Every Country Has Its Own Rev. Terry Jones


Protests throughout the Middle-East condemning Reverend Terry Jones’ claim that he will burn copies of the Quran (which the Reverend then said he would not do and is now reconsidering again), have resulted in injuries and the stupidest of all responses, the burning of the American flag. Like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck’s followers, there are people everywhere who simply do not put two and two together.

Burning the American flag is not the best way to convince anyone that they should respect the Quran and not burn copies. However, while it’s easy to assume that most Afghans or Pakistanis protesting are this misguided, be reminded that it’s just as easy for them to think that most Americans are like the Reverend Jones. Both sides react based on extreme actions by a select faction of people and violence, hate, and oftentimes murder ensue.

Osama Bin Laden, George Bush, Dick Cheney, the Reverend Terry Jones, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin… these are all people who offer those seeking an avenue to syphon their fear and anger a place to rage. To gather together with others who have not come to terms with the emotions they are feeling and allow them to act inappropriately and dangerously. This is not new to society. Any society. It is not new to the human race. Joseph McCarthy, Adolph Hitler… granted, those are extremes, but the idea is the same. People the world-over are disillusioned and fearful. We all struggle with these emotions. We always have.

Hopefully through the events of the past ten years, we will all start to learn just how susceptible we are to those who prey on those fears and insecurities, whether they do so knowingly or through ignorance. It’s one thing to try and learn from the past, from something one hasn’t experienced oneself. It’s another to live through it, as we are doing now.

I wonder if it’s possible to learn how dangerous this type of behavior is and to actually pass that on to further generations. Or do we all have to learn it for ourselves and be doomed to repeat it for all eternity? Or at least until we take it so far that there’s no turning back.

Let’s hope something good comes from it all. At least in the present. And let’s hope it doesn’t get too much worse before it gets better.

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Every Country Has Its Own Rev. Terry Jones

Exporting Hate & Terror In The Name Of God


Sounds like something one might accuse Al Qaeda of. But what if it were suggested the United States of America were on a religious crusade all its own? Last year, former French President Jacques Chirac told the world that, while the White House was assembling its “coalition of the willing” to invade Iraq, then president George W. Bush appealed to their common faith in Christianity during a private chat. According to Chirac, Bush stated:

“Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East…. The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled…. This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.”

While this is old news by now and a quote I’ve referenced before, it seems to have been one-upped by a recent report that weapons maker Trijicon has been supplying high-powered rifle sights to the U.S. Army and Marines with coded references to specific Bible passages. One such reference on the gun sights is 2COR4:6, also known as Second Corinthian 4:6 of the New testament:

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

These “Jesus-encoded” sights are being used by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in the training of Iraqi and Afghan soldiers. Oddly enough, U.S. Military rule prohibits proselytizing of any religion in Iraq or Afghanistan. The whole notion behind this rule was to prevent any country or individual from claiming the United States was on a religious “Crusade.” Well… it seems some, including but obviously not restricted to the president who led us into those very wars, were, indeed, on a religious crusade. So where does that leave us now?

The American people were lied to about WMDs, our own CIA directly misled Congress, we defied the United Nations, we angered and alienated much of the world with that defiance, we resorted to torture tactics we swore we would never use, we engaged in a preemptive strike against another country for the first time in our nation’s history, and over 100,000 human lives have been lost that would not have been otherwise… At what point do Americans realize that the Bush Administration turned the United States of America into a rogue nation and desecrated almost everything we have claimed to stand for? And still I see people finding reasons to support that same administration, all the while professing that President Obama is attempting to destroy our nation, trying to make us a socialist country, a totalitarian country, even a fascist country.

So while the largest corporations in the States get fat on the blood of Iraq, including Trijicon who have a $660 million multi-year contract to provide up to 800,000 sights to the Marine Corp and even more to the U.S. Army, America’s own citizens have been tossed into a deep recession. And the president who has managed to prevent that recession from becoming a full-on depression, all the while trying to repair a deeply damaged health care system that doesn’t care for its own, has come under attack as a man who is trying to destroy this country and everything it stands for.

At what point do we heed the lessons and shame of Joseph McCarthy and the fear that drove that man and his many, many followers? At what point do we face up to the fact that our country and its citizens were lied to, led astray? At what point do we, as a nation, choose to enter into adulthood and face our own demons? When do we, as Dick Cheney would call it, “Man-up”?

A recent hearing in the U.K. on that country’s involvement in the war in Iraq revealed that the U.S. was already discussing plans to invade Iraq less than a month after George W. Bush took office. This was, if you haven’t already figured it out, long before the 9/11 attacks. These plans are well-documented in the Downing Street Memo transcribing the minutes of a meeting between Tony Blair’s senior ministers on July 23, 2002.

That same recent U.K. hearing also reportedly revealed that Blair lied to the public when he claimed that Britain’s objective in the invasion of Iraq was ‘disarmament’ and not ‘regime change.’

Too bad we haven’t yet had hearings of our own on this side of the Atlantic. Maybe it would open some of those tightly shut eyes still mourning the loss of the good Christian president who so valiantly protected our nation through what is known as the Bush Doctrine which includes a policy of “preventive” war which held that:

The security environment confronting the United States today is radically different from what we have faced before. Yet the first duty of the United States Government remains what it always has been: to protect the American people and American interests. It is an enduring American principle that this duty obligates the government to anticipate and counter threats, using all elements of national power, before the threats can do grave damage. The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction – and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack. There are few greater threats than a terrorist attack with WMD.

To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively in exercising our inherent right of self-defense. The United States will not resort to force in all cases to preempt emerging threats. Our preference is that nonmilitary actions succeed. And no country should ever use preemption as a pretext for aggression.

But what is it we’ve actually done? According to the above-mentioned U.K. hearing:

In the public record, there is a large amount of evidence that vividly illustrates Bush’s long-standing intent to invade Iraq, Bush’s willingness to provoke Saddam Hussein into providing a pretext for war, the fact that the Iraq war began with an air campaign almost a year before the March 2003 invasion and months before Congress approved the war, Bush’s widespread attempt to crush dissent and manipulate information to justify the lies he used to start the Iraq war and the lack of planning for the aftermath of the Iraq war as well as the lack of a fundamental understanding of the Iraqi society.

To further illustrate then President Bush’s “mission” as he saw it, I quote a passage from his 2003 State of the Union address:

“Americans are a free people, who know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation. The liberty we prize is not America’s gift to the world, it is God’s gift to humanity.”

Unfortunately, men like George W. Bush never seem to understand that what they see as the “right” way for America is not the only way. I’m not saying all nations shouldn’t be free, I’m saying that we, America, do not have all the answers and it is beyond arrogant to assume we do. It is downright criminal to take that misguided belief and stake human lives on it. Especially when that belief is weighed down by religious conviction; by a man and an administration with little understanding of the culture, people and religions of the countries they are invading. Many great nations before ours have fallen in pursuit of the very same fallacious ideologies that drove Mr. Bush and his followers.

But how do you get a country and its people to follow along on such a path? Author Naomi Klein wrote in her book The Shock Doctrine that the Bush Administration exploited  a “window of opportunity that opens in a state of shock, subsequently followed with a comforting rationale for the public, as a form of social control.”

For any country to grow, it must take a cold, hard look at itself. It must ask the difficult questions. We have an opportunity now to start fixing the deep damage that was incurred during the Bush Administration and the 9/11 attacks on our country. Both victimized the American people. Neither wound is anywhere close to being healed. But in taking that deep look, we might find that we–as abhorrent a notion as it is–may have temporarily become our own worst enemy and the exporters of the very thing we claim to be fighting against.

Exporting Hate & Terror In The Name Of God

I Voted: Now THAT Felt Good!


aka It’s My Birthday & I’ll Vote If I Want To!

ivotedstickerAs the economy continues to wreak havoc on friends, family and strangers, as the wars rage on in the Middle East, as my own future looks incredibly uncertain, I went out today and voted for Barack Obama & Joe Biden. And while the cynical part of me knows that it’s very likely Obama may disappoint in many ways, the optimistic part of me has allowed myself to believe this guy may actually create huge positive change and is a self-aware individual, something I’ve never felt about a candidate in my lifetime (I’m 45 today). So I’m hoping that Obama is a president I can take pride in and can restore this country to a country I take pride in. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to feel that. 

It saddens and confuses me when I think about family members I dearly love whom I believe will be voting for John McCain and Sarah Palin today. Family members who struggle to make ends meet, find themselves out of work, deal with major and minor physical and emotional disabilities, have young children who will want an education and a safe future rich with possibility, homes that are under construction and in flux… It pains me to watch decisions be made that I think are destructive, both to self and others. And I can’t help but feel that it’s not unlike finding your family members in support of Joseph McCarthy and his power-hungry, hate-filled communist witch-hunt. People whose fear is so malleable that they can be made to believe that cutting off one leg will help them run faster. It’s a terrifying misjudgment of character and an extreme example of the political illiteracy of many Americans. Let’s hope not too many.

This election has moved beyond simple ideological differences. It has moved to the difference between right and wrong. In this time of such conflict the world over, in a time when our country faces its greatest struggle for survival since, well, the Civil War, it’s difficult to watch the ones you love be taken in so easily. Good people, kind people, well-meaning people. It does not sit easily in the gut. And it is disheartening, frightening and confounding. And it is hard to know exactly how to react, except to know that it’s okay to feel torn, to be confused, and to wish it were otherwise.

And to hope.

I Voted: Now THAT Felt Good!

The Red Menace: Sarah Palin Channels Joe McCarthy?


Like the terrifying 1956 film INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS highlighted, your neighbors are not who you think they are. They look like you and they talk like you… But they’re not really like you. Not inside. Inside, they want to hurt you, to rob you of your freedom, of your individual thought, of your very humanity…

Director Don Siegel’s cinematic masterpiece reflected a nation racked by fear and paranoia. In the film, it was aliens intent on stealing our minds and bodies to create a “peaceful” existence devoid of human emotion. In the real world, it was Joseph McCarthy and HUAC who were intent on purging America of the many “communist infiltrators” that had overtaken our society while we had our heads turned away. The result? Thousands of innocent people were robbed of their livelihoods, their respect, their community standing, their very lives. It took a while, but America came to realize that the enemy here wasn’t communists, but Joe McCarthy.

Today, at a rally in Des Moines, Iowa, Sarah Palin had this to say:

“See, under a big government, more tax agenda, what you thought was yours would really start belonging to somebody else, to everybody else. If you thought your income, your property, your inventory, your investments were, were yours, they would really collectively belong to everybody. Obama, Barack Obama has an ideological commitment to higher taxes, and I say this based on his record… Higher taxes, more government, misusing the power to tax leads to government moving into the role of some believing that government then has to take care of us. And government kind of moving into the role as the other half of our family, making decisions for us. Now, they do this in other countries where the people are not free. Let us fight for what is right. John McCain and I, we will put our trust in you.”

Throughout my life, I’ve known American politics to be a dirty game. And its always saddened, confused and embarrassed me. But I have never felt those feelings more strongly than I do now watching this woman, and the men and women who stand behind her, make the first steps toward bringing America back to those shameful days. The only consolation is that, though Sarah Palin may not have learned from her own country’s past mistakes, many Americans have and the outrage that has been expressed by many is proof of that. Election day will, hopefully, be further proof.

I pointed out in my earlier post “It’s Alive!” Palin Goes Rogue that it appears the McCain campaign may be distancing itself from Sarah Palin as she further disregards the advice and recommendations of her aides and advisors. And though the polls show that more and more Americans now have a negative impression of Sarah Palin, it is important to recognize that she still has a large and fervent base of supporters. And they will listen to her. And they will believe.

I will also, for anyone who missed it, point you to my last post before this one, West’s Interview of Biden: An Embarrassment Of Incompetence, where WFTV anchor woman Barbara West asks Joe Biden to explain why she should believe Barack Obama’s political views are any different from Karl Marx.

Here is the video of Sarah Palin’s speech in Des Moines earlier today. Pay attention to the audience’s reaction. I’m not trying to spread my own brand of fear here. I just want to make sure people are paying attention:

The Red Menace: Sarah Palin Channels Joe McCarthy?