Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Kenneth Copeland on PTSD, and my response

Kenneth Copeland, the controversial televangelist, made waves on Veteran’s Day by dismissing the reality of PTSD and demanding that those diagnosed simply “get rid of it” by clinging to a verse he plucked out of the book of Numbers.

To be fair, a Southern Baptist spokesman condemned the episode, proving that not all evangelicals are as bat-shit crazy as Copeland.

I went to the original broadcast, hoping to post a response right there at the source, but the only option was to sign up for his podcast. So I hit the “Contact” link and was presented with a choice to send in either a prayer request or a testimony. I arbitrarily chose “testimony,” but the resulting form will only accept 1500 characters.

As a last resort, then, I decided to post my response here, so I can provide him with just a link, if he’ll ever read it. And of course, I look forward to any comments from Meese!

Hubris — if only it were just a bad dream

Last night, I watched the much-awaited documentary Hubris, narrated by Rachel Maddow, which laid out for us all how the Iraq war was sold to the American public. I had to watch this show, not to help me make more sense of a war that has deeply and probably permanently affected/afflicted me, but to fill in some of the blanks, and there are many, because I was very disinterested in politics at the time I was deployed. I was just a happy Reservist, enjoying my Microsoft career and my weekend drills (along with the special interpreter missions that occasionally sent me to France, ooh la la!).

After 9/11, everybody knew we’d be going to war. I was just as surprised as my Microsoft teammates and managers when I showed up for my next shift — we all kinda suspected that anybody in the military would be immediately ordered to duty or something. But that’s not how it happened — I know now that Bush and company needed time to prepare their lies case for invading. And I just wasn’t paying attention to all that. I knew I’d be proud to serve my country in that way if called upon, but all that politics stuff was boringgg, and I trusted that those in positions of power were doing the right thing, protected by all the checks and balances our wonderful system of government puts in place. I didn’t even own a TV set, only listened to contemporary French music, not radio, got all my news via the Internet, but glossed over anything pertaining to Congress, the President, all those people up there doing Very Important Work.  

Why have public education? (updated)

I recently linked an article on Facebook to a talk by Bill Gates on the state of public education in our country today. One commenter maintained that Bill, as a “monopolist,” has no right to comment in any way about our public school system until he’s willing to put his own kids into it. Another said that the public system underperforms and that since private schools deliver superior results, all schools should be privatized. This diary is an attempt to respond to both.


Soldier suicides and sensitive souls

The Army is once again trying to pinpoint the causes behind the bafflingly stubborn rate of suicide within its ranks. A new report now says it’s a leadership failure — inattention to pre-deployment problem behaviors — rather than the stress of repeated deployments itself. Next week they’ll come up with some other reason. Meanwhile they’re establishing all these fancy new programs designed to prop up the force’s mental health, yet overlooking what might be among the most fundamental cause of all: a profound and violent spiritual disenchantment with what the war represents and what it’s doing to our country, our troops, and of course the innocent civilians who suffer as well.

Immigration: Where’s the carrot?

In the debate on illegal immigration, I’m finding that people often get caught up in the kinds of sticks to use, and who to use them on. But so far, nobody’s mentioned any carrot. So I have an idea.

Is there a God?

In response to some off-topic posts on the achingly relevant and urgent Haiti thread, I’m going to throw out a few tidbits here and turn them into a diary, to leave the other thread unencumbered by this side discussion. Feel free to add anything I might miss, and jump into the discussion!

Letter to the CEO of Whirlpool/Maytag

Dear Mr. Fettig,

When I started having trouble with the Whirlpool washing machine that was already installed in my home when I purchased it last year, I began to entertain the idea of simply replacing the machine with a high-efficiency model. My locality offers incentives for converting to the latest “green” technologies, and I was intrigued by the rave reviews and greater capacity and performance these machines seemed to offer. After much research, I had just about settled on one of the new Maytag Bravos (now a subsidiary of Whirlpool). So far so good.

Lastly, I wanted to be sure my purchase would align with my personal convictions and values. As an Iraq combat veteran, I care deeply about the fate of our country and its people. So many families and hard-working citizens are suffering today from predatory lending and credit practices, inadequate access to routine health care, and the reduction in government services due to revenue shortfalls caused by off-shoring and high unemployment. I didn’t put my life on the line in a foreign land only to return to watch my neighbors being ravaged by a government that redistributes their wealth to the already-wealthy through lax regulatory practices and a corrupt political system.

Initially, I was encouraged to confirm that Whirlpool/Maytag is indeed based in the USA, thus fostering our own economy. But I was extremely dismayed to discover where your political contributions have gone: Sen. Max Baucus, who had single-payer advocates arrested during hearings on health care reform, just for peacefully and respectfully trying to get that option on the table; Rep. John Boehner, who stands solidly against environmental progress (one of the reasons I want a new washing machine!); Sen. Tom Coburn, who seemingly prayed for Sen. Byrd’s death just to block health care reform; Sen. Jim DeMint, who has blocked nomination of a new TSA chief in the wake of several very troubling security threats, because of the possibility of unionizing the TSA (when many public service sectors are in fact unionized, and certain federal employees can be ordered not to strike — remember the air traffic controllers?); Sen. Blanche Lincoln, who seems to feel no shame in holding health care for all Americans hostage to her personal whims and interests; and I won’t even bother going on about Stupak, Grassley, and the rest. Clearly, the purchase of a Whirlpool/Maytag machine would NOT be in line with my core principles: to improve our global environment and our domestic happiness and prosperity.

I am posting this to several blogs and to my Facebook page. I promise, in fairness, to post any response you may have.


Cheryl Kopec

Tacoma, WA

Where's my change?

We’re so disgruntled nowadays, aren’t we? We who worked so hard to get this fresh, inspiring, and — gasp! — intelligent President (oh yes, and black, too) elected look back now and assess his accomplishments so far. And we’re comparing where we thought we’d be by now with where we actually are. We note that the unemployment rate’s still climbing; we’re still in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and may even be sending more troops; DADT hasn’t been repealed; health care reform is fighting for life; no investigations of the previous regime’s deep corruption; and other drivers still sometimes cut me off in traffic. Wasn’t the world supposed to be set on a fundamentally different path last November?

Whenever you think you don't make a difference

For years (since the beginning of Obama’s campaign in February ’07) I’ve been steadily on the comment boards of the TNT, first advocating for his nomination, then for his election, and now for his policies. Often it seems like I’m the only one arguing for “our side,” and my posts are routinely outnumbered 3:1 or better. It could be easy to get discouraged. But I know enough about the ‘Net to know that those who post are FAR outnumbered by those who merely skim and read, and THOSE are the ones I’m aiming to persuade.

So it was a special treat to read this message tonight, in response to a user’s derisive dismissal of a fellow poster’s support for me:

Thank you, frosty for your kind words. You’re correct, she does do a brilliant job. I’m in awe of her knowledge and her tenacity, especially under fire.

Sometimes, it’s nice to show ones appreciation and support and to let her know that she’s not alone out there. She’s way out in front of any other poster as far as understanding the in’s and out’s of health care reform.

Maybe it’s not needed, as you say, frosty, but since I can’t add much to her vast knowledge base, and since I’m benefiting from her hard work, a pat on the back is the best I can do.

Aw shucks… That makes me feel just as good as I did last time I called KZOK just a moment too late, regarding a health care reform call-in segment, ’cause they were moving on to a scheduled guest. But before saying goodbye, the call screener thanked me for “all my expertise” on the health care issue (they know me, when I call and introduce myself as “Cheryl from Tacoma,” and it’s always when they’re discussing the hot political topic of the day).

Hey, I consider myself an absolute politics dummy. I don’t really know what “report language” means or what “reconciliation” entails. I’m not up on the delicate heirarchies within the Senate and House, and how their political maneuvering might play out. I just focus on one thing — what needs to happen. However it needs to happen, it NEEDS TO HAPPEN, NOW. I do not label myself a Democrat and refuse to be drawn into debates on what prior Democrats did or didn’t do. I keep my eyes on the prize — HEALTH CARE REFORM NOW.

I’m not tooting my own horn, because I’m not special. What I am doing, every single one of us can be doing. And we SHOULD be doing it. Don’t be intimidated even if on every blog you seem to be outshouted by the wrong-ies. Because for every one of their nasty, insubstantial, ad hominem attacks, there are dozens of thoughtful citizens pondering your words, appreciating them, and perhaps integrating them into their own conversations on the subject. They may not all take the trouble to let you know that, but trust me — they are there.


On keeping kids home from school Tuesday

Below is an email I just sent to our local Glenn Beck group, of which I am a member. Of course, my aim is to get a few of those parents to actually listen to an entire Obama address, unfiltered by right-wing pundits. It might be the first time for many of them, and I’m betting a lot of them will be astonished to find they agree with everything he says. But, FWIW, here is my message:

Hello all,

I hope you’ll forgive my $.02 here, as I have never had kids and never will, but I do have some thoughts on some parents’ plans to keep their kids out of school Tuesday on account of Obama’s address.

I think those who do keep their kids home are doing the kids and themselves a great disservice. The first day of school is where friendship cliques begin to form, and where kids begin to figure out the teacher’s style and expectations, and what the year has in store for them. All the kids are on the same footing that first day, and anybody who comes in on the second day will already be behind the power curve, having to play catch-up. I don’t feel this is the right way to begin a challenging school year.

Also, it sends the wrong message: to fear dissenting opinions rather than hearing them out and developing a sane, rational rebuttal based on facts. This critical thinking skill will serve them lifelong. What better opportunity for them to start developing it?

A better option, in my opinion, is to go to school with your children that day. This gives you a chance to meet the teacher, the other kids, and most likely a few other parents, because you won’t be the only one. It can also serve as a great springboard for discussion, as you can sit down with your children later and pick their brains: “What stood out most for you in the speech? What does that mean to you? Does it fit with what you believe? What alternatives might be better?” etc. This kind of discussion could give you great insight into your children’s worldview and how equipped they are to think for themselves.

Just my opinion. I welcome any comments, of course.