Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Iranian nuclear bid could provoke attack: Sarkozy

Via BreitBart Iranian nuclear bid could provoke attack: Sarkozy

Few seem to be paying attention. The next year could be a very bad one, and it won't be the economy.

Saving children in the Horn of Africa - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

Iman via AJ English. Note the links to contribute: Saving children in the Horn of Africa - Opinion - Al Jazeera English
It is not too late to make a difference. Donate now to eradicate famine, and intervene to provide life-saving healthcare and security for children and families in the Horn of Africa. For a few dollars, you can provide starving children with nutritious oral fluids and peanut butter packed with vitamins. You can help provide vaccines to prevent the spread of deadly diseases like cholera and measles in overcrowded refugee camps.

Help save a generation of children in the Horn of Africa, so that they can grow up to rebuild their livelihoods, restore their communities, regain their resilience, and become self-sufficient

Kosovan admits killing US airmen - Europe - Al Jazeera English

Via Al Jazeera English, Kosovan admits killing US airmen - Europe - Al Jazeera English
Uka told the court he felt he had to act after he was shocked by a video the night before the attack that appeared to show US soldiers raping Muslim women.

In fact, the video was a scene from Brian De Palma's anti-war film, Redacted.
The anti-war film....

Martyr Ali Jawad story

Iran Feels Heat Over Support for Damascus -

It's in the pay for view section and I don't pay. The teaser below says it all though. Iran Feels Heat Over Support for Damascus -
BEIRUT—Iran's steadfast support for Syria's regime has rapidly eroded Tehran's credibility among Arabs, leaving the country with a foreign-policy dilemma as popular uprisings mount across the region.

Supporting President Bashar al-Assad will further diminish Tehran's already troubled standing in the region, political analysts say. But abandoning him would crumble Iran's platform in Syria.

"They've lost a lot of soft power and credibility, and the situation in Syria makes it worse," said Paul Salem, director of the Middle East Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "There are new revolutions and heroes to look up to in the Middle East, and Iran is ...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Arab Spring? حلال الربيع؟

#Syria #ArabSpring #Baath Does it make sense to write of an "Arab Spring" when I get much of my information on it from Kurds? And the Dictators getting toppled old Arab Nationalists. That is what Baathism was all about after all.

لا يعقل أن أكتب عن "الربيع العربي" عندما أحصل على الكثير من المعلومات الخاصة بي على ذلك من الأكراد؟ والحصول على اطاحة الديكتاتوريين القوميين العرب القديمة. هذا هو ما كان كل شيء عن البعث بعد كل شيء.

(08-30-11) Homs | We Want Freedom

(08-30-11) Banyas | Graveyard Surrounded by Assad Forces

08-30-11) #Banyas #Syria | As customary, every Eid the people go to visit the graves of their loved ones. Here #Assad 's security forces have surrounded the graveyard. #Bashar the Butcher believes he can even keep the dead under siege! Syria will be free! #Freedom #Baath #humanrights #UN #UnitedNations

Goldberg: Seduced by the cult of experts

Goldberg: Seduced by the cult of experts

I'm afraid UU's prone to bow at the alter of Experts. When Mark Morrison-Reed quotes those nasty racialist comments by 19th Century Unitarians I suspect they spoke that way under the influcence of Science of their times. Expertism usually a false Goddess especially when the Expert feels empowered to comment on the out-of-scope.

Monday, August 29, 2011

"Growing inequality is shrinking opportunity" Say what?

Can't post comments. Just to point out Stiglitz makes absolutely no sense here,

First, growing inequality is the flip side of something else: shrinking opportunity. Whenever we diminish equality of opportunity, it means that we are not using some of our most valuable assets—our people—in the most productive way possible.

One the "we diminish"ing, and the "our most valuable assets" simply screwy. People shouldn't be other peoples assets, and shouldn't be viewed as assets without some pretty careful definitions about who's doing the possession. People should be objects to be used productively!

Every American should be free to produce and create and enjoy the rewards of their labor.

Our labor and pay need not be particularly equal for every American to enjoy that pursuit.

If there's some constraint here, Stiglitz should have explained. As is, it's pretty half baked.

Nasrin Sotoudeh's Example

Nasrin Sotoudeh: a political prisoner who scoffs at the judge,

For the third time, to protest the arrest of her family members, especially children and her sister and disconnection of the telephon line in her ward in prison she refused to go to the meeting place (to visit her family).

UU's owe brave Iranians like her much.

Hurricane Irene Tomb of the Unknowns

via FaceBook,

A lone Tomb Sentinel, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), walks his tour in humble reverence during Hurricane Irene in Arlington National Cemetery, Va., Aug 27. Members of The Old Guard have guarded the Tomb every second, of every day regardless of weather or holidays since April 6, 1948..

حمص - القصور : مظاهرة بعد صلاة الفجر : 29 رمضان 29\8\2011

Homs...demonstration after prayers.

الزبداني 28--8--2011

مسائية الزبداني 28 رمضان

Bashar Assad's theory on shelling minarets

Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat beaten up

Assad's thugs broke Ali Ferzat's hands over a cartoon.

Iran 27.8.2011 People attack regime forces in Uromiyeh

Protest in Oromiyeh...

Iran 27.8.2011.Uromiyeh. Regime forces scared to attack the brave people of Uromiyeh!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pope earns rare praise from leading German leftist | Reuters

Was wäre Ernst Thälemann tun?

Pope earns rare praise from leading German leftist

Pope earns rare praise from leading German leftist Reuters: Gregor Gysi, parliamentary leader for a small party in the German Bundestag called The Left, thanked the conservative pontiff Thursday for consistently preaching that a modern society must have moral norms in order to function properly.

"It won't work without the concept of the good," he wrote in the weekly Christ und Welt. "But modern science can't tell us what is good. Its concepts focus on empirical experience. Ideas such as morality play no role there."

Despite his reputation as a staunch conservative, Gysi wrote, Benedict turns out to be a modern theologian who says societies need both religious traditions and rational arguments to forge the moral consensus they need to operate.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Myriam Renaud in the Journal of Liberal Religion

Journal of Liberal Religion:

A link to Myriam Renaud: On Unitarian Universalist Moral Duties:Looking Forward with Cicero and Kant in anticipation of a post I'll write on community, individualism, and duties spurred by Boy in the Bands Is community the reason for community for Unitarian Universalists?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Quote of the Week

"Men have differed in opinion, and been divided into parties by these opinions, from the first origin of societies, and in all governments where they have been permitted freely to think and to speak. The same political parties which now agitate the United States, have existed through all time. Whether the power of the people or that of the aristoi should prevail, were questions which kept the States of Greece and Rome in eternal convulsions, as they now schismatize every people whose minds and mouths are not shut up by the gag of a despot."
—Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, June 27, 1813

Rev Morales avoids the can

The judge in Phoenix has just ruled that all 13 defendants would receive no further punishment. Each of us was sentenced to one day in jail with credit for time already served. No probation. No fines. We will issue a statement from the UUA soon.
via his Facebook

Talk about a useless gesture on Rev Morales part. Without much punishment, there's not much statement.

How about a plan for growing UU Churches instead?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The rise of binge drinking in China | Tania Branigan | Comment is free | The Guardian

The rise of binge drinking in China Tania Branigan Comment is free The Guardian:

An effort on Ethical Drinking may be in order.
But in the last few decades, consumption has soared, fuelled by increased personal freedoms and rising incomes. "Excessive drinking, frequent drinking [five to seven days a week] and binge drinking behaviour have reached epidemic proportions among current drinkers in China," warned a study published in the journal Addiction last month.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Obama Statement on Libya | The Weekly Standard

Obama Statement on Libya | The Weekly Standard

Tonight, the momentum against the Qadhafi regime has reached a tipping point. Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant. The Qadhafi regime is showing signs of collapsing. The people of Libya are showing that the universal pursuit of dignity and freedom is far stronger than the iron fist of a dictator.

The surest way for the bloodshed to end is simple: Moammar Qadhafi and his regime need to recognize that their rule has come to an end. Qadhafi needs to acknowledge the reality that he no longer controls Libya. He needs to relinquish power once and for all. Meanwhile, the United States has recognized the Transitional National Council as the legitimate governing authority in Libya. At this pivotal and historic time, the TNC should continue to demonstrate the leadership that is necessary to steer the country through a transition by respecting the rights of the people of Libya, avoiding civilian casualties, protecting the institutions of the Libyan state, and pursuing a transition to democracy that is just and inclusive for all of the people of Libya. A season of conflict must lead to one of peace.

The future of Libya is now in the hands of the Libyan people. Going forward, the United States will continue to stay in close coordination with the TNC. We will continue to insist that the basic rights of the Libyan people are respected. And we will continue to work with our allies and partners in the international community to protect the people of Libya, and to support a peaceful transition to democracy.

Syrians congratulate FFs of Libya إهداء من ثوار سوريا إلى ثوار ليبيا

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Possible Muammar Qaddafi Capture Update: Friend in Libya Says 3 Sources Confirm!

Possible Muammar Qaddafi Capture Update: Friend in Libya Says 3 Sources Confirm!

via Ryan Mauro

Zeina Khodr reports live from Tripoli

Libya Live Blog | Al Jazeera Blogs

Libya Live Blog | Al Jazeera Blogs:

Tyrants quake,
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a staunch of ally of embattled strongman Muammar Gaddafi, slammed Western powers Sunday for "destroying Tripoli with their bombs," as rebels surged to seize control of the Libyan capital.

"Today we are seeing images of the democratic governments of Europe, along with the supposedly democratic government of the United States destroying Tripoli with their bombs," Chavez said.

Last week Chavez along with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, both arch US foes, jointly denounced the West's "imperialist aggression" in Libya.

Chavez - Gaddafi's main supporter in Latin America - has consistently denounced the months-long military operation in Libya claiming it is an oil grab by Western powers.

Gaddafi's eldest son surrenders

Assad in Syria next...

Moravian and Luthern Churches, Ephriam (Door County) Wisconsin

There's a UU Fellowship in Ephriam too but I didn't get a picture of it. Below is first the Norwegian Moravian Church followed by the Lutheran one. Both built in the 1880s.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Why the Unitarian Universalist silence on Obama and War?

Decline and Fall The Weekly Standard:

Below via Peter Wehner from the above link in WS.

I'm guessing the UU silence on Obama (no Action of Immediate Witness at General Assembly on the Prez's violation of the War Powers Act for example) rooted in shared belief America's days as a dominant world power are over, and that shared turn in outlook by an American President worth far more than talking about WPA; or Wars -regardless how real and bloody- Obama finds barely worth mentioning now.

An anti imperialist frame trumping peace. Or maybe it's just, as a UU pacifist wrote me, very few UU's will turn on Obama over anything.
Second, the president is sending young Americans to fight and to die in wars he finds distracting and barely worth mentioning.

Third, Republicans should (once again) build their case around the words of Obama’s own aides. One adviser, quoted in the New Yorker, infamously described the president’s actions in Libya as “leading from behind.” And in discussing the Obama administration’s belief that the relative power of the United States is declining, this adviser said, “It’s so at odds with the John Wayne expectation for what America is in the world. But it’s necessary for shepherding us through this phase.”

At the heart of Obama’s foreign policy is the belief that America’s days as a dominant world power are over, and it’s a good thing at that. The president and his aides, after all, tend to view America’s role in the world as arrogant and imperialistic. It tells us something that every previous president was instinctively inclined to defend the United States, while Obama is far more inclined to apologize for her and place himself above her. He has undermined America’s moral self-confidence.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hooray for Rot and Decay! Wetland's walk Ephraim Wisconsin

Ephraim Wisconsin: it's the only dry town in Wisconsin. My wife left me there while she rehearsed for the Peninsula music festival.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blue Partisans Shorten The Lines | Via Meadia

Blue Partisans Shorten The Lines | Via Meadia:

Mead on the Liberal Echo Chamber. The comment on Kerry really strikes home for me. I was on the Grinnell 76' Listserv after Dean lost Iowa and listened to the disappointed Dean supporters cheer themselves on Kerry's War Recrod. I suggested they recall Winter Soldier and Kerry at the Senate Hearings. I had vivid recollections of those moments, and knew they would reopen to some very bad times. Worse, the VVAW guys still left in Chicago had a cycnical attitude about Kerry too. Kerry talking Vietnam was a mess in the making.
"To the extent that they think about it — as opposed to simply letting their little lights artlessly shine — liberal journalists seem to think that acting like cheerleaders strengthens their team. It doesn’t. That more conservative candidates and causes face hostile media scrutiny that liberal lions don’t makes the conservatives tougher and more battle tested. It can ground their political calculations more securely in reality; if there are any gaping flaws in conservative arguments, programs or personnel, they can be reasonably sure that a vigilant mainstream media will point them out in great and loving detail.

This is not always a blessing, but surprisingly often, it is. More hostile media scrutiny would have convinced Senator John Kerry that his Vietnam record could not anchor his presidential campaign. It would have made then Vice President Gore much more aware of what a liability it is that so many voters heard him as condescending and elitist. It would have alerted President Obama to the critical flaws in the congressional porkfest loosely but inaccurately referred to as a ‘stimulus package’. It would have let the greens know that their carbon treaty concept was an obvious flop before they wasted precious time and money on a decade long unicorn hunt."

Black Dem Rep On Obama Bus Tour: "He's Not In Any Black Community"

You'd think the guy could have spent some time in the Wild 100's and talk a little bit about hope in a place sadly lacking much.

Ronald Baily: The Myth of Pristine Nature

Baily writing in Reason on the nature's interconnectedness and its misunderstandings.
Marris begins by exposing the vacuity of the notion of the ecological baseline. “For many conservationists, restoration to a pre-human or a pre-European baseline is seen as healing a wounded or sick nature,” explains Marris. “For others, it is an ethical duty. We broke it; therefore we must fix it. Baselines thus typically don’t act as a scientific before to compare with an after. They become the good, the goal, the one correct state.” What is so good about historical ecosystems? I too have noted that ecologists when asked this same question become almost inarticulate. They just know that historical ecosystems are better.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tea Partiers Are Fairly Mainstream in Their Demographics

Tea Partiers Are Fairly Mainstream in Their Demographics

Would the average UU congregation be as diverse as the public at large. Below not fitting the frame way too many UUs would have other UUSs believe.
Tea Party supporters skew right politically; but demographically, they are generally representative of the public at large. That's the finding of a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted March 26-28, in which 28% of U.S. adults call themselves supporters of the Tea Party movement.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Barack Obama’s Emotional State of Mind « Commentary Magazine

Barack Obama’s Emotional State of Mind « Commentary Magazine:

I wonder if a good deal of UUism isn't in the same bind when it comes to the self-regard. Telling the world where love stands. Doing the Peace Pivot on Obama's violation of the Wars Power Act.

And we may be just as poorly equipped as Obama to process the collapse before our eyes either.
"If there’s anything we have learned about Mr. Obama during the last two-and-a-half years, it is his obsessive need to advertise his moral superiority. He wants us to believe – he is desperate for us to believe – that his motivations are pure, that he is the only adult in Washington, that he is a champion for the national interest while his critics are champions of special interests. It is not enough for Obama to be president; he wants us to believe he’s Sir Galahad.

As Mr. Obama is increasingly overwhelmed by events, as he and his presidency shrink before our eyes, his worst tendencies are being exacerbated, his narcissism further exposed, his anger at an unaccommodating world more pronounced. A man of supreme self-regard is watching things crumble before his eyes. He is obviously not well equipped to process any of this. It is enough for one to feel, if only for a moment, some pity for Mr. Obama. These are not easy days for him, and certainly not for his country."

Friday, August 12, 2011

Where's Love stand here?:Illinois Megachurch Denies Anti-Gay Stance After Starbucks CEO Cancels

I don't doubt the hate mail Hybel's received on this one. I'm also guessing Hybel's Church has more Gays than UUs attending Church on any given Sunday (in season) in greater metro Chicago.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Farhat Taj' Taliban and Anti-Taliban

The book here...
Based on extensive ground research in FATA, Taliban and Anti-Taliban reveals the indigenous tribal people’s blood-soaked relationships with the Taliban, Al-Qaida and the Pakistani military establishment and its intelligence apparatus. The book uncovers the heroic armed and non-violent struggle of the local population against the Taliban and Al-Qaida. It also documents the tribesmen’s feedback on some of the high profile literature authored in relation to FATA since 9/11 and exposes serious drawbacks in the writings of some of the famous FATA “experts” in the world.

Tribal resistance to the Taliban and Al-Qaida has been widely ignored in international academic and policy discourse, and in media reporting on the war on terror. Knowledge and understanding of this resistance is immensely important for people in the wider world to determine friends and foes in the global war on terror. Taliban and Anti-Taliban fills the void for the first time since 9/11.

This book is a must read for anyone and everyone interested in knowing what is going on inside FATA, the region dubbed as “the most dangerous place in the world” by the US.
...and from Terry Glavin's review here.
Now, Taj has got a book out, Taliban and Anti-Taliban. It is the result not just of historical scholarship but also roughly 2000 interviews and discussions undertaken throughout FATA and Khyber-Pakhtunkwa (formerly the Northwest Frontier Province) over the past two years. A lot of nasty and violent people, along with very smart and well-situated people, are going to be quite displeased with what the book exposes, not least the nonsense that the Pakistani government would surrender the jihadist Arabs and Talib crackpots in the hill country, but the stubborn tribes just won't permit it because of that "Pakhtunwali" thing. Taj writes: "Some first-hand interactions with the tribesmen would have provided the scholars and journalists with a wealth of empirical evidence to establish that no tribes in FATA can dare to host anyone wanted by the state."

Further: "Where do Usama Bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri or other foreign terrorists fit in to this notion and practice of hospitality? Well-armed and battle hardened Al-Qaida terrorists never surrendered their weapons to the tribes in FATA. Instead they have overpowered the tribes and brutally killed those tribesmen who defied them. They entered Waziristan with full state consent and all the tribesmen who opposed their entry were killed with state collusion by the militants. Those that were left ran away or were overpowered by the militants covertly backed by the Pakistani state. If the Pakistani state wants today, no militants can ever stay in Waziristan or elsewhere in FATA.
No surpized OBL found in a house in Abottobad.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Obama Gets a Blank Check for Endless War - Reason Magazine

Obama Gets a Blank Check for Endless War - Reason Magazine:

I think I've predicted the course of the Administration pretty well. My only surprize is I thought I'd be defending the Administration more over foreign policy by now. Turns out, no one cares. At least no one anti war cares. That's a surprize.
"It all raises at least two related questions. First, where arethe antiwar protests? And second, where is the press?

In a phone interview, thenational coordinator of United forPeace and Justice, which organized some of the largest antiwarprotests during the Bush administration, Michael McPhearson, saidpart of the explanation is political partisanship. A lot of the anti war protesters, he said, were Democrats. “Once Obama got intooffice, they kind of demobilized themselves,” he said.

“Because he’s a Democrat, they don’t want to oppose him in thesame way as they opposed Bush,” said Mr. McPhearson, who is also aformer executive director of Veterans for Peace, and who said he voted for President Obama in 2008. “The politics of it allows him more breathing room when it comes to the wars.”"

Monday, August 08, 2011

الناطق الرسمي ـ ديرالزور ـ 8ـ8ـ2011 آثار القصف والدمار على منازل المدنيين العزل

Spokesman deralzor 8-8-2011 effects bombing and destruction of civilian homes insulation

I have more Arabic readers now on this blog than Unitarian Universalists.

لدي أكثر القراء عربية الآن أكثر من ديانة الموحدين (الموحدين العالميين هي الدين الاميركي). نفعل مشاهدة ما يجري في سوريا ويصلي لنا معكم. أتمنى لو أننا في الولايات المتحدة كانوا يفعلون أكثر من ذلك.

Syrian Poet Leads Anti-Assad Chant - and is Found Dead with Vocal Cords Ripped Out‏تقرير الجزيرة عن حماة و الشهيد ابراهيم قاشوش

The chant over at MEMRI and the grisly afterwords below at Al Jezerra Arabic: Syrian Poet Ibrahim Qashoush Leads Anti-Assad Chant – And Days Later Is Found Dead With Vocal Cords Ripped Out

Liberals buzz over brutal takedown of Obama | Campaign 2012

Liberals buzz over brutal takedown of Obama | Campaign 2012:

Surprise. What many of us Obama watchers since the race against Bobby Rush knew, and what only those watchers from the right were willing to say. Illinois's liberal left media kept quiet.
"Why has Obama been such a disappointment? Westen comes up with a few theories that sound strikingly familiar to Obama's critics on the right. Perhaps Obama 'is simply not up to the task' of being president. Perhaps the Democrats who were so dazzled by his campaign speeches should have noticed 'some disquieting aspects of his biography.' Among those disquieting aspects: 'that he had accomplished very little before he ran for president, having never run a business or a state; that he had a singularly unremarkable career as a law professor, publishing nothing in 12 years at the University of Chicago other than an autobiography; and that, before joining the United States Senate, he had voted 'present' (instead of 'yea' or 'nay') 130 times, sometimes dodging difficult issues.' Go to any conservative blog, and you'll find many similar critiques, dating to well before the 2008 election.

There's just one thing missing from Westen's indictment. If Obama has been such a profound disappointment, such a profound failure, why hasn't someone in the liberal wing of the Democratic party launched a primary challenge against him? Westen doesn't even mention the possibility."

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Wakes by Jack Zimmerman

A nice Chicago story.

Chicago Boyz » Blog Archive » Chicago Tea Party Meeting, August 3, 2011

Chicago Boyz » Blog Archive » Chicago Tea Party Meeting, August 3, 2011:

Lexington Green's take on a Chicago Tea Party meeting. I wish more UUs of a Libertarian bent would take the time to visit one of these. At least one in Chicago which is the group I know best. Dave Lowery of the NAACP is taking the time. (So did Illinois GOP's Pat Brady. I left out those clips but Pat had a hard go of it with the Tea Partiers.) Below from LG's post but please read the whole thing.

"The second speaker was a delightful surprise: David Lowery, President of the Chicago Far-South Suburban Branch of the NAACP. Mr. Lowery did not get into any policy specifics. He spoke instead about defending the rights of all Americas, now matter what color they are. He seemed to want to reach out, to meet the Tea Party and get a feel for who and what it was. Mr. Lowery was greeted very warmly both before and especially after he spoke. Since I was holding a drink in my hand (these events are held at Blackie’s, a very nice tavern) I could not take notes, and as I sit here I am struggling to recall any details of what he said. All I remember is that it was patriotic, open-hearted, and earnest, and I repeatedly got a little choked up listening to him. There is a distinctive African American style of public speaking, which is very powerful, and Mr. Lowery has it, and is a moving speaker. He was extending a hand of friendship, and that hand was grasped in return. I hope that in the future there will be a prospect for substantive cooperation between his NAACP branch and the Chicago Tea Party. The possibilities and potential are mind-blowing."

And the conclusion which is right on target.
The overall take away from the evening was about as follows:

(1) The Tea Party continues to grow, to be full of people with good ideas and energy. I hope this translates into significant and increasing political impact.

(2) The establishment GOP in Illinois is slowly and ponderously trying to figure out what this weird Tea Party thing is, and what use can be made of it, if any. Mutual wariness seems to be a pretty accurate way to describe the relationship.

(3) There is a desire among at least some African Americans for an alternative to the existing range of political choices in Illinois, which for them has been: Option A is the Democrat machine, and there is no Option B. There seems to also be a desire for a civil conversation with the Tea Party among some people, who are apparently not buying into the baseless lie about Tea Party “racism”. I don’t know where this will lead, but it is incredibly exciting.

(4) The recent budget deal is perceived by some as a victory for the Tea Party, making it credible and making Tea Party seem to be a serious factor in politics, like it or not, which is gaining in strength and importance. My sense is that the Tea Party membership is a lot more ambivalent about it, seeing the Boehner deal as more of the same old stuff, a defeat dressed as a victory. I think that is wrong. The deal was far from the needed serious reform, but serious reform cannot and will not be on the table until we get through at least one more election cycle. What the deal did accomplish was to halt the supposedly inevitable march toward higher spending and higher taxes. It put the focus on spending cuts and moving away from ever-bigger government. It means that the Obama vision of permanently bigger, more expensive and more intrusive government has been halted, for now. Like the Red Army stopping the Wehrmacht before the gates of Moscow, we are still years from a final victory. But it was the defeat of the life-threatening offensive that could have won the war at a single blow. Mr. Obama’s presidency peaked and began to slide back with the Boehner deal, I believe. It was at best an inflection point, but it may, over time, be seen as a very significant inflection point.

These are exciting times.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

AFF-Chicago presents: Eric Kohn at the 2011 Bughouse Square Debates

A Tea Party activists recovering the lost art of soap box debating at Chicago's old Bughouse square. Eric's done America's Future Foundation proud here!

Fouad Ajami: Barack Obama the Pessimist -

Fouad Ajami: Barack Obama the Pessimist -

Read some of the blather on the decline of the American Empire on the UU Peace Making list serv and this pessimism makes sense. That and just knowing the deep cynicism of the Chicago Regular Democratic Party that brought forth Obama. Also, for the Emersonian and Universalist roots of Reagan's optimis try John P. Diggin's biography of him.

From Fouad Ajamai in WJY yesterday,
"Temperament mattered. Ronald Reagan was the quintessential optimist, his faith in America boundless. He had been given his mandate amid economic distress—the great inflation of the 1970s, high unemployment and taxation—and a collapse of American authority abroad. Through two terms and a time of great challenges, he had pulled off one of the great deeds of political-economic restoration. He made tax cuts and economic growth the cornerstone of that recovery. Economic freedom at home had a corollary in foreign affairs—the pursuit of liberty, a course that secured a victorious end to the Cold War. The 'captive nations' were never in doubt, American power was on the side of liberty.

By that Reagan standard, Mr. Obama has been a singular failure. The crippling truth of the Obama presidency is the pessimism of the man, the low expectations he has for this republic. He had not come forth to awaken this country to its stirring first principles, but to manage its decline at home and abroad. So odd an outcome, a man with an inspiring biography who provides no inspiration, a personal story of 'The Audacity of Hope' yielding a leader who deep down believes that America's best days are behind it."

The Comforting Life of Ideological Fanatics « Commentary Magazine

The Comforting Life of Ideological Fanatics « Commentary Magazine:

Peter Wehner on Hendrik Hertzberg's faith-based political-economics.
"This is sheer nonsense, of course. But Hertzberg’s comments are instructive. Rather than take into account the economic (and empirical) failure of Obama’s Keynesian approach, those who take a dogmatic, faith-based approach to American politics engage in intellectual contortions in order to try to innoculate their ideology from damage. People like Hertzberg begin from what is, for them, an unassailable proposition: liberalism is right because it is right and so it can never be wrong. And what happens when, by any objective standard, liberal policies fail? The problem is, they weren’t sufficiently liberal.

There are certain advantages to this approach. Those whose minds are obdurate and canonical –regardless of the philosophy they hold — don’t need to grapple with inconvenient facts. They have a reflexive response to every set of facts that challenges their worldview: ignore the facts. This doesn’t help one ascertain the truth. But it does avoid the hard work of facing up to the false assumptions on which their intellectual structure rests. Call it the comforting life of an ideological fanatic."
Liberalism fearful of reflection on reality. Liberalism that's given up on pragmatism. Liberalism gone scelerotic. That's what faith based's wrought.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Bishop questions silence on Syria violence

Bishop questions silence on Syria violence

The Bishop of Bristol has criticised the Government’s lack of interest in the “wholesale slaughter” taking place in Syria.

Scores have reportedly been left dead after the Syrian army sent in tanks to Hama on Sunday to crush the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

Bishop Mike Hill said: “I can’t be the only person wondering why the West, having rapidly decided that intervention in Libya was a righteous and necessary cause, seem less interested in the wholesale slaughter taking place in Syria.”

#RamadanMassacre tweets

A sample from twitter,
it's not only about army and tanks massacring people in #syria it's about you being watching remaining silent #RamadanMassacre's speakin out

In one day Assad killed more people in Hama than the Oslo nut, yet the world is silent. #Syria #RamadanMassacre

Over the past 40 yrs, 1000s of civilians have lost their lives at the hands of the Syrian Regime. least u can do is RT! #RamadanMassacre

The brave people of #Hama are still reeling from 1982, no one should have to live through 2 massacres #RamadanMassacre

أجمل وأضخم اعتصام في ساحة الحرية عند مقبرة الحقلة في حي الميدان بعد صلاة التراويح 1 8 2011

Twitter campaign for Hama massacre حملة تويتر لزيادة الوعي عن مجزرة حماة

via Facebook
Monday, 7-10 pm Central Time
3-6 am Syria Time

US Central - 7 pm
US Pacific - 5 pm
US Eastern - 8 pm
Algiers, UK, Tunis - 1 am
Amsterdam, Cairo, Madrid, Misrata, Paris - 2 am
Amman, Athens, Baghdad, Damascus, Doha, Makkah, Riyadh - 3 am
UAE, Tehran, Moscow - 4 am
Beijing, Hong Kong - 8 am
Sydney - 10 am

Follow @reemasaurusrex @nora0315 @GotFreedomSY @BintElHara and retweet their tweets during the event!

Thanks to the brilliant @BSyria and @LeShaque for coming up with the hashtag #RamadanMassacre

PLEASE CREATE 20 NEW TWEETS WITH THE #RamadanMassacre HASHTAG MINIMUM PER HOUR DURING THE EVENT! We don't mind if you copy/paste our tweets, but NEW TWEETS ONLY can trend a topic. Feel free to tweak ours a bit.

الرجاء انشاء 20 تويت مميز خلال ساعة كل ساعة ابتداء من الساعة 3 صباحا حتى الساعة 6 صباحا على توقيت سورية. والرجاء اضاافة
الى نهاية كل تويت hashtag #RamadanMassacre


In 1982, Hafez Alassad killed over 40,000 civilians in Hama in one week. The world was completely unaware. Everyone remained silent and let Hama die.

RIGHT NOW his son, Bashar Al-Assad, is attempting to repeat history. He has threatened a repeat of the massacre of 1982. On Sunday, the day before Ramadan, Assad's army stormed Hama with tanks, bombs, snipers. They killed 150 within hours, and the numbers are still rising.

EXTREMELY GRAPHIC:​ch?v=0UnD8g8ITig&feature=r​elated

THis 7 month old was KILLED by Assad forces. What is her crime???

In 1982, 40,000 were killed because nobody knew.
Today, we KNOW. We have no excuses. We will not stand silent and watch a repeat of 1982.

You are now aware. You are responsible for what you know. Are you going to try and erase these videos from your memory and pretend they never happened, or will you stand against injustice and join is in preventing a repeat of 1982????

Please join us in raising awareness by tweeting using the hashtag #RamadanMassacre. We want to get it trending to raise awareness and pressure news organizations and worldwide governments to take action!

In order to get this to trend, we need at least 10,000 original tweets per hour. We can do this please help us by inviting all your friends!!!

Monday, 7-10 pm Central Time. It is very important we all do this at the same time. It only takes a minute. Please look at the comments below to see what time this event is in your area!

We have compiled a list of over 200 tweets with #RamadanMassacre in them and we plan on using those throughout the time window above.

These are some of the examples that we have but we'll have a lot more:

#Assad has NO limits. If the world remains silent, #RamadanMassacre may be worse than #Hama massacre of 82 where 40,000+ killed in one week!

What yould you do if this was your family member?????? #RamadanMassacre #Hama #Syria

40,000 killed in #Hama in 82 cuz nobody knew, use #RamadanMassacre to raise awareness & prevent today from being repeat of 1982. #RT #Syria

#Syria: #Hama was scene of 82 massacre when Assad's father sent troops to crush city, killing 40,000+ people. #RamadanMassacre

When #Assad said reform, he really meant #RamadanMassacre. #Hama #Syria

#HamaMassacre in 82=40,000 killed. #RamadanMassacre today over 100 killed already. Stop history from repeating itself. #Assad must go.

40,000 killed in 82 in #Hama. If you don't want this to happen again today RT #RamadanMassacre #Syria

Thank you for standing up for human rights in Syria! We appreciate all the help and support!

(08.01.2011) Hama | Protesters in Salamiyah chanting " Bashar, you will fall "

Syria Tank Attack Claims Up To 80 Dead After Major Assault On Hama - Sky News

Syrian Revolution - Security Forces Gangs throw bodies in Orontes River - Hama

Graphic video and not for the faint. Love is clearly not standing on the side of the Syrian people, and I'm afraid neither is the United States.