Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Is it Senator Ted Kennedy complaining about President Bush ignoring the laws governing government tapping of phones and "mining" e mails?
It's Tom Delay (currently under indictment) urging that President Clinton be punished for having an affair with an intern.
Friday, December 23, 2005
Los Angeles Times latimes.com
"It was always expected he would be controversial. Bolton came to the post by the political back door: President Bush appointed him during a congressional recess after it became clear that the battle over his confirmation was going to be a long one.
"The ambassador clearly relishes a fight. He recalled that when he was applying at law firms for a summer job back when he was a young man, one lawyer told him to rethink his desire to be a litigator, saying that most of his interactions every day would be with people who wanted to "rip your clients' lungs out."
'"He asked me, 'Is that really what you want to do?' And I thought about it and I said, 'Yeah, that is exactly what I want to do.' " '
A Quakerly take on this might be that someone who wants to do the work of peace making (ostensively the mission of the United Nations) might wish to have just such an attitude: where else would one dedicated to the values of the Sermon on the Mount want to be, as Jesus wanted to be with the sinners? One who wanted to reconcile differences with other nations and build enduring structures for peace would, of course, want to work among those who hate the United States.
But that is not, of course, why Bolton wants to be with people who dislike the United States. He's not interested in peace making. The United Nations to him, and to the current administration, is really just one more weapon in the global war for American hegemony, it's one more front in the war to keep the Great American Party going. This war has been going on for so long, now, that we are acclimated to it and we don't call it a war, at all. We call it "The American Way of Life.."
And that is why they hate us.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
In the midst of this panoply, there arose the astonishing story of an evolution mural that was taken from a classroom and destroyed in 2002 by Larry Reeser, the head of buildings and grounds for the DASD. At the June 2004 meeting, Spahr asked Buckingham where he had received a picture of the evolution mural that had been torn down and incinerated. Jen Miller testified that Buckingham responded:
“I gleefully watched it burn.” (12:118 (J. Miller)). Buckingham disliked the mural because he thought it advocated the theory of evolution, particularly common ancestry. (26:120 (Baksa)). Burning the evolutionary mural apparently was insufficient for Buckingham, however. Instead, he demanded that the teachers agree that there would never again be a mural depicting evolution in any of the classrooms and in exchange, Buckingham would agree to support the purchase of the biology textbook in need by the students. (36:56-57 (Baksa) (emphasis added)).
Case 4:04-cv-02688-JEJ Document 342 Filed 12/20/2005 Page 108 of 139
Buckingham was a school board member and one of the major supporters of the intelligent design program.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
"...Iraqis once again demonstrated their eagerness for democratic practice by standing in long lines at voting places around the nation. How can the United States possibly leave this job unfinished? To leave is to fail."
"President Bush is making selective use of an opinion poll when he tells people that Iraqis are increasingly upbeat.
"The same poll that indicated a majority of Iraqis believe their lives are going well also found a majority expressing opposition to the presence of U.S. forces, and less than half saying Iraq is better off now than before the war."
This Quaker's take: The lack of integrity snowballs as people gradually lose sight of the Truth, mesmerized by the ventriloquist voice of gods they have created to serve as the benefactors in their fertility cults.
9 "Therefore I bring charges against you again,"
declares the LORD.
"And I will bring charges against your children's children.
10 Cross over to the coasts of Kittim and look,
send to Kedar and observe closely;
see if there has ever been anything like this:
11 Has a nation ever changed its gods?
(Yet they are not gods at all.)
But my people have exchanged my/their Glory
for worthless idols.
12 Be appalled at this, O heavens,
and shudder with great horror,"
declares the LORD.
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall."
Merry Christmas for Christ/The Spirit is born...and dies...and is reborn...in the hearts of all people every day.
"...the Quaker conviction that covenantal participation is based not on doctrinal confession but on hearng and following God's voice."
(Quakers and the Rise of Capitalism)
Friday, December 16, 2005
"WASHINGTON - A year ago, at a Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Fla., a small group of activists met to plan a protest of military recruiting at local high schools. What they didn't know was that their meeting had come to the attention of the U.S. military.
A secret 400-page Defense Department document obtained by NBC News lists the Lake Worth meeting as a “threat” and one of more than 1,500 “suspicious incidents” across the country over a recent 10-month period.
“This peaceful, educationally oriented group being a threat is incredible,” says Evy Grachow, a member of the Florida group called The Truth Project.
“This is incredible,” adds group member Rich Hersh. “It's an example of paranoia by our government,” he says. “We're not doing anything illegal.”
My take on this is that it's too bad we're not actually dangerous...
It's not hard to understand how a peaceful, education oriented group is considered to be a threat. The Jesus movement, a peaceful educatonally oriented group, was a threat to the Jewish establishment of its day for the same reason that Quakers, another peaceful educationally oriented group, was a threat to the Puritan establishment of its day--both worked, in essence, to unite the practices of the society in which they lived with the vision of the covenants with God that they espoused.
But that is not what our current "peace" movement is doing. What Rich Hersh says, above, is true: what we're up to is not "illegal"--it's not even dangerous to anyone except the particular leadership of the moment. We do not pose the kind of danger to our culture that Jesus and George Fox did. Our peace movement is an "anti a particular war" movement. When the war in Iraq is over, when George Bush is gone from the White House, our peace movement will fade back into the woodwork of history, its lasting influence negligible. Not really dangerous, at all.
The Jesus movement and the Quaker movement (the "Lambs War") both sought a fundamental reordering of society from the grassroots. Each sought to turn its culture away from the hollow forms of its day, and from the frustrating, alienating social and spiritual practices and relationships that divided people and made them prey upon one another, rather than praying with one another. Each sought to turn its culture away from materialism and the other "doctrines" that lead people to shove everything except God into that God shaped hole in their heart. Each sought to turn people away from the things they pursued to satisfy themselves which were actually the very things that were making them crazy (Both John the Baptist and James Nayler, if they walked around downtown Portland long enough to acclimate themselves to the cultural trappings, would understand perfectly well what was going on and what the antidote is).
Our current peace movement is not dangerous in this way. Our current peace movement speaks little of the dynamics of our society that make war the natural outcome, not an irrational abberation, of the pursuit of its values. Our current peace movement speaks little to the kind of cultural conditioning that includes things like two national holidays a year that amount to little more than info-mmercials to sell/condition us on the idea that killing people is the way to establish peace and to find security.
Yes, there is a part of this peace movement that is not animated by the simple belief that it's just the war in Iraq that is wrong but, rather, that war is a logical and necessary manifestation of a system that humans have developed to rely upon for their "security" instead of God, who have placed creaturely well being above spiritual well being, who have, to paraphrase Isaiah (and Jeremiah and...), gone over to the dark side.
If the day ever comes that the vision of this element in the peace movement grows into a significant presence then it will be as dangerous to our fallen culture as a whole as the current peace movement seems to be to the current administration.
For the moment, however, the peace movement is not concerned with spirituality and is content to leave the culture of the SUV in place. For the most part the peace movement is as spiritually disoriented as the Bush Administration and for so long as it is will have a similar, transitory impact on the unfolding of events.
Monday, December 12, 2005
administration was determined to achieve greenhouse-gas reductions not
through binding limits but through long-term work to develop cleaner
There is, in short, no reason to change the way that our
conditioning/culture keeps people consuming, consuming, consuming to
make some people who control the production wealthier, wealthier and
(the Bush administration sent someone named "Adam" out to give the
world this message. What's funny is that it doesn't strike them as
ironic enough to avoid doing). (I believe, myself, that there are no
coincidences where the Spirit is at work revealing Truth to those
looking for it.)
The message is that we should just rock on, that there is no reason
for us to throw off and repent our worship in the fertility cult of
ever expanding capitalism and development...there is no reason for our
party to ever end. That's what say our high priests of prosperity and
materialism. (we don't pay temple prostitutes to ensure we get a good
harvest, rather we pay investment counselors and brokers and insurance
agents to ensure we get a good return on our investment.
Because technology will save us (this is not really a new message, is
it?)...we don't have to save ourselves from the consequences of our
debauchery...machines will save us--but, of course, even if their plan
works out they will only "save" the earth, not our souls...there's
still the matter of the impact/karma of the debauchery that will work
out in our personal futures.
The Bush administration (and the bi partisan prosperity machine it
whose agenda it pursues) assures us, again, that there is no reason to curtail
the profits by easing off on the ruthless exploitation of the earth and
of other humans. There is no reason to find simpler and healthier ways to
live (finding, for example, things other than SUVs to fill the God
shaped holes in our hearts). We can also make additional profits by
the technical means we will use to keep the party going!!! Machines
will make it possible for us to orgy on while continuing the exploitation of the
earth and other human beings. It's win-win.
Rhetorical question: where is John Woolman when we need him?
Rhetorical answer: we all have to be John Woolman, ourselves.
"In all our cares about worldly treasures, let us steadily bear in
mind that riches possessed by children who do not truly serve God are
likely to prove snares that may more grievously entangle them in that
spirit of selfishness and exaltation which stands in opposition to
real peace and happiness, and renders those who submit to the
influence of it enemies to the cross of Christ."
John Woolman's Diary
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
The current struggle between Congress and the Administration over how detainees in the "war" on terror should be treated has come to center on our "torture policy." The Adminsitration is actually splitting over this and Vice President Cheney is becoming more isolated, with even the President now making comments indicating that he does not favor the use of torture.
It's good that so many members of Congress are following Senator John McCain's lead in attempting to control this aspect of the Adminsitration's treatment of detainees. It has many in the adminstration thinking along these lines...
From the Washington Post (Monday, November 7, 2005)
"The other side of the debate (from Mr. Cheney) are those who believe that unconventional measures -- harsh interrogation tactics, prisoner abuse and the "ghosting" and covert detention of CIA-held prisoners -- have so damaged world support for the U.S.-led counterterrorism campaign that they have hurt the U.S. cause. Also, they argue, these measures have tainted core American values such as human rights and the rule of law.
"The debate in the world has become about whether the U.S. complies with its legal obligations. We need to regain the moral high ground," said one senior administration official familiar with internal deliberations on the issue, adding that Rice believes current policy is "hurting the president's agenda and her agenda."
Torture makes us look bad, is what they are saying. The President's handling of detainees, at least in regard to torturing them, has apparently pricked the conscience of a significant number of Americans and that's making the way the Adminsitration is doing business difficult to sustain. If Congress gets puts a stop to torture of detainees who knows what other aspects of Adminstration policy about how these people are treated will come under scrutiny? And if it comes under Congressional scrutiny it's possible that it will, eventually, come under Congressional oversight and control. So far the President has had few limits placed on his discretion and that is how he wants to keep it.
As welcome as is the news that torture is falling out of favor in the Adminsitration, this is not really a victory, at least not from One Quaker's Take. A new incident of terror, a fresh flurry of propaganda, a new media push, some additional spin could very well turn the fickle public back to favoring torture.
Much better would it be to hear something like this from the Presidential Press Secretary:
"We know that there are many who, out of their fear and frustration, want us to torture people to stop terrorism. But our prayer and worship and meditation is leading many of us in the Administration to re-realize that the use of torture violates the most basic tenets of every spiritual tradition that can be called a "World Religion." We have been led by the Spirit moving in our hearts to realize that we have lost our way and are generating karma, for ourselves and for others, that diminishes the domain of God on Earth, that threatens the security of everyone on the planet and that will outlive the current conflict to ignite many more, for decades to come. Therefore, the President has ordered all armed forces and intelligence agencies under his command to cease any current use of torture and will meet with Congressional leaders today to plot a strategy to get an anti-torture bill to his desk as soon as possible."
Wouldn't that be great?
Of course, if the Administration were to become animated by the Spirit in this way it would not be long until our entire orientation toward the rest of the world--and not just our response to 9/11--would look radically different.
We can pray.
"There is a principle which is pure, placed
in the human mind, which in different places
and ages hath had different names. It is,
however, pure and proceeds from God. It is
deep and inward, confined to no forms of
religion, nor excluded from any, where the
heart stands in perfect sincerity. In
whomsoever this takes root and grows,
of what nation soever, they become brethern
in the best sense of the expression."
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
About 40,000 children would lose eligibility for free or reduced-price
school lunches, the CBO estimated. [...]