AK Voices: Geoff Kennedy

Geoff Kennedy lives in Anchorage.

Nineteen signs you are an anti-Semite - 2/7/2014 4:18 pm

Let's all sing together: George Zimmerman Bridge, George Zimmerman Zimmerman Bridge, etc. - 1/30/2014 9:45 pm

There you go again, and again - 1/22/2014 12:34 am

Whining "victims," anyone? - 1/11/2014 10:19 pm

Sanctions, anyone? - 12/14/2013 11:59 pm

Irony, anyone? - 11/29/2013 11:28 am

Polo (and for that matter dressage), anyone? - 11/18/2013 9:48 pm

A belated Happy Anniversary, Mr. Fortunate Eagle - 10/14/2013 9:57 pm

So it's me that's the "big government leftist?"

Let’s start with an old-fashioned true-false test. I will provide statements made by presidential administrations and you mark these statements true or false. In parentheses, I will identify the administrations making the statements.

The United States does not send spy planes over the Soviet Union. (Eisenhower)

We seek no wider war. (LBJ)

Israel’s unprovoked attack on a US navy vessel? You must be smoking some funny weed! (LBJ)

My administration did not engage in any Watergate burglary. (Nixon)

We do not trade arms for hostages. (Reagan)

The Contras are freedom fighters. (Reagan)

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Trying to make sense out of nonsense

I try to respond to all honest questions and even some outrageous charges. But this last batch of responses has been overwhelming in its incoherence and its ferocity of personal animosity directed at me. You would think I am a cross between Adolph Hitler and Osama bin Laden.

Instead of responding to all this stuff, I will point out some general trends, at least those I can understand.

Jesus and Martin Luther King, Jr. have become true cultural icons. Both were so extremely controversial figures in their lifetimes, they were murdered, not so much for what they did but for what they said. What they said was so threatening to people, they were murdered. But today no one seems to bad-mouth either of them. No one calls Jesus a leftist wimp or King a commie any more. There was only one vague reference to King’s “antics.”

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Is Jesus practical?

Glad to see my previous blog generated some thought. That’s the main purpose. Even The Brian took a holiday from name-calling.

Where to begin? Similes and metaphors both have to do with comparisons. Similes actually use either the word, “like” or the word “as.” Metaphors don’t.

The mosquitoes are terrorists. The swamps are injustices. We have spent lots of money on invasions and interventions in the internal affairs of other countries. I don’t believe that Cuba or Nicaragua has the right to remove President Obama from office or bomb the US for taxing Cuban or Nicaraguan companies doing business here. If Cuba drove Phoenix, the Sdog, The_Insider, and Joe La Rocca from their homes to make room for a Cuban military base, I would object to the injustices. I would not accept the excuses that doing such things were in those countries’ “national interest” or were necessary for Cuban or Nicaraguan “national security.” As an American citizen, I would assert my right to dissent from the decisions made by Cuban and Nicaraguan politicians, even if they label me a terrorist.

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Fighting terrorism the cost-effective Jesus way

I fail to understand the point of the relentless questioning of one frequent poster, Phoenix. P apparently is on some crusade to trap me in some set of purely hypothetical situations. What would I do if Adolph Hitler were to come back to life along with the entire force of the Third Reich? Would Jesus allow us to defend ourselves from al Qaida?

Thanks, but no thanks. I prefer to live in the real world. The US is the world’s only superpower. No other nation would try to attack us and occupy our country. Our only real external military threat comes from individual terrorists.

The issue is not whether we have the right to defend ourselves from the bad guys. The issue is how. Flattening other countries, which had little to nothing to do with the 9/11 terrorists, makes as much sense as (to use the metaphor of former radio commentator Walter Kiernan) fighting mosquitoes with a steamroller.

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The Good Samaritan parable--updated to 2010?

As expected the Daily News editorial staff showed their spine or lack of it and printed the usual excerpt of the Martin Luther King, Jr. “dream speech” on the premise that it’s the most well known. Apparently, the staff believes the function of a newspaper should be to tell us what we already know.

It’s too bad. An excerpt of King’s last speech certainly seems to apply right now. The night before his murder, King cited the familiar Good Samaritan parable, but added some background I hadn’t known. The trail in the parable, he said, really existed. He added that cutthroats used the path to lure do-gooders into stopping to help apparently helpless people, who would turn on them, rob them, and slit their throats. That’s why, King said, the two holy priests refused to stop to help the wounded man: They wondered what would happen to them if they stopped to help. But the Samaritan, King said, asked a different question: What will happen to him if he didn’t stop to help.

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A Christian nation? In God do we really trust?

In response to my last blog, Mr. Kevin Clarkson claims to be disoriented and to need a GPS.

I explicitly explained what forgiveness is and is not. As an attorney, surely Kevin has the reading comprehension skills to understand plain English.

Al Qaida-type terrorists do not kill the perpetrators of injustices. Terrorists kill at random; that’s makes them terrorists. I never said 3000 people in Washington and New York treated bin Laden unjustly. I never said Osama is a “good terrorist as opposed to a bad terrorist.” Kevin should know better.

If Kevin really is confused, maybe a simple metaphor will work. Ed works at a 7-11. Al holds up the 7-11 and kills Ed so Ed can’t identify him. Ed’s sister, Jo, gets real mad at Al and tries to kill him. But Al has too many bodyguards. So Jo goes to plan B and murders Al’s five-year old daughter instead. Police investigate. They look for a motive because that will help them convict the murderer. They find out the motive. Does that make Jo a “good murderer as opposed to a bad murderer?” Do we argue that Al’s five-year-old daughter treated Jo unjustly? How do we play the blame game? Do we say Jo is entirely at fault and Al had nothing to do with Jo’s crime? Can we dare say Al had something to do with his daughter’s murder or is that “blame Al first?" Will we be accused of claiming Al caused every bad thing that ever happened in the world? And what of Al’s wife, Di? Should she devote the rest of her life to freeze-wrapping herself in perpetual anger at Jo? Or would Di wife be better off trying to make sure their children don’t hold up convenience stores? Which approach would be better for Di’s mental health?

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Forgiving Osama-why and how

A responder, cat_train2, asks: just how do we forgive Osama bin Laden.

Good question. I’ll answer it shortly. But before I do, I will say why we should:

What I wrote Christmas Eve about my own feeble attempts at forgiveness apply to our country as well: We forgive, not for our trespassers, but for ourselves. Without forgiveness, we become stuck in anger and hatred towards our trespassers. That anger and that hatred don’t hurt them; anger and hatred hurts us. They tie us to the trespasser, and, in so doing continue our role as victim long after the act of victimization has ended. Forgiving our trespassers does not undo their trespasses, but it does undo the prolonging of those trespasses. To that extent, forgiving frees us from the past by enabling us to live in the present.

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Challenging the guts of the Daily News editorial staff

I directly challenge this newspaper’s editorial staff to do something different this next Monday.

For years while this paper set aside a half page for the Voice of the Times, that outfit devoted its editorial space to the entire “I Have a Dream” speech of Martin Luther King, Jr. The Daily News printed only the ending of that same speech.

What does that tell you about diversity of opinion? Why did the two editorial voices—one “liberal” and the other “conservative”-- year after year choose the same speech of all those delivered by King?

Both sides chose to consider King as nothing more than the stereotyped “slain civil rights leader,” the mainstream media’s chosen summation of the man’s life work.

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Here we go again

Thomas Friedman is at it again. In a January 6 New York Times column he complained “Arab and Muslim societies” aren’t “shaming suicide bombers and naming their actions ‘murder,’ not ‘martyrdom’” enough to suit him.

Friedman’s complaint follows a familiar pattern these days—paying more attention to the other guys' behavior than to our own. Talk show hosts in my experience continue to complain how hypocritical the other side is and how it’s always the other guys with a monopoly on double standards of behavior. We see it a lot of that on these cyberpages as well.

How far do we blame entire societies for the crimes of some of their members? Are Arabs and Muslims justified in complaining that Americans haven’t publicly opposed the actions by terrorists like Timothy McVeigh and abortion clinic bombers enough? Even though I oppose abortion and many actions by big government, I don’t hold myself responsible for their actions.

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Deja vu, $port$, $pecial intere$t$, and partisanship

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s recent dabbling in political spin, claiming our homeland security system worked in foiling the attempted Christmas jetliner bombing, reminded me of the spin I experienced back in 1978.

One bright February morning, I got a call from a National Public Radio producer asking me to report on a shooting of the Trans Alaska Oil Pipeline near Fairbanks.

I don’t remember the motivation at the time, but some guy fired a high-powered rifle at the pipeline and set off a geyser of crude oil high into the sky.

A couple of hours later, a Fairbanksan named Gil Glover took advantage of the clear and sunny weather to show a lower 48 buddy an aerial view of the pipeline system around Fairbanks. Glover noticed what appeared to him to be steam emitting from the pipeline at one point and so he called the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company to suggest it look into the apparent steam.

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Capitalism, murder stats, Blackwater, meth

Time to catch up on the long holiday weekend news.

What’s wrong with this picture? Couple of quotes from Jonah Goldberg’s Jan. 2 column in the local paper:

“The problems with capitalism—greed, theft, etc.—aren’t capitalism’s fault: They’re humanity’s.”

“Capitalism doesn’t just create generous wealthy people, but generous poor people, too.”

Let’s see. Capitalism doesn’t create evil; people do. But people don’t create good; capitalism does. Looks to me like some phony double talk. The old double standard trick.

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Time to shatter some stereotypes

For a while now the political correctness police have been trying to convince us that anyone who supports basic human rights for Palestinian people is an anti-Semitic Nazi who hates Israel and denies the holocaust ever existed.

Maybe you PCP aficionados and aficionadas out there can explain
how can you call Palestinians Nazis when they volunteered to fight the Nazis to protect the British during World War II.

Maybe you can explain why a guy named Bubba with a swastika on his bicep and a reported link to a white supremacist group allegedly chose Christmas of all days to kill a guy working in his store in Liberty, Texas, to give his workers the day off to spend time with their families. Could it be that white supremacists with swastikas hate all Semites, not just Jewish ones? Could there possibly exist Christofascists or is that too politically incorrect to imagine? When did Jesus tell his followers to celebrate his birthday by murdering their neighbors? Did the founding fathers and mothers of Liberty, Texas name it to enable people with swastikas to enjoy the liberty to take away people’s religious liberty and their lives as well? Since when did giving Christians the day off on Christmas Day become a capital offense?

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Alex Sheshunoff's cockroaches--a poor analogy

How do you interpret the popular bumper sticker, "Alaska girls kick ass?"
Does it mean young females in the 49th state are guilty of acts of physical violence inflicted to degrade others? I don’t think so. I think it’s meant as a compliment; “kicking ass” has become a colloquial expression meaning excelling.

Now, I certainly agree that the expression reflects our society’s tolerance for violence. I’m reminded of former coach and pro football commentator, John Madden’s comment several years ago. It went something like this: “People keep saying, ‘It’s a war out there.’ No, it’s not; it’s a football game. I applaud Madden for making an important point. War is a deadly serious business. Football is a game. Big difference.

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Answering questions recently asked by Pheonix

Q) Why do you support World War II?

A) I don’t “support” the war as such. I do not believe Germany and Japan were justified in their attacks on other countries. I therefore oppose their starting the wars they did.

That’s the thing about wars. You have to look at them from two perspectives—starting one and defending against the aggressor. That’s what so many of today’s war supporters overlook. We did not start a war against Germany. The war with Japan did not start with a US attack on Japanese ships. It was the other way around.

From what I can see, under the circumstances, the US and its allies were justified in defending themselves from attackers. I question the morality of bombing cities with no military targets.

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Merry St. Stephen's Day

Am I the only one to notice the war on St. Stephen’s Day, the Dec. 26 commemoration of the first Christian martyr? Ever ask yourself why there are no statues of St. Stephen in state court buildings, no hymns to St. Stephen in public schools, no national holidays to honor St. Stephen? And, for that matter, why do so few calendars list Jan. 1 as Mary, the Mother of God Day and Feb. 2 as Presentation of the Lord Day?

As a fellow blogger might say, “Just exactly who is the scrooge that wants to sweep the Christian aspects of all these holidays under the rug, into the closet and slam the door? Probably the same guy who wastes our time trying to take “under God” out of the Pledge of Allegiance and off every public statue.”

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Loving Bush--a Christmas story

Several years ago when the war was still politically correct, I joined fellow peaceniks carrying signs along a roadway. At the end of the line stood a silent man holding a sign reading, ‘I LOVE BUSH.”

Some fellow peaceniks suggested the sign referred more to the man’s sexual preference than to his political one. I took another approach. I shook his hand and said I also agree on the importance of loving one’s enemies. The man, who looked somewhat down and out, said nothing. I suspect some war-niks, who had decided there were more important things for them to do than to stand in the cold in support of the war, chose instead to hire someone who needed money to do it for them.

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Double standards in the Friedman world

I wonder sometimes whether people who judge actions according to double standards know what they’re doing or whether they whether they really believe the nonsense they churn out.

Thomas Friedman’s essay in the Dec. 19 paper argues, “Only Arabs and Muslims can fight the war of ideas within Islam….(They) must be challenged to take responsibility for their world.”

Friedman engages in the politically correct practice of holding Muslims responsible for not singling out fellow Muslims who commit terrorism and other forms of murder. But has Friedman ever held Christians responsible for not singling out fellow Christians for their crimes? Has he ever held Jews responsible for not singling out fellow Jews for their crimes? When American Timothy McVeigh was found guilty of terrorism, did Friedman challenge Americans “to take responsibility for their world?”

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Obama's wars, not mine

Fans of irony may enjoy President Obama’s recent Nobel Peace Prize speech defending his wars.

If I read his speech correctly, he appeared to argue that Hitler and al Qaida are bad guys; therefore, we need to drop bombs on people in Afghanistan. Hitler invaded other countries; Afghanistan invaded none. We had to fight Hitler in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Belgium, France and Holland while the Soviet Union fought him in the USSR and Eastern Europe. We’re fighting Afghanistan in Afghanistan. So how does Hitler’s existence entitle us to invade Afghanistan?

Fifteen of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudis. There were none from either Iraq or Afghanistan. If we should bomb countries suspected of harboring terrorists, shouldn't we bomb the US?

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Bowling you over with sports nonsense

Those of who bored by sports, read no further. That’s what this essay is about. Those of you looking for political overtones will have to work overtime to find any here.

Sunday, I read a whimsical piece on CBSSports.com about a major college football championship tournament.

As college football fans know, each year we hear someone advocate a championship tournament like those in other college sports and other college football divisions. At the same time, we hear complaints about all the ridiculous bowl games featuring mediocre teams.

Such complaints go back at least to the 1960s, when there were a lot fewer bowls and there were no teams playing in the post-season with six losses. Yet even satirist Art Buchwald got into the act by suggesting a bowl game in Nome. Last week an ESPN commentator echoed the same quip I’ve heard for more than a third of the century: Why not have a Toilet Bowl? Actually, we’re coming pretty close to that. Next year there’s a bowl planned for Yankee Stadium. Why not hold it at the old Shea Stadium site. What venue could be more appropriate for the Toilet Bowl than the section of Queens known as Flushing Meadows?

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Tax IV

This is an add-on to my three-part series. It’s different from the other three; this time I am not responding to another blogger, but instead saying something that needs to be said about taxes.

Recently, I read a couple of books by investigative reporter, David Cay Johnston, “Free Lunch” and “Perfectly Legal.” One book details who and what are the biggest moochers and the amount they mooch from you and me. Johnston points out that the amount of your taxes that go to welfare mamas is insignificant compared to the rich guys that gobble up the free lunches. Free to them, but not free to us. As I remember, Johnston finished his book before the Bushobama bailouts resulting from the subprime scandals.

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