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The Messiah?

by Frank Schnittger Mon Dec 22nd, 2008 at 01:38:54 PM EST

And all the angels and archangels came singing "Obama is the highest"!  Right down to his dodgy Hawaiian US birth certificate and his slaying of the son of Cain - is Obama recreating the Christmas Myth?

Meanwhile, back in the Temple with the High Priests...

Pope says combatting homosexuality as important as saving rainforests - The Irish Times - Mon, Dec 22, 2008

Pope Benedict said today that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour was just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction.

"(The Church) should also protect man from the destruction of himself. A sort of ecology of man is needed," the pontiff said in a holiday address to the Curia, the Vatican's central administration.

Can an inspirational figure ever have been so badly served by his alleged chief followers?  How can the greatest advocate for human love be used to sow hatred and division? Is it an historical inevitability that the greatest advocates for peace will have their message twisted to support innumerable wars, pogroms, and witch hunts?  Do we have to be utterly cynical about all attempts to change the world for the better?

Is Christmas, or the Winter Solstice, an appropriate time to look forward to a rebirth of our humanity regardless of our religious beliefs or the lack of them?  Of course the disillusion of the winter of our discontent will always follow the spring shoots of new hope.  But even if hope and disillusion are inevitable bedfellows is it not right that we should hope again, even if only for a season or two?  Can we claim to be progressive if we have no concept of, or belief in, progress in human history?


I will personally be pleasantly surprised if Obama manages do much more than slow down the massive ship of state currently heading in the wrong direction and slowly turn it around to a more favourable course.  His window of opportunity for massive legislative and institutional change will be quite short, even if he grasps the opportunity with all the skill he has shown to date.  The challenges we all face do not lend themselves to being resolved in the time it takes to move from one electoral cycle to the next.  The most we can hope for in the next year is that the recession bottoms out and that some green shoots survive the winter to grow again.

Which brings me back to Christmas, because for me it is not about praising Messiahs; ancient, or modern, or engaging in witch hunts against whoever or whatever we wish to denigrate as deviant in the current order.  It's about taking some time out, at the end of another year, to think about what we have personally achieved in the last year, and hope to do in the next.

For me the achievements of the past year have been mostly about helping my children achieve their chosen goals and giving them whatever support I could. A few personal projects have come to fruition, others have fared less well, but overall it hasn't been a bad year. I've enjoyed reading, writing and arguing here and elsewhere on Lisbon, the Irish economy and politics, European affairs and the US elections. I've met some great people through ET at he Paris meet up and in Dublin/Madrid.  Hi Melanchthon and Metavision! And many thanks to Jerome, Afew, LEP, Fran, Geezer and all who helped organise the meet-up.    

I don't do Christmas cards because (a) I'm too lazy, (b) it saves trees and (c) they don't say anything except I'm thinking of you. So this diary is my way of saying "I'm thinking of you" to all my friends and adversaries on ET who have crossed swords or shared virtual pints with me during the year.  I hope you have a good one and that some of your dreams for the next year come true.

Display:
And a merry Xmas to you too, Frank.

Minor nitpick : I think you'll find that Bennie the Rat doesn't need any help from advisors to put the H8 on te gay. As a fully paid up zealot, he can do that all by himself.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 22nd, 2008 at 02:59:07 PM EST
Many thanks, and the same to you.

As for the Boomtown Rats singer, he doesn't like the gay ecology because he can't get his Geld off

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Dec 22nd, 2008 at 05:15:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
haha

it's been great sharing a blog table with you this last year, frank, you add so much to ET, i wouldn't know where to start.

so glad you didn't fade away, like it looked you might, for a while.

looking forward to hearing more from you this coming year.

sound, sterling stuff...

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Dec 22nd, 2008 at 08:51:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
<blush>

It's been great blogging with you too Melo.  How are your sustainable energy projects progressing?  Maybe we should start a poetry series to accommodate the more artistic amongst us.  Too much hard nosed politics and economics can make a stone of the heart...

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 23rd, 2008 at 06:46:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, Helen, slightly related to Frank's diary here, Obama apparently may be on the verge of appointing the first openly gay Secretary of the Navy.  Either he wants a fight on DADT (merely floating it probably signals that much), or he's horribly naive.  And, as our...erm...Dear Leader is a good little Chicagoan, I tend to think the former.  It was in the big Long Island paper -- Newsday?  Marek? -- this past weekend.

Not saying it necessarily means anything, but just saying.  I may yet prove you wrong on your Blair parallels.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Dec 22nd, 2008 at 07:51:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Merry Christmas, Frank.  Your diaries on Irish politics, particularly with regard to Lisbon, have been incredibly enlightening, and your US diaries have been brilliant (to say nothing of the fact that they saved me the work). :D

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Dec 22nd, 2008 at 07:45:45 PM EST
<blush again..>

Actually the US diaries were a bit of a bluff.  It's easier to write about stuff if you are not immersed in it, and a short diary is really hard if you know too much.  So my US Diaries are really about inviting refutation to some half formed idea so I might learn something from the dialogue.  Thanks for putting me right on a number of occasions!  I wouldn't have understood how Obama had changed the ground game if you hadn't put me onto Nate Silver.  We really have nothing like that level of mass personal engagement in politics here - which is why we are so vulnerable to a slick well financed Libertas style campaign.  

Ireland used to have an incredibly politically engaged populace.  You couldn't walk into a pub without finding (or creating) an argument about politics - good natured, of course, though tourists might have thought we were coming to blows.  The Celtic Tiger changed that and people became more interested in their personal financial success. Now we are like spoiled brats who have developed a sense of entitlement to the benefits of the EU and a booming economy...

Its time people realised that real change - like creating and developing the EU has to be fought and worked for.  And it is time Ireland made a more positive contribution.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 23rd, 2008 at 07:10:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The great thing about the Internets is that there's always someone out there who can build a better mouse trap than the guys on teevee.  Nate is a great example.  I think CNN won the contest for best polling (O53-46M, which was basically dead-on), but Nate got the state-by-state results more right, although it's to CNN's credit that they were right there with him.  I think he only missed Indiana and the 2nd CD in Nebraska.  We all generally bet on the high end of the expected range, though, so the tradmed still loses.  Even on insider-baseball stuff, the bloggers still get it right more often than the people who should actually know the insider-baseball stuff.

Being across the Pond helps.  I know it helped me a lot to read up on the '06 election in the British papers, which really -- even in the Murdoch ones -- do produce strong coverage and commentary much of the time (the notable exception being the Beeb, which is too polluted by Beltway people).  The American papers didn't give the Dems a chance in '06, but I'd read the Brits and think, "Huh, son of a gun, I think the Dems may just pull it off."  Michael Tomasky of the Guardian is very sharp, and the FT gets top prize for journalism after somehow getting ahold of that spreadsheet with all of the Obama campaign's primary projections (either it was a scary-accurate fake or it was real, and either way there's a genius out there somewhere who knows every congressional district in America better than any human being should).

Although, folks in Ireland were very, very hip to the American election when my significat other and her family were over there a while back.  Everywhere they went, folks wanted to talk about Obama and boo McCain, and the Irish al knew the dynamics of the election better than she and her family did.

Part of it was perhaps a matter of it being an interesting election with a lot of firsts.  (I keep saying to people at work who sigh and say they're glad it's over, "No way.  Best. Election. Ever.")  But I suspect similar developments will occur in all democracies in developed countries where the Interwebz are easily accessed.  Even in less-developed countries.  Hell, the North Korean dissidents are probably sharper with technology than anybody.

This whole blogosphere thing is still in its infancy.  It took the Republicans decades to build majorities in both houses and take the presidency.  It took the Dems four years, and they beat the living snot out of the Reps in both elections for the first time since the 1930s.  Pretty damned impressive.  And no way it happens if people like Kos aren't looking around thinking, "You know, this guy Jon Tester looks pretty damned good.  Kinda fat, weird military haircut, organic farmer, very Montana.  Fuck Rahm, this guy would make a good Senate candidate."  And Tester wins.  And Webb.  And Whatshername in Missouri.

And you watch: It'll wind up being much better.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Dec 26th, 2008 at 10:35:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Drew J Jones:
getting ahold of that spreadsheet with all of the Obama campaign's primary projections

Sounds interesting. Link?

The thing about the internet is that what it you wouldn't have people like us publishing their take on things other than the odd, frustrated LTE.  Journalists are just people doing a job, at the end of the day, and they have publishers and editors telling them what they want to see covered.  They may get the odd inspired leak or source, but 99.9% of the time they are just publishing stuff fed to them by the establishment via press releases, "exclusive interviews", inspired leaks.

We aren't necessarily any better informed, of course, but there are more of us, so there is a much greater chance that one of us has the real inside dope on a situation - even if it is only via a disgruntled employee  anonymously refusing to toe the official line.  We don't have editors with pre-cooked news agendas to conform to and so it becomes much more difficult to propagate the dominant narrative - particularly with the MSM losing market share.

As yet our influence in Europe is very marinal, but even the MSM are having to take note and compete more with their own blogs etc.  It frustrates me no end that we can't get to a wider audience - and can't challenge - say Libertas - for mindshare in Ireland.  But that's a different story and I am investigating other options for addressing it.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 26th, 2008 at 12:39:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No love lost on the pope, who for my part is as closeted as they come.

As for Obama, I agree with Cascio. And, I think, Klein. And whatever DKos user has that Roosevelt quote in his sig line that says 'now make me do it'.

It's up to us to move the centre. Although I have some minor disagreements about how much BS we can throw. There's a reason the right wing lost its credibility in the States. So, that's what today is about, and 2009.

Open the Future: Overton, Warren, and Re-Making the Middle

If the selection of Warren had been met only with "ho hum, it doesn't matter much, and it's useful politics for Obama," the conventional wisdom that Warren represents some kind of moderate position would be further solidified -- "see, even the crazy lefties think he's a moderate!" -- and might even give a subtle push to the idea that Warren is actually kind of liberal.

But with this immediate and loud turmoil over the choice, the conventional wisdom that Warren is a moderate gets eroded, and a new mainstream notion starts to emerge: Warren's views are actually pretty conservative, and Obama is being nice to the right wing in this, not simply embracing the center.

Happy holidays. Hope to go to Paris next year and meet up with you and many others.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon Dec 22nd, 2008 at 09:12:41 PM EST
Yea - sorry you missed Paris, I would have enjoyed meeting up with you.  I have long given up trying to accommodate myself to some kind of notional (and shifting) political "centre".  Firstly it was too hard - I was too far off base to begin with.  And secondly, no one respects you when you do.  So now I am my own centre and people can relate to that, or not, as they choose.  That process led me out of paid employment but at least not before I could afford to do so.  I appreciate its much harder if you are still trying to earn a living.  However that also gives me a sense of responsibility towards those who don't have a similar freedom.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 23rd, 2008 at 07:19:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But apparently not.   No offense Frank but I do recall a recent diary which essentially said everything sucks, and actually it does!

Now keep in mind that I have been described as a street prophet of doom and gloom and a formerly middle class going into poverty and peasant Af-murika-stan status.  I have been to some internet places which say evil oriented mind control programs have been used on a dumbed down American populace to support this "messiah's" popularity.  Even before taking office the cabinet posts are bringing division and showing support of that most false paradigm globalization.  Now I have to say that I am not opposed to a benevolent global community but I am however totally opposed the the current globalist theme to exploiting billions for the profit margins of five people.

The salvation of mankind may rest in the realization that people are simply people and elevating one guy above all others is just a crappy idea.

http://www.naturalnews.com/

Another one is Mike Connell, was the GOP's premier IT expert "snuffed" before he revealed how he rigged the 2000 and 2004 elections.

Early Christmas present!
http://www.nowpublic.com/strange/georgia-guide-stones-vandalized

As to the winter solstice.  I tend to value that above he commercialized crap Christmas has become as it means a return to warmer summer days and more fun with the Apocalyptic horses.

Will O-Bomber be better than Bush?  Maybe, but all of them(american pResidents) are only the Captain of the Titanic.

by Lasthorseman on Mon Dec 22nd, 2008 at 10:22:16 PM EST
Lasthorseman:
No offense Frank but I do recall a recent diary which essentially said everything sucks, and actually it does!
Dunno if you are referring to any of my diaries, but certainly the Irish economy does currently suck.  That said, I am the eternal optimist and can even see upsides to Globalization - when compared to the nationalisms that caused WW1 and WW2 and the imperialisms which conquered and impoverished many parts of the world.

"Thank the Lord, that we have got
The Gatling gun, and they have not."

The difference now is that those we conquered in the past now have guns and technology too, and are starting to fight back, both economically and militarily..

It's not as much fun when you are on the receiving end of imperialism, but the indignities suffered by "the West" since 9/11 are as nothing compared to the suffering we or our forebears inflicted on others.  Of course that doesn't make it right either, but in the grand scheme of things we haven't had a World war recently, so lets be grateful for small mercies.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 23rd, 2008 at 07:43:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At least the pope got it perfectly wrong this time rather than his typical rhetoric that isn't even good enough to be wrong.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Dec 22nd, 2008 at 10:40:15 PM EST
Plausible deniability, my friend.  And you wonder why the Church is slipping.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Dec 22nd, 2008 at 11:01:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mr. Ratzinger's recent outing of gays goes together with his tirade on Spain's "statolatria," a neologism that combines "state" and "idolatry" that describes Zapatero's alleged indoctrination of Spanish youth with layman values instead of Church-approved "values."

"Statolatria" was first used by the Vatican against Mussolini despite Mussolini's early closet alliance with the Church to iron out their involvement in the Banca di Roma scandal (one of the greatest Italian monetary scandals of all times, paid off by the masses as always). After the Laterenese Pacts, the Church put the word "statolatria" on hold until now.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Tue Dec 23rd, 2008 at 01:57:20 AM EST
We're living in such very interesting times, aren't we?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Dec 23rd, 2008 at 04:16:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How awful.  The idolatry of the state replacing the idolatry of the Church.  But at least citizens have rights and votes.  Remind me, what do "the laity" have?

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 23rd, 2008 at 07:45:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  • Eternal salvation

  • Spectacular shows and very imposing-looking buildings.

  • Free booze and crackers each weekend

  • Free part-time childcare

What's not to like :-P

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Dec 26th, 2008 at 02:28:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ever do for us?



notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 26th, 2008 at 08:25:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some of our customers may be experiencing dim-outs, brown-outs, and even black-outs, as well as low temperatures.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as the Earth starts tilting back the way it came on its axis.

Have a good year's end and new year's beginning, Frank.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Dec 23rd, 2008 at 04:28:09 AM EST
afew:
Some of our customers may be experiencing dim-outs, brown-outs, and even black-outs
Is the ET windmill/server not working properly?  I thought response times were a bit slow on occasion...

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 23rd, 2008 at 06:43:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman hasn't been pedalling hard enough on the dynamo.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Dec 23rd, 2008 at 08:37:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Christopher was telling me that Colman has delegated that job to him already...

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 23rd, 2008 at 09:03:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Statolatria !
Thank you for an Interesting word...would Ideolatria express the ideological worship of "the market" , or should it be Ideologicolatria ?
I had been using doctrinarianism, which sounds like a sect, or ideologicanarianism, which I think has overtones of birdbrainism.

Certainly there has been an element of worship in Republican thinking for at least the last 20 years, but I was never quite sure what to call it.

by greatferm (greatferm-at-email.com) on Tue Dec 23rd, 2008 at 11:43:57 AM EST
greatferm:
Statolatria !

We have that here in Norway, but it's worship of Statoil....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Dec 23rd, 2008 at 12:05:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Markolatria? Marketolatria?  or simply Eurolatria - seeing that it is the worship of money we are talking about.  Anyway, its all going done the latrine at the moment...

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 23rd, 2008 at 12:06:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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