Saturday, March 29, 2008

One Tree Sit down…

It happened a few weeks ago, but part of the Berkeley tree sit has ended. I say part, because it wasn’t technically part of the main tree sit on the grounds of the future stadium, but a sympathy sit on a different part of Cal’s campus. That’s right: not only does the ridiculous tree sit at Berkeley exist in the first place, but it has actually spawned its own splinter movement! Only in Berkeley my friends.

Here is what the California Patriot reported from the event.
After a rally and dialogue today “Fresh,” the tree name of the person staying in the tree by Wheeler Hall, finally came down. He cited the successful dialogue among students that occurred on Friday as a reason for him to end the tree sit.

I was not around when “Fresh” finally came down, but I was around for the rally and commotion by the tree around noon. A group organized through Facebook, “Students against Hippies in Trees,” circulated papers and online messages encouraging students to show up on Friday and yell their feelings of disgust and disagreement at tree sitter “Fresh.”

A tree sitter supporter held up a sign asking, “Does your Grandmother know you are at a hate rally?” The vocal anti-tree sitter responded by asking the person if his Grandmother knew he had no job, sat around all day by a tree, and was a failure.

Who said conservatives don’t have a sense of humor?

Friday, March 28, 2008

What Needs Repeating

With things changing so quickly, I was hesitant to comment on the fighting in Iraq this week, but there is a point that needs to be made that I don’t hear enough: it is the Iraqi Army that is fighting al-Sadr’s forces.
"Dubbed Operation Knights' Assault, Iraqi security forces have gone on the offensive to wrest control of the strategic oil hub and Iraq's second largest city from Mahdi Army control."

I have heard more than one individual say that this “proves” the surge has failed, and that’s nonsense. The point of the surge was to give the Iraqi government enough time to stabilize, and to clear out certain regions that had been swamped with terrorists and insurgents. The fact that it is the federal Iraqi government that is now fighting al-Sadr’s militia is a positive development. Maliki’s government offered a very clear ultimatum to those who continue to fight them ("We are not going to chase those who hand over their weapons within 72 hours. If they do not surrender their arms, the law will follow its course..."), and something tells me they are going to live up to this threat.

As a number of commentators mentioned, the surge was also allowed to work because of the cease-fire with al-Sadr, but most also thought that Iraq would eventually have to face his group and its militia. I hope that the Iraqi government has the power and the will to overcome this struggle.

As David Price points out, “the Iraqis rate the IA as their most trusted institution, way ahead of the coalition and even farther ahead of the militias, which are increasingly blamed for the violence.” Regardless of ones political alignment, the democratically elected government needs the support we can give them at this moment. Price also makes clear:
“The Iraqi Army is so much larger than even the Badr Corps‘ most exaggerated self-estimate that they could not hold more than a small fraction of the ranks of the IA even were they attempting to do so while maintaining their Badr identity, which would be very difficult in any case because the Iraqi Army officer and NCO corps are heavily vetted and indoctrinated by their U.S. trainers. Claims that this is just a clash between militias are plainly ridiculous.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I love this comic by Mike Luckovich.

Clinton Supporters for McCain

National polls dealing with the November election are pretty worthless at this point in time, but it is looking less likely that the Democratic Party will be unified this fall like they had envisioned. From CNN:
“A sizable number of Hillary Clinton supporters may break ranks to back John McCain in November should Barack Obama capture the Democratic nomination, a new Gallup poll suggests.

According to the just-released poll, 28 percent of Clinton's supporters would back McCain should the New York senator lose her quest for the Democratic nomination.”

With Barak Obama looking more and more like just another politician, and not the political messiah the media has made him out to be, this year is looking better and better for McCain. A lot can change (and surely will), but I don’t think it is a stretch to say the Dems are in a state of confusion.

Stop Jean Ziegler

Jean Ziegler, the Holocaust denying totalitarian pick of choice for the U.N. Human Right’s Council needs to be stopped. Go to UN Watch’s website to find out how you can stop this man from taking a position with the HRC.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

McCain Should Disown Hagee

It’s time to give McCain some shit for the religious company he is keeping.

John McCain has been endorsed by John Hagee, a senior pastor at Cornerstone Church in Texas. He heads one of those Evangelical "super churches" that says and believes a good chunk of nonsense the religious right is known for. Here’s what Hagee has to say on a number of matters.

“How utterly repulsive, insulting, and heartbreaking to God for his chosen people to credit idols with bringing blessings he had showered upon the chosen people. Their own rebellion had birthed the seed of anti-Semitism that would arise and bring destruction to them for centuries to come.”

Hurricane Katrina and Homosexuals:
“All hurricanes are acts of God, because God controls the heavens. I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are — were recipients of the judgment of God for that. The newspaper carried the story in our local area that was not carried nationally that there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other Gay Pride parades. So I believe that the judgment of God is a very real thing. I know that there are people who demur from that, but I believe that the Bible teaches that when you violate the law of God, that God brings punishment sometimes before the Day of Judgment. And I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.”

Hagee’s a real class act as you can see. He is also accused of being anti-Catholic by none other than William Donahue, but I can’t muster the same contempt for Hagee on this ground. The fact that he doesn’t believe the Catholic Church is the correct vessel for God is a given, seeing that he is an evangelical and a sectarian. Catholics, by his definition and theology, are sinners and apostates. I don’t oppose Hagee because he hurts the feelings of some other church (the various protestant churches are apostates too according to Catholic doctrine, so Donahue probably shouldn’t throw stones).

But to say that those who died from Katrina (or 9/11 or the Holocaust) were done so through a godly act of retribution for the sins of those slaughtered, is disgusting and despicable, and I believe increases the number of folks willing to attack and torment those who belong to such groups. If God is righteous when he drowns some homosexuals, what makes the armed mob any less righteous when it cleanses them from the community? Once you believe one group of people is deserving of death and persecution, you have opened the door to every totalitarian to act with virtuous impunity, all to gain grace in the eyes of God.

I hope that these recent uproars over religious men and their bizarre conspiracy theories will dissipate the desire of the American public to see their candidates with “holy” individuals, which act as little more than amplifiers for hate groups and bamboozlers. McCain was right in 2000, when he called these types of preachers “agents of intolerance.”

The truth is, being a preacher is one of the last occupations for a racist or despot to take these days, and both political parties pander to them as if they need these hoodwinks to win over the majority of the American populace. I don’t believe for a second that Wright or Hagee is going to help either Obama or McCain win a single vote they were not already going to pick up; they will only push away voters with their bizarre religious rhetoric.

I think McCain should completely disown Hagee and his ilk. The Obama/Wright connection is far more damaging to Democrats this November than Hagee’s endorsement of McCain, but I don’t think it's acceptable to give McCain a pass simply because he is not going to suffer at the voting booth for having Hagee’s support. I want better from my leaders and representatives, and America can do a whole lot better than a “spiritual adviser” like Pastor John Hagee.