Having neglected my favorite columnist and favorite podcast as of late, it was easy to forget. As I said in my post about almost voting for Romney, I let the Conventions sort-of sweep me up. I swore I’d never give in, but oh those sirens were such smooth-talking mistresses.
First, as I mentioned last week, the big shift for me towards Obama was Clinton’s speech at the National Convention. I thought it was amazing. But, this speech ended up being not as factually accurate as it sounded. And (speaking of how it sounded) as Dan Carlin said (as I was finally catching up with his podcast), this speech was only our generation’s introduction to the kind of politician Clinton’s always been. This was simply vintage Clinton, and I admit, I developed a little man-crush.
Firstly, let me formally introduce “Casual Friday” posts. After all the seriousness in my posts on theology, politics, and such through the week, one could get the impression I can’t have any fun. Well, not so. Whenever I’m able, I hope to take Fridays to write up shorter, casual, and generally more light-hearted posts to talk about news, technology, entertainment, food, or whatever. Probably, it’ll mostly be me sharing some of my favorite things with all of you. Enjoy.
I subscribe to a great service called Summify. It analyzes my social feeds and gives me a reading list each day of the articles that my social graph has most-shared (don’t get too excited. It just got bought by Twitter and they will be shutting down the service shortly).
Anyway, in my email a couple of days ago, there was a link to this great article by Josh Gerstein showing both the (negative) similarities between Bush and Obama, and the blatant and (at times) comical hypocrisy of those that have hated/loved those respective men.
And what do you know? According to the screenshot above, this article was recommended by both Uber-Progressive Glenn Greenwald and Uber-NeoConservative Karl Rove (this was confirmed by each of their tweets). There could not be two more different men coming together to promote the same political article.
But anyway, the article is great, and if it was good enough for both of these guys to recommend it, then it should be worth all of our time and consideration. And as you do, remember all the things I’ve been saying. Like I said then: I promise, I’m not crazy. Other people are saying these things too.
In light of the recent birth control controversy, there’s been a revived discussion about abortion and the “personhood” of babies, especially after a paper justifying the aborting of newborns was published in a major journal. Also, in response to rising criticisms for how the Obama administration has abused their seizure of Executive power to pretty scary levels, Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, gave a speech [transcript] at Northwestern University on Monday defending the administration’s actions. Today’s articles deal with these issues.
Grab some coffee, and let’s go.
The New Scar on My Soul | American Thinker
If you read nothing else from this post, please let it be this. I found myself crying in the middle of the coffee-shop I was in as I read this. Please, anyone, help give me a reasonable framework from which to respond to this. I need something beyond empty rhetoric, powerless outrage and sadness, and unrealistic policy aspirations. And also, please, if you find yourself on the pro-choice side of this, I would love your thoughts on this topic after reading this post. I’m really struggling here.
The Obama Administration and Targeted Killings: “Trust Us” | Council on Foreign Relations
Such a good article giving a brief–yet substantive–analysis of Holder’s speech and how it holds up to legal, moral, and common-sensical scrutiny. Please read this. Also, for a very comprehensive (yet fairly brief and easy-to-read) summary of the history and background of this all-important topic and its relevance today, CFR put together this Backgrounder.
Well, to be more accurate, we had already lost even before we protested.
Remember last Wednesday, when we all rallied around and lifted our unified voice in defiance to politicians that were trying to pass bills that would restrict internet freedom and innovation? We were trying to tell the government they shouldn’t have the power to unilaterally–and at their own whim and discretion–take down entire websites because of the sole actions of their users.
Remember how within the day of our protest, congressional websites were going down from all the traffic and sponsors of the bills were jumping ship? It was beautiful, wasn’t it?
And then we woke up the next morning to this.
Less than 24-hours after the largest internet protest in history, news broke that the largest file-sharing site in the world, Megaupload, had been seized by U.S. Government officials and it’s founders and owners were being arrested and charged with piracy and copyright infringement.
[NOTE: If you don’t have much time to spare, I would strongly recommend not reading the rest of my post and instead reading these analyses done by the Cato Institute and Glenn Greenwald. They are both excellent in explaining the subtleties of the issue and convincing in their outline of its dangerous precedents.]
Here we go again. This usually happens every four years in the summer after the major Party Conventions, and the full-blown presidential campaign is in full swing. This time, though, it’s happening about six-months early in January (I wrote about this quadrennial event back in ’08).
And so, I just wanted to give everyone a quick heads-up that my political self is rousing from his hibernation, and I tell you what–he’s more passionate and (this is new!) clear-headed about what he thinks and why.
(Attached to this post, you can see a picture of my inner “political animal”. He’s been around for a while now. Thanks, Dad.)
So expect a shift in the content of this blog. Yes, there will still be plenty of pastoral and theological musings, but you’ll also see an increasing number of political posts on this site in the coming weeks and months (hey, maybe I can try and start writing for Patrol Magazine again!).
I feel like I’m finally settling into a cohesive and articulate (and defensible) set of beliefs concerning politics-influenced-by-faith: where we’re off the mark, we’re we need to be, and how to get there. So, expect some ideological posts on that stuff, but also expect some commentary on the unfolding politics as they move forward toward November.
I have been watching, reading, and pouring over the events surrounding Wikileaks, wanting to write some sort of thoughtful commentary. But, as The Atlantic points out, this event has brought about some of the best journalism, political analysis, and writing we’ve seen in years and I find it difficult to try and say something newer or more insightful than those that are more knowledgeable of the past and have more time and acquaintance with the primary sources in question. With more of these leaked diplomatic cables being released every day, this coverage is literally non-stop. My productivity at worked has suffered because of the tangled web of links one can get caught in going from one story to the next to the next; I have at least a couple dozen quotes and links saved in my Evernote notetaking app in order to use in some future writing (or present).
But nevertheless, even among my friends who care about this situation, there appears to be some common misconceptions about this whole situation, leading them to direct their frustrations, diatribes, and anger in the wrong direction. I wish to clarify some of those here today. First, I must say on the outset that I am absolutely, entirely in favor of most all that Wikileaks has done and is doing. I think they are serving America’s longterm interest and the well-being of its citizenry far more than even our own federal government is doing. Do I think they have done everything perfectly and responsibly? No, but no four-year old media organization can be said to have done so. Wikileaks has (and will) make mistakes–its founder has even admitted that–but so will/has our federal government in its own “attempts” at serving the greater good. The only question remains: who do you think does more damage when they make those inevitable mistakes (the government or Wikileaks?), and therefore, who requires more scrutiny, responsibility, accountability, and fear of being out of control? I (as well as Glenn Greenwald and The Economist) wholeheartedly fear the results of a government out of control more than a Wikileaks out of control. But, in fact (as we move on to the misconceptions) ….
Thanks to David Sessions, the editor of Patrol Magazine for bringing this all to our attention.
Now, I have remained in the closet for much of this discussion (forgive the pun), though I have spoken of this in-person with others, with varying reactions. For a myriad of reasons, it’s generally wiser to controvert into a half-empty coffee cup or beer pint than it is to do so on the web. But nevertheless, this is a charged issue that demands response, both public and private, from those that have (hopefully) given it deep and communal thought, allowing both time and others to help refine and nuance one’s opinions. I hope I may be so bold as to include myself in those numbers.
For now, I’m still figuring it out, and discussions like the one I want to bring to your attention today both clarify and confuse the issue for me. I find myself agreeing with each article you will find below; a similar reaction Sessions has eloquently articulated in his Patrol article. I appreciate his public candor and can easily relate.