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Saturday, September 27, 2008

THE FASCIST STATES OF AMERICA?

REMEMBER TO VISIT www.factcheck.org/ REGULARLY TO CHECK THE ACCURACY OF ALL THE POLITICAL ADS YOU SEE AND HEAR!

"Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them."
-George Santayana

Back in the Vietnam War era, I remember hearing members of the "New Left" referring to the United States as being a "fascist" state. They did so for our having waged an imperialistic war, for the benefit of our military/industrial complex, in a small Asian country whose people we looked down upon, using a large number of poor white and minority soldiers to do the job, with Wall Street profiting handsomely off the venture. They claimed the government was lying to the people, withholding and distorting information on the war. Though much of the New Left's claims were borne out with the publication of "The Pentagon Papers" in 1971, I still regarded the allegation that we were a fascist country as having been a bit over the top. But events in our country over the past 8 years have now led myself and others to begin asking: Has the United States of America now become, or is it now becoming, in actuality, the Fascist States of America? There is disturbing evidence to suggest we may, in fact, be undergoing, a troubling transformation.

In a recent study entitled "The Puzzle of Fascism", Eric Williams examines the possibilities we may indeed be sliding into fascism. He lists the definition of fascism as being, "...an authoritarian and nationalistic system of government, intolerant, vicious in practice..." The World Book Encyclopedia defines fascism as "...a form of government headed, in most cases, by a dictator. It involves total government control of political, economic, cultural, religious, and social activities...Fascism allows industry to remain in private ownership, though under government control. Other important features...include extreme patriotism, warlike policies, and persecution of minorities."

Laura Dawn Lewis, a one-time writer for the L.A. Business Journal, is a devout Lutheran who founded the Couples Co., Inc., has lived here, in the United Kingdom, and in Saudi Arabia. She has written a number of pieces on the Middle East and is the author of "Laid Off, Now What?" She has also published a piece called "What Is Fascism?" which outlines and defines it very succinctly. She lists several characteristics of a fascist country, beginning with its REACTIONARY nature (it responds to current circumstances rather than making policy to prevent problems. It puts lies on top of repeated lies until truth becomes unrecognizable, changed, or forgotten altogether). We see ample evidence of this all around us with deceptive advertising in business as well as continual Bush administration and Congressional spin. Specific examples of these are far, far too numerous to mention here, but you and I both know they are plentiful. Another characteristic is CHAUVINISM, where the state has a two-tiered legal system whereby one group receives preferential treatment or more rights than the other, often based on matters of race, creed, or origin. We have seen a number of examples of this over the years. To this criteria I would also add economic standing, as in our system, clearly there is one set of justice for the haves and yet quite another for the have-nots. Another characteristic of these countries is IMPERIALISM, establishing a nation's authority by territorial acquisition or by setting up economic and political domination of another state. Definitely, our recent history in Iraq falls under this heading. After all, we blatantly conquered the country without having been attacked by it, destroyed its infrastructure, and then rebuilt it OUR way with OUR contractors so as to ensure we would always have access to and/or influence over its oil. This nifty little plan was first conceived and developed under the auspices of an extreme right-wing think tank, The Project for a New American Century, whose charter members included none other than war criminals Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush, and a number of other diabolically familiar faces.

Ms. Lewis also lists a number of conditions which foster and nurture fascism within a country. Included among these is INSTABILITY OF CAPITALIST MARKETS. Surely our recent mortgage crises and capital meltdowns fit this bill. Also included is the STRIPPING OF RIGHTS AND WEALTH FROM A SEGMENT OF SOCIETY. Bush and the neocon Republican Party's huge tax cuts for the wealthy, their exporting of good paying American jobs overseas, and their push for tort reform (weakening or removing the public's right or ability to sue major corporations or the government for damages) have all wrenched wealth and rights from the middle class and especially the poor and have given them to the rich. Another condition we have present in abundance is GREED. The trend toward cutting workers' benefits, freezing or lowering wages, exporting jobs, encouraging illegal immigration to keep wages low, the skyrocketing CEO salaries and benefits packages, as well as the fraudulent excesses by corporate giants like Enron, Tyco, World Con, and especially the mortgage meltdown are ample proof of the corruption and greed inherent in our business and government today. Then there is the phenomenon of ORGANIZED PROPAGANDA. We saw and heard mounds of manufactured "evidence" we were barraged with to get us to go to war in Iraq. FOX "News" has become the de facto propaganda arm of the Bush White House, parroting its every pronouncement. Major oil companies and mortgage bankers have all deluged us with widespread ad campaigns to push public opinion in their favor. Need I say more?

Ms. Lewis goes on to list a number of fascism's defining characteristics. First is the meshing of government and business. We see that not only in Iraq but also in the way corporations dominate and work with our government, getting preferential legislative and judicial consideration, lobbying and effectively blackmailing much of Congress, and in some cases even authoring legislation itself, for its own benefit. The recent attempt by Bush and his Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is another case in point. The demand that Paulson receive an immediate $700 BILLION to spend as he sees fit to prop up the economy WITHOUT CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT OR LEGAL REVIEW is the height of arrogance. It was designed to benefit big business and shut the people out of the process altogether. It was a clear present-day attempt to tax WITHOUT REPRESENTATION for the benefit of the few at a cost to nearly all. Another characteristic of fascism is creating or identifying scapegoats to unify a cause. In recent years, Muslims and liberals have been the Bush regime's favorite whipping boys for this purpose in the misleadingly named "war on terror". Yet another is the disdain for human rights. Clearly Bush's excessive Patriot Act allowing for illegal wiretaps and the eventual suspension of habeas corpus easily fit this category. Habeas corpus, the right of an accused to know charges brought against him, and to receive adequate defense and a fair trail, has been a fixture of western law since England's King John first granted it back in 1215. Bush and his paranoid neocon Republican followers (and even that "independent" turncoat Joe LIEberman) have effectively trashed the concept. Their use of torture as well as the unlawful kidnapping and detention of foreign nationals, as well as their decision to implement provisions of the Geneva Convention arbitrarily as they see fit, are glaring examples of their authoritarian nature and total disregard for human rights. Still another characteristic is obsession with national security. We have heard Bush and his cronies use this excuse dozens of times in attempts to withhold information or obstruct justice. One more characteristic is the protection of corporate power. Bush's insistence of retroactive immunity for telecom companies who illegally supplied the government with wiretapping and private email data fit in nicely here, as does Bush's attempt to privatize the Iraq War by awarding non-bid contracts worth bilions to murderous corporate campaign donors like Halliburton, KBR, and Blackwater, and then allowing them free reign in Iraq. Another defining characteristic is the suppression of labor power. Bush's and the Republicans' advocacy and support of tort reform and outsourcing jobs cripple labor, as do Bush's support and encouragement for illegal immigration. Still another one is a controlled mass media. Bush tried his best to shut down PBS, declaring it to be too liberal. His White House has issued nothing but spin throughout his tenure and has even distributed talking points to its ever-friendly propaganda arm, FOX "News". Then there is the characteristic of corruption. It has been abundant in our federal government all throughout Bush's tenure. There has been rampant cronyism in the White House itself, with the appointments of Alberto Gonzales and Mike Brown to positions where they had no business being, in addition to the blatant ideological litmus tests in evidence over at Bush's Justice Department. But the most dangerous characteristic of all is fraudulent elections. There is strong evidence to suggest that Busah stole both the 2000 and 2004 elections. In 2000, it was "hanging chads", roads to polling places in heavily black and Democratic sections in Florida being closed down, and Bush's brother's Florida Secretary of State Kathleen Harris hurriedly certifying election results before all recounts had been completed. In 2004, it was the removal of voting machines in heavily black and Democratic areas of Ohio to new locations in the more Republican areas. This caused extremely long lines and therefore a falloff in voting in the Democratic areas. In both cases Bush "won" election by very narrow margins.

The classic example of a fascist state is Nazi Germany, with its strong authoritarian government, its arrogant nationalism, secret police, press censorship, persecution and murder of Jews and political opponents, collusion between Hitler and the Krupp industrial empire, and its aggressive war against Poland and the rest of the world. Thankfully, we in this country have not yet seen murderous excesses like those of Nazi Germany. But disturbing parallels between our government and industry are beginning to emerge. We must not slide into fascism, even if our variety of it IS milder than that of Hitler's Germany. There is a dangerous new militarism and intolerance of dissent creeping into our national psyche. These are unhealthy developments which must be reversed. There is a tendency for us to act unilaterally regarding other nations. There is a school of thought which says the President must have almost unlimited power and that the Legislative and Judicial branches of government should be subordinate to him. That paternalistic and authoritarian attitude must be rejected altogether, and is one in a growing list of reasons why the blustery, trigger-happy and militaristic John McCain must NOT be elected President November 4!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

TIME TO PUT 9/11 BEHIND US!

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It has now been more than 7 full years since the dastardly 9/11 attacks. The time has come to finally put 9/11 permanently behind us.

We must never forget that 2,975 innocent people lost their lives that fateful day. We must never forget that a small but growing band of fundamentalist Islamic extremists is dedicated to our destruction, and we must continue to be vigilant against future attacks. We must always remember that the attack was conceived and executed by Osama Bin Laden's terrorist group, al Qaeda. But it is high time for us to end our paranoia resulting from the attack, as it has led us to neglect our real focus and has prompted us to embark on a number of expensive and mistaken other ventures.

Joe Biden nailed it perfectly when he chastised fearmongerer Rudy Giuliani for being obsessed with the attack and only having "a noun, a verb, and 9/11" to say about public policy. Cheap, self-serving, unstable, and paranoid politicians like Giuliani have had a field day with 9/11, most of them being conservatives and members of the neocon faction of the Republican Party which has dominated that party and much of public debate ever since George W. Bush took office. Since 2002, the GOP/conservative bloc has passed or attempted to pass unnecessarily repressive and invasive laws like the slyly-named Patriot Act to legalize wiretapping and email, library, and bank account surveillence. The writ of habeas corpus (the right of an accused to have actual charges brought against him, to have an adequate defense, and the right to have an actual fair trial) has even been suspended for those suspected of being terrorists. This means, of course, that by accusing you of terrorism, the government can arrest you, lock you up and detain you indefinitely, and you are powerless to do anything about it. Habeas corpus was first created in 1215 by England's King John, and has been the basis for western law ever since! In one fell swoop, then, this rash Republican -led action overturned nearly 800 years of established democratic and constitutional law. A generation ago, this same bloc were warning us of the dangers of George Orwell's "Big Brother", the all-knowing, pervasive and invasive government in the novel 1984. By 2002, these same paranoidal elements had BECOME Big Brother! They went to such excess, in fact, the Supreme Court even overturned parts of the Patriot Act as being unconstitutional and way over the top.

The Republicans didn't just stop with infringing on our rights, though. They have not hesitated to use the fear generated by 9/11 again and again to pass their agenda and for their own political gain. By accusing opponents of their platform or candidates of the other party of being unpatriotic or soft on terrorism, these renegade Republicans were able to pass a number of controversial tax-breaks-for-the-rich and military appropriations bills and non-bid military contracts worth billions for corporate campaign donors. They were also able to scare voters into electing their candidates, for a time. These paranoid neocon Republicans still exert a strong grip on their party, and they're simply not happy unless they're bullying someone or depriving us of our constitutional rights. The time has come for this insanity to end.

This use of 9/11 for political gain by the Republicans has been highly hypocritical in a number of ways. First, their claim to be the party best suited to provide our national security is absolute, 100% nonsense. It was THEY who controlled the Congress and White House on 9/11 when we were attacked, NOT the Democrats. In fact, the outgoing Clinton administration had even foiled an attempted attack on the L.A. International airport in early 2000, and had provided warning about Bin Laden planning an attack on our soil to the incoming Bush administration. This warning went ignored. The morning of August 6, 2001, Bush was briefed that intelligence had detected an imminent Bin Laden attack, possibly using airplanes. This, too, was not acted upon. One month later came 9/11. In light of this background, the Republican claim that they are best suited for our protection and that the Democrats are soft on terrorism is an absolute lie. Second, were Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the neocon Republicans REALLY interested in protecting us from another attack on our soil, they would have sealed and strengthened our port and border security ON 9/11, and that is something THEY HAVE NEVER DONE THEN OR SINCE! To this very day, our southern border remains wide open, a place where virtually anyone or anything can cross it unnoticed and unopposed. Plus, to this very day, only 1% of all the cargo ships unloading goods in our country receive a customs inspection. Why? Because Bush and his big business multinational corporate allies want to ensure a steady stream of cheap illegal immigrant labor floods into the country. This ensures that wage levels will remain low and breaks the back of un ion labor. This also proves the GOP's and Bush's rhetoric on national security is a lie. These people would have us believe that al Qaeda was a monolithic, all-powerful force on the verge of destroying us. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are a ragtag, disunited group of small, separate entities united only in their hatred of America. At no point were they in collusion withSaddam Hussein's Iraq and they are not in league with Ahmedinijad's Iran now. WERE they the all-powerful group Bush and Cheney always infer, our borders would have been properly tightened up on 9/11 AFTERNOON! But Bush and Cheney used 9/11 as an excuse to go after what they really wanted in the first place: Iraqi OIL. $1 trillion later, the rest is history. In view of all this missinformation and these missteps, how can ANYONE accept the Republican Party's assertion that they are the only ones capable of protecting us from terrorism?

This Friday night, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain will hold their first Presidential Debate, on the topic of Foreign Affairs. Obama will undoubtedly outline his broad, strategic vision, much of which has been directly or indirectly endorsed by many former Secretaries of State serving both Republican and Democratic past administrations. John McCain will undoubtedly try to convince us that due to his 26 year tenure in Washington, he has a better grip on foreign policy than Obama. As a militaristic and combative tactician cut from the Bush mold, it is highly doubtful he will be able to convince voters that his stale and imperfect strategy is the best course to follow. Fearmongering and jingoism are not tactics the public will buy any more.

2,975 innocents died on 9/11. 2,350 died in the bloody attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, but people weren't saying "Remember 12/7" a full 7 years after THAT attack. Nor did that attack lead to the suspension of habeas corpus, or cause us to attack another country with absolutely no ties to the Pearl Harbor attack. Have we overreacted, or acted inappropriately because of 9/11? Since we have all but abandoned the search for Bin Laden, have not destroyed al Qaeda, and invaded Iraq for her oil, it would certainly seem so!

We must remain vigilant and strong to prevent another 9/11-style occurrence, but we do not have to attack other countries, erect prison camps, torture prisoners, or trample the Constitution to do so. It is downright unpatriotic for the Republicans, including Rudy Giuliani and John McCain, to continue using 9/11 to mislead the public, and to selfishly and hypocritically continue using that terrible tragedy for their own perceived political benefit. We must stop playing political games with our anti-terrorism effort. We must bring our troops HOME from the immoral and costly Iraq debacle and strengthen them in Afghanistan, so as to finish the job on Bin Laden and al Qaeda we should have finished six years ago. Above and beyond all else, though, it is high time we put 9/11 BEHIND US once and for all!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sarah Palin? NO WAY!!!

REMEMBER TO VISIT www.factcheck.org/ TO CHECK ON THE ACCURACY OF ALL THE POLITICAL ADS YOU SEE AND HEAR!

Sarah Palin is a woefully poor choice for Vice President. Yes, she's feisty, determined, good looking (if you like hornet's nest hairdos), and is apparently a strong Christian. However, she is wholly unprepared to assume the duties of President should 72 year old two-time cancer victim John McCain be elected and then die in office, just as she is wholly unprepared for the office of Vice President. Like Dan Quayle before her, she is rash and highly partisan with a decidedly far-right bent. To allow this terribly unprepared person to ascend to either office would be as foolish as taking a 16 year old hometown sandlot baseball phenomenon and shipping him up to the major leagues. He wouldn't be able to cut the mustard no matter how hard he tried, and, no matter how dazzling his play had been at the neighborhood park baseball field, major league baseball would be way too far out of his league. So, too, would be the number two or top position in our government way too far out of Sarah Palin's league. One would never even consider taking the manager of a quiet little computer store and propelling that person up to the position of VP or CEO of Microsoft Corporation! It's a matter of proper perspective, good judgment, and common sense, that's all. These are important elements apparently lacking in the John McCain campaign.

Sorry, folks, but in my view, having been mayor of a small Alaskan town of less than 10,000 people does not prepare one for the nation's biggest and most important jobs. Neither does being Governor of a state with a population of only 670,000. Yes, in both cases, some executive decisions are made, but they pale tremendously when compared with the complexities and far-reaching consequences of those made in the Oval Office. For decisions made at the White House level deal with the subtle nuances of foreign diplomacy. They deal with matters of war and peace, and of micro and macro economics, and a host of other highly detailed and crucially important pressing issues. They demand far more knowledge and background than Sarah Palin's 4 year degree in Jornalism or minimal political experience provide!

The sad fact is that neither John McCain nor the national media have given Ms. Palin the necessary background checks one running for Vice President should have. Not much substantive information about her has surfaced in the press, and the McCain campaign has shielded her from direct media access and interviews to an unprecedented degree. Still, a number of questionable actions and practices relating to her performance as both mayor and Governor have surfaced. Palin has always claimed to be a fiscal conservative. But as mayor, she inherited a city with zero debt but left it $22 MILLION in debt. She spent $1 million for a new park and $1.5 million on a new city sports complex, pushing to build it on a tract of land the city did not have clear title to. Her rash action has involved the city in a costly ongoing litigation battle. She redecorated her office numerous times at taxpayer expense. She also pushed through a $5.5 million roads project, something which could have been completed in a more gradual 5-7 year time frame without borrowing. Ms. Palin is also currently under investigation for abuse of power in her firing of a Police Chief who refused to dismiss a trooper. It turns out this trooper was "coincidentally" her brother-in-law, who at the time was in the process of divorcing her sister. Palin is refusing to release hundreds of emails she sent during this period, and is citing executive privilege for doing so, just as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have done so infamously over the years. Something clearly stinks about this, and it's not rotting Alaskan salmon or King Crab either. Prudent and capable leaders do not find themselves in controversial situations like this. Reckless, impulsive, disingenuous, vindictive, narrowly-focused ones with their own agenda do. Palin and McCain claim she is a reformer who will champion transparency and clean Washington up by ridding it of pork-barrel Congressional earmarks and corrupt lobbyists. Yet she herself enlisted the aid of a lobbyist with ties to Jack Abramoff to procure a $27 million earmark for her little town! As Governor, she claims she told Congress "thanks, but no thanks" for the $200 million "bridge to nowhere" obtained by indicted Alaskan Republican Senator Ted Stevens. But this is an outright twisted lie. While campaigning for Governor, she came out in SUPPORT of the earmark until it proved embarrassing and politically unpopular, when she began to speak out against it. Not only that, but SHE KEPT THE $200 MILLION AND SPENT IT IN OTHER AREAS OF THE STATE! This smacks of the same old, same OLD brand of politics, not a reformer's new approach. Further evidence of her impulsiveness is shown in the tax rebates she has issued to every Alaskan. During the recent huge rise in oil prices, Alaska's state budget enjoyed a sizable surplus. Rather than investing even a part of this in technology to create future energy independence, the rash and short-sighted young Governor pushed to return the entire surplus to every resident of the state, a sort of politically popular short term gain, long term don't-even-worry-about-the-future approach to governing.

CONSIDER THIS: Can you honestly see Sarah Palin sitting at the same table as Russia's Putin, or Iran's Ahmadinejad, or Venezuela's Chavez, or any other damgerous and seasoned adversary, and being able to accurately size these crafty old cunning veterans up, and effectively negotiating with them? I DON'T THINK SO! The fact is this: Unlike Barack Obama, who has actually LIVED in a foreign country, met with foreign leaders, and been on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sarah Palin has done NONE of these things. She has been limited to the narrow world view of her tiny, remote little Alaska town. Just this week, in an interview with ABC's Charles Gibson, it was painfully obvious she has no real grasp of the repercussions American foreign policy can have on the world. It was abundantly clear she had no knowledge of the "Bush Doctrine", the practice of pre-emptive military strikes, and the foreign relations damage this illegal policy has caused. For her advice in this vitally important realm of foreign affairs, she would be relying on and drawing from the same hawkish, militaristic neoconservative Republicans who led us into our disastrous and costly debacle in Iraq. Palin displays none of the maturity, sophistication, worldliness, or realpolitik knowledge other important female leaders have possessed, among which would be Margarte Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto, Golda Meir, or even our own Hillary Clinton. With her impulsive, pep rally, shoot-from-the-hip, my-way-or-the-highway confrontational style, Palin would be a divisive figure here at home and an absolute catastrophe for foreign relations. I would NEVER feel comfortable with her in charge of the military, or with her finger on our nuclear trigger. Would YOU?

The Republican Party and the McCain campaign are similarly trying to create a myth that both Palin and McCain are mavericks and reformers. Owing to the fact that ex-Bush campaign aides and seven different lobbyists are directing, operating, and advising the McCain campaign, it is highly unlikely they will generate any REAL reform. With this type of campaign direction, it is no wonder they are cynically and deceptively trying to steal Barack Obama's widely popular and relevant theme of change in Washington. McCain and Palin are fraudulently twisting this idea and perverting it to their own dishonest design. Not very original. Not very new.

There are those wildly partisan people who insist that Sarah Palin has the ability and executive experience to perform the roles of Vice President or President. There are also those who still believe the earth is really flat, or that the world was created exactly 6,000 years ago in exactly six days. They split hairs, grasp at straws, and will say and do virtually ANYTHING to keep Obama out of the White House. Strongly held and shrilly-voiced social convictions do NOT in and of themselves a Vice President or President make. Ms. Palin has claimed similarity with Harry S Truman in a cynical attempt to attract small town voters to herself and away from Obama. But that, like many of her other assertions, is faulty. Harry S Truman had been a soldier overseas in World War I. He was VERY well read in history, law, and politics even before coming to Washington. He served in the US Senate before becoming Vice President and had a good understanding and working knowledge of Washington politics. Upon becoming President, he had a wealthy supply of successful military, economic, and foreign policy advisors from the FDR presidency to draw from, not the lobbyists, poltical ideologues, and discredited militarists she would be employing. Truman was therefore infinitely more prepared for the job than she. So sorry, young lady. We knew Harry Truman, and you are no Harry S Truman!!

Look at it this way, folks: If you were to HIRE Sarah Palin, would you consider her to be worth a salary of $208,100 a year as Vice President, or $400,000 a year as President? Or would you be able to do far, far better than that for that kind of money?

John McCain picked Sarah Palin merely as a political move, to further pander to the hardcore far-right elements in his party. These people, and Palin herself, are not in the American political mainstream. McCain did NOT put "country first" in selecting Palin. Instead, he made a seriously flawed and short-sighted judgment. It was a cynically selfish move which put politics and electability above the best interests and future of the nation. THINK ABOUT IT, EVERYBODY: We have just experienced 8 disastrous years of a President "everybody would like to have a beer with." That President, too, was poorly suited for the job, intolerant of differing viewpoints (as is Ms. Palin), and whose policies have lowered our standard of living and engaged us in a senseless TRILLION dollar war we and the next generation will be paying for decades into the future! Do we want to make the same mistake all over again? I think NOT! McCain's campaign advisors, like Steve Schmidt and the notorius Karl Rove, have tried to steer the perceived choice in this election away from consideration of issues and policy, to one of which ticket is more likeable or "just like me". That's why we hear Palin refer to herself as a "hockey mom" and a "pit bull with lipstick", in an attempt to be cute and endearing to us. That is why she is NOT discussing the economy or foreign affairs. This is an insult to every concerned and intelligent voter and true patriot. It is NOT acting in the country's best interest! Because of this, and for all the other reasons I have outlined here today, Sarah Palin must NOT become Vice President and the McCain/Palin ticket must NOT be elected on November 4!!! Honest, thinking people will put mind over chatter in this election and will say, to quote Hillary Clinton directly, "No McCain! No Palin! NO WAY!"

NEXT WEEK: TIME TO PUT 9/11 BEHIND US!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

JESUS WOULD BE ASHAMED!

REMEMBER TO VISIT www.factcheck.org/ REGULARLY TO CHECK ON THE ACCURACY OF ALL THE POLITICAL ADS YOU SEE AND HEAR!

Riding a city bus can be a very interesting experience sometimes. You never know what type of people or situations you might encounter. Not long ago while on a bus, I had the good fortune to overhear a young mother giving some practical, everyday morality lessons to her small children, aged (I would guess) about 4 and 5. "Mommy," asked the younger of the two, a boy, "would Jesus be ashamed of me if grandma gave me some candy and I didn't share it with Kylie?" I had to chuckle at the child's wide-eyed innocence and deadpan earnestness. The young mother softly explained that Jesus wants everybody to share and be good to everybody, even to older sisters. Then older sister Kylie piped in to ask a similar question, and she, too, received a similar answer. This back and forth went on for a while until soon all three rose and got off the bus. The incident stuck with me, and I've thought about it ever since. Here were two innocent children and a young mother, and she was the provider of absolute truth, and the unassailable decider of good and evil in their eyes. As adults, we have no such human counterpart, and must rely instead upon our own moral upbringing and remember the lessons our own parents, teachers, and preachers taught us over the years. I realized that these young children had unwittingly asked a very significant and profound question of their mother. In fact, the question they asked was one it wouldn't hurt each one of US to ask ourselves every day. The children's questions, and their mother's responses, led me to think: What WOULD Jesus be ashamed of if He were physically walking among us today? It didn't take me long to come up with quite a few answers.

I believe that, today, Jesus would be ashamed:

...if He saw the distortion, misrepresentation, and outright lies being presented by the McCAIN Presidential campaign. AND by the OBAMA Presidential campaign. AND by nearly all other politicians' election or re-election campaigns. Why? Because Jesus taught all to tell the TRUTH. not to distort or to deceive others for personal gain.

...if He saw people putting THEIR perceived rights and THEIR choice before that of a helpless, innocent, unborn child, by promoting or having abortion on demand rather than accepting responsibility for one's own actions and the human life it created, or for not having practiced pregnancy prevention measures beforehand. He would be ashamed to see a human life reduced to a matter of mere personal economics or convenience, devoid of personal responsibility.

...if He saw those who slack off on the job, steal from the workplace due to a sense of entitlement, deliberately not work at all to milk the system for undeserved welfare or unemployment checks. He would be ashamed at the dishonesty, greed, and theft.

...if He saw people unfairly or fraudulently obtain huge insurance settlements or lawsuit damages. He would be ashamed at this untruthful and selfish behavior.

...if He saw company owners or corporate officers reward themselves with lavish compensation and benefits packages while denying lesser employees wage increases, reducing or eliminating their benefits packages, and/or shipping their jobs overseas to cheaper and even slave labor markets. He would be ashamed to see these executives engaging in gluttony, self interest, and the idolatry of excessive profit to the detriment of others.

...if He saw married couples (especially with children) engaging in extra-marital affairs for fun, ego, or profit. And unfortunately, this is a very common happenstance.

...if He saw political figures like Sarah Palin standing up in churches speaking in support of guns and war, or preachers like Rev. Wright saying God should damn a country for its moral or ethical failings.

...if He saw cruel, domineering, and deceitful men kidnap or sweet talk young girls into prostitution.

...if He saw the hatred and intolerance shown by some religious groups purporting to be operating in His name actively castigating others for being Jews, Muslims, Catholics, or homosexuals. He would NEVER approve of blistering verbal attacks, character assassinations, or discrimination against those not following His creed. Not once did He EVER advocate burning non-believers or moral misfits at the stake, or engaging in war, plunder, or murder against them.

...if He saw our businesspersons, press, or government officials advancing, emgaging in, or profiting from war on false pretenses for political or economic gain.

...if He saw people who loudly profess to be His followers send hate-filled and fearful lies and distorted emails around like "Barack Obama is really a Muslim" or "All Muslims want to destroy us and Israel" out of ignorance and stubborn stupidity. A very wise man once said, "The Christian Right is NEITHER." Many of them practice this kind of tactic, and that wise man was totally correct about them!

...if He saw our military engaging in torture and then our government lying about and defending it.

...if He saw people cheating on their taxes, in sports, or in business for their own profit or self-gratification.

...if He saw indiscriminate murder through drive-by shootings or car bombs. He preached life, not death.

...if He saw His priests engaging in pedophilia and His church ignoring the problem and even resorting to covering it up.

...if He saw government and judicial officials routinely approving the murder of criminals for crimes committed.

...if He saw government officials regularly giving themselves pay raises but voting down increases in the minimum wage for the poor...


Yes, honest people will realize that Jesus would indeed be very ashamed of much of today's goings-on. And I believe that honest people would, on occasion, examine their own behavior to make sure that it, as well, is nothing to be ashamed of!