Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sarah Palin's hometown reference

Anne Kilkenny wrote an email to 40 friends and acquaintances when asked about Sarah Palin, and much to her surprise, it has gone all over the web. Here it is, from Snopes. Since Palin is a zealous Christian, it has some theological significance, so my own brief comments follow:


I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Sarah since 1992. Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing special to say we are on a first-name basis. Our children have attended the same schools. Her father was my child's favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I attended more City Council meetings during her administration than about 99% of the residents of the city.

She is enormously popular; in every way she’s like the most popular girl in middle school. Even men who think she is a poor choice and won't vote for her can't quit smiling when talking about her because she is a "babe".

It is astonishing and almost scary how well she can keep a secret. She kept her most recent pregnancy a secret from her children and parents for seven months.

She is "pro-life". She recently gave birth to a Down's syndrome baby. There is no cover-up involved, here; Trig is her baby.

She is energetic and hardworking. She regularly worked out at the gym.

She is savvy. She doesn't take positions; she just "puts things out there" and if they prove to be popular, then she takes credit.

Her husband works a union job on the North Slope for BP and is a champion snowmobile racer. Todd Palin’s kind of job is highly sought-after because of the schedule and high pay. He arranges his work schedule so he can fish for salmon in Bristol Bay for a month or so in summer, but by no stretch of the imagination is

fishing their major source of income. Nor has her life-style ever been anything like that of native Alaskans.

Sarah and her whole family are avid hunters.

She's smart.

Her experience is as mayor of a city with a population of about 5,000 (at the time), and less than 2 years as governor of a state with about 670,000 residents.

During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had given rise to a recall campaign.

Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a "fiscal conservative." During her 6 years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over 33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they benefited residents.

The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration weren't enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it with indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? or a new library? No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to build on a piece of property that the City didn't even have clear title to, that was still in litigation 7 yrs later — to the delight of the lawyers involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the community but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5m for road projects that could have been done in 5-7 yrs without any borrowing.

While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office redecorated more than once.

These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small city.

As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a budget surplus in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology that will make us energy independent and increase efficiency, as Governor she proposed distribution of this surplus to every individual in the state.

In this time of record state revenues and budget surpluses, she recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while she proposed distribution of surplus state revenues: spend today's surplus, borrow for needs.

She's not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside ideas or compromise. As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren’t generated by her or her staff. Ideas weren't evaluated on their merits, but on the basis of who proposed them.

While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin's attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.

Sarah complained about the "old boy's club" when she first ran for Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of "old boys". Palin fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people, creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally grateful and fiercely loyal — loyal to the point of abusing their power to further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged happened in the case of pressuring the State's top cop (see below).

As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla's Police Chief because he "intimidated" her, she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska's top cop has the ring of familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure and she had every legal right to fire him, but it's pretty clear that an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he wouldn't fire her sister's ex-husband, a State Trooper. Under investigation for abuse of power, she has had to admit that more than 2 dozen contacts were made between her staff and family to the person that she later fired, pressuring him to fire her ex-brother-in-law. She tried to replace the man she fired with a man who she knew had been reprimanded for sexual harassment; when this caused a public furor, she withdrew her support.

She has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in help. The City Council person who personally escorted her around town introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor. She abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even people who didn’t like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness.

Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything publicly about her.

When then-Governor Murkowski was handing out political plums, Sarah got the best, Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: one of the few jobs not in Juneau and one of the best paid. She had no background in oil & gas issues. Within months of scoring this great job which paid $122,400/yr, she was complaining in the press about the high salary. I was told that she hated that job: the commute, the structured hours, the work. Sarah became aware that a member of this Commission (who was also the State Chair of the Republican Party) engaged in unethical behavior on the job. In a gutsy move which some undoubtedly cautioned her could be political suicide, Sarah solved all her problems in one fell swoop: got out of the job she hated and garnered gobs of media attention as the patron saint of ethics and as a gutsy fighter against the "old boys' club" when she dramatically quit, exposing this man’s ethics violations (for which he was fined).

As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the "bridge to nowhere" after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.

As Governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and budget guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative action restored most of these projects — which had been vetoed simply because she was not aware of their importance — but with the unobservant she had gained a reputation as "anti-pork."

She is solidly Republican: no political maverick. The State party leaders hate her because she has bit them in the back and humiliated them. Other members of the party object to her self-description as a fiscal conservative.

Around Wasilla there are people who went to high school with Sarah. They call her "Sarah Barracuda" because of her unbridled ambition and predatory ruthlessness. Before she became so powerful, very ugly stories circulated around town about shenanigans she pulled to be made point guard on the high school basketball team. When Sarah's mother-in-law, a highly respected member of the community and experienced manager, ran for Mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her.

As Governor, she stepped outside of the box and put together of package of legislation known as "AGIA" that forced the oil companies to march to the beat of her drum.

Like most Alaskans, she favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She has questioned if the loss of sea ice is linked to global warming. She campaigned "as a private citizen" against a state initiaitive that would have either a) protected salmon streams from pollution from mines, or b) tied up in the courts all mining in the state (depending on who you listen to). She has pushed the State’s lawsuit against the Dept. of the Interior's decision to list polar bears as threatened species.

McCain is the oldest person to ever run for President; Sarah will be a heartbeat away from being President.

There has to be literally millions of Americans who are more knowledgeable and experienced than she.

However, there's a lot of people who have underestimated her and are regretting it.


o "Hockey mom": true for a few years
o "PTA mom": true years ago when her first-born was in elementary school, not since
p "NRA supporter": absolutely true
o social conservative: mixed. Opposes gay marriage, BUT vetoed a bill that would have denied benefits to employees in same-sex relationships (said she did this because it was unconsitutional).
o pro-creationism: mixed. Supports it, BUT did nothing as Governor to promote it.
o "Pro-life": mixed. Knowingly gave birth to a Down's syndrome baby BUT declined to call a special legislative session on some pro-life legislation.
o "Experienced": Some high schools have more students than Wasilla has residents. Many cities have more residents than the state of Alaska.
No legislative experience other than City Council. Little hands-on supervisory or managerial experience; needed help of a city administrator to run town of about 5,000.
o political maverick: not at all
o gutsy: absolutely!
o open & transparent: ??? Good at keeping secrets. Not good at explaining actions.
o has a developed philosophy of public policy: no
o "a Greenie": no. Turned Wasilla into a wasteland of big box stores and disconnected parking lots. Is pro-drilling off-shore and in ANWR.
o fiscal conservative: not by my definition!
o pro-infrastructure: No. Promoted a sports complex and park in a city without a sewage treatment plant or storm drainage system. Built streets to early 20th century standards.
o pro-tax relief: Lowered taxes for businesses, increased tax burden on residents.
o pro-small government: No. Oversaw greatest expansion of city government in Wasilla's history.
o pro-labor/pro-union. No. Just because her husband works union doesn't make her pro-labor. I have seen nothing to support any claim that she is pro-labor/pro-union.


First, I have long believed in the importance of being an informed voter. I am a voter registrar. For 10 years I put on student voting programs in the schools. If you google my name (Anne Kilkenny + Alaska), you will find references to my participation in local government, education, and PTA/parent organizations.

Secondly, I've always operated in the belief that "Bad things happen when good people stay silent". Few people know as much as I do because few have gone to as many City Council meetings.

Third, I am just a housewife. I don't have a job she can bump me out of. I don't belong to any organization that she can hurt. But, I am no fool; she is immensely popular here, and it is likely that this will cost me somehow in the future: that’s life.

Fourth, she has hated me since back in 1996, when I was one of the 100 or so people who rallied to support the City Librarian against Sarah's attempt at censorship.

Fifth, I looked around and realized that everybody else was afraid to say anything because they were somehow vulnerable.


I am not a statistician. I developed the numbers for the increase in spending & taxation 2 years ago (when Palin was running for Governor) from information supplied to me by the Finance Director of the City of Wasilla, and I can't recall exactly what I adjusted for: did I adjust for inflation? for population increases? Right now, it is impossible for a private person to get any info out of City Hall — they are swamped. So I can't verify my numbers.

You may have noticed that there are various numbers circulating for the population of Wasilla, ranging from my "about 5,000", up to 9,000. The day Palin’s selection was announced a city official told me that the current population is about 7,000. The official 2000 census count was 5,460. I have used about 5,000 because Palin was Mayor from 1996 to 2002, and the city was growing rapidly in the mid-90’s.

Anne Kilkenny
August 31, 2008

Anne Kilkenny has gotten a tremendous amount of hate mail, especially from professing Christians, some of it threatening, to the point where she is now somewhat afraid to leave her house. This reminds us of Paul's words that an elder should have a good reputation with those outside, so that the name of God might not be slandered. The immediate application is to rulers in the church, but the reason given - that the name of God might not be blasphemed - clearly shows that high position in the world likewise should be avoided by those that get such references as this.

That anyone claiming to be a Christian should revile and intimidate someone like Anne Kilkenny just for telling the truth that she knows is bad enough. Can anyone imagine Jesus degrading himself in such fashion? But that such people inhabit our churches and remain unreproved, how commonplace that may be, is still incredible if you think about it.

Our Bibles command us not even to eat with such so-called brothers and sisters, so that they may be shamed for their own sakes, that they might maybe come to their senses. Until we learn not to present such a spectacle of shamelessness to the world, like the people of Israel carousing around their golden calf, shouldn't we talk a little less about the sinners out there?

And when professing Christians like Sarah Palin show themselves to be as spiritually unprepared as she is - look at her giggling and flirting with Asif Ali "Mr 10%" Zardari, the President of Pakistan - can't we do them the favor of not trying to promote them above what they are ready for?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bailout Blather

The $700 billion gift to the thieves that made this mess in the first place hit an obstacle today - the wrath of millions of ordinary people 5 weeks before election day. Many more Republicans than Democrats voted against it, although Nancy Pelosi and other Bush Democrats stood by him and Henry Paulson - Obama and McCain, too.

So now we hear that, due to the folly of the American people, we're going to have a terrible recession and it willl be all their fault for not trusting their betters. Well, we'll have a terrible recession, but not because the American people should have trusted the wisdom of the thieves and fools who got us into this to put everything right now, if only we trust them to do whatever they please with as much of our money as they can squander.

Look. If these wise men were really thinking of the economy, and if they really wanted this bailout to pass, why were they unwilling to amend it to make it both more just and effective and more politically appealing? How often can you get all of that at once? How often does any politician turn down that chance when he gets it?

But the best and the brightest did so in this case.

All they had to do is make it a bailout plan for real people, to freeze foreclosures and thereby keep people in their homes, thereby preventing much misery and neighborhood deterioration; to give bankruptcy judges authority to rewrite mortgage loans; and to cancel debts in other ways - which the Bible commands to be done every seven years, so this is certainly no new-fangled or politically radical notion. And while in there, they could have written into the law that any bank or investment house sticking its hand out for a loan or other help may not give golden parachutes or other nice sendoffs to any of its senior managers. They screwed up, and they should get a thank you gift?

None of this has been done. Buying worthless commercial paper from rich financial mavens who are then free to keep kicking people out of their homes certainly won't help the economy as a whole. When bailing out their chums and bailing out the economy came into conflict, they chose which one counts, and even this pathetic Congress couldn't stomach it.

But as my son Nathan pointed out, the problem is that these thieves are such thieves that they don't even feel like thieves. In their eyes, it's all their own money anyway. They're entitled to it, so how can they be stealing when they rob the taxpayers?

Thus Paulson had the balls to bring a three page proposal to spend $700 billion - just because it's a nice round number, not because anybody had done any work on how much was needed or for what. And Paulson was supposed to be able to spend this money with no oversight at all, explicitly exempt from ANY legislative or judicial oversight whatever - an explicit license to steal or embezzle as flagrantly as they liked with no fear of consequences!

And it's supposed to save the chickens to put such foxes in charge of our henhouses!

It remains as the Proverb says, "He that robs the poor and he that gives to the rich, both alike will fall into poverty." We'll have a trainwreck anyway, but not because Congress and the people didn't fix this hangover by having another drink.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Let's not seek to make money!

It's going to be hard not to lose everything. As someone said this week in Asia Times, the thing now is not return on capital but return of capital.

These guys with their white knuckles and tight smiles know that the wheels are coming off and there's squat they can do about it. Those of us interested in history might notice that this month in the markets has looked a lot like September 1929. We're not supposed to remember that just as the best and the brightest securitized mortgages, they've done likewise with credit card debt, which is much softer than mortgages and which people can't pay anymore because they can't milk their houses to make the payments, and besides, they're losing their jobs now.

There's trillions of dollars of that crap lying around in everybody's books. And we read this afternoon that Wachovia is now tottering, looking for a buyer. If the economy is already drowning in mortgage defaults, what are they going to do now with that, with evaporating credit card securities, and other such news that is clearly on its way?

Look, when they all get together at the White House for a photo op to "restore our confidence," the way Andrew Mellon and the rest were doing in September 1929 after the Babson Break, and they fall to shouting at each other so they can't even hide it from the press, it's time for us to drink deeply from the cup of reality, if we want to minimize our losses.

As the Bible says, this is all uncertain riches, so we can't be sure just when the music will really stop, in the same way that we can never be sure things will get better and better - and then if we really acquire such wealth, does it indeed turn out to be real wealth? Still, financial ruin is a drag, and this seems an especially good time for those who hurry to get rich to fall in there.

For an instructive overview of the progress of the Great Depression, consider looking here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Great business opportunity for you!

Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson

original link

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mike Huckabee gets this, too

Well, maybe no longer, but maybe so. For sure he used to:

This is Your Nation on White Privilege

Sep 13, 2008 By Tim Wise

For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll “kick their fuckin' ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.

White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don’t all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you’re “untested.”

White privilege is being able to say that you support the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance because “if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me,” and not be immediately disqualified from holding office--since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the “under God” part wasn’t added until the 1950s--while if you're black and believe in reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), you're a dangerous and mushy liberal who isn't fit to safeguard American institutions.

White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you.

White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto is “Alaska first,” and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you're black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she’s being disrespectful.

White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do--like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor--and people think you’re being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college and the fact that she lives near Russia, you’re somehow being mean, or even sexist.

White privilege is being able to convince white women who don’t even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a “second look.”

White privilege is being able to fire people who didn’t support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.

White privilege is when you can take nearly twenty-four hours to get to a hospital after beginning to leak amniotic fluid, and still be viewed as a great mom whose commitment to her children is unquestionable, and whose "next door neighbor" qualities make her ready to be VP, while if you're a black candidate for president and you let your children be interviewed for a few seconds on TV, you're irresponsibly exploiting them.

White privilege is being able to give a 36-minute speech in which you talk about lipstick and make fun of your opponent, while laying out no substantive policy positions on any issue at all, and still manage to be considered a legitimate candidate, while a black person who gives an hour speech the week before, in which he lays out specific policy proposals on several issues, is still criticized for being too vague about what he would do if elected.

White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God’s punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you’re just a good church-going Christian, but if you’re black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you’re an extremist who probably hates America.

White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a “trick question,” while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O’Reilly means you’re dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.

White privilege is being able to go to a prestigious prep school, then to Yale and Harvard Business School (George W. Bush), and still be seen as an "average guy," while being black, going to a prestigious prep school, then Occidental College, then Columbia, and then Harvard Law, makes you "uppity" and a snob who probably looks down on regular folks.

White privilege is being able to graduate near the bottom of your college class (McCain), or graduate with a C average from Yale (W.), and that's OK, and you're still cut out to be president, but if you're black and you graduate near the top of your class from Harvard Law, you can't be trusted to make good decisions in office.

White privilege is being able to dump your first wife after she's disfigured in a car crash so you can take up with a multi-millionaire beauty queen (who you then go on to call the c-word in public) and still be thought of as a man of strong family values, while if you're black and married for nearly 20 years to the same woman, your family is viewed as un-American and your gestures of affection for each other are called "terrorist fist bumps."

White privilege is when you can develop a pain-killer addiction, having obtained your drug of choice illegally like Cindy McCain, go on to beat that addiction, and everyone praises you for being so strong, while being a black guy who smoked pot a few times in college and never became an addict means people will wonder if perhaps you still get high, and even ask whether or not you may have sold drugs at some point.

White privilege is being able to sing a song about bombing Iran and still be viewed as a sober and rational statesman, with the maturity to be president, while being black and suggesting that the U.S. should speak with other nations, even when we have disagreements with them, makes you dangerously naive and immature.

White privilege is being able to say that you hate "gooks" and "will always hate them," and yet, you aren't a racist because, ya know, you were a POW, so you're entitled to your hatred, while being black and noting that black anger about racism is understandable, given the history of your country, makes you a dangerous bigot.

White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism and an absent father is apparently among the "lesser adversities" faced by other politicians, as Sarah Palin explained in her convention speech.

And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren’t sure about that whole “change” thing. Ya know, it’s just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain…

White privilege is, in short, the problem.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Can you top this?

"Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation."

John McCain in the September/October issue of Contingencies, published by the American Academy of Actuaries


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Log-in-eye 101 for one more American mad bomber

As Jesus said, if you remove the log in your own eye you'll see better to remove the specks in others. At least in other people, even those of us who reject Jesus think this is good advice.

In our daily life when people oppose us, when we find reasons to attack them, or even unrelated people, as you advise, before we first examine our own behavior to see what we might have done to provoke it, we get consequences like divorce, being fired from jobs, and prison. People who act as the United States has acted, and as you advise, are clinically insane, and their lives soon reflect it.

What should first have been done about the first attack on the Twin Towers is to examine our own behavior. Where was American indignation about the towers in Beirut that the Israeli Air Force destroyed in 1982 with American support and approval? Where was American concern with the 17,000 civilians Israel killed in that completely unjustified war of aggression, or the massacre they sponsored in Sabra and Shatila that was so disgusting that 400,000 Israelis protested it in the streets of Tel Aviv? You who are so indignant about anyone striking back at their American tormentors, why are you so indifferent to 3000 poor people murdered in El Chorillo by the Marines in 1989? You that are so hot about 9/11/2001, why are you just fine with 9/11/1973?

You think Americans are supposed to lash out at anyone who hurts them in any way, but then why, when Americans murder hundreds of thousands here or millions there, are those people wrong to be mad about that themselves? Really, if we truly don't want people to kill us, shouldn't we first stop killing them for trivial reasons, like wanting to plunder their resources, as in Guatemala from 1954 to 1996?

Since in the matter of Usamah bin Laden you venture into some religious issues, let me make a couple of points. Bin Laden has never expressed any interest in trying to make Americans worship Allah, although to do so genuinely is a good idea, in that Allah is simply Arabic for "the God" - precisely the same as the Greek "ho theos" in John 1:1.

Allah is the term for God used in every Arab Christian church since long before our German ancestors were offering human sacrifices to the pagan deity whose name was later applied to the German Gott and the English God. Bin Laden's demands were these:
1) Remove American troops from Sa'udi Arabia, the land of the Two Mosques
2) Stop the genocidal sanctions regime against Iraq, which as Madeleine Albright admitted on 60 Minutes on May 12, 1996, had killed over 500,000 Iraqi children - which she said she considered "worth it.". A nation that considers the deaths of 500,000 innocent children worth it forfeits the right to be indignant when others want to kill them to make them stop such behavior. At least you think so in the case of nations other than the US, judging by your comments on Saddam Hussein.
3) Stop supporting Israel's occupation and dispossession of the Palestinians.

All of these, judged by George Washington's Farewell Address, which you should read maybe, would have been implemented by him in a heartbeat before bin Laden would have had a chance to offer them.

My blog entry of July 4, 2008, in addition to pertinent excerpts, has a link to Washington's entire statement for your consideration.

Your indignation about Saddam Hussein's crimes invites derision. Americans didn't have a problem with any of that through the 1980s when he was doing all these things and Americans were selling him precursors for chemical weapons, with Donald Rumsfeld shaking his hand and smiling, saying what a great guy he was.

There was no problem when Colin Powell went with other Americans to Iraq to find Saddam Hussein innocent in Halabja and blame it on the Iranians. That all turned into a problem - and Saddam Hussein was to blame after all - only when the Americans wanted to invade the country themselves and kill over a million people, making Saddam Hussein look good in comparison. It was fine for these barbarians to sit placidly in their tanks and watch everything in Iraq be trashed except the Oil Ministry, making plain to the world that that indeed was the only thing that mattered to them, as even Alan Greenspan has admitted.

You've got a problem when your behavior makes Saddam Hussein look like the good old days.

If you're really interested in protecting YOUR children, then you should stand against behavior which, when other people do it, you want to drop bombs on THEIR children. It really is the log-in-eye thing.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sarah Palin

Many are in full cry today on how Sarah Palin said in a speech at her church in Wasilla that Bush's war in Iraq is a mission from God.

Well, that's not what she said. She said that when such a mission is undertaken we should pray that it be a mission from God. What's wrong with that? As she said later in her interview with Gibson, this amounts to Abraham Lincoln's statement that we should be praying that we be on God's side.

Now it's not a likely prayer to be answered, because a mission undertaken in greed - that is, in the spirit of Gog and Magog - is in fact inspired by Satan, as we learn in our Bibles by comparing Ezekiel 38:10-12 with Revelation 20:7-8. But we ought to deal with what the woman said, instead of distorting it for partisan advantage.

But considering Palin has clarified things for me. In her I now clearly understand why it can be very bad for Christians to rule. Proverbs 16:32 rightly says, "One who rules his own spirit is greater than one who takes a city." So long as we are unable as Christians to govern ourselves, as evidenced by actually doing the things that Jesus says, having authority and power will ruin us, will cause the name of Jesus to be blasphemed in the world, and will ruin our neighbors too. In history, this much is as obvious as it gets.

I've gotten thankful lately for non-Christian authorities, charged by God to rule until my companions and I are enough under God's government that we can be entrusted with some responsibility without bringing disgrace on the gospel.

Palin clearly illustrates the consequences of coming to the kingdom unqualified.

Any unbeliever knows that it's not OK for her to use her position for private vengeance against her sister's ex-husband, however much he may deserve it. Now, having promised to cooperate in the legislature's investigation, she is trying to obstruct it by having her staff refuse to talk to investigators, by trying to divert it to the personnel board that she appoints, and by having the state attorney general investigate the legislature's investigator.

Any unbeliever knows that it's not OK for her to trumpet her opposition to the "Bridge to Nowhere" when she in fact supported it until it became too embarrassing to do so, and even then she made sure that the state government kept the federal money. For any of my fellow Christians that don't see the problem, lying about what happened to make ourselves look better than we were is the sort of thing that if you do it on your resume will get you fired by any company that catches you doing it. There's a problem when Christians are not able to come up even to the standards universally understood among the unbelievers.

So long as Christians have problems understanding such ethical problems, except in other people, we should know for certain that God will consider us unqualified for any position of trust. Rather than politicking to put our people in high positions, we should attend to these problems so that God doesn't have to find us unfit to hold them. This way we won't find ourselves fighting against God, which is a really tough and useless way to live.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

More election thoughts

The problem with Nader, Cynthia McKinney, or Bob Barr - all of whom are far better than the pathetic choices given us by the Republocrats - is that they have as much chance of being elected President of the United States as Vladimir Putin, or even Peter Attwood, who for various reasons are not running. These are effectively as votable as ourselves, which is not at all.

From a biblical viewpoint, why be surprised? There's nothing in the ministry of Jesus to expect anything of trying to replace Herod or Pontius Pilate. With Jesus or any of the prophets, the question was very seldom who is in office but how they are to be held accountable to God.

That begins with the biblical truth that the authorities are ordained by God (Romans 13), which does NOT mean that they are entitled to our support, as their shills in the Christian community try to prove now with the same arguments their fathers used in Nazi Germany. On the contrary, this is exactly our foundation for holding them accountable (1 Samuel 15:17-19).

Our business is very seldom to determine who should hold office, which only justifies the incumbents in considering us their enemies, but it is always to hold them to account. Being so confused about all of this has made Christians close to perfectly useless in proclaiming Jesus to be king of kings and lord of lords, and that's our real problem.

Meanwhile, let's at least get over the idea that electing anyone President will do all sorts of wonderful things so that everything gets better without that we need to wise up ourselves. Who gains office certainly matters somewhat. But most of all we need in our thinking not to cherish illusions, so I mean to combat such bewitchment so that we have a better chance of thinking straight.