Don-Obama-Organizer
Don Obama's Assassination Program - Ordering Hits on America's Enemies
© Austin Cline
Candidate Barack Obama ran his presidential campaign on a message of hope and change. President Barack Obama seems to be running his presidential administration on the thesis that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney didn't go far enough in the creation of a secretive national security state. Even more than they ever did, Obama seems to be pushing for a nation where habeas corpus, constitutional rights, and basic civil liberties protections can be emptied of substantive meaning whenever the president decides.

America has been kicked in the values so many times that I'm sure many doubted it could ever be able to stand back up again; others, I'm just as sure, were optimistic that America would be able to recover. I fear though that Barack Obama has delivered a final coup de grace to basic American values by authorizing an official assassination program against American citizens around the world. I don't think it's possible to argue that there can remain any substance to basic civil liberties if the president can officially have you whacked any time, anywhere, for any reason.

{nomultithumb}

Read more: Barack Obama's Coup de Grace on America

Sacrificing Workers for Low Prices
Sacrificing Workers for Low Prices
© Austin Cline

The deaths of the miners in the West Virginia Massey mine were tragic, but not unique. How many people die each year because their lives are worth less than the basic safety measures needed to protect them — not just workers, but consumers as well? I honestly don't know the number, but it's a lot more than 25. No matter how important your life is to your loved ones, it's worthless to corporations except insofar as they can profit from you.

Life has always been cheap in America, at least from the perspective of corporations and so long as you yourself are relatively powerless — too powerless to impose any extra costs on corporations for treating you like a tool rather than a person. Laws may have made some of the most egregious abuses more difficult, but corporations have also gotten better at concealing from the public the costs in human lives and misery.

{nomultithumb}

Read more: Sacrificing Workers for Low Prices

{nomultithumb}
Tea Baggers' Politics of Resentment, Self-Destruction
Tea Baggers' Politics of Resentment, Self-Destruction
© Austin Cline

One of the more curious developments to come out of right-wing opposition to health insurance reform and the overall Tea Bagger movement are the many examples of people vociferously opposing government programs they will or already do benefit greatly from. There has already been lots of commentary about working and middle class citizens "voting against their interests," which is to say voting against liberal politicians who would represent their economic interests and voting for conservative politicians who promote "culture war" issues. I think, though, that this is now going a step further.

Even the mainstream media has been paying more attention to this phenomenon. The New York Times had a lengthy article pointing out how during the Great Depression working and middle class Americans mobilized for populist movements that demanded greater government action and assistance. Today, in contrast, those same sorts of people are mobilizing to demand less government action and assistance — even as they are relying more and more on whatever government assistance they can get.

Read more: Tea Baggers' Politics of Resentment, Self-Destruction

{nomultithumb}
Violence in America's Conservative Movements
Violence in America's Conservative Movements
© Austin Cline

The threats and violence against Democrats aren't really surprising, even if they are disturbing. American culture and American politics have been infused with violence since before America was even an independent nation, and it has continued to be an important strand in the American tapestry throughout our history. Of course, those who employ violence never perceive themselves as doing anything wrong: they are only doing what is necessary to achieve political goals which they cannot advance through the normal democratic process.

Violence never occurs in a vacuum. For violence or even threats of violence to occur, the ground must first be prepared and people themselves made ready. Most people don't typically live in a state where they are constantly ready to be violent; instead, they must first have their passions aroused through fear, and through the fear brought to the point where they hate enough that they are willing to overcome any natural sympathies towards their fellow human beings in order to harm them.

Read more: Violence in America's Conservative Movements

{nomultithumb}
Reinforcing, Reforming, or Restructuring the System
Reinforcing, Reforming, or Restructuring the System
© Austin Cline

 

I'd like to take a step back and address something I've brought up here and there in various sermons over the years. It's something that underlies so many issues like fighting terrorism, prisoners in Guantanamo, unchecked government powers, financial bailouts, health care reform, and more.

There's no single label for this but it comes up whenever someone asks "How could Democrats support that measure" or "How could Democrats betray their progressive principles and promises like that?"

Read more: Reinforcing, Reforming, or Restructuring the System

Today's Major Events

Atheist Charged for Annoying Pastor With Ungodly Literature
'Hollywood Ten' Blacklisted by Movie Studios After Being Cited for 'Contempt of Congress'
Future Pope Benedict XVI Appointed as Head of the Inquisition - the Congregation for Doctrine of Faith
Birth of Rudolf Höss, Commandant of Auschwitz Death Camp
Noah's Flood Occurs, According to Bishop Ussher