Sunday, May 26, 2013

#chinaEARTHusa - Radical Change? or Planetocide?

Several weeks ago I began writing about how the fate of the Earth is intertwined with the ability of BOTH China AND the U.S. to reverse their addiction to carbon.

I think this linkage is so critical that it deserves its own word: maybe "chinaEARTHusa" or something like that.




It has been announced that China and the U.S. will hold a top leadership meeting at the beginning of June. If the past is any indication, we will get a lot of cautious, lukewarm pronouncements about cooperation that don't begin to address the reality.

It's time for activists in the U.S. and China to join hands and start to militate for radical change.

We need a zero-carbon USA and a zero-carbon China. Anything less is planetocide.


Related posts


Climate: China's Response to the West

We need to confront the fact that, as things stand now, neither the U.S. nor China has an ethics that is powerful enough to cope with a species that is hurtling toward self-destruction. THAT is what our shared dialog should be about.





#chinaEARTHusa -- Solar Panels at the Crux

Right now, the U.S. -- as well as the EU -- is playing a 20th century game with a 21st century problem. It is using dumping law to quibble with the Chinese about the terms under which solar panels can be sold in the U.S. Here's why that's all wrong . . . .




Two Sides to the Obama-Xi Bargain on HFCs

Part of me feels that the agreement on HFCs announced after the Obama-Xi summit in Rancho Mirage this past weekend is too little, too late. Despite the fact that it involves some big numbers, and the fact that HFCs have a high degree of warming power, it is little more than a fig leaf that dodges the real need: to discuss fundamental shifts in our paradigms about economic and social success.



Obama's Climate Action Plan: How Do You Say "Yawn" in Chinese?

The U.S. idea seems to be, "We'll show a good faith effort to clean up our act, and then lean on China to cut emissions. After all, that's where the really big gains are to be made!" But the United States is going to have to doing something really shocking to get China's attention. Like: go on a crash program to cut carbon emissions to zero in a decade (and, somehow, to achieve a sort of "economic invincibility" -- whatever that means -- in the process).


5 Fundamentals on the Climate Crisis

It was a beautiful day in Chicago yesterday. Sunny, cool . . . . "Maybe everything's gonna be okay?" I thought. "Who worries about the climate crisis on a day like this?" And then it struck me: "Don't believe it. Just 'cause it's not miserably hot, people had better not think for a minute that the climate crisis isn't for real."


More #chinaEARTHusa posts

Here are some more of my posts about the need for radical change by the U.S. and China on climate:

China and USA - Like a Moth to the Flame

Obama and Xi: Get to the Point!

Cadillac Desert (Don't Try This At Home)


More Posts on the Climate Crisis

NJ Sense and Wising Up to the Climate Crisis

NYC + H2O = Uh-oh!

Does "God" "care" about the climate crisis?


Some background . . .

The 1992 Clinton campaign team famously had a slogan: "It's the economy, stupid!"

After I got involved in planning a Climate Crisis conference in Chicago, I adopted a slogan of my own: "It's the global warming, stupid!"

Moreover, I've thought deeply about my experiences with China, and concluded that a way that I can contribute to addressing the threat is to encourage a radical approach to the way the U.S. and China address the climate crisis.




After all, the future of the Earth is literally held in a vice by the behaviors of two leading countries: the U.S. and China.


More related posts

  It was a beautiful day in Chicago yesterday. Sunny, cool . . . . "Maybe everything's gonna be okay?" I thought. "Who worries about the climate crisis on a day like this?" And then it struck me: "Don't believe it. Just 'cause it's not miserably hot, people had better not think for a minute that the climate crisis isn't for real."

(See 5 Fundamentals on the Climate Crisis)


Oil companies are valued by the market based on their reserves. The problem with this approach is that the total reserves claimed by the oil companies is FIVE TIMES what can possibly be burned without driving up the temperature of the atmosphere up by a catastrophic amount and, as McKibben puts it, "breaking the planet." How can the value of oil companies be a function of reserves that can never be used?

(See The REALLY Big Short: The Jig is Up with Oil Companies)








Does "God" "care" that the ultimate outcome of the damage to the Earth's climate may lead to the end -- not of the Earth itself, nor of life on Earth, but of the existence of the human species on Earth?

(See Does "God" "care" about the climate crisis?)











More related links

September 23, 2014 - "Obama: U.S., China Must Lead on Climate Change Efforts; President Says U.S. 'Will Do Our Part' to Combat Climate Change" by William Mauldin and Jeffrey Sparshott in The Wall Street Journal. "President Barack Obama on Tuesday said the U.S. and China have a special responsibility as the largest carbon-dioxide emitters to lead a new effort to curb emissions, as he sought to enlist nations around the globe to combat climate change."

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Obama on Drones: The Democrats Respond

[EDITOR'S NOTE: The Democrats' response to President Obama's Thursday, May 23, at the National Defense University will be presented by President Obama. Below is an advance notice distributed to the press.]

Well, it would be hard to add anything to that impressive presentation.

However, it's important to note the most important development of all: war crimes are actually decreasing under the present Democratic administration.

As the chart below shows, war crimes committed by the Obama administration decreased steadily between 2010 and 201, and again between 2011 and 2012, and again between 2012 and 2013. (We hope.)


United States airstrikes in Pakistan
(Source: The New York Times: "Debate Aside,
Number of Drone Strikes Drops Sharply"
)


My advisers have run the numbers and they have indicated that, at the current rate of decrease, U.S. war crimes could reach zero by 2015, or 2016 latest.

Don't thank me. That's why I'm here for.


Related posts

What he wished he could have said: "And you know what's even sadder? Congress won't work with me! So if we learn one thing from the Guantanamo hunger strikers, it's that Congress should do a better job of working with me!"

(See Obama's speech on al Qaeda, drones, Guantanamo Bay: You heard it here first! )





The crime of Extrajudicial Execution is described on the website for Mike Haas' book, George W. Bush, War Criminal? The Bush Administration’s Liability for 269 War Crimes. Here, we will look at the specific legal basis for charging perpetrators as war criminals for Extrajudicial Executions, and list sources reporting relevant U.S. actions in Afghanistan.

(See VAU Afgh 101: Extrajudicial Executions )


A new U.N. report makes it clear that the U.S. has to report fully on all its drone attacks.

(See 2014: The Year of Transparency (for U.S. Drone Use)?)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Obama's speech on al Qaeda, drones, Guantanamo Bay: You heard it here first!

[EDITOR'S NOTE: This post is the result of notice we received that we would be able to obtain a leaked copy of a speech on national security that President Obama plans to give on Thursday, May 23, at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. At press time, however, we had only received a portion of the transmission -- which appears to be a set of speakers notes and prompts that accompany the speech itself. As an aid to our readers, we are going ahead and publishing these now (see below) and will add the text of the speech as it becomes available.]

[UPDATE THURSDAY, MAY 23, 2013: Excerpts from speech by President Barack Obama shown in gray. Full text available on White House website.]


[WORKING TITLE]

Keeping America Safe:
Difficult Challenges in an 
Age of Diverse Threats


"It’s an honor to return to the National Defense University. Here, at Fort McNair, Americans have served in uniform since 1791– standing guard in the early days of the Republic, and contemplating the future of warfare here in the 21st century."


Now before you decide you don't believe a word I say, take a close look
at this flag, and this image of the White House behind me. That's right ....
You're getting sleepy ... very sleepy ....

"[M]uch of the criticism about drone strikes – at home and abroad – understandably centers on reports of civilian casualties. There is a wide gap between U.S. assessments of such casualties, and non-governmental reports. Nevertheless, it is a hard fact that U.S. strikes have resulted in civilian casualties, a risk that exists in all wars. For the families of those civilians, no words or legal construct can justify their loss. For me, and those in my chain of command, these deaths will haunt us as long as we live, just as we are haunted by the civilian casualties that have occurred through conventional fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq."
 

The funny thing? I don't have to act like I care. ? Oh ... I mean ...

The sad thing? I don't have to act like I care. I just have to say the
words and people have to act like it's magically true. That's the rule.

And you know what's even sadder? Congress won't work with me! So if we
learn one thing from the Guantanamo hunger strikers, it's that Congress
should do a better job of working with me!

"As President, I have tried to close GTMO. I transferred 67 detainees to other countries before Congress imposed restrictions to effectively prevent us from either transferring detainees to other countries, or imprisoning them in the United States. These restrictions make no sense. After all, under President Bush, some 530 detainees were transferred from GTMO with Congress’s support. When I ran for President the first time, John McCain supported closing GTMO. No person has ever escaped from one of our super-max or military prisons in the United States. Our courts have convicted hundreds of people for terrorism-related offenses, including some who are more dangerous than most GTMO detainees. Given my Administration’s relentless pursuit of al Qaeda’s leadership, there is no justification beyond politics for Congress to prevent us from closing a facility that should never have been opened."

"Today, I once again call on Congress to lift the restrictions on detainee transfers from GTMO. I have asked the Department of Defense to designate a site in the United States where we can hold military commissions. I am appointing a new, senior envoy at the State Department and Defense Department whose sole responsibility will be to achieve the transfer of detainees to third countries. I am lifting the moratorium on detainee transfers to Yemen, so we can review them on a case by case basis. To the greatest extent possible, we will transfer detainees who have been cleared to go to other countries. Where appropriate, we will bring terrorists to justice in our courts and military justice system. And we will insist that judicial review be available for every detainee."



* * *


"Now make no mistake: our nation is still threatened by terrorists. From Benghazi to Boston, we have been tragically reminded of that truth. We must recognize, however, that the threat has shifted and evolved from the one that came to our shores on 9/11. With a decade of experience to draw from, now is the time to ask ourselves hard questions – about the nature of today’s threats, and how we should confront them."
 

People shouldn't be confused by the facts about Al Qaeda: whether or not it
has any real power as an organization, the important thing is that the American
public remain scared. If you ever feel uncertain about whether you should feel
scared, just repeat the word "terrorism" until the fear comes back.

"But as Commander-in-Chief, I must weigh these heartbreaking tragedies against the alternatives. To do nothing in the face of terrorist networks would invite far more civilian casualties – not just in our cities at home and facilities abroad, but also in the very places –like Sana’a and Kabul and Mogadishu – where terrorists seek a foothold. Let us remember that the terrorists we are after target civilians, and the death toll from their acts of terrorism against Muslims dwarfs any estimate of civilian casualties from drone strikes."


Clearly, the American people are yearning for a strong leader - someone with
guts. That's how I know that, no matter how many fringe types object to drone
killing, my presidency just gets stronger every time I incinerate a few more Pakistanis.

"Our laws constrain the power of the President, even during wartime, and I have taken an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States."


Frankly, I'm really tired of people harping on the "Constitutional lawyer"
thing. Hasn't anyone seen "Bullworth"? All that "supremacy of the law" crap
goes out the window when you get elected! Didn't you know that?

"Going forward, I have asked my Administration to review proposals to extend oversight of lethal actions outside of warzones that go beyond our reporting to Congress. Each option has virtues in theory, but poses difficulties in practice. For example, the establishment of a special court to evaluate and authorize lethal action has the benefit of bringing a third branch of government into the process, but raises serious constitutional issues about presidential and judicial authority. Another idea that’s been suggested – the establishment of an independent oversight board in the executive branch – avoids those problems, but may introduce a layer of bureaucracy into national-security decision-making, without inspiring additional public confidence in the process. Despite these challenges, I look forward to actively engaging Congress to explore these – and other – options for increased oversight."


So, really, your choices come down to: (a) thinking for yourself and realizing
that you're being hoodwinked by the entire political class in America; or (b)
acquiescing in the craven desire to just be dominated by a handful of leaders
who dress in suits and talk in sententious voices.  Which do you REALLY want?
See? I told you ....

Thank you. God Bless you. And may God bless the United States of America."
 

[Excerpts from speech by President Barack Obama
shown above in gray. Full text available on White House website.]


NEW: Obama on Drones: The Democrats Respond


Related posts

By now, everyone knows about the New York Times article describing Barack Obama's personal administration of drone killing around the world. What few people are willing to face up to is that Obama 2012 partisans actually see this as a way to get a lot of Americans to like Obama: "This is the candidate; you MUST support him!"

(See Being a Team Player for "Mr. Forceful": Obama and the Dems )


Even if the current Obama administration approach of releases were to succeed in bringing about the release of everyone at Guantanamo, it would not have begun to address the wrong that has been committed.

(See US to its Humans Rights Violations Victims: "Shut up and take what you're given!" )







September 10, 2014 in Chicago - Andy Thayer introduces speakers from 8th Day Center for Justice, Anti-War Committee of Chicago, Gay Liberation Network, No Drones Network, Veterans for Peace, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, and World Can't Wait, all speaking against the Obama administration's latest war escalation.

(See Obama Didn't Invent Permawar. He Just Perfected It.)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pentecost, Guantanamo, and the Moment When Talk Becomes Priceless

Today is Pentecost. It's the day when we remember the moment in the life of the first Christians when they realized, "We're not alone anymore. Everybody is talking about this!"


Today, Guantanamo is what people are talking about in Chicago; and it's the hunger strikers who have made that happen.

A growing number of people have taken up the demand that the detainees in Guantanamo be released, and Guantanamo shut down. But does it occur to us that the hunger strikers want us to do more than just agitate for their release?

I think the brave men in Guantanamo -- men who are currently being tortured by being strapped down, having tubes rammed up their noses and down into their stomachs, being force fed, and being held immobile for hours -- recognize that no matter what the U.S. government does to them, they still have power. They are using their power to wake us up and ask hard questions.

ROOT CAUSES

What the hunger strike -- and the refusal of anyone in the U.S. government to make an effort to rectify the Guantanamo situation -- raises a scary question: is it possible that, from the perspective of the people who run our country, Guantanamo has to continue exist? In fact, is it possible that the more horrific Guantanamo is, the more it fits in with their plan? What possible reason might they have for this?

I've come to my own conclusions about why this might be true. But I think everyone needs to think about this for themselves. And I think this is what the hunger strikers want us to think about.

POWER = THE ABILITY TO ACT

More broadly, the Guantanamo hunger strikers are teaching us a lesson about power.

As deprived of power as they may appear to be, they have still found a way to take action, and to resist. When Lisa Fithian did some workshops at Occupy Chicago last spring, she reminded us that the first step in becoming an activist is to understand that we do have power, because power is nothing more than the ability to take some kind of action. When we seek for the reason that the U.S. government is able to terrorize us, we must start by recognizing that the first reason is that we let it.


No matter how limited our ability to bring about the immediate release of the Guantanamo detainees, the important thing is to recognize that we do have the ability to take action.

(A lesson not without relevance to Pentecost. At St. Luke's Lutheran Church of Logan Square, we have an expression: "Apostles act.")

TALK IS PRICELESS

It's a cliche that "talk is cheap," but the reality is that talk is priceless -- particularly these days, particularly when the talk is about the way in which the U.S. government is using things like Guantanamo to terrorize it's own population.

Make no mistake: the powers that be have know that they have cowed most of the public into being afraid to talk about Guantanamo, and that suits them just fine. Our power to act starts with talking widely -- beyond just our usual circles -- about the way in which we're being scared ... and why a government would possibly want to scare its own people.


I participated in a conversation called "Starving for Justice" last week at the Chicago Cultural Center -- it was a roundtable of people who had never met each other before, all of whom gathered to talk about Guantanamo. I learned that it's not easy to talk to new people about a difficult issue -- certainly a lot more difficult than talking with people with whom I know I already agree. But we need to get back into talking with people who don't 100% agree with us, and to listen to them just as much as we expect them to listen to us. If we're lucky, we can have some breakthroughs about the deeper meaning of things like Guantanamo. And even if we don't get to the ultimate heart of the matter -- in fact, even if we don't do much more than break the ice -- we've still made progress against the conspiracy of silence.

Celebrate Pentecost.

Honor the Guantanamo hunger strikers.

Act.


Related posts

We all wish to be judged by our good intentions. But the way people know us is through our actions. So ... what do people in the Muslim world know about us here in the United States?

(See They'll Know Us By Our Actions)







I believe Easter is God's gift to humanity of victory over death, hopelessness and frailty, and I believe that God is alive and in our midst. The witness of the Guantanamo lawyers has confirmed me in those beliefs.

(See Easter Victory: The Guantanamo Lawyers )





What would Christians think if someone proposed carving out a slice of their Sunday services to worship the God of Entombment? Wouldn't they think that was absurd? After all, if Christianity is anything, isn't it the religion of "UN-entombment"?

(See When is Christianity Going Back to Being the Religion of "UN-entombment"?)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Occupy State and Jackson

Federal Plaza in Chicago has always been a place for public protest and public discourse. Last year, the Occupy movement reclaimed State and Jackson and the plaza at Michigan and Congress as places that citizens can come together and talk about what needs to change.

The hunger strike that is now in its 101st day at Guantanamo has precipitated a new occupation -- gatherings at State and Jackson where people publicize the continued abuses of the U.S. government, and determine ways to organize for change.

Chicago protests as Guantanamo hunger strike passes Day 100.
Yesterday, a rally and march in the Loop publicized the 100th day of the hunger strike. It was one of dozens of solidarity protests occurring around the country and around the world.

Protests will continue at State and Jackson every Friday at 4:30 p.m.

Many people have been working for a very long time to end the atrocities at Guantanamo -- some of them were speakers at the rally yesterday. For many of these people, the failure of the U.S. government to close Guantanamo, free the dozens of men they've already declared blameless, and make reparations is mystifying. At times, it feels like there is nothing more we can do.

What have the hunger strikers taught us? First, that the atrocities of the U.S. government just don't stop. Second, that everyone -- even those most oppressed -- has means at their disposal to resist.

So . . . see you at State and Jackson. The U.S. government can be counted on to continue supplying the atrocities. It's up to us to bring the noise.


Related posts

Can there be any doubt that Obama and his administration, who think it is their right to wage war in secret, kill anyone they want to, and destroy whole societies, took their cues from Kissinger and Nixon and their "Imperial (and criminal) Presidency"?

(See No Statute of Limitations for War Crimes (Henry Kissinger in Chicago))











Some of us wear orange jumpsuit and black hoods, while others talk with people on the street. As each day passes the more urgent the situation for the men still remaining becomes. The only way to ensure the health and safety of these men and end the Hunger Strike is that the 86 cleared for release be released and the rest be charged and given a fair trial. It is on us to keep the hunger strike and the humanity of these men in the public eye.

(See Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo: "Weekly Vigils to Shut Down Guantanamo" )



Chicago was the site of major protests against U.S. detention practices in Guantanamo, as well as in Bagram, other prisons throughout Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the world, on and around January 11, 2012. We called for an end to indefinite detention, unfair trials, and torture.

(See Chicago Protests Guantanamo Detention)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Climate: China's Response to the West

I'm interested in the question: how are we going to solve the climate problem if China doesn't immediately change course and move toward a carbon-free economy? And how can we possibly expect China to see the value of a carbon-free economy if the United States doesn't move first to become carbon-free, and to do a lot of explaining about how it came to set the wrong example for so long for the rest of the world?

Much of my college studies were devoted to China, and much of my China studies were devoted to the issue of China's response to the West. In fact, it is nearly impossible to understand the dilemma we face today without confronting the position in which we placed China and Japan (and other countries) in the preceding several hundred years. At the risk of oversimplifying, I think it's fair to say that we threatened them and beat them up, and sent a very clear message: figure out how to be like us -- or better yet, even more like us than us -- if you don't wish to be wiped out.




During the 1980s and 1990s, when I was traveling frequently to China, I was one of the thousands of Westerners who was dazzled by how rapidly China was developing, and by how successfully they were using technology to "leapfrog" the West. For instance, during that period they accomplished a high-degree of national integration by rapidly expanding air routes and purchasing Western aircraft. Later, they skipped the nuisance of ubiquitous land lines and rapidly set up a nationwide cellphone system.

At the same time, I saw signs that China might be able to resist doing certain things "the American way." I saw superhighways being built, and shuddered to think how many cars China's drivers might fill those highways with. I also saw the Chinese enthusiasm for consumer goods, and couldn't resist thinking that it is a great thing to succeed at making consumer goods but another to succumb to building your own society itself around the worship of those goods.

And therein lies the rub: it's a little hard for people from "don't-fence-me-in" America, a land which has defined its own freedom in terms of the automobile and the lure of the open road, to suggest to China that it should stick with public transit and bicycles. (It's particularly striking when you lay the map of China over the map of the United States, and see how similar the geography of the two countries is.)




In other words, we have a "me-not-you-ism" problem: we expect to be able to say that one thing is good for me, but you should live by other standards. And at the same time, people in China are inclined to respond: "In fact, I'll worry about me; don't confuse me and you."

Another thing I saw during my travels was giganticism, of the sort epitomized by the mammoth Three Gorges Project. So much of our climate crisis has to do with the tendency to do everything we do big Big BIG! This tendency to do things up big can be breathtaking, and inspiring, but it also entails enormous risks and maybe it's time that we all agreed to see how we might curtail our temptations toward grandeur.

I think that in order to understand the challenge that China and the U.S. face together, we need to talk about such things as: innovation, investment, and trade politics (for example, in such things as solar panels); our respective resource curses; our common "good earth" roots; our even greater paired fates as two "waterworlds"; and ultimately the fact that China and the U.S., are, in fact "oneworld," certainly in terms of the air that surrounds us.

Most of all, we need to confront the fact that, as things stand now, neither the U.S. nor China has an ethics that is powerful enough to cope with a species that is hurtling toward self-destruction. THAT is what our shared dialog should be about.

MORE: #chinaEARTHusa - Radical Change? or Planetocide?


Related posts


"Although we know the end from the very beginning," says Walker, "the story is no less compelling to watch." A man, gloriously alone (except for his own reflection) on an ice-covered lake; the soothing pastel colors of the distant sky; and what seems surely to be a circle he is digging around himself with a pick-axe. A perfect parable for our headlong rush toward climate crisis?

(See How Do You Say "Suicide Narcissus" in Chinese?)








The United States may set the standard for human desire -- for the mindless pursuit of the bright and shiny object -- but, heaven knows, China is not to be outdone.

(See China and USA - Like a Moth to the Flame)








Just like a family that has extra rooms in its house which inevitably become filled with stuff, the U.S. has thousands of bases -- here, there, and everywhere -- that inevitably create the "need" to spend.

(See What Will "Strategic" Mean in Our Children's Lifetime?)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Does Obama Think We're Stupid?

On April 30, the headlines suggested that Barack Obama was going to do something about Guantanamo.


Sheesh, someone should close that place. Those guys could die or something!

His exact words were:
“It’s not sustainable . . . . The notion that we’re going to keep 100 individuals in no man’s land in perpetuity [makes no sense] . . . . . All of us should reflect on why exactly are we doing this? Why are we doing this?”
Does Obama think we're stupid? Does he think we don't remember that he gave us that line already, a long time ago? Does he think we still have any illusions that he really cares about justice, or intends to deliver on the promises he lets drop?

A crisis is unfolding in Guantanamo Bay, and it is shining an even harsher light than ever on the total inability of the government we currently have to stop a travesty and take a turn toward justice. (And, not incidentally, it the glare of that light is especially harsh as it shines on the inability of all of us in the peace and justice to stop a travesty and take a turn toward justice.)

This is why we need alternatives to "business as usual."


Related posts


Even if the current Obama administration approach of releases were to succeed in bringing about the release of everyone at Guantanamo, it would not have begun to address the wrong that has been committed.

(See US to its Humans Rights Violations Victims: "Shut up and take what you're given!" )







What he wished he could have said: "And you know what's even sadder? Congress won't work with me! So if we learn one thing from the Guantanamo hunger strikers, it's that Congress should do a better job of working with me!"

(See Obama's speech on al Qaeda, drones, Guantanamo Bay: You heard it here first! )





In Hong Kong, people are starting to say: "No more con games!"

(See HK: No More Con Games )

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

They'll Know Us By Our Actions

We all wish to be judged by our good intentions. But the way people know us is through our actions.

So ... what do people in the Muslim world know about us here in the United States?

On Easter Eve this year I listened to soaring preaching about the Christian idea of a world in which no one is consigned to doom, no one is blotted out, no one is without hope:
He says to her immediately, take this sign to everyone else. “Tell them: I am the resurrection and the life so that even though you die, you will live. I am the sign placed over this world a limit and an end to its suffering. A sign that hope is not to be abandoned.”

This is the sign that stands against and triumphs over the gates of hell, which the Holy Spirit cries into our hearts, each by name. This is the sign that occurred in the saving ark, in the deliverance of the Israelites through the Red Sea, in the saving presence within the fiery furnace. This is the sign to which Mary Magdalene was the first witness along with the apostles, the sign to which the church has given testimony to throughout the centuries by its proclamation and its action, by the blood of its martyrs and the works of its saints, by the confessions its has spoken and the hymns it has sung, through its art and writings, through its scriptures and acts of charity, by the immersion of ever new generations in the waters of baptism and the offering of our Lord’s presence in the wine and bread. Throughout our history the Holy Spirit has not ceased to cry until its voice has grown hoarse with this message: Christ is risen!

(Full sermon at: The Messenger)
Contrast these words with the situation of the 100 men on hunger strike at Guantanamo. They have used the only means left to them to call out for attention to the world: "Hope? You speak of hope? There is no hope left to us."

Lest anyone forget, these are people who have been held without charge for eleven years ... many/most of whom have been cleared for release ... but for whom, in fact, NO ONE in the United States (or anywhere else) can point to any possible outcome other than that they will die there.

How will the Muslim word know us? They'll know us by Guantanamo.


Related posts

Make no mistake: the powers that be have know that they have cowed most of the public into being afraid to talk about Guantanamo, and that suits them just fine. Our power to act starts with talking widely -- beyond just our usual circles -- about the way in which we're being scared ... and why a government would possibly want to scare its own people.

(See Pentecost, Guantanamo, and the Moment When Talk Becomes Priceless)


MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA -- Angle Computer (NASDAQ: AGL) today announced the launch of their new iPhobe offering.

The iPhobe is a humanoid robot that spouts anti-Islamic rhetoric and encourages fear and hatred in an unprecedented variety of ways.


(See Like your iPhone? You'll LOVE the new iPhobe!)



I believe when Jesus broke the bread and poured the wine and said "Remember me this way," he was much more interested in encouraging us to keep having conversations -- conversations that really matter -- with others . . . and finding ways to be in relationship with our neighbors  . . . all the while reminding us "never underestimate the power of food"  . . .

(See Get Outside Your Comfort Zone and Have A Conversation Today (Welcome to the Ministry))