Betrayal, Obama Style

Earlier this month I wrote a post in which I stated that I planned to write no more articles for this blog in the immediate future. I then wrote a post explaining the reasons for changing its name to Toward a Radical Center. Last night I spent about a half hour beginning to work on another post outlining some of the tendencies which for me represent a “radical center” in politics. What all this adds up to is that the moratorium is off. While most of my writing efforts in coming months will not be of a political nature, I do want to again do some writing on the political, economic, and ecological issues which I believe are significant. The number of such writing will be few perhaps only one a month. However I will also be introducing and linking to articles from established scholars who I believe should be heard.

As any one who has read this blog during the last two years should be aware my interest for several years has been focused around the foreign policy issues of the United States in the Middle East. I am very aware that for most persons these issues are of marginal interest. For me they are of deep significance and are some of the most compelling moral issues of the day. For example over 200,000 people have died in Syria during the past four years and no end to that struggle is in sight. And the United States under the leadership of Barack Obama has done little to nothing to enable the Syrian people to throw off the oppressive Assad regime. This to me is shameful. And yet most of the people of both the Left and Right simply ignore the horrible consequences of the Obama administration’s Syrian policy. So yes these issues are of central concern to me and I will continue to write to remain people that something is horribly wrong with US foreign policy.

Of course it is true that other issues are also of deep importance. Among these some of the most central are the ecological issues of global climate change and ecocide which could ultimately cause the destruction of this civilization. Another important ongoing issue are the decline of meaningful work in the modern world caused primarily by advancing technologies which destroy the need for human labor. So yes I would like to discuss these types of issues in future posts. But at least for the next few months I suspect that the focus of this blog will remain on the issues of foreign policy.

Enough said. I now want to introduce an article “Betrayal, Obama Style” by the Lebanese journalist scholar Hisham Melhem. Mr. Melhem is the Bureau Chief of the Washington DC branch of Al Arabiya News. He is also an expert for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Within this article by Mr. Melhem I think that he both passionately and brilliantly exposes the cynicism of the Syrian policy of the Obama administration

Note that for those who think that because I am opposed to most aspects of President Obama’s foreign policy that I must ally with the Republican Party, I do not! On most domestic issues, for example, I agree with the broad social democratic tendency of Obama’s domestic policies. I even support some of his foreign policy positions. For example I think that he is right not to support Republican sponsored legislation to place more sanctions on Iran. I also do not believe that the United States should in a major way send US military troops back into Iraq to fight ISEL. Enclosed is introduction to the article.

Glenn King

Betrayal, Obama Style

At a time when Russia and Iran, the biggest supporters of the Assad dictatorship in Damascus, are on the ropes economically because of steep declining oil prices, the Obama administration, mostly by inaction but also by design, is practically propping up the Assad regime.

One could see the contours of a hellish Faustian deal in the making. To put it bluntly, the Obama administration today, almost four years after the Syrian people began their peaceful uprising against the depredation of an entrenched despotic rule, is desperately relying on Russian ‘diplomacy’ and Iranian ‘muscle’ to extricate it from its disastrous policy in Syria.

Iran now for all intents and purposes, as one astute Iraqi Kurd told me, is ‘leading from behind’ the ground war against the forces of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq, while the U.S. is leading the air campaign. In this new strange, but not brave Middle East, the hapless Iraqi government is more than happy to play the role of the useful mailman/middleman, delivering and receiving messages among the three frenemies. click to continue


A moratorium on writings

During the last few months I have thought that I might have the time and energy to begin thinking about political life and its issues more creatively. Therefore I could begin writing on them. It is clear to me now that is not going to happen soon. Perhaps it will happen sometime this year but that is by no means certain. There is of course much that is happening now in the world and I could attempt to get into the conversation. But for what reasons? I really do not want to get into the mobs of both the Right and the Left to simply pursue the game of shouting insults and condemnations toward the other side. Neither would I contribute anything by doing so. I do of course favor one side over the other. However in this thing even the side I am some what closer to does not impress me that much.

I am more interested in exploring the root principles of politics in an attempt to place it on a ground of solid meaning from which politic activities can arise, naturally, with real energy and moral direction. That grownd I believe must ultimately have some basis in basic concepts of political philosophy and yes religious thought and practice. Unfortunately outside of a few practitioners, present Pope being one of them, its seems very little real thought has gone into this from any but the most barbarous ways. The right wing brutalist ideologies of ISEL, the Taliban, the Israeli and the American Christian rights do not deserve to be considered as being decent bases for moral political action. Neither am I all that impressed with the Proggresive Christian left which seems to me to be an echoing chamber of the Democratic Party base.

Certain other small groups do have more credibility. The more left leaning persons of the G. K. Chesterston style Distributist movement no doubt are worth studying. Unfortunate at this time I do not have to time to study even these more intelligent forms of thought. Right now I am still working out my own practical religious life and thealogy from a De’anic perspective. Until that is much more solidly established than it currently is, I will remain inactive on this blog. The only action that I might take in the next few days might be to rename this blog. I no longer think its present title is all that useful even though Ma’at / ma’at is central to my current thinking and devotion.


Obama and Warren

During the last view days I have been working on developing
my first two blogs. Now I am ready follow the conversation here
more closely. Obama? First I really do not have a lot of interest
in what “spiritual leaders” say about him. Their expertize seems
to be more about heaven or alternate states of consciousness
than about politics.

However I do believe that Obama may become a great president
as exemplified by Franklin Roosevelt. Why? First what impresses me
about Obama is both his brilliant and flexible political intelligence
and his knowledge. I think that both his cabinet selections and
his prior political history give evidence of this. I am impressed that
he seems to take Abraham
Lincoln, America’s greatest president, as his role model. What
that means is that Obama will attempt to govern from the center.
From that center he will work hard to bring in more elements such
as the more moderate wing of the evangelical Christian movement.
By developing this center alliance a President Obama will be able
to make the major reforms on energy policy, environment, health care
and the economy needed by this nation.

This is the reason that he has picked Rick Warren to give the
opening prayer at his presidential inaugural. Yes Warren is not friendly
to gays. by all accounts. I can understand
why the gay community would be very unhappy about Obama’s
choice of Warren for this role.

However there are two ways of judging people politically.
One way is statically. One can look a person or group’s positions at the
present moment of time and determine that because of certain
litmus test differences that they have with oneself they are the
enemy. One
can also choose to look at them in a more dynamic way. This is in fact
what Obama in the precedent of Abraham Lincoln is doing.
Yes on the issue of gay rights Warren position is unacceptable to
the gay community and
to many within the Democratic Party. However in many ways
Rick Warren has been a leader in the push within the evangelical
camp to take on the issues of environment, global warning,
poverty, Darfur, etc. On all of these issues he could be an
invaluable ally to Barak Obama’s cause.

So what is Obama to do? To not make overtures until
Warren changes on the gay issue? This would please the
gay community and the
Democratic Party base. However it could
also impede Obama’s attempt to create the alliance he needs
to deal with issues of major reform. Or should he in
a sense “forgive” Rick Warren and others holding similar positions
on the issues centered around gays and offer him some symbolic
honor be granting him the privilege of offering the invocation
at his inaugural. Of course Rev. Warren also has some problems here.
To many in the Christian Right Obama is little better than an
Anti- Christ.
Warren himself will be attacked for giving Obama his symbolic
support at the presidential inaugural.

To finish this up. I certainly could understand the idea that
Obama would have betrayed the gay community if he in fact
for the sake of political expediency has decided to support a political
program that leads to a denial of the rights of gay people.
However all that Obama is doing is offering a hand of friendship
to people whose help in the long run he may need. If this succeeds
the interests of all Americans including that of gays will be promoted.

As I stated in my first post this blog is in many ways an extension of
the ideas and activities which I have supported in the “God’s justice
and kingdom” an e-group of which I am moderator. This is actually the twin
post to my second post on this site “Homosexuality – Why the Passion?”
This post was written first and was a response to both some
discussion of some “spiritual leaders” views on President Elect
Obama and to the anger of many members of both the Democratic Base and
 of the homosexual community


Homosexuality – Why the passion?

Patrick, clearly the use of the word homophobe to describe those who hate or disapprove of homosexuals is literally inaccurate. While certainly there may be some fear in involved in some cases a better word would be “homothropy.” However who ever coined the word in the first place decided to use “phobe” instead of “throp.” In spite of the problems about the root meaning of the word, the Merriam Webter dictionary defines homophobia as being “the irrational fear of. aversion to, or discrimination of homosexuals.” So in spite of what is might have been meant originally by “homophobia” the word now more commonly means the dislike or hatred of homosexuals. Thus there is in fact little that is wrong with how the homosexual community uses the word.

That said I think it is a mistake to even get into an argument on how words are used. The issue is about how society should respond to homosexuality. Clearly Christian traditionalism believes that homosexuality is biblically wrong. The homosexual community believes other wise. Part of Christian traditionalism’s argument is that homosexuality is only a behavior or sin such as hatred, great, adultery, etc. Homosexuals however argue that it is more than that. That their sexual orientation is hardwired into their very being. If that is the case they can not change that orientation. I believe that they have the best of that argument.

Of course even if homosexuality is the manifestation of a genetic predisposition it is still possible for fundimentalist Christians to argue that it is still a sin and should be opposed. However, I really have to wonder why homosexuality is the sin that members of the Christian Right commonly love to hate. Because it is a threat to the family? But look there are many threats that are more dangerous to the family than is homosexuality, which to me hardly seems like a threat at all. What about adultery and the weak divorce laws. Why is not a strong national campaign raised against the evils of divorce and adultery. No it is always to homosexuals who are hit.

I will end this on the subject of the Bible. The Bible recognizes slavery and the domination of woman by their husbands. Yet most modern Christians understand that all forms of slavery are wrong and most if not all believe in the equality of men and women. They believe this in part because what ever the biblical practice the ultimate principles of love and compassion manifested in the bible seemed to ultimately in principle to oppose both slavery and female subordination as social institutions.

I would argue the same in the case of homosexuality. Actually the Bible
says little about homosexuality. Jesus does not even mention it. So why the rage over it? Well there are obviously other non biblical reasons. All that being the case it seems to me that certainly a biblical case can be made that love and compassion should be shown homosexuals rather than the dislike and hatred that the Christian right manifests. At a minimum American society should have laws to protect the rights of homosexuals to civil union and all of the economic and political benefits of society.