin were fighting the Soviets. The United States decided it was in their best interests to arm them and help their efforts. That led to the Taliban and Osama bin Laden and 9/11.
Will it be the same way with Libya? Nobody and I mean nobody knows. It might end up good. It might end up with a brutal dictator taking over from Qaddafi assuming that the West or his own people get rid of him.
Some who don't like what Obama has done don't like war at all. That's Dennis Kucinch who never believes a war is justified. Some don't like it because they are glory hounds and caught up in the mystique of war as a mystical and wondrous answer and Obama didn't do this as a United States effort alone. Some of them are relishing the excitement of a revolution in their own country.
Some feel he should have acted sooner, but I think, what he was doing was not wanting to act alone. If you think we are unpopular in the Middle East, just add us occupying Libya to that ledger and see where it gets us. The only real hope we have that this will work is that it be seen as an effort by the world-- that the world no longer accepts brutality and slaughter of civilians. Those who hate the very name UN do not want that to happen under their auspices.
Qaddafi has been trying to get along with the West. He's done a lot of placating to make it seem he's one of us. Then along came this Zeitgeist sweeping the Middle East with a desire for revolution and instant changes, a desire of a people to rid themselves of brutal dictatorships, and suddenly there was no time for change happening gradually. It was today or not at all.
Would he have left or let it go if he had had a place to go? Maybe but he clearly did not. He fights to the death or ends up like Saddam-- hung after a trial. He isn't popular anywhere in the Middle East that I know of; so he had no place to go.
No ground forces, Obama said. He is parsing words. From what I read Marines are on their way from Camp Lejeune as peacekeepers... when there is not yet any peace. That is a path to a full scale war.
We might be saying we recognize one side of Libya as now speaking for the people but that's half of the nation. The other half still support Qaddafi. That means it's a civil war and we have let ourselves become part of it within a UN effort... or if not that, then on our own. Rah rah and all that!
Saturday, March 19, 2011
He's criticizing Obama now for not immediately bombing Libya (taking up the old McCain theme, I guess) and said he was basically inactive in helping Japan with their nuclear crisis. Oh my let me count the ways that Gingrich is a troll. It's hard to beat the first paragraph for a few of them but keeping it current, is he totally nuts? Probably not, and as for being a troll, he only looks and acts like one. He's actually a grifter. He's one of those smug guys who tells everybody how smart they are and has to always have the last word even if they know nothing about the subject. For all he's supposed to be an intellectual, it's looking less and less likely that he is.
Libya is a complex situation at the very least. If the US goes over there with fighter jets under the auspices of the UN at least we are part of a group. We will have less cost and responsibility for the outcome.
I think everybody can see the concern for the Libyan people, but when it comes to what to do, that gets tougher. The United States has gutted its own manufacturing base by selling it off to the highest bidder in a drive to get more profits for the stock market. That means less jobs to pay for all the things we have taken for granted government can do within its own country, things like maintaining roads, checking on food safety, enforcing regulations on polluters, educating children, managing the safety of the public, protecting our borders, seeing to those aspects of the Constitution that Republicans often seem to want to forget like:
... to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity...Given what has happened to our jobs, we are hard put to do what the Constitution calls out as duty-- especially with two wars still going on in the Middle East, wars that we had no business fighting except for the need for foreign oil.
So here is Gingrich wanting more wars and mad at the president for not personally cleaning up Japan' nuclear disaster. I just have two questions:
To whom is this man pandering and is it working on them?
Has his current wife ever worried what will happen if she gets sick?
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Basically at this point, there is not much Obama can do to please anybody. He is being criticized from the right, the left and the middle. It happens on many many issues where people dislike how he has handled them or dislike the results. The hate toward him shows up the most on anarchist sites and ironically those can be from the extreme left or the extreme right. Revolutionists are mad at government and whoever happens to be president at the particular time.
So reading some of the vitriol from (in this case) the far left, I decided to do some research on one of the issues where Obama just got renewed heat-- the case of WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning.
Like probably most Americans I have not known a great deal about him. I knew he was the source for the classified information that WikiLeaks had been releasing, some of which it is said has led to the death of American sources, increased the rage toward Americans in the nations where we have been waging war, and might even be a factor in the recent demonstrations across the Arab world.
Some revealed things that the United States had done in places like Iraq or Afghanistan that were clearly wrong but might have come out another way other than through the Internet and by one man's decision. It's amazing how often the bad things that do happen in war (and war is about bad things happening) eventually are investigated and dealt with. I am thinking here of Vietnam but even the Pat Tilman killing. It happens. It seems it'll never come out but then it does.
To start with here, I don't read WikiLeaks and had no interest in reading what they were printing at any time on anything; so I had to go looking for information on this whole situation.
I did know many on the right felt Manning deserved a quick death penalty for what he did. The military has said they are not seeking that although they are looking to try him on the charges of being a traitor to his country.
If you are aware of history, you are aware that traitors are never treated kindly-- unless their side wins. Some are hung like Benedict Arnold, whose name still stands for a traitor. Some are put into prison for a lifetime. One was ordered aboard a US Navy ship and kept there for the rest of his life where he was to be forgotten and never again told of the name of the United States. Being a traitor, in any country, anywhere is taken very seriously not only because of what was done but to discourage more of it. So it has been for Manning.
I understand that we are first humans and we have a responsibility as humans to treat all humans right and hope they will do likewise to us. But in the essence we are also members of a country, a community, a family, and that cannot be ignored as part of our deeper responsibility.
What I did not know was anything about him personally. After reading some anarchist sites that were basically encouraging revolution over his treatment and were further enraged at Obama who said he felt Manning is being treated appropriately by the military, I went looking for a less biased source for who he was and more about what he actually did plus possibly some motive behind it.
Finding that out isn't easy as if you read a left wing site, he's a hero for revealing our secrets (of which it appears he hadn't even bothered to read most of what he sent to Assange). If you read the right, he should have already been executed already. So in looking for the facts of who he was, I found the easiest and most unbiased source was Wikipedia (which I suppose both extremes would consider unfair). It gives his history and provides links for further information as to who he is, what he did and the possible consequences from it for him and others.
If you read that, and I recommend you do read that even though it doesn't make for fun reading, the first question you will likely have is-- and they let this guy have access to classified documents? What were they thinking?
This reminds me of the shooter at Fort Hood who clearly should have been labeled trouble and yet for some reason wasn't. Is the military infiltrated with those who want to see us fail?
Despite how many on the left see it, Manning was no hero in my book as he might well have revealed things that cost others their lives. He didn't care. It is pretty apparent from his history and problems that he has been an angry young man, angry at his community and at his father, who had been in the military, for rejecting him as a gay young man.
It is hard to say why he joined the military. It was about the most self-destructive action I can imagine for someone who rejects authority. From what I can tell and based on what he did, he saw his view as necessarily the right one and that was the case with everything.
I will give his supporters this. He might have been mistreated. He might have had every reason to be angry but again-- THEY let that guy near classified materials? It boggles the mind. Does the military pay any attention at all to behavioral issues?
So here is where we come to why the bad guy is Obama to so many on the left. He's taking the heat for the treatment Manning has been given, the heat coming from those already angry at our president for a multitude of other reasons. When he had that press conference where he said he believed that the military was treating Manning appropriately, well that was pretty much all it took for anarchists to surge forward with vitriolic accusations against Obama-- and frankly anybody who still supports Obama. That soooo reminds me of how the far right operates.
There are those who are angry that Manning was being kept naked at night for sleeping (that changed March 10th according to the above link probably due to the outcry) and that he has to endure daily naked inspections. The military says Manning is a suicide risk. The ones outside know better though, I guess.
Manning brought the latest indignity upon himself when he had been allowed to sleep in underwear and he said why allow him that much as he could use it also to kill himself. That reminded the military he was right. Some have stuffed underwear way down their throats and suffocated themselves. So he lost the underwear.
The argument has gone that keeping him in solitary confinement and naked at nights are torture. They compare it to Abu Grahib which if they actually looked at what happened there is not the case. They now are saying Obama is guilty for anything done to Manning and that will probably include finding him guilty in a trial; and they will find him guilty because he told others what he had done.
Manning also told others he had been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, which I don't know if he was or not; but if so, there is a lot more going on in this young man's head than anger.
There are those on the right and left, and they are both places, who want to encourage revolution and anarchy, they don't really care. They don't care what the result of anarchy will be. They are like Manning just plain angry and that anger at our country and really the world (see anything on the riots whenever there are G-20 Conferences) has now traveled to Obama. Right or left, many blame Obama for EVERYTHING that happens anywhere in this country or the world.
Was what Manning did really an evil act? Heroic? The answer to that will probably answer how you feel about his treatment. It won't though explain why you blame Obama as left and right will both find fault with him no matter what he does in this case.
Manning claims he was revealing really bad things being done by the military and he chose the only way he could to get the information out. The problem is he may have also revealed a lot of things that weren't about wrong but did and could cost others their lives, people who are also trying to do what they see as right. Manning turned himself into judge and jury and now will face the consequences. Incidentally after all the furor, they say he does have a night robe to wear but he says it's coarse and uncomfortable...
How we see all of this will be dependent on the filter through which we view the world. I have my own and today I opted to put up a picture of me with glasses which I almost never do as generally I wear contacts. The filter through which I view the world cannot be seen but only observed through my actions and words. It's that way with us all.
I had finished writing this and then we sat down to watch a movie, 'Get Low' from Netflix. I had no idea that it would fit so well with what I had seen in this current story of right wrong and how what seems one way can end another. It stars Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Bill Murray and Gerald McRaney in an exploration of life and morality based on a true story according to the blurb from Netflix. Given how much is negative right now, I recommend it as a nice break and yet very real.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Perhaps he desires to improve public education in his state. That's cynical of me to even say when it's obvious his main goal is to gut it. Well how about improving roads? More likely it'd be turning them all into toll roads.
Then there is who is the 'our' in 'our moment'? It's not you and me. We can bet on that. More likely, Walker sees himself in sync with the guy he thought he was talking to-- David Koch. Wonder if Koch, who was not actually on the other end of that phone call, feels the same way or does he want to buy political tools with brains? He got embarrassed by the whole thing and that is not likely to give Scott Walker the 'in' with him that he had obviously hoped he had.
Since Walker found a way around following the rules, maybe I am wrong and Koch will like that just fine. Will the Wisconsin people follow through with trying to block the law, to recall the legislators who did this? They can't go after Walker until he's been in office a year. Another year, at the least to do his dirt on the working people of the state.
Going back to November, actually earlier that fall, Farm Boss and I felt very strongly that we needed to donate money once again to political campaigns for at least two Oregon politicians in tough races. We had no idea how important that would be. Although we saw what was happening on a federal level, we didn't grasp the plans for the state level with a cultural agenda to remake the America we have lived in and loved, remake it into a new system of feudalism.
In looking at what happened in other states, it now makes sense why our Republican candidate for governor kept his terms general. There was no talk of their real agendas. Union busting was not on the list. That was saved for, as Walker told the fake Koch, dropping the bomb.
If our state had been another with a new Republican governor, I bet we'd be seeing the same battles being waged. Instead of our Democratic governor spending his time trying to balance the budget and improve education in our state, we'd have been seeing a very different battle being waged-- one intended to change the course of this country in a way that we would find abominable.
These governors claim they ran on what they were going to do. What they said was vague on details, and as you know, the devil is always in those details.
Although I had no idea of a bigger agenda last fall, I should have given who has been funding these races. What we read is that these multimillionaires and billionaires got together and decided who would fund which campaigns so as not to duplicate their efforts. They wanted something in return for that, didn't they? A new course for this country. One that gives the wealthy even more power and riches.
Last fall what had triggered our concern, in time to be part of a local effort to stop it, was seeing a strong Oregon representative being put through a very tough battle to hold onto his seat by a candidate who, based on his extremism, never should have even been nominated, let alone had a chance to win in our area with our values.
Yet, as we look across this country, incompetent and scary ideologues did get close and it took the people getting out on the street, working for their guy, and giving up their own hard earned dollars (in a difficult economic time) to stand against the rafts of money that were coming from the wealthy.
Who knew back then what they were expecting in return.
We know now.
They want it all.
Walker has gotten most of the attention but these battles are going on in many states with Republicans in control. A good example is the governor of Michigan who wants a law that would give him the power, in a fiscal emergency (which he declares at his will), to put out of office local elected officials and install instead anyone of his choice.
You thought it mattered who you voted for?
Taking down the unions is part of this as when the people are united, they stand against privatization. Therefore unions and their workers are being demonized. Teachers are called slobs. You read over and over in right wing blogs how schools should be privatized so that the parents have control over what is taught. Unions are the bad guys because they are the ones standing against what the rich want and standing together, we cannot be beat.
Who do you suppose Michigan's governor would put in place of the elected town officials in case of such an 'emergency situation'? How about corporations who we now know have personhood thanks to the Supreme Court with members like Clarence Thomas who has voted when he should have recused himself due to personally profiting from the decisions. The goal of the political leaders on the right is to privatize everything except maybe themselves.
Corporations have plenty of reason to support such an effort. Look at the billions that flowed to them during the Iraqi war and they didn't even have to do competent work to get them with shoddy accounting to tell where the money went. Same thing after Katrina. Water districts, road services, any of them can be put in the hands of say a Haliburton and you would have zero say in it as it was an emergency.
Naomi Klein wrote a book called Shock Doctrine, which we bought when it came out, about how people lose power when governments convince their populace that they are facing a disaster. We have seen it play out over and over and especially in the last ten years. Scare people enough and they will give up their own power. They will yield control. They will willingly allow someone else to have economic power over their lives. It works and as long as it works, it'll keep happening on both sides of the political spectrum.
People like the Koch brothers don't need a military to topple a government. They don't need to run for office. They are buying their dictatorships, and Americans are letting it happen because of their fear which is so easily aroused.
Add to that the way citizens are so distracted by the latest celebrity meltdown. Is hearing every detail of what is happening to these people necessary? Beneficial? It should be a personal matter, important only to the family and friends of the person falling apart. For the rest of us, it's just a distraction from what is actually happening and does matter to our own lives.
What I think they mean by changing the course of history is totally privatizing Social Security which will make it worth, as a pension system, what the rest of them are to anybody but a Congressman. There will no longer be a viable retirement for people in the middle class.
Their idea of changing the course of history will mean more and more money for the wealthiest citizens.
It's not a change in the course of history that right now if you get sick, you can have the freedom to just die if you can't afford insurance or doctors. In a medical emergency, if you have any savings, kiss them good-bye. That trajectory was changed with health care for all but it wasn't fixed and now they want to take it back to what was-- which means without insurance bye bye sucker.
To them changing the course of history will be ending public education as anything but a warehouse. They want the elite taught in public schools and as for everybody else's kids, hey being a maid or handyman is not bad work... for
They are looking at changing the course of our country by selling off what is publicly owned, oh not the Grand Canyon but the national forests, the bridges, the freeways, public buildings. Lots of money to be had there-- for awhile and then comes the real fun. You and your children and grandchildren can pay to use what you once built.
Changing the course of history means back to dirty air and water because regulations cost money. Anything profitable will be run by them and they already have the financial institutions. That isn't enough. They want the rest.
Shock doctrine ought to be making us all think where Republicans are trying to take this country. They are calling it one thing-- freedom, while it is taking away that exact thing. Without economic clout in a world like ours, how much freedom do we have?
This calling it one thing while doing another is the game we have seen played out over the last years. They have become so blatant now that they don't even try to hide it.
What is happening is easy to see. Does anybody care or is it just who won the last sports event, the latest reality show, or another celebrity self-destructing on camera? Will it be too late by the time the bulk of the population realizes what is happening? Stand together now or be alone then.
I do not think it's too late. If I did, I'd not be writing any of this and would instead be figuring out how to get my family and myself as far out of the system as possible. However, I think we can still save our country, keep the values in which we grew up believing, but it takes us figuring out what is needed and standing together to demand it. We have to be realistic and accept change does have to happen; but this isn't what we are seeing today. There is enough money for us all to live a good life but not when some want to live like kings-- with none of the responsibilities to anybody else. A 1% tax increase was too much for someone who wants it all.
Walker might have been right about this being a turning point. The question is which way does it go? Toward better lives for us all, an education system that really does help children learn, jobs when they get out of school because we don't have a tax system that rewards those who send manufacturing overseas? Will we put money into infrastructure or sell it all off. There are a lot of choices being presented right now and some of them would make it too late tomorrow.
Monday, March 07, 2011
How seriously should we on the left take his candidacy for 2012? In a recent poll 25% of Republicans preferred him as their candidate which put him at the top of the pack. In the South, he would be pretty much a lock to not only win the nomination but probably take all of those states in an election against Barack Obama. He speaks the language real well and I don't mean with an accent.
"I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough. And one thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American. When he gave the back the … bust of Winston Churchill, a great insult to the British. But then if you think about it, his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather." Mike HuckabeeThat was wrong on so many levels that it's hard to know where to start. I don't think it's accidental that he claimed Obama was raised in Kenya. Mau Maus didn't have revolutions in Indonesia. Evidently Mau Mau to some people is code for scary black person. So unless he thinks Hawaii is not part of the United States, he deliberately chose what he said and he knew his audience.
His conclusions based on a lie (or stupidity) are just as questionable ethically. Although I and most Americans would consider England one of our strongest allies in the world, we have a checkered past with them. Does Huckabee figure the Revolutionary War was no big deal but a Mau Mau uprising was? How did he mix Obama's history with Africa's?
Churchill's bust was a loan to the Bush administration after 9/11. The loan was extended but it was never a gift. Not only that, but Obama replaced it with a statue of Lincoln. He was supposed to admire Churchill more than Lincoln? This was not an insult to the British people and I doubt that Huckabee really thought it was. He just knew who was listening and how they wanted to see Obama.
Since Obama also had a white grandfather, which one did he have in mind? The one who really raised him or a man he never knew?
This all leads me to a couple of thoughts but they go in different directions. The first would be that Huckabee isn't seriously running for president and prefers the half a million a year he currently makes. Except he has that job; so what is he running for? Maybe he is thinking there is soon to be an opening for a nutcase commentator at Fox News.
The second thought is more upsetting to me. He has decided who Americans are and he thinks the majority of them are Tea Partiers-- enough to get him elected if he plays up to their fears and prejudices. And that one bothers me the most because it's not about him.
Would Americans really (other than the South where it is already shown he would lead the polls) vote for a man who has no respect for science? Can they seriously consider a man who does not believe in evolution? How about one who takes every word in the Bible literally as instructions direct from God. Boy I wish I hadn't asked that question because I suspect more and more as they turn to entertainment that doesn't educate and the schools systems are torn down, the curriculums turned away from facts to religiosity. Too many simply do not know what evolution is about other than it's a lack of faith to believe in it.
I wouldn't have at one time, but I think the folksy, witty ex-governor of Arkansas is one of the scariest of the Republican slate of possible candidates and given the trolls on that slate, that's saying a lot. Huckabee didn't make a mistake with what he said. He knew exactly what he was saying unless he is in the beginning stage of Alzheimer's. He knew and he knew who would love hearing it. Once words like that are out there, they stick. The denials disappear and the only thing left in people's minds are the lies.
There is nothing in Christianity that requires purposeful ignorance. There is nothing in it that allows someone to lie to gain favor with others. Christianity is about concern for the weakest among us. It is about sacrifice of self for one's brother.
Huckabee is choosing his parts of Christianity, ignoring the ones that don't suit this country's brand of christianism. He calls himself a follower of Christ, but to me he's a religious fanatic with a smiling face and that's scary. Little by little what is behind that smile is coming forth.
I read this article by Mark McKinnon saying that Huckabee should run on the issues not on scare talk. Except does McKinnon realize what issues those would be? Huckabee just put down a movie star who is pregnant and castigated her for being a single mother (even though the woman is engaged). He's against all abortions. He is also against being pregnant and not married (Are you listening Sarah Palin?). The only solution I see to that-- guaranteed anyway-- is celibacy. I also remember when, as Arkansas's governor, passed a law enabling couples, such as his wife and him, to enter into a marriage where there was no divorce possible. Basically it says he didn't trust them to stay married if the government wasn't enforcing the deal. Listen to him on pretty much issue and it leads to one question, and it's one I have asked myself often since 2000.
We don't have to ask who Republicans are or for what they stand. They have shown that time and again anytime they have power, but who are Americans? That's the one where I worry about the answer.
Thursday, March 03, 2011
I found several articles that laid out the problem and defined what had been going on there. This was all of course, before the overthrow of Mubarak. It was long before the stripping and brutal beating of an American, female journalist where the men not only groped and hit her but pinched her hard enough to make it look at first like bites. It might be though you can see from what that came by reading these articles.
I understand that many cultures have men who sexually abuse women if they can get away with it. I also understand not all men in any group act this way. There are men who respect women and feel an obligation to protect them as much as possible. I am married to a man like that. My son and son-in-law are men like that. I have many male friends who are men like that, but unfortunately, even in this country, there are some men who are not like that.
Some years back they did a poll on college men in the United States. 25% answered they would rape a woman if they could get away with it. College men are supposed to represent educated men who have learned to appreciate higher values. Obviously not. Does anybody think the numbers would be lower in other social groups. My experience with men (and that includes in Christian groups) is that they would not be. They don't do such because there are penalties, take away the penalties and a certain percentage won't act any differently than those in Egypt.
My concern on this comes on several things. One is, of course, what will happen next in Egypt? When crowd photos were shown, most of the women wore robes and hair covering. That doesn't guarantee the women will not have civil rights, but it's not a good sign-- not when you don't see any women other than covered up. For the men to believe they have a right to sexually grope any woman they can (read first link above), that makes it seem even more unlikely.
Doubtless men in the United States, those reading this even, consider their culture far above such behavior. Most of the ones I know are; and yet...and yet. How many American women have suffered similarly?
I have read that 25% of American women were raped or sexually assaulted. Of the women who have survived rapes or rape attempts (17.6%) 21.6% were younger than 12 when it happened. (8% of men have said they were either raped or sexually assaulted). [more on those statistics]
Those are pretty high numbers for us to feel smug about being more advanced as a culture. How many women have kept their mouths shut? How many have refused to get justice for their daughters when they find it has been done to them? What are the real figures?
The first thing the Republicans did, once they got in power in the House, was submit laws attempting to limit abortions (heading toward taking it away from the choice of the woman for that of the government) even in the case of incest they sought to require there must be proof of force. They backed off but last I heard they are still trying to get that through despite the fact that for a minor to be raped necessarily means it is forced and a felony.
They also are eager to cut all funding for Planned Parenthood where many women have gotten birth control advice, prescriptions, free vaginal exams, breast cancer screenings, and health exams. When I was in college and about to be married, I was one of them. They provided my first such exam and my first birth control pills.
Republican leaders in the House maybe don't know all the good Planned Parenthood does. Actually I don't think they care. Evidently they saw another of those manipulated videos put out by the ones who did the Breitbart ones, pasted together segments, taking what one agent said in one Planned Parenthood office (someone who was fired for it) as part of a right wing sting, and it was all the excuse they needed. The women who might die because of their action, what's that to them? They know it satisfies their extreme right base.
I think women from all walks of life better think about where this is heading. Planned Parenthood is not permitted to do abortions with federal dollars as the law now stands. That's not good enough for the fundamentalists. The result of less birth control will be more unwanted pregnancies but this is not about logic. It's about religious fanaticism.
Nobody forces someone to have an abortion. The most recent attack by the pro-life forces is accusing those of doing abortions as guilty of ethnic cleansing. This accusation is almost so despicable as to seem beyond them, but it's not. Clean air means more pollution, patriot act means torture and no trial and on it goes.
Nobody goes into any home and demands the pregnant women have abortions rather than carry their babies to term. This is a choice. It is one that the left wing would try to make less difficult by urging government programs to enable women to keep their babies. Who wants to end those programs? If women are informed as to methods of birth control, more won't be getting pregnant when they didn't plan it.
What we are seeing from the right wing is the opposite of what they claim. They say they are about liberty but what they do is take away the rights of women to make the choice themselves. It's about making it as hard on her to make that choice as they possibly can.
The irony is those same people then walk away from all responsibility to the child as soon as its born. They don't want to provide medical care, food or even schooling. In this case, they also want to take away a place lower income women can go for examinations and birth control.
What kind of people would find limiting the freedom and health care of women as their first priority? Fundamentalism takes away freedom from others and that's the truth of it. Often those doing such things are hypocrites regarding their personal lives.
The very men who will vote against such help for poor women are the same ones who will put an ad in Craig's List advertising for sexual services from women or in the recent case evidently also from transsexuals. Sure not all of them are like him, but too many are like Newt Gingrich who worked to impeach Bill Clinton for sexual sins while he was busily embroiled in his own. They think they are too slick to get caught and a certain percentage of them are.
The issue here is a hard won freedom for women to know that if they do get pregnant, when they had not intended to do so, when they cannot afford emotionally or physically to raise a child, they have the right to decide what to do about that. The issue is also what does it say about those who would take that choice from women?
The party that talks so much about liberty is one that uses their political might to take away that freedom, who will make it harder for women to even get medical help if they don't have money. As many people have said, make it easier to get birth control, help the women who do get pregnant and need help to raise the baby, and let the women make the choice.
Some might think these topics don't relate, but I think they do-- it's an attitude. It's about how women are seen by those in power. In our country as well as almost everywhere around the world, the power is in the hands of men.
You know even women themselves can be convinced they should not have power over their own lives. That happens most through religions. It happens when women are convinced they cannot be trusted with power, that they are at fault when something goes wrong. We, who know that is not the case, male and female, need to speak up on this issue. It should not be right versus left but right versus wrong.