Here's the thing about money, it's not magic. It doesn't poof
away in a cloud of smoke. If there is a recession and you are losing money (no longer getting a paycheck, paying too much for every day goods, losing money in stocks, whatever), your money isn't magically disappearing. Although, admittedly, that is exactly what it feels like.
I'm sorry to be the one to break this to you, and you might want to be sitting down for this, but when your money is no longer with you, it is with someone else. Oh yeah, they don't call it dirty money for nothing. It no longer likes your meager, substandard, peanut butter and jelly eating lifestyle. It is living it up with someone who can provide it with the standard of living it knows it deserves - champagne wishes and caviar dreams, rather than PBR hangovers and tuna fish sandwiches.
Deny it all you want, the GOP is trying to keep us in a recession. "Nonsense," you say, "why would anyone want to keep us in a recession?" I'm glad you asked. It's trickle up economics. When the middle and lower classes are relegated to a place where they find it increasingly difficult to hold on to their money because they are unemployed, or because Unions are shut down and can't defend worker's rights, or because of any number of other outcomes connected with financially related policies of the GOP, the super-wealthy benefit.
While money isn't magic, it is remarkably buoyant and has a tendency to float to the top if the middle and lower classes aren't able to, literally, hold on to it for dear life. At that point, it is like shooting fish in a barrel for Momma and Daddy Warbucks. Maybe that's a bad metaphor.... um, it's like bobbing for dollars for the absurdly financially stable? Well, you get the picture. They are stuffing their pockets, purses, bank accounts (on and off-shore), and probably even their mattresses (some of those folk are... well, eccentric) with your
money (cue the cheesy 70s porn music). And your money is loving the change of scenery (not to mention it no longer has to listen to you going on and on about how it doesn't do for you what it used to do for you).
The role of the travel agent in this indecent little tale is being played by the GOP... technically, it is more like they
are being played, like puppets (which is a whole different level of dirty). They are being played by wealthy corporations and the abundantly rich. These corporations and high net-worth individuals (HNWIs) own the GOP as well as an unfortunately large chunk of what used to be a system of government of, for and by the people. That's why they want a double dip recession. Yes, it also would give them something to throw at the man who was Commander in Chief when his forces took down our nation's most diabolical enemy in decades as he runs for what is likely to be a second term in office, but the real strength of doing it is making money for HNWIs.
As it turns out, they can make plenty of money with a democratic President in place as long as the recession continues. Having a Republican President is just icing on the cake. Just check out Capgemini and Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management's "World Wealth Report 2011
" and you'll see how true it is. While the rest of us were lucky if our income stayed stable, let alone increased any, the HNWIs of the world thrived growing more than 10% last year alone and experiencing growth during the previous years of recession even when there was a democratic President. Let none of us believe that we are equally sharing the burden of the recession. We are not.
You want your money back? Stop sitting around moping about how it left you. Tell it you want it back. That you are sorry for ignoring it. That you won't let Big Corporations and HNWIs jerk it around any more. If you have to pick a fight with the people who took it, so be it. Tell it that you really do value it. Tell it by voting out the GOP. Tell it by insisting on laws that protect the middle and lower classes and their money rather than ones that play into the hand of the super rich. Tell it you care by investing it in companies that give back to the community and to those in need. Because I can tell you this, until we stand up for it and for the middle and lower classes,our money is going to be sleeping at our wealthy "friends" home and sooner or later it will get so comfortable that it may never come home.
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Let's just face it, sexual scandal in US politics is more about US politics than sexual scandal. In each event, the “other side” fain disdain for the “God awful, repugnant act.” Of course, when it was their team caught up in the act, they somehow manage to press the mute button on their supposed genuine moral disgust of such behavior.
It's all a game (and that should bother us more than anything). It isn't about morals, it's about politics, and for heavens sake let's start admitting that politics haven't been about morals for a very, very long time – if ever. We are not going to solve any real issues if we allow ourselves to continually get distracted by the sexual side shows . And, yes, I'm saying that sexual hanky-panky is a political side-show. In terms of governmental leadership, it certainly isn't the main event, nor should it be.
We've bought into the idea that sexual promiscuity somehow speaks to an elected official's ability to lead, that it “speaks to their character.” Really?!? They are politicians! Politicians lie; let's stop pretending we are shocked by it. In the current Wiener roast by the press and public, one of the repeated themes of disgruntlement is the fact that he lied to the press about it. Really? A politician lied to the press about something that could effect their ability to continue to lord over we wee minions?
Heavens to Betsy, say it ain't so! The world has gone mad! Really?
Politicians lie. They have power. Some of them, use the power of their office to have sex. Then they use their power to lie about having sex. We act surprised and disturbed. Yet, it will happen again and, sadly, probably soon. And, somehow, we will be surprised and disturbed, yet again.
On a personal level, I'm not a fan of their actions. So, don't read this as a discourse on broadening the acceptance of this kind of behavior, because it is not. I'm just calling out the press, the opposing political side (depending on the sex scandal) and the Church on their less than honest and less than logical take on the whole thing. Let's admit it is political and get on with real governance.
I am particularly bothered by those of us in the Church that try to play the holier-than-thou card by falsely claiming to be the personal bringers of God's judgment on any given situation. This is especially true in matters of sex and politics. The Church tends to get real judgmental, real fast about politicians caught up in sexual scandal and we love to bring down the judgment of God on offenders.
The only thing is, it is not God's judgment; it is our own personal judgment thinly veiled in religiosity. It seems to me that, biblically, God is fairly ambivalent about the whole thing, at least in terms of how a person's ghastly sexual morals relate to their ability to lead. One name: David.
King David is arguably God's greatest political leader. He was plagued by a massive sexual scandal that would effect the rest of his life and the life of his children. His scandal even involved death. It was bad. Yet God did not pass a judgment on him that would remove him from office. God used David to lead a nation. So, let's stop playing political games with the name of God. (That actually turns out to be something with which God is very concerned - the whole "You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the LORD your God..." commandment thing).
So, in summary:
1) Politicians lie. Stop pretending like it is surprising.
2) Like too many non-politicians (who don't lose their jobs), some politicians have sex outside of their committed relationship. It happens. It is deplorable. It will continue to happen. Stop pretending like it is surprising.
3) Sexually indiscriminate people can still be good leaders even though they are horrible spouses.
4) God has no problem using those people to lead.
5) So, stop co-opting Christianity in thinly veiled inferences in order to pass your personal or political judgment.
6) Turns out God is a little sensitive about the things we claim in God's name, particularly when all we are really trying to do is hurt someone else or get our own way.
In this episode, Zac Bailes from Crazy Liberals and Conservatives
and I discuss the debt ceiling and the Church's role in advocating for justice. Enjoy!
Religion and nations alike have bought, hook, line and sinker, into the myth of war. Not that war itself is a myth - clearly it is not. Rather, they bought into the myth that War can make things better. We have this convoluted idea that War is redemptive, that through acts of violence (whether they be preemptive or in retaliation) we can squash out... well, violence. Said differently, we genuinely believe that the path to peace (God's peaceable Kin-dom) is violence.
There is something sadly human about it. Possibly even, sadly masculine about it. From cartoons to video games, kids (particularly boys) not only buy into, but are instinctively drawn toward this myth, as we take on the role of "good guy" (after all, most of us want to believe that, in such a messed up world, at least we, ourselves, are “good”) and project our own less that laudable personality traits onto the bad guy. "You loser!" “You're nothing but a violent punk.” From pretending to be Superman in our backyard as kids to playing Call of Duty or even Angry Birds as grown ups, we have a deep inward desire (need?) to take on our perceived role as “good guy” and project our negative, violent, aggressive and even lustful behavior onto the villain (be they Lex Luthor or eggs stealing pigs... those nasty, rotten, mucus-nosed, structure-building, egg-stealing pigs... but I digress).
In a sort of sub-conscious psychological dance, we attempt to vanquish this world of all the evil we see in ourselves and in others through acts of physicality, violence and aggression which we justify by pointing to the higher good they achieve – ridding the world of nastiness and evil. That's the myth of redemptive violence. It says that violence can end violence, that war can make peace, that domination can usher in equality.
The reality of it is that it breeds. Violence breeds violence. War breeds war. Domination breeds domination. Superman never ushers in world peace. He keeps fighting the same battles over and over again.
It turns out, we already understand this reality of violence and war; we already intrinsically get that redemptive violence truly is a myth. Even as we played superheroes as kids, we understood that our actions would never really end the violence in the world. We knew that victory was temporary when it was won through force. We knew that Superman would never usher in world peace. We hoped for it, but we knew different. We cannot beat the demons within (or without) by calling on the very source of their power – namely, excerpting power over others.
As Christians we are called to practice the love of our enemy (even the one within). The concept is essentially “redemptive love.” Rather than practicing power over, it calls us to participate in power with. In short, Jesus calls us to stick with love. At all cost. Just look at his own life.
As for me, I've decided to go with the advice of Dr. Martin Luther King who once said, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
In this brief and mostly fun podcast Zac from Crazy Liberals and Conservatives
and I take a lighthearted look at the possible end of the world as we know it.(Note: there is a little technical glitch in the middle of one of the songs. It does correct itself. With apologies, we are trying to fix it).
This time on The State of The Christian Left Zac of Those Crazy Liberals and Conservatives
and I take a look at change and The Donald's exit from the GOP race to the White House. Enjoy. Engage. Respond!
Today Mark Sandlin from The God Article
and Zac Bailes from Crazy Liberals and Conservatives
discuss the fallout from the death of Osama Bin Laden. We also discuss the trajectory and state of the GOP. Come laugh and learn with us. We're trying to figure it all out, and we hope you can be in conversation with us along the way.
Dr. King's final speech, “I See The Promised Land,” was given on a stormy night which would become the eve of his assassination. He opened saying, “I'm delighted to see each of you here tonight in spite of a storm warning. You reveal that you are determined to go on anyhow.”
In his speech he imagined God giving him the option to live at any point in time. He soars through many of the peaks of history but ultimately tells God he choses to live in the second half of the twentieth century. He comments on his decision saying, “Now that's a strange statement to make, because the world is all messed up. The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land. Confusion all around. That's a strange statement. But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars... something is happening in our world. The masses of people are rising up...the cry is always the same-- 'We want to be free.'”
Sounds a lot like the first half of the twenty fist century to me. As Dr. king noted about his day and age, we too are “forced to a point where we're going to have to grapple with the problems that men [sic] have been trying to grapple with through history, but the demands didn't force them to do it.” Dr. King tells us that the demands of the times now force us to do it. It is no longer, as he rightly points out, a question of violence and non-violence; it is a question of violence and nonexistence. Be they war and peace or human rights, these problems persist and so must we.
Not surprisingly, in his final speech, Dr. King gives us some sage advice for how we go about non-violently confronting these problems. It begins with staying united. Those of us who favor the side of peace and the promotion of all human rights must stay united. As he, points out with great historical acuity, when the Pharaoh needed to prolong slavery, he promoted disunity amongst the slaves. Unless we wish for all of humanity to continue to be enslaved to violence, unless we wish for select groups to continue to be abused and marginalized, we must stop our petty infighting and stand with a united voice that speaks out louder than any divisions based on nation, creed or educational background.
Dr. King also asked us to stay focused, to “keep the issues where they are.” We cannot be distracted by violence, name calling, holier-than-thou attitudes or hatred. We must be focused on our purpose – love. We must be brave and be bold in that purpose, but we must not let the seeds of hate take root in the fertile soil of righteousness. If we let them take root, it will grow into a thicket that will prevent us from reaching our goal. When we gather to non-violently oppose war and the abuse of human rights, the presence of violence, name calling, holier-than-thou attitudes and hatred only distract from the vision we are trying to cast. The vision will be obscured by our lack of focus on the message of love and while people will talk, they will talk about the hate and not about the core issue of debate. We must not be distracted.
To borrow from Dr. King, the question you must ask yourself is not, if I stop to help the victims of war and those whose civil rights are being ignored, what will happen to me? The question you should ask yourself is, if you do not, what will happen to them? You see, we must stay united and we must stay focused against the storm of violence and abuse of civil rights which continues to roll in on us from the mountaintops upon which the powerful sit. From Union busting to preemptive wars, a storm is brewing and it has been brewing.
Dr. King asks us the question, will you gather in spite of the coming storm? Will you unite? Will you stay focused? Are you determined to go on anyhow?
This edition of State of the Christian Left engages Libya, the end of the Tea Party, and the theological questions of providence concerning the disaster in Japan. Join Zac from Crazy Liberals and Conservatives
and Mark from The God Article
for what promises to be insightful, thoughtful, and fun commentary.
It is a sad commentary on the state of our nation, particularly the press, that the Birthers continue to have a national voice. Faux News is particularly guilty of covering this non-news “news” story.
Birthers believe that we have an illegitimate President. They claim that he was not born in the United States. Instead, they argue, Barack Obama is Kenyan, where his father is a native. Even when presented with the facts, including documents, which show clearly that Barack Hussein Obama II was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 4, 1961, the Brithers jump to conspiracy theories with claims ranging from faking the certificate to a mass government conspiracy involving Hawaii's Department of Health.
The problem with all of the Birther theories is that none of them can explain how back in 1961 it was foreknown that the fake birth certificate or the mass government conspiracy would happen and that somehow (I'm supposing with the help of a soothsayer or a crystal-ball) someone had the foresight to print in the Honolulu Advertiser the birth announcement of Barack H. Obama in order to back it all up:
Like I said, the whole thing is a sad commentary on the state of our nation. It can also be seen as a strong statement about Obama the Presidential candidate for 2012. The best thing they have on him, the thing to which they constantly return, is their doubt as to whether he is actually a citizen of the United States. They have no proof. As a matter of fact, the birth certificate which they claim has yet to be released can be found by a simple Google search
(many of the photos found are actually from news organizations that have confirmed it's authenticity) or (under a soon to be passed bill from Hawaii
) an official copy can be purchased from the Department of Health in Hawaii for $100.
But that isn't enough for Birthers. Why? Mostly because they just don't want it to be true. I have to believe that it is also partly because President Obama isn't white and doesn't have a name like George, Bill, or Ronald (maybe we should give the President a nickname like “The Gipper”... how about “The Hoper” - probably not). You can bet that if our current President was white and had a name like Mark or Jeff or Hillary, the proof that we currently have would be more than enough. Actually, no one would have even asked for it.
It would seem that many of those who want to be the Republican Presidential nominee realize that, if they hope to win (probably both the nomination and possibly the Presidency), they need to be identified with the Birthers to some degree. The most resent person to jump on the Kenyan bandwagon is Donald Trump who recently said on Faux News
that he would make the issue of “Barack Obama’s birth certificate a pivotal part of his bid.”
It's a sad commentary indeed. Worse yet, many of those who are doing it consider themselves Christian, yet seem to have no problem allowing cognitive dissonance to cause them to bare false witness against their neighbor (and yes, biblically, Barack Obama is your neighbor).
I wish I could say to the Birthers and to their most recent lead cheerleader, Donald Trump, “You're fired!,” but I'm pretty sure Donald's got the phrase trademarked, so I'd just like to say, “Stop the idiocy.”