The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Archive for January 2008

I helped Grace’s business! UPDATE

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Comité Las AmigasUPDATE: I had the privilege of temporarily sharing fifty bucks with Grace Anuafule in west Africa, and published the post below (in July) about how easy and fun it was to start the process thru Kiva. Just two weeks ago, I received notice that Grace has completely repaid my small part and that of the others who, combined, provided an $800 loan. Ta-da! It worked! What a privilege!

And my fifty has gone on another trip now, this time to a group of women with clothing and food businesses in Paraguay (at right). And a friend of mine just began this week, too, with a couple of loans to people in Peru.

Yahoo. Surely there’s more cash around here somewhere. Hey—you wanna try it, too? Click on Kiva to find out how.

July, ’07:  This is Grace. She stands in her business, Grace Store in west Africa, where she sells food and kitchen equipment. [It’s a great photo – click it for a version that will show you much more.]I am proud to say that I have had a teeny-tiny part in the success of the Grace Store. Like so:Grace recently saw an opportunity to expand her business. She needed $800 to do it.

I heard about Kiva. Kiva connects individuals who want to loan small amounts of money with people who need small loans Read the rest of this entry »

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January 30, 2008 at 9:00 pm

Brainlessness, interrupted (readings for Sunday, Feb. 3, 2008)

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Surely Simon Peter had ADHD. Blissfully blind to consequences, he lurches about in the dark, heaving improvements into whatever’s happening, until the lights go on—Eeyow!—he’s tossing anvils onto the boss’s Lexus.

I get that. Once 40 years ago, I lay in bed in my childhood home, drifting off to sleep as I ended a good junior high school day. Then—Pow!—this thought: YOU HAD A CONCERT TONIGHT. Sure enough, I was to have played in the school orchestra’s performance three hours earlier. My room being upstairs, looking out on the front-porch roof, I pondered alternatives: Could I jump from the roof in such a way as to break only my arm, and show up at school with a cast on? Ah, the ADHD life—chock full of excitement.

To Peter’s frequent brainlessnesses (see one, just below), Jesus responds with compassion.

Thank God.

Transfiguration Sunday (Last Sunday Before Lent) February 3, 2008

Matthew 17:1-9; 2 Peter 1:16-21; Exodus 24:12-18; Psalm 2

Matthew 17
Sunlight Poured from His Face
1-3 Six days later, three of them saw that glory. Jesus took Peter and the brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain. His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes. Sunlight poured from his face. His clothes were filled with light. Then they realized that Moses and Elijah were also there in deep conversation with him.

4Peter broke in, “Master, this is a great moment! What would you think if I built three memorials here on the mountain—one for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah?”

5While he was going on like this, babbling, Read the rest of this entry »

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January 30, 2008 at 6:20 pm

Pat Buchanan: McCain would be a War President

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clipped from

McCain win would mean war with Iran

McCainMSNBC’s Joe Scarborough asked old-line conservative Pat Buchanan about McCain’s remarks, saying, “He talked about promising that more wars were coming. … Is he so desperate to get off the economic issue?

Pat Buchanan replied that McCain never used the word “promise” but simply said there would be more wars, and that from McCain’s point of view, “that is straight talk. … You get John McCain in the White House, and I do believe we will be at war with Iran.”

“That’s one of the things that makes me very nervous about him,” Buchanan went on.

“There’s no doubt John McCain is going to be a war president. … His whole career is wrapped up in the military, national security. He’s in Putin’s face, he’s threatening the Iranians, we’re going to be in Iraq a hundred years.”

blog it

Me too, Pat.

Look, has this war been a good thing?

Do we want more? More dead soldiers? More traumatized children? More PTSD? More amputations? More brain injuries? More divorces? More suicides? More billions for bombs? More arming the world? More Abu Ghraibs? More international hatred? More world dominance?

McCain, if so, is apparently our choice. And unfortunately, most of the remaining candidates seem more preoccupied with talking tough than with calculating—à la Colin Powell—the human cost of Round 2.

For too long, Americans have said, “Presidents know things that we can’t know; if they think we must go to war, we should support them.” But presidents have taken us to combat dozens of times in the last fifty years. How many conflicts can you name that Americans would have supported, had they known the whole story? Precious few.

Perhaps we should refuse to elect people who assume war is inevitable. Why see suffering as a done deal?

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Written by Monte

January 30, 2008 at 2:36 pm

The New History of the Iraq Invasion

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SaddamBushRobert Parry, in an article for (CBS Falsifies Iraq War History), shows how victors’ versions of things become commonly accepted “truth.” This particular illustration comes from watching Scott Pelley ponder the apparent lunacy of Saddam Hussein on the Jan. 27 episode of CBS’s “60 Minutes.” Pelley interviews an FBI agent who “debriefed” Saddam.

But first, consider the Iraq story we’ve grown to believe:

The officially sanctioned U.S. account, as embraced by Bush in speech after speech, is that Saddam Hussein “chose war” by defying the U.N. over the WMD issue and by misleading the world into believing that he still possessed these weapons. […]

On Jan. 27, 2004, for example, Bush said, “We went to the United Nations, of course, and got an overwhelming resolution – 1441 – unanimous resolution, that said to Saddam, you must disclose and destroy your weapons programs, which obviously meant the world felt he had such programs. He chose defiance. It was his choice to make, and he did not let us in.” […]

Or, on May 24, 2007:

“As you might remember back then, we tried the diplomatic route: [U.N. Resolution] 1441 was a unanimous vote in the Security Council that said disclose, disarm or face serious consequences. So the choice was his [Hussein’s] to make. And he made a choice that has subsequently caused him to lose his life.”

On July 14, 2003, as the U.S.-led WMD search also was coming up empty, Bush began asserting that it was all Hussein’s fault because he had never let the U.N. inspectors in. Bush told reporters:

“We gave him [Saddam Hussein] a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn’t let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power.”

Fair enough, right? Think again. Here’s the record: Read the rest of this entry »

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January 28, 2008 at 9:24 pm

World’s most/least corrupt nations

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Intriguing analysis of world corruption:
clipped from

Corruption watchdog Transparency International has released a list of the world’s most and least corrupt nations […]
The report comes ahead of a conference in Bali this week where more than 100 countries are expected to gather for a United Nations anti-corruption conference […]
The lower the CPI of a country, the higher corruption is, with 0 being the most corrupt and 10 being very clean […]
Most corrupt country and CPI score: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

January 27, 2008 at 9:40 pm

Posted in Politics