Signs the World is coming to and End


There’s no other explanation for the events that have unfolded than the earth as we know it will cease to exist, just like “they” predicated.

I know because on February 9, 2012, I AGREED WITH SOMETHING THAT MIKA BRZEZINSKI SAID ON “MORNING JOE” ON MSNBC!

Now I know what you are thinking. That can’t possibly be true. But it is. And here’s what happened.

Most of you know by now that the US Department of Health and Human Services has mandated that Catholic institutions that employ non-Catholics must provide a health care plan that includes birth control coverage. Now, think about that. HHS is not saying that Catholic hospitals have to dole out birth control, and they certainly aren’t saying that Catholic institutions have to PERFORM ABORTIONS. Although if you listen to the right wing media, this is the spin they have put on it. What HHS said was that they must provide for birth control benefits in the insurance plan that they provide to their employees. And if by chance the Catholic institution is self-insured, they have the opportunity to arrange for birth control coverage FROM A THIRD PARTY. All HHS is saying is that under the law, everyone is equal. Just because birth control is a coverage offered in the health care plan doesn’t mean Catholics are forced to use it. But I can guarantee you that most Catholics would use birth control.

When it comes to Catholic Hospitals and Universities, the majority of the EMPLOYEES are most likely not Catholic. We’re not talking about the executives of such who probably are. We’re talking about regular people who applied for and got regular jobs that happen to be at a place of business operated by the Catholic Church. So not only are these non-Catholics not obligated to follow Catholic doctrine, even Catholics aren’t obligated to follow Catholic doctrine. It’s a well-known fact the most Catholics do not follow the churches teaching on contraception. Mika Brzezinski being one of them.

While Joe Scarborough and his republican cronies have tried to turn this into a first amendment issue (Freedom of Religion) and they are saying that Barack Obama is blurring the lines between church and state, AND he is trouncing on the rights of Catholics, the argument has also been expanded now to include abortion and the whole “slippery slope” bullshit. Anything to distract people from the real issue. And here’s the real issue:

The Catholic Church doesn’t want anyone to know that the majority of their own “flock” does NOT follow the birth control doctrine. All that’s happened is that the White House, by trying to provide equality under its health care rules, has exposed this dirty little secret. Catholics use birth control. The Pope doesn’t have as much control over his minions as he’s like everyone to believe. Nowhere in the Bible did Jesus say, don’t use birth control. And the Old Testament doesn’t talk about it either. Birth Control doctrine is a man-made doctrine.

Is there any difference between using a condom, or a birth control pill, and having a Man simply pull out before he ejaculates? Is pulling out before ejaculation a form of contraception? Of course it is. So birth control isn’t something that Rome is against, obviously. But they are if birth control involves a gizmo or pill, and it’s made public knowledge that Catholics use it. The Catholic Church is hypocritical on so many issues, but especially on this one. Why do they allow any man and woman to get married if they don’t plan on having children (“Be fruitful and multiply”)?

Now as far as Mika Brzezinski is concerned, she is a Catholic. I am a recovering Catholic (one day at a time, fingers crossed). She stated this morning that she believes that this issue is about Health Insurance Coverage and is not a cultural or religious issue. She also said that she believes in contraception, as do most Catholics. I agree with Mi……

I can’t even type it. I’ll try again. I agree with Mika Brz……. Nope, couldn’t do it. One more time. Deep Breath, Heavy Sigh.

I agree with Mika Brzezinski. THERE. I said it. She actually gave this some thought. She also talked to the White House, as a reporter, to get their statement on what was intended by this recent decision. She is not pro-choice and she knows that this is not about abortion. This whole argument is about two things. First, the right wingers want any chance they can to distort the facts and claim that President Obama is forcing Catholic Hospitals to provide abortions. Second, the Catholic Church doesn’t want the laid back approach that most Catholics have to contraception to be well-known. It diminishes the churches power, and exposes their lack of it.

Joe Scarborough and speaker of the house, John Boehner (get real, it’s pronounced BONER, NOT BAYNOR), need to check the right wing conspiracy shit at the door. The saddest part of all of this is that most American’s will only hear the filtered media frenzy of the right wingers and never do their own research to figure out what is really going on. The truth, I mean.

So today is the day I agreed with Mika Brzezinski. I will be watching the skies for meteors, comets, and asteroids.

Will Obama’s legacy be a disappointment?


I have been so disappointed over Obama and his Presidency.  I still like the man.  But I am angry at what has happened and what has NOT happened.  I have this sense of abandonment.  I feel like someone pulled the wool over my eyes.  I keep looking for reasons to NOT write him off.

But then I watched “By the People”, an HBO documentary about the election of Barack Obama.  I suddenly realized that if you listen to his early speeches on why he wanted to be President, he has not faltered from that.  He spoke of running this country without the fear tactics of the Bush Administration, he spoke about running this country without the distractions that are all too common in all Presidencies, and he spoke about correcting the image of America around the world and correcting the disastrous foreign policy of the Bush Administration that took America one giant step backward in the big game of political hopscotch.  I was ready to pick up my stone and my chalk and go home. 

“By the People” reminded me that Barack Obama’s launch into the political stratosphere was hard-fought and based on truth.  Modern political campaigns are long and exhausting.  What may start as a few simple ideas to define any candidate and his platform, end up with a mountain of campaign platform ideas.  The more the candidate fields questions from the incessant 24 hour press, the more his platform expands until every single backer of that politician can identify with several of the candidate’s “opinions” .  For example, Barack Obama did not promise an end to “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” early in his campaign.  That came about later when he was pressed for a position.  But now, the gay community is overwrought with anger and feelings of betrayal.  I’m sure Barack Obama believes in what he said – he wants to eliminate that policy.  But is it now or was it ever the bottom row of his political pyramid?  I don’t think so.  Health care reform, yes, gay rights, no.

So after taking a long, hard look at where Barack Obama is today, just 10 months into his Presidency, I don’t feel so let down.  Barack Obama has always wanted his Presidency to be about Us, not about him.  He has always wanted the American people, and by default our representation in Congress, to participate in this democracy.  It is not just Barack Obama and his own agenda that should lead the country, it should be the country that leads his agenda.

Yesterday, I listened to Barack Obama’s eulogy at the memorial services for the victims at Fort Hood.  Not only did this man meet with every family of the people who were killed, and not only did he meet with the individuals who survived but were injured, he was late in giving the eulogy because he refused to cut his visit with these victims and their families short.  He knew why he was there.  He was there to express grief and condolences on behalf of the people of the entire United States.  And when he finally did give his speech, he mentioned each of the victims by name, every single one of them.  He didn’t just say their names; he told us all a little bit about each one of them.

As I listened, I realized that this is what an American President is supposed to be.  Honorable, honest, caring, empathetic, and strong.  He proved to me in those moments that we can turn to him during difficult times and he will lead the way.

In reality, it is too soon to evaluate what Barack Obama’s presidential legacy will be.  I was fearful that in my own disappointment, I would jump on the bandwagon and become an Obama detractor.  While I don’t agree with everything he has done, or NOT done, I still support this man and trust that he will bring America out of the cold, dark place we are in; and lead us into the light.  No President, and no Presidency is perfect.  I think that all we can hope for in a President is honesty, intelligence, hard work, and compassion.  I’m glad we have that.

Scarborough is wrong, Carter is right on racism


I think Joe Scarborough can be a complete idiot at times.  I rarely agree with him but I usually respect him.  Not this time.  He is one of many who misconstrued and oversimplified what President Jimmy Carter said about racism.

Former President Carter said the majority of “organized protests” against President Obama were racially based.  He didn’t say all opposition to the President was racially based.  He also said that the people who were racially motivated in their hate speak were vigilant about it.  I mean how else would you construe “Welcome to our plantation” on a sign at the Glenn Beck/Fox News/Freedomworks.Org rally in Washington.

Scarborough went on to say that President Carter was playing the race card because Obama’s approval rating had lost 20 points from January.  Scarborough claimed that Obama was elected by a majority and that people just don’t “turn into racists”.  It’s “all about approval ratings”.

No it’s not.  Here’s the point Joe Scarborough missed:  If Obama had a 70% approval rating that means 30% don’t approve.  Of that 30% a large proportion of them are racist.  They hate blacks just like they always have in the South.  If Obama’s approval rating dropped to 50%, that means 20% more people disapprove of the direction he is taking the country.  Hell, I am not happy with the President right now.  But that original 30% or a large portion of it, is still there.  Again, Carter never said all criticism of Obama is based in racism, he said the majority of the “organized protesting” is based in racism.  And he’s right. 

And Carter should know.  He was born and raised in the south and was the Governor of Georgia.  President Carter is a smart man, and a humanitarian.  I trust his judgement over Scarborough’s any day of the week.  When an 80-year-old white man from the South says that there is a severe hatred being displayed towards the President and it is based in racism, I believe him.  That doesn’t mean all people who disagree with the President are hate-mongers.  Just some of them.

Scarborough also said that Jimmy Carter has lived in a bubble since 1976 and continued with “What America does Jimmy Carter live in?”.   He lives in your America, Joe, and mine.

Scarborough says that Bill and Hillary Clinton were treated much worse by their detractors than Barack Obama is being treated.  But the Clinton’s did not continually have their lives threatened on blatant protest signs painted by Birthers who miss the days of the KKK.

Maybe the Clintons and George Bush were called mean, hateful things.  But those words and those emotions were never based in racial hatred.  I can NOT believe that you, Joe Scarborough, believe that the good ol’ boy network of Negro-haters in the South doesn’t still exist.

There are people alive today whose great-grandparents owned slaves in this country.  There are people alive today whose grandparents and parents used different building entrances and different water fountains than Black folks.  And there are children alive today who live in an American where anti-black views and values still exist and are passed down from one generation to the next in Southern White families.

Racism is about treating people differently because they are a different color than you.  It is based in ignorance, arrogance, and fear.  Do you really think that a poster of Barack Obama as a monkey, or Hitler was brought to a rally to have an informed discussion on health care?  These people, the ones that Jimmy Carter is talking about, are so filled with hate and anger because a Black man is President, that they can’t see straight.  All they see is red.  Scarborough may refer to these racists as the “fringe”, but what else is left of the Republican party than the fringe.

The Republican Party is the party of the white South who fought for, and died for, the right to own slaves.  There are some who still resent losing that war and are proud to carry the Confederate flag.  Joe Wilson, they guy from South Carolina who screamed “YOU LIE” at the President, voted to keep that Confederate Flag flying at the State Capitol because it was part of South Carolina’s heritage.  Joe Wilson is right.

The Birthers – most not born in the U.S.


Who knows where all the Birthers were born.  Does it matter?  We’ll just make shit up.  It seems to work for them.

If case you don’t know what a Birther is (meaning you live under a rock and don’t partipate in society),  a Birther is someone who believes Barack Obama was not born in the United States (yes, Hawaii is a state) and therefore, has no legal right to be President.

If during George W. Bush’s Presidency, you know, those god-awful years between 2001 and 2008 when the world hated us and still does, someone had told me W. wasn’t born in this country and therefore was not legally the President, would I have believed them? You bet your ass I would.

I despised Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Rove, the whole ugly bunch.  I would have looked for any reason to start a movement to get rid of any one of them.  So in some ways I understand why the radical right wing conservative movement in this country is perpetuating the idea that Barack Obama was not born in the U.S., is not a U.S. Citizen, and therefore, not legally the President of the United States.  It is brilliantly simply.  If you are not a natural U.S. citizen, you can’t be President.

Let’s not get too confused about this, however.  The Obama Birther movement was born out of extreme hatred which is based on extreme racism.  There is some scary kind of hatred involved in this.  The birther movement is a cover for racism.  Birthers hate Barack Obama and is blackness so much that they will scratch the bottom of any barrel to get rid of him.

I felt the same way about the Bush Administration; not the racism part, but the willingness to do anything necessary to get rid them.

However, if someone on the Democrat, or Liberal, or Progressive side of the map who I trusted or believed said to me “Hey, don’t be an idiot.  As much as we want to believe this stuff, it is simply not true”.  I would have had no choice to throw my hands in the air and give up the fight.  I would have tried other tactics but why spend so much time dealing in lies.

So why is it that few, if any, radical conservatives can’t utter the words “Hey folks, it’s just not true”.  From Limbaugh to Glenn Beck to the halls of Congress, these people and their “believers” can’t bring themselves to say “This is stupid and it’s not true”.  Even when they pretend to debunk the myth, they say things like “Barack Obama is a citizen” but won’t actually say the words “he was born in this country” leaving a sliver of room to back out and re-interpret what they said at a later date.

On the surface the Birther movement appears almost harmless because it is so ridiculous.  The following is what they want you to believe:  In 1961 Barack Obama was born in Kenya and secretly shipped on a cargo tanker (I guess) to Honolulu, Hawaii where someone who knew that he would run for and win the Presidency some day, planted a birth announcement in the Honolulu newspaper all so that in 2009, a forged birth certificate could be disproved by said newspaper announcement.   Hmm.  Sounds plausible to me; you?

Chris Matthews on MSNBC the most trustworthy G. Gordon Liddy (ahem!) as a guest,  so that Matthews could show Liddy all of the facts and copies of the paperwork first hand proving Obama’s birth and citizenship.  Matthews hoped that the irrefutable evidence would convince Liddy to go back to the listeners of his radio show and say “OK guys, I know we want this to be true, but it simply isn’t; Enough is Enough”.  However, Liddy stared at the evidence in what can only be described as an Alzheimer Haze, twitching and mumbling something about wanting to see originals and some woman in Kenya and an affidavit about seeing Obama being born in Kenya and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.  It would have been funny if it wasn’t one of the saddest things I’ve even seen on Television.  Search for the video on Google, it’s easy to find.  I do question Chris Matthew’s motives in bringing on one of the most famous liars in the world in an effort to reform him on conspiracies.  But I guess Matthews was trying to start with someone on the radio who had a following.  Liddy was probably the only conservative talk radio host who would accept an invitation from Mr. Matthews.

Some believe that the birther movement is harmless.  But if you undersand that the people involved in the movement are using it as a cover to hide (and not so well) their extreme racism and hatred of Black America then you won’t think it’s so harmless anymore.

It is time now for those of us who are adults with working brain stems to call our Senators and House Representatives demanding that they speak out on this issue and put the Birthers in their place.  Force your legislators to have a spine by speaking out against the fringe right wing.  I’m all for freedom on speech, but when you are inciting riotous and violent acts based on your speech or actions, i believe you forfeit some of those rights.  The Birthers are full of hatred and are trying to spread it around.  That’s just plain wrong.  Nobody should have the freedom to do that.

There are two trains of thought on debunking lies.  First is to never address is; therefore not giving the idea any traction.  You don’t dignify the accusation by responding to it.  The second method is to nip it in the bud.  You run the risk of drawing out the amount of attention the lie gets but you look strong in your defiance.

The Democrats, and in fact the White House itself, have chosen option one.  Ignore the accusation and you won’t give it any traction.  Let’s see.  How did that work our for John Kerry and the Swift Boaters?

The wheels on the Republican bus have officially fallen off


I didn’t think that the Republican Party could fall out of favor any further than it has.  But in true Republican fashion, they never let you down when it comes to disappointment.

I would not have believed if I didn’t see it.  Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher blamed Barack Obama for the violence and death on the streets of Iran.  He said that if Obama had spoken up and denounced the violence three days ago, the violence would have been avoided.  That woman who was shot and died on live television would be alive if it weren’t for Barack Obama.  Yes, this guy actually said it.

And what if John McCain was our President.  According to his recent remarks, we would be at war with another Islamic country; further degrading the standing of the United States around the world.  And thousands upon thousands more would be dead.  McCain couldn’t even answer this question:  Is Barack Obama on the side of Majmud Ahmadinajad or is he on the side of the factions that are protesting an unfair election.  McCain said “Well I know what side I”M on” insinuating that Barack Obama was on the side of the tyranical President.  He’s kidding right?  No he’s not.

Then, Republicans like radio host and columnist Mark Savage, and a Maryland Republican women’s group, and many others too numerous to mention, have been, just in the last few days, comparing Barack Obama to Hitler.  They are litterally trying to make direct comparisons between Obama’s actions and policies to Hitler’s reign of terror.  It is amazingly ridiculous and hateful, and so far off base that I can’t figure out who these people are trying to convince to join or support their party.  They should have stuck with the idea that Barack’s birth certificate is a fake.  At least that is a conspiracy theory the right wingers can REALLY get behind. 

And now Mark Sanford, South Carolina Governor, admits to infidelity with an Argentinean woman, which explains where he was over Father’s Day Weekend when neither his wife, his sons, nor his administration  knew where he was.  And all the while they thought he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.  He was lost in the woods, alright, metaphorically speaking.  I can’t wait to see how Sanford’s close friend, Joe Scarborough handles this tomorrow morning on “Morning Joe”.  Will he defend Sanford using tax payer money to go to Argentina for a booty call?  Just this morning (Wednesday) Joe was defending Sanford’s behavior.

This is like a bad plot in a bad daytime soap opera.  Even Luke and Laura knew when it was time to give up the Ice Princess plot line.

So Mark Sanford goes on TV today and gives a very long list of all the people he hurt; beginning with his sons.  The young people behind him in his news conference were giggling.  I don’t know who they were or why they were there.  But it was sad, demeaning, and even somewhat humorous.  If there were ever a reason to have a pre-planned speech or tele-prompters, that news conference was it.  This is a man who said President Clinton should resign for such sexually deviant behavior.  Well, Mr. Sanford, will you now resign, because you should based on your own moral compass.

Is it any wonder why the Republican Party is falling apart.   What comes next; calling Barack Obama a extra-terrestrial being while some other Republican congressman gets arrested for molesting pre-school boys. 

Barack Obama is poised to strike and get whatever he wants out of Congress; Republicans or Democrats.  Now is the time Barack.  DO IT!  Get health care passed.  Clean up the environment, Get all the troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, create millions of jobs, send America over into the financial abyss; finance our asses off.  Who cares?  It can’t possibly be worse than anything that brain trust we call the GOP can come up with.

And just yesterday, the GOP had begun to lay out plans to take back Congress in 2010.  Sorry guys, I don’t think so.

And the cherry on top?  Rush Limbaugh said about Sanford – “he could have been our JFK”.

I can’t even keep up anymore with the train wreck and casualties that make up the GOP.

It’s time to Fade to Black.

Right America Feeling Wronged


In Alexandra Pelosi’s new documentary “Right America Feeling Wronged” she does to radical, right-wing, evangelical America what family and friends would do to an addict at an intervention; she holds a symbolic mirror up to their faces and asks them to take a good, hard look at themselves. 

Like all interventions, if things go well, the addict will see the error of their ways, begin to take responsibility for their actions, and begin down the road of recovery, all with the support of those who intervened in the first place.  If things don’t go well, the the addict will continue to lie, cheat, steal, and fool themselves into thinking they are OK and not doing anything wrong.  Meanwhile, the addict spirals out of control once again.

Below is an exceprt from “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC where Rachel is interviewed filmaker Alexandra Pelosi and show some brief clips from the documentary.  While these two liberals don’t always have the same views on “middle America”, the certainly agree about shedding some much needed light on some real problems.

 I will admit right here, right now.  I recorded this documentary on my DVR and when I sat down to watch it, I had to turn it off after about 5 minutes.  Why?  Because I was truly freightened.  Some of this clips that I found freightening are those included in the very brief film trailer leading into the MSNBC interview.

As I switched channels and sat back for a bit watching something else, I just had to do it.  I turned it back on.  Once I again I wretched in disbelief and had to turn it off.  To me it was like watching a grotesque surgical operation.  You are curious and want to see it, but you sort of look through your fingers that are half-covering your face.  And when the really bad parts come, you look away and say “OOOH, GEEEEEEZ!!!

As I watched “Right America Feeling Wronged” a few thoughts came to mind.  First, it seemed to me that every person showcased in this movie had a glazed-over, blank-but-hate-filled look in their eyes.  Or maybe it was blank with fear.  Or both.

I encourage everyone who’s interested in what the Evangelical crowd is doing and thinking to see this documentary.  This is not a narrated documentary where you might be led down a certain path of opinion based on what the filmaker dictates.  This movie leaves the character development up to the characters themselves.  They reveal a great deal about themselves on their own without prodding from anyone.

While I know that the hatred exposed in this film is real and still exists, I can’t help but think what would have happened if McCain got elected.  What I saw in this film was what I have always seen in Republicans; they don’t tell you what they are “for” but hey will certainly tell you what they are “against”.  In fact at one point a woman was asked what all McCain supporters have in common and she said “We don’t want Obama to win”.  To this radical group the 2008 Presidential Election wasn’t about standing behind a candidate, it was about standing in front of an adversary.   To them Barack Obama became the enemy; out of fear, ignorance, hate, misinformation, and and outright lies by the Right Wing conservatives of the party.

I hope you watch the interview above but hope even more that you watch the entire documentary.  If you do watch to film and don’t see why Barack Obama should fear for his life, then you weren’t listening; play it again.

Why Obama is the right person, right now


We know the economy is a mess.  In a way I feel lucky because I lost my job in April of 2007, lost everything, was out of work of 18 months, without any programs to help me.  I’m now back to work making half of what I did before.  I am still struggling to stay afloat after those 18 months, for most of which I did not receive unemployment compensation.  And while I am working now, it is for a small business with 13 employees.  So I can’t count on anything going forward.

Lucky?  You ask quizzically.  Yes, because I already went through what many people are going through now and will continue to go through.  I don’t have a car payment anymore because I lost my car to the repo man.  I don’t have a mortgage because even before all this happened I didn’t make enough to own a home.  Some would say I did.  Many tried to convince me that a single person like me making the kind of money I made, should be investing in a home.  I’m glad I didn’t.  Rent is just fine with me.  And while I almost lost my apartment, the kindness of friends, family, and an understanding landlord have helped me hang on.

I watched President Obama (I still love writing that) last night in his non-State of the Union Address.  Have you ever in your life heard a President be so bold to tell the truth?  He told the truth about the current condition of our country and gave us hope that we can get through it.  There is an awful lot to be said for having the right attitude.  And Barack Obama has it.  I get the sense he truly does believe we can turn this situation around. 

The President is not letting the “party of NO” stop him from going forward.  The American public spoke.  They spoke in November of 2006 and in November of 2008.  One party is in charge right now for a reason.   Can you really imagine John McCain being the President right now.  Really?!  For Christ’s sake he’d still be talking about “the surge”.  And while I have learned a new respect for Hillary Clinton, I don’t think she would have the same oratory skills required for the job.  Not to mention that Bill Clinton would be an incredible distraction.  The Clinton’s would have been skewered by the neo-cons and so much distraction and shell-gaming would be going on that the country wouldn’t have a chance.

When they call the GOP the “party of NO” they mean it.  Republicans are so out of touch with the pulse of America right now that they should all be sued for malpractice”.  And soon-to-be former-presidential-candidate Bobby Jindal with his insinuations last night that Barack Obama’s message included something about America ‘s best days are behind her.  What is that all about?  Did you, or he, hear something I didn’t?  I watched the President and listened to what he said.  THAT, my dear Jindal, is NOT what he said.

What I am about to write is not an original idea but it keeps popping into my head.  Democrats will tell you what the are FOR, and Republicans will tell you what they are AGAINST.  That is one of the major differences between the two parties right now.  The GOP has no leaders, no platform, and has lost the trust of the American people.  Average Americans are not even listening to what Republicans have to say, because all that comes out of their mouths is blame, finger pointing, the word “NO”, or nothing at all.

There’s no question that I am a Barack Obama supporter.  I don’t agree with many things he has said or done.  The one thing I have to hold on to is that I trust him.  Unlike the Bush Administration,  Barack Obama is in this for the American people, the Americahe loves.  The Bush Administration was in it for their own egos, their own power, and in many cases, their own pocket books.  (Can you say “Halliburton”?).

And one last thing.  Karl Rove didn’t show up AGAIN for his testimony to Congress.  It’s time to hold him in contempt and throw in him jail.  That’s what we do to criminals, don’t we.  Barack Obama said last night, unequivocally, “The United States does not torture”.  But if Rove doesn’t want to play by our rules, let’s play by his.  Anybody have an extra water board lying around?

So back to my original premise. Barack Obama is the right man for the job.  There’s another Democrat (and certainly not a Republican) who has the balls to do what he is doing right now.  And as for these Republican Governors who lambaste the stimulus package and then want some of the money, you can’t have it both ways.  Grow a backbone already.  And if you don’t know how, ask Obama.

Voices of my Father


As I watched the Inauguration of Barack Obama today, I deliberately chose not to blog.  I wanted today to be a time of observance and reflection.  As I watched the happenings and while I felt moved and occasionally welled up, there was something missing for me that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  I have been emotional at other times during the Obama “movement” including Election Night itself.  And as President Obama began his speech today, I listened intently.  It was a strong, powerful, moving speech, filled with honesty and clarity of purpose.

I don’t think there has ever been a time in history when so many people gathered in Washington D.C. to see an inauguration.  Not in my lifetime anyway and perhaps not ever, not even for John F. Kennedy, my father’s political hero.  Of course, this is a television/internet era.  So not only were there record crowds on the National Mall, there are record TV audiences and record internet traffic on Live Coverage sites.  But for the first time ever, there were crowds around the world, around the Planet, to watch this truly unique, and world-changing event.  From Kenya to Israel to Japan, they all celebrated today.  Yet even knowing that, there was still something missing.

After President Obama’s speech, and after most of the early fanfare, and the departure of the ex-President by helicopter (what a wonderful sight – that made me cry), my phone rang.  I didn’t answer it because I decided I did not want to be interrupted today, no matter who it was.  If it was urgent, I would call back whoever it was.  I quickly looked and saw that it was my mother and let it go to voice mail.  I figured she was going to ask me some question or tell me some story, or whatever, I knew it wasn’t so important that I needed to stop what I was doing; what I wanted to do at that moment was watch these historical events unfold on television.  I was glad I had a high definition TV; it is truly a grand TV-watching experience,  But still there was someting missing.

After a brief while, I checked my voice mail.  It was my mother, of course, but the tone in her voice was different.  I could tell she was a bit choked up, a bit emotional.  For a brief moment I though “Uh, oh” what happened. 

Throughout the Obama campaign, and  throughout the election, my mother and I didn’t really agree.  She didn’t have the same passion for politics and change that had come to be part of my life.  I didn’t feel she understood how important all of this was to me   Barack Obama winning the Presidency will always be one of the highlights, if not THE highlight, of my life.  Similar to what JFK was to my father and her.

As I listened to her message, she told me in a quivering sort of voice, that she had just finished watching the Inauguration.  And as the words came out of her mouth, I was a bit astonished.  She said “I was thinking about your father, and how proud he would be; how happy he would be at what was happening today”.   My father died in 1984.  In the reality of our family, my father, his beliefs, his politics, his point of view, are rarely, if ever talked about.

So I thought for a moment and the tears came to my eyes.  The man who was so distant as a father, but taught me so much from afar, was with me today.  By not teaching his children about racism and bigotry, we didn’t know it existed.  As he helped ex-cons by giving them jobs when no one else would, and as he helped the first black family in our neighborhood get a mortgage when no local bank would give them one, we never knew.   He helped that same family renovate the electrical service in their own.  They paid him weekly, maybe $5.00 a week until they paid off what they owed.  My father told them to just pay what they could, when they could.  My father quietly did his part to try and end racism and bigotry in the midst of the Civil Rights movement, John and Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr.  He did not boast or brag about what he did, he simply did it.  And this is what Barack Obama talked about today in his speech.   Obama said that America was ready to once again take the lead; in terms of diplomacy, inclusion, fairness, world peace, equality, and all of the tenets upon which this country was founded.  Indeed all Americans are created equal.

So it came full circle for me.  I finally understood why I was emotional throughout Obama’s campaign, his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, his victory speech at Grant Park in Chicago on the night of November 4, 2008, and today when he put his hand on the Lincoln Bible where he swore to protect and defend America and uphold the Constitution.  It was the voice of my fahter.  Not his actual voice, in fact just the opposite.  It was his silence in not pointing out what racism was, or what bigotry was.  We werent’ told about it because he didn’t want us to even fathom the thought of it.  I grew up not knowing that some people thought there was a difference between white and black, jew and christian, rich and poor, gay or straight.  He didn’t want to teach us about racism for fear that we would participate in it.  Instead, he led through quiet example.  Never judging people based on the differences by which some found it so easy to judge.  

Dad, you did the right thing.  I didn’t learn about racism and bigotry until I was in my very late teens; I learned it from the world.  And it was a terrible thing to realize.  I must admit that I did judge people.  I judged the ones who wanted to deny others their  basic human rights.  Even today some still try to do it.  But not Barack , Dad,  He’s a different kind of guy.  When I look at him I don’t thnk “he’s black”.  I think, “he’s cool, he’s smart, he’s of my generation and he thinks like me, only smarter”.  You would really have liked him.  Thanks Dad.  I found my JFK. 

And so I blogged after all.

The Bush Presidency for Dummies – 8 years in 8 minutes


On the eve of the Inauguration of Barack Obama it is natural to reflect upon from where we have come and how we got to this one moment in history.  We can all sit around and argue about what went right or wrong with the Bush Administration but to do so the opposite side would have to admit that indeed Bush made mistakes.  They must admit there is a possibility that he lied, or worse, committed crimes.  That in and of itself is a tough thing to find.  Even today with Bush’s approval rating at 18%, it is still the voices on Fox News who refuse to admit the truth and the voices on CNN who don’t want to admit that there is a reason to reflect.  They simply want to move forward. 

Keith Olbermann put things in perspective by encapsulating Bush’s 8 years into 8 minutes; a time frame of the mistakes and lies.  It is worth a watch.  And if you combine what he says (video highlight below) with his “Special Comment” today (you can easily find that on MSNBC (countdown.msnbc.com), how we need to move forward is clear.   Start here, just take a listen:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677/vp/28699663#28699663

For those with a slower computer be patient.  It has to load and the player will show a short commerical; but it’s well worth the wait.  You can just copy/paste the URL above into your broser as well.  While you’re there check out “Special Comments” about prosecuting torture.

Thanks,

Judgement at Washington-berg


For the first time, I saw the 1961 movie called “Judgment at Nuremberg”.  Spencer Tracy played Judge Dan Haywood who presided over the 3 Judge Tribunal who were given the task of hearing the cases of 4 German Judges charged with war crimes while under Hitler’s rule.

The defense of 3 of the 4 judges on trial was that they had no idea that Hitler had gone to such lengths with Concentrations Camps and that everything they did in their roles as judges was for the their country, their precious, righteous Germany.  The fourth judge on trial, Ernst Janning, admitted that there was no way that he, nor the others on trial, could not have known about the mass killing of millions in their own back yard.  He admitted to sentencing Jews to go to the concentration camps, admitted to false allegations, sterilization of Jews, torture, murder, you name it, these judges were involved in it.  Janning went on further to say that a man can not hide behind his patriotism to commit such atrocities.  Janning was most ashamed of himself because he was one of the most respected judges in the country, a man who had written several books on the rule of law and justice itself.

Some of the actors in this movie were quite astonishing.  A young Maximilian Schell played the part of the defense lawyer with incredible passion and credibility.  His character spoke to tribunal judge Haywood in Haywood’s chambers arguing that Germans were so eager to forget the past and so eager to live in denial of what had really happened under Hitler, that whatever judgement Haywood passed down would be overturned on appeal so that the Germans never had to admit to it in their own minds.

In the end each judge on trial received a life sentence.  BUT, within 10 years each judge that was on trial (and many others not depicted in the movie) were out of jail, free, and in many cases living in other countries.  As for the Germans, they then had to deal with communism and the bisection of their country, all the while still hating America for attempting to make them see the truth of the Third Reich.

This brings me to the war crimes of the Bush Administration.  Were they any better, were they any different than the judges on trial at Nuremberg?  The Bush Administration condoned and actively participated in torture and rendition.  They did it all in the name of their country, their patriotism and loyalty to the United States.  Is Guantanamo Bay really that much different from a concentration camp?  I don’t want to belittle what happened at a concentration camp.  The murder of 6 million people can not be compared directly to holding suspected insurgents against their will for 7 years.  But does it matter how bad a war crime is on a scale of one to ten?  A crime is a crime.

Barack Obama said he wants to look forward.  On the 1/11/09 edition of “This Week” on ABC, Obama said that the new Attorney General is the “lawyer for the people” of the United States.  So I can see that he doesn’t want to be directly involved in prosecuting George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and the many minions, because the country is hurting.  There are so many things on which he needs to concentrate and act quickly.  But if you read between the lines he is saying that if the Attorney General, this “lawyer of the people”, is directed by those people to take action against Americans who committed war crimes then so be it.  And I say, let the criminals pay.

Some will say it is simply not true; no war crime were committed.  They will call us crazy.  They will call us “liberals”.  They will call us call kinds of things.  But many Americans, and in fact many people from around the world, do believe that the Bush Administration committed crimes of torture.  For the sake of our sanity, for the sake of our reputation around the world, and for the sake of justice itself, we need to investigate and prosecute anybody, regardless of their position, who committed war crimes; crimes against the Geneva Conventions.   And what better way to show the world that we are ready to take our place as a beacon of hope and change, and all that is right in the world, than to show George W. Bush and/or Dick Cheney being escorted to their prison cell for the rest of his life.

We can not allow ourselves to be like Germany after World War II.  We can not stick our heads in the sand. We can not live in denial.  Would it be easier to just look forward, never look back, and pretend that none of it happened?  Yes it would.  But since when do we as Americans take the easy way out.  If we wanted to do that we would have left Europe to its own devices during World War I and World War II.  We would have let Saddam Hussein invade Kuwait.  And we would never answer the call from anywhere in the world that truly needed our help due to natural disaster or evil invader.

America is an experiment.  We are a young country, comparatively, only a few hundred years old.  When compared to most of the other super powers of the world whose history goes back centuries, we are in our infancy.  America is an experiment in democracy.  Our ideals and our freedoms are the reason why so many have come here, and why another so many hate us.  But we can not stop being the shining city on the hill, even if we have to expose our raw nerves, expose the underbelly of our society, the ones that commit war crimes, and we need to punish them to the fullest extent of American and International Law.

When will it be our turn for “Judgment in Washington”?