Tuesday, June 03, 2008

"Dece vrei sa stii?"

("Why do you want to know?")

Drudge links to a story delineating Chavez's vision to force Venezuelans to spy on each other. Quote:

"The new law requires people in the country to comply with requests to assist the agencies, secret police or community activist groups loyal to Chávez. Refusal can result in prison terms of two to four years for most people and four to six years for government employees." (Read on: Chávez decree tightens hold on intelligence)

As a missionary in Romania from 1995 - 1997, I ran into rampant suspicion and skepticism. Much more often than not when asking a neighbor or 'stander-by' if they knew when a person I was looking for might return or if the person was 'around', I would get the ever quick reply of "Dece vrei sa stii?" (meaning: "Why do you want to know?"). Without fail, this phrase came packaged in an inflection and look of complete suspicion.

The "Dece vrei sa stii?" syndrome was only one of many symptoms evidencing over half a century of soft (and sometimes hard) tyranny from dictators like Chavez. No doubt, Romania's own "Secret Police," which similarly 'recruited' (read: 'FORCED!') citizens to spy on neighbors was one of many suppressive tactics that created this mentality.

After two years in that beloved country I came to know more than a few people who, to varying degrees, suffered the wrath of false accusation, where penalties varied from detention and interrogation, to beatings, or even imprisonment.

I recall meeting an elderly atheist who ironically loved the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. In the unlikely setting of communist Romania, he came across one of the Choir's albums and sneaked it home. He shared how he used to hide in his basement with his record player and quietly listen to the album, as he was terrified of being heard listening to this 'American religious music'. That music, however, was his escape during the darker periods of communism.

God help the people of Venezuela that Chavez not get his way. Chavez shows all the makings of a tyrant. Slowly, though surely, coiling around the neck of that people like a python.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Interactive OpenFloor Online Debate

Come one, come all. Political bloggers are invited to participate in this event - especially those happening to live in or around Salt Lake City City Council District 4.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Just a heads up: Freepress.net is a great organization that is working hard to prevent the further consolidation and corporatization of our media. It's a vital and urgent cause if we want to maintain diversity, true balance, and localism in our television, radio, internet, and cable media. Click above, or File a comment on this subject with the FCC to make your voice heard with the Federal Communications Commission - which will soon be voting on rules that would allow existing corporations like Viacom to gain greater ownership of the airwaves (a very bad thing).

Thursday, May 17, 2007

My Prediction: Bush Approval Ratings to Go Sub 20% by June

I know I could flare some passions and maybe even a few tempers with this topic here, so I'm going to do my level best to limit my comments to the unprecedented fall out I believe Bush is about to experience.

Simply put, Bush just put the last death nail in his political coffin today with the so-called Comprehensive Immigration Reform, previously known as McCain-Kennedy, now surprisingly (wink, wink) renamed Bush-Kennedy (I'm sure that had nothing to do with McCain's aspirations).

If Bush was sad to see his approval number in the low-30's, he won't be happy with what I think will happen next. Just wait to see how the conservative base, his last bastion of support, will react to this latest move, effectively granting amnesty to the millions of illegals already here, plus the approximate 250,000 additional immigrants to be allowed each year under this Z visa program, with no true guarantee of border security. (Think back to Reagan's amnesty blunder and the supposed 'guaranteed border security' laid out at that time... this new bill is scary similar... see the article linked above.) This bill will not play well with the conservatives or the moderates, and if Bush thinks this will win him converts from the left, I think he's kidding himself.

As a point of clarification... I actually don't mind the idea of a guest worker program. I am personally adamant, however, that first things first we secure the border, after which I'll happily consider a guest worker program for those already here, working, established, and invested in various ways into American society. I have little faith in the Administration's intentions on doing what they're promising from a border security perspective, as every Administration failed to follow through on the promises from the Reagan era Amnesty deal, and most recently the current Administration failed to build the fence bill signed into law by this same Administration (only 2 MILES have been built so far after all this time).

Also, I'm not an isolationist. On the one hand, I accept the idea of accepting the world's 'hungry, tired, and down trodden.' However, on the other hand, we need to strike a healthy balance between educated/skilled/etc. versus hungry/tired/down trodden/etc. immigrants.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Mormons (Resurrected)

Note: In hopes of generating more discussion on the PBS documentary "The Mormons", which I think the series merits given the landmark breadth of its treatment on Mormonism together with the potential magnitude of its audience, yet in no way desiring to merely recreate Matt's apt inaugural post on the "The Mormons" and risk occasion for impetuous assessments of plagiaristic redundancy on my part -- I hereby resurrect Matt's post (together with its comment thread) as "new" or "most recent", or what have you... So, let us comment on comments unceasingly, and, by and by, the comment thread will yield fruits of insight, new perspective, and opportunity for each successive commenter to prove herself/himself more right than the commenter preceding.

I've heard a bit of negative and some positive feedback on the upcoming PBS two part series on the LDS Church. My understanding is that on the whole, part one is not a favorable portrayel of the Church, while part two is supposedly more reasonable. My brother is a bishop up in Michigan, and received a communication from a Church PR guy that effectively said it's not for the 'faint of heart.'

My questions to you all:

Will you watch? How best might you respond to others about, let's say, any 'over-emphasis' on some aspects of the LDS Church's history? On the whole, is PBS doing the public a service with a feature like this? (This last question may not be answerable until after watching it.)

Click here to visit PBS' site for more info.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

If only we could all be so Christian...

I caught this story the other day, and found this couple's attitude toward respecting each other's religion one of the best examples of a "Christian" approach that I'd seen in a while (particularly in light of the scrutiny Romney is currently enduring about his Mormonism). Here's the run down:

The story covers a husband and wife. The guy is evangelical Christian, the gal is Mormon. They've been married twenty some odd years. Both, however, exhibit the kind of prayerful and embracing approach I think we all know is the appropriate way to share the Gospel. And, most important of all, they respect/accept each other for who they are. There are people within a given faith that can't even reach across smaller gaps with others within their own religion, let alone those of different faiths. Anyway, I found it somewhat inspiring. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Leader of The Year!

I know at least Jason will appreciate this, but I think we all get it... :) This has got to be one of the funniest things I've ever seen on YouTube:

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

CBS Jumping on 'The Office' Bandwagon

This is awesome.

Monday, April 30, 2007

"The Onion" Part Due

I saw that "Voice of God" bit way back when... very funny. :) God bless GW, but w/ clips like the one below, parodies like that "Voice of God" one on the Onion just seem feasible! ;)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Today's Feature from "The Onion"

This is both hilarious and creepily prescient.

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