Monday, January 23, 2006

Sen. McCain - Offer Something Statesmanlike or Just Clam Up

Sen. McCain - Offer Something Statesmanlike or Just Clam Up

I just love the way certain American political leaders toss stupid insults around and piss off leaders of foreign countries who control considerable amounts of the oil supply that heats our homes and fuels our automobiles.

Today, Venezuela's vice president told Senator John McCain he could "go to hell" for suggesting that "wackos" were governing Venezuela. "Maybe he has got nothing to do over there in the United States," Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel said.

Does Senator McCain figure that, if he becomes the Big Cheese, he will just invade Venezuela pre-emptively - or help to stage a coup if Hugo gets too uppity with us? (Didn't we try that once and fail?) Was Senator McCain just in the mood for being GOP Macho-man and mocking the Venezuelan government? Does he realize that he's winding up looking like a chump to every one in the U.S. who pays more and more at the pump by the day? This is no laughing matter to us.

Hey, Senator McCain - just clam up and come up with some better ideas - and show some success with your own party in legislating those ideas. Hugo's got you all over a barrel. We have to pay for the stuff since your party has ignored the need for alternative energy ideas in a world competing viciously for oil. Your record on Energy is pretty good - but where's the beef? Republicans have been in control of the Senate for years. Why didn't you support the United Nations Kyoto Conference treaty regarding global climate change? We have to pay out the ass for the stuff because your party has an energy policy that favors the pockets of Big Oil over the dire needs of the people. Your party has initiated a totally unnecessary war that caused the Middle East to jack up OPEC oil costs (and you totally supported the miserable venture).

Keep up the good work on protecting the environment. Reconsider your stance on Kyoto. If you have nothing constructive or statesmanlike to offer on foreign policy...

Just - clam - up.

Your party's done enough damage already. You don't have to act like Bush on Fox News Sunday to impress us. Impress us by showing how a statesman keeps his cool in the most trying of circumstances. If you were Howard Dean, the entire media would be at your throat for making such incendiary and aggressive political comments.

Mary McElveen is a columnist with the independent foreign-based news site known as, which is committed to democracy in Venezuela and is not tied to any political faction. Listen to what Ms. MsElveen has to say about this McCain situation - and about John Edwards, who she thinks is a dignified potential candidate for 2008.

UPDATE: "High level name-calling won't help. It's just another form of wasted energy." - Jeffrey Shaffer, Christian Science Monitor

New Survey: 29% of Gen Y believes God Caused Hurricanes

New Survey: 29% of Gen Y believes God Caused Hurricanes
44% totally trust government to protect them from expected terror attacks

I was not surprised to read that many young people do not obsess about natural disasters taking their lives or livelihoods. We all tend to think, "It couldn't happen to me."

A new survey of Generation Y-ers by the latest Greenberg Quinlan Rosner/Polimetrix Youth Monitor shows that the main concerns about the future of the Generation Y-ers are focused more on everyday things:

- not having enough money to retire
- the possibility of identity theft
- the possibility of dying of cancer
- getting the education needed for a good job

I'd say that these young people have their priorities straight.

Something's really bugging me about this survey, though. We cannot neglect the issue of Values reflected in this survey.

29 percent of the Gen-Y crowd believe that 'God' played a role in the hurricanes which battered America last season. I found it to be unsettling to know that one in five (19 percent) of Gen Y-ers believe these tragedies are a sign of the end of the world.

I think, when we allow Nature to cause us to lose hope because of a God that we see as leading our world's heart to stop pulsing - and when we favor hiding in fear behind that professed form of faith, that we become apathetic. When we let apathy allow our democracy to atrophy, we are not really acting out of our faith. Instead, we fail to act for the public good - all as a result of our own human fear and imagined helplessness.

It's easier to fall into a state of apathy when we feel helpless. When we toss hope aside for fearful or apathetic resignation, I believe that our hopelessness indicates an absence of true faith.

I'd love to see a future survey where every Gen Y-er will choose the fullness of hope over their fearful End Time prohecies.

I'd love to hear young people say that none of them believe that God brought a hurricane to their doorstep of out Apocalyptic vengeance, and that although they expected natural disasters to happen, they had faith that their government would be there for them to assist in a meaningful way after the natural disaster had done its damage. But that's clearly not what they are saying.

We should lead our children to trust absolutely no one who would tell us that fear is the heart of love and faith - or of politics. We should encourage our children to work for better government - a government whose public servants would not employ the politics of fear or hold back public assistance and opportunity with the anti-public politics of greed (enrichment of the richest) and deliberate ignorance of scientific fact.

The political Christian Right has been given a powerful voice in the Republican party, and I have found that the politics of fear and helplessness run true in the storylines of both the End-Timers and the far right-wing. People under the spell of end-time prophecies can't be expected to care about the environment, and the Republican party who coddles them promotes an agenda reflecting that End Time apathy. Why would we care about the earth when hurricanes brought on by God are signs of a great Apocalypse foretold in the Bible? (Mayor Nagin of New Orleans apologized for saying as much - and I'm glad that he thought twice about his ridiculous comment). Why bother to do anything about global warming when you will believe you'll be lifted up in the Rapture? As long as we have a political party that harbors and supports this kind of thinking, they will remain willing apathetic governors over the helpless, fearful, and uncaring.

I find it odd to know, although 29% of these Gen Y-ers believe that God will send natural disasters to us because it is His will, that a large 44% of Gen Y-ers "totally trust" that their government will protect them from another terrorist attack. Isn't this putting more faith in government to protect you than in God Himself? I would fiercely argue that that is not the common value that most Christians share.

It is no wonder we have people who are putting stock in a National theology that bears little resemblance to actual religious ideology. This National theology (as seen with Dominionism) twists an angry God up in a nice political package with the far right Republican ideology. It is a knife to the heart of true freedom. It supports no democratic ideology - only the Angry-God Triumphalism of this National theology.

While it's great to discuss our spiritual values in the public square and talk about how those values intersect respectfully with the common values of all Americans, the apathy that comes from the fear of an angry God will only make our world a place where hopelessness and injustice will reign.

How can we reach Gen Y-ers today and help them to understand that what they can do for their fellow man is far more in line with their faith, freedom and opportunity than the politics of fear and the the hopelessness of the apathetic?

A good start is the Center for Promise and Opportunity, where thousands of young people have been encouraged to get involved in their communities and advocate policies that expand opportunity for their generation's future.

Another good beginning is Generation Engage - a non-partisan effort aimed at raising the political profile of young adults which claims that a broad political apathy among them weakens the nation as a whole. Generation Engage bypasses candidates, campaigns, and partisan onslaughts, and engages young people at the local level, providing the knowledge, the organization, and the voice they need to shape the future they will inherit.

See U.S. losing edge in world market, Edwards says at poverty forum:
[Sen. John Edwards].. urged college students to advocate for the poor.

"This is an opportunity for young people to engage again," Edwards said. "You can be their champions."

He encouraged them to volunteer or work on such issues as raising the minimum wage.

Goldberg Advocates Murder. Lies, and Dishonor

Goldberg Advocates Murder. Lies, and Dishonor

"I have sworn, upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

- Thomas Jefferson

Mark Kleiman:
Jonah Goldberg suggests that Bush murder Osama bin Laden under a false flag of truce. No conservative steps up to disagree. Since when did "conservatives" think so little of the national honor?
I wonder if any of those conservatives would have been "amused" at Fort William Henry at Lake George, N.Y. during the French and Indian War when, under the false flag of protection under surrender terms, the French victors watched their allies - the Hurons - slaughter and pillage at least 100 of the trusting British parolees who had no means of self defense.

Osama and his gang have succeeded at turning little chickenhawks into advocates for savagery, lies, and dishonor under an American ruler with absolute power.

If this fails to ring warning bells for any American who has ever studied American history, then we didn't pay attention in class.

We cannot allow these cowardly fools to reduce our nation to a ball of defeated meaninglessness and dishonor under a tyranny of capitalist interest disguised as freedom. We are so much better than this. We deserve much better.

If no right-winger can see the potential fatality of our nation's Founding ideals in Goldberg's hideous idea, we need to shout their error and omission of criticism from our virtual rooftops. We should be winning hearts and minds by offering security to a world who can clearly see that our ideas are the right ones. Goldberg wants to expose us as liars, murderers, and cheats.