You are currently viewing archive for May 2008
Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
Last of the Few links to this funny but sadly true satirical commentary on our worst current ex-president.

This link is Safe for Work, but not everything on Last of the Few is.

25/05: Craziness...

Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
Not that I really care much anymore about Hillary--but can anyone doubt that the mainstream media continues to treat her like a red-headed stepchild (or, even more dramatic, like a Republican candidate in the general election)?

Now she is advocating the assassination of Barack Obama.

Get real guys. Interesting story on Politico about this era of hype over substance.

FYI: I mentioned the same exact incident back in an otherwise utterly forgettable March post: Political History 101.

In re Hillary, RFK, and Obama: much ado about not much in this case.

The Bigger Point: Get ready John McCain and Republicans. Our day is drawing nigh. And the storm of calumnious opprobrium will be intense.
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
What about John Hagee?

Although I subsequently pushed it to the back burner, I began this post last Friday, after listening to Fresh Air with Terry Gross (NPR), which re-ran (again) a 2006 interview with San Antonio-based, Pastor John Hagee. Several times during the break, an announcer explained that the segment was especially relevant considering Hagee's endorsement of McCain earlier this year.

Terry Gross's long-held fascination with Hagee centers around her fascination with "Christian Zionism," which purports to see recent Middle East history as the culminating events of a Christian eschatology as described in the apocalyptic writings of the Bible, most notably the Book of Revelation.

Yesterday, after some more recent and less-canonical revelations that Hagee had described Adolph Hitler (and I paraphrase) as part of God's plan to bring the Children of Israel back home to the Promised Land and the scene of the impending Apocalypse (fairly mild by Hagee standards), John McCain renounced the preacher's endorsement. Of course, McCain had previously actively courted Hagee's blessing (and gleefully accepted it when his advances proved fruitful on the eve of the Texas primary back in March).

However, yesterday, McCain announced:

"Obviously, I find these remarks and others deeply offensive and indefensible, and I repudiate them. I did not know of them before Reverend Hagee's endorsement, and I feel I must reject his endorsement as well."

Hagee's retort:

"You can all go to Hell" (again I paraphrase).

What does it mean?

First and foremost, John McCain doesn't know his rear end from his elbow when it comes to matters of faith. If you are looking for somebody that understands that "old time religion," you may need to get yourself another boy. To John McCain, pastors John Hagee, Jerry Falwell, Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson, James Robison, and James Dobson are all the same guy. Back in 2000, scorning these fellows was part of his political strategy. They were "forces of evil" and "agents of intolerance." But 2008 brought a new game plan: suck up to these "right-wing religious nut balls" (you guessed it--another paraphrase).

The John Hagee benediction was a conquest of expediency--but not the product of much individual forethought.

The conversation might have gone this way back at McCain HQ:

McCain aide: "John Hagee is on the phone ready to endorse your candidacy."

McCain: "Who's he again?"

Aide: "The preacher from Texas who thinks the return of Jesus is imminent."

McCain: "Doesn't help me."

Aide: "He is the guy who thinks Katrina was the judgment of God on New Orleans for condoning homosexuality."

McCain: "Again. You gotta narrow it down some."

Aide: "He has a 19,000 member congregation in San Antonio and can be seen and heard on over 200 TV and radio stations."

McCain: "Praise the Lord. You mean my good friend, Brother Hagee. Why didn't you say so in the first place?"

Bottom Line: the Hagee endorsement does not tell you much about John McCain's theology--but the entire sordid affair probably tells us more about politics than we want to know.

One other thought: for forty-plus years I have been hanging out with right-wing religious zealots--but, in all my life, I have never met one who was actually itching for Armageddon. The only time I ever hear about Christians who are mapping out the Final Cosmic Battle at Megiddo Junction, they are always on shows like Fresh Air. But I meet a lot of liberals who assure me they are ubiquitous.
Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
My Problems with Obama: Part 1

I want my president to love our country. I don't want naive, blind, love that is unaware of our mistakes and problems. But I do want love of country.

I am not sure that Obama really loves America.

Item 1: Jeremiah Wright. I don't need to rehearse the pastor's well-known tirades against the U.S. Barak sat under his preaching for 20 years, has said and written about how influential Wright has been in his life, and first defended him when he was attacked by conservatives. The rest of us may have crazy uncles who say inflamatory things, but we do not get to choose our families. We do, however, get to choose our churches.

Item 2: Michelle Obama's remarks that for the first time in her life she was proud of her country. For the first time? Not when learning about the defeat of Nazi Germany and ending of the holocaust? Not when learning about abolitionists and social reformers? Not when learning about the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, which made possible the success of the NAACP lawyers and eventually Martin Luther King, Jr.? Not when looking at the generosity with which Americans have given to worthy causes over the decades? I don't agree with my wife on everything, but Michelle's attitude would have been a deal-breaker for me.

16/05: An Old Gag

Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
George Bush:

"Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

Barack Obama:

"I resemble that remark."


Seriously, what is this argument all about?

Is Obama arguing that he has not promised to negotiate with terrorists and radicals?

Or is he taking issue with the assertion that negotiating with terrorists and radicals equals appeasement?

No matter, give the day to Obama for his clever indignation (with a big assist from the mainstream media and the Democrats in Congress who were also so shocked and offended that an American politician would take internal differences beyond the water's edge).

However, I remain convinced that Obama's anti-war stance is his biggest long-term disadvantage. He is winning daily political battles, but his determination to lose the war in Iraq may be losing him the war in November.

That is, are Americans really prepared to elect a Democratic candidate who has promised to pull-up stakes in Iraq to appease the nut-roots crowd?
Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
Thucydides, the ancient Greek writer, reports that at the meeting of representatives from Athens and Melos, the Athenians stated, "But you and we should say what we really think, and aim only at what is possible, for we both alike know that into the discussion of human affairs the question of justice only enters where the pressure of necessity is equal, and that the powerful exact what they can, and the weak grant what they must."

The ancient Greeks knew, from experience, that dealings between states were based on relative power: the stronger got what they could, the weaker gave up what they must. This relationship between states reflected the drive to power, or will to power, that ever lived in the human breast, ready to grow and flower when circumstances were favorable. Again, Thucydides relates: "For of the gods we believe, and of men we know, that by a law of their nature wherever they can rule they will. This law was not made by us, and we are not the first who have acted upon it; we did but inherit it, and shall bequeath it to all time, and we know that you and all mankind, if you were as strong as we are, would do as we do."

This conception from the Greeks finds expression in Christian doctrine as the Doctrine of Depravity, or Human Sinfulness. Our fallen natures are sinful, and one expression of innate depravity is the desire to dominate others. Reinhold Niebuhr based his system of Christian Realism on the insight that while grace may permit an individual to repent and restrain himself from self-assertion, a group or a social system such as a nation or a business cannot and will not restrain itself unless forced to. Our Founders understood this human tendency to tyranny, and so tried to protect against it.

It does not seem to me that Barak Obama really gets it, down deep in his heart. He appears to be another Jimmy Carter, thinking that if we are nice to other nations, talk with them, give no offense, then we all can sit down together and sing folk-songs.

Peace through strength, it ever must be, for there is no peace through talk unless supported by might (what the Athenians referred to as necessity or power).