Saturday, December 29, 2007

Why Axelrod's Attack Hurts Obama

I hope you've had a great Holiday season.
I'll be back with new postings next week.

After the tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto, then with the issue of the 2002 Iraq War Resolution surfacing (with cutting political statements from the Obama campaign's David Axelrod regarding the assasination) in the last days of the Iowa campaign, I'd like to reprint something I'd written a long time ago...October 7, 2006, to be precise. I predicted well over a year ago that a certain lack of grace toward those in the Senate who voted for the IWR would actually hurt the Illinois freshman Senator Obama.

14 months ago I wrote:

Jonathan Alter on Barack Obama

Barack Obama was not a member of the U.S. Senate when he opposed the war in Iraq. Both John Edwards and Hillary Clinton were in the Senate, and if there's one thing we all should understand, it's that it's a whole lot easier to say "No" when you are not directly responsible as an elected representative for the security of hundreds of thousands of constituents and when you're a representative from a state with key military bases.

If we value inexperience over our leaders actually having been there/done that, then I suppose Jonathan Alter is 100% correct that Democratic primary voters will find Obama to be "perfectly positioned" for 2008. However, that's not at all what I witnessed in 2004 when Democratic primary voters flocked to John Kerry, who had voted for the Iraq War resolution. To the primary voters, Kerry had had a decided air of gravitas that comes only from life (and war) experience. The voters didn't use Senator Kerry's vote for the IWR against him then. Armed with plenty of real knowledge and 20/20 hindsight about the Bush administration's failures, misleadings and outright untruths, I cannot believe that Democratic voters will punish those who voted Yes to the IWR in 2008 because they will understand that it was not the Democrats who commanded this disastrous war. Many of the same Democrats who gave good faith and trust to the POTUS in 2002 are now being labeled as cowards and traitors in stump speeches by the President.

I trust that Democratic primary voters will understand that both Edwards and Clinton have been no less than repulsed by the gross inefficiency of Donald Rumsfeld, who offered many times to step down but was begged to stay by an incredibly incurious President who clearly never understood how to lead a war or the dangers of rushing your nation into an unjust and unwinnable type of warfare.

The truth is that it wasn't at all easy to vote "yes" OR "No" in October, 2002 to give the POTUS the authority to press the UN on Resolution 1551. A year had barely passed since the worst attack on American civilians in U.S. history. The cherry-picked intelligence being shouted from the Bush bully pulpit proved out to be a horrifically negligent, if not intentional misleading, but no one knew it or could prove it then. With weakness and inefficiency from CIA head George Tenet and the false stories from journalists like Judith Miller along with the rest of the pliant Oval-office stenopad-MSM, our leaders were put between a rock and a terrible place.

Collectively, we all learn from mistakes of our past. The question should be: What has Senator Edwards learned? What has Senator Clinton learned?

We'll never know what Barack Obama would have done had he been called on the floor of the Senate to look every American in the eye on the CSPAN camera and risk American lives (and his own reputation) just because he had a hunch that Bush was a dishonest broker. He never had to be there. I imagine he's glad of it because he won't have to answer for it one way or the other.

What the Democrats did in 2002 was not easy for them. Their floor statements will tell you that they were torn. Regime change in Iraq was the policy of America when President Clinton left office and it was still the policy at the time of the IWR. Would President Clinton have impulsively and inefficiently done what Bush did? I doubt it, but he wasn't POTUS at the time. He didn't have to make that decision, and I imagine he's glad of it because he won't have to answer for it one way or the other.

I know Barack Obama has a brilliant future ahead of him. I admire him. He's a fantastic orator and he shows a firm commitment to American progress. When it comes to voting for the Iraq War resolution, he could only second guess Senators like Edwards and Clinton. Even he, I'd imagine, would have the grace to understand that they were in a far different place than those outside the halls of federal leadership in those dark days.

- Jude Nagurney Camwell

Some are arguing that Senator Clinton has "agreed" with Axelrod's criticism - a ludicrous thought. While she may have rightly argued that the Bush administration has diverted resources and attention away from Afghanistan, she certainly hasn't invited unwarranted and not-so-subtle political attack on herself. Senator Clinton, Joe Biden, and John Edwards, who said he was wrong about his vote for the 2002 resolution (in 2005, of which columnist Davd Sirota called a "courageous mea culpa"), have clearly not supported the way the Bush administration has led this nation on Iraq. The way I see it, if Axelrod, on behalf of Obama is using Bhutto's tragic murder as a call to who’s made the right judgments, then shouldn't voters judge where Obama was in 2002 when he was not responsible to cast that all-important vote?

The simple answer is: Not in the U.S. Senate.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Why Wyoming Dem Chair Hillary Opinion Doesn't Matter

Read "Clinton Effect in the West - 'a dirty little secret'?" from The Denver Post [by Stephen Keating], an article about a letter John Millin, Wyoming Democratic Party chairman, sent to the Post titled "Wyoming's Hillary Dilemma."

Consider the source..Mr. Millin's a firmly pledged Barack Obama supporter. How much fairness can you expect from a fellow who, as blogger Jane Hamsher has pointed out, gushed like a schoolgirl, "Oh my God, this guy should be president" after Obama had been given the enviable opportunity to make his national coming-out speech at the DNC convention in 2004?

Millin's current rant seems nothing more than Mr. Millin abusing his power as party chair to do intentional political damage to Senator Clinton. Regardless of what you may think about Senator Clinton, this one has got to make you think about truth and fairness. Millin's broadly unsubstantiated opinion can easily be construed as a hatchet job on one candidate to buoy the chances of political success for the candidate he not-so-secretly desires to win with an "Oh God"-valued emphasis.

As a New York resident who saw the effects of the electoral college on the corruptibility of the presidentaial election process in 2000 [when Wyoming went for Bush by a wide margin; 2004 was no different], I personally feel that I have to be more concerned with the overall national politics than with a Wyoming Dem Party Chair's pettiness and favoritism. Do you honestly expect that Wyoming will deliver electoral success to the Democratic presidental nominee in 2008?

I think most Americans, whether they're from the Eastern or Western states, understand the value of experience [after eight years of Mr. Wrong in the White House] when they are examining the 2008 candidates, whether from the Democratic or the Republican side. Particular concerns about Mr. Obama, a gifted and inspirational orator, are usually related to the experience factor.

Obama may eventually be destined for the Presidency, but I am not personally ready for him in 2008. Other people (perhaps younger than me) may feel differently, but I've been around too long to lay out the welcome mat and give the keys to our Oval Office to such a fresh face when I see others in line who are so familiar and still attractive. I know what to expect from the others. No one candidate's perfect. All have flaws. It's rather scary when you don't know a Presidential candidate well enough to have had a chance to evaluate his flaws. If he should win the nomination, I'd support him because he'd still be a superior alternative to any GOP candidate, but I'll know, in my heart, that knowing a candidate (flaws, strengths, and all) is a natural advantage to promoting, defending, and supporting him (or her).

I could be wrong, of course. I didn't vote for Bill Clinton the first time around ('92) and look what happened.

The bottom line on Millin's hit-piece on Hillary, for me, is that Millin's opinion sounds politically foreign... like it could've come straight off the transcript of a Rush Limbaugh show segment.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Regal? Coronation-By-Media Begins

regal: [ rg'l ] royal, characteristic of or suitable for a king or queen, especially in grandeur or magnificence [14th century. Via French< Latin regalis< reg-, "king"] - MSN/Encarta Dictionary

Raw Story has emphasized, in a headline at the website today, that an AP wtiter has used the word "regal" to describe Senator Hillary Clinton's demeanor after the situation with Leeland Eisenberg, who walked into a Rochester, N.H. Clinton campaign office and took hostages yesterday, was resolved by New Hampshire authorities.

"When the hostages had been released and their alleged captor arrested, a regal-looking Hillary Rodham Clinton strolled out of her Washington home, the picture of calm in the face of crisis," [the AP's] Glen Johnson wrote. "The image, broadcast just as the network news began, conveyed the message a thousand town hall meetings and campaign commercials strive for — namely, that the Democratic presidential contender can face disorder in a most orderly manner."

I asked myself the following, just because it's like me to question...

Did anyone from the AP ever call John Edwards or his wife Elizabeth Edwards "regal" on the day that they stood before America and had to tell them that Elizabeth' cancer had returned?

I checked. I mean, if I could think of a day when two people stood by looking mature graceful, serious, determined and strong, it was certainly Mr. and Mrs. Edwards.

The AP made no mention of their demeanor nor did they submit adjectives regarding the Edwardses' appearance that day at all.

When is an ordeal not an ordeal?

At the time Mrs. Edwards had made her announcement, the AP had quoted and properly placed in the article Hillary Clinton's statement about Mrs. Edwards:
“I admire her optimism and strength in the face of adversity, and I look forward to seeing them both on the campaign trail.”

...but the AP writers never commented on nor did they submit gushing adjectives about their opinion of Elizabeth's appearance...or John's demeanor. I would guess that's because good journalism tells you the facts and let you decide the rest for yourself.

Six months after Elizbeth Edwards' difficult public announcement, an AP writer referred to Elizabeth as "pit-bull."

Hardly a term to inspire the classic vision of a future first lady.

Hillary Clinton isn't in line to be a Queen and I think the AP writers, to say the least, went overboard, considering Senator Clinton merely stood vigilant and caring and hoped and prayed, as all of us did, that no one would be hurt in Rochester.

Edwards: "This is not class warfare. This is the truth."

In Vienna, Virginia yesterday John Edwards gave a speech at the winter DNC meeting that framed him as the fighter that the country needs to turn it in the right direction and to stand up proudly for American working people. Playing on the Reagan-era phrase that once pointed to a new day for progress in Eastern Europe, Edwards turned the message back toward home, stressing that there's a wall around Washington, D.C. that has been built by the powerful and rich that has stopped too much American progress for profits' sake and must be taken down.

There’s a wall around Washington and we need to take it down. The American people are on the outside. And on the other side, on the inside, are the powerful, the well-connected and the very wealthy. That wall didn’t build itself or appear overnight. For decades, politicians without convictions and powerful interests gathered their bricks and their stones and their mortar, and they went to work. They went to work to protect their interests, to block the voice of the American people, and to stop our country’s progress. They went to work to protect, defend, and maintain the status quo. link

Edwards stated that no one has worked harder on the wall than the insurance companies, drug companies, and HMOs, who have all contributed to building of the wall to assure that their profits will continue to soar while citizens struggle to continue to pay for healthcare.

While their profits rise, who gets sick? Who loses their house when their mother gets Alzheimer's [disease]? Who begs for cancer treatment for their children? Who loses their job and healthcare because it's cheaper overseas to run a factory without the burden of healthcare costs? The big insurance companies, drug companies, and HMOs..they want that wall up there forever. We're going to take it down by making universal healthcare available to every man, woman, and child in America. That's who we are. That's what we stand for.

This is a message that will surely carry over to more than just Democrats if John Edwards should become the Democratic party nominee in 2008. A recent ad sponsored by AARP's "Divided We Fail" campaign represents a collaboration of Hollywood's leading nonprofit organizations, the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) and the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF). They've joined the "Divided We Fail" national movement (led by AARP) to bring attention to the domestic issues that worry Americans most: health care and financial security:

The policy plans of each candidate, including John Edwards', can be seen and voted on at the Divided We Fail site.

A comment about the Edwards DNC winter meeting speech made by a citizen-supporter at shows how Edwards is clearly making his change-message more pointed and distinct than the hope/change-message of Senator Obama and how his character is coming more clearly into focus with speeches like this one:

He has hit upon the key distinction between him and either Hillary or Obama, who have been characterized by playing it safe, maintaining the status quo...already! Sure there are surface differences, but we are grown ups here.

John Edwards is showing himself to be The Boxer, Mr. Smith, Atticus and Spartacus, and David against Goliath...all rolled into one. But I should not stop there. He was also more like Martin Luther King than any politician that has come around in decades, including [Bill] Clinton...who lacked the selfless passion and discipline, although sharing some of the vision. Tonight's speech found John rising to new heights, fueled, it seemed, by a deeper understanding into why it is so important that he win, and not someone who will roll over or "incrementalize".
His love and sense of stewardship for future generations brands him the true grail king, if you will. The true champion of the people. and his related care and passion for the environment are a personal endorsement of the legend himself, Al Gore...who would certain play a key role in an Edwardian Renaissance.

May this speech be given wide distribution.
And may those on the fence go ahead and stand with John on this historic renaissance. link

You can see the DNC speech in its entirety at (it's about 27 minutes long)

Note: I am sorry that Senator Cliton was unable to give her speech at the DNC meeting due to the unfortunate circumstances in Rochester, N.H. yesterday. I'm personally glad to know that no one was hurt and commend the local police for their superb handling of the situation.

World AIDS Day 2007

FAITH's Renee Gadoua writes about Rev. Michael Bassano, a Roman Catholic Maryknoll priest who has volunteered at a Buddhist temple in Lopburi, Thailand, which houses a hospice and hospital that cares for patients with HIV/AIDS.

[..] Most people, their families have left them or dropped them off at the temple and never come back," he said. "I am their family."

He changes diapers, serves cold drinks, and massages the feet of the suffering.

As he bears witness with patients through illness and pain, Bassano is living Jesus' message to serve the least of our brothers and sisters and Buddha's call to compassion for all beings. [..]

[..] Stifled by stigma and ignorance, many families bring ill relatives to the temple's gates, leave them there and walk away. [..]

There is an audio interview with Rev. Bassano available here.


The Baltimore Sun recently did a feature on HIV researcher David Pauza of the University of Maryland's Institute of Human Virology. Dr. Pauza and his colleagues are testing an HIV vaccine candidate that could halt the spread of the virus. The vaccine would be triggered by a trait that the virus exhibits the moment that it attacks a healthy cell.


Syracuse-area native Richard Gere has received the ninth annual Marion Anderson award for, among his many humanitarian efforts, his work with Healing the Divide, a nonprofit dedicated to helping communities at home and abroad address social and cultural challenges such as HIV/AIDS awareness. The Heroes Project, co-Chaired by Richard Gere and Parmeshwar Godrej, seeks to harness India's communication power and potential to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and reduce stigma and discrimination.


Making the call for and a commitment to renewed leadership on the HIV/AIDS crisis, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says that this year’s World AIDS Day theme is ‘Keep the Promise – Leadership.’ She says it's a reminder that we all must do more and that opportunities exist for each of us to do more. Increases in new HIV infections and new AIDS cases in the U.S. will require stronger leadership. Speaker Pelosi points to this year's largest increase in seven years for the Ryan White initiative and pending increases for HIV prevention, the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS program, health research at the NIH, and the Early Treatment for HIV Act.


International Carnival of Pozitivities, the blog carnival dedicated to international news and diverse stories about those affected by, living with, fighting against, trying to prevent and educate, and dying from HIV/AIDS can be seen each month at contributors' blogs. Carnival creator Ron Hudson has shared his own thoughts on this World Aids Day.
Stigma associated with HIV/AIDS is one of the most pernicious aspects of this condition. You can help out by talking openly without hesitation about HIV/AIDS to those who might not normally see people living with HIV/AIDS in a positive light. You can share your personal stories with others about those you know and love who have been affected. You can wear your red ribbon and not just on December 1st.

Please do whatever you can to dispel the negative perceptions about people living with HIV/AIDS and help us recall the need for compassion, prevention and education. The virus is the enemy, not those who are infected.

HIV/AIDS related charities around the world need your help. You can volunteer your time, or you can make donations of goods, services or money. Perhaps one of the most rewarding ways you can help is to visit those who are in need of companionship and to spend time getting to know them and their life stories. Bring them dignity by listening, by holding their hands, and by sharing your hugs and compassion.

AIDS is not a one day event for those of us living with HIV. Please keep us in mind year round.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"quarterlife": New Web-Only Series

There' s a buzz out in the media about "quarterlife", a new made-for-web-only series produced by Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick [who produced the popular 80's television series "thirtysomething" and the film "Blood Diamond"]. "Quarterlife" is going to be unencumbered from many big network language constraints and from other content that some television networks might censor.

Here are some excerpts from a November L.A. Times article by David Sarno:

Web-only series? Yep. Audience?
By David Sarno, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 11, 2007


From the new quarterlife series:
Actors Bitsie Tulloch (L) and Scott Michael Foster (R)
Photo by Elizabeth Caren, Reuters

.. "Quarterlife" is about kids a few years out of college trying to find their way in the real world. It hopes to speak to college kids, in their own language and in a medium they can relate to.

.. Most of us over 25 are familiar with the work of Herskovitz and "quarterlife" co-writer Edward Zwick, the creative team behind "thirtysomething," the term-coiningly iconic TV series of the late 1980s, and "My So-Called Life," which, if its status as the best teenage drama ever is not universally agreed upon, then only a handful of people need their minds changed.

Having nailed the 30s in the '80s and the teens in the '90s, Herskovitz, 55, and Zwick, also 55, have left themselves with a difficult pair of decades in which to complete their epic of growing up: the 20s, and this one.

"Quarterlife" valiantly attempts to navigate a perilous strait: On one side it's a tale of young artist-types trying to get a handle on real-world living, and on the other it's an ambitious exploration of a new media genre whose waters are largely uncharted: the short-form Web drama. Which means that both its characters and its medium are experiencing rapid, whirling change on the one hand and a pervasive sense of uncertainty on the other.

.. Widely thought to be the most expensive Web-only TV show yet, "quarterlife" is financed by a combination of venture capitalists and advertisers, according to Herskovitz, who would not offer exact budget numbers. "Quarterlife" has advertising deals with Pepsi, Target and Toyota, and it's not a leap to guess who's riding shotgun, given that one of the show's main subplots has two young filmmakers making a commercial for a Toyota dealership.

Links to "quarterlfe" on the web:
quarterlife at MySpace
quarterlife at Youtube
quarterlife Group at Facebook [Care to join?]
quarterlife at imdb

Other articles:

'quarterlife' ready for Internet debut []

Show Series to Originate on MySpace [N.Y. Times/Michael Cieply]

"Quarterlife" highlights Web role in writer strike [Bob Tourtellotte , Reuters at]

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What Is Success In Iraq? Has Petraeus Won the War?

In Howard Kurtz's latest column, he quotes Christopher Hitchens as saying that the American left does not want to see U.S. success in Iraq. As a citizen who leans decidedly left in the Iraq War and can go on record as firmly supporting our troops - if not their neoconservative-flavored mission - I find this kind of statement to be personally defamatory and intellectually dishonest. I'm all for a nation that works together with a clear and informed eye in the hopes of formulating a better direction in our foreign policy. The divisive commentary of Mr. Hitchens is not welcome in my world. Every straight-thinking individual understands that any measure of overall American success in Iraq, in the end, will have been destined to be "in the eye of the beholder" and won't have been measured by any one benchmark met or by any one particular military surge in one isolated area of Iraq. Hitchens saying that anyone leaning (understandably, in my view) left on the Iraq war 'doesn't want success' says more, in my opinion, about Mr. Hitchen's political disdain for the left on the subject of a failed policy he's championed, embarrassingly at times, than it says for reality-based psychology on the left regarding U.S. foreign policy in Iraq.

There Are Wars and Rumors of Wars Yet to Come Within Iraq

Look at Iraq as it stands today. Kirkuk remains a powderkeg, its rich oil resources stuck in the focus of the lusting pupils of the oil companies. The Kurdish question hangs over us like a descending balloon made of more lead than a Chinese toy. A recent New Yorker piece titled 'Letter from Iraq: Inside the Surge', by Jon Lee Anderson forewarns us that there is a Shia-on-Shia civil war likely yet to come - fueled by the United States in their covert war with Iran for which the word "dipomacy" has fallen flat and the resulting and damaging influence of extremism in the region has been a result. This is far from over. Iraq will take decades to work themselves toward a government and political solution of their choosing. I suspect there will be years of civil war and political upheaval. The important thing is helping our leaders to understand that we believe real success will come only when we end our occupation and engage, encourage and convince all nations in the region to eschew extremism.

In the Face of Today's Realties in Iraq, Americans Deserve Better Than An MSM Good-News Surge

The facts and figures with which the mainstream press, including the influential New York Times, is barraging the American public in a recent 'good-news surge' has me remaining rationally skeptical. I watched the New York Times, wittingly or not, politically help the Bush administration to reach a tipping point on favorable public opinion in regard to making pre-emptive war in Iraq in 2002. That unfortunate cheerleading-warm-up-by-media is now and will likely remain a decided black mark on the Times' (and most of their media followers') record for investigative credibility.

Tell me why I should trust the New York Times headline telling me that things are better now when I know that, even if U.S. combat troops were pulled out in six months to a year (and I think there's no better alternative), that there has been careful deception played out on the army of General Petraeus by those who have tribal vendettas to settle in the name of supporting U.S. troops in places like Ghazaliya - these vendettas having nothing to do with al Qaeda in Iraq. Jon Lee Anderson of the New Yorker recently told the story of just one new Iraqi recruit who decided to support the U.S. so that he could cut body parts off the remains of 100 men from the Mahdi Army he'd sworn to kill in order to avenge his dead brother.

When I think about success in Iraq, I could never wrap a moral fabric around what I see is the advantage of using the culture, the anger, and the sorrow of those embroiled in a civil war of which my own countrymen have no complete cultural knowledge and of which, regarding foreign policy, my country is implict in fomenting civil war in order to achieve politically-sought acceptance of the so-called success.

Political Success? What Political Success?

Bear in mind that we haven't even begun to talk about the absence of political success here. That's another story altogether.. and most recently was discussed last night by Juan Cole and Feisal Istrabadi on Jim Lehrer's News Hour on PBS.

Newsroom Editors Should Be Capable of Asking Readers to Think More Critically Than the Bush Administration Asks of the Public

How does a mainstream news editorial staff put this kind of hard truth down in an editorial? How do they resist becoming the stenopads they allowed themselves to become in 2002? Do they exist and do their jobs exist only to make this war as morally palatable as possible? Do they realze that the many of the Sunnis we praise today for their support in the surge want to see the Shi'ites cleansed from Baghdad? Do they make the public understand that the Bush administration is so worried about the Republican party maintaining control in the 2008 presidential election that their need to find the cheapest kind of success is urgent to them? To be able to draw down troops in time for the next big election, they're all too willing to allow the military to accept their newfound Sunni allies in the surge at face value..without adequately checking their backgrounds? Have we forgotten about a man named Curveball, the shady character of whom the Bush administration all too willingly allowed to lead the way with false intelligence in the rush to war in Iraq?

But Really - What's Reality, Anyhow?

Howard Kurtz points to a blogger at RedState named Pejman Yousefzadeh who wonders out-loud,
..why it is that the 'reality-based community' hasn't taken much notice of these improvements. Or why it wants once again to short-circuit them with yet another debate over withdrawal that is destined to fail being planned in Congress."

I'd suggest to Mr. Yousefzadeh that reality, in the end, is not always easy to face when anyone, including himself, has a ideological log ripping out their eye. He seems to see the debate about U.S. troop withdrawal as the old red-herring (enforced by too many false-framers) called 'surrender and disengage.' That's the farthest result that I'd expect a new and clear-eyed focus on a change of course on U.S. foreign policy would have the capacity to achieve. Where Mr. Yousefzadeh sees the glass as empty on a new foreign policy focus on Iraq, I see it as full of chances for a more lasting and socially just success - not only for Iraq and the United States, but for the better interests of the entire region.

Temporary stability has been achieved by General Petraeus in such a way that his men and women can do their best to say, with pride, that they found a way to succeed for their Commander in Chief. What they're doing has been done so that they can come back home with honor. General Petraeus has my respect, and I understand that he's had a tough job to do and that the policy that has failed to bring about an Iraqi political solution has never been his foreign policy.

He Did What Was Asked. Now Let's Put People Like Petraeus Where They Can Be of Best Use..With the Best Civilian Leadership

I long to see General Petraeus in a place where he can make the best difference for all of us, and I don't think it's where he is today. I somehow trust that he'd agree with me on this point where many decidedly misguided right-leaning bloggers would not. My words stand in black and white before my readers. I'm secure in knowing that General Petraeus - and others like him - are out there. They deserve new and wiser civilian leadership with an eye on true, meaningful, and lasting success.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

NC Baptists expel Charlotte church over gays, local churches quit in protest

Delegates to the annual meeting of the N.C. Baptist State Convention voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to expel Charlotte's Myers Park Baptist for welcoming gays and lesbians without trying to change them. [..] Six other churches out of more 4,000, including three in Charlotte, quit the Baptist State Convention to protest those rules. The six called them a violation of local autonomy. [..] The vote to expel Myers Park Baptist came after two leaders of the church called on the convention to open their hearts to homosexuals who want to worship with them and to respect local Baptist churches' autonomy."Jesus welcomed those considered outcasts and sinners by his culture and religion," the Rev. Stephen Shoemaker, senior minister at Myers Park Baptist, said from the podium. "We hope we live in his spirit."

Excerpts from: N.C. Baptists expel Myers Park church by Tim Funk, Charlotte Observer Nov. 14, 2007

In a recent WCNC news story, it's been reported that, because the convention's leadership has become increasingly dominated by biblical literalists, historical colleges, retirement homes and a women's missions organization were expected to part ways with the N.C. Baptist State Convention.

You can read Myers Park Baptist's Reverend H. Stephen Shoemaker's recent compelling sermon on the need for the Church to go beyond both the fundamentalism which is tearing away the connective comminal fabric of the NC Baptist Convention and modernism here. On the seron, he states,

"We are called to be non-conformist in the cause of the kingdom of God."

What do you think about this?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Harry Taylor is Running for U.S. Congress

Remember how Harry Taylor stood up and spoke his mind to President Bush at a town hall meeting in Charlotte, N.C. in 2006?

You should read about what he's doing now. My news about Harry Taylor can be seen at Note: The respectful look on the faces of the audience in Norman Rockwell's portrait of healthy democracy at work in our nation's town halls is not the same look on the faces of the carefully screened audience in Charlotte on the day Harry stood and said, in his own way, 'No more.'

Abortion Hater Endorses Abortion Embracer

Just when you thought you'd heard it all.

The news that evangelical leader Pat Robertson will endorse the GOP candidate Rudy Giuliani, as Chris Cillizza reports this morning at The Fix, is hypocrisy at its most obvious. I guess anything goes in the name of politics .. even a religious leader's allegedly most closely-held religious values.

Everything gets watered down for the sake of partisan politics. In Pat Robertson's world, the moment he endorses longtime social liberal Rudy Giuliani for POTUS should be the moment he's struck by lightning from above and burnt to a crisp like Satan's bacon strips on the side of all the fertilized eggs Rudy has played a political part in sending his way.
Saty Waitin' on Pat

Monday, November 05, 2007

Active Duty Fort Drum Soldier Protests Iraq War

I took this photo
of Phil Aliff on September 29th
in Syracuse, N.Y., where he was the first active duty soldier (and Iraq war vet) to publicly denounce the U.S. foreign policy in Iraq and participate in an IVAW chapter.

See my post from September

Excerpt from:

US soldiers shy from battle in Iraq
By Dahr Jamail

Read entire article here

WATERTOWN, New York - Iraq war veterans now stationed at a base here in upstate New York say that morale among US soldiers in the country is so poor, many are simply parking their Humvees and pretending to be on patrol, a practice dubbed "search and avoid" missions.

Phil Aliff is an active duty soldier with the 10th Mountain Division stationed at Fort Drum. He served nearly one year in Iraq from August 2005 to July 2006, in the areas of Abu Ghraib and

Fallujah, both west of Baghdad.

"Morale was incredibly low," said Aliff, adding that he joined the military because he was raised in a poor family by a single mother and had few other prospects. "Most men in my platoon in Iraq were just in from combat tours in Afghanistan."

According to Aliff, their mission was to help the Iraqi army "stand up" in the Abu Ghraib area of western Baghdad, but in fact his platoon was doing all the fighting without support from the Iraqis they were supposedly preparing to take control of the security situation.

"I never heard of an Iraqi unit that was able to operate on their own," said Aliff, who is now a member of the group Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). "The only reason we were replaced by an Iraqi army unit was for publicity."

Aliff said he participated in roughly 300 patrols. "We were hit by so many roadside bombs we became incredibly demoralized, so we decided the only way we wouldn't be blown up was to avoid driving around all the time."

"So we would go find an open field and park, and call our base every hour to tell them we were searching for weapons caches in the fields and doing weapons patrols and everything was going fine," he said, adding, "All our enlisted people became very disenchanted with our chain of command."

Aliff, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), refused to return to Iraq with his unit, which arrived in Kirkuk two weeks ago. "They've already lost a guy, and they are now fostering the sectarian violence by arming the Sunnis while supporting the Shi'ites politically ... classic divide and conquer."

Aliff told Inter Press Service (IPS) he is set to be discharged by the military next month because they claim his PTSD "is untreatable by their doctors".

Phil is on the far right with fellow Iraq War veterans/members of IVAW
Photo by Jude Nagurney Camwell

Zogby Urges Return to Iraq Study Group Recommendations

Dr. James Zogby, the president of the Arab American Institute in Washington, DC, believes that the war in Iraq is far from over - and may soon get worse. He says it could and should have been foreseen. All the warning signs were there. In Northern Iraq, the file of historical grievances of the Kurdish people has been opened and it won't close anytime soon.

Over the past decade, Iraq's Kurds have prospered under a US-protected umbrella. With the collapse of the regime in Baghdad, Kurdish hopes of expanding their autonomy grew, and with it, their ambition as well. The Kurdish Provisional Authority (KPA) has become, for all intents and purposes, a state within a failing state. With its own flag and military, and its own Washington representation, the KPA is moving inexorably towards independence.

When Dr. Zogby refers to the KPA's "own Washington representation," this story (from the WaPo) is a good part of what he's talking about. I have written [in 2005, in 2006, in 2007] about my deep concerns about the conflict of ethics and interest when well-paid K-Street lobbyists become de-facto U.S. diplomats in war-torn regions. It's akin to letting Blackwater fight our nation's wars. It's against every democratic principle intended by the Founding Fathers to keep our Republic from falling into a state of corruption and oligarchy.

Dr. Zogby revisits the Iraq Study Group recommendations, surely making neoconservatives shiver as he invokes the name of their Straussian devil known as the U.N. This idea acknowledges an interdependent world, but threatens the hijack-hold the neocons still have on U.S. foreign policy, thanks to the Presient's delusions of one-day historic greatness, and the intellectual shortcomings and raw partisan ambitions of the Bush administration and the U.S. Republican party:

With Turkey and Iran both bombing Kurdish positions within the KPA and threatening an even greater response if the insurgent groups are not controlled, the US sees the possibility that its one Iraqi success story may give way to the opening of a new front in what will become an even more complicated war.

This all should have been understood before the war began, but was not. And that is why one of the principal recommendations of the Iraq Study Group is as valid today as when it was written. And that is the necessity of creating a regional security pact to bring together all the component groups inside Iraq, along with Iraq's neighbours, under the auspices of the UN, so that problems of this sort are not tackled piece meal. Iraq's neighbours have a direct stake in the stability and unity of Iraq and are better made partners towards that goal than a collection of allies and rivals.

There is a new framework from which the UN could be instrumental in resolving the Kurdish question. Recently passed (without a 'YES' vote from the United States) was the Human Rights Council Resolution on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples [pdf]. It's a declaration that could give indigenous peoples like the Kurds a valuable tool even though, still imperfect, the agreement’s non-binding nature leaves indigenous peoples to rely upon the political will of nation states as each respective state creates a framework for working with their indigenous populations. A great leader would take Dr. Zogby's advice and go back to the Iraq Study Group recommendations and implement the new UN Declaration framework in a way that would bring an end to U.S. occupationand bring peace to the region and fairness to the Kurds by involving and placing responsibility with all of Iraq's neighbors.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Pakistan is a Powderkeg

This isn't the first time I've said it. Look it up on a Google Search:


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Lions For Lambs - Film Review

I predict that the new Robert Redford-directed film Lions for Lambs [United Artists] will be far more popular with a segment of bloggers, political junkies, media, and high schools/college campuses than with the general movie market masses. The conversation in the film is intense and action scenes are few and far between.

There are six distinctly differing points of view presented in the film; everyone's view as valid as the next; representative of today's political viewpoints on the war on terror. The beauty of this film is that it draws in all aspects of human nature as we struggle together to weave our way through the complex questions (asked and all too often left unasked) about the wars in which our nation becomes engaged.

Arian [Derek Luke] and Ernest [Michael Pena] play two university students on a western U.S. campus who are sparked to do something meaningful with their own lives by the inspiration and idealism of their professor Dr. Malley [Robert Redford]. Dr. Malley is a Vietnam-draftee-cum-60s-war-protestor whose most severe injury from the battles fought is a deep forehead scar from being hit with a bottle while protesting stateside.

What the two students choose to do with their lives deeply concerns Dr. Malley [Redford]. They enlist in the Army and are sent to the front lines of the war in Afghanistan. He is obviously torn - as many good American citizen are torn today as a result of the confusion, the near-curse of an overabundance of viewponts, mistrust in a media that causes the typical citizen to care more about Britney's vagina than the sacrifices being made by volunteers in the U.S. military, anger, and even complacency after a young person decides that it's fruitless to try to make a change in the world. The fate that befalls Arian [Luke)] and Ernest [Pena] will leave the audience to think about the contrasts surrounding brotherhood, friendship, patriotism, education, critical thinking, and questioning the information produced by a corporate media whose owners' primary concern is selling lightbulbs and soap rather than expecting their journalists to investigate key stories based on the journalist's experience and informed intuition.

Janine Roth [Meryl Streep] plays such an experienced journalist who is 57, menopausal (flicking the thermostat down/complaining about the heat in her office), not quite ready to be able to retire because she's an adult-caregiver to her ailing aged mother (and her boss understands her dilemma and takes advantage of it). She has the kind of conscience that is gnawing away at her; guilty about the possibility that she "sold herself out" in a professional sense by working for mainstream corporate media. The wily young hot-shot Republican Senator Jasper Irving [Tom Cruise] takes full advantage of invoking that guilt during an hour-long interview he's exclusively granted to Janine Roth [Streep]...just to get her to report his talking points - and report them unfiltered. This is a nightmare for those who care about journalism's code of ethics. Janine Roth doesn't want to be used as a steno-pad for Senator Irving's talking points, but she's caught in a complicated human struggle as a woman who feels guilty to have written prior puff-pieces on Senator Irving; guilty for having contributed to the mainstream media's unquestioning drumbeat for war at the war's outset; and guilty for having to professionally block out the all-important lessons she'd learned from the Vietnam era in the new world of competitive commercial media.

I believe that once the public has a chance to see the film, the primary impact of the movie's message will have been on young people who connect with the character Todd Hayes, played by Andrew Garfield. Seeing great potential in Todd Hayes, Dr. Malley says to the gifted student who seems to have lost interest in his studies, "The problem's not with the people who started this war. The problem's with us - - all of us - - who do nothing." It seems that Dr. Malley, after seeing two of his prized students heading off to a very confusing war - which was something that took him off-guard - is seeking some human redemption himself, perhaps on behalf of his own and prior generations of Americans that never 'got it right', by raising Todd Hayes to be the best that he can be in his own way.

We see, throughout the movie, the time on the clock. There is the clock in Senator Irving's office during the hour he's "gifted" to Janine Roth for an exclusive story filled with talking points that all-too easily and quickly seem to reach today's headlines and the there is the time on the clock during the important hour-long discussion that Dr. Malley has set aside especially for imploring Todd Hayes [Garfield] to think about his future. By contrast, we see no timeline for troops in Afghanistan who loyally follow orders passed down to them by people in shadows....people who may or may not have the nation's interests in mind more than their own personally political or party-specific interests.

This is the first production from the new United Artists, reborn last year through a new partnership that includes Tom Cruise. It was written by Matthew Michael Carnahan.


In an interview with Stephanie Jevtic of the Chicago Flame, Robert Redford had this to say about the film:

SJ: What does "Lions for Lambs" suggest for our generation, to make a difference? What did you want us to notice, to examine more in order to understand the concept of the film?

Robert Redford: The film suggests for you guys to have a role in your future. Step up to the plate because things will be worse without you. We made a solid choice not to lean heavy on issues. But we wanted to ask people, is there anything you recognize on the issues in the film? Is there a pattern you see and if you know it and how it goes, are you willing to do something about it? To stop it and make a difference? To make a difference, pay attention to who's out there. Show concern about your country and who's running it. Winning is more important than anything now. That's bad criteria for a leadership. Look underneath; the film shows an arc of history which I lived through: World War II, McCarthyism, Watergate, Iran-Contra and now the war in Iraq. And those leaders who caused or didn't do anything to stop these things keep coming back to power and you wonder, why do they keep repeating themselves? Look at history, there is a mindset that shows up. We've got the same deal now that we've always had and which we keep repeating.

UPDATE: A visit to the YouTube Lions for Lambs website will enable you to vote for the video you support most in the "WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR?" contest. You can take part in enabling the winning video's creator to get to help choose what charity should receive $25,000 and have his/her video featured on the YouTube homepage.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Energy Bill 2007 - We Must Act Before It's Too Late

If you care about America's environmental future and reducing our reliance on oil (and having the kind of energy security that would serve to avoid the kind of war we're seeing in Iraq today), then you need to ensure that the final Energy Bill that will soon be going to President Bush will include the Senate-passed 35 mile-per-gallon fuel economy standard along with the House-passed 15 percent renewable electricity standard. You should consider anything else unacceptable. We don't have another ten years to get it wrong then start over.

The 35 mpg fuel economy standard, an increase from the current 27 mpg average, would require that the use of biofuels climb to 36 billion gallons by 2022; it would set penalties for gasoline price-gouging; and it would give the government new powers to investigate oil companies' pricing.

Benefits that would come with passing the 15 percent renewable electricity standard would be lower electric bills, cleaner air, and more homegrown energy.

These practical initiatives woukd save each American family money on the cost of gasoline and electricity, create new jobs, and reduce America's global warming pollution.

Urge Congress to Pass a Strong Clean Energy Bill!

The Sierra Club, U.S. PIRG, National Audubon Society, and Physicians for Social Responsibility have launched an ad outlining seven key principles for new global warming and energy policies. These principles are meant to set a standard for Congress as it moves forward with landmark energy and global warming legislation to ensure bills they pass actually make real and verifiable progress on stabilizing the climate, improve the economy, keep and create jobs, benefit the public and reform the energy sector.

Reform energy policy: New national energy policies should encourage efficiency, innovation, competition, and fairness. We need more aggressive energy efficiency policies for electricity and buildings, increased CAFE standards like those passed by the Senate, and the renewable electricity standard included in the House energy bill.

Promote a clean energy future: Invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy to create new industries and good jobs here at home.

Cap and cut carbon emissions to science-based levels: Science tells us in order to prevent the worst impacts of global warming we must start cutting global warming pollution by 2012, with reductions in total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions of at least 15 to 20 percent below current levels by 2020 and 80 percent by mid-century.

Use all public assets for public benefit: The value of carbon permits should benefit the public--through auctions or other mechanisms--not generate windfalls for polluting industries. Free allocations, if any, must be limited to a short transition period.

Ensure a just transition: Allowances should be used to help finance a just transition that keeps and creates jobs, reduces impacts on low-and moderate-income citizens, and mitigates harm to affected workers and communities.

Provide aid to adapt to an altered climate: Allowances should be used to help distressed and impoverished people around the world, as well as wildife and ecosystems in the face of global warming’s varied threats.

Manage costs without breaking the cap. "Safety valves" and other devices that break the cap on emissions must not be allowed. Any offsets must be real, surplus, verifiable, permanent, and enforceable.

Sierra Club (pdf)

Send a letter to the editor: Congress can't slow down on clean energy.

Listen to Chief Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan, Onondaga Nation, who is my neighbor and a prominent citizen here in Onondaga County and who has long been a leader on environmental issues. He says that the nations of the world must mobilize now to deal with global warming by changing human habit of reliance on fossil fuels. He stresses that we must change our values if we are to survive. The Energy 2007 Bill would show that we are willing to begin to walk the path of values-change.

Urge Congress to Pass a Strong Clean Energy Bill!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Only Bible's OK in OK. Why? Christianity Never Killed Anyone.

I don't have an end-all solution, but the answer to mitigating the gap dividing hearts and minds is not to return to the Crusades mentality.

In 2003, Lt. General Jerry Boykin, then-undersecretary of defense for U.S. intelligence, said this about a Muslim fighter in Somalia who'd said on television the Americans would never "get him" because his God, Allah, would protect him: "I knew my God was bigger than his...I knew that my God was a real god.... and his was an idol...The battle that we're in is a spiritual battle....and [Satan] wants to destroy us as a Christian army."

I agree with something Bono said in the book Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas (Riverhead Books):
"Religion can be the enemy of God. It's often what happens when God, like Elvis, has left the building. A list of instructions where there was once conviction; dogma where once people just did it; a congregation led by a man where once they were led by the Holy Spirit. Discipline replacing discipleship."
It's time for Elvis God to leave the building in Oklahoma. They can't handle the enormity of God, and God cannot risk being misrepresented by the politically small-minded.

I'm a Christian and an American citizen who is sick of bigotry and ignorance in a world that requires us to love if we are to survive as one. How about you? Look at the story below about some Oklahoma legislators that are rejecting the Quaran while selectively forgetting that grave wrongs have been done in the name of the tome they call the Good Book. I've added some hand-picked illustrations.

- Jude

"Most Oklahomans do not endorse the idea of killing innocent women and children in the name of ideology," Rep. Rex Duncan said.

- From AP/Raw Story Oklahoma lawmakers return copies of Quran, say it 'condones' killing innocent people

Oklahoma lawmakers also received a copy of the Bible earlier this year from The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.

"It's one of the nicest things I've received in my three years in the Legislature," Duncan said of the Bible.

Photos: Crusades(top), Inquisition (left), Salem witch trials (right)


I'm angry to see governments using the name of God to divide us. I'll admit to you that my own life is Christ-centered. To me, a government pandering to Christians is a component of Godless and cold motives; more capable of bringing wars than establishing the peace for which the faith aims.

Not to have you believe I am mocking a faith that provides the opportunity to be worthy of the grace that lights our all-too-dark world, here's a video of a regular yet exemplary citizen named Tom Wheeler who was touched by God in a way that has served to heal his fellow man rather than to wield division. I am overcome by the amazing effects of this one simple act of love for which Tom Wheeler sacrificed what many of us would call the easy life.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Heaven-Hating Hitchens Hails Islamofascism

If anyone asks me why I take Christopher Hitchens' intellectualized-up [Iddybudspeak for dog-doodoo wrapped up in college-lined paper] defense of the ridiculous anti-intellectual term Islamofascism with a grain of salt, it's because I know - given the fact that Hitchens eschews religion [have you read his book?] - that it's a hell of a lot more simple for this intellectual to throw the totally unrelated terms Islam and fascism together when he already harbors a wicked disdain for both.

Assholeofascism is a term that strikes closer to the truth. Leave the good religion of Islam out of it and we'll look a hell of a lot less like the Crusaders we've apeared to have been these past six years, where God's-voice--to-Fearless-Leader's-ear has caused unnecessary war and suffering of the innocent ... enough to warrant 70,000,000 tickets to eternal damnation. You'd think, if Hitchens was really all that clever and truly believed religion is a poison, that he might see that he's allowing himself to be stuck in the middle of a strange and dangerous religious tug of war. He's defending a term [Islamofascism] that blasts one established religion while huddling in the corner with the extremist Judeo-Christians of the neoconservative cult.


Crooks and Liars - It’s “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week”
C’mon, kiddies, let’s put out the decorations and bake a cake!....Remind me again how many times these neo-cons have been right? Oh that’s right, zero. I’m sure parents will be thrilled to know their tuition dollars are going towards instilling ignorance, hate and fear in their children.

Will Bunch has the whole sordid affair.

Will Bunch - Attytood: It's the most wonderful time of the year: Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week

This is why Rick Santorum was placed on God's formerly green earth, because were it not for my former senator (R-Leesburg, Va., McMansion) I might have totally missed Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. [..]

[..] As an actual college professor, Juan Cole of the University of Michigan, has noted, the Islamo-Fascism label makes no sense:

Fascism is not even a very good description of the ideology of most Muslim fundamentalists. Most fascism in the Middle East has been secular in character, as with Saddam Hussein's Baath Party. Fascism involves extreme nationalism and most often racism. Muslim fundamentalist movements reject the nation-state as their primary loyalty and reject race as a basis for political action or social discrimination. Fascists exalt the state above individual rights or the rule of law. Muslim fundamentalists exalt Islamic law above the utilitarian interests of the state. Fascism exalts youth and a master race above the old and the "inferior" races. Muslim fundamentalists would never speak this way.

Take a Good Look on Y'own Backyard:
From a prior post on my Iddybud blog on the topic of fascism

- Bora Zivkovic, a progressive blogger who I have had the opportunity to meet many times, has an important story and lesson for all of us. He and his family have been through a shameful time in human history - the Holocaust - a time when many of them didn't make it through to the other side with their lives. If you cannot trust the perspective of a person who has lost 42 members of his family to state-sanctioned murder, than I suggest that you may not be capable of trusting anyone. At the beginning of the crisis in the Balkans in 1991, Bora points to the fact that the Israeli press had recognized what the Westerners did not - the fascistic nature of Franjo Tudjman's new government in Croatia, and the reason is because the Jews have decided to never again become an invisible people whose persecution could escape the consciousness of humankind. Warning signs of fascism can come in the forms of underlying ideology "which can be coated in whatever symbols people are already used to - and proud of - including the American flag."
Bora says,
"Neither Nazism nor Stalinism sprung up suddenly out of nowhere. Both built up gradually, over the years, slowly acclimating the populations to the ever-increasing levels of totalitarianism, and utilizing the fears and emotional insecurity of the few to rein in the many....

....If you look at The 14 Defining Characteristics Of Fascism you will recognize that all 14 are at some stage of implementation by the current US government....


Think about this "warning sign" of fascism:
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights -

Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
Now read Peter Bergen's new TNR piece that showcases the fruitlessness of such a reach around the rule of law for power's sake:
Daniel Coleman, a former FBI special agent who dealt with Mohamed and is regarded as one of the nation’s leading authorities on Al Qaeda, recalls that "it took two years to get him to the point where we could safely say that he was reliable and not leading us on." But, eventually, he did -- and physical coercion was not involved. "There is no need to use anything else other than the full legal scope and power of the justice system," Coleman says of his approach to interrogations. "To go outside of that is completely unnecessary."

Indeed, Coleman thinks the Bush administration’s treatment of captured terrorists -- holding so many outside the traditional justice system at Guantánamo while authorizing interrogation techniques that some observers would consider torture -- has been largely a bust. He told me that most of the information he saw coming out of Guantánamo until his retirement in 2004 "was of no particular value."

- Peter Bergen, War of Error

Larisa Alexandrovna has a related post featured at Raw Story titled Theater of the Absurd

Getting back to Hitchens and his ridiculous defense of the dumb term Islamofascism:

The 14 Defining Characteristics Of Fascism
Rule 3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

David Horowitz playing stupid human tricks to get the masses to buy his term...expected. Hitchens swallowing it lock, stock, and allegedly-smart person falling into the trappings of fascism.

Enough said?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Stand Warned - Giuliani Dumber Than Bush

When he spoke in Syracuse, I heard the New Yorker's Sy Hersh say that he believed our nation's foreign policy was hijacked by a handful of neoconseratives at the beginning of this century. This cult of misguided ideologues has gotten us into an unnecessary war and still holds sway with our President. If there's one undeniable truth, it's that the consequence of this cult-hijacking of U.S. foreign policy is the death of the public's assumption of good faith in Bush's leadership.

This brings us to the puzzling and - yes - shocking news being delivered in a well-informed yet delightfully snarky way by Josh Marshall of TPM.

Of Patriotism and the Army of a King

Just imagine for a moment, if you will, being asked to honor the veterans of a King's private and enriched army in your own country where the ones we've long honored have looked like these men and women.

Photo by Jude Nagurney Camwell

At Frameshop, Jeffrey Feldman speaks out about Blackwater and the telltale signs of President Bush setting up the kind of army that acts as if it is his own. What does "patriotism" mean when you can clearly see the American tradition of constitutional power being turned over, as a farmer treats the fallow soil of his fields, and the seeds of a privatized army loyal only to a President and his particular foreign policy are sown?

To whom and to what do we owe our patriotism? Do we owe it to longstanding American and democratic tradition ... or do we owe it to the army of one man who appears to deem himself king over a land that has adopted freedom through a careful system of checks and balances as its hallmark of continuity?


Blackwater and its kind are different. They are not just soldiers, not just police. They are lines of loyalty bought, paid for and hidden from public view by the obfuscating jargon of Federal budgets. Their loyalty is sternly vertical, extending through the CEO to the President in a perfect reinvention of vassal obligation.

Blackwater may be 'boots on the ground' in Iraq or Katrina, but in political terms they are an extension of the king's body.

Royal power extends from the king to the people, from top down, but it cannot unfold if the army belongs to the people and not to the king. As Machiavelli described it, mercenaries and auxiliary armies can help extend rule for a short period of time, but for the will of the prince to become the will of the state, the king must make the army 'his own.'

Jeffrey Feldman, Frameshop: The Prince

Monday, October 22, 2007


The apartments where this cat strayed were torn down this summer. I would look for him each time I visited the Morningside apartments in Charlotte. I am haunted....not knowing what became of him. I wish someone would see this very photo of him, by some wild chance, and tell me he's okay...that he has a home.

Chris Trapper at the Redhouse, Syracuse

Chris Trapper doing tricky things with his guitar strings

Chris Trapper
Redhouse, Syracuse N.Y.
October 13, 2007

Chris belting out a pretty tune with the help of his white guitar

Hadley, Cheney, & God

Scott Ritter
Photo by Jude Nagurney Camwell, taken in Syracuse 9-29-07

What do National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, Vice President Dick Cheney, and God have in common? Find out by reading former U.N. Special Commission chief inspector Scott Ritter's opinion piece [available at Truthout]. Excerpt:

The issue of Iran is a national problem which requires a collective debate, discussion and dialogue inclusive of all the facts, and stripped of all ideology and theocracy which would seek to deny reasoned thought conducted within a framework of accepted laws and ideals. It is grossly irresponsible of an American president to invoke the imagery of World War III without first sharing with the American people the framework of thought that produced such a comparison.

Edwards & Gore on Iraq at (Current comes to Converge South)

Former VP Al Gore and 2008 presidential candidate John Edwards have made videos for where they've expressed their opinions about the Iraq War.

Related: comes to Greensboro, N.C.

Saskia Wilson Brown of

Current's Brandon Gross (on right) with co-panelist Jason McHugh (CrapTV)

Saskia Wilson-Brown and Brandon Gross of appeared at the 2007 Converge South conference held at North Carolina A & T University in Greensboro this past weekend. Photo by Jude Nagurney Camwell (Iddybud).

My set of photos from Converge South
Go to the link to see larger versions of the photos below.

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ConvergeSouth 2007 Flickr Group
Technorati Results for ConvergeSouth2007
Anthology of Converge South postings [by David Beckwith]
Posted at by Saskia Wilson-Brown