Friday, January 30, 2009

Morning of Interest

Three interesting things this morning:

1st I listened to most of Diane Rehm's News Roundup - Hour 2 while on the school drop-of rounds:

Special Envoy George Mitchell seeks to shore up the fragile cease-fire in Gaza. Iraqis begin voting in provincial elections and the Obama administration says it’s ready for direct engagement with Iran. A panel of journalists joins Diane for analysis of the week's top international news stories.


Hisham Melhem, Washington bureau chief for Al-Arabiya TV, and Washington correspondent for "An-Nahar"

Daniel Dombey, U.S. diplomatic correspondent, "Financial Times"

Kevin Whitelaw, deputy assistant managing editor, U.S. News and World Report

It was a wonderful discussion, and every single caller was asking about the situation between Israel and Gaza. I love Diane's style of interviewing. She lets everyone say their piece and hold their different opinions, she doesn't shy from the deep questions and she seems to always know when people are skirting the issue.

2nd My Dad emailed me this:

Elizabeth Cheney, Bush Legal Counsel

What a 1988 college thesis by the former vice president's daughter tells us about the Bush presidency.

I found this paragraph extremely interesting:
For [Elizabeth] Cheney, Thomas Jefferson established the path presidents would and should take when dealing with Congress. In engaging American warships against Barbary pirates, Jefferson "chose to inform Congress of his actions at his own convenience." When he did, he fabricated an attack on an American ship to secure their support.
It sounds so much like the 911 Truther's claim that the 911 attacks were used to secure support for the invasion of Iraq.

3rd I watched the amazingly creative and beautiful music video also emailed to me, perhaps because they know I am trying to fight my urge to sleep in:

Monday, January 19, 2009

So Beautiful!

So Beautiful!
Originally uploaded by gehmflor.
I'm so excited! I wish I could be there!

So Proud!

I am a PK, a pastor's kid, and since I am quite open in expressing my opinions in this blog I have tried my best here to distance myself from my Father. I would hate for the expression of my own strong political views to somehow be attributed to him as a pastor and thus lead to the appearance of impropriety as he has always been VERY careful to remain neutral in the political arena. But, I just have to document how proud I am of the sermon he gave on this historic weekend.

He managed to maintain political neutrality while still celebrating the historic victory for civil rights in our country that the inauguration of our first African-American President represents! He brought a Danish family Bible, printed in 1724, and passed down to him through his father. Beginning in that era, when many were making fortunes in the slave trade he examined the historic struggles of black peoples not only in America but throughout many countries that permitted slavery. He was proud that in 1792 Denmark was the first to outlaw slavery, but lamented that it took so long to implement the law.

(This is not the actual Bible. I will try to get a picture of it posted later.)

He spoke of how Christians could read the Bible and even use portions of it to support the continued oppression of slaves. He told the story of John Newton, the author of Amazing Grace, who had a slave ship even as he became a Christian, but eventually came to see it's horror.

He made it clear that each one of us, including himself, will always have prejudices and must guard against our ability to make judgments about any group of people.

Most powerful to me were the shocking stories of racism within our own denomination.

(Sorry about the blurriness - you can click to examine the text of the book online.)

I wish these stories were not true, but sadly we have much to repent of. Even the history of Oregon, which was formed as a slave free state, does not escape shame. Even though they did not allow slavery here, they also did not allow black people at all to live here.

Knowing this history, of our area, and of the majority's political views, I was happily surprised that after he spoke of the civil rights movement, and some personal memories of his father, and came to the historic inauguration of our first African American President Barak Obama - the congregation burst into applause! How amazing!

Tears of joy filled my eyes and I have been breaking into spontaneous smiles ever since. I am SO proud of my Dad, and our country, and I admire those who did not vote for Obama, but are still willing to celebrate this momenteous fullfillment of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream for our nation!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Point of View

197804 301 Songkla
Originally uploaded by williewonker.
I've been trying to read up on the different points of view on the lethal issues in the Middle East. Not an easy thing to do. Everyone has their own unique point of view. Just as people looking at different sides of a statue will see different things, so each person points to that which seems important in their own eyes. Same statue, it's not changing, but very different perspectives. I am trying to get some focus on my own point of view, like the lady in pink climbing up to get in close. Perhaps I'll be able to write something later. Right now, I have only tears.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


"In 2009 may all the barriers that oppress the people of the world fall."

I haven't taken much time for news lately, but had been mourning the news out of Palestine. I don't think it really sank in though until my hubby turned on the news last night as we headed to bed. CNN had special live coverage of the the ground offensive and we watched as smoke rose from the distant city and bright rockets slammed down towards the terrified people below sending more smoke rising up into the otherwise beautiful blue sky.
Un niño palestino falleció y otras 11 personas resultaron heridas este sábado debido al disparo de un tanque israelí, convirtiéndose en las primeras víctimas del ataque terrestre que la nación judía inició sobre la franja de Gaza. (radio mundial)

A palesinian boy died and 11 people were hurt this Saturday due to the firing of an Israeli tank making them the first victims of the ground attack that the Jewish nation began against the Gaza strip.

I am not an expert on the Middle East by any means, but I agree with this analysis by David Bromwich:
There is a word for the straightforward killing of enemies by a superior force where the victims are sparsely equipped and the odds one-sided. Much of the world is calling Israel's actions in Gaza a massacre. By contrast the American press has been cleansed and euphemized. "3rd Day of Bombings," said the New York Times headline on December 30, "Takes Out Interior Ministry." Takes out. The Times paid an involuntary homage to George W. Bush: "I think it's a good thing for the world that we took out Saddam Hussein." Under that phrase are half a million Iraqis killed and a country destroyed. And for Israel in Gaza?

..."It was Israel at its best," writes Yossi Klein Halevy, a typical war broker, in a New Republic column posted on December 29. "In response to random attacks aimed at civilians, Israel launched precise attacks aimed at terrorists." Halevy does not add that the precise attacks killed almost 400 persons and that one death in every four was civilian.

Back in 1991 I sat, awed, in front of my family's TV in Southern California and watched the green and black pictures of Smart Bombs targeting specific military buildings. My teenage mind was impressed and thrilled to see that we could defeat the "bad guys" while avoiding civilian deaths. My boyfriend (now my beloved husband) was watching very different video clips of the same war on his family's TV in Entre Rios, Argentina! He saw fathers digging out their dead and severely wounded children. He saw the bombs destroying homes and other civilian buildings.

I didn't believe him when he told me.

"No!" I said, "We have smart bombs, we aren't hurting civilians!"

I couldn't believe him, wouldn't believe him, did not want to believe him, but over the years I have been forced, by the sad, sorrowful, awful facts, to have to believe him. American news does not tell us the WHOLE truth. It is whitewashed and twisted so that we can hear a clip, watch a distant explosion, perhaps sigh and mumble a wish for peace, but then go back to Christmas gift exchanges and New Year's resolutions to loose the weight put on a Christmas feasting.

The United States late Saturday blocked approval of a U.N. Security Council statement calling for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel and expressing concern at the escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas. (read more)

The voice on CNN reported the news without expression.

"I feel so helpless." I whispered to my sleepy husband.
"I wish I could do something!"
The only thing I can think of to do is to write to my congressmen. You can write to yours as well. I have links in the side bar, titled Be Heard, that you can use to look them up and send an email or snail mail, and tips about the proper way to do so.

Although I sadly agree with my blogging friend Dade:

It's a mess, pure and simple. There may well be no solution. But I'm disgusted at how the cowards in Washington (and in Cairo, Riyadh, and everywhere else) are willing to let the Israeli blitzkrieg --and, yes, let's call it what it is-- roll over a defenseless people.

I have to try something!

Update 1

Sent e-mails to both of my Senators and my Representative. I didn't send a copy to still President Bush, I figured it wouldn't do any good. Feel free to copy any part of my e-mail to send to your representatives. But most likely you can write a better one on your own:

I am writing in hopes that you may have some way to influence our national
position on the situation in Palestine. I was appalled to hear that:

"The United States late Saturday blocked approval of a U.N. Security
Council statement calling for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip
and southern Israel and expressing concern at the escalation of violence
between Israel and Hamas."
-Huffington Post (although I first heard it on CNN)

I am trying to do my small part by writing to you, but I truly feel helpless
when faced by what appears to me to be a vast overreaction on the part of

Thank you for your concern,

Update 2
I read another blog on this topic that describes well my view of Israel as bully:

In professional boxing they do what? Men are weighed to match each others mass. Their skill levels are matched to see how they can be challenged in a fair fight toe to toe. Now imagine, one boxer starves the other boxer. Imagine that the same boxer not only starves the other boxer but breaks one of his hands and two of his toes. Now that same boxer gets to take a bat into the right with him and the other boxer doesn't even get to wear his gloves. The referee is also paid off by the bat weilding boxer not to distrub him as he pummels his opponent. The news all portrays this sporting event as a "fair fight." Is it actually a fair fight?

Update 3
I was just talking to my dad and he was telling my cousin and I about a book he's been wanting to share with us:
Once Upon a Country
by Sari Nusseibeh

He mentioned that one point made in the book was that Israel encouraged the formation of Hamas because they preferred to have an extremist group with which to fight, than a group that would negotiate with them. This thought blows my mind, and also reminded me of an interview that I heard on NWPR last week. (I'm still looking for the link.) In the interview a Palesinian representative, I don't remember his name, claimed that he did not believe that Hamas was actually firing the rockets, but that Israel had sent people in to do so and thus give them a reason to invade. I do not know if there is any proof of this at all, and kindof dismissed it as crazy, but when my Dad mentioned the info from the book above it made it a bit more believable.

Friday, January 2, 2009

I Resolve

This new year brings me the courage to:

1. Get some exercise everyday!
2. Keep C.H.A.O.S. at bay!
3. Not let perfectionism get in my way!
4. Photograph the sunrise every morning!

The last one is to counteract my night-owlish nature while satisfying my creative side! I'm curious to see if it will work!