Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Joel Kotkin: The Death Of Gentry Liberalism

For UU's occupied with class analysis.

Whether UU practice and theology thoroughly hitched to some of Kotkin's pillars of Gentry Liberalism listed below, I can't say. (I'm always surprised. Last week another congregant came out of the Political Conservative's closet to me and advised many not as Liberal as you'd think if you get behind what they say.)
Gentry liberalism, so hot just a year ago, is now in full retreat, a victim of its hypocrisy and fundamental contradictions. Its collapse threatens the coherence of President Barack Obama's message as he prepares for his State of the Union speech on Wednesday.

Gentry liberalism combines four basic elements: faith in postindustrial "creative" financial capitalism, cultural liberalism, Gore-ite environmentalism and the backing of the nation's arguably best-organized political force, public employee unions. Obama rose to power on the back of all these forces and, until now, has governed as their tribune.
...but to the extent we've latched to these ideas and swallowed their contradictions --as Kotkin goes on to explain-- we'll face the same crisis.

No outreach in San Antonio or embrace of immigration issues will save us from the crash.

The wheels will be coming off our own bus and we can't --gentry like-- have the new Americans change our tires on a worn out bus of Social Democracy, dressed as faith, without any grasp of the working people's aspirations.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Nick Cohen: Obama is the most reactionary president since Nixon

....the weakness of Jimmy Carter with the morals of Richard Nixon... is what Cohen found during Obama's first year.
A Democrat president does not lose Massachusetts without so dispiriting liberals they can longer be bothered to turn out for him. Inattentive foreigners have been slow to spot the demoralization because their relief at Obama's inauguration has stopped them realizing that his failure to tackle unemployment and his unconscionable delay in punishing the bankers have induced despair among his natural supporters. As has the vacuity of his foreign policy.

I accept that readers may find this a hard sentence to swallow, but when it comes to promoting democracy, the emancipation of women and the liberation of the oppressed, Barack Obama has been the most reactionary American president since Richard Nixon.
gonna be a long three years...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Casanova of Causes

I watched Scammell on C-Span last week talk about his book: The Casanova of Causes How Arthur Koestler embodied the 20th century. Another entry for the Shelfari list.

Mark G. Toulouse: The ‘Unnecessary Necessity’: The Century in World War II

A nice brief history of the Christian Century's writings during WW2 by Mark Toulouse. He concludes,
In the months immediately following Pearl Harbor. Morrison offered theological reflections on the meaning of the war. He used the category of "tragedy" to communicate that human beings often find themselves involved in situations "from which there is no escape save by doing monstrous evil." "It is not the suffering," he wrote, "but the moral predicament of the sufferer that constitutes the tragedy" (Jan. 7, 1942).

Building upon his theological conviction that "God is the Lord of history" Morrison sought a way to describe God as active in the midst of the tragedy of war. Christians could not be true to this theological affirmation if they pushed God into the transcendent realm where this war was none of his business. Neither could they be true to a Christian understanding of God if they claimed that divine allegiance rested solely with the Allied war efforts. Instead, Morrison offered the theological insight that this war represented the active judgment of God in history. Every nation has been called before the judgment seat of God to receive the verdict: "Guilty." "God does not command us to fight; he condemns us to fight." In the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, Morrison described the war as Cod’s judgment upon the human inability to represent the will of God within the world (Jan. 14, 1942).

The Christian knows no way to respond to a divine judgment save the way of repentance, because God’s judgment is always the divine side of an event in human experience of which man’s sin is the human side. The Christian cannot escape the judgment; he can only accept it, suffer it, endure it and, as a Christian, penitently face the guilt of it and implore the grace and forgiveness of God (May 6, 1942).

Prior to 1941, the Century represented, in many ways, a naïve approach to the threat posed by Hitler and an underestimation of the ways that totalitarianism threatened not just the old imperialistic and colonial habits, but the quality of human life itself throughout Europe and Asia. Where Niebuhr worried about the total triumph of tyranny abroad if America failed to act, Morrison feared the disintegration of American values here at home, and the promise they held for the world, if America did act. Though Niebuhr and Morrison differed on these and other points, they both sought the voice of God, and occasionally heard it, in the midst of a world consumed by war. This transcendent perspective served to remind them and others of the ever-present gap between God’s will and human action, especially in the context of war. Through their writings, they helped leaders within the church avoid the kinds of self-righteous justifications that had dominated Christian response to World War 1.
American values did not disintegrate after WW2. They emerged with new vigor. Witness the desegration of the Army in 1948 and the subsquent civil rights movement. The decent into Fascism Morrison feared never happened.

I just picked up a copy of Morrison's 1942 The Christian and the War and will try and post on each chapter as I read it.

What Senator Paul Douglas learned

Unitarian and Illinois Senator Paul Douglas speaking in 1966 at the Amherst commencement. From LIFE Magazine.
That what is most needed in the world is love -or energized good will- which, if given a chance and practiced with devotion, can in most cases melt antagonisms within a democratic society and reconcile opposites.

That truth has at once a compulsive and healing power. We should not be afraid of truth, for if recognized and acted upon it is the rock upon which we can base our individual and collective lives.

That in its larger aspects truth is not simple but subtle. Frequently, it requires a long process of discovery both by the probings of research and the sifting induced by dialogue.

That in dealing with the winds of doctrine, in the words of Jefferson, "We should not be afraid to tolerate error as long as reason be left free to combat it.

That when aggression stalks either a community or the world, resistance to it is both necessary and noble, least it become all-pervasive. And it is well that it should be checked in its early days before it can acquire the cumulative momentum of success.

That human courage in defense of an ideal is an ultimate virtue which we should not permit the pressures of conformity to diminish. The nation which minimizes courage is on the road to destruction.

That the Athenians did well to make the owl and the olive tree their symbols to denote wisdom and peace. But freedom tempered with love is the only atmosphere in which true wisdom and peace can flourish. And to preserve and maintain all these virtues, a strong admixture of Spartan courage is needed. Thermopylae was necessary that Socrates might practice his dialectic.

A Bomb In Every Issue: How the Short Unruly Life of Ramparts Magazine Changed America.

From Ron Radosh's review in PJ Media. I remember Ramparts well althought I was one of those fellows pushing stodgy rags like the Industrial Worker and The Militant.

Do any of PJM’s readers recall or know about Ramparts Magazine? A writer for @Issue, an Online Magazine of Business and Design, writes that “today Ramparts is little known, except by those over 55 and serious magazine history buffs, but in its day it rocked the editorial world with its explosive investigative reporting, entertaining style and sophisticated design. More than a fringe periodical put out by young radicals, it was a political force to be reckoned with and a launchpad for some of the top journalists working today.” Well said, but why the sudden attention and the sudden new hype?

The reason is the recent publication of a book by Peter Richardson, A Bomb In Every Issue: How the Short Unruly Life of Ramparts Magazine Changed America. The title alone gives the magazine perhaps more clout than it really had. Despite the new attention paid to it, and the reviewer in The New York Times Book Review arguing that it was “a slick, muckraking magazine that was the most freewheeling thing on most American newsstands during the second half of the 1960s ,” the book does not appear to be on any best seller lists, it is not easily found in bookstores, and its number is quite high on Amazon, which indicates it probably is not selling that well.

A book I'll add to my backlog on Shelfari.

The Dawn: Al Qaeda could provoke new India-Pakistan war: Gates

Gates in The Dawn on the very grave risks in SW Asia,
“It's important to recognize the magnitude of the threat that the entire region faces,” he said following talks with his Indian counterpart, A.K. Antony.

Gates cited three main groups operating under Al-Qaeda's “umbrella,” the Taliban forces fighting in Afghanistan, Taliban elements targeting Pakistan's government and the Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in Pakistan focused on India.

Although he praised India for exercising restraint after the 2008 Mumbai attacks - which Delhi blamed on LeT - Gates suggested India could not be expected to remain restrained if it was attacked again.
Not communal violence in Iraq, but violence between two nuclear powers.

Responsibility to protect: An idea whose time has come—and gone?

From The Economist over at the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect. Includes this good brief history of R2P,
One of the first international bodies to endorse the concept, or a version of it, was the African Union, which emerged from the discredited Organisation of African Unity. The AU’s Constitutive Act included a provision for “the right of the Union to intervene in a member state pursuant to a decision of the assembly in respect of grave circumstances, namely: war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.” It cited a new principle of “non-indifference” to large-scale crimes.

One of R2P’s keenest sponsors was Kofi Annan, the Ghanaian who preceded Mr Ban as secretary-general. Mr Annan has agonised in public about the UN’s failure in Rwanda, when he was head of un peacekeeping, and has argued that his success as a peace-broker in Kenya last year owed something to the existence of R2P as a moral instrument.

Meanwhile, America, far from dreaming up R2P as a crafty way of justifying imperialist adventures, was initially rather sceptical. Under the Bush administration, both the Pentagon and the State Department were intensely wary of signing up to anything that might bind them to take draconian action in the name of humanity.

Indeed, R2P was a part of a much broader 2005 reform of the United Nations that George Bush first sought to weaken, then only reluctantly accepted. And to this day, there are voices on America’s political right that remain profoundly sceptical about the idea of costly pledges to wage wars in the name of protecting people from inhumanity.

Barack Obama’s administration, with its internationalist instincts, is clearly a lot more comfortable with notions like R2P. The President, during the Group of Eight summit in Italy in July, made some supportive noises; and his UN ambassador, Susan Rice, made a more impassioned speech in defence of R2P last month, soon after visiting Rwanda.

PJ Media: Gay voter remorse as McCains step up where Obama fails

PJ Media on Cindy McCain's support of the NO H8 Campaign.
Shortly before the 2008 election I asked a gay friend which candidate he supported. When he replied “Obama,” I asked why, and my friend said that he was a single-issue voter (the single issue being gay marriage) and Obama was obviously going to legalize gay marriage nationwide, whereas McCain was a stodgy old conservative and therefore self-evidently an enemy of gay rights. I pointed out that Obama was all over the map and had made conflicting statements about his attitudes toward gay marriage, telling gay groups that one day same-sex marriage will be seen as normal, while on the other hand giving an interview for a mainstream paper in which he said, “Marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.”

My friend instantly dismissed Obama’s anti-gay-marriage statements: “That’s just something he’s gotta say to appeal to Middle America. Once he’s in office, you’ll see!”
See now indeed because so many blind to the obvious then.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Anatole Browde: Faith Under Siege: A History of Unitarian Theology

So how has the UU blogsphere failed comment on a book like this: Faith Under Siege: A History of Unitarian Theology
Unknown to most Americans, Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams and Benjamin Franklin were Unitarians. Today their beliefs have been called heretic or Christian, godless or liberal, argumentative or religious, or all of the above. Anatole Browde, an active Unitarian since 1949, uses history and theology to place these conflicting qualities into a unified liberal Judeo-Christian context. Browde is convinced that faith is besieged because Unitarian church goers have diverse belief systems. The power of the original Unitarian idea that God is one is too close to a creed and is therefore often devalued. Using sermons and essays by ministers and philosophers, Browde shows how Unitarianism beliefs dating from the sixteenth century overcame the restrictions of Calvinist predestination and sin, to become a worldwide free religion. Unitarians are free to believe in God, be humanists, have faith in an unknown, or in Christ as a prophet. His narrative provides an insight to the controversies that plagued believers throughout Unitarian history and demonstrates that the concepts of God and faith can make every service a celebration of joy and love.
and then this by Reverend David Usher,
I recommend Faith Under Siege, less as a history and more as a contemporary call to arms for Unitarian faithfulness… Browde is impatient and dissatisfied with the smug stasis of Unitarianism and wants us to grasp boldly our inheritance of faith. Is it a challenge we are willing to accept?
Heck, I'm not certain any UU's even up to reading the book much less accept any challenges.

I'll try. I'll hunt down a copy.

So more to come... the rock thrower in me can't resist anyone calling out smug stasis where ever it be.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sen Levin to Prez Gilani: quit whining on drone attacks you support

Times of India: Pak whining on attacks draws rebuke from US H/T Long War Journal
In a public rebuke to the Pakistani leadership on Thursday, a leading US lawmaker, supported by the Obama administration, told reporters after a visit to the region that he was ''very unhappy'' with the vocal criticism of the drone strikes from top officials in Islamabad when in private they "not only understand and acquiesce but in many cases support the drone attacks."

Washington, US Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin, told reporters in a conference call, would prefer "a silence on their part rather than a public attack on us that creates real problems for us in terms of the Pakistani public and helps create some real animosity" against the United States.

"I just think it's wrong for them, I've told them that to their face," said Levin, who met in Pakistan with Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Pakistan's army chief of staff Ashfaq Kayani.

Iran court upholds death by stoning verdict for two Azeris

via Street Journalists,
A court in Iran’s West Azarbaijan Province has upheld the sentence of death by stoning for two Azeri Iranians, the Human Rights Activists News Agency reported on Friday.

The two defendants, identified as Sarimeh Ebadi, 30, and Booali Janfeshani, 32, were convicted of adultery, the report said.

Both are said to be currently behind bars in the northwestern city of Orumieyh.

Obama Care and Marriage Equality

From the Wash Times Editorial on Obamacare's marriage penalty... so much for marriage,
The first sort of marriage penalties affects low- and middle-income couples who would get their insurance without employer assistance but with government subsidies. The penalties accrue through the "caps" on premiums. In the House plan, an unmarried couple living together with each earning $25,000 would pay no more than $3,076 in combined premiums each year. If the same couple got married, their annual cap would skyrocket to $5,160 - a 68 percent punishment just for saying "I do." (The penalty in the Senate bill is slightly lower, at 48 percent.)

What is even worse is that the subsidies are suddenly and completely cut off once somebody reaches 400 percent of the official poverty-level income ($63,360 in 2016). The arithmetic is complicated, but what it means is that two unmarried persons earning $32,000 each ($64,000 total) would pay a maximum combined $5,684 in premiums, but if they got married, they would pay about $15,000. That is an astonishing penalty of 164 percent. It is almost impossible to imagine a policy that could be any more anti-family than that.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti Post

This looks like a colossal disaster. I'll keep this post up for a while. I'm home with a bad cold today and watching the news. Looks like half the homes in Port-Au-Prince, a city of two million, destroyed. Every hospital in the city destroyed. This is going to be beyond comprehension.

First... Scam text donation sites. Places not to donate through.

Doctors without Borders: Haiti: MSF Teams Set up Clinics to Treat Injured After Facilities Are Damaged
The first reports are now emerging from Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams who were already working on medical projects Haiti. They are treating hundreds of people injured in the quake and have been setting up clinics in tents to replace their own damaged medical facilities.
SecState Remarks on The Situation in Haiti
QUESTION: How does the Embassy Warden system – are you getting any reports on how that worked, and do you have any preliminary sense within the State Department on what kind of casualties you’re looking at down there?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the warden system is working, given the communications challenges. We’ve had a number of not only Americans, but Haitians show up at our Embassy seeking help. We’ve exhausted the supply of medical supplies that we had at the Embassy. The outreach is ongoing to try to account for all Americans that we can possibly reach. Our Ambassador has been trapped in his own home. The Chargé has done a very good job communicating, because we could get through to him.

But finally, the Ambassador received a call from President Preval saying that he was alive but unable to communicate with his own cabinet. So our focus on American lives and injuries is paramount, but we are also trying to get positioned to be in the lead on helping the Haitians along with our international partners.
SOUTHCOM Press Conf.
The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is headed toward earthquake-devastated Haiti and is scheduled to arrive tomorrow to provide airlift support for the disaster-response mission, the commander of U.S. Southern Command reported today.

Haiti: 500,000 could be dead

This is staggering,
President Rene Preval said he believes thousands were killed in Tuesday afternoon's magnitude-7.0 quake, and the scope of the destruction prompted other officials to give even higher estimates. Leading Sen. Youri Latortue told The Associated Press that 500,000 could be dead, although he acknowledged that nobody really knows.

"Parliament has collapsed. The tax office has collapsed. Schools have collapsed. Hospitals have collapsed," Preval told the Miami Herald. "There are a lot of schools that have a lot of dead people in them."

Even the main prison in the capital fell down, "and there are reports of escaped inmates," U.N. humanitarian spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said in Geneva.

The head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission was missing and the Roman Catholic archbishop of Port-au-Prince was dead.

"The cathedral, the archbishop's office, all the big churches, the seminaries have been reduced to rubble," Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the apostolic envoy to Haiti, told the Vatican news agency FIDES.

Yalla Salam/Yalla Peace

Ray Hannia is a fixture in Chicago's Arab-American community, and Chicago media. He's also a stand-up comic teaming with Chicago's Aaron Freeman. He's running for President of Palastine. His website is here.

Ray has a great column in the Jerusalem Post: Pro-Hamas media bias and Gaza activists block peace and he writes me,
I need you to support both www.YallaPeace.com and also my satire response page http://kabobfestcharred.blogspot.com which challenges the extremist attacks against me for advocating peace by the horde of authors at www.KabobFest.com

thank you again for supporting me ... it's not easy for any of us. The issues are complex and one word incites other words of anger and hatred. We need to redefine the conflict as between extremists versus moderates, rather than Israelis and Palestinians
Good luck Ray... Salam, Shalom.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Khudai Khidmatgars, “Servants of God,”

A nice brief history of them,
This year marks the 75th anniversary of an unprecedented yet almost entirely unknown event in the history of nonviolent resistance. In the main square of the city of Peshawar, in modern day Pakistan, several hundred nonviolent Pashtun resisters were shot and killed by British-led troops as they peacefully protested the arrest of their leader, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, known as Badshah Khan to his followers, and later known in India as “the Frontier Gandhi.”

That they were gathered peacefully in the first place, unarmed, is astonishing in itself since these were Muslim Pashtun from the Northwest Frontier Province of India, members of one of the most violent tribal societies in the world. Khan had persuaded them to lay down their guns and knives and become members of his nonviolent army, the Khudai Khidmatgars, “Servants of God,” and join Gandhi’s civil disobedience movement against British rule.

And a trailer to the film,

Taliban execute Swat tribal leader

Bill Roggio wrote last summer on the Taliban's execution of Swat tribal leader Pir Samiullah,
A video of the aftermath of the brutal murder and public display of tribal leaders who dared to stand up to the Taliban in Swat last year has emerged.

The video, which was recently obtained by The Long War Journal, shows Swat tribal leader Pir Samiullah and two of his senior lieutenants after they were slaughtered by the Taliban in December 2008. The video was taken with a cell phone by a witness to the bloody event.

Samiullah is seen with a green headband; his body is leaned up against a wall. The bodies of his two senior most lieutenants were beheaded and hanged upside down from a pole.

Pir Samiullah after he was murdered in December 2008.

Pir Samiullah was a rival tribal and religious leader in the Matta region who rose up against Swat Taliban leader Mullah Fazlullah and Ibn Amim, the military commander of al Qaeda's Shadow Army in the Swat region.

According to sources in Pakistan, Samiullah incurred the wrath of Fazlullah not only for opposing Taliban rule, but Samiullah also challenged Fazlullah to a test of religious faith. Fazlullah declined the challenge and Samiullah taunted him.

Samiullah, his two senior lieutenants, and eight of his followers were killed during a Taliban assault on Dec. 16.

But displaying Samiullah and his aides' mutilated bodies was not enough. The Taliban returned to Samiullah's village, dug up his body, and hanged it in public.

Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2009/07/video_taliban_execut.php#ixzz0cRoUpIuG
Roggio's link is gone from YouTube but I find a link to the video here.

This is what the Taliban did when they took over the Swat as part of a deal with Pakistan. It's what the Taliban will do again where ever they are victorious. There is simply no equivalence to threat Muslims face from the Taliban and AQ, and what ever religous conflicts we face domestically. It's cruel to belittle the struggle facing Liberal/Moderate Islam to suggest any moral equivalency.

Robert A. Levy : The Moral and Constitutional Case for a Right to Gay Marriage

Cato Institute's Levy makes a logical, reasoned, and principled case for case for same sex marriage without resort to slogans or creating a love divide.
For most of Western history, marriage was a matter of private contract between the betrothed parties and perhaps their families. Following that tradition, marriage today should be a private arrangement, requiring minimal or no state intervention. Some religious or secular institutions would recognize gay marriages; others would not; still others would call them domestic partnerships or assign another label. Join whichever group you wish. The rights and responsibilities of partners would be governed by personally tailored contracts — consensual bargains like those that control most other interactions in a free society.
I commented once on Philocrates we UUs ought to be taking out ads in Conservative Journals like the Weekly Standard. That got no traction. It's a huge mistake. They often argue the Liberal-Libertarian case far better than any UU could.

Unitarian Universalist bloggers and judgemet

A comment Rev H told me to expand on. Some day... gotta run. All of the googling on Universalism past in Chicago though got me thinking how different today is from yesterday. If we talk about UUism in the future, will it look or sound anything like what we say (and judge today)? Here for the post, here for my comment, and here for Dan. If you care to follow this hasty but ongoing thought.
I’ve been reading Casara’s Universalism. The sermons and writings selected often the exceptions rather than the norms of Universalism as it existed at points in time.

How would “judgement” in those past moments have filted out some of these guys?

My threshold for a “good” UU blogger is are they concerned with the Church. Do they blog something (which could be something besides writing…in fact more video and audio would be a very good thing) that builds and expands the Church.

My threshold for a “good” UU service is did I leave Church feeling better (not in a narrow sense but better for having attended), and maybe did I take away something useful for living my life.

I’d put a similar threshold on UU blogging. A tool publishing thought “in the moment” is poorly equipped to sort out “judgements” grounded in UUism.

We’ll see those judgements emerge over time, but the UUism that reflects on those judgements will also have emerged over time too.

UU judgement tomorrow may not look very much like UUism today.

Letter from the Progressive American-Iranian Committee on Trita Parsi

via their site H/T Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi
Dear Fellow Iranians:
Jan 12th, 2010

The multitude of events and unrest over the last 6 months in Iran have clearly demonstrated the fact that the people of Iran uncompromisingly and bravely are determined to put an end to 31 years of dark and despicable clergy rule in their country.

In the meantime, some western political circles and their Iranian associates have been hard at work with endeavors to defuse the situation in Iran with an aim to redeem the Islamic regime of Iran by siding with one of the rival factions involved in the fraudulent June presidential elections.

“National Iranian-American Council” (NIAC) and its founder Trita Parsi is amongst such circles whose activities have taken new heights within the last 6 months or so.

The activities of Trita Parsi and his allies can be traced back to the last 12 years during which he founded a sophisticated web of lobbying exertion amongst the American politicians in order to dampen the US pressure over the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Lately, disguised as a “Human Rights advocate” and the “Voice of Iranians” in the US, he has been gathering momentum with the help of his American colleagues to hamper the US punitive policies against the Islamic Republic.

The US Congress and the White House corridors have become the focus of activities of those who like NIAC promote engaging with the rulers of Iran and have been pushing the US toward accepting Iran’s superiority in the Middle East. This is while the Iranian people, both in Iran and abroad, have been struggling to rid themselves from the tyranny of the Islamic regime and expect the international community to back Iranian peoples’ efforts by withdrawing their support from the rulers of the Islamic Republic.

Towards the end of 2009, some NIAC internal documents and Trita Parsi’s correspondence with certain contacts in Iran were made public through a Washington court of law which substantiated many claims of his role as a lobbyist of the Islamic Republic in the US. These documents hit the “Washington Times” headlines in the article “Iran advocacy group said to skirt lobby rules“.

Consequently, Arizona Senator for the Republicans John Kyl, launched an inquiry into the activities of “NIAC” addressed to the US Attorney General Mr. Eric Holder.

Two months have elapsed since Senator Kyl’s initiative, but to no avail. Instead, NIAC has been condoned by friends of the Islamic Republic in the US. Even “VOA” and “Radio Farda” which are financed by the US Congress have been promoting Trita Parsi and his agenda, and refrain from reflecting the voice and views of Islamic Republic’s opposition groups or individuals.

Dear compatriots,

We urge you to write to Senator Kyl and show your appreciation of his courageous initiative to pursue his inquiry into NIAC and Trita Parsi’s activities within the US.

We must do everything in our power to voice the demands of Iranian people of president Obama to make his choice; “Obama, either with them or with us”, people are chanting on the streets of Iran!

To make your task easier, we have provided a template to be used to address Senator Kyl. You may either post or fax your letter using this template.

Alternatively, you can e-mail us with your details which we would then collect and forward on your behalf.

Progressive American-Iranian Committee (PAIC)


Sentaor Kyl’s phone and Fax:

Phone: (202) 224-4521
Fax: (202) 224-2207



A sample letter:

The Honorable Senator Jon Kyl

730 Hart Senate Building

Washington DC, 20510

Dear Senator Kyl,

I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your insistence that the Justice Department conduct an investigation into the nature and extent of NIAC’s activities in the U.S.

The views held by this organization and its activities closely match the interests of the Iranian regime. Furthermore, there is ample, credible evidence pointing to possible coordination between NIAC leadership and the Iranian regime, which justifies an extensive investigation into this matter.

I request that you continue to pursue this matter with the Justice Department and inform the American people of the investigation’s results.


Sender’s signature

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tim Kaine's defense of Harry Reid

Kaine said,
Democrats on Sunday defended Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for his private remarks during the 2008 campaign describing then-Sen. Barack Obama as "light skinned" and "with no Negro dialect."

"I think if you look at the reports as I have, it was all in the context of saying positive things about Senator Obama," said Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine. "It definitely was in the context of recognizing in Senator Obama a great candidate and future president."
The apology's due Americans who don't look or sound quite like President Obama for Reid's racism slashes those less light, less adept at some elite's dialect, most.

Nevadans will toss Reid come next election, but for the honor of the Senate, and in deference to American troops at war, he ought leave now.

Sinkford, Sinkford -- either with us, or with them!

via WSJ online H/T Freedom Fighter Iran

U.S. Shifts Iran Focus to Support Opposition
The Obama administration is increasingly questioning the long-term stability of Tehran's government and moving to find ways to support Iran's opposition "Green Movement," said senior U.S. officials.

The White House is crafting new financial sanctions specifically designed to punish the Iranian entities and individuals most directly involved in the crackdown on Iran's dissident forces, said the U.S. officials, rather than just those involved in Iran's nuclear program.
The White House initially displayed caution in lending any vocal support to Iranian protesters, as many U.S. and European officials believed Tehran's security forces would quickly suppress any wide-scale dissent. U.S. officials repeatedly stressed over the summer that the U.S. was prioritizing efforts to negotiate with Iran on its nuclear program over any rapid push for democratic change.

The U.S. response was so timid that some Iranian protesters openly challenged Mr. Obama. "Obama, Obama -- either with us, or with them!" Tehran demonstrators were recorded chanting in November.

U.S. officials say that the White House's policy has shifted, in part, due to the surprising resilience of the Green Movement in the face of the pervasive crackdown.
And where stands our Rev Sinkford? Not still here I pray,
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.”

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Awami National Party: ANP is paying heavy price of war against terrorism

David finds America siding with the oppressor in Afghanistan while the folks closest to a Liberal Unitarian's outlook in the Pashtun's world find themselves paying a heavy price in the war against terror. Awami writes: ANP is paying heavy price of war against terrorism,
Chief Minister Ameer Haidar Khan Hoti has said that eliminating terrorism from the region is a hectic task but not an impossible one. The present government has decided to fight the enemies to state keeping in view the present circumstances and which reflect the traditions of Pashtuns and interests of the country and nation. Successful efforts are underway towards the destiny of provincial autonomy and the net hydel profit and the attainment of resources under NFC Award are the mile stone of it.

The ANP is paying heavy price of war against terrorism and is still committed and has the potential to pay much more than this.
And the potential to pay much more... this from the Pashtun followers of the Ghandi UU's so fond of citing.

What would a UU's way of life lead a UU to pay?

How many of us even read their story?

Photo of a funeral for a victim of the Peshawar Press Club homicide bombing.

Dr. L. Ward Brigham: "Does Religion Pay?"

The Hyde Park Herald, Volume IX, 22 January 1926, Page 6
"Does Religion Pay?" is the sermon topic for Sunday morning at St. Paul's on the Mindway, L. Ward Brigham, D. D., minister.
Another Rev. Brigham sermon I wish I could read. We're a practical bunch in Chicago, with practical questions on faith and religion. Does it Pay? I wonder....

Green Eye Shade stuff: budget pledge units for the coming year?

Does your Church's budget project gross and net revenue from pledges during the year? Or do you budget an expected number of pledging units plus the expected pledge revenue?

It seems to me a church would want to target a planned number of pledging units as part of the budget. Actualize all of this growth talk with real numbers.

I don't know what the normal practice is.


What does your Church do to help members out-of-work? Or anyone else in the community for that matter. Groups, services, aid? What should our Churches be doing?

Dr. L. Ward Brigham: "A Faith That Wins."

St. Petersburg Times - Feb 28, 1942
Outstanding among guest ministers for services tomorrow will be Dr. L. Ward Brigham, until recently professor of the Meadville Theological School of Chicago university, who will speak at the United Liberal Church. He served for many years as pastor of St Paul's Universalist church in Chicago. His subject will be "A Faith That Wins."
Curious to know what that sermon would have been. Given just a few weeks after December 7th, 1941.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Let the Cameras in on Obamacare dealmaking

A petition holding the Prez to his words,
President Obama and Congressional Democrats are ramming health care reform through Congress. In March 2008, President Obama promised the health care debate would be open and transparent saying: "I am going to do it all on C-SPAN so that the American People will know what's going on." (Town hall meeting, Lancaster, PA, 3/31/08)

Now the Democrats are holding secret meetings to negotiate the health care reform bill - and keeping the cameras out. Sign the petition today and demand transparency and an end to the secret meetings and back room deals. Let the cameras in!
No kidding... Americans entitle to know what's going on.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

I bet I can find 1,000,000 Against Government Violence in Iran

If you're on FaceBook then a site worth joining....I bet I can find 1,000,000 Against Government Violence in Iran

Please take a couple of minutes to invite your friends. I bet We can find 1,000,000 Against this Criminals!

Kristol Crushes

via Mark Finkelstein

We're targets of a Far Reaching network of hatred and violence that's declared war on Liberalism and the United States. A network of hatred and violence that finds victory blowing up airliners, Mosques, and soccer games.

Only fools let a captured foe seek sanctuary and silence in lawyers. We cede the enemy rights to bargain for a reduced sentence in civilian criminal courts. That leads to our self defeat. Kristol speaks a crushing truth this AM.

Footnote: Pundita: Whaddya mean there was no smoking gun, Mr Brennan? More nonsense from Abdulmutallab terror case

Salvation by bibliography

A phrase heard last night at Church and now with the miracle of googling I learn our heritage from JLA,
Adams repeatedly challenged Edwin Wilson, leader of the Unitarian humanists, to cite the sources of the ideas that his group promoted. Adams delighted to recall and quote to students Wilson's public dig at himself: "James Luther Adams believes in salvation by bibliography." Adams's retort: "There is no such thing as the immaculate conception of an idea."
Instead of a heads-up to note-takers in Church, the day will come when congregants google quotes real-time during services.

What will the Preachers say of that?

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Obama's “War on a Far-Reaching Network of Violence and Hatred” WFNVH

Global War on Terror (GWOT) becomes Obama's WFNVH. Sending 30k more troops to war in Afghanistan yet lawyering up terrorists in America defies common sense.

Promising conviction in criminal courts corrupts our justice. If we kill the foe with armed drones as they sleep why in the world them as detainees when captured? To do otherwise mocks our justice with sham trials the Prez promises will result in convictions.

Obama today,

Progressives Throw “Obama” Under the Bus

Carl Davidson's recycled Progressives for Obama into Progressive America Rising H/T The Real Barack Obama.

Carl (and feel free to comment here Carl to the Unitarian Universalist blogosphere) knows better than most the real Obama having known him from New Party Days in Chicago when Obama came to Carl for support. So the ease Carl can turn on the guy may seem surprising to those not versed in the left. Carl after all nailed Barack as triangulator par excellence.

But Marxism and Progressivism is all about progress through dialectics. The clash of opposites and the synthesis of the new and then it all starts over again. Brings to mind Trotsky's letter Albert Goldman in 1940, Burnham doesn’t recognize dialectics but dialectics does not permit him to escape from its net.

It could be rewritten today as, Obama doesn't recognize dialectics but dialectics does not permit him to excape from its net. Carl and his fellow comrades at PFO are casting the new net. The dialectic turning on the new Obama order to crush him and take America to the next new level of progress.

That's the fine mess Democrats have bought themselves with these DSA Schactmenites from Hyde Park (at least that's where I first met the dying YPSL). Progressives who climb in bed with a patron of Tony Rezko and Illinois's Democratic Machine as a progressive step, then to be followed by the next clash: the throwing of Obama under the Progressive's bus. Progressives call it dialectics but it seems more betrayal.

Recall the old man's conclusion in 1940,
In the good old days we waited, often for years and decades for a verification of a prognosis. Now the tempo of events is so feverish that the verification comes unexpectedly the next day.
Again a War-time America's in one of History's moments of feverish tempo. Verification on Obama's going to come quick. On Progressives too...

Update: Carl's comment over at the cross post,
No need for anything as fancy as dialectics. Sticking to core values and common sense works, too. Here's my New Year's take on the topic at http://carldavidson.blogspot.com

Friday, January 01, 2010

Iyad Jamal Al-Din: "Only Nations Living In The Past Produce Martyrs"

Interesting take on Martyrs given the UU History listserv discussion on the dearth of them among UUs. We look to the future. We're a living faith.