Saturday, February 23, 2008
#4 - A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting the entire world without regulation.
Dick Cheney the defense secretary (as opposed to vice president Dick Cheney)
On April 21, 1991, Dick Cheney gave a speech at the Washington Institute's Soref Symposium. At the time he was Secretary of Defense under the first Bushite president, George H.W. Bush.
Cheney was talking about Iraq and responding to the idea that U.S. forces in the first Bush Gulf War should take have taken out Saddam Hussein. Listen carefully to what cheating, cheesy Cheney has to say:
"I think that the proposition of going to Baghdad is also fallacious. I think if we were going to remove Saddam Hussein we would have had to go all the way to Baghdad, we would have to commit a lot of force because I do not believe he would wait in the Presidential Palace for us to arrive. I think we'd have had to hunt him down. And once we'd done that and we'd gotten rid of Saddam Hussein and his government, then we'd have had to put another government in its place. What kind of government? Should it be a Sunni government or Shi'i government or a Kurdish government of Ba'athist regime? Or maybe we want to bring in some of the Islamic fundamentalists? How long would we have had to stay in Baghdad to keep that government in place? What would happen to the government once U.S. forces withdrew? How many casualties should the United States accept in that effort to try to create clarity and stability in a situation that is inherently unstable? I think it is vitally important for a President to know when to use military force. I think it is also very important for him to know when not to commit U.S. military force. And it's my view that the President got it right both times, that it would have been a mistake for us to get bogged down in the quagmire inside Iraq."
He almost sounds sane. What changed between 1991 and 2003? The political situation (he was now working for the second Bushite president who was even dumber than the first), and the oil situation.
As an oil man, oil is and always has been Cheney's first priority. He and others thought they would be able to use the U.S. mililtary to cover up their takeover of the Iraqi oil fields. They had the whole thing planned out. The maps they used are available today.
They just forgot the reality that is Iraq.
That's the hell of it, for dying and wounded American soldiers and for dying and wounded Iraqis.
Hatred on the Right
The Traditional Values Coalition, run by Louis Sheldon and his daughter, Andrea Lafferty, is one of the most degenerate of all the right-wing Christian groups. It's most traditional "value" is hate and that is what they promote 100% of the time.
For example: the photo of Barack Obama appearing at the top of this post was borrowed from the TVC website. Notice how it has been doctored with some kind of fisheye distortion.
The TVC doesn't like the Obamas. The TVC wants you to know the "truth" about the Obamas.
The TVC begins by saying Obama is a "first-term Senator with no discernible accomplishments in the Senate."
According to an article by Cliff Kincaid, a hack for a Christian right "news" outlet, Senator Obama has been "mentored" by some pretty scary people. One of Obama's earliest mentors in Hawaii was a Communist by name of Frank Marshall Davis! In Chicago, he had a "black power" mentor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr. (Quick note: There is some concern among some of us more genteel people about Obama's relationship with Wright. Obama has, however, publicly distanced himself from Wright's more radical statements).
And finally, the article claims that not only Obama, but also Hillary Clinton had a Socialist mentor, Saul Alinsky, where they learned all their nasty socialistic tactics!
Michelle Obama, is also suspect, says TVC, for she "developed a sense of racial resentment" at Princeton University, "that continues to this day." TVC says a speech she gave at UCLA on February 19 was "Hitler-like," because she said that Obama will want people to be engaged in democracy.
The TVC continues to give Christianity a bad name!
SMU fails the test
The George W. Bush presidential library will be built on the Southern Methodist University campus in Dallas.
Some of the faculty don't like the idea. A number of Methodist ministers don't like the idea. There might be a lawsuit to stop it.
There are only a couple of problems that I see. One is finding enough material to put in it. The Bush administration has hidden most of their files, emails, and phone calls. They've declared the rest so secret that not even Bush can read them or listen to them. The other problem is that to use the words "Bush" and "library" in the same sentence is an oxymoron.
They sure got the moron part right!
Those nasty queer penquins!
In Loudon County, Virginia, parents have successfully removed the book, "And Tango Makes Three" from the libraries of the elementary schools.
This book tells the story of two male penquins who agree to raise a penquin chick together.
My God, can't you see the rampant homosexuality? Can't you understand that if elementary school kids read this they will immediately conclude that homosexuality is OK, and think that maybe they should be homosexuals, too?
The book can still be read by the elementary school teachers and parents (evidently they're not afflicted by homosexual wannabeitis). Kids in the middle and high schools can read it, too. They don't even need permission from their parents. I don't get that!
Christianity is different
How is Christianity different? This is the question one Steven Halter tries to answer for the Christian Broadcasting Network.
Well, first of all says he, "a crucial distinctive (sic) is that God cared enough about humankind to reach down and compassionately provide a way for us to be in a right relationship with Him."
Whoa! That raises a couple of questions from me! What took God so long? From the Big Bang to the birth of Jesus is one hell of a lot of years! Didn't He care about all the people that lived before 4 B.C. E. or whenever Jesus was supposed to be born? And what is this "compassion" God exercised? Is Halter talking about Jesus being crucified on a cross? Would that be considered "compassionate?"
Mr. Halter says that "In other religions, people vainly attempt to reach God and earn their salvation by doing good deeds and by refraining from bad behavior."
That's not even true, which shows us that Mr. Halter knoweth not whereof he speaketh, but even if it were, it sounds pretty good to me. Someone once said that the Christian church was no more than a place where people go to get justification to keep on sinning.
According to Mr. Halter, God sent his Son "to live a holy and sinless life and suffer the payment for our sins." All we have to do is believe this stuff and we're home free! We get forgiven and we're given new life. Not only that, but we can be sure we're a-going to heaven!
I've always been kinda stumped about this "holy and sinless" life Jesus was supposed to have lived. I mean, he was pretty short to people at times, even his own mother. He called Peter "Satan." He stayed behind in the temple when he was only 12, letting his parents go frantic with worry about him. He sent a bunch of pigs to a demonly death which was totally unnecessary! He cursed the fig tree when the damn thing wasn't even supposed to have figs. That was pretty dumb!
And why couldn't God figure out a way to forgive people without putting his own son on a cross? From what I read in the Bible, he'd been doing just fine for thousands of years. And how come Christians get such an easy deal: all they have to do is believe. Other folks have to be good, and even then people like Mr. Halter would say, "You lose!"
Earthquakes result from homosexuality
So says Shlomo Benizri, a member of the Knesset in Israel.
Pam Spaulding at Pam's House Blend tells the story. The Knesset had called a special session to deal with Israel's preparedness for another earthquake. During the discussion, Shlomo said:
"But I no (sic) of another way to prevent earthquakes; the Gemara mentions a number of causes of earthquakes, one of which is homosexualtiy, which the Knesset legitimizes."
The chairman of the Israeli Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Association, Mike Hammel, had this to say:
" ... it is sad that a religious MK in Israel doesn't think earthquakes are God-made. On the other hand, I suppose we should be flattered he attributes us with such magical powers."
A Republican Congressman, Rick Renzi, was indicted for extortion, wire fraud, money laundering and "other matters" today "in an Arizona land swap scam that allegedly helped him collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in payoffs."
Renzi is the Arizona chairman for John McCain's presidential campaign. McCain said "I'm sorry. I feel for the family; as you know, he has 12 children."
Up in Boston, there's trouble in GOP-land, too. Robert Somma, 63, a Republican, lawyered in Boston when Bush appointed him as a federal bankruptcy judge in December 2004.
Somma was arrested after ramming a pickup truck from behind in Manchester, New Hampshire. He had some trouble finding his drivers license in his purse. According to one close to the police, "When authorities removed him from the vehicle, they said he wore a black women's cocktail dress, fishnet stockings and high heels."
The judge had tipped a few at The Breezeway Pub which calls itself "New Hampshire's favorite gay and alternative bar."
The judge's wife was out of town.
The judge called in his resignation from a Caribbean vacation resort.
The judge was convicted of DWI last week.
But we're not biased. This next one's about a Democrat, a businessman who wanted to be a Congressman.
Gary Dodds, 43, wanted to be the Democratic congressman from the 1st Congressional District in Dover, New Hampshire. He was in financial hot water, so he faked disappearing after a car crash two years ago.
While it seems no one is sure of the reason for faking his disappearance other than to gain name-recognition with the voters, he was convicted on February 20 and faces up to seven years in prison.
From all reports, the U.S. Navy actually hit the malfunctioning satellite. Of course all the reports are not in yet and we're not sure where all the stuff is gonna land, but "authorities" keep saying that we're not in danger.
Doesn't that make you feel better?
And you will really feel better when you realize that FEMA was on top of things. FEMA even sent out a memo to various emergency "first responders" throughout the nation which provided them with encouragement to do their job and a link to a First Responder Guide.
I knew that if you knew FEMA was involved you'd sleep like a baby even if the Navy missed the damn thing!
Friday, February 22, 2008
#3 - Trade with Cuba is wrong because Cuba is a communist country. Trade with China and Vietnam, however, is vital to a spirit of international harmony.
Edwin Black's book, IBM and the Holocaust, is one of the most important books published in the last 60 years. When it first fell into my hands, I had no idea what to expect. Like many Americans, I had always thought of IBM as "Big Blue" -- a blue-chip, first-rate company, and a model of American ingenuity and enterprise.
Oh, I had heard stories of IBM's rigidity in terms of dress; that male employees were required to wear white shirts with ties and blue suits. I had heard that the boss expected a 24/7 commitment, that employees were expected to go the extra mile, to be "rah-rah," and to never, ever disparage the firm.
But that's not what Black's book is about. I was not prepared for what this book is about - here's what it's about:
"It tells the story of IBM's conscious involvement--directly and through its subsidiaries--in the Holocaust, as well as its involvement in the Nazi war machine that murdered millions of others throughout Europe."
This was news to me, but evidently it is also "old" news. IBM's collusion with the Nazis has been known for years, but has received little media attention. (Why that is could be another story!)
This book rectifies that situation and here's how it came about.
Edwin Black, whose grandparents were murdered by the Nazis and whose parents are Holocaust survivors, tells of a visit to the United States Holocaust Museum in 1993. Accompanied by his parents, he was stunned to be suddenly confronted, right in the middle of the first exhibit, by an IBM Hollerith D-11 card sorting machine. An IBM nameplate was "clearly affixed" to the machine's front panel.
Black says he stared at that machine for an hour before coming to the decision to learn more about IBM and the Holocaust, a decision that resulted in the book, IBM and the Holocaust.
I read the book several months ago, but what brought it back to mind was an article that came my way recently that listed various "staunch supporters of Israel." A number of well-known American companies and their owners/executives were listed. On page four, I encountered the name, IBM.
IBM, I read, "invests heavily in Israel. IBM employs 1700 people in Israel. IBM was one of three companies that was lauded at the America-Israel Friendship League Partners for Democracy Awards dinner in 2001.
"In May of 2002, IBM received the 'Ambassador's Award' from the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce. This award was in recognition of IBM's 'outstanding contribution to the development of the Israeli high-tech industry ...'"
IBM first began operating in Israel in 1949 and "was the first large American company with a wholly owned subsidiary in Israel, introducing computers to the country."
Sheesh! You'd think IBM should get a medal. [IBM's boss did get a medal, as we shall see!]
These accolades, may, in context, be well-deserved. But there is a history to IBM, a history that casts a long, murderous shadow on that firm's reputation. To my knowledge, IBM has yet to be honest and forthcoming about its collusion with Adolf Hitler.
When Hitler came to power, one goal of the Nazis was to identify and destroy all 600,000 members of the German Jewish community. It would be a massive undertaking and what the Nazis needed in 1933 was a computer, which they didn't have.
Another goal of the Reich was to "mount a systematic campaign of economic disenfranchisement and later begin the massive movement of European Jews out of their homes and into ghettos." This was another gigantic task which cried for a computer.
The Final Solution also desperately needed a computer, as it involved moving thousands of Jews from ghettos to death camps along various railroad lines and along precise time lines. Here again a computer was needed.
Black says computers did not exist in 1933 -
But, the IBM punch card and card sorting system -- "a precursor to the computer" did!
IBM became Hitler's ally in achieving those three goals! "IBM, primarily through its German subsidiary, made Hitler's progam of Jewish destruction a technologic mission the company pursued with chilling success." [My emphasis]
Although much of the actual work was done by IBM Germany, known originally as Dehomag, IBM New York always understood--from the outset in 1933--that it was courting and doing business with the upper echelon of the Nazi Party.
And no one knew more or was more involved in the day to day operations of all of IBM's ventures than its head honcho, Thomas J. Watson.
In June 1937, the International Chamber of Commerce Congress (ICC), which Watson headed, met in Germany. On June 28 of that year, Watson met with Hitler in the Reich Chancellery. What the two discussed, no one knows, but later Watson told the New York Times, "There will be no war. No country wants war, no country can afford it."
Hitler was so taken with Watson (and vice versa) and so grateful for IBM's assistance in their anti-Jewish program, that der Fuhrer decorated Watson with a special medal. The event, staged by Goebbels, with a Venetian Nights theme, took place at Friedrich Wilhelm III's 18th century castle on Peacock Island.
As the 3,000 guests arrived they were met by Berlin schoolgirls wearing white blouses over white silk breeches and white leather slippers. They waved a white fairy's wand and bowed as the dignitaries approached.
It was a night for drinking and Nazi speeches and singing. The group sang the "Horst Wessel Song," and the German national anthem.
Black writes that the "crowning moment [was] the decoration of Watson." As the medal was bestowed upon him, newsreel cameras rolled. The medal itself had "The eight-pointed gold-framed cross of white enamel embedded with German eagles and Nazi emblems dangled about the neck from a broad red, black, and white ribbon in tandem with a second six-pointed star worn over the left breast ... When wearing it, he [Watson] was draped by two swastikas, one to the right and one to the left."
Watson loved it!
To be fair, we should note that a few years later as the Nazi atrocities became more widely publicized, and as the U.S. government clamped down on companies trading with the enemy, Watson did return the medal. Not surprisingly, Hitler was irate, and the German elite took this as a horrible slap in the face.
That did not, however, stop either side from continuing their perverse relationship dedicated to facilitating the killing of Jews by the Nazis and money-making by Watson and IBM.
At no time during the war did IBM and/or Watson give up control of IBM's collusion with the Third Reich. They just ran it through intermediaries.
IBM remained the major facilitator of the Final Solution, providing the means by which the Nazis identified the Jews, first in Germany, and then in the rest of Europe; the means by which the Nazis identified the wealth of the Jews in order to confiscate it; and the means by which the Nazis where able to effectively and efficiently move Jews from a particular point of origin to one of the death camps.
Watson's long gone, of course. But, as mentioned above, IBM and its executives have yet to acknowledge the depth of their duplicity, the vastness of their treason, the guilt of their involvement in genocide. IBM and its executives continue to claim they have little knowledge of the war years, or the files have disappeared, or ...
It appears that Watson did not personally "hate" Jews as Jews. But he had no love or feeling for them, either. He just didn't give a damn what happened to them so long as IBM made money!
When it involved IBM and profit-taking, Watson was amoral. For Watson, it was alway about money, all the time. Most of the time, he personally knew exactly how much money was involved, where it came from and how much was being spent; down to the dime!
The bottom line was his bottom line, and if 6 million Jews and millions of others were tortured and killed ... well, it was just business.
Back to Israel today. Perhaps IBM became involved in Israel in 1949, shortly after Israel gained independence, because of a guilty conscience. I doubt that, however. Corporations don't have consciences, and in the case of IBM, neither did its executives.
So there are questions: Why has IBM made such an investment in Israel? Why does IBM continue to operate in Israel.
From what I know about IBM, it isn't because they give a damn about Israel or its people. With IBM you can be sure the motivation is exactly the same as it was in 1933 when it went into business with Adolf Hitler: Money! That, for IBM, is still the bottom line.
You might say IBM would go into business with the Devil if it meant a profit. Actually, that's exactly what IBM did!
Thursday, February 21, 2008
"Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him, and a bad guy when Bush needed a 'we can't find Bin Laden' diversion."
Why, during the winter, do I feel comfortable when the house temperature is 68 degrees? Why, during the summer, do I feel comfortable when the house temperature is 78 degrees?
German professors in a tizzy
The Jerusalem Post reported on Feb. 18, that 25 German professors, for some unknown reason, decided it was the right time to sign a "manifesto" that urges Germany to stop giving Israel "preferential treatment."
What the hell is this about? I'll tell you what I think...keep reading.
Four of these professors came to Israel to debate their claims with "Israeli academics." So why this manifesto and why now?
The professors said that Germany "helped" establish Israel by expelling Jews from Germany during the Third Reich. About 160,000 of the expelled Jews made it to the British mandate of Palestine "and strengthened the Jewish presence here at the expense of the Arab population."
Good grief! But, seriously, that's what they said.
Furthermore, according to the academics, Germany has "paid off" whatever it owed to the Jewish people by all the money it has given to Holocaust survivors and the Israeli government.
Ah, let's see. Is this about money? Nah. Is it about hatred of Jews? Ja! Is it more slimey anti-Semites parading as academics? Ja! Is it scary? Ja! Ja! Ja!
Living and real or Proving the Bible
I don't know from Nathan Sanders, but he wrote a long essay on "Why I Believe" that appeared on the CBN Website.
He believes, it appears, because Biblical "truth" can be proven. He believes "the faith tradition of the Bible is living and real." [Why can't these people talk in language that makes sense?] What does "faith tradition of the Bible" mean? There are several major "faith" traditions that derive from the Bible: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, plus all their various offshoots.
He also says that other supernatural mythologies are not real 'cause they "center on disconnected beings and events that in no way relate to everyday living." But he never specifies either the other supernatural mythologies or the "disconnected beings and events," so we again don't know what he's talking about.
Furthermore, according to Nathan, "The Bible ... in its entire supernatural splendor and history, deals almost exclusively with real people, real kings and real nations that are historically proven to have existed."
There are two problems with that statement. First of all, even if "real people, real kings and real nations" mentioned in the Bible are "historically proven to have existed" it does not follow that what the Bible says about them is true.
Secondly, he fails to mention that there is absolutely no corraborating evidence anywhere for the existence of Abraham or any of the patriarchs, nor is there any evidence the Israelites were in Egypt, nor is there any evidence whatsoever for Moses, or the plagues or the Exodus, or anything else before about the time of King David, c. 1000 BCE. In fact, many biblical scholars today think the great heroes of the Bible are wholly fictitious.
Well, Mr. Sanders continues in this vein, presenting falsehoods and half-truths and his own personal opinions as fact. For example, he thinks because we have thousands of manuscripts of the "Old" and "New" Testaments, that somehow counts for accuracy and truth. We have no manuscripts whatsoever of the Old Testament before the first century, and the earliest of the New Testament manuscripts come in fragmented form over 100 years after the supposed life of Jesus.
There was no New Testament as we know it today for almost 200 years are the death of Jesus! And the validity of the current 27 books of the New Testament was debated up until the bishops voted to accept them in the 4th century and even then there was great disagreement and Christians around the world kept their own gospels, in some cases, for hundreds of years, until the "orthodox" church ultimately forced them to destroy them.
Mr. Sanders also believes that these manuscripts have been copied rigorously and there are no serious issues concerning their reliability or integrity. That is simply not true. In many cases, we do not have a clue as to the original text or the meaning of the text. We do not even know what the text was!
And even if Sanders should be right about this, that still does not make the writing historically correct. He further neglects to mention there were numerous other New Testament writings and gospels that were used and believed to be authoritative for several hundred years. These must, it seems to me, to be taken into account if one is to have a full picture as to how the "early church" understood the Jesus figure.
In summary, we have very little outside evidence for most of the characters and events depicted in the Bible. There is no valid evidence whatsoever that the Jesus figure existed except for the New Testament. And that cannot be used as "proof." One cannot "prove" the Bible. Nor can one say the Bible is true because the Bible says so.
Sanders is stuck. Eventually, he tries to "prove" the Bible from his own personal experience. Good things have happened to him when he's "trusted" something in the Bible. Unfortunately, there is no way to determine if those good things are the result of his biblical fidelity or a happy pill or the pull of the moon.
I think DovBear has a better approach. He rejects all similar arguments to those submitted by Mr. Sanders. But he believes!
He refers to the philosopher, David Hume, who noted that many of our beliefs are irrational. For example, we believe the sun will rise in the east in the morning. But this is irrational. We have no way of knowing the sun will rise. We think it will because we've seen it happen before and we've made an induction but we have no way of proving that induction.
So if our belief in the sun rising is irrational, why do we continue to believe it? Hume says "that when we are exposed to a regular pattern we have no choice but to believe the pattern will continue. It's how we're wired.
This explanation of the belief gives us no reason to think the belief is actually true, but it explains why we can't shake it."
DovBear goes on to say that his belief in the Torah is similar to the above "in that I can't escape it. My upbringing and education have conspired to produce a human being who believes that a nation of people -- my ancestors -- saw the great fire and heard the admonishing from from Sinai. It's how I am wired.
"There are no grounds for my belief in the revelation: No evidence or argument exists to support it. In fact, I have no ration reason whatsoever to think that this belief is true; nonetheless I can't free myself of it. "Nor do I want to."
Personally, this kind of irrational acceptance of religious faith seems like a bitter fruit. But it is one hell of a lot more honest that people like Nathan Sanders who twist facts and history to justify their need for certainty.
I think it's much more honest to say, "I believe and have no other choice than to believe, even if there is no good reason for my belief," than to claim "I believe because I can prove that the Bible is true."
That explains, perhaps, why so many fundamentalist Christians and Jews are so hyper about their faith. If any part of the Bible can be disproved, their faith is disproved, too.
Who can be saved?
There's a prior question: What does "saved" mean?
Avery Cardinal Dulles wrote an article titled "Who Can Be Saved?" for the February issue of First Things. It begins like this: "Nothing is more striking in the New Testament than the confidence with which it proclaims the saving power of belief in Christ."
Cardinal Dulles then quotes a number of New Testament passages to back up that statement. He also answers (sort of) the prior question above: It is "in Jesus" that we encounter "the Lord of Life" and he brings us "into the way that leads to everlasting blessedness." Saved evidently means "everlasting blessedness."
The cardinal also mentions that "Paul is the outstanding herald of salvation through faith." That's important because the cardinal here buttresses my contention that Jesus said nothing about salvation coming through "faith" in him. That's Paul's message and the Christian church is derivative, not from the Jesus of the Gospels, but from Paul, the creator of a new faith.
Dulles then arrives at the main question as to who can be saved. His answer is fascinating because it seems to directly contradict Vatican pronouncements. We have seen just recently the Vatican and the Pope clearly say that the Jews can be saved only by coming to faith in Christ through the RC Church.
Dulles says something else. Catholics are saved "if they believe the Word of God as taught by the Church and if they obey the commandments. Other Christians can be saved if they submit their lives to Christ and join the community where they think he wills to be found." Jews, ah, they can be saved too. They just have to look "forward in hope to the Messiah and try to ascertain whether God's promise has been fulfilled." Even all the other pagans can be saved. Atheists can be saved "if they worship God under some other name and place their lives at the service of truth and justice."
I don't get it. On the one hand the cardinal quotes Paul who insists "If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
On the other hand, everyone can be saved if they somehow end up worshipping God in some form, which could include the seeking of justice and truth.
No wonder Catholics are always so confused. And why bother with the Church at all?
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Florida's State Board of Education voted 4-3 to change the state's science standards. For the first time, Florida's public schools will actually use the "E" word in science classes.
For the first time, Florida schools will have to teach evolution in depth, stressing that it is "the fundamental concept underlying all of biology and is supported by multiple forms of scientific evidence."
Unfortunately, there are many really stupid people in Florida. Many of these really stupid people protested against the teaching of evolution, and they put pressure on the Board of Education (which had a couple of really stupid people on it) to call evolution a "theory." The board bowed to the pressure and ultimately agreed that evolution would be labeled a "scientific theory."
These really stupid people do not understand science, nor scientific theory. They are so stupid they think a scientific theory is unproven and therefore false, and by labeling evolution a theory they have won a great battle and their little children's minds will not be totally polluted by the godless scientists. But any scientist or non-scientist with a nominal education, knows that "a scientific theory is a well-supported and accepted explanation of nature, not simply a claim." One could say a scientific theory is the truth until it is disproved.
I suppose this vote should be considered a "victory" for Florida's schools and Florida's school children, but it is very sad that we have so many people in this state that are not only ignorant themselves, but want to pass their ignorance on to all the state's children.
These morons are also liars and perhaps that's their biggest sin. They denied their opposition to the new standards was based on religion, but rather insisted that evolution is "flawed" and students should be able to explore those flaws.
They also claimed they were adherents of "academic freedom," and that was the "real issue" involved. The schools, they said, should have "academic freedom" to teach creationism.
Sheesh, what a bunch of crap.
This is what happens when people live by a moribund theology created out of ancient mythologies. Truth, for them, is revealed and unchanging! And they will lie with impunity to push their religious agenda--this "truth"--on the rest of us.
The schools have all the "academic freedom" they need to deal with the theory of evolution. It's built in. The scientific method operates upon the observation changes occur over time, that we do not have all the answers for all time. The theory of evolution is simply the best explanation at present as to how the earth has evolved from its inception. If, tomorrow, scientific research shows that evolution is "flawed," as these phony Christians argue, then scientists themselves would be first to modify the theory.
Again, the "academic freedom" ploy is just another plot by fundamentalist Christians to gain entree into the public schools in the state of Florida so they can attempt to shove their religious nonsense down the throats of unsuspecting students.
P.S. God herself text-messaged me after she heard about the Board's vote. "Thank God," she wrote, "I am so sick of these idiots taking literally the beautiful poetry of the book of Genesis!"
Well, that's the truth!
It is also said that God has created everything that exists now or that ever has existed or that will ever exist in the future.
That assumption creates many problems for many folks.
Maybe God is a committee.
That would help explain the following.
Consider: On the one hand, God hath created an incredibly beautiful world, with gorgeous mountains and foaming seas, sun-tanned deserts and blue-green lakes. God hath further created all the animals and plants of the earth - and humans have marvelled for years how marvelous they are and all creation is.
On the other hand, God hath created hurricanes and tornadoes, and sink holes and comets crashing. God hath created mountains that blow up and mountains that come crashing down. God hath created disease and pain that escapes not even innocent children. God hath created the pestilence of evil that reigns upon the earth.
How can this be?
God is a committee.
That's why God can be god and be responsible for all of the above. It also explains why God created human beings with free will, and then became angry when they exercised that free will and killed them all, except for one crazy old coot by name of Noah, who immediately after his salvation fell again into horrible sins.
That's why the god of the Bible can command his people not to kill and in the next breath tell them they must kill their children if the latter fail to observe the Sabbath. That's why the Biblical god can tell his people to kill all their enemies except for the women; they can save the women to rape them.
That's why Jesus' can say his god is so full of love that not even a sparrow escapes his attention, but turn right around and promise that sinners will burn forever in a hell of fire.
Obviously, the god in which most people believe is contradictory, moody, morose, spiteful, angry, schizophrenic, paranoid, bi-polar, occasionally loving (if people obey his commands or believe the right theology), and more.
There's only one explanation. God is a committee.
Most Biblical scholars recognize that fact already even though they don't use that terminology. We get our understanding of god from the Biblical writings, and the Bible was put together by a large committee of various writers over a period of a thousand years. These writers present widely-varying pictures of god. That's why thousands of books have been written to try to explain which exactly is the "right" picture.
Their is no "right" picture as they are all right.
God is a committee.
So the next time you pray, start this way: "Whereas, I have tried my best..."
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
A friend sent me a paper that describes "What you need to believe to be a Republican." This has been floating around the Internet for awhile, but we're going to offer up one of "what you need to believe" per day until they're all used up. They're funny, but sadly, also true!
Here's No. 1: That Jesus loves you and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.
Get on Board - or not
"Ever since 'we' invaded Iraq, most of us have gotten nothing to show for it other than an enormously increased national debt that we will be paying off for decades to come and an economy that is sputtering into recession."
So says Robert Scheer of Truthdig. I would add that we've also gotten 4,000 dead American soldiers, thousands of wounded, thousands of shredded lives, and hundreds of thousands of other dead. But Scheer, in this instance, is talking economics, and in that sense, the only people who made out in this mess are the "royals" who control our government, almost all of which are joined at the hip to the oil bizness.
"It's easy," says Scheer, "for the Bush big shots to equate the fortunes of big oil with that of the nation. After all, George W. got to be president only because his failed career in the Texas oil industry exposed his charms to the big energy guys, who then bankrolled his political career. Dick Cheney was an out-of-work defense secretary when picked to be CEO of Halliburton, which has profited mightily from its dealings with Exxon, not to mention running the Iraq franchise."
But what Scheer says next is most interesting and something I had missed along the way:
"... the image we should all recall is of the Chevron tanker named Condoleezza Rice. Only in America would we think it not a conflict of interest that Rice was paid handsomely for being on the board of Chevron from 1991 until she resigned to go to work in the Bush White House. How worried can she be about the deteriorating position of the United States in the world when her oil company buddies are doing so well?"
Scheer suggests that the reason the oil companies, (and he names Exxon specifically) do so well is not that they have incredible oil-drilling skills, but because they are backed up by the power of the U.S. military! The U.S. military "can be marshaled to intimidate those nations that would dare challenge Exxon's right to profit exorbitantly." The oil companies, says Scheer dare strut across the oil-stained sands because they have "the full confidence that Uncle Sam will back them up."
What we need to understand is that the interests of the oil companies are not the national interest; that the interests of the oil companies are not in your best interest or mine. Too many of our young men and women have died and too many of our country's resources have been plundered to protect these behemoth corporations.
So, Scheer concludes: "The next time you fork it over at the pump remember the $40.6 billion Exxon got, and you will get the point that 'they' and 'we' are hardly in the same boat."
P.S. Oil has now reached $100 a barrel!
One Republican a day
If a Republican legislator or other form of politician begins clamoring about homosexuality, or child abuse or other such, I immediately find that person suspect. Over and over again, the people who have been most vocal about these things are revealed to be closet homosexuals or child predators.
Pam Spaulding at Pam's House Blend tells about Robert A. McKee. McKee "is a Republican delegate from Western Maryland as well as a former chaplain for the Hagerstown Jaycees and trustee and community services chairman at First Christian Church. Hagerstown authorities looking into child pornography confiscated two computers, videotapes and printed materials from McKee's home a few days ago.
McKee has sponsored legislation designed to protect children from sexual predators. McKee, for 29 years has worked for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Washington County. Due to this recent flap, however, he resigned his post as Executive Director.
Now it comes: "For me, this is deeply embarrassing. It reflects poorly on my service to the community," said McKee. You think?
He went on to say that "My primary focus is to get well and stay well. I know this can only happen with the support and prayers of my family and friends and the help of professionals."
At least, contrary to our friend, Senator Craig, he owns up to what he is. And I truly hope he can get well. But I sure do get tired of all this hypocritical b.s. these guys put out over the years!
Houston killer a youth pastor
He's been working at Elim Church in Pasadena, Texas, a suburb of Houston. He's 29 years old and his name is Calvin Wayne Inman. He resigned his position as youth pastor in December.
On Feb. 5, Inman told police he stabbed a 64-year old convenience store clerk to death in 1994 when the clerk asked Inman and a 13-year old friend for ID before selling them tobacco. He told police he could no longer keep this secret.
Some members of Elim Church have forgiven Inman, and say they admire his courage. One man said "He's a hero, really. I don't know how many people would do what he did. The Bible says you just need to confess to God. Calvin took an extra step."
Nah. He's not a hero. A hero goes out of his way against incredible odds to save someone else, not his own ass. And it should be emphasized that the Bible does not say you just need to confess to God. It says you must definitely confess to those you harmed and make restitution.
No doubt Inman, recently ordained and born-again, was feeling a bad case of the guilts. To confess under that kind of emotional duress doth not a hero make!
Frankly, I don't know what I'd do with this guy. It's a conundrum. Thank god I'm not god!
Ray Kurzell, "a leading US inventor," says that by 2029, "Machines will achieve human-level artificial intelligence."
[This is humor: I'm not sure that's so good. There's too many dumb humans now. We certainly don't need dumb machines, too.]
Back to the story. Kurzwell claims that it won't be long before we'll be able to put little bitty robots in our brains to make us smarter. He thinks that we will also see a merging of humans and machines through devices planted in the body which will better our health as well as our intelligence.
It seems to me that some of this is going on now. e.g. pacemakers, insulin pumps?
Kurzwell acknowledges that's true but says that his predictions are simply an extension of what is currently happening.
He told BBC News that "We'll have intelligent nanobots go into our brains through the capillaries and interact directly with our biological neurons."
I wonder if this means we can change emotional behavior; if we can create law-abiding citizens out of criminals; if we can modify destructive behavior and habits?
And if so, and we become humanistic machines or vice versa, what does this do to a concept of a deity and how does it impact ethics?
Maybe we are god!
What Islam says about sex and marriage
This from Joanna Sugden in Times Online. Sharia, or Islamic law, says a number of interesting things about sex and marriage.
1. A man can have four wives if he can take care of them "equally." [This is not the case in Tunisia where polygamy was outlawed as it was felt that only Mohammed could satisfy four women. And in other Islamic countries, a man has to prove he has the necessary financial resources before he can marry more than one woman.]
2. A man must go to each wife an equal number of nights. If he marries a virgin, he can stay with her for 7 consecutive nights. A non-virgin bride only gets three consecutive nights.
3. A man cannot marry two women who are sisters.
4. Muslims must pay a dower or the marriage is not valid.
5. Virgins, younger women, educated women and pretty women get higher dowers. A wife can refuse sex is her dower hasn't been paid.
6. There is no alimony in Islamic law. Thus a woman can delay receiving a dower until divorce, and a man can increase the amount during the marriage.
7. A man must provide his wife with a house removed from her in-laws and his other wives, or she can leave him.
8. A man in Saudi Arabia can divorce a wife by saying "talaq, talaq, talaq." This can be done in person, over the phone, by text message, fax, or telegram. In other Islamic countries a man must say "talaq" over three consecutive months.
9. A man can revoke the divorce up to three months after he said "talaq." But during that three months he must provide for his wife financially.
10. A man can revoke his divorce by smiling at his wife within three months from his "talaq."
11. A couple whose divorce has become final cannot remarry until the woman has married another person and had sex with him and then divorced him.
12. A woman can obtain a divorce is she can prove her husband has a sexually-transmitted disease that could prove fatal, or elephantiasis, or is insane, or if he mistreats her or fails to fulfill his sexual duties. Women now have the right to divorce by mutual consent and the wife must return her dower.
Sounds a lot like the good old Biblical days!
Selling Perfumes and Jesus
Looking Good for Jesus is an American company. It put together an advertising campaign with Jesus at the center to sell its products but quit after Roman Catholics protested.
This all happened in Singapore. LG for J was selling perfumes and other smelly stuff with "cruciforms and images of Christ flanked by women." Catholics got mad.
Some of the slogans were creative if nothing else: Believe in God breath spray, for example, used the following: "Get tight with Christ," "Get His Attention," and "Redeem Your Reputation and More."
The company also sells items such as Virtue Perfume, Pope's Cologne, and handcreme made by Norwegian nuns...
This company stinks!
Monday, February 18, 2008
Cal Thomas, that rascally man, is the self-righteous Catholic mouth of the right-wing. He's miffed because today's "conservatives" want to be like Reagan and because they keep reminding folks how much they resemble ol' sleepyhead. "Ronald Reagan is dead," he said, "and he's not coming back. Now, can conservatives please move on?"
That was a bit surprising but some other things he said about the revered Mr. Reagan were kinda shocking.
Thomas questions Reagan's "conservative" credentials by reminding his readers that while Reagan cut taxes (like a good conservative is supposed to do) he also raised taxes.
Oh, my god, is that true?
Thomas also says that Reagan may have opposed abortion but he named Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy to the Supremes and they voted to uphold Roe v. Wade. Hee, hee. This just gets better and better.
Reagan was advised not to send U.S. Marines to Lebanon, but he ignored that advice and hundreds were murdered by a suicidal bomber.
Reagan even did a arms-for-hostages deal with Iran. Holy crap! Can you imagine what the conservatives would have said if Clinton had done that?
On most Sundays, Reagan avoided attending the church of his choice, whatever that was.
So why does Mr. Thomas tell us all this? He's not really clear about that. It appears he's saying that Reagan was no conservative hero, so look elsewhere for direction. He says today's conservatives should adopt "conservative principles to actually solve, rather than just talk about serious problems." [I guess Mr. Reagan's conservative principles are no longer worthy, 'cause they're mostly talk!]
Then Thomas concludes by saying that "Liberal ideas mostly don't work."
Well, hell, I still don't know what a "conservative principle" is, and I don't think Thomas does either. And what in the world are "liberal" ideas? He doesn't say, 'cause he doesn't have a clue. And if we've been operating under conservative principles the past seven years, some "liberal" ideas are long overdue!
We have said several times recently that somewhere along the way John McCain has lost his way.
Bill Press (Tribune Media Services columnist) offers some interesting observations on that topic. Press admits he used to think highly of John McCain. But no longer. Press also admits, somewhat balefully, that McCain has sold his soul. He has, says Press, "morphed into an extreme right-winger ...
" ...he should change the name of his bus from The Straight Talk Express to the Double-Talk Express."
Press provides some examples of soul-selling and double-talk:
1. In 2001 and 2003, McCain voted against the Bush tax cuts for the rich. These days he's praising those same cuts and wants to make them permanent.
2. McCain came down hard on religious right-wingers like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and James Dobson, calling them "agents of intolerance." Today he can't bend over fast enough to kiss their asses.
3. In 2000, he said the Confederate flag was "a symbol of racism and slavery." These days he's calling it "a symbol of heritage, and saying the states should decide what to do with that flag.
4. At first he was with Bush on immigration reform. That got conservatives angry. Now he says he wouldn't even sign the immigration bill he sponsored!
5. In 2004, he had nothing but condemnation for the Swift Boat liars and their phony attacks on John Kerry. The Nation magazine reported recently that McCain has accepted more than $60K in campaign contributions from those no-goodniks!
6. This week, as we know, he moved from an anti-torture stance to a "yes, let's waterboard the bastards" stance.
7. Just a year ago he was making big noises about the Iraqi warmongers misleading the American people. Now, Mr. McCain thinks we "can win an overwhelming victory in a very short time," and "it's OK with him if American troops remain in Iraq for 100 years."
Mr. Press notes that it is impossible at this point to tell the difference between the old Bush and the new McCain - they're two peas in a pod.
That's why he says if you vote for McCain "You might as well vote to re-elect George Bush and Dick Cheney for another four years."
Any old dictator will do
This past Sunday, Parade Magazine ran a piece called "The World's 10 Worst Dictators."
The interesting thing is that the U.S. maintains close trade and/or other relationships with eight of them!
Take China, for example: We buy so much stuff from China that our trade deficit is almost one billion dollars a day! The U.S. government owes Chinese lenders $388 billion! Meanwhile, China remains a harsh dictatorship, and carries on a continuing espionage program to spy out our technological secrets.
It's amazing that while the U.S. has forbidden trade with Cuba for over 40 years, it trades with just about every other penny-ante dictator in the world. Well, not so amazing when you remember that most of those Cubans in Miami vote Republican, and would vote against any politician that dared suggest a revising our Cuba policy.
How many times have we heard that Saudi Arabia is our ally in the "war on terror." Hah! They must be laughing so hard in Riyadh they're falling off their camels! Here's what that "alliance" means: they sell us oil and we feed them big bunches of money! Meanwhile they breed terrorists who kill Americans - in New York, Iraq, and elsewhere and we pretend we don't know about it.
The Saudis are ruled with an iron fist by King Abdullah. As Parade pointed out, the country "adheres to a punitive justice system in which young teens can be sentenced to death and defendants tortured. Women are more oppressed than in any country -- they can't even seek medical care without a male guardian's permission." Recently, a woman was beaten and sentenced to death because she was raped by seven men!
We love 'em though, 'cause they got so much oil! And our prez and his man, Cheney, and their families and companies have been sleeping with the Saudis for years!
Now, in spite of the fact that 15 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis, and in spite of the fact that most of the al-Qaida fighters in Iraq come from Saudi Arabia, and in spite of the fact that Saudi Arabia is a terrorist nation, our president Bush wended his way across the Atlantic just last month to deliver "a major arms sale to ol' Abdullah himself.
NSA advisor, Stephen Hadley, said this arms deal was "a pretty big package, lots of pieces." We know some of it involved precision-guided bombs. I wonder if they could use those to attack Israel?
Is it any wonder that most of the nations and the people in the world view the Bush administration and, by extension, the rest of us, as major hypocrites?
Billy Graham again
Every Saturday our local paper carries a column written by evangelist Billy Graham. I don't imagine he's writing much now just after brain surgery so he either wrote these at a previous time or someone is ghost-writing them.
This past week's column contained a question for the rev about tithing. [Tithing, in case you don't know, means giving 10% of your income to your church, temple, or mosque or other god-like institution.]
A woman wrote to Billy to ask if tithing was just for rich folks. "Oh no," said Billy, "it's for everybody." And then he told the story about the poor widow that Jesus commended because "'she, out of her poverty, put in everything - all she had to live on.' She did it out of her love for God."
Well, that's a nice story, but it doesn't make a bit of sense. If she gave away everything she had, she would die. What's the point of that?
And if every Christian followed her example, you'd have a lot of really rich churches and a ton of really poor believers.
Billy went sounding a bit like Joel Osteen. He referred to the Hebrew Bible and noted that in Malachi 3:10, God promises great blessings to those who tithe. In fact, you'll get so much stuff you won't have room to store it.
Wow! Everybody go tithe and God will make you rich!
Catholic Church riches
It isn't any secret that one of the world's largest caches of ostentatious wealth can be found at the Vatican.
Not too many people get to see all these riches, however, 'cause they're in Rome, which is way the hell and gone over in Italy, so the Roman church decided to do a road show. They're going to three U.S. cities, the first one being St. Petersburg, right here in Florida.
There's lots of good stuff to see, and it would no doubt be worth the trouble to go to St. Petersburg if you lived anywhere in the vicinity.
But, I was intrigued by one item. It is an artifact "deemed 'not made by human hands.'" Called the Mandylion of Edessa, it features a "gaunt, bearded face staring from" a cloth and is thought to be "the likeness of Jesus."
The story goes "that Jesus pressed a handkerchief to his face, leaving an indelible imprint of his likeness much like the Shroud of Turin. Scientific evidence suggests it is a painting, but regardless, the object remains one of the Vatican's prized possessions."
It should not be difficult to ascertain what the imprint really is. But I guess when you're dealing with magic, you want to avoid the light of the truth at all costs. Furthermore, the Shroud of Turin has been proven a fake, so the RC's probably want to avoid another embarrassment.
Wait, I don't think the RC Church can be embarrassed. If it could, it would have gone out of business years ago!
CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network - courtesy of Pat Robertson) carried a "devotion" the other day by one Dianne Matthews. Ms. Matthews wrote we should love each other because Jesus told people they should "love each other" (John 13:34), and that "we" should "love our enemies and do good to those who hate us" (Luke 6:27).
Furthermore, Ms. Matthews points out, in John 13:36, Jesus says that by loving "one another" we show we are following him.
She ends her little devotion this way: "Maybe we should use February 14 to reach out to those who don't come to mind when we think of valentines."
Sounds good. But what does she mean by "reach out"? If she means we should accept people for what they are, care about them, allow them to be different than we are without judging them, listen to them, see them as persons of worth, respect them, ensure that they're rights are protected...then maybe we can take her seriously.
I don't think that's it.
I think "Ms. Matthews is full of pious platitudes!"
Would someone writing on Pat Robertson's Website encourage you to "reach out" to homosexuals, pro-choice folks, Democrats, socialists, main-line Christians, Jews who don't want to become Christians, Muslims, porn stars, evolutionists, atheists, etc.?
Ain't gonna happen, is it? What you do find at CBN and other Christian right sites is a lot of judgment and condemnation aimed at the very people mentioned above. And that, of course, violates another of Jesus' "commands," as noted by Charles Barkley below.
Charles Barkley's Opinion
Charles Barkley's opinion probably has exactly the value that you want to attach to it. But here's what he said. He's supporting Barack Obama for president.
"I've got great respect for Sen. McCain, great respect, but I don't like the way Republicans have taken this country. Every time I hear the word 'conservative,' it makes me sick to my stomach, because they're really just fake Christians, as I call them. That's all they are.
"I think they want to be judge and jury. Like, I'm for gay marriage. It's none of my business if gay people want to get married. I'm pro-choice. And I think these Christians, first of all, they're not supposed to judge other people. But they're the most hypocritical judge of people we have in the country. And it bugs the hell out of me. They act like they're Christians. They're not forgiving at all."
Do you think Ms. Matthews would "reach out" to Mr. Barkley?
Preaching by pestering at Daytona Beach
Our small-town paper carried several interesting articles today. One of them describes the Central Florida Raceway Ministry, part of the Halifax Baptist Association, "a regional consortium of 34 Southern Baptist churches."
Most newspapers would not find this newsworthy, but we've got so many ultra-right Christians in this town that our paper feels it has to pander to them by publishing this kind of dreck on a weekly basis.
This racetrack ministry has been hanging around the Daytona 500 for 20 years. They're back and busy at this Daytona 500, too. Ronnie Barton, pastor of First Baptist Church of South Daytona did some preaching to a few folks last Sunday in a 20-by-20-foot tent on the grounds of the Daytona International Speedway.
Barton, wanting to be "relevant," tried to relate his message to the race, and told his listeners they need to "finish the race." He suggested that "As Christians, we have to finish the race. We're already going to have the victory, aren't we? Since our victory is not going to be here on Earth, we have to run the race that is set before us in this world, and we need to finish strong."
I don't have a clue what he's talking about. Sounds Southern Baptisty, though. And don't the Muslims believe the same stuff about victory in some other world?
There are a number of folks involved in this ministry. They hand out coffee and donuts and cookies and cards with Bible quotations. They go from camper to camper trying to sell their brand of religion and invite people to their church.
They sound almost as pesky as those Jehovah's Witnesses! Leave me to the race in peace!
Sex, Sex, Sex
That's what a Tampa (FL) church is selling. It's the Relevant Church (I kid you not) which meets at the Italian Club. I'm serious!
Anyway, a committee (all male!) came up with the idea of what they call a "30-Day Sex Challenge," the purpose of which is to help people "improve their relationships and rediscover themselves."
Here's how it works: If you're single, you refrain from sex for 30 days. If you're married, you have sex every day. (Please note that most of the members of this "church" are in their 20s and 30s.)
You might find out more about this at the church's blog:
You may not want to find our more, of course.
Why Florida is so backward
We've mentioned how the study of evolution in Florida is often ignored by schools and teachers even though it is mandated to be taught by the Department of Education.
The St. Petersburg Times conducted a survey about evolution and other education-related issues to 750 registered voters Feb. 6-10. I'm not sure of its validity, but it is supposed to have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
The surveyors extrapolated that only 22 percent of Floridians want public schools to teach "an evolution-only curriculum, while 50 percent want only faith-based theories such as creationism or intelligent design."
Consider that in light of the fact that there are absolutely no recognized scientists in the world that disbelieve in evolution! None! Scientist and creationist are contradictory terms! As a marine biologist from the University of South Florida noted, "[Evolution's] strength as a scientific theory matches that of the theory of gravitation, atomic theory and the germ theory."
Nineteen percent of Floridians reject evolution because they believe it is not consistent with Biblical teachings.
One of those is a former Florida legislator, now executive director of the Christian Coalition of Florida, Dennis Baxley. Baxley says flat out that the marine biologist is "in error." Well, Baxley should know, great scientist that he is. I'm just kidding. Actually, he's an undertaker.
This survey shows several things: We have done a horrible job of teaching science in our schools. We have not responded adequately and fully to the misguided criticisms of evolution. We have allowed Christian conservatives to gain enough credibility to negatively influence scientific debate and scientific truth.
It really shouldn't surprise anyone that Florida consistently finds itself on the bottom of the barrell when it comes to educational achievement.
God is Sovereign
Mark Creech is a "reverend," and executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc.
In a recent article, called "Don't forget -- God is sovereign in the political process," he discusses the conservative reaction to John McCain, referring to Rush Limbaugh and James Dobson, both of which have expressed outrage that McCain might head up the 2008 Republican presidential ticket.
Creech thinks Huckabee should be their man. "...I ... believe evangelicals have had a great opportunity in Mike Huckabee," he said.
But never mind. God is sovereign. Conservatives must remember that. God rules the political process. "Have we become more focused on the process than on the God who controls it?" he asks. "Granted, we must diligently seek to influence the culture for righteousness sake. Nevertheless, evangelicals are not sailing the ship politic and never were. There is but one Captain -- the Lord -- and He raises to power whomever he wills. Infighting and laying blame is (sic) counterproductive to advancing the kingdom."
Does that mean we blame God for Bush? But notice the growing concern here for the splintering fracture occurring among the ultra-right Christian movement.
But then this theologically-challenged clown says this is not a time to withdraw. He wants the right-wingers to vote for McCain. "Only a straining of the facts makes John McCain equal to or worse than the godless direction a Clinton or Obama ticket would take the nation. Such would not only imperil the social agenda of conservative evangelicals."
Wow! What kind of crap is this? Is this what Ms. Matthews meant about "reaching out"? Clinton and Obama are both Christians. How could Creech say they would take the nation in a "godless direction?"
Creech ends this screed by making this statement: "God is sovereign over everything and ultimately His will cannot be defeated."
One wonders how someone can get so disengaged from reality. The Jesus mythologies are now over 2,000 years old. It has been hell on wheels ever since and much of that hell has been caused by Jesus' lovers. What exactly, one wonders, would Creech say was God's will? Or has nothing happened in 2,000 years that could fall into that category?
Was the Romanization of the church by Constantine God's will? Was the persecution of the Jews throughout the history of the church God's will? Were the Crusades God's will? Was the Spanish Inquisition God's will. Was the Reformation God's will? Was the Council of Trent God's will? Was Luther's book against the Jews God's will? Was WWI God's will? Was the Holocaust God's will? Was Richard Nixon God's will? Was Reagan part of God's plan? (Maybe God works better when a prez is asleep!). Clinton must have been the will of God 'cause the country did so well under his administration.
Obviously, Creech believes it is God's will that McCain, tainted though he may be, be elected president.
How can Creech claim God is sovereign when his will seldom, or never, gets accomplished?
And if, God forbid, it is God's will that McCain be prez, let's hope that God's will is thwarted big-time!
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Back in May of 2007, when the Bushites were putting together "secret new rules governing interrogations," the New York Times reported that "a group of experts advising the intelligence agencies [argued] that the harsh techniques used since the 2001 terrorist attacks are outmoded, amateurish and unreliable."
Our interrogation methods, claimed these experts, are "a hodgepodge that date from the 1950s, or are modeled on old Soviet practices." Soviet practices? The KGB?
There has been an outcry that these techniques, or what some call "expedient methods," are immoral and unjustifiable. That is no doubt true. But the researchers have found something else: "there is little evidence ... that harsh methods produce the best intelligence."
But facts have always been treated as irrelevant by the Bushites. Thus the Bush administration went ahead with an executive order setting new rules for the CIA, which would ban some interrogation techniques, but would authorize certain unnamed methods disallowed in the military by the Army Field Manual.
Bush says these disallowed methods are "crucial." Push up the pain and the bad guys will tell us what we want, says Bush. That may be true, but what Bush wants to hear may not be the truth.
It all came to a head a few days ago on February 13. It turns out that one of those disallowed methods that Bush likes so much is waterboarding. But, this time Bush didn't get his way. When the Intelligence Authorization Bill came to the floor of the U.S. Senate, it contained a provision by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that established one interrogation standard across the government: the standard set out by the U.S. Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence.
The Senate voted in favor of the bill, 51-45. (I think every one of those 45 senators who voted "no" should undergo the experience of waterboarding: Just so's they get to know what they're talking about.)
John McCain (R-AZ), who has on previous occasions spoken strongly in favor of the standards found in the Army Field Manual, caved in to right-wing pressure and voted, "No." Please note that former POW and American hero John McCain voted IN FAVOR OF TORTURE! As we've said before, McCain has nary a moral bone in his body!
Bush says he'll veto the bill. He wants to waterboard those terrorist suckers! That will mean, of course, that old waffling John will have to vote again - either to signal his opposition to torture or to crawl in bed with the Bush slimebuckets.
There's a reason Bush wants a vote in favor of waterboarding and it has to do with more than just his desire to torture people. Again from Keith Olbermann:
"It is a fact startling in its cynical simplicity and it requires cynical and simple words to be properly expressed: The presidency of George W. Bush has now devolved into a criminal conspiracy to cover the ass of George W. Bush ...
"All of it is now, after one revelation last week, transparently clear for what it is: the pathetic and desperate manipulation of the government, the refocusing of our entire nation, toward keeping this mock president and this unstable vice president and this departed wildly self-overrating attorney general, and the others, from potential prosecution for having approved or ordered the illegal torture of prisoners being held in the name of this country."
Waterboarding is torture! Mr. Bush said the US does not torture. Mr. Bush is a liar!
But, if waterboarding really is torture, then Bush and company are in deep caca! They are guilty of serious crimes. And that would mean they're going to jail.
So, if you want to keep this lying, torturing president out of prison, write to your Senator and tell him/her to vote not to override the veto.
Then try to sleep at night.
George's Fantasy World
Jim Hightower tells good stories. This one is especially good. It's about a painting Bush has hanging in the Oval Office; a 1916 cowboy picture by one W.H.D. Koerner, titled "A Charge to Keep." It shows a guy on a horse "determinedly charging up what appears a steep and rough trail."
Bush likes to think that depicts the way he is. People who have seen the painting have been known to remark that the guy tearing up the trail reminds them of old George hisself.
But, "Over the years," says Mr. Hightower, "Bush has added a Christian morality tale to the painting, declaring that the artist based it on a Methodist hymn, and that the indomitable horseman really is a circuit-riding minister rushing passionately ahead to spread he religion of Methodism..."
Ho, ho, ho. Hightower's point here is that Bush lives in a world of his own creation, a fantasy that has little or no relationship to reality.
Yep. What Bush tells people about his painting is NOT true. Koener created the painting for a Saturday Evening Post story called "The Slipper Tongue," which has to do with a horse thief, and not only is the guy tearing up the trail not a hero, he is the horse thief hisself trying to get away from a lynch mob.
Hightower suggests that "...when Bush says that he sees himself in the painting he might inadvertently be revealing the truth."
It's About Time
The U.S. House of Representatives finally did something right! They voted to charge two Bush administration chump-a-lumps with contempt!
The vote was 223-32 to hold presidential chief of staff Josh Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers in contempt for failing to cooperate with subpoenas ordering them to appear before the House Judiciary Committee. Yeah! (Some "angry" Repubs walked out of the chamber.)
Congress wants documents from 2006-2007 relative to the firing of U.S. attorneys who some think were fired with White House authorization because they were more concerned with upholding the law than protecting Republican party interests.
It's about time the feet of these contemptible Bush officials were held to the fire. For too long they have acted as if they were above the law and beholden to no one or no thing.
The White House is whining as usual about this blatant display of partisanship and claims that the info desired is protected by executive privilege and that Bolten and Miers are immune from prosecution.
That's par for the course. The Bushites have been breaking the law with impunity for seven years! Why shouldn't they have immunity now?
This action, by the way, was the first time in 25 years that a full House has voted on a contempt of Congress citation.
May there be many more! And may the crooks go to jail!
FEMA remains incompetent
Toxic levels of formaldehyde have been discovered in hundreds of government-issued trailers used to house hurricane victims. FEMA has known about this for some time but has failed to take action, other than telling the occupants not to breathe deeply and to open the windows!
Congressional Democrats have accused FEMA of doctoring information to play down the risk of these formaldehyde fumes. One CDC expert who suggested that any level of exposure to formaldehyde may cause cancer was demoted.
Now FEMA says it will hurry to move people out of about 35,000 trailers. "Hurry" in this case means FEMA hopes this can be done by summer. I think they mean 2008.
Ah sheesh! FEMA, while moving people out of trailers in one area, is at the same time moving people into trailers in another area. FEMA plans to distribute mobile homes to people left homeless as a result of the tornadoes last week in Arkansas and Tennessee.
"There will be processes put in place to ensure safety," said James McIntrye, a FEMA spokesman.
Lincoln Chafee endorses Obama
Just in case you missed this. The former Republican senator from Rhode Island gave Barack Obama his endorsement on Thursday (Feb. 14). Obama, claimed Mr. Chafee, is the most likely candidate to restore the credibility of the U.S.
"I believe Senator Obama is the best candidate to restore American credibility, to restore our confidence, to be moral and just, and to bring people together to solve the complex issues such as the economy, the environment and global stability," said Sen. Chafee.
Chafee was the only Republican in the Senate to vote against the war in Iraq. In other words, he's a real American hero!
Consider his comments: In his endorsement of Obama, he explicity condemns the Bush administration of destroying American credibility, of destroying our people's confidence in their country, of being immoral and unjust, and dividing people to the extent that solutions to economic, environmental and global problems could not be discovered.
I think that sums up the situation rather neatly.
Mike Huckabee, that ethically-challenged theocratic candidate for prez, complained the other day that campaigning was very difficult and tiring. It was so difficult and tiring that he felt like he had been waterboarded.
Isn't that funny?
Not. The question is, why would anyone think this chump has any of the qualities that we need as president?