Saturday, March 1, 2008

McCain Not Renouncing Bigot's Support

John McCain says he has "unspecified disagreements" with his biggest bigoted supporter, John Hagee.

" ... in no way did I intend for his endorsement to suggest that I in turn agree with all of Pastor Hagee's views, which I obviously do not."

C'mon, John, be specific! Which of Hagee's view do you not agree with? Do you not agree that the Catholic Church conspired with the Nazis against the Jews? Do you not agree that we can have no accomodation with Islam? Do you not agree that Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for the sins of the people of New Orleans? Do you not agree that anyone who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their lord and savior will burn in hell forever. Do you not agree that we should start a war with Iran to bring on the end-times where the Jews will finally get what's coming to them? Do you not agree that women are inferior to men? Do you not agree that homosexuals are perverts and deserving of God's unending wrath?

So, tell us, John, which views of the wrong Mr. Hagee do you not agree with?

And how can you stand there and tell us with a straight face that Hagee "supports what I stand for and believe in"? How can you stand there and tell us with a straight face that you're "proud" of Hagee's spiritual leadership?

Do you need to president so bad you're going to keep on selling your soul?

Now I think it was important that Barack Obama rejected and renounced the support of Louis Farrakhan. I think that it was important that Obama said clearly that he does not want nor does he seek the support of Louis Farrakhan.

I think it is also important that you screw up enough courage to do the same relative to John Hagee, Rod Parsley, and all the other other nasty, bigoted, screwball right wing clergy that line up behind you.

We'll be waiting.

"Huh?" says Bush

At the last Democratic presidential candidates debate, Tim Russert, with his trademark sideways leer, asked Clinton and Obama what they knew about the new Russian leader.

It was a "trick" question. Hee, hee. The trick was that he had "Googled" Dmitry Medvedev and had a few facts at hand. He also knew it was unlikely that either Clinton or Obama had given much thought to Medvedev being in the middle of a presidential campaign and all.

One thing about Timmy, he is sneaky!

Both Clinton and Obama responded to the effect that Putin will most likely remain a power, if not the power, in Russia. They simply didn't know much about Medvedev.

Not a bad answer.

Russert sneered.

On the 28th of February, when President Bush was asked a similar question at a news conference, he said pretty much the same thing. Medvedev is an unknown quantity so it's hard to know what to expect - whether Putin or Medvedev will wield the power.

When asked about U.S. - Russian relations in the future, Bush basically said he had no idea, that he wanted to know more about "how Russia intends to conduct foreign policy after Vladimir Putin's presidency. And I can't answer the question yet."

I'll give Bush credit for confessing he knows very little about the new Russian leader or what to expect following the elections there next month. It's nice to see him not swagger and pretend he has all the answers.

I wonder if that would be enough for Russert?

McCain and the Crackpot

McCain has already won the endorsement of John Hagee, the Texas end-times phony TV evangelist. Lucky John.

He has also won the endorsement of another religious right crackpot, Rod Parsley of Ohio. Parsley, like Hagee, is the operator of a huge mega-church, which serves as a center for his religious skullduggery.

Parsley, 51, "claims to be fomenting revolution at God's direction. This revolution -- theocratic in character, of course -- is portrayed by Parsley as a battle between the beleaguered, persecuted Christian and a secular culture that has devolved into chaos."

He forsees an apocalyptic showdown between the forces of good and evil, which will involve Islam. "I do not believe our country can truly fulfill its divine purpose until we understand our historical conflict with Islam," he said.

Homosexuals come under his strong condemnation. " ... the pressure on society to accept the audacious behaviors and disastrous consequences of homosexual activity is not a matter of cultural drift or shifting mores; it is a highly orchestrated, highly organized, and extremely disciplined political program."

Parsley claims to be divinely inspired and one who can clearly determine the difference between right and wrong. He has been "annointed" by God to lead a moral revolution which he says will lead to a "Third Great Awakening."

Essentially, Parsley is a political animal who has been instrumental in promoting the policies of the ultra-conservative Republicans. Some would even credit him with Bush's election. He is a very dangerous man who should be taken seriously. One of his goals is to help establish a Christian nation ruled under God's law, and he is the leader of a off-beat group called "Patriot Pastors."

Parsley is not shy about proclaiming what God has informed him what is right and wrong. Thus, hate-crime laws are promoted by liberal homosexuals in order to advance their agenda. Adultery should be treated as "lying, cheating and stealing." He's opposed to abortion for any reason, and thinks that Planned Parenthood is as bad as the Nazis.

Parsley is a high school graduate, a Bible school dropout, a shyster who promotes the "prosperity" gospel (God wants you to be rich), who thinks he can heal people, who sells "prayer cloths" which are supposed to have magical healing powers, demands that his people give 10% of their income, lives in a million-dollar mansion, and thinks he has been chosen by God to bring the United States under God's "dominion."

According to Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend, a Michigan court ruled in 2007 that anyone involved in an extramarital affair "can be prosecuted for first-degree criminal sexual conduct."
She says that made Parsley very happy.

Pam points out that McCain is a "divorced adulterer."

But never mind about that, Parsley thinks McCain would be a great president, and ol' John gratefully accepted this endorsement by this man of God, this great spiritual leader. Campaigning in Cincinnati, McCain appeared with Parsley at the latter's World Harvest Church, and said that Parsley was "a spiritual guide."

Parsley said that McCain was "a strong, true, consistent conservative ..."

Oh, barf. Again, I ask, where's Tim Russert?

The Costs of the War

The costs of the Iraqi war in terms of lives lost, lives ruined, hopes dashed, futures fouled, and destinies destroyed are incalculable.

Thank you for all that, Mr. Bush.

Financially, the costs are out of sight.

Back at the beginning of this mess, before the neocon nutcases undertook their preemptive invasion, estimates of the cost of such a mission ranged from $50-60 billion (Donald Rumsfeld) to $200 billion (Larry Lindsey, Bush's economic advisor). No big deal, everybody said. As if $200 billion was nothing!

Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes (The Times of London UK), in an article appearing at Alternet, say that if "Congress approves the rest of the $200 billion war supplemental requested for fiscal year 2008 ... Congress will have appropriated a total of over $845 billion for military operations, reconstruction, embassy costs, enhanced security at US bases, and foreign aid programs in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Monthly operating costs for Iraq alone are going to run more than $12.5 billion per month. In Afghanistan, the monthly costs will run about $16 billion per month. These figures do not include the $500 billion that goes for the regular expenses of the Defense Department.

It is estimated that the total cost of this horrendous misadventure will run over three trillion dollars!

What benefits have the citizens of the United States received from these military actions?

Name just one.

The Holocaust Journal (Lest We Forget)

Germany - 1936

The Summer Olympics were held in Berlin in 1936. Hitler played the grand host. The atmosphere was light and airy and there were parties everywhere. Athletes and spectators were welcomed warmly.

Nazism never looked so good. Anti-Semitism was out of sight - almost. Anti-Jewish signs throughout Germany had been taken down and much other anti-Semitic propaganda hidden.

Nevertheless, Hitler's ideas of racial superiority took a beating at this Olympics. Finally giving in to pressure and allowing Jesse Owens and other African Americans to participate, he was stunned by their successes. Owens, a track star from Ohio State University, turned out to be one of the major highlights of these 1936 Olympic Games

Hitler believed the Aryan "race" to be fundamentally superior to all others. Thus, he attended the games confident his Aryans would defeat their lesser opponents.

That did not happen. And when these lesser opponents beat his Aryans, Hitler failed to show up for the medal ceremonies. Jesse Owens surprised not only Hitler, but the world, when he won gold medals in the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash, the long jump, and the 400-meter relay.

In fact, African American men won 13 medals in the track and field competition in the 1936 Olympics, spotlighting for the rest of the world the fallacy of the Nazi theories on race.

Yet, for Jews, Nazi race theories held. All Jews continued to suffer great discrimination, including Jewish athletes. Jews were banned from sports clubs and athletic facilities.

Gretl Bergmann, a Jewish athlete, matched the German women's high jump record while in training before the Olympic games began. The German Olympic Committee sent her a letter criticizing her jump as too erratic and informed her she would not be participating as part of the German track and field team.

Because of IOC pressure, however, the Nazis allowed one Jew to compete for Germany during the 1936 Summer Games. She lived in California. Her name was Helene Mayer and she agreed to return to Germany to compete for her homeland. Mayer was a half-Jew, a Mischlinge. But she was tall and blonde, a prototype of Aryanism. She won the silver medal in the women's foil competition and when presented the medal, gave the stiff-armed Nazi salute.

Many people arouind the world thought, "Hey, maybe Nazi Germany isn't all that bad."

That's exactly the message that Hitler wanted to get across.

The truth was something else, altogether:

* 1936 - Gerhard Leibholz, a "leading Jewish-German jurist," is relieved of his position at the University of Gottingen.

* 1936 - The Institute of the NSDAP to Study the Jewish Question is established by Joseph Goebbels.

* 1936 - The German-American Bund, based in the United States, funnels money to the Nazis.

* 1936 - "Following the same anti-Jewish path as German Lutherans during the Nazi regime, America's foremost Protestant journal, Christian Century, argues that America is a Christian nation with a Christian culture and has to remain that way. Many American Christians are indifferent to Jewish suffering and felt Jews deserved punishment because of their refusal to accept Jesus as the Messiah.

* February 4 - A Jewish student in Switzerland, David Frankfurter, assassinates Wilhelm Gustloff, the head of the NSDAP in Switzerland.

* February 29 - The head of the Polish Catholic Church, August Cardinal Hlong, thought by some to be less anti-Semitic than other Polish clergy, send out a pastoral letter urging discrimination against Polish Jews so long as they remain Jews. Polish Catholics should stay away from Jews, and boycott the Jewish press, but they should not "assault Jews."

* March - A variety of anti-Jewish progroms take place in Poland. Cardinal Hlond "speaks out against Jewish 'usury, fraud, and white slavery.'"

* March 3 - Jewish doctors are forbidden to practice medicine at German government hospitals.

* March 9 - A number of Jews are killed and/or injured as the result of an anti-Jewish progrom in Przytyk, Poland.

* March 29 - SS guard formations are renamed SS-Totenkopfverbande (SS-Death's Head Units). They will serve concentration camp guards.

* March 29 - A Reichstag "election" is held and Hitler's policies are upheld by 98% of the voters.

* April - French conservatives condemn French Socialist leader Leon Blum because of his Jewish ancestry and his anti-Nazi views. A popular French slogan went like this: "Better HItler than Blum."

* April 15 - Two Jews are killed in Palestine during an Arab strike against Jewish immigration.

* April 21 - Arabs in Tel Aviv and Jaffa riot to protest Jewish immigration.

More to follow.

Friday, February 29, 2008

John McCain and the Bigot

If you watched the last Clinton-Obama debate in Ohio, you will remember Tim Russert browbeating Obama about the endorsement he received from Louis Farrakhan.

Obama never sought Farrakhan's endorsement and had immediately repudiated it. That wasn't enough for Russert, and Obama had to reiterate that repudiation numerous times. Additionally, he spoke to Jewish groups and again denounced Farrakhan, Farrakhan's comments and what Farrakhan stands for.

It evidently wasn't enough, and it ain't over yet. The Internet continues to be inundated with a variety of anti-Obama mailings filled with false accusations, including the accusation that he is somehow a puppet or protege of Louis Farrakhan.

I'll say it again: Obama has repeatedly denounced Farrakhan's statements from the beginning of his campaign. Neither Obama nor his campaign people sought out Farrakhan's praise or endorsement. When questioned about his relationship with Farrakhan, Obama has forthrightly and clearly stated he rejects Farrakhan and what Farrakhan stands for.

Now, let's compare Obama to McCain. John McCain went, on his knees, a supplicant, to none other than John Hagee asking for Hagee's endorsement.

Hagee is perhaps the most rabid, vicious, hateful and un-Christian of all the right-wing fundamentalist fruitcakes.

A televangelist, he runs the 18,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio. He's also a dangerous end-times nutcase with access to the White House, and has been pressing by every means possible for a war with Iran believing that will jump-start Armageddon and Jesus will come back to earth to establish his kingdom where the righteous will live in peace and everyone else will be cruelly slaughtered and sent to eternal perdition.

Here are some of the things Hagee proclaims:

* All Muslims are programmed to kill and we can thus never negotiate with any of them.

* God caused Hurricane Katrina to destroy New Orleans because the city was planning a gay pride parage the week before the hurricane and was sexually sinful.

* The Rapture (End Times) is almost here! The U.S. government must do everything possible to hasten it, which requires a preemptive strike against Iran and unconditional support for a unified Israel, including all Occupied Territories. What Hagee doesn't say too loudly is that all Jews who do not accept Christ will be slaughtered when Christ comes again.

* Harry Potter books and films are part of Satan's ongoing program of deceit and destruction. "The whole purpose of the Potter books is to desensitize readers and introduce them to the occult."

The McCain website is "proudly promoting a video of Rev. Hagee's reverent introduction of McCain, while McCain and wife Cindy stand proudly by, during the candidate's 'No Surrender Tour.'"

As part of Hagee's remarks in this "reverent introduction," he railed at those "in Congress who whine about the cost of the war." He said that we cannot pull out of Iraq because that would put "Israel ... in greater danger than ever before," noted that Allah is the Iranian god, not ours, and raved that John McCain "is the leader and the [other candidates] are followers."

McCain went up to Hagee, and "warmly shook his hand."

Where is Tim Russert now? Does Obama get pounded for remarks he rejected and renounced and McCain gets a free pass for actively seeking the endorsement of one of the most hate-filled, crazy, bigoted creeps on the Christian right?

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League is frothing at the mouth. "McCain's not going to get away with this with the Catholic community ... We're going to get this out to the Catholic community and Catholic press around the country."

Donohue despises Hagee because Hagee is a bigot, because, he says, Hagee "has waged an unrelenting war against the Catholic Church ... he likes calling it 'The Great Whore,' an 'apostate church,' the 'anti-Christ,' and a 'false cult system.'"

The Catholic League is demanding that McCain repudiate Hagee and his endorsement. Donohue believes Hagee is much worse than Farrakhan. "Hagee is a major player. There's no end to his money. He has an empire down there."

Donohue does not plan to let this go. "I'm relentless," he said. "We're not going to walk away with this."

I think Glenn Greenwald got it right when he said, "It's difficult to recall a more transparent media double standard than their intense, melodramatic amplification this week of the Obama/Farrakhan matter (even though those two have no connection whatsoever), contrasted with their virtual silence about McCain's affirmative, repeated embrace of a true extremist like John Hagee."

As I've said before, McCain's mother better watch her back.

The Exxon Valdez - Poor Exxon

It's been "Nineteem goddamn years," says Greg Palast. And that's enough, says Greg Palast. And he's right.

Nineteen years ago, the Exxon Valdez "dumped its load of crude oil across the Prince William Sound, Alaska."

On that day, oil from the Exxon Valdez "devastated 3,000 square miles and severely damaged one of the world's most sensitive ecosystems." Twelve hundred miles of coastline were ruined. Fisheries and stores went bankrupt. People lost their livelihood and their homes. Thousands of marine mammals and hundreds of thousands of sea birds were killed.

How did it happen? Palast writes that "On the night the Exxon Valdez smacked into Bligh Reef, the Raycas radar system was turned off. Exxon shipping honchos decided it was too expensive to maintain it and train their navigators to use it. So, the inexperienced third mate at the wheel was driving the supertanker by eyeball, Christopher Columbus style. I kid you not ...

"On the night of March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez was not even supposed to leave harbor.

"If a tanker busts open, that doesn't have to mean a thousand miles of shoreline gets slimed - so long as oil-slick containment equipment is in place.

"On the night of March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez was not supposed [to] have left port. No tanker can unless a spill containment barge is operating nearby. That night, the barge was in dry-dock, locked under ice. Exxon kept that fact hidden, concealing the truth even after the tanker grounded. An Exxon official radioed the emergency crew, 'Barge is on its way.'"

The ship's captain, Joseph Hazelwood, had left the bridge. He was an alcoholic, and Exxon knew that he was hitting the bottle again and even drinking aboard ship.

At the time, "While cameras rolled, Exxon executives promised they'd compensate everyone." Today, Exxon lawyers are arguing before the Supreme Court that they shouldn't have to pay any of the fisherman who literally lost their lives or anyone else. It wasn't their fault!

Palast says this was Exxon's plan all along and those long-ago promises were just for show. In 1990 and 1991, Palast was working to assist the Chenega and Chugach Natives of Alaska to get Exxon to make good on their promises so that some of the remote village could be saved.

Exxon's response was "fuggedaboutit." They told Palast, "We can hold out in court until you're all dead."

And that's what they've done.

In 1994, a jury in Anchorage awarded the plaintiffs $5.3 billion in punitive damages. Exxon, which had become the Exxon Mobil Corporation, repeatedly appealed. Those appeals went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and all were rejected.

Exxon did not give up. On November 8, 2001, a federal appeals court ruled the $5.3 billion was excessive and told a judge to set a lessor amount. That was set at $2.5 billion.

Exxon appealed some more. Today the battle is being fought in the court of the U.S. Supremes. Exxon is arguing they should not be responsible for their captain's actions. They did nothing wrong, they claim.

The Supremes are leaning in favor of poor, poor Exxon, whose profits last year were a mere $40.6 billion, the largest take of any corporation ever!

Joshua Holland says that "The justices seemed sympathetic, but not to the plight of the people destroyed by what can only be regarded as a corporate crime of massive proportions."

He refers to a comment by Dana Milbanks of the WaPo, "What bothered chief justice [Roberts] was that Exxon was being ordered to pay $2.5 billion -- roughly three weeks' worth of profits -- for destroying a long swath of the Alaska coastline."

Milbanks said that "Roberts seemed the most agitated as he argued that Exxon wasn't responsible for the captain's unauthorized drunkenness. 'I don't see what more a corporation can do,' he said"

What more can a corporation do? Exxon knew Hazelwood was a drunk. They knew he was drinking on board their ships. They did nothing whatsoever about it, but rather left him in charge of a huge supertanker carrying 11 million gallons of crude oil!

What more can a corporation do? Poor Exxon!

This is where we have arrived: The Chief Justice of the United States Supreme court aweeping for the plight of a corporation that has hauled in more money in one year than any other company, ever; more money than the GNP of most every other country in the world!

Here we have the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, distraught, not at the fact that thousands of lives were destroyed, businesses and homes were rent asunder, and that one of the most beautiful coastal regions of the world was obliterated (it still stinks and reeks of oil, nineteen years later); no, the CJ was "distraught" that this poor corporation may have to pay out three weeks' worth of profits to try to make things right.

Welcome to the Corporate United States of America!

Ralph Drollinger - On the Warpath for God

For over ten years, Ralph Drollinger, an "evangelical" chaplain who heads up Capitol Ministries, has been conducting Bible studies for California legislators.

Mr. Drollinger believes that he has access to the mind of God.

A former basketball player for UCLA, Drollinger dribbled this ball badly. He did it on the Capitol Ministries website, when he criticized "a rival fellowship" group that "embraces people of all faiths without insisting that they accept Jesus Christ as Messiah."

Drollinger said that while the lawmakers involved in this rival group "are pleasant men in their personal demeanor, their group is more than disgusting to our Lord and Savior." Knowing the mind of God as he does, Drollinger has no problem casting aspersions at those who believe differently than he does. Religion, he claims, has stringent boundaries when it comes to right and wrong and "progressive religious tolerance" is an offense to God and hurts those who participate in it.

Drollinger also wrote that "There is no true fellowship without first being reconciled to God," and that means repenting from sin and accepting Jesus as the Messiah.

A few years ago, Drollinger called Catholicism a "false religion," and way out on another limb castigated women legislators by saying it was sinful to be away from their children four days a week while making laws in Sacramento.

A Chico Republican by name of Rick Keene sponsors Drollinger's group. Keene defends Drollinger: " ... we feel that we're doing what God wants us to do - and I'm sure he does, too."

Many folks in Sacramento are not too happy about Mr. Drollinger's offensive remarks and doubt very sincerely that Drollinger has any idea as to what God wants or requires.

A Sacramento Democrat, Darrell Steinberg (who will be Senate president pro tem next year) thought Drollinger's comments were troublesome and intolerant. Steinberg, a Jew, said many Jewish people would be offended by Drollinger's notion that anyone who does not accept Jesus as the Messiah is disgusting to God.

You think?

I'd say if anyone is an offense to God, it is Mr. Ralph Drollinger, who receives $120K annually to promote his self-righteous nastiness.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Holocaust Journal (Lest We Forget)

Germany - 1935 Continued

Adolf Hitler warned, in 1934, that "blood desecration" and "defilement of the race" were the "original sin."

He spelled it all out in his notorious treatise, Mein Kampf.

Hitler was convinced that it was a law of nature that "every animal mates only with a member of the same species..." His peculiar race theory held that Aryans were innately superior and thus he vowed to end any contamination of the Aryan race.

The worst contamination, for Hitler, was the mating of Jews and Aryans. As we have seen, the 1935 "Law for the Protection of German Blood" criminalized sexual relations between Aryrans and non-Aryans.

By 1945, the penalty for this "race defilement" was execution.

* July 1 - The anti-Semitic Society for Research into the Teaching of Ancestral Heritage is founded to study German racial history.

* August 25 - Martin Niemoller, the leading Protestant anti-Nazi, said in a sermon that Jewish history is "dark and sinister" and that Jews will be forever "under a curse" because they "brought the Christ of God to the cross," and because they are also responsible for the "blood of all the righteous men who were ever murdered." (This was an anti-Nazi!!!)

* October 18 - The Law for the Protection of the Hereditary Health of the German People was passed by the German government.

* November 14 - The National Law of Citizenship is put into effect through all of Germany. This establishes for the first time an official definition as to who is a Jew.

* November 15 - The German churches begin collaborating with the Nazis by providing parish records noting who is a Christian and who is not. Those who are not Christians are Jews.

* December - Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, orders the establishment of the Lebensborn (Fountain of Life) network of maternity homes, the purpose of which is to take care of pregnant women considered to be "racially and genetically valuable."

* December 31 - The last of the Jews working in Germany's civil service are dismissed.

Beginning in 1935, Poland's Jewish policy follows that of Germany and Jews are set upon throughout the land. Many thousands of Jews flee Poland - for Holland, France, Belgium, and Palestine.

In the U.S., as in Poland, universities have quotas for Jewish students. "American discrimination restricts the Jewish presence in education, jobs, and housing just as it keeps Eastern European Jews out of the United States."

McCain, the Champeen of Reform!

ABC News, in an article date-lined January 29 of this year, tells about a special event for the benefit of John McCain and his presidential campaign.

The event, held "at a popular Capitol Hill bar and restaurant," brought together a variety of Washington lobbyist type folks and members of Congress. Prospective donors who received invitations paid between $1,000 and $2,300 for the privilege of mingling with Congressional supporters of ol' John.

Those people who raised $10,000 were blessed with the title of "co-chair," and received a "VIP Roundtable" prior to the main reception.

The invitation listed 24 lobbyists as "co-chairmen." They represented the finance industry, the telecommunications industry, the technology industry and the healthcare industry.

Public Citizen, a government watchdog group reports that at last count McCain had 59 lobbyists out drumming up money for his presidential bid.

McCain's staff refused to divulge how much moola was raised for ol' John at the Charlie Palmer Steakhouse.

I can't help but wonder if I was a constituent of ol' John, and I had a problem, if I could get to see him as easily as a co-chairing lobbyist who had raised $10,000 for his campaign. And what are my chances as opposed to a younger, slim, good-looking blonde who just happens to represent a huge money-pot known as Paxson Communications?

Try lobbying ol'l John for yourself sometime.

Vote for McCain, the champeen of campaign finance reform!

Hah, hah, hah.

(P.S. Hit this website for some video of Mr. McCain, the champeen!)

The Dumbing of America

Susan Jacoby suggests in a recent op-ed piece that we're becoming a nation of dunces.

"Americans," she says, "are in serious intellectual trouble -- in danger of losing our hard-won cultural to a virulent mixture of anti-intellectualism, anti-rationalism and low expectations."

She blames this dumbing down on certain "irresistible forces," which include "the triumph of video culture over print culture ... a disjunction between Americans' rising level of formal education and their shaky grasp of basic geography, science and history; and the fusion of anti-rationalism with anti-intellectualism."

I think she's right. But, as someone else noted, it's not just Americans that are affected. Other countries suffer from the same malaise.

A poll released just recently in Britain found an appalling lack of basic knowledge on the part of the English:

1. Almost 25% think Winston Churchill was a myth while over 50% think Sherlock Holmes was real.

2. 47% believe that the 12th century English king Richard the Lionheart was a myth.

3. 23% think World War II prime minister Churchill was a fiction. That same percentage believed that Crimean War nurse, Florence Nightingale, did not exist.

4. Charles Dickens, one of Britain's most famous writers, was thought to be a fictional character by 3%.

5. Among those in the top ten list of people thought to be myths were Indian political leader Mahatma Ghandi and Battle of Waterloo victor the Duke of Wellington.

We have a problem. Ms. Jacoby notes that a 2006 survey by National Geographic-Roper found that almost 50% of Americans between 18 and 24 did not think it was necessary to know the location of countries where news was being made. Over a third thought a foreign language was "not at all important," as opposed to only 14% who thought it was "very important."

According to the National Science Foundation, 20% of American adults thinks the sun revolves around the earth!

I have seen a number of surveys of the "man on the street," and invariably the people interviewed cannot tell you the names of our top political leaders, the first or second presidents of our country, what the Bill of Rights is, the name of their state capital, etc.

What follows is a "perfect" example of what Susan Jacoby is talking about. The Vice Chairman of General Motors Corporation, Bob Lutz, told reporters in Texas recently that global warming is a "total crock of shit."

With that kind of ignorant leadership, is it any wonder that GM is going down the tubes?

Give 'Em Hell, Obama!

This kind of crap goes on in every campaign, but it does get tiring. In Lorain, Ohio, a reporter asked Obama about the Republican attempt to portray him as unpatriotic.

Obama said, among other things, this: " ... I will respond to it ... with the truth: that I owe everything I am to this country."

He noted, correctly, that Republicans have no lock on patriotism. Would a party like this be considered patriotic?

"A party that presided over a war in which our troops did not get the body armor they needed, or were sending troops over who were untrained because of poor planning, or are not fulfilling the veterans' benefits that these troops need when they come home, or are undermining our Constitution with warrantless wiretaps are unnecessary?

"This is a debate I am very happy to have. We'll see what the American people think is the true definition of patriotism."

The Jesus Mint

You're going to love this!

If you're sweet on Jesus, go to this website. You will learn how you can become part of a company that is "dedicated to spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ on a product people use every day."


There's a caveat, though: "Each person involved with the company has a love for the Lord, and a desire to see souls reached and saved through the Word of God."

Not a bad deal. Give 'em God in a mint. If they reject God, they at least get something for their money!

Who IS John McCain

The important question for people leaning toward John McCain is:

Who is John McCain?

It seems he is, and can be, many people. Today he is most certainly no liberal and not even a moderate. He is a retrograde ultra-conservative carved out of the same mold as George W. Bush. Isn't he?

Well, yes. On some issues, McCain has been consistent. But like a chameleon, John McCain has the ability to change his appearance when needed to achieve his political goals.

Consider these issues:

Abortion and Sex Education - Here's he's been fairly consistent, although there are indications that he really doesn't know what he believes. So he looks to Senator Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, for guidance. That's not good. Coburn thinks abortion providers should suffer the death penalty.

According to Cristina Page at the Huffington Post, McCain "has consistently voted against the right to a legal abortion and he has also consistently voted against contraception. McCain voted to end the Title X family planning program which is the only way millions of Americans have been able to plan their family. Title X has also been heralded as having prevented more than nine million abortions in the past two decades...

"McCain voted against legislation that would have required insurance coverage of prescription birth control and would also have provided more women with prenatal health care ... It's also worth noting that in 2004, McCain ranked among the 25 worst Senators for children, scoring 38 percent, according to the Children's Defense Fund Congressional Score Card."

That's not all. McCain has fought to maintain what now is a failing program - abstinence only sex education. "He voted against making 'abstinence-only' programs medically accurate ... He also wanted to take $75 million from the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant to launch an abstinence-until-marriage program that prohibits sexually active teens from learning about birth control."

On some issues, McCain has flip-flopped (which isn't always a negative, except in McCain's case - it is most definitely bad!).

For example, in 2001, McCain voted in favor of the Patients Bill of Rights which allowed what Greg Palast calls "claims against butchers with scalpels."

In 2005, McCain flipped so hard he almost hurt himself. He voted to undo his own 2001 Patients Bill of Rights by voting to limit suits to enforce it.

In 2001, the Senator said of Bush's tax cuts, "I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans." Now, McCain vows that if elected, he will make those tax cuts permanent!

McCain voted nay to Bush's energy plan in 2003. "But," says Mr. Palast, "this week, following Exxon's report that it sucked in $40.6 billion in earnings last year, the largest profit haul in planetary history, McCain failed to join Clinton, Obama, most Democrats and some Republicans on a bill to require a teeny sliver of industry profit go to alternative energy sources."

And then we have the problem of cozying up to big money. Can anyone explain what really happened between McCain and Paxson of Paxson Communications? According to the McCain camp, nobody from Paxson discussed with McCain anything about the FCC and a transfer of a Pittsburgh public TV station.

But...actually McCain himself said in a sworn deposition that he had talked with Mr. Paxson about this issue. He said, "I'm sure I spoke to [Paxson]."

McCain's staff now says "I[t] appears that Senator McCain, when speaking of being contacted by Paxson, was speaking in shorthand of his staff being contacted by representatives of Paxson."


The latest is that Paxson is now telling Wapo that he did in fact meet with McCain.

(Thanks to Mickey Kaus at Slate Magazine for the above information)

Gotta love this - from PBS Newshour: David Brooks, the McCainiac columnist claims that it's just fine that McCain is depending upon lobbyists to run his campaign as he does not pay them.
"A lot of them work for no pay."

It would seem to me that is a stupid argument. If they work for no pay, McCain's got to owe them big-time!

On the issue of torture, McCain has flipped 180 degrees. He was agin it and now he's for it. In fact, he's so for it that he wants Bush to veto the bill that bars the CIA from using waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods.

I have said before McCain will sell his soul to become president. He has sold his soul to the Christian Right. He has moved from that famous statement that Christian Right leaders like Falwell and Robertson and Dobson were "agents of intolerance" to crawling hand-in-hand, begging for their support.

The scene is revolting. But it's working. Even such religious horrors as Louis Sheldon and his daughter, of The Traditional Values Coalition, have endorsed him! McCain just recently crawled to Ohio where he appeared with Rod Parsley, the ultra-right kook pastor of the World Harvest Church (which is more of a Republican breeding ground than a church). McCain said Parsley is "a spiritual guide." Parsley said McCain is a "strong, true, consistent conservative."

Worse than that, however, is McCain's sucking up to John Hagee, the end-times freak who frantically pushes for war with Iran so that Armageddon will come and Jesus will return! Hagee is also one of those who said blamed Katrina on the sins of the people of New Orleans. They had it coming to them! "Hurricane Katrina, was, in fact, the judgment of God against the City of New Orleans."

If one is known by one's friends, McCain is in some pretty bad company.

One last issue to consider - Iraq. McCain, the warrior, says we can "win" the war. He says he'll keep troops in Iraq for 100 years or longer, if necessary. He's become a "rah, rah" supporter of that monstrous mess.

Someone needs to help him here. No one "wins" in a war. Everybody loses. The one who comes out on top usually loses the least, but not always. The question for McCain is this: Why do you insist on continuing this battle that has no end in sight, that is destroying thousands of our young men and women, that is eating away our financial stability, that has crucified America's reputation on the altar of Bushdom, that has absolutely no benefits of any kind for the United States?

A vote for McCain is a vote for another Bush administration. We won't survive another Bush administration!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Holocaust Journal (Lest we forget)

Germany - 1935

In order to assist Jews with educational needs, vocational training, welfare, emigration assistance, etc., Germany's Jewish groups had established a new national organization called Reich Representation of German Jews. It was led by Rabbi Leo Baeck and Otto Hirsch, who naively believed that they could work out some sort of truce with the Nazi Party.

In 1935, the Nazi government forced a name change: it was now to be known as the National Representation of Jews in Germany. In this slight re-arrangement of words, the intent of the Nazis to deny Jews a German identity becomes obvious.

1935 also saw the enactment of what's known as the "Nuremberg Laws." The first of these mandated that the official colors of the Nazi state would be red, black and white; and that the swastika flag would be the nation's flag.

The other two Nuremberg Laws became "centerpieces of Nazi Germany's anti-Jewish legislation."

The Citizenship law provided that only those of "German or related blood" could be citizens, and only citizens could participate in "full political rights in accordance with the law." From this time forward, Jews would be mere subjects, not citizens. Deprived of their civil rights, they became foreigners in their own land.

The Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor spelled out specific rules for Jews. The law's purpose was to maintain the "purity of German blood." Thus, marriage between Jews and persons of "German or related blood" was prohibited. Extramarital sexual relations between Jews and Germans was illegal. Jews were forbidden from hiring female household help of German or kindred blood under 45 years of age. Jews were forbidden to fly the Reich flag or to display the Reich colors.

The crucial question for the Nazis was: How does one define a Jew? On November 14, the First Implementation Order was issued which said that a person was fully Jewish if he or she had at least three Jewish grandparents. A person with only two Jewish grandparents but did not practice Judaism or have a Jewish spouse was a part-Jew (a Mischlinge, or crossbreed.)

While the Nazis spoke of a Jewish "race," they could not identify a specific Jewish blood type as there is no such thing. Thus Jewish identity was decided by membership in the Jewish religious community.

* 1935 - Hitler orders the creation of the Union of Protestant Churches (controlled by the Nazi government.)

* 1935 - The first issue of the phony "Journal for Racial Science" is published.

* 1935 - Anti-Jewish riots spring up in Romania.

* 1935 - America's pro-Nazi Silver Shirts, a political group, merges with the Christian Party.

* 1935 - The German government allows the publication of Martin Luther's book, "On the Jews and Their Lies," in which Luther specifies ways to deal with Jews: arrest them, expropriate them, force them into labor for the government, and either exile them or murder them. Hitler, who thought highly of Martin Luther, follows Luther's suggestions almost to the letter!

* March 1 - Germany retakes the Saarland.

* April 1 - Anti-Jewish laws are passed in the Saarland.

* May 12 - Jozef Pilsudski, the Polish dictator dies. Jews begin to experience greater anti-Semitism in Poland. "The Polish Catholic Church, most priests, the Catholic press, and schools will sanction discrimination and/or violence against the Jews."

* May 31 - Jews are banned from serving in the German military.

* June 9 - Grodno, Poland is the site of anti-Jewish riots.

More to follow

McCain Apologizes Again (Really?)

Yesterday at a John McCain town hall, the warm-up guy, conservative talk radio host Bill Cunningham, made repeated references to Barack Obama's middle name. This was, of course, a deliberate and vicious smear, and what we've come to expect from "conservative radio talk show" hosts.

In a derogatory remark aimed not only at Obama, but also toward a number of major news organizations, Cunningham said these media outlets would "At some point in the near future ... peel the bark off Barack Hussein Obama."

Cunningham is noted for his incendiary remarks and he has gone after Obama previously. Media Matters reports that during his "nationally syndicated" show, he repeatedly called Senator Obama, "Barack Mohammed Hussein Obama." "Mohammed" is not part of Senator Obama's name.

Cunningham further said he thought "it would be a shock" if Barack Mohammed Hussein Obama would be elected considering we live in "difficult terrorist times."

Cunningham not only has a potty mouth but he's a liar -- again typical of conservative, talk radio hosts. He claimed Obama "was raised in maddrassas in Indonesia" and said that Obama's church was a "black separatist" and "black racist" organization. Neither charge is true.

So what did John McCain say about his spokesman, Bill Cunningham? He apologized immediately, claiming he wanted to "disassociate [himself] from any disparaging remarks."

Really? McCain knew not what Cunningham was like when it was arranged for him to "warm up" the crowd?

If, indeed, McCain either did not know Cunningham or was unaware of Cunningham's gutter talk, he is still to be held accountable for allowing his campaign to be co-opted by such a creature. The "buck" stops with you, John.

Cunningham, when hearing of McCain's apology, said angrily, "I've had it with McCain. I'm going to throw my support to Hillary Rodham Clinton."

Isn't it interesting how John McCain, over and over again, finds himself in the middle of some scandal or ethically-questionable situation and pleads ignorance or stupidity or gullibility and then apologizes and says it will never happen again.

The problem is, it happens again, and again and again. People are going to catch on pretty soon, John!

A final, troubling question: Is it possible that this was all a bit of political theater, that McCain was very aware of what Cunningham was going to say, but knew he could offer one of his "heartfelt" apologies afterward and all would be well? That way he could have his racists and eat his cake, too.

Cheney's Missing Emails

Dick Cheney is missing more than emails, but at the moment the missing emails may be his biggest problem.

It began when Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald subpeonaed the White House for emails related to the outing of CIA operative, Valerie Plame.

Technical guys in the White House searched everywhere...but the really relevant emails from the week of Sept. 30, 2003 to Oct. 6, 2003, had gone missing!

Can you imagine?

Theresa Payton, the chief info officer for the House of White told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that "We are are very energized about getting to the bottom of this..."

And if you believe that...

This administration's cavalier attitude toward the rule of law and the Constitutional provision for Separation of Powers is really getting old!

Larry Craig wants you!

This from The Huffington Post.

Senator Larry Craig, R-Idaho, is searching for bright young people to serve as his interns for the summer term.

Idaho applicants who are students in a Idaho school and who are in their junior or senior years of college will be given priority.

If you get the job, go to the bathroom at home.

The full story is here.


Aw heck, it was only about 2-3 million people without power...mostly in South Florida, but other parts of the state were also powerless yesterday afternoon.

Note please that both nuclear units at the Turkey Point power plant in Miami-Dade County (pictured) went off-line about 2:30 p.m. EST.

Please note that the Kissimmee Utility Authority also lost power and that parts of the Orlando area were powerless for a time.

"Authorities," (whoever the hell they are) said it was a "minor glitch."

One full day has passed and THEY STILL DON'T KNOW WHAT CAUSED THIS.


Minor glitch, my ass!

Still Fighting the Civil War

"There is a war going on here. It is an ancient conflict, as war and time go in this country. The Civil War is like a ghost that has not yet made its peace and roams the land seeking solace, retribution, or vindication. It continues to exist, an event without temporal boundaries, an interminable struggle..."

-- David Goldfield, "Still Fighting the Civil War: The American South and Southern History," 2002 - as quoted in Kevin Phillips "American Theocracy."

It wasn't until I was in my late teens, a budding sailor at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, that I realized the Civil War wasn't over. In my barracks, young men from the north and from the south, continued to battle. They harangued each other and insulted each other and eventually resorted to fisticuffs to take out their hatred for each other molded 100 years earlier by their ancestors.

Mr. Phillips, in his book, "American Theocracy," quoted above, comments on this ongoing feud between Yankees and Confederates: "To sharpen regional sentiment, southerners for generations used every opportunity and locale--from cemeteries, pulpits, and war memorials to parades and Confederate veteran's events--to promote their interpretation-cum-theology. Confederate memorials and statues spread even across border states that had sent more men to the northern armies than to the southern. Memory itself because a battlefield."

Thus, in recent years, we have had recurring battles as to the appropriateness of the Confederate battle flag flying over statehouses in Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina.

Now we have a new, similar skirmish brewing in Florida. Out in the Panhandle, perhaps the most regressive area of the state, a lawmaker has devised a new way to instigate hatred among Floridians.

Rep. Donald Brown, a Republican from DeFuniak Springs, has filed a bill (HB 1007) which would establish a "Confederate Heritage" license plate. It would "feature a shield displaying the rebel battle flag symbol surrounded by several flags from the Civil War era."

Brown claims that this would help the motoring public show pride in their heritage.

Do we really need people driving around showing pride in a heritage of secession, slavery, racism and backwoods religion?

This proposal is an apt illustration of what Phillips means when he notes "how deeply meaningful Civil War symbols remain in politics, especially racial politics."

Sheesh! Who needs such crap?

A National ID Card

Even though the American people have said, loudly and clearly, on numerous occasions, that they do not want a national ID card, the Department of Homeland Security is moving ahead to create exactly that.

The Real ID Act, which passed in 2005, creates a de facto national ID card. This law forces federal standards and verification procedures to be inserted into state driver's licenses and ID cards. It is "voluntary" for now, but DHS has issued rules which will, in fact, make it mandatory.

This act "turns state DMV workers into federal immigration officials, as they must verify the citizenship status of all those who want a REAL ID - approved state driver's license of identification cards."

Did you know about this? Many people do not, for the act came about in a underhanded manner. It was appended to a bill that offered tsunami relief and military appropriations and passed with almost no debate and no hearings.

By and large the states are opposed. It would be very costly for the states -- estimates run as high as $11 billion over five years. You and I will end up paying for it.

But the cost is the least of our worries. This is just another STEP TOWARD A POLICE STATE. For example, if you refuse to obtain a REAL ID, you may be barred from flying on an airplane, or entering a federal building!

We're becoming a fascist state, a dictatorship! Once again, the Bushites have used 9/11 to justify their power grab. As the Electronic Privacy Information Center says, the REAL ID is a "real danger to security and civil rights."

You can get more complete information at EPIC's website here.

Who's Bin Laden?

Justin Webb, of BBC News, has described an interview he held with Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Webb says two rather interesting facts came out of this interview.  The first was that Mullen is "comfortable with the status of Pakistan's nukes - 'they are in safe hands,' he said, and cared for by people 'professionally and specifically focused on this.'"

I'm sure the admiral knows more about Pakistan's nukes than I do, but what I know about Pakistan makes me just a wee bit antsy.  Pakistan is not noted for stability.  Right now Pakistan is in the middle of a political crisis.  Pakistan could not protect Bhutto.  Pakistan is a likely hiding place for Bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders.

No doubt the admiral is a very capable and intelligent man, as are all of our military leaders. 
But look at the mess they made in Iraq, and Afghanistan, where the Taliban is resugent.  So, I can't help but also be just a bit skeptical that Pakistan's nukes "are in safe hands."

Secondly, Mr. Webb said that Admiral Mullen thinks "that Osama Bin Laden is now so unimportant, or so low down a list heavy with other concerns, that he did not even get a mention" in talks held by Admiral Mullen in Pakistan a short time ago.

Mullen told Webb that in these meetings, right next to where Bin Laden is supposed to be hiding, amidst a discussion of "heavy" topics of concern to Pakistan and the U.S., Bin Laden's name was not mentioned.

I don't think that's surprising at all.  The Bush administration never gave Bin Laden a high priority.  The Bush administration was after Iraq's oil.  There's no question that after 9/11, we did not pursue the perpetrators of that event, but rather declared war on a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, but did have millions of barrels of oil under its sand.

(Admiral Mullen's office got wind of Webb's report and called him to clarify that the Admiral himself does not think Bin Laden is unimportant, that Bin Laden is "still a high priority.")

That's baloney.  Webb asks why is "the hunt for Bin Laden" something that "no longer ... takes up the time of senior people"?

Did it ever?

The Holocaust Journal (Lest we forget)

Germany - 1934

In July of 1933, Pope Pius XI signed a concordat with Hitler (see photo to the right) that was supposed to guarantee the legal status and ongoing protection of the German Catholic Church. This turned out to be a disappointment as Catholic leaders and parochial schools continued to be harassed.  But it got the Catholic Church off his back for the time being.

1934 was a year when Hitler claimed and consolidated his power.

First, Hitler eliminated those he considered to be major threats to his rule.  On June 30 and July 1 (the Night of the Long Knives), hundreds of people were killed at Hitler's orders, including Ernst Rohm, leader of the Storm Troopers (SA).  Rohm was murdered by Theodor Eicke and Eicke was rewarded by being made inspector of concentration camps.  

Then, on August 2, President Hindenburg died.  Within an hour of his death, the government announced that the offices of president and chancellor would be merged.  Hitler would be, not only the Nazi Party Chief, but also head of state and supreme commander of the military.

Hitler was now the nation's ultimate authority.  Soldiers were required to swear a personal oath of loyalty, not to Germany, but to Hitler.

* 1934 - Professor Ernst Bergmann issued his "Twenty-Five Points of the German Religion." These stated "that Christ was not a Jew but a Nordic warrior put to death by Jews, and whose death spared the world from Jewish domination; Adolf HItler is the new messiah sent to Earth to save the world from the Jews.

* 1934 - The Institute of Hereditary Biology and Race Research is established at the University of Frankfurt am Main by Dr. Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer to study racial and hereditary issues.

* 1934 - The American Christian Defenders (the World Alliance Against Jewish Aggressiveness) is founded in the United States by an anti-Semitic propagandist, Eugene N. Sanctuary.

* 1934 - Early in the year, Hitler Youth members are sent throughout Germany to intimidate members of Catholic youth groups.

* January 1 - The Nazis remove Jewish holidays from the official German calendar.

* January 24 - A Lutheran minister opposed to the Reich Church is beaten by Nazi hoodlums.

* February 24 - Anneliese Frank, a German native, joins her family in Amsterdam.  She is three years old.

* April - The Volksgericht (People's Court) is established to deal with enemies of the state. There is no trial by jury and no right of appeal.

* April 7 - Several thousand Americans attend a pro-Nazi rally in Queens, New York.

* May 1 - The Nazi periodical, Der Sturmer, reminded its readers that during the Middle Ages, Jews were accused of ritually murdering Christian children to use their blood for religious rites.

* May 2 - Congressman Louis T. McFadden gives an anti-Semitic speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

* May 17 - Thousands of people attend a pro-Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden in New York City, sponsored by the German-American Bund.

* August 5 - In Constantine, Algeria, 100 Jews are killed in an anti-Semitic progrom.

* August 19 - A plebiscite is held on Hitler's expanded powers.  Almost 90% of voters approve.  Most Germans will support Hitler's actions until near the end of the war.

* September - In Denmark, a collaborationist SS organization, National Socialist Youth, is established.

* October 1 - Hitler secretly orders a rapid increase in the German Army and Navy and the creation of an air force.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Build a Wall and They Will Come

In the context of the total mess created by the Bush administration, the building of a wall across our southern border to keep out illegal Mexicans might not seem all that important. Nevertheless, it symbolizes the idiocy perpetrated by the numbskulls running our country.

A mayor in Texas (can't remember the name) said once that if you show her a 50 foot wall, she'll show you a 51 foot ladder.

She had it right. A wall ain't gonna do it, but building a wall does give the Department of Homeless Insecurity something on which to waste more money. The DHS can also continue to browbeat and harass people just like Hitler's Brownshirts. They can condemn land and take it away from people who don't want to sell. And that's just what they do.

The Texas Observer describes some of the shennanigans perpetrated by DHS in the building of the wall. Eloisa Tamez is 72. She lives in Brownsville, Texas. She "is one of the last of the Spanish land grant heirs in Cameron Country. Her ancestors once owned 12,000 acres. In the 1930's, the federal government took more than half of her inherited land, without paying a cent, to build flood levees.

"Now Homeland Security wants to put an 18-foot steel and concrete wall through what remains."

That's bad enough, 'cause the wall will run through her backyard and essentially destroy her home. But, worse, it will stop two miles down the road at the boundary line of the River Bend Resort. Why is that? River Bend is owned by John Allburg, who had no comment.

Further on, another resident faces the same problem. The wall will go right through his brick home and a little house he gave to his son. Then it stops. The reason it stops is that where it stops is land owned by the Hunts.

The Hunts are wealthy Dallas folks who are close friends with G.W., so close Ray L. Hunt just donated $35 million to SMU to help build Bush's library. In 2001, Bush put Mr. Hunt on the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. What would qualify Hunt for that position, only god knows.

So this is basically the story. The wall goes up and over the little people, ruining their homes and their land. But when the wall comes up to land of important folks, Republican moneyed folks, it stops.

So there are big, gaping holes in the wall that is supposed to stop Mexican illegals.

The wall, as you might guess, is not so much about keeping illegals from entering the U.S. It has more to do with the Bushites providing another channel for government funds (that's your money and mine) to be funneled to various corporate entities that will profit from its construction.

When you have gaping holes, who the hell needs a ladder?

The Holocaust Journal (Lest we forget)

Germany 1933

* June 26 - The Academy for German Law is founded to rewrite the entire body of German law to Nazi specifications.

* July 1 - The German government announced that "Reich Chancellor Hitler still belongs to the Catholic Church and has no intention of leaving it."

* July 14 - The Nazi Party is made Germany's only legal political party. Also on this date a law was passed that stripped German citizenship from Eastern European Jews living in Germany.

* July 20 - The Vatican signs a concordat with Germany. Pope Pius XI says this will protect Catholic rights in Germany. Actually, all it does is legitimize the Third Reich in the eyes of Catholic hierarchical leaders and lay people.

* July 31 - About 30,000 people are now in Nazi concentration camps.

* August 25 - The Haavara (Transfer) agreement between the German Ministry of the Economy and the Zionist Organization arranges an emigration of Jews from Germany to Palestine.

* September 22 - The Reich Chamber of Culture is established. German Jews are banned from participating in journalism, art, literature, music, broadcasting, and the theater.

* September 29 - Hitler signs law banned German Jews from farming.

* October 4 - Jewish reporters and editors and publishing executives are dismissed from their jobs.

* November - The Deutsche Christen organization sets up a rally in Berlin to honor "Christ the Hero."

Monday, February 25, 2008

Catholics and Fundys and the Word of God

There has always been a great divide, a huge chasm, between Roman Catholics and Protestant fundamentalists. This confrontational split is based upon two very different ways of understanding the Bible.

In a smallish town in central Florida, this division has come to a head.

Invariably our daily paper carries one or more diatribes about the Bible being the infallible, inerrant, and inspired "word" of God. From that stance, the writer usually goes on to claim that the Bible says God will destroy our nation if we don't put prayer back in the public schools, hang the Ten Commandments in every public building, rid ourselves of abortion and homosexuality, and stop the teaching of Evolution.

Some years ago, both the RC's and the Fundys decided to close their eyes to much of what the other side believed in order to climb in bed with each other primarily on the issues of abortion and homosexuality (especially gay marriage).

That creative coupling is about to become undone as it relates to understanding the Bible.

Responding to one of these "Letters to the Editor," the pastor of Queen of Peace Roman Catholic Church took umbrage with the writer's position that one cannot be a Christian unless he/she believes the Bible is "infallible."

The good reverend suggested that was not the case, that the Bible is not an "infallible" authority. He argued thusly: The Church (by which he means the Roman Catholic Church) was founded "by our Lord [who] is 'The pillar and foundation of truth,' and therefore: The infallible authority (1 Timothy 3:15)."

He went on. "Jesus founded the church, and His inspired church wrote the New Testament. Interpreting the Bible and ignoring the church that wrote it, and truly knows what it means, is to distort the scripture." (My emphasis)

Only the Roman church, which wrote the New Testament, truly knows what it means! That's got to be hard to swallow by the so-called "evangelicals" for whom the Bible has become an infallible idol.

Actually, the reverend was right about only one thing - that the Bible is not an infallible authority. He was wrong about everything else.

Jesus most emphatically did not "found" the Catholic church or any other church. The Jesus described in the New Testament was born a Jew, lived as a Jew, and died as a Jew. He knew from nothing about any kind of church. One cannot quote that passage about Jesus giving Peter the "keys," either, for that is most certainly a later interpolation by the "church."

With regard to the question as to who wrote the New Testament - well, it wasn't the Roman Catholic Church, because that "church" did not exist when the New Testament was written. For several hundred years C.E., there were many churches, differing widely with regard to a variety of issues - theological and literary. And they fought each other ferociously and constantly.

They fought about how to understand Jesus. They fought about how to worship. They fought about what books or letters or essays should be read in church meetings. They fought about whether one had to be a Jew to be a Christian. They fought about what kinds of foods to eat. They fought about when and if Jesus was going to come back. They fought about whether women had any rights in Christian groups. They fought about the role of the leaders, i.e., bishops. They fought ardently about the gospels and which were "true" and which were "false." They fought about most everything that Christians are still fighting about today!

Many epistles and gospels were written and used in those first few hundred years. The people who used them believed they were the "true" followers of this Jesus they had been told about. It wasn't until the "orthodox" or Roman church garnered enough power almost 400 years after the Jesus event that the variety within Christendom began to dissipate.

While the 27 writings that comprise the New Testament as we know it were well-known, they were not collected into one volume and termed "canonical" until the end of the 4th century. And that happened only because the "orthodox" or Roman church had been given the "keys" to the kingdom, not by God, but by the Roman Emporer, Constantine. Constantine crowned the Roman church the official church of the Roman Empire. Even then, however, there was much disagreement among the hierarchy about these 27 books.

Gradually, the orthodox were able to suppress the other gospels and other epistles and other Christians. Many of the other Christians were killed. Many of their writings were burned.

Fortunately, a number of these writings and gospels, buried by monks who refused to be cowed by the Roman orthodox, have been discovered in recent years. They must be considered to obtain a complete picture of the "early" Christian churches.

To claim that only the Roman Catholic Church knows what the Bible "truly means" is laughable. No one knows what the Bible "truly means." If God gave the Roman church the ability to discern his "truth" in the Bible, then he is the one responsible for all the terror committed by the Roman Church in the past 2,000 years. I don't think even Catholics want to believe that.

Everything is interpretation. There is no one, absolute "truth" that resides under the sign of the Vatican or under any sign. That's why we have so many different groups all claiming to be Christian and that their "truth" is God's truth.

Here's a final tidbit to chew on: Peter never went to Rome. Peter was not the first pope. There is absolutely no evidence for either of those beliefs! None! Those are legends to keep the faithful cowed and the bishops in their seats of power! The whole notion of apostolic succession [the idea that Jesus "ordained" the twelve disciples, who then "ordained" the first bishops, who have then ordained every other bishop and priest down through the years in an unending succession of ordinations] was created by the church power brokers to justify their usurpation of power from the people, and to legitimize their continuing grasp of episcopal authority.

Unfortunately, it's worked pretty well. The "Church" via the bishops tell the faithful what to believe under penalty of eternal torment. The faithful, being good sheep and wary of being punished forever, pretty much go along to get along.

And that's the hell of it!

What you need to believe...

... because of the new format, I'm going to list all of the "What you need to believe to be a Republican" sayings here ... I'm not sure where these originated, but I got them from my friend, da Goose.

#1 - Jesus loves you and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton

#2 - 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.

#3 - Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

#4 - A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting the entire human race without regulation.

#5 - The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches, while slashing veteran's benefits and combat pay.

#6 - If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.

#7 - A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle out long-time allies, then
demand their cooperation and money.

#8 - Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy, but providing health care to all Americans is socialism.  HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.

#9 - Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

#10 - A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense, but a president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.

#11 - The Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriage and censoring the Internet.

#12 - The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's driving record and whee he was when he was supposed to be in the Texas Air National Guard is none of our business.

#13 - Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host.  Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

#14 - What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the 1980s is irrelevant.

#15 - We must support hunters who shoot their friends and blame them for wearing orange vests similar to those worn by the quail.

A final quote: 

 "There is no underestimating the intelligence of the American people."  H. L. Mencken  

Could It Happen Here?

Bob Poris is a good friend. Bob is a retired department store and shopping mall executive. Some years ago, Bob worked with Rabbi Sherwin Wine to establish the Society for Humanistic Judaism in Detroit. Bob served as president of that organization for five years.

We recently became involved in a discussion of the Holocaust. I expressed my opinion that we in the United States may be in danger of something similar happening here. It may or may not include Jews (anti-Semitism remains a huge problem), or it might involve other groups, such as just political dissidents.

Such an idea may seem incredible at first glance, but one must remember that the Germany that spawned the Holocaust was a highly civilized, cultured nation; a predominantly Christian nation; a nation teeming with brilliant scholars, artists, business men, theologians, musicians, educators, historians, and professional people.

Here's what Bob said:

"It (a Holocaust-type event) can happen here for any group! At the moment, Mexicans are a hated group in parts of the U.S. It could be any group that has some members that offend the majority and get media attention regarding their behavior.

"If hate is backed by authority and the public can act upon it without fear of arrest of condemnation, that group could find itself in deep trouble.

"In spite of the truth of the Holocaust, it is still doubted by many. Those that believe it happened somehow think it was not quite as bad as it was or it was the fault of the Jews; or they (the Jews) could have stopped it, could have fought back, etc.

"No one wants to believe that their parents or grandparents did nothing. I know what happened to the remnant that did survive. They were unwelcome anywhere in the world and kept from going to Palestine. They were put in Displaced Persons camps while another solution was sought. Cyprus became the new, but kinder, concentration camp when the British Navy caught ships carrying Jewish refugees to Palestine.

"Today, the Jews are back in the news as aggressors, not victims. Ask most people how many Jews there are in any given country, including the USA. You'd be surprised at the numbers and yet some people suppose the Jews can wield a sinister influence on the nation, or are thought to have too much influence.

"Ask about Israel and you will find many think Israel is a threat to peace and that Israel causes all sorts of problems, even in lands that have a zero Jewish population.

"Most people would prefer to forget the Holocaust because it symbolizes a massive failure on the part of the human race to protect a small, essentially powerless minority. We still hear people say that the Jews are 'obsessed' with the Holocaust and should forget about it.

"Thus anti-Semitism raises its ugly head, as it does in the widespread hostility to the Jewish state of Israel."

It could happen here! Or maybe the wheels are already in motion. Consider this: On January 25, 2006, KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton, announced that it had been given a $385 million "contingency contract" by the Department of Homeland Security to build detention camps in the United States!

The purpose of these camps, according to Halliburton, is to provide "for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to augment existing Immigration and Customs Enforcement Detention and Removal Operations Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs."

Okay, so these camps are for immigrants. But read the last sentence again. What the hell is the meaning of "rapid development of new programs"? What kind of new programs? Who will these new programs be for?

We might also recall that in 2002, then Attorney General John Ashcroft "announced his desire to see camps for U.S. citizens deemed to be 'enemy combatants.'"

You can see where this is going.

And you can read much more about it here.