Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Ah, the joys of Halloween!  Little kids dressed up as witches, superheroes, dinosaurs, ninjas (saw one really COOL ninja tonight) knights and movie characters!

Handing out candy like there's no tomorrow!

The customers tonight were more numerous than last year.  The costumes seemed to be more on the store-bought side, but one little boy came as Dracula - and the face paint was fantastic!  Even as a little kid, he was almost scary...

Favorite pic on Facebook:

Second favorite:

Fortunately, no Romneys tonight, that would have just been too much.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricanes and politics.

It was a dark and stormy night, while the moon glowed bright and orange above the clouds, illuminating the storm as it raged at sea, slowly making landfall far to the north.

Millions of humans hunkered down in homes, some safe, some not, while governors north and south ordered evacuations.  Stocked with extra water, batteries, food and booze, we awaited this newest of natures onslaughts.

Businesses closed, governments readied themselves for the storm by closing administrative offices and preparing emergency workers and shelters to assist those unfortunate enough to be too close to the sea’s reach as the storm clawed itself ashore.  News reporters spoke live on camera, guys ashore, ladies waist deep in the dangerous waves, titillating their millions of viewers with pictures of rising water smashing itself over seawalls and cascading into empty subway stations.  More bad news as a beautiful tall ship, the HMS Bounty, sank at sea, and the Coast Guard rescued all but two of her crew.  Another ship, a 700 ton tanker, was tossed onto a New York street like a toy, and an eleven foot surge of water smashed cars together in the tunnels connecting New York to the mainland.

As the storm slammed ashore, trees were swept away, buildings crumbled and construction cranes toppled.  Power stations exploded, plunging half of New York City into total darkness to match the outages affecting millions more on the mainland.  Half of the New York power grid was taken offline to prevent further damage. Water crept higher and higher, to levels unprecedented, inundating entire cities and trapping residents too stubborn to leave.  

First responders dashed to the rescue, pulling people out of attics and busing them to safer places inland, dodging the sharks exploring the flooded front yards of New Jersey.  Firefighters in New York rescued dozens of residents as their houses burned to the ground.  The National Guard in New Jersey rescued hundreds of residents from homes in flooded Atlantic City after their mayor failed to enforce the State's evacuation orders.

Slowly, the storm made its way inland, tearing itself apart, splashing itself across the landscape, fusing part of itself with colder air creeping stealthily south from Canada, dumping inches of cold, wet heavy snow on the hapless humans far below.

As the wind subsides, the growl of its passing gradually diminishes and fades away, the remaining trees slowly ending their mad twisting overnight dance with the wind, while the humans creep cautiously out of their hidden refuges to survey the changed world around them.

And as the Governor of New York speaks to his people, talking of the storm, the damage, the need to rebuild, and the future of similar storms as severe as this one if not worse, Fox News cuts the feed as they refuse to broadcast any references to Global Warming.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The KKK, tribalism and education.

Yesterday, I watched a Nightline segment about the KKK.  For a number of months, they were given unprecedented access to KKK ceremonies and for interviews.

There were two scenes that struck me.  One was an interview of a young man who requested that his face not be shown so he wouldn’t get fired from his job.  In this interview, he told the reporter that he believed that it was right for a “Christian man” to wear the KKK robes and believe the things he did.  He was proud of it, in spite of being afraid for his job.  (Although he still wouldn’t allow his face to be filmed.)

The second was the interview of the “Grand Dragon”, as he styled himself.  An interview in which he described his convictions that blacks were descended from animals, humans were made by god, and there would be a race war, sparked by Obama’s re-election, where whites would be forced into concentration camps.  He also stated that whites and blacks should be separated, by force, if necessary.

He never did explain the apparent contradiction between the ability of blacks to force whites into concentration camps, but that whites would somehow have the power to force blacks to live in separate enclaves.  Logic is, apparently, not his strong suit.

My thoughts on this were tempered by the things we’ve seen posted and stated by the Republicans in this election season.  We’ve been asking ourselves the question, “Why?”  “Why would otherwise sensible people take such crazy, illogical positions and believe such crazy things?”

I believe the answer lies in the attitudes and beliefs as expressed by those hateful, fearful KKK members.

Think about this.  The most obvious answer to the question of what is different between those KKK folks and blacks is the color of their skin.  That is blindingly obvious.

What isn’t, and what we rarely think of is culture.

Blacks have been forced, by circumstances, both social and economic, to live for generations in close proximity to one another and have developed an uniquely American black culture.  So have the heavily bigoted poor whites, for exactly the same reasons!  Both were isolated from the rest of American culture by being poor, and both have been isolated from the larger American culture because of the different culture they’ve developed as a reaction to the economic isolation.

Of course, this is a generalization, and there are obvious exceptions, as blacks are more spread out over the US, and those poor whites aren’t as numerous, and are more concentrated in the South.  But, I believe, the general principle is sound.

The similarity is one of the things that has driven the KKK crowd into violence, because they see their culture dying while the blacks have gotten the advantage of Federal government support at what they see as the disadvantage of themselves.

The solidity of the KKK’s beliefs are undergirded by their twisting of the christian religion into rationalizing their supposed superiority and what they see as the sub-humanity of minorities by claiming god was behind it all.  This justifies their violent approach.  This justifies their culture.

But look at the larger picture, the principles behind what’s going on.

The one thing I see in this smaller struggle is mirrored in other countries.  There are similar groups struggling against a general prejudice and some have been for centuries.

The similarity is simple:  Tribalism.

Us vs. Them.  Tribes, clans, ethnic groups.  Skin color, facial characteristics, cultural differences.  Religious differences.

Nationalism is merely an extension of tribalism, made large and altered to justify the conquering of territory.

Now, don’t get me wrong, tribalism was fine in its day.  It was a reaction of humanity to finding itself in small family units fighting for survival in a hostile environment, often in competition with other human groups.  It set up an evolutionary environment within human culture which forced humans to forge larger alliances to allow for larger groups to make themselves stronger in that struggle and allow larger and larger groups to survive.

As long as there were enough empty places around the globe to allow weaker groups to be forced out of the more pleasant and easier places to live instead of being annihilated, tribalism worked fine, and was a positive force in causing humanity to expand across the entire planet.  I doubt people would have willingly colonized the harsher environments on this earth had they been left a choice.

But today, there are very few empty places left, and virtually none truly livable which are not claimed by one country or another.  In short, human migration is at an end without a truly horrid and violent conflict.  Tribalism, in short, has reached the end of its usefulness as a tactic for human survival.

The problem is convincing those who think their survival still depends on it to find another alternative and start actually cooperating with those they used to think were enemies.

That is one of the truly difficult hurdles of modern education, which is the only permanent cure.

We should get started on that.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Racism and politics.

There was a time when a man like Barrack Obama would have found himself at the mercy of ugly men in white hoods for even daring to show up at a polling place, much less running for office.

There was a time when such an attitude was open, common and even spoken of approvingly in polite society.  It was even recorded in movies.

Then came a black women who sat down at the front of a bus and was just too tired to move.  Of course, it wasn't that easy nor simple.  Real life never is.  But progress has been made.  Four years ago, in 2008, we elected a man whose racial heritage was half black and half white to the White House.  Federal laws protecting blacks from systemic racism have been in place for half a century and it has become socially gauche to express openly any form of racism.

But now, today, in the year 2012, the 21st century, when all of that ugliness should have faded away like a bad dream, like a bad penny, it's back.

Of course, it's not been blatant.  They use code words.  Phrases and words which mean, in the wider vernacular, something else entirely, but express racist attitudes and beliefs in ways that allow the speaker and the listener to talk in public as racially offensively as they ever did before without the general public being aware of the gist of their conversation.

But in this election, they're even dropping the code words.

John Sununu has called Obama "lazy", openly on national TV, and refused to walk it back, even when given a free pass to do so.  It openly expresses the old stereotype that blacks are lazy workers that the old slave owners had to beat to get them to work.  Other examples abound.  Even Romney's campaign has used open racial attitudes like that in their ads, and continue to run those ads, even after the racism has been pointed out by third parties.

One is tempted to ask, "Have they no shame?"

But the answer to that is plain.  Yes, they do.  They are still couching the racism in euphemisms, in ways that at least seem to try to cover the bare racism with a phantasm of cover, however thinly applied, but still, they feel the need to keep it out of plain sight and without using the bare ugly words.

It exposes their fear.  It is the fear of the old tired conservative whose values are dying with the older generation and who cannot bear to know the truth.  It is the fear that once the minorities become the majority, that they will be treated as they treated the minorities.  It is akin to the fear of the slave owners who were fully aware that their slaves would kill them in their beds if they could but successfully revolt.

But it also exposes their shame.  They know that society has moved beyond their time and beyond their nastiness and the ugliness of intolerant racism.  Their need to hide that raw racist language and that raw emotion and cover it with the thin veneer of political shenanigans proves that their shame is real and has affected their actions and their political tactics.  They are aware that the raw racism is no longer politically acceptable in most of the country, and it will result in the loss of the election if expressed openly.

So, they trot out the code words and cover that ugliness with that thin but attractive political veneer of lies to cover their repulsive nature.

These are the actions of cowards.  Morally unable to stand up and defend their apparently most cherished values, they cheat, lie and arrogantly strut about thinking that their true feelings are hidden from the sight of the electorate.

Fearful, frightened of their own shadows, they skulk about the political landscape, trying to distract the electorate with crazy statements of religious nonsense, hoping nobody is looking.

Let's hope that on November 6th (NOT the 8th!), the people of this great country stand up and show them that they have failed to hide and failed to distract us.  Let's throw the bums back into the sewers they came from.

More Republican Crazy.

I understand there's a story going around that blames President Obama for letting the folks at the embassy in Benghazi die because he was in bed.

I haven't read it, I'd too afraid it would set in some brain rot or something.

But from the comments of a right winger who apparently believes it, there were a couple of C130's sitting on a runway somewhere full of troops waiting for Obama to wake up so he could give them permission to enter Libyan airspace.  Or something.

Just on this spare info, there is already so much wrong with this, the stupidity is almost infectious, so handle this with rubber gloves.  You've been warned!

First of all, common sense should tell you that the US won't be flying troops in from somewhere else to rescue an embassy or consulate under attack in the capital of a foreign power.  Mainly because we don't have an agreement with any other country in the world to operate our troops in a combat mode within their territory.  We just don't.  Afghanistan is a combat zone, officially declared by DOD, which puts it into a category all by itself.  Benghazi isn't in Afghanistan.  the other reason why we would never do that is distance.

The closest US air base to Benghazi is Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, and that's an hour flight time, from take off to landing.  That doesn't take into consideration the time required to alert the troops, prepare them for the operation, transport them to the airbase, load them, then off-load them at Benghazi and transport them to the embassy under attack.

They'd get there in time to sweep up the ashes and bury the bodies.

None of that takes into account the time required to alert the Department of State of the problem, get that information to DOD and back down the chain of command in time to get that ball rolling in Italy!  Or the time for the DOS to get a dialog going with the Libyan government in order to get permission to even fly two C130's full of troops into their country in the first place, much less permission to allow them to go running around their capital city armed and dangerous!

And come on, two C130s?  One alone carries 64 combat loaded airborne troops.  That should be enough to take on a bunch of terrorists, much less fit inside the embassy.  But you've got to get them there in the first place.

Lastly, this story is focused on the fact that supposedly, President Obama is in bed, asleep, and the troops are just sitting there and the folks in Benghazi are dying for lack of that permission.

Which is insulting to the max, because all one has to do is examine Obama's track record as the Commander in Chief to see that he is always very concerned for his people's welfare.

For a timeline and a good explanation of the attack, go here.  Maps and everything.


For those of us in the path of Hurricane Sandy, here is the page at FEMA for what to do to prepare for a hurricane.

Here is the page at NOAA to track Sandy's path.

Here is the page at the FDA website for helping consumers and industry in knowing what to do to keep foodstuff safe during power outages due to hurricanes and other weather events.  There are links to other government agencies too.

Here is the FDA consumer checklist for Hurricane preparedness.  It has information for dealing with food, water, pets, drugs, medical devices, vaccines, blood and biologics in case of flooding and/or power outages.

Let's all be ready!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dominionism, named and explained!

First, this post is to link to The Kryptonite Project's final, full page list of Republican politicians who are supported and support the Dominionist movement in this country!

Please go look!

That's only the first thing that post is all about.

If you have any questions about Dominionism and what it is, that post is the place to begin.  A sample:

UPDATE: For all of you out there who are not reading the content of this post accurately, and who actually jump to absurd conclusions that we are in any way promoting these candidates, I encourage you to read the intro. If you still think that there is any ambiguity then I wish you and all other trolls a goodnight. 
We did it! Nicole Nichols and I have finally made it through all 50 states, pulling from our lengthy research of those politicians who are running for re-election, and in some cases for the first time, who meet the criteria as a ReBiblican – not a Republican. To clarify, a ReBiblican is someone who believes the following main belief: 
America was founded as a Christian nation 
Mixed into this erroneous belief are what some in the the world of Christian Dominionism refer to as Reclaiming the 7 Mountains of Culture. Here are the basic tenets of this skewed scripture-twisted biblical world view shared in part or whole by these following candidates: 
Religion Mountain – Freedom of religion is restricted to those they deem the “right kind of Christian”, all other religions are here on probation and they had best not get too comfortable. 
Family Mountain – means one man, one woman and minorities are still suspect as fit parents. 
Education Mountain – Public education is bad. Public schools are secular indoctrination centers who block the worship through prayer and song of their version of Christianity. 
Business Mountain – More is blessed! The more you make, the wealthier you become, the stronger the affirmation as a message from God that you are truly the elect. Controlling business = controlling government. 
Arts & Entertainment Mountain – Crippling secular arts programs opens doors for Dominionist influence and entertainment that fits their views as the “right kind of message”. 
Government/Military – Privatization eliminates regulation that separated church and state and military infestation sets up global proselytizing opportunities under the guise of “nation building” and the use of authoritarian power to harvest souls among our own ranks. 
Media Mountain – They are as aware as the rest of us that media plays an extremely influential role in forming the opinions of American voters.
This is alarming, that any American candidate for public office would hold these beliefs - they are completely anti-thetical to every principle outlined and enshrined in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence - let alone the majority of a single Party which has made freedom, liberty and individual rights the centerpiece of its values.

Please, you should not only go look to see who the politicians in your State are who support this horrible value system, but you should spread this site's url far and wide.  Post this on Facebook, share it with everybody you know.

This one page, even more than anything else, explains why these folks are so dangerous.  Make no mistake about it, this movement is dangerous.  If McCarthy thought that the Communists were dangerous, these folks make them look like kindergarten bullies.

Please, spread the word!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Man up, Republicans!

This has got to be the worst election, in regards to bad feelings on both sides, than I’ve ever seen.  Republicans saying ridiculously stupid and wrong things about women’s reproduction and rape, repeatedly.  The refusal of the Republican nominee to repudiate those statements, the use of racist dog whistles to appeal to right wing bigots and above all, the repeated use of not simply twisted statements or barely recognizable statements, but of out and out lies by the Romney campaign to manipulate the Republican base and the rest of any part of the electorate that has the stupidity to listen to his lies.

Sure, the Obama campaign and other Democrats have used the typical prevarications, misleading ads and expertly edited clips to help make Romney look bad (as if he really needs any assistance in that regard!).  But the politically neutral fact check sites have proven several times more lies - and yes, I mean out and out lies - on the part of the Republicans than the Democrats even have of misleading ads alone.

It makes me angry.

Not because I expect any election to be the shining example on the hill of how elections should go according to strict legality and ethical considerations. No, I doubt that any nation on earth has reached that lofty level of human honesty yet.  Sure as hell not the US this year!

I am angry at the right wing nutjobs who talk about freedom, liberty and justice who then  do everything they can to show that they don’t respect any of those terms and, indeed, don’t even seem to know what they mean any more!  I am angry at the press, who don’t seem to understand what the role of the press is in an election, and instead pander to whichever party takes their fancy.

I am angry at the religious organizations in this ocuntry who have taken political sides and are just as busy as the Republicans at lying and twisting facts while giving their congregants voting orders for November 6th.

I am angry at Republicans who have wrapped themselves in the flag for decades, yet now, when their policies are unpopular and they’ve nominated a man even they don’t respect, are moving heaven and earth to suppress the vote of democrats, in violation of every value and every principle this country was founded on.

In the language of the misogynistic morons who make up the majority of the modern Republican party,  “Guys’, man up!  You’re losing, your policies are unpopular, your politicians are lying to you daily, and the entire world is laughing at you!  Stop being a bunch of morons.  Take those principles you claim to love, both secular and religious, and start living them!”

But they won’t.  Pride - simple pride, which, in the words of their purported savior, goeth before a fall, is keeping them from seeing the truth.

It would be sad, if it didn’t impact 350 million Americans.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Social sites are inaccurate, La. police say.

In Winnsboro, Louisiana, a black woman was set on fire by three young men wearing white hoods, who then vandalized her car with a racial slur and the letters KKK.  This story has gone viral around the world, and news sources as far away as New Zealand are reporting that she was wearing an Obama t-shirt at the time of the attack.

But, according to the police, those reports are not true, stating that their investigation is ongoing.  (I also read another report that said her mother also refuted reports about the t-shirt.)
Sharmeka Mofffitt was taken to LSU Hospital-Shreveport where, according to NBC affiliate KTAL TV, she is in the burn unit in critical condition.
My own take here is to not go off the deep end.  Certainly, such an attack is possible, and racial tensions have increased significantly during the election campaign.  But the tactic of using someone else's slogans or symbols have been used before to throw off the police and we should not make assumptions now, before all the facts are known.  After all, she may have been attacked by a former spouse or boyfriend, a jealous "other women" or simply three kids out for extreme mischief where race had nothing to do with it.  Using flammable material in such an attack, however, is usually significant of a very personal grudge.

For now, let's wait for the cops to do their jobs and not give the KKK any more publicity.  They certainly don't deserve any.

2012 GOP Voter Guide of ReBiblican Candidates – Final Wrapup is now posted!

The Kryptonite Project has now posted the last of its installments, and is going to wrap it up tomorrow:
This is the last of the group of states that we are posting in segments. We are finally done and we will be posting a full article tomorrow with all 50 states in one complete article. 
With each post I include the same introduction from the first post for those who may be seeing this one first which gives the background that motivated us to undertake this project. Please go back to Parts I, II, III, IV, V, VI and Part VII -The Texas Edition to see the candidates listed in those states if you have not yet seen them. Texas is particularly heinous so we are giving it a post all to itself. The sheer numbers in Texas are shocking!
Go check it out and see how many crazy wingnuts are in your State!

Post-debate thoughts.

Mitt Romney didn’t win tonight’s debate, although his followers will decline to admit it.

There are two aspects of tonight’s debate that strike me as the most important.  I don’t expect most Americans to notice, but they are still important.

First, as Rachael said, character.  Romney has changed his mind on some very significant aspects of American foreign policy, apparently.  I say apparently because with his campaign etch-a-sketch going, it’s hard to pin it down without a DVR.

It’s one thing to win your primaries by winning over your base and softening your position to then win the General election - that’s been a staple of American elections since WWII.  It is totally another to loudly and vociferously proclaim the most radical and extreme positions possible, including virtually calling the current President an idiot and then two weeks before the election, do the etch-a-sketch thing to look more reasonable in a debate.

It is sleazy, it is weasily behavior, and a lot of Americans had to have noticed it.  According to the post-debate polling of undecided voters, a lot of them did.

Second, I don’t think Romney, and thus, by extension, his advisors, truly understand the concept of national power, and the status of being a super-power especially.

Republicans generally seem to think that what makes us a Superpower is having enough nuclear weapons to make this planet a radioactive wasteland a thousand times over.  Well, by anybody’s standard, that’s pretty super all right.  But is it what makes a nation a superpower? Is that the definition of superpower?

Let’s look at what makes a nation powerful.

Yeah, a strong military does that.  When you spend more than the next ten nations on your military, that pretty much makes you powerful.  But is that all?  Is our military all people pay attention to?

No.  They are focused on at least three or four other aspects of this country which are much more influencial than our ability to bomb people back to the Stone Age.  The first is our economy.

Right now, the US is coming out of a deep recession.  But we are coming out of it, and are doing so faster and easier than the Europeans.  Why?  They chose the road of austerity and we didn’t.  Simple as that.  Almost every country in the world trades with the US.  We are the most sought after trade partner ever.  Our goods are known to be the best built and the most technologically advanced.  Our laws make our companies among the most honest and the least corrupt to deal with.  (mostly)  These are powerful influences.

The next is our system of government.  As the world’s oldest true democracy, our reputation as a good place to live and raise a family is second to none, as regards political stability.  For over two hundred years, our record for exchanging power between two often diametrically opposed parties without bloodshed is unrivaled, with the sole exception of Great Britain.  This reputation is the most powerful influence of all, as virtually every country in the world recognizes their own citizens’ fascination with our success.

Lastly is our solid reputation of being there for almost any country in case of disaster.  The US never plays politics with our aid to countries who have been hit by devastating natural disasters, and is always generous, both officially and privately.  People do not forget these things.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things we’ve done wrong, badly and often for selfish reasons in our country’s past.  But by and large, the things I’ve mentioned are at the core of our country’s reputation as a superpower.

Well, those and the fact that we probably spend more on “aid” to other countries than almost any other.  Giving money away is a very powerful way to at least get people to say they’re your friends…

But Romney and his advisors seem to forget most of these things and focus on the military as why we are a superpower - that our Aircraft Carriers (see? I said this would have aircraft carriers…) are the natural extenders of American power.  Economics gets in there, but more as a weapon in their eyes instead of the carrot it mostly is and really should be - self serving instead of mutually advantageous.

Romney did say a lot of the right things, talking about helping other countries in humanitarian ways as “nation-building” and such.  But those seemed after-thoughts, things to say to soften the war talk.

Romney has no foreign policy experience and his first trip overseas as a candidate saw him pissing off an ally right off the bat!  His advisors are largely the guys who took us to war in Iraq, allowing Bush to distract us from the real enemy in Afghanistan.

We really don’t need another war right now.  We really don’t need a Romney Presidency.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A sober reminder and our common duty.

I was reminded over the weekend of a whole class of veteran the country largely forgets.  These people put their lives on the line just like the military.  They often wear the same combat uniform and equipment the military wears, are flown to combat in the same kind of aircraft and are often killed the same way our brave military folks are killed.

But while the military people come home in flag draped coffins with photographers and family members waiting to greet them, these people get a quiet homecoming.  No press, no photographers.  Just high ranking officials of the CIA and often, the President.

They are memorialized on a wall in the lobby of the CIA headquarters building in Langley, Va., a location which few Americans will ever visit and no foreigners are allowed - even permanent residents. The stars engraved on the marble wall represent all of the CIA employees ever killed in the line of duty, and their names are inscribed in a book that sits on a podium at the base of that wall.

But not these very special people.  Their names are secret, their work lives are secret and the very operation that got them killed will most likely never be declassified.  Their names are taken by a placeholder against the possible days when they can be recognized, long after we are dead and gone.

They are nameless, yet, they are not forgotten.  They have given the greatest measure of sacrifice a person can give for another - their lives.  It is due to these very special unknown people that we owe our freedom.  Their deaths over the years have been critical in maintaining this country's ability to know what our enemies are doing and to be prepared to respond or cut short the attacks of our enemies on our interests.  They have saved countless American lives.

I am a Federal employee, with (including my military service) 38 years devoted to protecting and defending the Constitution.

But my service pales before theirs.  Any thoughts I may have ever had about "sacrifice" simply fade away like wisps of fog on a crisp fall morning when I contemplate the things these people have given up in the battle to defend this country.  Time with their families, friends, and comfortable living with a regular schedule are only the beginnings of what these people have given up, have denied themselves and their loved ones during their years of service.  And, finally, their lives.

If there is today, anyone who can be described as a committed American, these can.

They make the rest of us look like squabbling schoolchildren, fighting over who is first in line.

Go vote.

You owe it to them.  We all do.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Election Blues.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am frustrated by this election.

Not the crazy wingnuts, although they are nuts.  Not the campaign promises, although those are bad enough.  Not even the endless campaign commercials, since those provide ample opportunity for bathroom breaks and trips to the fridge!

No, what is driving me crazy is the fact that every doggone discussion with a Republican turns into a slugfest over facts vs. lies.  Even the supposedly sane ones eventually trot out either the birth certificate or the “foreign student enrollment” gig - although they usually wait on those until you’ve shown every other thing they’ve said to be a lie.

This is the result of this country allowing a network like Fox to call itself a “News” network, although there is little they can really point to that proves they have a real journalism bone in any of their lying bodies.  The reality is that it is a propaganda organ of the Koch brothers and other rich Republicans.

It is where the stories originate which fuel the entire Republican liefest about liberals, muslims, foreigners or whomever the enemy of the day happens to be.  Not to mention the entire structure of propaganda which has convinced the working class that the rich really give a damn about them and voting for rich guys will ever put money in their pockets instead of getting sucked into the bank accounts of the rich.  A major clue was when Palin advised all of her fellow Republicans during her (fortunately) unsuccessful run for VP that they should only allow Fox News to interview them, since really, only Fox will ask the “right” questions, meaning softball stuff of no real meaning but which set the stage for their prevarications and campaign lies.  Remember the candidate who had his security detail “arrest” a reporter who insisted on asking embarrassing questions?

I remember a time (yes, that dates me) when any politician would grant an interview to a reporter from the mainstream media.  Yes, they all had the individual reporters they’d blackballed within their own campaigns for being particularly unfriendly, but largely, they weren’t afraid to answer tough questions.

The fact that an entire political party now will rarely grant such interviews to reporters not working for Fox is telling.  They are hiding from the truth, afraid to answer tough questions because their statements are so crazy and full of lies, untruth or crazy religious junk.

I repeat my assertion that the Republican Party is in trouble.  When an entire party has to lie and twist the truth in order to get enough of the electorate to vote for them, their days of political viability are numbered.

2012 GOP Voter Guide of ReBiblican Candidates – Texas Edition -Part VII is now out!

They've posted Part VII - and the only State on it is Texas.  I know us Texans have been telling everybody since the beginning that Texas has more and bigger stuff than anybody, but I do wish that we could do without the stupid, crazy religious windbags!  Ouch - that hurts!
Update: With each post I include the same introduction from the first post for those who may be seeing this one first which gives the background that motivated us to undertake this project. Please go back to Parts I, II, III, IV,V and VII to see the candidates listed in those states if you have not yet seen them. Texas is particularly heinous so we are giving it a post all to itself. The sheer numbers in Texas are shocking.
 Go look and share this one with all your Texas friends and family!

Now here's the REAL Christian Charity!

Go read this post on Patheos.  This author has an excellent essay on being a Christian while also being a Democrat.  I really like her points.

To put it simply, I am a Democrat because the Democratic Party is doing more than the Republican Party to care for the “least of these,” however imperfectly. And Jesus made it absolutely clear that caring for the least of these is central to our identity as his followers.

Friday, October 19, 2012

More Good Christian Love and Charity!

Remember the soup kitchen that Paul Ryan stopped by the other day so he could get his photo taken while serving or helping out the poor?  Oh, you know, the one that was closing because the folks served were all gone - so he pushed himself into the door, went into the kitchen and washed several already-cleaned-and-spotless pots and pans for the cameras?  Yeah, that one.

Well the owner wasn't particularly happy and let the cat out of the bag, and the right wingers aren't happy about it.  As a matter of fact, they are so unhappy, they've started a boycott of donors to punish the place for being so mean as to expose the VP Candidate's perfidy.

Go read about it and weep for the lack of real christian charity that exists on the right wing of the political spectrum of this country.

Notice how clean the kitchen is!  Of course, he was not only too late to serve the meal, but he was too late to help clean up!  I'd bet somebody stayed late to clean up after he finished cleaning up...

The Kryptonite Project has Part VI up now!

2012 GOP Voter Guide of ReBiblican Candidates – Part VI is now posted!  Pennsylvania through Tennessee, and soon all 50 States will be posted!  Go there now and see what your State has to offer in the way of Dominionist politicians!
Update: Today’s post includes national candidates from Pennsylvania through Tennessee, and will soon have the entire 50 states represented in our list. With each post I include the same introduction from the first post for those who may be seeing this one first which gives the background that motivated us to undertake this project. Please go back to Parts I, II, III, IV and V to see the candidates listed in those states if you have not yet seen them.
Support their efforts, this kind of information is very important to get out to those who have no idea how harmful their local politicians' support of Dominionism is!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

List of Dominionist Politicians running for office, Part V is up.

This latest post, Part V, contains the States New York through Oklahoma.
Today’s post includes national candidates from New York through Oklahoma. and will soon have the entire 50 states represented in our list. With each post I include the same introduction from the first post for those who may be seeing this one first which gives the background that motivated us to undertake this project. Please go back to Parts I, II, III and IV to see the candidates listed in those states if you have not yet seen them.
Also, on Part IV, they left off Minnesota,  which was added to the top of the list.

Pass these links on!  Share this as wide as you can to all of your Facebook family and friends!  Let's get the word out.

Again, why I oppose religion. and especially Dominionism.

Every now and then someone makes a comment that causes you to sit back and think something over.  That happened to me this morning.  I was looking over Facebook briefly before going to work and someone posted a comment on a share I made last night of my previous post about Imprecatory prayer.  Her remark went like this:

well..i have never heard of imprecatory prayer before..i am fascinated at the thoughts this provokes in me..i will be talking to my pastor tomorrow about this..definitely...will be interesting to hear what he thinks about your article and imprecatory prayer...this is the kind of Christian activity (the letter)that causes me to shudder..and shake..with frustration and disbelief at the kind of individual who wrote that letter to mikey(and i did read about him..and i agree with him in principle and in practice)and is why i do not like to be labeled a Christian...i want to be known as a Believer in Christ Jesus..i believe in his Grace..without condemnation...without judgement of my fellow man..

My first thought was that, geez, if every person in this country who called themselves a christian felt like that, there would be far fewer atheists and a heck of a lot less strife about religion.  Then I stopped and thought about that further.

Is that true?  Most atheists I know didn’t leave because of people like those who wrote the letter I referred to yesterday, but because they finally stopped believing in invisible beings.  Yes, there would be less strife, but there would still be strife, because religion still causes people to believe different ways about the same thing.

There are something like 30,000 different denominations of christianity in this country, including all the little one-horse churches in rural areas.   I can guarantee you that every cotton-picking one of them has something they do differently or believes differently and many of them interpret many of the major (and many minor) books and verses of the Bible in very different ways.

Nothing wrong with that, of course, different strokes and all that, you know.

What IS wrong is that a few of those people want to make you, me and every other American go to church every Sunday and worship THEIR way.  They want us to listen to their prayers every time we turn around, and they are busily infecting our military with their poison so the military will back them up when they make their move to turn this country into a theocracy.

That’s what Mikey Weinstein is fighting, almost by himself, and why those folks behind that letter wrote with such hostile feeling and probably do really wish their god would treat Mikey much worse than Job got it.

I’ve posted about Dominionism in the past, and I know there are those of you who are rolling your eyes in disbelief.  “This is the United States, for goodness sake!   Nobody wants to overthrow a democratic government!”  I’m sure there were Romans who were shocked and surprised that somebody turned their precious Republic into an Empire, too.  But yes, there are people who live in this country, benefit from its freedoms, are enriched by its significantly rich capitalist economy and yet feel that its culture is in danger of bringing the wrath of god down on us, as if we were still living in the Old Testament.  These are people who believe that gay marriage will somehow destroy traditional marriage, that women should stay at home, barefoot and pregnant taking care of the huge brood of kids they’ll have because they can’t refuse sex with hubby and can’t refuse to carry the resulting baby to term.  These are the folks who believe that their prayers - their prayers - will result in god bringing down his wrath on Mikey and any other enemy they choose to name for him to aim at.  These are people whose pride and arrogance are such that they believe that their enemies are god’s enemies, and they have the right and ability to get god to smite them in some horrible way.

And they’ve got the Scripture to prove it - at least they say they do, and that’s all they need.

To that commenter:  I don’t blame you for not wanting to carry the same label as scum like that.  Yes, I used the term scum, because that is the proper label for people who want to turn my country - the country they falsely claim to love and admire - into a parody of itself and a place which the Founders tried valiantly to prevent from coming to be on this continent.  Their actions are, in a word, treasonous, which is the only term I can think of to describe actions intended to overturn the validity of the Constitution I made two vows to protect and defend - and one they made the same vows to protect and yet are busily acting to breach with every breath they take.  Many of these scum are even daring to wear the uniform of our Armed Forces and are working daily to undermine the traditional political neutrality of those forces!

I would tell you that in spite of the surface similarity of your religions, your rights to worship as you please are as much at risk as mine.  These kind of people will burn you at the stake as fast as they will me, because you don’t worship your common god the right way!  To them, that’s as bad as being an atheist.

They are acting deliberately and rapidly to so confuse the political system, the voters and undermine the very laws which we live under so as to enable them to either abrogate the Constitution or to merely use the Supreme Court to contaminate it beyond recognition.  They use the system from inside so as to appear as just another political party, but their intent is the destruction of the system itself.

How do I know?

Because they claim to love the Bible more, and claim that it is a higher authority.

So, let’s examine that authority.  What is the core of biblical authority?  They claim it is the Ten Commandments, and they claim to live their lives by it and that it serves as the very bedrock of our legal system.  Well, let’s take a look at that claim.

We’ll use the English Standard version:

1.  You shall have no other gods before me.
Really?  This violates the First Amendment right off the bat.
2.  You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 
Another violation of the First Amendment - prior restraint of free speech.
3.   You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
Isn’t what it sounds like.  This is NOT a prohibition of saying something like “goddamm”.  It is a prohibition against using god’s name in an oath, then violating that oath.  Again, not a basic law, either, nothing in the Constitution about that.
 4.  Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 
Whoops, First Amendment violation again!
5.  Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
Not in the Constitution at all.
6.  You shall not murder. 
State law, not Federal.  Besides, it’s been in every legal system since at least Hammurabi, hundreds of years before Moses’ time.
7.  You shall not commit adultery. 
Same thing.  Besides, almost every State has now dropped adultery laws as un-Constitutional.
8.  You shall not steal. 
State Law, not Federal.  But again, it’s been in every legal system since at least Hammurabi, too.
9.  You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
This is the only one that is close to being a bedrock principle, but again, it’s been in every legal system since at least Hammurabi, too. 
10.  You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's. 
Man, this is not only not in the Constitution, but it is a violation of every principle of our economic system.  Our Capitalist system depends on this covetous feeling.  Besides, since when does the US system describe a woman as the husband’s property?  Neither are any “servants”, since they are, in our system, free agents, and thus, able to walk out for a better job elsewhere at any point in time.
This is obviously not the basis of American law.  The real basis of our law is the Constitution, which never uses the word god or the name Jesus or the title Christ and only uses the word religion twice, once to prohibit any religious test for public office and again in the First Amendment to protect against government entanglement with religion or vice versa.

But that is neither here not there for Dominionists, because they intend to change that.

This is the basis for my opposition to religion.  (Besides the obvious fact that I just don't believe in any god beings at all.)

Religion - all religion, not simply christianity, is harmful because there are no restraints.  The existence of moderate or even liberal versions of any particular religion does not prevent others from taking the most fundamentalist, literal or even twisted interpretation of any sacred scripture or part of a scripture and making that the basis of their faith.  

Since the basic claims of any religion regard the supernatural, and thus are unable to be compared and contrasted with any part of the natural world, the natural restraints which act upon any normal human solution to human problems do not exist.  One cannot wait for a relative or loved one to email, text or phone from the afterlife to provide confirmation or counterpoint to a religious claim regarding heaven or hell as a final destination!

So the religious folks can claim anything they wish and point to you as a blasphemer if you protest.  You have no manner of defense.  The sky is literally the limit.

Thus, the possibilities of mischief are legion and if one examines all religions, you find a very close association with authoritarian types of government, especially feudal or dictatorial - usually with the clerical class at the top, as in Iran.  (Iran does claim a democratic process, but the fact that the clerics have literal and complete veto power over any actions of the democratic organs, any claim to democracy is false.)

So, please, don’t take the claims of love for country or liberty or patriotism coming from these Dominionists or their fellow travelers seriously.

If you do, someday you may wake up just in time to see the end of the American Dream.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Imprecatory Prayer. Again. Such Good Christians!

If you don't know who Mikey Weinstein is, go to the web page at the Military Freedom From Religion Foundation where his bio is outlined.  His work there is critical to struggling against the fundamentalist assault on the neutrality of the US Military.  Accordingly, he is hated and constantly railed against by the fundies who he has thwarted again and again.

Well, they aren't about to let an opportunity to excoriate him go by without giving it the good old college try, by attempting to frighten him away from the 35th reunion of his Air Force Academy graduating class by sending him a hostile letter, threatening to engage in imprecatory prayer to ask the Lord and Jesus to do bad things to him!

A short excerpt:

On behalf of our classmates, I ask and beg you to publicly announce that you are withdrawing from the speech at UCCS. And that you and your wife Bonny will not be attending our Class of 1977 Academy reunion. We will give you until this Wednesday night to do this. If you refuse to do it then we will pray the Psalm 109. We will pray at home and at church. Our families will pray it together. We will pray to the Lord to stop your poison. We will pray the Psalm against you and your wife and all those who give you sanctuary and protection in Colorado Springs.
Let me be clear. None of us will harm you or your wife. That would be illegal and wrong. It is not our place to mete out the justice and punishment you and your followers deserve and have earned. We won’t have to. The Lord will. It is our God-given right to pray for His intervention and protection from your evil. Even under the Constitution you worship as an idol in place of the Son of God.
Reconsider and know the Power of Prayer. Fear the Power of Christ, Michael Weinstein (1 Peter 1: 17-21).

Oh, my!  Such Christian charity and love!  Doesn't it just make you shake?  (Yes, it does, with laughter...)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Good News comes in Threes? Here are Two...


The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has refused to hear the request to overturn last week's appellate court decision, in which a three-judge panel came down on the side of the Obama campaign and blocked a law that would have limited early voting in Ohio!  This means that, for sure, Ohioans will be able to vote on the weekend before Election Day, a prime period for minority voters in the last election.

Thus ends the Ohio Republican Party's attempt to limit minority voters' access to the polls, but begins the struggle to force the Republican Secretary of State to enforce the early voting rules.  Let's hope this moron does his job and enforces the law.


In a veritable shift of the basic forces which govern the Universe, the Winston-Salem Journal, which as a function of the basic laws of physics endorses the Republican candidate for President of the United States every four years, has totally upset the workings of Space and Time by endorsing, for the very first time, a Democratic Candidate, President Obama!

Four years ago on this page, we endorsed Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona over Obama. We wrote that we were impressed with Obama, but McCain would “bring the Iraq war to a successful conclusion, work to end American dependence on foreign oil, reduce America's output of climate-changing gases and begin the rebuilding of our economy.”

The Democratic president has done all those things and more. He is calm under pressure and courageous in standing up for the rights of all Americans, including the poor, veterans, the elderly, women, gays and immigrants. In contrast, we’ve sometimes found it hard in the last few weeks to tell just what Obama’s challenger, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, really stands for.
Obama has a keen vision that he has worked hard to achieve, against considerable obstacles and often courageously. But the goal is in sight: An America respected worldwide as much for its prosperity as its defense of liberty and justice.

The Journal editorial board endorses Barack Obama for president.
Go read the whole thing, it is amazing coming from a formerly consistently supportive editorial panel of Republicans!  Some of the things they say about Romney are simply spot on.


Since good things come in threes, usually, one can surely hope that the third good thing to come out of today would be a win for Obama in the second debate!

We'll be watching in this household.

Monday, October 15, 2012

War on Women, Redux. 19th Century, here we come!

If there is any doubt that the Republican Party is engaged in an attempt to take Women's Rights back into the 19th century or even further, I give you super liberty and truck nutz loving Janis Lane, the president of the Central Mississippi Tea Party.

Ms. Lane believes that women are just too "diabolical and emotional" to vote. It's just the way they "...are diabolical in how than can skewer a person. I don’t see that in men"!

The full quote:
“Our country might have been better off if it was still just men voting. There is nothing worse than a bunch of mean, hateful women. They are diabolical in how than can skewer a person. I don’t see that in men“ said Lane during an interview with the Jackson Free Press (Democratic Underground)

I guess they really are serious about getting back to the original Founder's Constitution, aren't they? Hmm, I wonder if there's a plank in the Republican Party Platform bringing back slavery and the Three-Fifths Compromise...?

Really?  Is this where they want to lead this country?  As a people, is that really where we want this country to go in the 21st Century?  I don't know about you, but the way the Republican Party has hidden its agenda at every turn in a diabolical campaign to deceive the country as to its true intentions, these thoughts would bother me considerably, and if I were a woman or a minority, especially black, I would have trouble sleeping between now and the election.

These people are simply frightening.

Dominionists! Part IV...of the List

Ok, they've got Part IV up and running!   Go look for Missouri through New Mexico!

2012 GOP Voter Guide of ReBiblican Candidates – Part IV

Share this!  Spread it around!

Dominionist Republican Candidates, Part III

Well, I promised to link when the next installment of the 2012 GOP Voter Guide of ReBiblican Candidates – Part III came out, so there it is!  This part has the States Indiana through Michigan.  The bloggers there are trying valiantly to get them all up before the election!

So, spread the news about this list!  You might be surprised about who you find in your State!

Oh, by the way, did I mention that they call it THE KRYPTONITE PROJECT?  Because to these people, exposure is like Kryptonite is to Superman - pure poison!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Dominionism, again, but now a list!

I've written before about the group called Dominionists which has as a goal the conversion of the United States into a theocracy.

Now I've discovered a web site called God's Own Party? which is working on a list of Dominionist-believing and supported candidates for Congress in this election!  Part II is here.  That brings them to halfway through the alphabet of the States, and more entries are planned.

I would urge all of my American readers to visit that site and see for yourself who the real dangerous characters are in your local Congressional races.  I'm not kidding.  These people are dangerous to American democracy and I believe are in fact, borderline traitors, if they haven't already crossed that line.

These people and others who are fighting this group are badly in need of your support, as they are fighting a dangerous and well funded group.

Let's see if we can help get the word out.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Three Altimas.

Here, for your pleasure, are the three Nissan Altimas I have owned, including the latest one.

The first, a 2002 Altima.

the second, a 2010 Altima.

The latest and current one, a 2013 Altima.

Beautiful no?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Bridge Too Far?

Today, I am going to relate to you a story.

It is a story of courage, cowardice, intimidation, fear and an intense yearning for knowledge.  It is a story whose ending is yet unknown, but whose future hangs by a thread.

In Pakistan's Swat Valley, besieged by Taliban insurgents, the Pashtun people who live there are torn between three sides in a war they never asked for.  On one side is the US, whose drones target the Taliban insurgents fighting the Pakistani Army for control.  I am sure it isn't nearly so uncomplicated as that, but to my uninformed western mind, that is complex enough.

In the middle of all this are, as usual, the children.  One of these kids is a young woman, Malala Yousafzai, who has been blogging for the BBC since, I understand, she was 9.  She is now 14.

Malala was blogging to document the lives of the people of Swat in the midst of this horrific war they have had foisted on them by others who really probably have little interest in their well being, but simply want to either control them or prevent someone else from controlling them.  Her daily diary is an eye opening look into how ordinary people cope with their lives being pulled in multiple directions, while trying to survive a nasty situation.

I'll let her tell this part of the story.  Malala’s diary when she was 11 years old in 2009:

The night was filled with the noise of artillery fire and I woke up three times. But since there was no school I got up later at 10 am. Afterwards, my friend came over and we discussed our homework.Today is 15 January, the last day before the Taleban’s edict comes into effect, and my friend was discussing homework as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.
Today, I also read the diary written for the BBC (in Urdu) and published in the newspaper. My mother liked my pen name ‘Gul Makai’ and said to my father ‘why not change her name to Gul Makai?’ I also like the name because my real name means ‘grief stricken’.
My father said that some days ago someone brought the printout of this diary saying how wonderful it was. My father said that he smiled but could not even say that it was written by his daughter.
I was in a bad mood while going to school because winter vacations are starting from tomorrow. The principal announced the vacations but did not mention the date the school was to reopen. This was the first time this has happened.
In the past the reopening date was always announced clearly. The principal did not inform us about the reason behind not announcing the school reopening, but my guess was that the Taleban had announced a ban on girls’ education from 15 January.
This time round, the girls were not too excited about vacations because they knew if the Taleban implemented their edict they would not be able to come to school again. Some girls were optimistic that the schools would reopen in February but others said that their parents had decided to shift from Swat and go to other cities for the sake of their education.
Since today was the last day of our school, we decided to play in the playground a bit longer. I am of the view that the school will one day reopen but while leaving I looked at the building as if I would not come here again.
Today at school I told my friends about my trip to Bunair. They said that they were sick and tired of hearing the Bunair story. We discussed the rumours about the death of Maulana Shah Dauran, who used to give speeches on FM radio. He was the one who announced the ban on girls attending school.
Some girls said that he was dead but others disagreed. The rumours of his death are circulating because he did not deliver a speech the night before on FM radio. One girl said that he had gone on leave.
Since there was no tuition on Friday, I played the whole afternoon. I switched on the TV in the evening and heard about the blasts in Lahore. I said to myself ‘why do these blasts keep happening in Pakistan?’
I have come to Bunair to spend Muharram (a Muslim holiday) on vacation. I adore Bunair because of its mountains and lush green fields. My Swat is also very beautiful but there is no peace. But in Bunair there is peace and tranquillity. Neither is there any firing nor any fear. We all are very happy.
Today we went to Pir Baba mausoleum and there were lots of people there. People are here to pray while we are here for an excursion. There are shops selling bangles, ear rings, lockets and other artificial jewellery. I thought of buying something but nothing impressed – my mother bought ear rings and bangles.
I was getting ready for school and about to wear my uniform when I remembered that our principal had told us not to wear uniforms – and come to school wearing normal clothes instead. So I decided to wear my favourite pink dress. Other girls in school were also wearing colourful dresses and the school presented a homely look.
My friend came to me and said, ‘for God’s sake, answer me honestly, is our school going to be attacked by the Taleban?’ During the morning assembly we were told not to wear colourful clothes as the Taleban would object to it.
I came back from school and had tuition sessions after lunch. In the evening I switched on the TV and heard that curfew had been lifted from Shakardra after 15 days. I was happy to hear that because our English teacher lived in the area and she might be coming to school now.
Today is a holiday and I woke up late, around 10 am. I heard my father talking about another three bodies lying at Green Chowk (crossing). I felt bad on hearing this news. Before the launch of the military operation we all used to go to Marghazar, Fiza Ghat and Kanju for picnics on Sundays. But now the situation is such that we have not been out on picnic for over a year and a half.
We also used to go for a walk after dinner but now we are back home before sunset. Today I did some household chores, my homework and played with my brother. But my heart was beating fast – as I have to go to school tomorrow.
I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taleban. I have had such dreams since the launch of the military operation in Swat. My mother made me breakfast and I went off to school. I was afraid going to school because the Taleban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending schools.
Only 11 students attended the class out of 27. The number decreased because of Taleban’s edict. My three friends have shifted to Peshawar, Lahore and Rawalpindi with their families after this edict.
On my way from school to home I heard a man saying ‘I will kill you’. I hastened my pace and after a while I looked back if the man was still coming behind me. But to my utter relief he was talking on his mobile and must have been threatening someone else over the phone.
But eventually, the threats turned into reality and her fears were realized.  Malala is now in a military hospital, after being shot in the head and neck by the Taliban, who have accused her of spreading a secular message which they claim is anti-Islamic.  Her condition is guardedly optimistic, as the bullet missed her brain, but as of today, she is still suffering of brain swelling, which is life threatening.  And the Taliban has threatened to carry through again if she survives.

As you can clearly see from her diary above, her message was one in which her people had not asked for the heavily Islamic, extremist system to be imposed upon them, and clearly wanted their children, including girls, to be educated. This is the real reason the Taliban want her dead.  She has exposed the lie that ordinary Pakistanis want and accept their extreme form of Islam.  She has exposed the desire of ordinary Pakistanis that their daughters be educated alongside their sons!  She has illustrated that they are not welcome in places where the Pakistani people are educated.

Her father, which you can see at her side in interviews you can view on YouTube, had encouraged her to go to school, encouraged her to blog and had instilled in her a love for learning, for the importance of education.  In an interview posted on CNN, she emphasized the importance of education in opposing the Taliban!   His pride in her is like a shining light.

Both Malala and her father have exhibited an extraordinary amount of courage in taking this road, he in allowing, indeed, encouraging her and instilling this love of education in her. Malala herself has shown amazing courage in continuing to blog and support education in Pakistan in spite of the death threats, which in Pakistan, are very serious indeed.  I would point out that numerous politicians in that country should now hang their heads in shame at her defiance while they have bowed their heads in submission to Taliban threats.

I have to admit, I openly admit, that I was moved to tears in watching the CNN interview, seeing her courage, her passion, knowing that she was risking her very life in speaking out, especially to a reporter.  I can only hope that I would exhibit just half that courage and passion should I ever face even a small part of the threat she has endured at such a tender age!

But this is only part of this story.  The rest of it belongs to the Pakistani people.

Linking now to Maryam Namazie's blog "Nothing is Sacred" at Freethought blogs, Maryam has written a post entitled "This is how it's done", in which she has wonderful pictures and an account of how the Pakistani people have been outraged at the attack on Malala, have almost mobbed the hospital to offer blood to her, and have excoriated the Taliban as being a bunch of cowards to have threatened and attacked a 14 year old girl.

I would take this opportunity to introduce the Taliban to a concept, rather new in the world of the Internet, called the Streisand Effect.  It is really a rather simple idea, but it is so simple it is often ignored, to the detriment of the folks ignoring it.

The concept is that by openly opposing something small and little noticed (but important to you), it is brought to the open attention of the larger world, providing more media attention and publicity than it otherwise may have received.  It was first named after the law suit brought against Google by Barbra Streisand when she sought to have them blur out the  photos of her California mansion, fearing that the general public would see her private domain.  But instead of getting it hidden, the very lawsuit brought the pictures to the attention of the public and thus she lost the privacy she had sought.

Same principle here.  By attacking a defenseless young girl, the Taliban has damaged their cause, and if they try to carry through on their threats to kill her if she survives, they will hurt themselves more than an army could cause in a year of fighting.  Is this a bridge too far?  Have they finally bitten off more than they can chew?

This story brings out the tale of the intense struggle going on in, not only Pakistan, but the wider world of Islam.  On one side are the extremists, the violent men who fight for their own aggrandizement and power over their fellow muslims and on the other are the ordinary people who just want to live their lives to bring about a better life for their children and grandchildren.

These ordinary folk are NOT our enemies.  They would, if given a chance, be our allies, our trading partners.  But they are besieged by men who will use violence and intimidation to violate every tenet of Islam to take power in the name of that religion purely for their own advantage.

This time, the general media in the West has taken notice of the attack on Malala.  What they have failed to do is to outline or emphasize the reactions of the Pakistani people or the importance of the overall struggle within Islam itself which this story so poignantly illustrates.

It seems we have a ways to go.