Saturday, September 30, 2006
I was elected in April as the Vice President of the ISU College Democrats. Due to a busy schedule, the President of the club recently quit. Essentially I have been running the entire club on my own for the last few weeks. There are hundreds of Democrats that attend ISU, and I would venture to say that most of the professors are Democrats and a fair number of the faculty/staff. But how many people are we getting at our meetings? A handful. The club has lots of friends on myspace and facebook, we have lots of people who say they are "College Democrats," but they don't attend meetings and they don't volunteer to help Democrats get elected. Democrats can't get elected-the party can't grow, unless we go out there and help these Democrats get elected. I firmly believe that when we fail to help a Democratic candidate get elected, we are only helping the Republican get elected. That is fine, for Republicans, but that isn't fine for Democrats! The very future of education is in jeopardy if Jana Jones doesn't win on November 7th. Yet I am not seeing Democrats out there hitting the pavement, knocking doors, and persuading voters. I have spoken to many voters, even Republicans, who fear for education if Tom Luna is elected, but these same voters aren't doing anything (besides voting, which is the most important thing to do, I KNOW!) to ensure that Tom Luna doesn't win.
So I say to my fellow Democrats, lets start working. The election is only 5 weeks away and the candidates need our help desperately. Find some candidates that you believe in and help them win. This isn't just about the future of education, this is about the future of Idaho. So get to work!
Saturday, September 23, 2006
As I read more and more about 9/11 I'm convinced that this attention President Clinton is receiving is nothing more than a midterm election diversion. This whole, "It's Clinton's fault" is a way for conservatives who are tired with the Iraq war to displace their feelings on someone other than this current administration.
This website, Media Matters, expresses my sentiment by showing how Fox News has tried to cover up for Mike Wallace. While they are much too far to the left for my taste, they've done some excellent analysis on this subject.
While some dispute the facts behind President Clinton's statements on Sunday's interview, I think only God will know what really happened.
I have never had much love or malice for the former President, I feel that on this issue, he is right—he is being picked on, unfairly.
Well, "boo-hoo" right? Unfortunately, that's politics. Hopefully, folks will see through this smokescreen. Many will fall for this diversion, many won't, but it's never that black and white is it?
Here is a link to the Fox News Sunday broadcast of the interview. I don't know if it was truncated or not, I haven't compared it with the text of the broadcast below. Also, don't trust Fox News when it comes to written transcripts, they have a history of changing their typed transcripts from what was actually broad-casted and said. Here is an example.
Olbermann also adds his two bits to this whole drama. He goes way overboard in a lot of his rhetoric, but his overall point is correct. Here's what he had to say about the Clinton interview.
Sept. 23—I'll probably get into trouble for having a "positive" post about fmr. President Bill Clinton, but, this is a MUST READ interview.
The text of the interview is still rough and hasn't been cleaned up for spelling.
I was too young (I'm currently 24) to really understand and follow the Clinton administration. I also haven't done much reading on what he has done. However, I am an avid reader on 9/11 events, Iraq and Afghanistan. Whatever mistakes Bill Clinton may have made during his presidency, the trendy headlines asserting that Clinton did not do enough to catch Bin Laden are misleading and unfair.
I cannot help but think whether all of this attention towards Clinton is a political ploy using displacement to drag attention away from current events in Iraq and terrorism.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
The problem with preserving and protecting our God given civil liberties is:
1. There always seems to be groups of people who want to take them away.
2. People do not tend to trust government.
3. Civil liberties and national security do not always mix.
It's a hard balance to keep. Here is an article on the subject that I found interesting.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
As a disclaimer for the following article, I would like to remind everyone that my opinion does not necessarily reflect that of the College Democrats, Church, or BYU-I. Any disagreements are to be directed at myself.
It all started over the summer when I viewed a message board comprised of BYU-I students. The subject of politics had come up and opinions were flying. I noticed something however that bothered me quite a bit. By the time I got up here for school this semester I had largely forgotten about it, until the issue raised its head again in a class room discussion (carried out over a several day stretch). It is on it that this article is about.
The issue is conformity.
More specifically, at what point do we as Latter-Day Saints exchange our personal views for those conforming to what the Church has said? We as Saints feel very strongly about agency, the right to choose, and about acting on what we feel is right. Some I feel have taken these principles too far though. In the discussions there were some who expressed that they felt that women should have the right to get an abortion anytime the wanted. There were some who felt that gays should be allowed to marry. There were some who felt that communism was the best form of government.
These conversations raise the issue: “While the Church doesn’t require us to vote a certain way, when our opinion on political matters differs from what the Church and its leaders have expressed, should we forsake our way of thinking?”
I say we should.
One of the primary reasons for our being here is to learn to trust in the Lord, and to bring our thoughts, actions, and desires in line with His. He has called Prophets in our day to guide us not just spiritually, but in a very real, physical way. We are expected to forsake false teachings that the world expounds for the truth that scripture and revelation teaches. False teachings are not regulated to matters relating to the proper mode of baptism, or the necessity of authority. They exist in science, medicine, philosophy, psychiatry, sociology, and politics (just to name a few).
When our ideas or the wisdom of the world is in opposition to what the Scriptures say, or what the Prophets (note the plural) have said, it is our obligation as Disciples of Christ to think as he would have us think. When it says, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints favors a constitutional amendment preserving marriage as the lawful union of a man and a woman” what right do we have to say “I think the Church is wrong” and still call ourselves faithful members? We have none, and we stand as hypocrites.
We have an obligation to seek out the Church’s stance on every issue. Where it has taken none we must do our best through prayer and wise judgment. But where it has taken a stance we should stand by it, for no amount of false teachings or false revelation on our part will change the truth. As Elder Maxwell once said, “There didn’t seem to be any problem with conformity the day the
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Half of America apparently still thinks so, a new poll finds, and experts see a raft of reasons why: a drumbeat of voices from talk radio to die-hard bloggers to the Oval Office, a surprise headline here or there, a rallying around a partisan flag, and a growing need for people, in their own minds, to justify the war in Iraq.
People tend to become "independent of reality" in these circumstances, says opinion analyst Steven Kull.
The reality in this case is that after a 16-month, $900-million-plus investigation, the U.S. weapons hunters known as the Iraq Survey Group declared that Iraq had dismantled its chemical, biological and nuclear arms programs in 1991 under U.N. oversight. That finding in 2004 reaffirmed the work of U.N. inspectors who in 2002-03 found no trace of banned arsenals in Iraq.
Despite this, a Harris Poll released July 21 found that a full 50 percent of U.S. respondents — up from 36 percent last year — said they believe Iraq did have the forbidden arms when U.S. troops invaded in March 2003, an attack whose stated purpose was elimination of supposed WMD. Other polls also have found an enduring American faith in the WMD story.
"I'm flabbergasted," said Michael Massing, a media critic whose writings dissected the largely unquestioning U.S. news reporting on the Bush administration's shaky WMD claims in 2002-03.
"This finding just has to cause despair among those of us who hope for an informed public able to draw reasonable conclusions based on evidence," Massing said.
Timing may explain some of the poll result. Two weeks before the survey, two Republican lawmakers, Pennsylvania's Sen. Rick Santorum (news, bio, voting record) and Michigan's Rep. Peter Hoekstra (news, bio, voting record), released an intelligence report in Washington saying 500 chemical munitions had been collected in Iraq since the 2003 invasion.
"I think the Harris Poll was measuring people's surprise at hearing this after being told for so long there were no WMD in the country," said Hoekstra spokesman Jamal Ware.
But the Pentagon and outside experts stressed that these abandoned shells, many found in ones and twos, were 15 years old or more, their chemical contents were degraded, and they were unusable as artillery ordnance. Since the 1990s, such "orphan" munitions, from among 160,000 made by Iraq and destroyed, have turned up on old battlefields and elsewhere in Iraq, ex-inspectors say. In other words, this was no surprise.
"These are not stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction," said Scott Ritter, the ex-Marine who was a U.N. inspector in the 1990s. "They weren't deliberately withheld from inspectors by the Iraqis."
Conservative commentator Deroy Murdock, who trumpeted Hoekstra's announcement in his syndicated column, complained in an interview that the press "didn't give the story the play it deserved." But in some quarters it was headlined.
"Our top story tonight, the nation abuzz today ..." was how Fox News led its report on the old, stray shells. Talk-radio hosts and their callers seized on it. Feedback to blogs grew intense. "Americans are waking up from a distorted reality," read one posting.
Other claims about supposed WMD had preceded this, especially speculation since 2003 that Iraq had secretly shipped WMD abroad. A former Iraqi general's book — at best uncorroborated hearsay — claimed "56 flights" by jetliners had borne such material to Syria.
But Kull, Massing and others see an influence on opinion that's more sustained than the odd headline.
"I think the Santorum-Hoekstra thing is the latest 'factoid,' but the basic dynamic is the insistent repetition by the Bush administration of the original argument," said John Prados, author of the 2004 book "Hoodwinked: The Documents That Reveal How Bush Sold Us a War."
Administration statements still describe Saddam's Iraq as a threat. Despite the official findings, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has allowed only that "perhaps" WMD weren't in Iraq. And Bush himself, since 2003, has repeatedly insisted on one plainly false point: that Saddam rebuffed the U.N. inspectors in 2002, that "he wouldn't let them in," as he said in 2003, and "he chose to deny inspectors," as he said this March.
The facts are that Iraq — after a four-year hiatus in cooperating with inspections — acceded to the U.N. Security Council's demand and allowed scores of experts to conduct more than 700 inspections of potential weapons sites from Nov. 27, 2002, to March 16, 2003. The inspectors said they could wrap up their work within months. Instead, the U.S. invasion aborted that work.
As recently as May 27, Bush told West Point graduates, "When the United Nations Security Council gave him one final chance to disclose and disarm, or face serious consequences, he refused to take that final opportunity."
"Which isn't true," observed Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a scholar of presidential rhetoric at the University of Pennsylvania. But "it doesn't surprise me when presidents reconstruct reality to make their policies defensible." This president may even have convinced himself it's true, she said.
Americans have heard it. A poll by Kull's WorldPublicOpinion.org found that seven in 10 Americans perceive the administration as still saying Iraq had a WMD program. Combine that rhetoric with simplistic headlines about WMD "finds," and people "assume the issue is still in play," Kull said.
"For some it almost becomes independent of reality and becomes very partisan." The WMD believers are heavily Republican, polls show.
Beyond partisanship, however, people may also feel a need to believe in WMD, the analysts say.
"As perception grows of worsening conditions in Iraq, it may be that Americans are just hoping for more of a solid basis for being in Iraq to begin with," said the Harris Poll's David Krane.
Charles Duelfer, the lead U.S. inspector who announced the negative WMD findings two years ago, has watched uncertainly as TV sound bites, bloggers and politicians try to chip away at "the best factual account," his group's densely detailed, 1,000-page final report.
"It is easy to see what is accepted as truth rapidly morph from one representation to another," he said in an e-mail. "It would be a shame if one effect of the power of the Internet was to undermine any commonly agreed set of facts."
The creative "morphing" goes on.
As Israeli troops and Hezbollah guerrillas battled in Lebanon on July 21, a Fox News segment suggested, with no evidence, yet another destination for the supposed doomsday arms.
"ARE SADDAM HUSSEIN'S WMDS NOW IN HEZBOLLAH'S HANDS?" asked the headline, lingering for long minutes on TV screens in a million American homes.