Hatred in Action at the Holocaust Museum

10 06 2009

Tragic. Today an 88-year-old white supremacist walked into the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. and killed a 39-year-old security guard before being fired on by other guards. The Holocaust Museumkiller was known to hate Jews, Catholics, and African-Americans and on the radar of those who study fringe extremists who devote their lives to hatred. He wrote a book denying the Holocaust and praising Hitler. He spent more than five years in prison for the 1983 conviction on charges of attempting to kidnap members of the Federal Reserve Board with a hunting knife, revolver, and 12-gauge shotgun. He even invoked others to kill people who threatened what he saw as the supremacy of white people.

These kind of people terrify me more than any Taliban or jihadist. These are people living on our own soil who at any moment in any location and without provocation can take someone’s life…or many lives. These people walk amongst us. They look like us. They may be our grandfather, our son, our uncle, our boss. We usually don’t have a clue as to the level of depravity and hatred they harbor. Their souls are dark places where light never enters.

And yet people like Palin, Limbaugh, Cheney, O’Reilly, Beck, and Hannity fuel the flames that burn in these in-grown terroists’ hearts. These very public people tell lies and make insinuations that inflame the ignorant, the uninformed, the uncurious, and the gun-toting racists. They speak with seemingly innocent irresponsibility and then act surprised and are in denial when their words produce predictable results.

I am disgusted with the talk of these people and the talk of any person who promotes hatred. I am alarmed and saddened by the results of their hate talk.

Credit: MSNBC.com

Stephen Tyrone Johns Credit: MSNBC.com

Stephen Tyrone Johns was the man killed. He had worked as a security guard at the Holocaust Museum for six years. He was doing his job to protect the school children and others who come to the museum to remember the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust. He didn’t deserve to die.

The other news today? Carrie Prejean, Miss California, was fired by Donald Trump. She is the contestant in the Miss USA pageant who spoke out against gay marriage and preached intolerance toward gay people. Is it any accident that these two incidents headline the news in the same day? I think not. They, along with the killing last week of the abortion doctor by a right-wing extremist, speak of intolerance, of people claiming their way is the only right way, of excluding others who are not like you.

We need healing, love, and inclusion. These are what President Obama is practicing and teaching. Why are these positive principles so threatening to those who hate? We must hold the light and shine that light into the dark corners of the extremist corners of the dark hearts in our society. Our country, its citizens, and the citizens of the world need our light.

Here’s “This Little Light of Mine” sung by the African Children’s Choir. I heard them sing in Austin a few months ago. These children shine light and love into our hearts with their singing, dancing, and ebullient spirits. We can learn a lot from children…they remind us to be about joy and love.

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Bush Tortured Democracy and Detainees

25 01 2009

The Bush administration authorized and used torture. Period. “Torturing Democracy” is a documentary on their lies and insistence that “The U.S. does not torture” while they were practicing it. 

The New York Times reported on 10/16/08 that PBS was holding this documentary until January 21, 2009, the first day they said they could find on their schedule to air it, and noncoincidentally, the day after Bush and Cheney left office. It is suspected that PBS was pressured by the Bush administration and thus held showing the documentary.

Jane Mayer, a consultant for the program, wrote the incredibly elucidating and damning book  “The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals.” I heard Jane speak in Austin the weekend before the election and was stunned by what I heard.

I immediately bought her book and read it in shock at what Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Addington, Woo and others did in the name of keeping America safe. They assumed, and justified, absolute power after 9/11, declaring that not even Congress could keep them from doing whatever they felt was necessary.

The United Nations human rights chief on 1/22/09 called for an investigation into torture at Guantanamo Bay. Will Bush and others be charged and prosecuted? They have violated the Geneva Conventions and defied and defiled the Constitution of the United States. Why should they be above the law? People discovered what they were doing. Why were they not impeached? They have held and tortured detainees who were shepherds and never shown to be terrorists. They have harmed the United States beyond measure with their dictatorial use of authority. Their use of torture served as a technique to recruit terrorists, which led to thousands of U.S. deaths.

In his first week in office, President Obama signed authorizations to stop the use of torture and close down Guantanamo Bay within one year. The Bush administration’s horrific and secretive practices have stopped.

“Torturing Democracy” is now being shown in select cities on PBS and is available to see online at http://www.TorturingDemocracy.org. After the film is shown, a leading panel of experts discuss the film. Watch and see what your former President, Vice President, and others did. Form your own opinion. Personally, I believe they should be prosecuted and jailed. They broke U.S. laws and international laws about the humane treatment of people, including prisoners of war. They caused American deaths. No one is above the law. NO ONE.





Going Out in a Blaze of Revisionism, Denial, Blaming

14 01 2009

Bush, Cheney, and Palin are all on their I-didnt-do-it-it’s-those-people’s-fault 2009 Revisionism, Denial, and Blaming Tour. One wonders how they keep a straight face when being interviewed. The words that come out of their mouths are so surreal when compared to the facts of what actually happened.

Cheney still denies that waterboarding is torture and flatly asserts that torture and Guantanamo Bay were and are necessary. He believes that he participated in an administration that accomplished a lot and he’s proud of what he’s done. He may just be one of the most dangerous people who has ever served in an administration. He says that the torture, detention, and renditions that he personally authorized were done legally. Of course, his chief of staff David Addington was the person who was in charge of getting Gonzales, Yoo, and others to pen whatever legal chicanery they could to cover their asses.

And Bush…this man is probably the most unaware person I have ever observed. He seems to have no conscience at all. He led us into a war on false pretenses, but maintains it was necessary. He asks in a press conference what else could he have done to help out during Katrina and says he couldn’t land his helicopter there because that would’ve taken resources away from rescuing people…as if that was his only choice for what to do. He, too, insists that torture was necessary and finally…after many years of denying it…admits that he did authorize torture of the master mind of 9/11.

And then there’s Palin. She blames the McCain people for keeping her quiet during the election (there’s a reason for that as has become quite evident). She whines that bloggers were smearing her and the media was biased against her due to class issues. She looks for any opportunity to be in the national spotlight while many of her own people in Alaska are having to choose between heating their homes or eating due to the high cost of heating oil…and she does nothing. At least John McCain has the decency to not blame others and has kept quiet. Palin could learn a thing or two from him.

So what’s the message we get from Cheney, Bush, and Palin? It’s okay to do whatever you want to do and you don’t have to listen to or consider the people you serve. Lie if it will save your ass. You can treat people however you want as long as you smile and wave the flag of being a good Christian or family values person. Intelligence is overrated. Manipulation is underrated.

Barack Obama is a breath of fresh air. He tells us the truth…even when it’s painful to hear. He gives us hope. He gathers the smartest people he can to advise him and help him govern…he values intelligence and is incredibly intelligent himself. He has real family values…the affection he has for his wife and children is undeniable. During the election and after he takes office he has made it a policy that those working with him need to take time off to be with their families. He denounces torture and will reverse that policy and many others that Bush and Cheney have put in place…ones that have destroyed the respect that so many people have had for the United States. Obama will get things done to lift us up rather than destroying our country as Bush and Cheney have.

Human rights will once again be important in the U.S. and for those we touch. Bush and Cheney assumed absolute power and took away so much of our freedom in the name of keeping us safe.

Cheney, Bush, and Palin, your time on the national stage is over. You have done enough damage. Let our country heal now under the leadership of Barack Obama. Yes we can…have hope and honest and intelligent leadership…finally.





Obama Will End the Bush Administration’s Sanction of Torture

16 11 2008

We’ve had 7 long and shameful years of torture instituted and sanctioned by George Bush and Dick Cheney. Obama said on 60 Minutes tonight that he will close Guantanamo Bay and ban torture in order to “regain America’s moral stature in the world.” Most people have heard about Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and know that we have held terrorist suspects there, but most – myself included – haven’t known the extent to which Bush and Cheney have gone to take away human rights in the name of keeping our country safe.
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