In the Humble Opinion of LittleBill, Socialist, Atheist, and Humanist
Wonderful Speech by Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama’s Speech Today 12/31/07

Don’t miss this marvelous speech by Michelle Obama in Iowa on behalf of her husband. If you think Barak is a good speaker, “you ain’t heard nuthin’ yet,” as the saying goes. So far as I could see, she had no paper or electronic reminders of what she was going to say. Everything she said was what was in her own brain, and it was delivered with both grace and conviction. The speech lasted 1 hour and 3 minutes, and you just didn’t want it to stop. (It didn’t do any harm that she is a lovely looking woman and knows how to speak.)

But it was what she had to say that was riveting to a roomful of white men and women in their 60’s to 80’s, as well as many younger people, and they were both charmed and educated by what they heard.

Her speech can be heard by going here. I watched it live on C-Span this afternoon, and I am sure it will be rebroadcast sometime in the near future.


Merry Christmas

Christmas Letter 12/25/07

For weeks, I have been intellectually hibernating. But this morning, instead of watching crappy Christmas programs on TV, I watched a Bill Moyers program which I had taped several months ago in which he interviewed Maxine Hong Kingston about her group of writers and poets and their writings about their experiences in past and present wars, and it got me thinking again.

Rather than writing a few pleasantries about the Yuletide season, I have chosen to write about the world I see from the comfortable home I presently live in and am fairly well confined to now (though I also choose to be here and find great joy with my pets.)

Starting with the Democrats, our main concerns are:

The environment, which will either save or end all life on earth.

Growing population, which cannot be controlled with fences, only with humane and intelligent control.

Religious freedom, which was promised in our Constitution and applies to all forms of spiritual thought.

And War, which applies to all of the above and can only be controlled by the most humane and universal values of human beings as a whole.

Republican concerns, on the other hand, tend to be largely negative, in that they seek to control the values of others:

I received a voter’s guide from the League of Conservation Voters the other day regarding the Environment, and while all the Democrats supported a strong environmental policy, the Republicans either gave very weak support to such a policy or did not even articulate a position on it.

With regard to over-population, the Republican solution is to “protect” us by walling off the rest of the world, while at the same time feeling free to travel the world whenever and wherever we please. This has produced a steadily growing animosity between us and our neighbors.

Religious freedom has become an enormous cancer on the souls of human beings. President Bush and his advisers craftily took advantage of the Christian religion, particularly the evangelical Christians, most of whom are indoctrinated in their beliefs in very early childhood, to build their political party. And their most sacred belief is that they, and only they, know the true God. This, in turn, has led to an “us” against “them” separation both among Americans and between Americans and the rest of the world.

As for War, isn’t it odd that Pres. Bush, the devout Christian should be leading a crusade that may eventually end all life on Earth? His Christians value human beings (only some human beings) over all other life on the Earth, the Earth that their God created. And about the war, isn’t it also odd that most of those who have laid their lives down for his war are people with little education or future, while most of his true believers have chosen to stay home? And many more of the “others” have been killed, guilty “terrorists” as well as innocents.

Which brings me back to Kingman, and the story one of her group wrote about the war he was in. He said that the worst memory of all his terrible memories was of a comrade being burned alive, and that he, the survivor, actually salivated at the smell of his friend’s burning flesh.

An odd way to end a Christmas letter, I’ll admit, but this is the way I see the world from here. By the way, a Christian friend here was surprised that I said Merry Christmas to him. Not only did I mean it, but I am happy to have it said back to me.

Merry Christmas from Anne, the atheist and socialist.


Merry Christmas

Jon Carroll on Huckabee & Romney

I have become obsessed with Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney. Not that I would ever vote for either of them. Mitt Romney looks like the typical high school suck-up, the kid whom everyone hated, although everyone also conceded that he'd go far. He also had Daddy's money, and he looked as if he had Daddy's money.

There is also the Mormon thing. One part of the American experiment that I really agree with is that everyone should be free to believe any damn thing they want, and to worship any damn thing they want, as long as it doesn't scare the horses. People say,

Oh, that Joseph Smith, what a hoaxster; can you believe people actually bought into that 'golden plates in the backyard' thing?
Well, yeah. Can you believe that people actually bought into that "it's really the blood of Jesus" thing? Can you believe people bought into that "the Prophet went into a cave and the angel Gabriel dictated an entire book to him" thing? Can you believe that people bought into that "here's a holy imaginary elephant - build a shrine!" thing?

I mean, it's a religion. It's not supposed to make sense. It's a matter of faith, and I just ain't going to get into the business of weighing faiths. Let a thousand Mormons bloom, not that they need my permission. Or want it.

The trouble is that Romney does want to weigh faiths. Or, at least, lack of faith. Here he is in the famous speech about his Mormon religion that mentioned the word "Mormon" only once:
Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.
Jeez, I'd think just the opposite is true - that freedom rather specifically does not require religion, because freedom concerns the right to be, you know, free. Mitt is free to believe in Joseph Smith's revelation and wear his holy singlet; I am free to believe in charity, kindness and peace without attaching it to any supernatural being.

I am free to use anything at all to open the windows of my soul. If it happens to be the sight of a golden retriever on the beach at Limantour at sunset, they're my windows and it's my soul and government has nothing to do with it. Mitt Romney does not get to define the terms of my enlightenment - or, indeed, my freedom to ignore enlightenment if that's what I choose to do. Because it's freedom.

I am not yelling.

I have to say that Mike Huckabee won my heart for about 30 seconds. It was at the You Tube-CNN Republican debate, and all the candidates were taking turns decrying immigrants as vile and loathsome criminals and perverts, and if we could only get rid of them then all our country's problems would be solved. (How to get rid of them? Oh, don't bother me when I'm demagoguing.) One part of the anti-immigrant package was to deny the children of illegal immigrants education, health care and common human decency.

In the middle of the hate fest, Huckabee said:
With all due respect, we're a better country than to punish children for what their parents did.
And he got booed! And I thought: Two hours of blather, one guy says something that makes him sound like a human being, and he gets attacked. Lordy, these are dreadful people.

But then I read other things that Huckabee said:
I didn't get into politics because I thought government had a better answer. I got into politics because I knew government didn't have the real answers, that the real answers lie in accepting Jesus Christ into our lives.
That's going to be a little tricky when monetary policy is being discussed, because Christ's position on reducing Chinese imports is not entirely clear. That's all right: Huckabee had not even heard about the National Intelligence Estimate's report on Iran's nuclear program; probably he was so busy letting Jesus Christ into his life that he forgot to let current events into his life.

Huckabee also said he wanted to "answer the alarm clock and take this nation back for Christ." I'm not sure what that means, but it can't be good for the Jews. Or the gays, for that matter. Huckabee is opposed to gays in the military because they would "destroy unit cohesion," which is actually what people said about African Americans in 1947, until Harry Truman said, "Cohesion this, pea brains" and integrated the armed forces for good.

It's a measure of where George Bush has taken the Republican Party that only nut jobs can run for the GOP nomination. The sanest one out there is a former POW, and he thinks the Iraq war is a great idea. And you think Hillary Clinton is going to have trouble running against one of these guys? Please.

I love it when the mean kids get on television and yell at each other for a while. Keeps them out of the playground.
San Francisco Chronicle
I hear the human race is falling on its face and hasn't very far to go, but every whippoorwill is selling me a bill and telling me it just ain't so. I could say life is just a bowl of Jello, and appear more intelligent and smart, but I'm stuck like a dope with a thing called hope, and I can't get it out of my

War On Greed

A Home for the Holidays? A Realestate Shopocalpyse Movie
What would you do if you lived in one of Henry Kravis' mansions for a day during the holidays?

Would you feed the homeless? Throw a huge party? Sell everything on eBay?

For more on Henry Kravis and other borrow-and-buyout corporations, check out the FACTS page.

The War on Greed hits the New York Times! "A Movie and Protesters Single Out Henry Kravis" and director Robert Greenwald discusses issues raised in the film on CNBC's "Closing Bell".