Saturday, May 19, 2007

Bono: We Can Be the Generation that Ends Extreme Poverty

The last minute or two of Bono's NAACP humanitarian award speech is so powerful. Please watch this. He begins, "To those in the church who still stand in judgement of the AIDS emergency, let me climb into the pulpit with you for just a moment...."


"I grew up in Ireland, and when I grew up, Ireland was divided along religious lines, sectarian lines. Young people like me were parched for the vision that poured out of pulpits of Black America. And the vision of a Black reverend from Atlanta, a man who refused to hate because he knew love would do a better job. These ideas travel, you know, and they reached me clear as any tune and lodged in my brain like a song, I couldn’t shake that...."

"I know that America hasn’t solved all of its problems and I know AIDS is still killing people right here in America, and I know the hardest hit are African-Americans, many of them young women. Today at a church in Oakland, I went to see such extraordinary people with this lioness here, Barbara Lee, took me around and with her pastor J. Alfred Smith – and may I say that it was the poetry and the righteous anger of the Black church that was such an inspiration to me, a very white, almost pink, Irish man growing up in Dublin."

" those in the church who still sit in judgment on the AIDS emergency, let me climb into the pulpit for just one moment. Because whatever thoughts we have about God, who He is, or even if God exists, most will agree that God has a special place for the poor. The poor are where God lives. God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house."

"God is where the opportunity is lost and lives are shattered.

"God is with the mother who has infected her child with a virus that will take both their lives."

"God is under the rubble in the cries we hear during wartime. God, my friends, is with the poor. And God is with us if we are with them."

"This is not a burden, this is an adventure."

"Don’t let anyone tell you it cannot be done. We can be the generation that ends extreme poverty."


*Thanks to Weekend Fisher for transcript.


International Carnival Of Pozitivities - Edition 11

Be sure to see Steve Schalchlin's edition of the International Carnival of Pozitivities. [LINK] It's issue number 11 and its filled with the stories of those living with or loving someone with HIV/AIDS. I was moved by this revelation from 2sides2ron's guest writer Robin Hope, who describes the joy and the struggles of adopting an HIV positive baby:
"The ignorance that still floats around is amazing . My daughter comes home from school and relays to me how some kids in her health class still believe that you will get AIDS just from being in the same room. Ashley wants to stand up and scream, but instead she screams silently, afraid of the repercussions if she were to disclose her diagnosis."

Boston Legal: Are We Really OK With It All?

Is this fictional? Basically, yes, it is. Did the writers make, through James Spader's character, any good points in this fictional story? Basically, yes, I believe that they did.

Jimmy Carter Blasts Blair for Subservience

Former US President Jimmy Carter has criticised outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair for his "blind" support of the war in Iraq. BBC link "...Carter told the BBC Mr Blair's backing for US President George W Bush had been 'apparently subservient'. He said the UK's "almost undeviating" support for 'the ill-advised policies of President Bush in Iraq had been a major tragedy for the world'."

Giuliani and Fox News Still Fooling People

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."

- George Orwell

Watch what Rudy Giuliani does in this YouTube segment from the recent Fox News debate. He takes Ron Paul's statement about the blowback that can be expected from U.S. interventionist policy in IRAQ, a country of whose government had no link to 911, and employs faux outrage, turning it all around to his own survival on the day 19 hijackers, mostly of Saudi Arabian nationality, flew airliners into the towers in New York City. Moderator and Fox News reporter Wendell Goler, whether willingly or not, falls right into the trap and extends further inquiry based on Guiliani's false talking points. This is how misinformation/disinformation is spread. Note that Giuliani's faux outrage was over whether or not the U.S. "invited the 9/11 attack", even though Ron Paul never said such a thing at all. It was FOX News correspondent, Wendell Goler, who engineered that phrasing when he interrupted Ron Paul as he gave his position.

In truth, I believe Ron Paul is right on this. [It doesn't take an Einstein to see why we no longer have a military presence in Saudi Arabia.] I have been blogging about it for many years now, so this is not a new argument for me to be defending.

Read, for example, my posting about an interview with Karen Kwiatkowski, who put in 20 years in the U.S. military; was a former deputy undersecretary of defense for the NESA; has become a vocal critic of the war in Iraq and of U.S. Middle East policy; who holds a master's degree in government from Harvard and another one in science management from the University of Alaska.

An excerpt from Dr. Kwiatkowski's interview will reveal the likely reasons why we are in Iraq today. As most people in America know by this time, they were not the reasons offered by their own government, in whom they had - most unfortunately in this case - placed their trust:
It was not about terrorism, WMD, or saving the people of Iraq from a cruel dictator. Some of our allies are cruel dictators, support and fund terrorism, and sell lots of WMD (Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and others). It was not solely about oil as a material item, but it was about placement (permanently) of troops and U.S. bases in the oil-producing region such that we are in a position to control those nations' management (or mismanagement in our eyes) of the oil. It is also about ensuring that OPEC remains on a petro dollar standard. As a heavily-in-debt and debtor nation, it is important to keep demand for dollars globally high among the world central banks. If petroleum is traded on dollars, then central banks will ensure they have plenty of dollars in reserve and not euros or other less useful currency. Iraq had switched to the euro from the dollar for their oil (Iraq in November 2000, before 9/11). OPEC meetings had occasionally discussed this as well. Also, as a way to decrease our military footprint in Saudi Arabia, we needed alternative bases nearby, and Iraq not only provided an ability to leave Saudi Arabia, which we are doing now; it allows us to leverage Iran and Syria militarily with ease. Lastly, this presence in Baghdad of an Israel-friendly force, and the construction of the Mosul-Haifa pipeline that was reputedly begun last summer, and possibly other pipelines to the Haifa oil refinery, can serve as an economic and military security benefit for Israel, our longtime ally in the Middle East.

Clearly, the reasons given to Congress and the American people publicly were not the real reasons—but real reasons do exist if you view the globe as your property, inhabited by people that have no right to govern themselves. The neoconservatives talk about democracy, but most have a deeply rooted contempt for it.

See Karen Kwiatkowski's latest column, in which she proudly avers, "Ron Paul Rocks!" She believes that "Rudy Guiliani has the biggest reptilian brain of all the candidates."

The fact that there are still Republicans putting an official rubber stamp on Bush's veto-prone ways stems from a negligence so powerfully wrong and self-interested that, to my way of thinking about social justice, it borders on the criminal. There is also a decided lack of moral conviction and action from too many Democrats who how hold real power to defund this war as endowed to the Democrats by the people in the last election. I don't think these Democrats believe in themselves or trust their own constituents - some whose sons and daughters are dying and/or risking all that is precious in this life for a war that nearly every American wants to see come to an end.

I heard a lot of applause in the South Carolina Republican audience for Giuiliani's trickery. Honest Abe Lincoln would be surprised to see just how many suckers can still be fooled after all this time. It's important to remember that Fox News and Rudy Giuliani can only craft false scenarios and expect to fool people for as long as Democrats keep doubting their own power to act upon what they know is true.

[Did you notice, by the way, how quickly Fox News changed the subject when Republican candidates begged to get themselves deeper into the Ron Paul debate?]

Does any Republican acknowledge that General David Petraeus is saying it's nearly impossible to predict how well the surge will succeed before the full number of troops arrive? How many Republucan candidates are admitting that General Petraeus would not even begin to say that he thought he'd have a definitive answer about prospects for stability by this September, when he is to report back to Congress?


Strong words of former CIA specialist Michael Sheuer from the May 18 Madison Capital Times editorial [LINK]:

Michael Scheuer, the former Central Intelligence Agency specialist on bin Laden and al-Qaida, has objected to simplistic suggestions by President Bush and others that terrorists are motivated by an ill-defined irrational hatred of the United States.

"The politicians really are at great fault for not squaring with the American people," Scheuer said in a CNN interview. "We're being attacked for what we do in the Islamic world, not for who we are or what we believe in or how we live. And there's a huge burden of guilt to be laid at Mr. Bush, Mr. Clinton, both parties for simply lying to the American people."

Ron Paul was squaring with the people.

Rudy Giuliani was simply lying to them.

Watch Ron Paul educating CNN's Wolf Blitzer this week.

Monday, May 14, 2007

War in Iraq Creates Ocean of Tears

Please hold these people in your heart: An Iraqi mother searches a morgue for the familiar curve of the hand of her child beneath a pale sheet;

an American father watches his son beheaded on videotape;

an Iraqi child wakes up in a shabby hospital in excruciating pain without his arm;

an American girl writes letters to her dead soldier father;

a young vet wraps a garden hose around his neck and leaps away from the nightmares that beset him.

And an ocean of tears spreads across both countries. ... A wail rises from the throat of all who love these people and shakes our hearts as it reaches for the crucified open arms of Jesus.

We are here tonight as the church. Each one of us is a witness to this war and to our own complicity in it—when were we silent and should have spoken, whose eyes would we not meet to face the truth?

Now we are prostrate at this altar—begging: Lord help us. War is our failure to love you, and peace is your command. Peace is not the easy way out; its creation is the most confounding, the hardest thing we can do. Help us.

Mrs. Celeste Zappala spoke these words at a National Cathedral service.


I'm So Sorry

A renowned professor and prominent critic of the Bush Administration's invasion of Iraq has now lost his son to the war. Lt. Andrew Bacevich, Jr. was killed by a suicide bomber on Sunday. A local Boston station reports that the younger Bacevich's captain said in an e-mail to the family that he was killed by a suicide bomber in a white sedan his unit had stopped on a main highway south of Samarra.
See my previous mention of the father of this courageous soldier and his comments to Tom Englehardt and Harpers Magazine. Mr. Bacevich has written the book The New American Militarism.

My prayers go out to the Bacevich family at this deeply sad time.

McCain not McAbel

Cain's offering was of an inferior quality to Abel's.
What's McCain offering on Iraq?
There are McAbels with the way out of this disastrous war - so why is McCain trying so hard to slay them?

Senator John McCain guffaws in a weird, subdued fashion whenever he's caught being a hypocrite.

He guffawed a lot today on Meet the Press.

When he was accused of embracing Bush's policy on Iraq, he guffawed and said that he'd been one of Bush's severest critics. I remember how severe his criticism of Bush was in the early autumn of 2004 when he commended to our country the re-election of President Bush, and "the steady, experienced, public-spirited man who serves as our vice president, Dick Cheney." At that time, McCain was thanking Bush's efforts in "receiving valuable assistance from many good friends around the globe" - just as most of the [few] nations that had actually joined the shaky coalition to begin with were pulling away from the Bush disaster in Iraq.

When Mr. Russert cornered McCain on those 12 Republicans who went to President Bush this week and told them they (and other Republicans) were to be sure losers in their respective districts come next election if Bush didn't change his course and end this war, McCain's response led us to believe that he would recommend ending the war today if all Republicans called for withdrawal from Iraq. Yet, look at the way he votes in the Senate. Listen to what he says about supporting the surge in Iraq. The man is a walking, guffawing contradiction. He's saying that he would start talking about Iraq's end-game only if all Republicans were down with it; then he's also telling us that he won't be a leader who'd lead them toward ending the war himself. It was nothing more than code for Republicans to remain stubborn and partisan.

He spoke as if suicide bombers in Iraq blow themselves up for publicity, and that the need for publicity is precisely why you're seeing an increase in suicide attacks in Iraq today. Really now, when's the last time that you thought about the PR benefits of blowing yourself and others up? Where would one pick up his publicity award after doing something like that? In heaven with the promised bevy of virgins? It reminded me of Cheney's "last throes" comment when Cheney thought, a full two years ago, that he was actually pulling the wool over our eyes, insinuating that the level of violent activity we'd been seeing would "clearly decline." Are any of you seeing clearly like Dick Cheney through your
crap-covered glasses yet? John McCain thinks you're still wearing them.

The part that really "got" me was when McCain said he was going to stick with Plan A on Iraq. When Tim Russert asked him for a Plan B, there was a noticeable blank and a quick return of the desperation-volley into the court of the Democrats - a game that the rubber-stampers have played since much-due criticism of the Iraq war began. It was then that McCain's lack of creative leadership and wisdom was showcased for me as never before. I remembered President George W. Bush's own words on a recent interview with PBS' Charlie Rose:
Plan B is to make Plan A work.

There you have McCain's answer. He is bereft of ideas that will produce "victory" in Iraq. He swears stubbornly that he was right about ending any U.S. military involvement in [defends "cutting and running" from] Beirut and Mogadishu, places where the "global war on terror" windmills McCain is tilting at in Iraq today showed signs of churning decades ago.

McCain used the phrase "We've only just begun..." and I filled in the blank for him in honor for his absence of better ideas in Iraq...

"We've only just fail."

Maybe Karl Rove can create a new and groovy hip-hop version of the old Carpenters tune "We've Only Just Begun" and join McCain in rapping to it at the next White House dinner. [Let's hope David Gregory doesn't join them this time].

Then we can all guffaw.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mothers' Day

Happy Mothers' Day

The young mother set her foot on the path of life. "Is this the long way?" she asked. And the guide said: "Yes, and the way is hard. And you will be old before you reach the end of it. But the end will be better than the beginning."

But the young mother was happy, and she would not believe that anything could be better than these years. So she played with her children, and gathered flowers for them along the way, and bathed them in the clear streams; and the sun shone on them and the young Mother cried, "Nothing will ever be lovelier than this."

Then the night came, and the storm, and the path was dark, and the children shook with fear and cold, and the mother drew them close and covered them with her mantle, and the children said, "Mother, we are not afraid, for you are near, and no harm can come."

And the morning came, and there was a hill ahead, and the children climbed and grew weary, and the mother was weary. But at all times she said to the children," A little patience and we are there." So the children climbed, and when they reached the top they said, "Mother, we would not have done it without you."

And the mother, when she lay down at night, looked up at the stars and said, "This is a better day than the last, for my children have learned fortitude in the face of hardness. Yesterday I gave them courage.

Today, I 've given them strength."

And the next day came strange clouds which darkened the earth, clouds of war and hate and evil, and the children groped and stumbled, and the mother said: "Look up. Lift your eyes to the light. "And the children looked and saw above the clouds an everlasting glory, and it guided them beyond the darkness. And that night the Mother said, "This is the best day of all, for I have shown my children God."

And the days went on, and the weeks and the months and the years, and the mother grew old and she was little and bent. But her children were tall and strong, and walked with courage. And when the way was rough, they lifted her, for she was as light as a feather; and at last they came to a hill, and beyond they could see a shining road and golden gates flung wide. And mother said, "I have reached the end of my journey. And now I know the end is better than the beginning, for my children can walk alone, and their children after them."

And the children said, "You will always walk with us, Mother, even when you have gone through the gates." And they stood and watched her as she went on alone, and the gates closed after her. And they said: "We cannot see her but she is with us still. A Mother like ours is more than a memory. She is a living presence......."

Your Mother is always with you.... She's the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street; she's the smell of bleach in your freshly laundered socks; she's the cool hand on your brow when you're not well. Your Mother lives inside your laughter. And she's crystallized in every tear drop. She's the place you came from, your first home; and she's the map you follow with every step you take. She's your first love and your first heartbreak, and nothing on earth can separate you. Not time, not space... not even death!

Writer - Anonymous