Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Second Presidential Debate, Violent Extremism, Butterfly Update and Two from Sid

Editor's Note:  It was pure coincidence that the prior posting on this blog featured candidate Mitt Romney's positions on important issues along with an amusing fairy tale.


Violent Extremism Should Be Condemned 


Last week, Taliban gunmen wounded a fourteen year old Pakistani schoolgirl who was a vocal supporter of the right of girls to attend school there.  Although many Muslims disagree with such acts of violence, the Taliban justifies their action for religious reasons.  Everyone is entitled to their own religious beliefs but when such beliefs violently and sometimes fatally impinge on the survival and legitimate rights of others, those who believe themselves capable of bestowing and carrying out death sentences, as in this case, should automatically lose the right to hold such beliefs, in the eyes of humanity.

It is uncivilized to go around killing people who disagree with your beliefs. Even the ultra-Orthodox in Israel who have extreme feelings toward educating girls would not think of resorting to this kind of violence. Islam as a religion and the governments of Islamic countries had better address this problem, and put a stop to it, or they will be inviting the animosity and hostility of the rest of that civilized world to which some of them would like to belong. 

And the ayatollahs of Iran cannot claim to belong to the rest of the civilized world either when they presume they have the right, via a “fatwah,” to order the death of someone whom they feel has insulted their beliefs.   And this goes for those in this country as well who feel so strongly about abortion that they believe the murder of physicians who perform abortions is acceptable.  They too, along with Taliban extremists and the issuers of fatwahs, are uncivilized and belong back in the Dark Ages  where they would get along well with one another.
Ayatollahs promulgating "fatwahs," Pro-Lifers advocating executing doctors and the Taliban ... all formed in the same mold of extremism

But getting back to Pakistan, and the shooting of Malala, there are apologists in that country and elsewhere in the Islamic world who liken her shooting to the innocent casualties, including children, resulting from our drone attacks on Afghan insurgents hiding in Pakistan’s border area.  They fail to see that however unfortunate and to be regretted these events are, they are not the result of religious zealotry.  Once we have left Afghanistan, they will have to find another excuse for their extremism.

Jack Lippman

The Second Debate

In the second Presidential debate, Barack Obama was far more forceful than he had been in the first debate.  He vigorously defended what he had done over the past four years and did not let Mitt Romney get away with using the Benghazi terrorist attack as a tool to attack his entire foreign policy. Whatever happened in regard to security in Benghazi should not be the fulcrum of our nation’s entire foreign policy. If Romney believes that, he has a lot to learn. An awful lot!

It was obvious that Obama felt like challenging Romney on many of the things he was saying, almost to the point of screaming out “Liar!” or “Flip-flopper!” (which he didn’t).  I look forward to the Lynn University debate where Foreign Policy will be the entire subject.  

While the President has reason to be proud of his performance, particularly his very “Presidential” appearance when he defended his role as Commander-in-Chief responsible for the safety of the nation, Romney did indeed continue to appear to be a more likable candidate than he had been prior to the debates.  As for substance, however, he added little to the vague programs he has been offering.  Mitt resembled an “empty suit,” albeit an attractive and argumentative one.  The only point he repeatedly attempted to make was the failure of the President to accomplish all that he had promised over the past four years.  That was the only place he had to go.

When the President said that he used the words “terror attack” in his remarks in the Rose Garden the day after the Benghazi attack, Romney looked like a deer caught in a car’s headlights.    He and the G.O.P. have been claiming that it took two weeks for the President to mention that it was such an attack.  

The President's words from the transcript of his remarks made that day in regard to the Benghazi attack read as follows:  "No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.  Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America." Apparently, in their craven attempts to pin an accusation of misleading the public on the President for not saying that it was an act of terror (and implying that it was no more than the acts of rioters inflamed by that blasphemous video), they overlooked these Rose Garden remarks made by the President.  

Incidentally, the families of the Ambassador and a guard who was killed have asked Governor Romney to stop using their deaths in his campaign speeches attacking the President.  Few realize how low the Republicans have sunk.

I suspect that the forthcoming polls will indicate that the President’s performance will stop the erosion in the polls which took place after the first debate, and swing the undecided voters, particularly women, toward his candidacy.  Democrats will probably be energized to work harder for President Obama and assure his re-election.

Jack Lippman


Latest News from the Butterfly Garden

I’ve mentioned the Gulf Fritillary butterfly numerous times but because it is always “fritting” around, it is hard to get a picture of one.  Here, however, is a Gulf Fritillary sucking up some nectar from a plant in the ground cover behind my house.  It is orange, like a Monarch, but the wings are much different.  Lately, most of the larva from which these butterflies hatch have developed on my Passiflora Jeanette, which happens to be in bloom right now.  Here is a shot of its flower.  Finally, back on the nearby Dutchman’s Pipe, I caught a black Gold Rimmed Swallowtail butterfly doing something other than sipping nectar.  Looks like she is laying eggs.  I’ll be watching for caterpillars in that location.


These pictures, taken with my Blackberry, show a Gulf Fritillary butterfly sucking nectar from a plant in the ground cover behind my house, the flower of the Passiflora Jeanette plant on whose leaves some of my Gult Fritillary caterbillars feed, an older view of a Gulf Fritillary caterpillar on that plant and finally, a Gold Rim Swallowtail on a nearby Dutchman's Pipe plant, possibly in the act of laying eggs.


Sid’s Corner

Sid Bolotin

Buddha taught that all that we love and everyone dear to us
Are the nature of change
There is no way to escape being separated from them

First episode at twenty-two months
Re-experienced through teens, young adulthood, middle age
Now again seven decades later

A dear friend’s wife dies
He finds another love
He’s moving away

Eleven years of bonded sharing
Double dating through the years
Shared holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries

Boys’ nights out
Dinner and a movie
Whilst wives did their thing

Craving to change this isness
Seeking the reset command
To restore life’s computer to “before”

Hating the change
Accepting the change
Wishing him well

                                         *    *    *    *    *    *

A SHARED GIFT                                  
Sid Bolotin

Because I did not recognize the caller’s i.d., I answered warily and was surprised when Lynn announced, “Hi, Sid, I’m so glad I reached you. I’m still in the hospital and will not be coming home this weekend. So I won’t be at meditation on Sunday.”

“Sorry to hear that.” I replied

“Well, so am I.” sighed Lynn, “But that’s not the main reason I called. I want to thank you for all the teachings you’ve provided over the years regarding life being just what it is. I’ve been applying all I’ve learned in our Sunday morning meditation classes to help me cope with this lingering staph infection. The medics tell me that I’m in for a long protocol of intravenous injections of antibiotics. I’m using everything you’ve taught in meditation, and it’s helping me with this ordeal. I’m accepting what is without fighting it, and that gets me through each day.”

“Thanks for the kudos. But I didn’t teach you; I’ve provided a buffet of offerings from which you select and apply. You sorta taught yourself, as did the others in our Sunday class. I’m just the facilitator.”

After she gushed some more thanks and hung up, I was glowing with my own gratitude that I had been able to offer meditations to her and the others in the group over the many years since Lynn had first asked me to facilitate the initial gathering of wannabe meditators.

The initial ten have ballooned and collapsed over the years and are now down to six diehards who gather each Sunday to participate in an hour of mindful silence based on Zen meditation techniques, the core principle of which is a goal-less noticing of what is, using one’s breath as a focusing anchor.  

To this I’ve added an amalgam of my years of exploring of mind-body, spiritual, physiological, and metaphysical teachings.

In a way I felt like teachers I’ve heard of who describe their feeling of overwhelming well-being when a pupil expresses thanks for the teacher’s gift.  


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Check it out, find out what “drek” really means and feel free to submit your thoughts and articles for publication on that site, as well as on this blog.  Just send them to me at riart1@aol.com.  Additional new material will continue to be posted on www.politicaldrek.com until the Presidential election, after which its future will be re-evaluated.

Jack Lippman

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