Sunday, October 31, 2004

The thinking feminists for Bush

In recent Newsmax piece, Tammy Bruce makes an argument that's tough to beat. Ms Bruce has also taken a hard line on Iraq and has spoken out in defense of marriage. For a bit of insight who Tammy Bruce is, see her website.

It really is a matter of issues, not of ethreal ideologies. Not this election, any way. The discussion of ideologies is important of course, but at the moment, it is not a luxury we have. Ideological discussions don't carry the firepower, deterrent or intmidation that we need to defeat what will inevitably remain a threat-- not a nuisance.

When we're being threatened by an all consuming fire, now isn't the time to discuss the merits of various brands of sprinkler systems, fire retardent sleepwear for kids or which brand of smoke alarms work best. You put out the fire and then discuss the options for the future.

America has always shown itself to a self correcting society, so I'm not worried about whether or not in the long run, we'll do the right thing. Nor do I fear healthy, vigorous political debate. Now, however, is the time we need to form a bucket brigade, and is not the time to have the 'can't we all just get along' discussion with the UN.

There are many reasons Tammy Bruce is voting for Bush:

The simple answer? It means you're a confident liberal, a thoughtful person who realizes that game of party loyalty takes a back seat to the safety of your family and this nation. It also means you take the slogans of "choice" and "radical individualism" seriously.

Isn't it ironic that there's nothing more radically individual these days than a liberal who doesn't conform?

For me, Authentic Feminism is rooted in making it possible for people tomake the choices that best suit them.


She goes on to say,
If you have recognized the weakness of John Kerry, and know in your heart a vote for the president is the right thing to do, join me and do it! It can be done with a clear conscience as you embrace the radical individual inside you that attracted you to liberal causes in the first place.

Because some things simply transcend party lines, when in front of that Early Voting touch screen, I stood there as an American first, and voted for George W. Bush. This nation, our lives, and the lives our children require nothing less.

I explain to detractors and supporters alike that President Bush is the man who will keep this nation safest.

The president and I hold dramatically divergent views on a number of social issues of importance to me, and yet for the 3,000 people who died on September 11th, abortion rights and same-sex civil unions mean absolutely nothing to them now.

These issues, while important to me and ones on which I will continue to speak out about, are luxuries in the face of a world war where the enemy is a stateless savage who hunts children and cuts off people's heads.

Read the article here.

Someone wrote me today and made a cogent observation:

Along with... [the] ability to think...comes the ability to change my mind on an issue once I've thought about it long and hard. Now that is a truly unusual thing...

I don't need to comment on my friends politics and in truth, they are irrelevant. What I do know, my friend is right.

Think before you vote.


Nicky Goomba

Im glad Nicky's on our side-- I think.

Always good for an irreverent look at reality, such as it is. If there was ever a guy I'd love to run into at a party, it's gotta be Nicky-- mostly, case he's so subtle.

Go get em,
Nicky!

Cadmus Sorrel

I've been meaning to do this for a while, but somehow, I just never get around to it.

Cadmus Sorrel has a great blog with an excellent assortment of links on a daily basis.

It's obvious he reads them and has a sense of their importance- it's not a willy nilly of links slapped together to fill up space.

Bookmark his site and refer to it daily.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

More rule of page 21, China and Procktoberfest

"If you want to understand what's going to be important, look to page 21." If it's on page one, it's old news."

So I wrote a while ago.

I
first wrote about China's new economic interests and then followed up here and here.

Well, there's more to worry about than China's foray into Canadian resource companies.


THERE is no mistaking the emergence of China as a global economic superpower. Beijing's manufacturing revolution is gobbling up 29% of world steel production, 26% of global copper and it is now the world's second-largest consumer of oil at 6.7m barrels a day, ahead of eighbouring Japan.

But despite its place at the high table of international economics - it attended the last Group of Seven meeting in Washington -decision- m
aking is as obscure as ever.

As a result the country's action in raising its key interest rate by just over a quarter-point to 5.58% had analysts confused. China stated earlier this year that it would consider raising rates if inflation exceeded 5%
. But it has been above that level for some time so the jump came as a shock.

It could be seen as more of the same as the Chinese have been tightening policy since September 2003 through a series of moves including an increase in bank reserve requirements -a policy instrument abandoned in the West some years ago.

But the markets saw Beijing'
s action as a turning point. The dollar climbed against the yen and the euro and US Treasury bonds rose strongly.

The markets believe that the rate rise may be a prelude to the long postponed revaluation of the Chinese currency, the renminbi, against the American dollar.

If this were the case it is assumed that China would not have to support the dollar by buying US Treasuries as at present.

All of this remains speculation. Despite its openness to Western capitalism China prefers to keep its thoughts to itself, which is not helpful when it is so pivotal to global growth and stability.


Sooner or later, we're going to have to deal with the economic reality that is China.

Finally, Procktoberfest is coming to an end. I know I posted about this earlier, but it was just to good to let fade away. Really, you can't make this stuff up.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Kerry Plan Rumor Mill

Big talk today in the NC State Capital building, here in Raleigh.

The rumor mill has Kerry abandoning Florida to focus on Ohio, for good reason.

Apparently, the Dems feel confident enough that the Florida race will be tight and thus they believe they can keep the election in Florida from being certified by the Florida Secretary of State. It is being said that post election court challenges are ready to go, with the intent of having the Florida courts nullify the election in that state.

This is an important distinction. The Dem machine isn't looking to challenge the results of the election- they just want the results nullified, if goes against them. If true, Kerry supporters are counting on the balance of the electoral college votes to be handed to the Dem candidate. Dem strategists see the Electoral College numbers in favor of Kerry, without Florida.

Rumor also has it that the best Dem party election litigators are already in Florida to be on the ground early to choreograph the alleged plan.

The Dems want it, and they want it bad. As was recently written by CJ in The Unmentionables, this is going to be interesting.

9/11 family voices

Arthur Chrenkoff has the piece that everyone has been waiting for.

He quotes from and opines on an open letter from '911 families for America. It is a very good read and an important one.

For many bloggers, writing about the 9/11 families and their political views has been somewhat of a taboo subject.

The fact of the matter is, 9/11 was an American tragedy. That day changed our country and the world.

Like Pearl Harbor and Veterans Day, 9/11 commemorates horror and tragedies that affected us all. In the same way that the families of those tragic days and wars do not 'own' that day, 9/11 is also a day shared by all.

The day is not 'owned' by anyone or any one particular ideology. To imply so is to lessen the significance of that moning in September.

Read Arthur's post here.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

"Are you a journalist? If you are, I will cry"

A seriously ill Yasser Arafat is headed to Paris for medical treatment.

Now, the look back at the old warrior has begun. What is being said by the Arab and regional press is an example of what we can look forward to. Of course, after he really is gone, the questions of where all the money went can be asked, without the pesky annoyance of being respectful to the old thief on his deathbed.

There are some metaphors in real life that can't be beat. Under the tutelage of Arafat, the Palestinians have morphed into the
caricature of the 'despairing' victims.

Abdel Nasser, a passenger in a beat up car hurtling through the darkened Ramallah streets to Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's Mukata Wednesday night, grimaced when asked whether he would cry if he died.

"Are you a journalist?" he asked a reporter on the way to Arafat's compound. The reporter's answer was in the affirmative. "Then, yes, I will cry." He then grinned. "But if you are not a journalist, then no, I won't cry.

..."it is better for the Palestinians and for Arafat that as a leader" he exits the scene.


Turns out, Arafat's legacy is already being tarnished. From the Saudi controlled Arab News:

For almost four decades Arafat has symbolized both the best and worst of Palestinians...

He also symbolized some of the worst aspects of the Palestinian struggle that, many believe, have contributed to the tragedy that Palestine is today. His reluctance to delegate authority and his insistence that he should control all the levers of power have had the result of reducing the entire Palestinian struggle, its government, its political organizations and socials movements to a one-man show. Whatever his intentions, the result has been nepotism, corruption and denial of rights to his people. There have been times when one got the impression that the Palestinian people were under a double occupation.


The Job Huntress

In my ever expanding effort to be a good citizen, I have recently become aware of a fellow North Carolinian on an intrepid job search.

It is my civic duty as a fellow NC citizen to do my part on her behalf, so I will toot her horn.

The Princess Girly Girl has talents that would be an asset to any organization.

She has mastered the use of long handled tongs, can maintain her balance on 3 inch heels and appears to understand the ins and outs of fashion.

There are some minor talents that a potential employer might pick up on-- heavy multi tasking skills, mastery of MS Word, Excel and typing speed that is well in excees of 30 WPM.

The blog is funny, personal and engaging. I can't say much more than that because people in that part of NC have guns and consider them essentials, like cellphones. That's not really true, but it was entertaining-- and I don't want there to be any misunderstandings between me and the Mr.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Arafat

News reports late this evening are reporting on a critically ill Yasser Arafat. His wife, Suha, is reportedly leaving her beloved Paris (and boyfriend) to be by his side.

True or not this time, the effect will be the same when Arafat dies.

The man responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in Lebanon, Jordan and Israel, will not be remembered for his corruption, deceit and lies. Nor will he be remembered for leading the Palestinians down the road to nowhere, despair, economic ruin and moral decay.

No, he will be remembered as some kind of hero. He will be remebered as the father of modern day terror and the man who ordered the murder of Cleo Noel and Curtis Moore, American diplomatic envoys to Khartoum, Sudan, just as he ordered the death of innocents in a kindergarten and took delight in blowing school buses, years ago.

And he will be eulogized by our 'friends,' the Saudis, Egyptians and all the Gulf countries and Emirates-- indeed, the whole region. He will hailed as a 'Statesman' who won the Nobel Prize.

Why? Because as so often reported in the Arab press, Arafat was at the forefront of the self proclaimed Muslim destiny to 'complete what Hitler started,' as they say in the own words.

It was all about killing Jews and those who defended and supported them. The voices of the clerics are heard daily, repeating those very words and ideas.

Was it about land, or the Palestinians? Nope, never was.

Imagine a football field. Imagine a matchbook in one corner of that football field. That is the actual relative size of Israel in comparison to the entire Arab world.

And that my friends, is the one thing Arafat and the entire Arab world don't want you to think about.

As a society, they have failed, by every standard of measurement.

The deaths, destruction and misery Arafat and his allies have caused all over the world, have been an incalculable drain on the progress of man in a civilized society.

They celebrated 9/11 and soon, they will mourn his death.

That is Arafat's legacy. That is what he cultivated.

It is the function of evil to turn good into evil, and evil into good. That Yasser Arafat did with joy and purpose.

That is what we saw before and after 9/11, and that legacy continues on today.

There will no resting in peace for Arafat. Not in this world or the next.

Take a time out from the politics and read this

The election is a week or so away and everyone will be into it, fast and furious, as we should.

I'm going to ask you to do something.

Stop, just for a few moments and read this-- and just for another moment, pause.

Call girls and politics *UPDATE*

*UPDATE*

A comment was left, asking me why I chose not to link directly to the
Postmodern Coutesan. The post I was referring to, "Busy Tuesday," can be found here.

In retropspect, I probably should have linked directly. In fairness, there is no difference between linking to the postmodern coutesan blog than any other bloggers I take issue with. Maybe it's because I have a daughter that it more personal. I guess divorced dads with young teenage daugters pleading for more makeup might be a bit over sensitive.

At least, that's what I'm telling myself.

Much has been written on moral relativism, by myself, Paulie et al, at The Commons, BunkerMulligan, Sherry at Bittersweet and the ever thoughtful Marvin over at LittleRedBlog.

I ran across a blog today, called postmodern courtesan. It is authored by an obviously intelligent, educated and erudite writer. I'm reluctant to link to it, so if you want to read it, do a Google search.

There is a post about a 'relationship' with a man named Ellis, a very sympathetic fellow, indeed. Here, I use the term 'relationship' loosely. After all, she is a call girl. Notwithstanding her kind and good hearted nature, she is still a call girl.

The blog is well designed and well written and is very engaging.

It is also very disturbing. Our 'postmodern courtesan' blog has given another outlet/voice to what is a new front on the moral assault on the family and society-- the acceptance of anything goes.

No surprise, really.

In an election cycle that has seen new lows and deceit as an acceptable addition to the election process, the mainstreaming of Gay TV channels and blogging call girls should come as no surprise.

Someone just wrote me about the 'explosives' story that really isn't. My correspondent, a very insightful person, wrote that it would come as no surprise if we were to be at the receiving end of Heavenly swift kick in the rear (I'm paraphasing), as a result of completely a deliberate demeaning of the entire election process.

In response, I disagreed somewhat. I don't share the same 'fire and brimstone' as my insightful friend. I do believe however, that we have been experiencing a bit of neglect from the Power that is and will probably continue to do so. At any rate, theology isn't the point.

What is the point is that nowadays, anything goes and if anyobe thinks there won't be repurcussion, Heavenly and otherwise, they are sadly mistaken.

Now, I'm no fan of the 'good ole days' of repressed behavior, sexuality or back room politics and racial discrmination. I don't believe that mental illness is a curse from God, nor do I believe that Gays are inherently sinful by choice or that that aren't issues that aren't struggled with everyday. I've written about that before as have many others.

Nevertheless, there comes a point where we have to take responsibility for our actions, good or bad. While we can rightly claim the good we do, we must also take the blame for the wrongs we do- or those done in our name.

The postmodern courtesan is a blight on society in the same way terror is a blight to Islam. No amount of moral equivocation can change that.

Those words were chosen carefully. In the same way that terror groups have used Islam as a validation for their acts of evil, and as a result, they have decimated societies, in real and tangible ways.

The postmodern courtesan fired another shot at legitimizing her profession as 'necessary' or mainstream. For every Ellis, the sympathetic figure she writes about, there are men-- and women-- that end up with destroyed lives, familes and communities. It is a more benign terror, perhaps, but it is just as deadly. The trail of destruction is as real as any bomb going off anywhere, with victims and orphans of a different kind perhaps, but no less scarred.

The postmodern courtesan, symapthetic engaging and charming as she is, cannot justify the havoc her choices create. No blog, no recounting of the fine dining experiences and opera critique can change that. Like the well dressed and seemingly refined apologist for terror, the results of those choices made are incontrovertable. The destruction cannot be hidden. At some point, there must be a reckoning.

The postmodern courtesan's blog is disturbing, for many reasons. Read it, if you like.

In an time when 'anything goes,' I would like to add one more thing.

Like the postmodern courtesan, some politicians will say and do anything to legitimize their campaigns and agendas.

While we may accept is as 'business as usual,' we have our own responsibilities to other democracies. Like it or not, we have become the 'Light unto the Nations.'

As the Democrat Party and their power brokers and strategists gird themselves for the three ring circus of post election court fights and charges and counter charges, it might behoove them to think of what we look like to the rest of the world-- especially in countries where democracy is new or still young. We need not be teaching by example how to subvert a vote and make it appear 'legal.' In most countries, the legal system can easily be used to manipulate a populace. Is this the message we need to send? Do we need to set an example that contrived racial divides, concocted so as to further a political agenda, are accpetable? In countries where real discrimination exists, how credible are we if we engage is such practices?

At some point, the ideals of democracy must trump the personal ambitions and agendas of politicians and political parties.

We would be well served by Democrat politicians and a Democrat Party that shied away from a contrived spectacle of false charges and spurious, over the top court challenges.

No matter the differences between candidates and their ideologies, democracy isn't about the postmodern courtesan way of thinking.


Democracy is about a lot more than legitimizing the morally corrupt notion of that 'all is fair in love and war.'

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The world we live in..and oh yes, a bit of sex

Here's an intersting look at the bigger picture. Sort of puts things in perspective.

In France, TV makes for strange bedfellows. TV viewers in that country can now choose between Al Jazeera and PinkTV, a gay and lesbian TV network.

The new TV channel is being hailed as a some kind of Mao-esque 'great leap forward.

"I hope that PinkTV becomes a broad space of freedom and culture allowing all of our fellow citizens live their freedom and respect one another," said Culture and Communications Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres.

PinkTV is backed by three of France's main channels and has received widespread and mostly positive coverage in the French media, being promoted as a hip, urban channel which hopes to attract both straight and gay viewers.

The Gay community is excited. It seems that the channel is funded in part with government money.
There's an evident change in mentalities... In France, we can clearly say that gays have gone from the era of tolerance to the era of legality, which simply means equality," he said.

The channel has received backing from three of the country's main TV channels, as well as the government' culture minister, who attended last night's party.

I'd like to see if I could get funding for a pasta network in France. Low carb diet or not, pasta will remain a big seller. I can envision a 24 hour a day QVC type channel, selling overpriced pasta, pasta makers and sauces.

Meanwhile, the UN is forging ahead with a full head of steam. Unfortunately, the results can't be much seen. Koffi Annan says the world body still has no idea who comitted the massacres in Burundi that resulted in 159 deaths.
In a preliminary report released in early September the UN suggested that Rwandan, Congolese and Burundian groups were all responsible for the massacre.

Meanwhile, the UN is meeting again on reform within the world body. The ready for action agenda includes
..brought together representatives of a large number of UN entities, Geneva-based think tanks and other international researchers to share results of research projects and other analytical work and discuss policy implications.

Presentations will concentrate on the following three themes: new security threats and disarmament; good governance and reconciliation in post conflict situations; and the environment and sustainable development.

Look for real action as a result of those meetings.

Along the same lines, there are things you just can't make up. According to officials in Pakistan, the UN has prevented WW3. Seriously, here's what the guy said:
The United Nations represents and symblolises evolution and forward movement in human history and it has formed a universal, global family besides averting third World War.

Can you imagine the UN family Thanksgiving Dinner?

Meanwhile, the fun in Sudan goes on. There is a good read in the IHT about the 'special' treatment afforded women by the Janajaweed in Darfur.
Even with the eyes of the world on this burned-out swath of western Sudan, threats of oil sanctions against the government and the trickle of African Union monitors into the countryside, one brutality apparently has continued undeterred: violence against Darfur's women.

Women were insulted, beaten and raped as their families were chased from their homes at the height of the war in this region. They continue to be insulted, beaten and raped as they try to eke out a living far from home in the miserable camps of the displaced across Darfur.

Read the article here. It's important to understand the magnitude of the atrocities being committed.

Of course, the good news is that there are more meetings on Sudan. Yesiree, meetings. This, from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release.
France calls on the parties, the Sudanese government and the rebels, to cooperate with the African Union in good faith and in a constructive spirit.

Can't we all just get along?

Meanwhile, back on the ranch...er, France, the movement to replace English is humming right along.
The fed-up French are sick of the English language taking over in Brussels.

So in a bid to push the language of love, they have launched a campaign to make French the official lingo of European law.

The French meanwhile, aren't happy with the Duelfur Report on the UN oil for food scandal. They're fighting back, hard. I guess they didn't appreciate getting busted for dealing with Saddam.
"It is completely inaccurate to say that France had major commercial interests in Iraq before the war," the statement said...

France strongly believes that Duelfer, a CIA adviser who heads the Iraq Survey Group hunting for banned weapons in Iraq, was acting "outside his mandate" when he issued his report, the diplomat said. "Bribes may have been paid, but that is for Volcker to establish."

There may be some American companies involved, so this story isn't over just yet.

On the privacy front, things are getting interesting. Passports are going very high tech, with radio frequency chips that can identify the holder without the passport being handled. Unfortunately, it seems like the kid who bags your groceries at Safeway has the tools to read that document.
And herein lies the chief problem, as identified by privacy advocates. Without requiring the passport to be physically handled in order to retrieve information, just about anyone will be able to read your passport contents, remotely, and without your knowledge.

Lastly, what would a post like this be without a bit of sex?
Viewers groups and MPs are calling on the Government to prevent a new film depicting real sex being screened in Britain's cinemas.

The British Board of Film Classification announced last week that it was giving an "18" certificate to the film Nine Songs and would not be insisting on any cuts.

Campaigners last night said that the board's decision would open the floodgates to hardcore pornography on the big screen.

The actress goes on to describe the artistic difficulties of cinematic sex scenes. Read it here.

Well, it's pretty safe to say HRH Elizabeth will pass on that flick. As for Charles and Harry, well, that may be another matter.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Sheikh performs polygamous marriages, too

Muslims with up to 4 wives are becoming a problem in the UK. I wrote about here.

Turns out the rabid Jew and Christian hating Sheik Younus Kathrada encourages and performs such unions. On
this web site, there is application for both women and men to participate in ploygamous marriages.

Interestingly enough, on his
main web page, the good sheikh contends that he is a law abiding, good citizen.

On the matter of refusing to build bridges and heeding calls towards peace: I do believe that dialogue amongst people of different faiths and beliefs is healthy and beneficial. I am however opposed to any one group forcing their beliefs onto others. We may share our commonalities and differences so we have a better understanding of one another, however, I do not believe it is correct nor reasonable to expect others to accept, adopt and approve of any particular set of beliefs.

Except of course, Islam, as his repeated statements (recorded) have made clear. Jihad is to be waged offensively.

I guess the good sheikh wants to be left alone to keep performorming polygamous marriages, too. I suppose his words imply that he and his fellow Muslims are exempt from having to 'accept, adopt and approve of any particular set of beliefs.'- you know, like the LAW.

Fight the good fight

What an interesting day.

Europe's Muslims it seems, are headed off to Iraq to fight the good Jihad and kill Americans.

Intelligence officials fear that for a new generation of disaffected European Muslims, Iraq could become what Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya are for European Islamic militants in past decades:a galvanizing cause that sends idealistic young men abroad, trains them and puts them in touch with a more radical global network of terrorists. In the past, many young Europeans who fought in those wars came back to Europe to plot terrorist attacks at home.


It isn't hard to understand how this happens. In Canada, a 'respected' Muslim leader nonchalantly declared that all Israelis are targets of terror attacks. His rationale? Since there is a draft in Israel, all Israelis are fair game, at all times.

"Israel has a people's army and a draft and therefore they should be onsidered legitimate targets. They are part of the occupying power, and alestinians consider them targets for suicide bombers as well as other means," Mr. Elmasry said.


This coming from a tenured professor. Lovely.

Also, as I wrote about yesterday, an Vancouver Imam is coming under scrutiny by the RCMP for 'hate speech.' Not your garden variety hate speech, but the rabid vitriol of evil.

Mr. Kathrada told his followers the Koran calls on them to spread the ord of Islam by fighting.

"
That is what is known as the offensive jihad. And there's a good reason for that. It is in order to establish security on this earth. It is so that the word of Allah will be the superior word," he said.


"I have no problem calling the Christians and the Jews and those who
are not Muslim kuffar and if they die in that state they will abide in the
hell-fire forever. I don't care what anyone else says."


Maybe the Presbyterians are getting the message. It seems like some of the Church hierchy is upset at the new, up close and personal relationship being developed with the likes of Hizbollah.

Leaders of the Louisville-based Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) are distancing themselves from a church-funded delegation's visit to the Hezbollah organization in Lebanon, calling it "misguided, at best."

...t
hey denounced the comments of one member of the delegation, who
told Arab television that "relations and conversations with Islamic leaders are a lot easier than dealings and dialogue with Jewish leaders."


Theres so much more and so little time.

Here's an Arab take on the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, as presented in an Arab television drama. Of course, it's America's fault.

As 'strange' as that is, the TV release was cancelled. It seems some people thought the show was insulting to the Taliban.

I guess you just can't please everyone.

That's it folks, I'm off, into the wild blue yonder.






Friday, October 22, 2004

The tangled webs woven

Is the head of the Log Cabin Republicans actually a Democrat?

In what may turn out to be a bombshell, there appears to be some evidence to back that claim up.

Log Cabin Political Director Christopher Barron headed up volunteer efforts for the John Edwards for President campaign for the Washington, DC area. Barron was hired by new Executive Director Patrick Guerriero as part of his management team. According to three different sources, Barron has separately confirmed his connection to the Edwards campaign in the past.

This was posted on the Gaypatriot website. These are serious charges.
All mention of Chris Barron and his comments on the John Edwards for President website mysteriously vanished just days before the start of the 2004 Republican National Convention. During that time period, Guerriero and Barron were attempting to work with moderates on the Republican platform committee to have a "unity plank" inserted into the GOP platform. It is entirely possible this effort was sabatoged because certain delegates found out that the lead political strategist for the national gay Republican organization was in fact a past operative of the 2004 Democratic Vice Presidential nominee.

You don't send a Democrat in to do what should be the work of a real Republican.

If these charges prove to be true- and the hard evidence seems to back that up-- the Democrats have stooped to new lows in deceit and fraud.

The article is a bombshell. Read it all here.

It didn't take long

Nathan, over at The Commons, posted an excellent link to site describing Saddam's link to terror. In an unequivicable and clear presentation, any all further discussion of Saddam's ties to terror are terminated. Nuff said.

Read the post and get to the link here. I can only assume Paulie is 'under the weather' as a result of Sox celebration.

Iraq, Che, harems and hate

Naturally, the Baathist's in Iraq enjoy left wing support.

With Che Guevara, we affirm that "imperialism has a head, the United States", and that it should be cut off! The USA is the enemy of mankind. The re-establishment of world Peace, of the fraternity of the peoples and civilizations implies the destruction of the Yankee imperialism and its accomplices: America Delenda Est!

The Iraq Committees are open to all those who want to support actively the Iraqi Resistance against the yankee occupation and to take part in the constitution of a radical anti-American force, wherever they come from, and united in a strategy of unitary Front.

The Baathist's solidarity and planning meetings took place in Lebanon- a meeting that could only have taken place with the full cooperation of Syria, the defacto rulers of Lebanon.
The Ba’ath Party is in a very good health and leads the most honorable and most dignified battle of the Arab Nation under the supervision of Comrade Izzat al Duri, elected president of the Party after its late secret Congress in Lebanon.

The Ba’athist position is clear: No negotiations with the US under the Occupation, the only dialogue between them and us are the dialogue of arms and resistance. There is a large national, patriotic, and Progressive Front, which is participating with the Ba'ath in the Resistance Battle, which provide them with the necessary means. The so-called Sunni Triangle is a term invented by the enemy to sow division in amongst Iraqi people; Resistanceis in every province of Iraq.

The interview with the Iraq leader is here.


In Great Britain, Muslim men seen to face no hurdles in assembling a harem of up to 5 women. According to the Times, "Muslim men use law loophole to get a harem of 'wives'.
UP TO 4,000 British Muslim men have entered into polygamous marriages, some of them keeping as many as five wives, according to senior religious figures.

They have taken advantage of a loophole in the laws against bigamy by going through a "nikah" ceremony at a mosque rather than registering the marriages officially.

Many are avoiding the expense and obligations of divorce, but an estimated 2,000 or more are men who wish to exercise their "right", according to traditional interpretations of the Koran, to have as many as four wives.

Heck of deal. I can't even get a phone number, lately.
In extreme cases, women brought from abroad, notably from Bangladesh, to marry a British Muslim have been victims of so-called honour killings by their families after being sent home when the relationship has failed.

The entire article is here.

On a personal note, I can't really understand the long term benefits of polygamy. Not unless you really enjoy a little 'whine with dinner.' I mean, it's only a matter of time before wife 2 complains that, "but you told me you love me more than her.." and so on. Manageable perhaps, but factor in wives 3 and 4...The inevitable 'We need to talk' takes on a depth heretofore not even contemplated by this blogger.

On a more serious note, an Imam in a Candadian mosque actually defends himself for his disparaging of Jews and Americans. The leader of the Vancouver mosque,

Sheik Younus Kathrada tells an audience all real Muslims want to be martyred. "It is inconceivable that a true believer will not desire martyrdom," Kathrada says.

...Kathrada tells his audience the Qur'an and its accompanying writings view Jews as treacherous people with whom Muslims will engage in an apocalyptic battle. "The prophet... said the final hour will
not be established until such time as the Muslims will battle and will fight
against the Jews," Kathrada says.

...But he defended his characterization of Jews as treacherous monkeys and pigs. "I guess no rougher than what is used against us," Kathrada said. "It's in our Qur'an."

...Rudwan Khalil Abubaker, also known as Rudwan Khalil, regularly attended the Dar al-Madinah mosque along with his brother Amir.

Russian authorities identified Khalil as one of four men killed in a skirmish with Chechen rebels earlier this month. They displayed his Canadian passport and B.C. driver's licence and claimed he was an explosives expert...

Make no mistake, Christians are not held in higher esteem.

"I have no problem with calling the Christians and the Jews and those who are not Muslims kuffar. They are kuffar and if they die in that state they will abide in the hellfire forever. I don't care what anyone else says."

"When we hear the kuffar today and they start attacking the Muslims...you think immediately of their double standard.

"When the United States, for example, sees a land that poses a threat to them, what do they do? Don't they attack that land? And what is their justification? That they want to establish peace on Earth..."

"I ask you by Allah, will peace and security ever be established if Islam is not the religion that is practised? It will never be established...


I wish him many, many wives, and a long, long life.

And while he happily married to his harem, Let's see if the Canadian government will apply its hate laws with equal enthusiasm to Muslim preachers as it does to Christian clergy.

Read about it, here and here.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

My niece, the election and art

Well, after a weeks forced hiatus, I'm back at it again.

For those of you kind enough to write, please accept my thanks and appreciation for your concern. It really does make a difference.

My niece is doing better, thankfully. She will require further surgeries, but in the great scheme of things, we're focused on her being with us for a long time to come.

Onwards.

I've written and rewritten my 'back to blogging' post a few times. I suppose being away and concerned with matters of a non cyber nature, has forced me, just a bit, to refocus the lens through which I see things.

I'm going to write about the elections, John Kerry and George Bush. There are a few personal observations I'd like to make first, however, because they are in many ways related.

To my friends who will be reading this, remember-- life is short and precious. There is little time for the politics du jour and there is even less time to pretend that reality doesn't exist. Simple denial of the relevance of truth and morality, so as to emphasize an overly influenced agenda of deceit or even self deceit, is not a legacy to be proud of, under any circumstances.

We are each endowed with a blank canvas, to fill in as we choose. Some of us are rather poor artists and others, as a result of fate, are better equipped. Then there are the few, the special few, that are not so restricted by the canvas or palette of colors at hand. They are share similarities. They are quiet and self effacing and are aware of all the realities around them. They see the world and forget not their place in it nor their obligations. They can, with a bit of luck, faith and perseverance, create a better world. I am lucky to know a few such persons. To you, I say, believe in yourself.

These words are relevant to my readers, fellow bloggers and friends because we live in an era where we asked and even told to challenge our very own beliefs and values, as if these were somehow negotiable, simply because others say they are. When we debate others and lose, to some extent, we blame ourselves for not presenting a 'good enough case.' We dont blame or fault others for their beliefs. We do not see an inherent fault in others for differing points of view. We see them as of yet, being 'uninformed.'

Our adversaries on the other hand, see us as defective-- even evil. To espouse certain beliefs in their eyes, is to be somehow, 'less than' or unequal-- and worst of all, unworthy. One late night TV guest, a Hollywood type, made the remark that Republican voters should have their votes nullified, or should not even be allowed to vote. TV land response? Applause, of course.

Very few conservative friends and associates I have, will ever attempt to stifle discourse and civil debate. Conservatives may be known for their stubbornness and hard headed beliefs, but in the end, very few wish to impose their beliefs on anyone.

Liberals openly at times, wish to stifle free speech and the free exchange of thoughts in the marketplace of ideas. All thoughts or ideas one may have must be deemed worthy and pass the liberal litmus test.

It is true that conservatives wish to see a different set of values at the fore in this country. That is very different than beliefs.

Let's examine that.

Conservatives have no real desire to impose a set of beliefs on anyone. A conservative will tell emphasize that you are free to believe and worship as you choose. Even beliefs that are anathema to conservatives are given free reign. Conservatives do not attempt to introduce politically correct prayers, liturgy and belief structures on anyone or any group. Conservatives believe that all groups are equal under the law and all deserve equal protection.

It is true that the ideal has not always worked the way it is supposed to. Many groups were disenfranchised and some were left behind. Sadly, this is the human condition-- we are all less than perfect, at times selfish and even uncaring. Not one of us, conservative or liberal alike, can point a definative accusatory finger at any one else with any moral certitude

Nevertheless we plod along, ever seeking to better ourselves and the world around us. Again, not a perfect record, but one that seems to work. If you question that, look around at other places.

Contrast all this with our more liberal brethren. They truly do wish to impose their beliefs and values upon us. They mean well at times, of that I'm sure, but the results of their often well meaning ideals can have a disastrous effect.

It is not enough for liberals to impose a set of values on us. They wish to impose a set of beliefs, as well. If they don't like a particular church's preachings or belief, the entire church becomes the 'enemy.'

For example, it is of little importance to liberals that the Catholic Church, for example, feeds millions of people a day.

The fact that there aren't female priests is enough to label the Church as worthless and misogynistic. That the Catholic Church has internal problems, is evident. So does every church, religion and faith. Those issues may be serious, and at times, require immediate attention. That does not, however, nullify the value of a church, synagogue or mosque to the community, contrary to what liberals would have you believe. Very few young minds have been poisoned beyond repair because there are no women priests.

If church liturgy isn't politically correct, then the focus of the church must be directed to changing the liturgy and everything else be damned. It is as if politically correct and acceptable beliefs are the true merits of faith, teachings and good works be damned.

To a liberal, the message has become more important than the works. At times, desperately needed foreign aid must be dependent on allowing abortion in the recipient country-- even if that goes against the cultural, societal and religious norms of that country. While that may garner headlines, for example, there are few if any liberal voices heard for the abolition of FGM. Those voices it seems, belong to missionary groups that take in young and at risk girls. While no doubt women's right are a real issue globally, it is ironic that children are neglected, deemed to suffer yet another round of mindless liberal handwringing at the UN and others women's forums.


All this is reminiscent of a Jewish friend of mine, who in response to a plea from a rather eager and narrow, newly minted evangelical preacher, only half jokingly responded as follows: "We appreciate your love for us, but please, please, stop loving us so much. That love has been killing us for centuries."

Liberals have become the evangelizing network for the assault on conservative values.

That's what John Kerry and the liberals are about. They preach their cause with the zeal of of the newly converted and will stop at nothing to see their beliefs imposed on us all. Like the religious zealots before them, much heartache and destruction will follow and has followed in their wake.

It is not conservatives that are the zealots the liberals would have you believe. They assume that by labeling the conservatives in that way, people will not recognize who the real zealots are. Mr Kerry and company are assaulting the very strong beliefs that Americans share about family faith and morals. As Mort Zuckerman, of US News and World report put it, the Democrats have left their base of the 'little guy' and instead, have chosen to Hollywood to serve as the baseline for liberal beliefs.

The reason Mr. Kerry and the Democrats are focusing so much on the war in Iraq as opposed to what liberal ideology stands for, is because they know Americans will never agree with true liberal ideology. Americans are a whole lot smarter than Mr. Kerry and the liberals give them credit for.

It is that very same reason Mr Bush maintains his popularity and support, despite what has to be considered a less than stellar economy and lagging economic indicators. Americans are whole lot smarter than politicians give them credit for.

The wars on terror, in Afghanistan and in Iraq have to be paid for. Americans understand that 9/11 cost the entire nation in ways that yet to be calculated.

How do Mr Kerry and the Democrat Party plan on dealing with these truths? By avoiding them, thats how. Rather than deal with an ideology that has failed, the Democrats plan on contesting the election in whatever way, shape or form possible, both before and after the election.

Like book burnings or the 'auto-de-fe' of the inquisition, the ends justify the means. Like the misguided zealots before them, the Democrats believe that sin, even capital sin-- in reality even attempting to subvert the democratic process is just that-- is justified, so as to recreate the world in their image.

Much critique of Mr Bush is fair. Much isn't. History will determine that balance.

One thing for certain is that even on cursory examination, Mr Bush is far more a 'people's President' than Mr. Kerry could ever hope to be.

Americans, are by nature, a 'live and let live' group. Fairness, equality and decency are who we are. These are traits the came about as the result of lifetimes before us, our predecessors offering us their best.

They cannot be traded to fit an agenda.

Sitting in that hospital, for days, one has time to reflect about much. I am sure many of you have been in that same seat, thinking and reflecting and feeling very small. In those few moments in time, we see what is important and what isn't. Many things become clear and much of the chaff is discarded.

America has proven time and again, that when we take the brush in hand and create on that canvas of our lives and communities, whatever it is we see, something wonderful occurs.

It has been said that American art is unique, in that it reflects the history of America, who we are and where we come from. Our artists have defined pictorally and in words our story-- the good and the bad.

This is an election wherby some want to place that brush into the hands of a chosen few. That is why this election is important.


Thursday, October 14, 2004

Roundup...

China is making it's presence known in Africa. Oil it seems, is the resource that counts. China, never known for it's foreign aid, is cozying to up the African continent.

Beijing is substantially deepening its political and economic relations with Africa, largely in an effort to gain access to the continent's oil reserves and markets.

...China desperately needs oil to sustain its nine per cent-plus economic growth rate. This is driving Beijing's efforts to gain ground on the African continent, which now supplies 25 per cent of its oil imports. China became the second largest oil consumer in the world in 2004, with imports totalling more than 100 million tonnes (approximately 800 million barrels). China's requirements will continue to expand and this could lead it into direct competition with the US over access to the world's oil supplies.
Article is here.

Onwards...

As Iran goes nuclear, Al jazeera tries to make the case that Iran should go nuclear. The rationale? The NPT is 'out of touch' with reality.
"There is only a legal reason not to go nuclear - the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). "But the NPT is completely out of touch with reality and Iran may be close to opting out of it anyway."

Concerned over a perceived threat to its nuclear facilities, Tehran used a military parade marking the Iran-Iraq war to send its own message to Israel.

Iranian Persident Khatami says Iran doesn't want nuclear weapons.

Slogans draped over its ballistic missiles read "America will be crushed
under our feet" and "Israel will be wiped out".

Of course, it is all America's fault.

Yup, they make an excellent case for going nuclear. Article is here.

Also in Iran, according to Reporteurs sans Frontieres, journalists and editors of pro reform websites are being arrested.

Meanwhile, back at the Tehran Ranch, political jockeying is going on. It bears to see who comes out on top re next years elections. Here's a story on one of the frontrunners. This is not a nice guy and and his election will cause us grief.

Interfax is reporting on Russia-Iran 'cooperation' on terror. I'm not sure if that if that scares me or comforts me.

Thousands more to die in Sudan?

Good thing the UN is on the job.

There is nothing like threatening to consider the imposition of sanctions.

In the meantime, Sudan rebels say thousands more could die in Darfur.

"Tens of thousands more civilians in Darfur may die in coming months unless security improves, rebels from ravaged western Sudan said on Thursday.

"It's a matter of an ugly, genocidal war," said Sharif Harir, a senior member of the Sudanese Liberation Movement (SLM), one of Darfur's two rebel groups whose uprising last year provoked a fierce response from the government and Arab militia.

"Already 50,000 have died, and 10,000 have the potential to die every month if things don't improve," he added.

The United Nations' World Food Programme said this week it is being forced to scale back food aid in Darfur due to growing violence. Darfur residents recently told a visiting UN delegation of new attacks by Arab militiamen.

Article is here.

How bad is it? Well, a few hours ago I wrote on the UN sanctioned slaughter in Rwanda

A 'rebel' leader says the situation is "worse than Rwanda"
"This is not only killing, but starving, displacing, disease and poverty. The militias are targeting our water sources," added Mr. Minawi, whose own father is in a refugee camp on the border between Sudan and Chad.

That article is here.

It has to be difficult for those UN diplomats. Good thing they have that good French cuisine to fortify themselves with during these trying times.

Those diplomatic cocktail parties must be hell.

The UN- Just say NO

As Sherry at Bittersweet and others have posted, the UN is looking to form and deploy it's own rapid deployment force, or 'hit squad.'

I suppose the idea would have merit if the UN had the moral credibility. Trouble is, they don't.

Canadian General, Romeo Daillaire was sent to intervene in Rwanda for 100 days.

He came back a suicidal, pill popping wreck of a human being. Why? Because the UN restricted his activities to simply watching the genocide and slaughter taking place in front of his eyes- until he could watch no longer and defied UN orders and actually tried to save live.

The UN was not amused at his activities as other 'peacekeepers' were pulled out.

The same UN that is allowing the genocide in Darfur to continue. The same UN that seems to think 'hit squads' are what the UN needs to restore it's credibility.

From the Third World Traveller, a few extracts:

In an indifferent world, Gen. Romeo Dallaire and a few thousand ill equipped U.N. peacekeepers were all that stood between Rwandans and genocide. The Canadian commander did what he could-did more than anyone else-but he sees his mission as a terrible failure and counts himself among its casualties.

After a 100-day reign of terror, some 800,000 Rwandan civilians were dead, most killed by their machete-wielding neighbors. Dallaire had sounded the alarm. He'd begged. He'd bellowed. He'd even disobeyed orders. "l was ordered to withdraw...by [then-U.N. Sec. Gen. Boutros]Boutros Ghali about seven, eight days into it... and I said to him, 'I can't, I've got thousands' -by then we had over 20,000 people-'in areas under our control," Dallaire said in a recent interview with Amnesty Now. The general's hands, always moving, rose beside his face as if to block the memories. "The situation was going to shit...And, I said, 'No, I can't leave..."

Dallaire and his troops were about to become spectators to genocide. As bodies filled the streets and rivers, the general, backed by a UN mandate that didn't even allow him to disarm the militias, pleaded with his UN superiors for additional troops, ammunition, and the authority to seize Hutu arms caches. In an assessment that military experts now accept as realistic, Dallaire argued that with 5,000 well-equipped soldiers and
a free hand to fight Hutu power, he could bring the genocide to a rapid
halt.


The U.N. turned him down. He asked the U.S. to block the Hutu radio transmissions. The Clinton administration refused to do even that. Gun shy after a humiliating retreat from Somalia, Washington saw nothing to gain from another intervention in Africa, and the Defense Department, according to a memo, assessed the cost of jamming the Hutu hate broadcasts at $8,500 per flight-hour...

Three days after the Rwandan killings began, with Dallaire's troops running short of rations as well as ammunition, about 1,000 European troops arrived in Kigali. The general watched with frustration as the well armed, well-fed Westerners landed and left again as soon as they'd evacuated their own nationals. Then, after Hutu militias killed 40 Belgian paratroopers, Brussels withdrew all of its peacekeepers (the only significant Western contingent and the only one that was properly equipped) from the U.N. mission. Dallaire's depleted force was on its own...

Remarkably, with scant resources-indeed, with only one satellite telephone for the whole mission-Dallaire was able to maintain safe areas for those 20,000 terrorized Rwandans. But he could do little else, and the killing continued

Dallaire says that about 20 percent of troops and humanitarian workers on missions like his suffer much the same thing, as do 5 to 10 percent of diplomats. "They are casualties," he tells me. "High suicide rates, booze, drugs, pornography, finding themselves on skid row."

Read it here. It isn't at all pretty- and it's happening all over again in Darfur.

Without the UN, the US would no doubt have intervened. Instead, we are held hostage as we play to the 'lets talk about it' crowd at the UN-- and then, no matter what, it will be our fault.

And when you're done, ask yourself about supporting the UN 'ideals.'

Children suicide bombers in Russia?

As if the Moscow theater debacle, apartment block bombings and Beslan weren't enough, the Russians now have new fears to deal with: Children suicide bombers.

Representatives of the Moscow's law machinery do not rule out the possibility of this happening. Law-enforcement officials are given orders to pay attention at everyone, even at children. For even a respectfully-looking man, a nice woman, a senior or even a teenager can turn out to be a suicide-bomber.

It should be noted that there have already been tragedies where children carried out a role of a weapon of mass destruction. Israeli Special Forces have prevented a terrorist act that should have been carried out by a 15 year old teenager, in the city of Afula. Those who planned this act gave the boy a mobile phone and 1 thousand of shekels ($220).

While giving no specifics, it is interesting that law enforcement officials see fit to disseminate this information now.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Up there and down here

I've been trying to post for a while now, not quite sure how to get back into the saddle.

There are few pieces I've been working on that are about 3/4 done, about some of my fellow Homespun bloggers. I just can't seem to focus on that right now, mostly because of the last 36 hours.

Monday night, my niece was in a serious car accident.

Her mom and dad are divorced and as luck would have it, they were each away and I was next down the list of 'next of kin.'

Her mom was gone only for the one day, and my niece, at 17, is a pretty responsible kid. Her mom never leaves for more than one night and my niece has never had a problem being alone-- till now.

The how's and why's of the accident aren't clear yet. There is a possiblity that the driver was an uninsured illegal alien, and hit her after crossing a median. At this point, I don't care-- my primary consideration is my niece.

The call came in on Monday night. I was informed of the accident, but I was led to believe it wasn't too serious. I spent the rest of the evening trying to corral my relatives and finally managed to track down my brother. I could not reach my sister in law, but did manage to leave a message with someone whom I knew would be in touch with her.

The following morning, the hospital called and informed me that my niece was not doing well at all and that it would be best if I came to Atlanta. I was surprised, as I thought her injuries weren't severe.

I was told they were.

I flew down to Atlanta immediately and went directly to the hospital.

My brother was due in early in the afternoon. He was flying back from San Francisco, where he was on business. My sister in law would also be coming in at that time, but I didn't know it at the time. Nor did I know there was going to be a long night ahead of me.

I'll fill you in on the end of the story after I post a few thoughts.

All this has been a preamble to what I really wanted to talk about-- and that was inspired by a few posts I read today, two at
Bittersweet, here and here, and one over at LittleRedBlog.

The accident brought my faith front and center, no doubt about it, and I've come to a singular conclusion.

I love God.

I also hated God, for a while.

I wanted to use the word 'resent' but I knew I was only sugar coating what it was I felt.

I love God for the bounty and fortune he has brought into my life and the life of many in this country and elsewhere.

I hated God for the unfairness and cruelty that exists in the world today, that allowed for my niece to be so hurt, and for so many others to live lives of hoplessness, despair and in the constant shadow of death.

It was a secret struggle-- I never told anyone or discussed it with anyone. It was one of those things I internalized and wrestled with.

I wanted so much for my relationship with God to be serene, sure and perfect. Whatever it was, it certainly wasn't that.

My relationship with God was a struggle-- always has been. I've always questioned, defied and even rebelled. People laugh and are genuinely surprised when I tell them that. I don't come across as the 'bad boy' but I have had my moments-- long moments-- in the past. With the passage of time and the reality of real responsibility, they are fewer, farther between and less 'bad.' What possessed me to bungee jump (twice) two years ago still eludes me. It was something I had to try. Fathers don't do that kind of thing. There are still some mea culpa's on my account that need to be reconciled.

When I got to the hospital, I hated God with a fury.

When I saw my niece, bandaged up, tubes running in and out her and machines beeping and humming, I hated God with an even colder passion.

It was a simple, stupid and unthinking reaction. It was a cheap shot and offered me no insight and understanding. Nor did it alleviate the fear and anguish.

Belief, and even moreso, acceptance is like work. It isn't meant to be easy. It is meant to be a constant and ever more difficult struggle. As we get older and hopefully wiser, the burden becomes heavier as we deal with issues that aren't so black and white.

I remember once reading and being struck by the notion that 'the greater the belief, the greater the doubt.'

It's not about God, it's about me and every believer out there. God will tend to His affairs and we must tend to ours. That is the compact we have with Him.

We are meant to carry a burden. It is the kind of burden and how we carry it that counts.

The way I see it, there are really two burdens-- one is our own and the other is our communal burden. We are responsible for both, in equal measure. By shouldering both, we halve the load of each, in many way. Making moral choices helps not only ourseves, but our comminity as well. By supporting a community's right choices and fighting against those things that may be harmful, we help ourselves lead the lives we need to.

Sadly, too many of us lose the sense of balance. For some, the personal struggle is the center of attention. For others, they fight for commnunity and neglect the personal choices. In both cases there is the rationale that 'because what I'm doing is good, I can afford to pay less attention to my other obligations.'

There has to be a balance or we sacrifice an important part of our lives.

Too often, we make religion and belief a zero sum game-- an all or nothing proposition. Whatever it's faults- and religion has many, that is one thing it is not supposed to be.

And yet, of all things, that is the one dominant similarity religions have come to share. In the process, different religions and different beliefs within religion have become no more than marketing companies, trying to appeal to as many people as they can by 'dumbing down' the struggle and appealing to the 'feel good' needs without the struggle.

It's as if religion has gone 'TV'-- we sit in front of the television for an hour and think we know understand the real issues and problems. We don't need to study, struggle and wrestle with ideas and concepts that we have no clue about. That others have spent years doing just that is of no importance. We look at Dan Rather or PBS and think we 'know' what's going on.

Just attend the House of Worship of your choice and all will be revealed and understood. If you aren't happy, there is always another channel down the road, with another script, requiring even less effort and even more tolerant of requiring no comittment to ideals and even beliefs.

Is it any wonder people are tuned out?

It is true that for a long time, organized religion didn't 'speak to us.' Religion responded not by elevating us, but rather by requiring less of us.

It has been asked, how did we reach the point that the Sabbath Day highlight is a football game?
The answer is easy, I think. We can be passionate about our teams and our sports because for a few hours, we can be as involved as we want, without real comittment.

When the game is over, we get on with our lives. No more attention required, till the next game.

Organized religion imitated that, to compete. Show up, sing, dance and pray and you're done with it till next week.

I always wondered how on earth clergy people could be good marriage counselors. They don't require any comittment to God from their parishoners. How on earth could they advise anyone about comittment?

Sometimes I wonder if our society has abandoned religion, or if religion has abandoned us.

Albert Einstein said 'God doesn't play dice with the Universe'- meaning there was a purpose to creation.

I don't know the meaning of it all. I don't know my purpose on this earth or anyone else's. I'm not even sure I want to know.

The only thing I do know is that God is here and has expectations from us. We are required not to be perfect, but rather to do the best we can.

We know God in two ways. We know what we are asked to do, in how we treat our fellow man.

We also know that we are expected to have a personal relationship with Him in matters of the heart and soul-- a relationship that is deeply private and intimate.

I don't know what my niece had to go through what she did. I don't know why she has to be the one to go through a few more surgeries. I don't know her parents will suffer, as only parents can, for a child. I will be there for my niece as best I can, in any way I can.

God will do and tend to the things he needs to, and I will do and attend to things I need to.

I will not worry about other people's private relationship with God, or the what's and why's of what he has in store for them, or what the 'Grand Plan' may be.

There are far too many other things down here I need to concern myself with.

I thank God and love Him for giving me the opportunity to extend myself, to my niece and her family. I have been blessed. I will continue to pray to be so blessed-- and that I have the further opportunity to be a meaningful influence on others, those close and not so close to me.

Wandering Mind

may not be suitable for political vegans