Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pepper Spray, Cults And So Much More


The peaceful policy of the youth is the only way out against terrorism. There is no other solution.
Tawakkul Karman, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

If you’re hungry, keep walking. If you are thirsty, keep walking. If you want a taste of freedom, keep walking. For us, women of Liberia, this award is a call that we will keep walking until peace, justice and the rights of women is not a dream, but is a thing of the present.
Leymeh Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

A few things we thought were important this week:

After three weeks of Occupy Wall Street, protesters are standing strong and tall and the rallies are growing in New York and all over the map. About 40% of Americans still haven't heard about Occupy, but even the ones who have heard are not really being helped by the establishment media who disregard the depth of anger and frustration of the other 99% of Americans, many of whom are no longer willing to sit on the sidelines and play by the rules of the elites. Although an unfortunate side issue for the core of Occupy participants, is there any doubt that police brutality (in the form of arrests and pepper spray) has done more to inform and gain sympathy from many who would never be exposed to what is going on otherwise? Independent media sources like DemocracyNow, The Raw Story, Alternet and Glenn Greenwald have done an excellent job of reporting from the ground. Unfortunately, too many folks are getting scripted by FoxNews which blatantly spins the protests as "socialist," "anti-American" or other unglittering generalities like "dirty" and "lazy."

Yesterday, Evangelical Megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress introduced Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit and then almost immediately told reporters that Mormonism is a cult. Jeffress explained:

I think it is going to be a major factor among evangelical voters. The thing is, they won’t be honest and tell you that it is going to be a major factor. Most people don’t want to admit — even evangelical Christians — that they have a problem with Mormonism. They think it is bigoted to say so. But what voters say to a pollster sometimes is different than what they do when they go into the privacy of a voting booth.

If Romney does become the GOP nominee, Jeffress will campaign for him:

I’m going to instruct, I’m going to advise people that it is much better to vote for a non-Christian who embraces biblical values than to vote for a professing Christian like Barack Obama who embraces un-biblical values.

Jeffress has a really good pulse on American Evangelicalism, especially the hyper-conservative Southern Baptist brand in Texas, and what he is saying about the Evangelical perspective of Mormonism is correct (we EasyYolkers, obviously, adamantly disagree with the Evangelical perspective of Mormonism). While Jeffress justifies his words by calling them "the historical position of Christianity," he unfortunately does not admit (perhaps his seminary education did not teach him?) the highly contested historical nature of "Christianity" itself.

Jeffress is speaking, without any glimpse of humility or love, as a "fundamentalist" and a "Southern Baptist" Christian and his own tradition itself is highly controversial within the diverse global and historical Body of Christin regards to their view of biblical inerrancy, the rapture, women, gays & lesbians, the condoning of war/violence, the belief in hell as an eternal destination for nonbelievers, etc. It is always helpfully humbling for Christians of all stripes (most of whom have tended to be triumphalistic and arrogant, especially since 1492) to recall that the original Jesus Movement (back in 30AD) was considered a cult because of their strange beliefs and anti-social behavior.

Props to the Nobel committee for selecting three Third World Women this year to share the Peace Prize. These women have worked tirelessly for the cause of peace and justice in Liberia and Yemen. The Liberian Leymeh Gbowee even called upon thousands of sisters to go on a "sex strike" a few years back. When all you have is your body, the most creative and strategic thing you can do is withhold it from the oppressor.

The latest unemployment numbers are stagnant which means mediocrity which means terrible news for millions. 14 million are still without a job with an average season of joblessness at 40 weeks. Obama is pushing his Keynesian jobs bill, but unfortunately the Republicans have offered nothing but long-term strategies like free-trade pacts and a reduction of taxes and regulations for businesses. We don't have time to wait for strategies that are economically suspect at best. Once again, like most everything else these past couple of years, the GOP has become the party of "no" while offering scant alternatives to Obama's mediocrity. When neither of your two choices will not do...then what? Occupy.

Lastly, Pentagon chief Leon Panetta almost admitted this week ("Having moved from the CIA to the Pentagon, obviously I have a hell of a lot more weapons available to me in this job than I had at the CIA.") that the CIA uses drones to do their dirty work...but not quite. Why the denial and repression? Shouldn't the government just admit doing what everyone already knows? Obviously, the federal government is hiding from the truth: killing enemies and civilians with remote control devices is shameful.

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