Category: Politics

What the U.S. can do

09/02/07 | by Steve [mail] | Categories: Politics

Writing in The New Yorker of August 27, 2007, in an article on Nicolas Sarkozy, Adam Gopnik quotes Jean-David Levitte, the former French Ambassador to the United States, as follows:

When Sarkozy met Condoleezza Rice, she said, “What can I do for you?’ And he said, bluntly, ‘Improve your image in the world. It’s difficult when the country that is the most powerful, the most successful—that is, of necessity, the leader of our side—is one of the most unpopular countries in the world. It presents overwhelming problems for you and overwhelming problems for your allies. So do everything you can to improve the way you’re perceived—that’s what you can do for me.”

Even making allowances for the longstanding differences in foreign policy objectives between France and the U.S., it's frightening and sad to realize how quickly and utterly the Bush administration, recklessly pursuing a neoconservative agenda, has squandered the international goodwill the U.S. has built up over many decades. Even if foreign policy has to be constructed from the competing self-interests of state actors (and while this assumption needs to be challenged, this is not the place), it is tragic to realize how rigorously the present administration has so obviously and consistently sought to advance the narrow policy interests of the U.S. at the expense of humanitarian goals, and how damaging that agenda and the way it has been pursued have been to international perception of the United States. Bravo to Sarkozy for speaking so directly! Let us hope Rice was listening, and let us hope she has levers to pull within the administration that could lead to a change.

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Video: "iRack"... Apple's latest [VIDEO]

03/30/07 | by hirby [mail] | Categories: News, Humor, Politics

This is a very funny, and unfortunately also sad, send-up of the Bush administration's war on terrorism. From Mad TV. Several other versions of the video were taken down, so take a look while you can.

(I learned about this video from Paul McNamara's "NetBuzz" column in Network World.)

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Tony Campolo: Duplicity on the Right

10/03/06 | by Steve [mail] | Categories: News, Religion, Politics

Tony Campolo calls it duplicity; some others might call it hypocrisy. If the Bible is the literal and inspired Word of God, as so many in the religious right would have it, how then can "a dozen top leaders of America's Religious Right" argue that sometimes torture is justified? Either they've parked their religious principles at the door (while exhorting the rest of us to vote our values), or they've abandoned their reliance on the infallibility of scripture. As Campolo notes,

If they have changed their minds and are ready to refute the golden rule, then it is time for them to say plainly, "For the most part we agree with Jesus, but there are special circumstances when we must ignore His teachings."

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New Treasury head eyes rising inequality | csmonitor.com

08/02/06 | by Steve [mail] | Categories: News, Politics

The Christian Science Monitor writes about Henry Paulson, new Treasury Secretary as follows:

The wide gap between the richest and poorest Americans has not often been the topic of choice for the Bush administration's two previous Treasury secretaries.

So it was notable this week that Henry Paulson, the president's latest Treasury head, chose to put that issue on his short list - as one of the nation's four prominent, long-term economic challenges. Mr. Paulson's head-on approach during one of his first public appearances as secretary differs from his predecessors' strategies, some analysts say.

The optimist in me thinks that someone in the administration has finally figured out that continued collusion with rich and powerful elites is morally offensive and a failed strategy. Maybe the President's often-avowed Christian values will finally start to become evident in his political life. The pessimist, however, suspects that as Paulson's agenda becomes more widely known within the administration, he'll be quietly forced out.

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AlterNet: Why We Let an Atheist Join Our Church

04/01/06 | by Steve [mail] | Categories: Religion, Politics

On March 11, I cited an Alternet story about Robert Jensen, a self-confessed atheist, who joined a Presbyterian church for, as he put it, "political reasons." Now the pastor of that church explains the reasoning that led him to accept an atheist as a member, noting that the early Christians were accused of being atheists because they didn't worship human images of God. (We should remember, however, that until the end of the eighteenth century, "atheist" was not used strictly to mean "someone who believes there is no God" but, rather, "someone with whose religious views I disagree." )

"Whoever has love has God." That's what the Bible says. So the question before my church was not whether Jensen could recite religious syllables like a cockatiel, but whether he would follow the core teachings of Jesus and learn more and grow more into Christ's universal love of which the creeds sing. This he pledged to do.

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