The Jefferson Tree - A platform for debate and discussion of current events and politics...

Palestine Borders and Demographics Prove to be A Ghetto

Thanks to a good idea given to me by my partner here at STL, I started to research and analyze some geographic information regarding the Jewish land-grab in Palestine. I then followed by studying some demographic info on the Gaza Strip and drew some interesting conclusions. Here’s what I found: First, some great maps over at Wikipedia with adjoining historical context info and links portraying the boundaries of Palestine/Israel since the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement (The linked information could have you reading ...

Social Protest Lit: Ebenezer Elliot, “The People’s Anthem”

A poem from Ebenezer Elliot entitled The People’s Anthem from Book IV called “Out of The Depths.” This chapter is focused on man’s pursuit of remedy for social injustice: When wilt thou save the people? O God of mercy! when? Not kings and lords, but nations! Flowers of the heart, O God, are they! Let them not pass, like weeds, away! Their heritage a sunless day! God save the people! Shall bring crime for ever, Strength aiding still the strong? Is it thy will, O Father? That man shall toil for wrong? “No!” ...

Stephen Moore’s Ridiculous Anti-Clean Energy Rant

Hard right-winger Stephen Moore took a break from pushing debunked trickle-down economic policies to take a pathetic shot at clean energy.  Let the stupid begin. …radical Greens, one of the most influential political forces in America today… Seriously?  He goes on to mention the famed Sierra Club as one of these forces.  And where did they rank in 2013 on lobbying: 755.  In fact, if we look at the top 50 interest groups giving to members of Congress this year, no sign ...

Anti-Israel Policies/Actions Is Not Anti-Semitsim

There have been growing protests in Europe against the mass murder of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by the State of Israel. These actions are in response to the IDF killing 500 Muslims there with the vast majority of them being civilians. But what is troubling about these movements is, according to this article in the NYT, an anti-Semitic tinge has taken place at these protests. The story reads that in France: Several recent pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Paris have boiled over ...

Warren For President?

Today at the the annual Netroots Nation conference in Detroit, the nation’s largest gathering of liberal activists and organizers, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) reportedly drew an applause that Hillary could only dream of. According to NYT and Politico reports, Warren was a rock-star while Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic candidate for President, was absent. Warren’s populist talking points and her history of taking Wall Street to task (remember that Warren was an early advocate for the creation of a new Consumer Financial ...

Social Protest Literatue at Sparking The Left

Here at STL we are starting a new feature. In between our political-insight posts, I will start publishing excerpts or entire pieces of great literature that speak to crucial social and political issues which span the centuries. Though almost all in the Western tradition, the subject matters are transcendental. Now first to name my source, I am taking pieces from Upton Sinclair’s selected and edited collection “The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Great Social Protest Literature of All Time.” ...

Pulitzer-Winning Journalist Detained for Being Undocumented

I was first brought aware of Jose Antonio Vargas’ story last week in a piece he penned in Politico. He explained that he was in the Rio Grande Valley, in the city of McAllen, just north of the Mexican border. He was there to see first hand the tens of thousands of undocumented children, most of them from Central America, and observe how they were being treated. The trip was also used for a news conference appearance and vigil organized by United We Dream, ...

GOP Refuses Funding for Border Children Projects

A humanitarian crisis unseen before at our borders is becoming more and more urgent everyday at Rio Grande Valley, TX, and other Southwest locations. And yet the GOP is arguing over numbers. Yesterday President Obama requested an amount of $3.7 billion from Congress to help aid the 57,000 unaccompanied minors who illegally crossed the border from the Mexico side since October. They are mostly from violence-ridden Central American countries, like El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (Honduras has the world’s highest murder ...

Selective Outrage

War is hell.  All we have to do is look around the world to see its toll.  That being said, I don't understand the lack of outrage coming from this President and his administration other than that aimed at our one ally - Israel which is doing no more than trying to protect it's people from rocket fire and constant raids from Hamas. The fact that Palestinian civilians are getting killed is a tragic yet unavoidable aspect of this war.  Why ...

Why Are We So Full Of Hate?

What has happened to human kind?  No matter where you look we find ourselves surrounded by a world filled with hate. What puzzles me is how it's combined with political correctness.  Take this country where so many words are now frowned upon and even forbidden because they are hurtful to certain people.  Redskins, squaw, savage plus a whole lot applying to blacks, orientals and hispanics not to mention middle easterners.  Has it dawned on anyone banning the names has done nothing ...

Has Putin Over Reached Once Too Often?

My, oh my.  We've watched this man make mince meat of Obama over the past several years.  Each time you could see the smirk broaden and the swagger get more pronounced. He and his allies - Iran, China, Syria and North Korea were truly enjoying themselves. But as happens with a lot of bullies, they get over confident and suddenly everything around them collapses. I'm wondering if this is the case with the downing of the Malaysian passenger jet. With the death ...

If Only It WERE The Heat!

What a day.  A passenger plane has been shot down over Ukraine uncomfortably close to the Russian border. Hamas reneged on the humanitarian cease fire so Israel launched their ground offensive. Children still pour across the border while Congress dithers. It's now being reported parents are giving them birth control in case they are raped during the journey. Along that line former member of Congress, Todd Aiken, who once talked about legitimate rape and the idea that women's bodies protected them from becoming ...

Hannity's Histrionics

For a person who doesn't have much faith in the intellect of pundits, I wonder why I watch them so often.  I wonder even more why the cable outlets and networks that employ them don't take more care in who they hire. Many of them get on crusades that bear no resemblance to reality.  Sean Hannity is one of the most prominent. The night before last  he was on his Bowe Bergdahl kick demanding to know why he was returned to ...

Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words?

If the President could run away from the border mess any faster I'm sure he would. It's being said it's because being seen in the setting of kids crammed into confined spaces with their scabies and lice would reflect badly on him.  It could even be his Katrina.  Well, maybe.  But who's fault is that? It goes to show his handlers aren't as smart as they think they are.  For one, drinking beer and shooting pool in Colorado, a state where ...

The Kids Always Went Home

Watching the immigration mess going full bore brought to mind a lot of things that have involved children from other nations.  The first thing that comes to mind is the Disney song It's a Small World After All that speaks to all we have in common. Hopes, dreams, all the warm fuzzy stuff. We've had exchange student programs where a student from another country lives with a local family to learn not only academics but what life in American and Americans ...

The Militia Is Coming, The Militia Is Coming!

That's all we need! News has it a call has gone out for militia, both unarmed and armed, to gather along the border to help private land owners protect their property in something called Operation Save Our Borders.  Terrific! Remember how well it went when militia turned out to help to  help Cliven Bundy in his fight over Federal grazing rights in Nevada?  It came within a hair's breadth of turning violent. I really feel for the border towns who are the ...

In every country where man is free to think and to speak, differences of opinion will arise from difference of perception, and the imperfection of reason; but these differences when permitted, as in this happy country, to purify themselves by free discussion, are but as passing clouds overspreading our land transiently and leaving our horizon more bright and serene. Thomas Jefferson
Please visit the authors blog by clicking on the link below!

Charles Redfern - The Alternative Mainstream

A Relativistic World = A Con Artist’s Dream

ImageCue the off-key organ grinder monkey music. The postmodern circus has come to town, with Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich enrolled as the unlikely ring leaders. Step right up and watch them assert “traditional values” while twisting and bending the truth until it snaps. The political Left tries to join the circus but is no good at it, and journalists, truth’s supposed watch dogs, sleep at the door.

Postmodernism is a vague, multi-layered worldview born in the rubble of World War 2 and nurtured in the iconoclasm of the 1960′s. Many of its adherents shun labels – including “postmodernism” – before arguing that our cultural and personal biases so cloud our vision that we cannot see reality. Our concept of “logic” is tethered to a Western-centered saga, or “meta-narrative,” and is really an excuse for our quest for world domination. Objective truth, if it exists at all, is unknowable. We grope with psychological and cultural cataracts. We’re like Clint Eastwood wandering through Alice’s Wonderland while reading the script for The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. We can’t even interpret our interpretations – so please, let’s do away with religion’s moral absolutes. As Stanley Fish once said, “The trouble with principle is, first, it does not exist, and second, that nowadays many bad things are done in its name.”

Apparently, principled leaders like Frederick Douglass, Winston Churchill, Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Desmond Tutu don’t count.

We can thank the postmodernists for dismantling some of the Enlightenment’s arrogance and applaud them for underscoring our intellectual and cultural hubris, but the baby howls as we lob the bath water: Rendering truth unknowable leaves us with nothing but pretense and posturing. Statements are not measured on their accuracy but on their marketability. We’re peddler’s pawns. The organ grinder drones as the ring leaders portray themselves as awe-shucking, wholesome, home-town boys: we loathe the clowns and lion tamers and acrobats. Trust us. We’re sincere.

Take Rick Santorum, the most unlikely living portrayal of Postmodernism’s flaw. The avid Catholic characterized President Obama as a “snob” because he supposedly wants “everybody in America to go to college.” But Obama actually said this: “Regardless of educational path after high school, all Americans should be prepared to enroll in at least one year of higher education or job training to better prepare our workforce for a 21st-century economy.” Santorum’s remedy to Obama’s “snobbery:” all should “have the opportunity to go to college or any other higher level of training skills.”

Step right up. Watch the clowns heave pies as the monkey races through the crowd: Santorum decries the president and reveals Obama’s policy as his own. That’s the dissonant truth – except truth is unknowable, so real persuasion is futile. We’ll talk past one another and ignite our “base.”

The circus roars more when we view Santorum again. He denies climate change, which puts him squarely against his own pope, who called for “a responsible and credible response to this worrisome and complex phenomenon” last year. The US Catholic bishops pointed to the overwhelming evidence for human-induced climate change in 2001 and suggested we act now.

So the conservative religious candidate collides with his leaders but still bears the aura of Catholic piety in the media’s eyes. Don’t ferret the truth – because there is no truth. There are only positions and opinions and feelings and beliefs. One opinion is just as valid as the other in the rudderless sea and the clowns have tied down the anchor.

Santorum would be easy prey for the Left if the truth played any role. Its members would research the genuine positions of the Catholic magisterium (and would discover an ally on many issues), then juxtapose them against the candidate’s. They’d even give him his due in their fact-filled reply: He’s sincere. But it’s a fact-less universe, so invoke fearsome and incongruous images: Santorum is a Catholic mullah, a prowling Taliban, a modern agent of the Knights Templar bent on resurrecting the Inquisition – and don’t forget to malign the Catholic Church, which (apparently) only cares about abortion. We’ll ignore that Santorum has made a clumsy argument for a valid point: Religion has a relevant voice in the public square. That’s all. He has not advocated theocracy.

Alienate, alienate, alienate. Make the clowns frown.

Perhaps Santorum is easy pickings because he actually is authentic (he really believes what he says), and we root for the clowns as they paste the condescending Left with pies. But Mitt Romney is the real expert. He’s been hollering “step right up” ever since he donned the conservative mask to cover up his moderate-to-liberal Republican heritage. Newt Gingrich is the faltering veteran. He’s been at it since the 1990′s. Both displayed their salesmanship when they unveiled their proposed budgets after blasting Obama as a taxing spendthrift: Analysts found deficits far worse than the president’s.

But the show must go on. The organ grinder cranks his off-key music even louder in a universe void of truth and reference points and facts. The jugglers juggle and the clowns hose down their fictional house and the lion tamers make their cats growl – and the monkey picks our pockets as we watch the performance in a hawker’s paradise.

Author: Charles Redfern - The Alternative Mainstream

Charles Redfern lives in Connecticut with his wife and son and has been a pastor for two decades. He writes The Alternative Mainstream, which gives news and commentary on spirituality, culture, and politics through the new evangelical lens (Christians need not be right wing thugs) — with occasional poetry and autobiography thrown in for fun. He also blogs for www.creedible.com, an online religious news magazine.

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