2006
03.31

 

Congressman Ernest Istook Press release: Istook to Senate — ENFORCEMENT FIRST, NO AMNESTY, Immigration Reform Must have Real Bite to be Effective

This theme from the Istook camp has been discussed by others (most recently by Okiefunk.com but it still surprises me to hear him so stridently speak in such an ugly way against migrant workers who are trying to better their lives.

I know Istook (like much of the Republican party right now and of course
racist Tulsa Mayoral candidate Ben Faulk
too) is fixated on the idea that the undocumented migration is against “THE LAW”, but they forget that congress makes the law, and maybe the reason so many people break the law, is that it was a rotten law to begin with.

The truth be told most Mexicans are quite happy in Mexico. I’ve been to the country on many occasions, and frankly I can think of few reasons why anyone would rather live in US than in Mexico except for economics. (in fact, in many ways I’m envious of Mexicans and their culture. It is much friendlier, family-centered, and the food is much better, which I know sounds shallow but I think food is important. And people have more fun there. If you don’t believe me, go down there and hang out in the town plaza in any city you visit, and watch the unbearably cute couples ambling past, and the grandparents and grandkids playing together, and the street vender selling the little bitty steak tacos that you eat with lime juice and some tangy salsa verde…. ahh… I wish I was in Mexico right now)

But what folks do need there is money and opportunities. They’ve suffered through lots of governmental corruption (and boatloads of American oppression and exploitation) and because of capitalism (which has created a horribly divided society in which there are so many poor and so many rich in the same place) for a long-time, so lots of folks are dirt poor.

In fact, America shares much of the blame for the recent economic problems since NAFTA practically killed agriculture in Mexico; small-scale subsistence farmers just can’t compete with American mechanized farmers.

So many Mexicans feel compelled to come to the USA. Most don’t want to stay here, but they do want to work hard, send money back home and some day go back. Others do like it here and want to stay and be part of the community (which is ok by me).

So why not let them? I can’t see any reason why we wouldn’t be willing to welcome folks who want to work and are willing to be good folks. America since day one has been a nation of immigrants and we are richer for it. I know of course many will say that wages will be driven lower as a result, but I think that is not completely accurate. The real answer at this point in time is to legalize the undocumented workers and then unionize them so that they get a fair price for their labor. And the long-term answer is that America needs to give up on capitalism and globalism and encourage the other nations of our hemisphere to do the same. Capitalism has failed us for too long. We will continue to have problems with folks having to leave their homeland as long as our economic system is governed by greed and the worth of one’s labor is determined by market forces and imaginary lines on the earth that God did not create.

2006
03.27

 

OKIMC.org: Rally at the State Capitol on Saturday — Day of Unity for Compassionate and Comprehensive Immigration Reform

The League of United Latin American Citizens of Oklahoma are sponsoring a Rally on Saturday, April 1, 2006 at 12:00 noon, at the State Capitol (South Steps) 2300 N. Lincoln
Blvd., to listen to our state’s ethnic and diverse cultural leaders and representatives speak on finding better solutions for immigration related issues facing Oklahoma.

The day of unity is for collective prayer, understanding, compassion and moral strength to help us elevate the immigration debate from bashing immigrants to preserving American ideals and promoting our national interests.

Proposed legislation is fraught with potential civil and human rights violations, it jeopardizes our economic future, criminalizes “good Samaritans”; its inherent racial profiling language marginalizes legal residents and citizens of color; it denies voters access. Without verifiable facts that immigrants are responsible for all our societal ills, this harsh legislation gambles our communities’ health and safety on myths and fear tactics. . .

I hope to see y’all there.

And if enacted by those who claim to represent us, I also hope to see many willing to defy both this law and the innane racist federal law that is also under consideration (one that would make it a crime to help undocumented aliens in any way). These laws are immoral and if enacted should be defied. The law of conscience is more important than the law of man.

2006
03.24

 

Townhall.com:
The Tom Fox tragedy — by Cal Thomas

CPT.org: A CPTer Responds to Cal Thomas — by Kathy Kern

2006
03.24

 

FaulkforMayor.com – Paul Faulk, racist candidate for mayor’s website

Rule Of Law: All politicians should have high regard for the rule of law. I don’s see how local politicians exhibit such regard when they drive by constructions sites around Tulsa and see few whites and blacks on the job. Knowing full well that probably half of the workers on the sites are illegal aliens. The politicians have to pretend they see nothing, hear nothing and know nothing. Selective law enforcement must stop. It breeds contempt for the law, by both the lawbreaker and the law-abiding citizen.

Hmm… I think it is interesting that Ben Faulk assumes that hispanic construction workers must be undocumented, and in fact I think it is straight up racist to make such an assumption. And looking at the rest of his campaign website, I’m struck by how fearful this man is and how fearful so many people have become. Once upon a time, America was a nation that welcomed hard-working immigrants and saw diversity as strength. In fact, the odds are (looking at Ben Faulk’s skin color) that at least some of his ancestors were once immigrants. Why is that Americans today are so quit to shut the door that their own ancestors walked through?

2006
03.24

 

Christian Chronicle: A just war or not — Members grapple with Iraq toll

. . . “There’s a lot of moms who have given up their sons because of this war, and I want to see it through,” Kendall, a missionary to Tartu, Estonia, with her husband, Brandi, said a few days after their son’s burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

But in a fellowship that mostly favored pacifism before the two World Wars, some church scholars offer a different perspective.

“It is difficult to imagine Jesus counseling us to finish the job in order to honor the memory of our war dead,” said Richard Hughes, who directs the Center for Faith and Learning at Pepperdine University, Malibu, Calif.

Penny Kendall draws a spiritual parallel to her son’s sacrifice, suggesting: “It wasn’t free for us as Christians either.”

However, Hughes points to Jesus’ instruction to “love your enemies and do good to those who hate you.”

“It seems to me,” he said, “that if we want to ‘finish the job’ by taking even more lives than have already been taken, we are responding first and foremost as American citizens, not first and foremost as Christians.”

In the first part of the 20th century, various forms of pacifism were popular among many Christian groups, including churches of Christ, said Mark E. Powell, an assistant professor of Christian doctrine at Harding University Graduate School of Religion, Memphis, Tenn. However, the two World Wars changed many church members’ thinking about war.

“For pacifists, this shift represents an unfortunate compromise with society on the part of the church,” Powell said. “For ‘just war’ proponents, the two World Wars simply illustrate the inadequacy of pacifism. War was viewed as a justifiable, and even necessary, means of stopping German aggression.” . . .

This subject fascinates me because I grew up in the Churches of Christ. During my youth, we were taught in church and in the family (who were and mostly still are devout members of the COC) that war is unfortunate but necessary. However, when I was studying Theology and Church History in college (at the Institute for Christian Studies, now known as Austin Graduate School of Theology), I discovered that the majority of the Churches of Christ were pacifistic until the period between World Wars I and II, and the abandonment of the belief came both because of the uniqueness of World War II but also due to the severe persecution the church faced during World War I in which many COC young men were sent to prison for refusing to serve when drafted.

And I’ve been told my great-grandmother (who was alive until my early college years, and who was baptized in the COC around the turn of the century when the COC was still pacifist) kept a pacifistic belief for all of her life, which is also interesting.

I wish of course that the COC would recover its heritage as a peace church but it is probably too late. As the story above illustrates and from what I’ve seen in visiting COC’s over the last few years, the COC is now agressively pro-war and patriotic (to the extent that some churches are even putting the American flag in the sanctuary, something which would have been seen as a blasphemous and unscriptural just a few years before).

2006
03.23

 

Today was a good day in many ways, first and foremost because of the wonderful news about the release of the 3 remaining CPT hostages (I’ll post more about that later in another post).

The second reason though that it was a good day was that I got things finalized in buying my car! It is a 1997 Ford Taurus GL that I bought from a dear friend, and because it was her car for so long I can’t call it anything except the name that she gave it, the Butterfly (she even had a personalized license plate for it… which she kept but I still think the car should keep the name).

Anyway here’s two pictures of it…

The main reason I bought it was that I always liked the way it drove (I’ve been on lots of road trips in it with my friend), but also because it gets around 30 mpg on the highway which is a plus. I still kinda hated to go the car route at all (I would love to be car free and biking everywhere), but it just isn’t very practical to bike 22 miles each way to work.

Oh and the best part about the car is the bumperstickers that are still on it. I think I’m going to keep the stickers on it (except I might scratch off the “Y” in the “Your ignorance is their power” sticker, because I think it is more accurated and true to say that “Our ignorance is their power”

2006
03.22

More on Abdul Rahman

 

This is an update to an earlier post

CNN: Bush pressures Afghanistan on jailed Christian

I very much appreciate Bush for speaking out for this man, but part of me finds it hard to believe him. Other allies of the US (i.e. Saudi Arabia) dish out the death penalty for converts to Christianity as well, yet Saudi Arabia is a major ally of the US. And again Afghanistan was supposedly “liberated” and yet is pulling the same stunt?

I don’t know. It seems a bit late to me and disingenuious, and has more to do with the press this guy’s story is getting. And seriously, how can anyone believe that the US liberated Afghanistan when this is what is going down?

2006
03.22

A local beer blog

 

Oklahoma Beer Guide— What’s available and where to get it — very neat blog that seems to focuses on the best of beer that is locally available, both at local brewpubs and at liquor stores (I’m just jealous that he thought of it first. I’ve been wanting to do a beer blog/review site for a long time)

2006
03.22

 

MSNBC/AP: Afghan convert may be unfit to stand trial — Prosecutor says Christian facing possible death penalty may be mentally ill

KABUL, Afghanistan – An Afghan man facing a possible death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity may be mentally unfit to stand trial, a state prosecutor said Wednesday.

Abdul Rahman, 41, has been charged with rejecting Islam, a crime under this country’s Islamic laws. His trial started last week and he confessed to becoming a Christian 16 years ago. If convicted, he could be executed. . .

CNN: Afghan Christian convert could be executed — Western nations outraged Muslims who convert can be put to death

WASHINGTON (CNN) — In the days of the Taliban, those promoting Christianity in Afghanistan could be arrested and those converting from Islam could be tortured and publicly executed.

That was supposed to change after U.S.-led forces ousted the oppressive, fundamentalist regime, but the case of 41-year-old Abdul Rahman has many Western nations wondering if Afghanistan is regressing.

Rahman, a father of two, was arrested and is on trial for rejecting Islam. The Afghan constitution, which is based on Sharia, or Islamic law, says that apostates can receive the death penalty.

Hmm… it seems strange to me that the US invaded Afghanistan and supposedly liberated it from the Taliban, but didn’t bother to make sure that the new government respects the religious liberty of the Afghan people. Of course the US doesn’t want this trial to take place (if you read down further in both articles) but it doesn’t mean much to me if the accused has to be found to be insane (and presumably locked in an assylum) to avoid being killed for this faith.

2006
03.21

 

MSNBC: DNA exonerates jailed man — 18 years later — Gregory Wallis, now 47, was sentenced to 50 years in prison

It is good that this innocent man is being set free, but I am still blown away by how little compensation will be given to him. . .

Like others wrongly convicted in Texas, Wallis is eligible for up to $250,000 in compensation for the years he spent behind bars. He said he was he looking forward to enjoying a steak dinner and going fishing.

$250,000? That is not near enough. He should get at least $1 million for every year he spent wrongly behind bars. Money of course will never buy back those years, but the money is a symbol of society’s desire to make this wrong right. $250,000 for 18 years is a little less than $14,000 per year of imprisonment.

Texas should be ashamed of itself.