Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Speaking of cultural warfare....

And of course, I had to make Freudian... slippers
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One More Reason Why McCain Should Lose

Pre-emptive Ejection is the reason. It turns out that McCain's campaign is profiling and ejecting people who look like they MIGHT protest. Who might protest, heckle or boo? Young people.

Elborno said after seeing the people who were asked to leave, she was concerned that McCain’s staffers were profiling people on appearance to determine who might be a potential protester.

“When I started talking to them, it kind of became clear that they were kind of just telling people to leave that they thought maybe would be disruptive, but based on what? Based on how they looked,” Elborno said. “It was pretty much all young people, the college demographic.”

Elborno said even McCain supporters were among those being asked to leave.

“I saw a couple that had been escorted out and they were confused as well, and the girl was crying, so I said ‘Why are you crying? and she said ‘I already voted for McCain, I’m a Republican, and they said we had to leave because we didn’t look right,’” Elborno said. “They were handpicking these people and they had nothing to go off of, besides the way the people looked.”
Well, we knew McCain supported the Bush Doctrine. Now we know he supports preemptive action against citizens who might have questions about his leadership. It was disrespectful, dishonorable and cowardly. I don't want a gutless wonder like that in the White House.

Too sarcastic? Over the top? Perhaps. But it does go to character, Your Honors. What it shows me is that McCain is not confident enough of his ground to dare face critics at a televised event. It makes me wonder how many of the crowds are hired theatrical "extras," or even patched in with CGI.

I think this is the answer they were looking for. It's a shame that for some, it came too late.

Monday, October 27, 2008

In Which Jon Swift Reminds Us How Good The Trolls Used Be.

I have a habit when it comes to the posts of Jon Swift. I save them, to savor slowly, quietly nodding and occasionally laughing out loud. So when I saw this headline appear on my sidebar, I chuckled and sat back - unlike most people.

For the record, I regret not having dessert first. But then again, this forces me to focus more upon the reaction to the post, rather than simply saying "me too."

Not that Digby did. As usual, Digby says what I might well have said had I been there. Well, as they say, 80% of political activism involves showing up.

The ever reasonable "conservative" Jon Swift has collected the most important, overlooked Pulitzer level stories emanating from the rightwing blogpshere during this election season. If the liberal media weren't so in the tank for teh gays and the you-know-whats, these stories would be in screaming headlines in every newspaper in the land.


More like this at the link. No wonder the newspaper business is on its last legs. they have no nose for the news. luckily for Americans these good folks are picking up where they left off.
Now, you may wonder why, if I am an actual, reasonable Conservative myself, first, why I cite Digby of all people, and second, perhaps more importantly, how the hell did I get the joke?

I'm Conservative, not stupid.

Actually, I'm a Progressive Conservative. That used to be an actual party up here in Canada - but they made the mistakes the Republicans have made first, and paid the price earlier. As a result, there is once again a healthy Conservative party in Canada; I was otherwise distracted, but it seems they survived in my abscence by repudiating any association with "Progress."

I'm not at all sure that was the problem, but they seized upon it as the obvious solution nonetheless.

But back to US Politics. Like all Canadians, expat and otherwise, of whatever political stripe, I pay more attention to US Politics than to Canadian politics. This is for two salient reasons.

First, Canadian parliamentary democracy is a system that more reliably ensures that persons elegible to lead the country are actually competent to lead the country. One may legitimately question their motives, their methods, frequently their morals and occasionally even their very sanity - but without any notable exception, they 'git 'er done.

We have even become somewhat reassured upon that front regarding the Bloq. Nor would there be any lack of quiet ironic appreciation of un seperatiste being placed in the hilariously ironic position of leading Canada forward as a unified nation. Oh, not that there would not be howls of outrage - but in our grey little Canadian hearts, we would assume that at the very least, we had one thing in common.

"Together; We are not Americans."

And - as our gratifyingly civilized leadership debates established - even the leaders of the Parti Quebequois and the unapologetic socialist leader of the New Democrats are clearly capable of passing a routine competency hearing.

OTOH, the best and the brightest American Conservatism had on offer this time around was... Ron Paul?!? When someone like Ron Paul (whom I adore, but would never consider to be mainstream in any sense of the word) comes out looking like the moderate grown-up, you should seriously consider that symptomatic of Serious Issues. (The widespread laughter and mockery should be taken as it is often meant, in the spirit of Grandmotherly Kindness.)

Second; it's an unavoidable fact of history and geopolitics that the decisions made in Washington and even in bordering states are as important or indeed, more important to Canadians than the polite suggestions issued from the Prime Minister's office.

Furthermore, we do love colorful politicians. We rarely elect them, because we find it just too embarrassing. The occasionally spectacular exceptions - such as Pierre Trudeau and Bill Vander Zalm of BC - serve us as occasional reminders as to how horrifying it can be to be noticed as a nation due to such antics. It's due to such reflexes that we retreat to safe, grey figures such as Steven Harper.

If the US's most besetting disorder may be said to be Xenophobia, ours could be said to be Social Phobia.

Or possibly we, as a nation, collectively share a touch of Asperger's Syndrome. Ghu knows, as a nation, we avoid over-stimulation and yet find it difficult to restrain ourselves from speaking from the moral high ground when we possess it. We are far more concerned with being Correct than being Right. Certainly we find it difficult to be in the same room with our loud, embarrassing US-ian cousins.

For most of us, the only pin one would ever see us wearing on a lapel is a simple red poppy - and that's a gesture that's irrespective of any political stance save deep, persistent national regret.

We do try to be polite - our tourism industry requires it - but it's often an exercises not dissimilar to a family thanksgiving dinner, when the people you must invite inexplicably fail to discern that in their case, the invitation should not have been taken to construe more than a polite gesture made in the expectation of an equally sincere note of regret.

IE, we upon the Canadian right still admire Thatcher, while mostly having come to stand upon the obvious - that Ronald Reagan was an opportunistic patsy. A corporatist, not a Conservative.

But we do love watching the drama and tossing our comments down upon the heads of the suffering fools from the unassailable moral high ground.

And speaking of "unassailable moral high ground," I come around to the reason why, if I am Conservative, why I'm leading with Digby, raving about a Jon Swift Post.

I'm Conservative, not stupid!

I didn't need Digby to tell me where the moral high-ground was. I have a well-informed moral compass. When I am in possession of the moral high-ground, littered with free ammunition that I merely need pick up and drop upon the hapless milling throngs below, I do not begrudge the use of that same factual ammunition by folks like digby when they are assailing the same people for the same reasons.

We are not in contention because we have an obvious common cause - which is to smack the stupid out of the deserving, so that we might actually, possibly, conceivably have the opportunity to participate in a meaningful political dialogue. And by "Meaningful Political Discussion" I of course mean one that requires several large pizzas and several pitchers of drinkable beer.

Besides, as I recurring point out to apparently little avail- I was here FIRST! I'd have even more evidence of it had I not been wiped out by a hacker a couple years ago.

The unfortunate truth is that there are very, very few voices of reason remaining on the official "conservative" cheer-leading squad. One may speculate as to why - the team sucks, the other squaddies and all the fans would embarrass a British soccer expedition to the Continent and they are - as Swift points out in his Swiftian way - taking positions that makes satire nearly impossible.

But Swift pulls it off, and with, were it possible, seemingly with even less effort than usual.

Obama was getting answers in the first debate through a clear plastic hearing aid in his ear

Ann Althouse has a unique ability to see things that no one else sees, not unlike my Aunt Agatha, until she was sent away to a rest home and forced to take medication that took away her abilities. During the primaries, Althouse discovered that a Hillary Clinton ad included the subliminal message “Nig” written on a child's pajamas. Then during the debates, Althouse noticed on her high definition television that Obama was wearing a clear plastic hearing aid in his ear and noted that he spoke haltingly as if someone was giving him the answers in the debate. “It's clearly there, a crescent of clear plastic,” she said in response to some skeptical comments (note her use of the word "crescent," a clever reference to Obama's secret Muslim heritage). Although Althouse later backed away from the story, which Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit linked to, she didn’t repudiate it entirely, concluding in the comments, "You know, just because the thing I saw wasn't there doesn't mean there wasn't something there that I didn't see." I don’t know if this is an acceptable standard of evidence in courts of law since I am not a law professor like Ms. Althouse, but it has come to be the standard of evidence in the conservative blogosphere, and I don’t see why the fuddy-duddy mainstream media can’t adopt this way of thinking, too.
I cite this particular excerpt because, well, Ann Althouse is one of the few remaining worthy targets. She can be amusing in her own right, and it's quite often deliberate. Nonetheless she does have a certain reputation for shooting first and clearing the range afterward. Like Dick Cheney, you really want to have his back, because the front side has an erratic aim and underdeveloped target identifying skills. So, it is with admiration that I note that, while Althouse's offenses against reason and common sense hardly rose to the standards of that evidenced in sources like Protein Wisdom.

As one Radical Commie Facist from Socialist Austrailia sarcastically observes: - "Conservative bloggers need to stick together, especially now that the majority of Americans seem to be voting in a most un-American manner."

I had always wondered to myself what they were stuck together with - but then again, the very name "Protein Wisdom" supplies me the answer. I'm told it does wonders for one's complexion. (I was, at deadline, still too sane to request a comment on that supposition from Ann Althouse.)

But speaking of intemperate ejaculations - I must point out for the amusement of my fellows how much more ably Jon trolls Althouse while maintaining the persona of a simple conservative than they typical conservative troll succeeds in trolling in the persona of a Typical Liberal With Some Small Concerns.

Go forth and and revel in Althouse's outraged pearlcluctching - with the delightful insight that "pearl necklace" and "Protein Wisdom" have entendres in common.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Here's MY "tough question..."

The Strong Conservative: Biden Gets First Tough Interview of the Campaign

Finally some tough questions, and Joe "Gaffe Machine" Biden can't handle it. Biden clearly thinks that government is the agent that creates jobs in America, a fundamental misunderstanding of economics. The comparison of Obama's tax plan is spot on, and worthy of debate. Spreading the wealth around is a socialist idea, and socialism is communism under cover. Biden said, "Obama is more ready than John McCain." What a farce.
Ok, here's my tough question; when did you stop taking your meds?

Note that it's exactly the same sort of question, intended to convey the same sort of dismissive contempt. Exactly what you think is a "tough question."

In other words, not an actual question. I believe I speak for several million other somewhat-conservatives who consider you the sort of ass that makes it impossible to vote for anyone other than Obama, for fear that McCain would appoint you to some high office due to your obvious qualifications and insight into How Things Really Are.

Yep. You'd do a heckuva job, Brownie. Just like the blond cosmetic surgery survivor and her husband, the incompetent prostitute.

Barbara West of WTFV will NOT be picked up by Colbert Report

"Sources Say."

"Joe Biden got asked some questions from Orlando WFTV reporter Barbara West on Thursday that where completely false. Biden: "Are you joking? Is this is a joke? Or is that a real question?" Turns out that her husband, Wade West, is a media consultant for Republican politicians!"

In other entertainment news, Wade West will not be writing for The Daily Show or any other reputable news outlet.

In all seriousness - what sort of PR flack sets his own wife to hammered on television by the other team? It would be different if her public humiliation had achieved something positive for "the team," of course. But he humiliated his wife by handing her obvious lies that Biden could have handled in light REM sleep, so it's possible that he really, genuinely, honestly believed that the talking points were true, that they were too effective to counter (true or not) or that the IQ of WFTV did not include a single person with both a warm-water IQ and Internet Access.

Whichever miscalculation it was, none reflect well upon the probable satisfaction of future clients regarding the impact of his professional efforts on their behalf.

The Mockery Begins ... NOW! read more | digg story

Yeah. It's Like that.

clipped from

It occurred to me, as I sat there watching an interracial couple banging, that jacking off in a hotel room was not unlike the larger experience of campaign reporting. You watch two performers. You kind of like it when one of them gets humiliated. You know they’re professionals, so you don’t feel much sympathy for them. You wish you could participate, but instead you watch with a hidden envy and feel vaguely ashamed for watching. You think you could probably do as good a job or better. You sometimes get a glimpse, intentionally or not, of society’s hidden desires and fears. You watch the porn week after week, the scenes almost always the same, none of them too memorable. The best ones get sent around the Internet.

 blog it
Blogging, of course, is a particularly unrewarding form of solitary vice.

What's even worse is that this silly post will be my money shot for the month, because it has "jacking off" and "Porn" in it.

I'm just too jaded to take this any further, other than to say that the mindless ejaculations of Palin Supporters DO remind me of the mindless ejaculations of the fans of Hot Wife Porn over on flickr.

Except that it seems somehow less degrading to everyone involved.

The Palin Defect - I mean, the Palin Defections

Here's Your Sign! shirt

And another one leaves the bus:

Prof. Charles Fried, McCain advisor, defects to Obama - News: "Professor Charles Fried, an advisor to John McCain's presidential campaign, has announced that he can no longer support the McCain/Palin ticket, and has asked for his name to be removed from several campaign committees on which he has served. In a letter to the general counsel to the McCain/Palin campaign, he cited McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate as too dangerous 'at a time of deep national crisis'. Fried also publicly stated that he had voted for Obama via absentee ballot.

Fried later clarified to The New Republic that he had voted for Obama because he no longer supported the McCain ticket, and did not consider abstention 'a proper option'.

Fried has been an influential voice in American conservatism and was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as Solicitor General in 1985. During his years serving with the Reagan administration, he represented the White House in over 25 cases before the Supreme Court. Fried was later an associate justice on the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. In the last decade, he has vocally supported George W. Bush's appointments of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court."
McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his heir apparent has started a stampede, not so much toward the admittedly liberal Obama's policies as toward the obviously sane alternative to this. (HuffPo)

In The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, famous psychologist and researcher Philip Zimbardo discusses his lifelong research into the psyche of good people who engage in evil acts. He warns first about the dangers of psychological constructions that imbue people with "otherness" and then issues even stronger warnings about the dangers of psychological constructions that transform "others" into "the enemy."
The process begins with creating stereotyped conceptions of the other, dehumanized perceptions of the other, the other as worthless, the other as all-powerful, the other as demonic, the other as an abstract monster, the other as a fundamental threat to our cherished values and beliefs. With public fear notched up and the enemy threat imminent, reasonable people act irrationally, independent people act in mindless conformity, and peaceful people act as warriors.

When Sarah Palin says, in her stump speech, "Obama does not see America the way you see America," she is separating Obama from what social psychologists call the "ingroup." Both Palin and McCain suggest that Obama does not share the goals of ordinary Americans, that he and his associates are somehow anti-American, that he is a socialist, and that he pals around with terrorists.

Through this rhetoric they aim to separate Obama from patriotic Americans --- to make Obama the other, to make him one of them, to characterize him with the property of otherness. Then, Sarah Palin escalates the rhetoric by adding, "He sees America as so imperfect that he pals around with terrorists," effectively transforming the other into the enemy.

Fortunately, it seems that rather than see evil flourish, a good man has done something. No doubt this is a good deed that will be punished. But such men who made such choices made the United States and crafted it's founding documents.

This has become a time of decision for us all, and there is much more at stake - not just for citizens of the US - than who gets into the White House. This is starting to look like a sudden death pop quiz on ethics, citizenship and the proper role of religion. It's a showdown beween an authoritarian mindest of "Might makes Right" and a genuinely, bible-based mindset that says "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

The McCain/Palin campaign are casting this election in terms of good versus evil, a cage match between God and Satan. In doing so and publicly stating that they will "do whatever it takes" to win one for gawd - they are making the choice starkly clear. It's between the choice for a good man with good, solid family values and a record that honors the value of human lives, no matter how humble and disregarded - and people who value power over all.

It is, indeed, a choice between good and evil. Charles Fried chose Good. Go forth and vote likewise.

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Irony Abounds at

News Headlines - Judge tosses lawsuit challenging Obama citizenship :
"A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging Barack Obama's qualifications to be president.

U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick on Friday night rejected the suit by attorney Philip J. Berg, who alleged that Obama was not a U.S. citizen and therefore ineligible for the presidency. Berg claimed that Obama is either a citizen of his father's native Kenya or became a citizen of Indonesia after he moved there as a boy."

The facts are not in serious dispute by serious persons. But we are speaking of Townhall Dot Com. Not exactly a hotbed of objective, fact-based thought.

Indeed, they are clamoring that the dismissal of this utterly friviolous, unfounded suit shows blatant contempt for the Constitution.

Unlike the Patriot Act, Warrantless Wiretapping, "Sneak and Peek" warrants, the gutting of FISA and Bush's grandiose theories of unitary executive power; THAT bothers them!

Unlike the the widespread imposition of "Free Speech Zones" and the videotaped documentation of jackbooted goons beating the crap out of dissenters, THIS act of requring that a suit have standing and a factual basis is "wiping one's ass on the constitution."

The Constitution demands that the President be a "natural born citizen."

Mr. Berg, and indeed the entire country, could suffer irreparable harm if a person is elected to the office of President despite a failure to meet the minimum requirements to hold that office. This is a matter of a member of the public challenging a candidate for PUBLIC office to prove he meets the requirements of that office as defined by the supreme law of the land! The Federal court has an obligation to hear this case, and is now in violation of its duty to uphold the Constitution.

But who am I kidding, the courts decided long ago that the constitution is worth less than a roll of Charmin when deciding matters of law.
As for going to the actual document, instead of "analyzing" scans that may have been touched by who knows who for ghu knows what reasons, one reader says this.

Subject: Birth Certificate
I don't know that Fact Check can be trusted. At least one of those groups is allegedly an Obama front. I am surprised that Sandra did not quote I believe they, or a group like them, also came up with the thing she is talking about. Also, he has not actually presented a birth certificate, according to Berg, and the document he did produce has been allegedy altered. Just produce the Birth Certificate, and that will be the end of it. Them all we have to do is worry if he will house all of his Marxist, anarchist, racist friends in the White House so they will be close by to advise him on how Saul Alinsky, Hugo Chavez and Raila Odginga would do things.
How much reality do you have to ignore in order to believe made-up shit like this?

Well, here's one example - and one reason why the McCain campaign uses paid surrogates such as Corsi. Of course one wonders why a party with such access to resources can't afford a better grade of liar. Maybe - and I don't think I'm the first person to think of this - but maybe they honestly don't believe they need better lies - and maybe they are right. With exemplars as seen above, it would be difficult to honestly believe that you needed to bring your A game.

An Letter to Sarah Palin, self-annointed Chromefishtian Leader from a former member of her religious cult.

Wow. BTW, never mind the source, per se; more information about the author is below the quote.

The Atheist's Way: An Open Letter to Sarah Palin: "Dear Sarah,

As a former fundamentalist, I'd like to call you on what you are doing. The media has called you “opaque” about your religion, but some of us can connect the dots.

This is not about disrespecting your private beliefs. However, your religion matters to us because it matters to you. You have done and said things that indicate you are a born-again, literal Bible-believing, fundamentalist Christian. This is the most important thing about you and you have not been honest about it.

Most people who have never been entrenched in the subculture of fundamentalist Christianity may not understand what this really means, but I do. Like you, I was raised in the Assemblies of God and I was a zealous part of the Jesus Movement. Like you, my life was consumed with seeking God's will for my life and awaiting the imminent return of Jesus.

It's clear to me that you want to do the Lord's will, as a true believer would be in your position. You talk of the “spirit of prophecy.” You are on a mission from God. If that is not true, then I challenge you to deny it."

There's more...

Marlene Winell, Ph.D.
October 21, 2008

Marlene Winell is a Bay Area psychologist who specializes in recovery from fundamentalist religion. She is author of Leaving the Fold: A guide for former fundamentalists and others leaving their religion. She is the daughter of Assemblies of God missionaries. A longer article about Sarah Palin's religion is on Dr. Winell's website:

I figured it would be reasonable to examine the source. Well, she seems to be what she states herself to be, speaking from both personal and professional experience, and has written a much longer piece that addresses some very specific and important questions. Furthermore, I will personally attest that these questions and conclusions about mindset are entirely within the scope of my own experience. I, for what that is worth, am willing to go on record stating that I find her concerns to be, if anything, understated.

The reality of Palin’s religion

The media has remarked that when it comes to her faith, Palin has been “opaque.” They have said it’s hard to tell how much influence her religious beliefs would have on her governing. They have not asked direct, hard questions about her religion, perhaps because it seems too personal or they are trying to respect a separation of church and state. But the truth is, the impact of this particular religion would be huge and we need to recognize it. Her religion matters to us because it matters to her. It’s not too personal when a leader is most of all concerned with enacting the will of God and claims to have direct access to God. Journalists need to ask Palin if she believes the Bible is the word of God, because all else follows.

Palin claims not to be Pentecostal any more but still goes to bible-believing evangelical churches and has active ties to the Wasilla Assembly of God Church. Their “non-negotiable tenets of faith” can be seen on their website and should be required viewing for every voter ( We’ve heard about her belief in creationism and Jesus’ return, and seen her denial of human cause in global warming. She has not denied any of the fundamental beliefs that define evangelical Christianity.

Note that she is not speaking against Palin's religion. She's assuming that Palin is in fact a sincere member of that particular faith and that therefore she will be properly guided and informed by that religion in an entirely orthodox way. That is what churches do, that is what they are supposed to do. It therefore becomes quite important to ask - will this faith permit a person of sincere faith to faithfully discharge the duties of their office or (in the case of the VP) the potential duties of President? Can they honestly put their hand upon the Bible and swear faithfully to uphold and defend the constitution of the united states, even when the Constitution and their faith come into genuine conflict?

And of course those of us who are not actually athiests; indeed, those of us who think the Bible worthwhile on it's own merits without any supernatural endorsement have to consider it's council in this matter. "By their fruits ye shall know them."

Has Sarah Palin, in her previous offices, acted more in line with her faith, or more in line with the duties of her office?

I think that her policy of charging rape victims for the cost of proving their rape, her well known views on birth control and her absolutely extreme positions on abortion demonstrate that she is, in fact, more influenced by religous doctrine than by concern for the health and welfare of people under her authority.

I have deep objections to the validity of AOG Doctrines and it's "nonnegotiable articles of faith."

Further, I've even more serious concerns about her particular home church, it's practices and it's influence upon her and the people of Wasillia. I consider it an authoritarian cult; it's doctrine Unbiblical, it's practices and professions unethical, immoral with patches of evil.

Tolerance must end at the point where one is tolerating intentional evil in the name of allowing for "differing interpretations" of spiritual truth. This is not because it's "wrong" to tolerate evil. This is because that which is evil wishes to eat you and use your living corpse as a meat puppet. Friends, that would be one of the better outcomes.

The place where you know you have crossed that line of tolerance is when those you are tolerating publicly state they wish to kill you both spiritually and literally and turn all you have made and treasure into the sort of wasteland in which only that which those such as themselves can live within.

NO valid system of morality can be predictably unethical. The core issue for an ethicist discernment; specifically, the risk involved in any particular human action leading to harm to others.

Ethics does not care about alleged consequences in an arguable hereafter - it speaks to specific outcomes in the here and now; real harm to real people.

A religious belief used to justifying the denial of birth control, morning after pills, or even a proper investigation of a rape allegation, such a belief that it is legitimate to over-ride individual judgment of self interest or impose onerous costs - that would obviously, predictably and unavoidably lead to the actual, inarguable harm of real, existing, human beings. That would be unethical; dismissing the importance of the outcome as punishment for sin is, frankly, evil.

The foreign policy implications of a Millienialist mindset - as Dr. Winell points out in passages I have not quoted - are exceedingly troubling. Those who look forward to a "final conflict" in the middle east featuring an atomic Holocaust that requires divine intervention to preserve remaining life - and who look forward to a magical intervention to preserve their own pink assets from the quite literal fallout - should never, ever be permitted to make significant foreign policy decisions or even speak to the issues from a position of secular authority. I think that should be intuitively obvious to the casual observer; there are some beliefs that simply have obvious, inevitable and toxic outcomes.

Whatever the degree of sincerity; a sincere delusion that evil is good is simply a more effective delusion. Sarah Palin must be considered to be dangerously deluded about matters of real, legitimate concern to all human beings.

The most dangerous presumption is - quite literally - an article of faith for Sarah Palin, if we are to take her word for her beliefs; that all people are inherently and willfully evil and that unless they prove otherwise by belonging to a church that believes the exact same things and acts in precise accordance to those doctrines, subsuming their conscience and common sense to the dictates of "anointed leadership" - then they are sinners worthy of death. Clearly the ethical calculus is that harm to a sinner worthy of death is moot; only consequences to "the saved" matter.

And if that is true of human beings, how much less does it matter that animals suffer, that air is polluted or that the oceans rise, drowning people, depleting fisheries and disrupting the world wide ecology? What matter famine, plague, starvation and death, if they be harbingers of Jesus?

Speaking as a committed and mindful follower of the words and deeds of Jesus Christ, one who takes the clear warnings of the Commandments quite seriously as ethical precepts and statements of natural laws as implacable and quantifiable as those regarding thermodynamics - I stand repulsed and condemn any faith that would so transparently act against such a weight of words and the clear evidence of cause and effect while taking the name of Jesus in vain.

No real Christian that believes that faith to be defined by the words of Jesus can possibly endorse acting upon the assumption that such a worldwide disaster as is predicted by end-times cults could ever be a good thing. Period. It requires looking forward to and praying for (a conscious, mindful act with intent, regardless of it's real world effect) an end that will be harmful to every living human being if it occurs.

And that, to me, is a non-negotiable statement of ethical fact. No faith-based band-aid can trump fact. No amount of willful disregard can trump that consequences arising from actions rooted more in faith than in fact are real and do real harm. No amount of alleged benefit in a believed hereafter can justify inarguable inhumane and callus decisions in the here and now.

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Diplomat:"OF COURSE you talk to enemies!!!" It takes me six paragrahs to say "Duh!"

27 year career diplomat agrees with Senator Obama on need for diplomacy, including talking with our enemies.

I was moved to digg and comment (digg link below, please use that one) and then realized that I really should follow my own lead on this. I frequently blog the better comments on news stories made by others. Well, this time, I think I nailed it.

Here's what I said.

"This whole "we don't talk to people we don't like" foreign policy has struck me as being on a level with seventh graders deciding who gets to sit at what table at lunch. And - clearly - our leaders do not choose to be seen in public with the auto-shop boys, the "smoker's corner" crowd or anyone from "the wrong side of the tracks."

This is a criticism that transcends any need to speak to politics, ideology or philosophy. I've seen absolutely nothing to indicate that those concepts have had any bearing on any approach to anything. Conservatism has been reduced to the level of a purple heart band-aid.

Remember that, when it was a sign of a Good Conservative to mock the service of a decorated war hero because his experience led him to disapprove of the war in Iraq?

Whatever one might feel about a political opponent, or whatever one might feel about the conclusions they drew from their time in service of country, it's utterly wrong and an utter betrayal of a decent appreciation of fundamental Conservative values to mock the wartime service of another. Nonetheless, the tactic was embraced by leaders and followers alike, because it looked like it would work toward a short-term political goal. Principles be damned. And that's our foreign policy in a nutshell.

It's first, last and only goal has been domestic political advantage within the current news cycle, a calculation that is common to ALL important decisions over the last, utterly disastrous eight years.Wise and mature leaders understand that you cannot, must not, pander to people informed in sound bites by political partisans, or even be terribly concerned about what those partisans might say. There are always such people and it's always easiest to convince them that they are somehow being "mistreated" or "betrayed" by someone in power dealing with a complex situation.

And let us remember that despite being genuinely likable and good with people, George Bush's leadership style has never led him to deal with difficult issues in any substantive way. I honestly cannot think of a single situation that has been improved by George Bush's involvement, or indeed, improved on the basis of the Bush leadership philosophy. It's been a government of, by and for the "popular kids" - and we are reminded why student governments have grownup advisers."
If you digg what I said, please digg it there. But of course, you are also encouraged to share this article directly with all the other bookmarking services. :P

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