R.I.P.

Following in the footsteps of the House, the Senate this afternoon approved the bill which vests in the President the power of indefinite, un-reviewable detention
(Even of U.S. citizens) and which also legalizes various torture techniques.

It is not hyperbole to say that this is one of the most tyrannical and dangerous bills to be enacted in our nation’s history.

The final Senate vote was 65-34. The Democrats lacked the votes for a filibuster and therefore did not attempt one.

Twelve (out of 44) Senate Democrats voted in favor of this bill, while only one Republican (Chafee) voted against it.
The dishonorable list of Democrats voting for the bill:
Carper (Del.),
Johnson (S.D.),
Landrieu (La.),
Lautenberg (N.J.),
Lieberman (Conn.),
Menendez (N.J),
Nelson (Fla.),
Nelson (Neb.),
Pryor (Ark.),
Rockefeller (W. Va.),
Salazar (Co.),
Stabenow (Mich).

Glenn Greenwald


All those years I had to listen to the ignorant ideological right belch forth the motto:

“America, Love it or Leave it”

Never in my darkest dreams did I imagine that America would leave me.

This might just be our darkest day in 230 years.

Yes - Do Let Us Focus on Terrorism

OK – over the past month or so President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and some others In the Admin Du’joure have asked me to pay more attention to Terrorism.
I thought they were kidding.
They weren’t.
On Sept 11th of this year – I was accused, more than once, of being soft on terrorism. That perhaps I had forgotten the “lessons” of 9/11/2001.
The President and his cronies were referring, in addition to my lack of support for their war, to my reluctance to let them get away with the illegal torture of its captives and illegally held detainees.

These detainees are terrorists, they claim, and are therefore not subject to the laws regarding the ethical treatment of prisoners.
I am not supposed to question this. Nor am I supposed to speak out about Iraq, the biggest crime against humanity in over a decade. To do so makes me unpatriotic.

Just sit back and relax while they rewrite the rules. As the legislators in Washington take away my privacy, my right to an attorney and my freedom to speak my mind, Bush will go on the offensive and twist arms until the Geneva Convention itself is modified to suit his needs.
I need not worry about the consequences of this destabilization of our humanity, or this pillaging of our very rights, for it is all being done in the name of protecting my family.

Thank God.

So I am free to relax and watch some all time great American reality TV. Survivor is offering a tantalizing season of racial combat
Can’t wait.

But I cannot help feeling guilty about being soft on the terrorists. Perhaps Bush is right – Perhaps I DO need to focus more on the terrorist threat.
Well let us make them happy
Let us re-visit the issue

What are the folks best qualified to assess this threat saying to the Bush White House?

The New York Times reports

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 — A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.

So the experts who actually do the legwork in the field are telling me that Bush has only made things worse.
Much worse.

So it would seem *gasp* that the White House has not been completely forthcoming with their assessment of this threat.
They want me to focus on terrorism and congratulate them for their efforts and support their war.
They lied to me, telling me that I am safer today than I was on 9/11/2001 in order to garner this support

They really must think I am deluded.

As we speak the white house is looking to spin this report as just another case of botched intelligence.

Just like the kind of bad intelligence that tried to warn them against the attacks of 9/11
Just like the bad intelligence that tried to tell them that there were no WMD’s in Iraq.
Just like the bad intelligence that tried to warn Bush that Iraq was NOT trying to buy uranium from Nigeria – and that he probably shouldn’t lie about it in the state of the union address as that would be an impeachable offense.

Is it not possible that there is nothing wrong with the intelligence?
Perhaps trying to “SPIN” the facts to justify ineptitude and bad policy is to blame here.

Solomon Sez

A solemn day – a solemn time
I remember how proud I was five years ago today
I am less proud now.

The bizarre and horrific events of that day have only been eclipsed by the events which have followed.
The charge to Afghanistan, which went nowhere
War in Iraq over non existent weapons of mass destruction, based on a deliberate lie.

The people I was so proud of – running off down logical dead ends, flags in hand, waving blindly and meaning nothing.

A presidential re-election that was a joke, obvious vote tampering, using false beliefs about terrorism for political gain…
What happened to the truth?

It is a time for me to gather my thoughts
It was five years ago – get over it?
I don’t think anyone with a soul ever will


Nor should we – for we forget at our own peril.

Peace

Ohio Evolves

On Feb. 14 of this year The Ohio Board of Education voted 11 to 4 to toss out a mandate that 10th-grade biology classes include critical analysis of evolution and an accompanying model lesson plan, dealing the intelligent design movement its second serious defeat in two months.

Recently there has been some debate about this among my friends and co-workers. Some comments were made about the Big Bang, as well as the role and mechanics of evolution.

Apparently many believe that evolution can not explain the diversity and complexity of modern life forms. The debate sparked this reaction from me:


I have no problem in believing that evolution as a mechanism for creation is probably able to explain everything in the universe as we see it today. Most likely our understanding of the evolutionary process is still fairly simplistic – as the number of variables and the amount of time involved is staggering.

This does not exclude me from the school of creationists… it merely, as has been pointed out, puts the moment of creation back to the big bang, and possibly long before that, and not some arbitrary point in time appx 5,000 years ago As to the nature of the big bang and the origins of everything – well that is still wide open to interpretation.

As I understand it today – the big bang gave birth to an immense amount of “energy/matter” which quickly distilled into what we now recognize to be space, time, energy and matter. – The latter consisting almost entirely of hydrogen.
I do not see any difference between stellar evolution and natural evolution here on earth. Stars formed from the hydrogen and immediately set to work creating all of the other elements. This gave rise to a more and more complex mix of material from which stellar systems could be made.
This not only made our solar system possible, it has disbursed the ingredients needed for life throughout the universe – coincidence?

Maybe.
And maybe that was the plan all along…

Many scientists see evolution as the mechanism of creation, as God intended it to be, with all the necessary parameters and rules built right in. This is much closer to my belief – that it is less of a puppet show – and more of an ongoing process, perhaps even the thought or will of god, playing itself out over time.

As for what we teach in school – well science is science and I don’t think “Intelligent Design” belongs there in the science class. As I recall – when I was taught evolution – it was taught as a theory – the logical conclusion to the evidence as we understand it TODAY without excluding the possibility that there is much more to it then we can comprehend currently.

I think that to people like my fundamentalist co-workers the real problem with this is not that I am discounting the existence of God…. It is that I am making an argument that opens the door to the possibility that Man is not necessarily God’s supreme creation
And that the process is ON-GOING and is in fact going on throughout the universe.

Too bad we don’t teach “Spirituality” in school so that kids can contemplate things outside the realm of empirical and objective observation, and do so without the constraints of any one particular faith. I have benefited much by opening my mind to all faiths and their beliefs about creation.

This has done allot to reinforce my belief that all of mankind really is connected to a small common group of ancestors. Something I always believed in my heart (Faith) and now is being shown to be likely, by the scientific evidence.

Interesting that the very same science that has been resisted by fundamentalists for so long now suggests that not only did the current human population of earth all spawn from one small group of people who began to migrate from Africa 50,000 years ago, but also that it is possible that the group in question may originally have consisted of only two people…

Most of our greatest scientists have been men of faith – many see the world of science and mathematics as expressions of Gods will.
When Keppler realized that Pythagoras’ theory regarding the relationships of the sides of a right triangle was true, whether man figured it out or not, he began to feel that understanding math and science was like understanding the mind of God.

For their rules and relationships exist outside of mans will, experience and even his ability to comprehend them.

Galileo also felt this calling – to understand science as the expression of God – and he was amazed at the discoveries he made.
For his trouble – he was excommunicated – not for being at odds with God – but for being at odds with the church.
Who among us would now believe that the world is flat? Or that the earth is the center of the solar system?

Perhaps someday our faith will grow to the point of being able to accept science as an important tool to reveal Gods will and Gods creation

It distresses me that we have to make a distinction between faith and science so clear cut.
The one does not preclude the other, it never has

The inability of most churches and organized religions to be able to assimilate what science teaches us into their beliefs distresses me as well

Science gives us technology which in turn gives us things like pesticides and fertilizer - because that is the direction we choose to drive it in.

But Science also gives us the ability to understand that these may have been mistakes…

Perhaps a little more acceptance of science in the world of faith would help us utilize it in a more productive fashion

The KAT is out of the bag

In an interview for the Florida Baptist Witness last week – Congress woman and Senatorial hopeful, Katherine Harris, openly spoke her mind about religion in politics.

Yes that’s correct – the woman who threw the election for GW Bush in 2000 by using the names of Texas felons to disallow the votes of thousands of legitimate Floridians with similar names is taking the moral high ground in her bid for the US Senate.

Among other things this frightening woman said:
“we have to have the faithful in government and over time, that lie we have been told, the separation of church and state, people have internalized, thinking that they needed to avoid politics and that is so wrong because God is the one who chooses our rulers”

So we now have a senatorial hopeful that does NOT believe in the separation of church and state… And she believes – like Bush – that God appoints our leaders.

So I have to ask – why then do we hold elections at all? Wouldn’t it just be easier to just ask WWJVF? (Who would Jesus vote for?)

She went on to say:
"And if we are the ones not actively involved in electing those godly men and women," then "we're going to have a nation of secular laws. That's not what our Founding Fathers intended, and that certainly isn't what God intended."

I don’t recall God being one of our founding fathers – but perhaps I missed something. I would like to ask a question about that though.
Eighty seven years after this nation was founded there was some division over the intent of the founding fathers with regards to states rights.
Which God is she referring to here, the one the North believed in – or the one the South believed in – during the years 1861 – 1865?

I realize that there are many among us that have never even read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights – and many more who have little understanding as to what they mean. – But I would hope that they would seek and gain that understanding BEFORE they run for congress or the US senate.

A nation of secular laws was fully intended by our founding fathers. I had thought they had made that perfectly clear.

If Katherine’s fear is that we will become a nation of secular laws – then she is living in the wrong country.
Iran is such a place – perhaps she would be more comfortable there.

I have gotten some disturbing emails in recent months; you know the chain mail kind, implying that American patriotism includes belief in, and worship of God.
They go on to imply that since the founding fathers believed in God – so should we all – and if you do not, they go on to say, you should consider leaving.

Why should someone’s loyalty be measured by their faith in God?
Saddam Husain believes in God. So does Osama Bin Laden, and so did Hitler.

On September 14th 2001 I went to visit my dad out on the family tree farm.
As I left my small neighborhood for the country back roads – I noticed all the flags hanging outside everyone’s home. (mine included)

When I got there I asked my dad “are you going to hang up a flag?”

“What for?” he replied without hesitation “Why should I feel the need to advertise my patriotism?”
“Patriotism is something you feel in here (points to his heart). It’s personal to me, and I don’t need to show it off.”
This from a man who volunteered to go off to world war two, where he served as a navigator in the air force.

Though he was a pacifist, he enlisted, because his country needed him.
He put the needs of his country above his personal beliefs.

In 1943 his plane was shot down. The crew had to bail out. One man was so nervous he pulled the ripcord and opened his chute inside the plane.
My dad got him out of the way, got all the others out of the plane then made sure the unfortunate fellow was able to jump without getting tangled up in his own rigging.

All this as the flak from the anti air guns exploded around them and their plane descended in a slow downward spiral, missing part of one wing, and on fire.

All of the crew survived the jump. But they were captured behind German lines. My dad rode out the last 18 months of the war in a German POW camp.
When they were liberated and my dad was nominated for a medal of freedom – he retorted “Nonsense! What on earth for?”

He turned down all his veterans benefits as well.
When he returned from the war he finished school and started a family. He always voted stayed active and informed, paid his taxes and contributed to his community.

When I was young our neighborhood was transforming from a middle class – to a lower class area. – Realtors were using scare tactics preying on people’s stereotypes and fears of blacks moving into their community to get people to sell cheap and move away.

My dad refused to give in to this kind of bullying.
“What good does that do my community, what good does that do my country?” he asked. “The nation invested in me – and I invested in this community – segregated neighborhoods are just plain un-American.”

He cared more about his country than he cared about his property value – How patriotic is that?
So why do I bring all this up?
Well Katherine Harris – my dad does not believe in God.