Are you excited about the end times yet?

I  have heard that there are Christian evangelicals who thinking about the so-called end times in which there will be a major battle between Christians and Muslims. When I worked for a progressive agency years ago one of my coworkers discussed this idea. I was scared and repulsed by the idea.

In a fight between two religious beliefs I would choose neither one. I’m not surprised that the so-called Islamic State is drawing on the idea of the big war between Christian and Muslim forces in their version of an end times. Humans, for your own sake, you must choose neither. Atheists don’t start wars and we don’t enjoy blowing ourselves to bits.


You cannot be replaced

This is a reblog from To Write Love on Her Arms. I was searching for something to say after an intense weekend of writing. It can be rewarding, finding new ideas and ways to reach other people. People visit and learn what I have to say. This sometimes includes sharing my work across different platforms such as Facebook and twitter. The more that I write, the more opportunities I gave people to discover me.  I often write about things that outrage me and I attempt to provoke people. My recent piece about what I considered racist responses to President Obama was an example. Shortly after I wrote Egypt in Flames. A quick visit to twitter confirmed that things were even worse than I had imagined. Days of rage had been met with blood on the street and panicked marchers jumping off bridges to escape gunfire.


At times the things that bother us in America may seem trivial. You could easily respond the same way Bob Newhart did in his famous “Stop it” sketch playing an insensitive therapist. But that won’t help us or the persons who really need our assistance. So I hope you will consider this message in an attempt to reach people who have considered suicide when they cannot see the rainbow.


You cannot be replaced.


Bob Newhart
Bob Newhart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Egypt in flames and drones to Iraq?

English: Orthographic map of Egypt
English: Orthographic map of Egypt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Italiano: Il presidente egiziano Hosni Mubarak...
Italiano: Il presidente egiziano Hosni Mubarak durante una visita al Quirinale, Roma. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


We have a pretty comfortable existence in America, for the most part. I could afford to take my car to the shop today, buy medical supplies for my health and food for my body. At the drug store, I was about to leave when a couple drove up in a new car parked feeling very good about themselves. Millions of these scenes took place across the country. Meanwhile in Egypt, there was bloodshed once more from the US backed military. It was yet another sign that our policies in that country have failed. Catastrophically. The billions of dollars in aid flowing into Israel and Egypt each year have not brought us anywhere close to a just peace.


Egypt in flames, settlements continue in Israel and the answer to instability in Iraq is suggested to be: send in the drones. This is madness. Egypt is trapped in so many ways. The hated and oppressive Mubarak repressed the Muslim Brotherhood. People cheered when the military overthrew him. Then a Muslim Brotherhood leader was elected and just weeks ago people were crying out for him to go. Now, even bigger crowds are fighting for democracy. And there are no good options.


We are closer to seeing drones in Iraq and things are so bad elsewhere that the violence and bloodshed in Syria was shoved aside. A region of nations in flames. And here in America we are driving to Walgreens.




It’s not about shrinking the size of government, but shifting it

The US blundered into Iraq and Afghanistan ill-prepared for either war and stayed far beyond anyone had expected. We exhausted the troops and the capacity of the veterans services to assist the people who fought. Now we must pay the price. We outspend the world on our military and yet we have unacceptable waiting periods at the Veterans Administration to resolve claims for services. And beyond the claims there is a need to improve the facilities where veterans receive services. That will cost real money. Some of the states like Texas where fools are talking about secession are going to be the most in need for help.

Texas youth enter the military at a high rate, I I know this from hearing the names of the war dead. The fool who was defeated for president wanted to spend even more money on the military while simultaneously babbling about shrinking the size of government. Like Bill Clinton said, there was an arithmetic problem. I am hoping that we will be able to achieve real cuts in military spending back to the levels that existed when Clinton was in the White House.

At the same time we ought to return tax rates to the Clinton numbers. There has been a flood of money going into homeland security gadgets and maintaining an empire overseas that is just down the drain, as far as I am concerned. We’ve got to rebuild those levees in New Jersey. We have outdated infrastructure, schools that need to be down down and subways to be repaired. If we make America our priority we can do this without spilling any more innocent blood overseas.

Syria is not our fight. Assad is a horrible dictator but it’s not our job to remove him. I’d rather have a light rail system. Or shiny new facilities to assist brain injured veterans. It’s nation time in Newark, Buffalo, Toledo, Detroit and Milwaukee and the time is now.


Is there an alternative?

Years ago there was what was called a socialist bloc of countries in eastern Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. Most of those countries have now embraced capitalism. And of course, the Soviet Union disappeared altogether. It’s depressing to hear Cuban leaders talk of their economy being a basket case. I think of this because of a brief exchange I had on Facebook this week regarding the Libyan revolution. I support the right of the Libyan people to change their leaders and to overthrow  the government of Muammar Ghadaffi. Over 40 years in power is far too long for anyone.

Tonight I heard one of the leaders of the revolutionary council talking about Libyan needs including technology. At the same time the country will have access to over $100 billion in assets that will be unfrozen from accounts around the world to assist in this effort. Libya has already established markets for its oil. Italy, France, Great Britain, Germany, China and other countries have contracts to buy their oil. The US buys a tiny amount of its oil from Libya. This situation is expected to continue. At this point we have an imperialist dominated world and even the few nominally socialist countries are allowing more and more capitalist enterprises.

The question is whether the capitalists will absorb Libya. But the model of faux Pan Africanism that Ghadaffi used as his justification for clinging to power does not work. It is time for a new generation of Libyans to direct their country’s fate. Let us hope that the use the resources of their nation wisely.

A year later, things still remain in flux. Revolutions take time to transition to a functioning government. Will the trains run on time under the new government?


Zimbabwe (Photo credit: AFSC Photos)
The leader de facto of Libya, Muammar al-Gadda...
The leader de facto of Libya, Muammar al-Gaddafi. Português: O líder de facto da Líbia, Muammar al-Gaddafi. Deutsch: Libyens de facto Staatsoberhaupt Muammar al-Gaddafi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Muammar Gaddafi is at the end of his chess match. He as no more moves left. His sons have been captured or surrendered. The  revolutionaries have taken over most of the capital of Tripoli with little resistance. From monitoring twitter, Al Jazeera and other media it is clear that his government no longer exists. Elements of former military may still be hiding out. Rumors abound that NATO has its designs on Libyan oil. What is clear is that Muammar Gaddafi does not control the oil. The revolutionary council that defeated him will need to set up a new government and the people who have participated in making the revolution need to return to routine jobs. There are warrants for Muammar Gaddafi to appear before an international criminal court to answer charges relating to his efforts to defeat the revolutionaries. He can surrender to the new authorities and attempt to arrange to be transported to a country like Zimbabwe that does not recognize the courts or end up in South Africa whose leaders met with him several times while he stubbornly clung to power. A less dignified approach would be to end up in a rabbit hole captured like Saddam Hussein. The tribes did not respond to his call to come and sacrifice themselves to help maintain his regime. It is time to accept the new realities and call for an end to the remaining resistance in order to prevent further loss of life. Libya has won.

Exciting Twitters!

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

I just spent some time on Twitter looking for people involved in Libya, Gaza and peace activities. Wow was this fun. I found Codepink Al Jazeera English, people involved in Gaza Freedom Flotillas and others who were reporting from Tripoli. It reminds me of how people must have responded when they first heard reporters from Europe speaking to them. But some of these were voices of people I never would have heard. I even found Wiki-leaks.

I will admit that I used to ignore Twitter but one day my curiosity got the better of me and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I found Eugene Kane a local columnist with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel who tweeted something about a woman with a bumper sticker that read Honk if you want to see  my tits. He said she’s either very confident or very insecure.

That’s what the Internet is. A place for fun, wasting time, laughing and gaining insight.