Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time

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Mormons aren’t Christians … and other thoughts on religion and politics sure to get your blood boiling

There are plenty of good reasons for conservative Christians not to vote for Romney, but his religious beliefs are not among them. Do Christians want to be in the position of rejecting a candidate whose political views and moral values they agree with, solely because they don’t like his religion?

Salt Lake Tribune – Mormons aren’t Christians … and other thoughts on religion and politics sure to get your blood boiling

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Joseph who?

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney
dropped a distinguished roster of names during his speech titled “Faith
in America” Thursday: Abraham Lincoln, Brigham Young, John Adams and,
of course, John F. Kennedy. But there was one name he did not invoke.
Where was Joseph Smith?

Just as John F. Kennedy was not the first Roman Catholic to run for
the White House, Romney is not the first Mormon to do so. Prophet
Joseph Smith Jr. announced his candidacy in January 1844. As mayor of
the Nauvoo City Council, Smith ran on a platform of the gradual
abolition of slavery, a reduction in the size of Congress, a national
bank, territorial expansion that included the annexation of Texas and
Oregon and radical prison reform that would have converted all prison
sentences into community service. …

[Be sure to read the comments at the site.]

The Seeker – A personal and professional quest for truth | Chicago Tribune | Blog

[Personal commentary:

The idea that we can learn what Mitt Romney believes by studying the Mormon faith is disingenuous to an incredible degree. That’s like saying that we can know what Hillary Clinton (a reputed Methodist) believes by studying the Bible and the teachings of John Wesley.

Romney believes whatever Romney believes, not what he has been told to believe by the teachings of his youth. If he were that simple, inflexible and — yes — gullible he would never have risen to national prominence. George W. Bush purports to follow the teachings of Jesus, yet he starts and prosecutes wars, and believes in torture.

Romney is Romney. We need to look at his record, his demonstrated positions on a wide variety of issues, and stop pretending that his religion is important. It’s what a man has done that’s important, not the label he chooses to wear — or that others choose for him. ]

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Combating Muslim Extremism

American politicians should cease implying that Muslim nations and individuals are different from, or somehow more dangerous than, any other group of human beings, a racist idea promoted by the Christian and Zionist right. They should acknowledge that most Muslim nations are US friends and allies. A wise American policy toward the small networks of Muslim extremists would reduce their recruitment pool by the quick establishment of a Palestinian state and by a large-scale military drawdown from Iraq, thus removing widespread and major grievances. An increase in visible humanitarian and development aid to Muslim countries has a demonstrable effect on improving the US image.

Combating Muslim Extremism

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Like a Windshield Cowboy

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox refers to president Bush in his book as a “Windshield Cowboy,” who refused to ride a horse when he visited Fox’s ranch.

It didn’t take long…

I’ve been wearin’ these shades so long
Toutin’ the same old wrong
I know every hole in these brushy acres at Crawford
Where deception’s the name
of my game
And nice guys
get washed away
like the snow
and the rain

….Like a windshield cowboy

Lying my way through another put-up show…

Read the rest, see the pictures, sing it…

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Remarks on a Gore Candidacy

Well, Albert A. Gore Jr. has copped what most folks would consider the highest honor on the planet — problematically, the greatest in history. Not taking anything away from his co-laureates, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the fact is that Al will be the face of the Nobel Peace Prize from now until someone as well-known is named a winner. That may be a while, even though Mr. Gates is definitely in the wings. Given Bill’s privacy preferences, Gore may remain the star even then.

The big question now is what, if any, political plans he may have for the future. Although the logistics at such a late date would be considerable, it is quite probable that — should he choose to do so — Gore could mount a credible bid for the Presidency. From a personal point of view, I think it would be delicious to watch him succeed, with highest accolades, the man who stole the presidency from him and put him in a position to become, not a politician, but an elder statesman (sort of “Bend over, rhinestone cowboy, the Man from Tennessee is back!).

But that is why I think Continue reading

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Greenspan attacks Bush over tax cuts and high spending

Alan Greenspan, the former head of the US Federal Reserve, has issued a withering attack on President Bush’s handling of the American economy.

The man credited with guiding the US through two decades of economic boom says Bush and his inner circle put their political priorities ahead of the economic good of the country.

Denouncing the tax cuts brought in by Bush, Greenspan says in his memoirs, which we serialise in The Daily Telegraph this week, that the Republicans deserved to lose the last Congressional elections in November because they abandoned fiscal discipline and hugely swelled the US budget deficit.

But Greenspan, 81 – a lifelong Republican who served six presidents as an adviser and as Fed chairman from 1987 to 2006 – writes in The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World: “Little value was placed on rigorous economic policy debate or the weighing of long-term consequences.”

Greenspan attacks Bush over tax cuts and high spending – Telegraph

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Steve Irwin — Hero? Just what IS a hero, anyway?

WHETHER WE LIKE IT or not, contemporary ideas of courage are not really forged in philosophical explorations and debates. The media, politics, and of course popular culture take the lead in defining what courage is and what it is not. Dominated by discussions of heroes and heroism, the public sphere is not particularly interested in complex, contradictory and non-telegenic forms of courage.

Ideas of courage are subsumed in the heroic. This unproblematic conflation of heroism and courage would not be such an issue (after all, the line between the two is far from self-evident), if only popular ideas about heroism were not so lazy and confused.

The Age: national, world, business, entertainment, sport and technology news from Melbourne’s leading newspaper.

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Small Magazines Hit By HUGE Postage Increase Thanks To Time-Warner

Dear Friend,

I’ve never written a fundraising letter–not counting the few notes I sent my parents when I was in college. I’m a journalist. I write articles and books–about politics, national security, and the world around us. And I’m damn lucky; I get paid to do so by The Nation. But our legendary magazine has been hit by a fiscal crisis–one caused by the sort of institutional Washington corruption I often cover–and I’ve been asked by our publishing team to ask people like you, who care about independent media, for help. Please click here to pitch in.

Teresa Stack, The Nation’s president, explains the crisis this way: Postal regulators have accepted a scheme designed in part by lobbyists for the Time-Warner media conglomerate. In short, mailing costs for mega-magazines like Time-Warner’s own Time, People and Sports Illustrated will go up less than other magazines or even decrease. But smaller publications like The Nation will be hit by an enormous rate increase of half a million dollars a year. Continue reading

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NY Times To Free Op-Ed Columnists At Last?

When the New York Times decided in 2005 to swim upstream and start charging a $50 annual subscription for online access to its op-ed columnists, there were plenty of people standing along the shore waving their arms in warning (see “NYT takes steps to curb Web traffic”). But the paper pressed forward with what was called TimesSelect, with Martin Nisenholtz, the NYT’s senior vice president of digital operations, explaining that the strategy was “to create a robust second revenue stream for the Web site. It gives the business more stability and strength long-term. You have to have a model where you can have your cake and eat it too, and that is what we hope to achieve here.”

Now, after two years of external and internal grumbling, the Times may be on the verge of giving up on the cake diet. – Good Morning Silicon Valley Newsletter