Archive for September 7th, 2008

07
Sep
08

Triple Threat

Those of you who have grown accustomed to me posting once a day pretty much, you might want to check back more often. Between my own growing variety of interests and projects on this blog (from the “standard” posts to the Hummus Idol stuff to my blog novel to Miz Pink’s stuff, etc.) and now the election coming up, I may be cranking out more stuff, and so I expect there will be more days now, and perhaps after the election is over even, where I’ll have posted more than once.

Today is a case in point, as I have three new posts: Another installment of my novel, a drive-by scripture entry, and a new feature that will run periodically between now and election day explaining why I think it’s a huge mistake to get sucked into the idea that McCain and Palin are a good choice for America. (I may lose some readers over that stuff, but if so, it’s for the right reasons.)

07
Sep
08

Election 2008: The Stakes – Experience

Normally, I try not to get too much into politics around here. But with this year’s presidential election and all that has been done wrong in the country for the past eight years, this is a pivotal time. Many of my Christian brothers and sisters, perhaps some of those who visit this blog, are angling for the Republicans because, after all, aren’t they the party that loves God best?

Don’t be fooled. I’m not saying Barack Obama is the be-all and end-all. He’s no savior and no messiah, figuratively or literally. But anyone who chooses to vote solely on religious values and picks the GOP because they spout off about God more often is quite possibly going to help plunge our country into more chaos. Remember, church and state are separate. Render unto Caesar’s what is his and unto God what is God’s. Keep them separate and try to remember that most of us in this nation are middle class or working class, and there has not been any time in my 40 years of life that I’ve ever seen a Republican president truly serve the interests of either class, and it seems like they hate the truly poor folks.

I am going to make my case, as much as possible from a spiritual perspective, but mostly practical ones, as to why you should not vote for the McCain-Palin ticket unless you are a wealthy sonovabitch who couldn’t care less what happens as long as you get all your tax breaks.

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There’s a funny little saying going around a lot these days since John McCain named Sarah Palin as his running mate:

Jesus was a community organizer; Pontius Pilate was a governor.

Palin herself, who is currently a first-term governor in Alaska (and formerly mayor of a town of 9,000 people…or was it 5,000 at the time? Not entirely sure), a state which—with less than 700,000 people in it, probably has more moose than people—helped birth this little ditty by making a snide comment in her speech at the Republican National Convention last week that went something like: Barack Obama was a community organizer and I was a mayor. Those two jobs are very similar, except that as a mayor, you actually get things done.

Very biting. Very snappy. Very clever. Very bold.

Also, very freaking wrong and deceitful.

First off, if you want to know about some community organizers who’ve gotten things done, check out this post at the blog Ephphatha. Barack Obama was a community organizer in one of the biggest cities in the nation. A city that has numerous neighborhoods with far more people in them than Palin had to deal with in her entire town as mayor.

Moreover, Obama has been a state senator and U.S. senator for more years than Palin has been a governor, and again, he has done so for a state that has lots of multinational ties and lots of trade and lots of issues and a big economy. He has had far more experience dealing with national policy and national issues and more experience in foreign relations. Sure, foreign relations isn’t his strong-suit, but would you say that McCain has got the makings of great foreign relations expertise with his massive hair-trigger temper and simmering bigotry and sexism? And Palin has zero foreign policy experience.

Look, fact is that that the Barack Obama-Joe Biden ticket buys you more experience in legislative, executive and social issues than the John McCain-Sarah Palin ticket does.

People want to talk about how plucky and cute and smart and go-getter Palin is. So the hell what?

If you are a person with money to invest in lots of stock, or you are a person with your 401K or other retirement funds invested partly or wholly in stocks, think about this:

Do you want the corporations your money is invested in to be run by people who are good looking and plucky and have wonderful families and seem so darn down to earth? (We’ll assume for the moment that all those things are true with Palin, though really, they aren’t all true.) Or do you want a good business person with a strong track record?

Fact is that given McCain’s age and past health problems, there is a pretty significant chance that Palin would end up having to step in as president.

Do you want a self-proclaimed PTA/hockey mom with some family turmoil in charge? A person who ran a small town and now runs a sparsely populated state and has a track record of trying to ban books, get the ex-spouse of her sister fired and other controversies?

Or do you want someone whom other nations will take seriously and who has played in the big leagues?

Your choice.

I’ll take experience please. That would be Obama and Biden.

07
Sep
08

Drive-by Scripture, Romans 12:18-21

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

It isn’t always possible to be peaceful, but should always be our first path to choose. Situations may arise where another party will argue with you no matter what you do; if so, know when to walk away. There will be times in life when you may have to defend yourself, perhaps physically, but don’t rush to do harm, and if you do, make sure it’s not with malice in mind. When we approach our enemies with kindness as much as it is feasible (and safe) to do so, the pressure is on them to respond appropriately. If they continue to be your enemy despite your best efforts at peace, they make themselves a target for God, and thus you should not be seeking payback. If payback is required, God will take care of that, and in His own time.

07
Sep
08

Cleansed by Fire, Part 15

For the previous installment of this story, click here

There is also a link under “Categories” in my sidebar for Cleansed By Fire, to more easily access all the installments of this novel; alternately, you can click on the “cleansed by fire novel” link under the Tags heading for this post (or click here) for a complete listing of installments.

Cleansed by Fire

Chapter 3, Narrow Paths and Wide Gates (continued)

Sarai scrutinized the  dull gray, squarish hull attached to the oversized thrust pod. She strode around it several times, never in any of her circuits of its perimeter touching anything. She bent with fluid grace to examine the underside, peered into the connections between hull and pod, inclined her head to admire the thoroughly unassuming object.

Always in tune with her thoughts, Mehrnaz said from the edge of the room: “Quite plain.”

“Clearly designed to be of no interest to anyone. To attract the least attention. That makes it all the more intriguing, of course,” Sarai said in response.

“And inside it?”

“Something vile, to be certain,” Sarai said with the faintest hint of a sigh. “I believe nuclear or some other explosive, though I have not ruled out chemical or biological.”

“Our brand-brothers think it will turn out to be contraband,” Mehrnaz replied. Without transition, she added, “Our recent visitor was delivered to one of our drop points, rather unceremoniously, in a tiny slippod.”

“Our brand-brothers are fools. If they are wagering, I will take a 10 point deficit that the package will turn out to be something physically catastrophic,” Sarai said, then responded to her sister’s other comment with: “Was there anything notable about the Standish-liaison?”

“I will tell our brothers about your wager-offer,” Mehraz said to the first statement, and to the second: “The leader Stavin trussed him up like a dowry-boy. It would seem that attached to him is evidence of his revulsion toward us and our neo sapien kin. He is a peace offering.”

Sarai chuckled in a low, throaty sound that was almost a grating purr. “Are we at war with the leader Stavin and his band?”

“Earthers,” Mehrnaz said with a flat tone that still seemed to convey the impression of her eyes rolling. She clucked her tongue and let out a buzzing chuckle. “The leader Stavin must fear that we will hold him responsible for the child-thoughts of his liaison. Typical shallow-thought.”

“They always fail to understand us, don’t they?” Sarai said. “The Standish-liaison thinks we will strike a blow for those who helped create our bloodlines at the cost of our contract-honor, and the leader Stavin assumes we will remain offended at insult-event already resolved.”

“The people Arabic and the people Hebrew still fail to understand why neither we nor the Isaacians continued their long-feud and became a shared-people instead,” Mehrnaz noted. “All Earthers fail to understand us Spacers.”

“And we Ishmaeli and Isaacians still fail to understand the Mandarin. I suppose we are all blind in the end.”

“Spacers still see better than Earthers. We always had the better view on creation, and no haze on our horizons except what comes from the weekly hookah.”

They laughed and left Secular Genesis’ parcel to its waiting, heading hand-in-hand for their sleepcabin and one of the five brief rest cycles of their spaceday, discussing along the way what to do with their gift once they retrieved him.

***

On the bridge of Scion’s Dream, Captain Bartelle D’Onofrio mentally replayed the interview with Dimitri Martin in which he had so recently participated even as he gave out the usual array of commands and instructions that got the daywatch crew into its accustomed rhythm. Some needed a hindbrain to do real honest-to-Trinity multitasking, but he didn’t. At least not for two or three trains of thought.

Crewman Martin knew nothing of use regarding the disappearance of Councilor Drewtine Atkins. He seemed genuinely surprised. That didn’t surprise Bartelle, since he already knew Crewman Martin was innocent of anything. Just as he knew that the Nazarene had manufactured the marital problems that erupted for the beleaguered crewman just as he was shipping out on Scion’s Dream. Naturally those problems would have placed the crewman and the councilor together. The hard part for Bartelle had been getting Atkins to show up at his own cabin without it being part of the official record and without anyone noticing. Not that it had been all that difficult. Much like on Earth, nightwatch on a vessel was typically sedate.

Well, in the end, once the millennial madness was over and the dust had settled, there would be plenty of blame to lay at Crewman Martin’s feet. By then, he would look very guilty indeed and everyone would know about the terrible plan that he and the councilor had hatched against the Catholic Union. It would, of course, be a great surprise to Martin to learn of his complicity on all this. It would have surprised Atkins too, were he not already dead.

Bartelle realized he was smiling. Perhaps his new career in politics wouldn’t be so bad after all. He was beginning to warm a little to the world of scheming.

***

When it came time for the midday meal, Lyseena xec-Juris, Ather sup-Juris and the two remaining admin officers Paulo and Kevan were in the admin suite circled up in their slipchairs with lightdesks in active mode—the first time that day that Lyseena had really been in the room for more than a few moments. Seconds after they were assembled and ready, administrative steward Willem Staffordis entered the suite and took his place at a small hard-desk off to the side of them.

The steward pulled back the hood of his office briefly to scratch an itch on his scalp and run his hand through the wispy remains of his hair, and then he snugged it tight again. “Apparently, four minutes early is late today,” he said with a tone that suggested both annoyance and humor.

“You’re usually five minutes early so we assumed that this time, we would be on time,” replied Lyseena.

Willem nodded and smiled at that, then nodded toward Paulo and Kevan. To Ather he gave no nod and no smile but instead a look that questioned his right to be in this room right now. Ather yawned in response.

The exchange didn’t surprise Lyseena. In some respects, their jobs overlapped and they were in frequent competition. On the one hand, each of them was in a position that required them to serve the templars—Willem as an administrative aide and interdepartmental liaison and Ather as an interrogator and intel analyst. But at the same time, each was also a spy—Willem’s role to keep tabs on day-to-day activities and Ather’s to investigate suspicious activities within the Office Templar. The main difference between them was that Willem answered to the Office of the Red Pope and Ather to the Office of the Black Pope.

But this was no time for nonsense.

“Ather, Willem. We all serve the Trinity above, and the popes and Godhead work together for the good of the Catholic Union. We will behave as brothers and sisters. Devoted brother and sisters. If you can’t change your attitudes at least make a convincing act of it for me.” With that Lyseena stood up and turned to her admin officers. “Kevan. Paulo. I picked you two and Maree for your specific personalities and skills, so that the four of us would complement each other and be able to lead in specific areas so that no one of us would be burdened with tasks that distracted and diminished us.”

She paused.

“Maree broke that chain, my brothers. She has left a hole and she has poisoned this office with treason. I have delegated many tasks to the three of you before. I have placed deep and abiding trust in your loyalty and skills. I still trust your skills. I am content for the moment to take your loyalty as a given, since I find it hard to believe our enemies could be so talented as to plant more than one mole in my inner circle. But everything other than that changes today. Your autonomy is now sharply cut back. I can afford neither mistakes nor even the hint that another traitor might use me.”

Kevan smiled and opened his mouth, and Lyseena silenced him with a curt gesture. “You’re about to make a joke. Don’t. There is no room for levity today. None. We’re in mourning for the loss of the woman we thought we knew. We are in a deadly conflict with an enemy that has penetrated too deeply into our defenses. Paulo, Kevan, you will clear all of your decisions with me from now through the millennial before you give a task of any significance to anyone, and we will reassess operations thereafter. For the duration of our personal little hell here with the requiem and the millennial events, I rule here as the hand of God Himself. There is no delegation. There is no autonomy. Paulo, your ass stays in your apartment in the city for the next several days; no visits to your aunt, cousin and niece until we’re through all of this.”

With that, she sat down and started handing out marching orders to everyone, and they began to hammer out final security plans for the upcoming events, starting with protocols for the Red Pope’s requiem in the late morning the next day—an event that would be held in Nova York, the UPA’s capital, rather than Tommis’ seat in the LA Region, given the constant and sometimes armed conflict between the Vatican and Old Africa in that region.

They were almost done with preparations for the requiem when Lyseena’s linkpad chimed. “Gentlemen, I have a meeting in ten minutes with Pope Tommis’ chief understeward. He will be giving me hell about Maree and our two lascivious and wayward logistics experts while trying to ignore the fact that his own supervisor vanished right after the Red Pope’s death. I need time to gird my loins. I expect that meeting to be over in less than a quarter-hour and when I return, I expect to find that you’ve been continuing diligently in my absence.”

(To read part 16 of this story, which will conclude chapter 3, click here.)




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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Jeff Bouley

To find out more about me professionally, click here. To find out more about me generally, click here.

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You can reach Deacon Blue/Jeff Bouley at deaconbluemail@gmail.com.

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