Sunday, December 21, 2008

Forget Rick Warren: the Dissemination of peaceful thoughts of Ayatollah Boroujerdi in military prison in Yazd

I wish Obama had asked Ayatollah Boroujerdi instead of Rick Warren to do the invocation. Boroujeridi speaking from Yazd prison.
Ayatollah Boroujerdi's peaceful view about different religions including Judaism religion has caused he call Jewish people in all over the world religious brothers of Moslems. Noting that Jewish people are the offspring of prophet Isaac and Moslems are the children of prophet Ishmael and both of those two holy men are Abraham sons so, he believes that every kind of conflict and fight between these two divine religions causes to damage to their origin and separation from their root.

He said during an interview in Evin prison: " I confirm each religion that reforms human, takes him away from animal instincts and intensifies his pure feelings. Each religion gets human nature to freedom and justice and takes him away from harshness and wildness is an honorable and good opinion and belief." His intellectual view about other religions is so, that at the present, in military prison in Yazd, he accepts and welcomes those prisoners who believes in Bahai religion and are rejected by other prisoners, warmly. It must be said that as the result of this peaceful view, there is a firm friendship between him and a Bahai countryman called Mehran Bandi in Yazd prison. The only crime of this countryman is propagating Bahai religion and he has been sentenced to 3 years imprisonment.

Ayatollah Boroujerdi in reply to the censure of prison authorities that why he as a Shiite clergy defends a bahai, has said:" the only crime of him is his undertaking to his religion and on this matter he has not trampled other one's freedom and security. He is only a religious propagandist as I am the propagandist of my religion too and I have not violated one's opinion and I have forced no body to accept my religious beliefs. How we can exit and expel an innocent human like him from humanity circle?! In spite of all hardships and disagreeable acts have been done on me, I have friendship whit him eagerly."

Ayatollah Boroujerdi believes that friendship, understanding and unity must be established among all human on the earth as each nation can develop and progress by its way and method .

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Rick Warren — Is it fauxrage?

Procrustes over at Real Barack Obama pointing out the raw politics I've suspected going on with Warren knowing how desperate Illinois Democrats are over Obama and the Gov.
RBO also wants to point out that the spotlight is being shown exclusively on Warren, which has been called out by some as a planned distraction from Rezko-Blago-Rahmbo Watch, with Warren’s role in the inauguration to eventually be withdrawn as a conciliatory move. Focusing on Warren manages to bypass the Bigger Picture — PEBO’s “fairy tale” campaign. The Big Dog called this one months and months ago. Will Left Blogistan figure it out? Ever?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

UU's Peace Making Draft and Annan and Carter's call for Zimbabwe intervention

I suggested to my Social Justice Committee that we test our draft of a Peace Making resolution against some real life situations.

I suggested Zimbabwe. I thought our draft (as was the later UU draft) far too broad to be meaningful.

We could only understand what we believed by thinking out: what we were prepared to do, what we would support, what we would ask others to do.

Consensus save me was that exercise too tough.

Here's Annan and Carter's call,
Southern African nations must intervene more decisively to end Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and other prominent world figures say.

Describing Zimbabwe as close to a humanitarian disaster, Annan urged the Southern African Development Community's leaders to pressure President Robert Mugabe and the opposition MDC to break a deadlock blocking the formation of a unity government.

"SADC must bring its full weight to bear," Annan, flanked by former US President Jimmy Carter and human rights campaigner Graca Machel, the wife of Nelson Mandela, told reporters.

"I think it is clear that SADC should have done more."
The head of my SJ committee tells me the Peace Making Resolution will become the basis for the head of the UUA to speak out on my behalf on issues of Peace. So how does this draft tell UUs to respond to Zimbabwe?

I only find one reference to Zimbabwe on Rev Sinkford's A Unitarian Universalist Pilgrimage: Rev. William Sinkford's Journey through Africa blog.

If the Peace Making Resolution doesn't tell us how to respond, by what authority does it tell us to remain silent?

Sakharov Prize 2008 awarded to Hu Jia

From the EP's Press Release,
The European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought has been awarded this year to Chinese political activist Hu Jia, EP President Hans-Gert Pöttering announced in Strasbourg today. The prize ceremony will take place in Strasbourg on 17 December.

Hu Jia is a prominent human rights activist and dissident in the People's Republic of China. He has embraced a wide range of causes, including environmental issues, HIV/AIDS advocacy and a call for an official enquiry into the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. He has also acted as a coordinator of the "barefoot lawyers movement".

Mr Pöttering said: "By awarding the Sakharov Prize to Hu Jia, the European Parliament firmly and resolutely acknowledges the daily struggle for freedom of all Chinese human rights defenders."
Also the LA Times story

Eric Cohen: In the Shadow of Progress Being Human in the Age of Technology

Going through notes I've filed away over the weeks. Here's a blurb on a book I plan to read.
Why are the wealthiest people in human history the least likely to want children? What kind of civilization will we become if we seek cures for the sick by destroying human embryos, or if we pick and choose our offspring by genetic profiling? What is lost when we relieve human sadness by altering the chemical balance of the brain, or enhance human performance by altering the biological workings of the body? In this age of scientific wonders, have we forgotten what makes human beings different from everything else in the natural world? Our great challenge, Cohen argues, is to live simultaneously with gratitude and fear, pride and shame, sobriety and hope, in this new age of technology.
Our great challange... I'm not certain many UUs writers are rising to it, and substitute politics for it instead.

Ayatollah Boroujerdi's letter to public opinions, before his exile

The final paragraphs from Ayatollah Boroujerdi's letter before his exile,
I am a peace preacher and offered my youth age to God because of peace. As a liberal who has paid heavy penalty and devoted his family and life for a long years because of reverence for freedom, I 'm asking for democracy in all over the world. In my opinion there is no difference among different holy and divine religions; every religion which takes us to God brings happiness. I believe massacre weapons are contradictory with human interests and nuclear bombs are the factor of human annihilation and also I believe competition for producing, increasing and selling the weapon is opposition to environmental cleanness and health and I condemn every things disturb human relief .The culture must be established as there is no need to prison. The governments must not establish the law which gives people trouble. Taxes, tolls and penalties must be moderated and people ability to pay must be considered .I respect all Human Rights servers, from Iran and I embrace peace propagandists warmly. How can the state of oppressed and miserable human be ignored while there are councils and institutes which protect animals' life and consider and control the way of human treat to them?

I had been invited and recommend to going out of my country many years ago, but I didn't accept to leave people and I accepted all risks and dangers with all my heart and soul just because of sympathizing with my countrymen and their need to defense of their legal and rational rights and now I am in the worst security, family and psychological situation and International societies are informed on my state. Notwithstanding these hardships, I tolerate prison, exile, torture and pressure to prove my aims in defense and support of human rights and greatness and importance of peacefulness. I call God and history to witness that I have abstained from oppressing since the beginning of my life, I have loved to help poor and deprived people and I never abuse my popularity and important and high social positions. When armed governmental forces raided my house, I invited everyone to capitulate and refused to confront with invasion caused to bloodshed. Now I call my self a peace devotee, freedom preacher and a Human Rights defender and ask decision centers on this matter to help me to further my sacred aims and give me immunity is proportionate to this responsibility.

Thank you

Seyyed Hosein Kazemeini Boroujerdi , Tehran

Debby Applegate's Review of American Transcendentalism: A History

A review I'm filing away on some books I'll add to Shelfari. Applegate (who I enjoy...check her book on Beecher),
Almost anyone who muddled their way through high school has heard of the Transcendentalists. Plenty of people could even name some of them: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau or even, perhaps, Walt Whitman. Some of us might even own a dog-eared paperback of “Walden.” But only a few of us could tell you what Transcendentalism actually means.

We shouldn’t feel too bad about this, it turns out, for even in its heyday, from the 1830s through the 1850s, the average American was equally befuddled by the term. “When a speaker talked so that his audience didn’t understand him, and when he said what he didn’t understand himself – that was transcendentalism,” as one newspaper reporter joked in 1853.

Human Rights Watch's Ken Roth on Bush, Darfur, and the International Criminal Court

HRW's Ken Roth on Bush and Darfur: Bush Does the Right Thing for Darfur
Human Rights Watch rarely lauds the Bush administration. But when it comes to supporting international efforts to prosecute Sudanese leaders for their slaughter in Darfur, the administration so far has it right.
And the conclusion,
The Bush administration's support for accountability is a logical consequence of its longstanding commitment to end atrocities in Darfur. It also reflects a broader reassessment of the ICC.

Contrary to early fears, the ICC has acted with restraint and professionalism. Its prosecutions, whether of the warlords of eastern Congo, the child-soldier recruiters of Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army or the killers of Khartoum, all accord with U.S. interests, as well as basic decency. President-elect Barack Obama should continue that approach, and embrace the ICC as an important tool to combat mass atrocities.
Let's see if Obama is up for the challenge.

xp Bill Baar's West Side

Amir Taheri on the UN's interfaith conference

Just posting links from the week that interested me. Here is Taheri on the interfaith conference in NYC. I don't think any UU bloggers picked up on it and that's a bit of a surprize.
The conference revealed a healthy readiness on the part of the Muslim world to welcome constructive criticism. In exchange, the Western nations manifested a greater degree of understanding for the desire of many Muslims, perhaps even a majority, to protect and defend differences they regard as vital for the survival of their faith.

The conferees in New York manifested an unprecedented readiness for a serious dialogue.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Andrew Pingree: Universalist Minister Pingree Grove Illinois

This Thanksgiving we'll give thanks to Google Books. Andrew Pingree with a Hat Tip to Pat Murffin and I'll link his blog later.... but it's amazing what research one can do now-a-days.

The Past and Present of Kane County, Illinois Containing a History of the County ... :


Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Humanist's Godless Campaign

From the AHA's site,
"Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake," proclaims a new holiday ad from the American Humanist Association. Already appearing today in the New York Times and Washington Post, the message will soon be blazoned on the sides, taillights, and interiors of over 200 Washington DC Metro buses.

It's the first ad campaign of its kind in the United States, and the American Humanist Association predicts it will raise public awareness of humanism as well as controversy over humanist ideas.

"Humanists have always understood that you don't need a god to be good," said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. "So that's the point we're making with this advertising campaign. Morality doesn't come from religion. It's a set of values embraced by individuals and society based on empathy, fairness, and experience."
UU's short O'Riley. I'm not a regular watcher of his show but stumbled across his interview with someone from AHA on this effort. And found myself agreeing with O'Riley that --save the gratuitous shot against God (why bother with that?)-- I'm in perfect agreement that morality flows from our empathy, fairness, and experience.

Update: Boy in the Band's seen one of the AHA's ads and posts on it.

The Orthodox Church today

Question 8 from the survey of American Orthodox Church goers. Wonder how many UU's would encourage their kids to be UU Ministers?

8) Being a professional clergyman in 21st century America is, probably, not seen as a “dream choice” of occupation by most people. Yet, the study found that more than three quarters of the respondents “would encourage their sons to become priests.”

Combined, the GOA and the OCA account for more than half of all Orthodox Christians and parishes in the USA. Therefore, to a significant degree the study reflects the “profile” of the American Orthodox community at large. Respondents from more than 100 randomly selected Orthodox parishes situated in the various parts of the country participated in the survey. The questionnaire focused on personal social and religious attitudes of Orthodox parishioners and on the patterns of the everyday church life in their local parishes. Special attention was paid to the “image” of the Orthodox clergy through the eyes of the “people in the pews” and to the issues dealing with “Democracy and Pluralism in the Church,” “Changes and Innovations in the Church,” and “Religious ‘Particularism’ and Ecumenism.” Numerous comparisons with the US Roman Catholics and Protestants make study results especially interesting for the wider audience.

Just Peace

I've been working on a draft resolution in my Church's Social Justice Committee. David Pyle makes many of my points in this post.

Few UU bloggers have been writing on Peace Making. That's bad because despite the big 3 bail out and the financial crash, the crisis to come will be ones of war and peace. What UU's are coming up with so far seem like doctrines poorly equipped to guide anyone for what's to come.

We'll be caught short.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Unitarian Women Petition Congress to ban Utah Representative Roberts

NYT on New York Unitarian Women meeting to petition the US Congress to bar Representative Roberts of Utah from his seat in the House for violation of the Edmund's act banning plural marriages.

Back in the days before we preached our marriage equality frame and had no hesitations about the Government licensing just who, and who couldn't, marry.

I bet today's Mormons have some pretty long memories. Longer than most UUs.

Wonder what was in the mind of that one dissenting voice?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Health Care blog

With Health Care reform the coming topic, I figure it's time to start up the Health Care blog again.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

"Bush Dog" Rahm on War in Iraq

I try and keep the partisan politics off this blog (and put it here) but thought UU's should get a little insight on Obama's first appointment.

I've agreed with Rahm on policy but his hypocrisy (and Illinois corruption) won't let me ever vote Democrat again. Democrats have done America great damage talking out of both sides of their mouths like this. Read it about the guy Liberals, Progressives, and UUs in the West Burbs were calling a "Bush Dog".

And this from on of those hero's of progressives from the CD next to me,
According to Spidel, Emanuel worked against Cegelis because of her support for withdrawal from Iraq and her outspoken opposition to "free trade" legislation like the Central American Free Trade Agreement. "In 2006 the DCCC was Emanuel's personal weapon. He executed based on his needs. He needed votes on 'free trade' legislation that he supports, and he knew that [Cegelis] was one of the Democrats who would vote her own way," Spidel said.

Spidel said that Emanuel worked to defeat Cegelis because she represented a threat to the established Illinois Democrats and because she did not seek their approval before running. "Chicago politics is a family. If you didn't go into the city and kiss certain rings, you were not given certain resources like Political Action Committee lists and donor lists. Cegelis' success hurt some egos and the party didn't like their lack of control," Spidel said.
Going to be quite a four years.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Reporters Without Borders: Cyber-journalist arrested in Qom for posting dissident ayatollah’s sermon online

Via Reporters Without Borders... note the importance of the blogosphere to the liberal opposition. Why are words are so important. Speak to Akmadeenijad if we must but speak the names of opponents of the regime when we do. Iran is watching.
Reporters Without Borders condemns theologian and online journalist Mojtaba Lotfi’s arrest on 8 October for a posting a sermon by Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri - a well-known opponent of the Islamic revolution’s Supreme Guide Ayatollah Ali Khamenei - online. In his sermon, Montazeri criticised President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for saying Iran was “the world’s freest country” (

“No, Mr. President, Iran is not the world’s freest country and Lotfi’s arrest just for publishing comments made in public is evidence of this,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This decision is unjust and highlights the government’s desire to suppress online dissent, especially in the run-up to next year’s president election.”

The press freedom organisation added: “Websites and blogs are the main outlets used by the opposition to get its ideas across, as it is banned from publishing its views in the governmental newspapers. As well as a human rights outrage, Mojtaba’s arrest in an unacceptable method of intimidating the blogosphere.”

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Akbar Ganji:The Road to Democracy in Iran

From Akbar Ganji’s interview with the Boston Review on his new book, The Road to Democracy in Iran.
The reformists are worried that Iran will be attacked militarily either by Israel or the United States. The specter of war, together with regime repression, has pushed aside the struggle for democracy and human rights. Moreover, the regime in Iran uses this pretext of an ‘impending war’ and severely represses its opponents. Resistance under such circumstances is very difficult.
Activists ought to reflect on how their words translate into Farsi with efforts like this. The prospects of an Iraq-like invasion of Iran seem nil to me. I don't hear much saber-rattling.

The Mullahs are dancing on razor blades when they talk of nukes and using them on Israel. They risk retaliation on Iran, but I fear the real fear mongering going on in Iran is quoting us. We are not doing Iranian Liberals much good with it.

It would be so much better if we promoted the words of Ganji instead and let the Theocrats in Iran know we watch and read him. That would do far more good.

Friday, October 10, 2008

UU's on Secret Diplomacy

I looked Akmadenijad in the eye too maybe, just like Gerhardstein here.

Pretty close to it. I was walking back to my office in the Green Zone past PM Maliki's compound when traffic was stopped to let Ahmadinejad through... four Black Mercedes SUVs and two Iraqi Army Humvees. Machine guns on top, cocked and loaded.

I would have taken a picture but the guy standing next to me said not to point anything at them because the guards will shoot first and ask questions later. Keep my hands visible, and at my side. Don't make fast moves.

Anyways, the procession stopped at the gate to Maliki's compound and a Iranian guy in a collarless white shirt and aviator shades smiled and nodded at me out from one of the SUVs.

I'm an upfront guy. If the guy in that SUV asked my thoughts, I would have asked Prez A why he wants to make A-Bombs, hang gay kids, or stone women. I'm not a diplomat for sure.

Gerhadestein here wants to play games I'm afraid. Hide our intentions.
Our government might have detailed satellite images of Iran’s nuclear facilities; and we have probably drawn up battle plans of how to most effectively eliminate Iran’s nuclear and military capacities in as little time as possible. But the U.S. Government does not know what it is like to sit in a room with the President of Iran and ask him to stop enriching uranium. Diplomacy is most important with your rivals and enemies. You do not need to negotiate with your friends.

If it were up to me I would only have one option on the table, diplomacy. All those other options - tougher sanctions, naval blockades, military incursions, or all out war – would be hidden under the table. Because the longer we fail to diplomatically engage with Iran without preconditions, the longer the issues between us will remain unaddressed. I am interested in peace and progress, and I believe diplomacy is the vehicle that will get us there.
America is a tough country to understand. If you live in Ahmadinejad strange world we might be really difficult to understand.

The worse thing we can do is not explicitly state the consequences of war. That an Iranian first strike on anyone would result in devastating nuclear retaliation.

The last thing you want to do with Ahmadinejad is hide any cards under the table. The consequences of war will be horrific and Ahmadinejad needs to know. Don't hide that fact.

Like me with my camera, mistakes can happen and the outcomes tragic. You don't want any confusion. You want your hands out in the open. Nothing hidden under the table.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Shohreh Aghdashloo on "The Stoning of Soraya M

A film I had suggested our Social Justice committee view for Friday Flicks. A recommendation made before Rev Sinkford decided to chat with Akmadenijad

and the trailer,

YouTube of Ayatollah Boroujerdi before his arrest

This one with English subtitles of his speech before his arrest in 2006.

Why can't UU leaders ask to speak with him in prison?

Hallman and Morales on Sinkford's meeting with Akmadenijad

And not a word yet from the two who seek to replace Sinkford as far as I can tell from here and here.

Why silence?

Are they blind to a fellow liberal? Why do they plug their ears to these words?
Tell the world that Boroujerdi did not fear death…. He defended an Islam which promotes love and kindness not the Islam that these lot advocate which has brought poverty, corruption, prostitution, addiction ….I don’t want you to risk your lives for me, I just want you to tell the world what happened here,.
Boroujerdi doesn't ask Hallman or Morales to risk anything, just to witness.

Inspired Faith, Effective Action?

Robin nails (Robin posts graphic images of hangings) these embarrassing representatives of our Church.

Talk with the butcher if you must, but why refuses to voice solidarity with fellow Liberals in the butcher's prisons, or display the photos of the victims instead of group shots of yourselves?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The declaration of prisoner religious leader of Iran

Seyed Hosein Kazemeini Boroujerdi's recent statement in full via his blog.

Why are many religous Libereals so quick to equate Theocratic Islam with Evangelical Christianity yet so slow to voice any Solidarity with the Liberal Islam expressed here?
In the name of God the merciful and the gracious and greeting to afflicted homeland by despotism and salutation to oppressed nation of Iran that is disfavored by Iran dictatorship.

It's the third year that I'm witness of the massacre of deprived and oppressed people, under the name of subversives, bullies, spies, riotous, false claimants and sellers of narcotic substances, in Evin.

I became aware of the deep of committing crime and making calamity of political Islam and closely saw the medieval tortures of the executioner and tricky claimants of Islam, during my detention in various sections of prison.

I'm not penitent for devoting my youth in the cause of combating against the traitor to God and swindler authorities of religion and I'm proud to sacrificed my father and my mother and my health and took my family and my followers to the altar of history in the cause of revealing the nature of governmental religion.

When I was hearing the wail of my one-year-grandchild in appalling 209section of Evin, while my eyes were closed and my hands were chained and my ankles were shackled by the religious fogyish, I told to my tears: joint to the river of calendar of contemporary Iran to its tomorrow pages be as a rainbow of liberal resistance and future generations smell the scent of releasing from the despotism of marauder governors better.

That day that the army of ruling head police was attacked in Enghelab square by the followers of traditional religion and the shout of freedom of thought and culture which are different with laws of Regime, narrowed the space for the oppressor government, I understood that country of braves, will not sustained opinion censorship and advertising pressures of the mammonish and irreligious Mullahs. And that midnight when the armed Velayat Faghih forces attacked the gathering of woman, man, old, young and child who were gathered around my house and were dissatisfied with the terrorist and bloody Islam I understood that It's the time of downfall of 30 years lying and swindle of the irreligious regime of Iran and it's the time of public movement of honor, gentle and patriot nation.

So, I announce to human society because of the name of all religions God and because of the love to country which is under the oppression of fierce government, and by truth on natural and public ability of countrymen, and with the decision to save honor country from essence of devilish clergymen, I have started to protest against the usurpers of sacred country and I'm sincerely ready to die to uproot the theory of " our religion is that very our politic" and to offer the opinion and religious freedom and thought independence to exemplary people.

So, according to this great national and humanity movement, I ask all civil societies, legal centers in the world and the authorities in the side of Human Rights and opinion freedom to defend of this peace, justice and freedom messenger with the all force, and take my emancipator message to security council of united nations and sentence the obvious and continued violation of Human Rights in religious, opinion and thought affairs, by issuing a salutation, and appoint me as an observer of united nations in religious and cultural affairs and also appoint me as its ( united nations ) representative in region countries till I can guard the ideal of worship according public demands by receiving the international security and immunity, and protect spirituality and sacred of nationals and peoples against every kinds of limitations and prohibitions .

At the end of my words ,I ask the clergymen of all religions to help me "as a person who is opposed to opinion inspection" and reflex my request to the related courts, also I ask the great Pope for serious and continuing advocate for my rightful demands and expect him to ask Christian governments and nations in the world to help me, also I ask authorities of Alazhar society, Mecca Darolfatva ( a place in Mecca for issuing religious statements ), and other issue centers of religious orders to remove the charges and ambiguity about real Islam with help this prisoner clergyman, and also I ask the presidents of Russia and china, that are supporters of Iran, to ask for my absolute and disputable release, by putting Tehran regime in pressure. I notify the members of uncommitted movement, of human duties in respect of oppressions of Iran government.

Seyed Hosein Kazemeini Boroujerdi
Tehran - Evin prison – Oct 2008
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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Be it a golden cage, my desire is for freedom

A slogan from the protest below at the University of Tabriz. Via Iran Human Rights Voice.
Last Saturday, students in the University of Tabriz, along with a number of Islamic Society members in the same university, held a sit-in session to protest the detention of ethnic activist students during the summer season, and their continued detention.

The sit-in started in front of the School of Humanities affiliated with Tabriz University and students, while chanting slogans, carried signs in support of detained students and marched toward the School of Technology in the same university.

According to reports by Amir Kabir Newsletter, the statements on the signs included “release our comrades: Sajad Radmehr, Faraz Zehtabi, Idin Khojei, Amir Mardani, Mansoor Aminian, Maghsoud Ahdi”, “be it a golden cage, my desire is for freedom”, “do not give up, there is light at the end of the road”, “we must speak the words, we must cry the pain”, and “release our friends”.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Sinkford and Ahmadinejad: it's not WWJD. What would Hallman or Morales do?

CC notes,
I CAN NOT WAIT for a new UUA President and I really, really hope that neither Hallman nor Morales have the inclination to do things like this in the name of my religion, and by extension, me.
Instead of waiting, I'd really like to know what Hallman and Morales would do. If they must talk with the devil, why not ask the devil about the fates (by name!) of the poor souls the devils tormenting in his hell? What's so hard about that?

There's no reason Hallman or Morales couldn't write letters to the Devil now. They can forget our Sinkford, but they can still write and ask the devil on the fates of these brave people. (pdf file)

Silence should not be an option.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ahmadinejad Honors Rev Sinkford

UUA writes,
The UU delegation left the meeting convinced that President Ahmadinejad was sincere in pursuing a relationship with the American people and the U.S. government. Rev. Sinkford remarked, “I could not imagine the current U.S. president taking the time to honor questions about his actions the way Ahmadinejad did today.”
I can only think Ahmadinejad honored Sinkford's questions because Sinkford disgracefully failed to speak a word of solidarity for someone like Ayatollah Boroujerdi below during his arrest (see the YouTube), or the Sufis, or Bahais, or all the Iranian people suffering Ahmadinejad's oppressions. Sinkfords words will be thrown in their faces, in their cells, as their guards mock how we've abandoned them.
…Tell the world that Boroujerdi did not fear death…. He defended an Islam which promotes love and kindness not the Islam that these lot advocate which has brought poverty, corruption, prostitution, addiction ….I don’t want you to risk your lives for me, I just want you to tell the world what happened here,.
What a sad moment for Unitarian Universalism.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

UU's draft of a revised Seven Principles

Have just glanced but this stuck out and prompted this comment,
At the core of Unitarian Universalism is recognition of the sanctity of every human being across the lifespan.

What's our alpha and omega on the lifespan, or are we going to kick that one to a higher authority as above our grade-levels?
HT CC and Scott Wells

PS: Scott Wells wrote a comment once on the display of corpses at various American Museums and how it denigrated human sanctity. I'd say the same argument could be made on the display of many human remains. The sanctity continues after death in my book.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Palin wasn't a pitch for HRC voters

I had a front row seat on the debates over Born Alive in Illinois over the years, and know the power of the issue. It's a powerful wedge.

I had been a pro-choice Democrat for before Roe v Wade, but it was the callousness of the left in Illinois in response that really got me thinking. Some people stunned me with things said off-the-cuff e.g. blastocysts as parasites and so on. I'm still thinking but the debate brought me a lot closer to Nat Hentoff.

Our Gov Blagojevich finally signed the Illinois version into Law Aug 12, 2005 and almost did it in secret because it was such an obstacle to the left in Illinois. (Normally our Gov is a grand stander when it comes to signing legislation but this one was too tough.)

Tim Rutten writes this today in the LA Times on the Palin pick.
The Democrats left Denver with an abortion problem that's been given far too little attention in the mainstream media. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's inexplicably incoherent attempt to reconcile her Catholicism and pro-choice voting record on "Meet the Press" last Sunday has provoked a torrent of condemnation from bishops across the country. Some of those denunciations probably will resonate with the socially conservative, white ethnic Catholics who are disproportionately concentrated in large swing states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania.

If she's adroit enough to do so, Palin can raise the abortion question with an authority no candidate for national office has ever had.In mid-April, she gave birth to her fifth child, a son she chose to deliver knowing that he would be born with Down syndrome. She told the Associated Press that she and her husband had discussed the prenatal diagnosis but that "we've both been very vocal about being pro-life. We understand that every innocent life has wonderful potential." In other words, the antiabortion camp finally has a candidate who not only talks the talk but walks the walk.
Hadley Arkes writes,
The Born-Alive Act was truly “the most modest first step” of all in legislating on abortion. Its purpose was to plant premises in the law and to break out news that the public would find jolting.
Technology would force the question though without Arkes as a fetus becomse viable at earlier and earlier stages of life.

I've watched Liberals fumble this debate in Illinois and we got a taste of it with Obama's above my pay-grade-comment.

It's a hard moral issue and government has no choice but deal with it. McCain picked the perfect advocate. Obama's going to be hard pressed to respond.

UU's Palin Barbie isn't going to work. The law must draw the lines on life and death to have any meaning and ethicists need to weigh in on the moral status of life at all of its stages.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The declaration of Ayatollah Boroujerdi's followers in Iran and Europe because of continuation of last detention by regime

via an emal from bamesadi 14

See my Oct 2006 post for video of Ayatollah Borujerdi's arrest.

8 August 2008

The declaration of Ayatollah Boroujerdi's followers in Iran and Europe because of continuation of last detention by regime

The big wave of suppression and detention of followers of Ayatollah Boroujerdi, the liberal and pacifist clergyman, during last days is an alarm means increasing the politic of liberal repression in Iran. these inhuman actions that are done in a suffocating and illegal atmosphere and are concordant with spread of execution wave such as dastardly execution of Yaqoub Mehrnahad ,the young Iranian journalist , increase the concerns of Human Rights societies and activists in all of the world and also liberal personalities in religious and anti-democratic government of Iran.

Detention of some followers of Ayatollah Seyed Hosein Kazemeini Boroujerdi, the liberal and opposed to Velayat-faqih clergyman, during last days under the names of: Habib Quvati, Mohammadreza Sadeghi, Majid Alasti, Mehrdad Souri, and Masoud Samavatian has made a deep concern for the followers of the "separation of religion from government" thought and apolitical Islam followers including Ayatollah Boroujerdi's followers.

Nowadays, the modern world knows very well there is no sign of democracy in our country, Iran and dissidence in suffocating government of Iran can even cause to death. Freedom of opinion and speech and Individual freedom are the public demand of Iranian people that have changed into an impossible wish for them.
The government that even doesn't attend to peaceful protest is not proper and efficient for liberal people of Iran.

According to the received news, the detentions wave of Ayatollah Boroujerdi' followers will be continued during coming days. .some of Ayatollah Boroujerdi's followers including Alireza Montazer-Saheb 37-year-old and married , Ali Shahrabi-farahani 33-year-old and married , Ahmad karimian 39-year-old and married, Hasan Harischian 35-year-old and married, and Ali Arbabi 36-year-old and married ,must introduced themselves to special court of clergy ! in order to execution of very long time imprisonments about them.

Noting to the critical economical situation and increasing inflation wave in Iran, detention of these people who all are supporter of their families, is an inhuman action and leads to appear mental and economical pressures for their the families. These people who majority of them have higher education , are eliminated from governmental job and denied permission to all the citizenship rights. The fact of these illegal actions of Tehran regime will be appeared when you know trial process of these people was completely injustice and above-named were sentenced to imprisonment while they were denied permission to lawyer.

It's necessary to mention, repression of Ayatollah boroujerdi's followers began on Oct 2006 further to his protest to intervention of the religion in government and also issue some crude sentences like : execution, stoning and amputation by Iran government on and has continued as yet.

We hereby, in addition to reject the trial process of last detentions, express that the effort and pursuit of all human Rights societies and activists also all international News agencies to stop detention of Ayatollah Boroujerdi's followers and other prisoners for opinion and politic in Iran is a crucial matter to create and spread democracy .

With wish a world full of the justice and freedom for all people
The followers of Ayatollah Seyed Hosein Kazemeini Boroujerdi in Iran and Europe

Documents relating to his before illnesses:

Sunday, July 20, 2008

सुरक्षा के Unitarian Universalist सोसायटी जिनेवा इलिनाय

सुरक्षा के Unitarian Universalist सोसायटी जिनेवा इलिनाय

हमारी सुरक्षा ( में लिखा 1842 )
व्यावहारिक को बढ़ावा देने के इच्छुक होने के नाते दुनिया में अच्छाई है , और एक दूसरे की सहायता में हमारी नैतिक और धार्मिक सुधार , हमने खुद को एक साथ जुड़ा नहीं राय के रूप में सहमति नहीं , सार्वभौमिक सत्य के रूप में प्राप्त करने में विश्वास या पूर्णता में चरित्र है , लेकिन चाहने वालों के रूप में सत्य के बाद और भलाई है .

Moral Value of life at its different stages

Tried to respond to Ruth's question to no avail, so will do it here.
In response to Bill:
Various authors and philosophers have given us a variety of ways to test our value as a society. These also include how we treat criminals and animals. Asking which we should use and which we should enforce are two very different questions.
Let's forget enforcement and just ask what we should use.

What calculus tells us the different moral values of a human life (forget animals for the moment too) at our different stages of life?

What calculus tells us an embryo has a different moral value than the senior robbed of consciousness by Alzheimer's?

How do we determine all of these different values from the moment of our creation to the moment of our destruction?

What system to you use here Ruth, or you also Dr. Haffner?


Faith Based Programs in Chicago

From the Trib's Why are these kids typing on unplugged computers? via Rich Miller.
The legislative leaders chose recipients before the groups filed formal applications. The board of education later sent applications and received often-sparse details back. They awarded the money but never visited the programs to see if they existed.

According to interviews with recipients, Hendon sponsored 44 of the 48 grants reviewed by the Tribune. He said he works hard in Springfield rounding up votes for Blagojevich and Senate Democrats. "I deserve more money," he said. "I fall on all the swords down there."

Of the 44 grants Hendon awarded, at least 21 went to people who campaigned for him or donated to his re-election efforts, the Tribune found. Hendon said he wasn't rewarding campaign workers; they just happened to apply.

"I'm equal opportunity," said Hendon, adding that he approved about 75 percent of the applications he received. "I'll consider anyone for a grant."

The senator said it's the state board's responsibility to police the programs.
Wait for Obama to give Emil Jones & Co real money to spread as Prez.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

العهد للديانة الموحدين المجتمع جنيف

ونحن العهد (كتبت في 1842)
ويجري ورغبة منها في تشجيع عملية الخير في العالم ، وللمساعدة كل منهما الأخرى في مسؤوليتنا الاخلاقيه والدينية التحسن ، أيدنا معا - ليس الاتفاق في الرأي ، وليس كما حال بلوغ العالمية او المعتقد في الحقيقة ذات طابع الكمال ، ولكن كما طالبي بعد الحقيقة والخير.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jaume on UUA: …it will be hard to be relevant and to speak with a single, consistent voice.

Jaume comments regarding UUA:
Unless American UUism makes a decision about whether they are a single body, or a conglomeration of congregations, associations, or religions, it will be hard to be relevant and to speak with a single, consistent voice.
My Church associates each Sunday
...not as agreeing in opinion, not as having attained universal truth in belief or perfection in character, but as seekers after truth and goodness.
We're relevant without speaking in a single or consistent voice. Why should UUA latch relevancy to unity, or need a single and consistent voice? And who would enforce that single voice consistent over time? Unitarianism has hardly been that and many Liberals would argue progress is all about the evolution (change) of that voice over time. Tomorrow's voice carries more wisdom than yesterday's and change is good. Not sure I buy that, but it's case against the strait jacket of consistency.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Multiple Obama's on Faith Based Programs

The Obama you read, the Obama you hear, and the Obama you see vote: that's the Obama triad.

Obama wrote in the Audacity of Hope he was a blank screen upon which different people projected different views.

Here's Michael Goldfarb showing the media getting tangled with Obama's blank-screen on the same day.
Obama seems to be on both sides of every issue, but it's rare that he's on both sides of an issue on the same day.

Headline number one, from the Associate Press:
"Obama to expand Bush's faith based programs"

Headline number two, from the Politico:
"Obama to scrap Bush faith-based office"
Also UU Rev Tittle: Obama's faith-based initiative won't work I've seen the programs do good things. Notably the homeless housing for Vets with Catholic Charities at St. Leo's in Chicago. But it's a source of political patronage too. I'd vote against my Church accepting Fed Funds probably.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Ethical eating and Eating Disorders

I've learned more than I've ever wanted to know about Eating Disorders the past two years so I hope UUA understands eating is far far from a delight for more people than one would think.

The link copied below,
Ethical eating is next Congregational Study/Action Issue
posted by Jane Greer

Ethical eating was chosen Saturday as the next Congregational Study/Action Issue, defeating nuclear disarmament by a large margin.

The Rev. John Millspaugh, accompanied by members of the youth caucus, gave what may have been the most persuasive argument: "Eating is a delight for everyone, not just activists," Millspaugh said. "UUs love to eat! It will be fun to engage with this!"

Among the arguments in support of the CSAI was the fact that food production and distribution affects farm workers, who face deplorable working conditions; food purchasers may be economically limited in the kinds of food they are able to buy; and food producers face rising costs for transportation and other requirements.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Jean Bethke Elshtain: The Ethics of Fleeing: What America Still Owes Iraq‏

An email to fellow Social Justice Committee members studying the UUA's Peacemaking Statement of Conscience,
She's written a good essay looking at Just War theory including Just post bellum (after the War),

It is altogether a good thing that we have available to us the just war tradition. But taking it seriously means taking all of its parts seriously, not just the parts that comfort the sensibilities of the moment. Jus post bellum, justice in a postwar situation, must now be added to the traditional criteria of jus ad bellum, assessing whether or not there is a cause that justifies the use of armed force and jus in bello, the justifiability of the means deployed in the interest of a just cause.

But read the whole thing. We forget we have folks like her in Chicago.

UU William Perry signs on as Obama advisor

Fromer SecDef and UU William Perry signs on as and advisor to Obama on National Security Affairs.

I've written him for some thoughts on UUA's Peacemaking proposals.

I'm curious on his thoughts about his call for a strike on North Korea back 2006 (If Necessary, Strike and Destroy North Korea Cannot Be Allowed to Test This Missile) given today's developments
North Korea has handed over a long-awaited account of its nuclear programme to China, diplomats said.

The declaration, which is six months overdue, is expected to detail North Korea's plutonium enrichment efforts.

But analysts say it is not expected to mention its alleged and separate uranium enrichment programme or any details of its nuclear arsenal.

The handover is part of international efforts offering Pyongyang diplomatic and economic incentives to disarm.

The US has agreed that if the North Korean declaration is complete, it will take measures to remove the country from its list of states sponsoring terrorism.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Obama's Fatherhood speech: "Fatherhood doesn't end at conception"

We've heard it often in Illinois. He always sets himself up with this one,
"The change we need must come from each and everyone of us . . .," he told the Apostolic Church in Chicago. "We need fathers to recognize that responsibility doesn't end at conception . . . that doesn't just make you a father . . ."
I agree. And I think it through to some conclusions at odds with the Senator's votes down in Springfield.
HT Illinois Review.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The LGBT Record's Obama Watch on Rev Meeks

Obama's third spiritual advisor... the "Virulently Homophobic" Rev (and Illinois State Senator) Meeks.
Another person Obama says he seeks out for spiritual counsel is state Sen. James Meeks, who is also the pastor of Chicago's Salem Baptist Church. The day after Obama won the primary in March, he stopped by Salem for Wednesday-night Bible study.

"I know that he's a person of prayer," Meeks says. "The night after the election, he was the hottest thing going from Galesburg to Rockford. He did all the TV shows, and all the morning news, but his last stop at night was for church. He came by to say thank you, and he came by for prayer."

Obama admits it's not easy for politicians to talk about faith.
It looked like an ordeal for Keith Flannery here with Meeks.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Clinton, McCain, Obama joint statement on Darfur

Over here but reprinted below via Harry's Place.
As we campaign for President of the United States over the next several months, we expect there to be significant focus on the many differences between us. After all, elections are about choices in a free society. We have had a spirited contest so far and fully expect a robust debate about issues foreign and domestic right up to Election Day.

As we engage in this process, we are fully aware that friend and foe around the globe are watching and sometimes reacting based on their own analysis of the latest developments in the campaign.

It is with this awareness that we are taking the uncommon step of issuing a joint statement about an issue.

After more than five years of genocide, the Sudanese government and its proxies continue to commit atrocities against civilians in Darfur. This is unacceptable to the American people and to the world community.

We deplore all violence against the people of Darfur. There can be no doubt that the Sudanese government is chiefly responsible for the violence and is able to end it. We condemn the Sudanese government’s consistent efforts to undermine peace and security, including its repeated attacks against its own people and the multiple barriers it has put up to the swift and effective deployment of the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force. We further condemn the Sudanese government’s refusal to adhere to the terms of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the conflict in southern Sudan.

Today, we wish to make clear to the Sudanese government that on this moral issue of tremendous importance, there is no divide between us. We stand united and demand that the genocide and violence in Darfur be brought to an end and that the CPA be fully implemented. Even as we campaign for the presidency, we will use our standing as Senators to press for the steps needed to ensure that the United States honors, in practice and in deed, its commitment to the cause of peace and protection of Darfur’s innocent citizenry. We will continue to keep a close watch on events in Sudan and speak out for its marginalized peoples. It would be a huge mistake for the Khartoum regime to think that it will benefit by running out the clock on the Bush Administration. If peace and security for the people of Sudan are not in place when one of us is inaugurated as President on January 20, 2009, we pledge that the next Administration will pursue these goals with unstinting resolve.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Aaidh al-Qarni: Sectarianism is Destroying the Islamic Nation

Aaidh al-Qarni, author of Don't Be Sad, writes Sectarianism is Destroying the Islamic Nation in Asharq Al-Awsat today.
We have become preoccupied with our own selves and we are fighting one another. Production, invention, creativity, and manufacture have been disrupted in our lives. Others have sent their scientists to explore outer space and the wonders of this universe. They are inventing, exploring, analyzing, and reaching conclusions. Some have reached Mercury, Mars, and other planets; some have probed oceans' depths; and others have examined the deeper soil depths. Their factories are operating and their lives are a constant work in progress. In the meantime, many of us are either planning or working toward inflicting harm on their Muslim brothers, in light of the absence of the knowledgeable and the well advised. As a result, the caravan is being led by inexperienced young men with ill dreams, who would issue the fatwas of destruction and killing as if they were issuing a fatwa on obligatory charity in Ramadan, using a tooth-cleanser, and other minor issues.

Is it not time for the rational from each sect to make things right, stand as one to rectify the nation's situation, take the initiative, and save the people and the country from the inflaming sedition and the sweeping deluge?
If only the rational from each sect could expand the caravan to include all human kind.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Evelyn Pringle on Obama's Iraq connections

Just excellent stuff on Obama's connections to Alsammarae and corruption in Iraq reconstruction. Thankyou Evelyn and B Merry over at Rezko Watch.

Also part two on operations board games. The Illinois Combine's* long arm reaching out for Obama.

* Kass turned to former Illinois U.S. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald for wisdom:

"What do you call that Illinois political class that's not committed to any party, they simply want to make money off the taxpayers?" Fitzgerald said. "You know what to call them."


"The Illinois Combine," Fitzgerald said. "The bipartisan Illinois political combine. And all these guys being mentioned, they're part of it."

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ban on sex for soldiers in Afghanistan is lifted ... sort of

From Stars and Stripes...
General Order No. 1 outlines a number of prohibited activities and standards of conduct for U.S. troops and civilians working for the military in Afghanistan. Previously, under the regulation, sexual relations and "intimate behavior" between men and women not married to each other were a strict no-no. The regulation also barred members of the opposite sex from going into each other’s living quarters unless they were married to each other.

But the latest version of General Order No. 1 for Afghanistan, which Schloesser signed April 19, eases those restrictions.

The new regulation warns that sex in a combat zone "can have an adverse impact on unit cohesion, morale, good order and discipline."

But sexual relations and physical intimacy between men and women not married to each other are no longer banned outright. They’re only "highly discouraged," and that’s as long as they’re "not otherwise prohibited" by the Uniform Code of Military Justice, according to the new order.
One problem of having so few Americans serve, is few Americans understand the UCMJ and how regulated your life is in the military. Note this applies to contractors too...

I didn't have a problem with it either. My combat-stress refresher, offered when things started getting hot in the IZ, was what you do in Baghdad comes home with you from Baghdad; so don't sleep with your battle buddy to relieve stress. It will just make your life more complicated.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sistani to Hayder Al-Khoi: Politics is no good, politics killed your father and it is going to kill you

Hayder Al-Khoei writes Sistani Becomes Militant after the flurry of Fatwas.
Sistani constantly dodges in and out of politics (somewhat reluctantly) because he feels forced to act in the best interest of Iraq (e.g calls for elections). Sistani absolutely loathes politics, in London, when he asked me what I plan on studying I said "Politics", he shock his head in dismay and said "Politics is no good, politics killed your father and it is going to kill you".
...but read the whole link.

Previous post: Gateway Pundit: Busted!!... Iraqi Press Denies AP Report On Ayatollah Sistani

Update: Is Sistani Promoting Attacks on Coalition Forces? by Bill Roggio and ditto on this: With special thanks to IraqSlogger's Eason Jordan for making the full article viewable to non-subscribers.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Day Trip to Sadr City

A great post by Bill working as an embed in Sadr City.

He must have been headed into Iraq the same day I was leaving because he has a photo of the welcome desk for the 4th World Islamic Economic Summit at the Kuwait aiport.

The white shirts really struck me after all the sandstorms getting from Baghdad to Kuwait.

I didn't take a pic but ended up just taking one of the ad for Nathan's Hot Dogs not too far from where these folks had their desk set up.

Also, must read Bill Roggio: Sadrist bloc buckles, agrees to let Iraqi Army in Sadr City

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Women’s rights as stated in the Koran: Maryam Namazie v Benazir Bhutto

AAFAQ pits Namazie v Bhutto on Islam and Women's rights. Namazie threw this rock,
These 'Islamic feminist' interpretations are an insult to our intellect and cannot be taken seriously. These are mere justifications for people who want to legitimize their beliefs and religion or reactionary states and movements with a vested interest in maintaining Islamic rules and laws. They apologize because even they don't want to associate with the outrages committed by Islam throughout the world. Nothing can hide the fact that Islam, like other religions, is anti-woman and antithetical to women's rights and autonomy.
I don't think that's going to sell. It's going to take practical work like this in the middle east.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Stuck at BIAP in a sand storm

Troops walking to chow hall at Baghdad International Airport (BIAP). We were stuck there for two days waiting out a sand storm. A Danish officer snoozing. His colleague suggested I label the photo "a homeless person at BIAP".

The Fighting Catfish - Operation Iraqi Freedom:

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Even though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death...

Decorated T-wall at exit from Union III, International Zone, Baghdad.

Murals: Saddam's Palace

Scuds launched towards Jerusalem. Saddam would sit in front of this mural and receive guests. It's now used by the Special IG for Iraq Reconstruction.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Simon and Annie Baar Home 1882-1918 1611 N. Honore Street, Chicago, Il.

Busy times ahead so no more blogging for a while...

...take care all of you.

PS A picture of the house where my great great grandparents lived. They sold straw kept in the barn in back.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Zorn: Obama's Rezkopportunity knocks

Zorn's post that should be nailed to the door at Obama's campaign office.
I didn’t expect Barack Obama to interrupt his Super Tuesday campaigning last week and heed the suggestion in my column that he answer in detail the questions that keep coming up about his entanglements with Tony Rezko, the fundraiser who’s now facing trial on federal corruption charges.

He was very busy and had to stay on message. I get that. But with only nine primaries the whole rest of the month, he now has the chance—a Rezkopportunity if you will—to grant a sit-down interview to Tribune investigative reporters Ray Gibson and David Jackson and try to make this story go away before it inevitably burbles up again at a less convenient time.
I belonged to my college listserv about this time in 2004 and remember the disappointed Dean supporters reconciling themselves to Kerry with the consolation Kerry's war record would make him such a winner compared to Bush.

We had all been anti-War in College and my response was go back and look at the Winter Soldier hearings, and Kerry's testimony before congress. I remembered it all vividly. It was one of the most painful times in our history and it was not going to do Kerry any favors played back in the campaign.

No one agreed with me.

I have the same feeling now with Obama and the issues around Rezko. Zorn's giving the strategy to get ahead of it all. Let's see if Obama takes the advice.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Response to PG on Rezko and Obama

PG wrote this below in response to a post over at Chaliceblog.

I am not sure you've thought through the political ramifications of how you expect this great downfall of Obama to go. I am sure like any other sleaze, Rezko will talk to avoid prison, but what do you think he's going to say about Obama? Do you think he's going to claim that Obama helped Rezko get contracts while Obama was a state senator? Fitzgerald is prosecuting Rezko for specific crimes -- this ain't Ken Starr using any angle he can find to get Clinton. Fitz doesn't have a partisan vendetta against Obama, so far as I know. Why do you think his prosecution of Rezko will show wrongdoing by Obama?

PG, You don't need criminal wrong doing for a political downfall.

First off, please download the proffer and read it. Dan Curry wrote this about it,

The proffer is devastating to the Governor and his cronies because it is backed by many recorded phone conversations and public records and certainly is buttressed by revealed and unrevealed informants. Even if Kelly and Rezko don’t flip on Blagojevich, there appears to be plenty of others who already have or will fill in the blanks on this scheme.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s track record on corruption prosecutions in Illinois is nearly spotless. This document, if read carefully, leads to the inescapable conclusion that Blagojevich, Kelly and a handful of other Illinois insiders will ultimately be indicted. It also portends, in the short-term, the indictment of Blagojevich’s campaign fund, which has been receptacle of much of the corruption.
We're going to hear blunt recordings from man who was Obama's mentor for over 17 years with guys who called themselves "The Pope" (Bob Cellini) and "The Rabbi" (Stuart Levin). They're going to sound like players out of the Sopranos raising money for Obama: the unamed Political Candidate in the proffer. (A connection leaked to the Sun Times by maybe Levine or Rezko themselves? I doubt Fitz's office did that.)

All it takes is for Oama's name to pop up a few more times in these documents and recordings and I think Obama will be finished politically. Won't matter if Obama knew about the wrongdoing or not.

Add in the Iraq reconstruction connection when Rezko goes on trial for that, and I think it will be a very damaging picture of Obama's character and judgement. He won't survive Illinois politics and Patrick Fitzgerald.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Peter Hitchens: The Black Kennedy: But does anyone know the real Barack Obama?

Hitchen's gets a pretty good idea in the Daily Mail,
Now, Obama has the devil's luck, which among other things means he has a boyish smile that disarms suspicion or hostility at 50 paces.

But he is no child, and no innocent. Despite a childhood in Hawaii and Indonesia, Obama knows Chicago well - and from underneath, too.

He threw over a good corporate job in New York to toil in the dismal South Side as a "community organiser", getting up campaigns about asbestos in council flats but also getting to know this place's grimy, snaggled web of power - churches, property developers, professional politicians, fixers and money men.

He also revealed that he was the sort of person who goes into a revolving door behind you and then comes out of it in front of you. And, of course, he is a lawyer who knows the rules all too well.

As one veteran of Chicago politics who very much did not want to be named said to me: "Thank God for Louisiana - their politics are even dirtier than ours."

He clearly remembered Obama's first steps on his political career. This involved merciless cunning.

Somehow, all of Obama's challengers made a mess of their nomination papers. They were all disqualified. Only Obama's papers, miraculously, were perfect. So he won the Democratic nomination, which in this part of the world means he won the seat.

The insider recalled: "I thought he was a very talented young man. He was smart, he was willing, he was principled and he worked hard.

"He went to Springfield [the Illinois state capital] and did not become part of the more tawdry aspects of the culture down there - alcohol and women.

But Obama quickly got another reputation. "He was always in the bathroom for the really tough votes. It was not courageous."

The source explained this simply. Barack Obama knew even then that he could one day live in the White House.

"I think he understood long ago that the future was limitless for him. He made decisions in his very early political life that would enable him to be a candidate who would have very broad appeal."

These not-very-helpful remarks come from a black member of Obama's own party. What about his opponents?
And this stuff will come back to haunt Obama November,
It [Rezko's friendship] suggests very bad judgment, as do strong, persistent suggestions that Obama also accepted quite small contributions from extreme Left-wing veterans of the terrorist Weather Underground now living in Chicago.

His list of contributions shows one for $200 from a certain William Ayers. Can this possibly be the same William Ayers, now a Chicago professor, who used to plant bombs in the Seventies and has said: "I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough"? His partner, Bernardine Dohrn, once "declared war" on the US government.
Just waiting for the Ayers Dorhn Obama photos to come out of the woodwork. Hopefully Obama had the good sense to cover his face Chicago style when the cameras came out for those.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Comrade Gaynor, Rev. Edwin T. Bueher, and the GA kerffule

Kerfuffle right description for the debate over the GA and Ft Lauderdale. It pales compared against prior struggles.

The Peoples Weekly World's obit from few years ago for a Comrade we mocked over at third UU in the late 60s early 70s as a Stalinist fossil.

But Third Unitarian's Rev Bueher put his Church on the line behind Comrade Gaynor over integration. That took courage, and threat of violence wasn't from the Gov, but their neighbors.

There were real consequences to taking a stand then. That's missing from this Kerfuffle.
At the beginning of World War II, Gaynor found work at the Chicago Dodge plant making parts for the B-29 bomber. There he met another party activist, Sam Gold, with whom he had many discussions about the Communist Party’s views and its role in fighting Hitler fascism. He subsequently joined the party and remained a member to the end of his life.

In the early 1940s he met Anne, his loving and supportive wife, of whom he said, “I chased until she caught me.” They married in 1947. Shortly afterwards they took real estate courses at Wright College and began their own business in the then white South Lawndale community. The discrimination in housing became personal when they were denied renting an apartment because they were Jewish.

They became more active in fighting discrimination and racism. They also joined and were active with the NAACP, the Greater Lawndale Conservation Commission, the USA-USSR Friendship Council, Freedom of Residents, the Progressive Party, Chicago Peace Council, ACLU, Anti-Defamation League and the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.

In the late 1950s, the Gaynors owned and lived in a three-family unit in the predominantly white Garfield Park neighborhood. They rented one unit to a newly wed Black couple, both city workers. The community’s reaction was immediate.

The next day over 2,000 white bigots demonstrated outside. Gunfire shattered windows, and the building’s back porch was set afire. Police had to restore order, but the Gaynors and their tenants were under siege for nearly a year. They received hundreds of pieces of hate mail. But they persevered with support from many organizations and progressives, among them the Rev. Edwin T. Bueher of the Third Unitarian Church.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Hitchens on Obama and Creationism

Hitchens unloads on Obama and his Church,
Trinity United sells creationist books and its home page includes a graphic link to a thing called Goodsearch—the name is surmounted with a halo in its logo—which announces cheerily that "Every time you search or shop online!
...let's see if UU's unload on Obama as one did on Paul in the comments to this post,
...concerns over a future President Ron Paul enacting polies that promote abstinence-only sexuality education or intelligent design education in our schools.