Saturday, May 3, 2008

Does John Hagee Hate America?

One doesn't need to wonder how John Hagee really feels about America. He's told us many times in many different ways.

America, says the reverend, is a pagan wasteland that deserves to experience the terrible wrath of God. I don't think Hagee likes our country very much. This is confirmed by Bruce Wilson, who has researched Hagee in depth: "Hagee appears radically anti-American to the extent that he hopes and expects, as evidenced by a[n] ... appearance on WHYY's 'Fresh Air' radio show and also in [his] 2006 best-seller 'Jerusalem Countdown', that God will incinerate most Americans now living - with a nuclear strike on America's coastal regions."

God, says Hagee, has cursed and doomed America because America has allowed terrible things to take place within its borders, such as abortion, the removal of prayer from our public schools, and disallowing the posting of the Ten Commandments on classroom walls in our public schools.

Again from Mr. Wilson: Hagee "claimed that American public schools provide abortion services. [Hagee] stated, 'Your daughter and can get an abortion in public school without telling you but she can't get an aspirin without your approval.' The pastor also claimed that public school teachers can force their students to study a 'precursor to witchcraft' and suggests that America has invited 'satan' and demonic spirits into its public school system by failing to display" the aforementioned Ten Commandments in classrooms.

In one of his sermons, Hagee said that "America has become a pagan society," is "in a moral, emotional and spiritual free fall," and is "rebirthing Sodom and Gomorrah."

All of Hagee's rantings about the failures of America and the terrible condition in which America finds itself is not confirmed by the facts. As Bruce Wilson points out, "available empirical evidence, in terms of national social trends, does not support Hagee's dire claims."

First of all, as we have reported on several occasions, national studies show that public schools perform just as well or better than do private schools in this country, and "Christian private schools perform, on a number of criteria, worse than secular private schools and government funded public schools."

Additionally, says Wilson, Hagee's rantings about America "rebirthing Sodom and Gomorrah," are quite false. The data points to the fact that "American social trends have, in the decade and a half since the early 1990's, been on the balance positive."

Hagee, however, like most Christian rightists, is not concerned with "evidence," or "truth," but rather with increasing the numbers of people who hear his voice and send him dollars. A cynic might conclude that he really doesn't believe anything of what he says, but has simply found a means, through his church, sermons, and books, to profit mightily on the back of fundamentalist, apocalyptic Christianity.

On the other hand, it is possible that he is sincere; that he actually believes the bullshit he promotes. If that is true, we must conclude he really does hate America. And it might well be true, for he's just too happy to pronounce the wrath of God on his fellow citizens. He gets very excited when he thinks that God will soon carry out the destruction and terror he [Hagee] has promised and smite all those infidels who dared mock the right reverend John Hagee!

Actually, whether you think Hagee is a fraudulent fakir fishing for money, or whether you think he is a sincerely deluded Frankenstein who hates America, I think Frank's famous expression from "Everybody Loves Raymond" is the perfect summation of Hagee and his message:

"Holy Crap!"

The Univ. of Washington Medical Center - a medieval dungeon?

(Photo of Univ. of Washington Med. Ctr.)

Universities these days are supposed to be places of enlightenment and knowledge, not dungeons of medieval theology.

Some people at the University of Washington haven't gotten the word. A University Medical Center committee authorized the death of Timothy Garon, 56, who suffered from Hepatitis C. Garon, with the approval of his doctor, Brad Roter, had smoked marijuana "to alleviate nausea and abdominal pain and to stimulate his appetite."

That made Garon ineligible in the eyes of the Medical Committee and they denied him a spot on the liver transplant list, even though his use of marijuana was authorized under Washington state law. He died a week later!

Never underestimate the stupidity of medically-educated people!

Consider this: Garon's doctor authorized the pot. The state of Washington authorizes the medical use of pot.

The University of Washington Medical Center routinely uses drugs much more potent and much more addictive than pot for exactly the same reasons that Garon used marijuana - to alleviate pain and other symptoms!

What a bunch of godforsaken hypocrites! How can anyone affiliated with the medical profession deny a dying patient a life-saving transplant because he smoked marijuana with a doctor's blessing?

Fire the whole damn committee!

McCain and Matthews - Absence of Integrity

When a younger person I was taught that journalists/reporters were supposed to be as unbiased as possible, and provide all the available facts about a news-worthy person or event.

Later, I realized that, for the most part, that was a crock; that things didn't work that way in the real world. I learned instead that, by and large, the media slants the news to suit their preferences, sometimes by simply not reporting on an important story.

Thus today we have the situation where military "experts" have been coached and sent out by the Bush administration, often with the connivance of the media outlets, to tell lies to the nation on behalf of Bush's war in Iraq and other military adventures.

That connivance, perhaps, is one reason the major media outlets have ignored the story, a story that tells a sordid tale of an administration so deeply enmeshed in its own perversity, that truth and openness are never an option.

Media Matters notes: "Continuing their silence, the major broadcast networks and cable news networks all reportedly declined to discuss the April 20 New York Times front-page article on the hidden ties between media military analysts and the Pentagon on the record with NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik. Furthermore, according to a search of transcripts available in the Nexis database, the broadcast networks -- ABC, CBS, and NBC -- still had not reported on the revelations in the Times story on any of their news programs through May 1..."

This tidbit of information sharpens the point I wish to make -- the media has lost its voice, its soul, its reason for existence.

Fox News, of course, is the prime example of a soul-less media outlet, serving as a propaganda machine for the Republican Party and as the unofficial mouthpiece for the Bush administration. But, increasingly, the other major news sources, are following the crooked path trod by Fox.

Chris Matthews is a prime example of someone stumbling down the crooked path. Matthews might as well be hired by the McCain campaign. He simply refuses to report truthfully about McCain's past record, his "foot-in-mouth" disease, his lies, and his overwhelming ignorance relating to important people and/or events.

Again from Media Matters: On Thursday's airing of Hardball, Matthews stated "that McCain's primary asset in the coming general election is his 'integrity.' Matthews has previously praised McCain's 'candor' and 'straight talk' and asserted that he has 'always been honest.'"

What world does Mr. Matthews live in? More importantly, why does he insist on promoting these lies? What's in it for him? White House press secretary perhaps -- if, God forbid, McCain should win?

Even more suspect is Mr. Matthews' praise of McCain's non-existent "integrity" just a week after The New York Times reported that ol' John somehow misplaced his "integrity" to help one of his largest fundraisers, Donald Diamond, buy part of California's coast from the Pentagon, "a purchase that netted Diamond a $20 million profit."

Here's how Mr. Diamond sees things and his take on "integrity": "I think that is what Congress people are supposed to do for constituents ... When you have a big, significant businessman like myself, why wouldn't you want to help move things along? What else would they do? They waste so much time in legislation."

As Media Matters points out, Chris Matthews must not have heard of Donald Diamond, for never once has he mentioned his name; and certainly not in the same breath with McCain's name! Matthews just blathers on and on about McCain's invisible "integrity."

By so doing, of course, Matthews vitiates his own integrity and compromises his role as a reporter. Maybe Fox News can find a spot for him sometime around mid-November.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Giving Jesus a voice in public schools

Foreword: The Federal Equal Access Act - Student-led clubs in public high schools.

"Most student-led, special interest, non-curriculum clubs must be allowed to organize in most U.S. high schools. Their right to assemble is usually protected under a federal law -- the Equal Access Act.

"The law was originally heavily promoted by conservative Christian groups to allow students to organize religious clubs in public secondary schools. These are typically conservative Christian Bible study, fellowship and prayer clubs. One writer estimated that the number of Christian Bible clubs in high schools rose from 100 in 1980 to 15,000 by 1995. The Equal Access Act was a major contributor to this increase.

"The Act affects much more than Christian clubs. Ironically, over opposition from the same Christian groups that sponsored the law, the same legislation is now being used to support the right of students to organize gay/lesbian/bisexual support groups in those same high schools. The Act requires most schools to permit clubs of all religions, and none. Included might be groups which deal with Atheism, Goth culture, Heavy Metal music, Satanism, Wicca, other Neopagan religion, etc. School districts can opt out of the Act by not allowing any non-curriculum clubs."

-- from Religious Tolerance

+ + +

Story 1:

An appeals court on Wednesday revived a lawsuit filed by Wiccan students who claimed their high school unfairly refused to recognize their Wiccan study club as a school-sponsored group.

The students from George Washington High School in Piedmont want to affiliate with the Student Body Council, which would give their club, The Good Witches, access to student funds, school property and facilities and the right to post Wiccan material around the school.

The Student Body Council had initially denied that affiliation because The Good Witches limited its membership to Wiccans.

So the Wiccan students sued, claiming that the school district provided waivers to other groups that limited membership based on gender or sexual preference but refused to grant one to a religious group.

The 22nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court's dismissal, stating that the Wiccans had "raised a triable issue of fact." The case goes back to the district court to determine if The Good Witches club was unfairly denied an exemption from the district's nondiscrimination policy based on religion or the content of its speech, under the Equal Access Act.

The Wiccans are being represented in this case by the Allied for Righteousness Defense Fund, a Wiccan legal organization that seeks to protect the rights of Wiccan students across the United States. A spokesman for the ARDF said that "Wiccan clubs have the same constitutional rights as every other club. To discriminate against them on the basis of their beliefs is clearly unconstitutional."

Story 2:

In another state and another high school, a group of students formed a Wiccan/Occult Club and one of the activities of this club was a Wiccan Day of Kindness during which participating students would wear a Wiccan pentagram/pentacle necklace and would be required to do at least three "acts of kindness" on behalf of other students.

The high school's conservative Christian students became enraged over both the establishment of the Wiccan/Occult Club and the Wiccan Day of Kindness. Leaders of the Christian "Jesus Loves You" club, have denounced the Wiccans, claiming their religion is about Satan and witchcraft and a direct slam at the true God and his only begotten son, Jesus Christ. Jane and John Bobsey, co-presidents of the Jesus Loves You club, said that school administrators were endangering the school, indeed they were inviting the wrath of God by allowing the Wiccan club to organize and hold a Wiccan day to do acts of kindness in the school.

The Bobsey twins also reported that on Wiccan/Occult Day, those students who truly loved Jesus and were real, born-again Christians, would skip their classes to read the Bible and pray in the school commons. School administrators said they couldn't do that, and if they went ahead with their plans, even if parents signed permission slips, the school would give them unexcused absences.

George Wright, a member of the Jesus Loves You club, said he was saddened and disappointed that school administrators would allow the Wiccans to do acts of kindness at the school. "Wicca is a terrible, anti-Christian, anti-God religion," he said. "Such groups should not be allowed in American schools as we are a Christian nation. Only Christian students should be allowed to have religiously-based clubs."

Wright and others are in process of organizing a "Christian Purity Day," which will promote sexual abstinence. When asked if that was in response to the Wiccan Day of Kindness, Judith Ann Beguid, also a member of the Jesus Loves You club, said, "Of course it is. Everyone knows that Wiccans are sexual deviates who engage in terrible orgies where everybody gets naked and burns candles and does awful sexual things to each other during the middle of the night in caves outside of town. It's just terrible! Whenever I think about it, I cry. In fact, I'm going to cry now, so I can't say any more!"

+ + +

Beginning about a quarter of a century ago, fundamentalist Christian groups set out to establish Bible study/Prayer Clubs in U.S. high schools. That led to a great deal of controversy and numerous lawsuits, the fundamentalists generally claiming that to deny them the right to establish a Christian club was a denial of their constitutional rights.

The courts basically agreed with that position in 1990 (Board of Education of Westside Community Schools v. Mergens) by upholding the Equal Access Act which had been passed by Congress and signed into law in August of 1984.

That has not completely solved the problem, however, as school districts continue to interpret it in such a way that some Christian groups are denied their own clubs. In fact, on April 25, 2008, a "U.S. appeals court ... revived a lawsuit by Christian students who claimed their Washington state school district unfairly refused to recognize their Bible study club as a school-sponsored group."

The case was sent back to the district court for review and another determination.

+ + +

The situation gets murkier, however, when elementary schools are invaded by well-organized, well-heeled and well-oiled Christian evangelical machines.

On June 12, 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public grade schools in the U.S. "must open their doors to after-school religious activities, including those that involve young children, on the same basis as any other after-hours activity that school policy permits."

According to an article by Linda Greenhouse in The New York Times, this meant that "the same constitutional principle the court had already applied to public high schools and colleges" must be extended to elementary schools.

The case had to do with allowing the Good News Club, an evangelical Christian organization use a room in a upstate New York school building ... Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the majority characterized the club "as teaching character and values from a religious point of view."

Dissenters Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David H. Souter, disagreed, claiming that the Good News Club was not merely about "discussion of a subject from a particular, Christian point of view, but ... an evangelical service of worship calling children to commit themselves in an act of Christian conversion."

Ginsburg and Souter were right and the majority were wrong!

What is so sad is that the majority voted on the basis of their political/religious orientation, not according to the law or the plain reality of the situation. There is a huge amount of material available describing the Good News Clubs and the organization behind it, the Child Evangelism Fellowship, Inc.

Even a quick scan of said material would reveal it is all about evangelizing and only about evangelizing, and therefore should have no place in any public school building in the nation, but especially in an elementary school building with very impressionable children, quite vulnerable to religious "truths" presented by adults in authoritative positions.

In September of 2005, Matthew Staver of the Liberty Counsel's National Liberty Journal had this to say about evangelizing children in our public schools:

"Good News Clubs are the best thing that has happened to public schools. Designed to bring the Gospel to children ages 5-12, Good News Clubs are sponsored by the international ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship ... CEF is in all fifty states and 155 foreign nations.

"Through its international ministry, CEF bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to more than five million children each year, of which more than one million children make decisions to accept Christ as Lord and Savior...

" ... recent court cases have allowed Good News Clubs to be conducted in public elementary schools immediately after school. ...

" Since the 2001 Supreme Court decision, Good News Clubs have been spreading like wildfire throughout public schools. ... Good News Clubs have been exploding throughout the [Los Angeles Unified] district."

Referring to a South Dakota case, which was won by the Liberty Counsel in 2004, Staver says "public elementary school teachers can now put aside their secular textbooks immediately after the last school bell and bring out their Good News Club materials to teach the Gospel to elementary students.

"Good News Clubs are taught by adults, and the children attend by parental permission. Good News Clubs teach morals and character developed from a Biblical viewpoint. The youngsters sing songs, read Bible stories, memorize Scripture and are taught the Gospel. ...

"Liberty Counsel is working with CEF to implement a five-year strategic plan to get Good News Clubs in every public elementary school in America. There are approximately 65,000 such schools. Thus, there are many open fields for evangelism to take the Good News to public school students immediately after school."

A month later, in Octdober of 2005, Staver wrote the following:

"The so-called 'separation of church and state myth' is often raised like an iron gate to force Christians to check their true faith when they walk on campus. The reality is that not only is this notion untrue, it is illegal. Public schools are not religion-free zones. ..

"Christian Educators Association International (CEIA), Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), and Liberty Counsel have teamed up together to set the record straight: the doors of the public schools are open for Christians to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to our youth, many of whom are waiting to hear about a Savior who loves them and forgives sin.

Here's how this works:

CEF, through the Good News Club, distributes fliers to students in an elementary school during the school day -- these fliers are handed out by teachers. One parents complained. "The group has a perfect right to rent the space and have their activity," he said, [but] "the separation of church and state should prevent them from distributing the material in the class during school hours."

Mr. Staver, you'll recall, said "separation of church and state" is a myth. Teachers can do what they want.

In one school the fliers described the Good News Club as "an awesome, safe environment for children to grow and learn about God's love." It also mentioned that "the Bible [is] the main textbook."

Janet Walker, a chapter director for CEF, bouyed by the notion there is no such thing as the separation of church and state, thinks all this is wonderful. The purpose of CEF programs, e.g., the Good News Clubs, is to evangelize children. Walker noted that at the end of each lesson, students are invited to accept Jesus Christ into their lives and be saved.

A business teacher volunteered to work with the Good News Club because "The love of Christ can change a child's heart. Jesus Christ changes lives." She became a volunteer to "do something for eternity."

Some people might call all of this "child abuse."

Maybe, maybe not. But if you are of another non-Christian religion, or if you belong to a mainline Christian denomination or the Roman Catholic or one of the Orthodox churches, you are not going to be happy if your child is conned into attending the Good News Club and comes home to tell you you're not a Christian and need to be "saved."

The problem for both elementary and high school students is that members of these conservative Christian clubs are often not satisfied to remain within the boundaries laid out for them by law and by school officials. In other words, they can't help but proselytize, and in many cases, students not affiliated with these groups are ostracized and made to feel like "outsiders."

Annie Laurie Gaylor, leader of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, says that school Bible clubs are divisive and inappropriate. "We get complaints constantly by high schoolers who feel it creates a hostile environment where they feel aggressively proselytized, where the children and the students who belong to Bible clubs are being treated as better."

+ + +

The two stories after the Foreword at the beginning of this essay are creative concoctions based on truth. I made them up, in other words, using facts from real conflicts within real high schools.

One of the points I was making is that this whole business of promoting fundamentalist Christianity within the public schools may blow up in the face of its pious perpetrators. Already we are hearing of Muslim students interested in forming their own Muslim clubs in the public schools. It is likely that some Wiccan students may have also attempted to start Wiccan clubs.

Under the law, there is no reason that any religious or non-religious group could not start its own club, so long as it followed the rules set down by the Equal Access Act. In other words, the door is open to Satanists, atheists, agnostics, believers in the Great Spaghetti Monster, etc.

That's the delicious irony facing the fundy Christians who thought they could force the issue, ride over the wall of separation of church and state, and with their sneaky little "Bible" clubs, impress their phony, funky, religious formulations on unsuspecting public school students.

Unfortunately, the students most at risk are the elementary school kids, who really have no way of discerning the validity of a cause promoted by their teacher(s) within the public school setting.

It is obvious that groups like the Child Evangelism Fellowship and Liberty Counsel are lacking a moral and ethical sense. What they do is take advantage of gullible young children to lure them into a specious Christian doctrinal box, where they hope they'll be confined forever. They, like so many people who think they are heeding the will of God, operate on the principle that the ends justify the means.

In reality, their operation is too similar to the way the bad guys operate who lure children with candy and promises of fun and games.

[While I care nothing for Wicca, it is an interesting religion. If interested, you can learn more here:]

Thursday, May 1, 2008

God's cursed and doomed America - John Hagee

John Hagee, the Christian wingnut from Texas, has said straight out that God has cursed and doomed America.

Bruce Wilson, in a Talk 2 Action article, "McCain Endorser Pastor John Hagee: God Curse and Doom America," tells the whys and wherefores.

In 1997, Hagee published a book called "Day of Deception." It's a gloomy screed. One of the chapters, 17 pages long, is called "America Under a Curse." In this chapter Hagee writes: "As a nation, America is under the curse of God, even now. Look at the scriptures and see for yourself. The stand we have taken on abortion, the stand we have taken against God in our classrooms, just may have sealed our doom."

Oh, golly gee!

Wilson tells how Hagee describes all sorts of divine curses "that afflict Americans and all of Homo Sapiens - curses on individuals, curses on families, curses on nations and curses on mankind. 'The Curse on America' is neatly organized into subsections for different types of divine curses sapping and damaging America and its people, its culture and economic well-being: God's curses on individuals; God's "curse on America"; "The Curse on the Home"; "The Curse Against People" (Americans generally); "The Curses of The Cities"; "The Economic Curse"; "The Curse of The Plagues"; "The Curse of Servitude".'"

Now unless you're protected "by the blood of Christ that curse will stick." There's a lot of folks who are being cursed right now and probably don't even know it. I had an inkling, though, when I saw the price of gas this afternoon!

But, wait, Wilson isn't through. Hagee, he says, wrote a "later book" which "described a terrible, permanent divine curse upon Jews for worshipping idols."

And then, taking a partial hint from Genesis, Hagee declares that "To work and to sweat ... are the curses of men while menstruation and childbearing are curses of women."

This is the man John McCain speaks so highly of. John McCain went to this man to plead for his endorsement. Wilson says that in an interview with George Stephanopoulos, McCain said that pleading for Hagee's endorsement was "probably" a mistake, but then came right back and said "I'm glad to have it."

Without defending Jeremiah Wright or any other of the religious goofballs in this country of whatever stripe, it doesn't seem to be right that Wright gets so much flack and Hagee, who is clearly much crazier than Wright ever was, pretty much gets a pass from our McCain-loving media.

McCain, I think, needs to get on national television and tell the nation in no uncertain terms that he rejects, refuses and will not accept Hagee's endorsement; that he finds Hagee's beliefs and statements reprehensible, dangerous, unChristian and unworthy of anyone who claims to follow Jesus Christ.

McCain should specifically reject any and all of Hagee's rantings about the end-times, last days, Armageddon, Rapture, invasion of Iran, and any other crap that Hagee spouts about Israel and his love for the Jews or the United States being a Christian nation, or breaking down the wall of separation between church and state.

McCain must tell the nation that he believes Hagee's notions of "curses" are nothing more than despicable threats to terrorize people into his version of the Christian faith, or frighten people into accepting his version of America - a theocratic state where all would be governed by biblical laws and fundamentalist rules.

If McCain doesn't or won't do that, he should be run out of town!

All of Mr. Wilson's article is available here.

The scary Mr. Gates

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates was in Mexico City yesterday (April 30). He met with reporters and told them that "The movement of a second aircraft carrier into the Persian Gulf this week doesn't signal an escalation of the U.S. naval presence - but could serve as a 'reminder' of it to countries in the region."


The famous Navy supercarrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln, upon which Bush performed his desecration five years ago, steamed into the Persian Gulf a few days ago. Not to worry, said Gates: "The size of our naval presence in the Gulf rises and falls constantly. This deployment has been planned for a long time. I don't think we will have two carriers there for a protracted period of time. So I don't see it as an escalation. I think it could be seen, though, as a reminder."

What a pile of you-know-what and doubletalk! "Reminder?" "Escalation?" What the hell's the difference? Two carriers in the Gulf would certainly "remind" Iran that an "escalation" is underway.

Why can't Bushites be open and honest?

Gates responded to another reporter's question by saying that the recent buildup of criticism of Iran does not mean the U.S. is "laying the foundation for a military strike."

What does it mean, Mr. Gates?

Cliff Schecter has a great piece on this press conference here.

"MIssion Accomplished" by G. W. Bush - What a guy!

Go to Media Eric Alterman on Altercation from which cometh the following.

You'll recall, either with a bit of a gloat or with great embarrassment, how our pretend sky-jock, pretend president, walked bowleggedly across the deck of the Navy supercarrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln, back in 2003. What you may not recall, or maybe were never told by the Bush media, the ship had been ordered 150 miles offshore so as to make the president's landing more dramatic -- no houses, cars or skyscrapers messing up the background -- and Bush didn't land the plane, a Navy pilot landed the plane!

But there came our presidential "hero," strutting in his pilot gear under a huge "Mission Accomplished" banner grinning that shit-eating grin of his as if he'd won WWIII all by hisself. And he told the nation the Army was in Baghdad and wow, hadn't they done a magnificent job winding up this war so fast?

It was impressive.

Chris Matthews, the TV blowhard, gushed "That's the president looking very much like a jet, you know, a high-flying jet star. A guy who is a jet pilot. Has been in the past when he was younger, obviously....He won the war. He was an effective commander. Everybody recognizes that, I believe, except a few critics....Here's a president who's really nonverbal. He's like Eisenhower. He looks great in a military uniform. He looks great in that cowboy costume he wears when he goes West."

And Matthews again: "We're proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who's physical, who's not a complicated guy like Clinton or even like Dukakis or those guys, McGovern. They want a guy who's president. Women like a guy who's president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president."

Seriously - someone needs to gag this airhead!

Ann Coulter to Matthews: "It's stunning. It's amazing. I think it's huge. I mean, he's landing on a boat at 150 miles per hour. It's tremendous. It's hard to imagine any Democrat being able to do that. And it doesn't matter if Democrats try to ridicule it. It's stunning, and it speaks for itself."

Ann Coulter has the brains of a mushroom, and she's mean as a snake, and this is exactly what a slithering mushroom would say!

There's more of this crap from other so-called political pundits: Brian Williams, Morton Kondrake, David Broder, Joe Klein, Laura Ingraham... But beware, read it only if you have a strong stomach!

The whole scenario on the USS Abraham Lincoln was staged by the White House. Initially, Bush insisted that the Navy put up the banner and denied the White House had anything to do with it. In fact, Commander Conrad Chun, a Navy spokesman, agreed with bush. "The banner was a Navy idea, the ship's idea," said Chun.

I suppose Chun thought he should back up his commander-in-chief, even if his leader is a lying, deceitful moron who shirked his own, real military responsibilities by hiding out in some political candidate's office.

The White House did, eventually, admit the banner was all their idea.

Now the Bushites are saying that the banner did not refer to Iraq, but, as Chun put it, "the successful completion of the ship's deployment."

Bush jumped all over that! "Oh, my gosh!" exclaimed the prez. "Did you think that lil' ol' banner referred to Iraq? Why would you ever get such a foolish idea? No, no, the banner was in honor of the carrier's deployment."

That's what he said, in so many words!

Lies, lies and more lies. Unfortunately, there are many more to come before November. Stay tuned!

Then, as Alterman notes, satirically: "The surge is a success! The death toll in Iraq in April reached its highest level since late last year. The four U.S. soldiers who were killed yesterday increased the total military deaths in April to 50, a seven-month high. In addition, the Iraqi government reported that 959 civilians died last month, the highest since August."

I suppose we also ought to mention another shelling of the Green Zone the other day...

Holocaust planned by Jews, says Hamas

Thanks to my good friend, Bob Poris, for forwarding this "Bulletin" from the Palestinian Media Watch. Dated April 30, 2008, it is titled "Hamas Holocaust Perversion: Jews planned Holocaust to kill handicapped Jews," and was written by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook.

Marcus and Crook describe a Hamas TV education program broadcast last week which taught "that the murder of Jews in the Holocaust was a Zionist plot with two goals:

"1 - To eliminate 'disabled and handicapped' Jews by sending them to death camps, so they would not be a burden on the future state of Israel.
"2 - At the same time, the Holocaust served to make 'the Jews seem persecuted' so they could 'benefit from international sympathy.'"

In summary, Hamas said "The Satanic Jews thought up an evil plot [the Holocaust] to be rid of the burden of disabled and handicapped."

A major problem in dealing with terrorist groups and/or religious fundamentalists is their inability to accept and incorporate facts into their belief system or modus operandi. Their lives are defined by insanities which are incomprehensible to rational people. Their "truth" is unrelated to evidence or objective standards of behavior.

Thus, there isn't much to say about this, other than it tells us quite a bit about Hamas, but nothing about the Holocaust. And it reinforces our understanding of the impossible situation in which Israel finds itself. How can a country (Israel) be expected to negotiate with a terrorist force that not only showers your land with death-dealing rockets on a daily basis, but teaches its people (especially its youth) that Jews are "satanic," that they are "pigs" that they do not deserve to live, and that the most godly thing a Palestinian youth can do is to serve as a suicide bomber to hasten the day that Israel and the Jews are driven into the sea?

Point your browser here for further information from the Palestinian Media Watch.

The DC Madam: another prostitution suicide?

Deborah Jeane Palfrey said her escort service did not involve prostitution.

Nobody believed her, of course, even though she insisted she had never heard her employees talk about taking money for sexual favors. In fact the 130 employees of her Pamela Martin and Associates signed a paper promising not to have sex with clients.

None of that mattered and about two weeks ago, Ms. Palfrey was convicted by a federal jury of running a prostitution service.

Her "escort" service serviced a number of Washington, D.C.'s poohbahs. In fact, one of her servicees was none other than a Republican senator from Louisiana, David Vitter, who is still in office. (See below as to other clients of Pamela Martin and Associates).

Don't you wonder why when Democrats get into sexual trouble, they quickly find themselves unwanted and end up out on the cold, hard streets of our nation's capital, but Republicans seem to be able to let the slime just roll off their bodies, even as they stand up and admit their crimes and lies and beg for forgiveness? Vitter, for example, and David Craig comes to mind.

You might wish to visit the Republican Offenders website which lists a whole bunch of these clowns.

Ms. Palfrey killed herself in the Florida west coast haven of Tarpon Springs. It seems that at 52 years of age, she couldn't deal with spending a possible 55 years in prison. In fact, the idea was beyond her. Back in 1991, when charged with pimping out women in California, she skipped out on her pending trial and wrote in a letter to her lawyer, "Prison is an absurd and unthinkable horror for me to embrace for simply being an enterprising business person. For God's sake, I was only running an escort service."

But she wasn't the first to find herself dead. Brandy Britton, a former professor at the University of Maryland, who worked for Ms. Palfrey, and who was arrested on prostitution charges in 2006, was found dead, a supposed suicide, in January, just before she was to go to trial.

Consider these facts:

One year ago, a TV newsmagazine reported they had obtained Palfrey's phone records and these records implicated "A prominent military consultant and a Bush administration official."

But there were many more "links" in the 46 pounds of telephone records Palfrey provided ABC News. One was Senior State Department official, Randall Tobias, who resigned when confronted with the records. Another was Harlan Ullman, the developer of the so-called "shock and awe" combat strategy. Ullman refused comment. Other "links" were reported to include "a Bush administration economist, a prominent chief executive officer, the head of a conservative think tank, lobbyists and military officials."

Also significant is that fact that the phone records revealed information about the "escorts," one of which was an instructor at the Naval Academy and another a secretary at a prominent law firm.

Britton's case never got to trial as she supposedly committed suicide.

Palfrey, who promised if she went to prison she'd take a whole bunch of poohbahs with her, never had the chance.

A strange thing happened: While she was convicted of money laundering and using the mail for illegal purposes and racketeeering, Palfrey's trial was over before it started! No information came out as to what her escort service really did, and not a tad of information emerged about her clients. Vitter was on her witness list, but he did not take the stand.

Palfrey kills herself.

I'm not going to claim that something is going on here or that maybe these women concluded they had no choice, or perhaps their deaths were arranged to look like suicide, or maybe they were taken out because they contained too much damaging information about too many important people...

I'd never claim that. I mean, most of Washington, D.C. these days consists of born-again Christians. Right? Still...

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Evangelicals jumping on the ecological bandwagon

The Sierra Club, as you know, is about environmentalism and care of the earth.

A megaton of Christian "evangelicals" have not only not shown much interest in preserving the environment or caring for the earth, but have actually gone out of their way to preach against both, some because they've adopted the politics of the Republican Party and merged them with their religion, and others because they figure Jesus is coming back soon, so why worry about the environment.

(A clarification: It has been claimed that James Watt, former Secretary of the Interior, 1981 to 1983, under the late, not-so-great, B-grade movie actor president, Ronald Reagan, said something to the effect that environmental concern was unnecessary as Jesus would return soon so why worry? Actually, Mr. Watt claims he never believed anything like that and he never said anything like that.)

Nevertheless, Republicans and Christian rightists in the past few decades have been less than enthusiastic about taking care of the environment. In the case of Republicans, it's always about the "rights" of the corporations that would strip our forests bare, or scorch the earth with their mining policies, or befog the air with ghastly gasseous emissions that cause global warming. The Christian right, which is for all practical purposes, an "unofficial" adjunct to the Republican Party, honks that same horn.

Would you believe the Sierra Club has hooked up with an "evangelical" Christian on the issue of conservation of the earth? Actually, that isn't all that surprising in light of the fact that more and more "evangelical" Christians are "testifying that their faith encourages responsible stewardship of the earth -- a goal environmentalists of every creed share."

One of these evangelicals has written a new book, and the latest issue of the Sierra Club magazine details how "the Sierra Club is cosponsoring an 11-city book tour for pastor Brian McLaren's "Everything Must Change" (Thomas Nelson, 2007). McLaren argues that a 'holistic, integral, balanced' Christian faith can address social inequities and environmental degredation. By recognizing that solutions must be spiritual as well as political and economic, 'we have the possibility for a real change of consciousness,' McClaren said in an interview on Sierra Club Radio."

I'm not sure what he means by "solutions must be spiritual..." but the fact that someone of McLaren's stature in the evangelical movement is arguing evangelicals need to become engaged in the fight to save the earth is a positive step.

It will be even more positive if evangelicals decide to become Democrats or at least vote for Democratic candidates in November. That would be a really impressive step toward a "spiritual ... political and economic" solution!

You can read about Brian McLaren here.

This site contains an interesting Interview with Mr. McLaren.

Pat Trueman and the U.S. "sex culture"

Pat Trueman is a lawyer. He works for the Alliance Defense Fund, a right-wing Christian group that travels the country defending fundamentalists who want to dismantle the wall of separation between church and state in this country. Trueman has also been on the front lines of the fight against pornography for many years.

At one time Pat Trueman was "chief of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section in the Criminal Division of the Justice Department.

According to, which is a right-wing Christian "news" outfit, Trueman believes that "the easy availability of online pornography is contributing to another, much more dangerous problem," and that problem is child prostitution.

Child prostitution may be a problem in some of our larger cities. It has been a reality in many cities around the world for many years. It is probably not going to go away. Trueman doesn't tell us how much of a problem it is in America. He says it is "booming" in this country, but provides no evidence to back up that claim.

He also neglects to provide any evidence for his statement that "the easy availability of online pornography" is contributing to this child prostitution. How does he know that? He doesn't, but from his particular religious point of view, it makes sense. I have a feeling that there are many reasons for child prostitution, including hopelessness, despair and poverty.

Trueman wants to blame it all on America's "sex culture," whatever that means. "The problem that you're seeing with child prostitution," he says, "is a problem that is booming in cities across America. It's the sex culture that we live in."

I have no truck with child prostitution or any other type of child abuse. The whole idea is nauseating and those involved are the lowest of the low!

But I also see no need to try to pump up our concern for this dastardly trafficking in human beings by posing problematic situations which may or may not be true. Mr. Trueman needs to define what he means by "sex culture," and from what I can tell, he has no evidence whatsoever that Internet porn has anything do with child prostitution.

I don't know where Mr. Trueman stands personally on the First Amendment, but my guess is that as a member of the Alliance Defense Fund, he would have no trouble banning most, if not all, sexually explicit books, magazines, or activities - in the name of family, decency, and the Christian god, of course.

It's always a bit frightening in a free society to have people like this running around making claims that are not based on fact but rather on theological propositions. There's no end to the damage they can do.

Question: If this is such a terrible problem, and if this terrible problem is "booming in cities across America," why did Mr. Trueman leave his position with the Justice Department to spend hours and hours "researching" pornography on the Internet, and to engage in providing a legal defense for kids who want to impose their Christian beliefs and practices on our public schools?

And I always find it curious, this talk about the "sex cultures" and lack of standards and morals in our modern era. I cannot help but be reminded of the biblical Lot who tried to pimp his daughters to the men of Sodom to save his own worthless ass.

They didn't even have the Internet back in those days!

Here's another site for information on porn crusader, Pat Trueman:

McCain and the mind of Hamas

(The following was borrowed from which borrowed it from the Weekly Standard's blog.)

A few days ago, John McCain participated in a blogger conference call. During that call McCain was questioned "about recent positive comments a top Hamas advisor made about Barack Obama." Here's how McCain responded:

"All I can tell you is that I think it's very clear who Hamas wants to be the next president of the United States ... I think that people should understand that I will be Hamas' worst nightmare... If Sen. Obama is favored by Hamas I think people can make judgments accordingly."

Alex Koppelman says that McCain may be talking tough, "but -- no matter what that advisor had to say about Obama -- it's tough talk at odds with reality. American foreign policy under President Bush, which McCain has largely embraced, has been anything but a nightmare for Hamas. It's been a dream, actually."

Koppelman then quotes the following from David Rose writing in Vanity Fair:

"According to [Muhammed Dahlan, Mahmoud Abbas' former national security advisor], it was Bush who had pushed legislative elections in the Palestinian territories in January 2006, despite warnings that Fatah was not ready. After Hamas -- whose 1998 charter committed it to the goal of driving Israel into the sea -- won control of the parliament, Bush made another, deadlier miscalculation.

"Vanity Fair has obtained confidential documents, since corroborated by sources in the U.S. and Palestine, which lay bare a covert initiative, approved by Bush and implemented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy National Security adviser Elliott Abrams, to provoke a Palestinian civil war. The plan was for forces led by Dahlan, and armed with new weapons supplied at America's behest, to give Fatah the muscle it needed to remove the democratically elected Hamas-led government from power. (The State Department declined to comment.)

"But the secret plan backfired, resulting in a further setback for American foreign policy under Bush. Instead of driving its enemies out of power, the U.S.-backed Fatah fighters inadvertently provoked Hamas to seize total control of Gaza."

Vote for McCain aka Bush III if you want more of the same.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tony Zirkle - Any moron can run for Congress

(Photo from

A couple of years ago a moron from Indiana decided to run for Congress. We did a rather long and derogatory essay detailing exactly why he could only be described in moronic terms. We thought he went away for good. It was not to be. The moron is back.

His name is Tony Zirkle. He's a lawyer. He's a born-again Christian. He's a Republican. He's also a total whack-job; a true fruitcake. He gives new meaning to the term "wingnut." And the moron is once more running for Congress.

One of the causes for which Mr. Zirkle has become infamous has to do with the guillotine. Zirkle thinks it would be a good idea to restore this fixture of the French Revolution -- the guillotine -- to use on "porn pimps."

Another of his favorite dreams has to do with segregating African-Americans in separate states. In his own words: "While we are brainwashed with respect to integration and forcing everyone to be together and basically all arguments to the contrary are silenced, historically it's very often been the case that you have to segregate and apartheid people to stop the continual war.

"Is [desegregation] working? I don't know. You can't say there is no argument to the contrary. Yes, there have been many advances, but there are still many problems."

What would Zirkle do with Hispanics and black Latinos in his segregated states? He would "pretty much lump [Hispanics] in with whites." What about black Latinos and people of mixed races? Zirkle says "You'd have to let people declare what culture they want to be living in."

Tony also talks to the Almighty and She told him She definitely does not like sex - or any sex other than with one's spouse. And that's why he called a press conference at his law offices to shred a copy of the first Playboy magazine (for which he paid $1,200 to obtain on the Internet).

After consultation with the Almighty, Zirkle said that shredding porn will make men have sex with their wives and that will result in a national economic rebound. The economic thing comes from this belief: "...if more men were married and in healthy relationships" they would release their creativity and untapped talents.

He is the "pro-sex" candidate, he said, and this shredding of a valuable copy of Playboy is setting "an example for men to put away their pornography and focus their attention on their wives."

I think he's being very sexist. Did the Almighty tell him to tell wives to put away their pornography and focus their attention on their husbands?

Zirkle thinks he is called to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, but he'd also like to win the war in Iraq. How to do that? Well, Zirkle's convinced that "Balkanization by ethnicity" would work. It could go this way (according to

"...unite the Kurds in northern Iraq with the millions of Kurds in Turkey, the Sunnis in the center with Jordan and Shia in the South with Kuwait."

You could call those new states "Turkurdistan," "Jordiraq," and "Kuwaitimesopotamia."

Obviously, the man does not have both oars in the water, but that's not all of his craziness. Just recently, Zirkle went to Chicago (not too far from his South Bend, Indiana home) to speak to a weekend gathering of the American National Socialist Workers Party.

That's the Nazi Party and the kooks were gathered in Chicago to celebrate the 119th anniversary of the birth of Adolf Hitler.

Zirkle said he spoke to the group about his experience as state's attorney and he preached the gospel of Jesus Christ and handed out material on the life of Jesus.

Not surprisingly, only 30% of the Republicans in his district support him. In fact, Chris Riley, chairman of the St. Joseph County Republican Party, told WSBT-TV that "[t]he 'R' next to Tony Zirkle's name does not stand for Republican. It stands for 'repulsive.'


But, you know something? Zirkle isn't that much different than a bunch of other Republican lunatics currently serving in the House of Representatives.

Rudy Giuliani, Cardinal Egan & God Almighty

When Pope Benedict XVI stopped by to bless New York City during his visitation to bless Bush's America, he celebrated Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral. One of those who availed himself of the opportunity to eat Jesus' body and drink Jesus' blood was the former mayor of the Big Apple, Rudy Giuliani.

So what, you ask? Well the Catholic Cardinal in New York City is Edward Egan. He says he and Guiliani had a deal: The Cardinal wouldn't consign his soul to hell for his support of abortion if Rudy would refrain from eating Jesus' body and drinking Jesus' blood in Catholic churches. That's not really what the Cardinal said, but that's what he meant, for all practical purposes.

You have to understand that from the point of view of very important and high-up hierarchs like Cardinal Egan, "abortion is a grave offense against the will of God." How does the Cardinal know that? He and all important and high-up Catholic poohbahs, including the pope, happen to have a direct pipeline to the Almighty and She told them about abortion and other stuff.

Egan's pissed. Rudy ain't talking. But then Rudy's got another problem: He's enjoying his third marriage and while he got the first one annulled [because he and his first wife were second cousins once removed - oh, stop laughing!] he somehow neglected to get an annulment from the second, and not only that but he carried on with the woman who is his present wife long before he got rid of his second wife.

The whole thing is a mess and creates a real problem for Cardinals like Egan who have to carry the burden of knowing the will of the Almighty on just about everything, but especially about sex and sexual things. It's probably a good thing the Almighty tells them about sex, 'cause they're celibates sometimes.

Maybe she forgot to tell them about men who abuse little kids, though, and that's why Cardinals and Bishops and other Catholic poohbahs did nothing for so long about the predator priests in their midsts. Well, they did shuffle them into other parishes. That might count for something.

But you'd think that New York City has some serious problems other than sex that the Cardinal might reference with his wisdom from the Almighty.

Or not. Maybe She just has a thing about sex.

The powerless political McCain machine

Old news. The North Carolina Republican Party, a neanderthalic bunch, ran an ad blasting two Democratic candidates for governor. First, the ad smears Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama's pastor, and using the old "guilt by association" trick, smears Senator Obama, and finally smears the two Democratic candidates, Bev Perdue and Richard Moore.

The narrator says: "Now Bev Perdue and Richard Moore endorse Barack Obama. They should know better. He's just too extreme for North Carolina."

Notice that there is no discussion of issues or anything of substance. It's all innuendo which panders to the basest political instincts. It's a despicable and irresponsible slam.

The North Carolina GOP Chair is Linda Daves. She is just to the right of Attila the Hun. She claims the ad is just fine because "It is no secret that Barack Obama has also received scrutiny recently for his ties to controversial figures, such as his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and former Weather Underground terrorist, William Ayers."

There's more, but it merely confirms that Ms. Daves and the North Carolina Republican Party are ethically and morally challenged.

John McCain claims he tried to stop the ad. "I'll do everything in my power," he said on CBS's Early Show, "to make sure not only they stop it but that kind of leadership is rejected." He also said that he has told the North Carolina GOP "in every possible way" what he wants them to do: get rid of the ad.

McCain calls the ad "offensive." In an email to Linda Daves, he said "This ad does not live up to the very high standards we should hold ourselves to in this campaign."

But...the North Carolina GOP gave McCain the collective "finger." Another spokesman for North Carolina's GOP basically told McCain they don't give a damn what he thinks. They may support him for president, but "The ad is going to run."

Two things: First of all, this brouhaha gives McCain the opportunity to appear statesmanlike by denouncing those bad, bad Republicans in North Carolina who would dare televise such a despicable political smear. It allows him to make great sounding pronouncements, then step back and say, piously, he did everything he could do to stop it.

Who can argue with that? Good, old upstanding John McCain won't stand for those kind of nasty political shenanigans.

But the ad still runs!

But the second thing this southern tempest shows is that McCain has no power within in his own party. This from Americablog:

"The NC GOP has no fears about pissing off John McCain (unlike the press corps, which lives in fear of his outbursts).

"While this episode demonstrates the GOP gutter politics, it also really says something about McCain's leadership abilities -- or lack thereof. He is the head of the Republican party and can't get some two-bit political hack in the Republican party to heed his words. How is McCain ever going to handle Congress? Even worse, how is McCain ever going to handle our enemies? If people in McCain's own party don't listen to him, why would anyone else?"

Finally, this is, I'm afraid, a sign of things to come as we head to November: a spate of new GOP "swift-boaters" claiming the air waves and talking trash!

Monday, April 28, 2008

The run-up to war with Iran

Not so long ago, the liars, falsifiers, and phonies that inhabit the Bush administration, the corridors of the CIA, and other intelligence agencies, told us with grave faces and somber voices that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and that Iraq was poised to use them, perhaps even attack the US or A.

None of that was true!

Later we were told other lies to jack up the American people's thirst for war to match Mr. Bush's thirst for war. Many folks swallowed them whole, including almost every single Congressperson, which led Mr. Bush to roar and beat his chest and order thousands of young men and women off on a mission to destroy and maim and kill, and in turn be destroyed, maimed and killed.

Maybe this was cathartic for Mr. Bush; maybe it assuaged his guilt, because we all know he did a cowardly disappearing act when it was his time to participate in a previous American adventure of destruction, maiming and killing.

Now, says the Washington Post, the Pentagon (that monstrous gobbler of taxpayer monies and human lives) is in process of devising plans to "potentially" attack Iran.

Watch the woodwork, 'cause the doomsayers and the snakeoil salesmen are coming out of their holes. And they're crying (again) about how Iran is messing around in Iraq causing trouble for the Iraqi government and the U.S. occupation.

Even the esteemed Admiral Mike Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs, is selling. He warns about Iran's "increasingly lethal and malign influence" in Iraq. He also said that, while war with Iran would be "extremely stressing" for the U.S. military, it would not be impossible.

Mullen thinks the necessary military resources (read bodies to be killed) to relieve this stress can be located in the U.S. Navy and Air Force reserves. That can't be true, or we wouldn't be in so much trouble now. In fact, we're in so much trouble we've opened the door of our Armed Services to a variety of felons, and we're signing them up, giving them guns, and training them to kill!

Furthermore, you can bet your booty that Mullen and the other aging men and women "warriors" in charge of military things, have in mind all those young lads and lasses now 17 or 18 years of age, your sons and your daughters, in fact, just itching to get their hands on them and send them off to die for Bush and company.

"It would be a mistake," said Mullen, "to think that we are out of combat capability."

It would? Haven't we been hearing for some time that we've about exhausted our military resources and that's why some of our military folks must do two or even three tours in Iraq? If we're not just about exhausted, what's that about? And why else are we recruiting the above-named felons?

Mullen isn't the only saber-rattler. Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense, got into the act, too, claiming that Iran is providing "weapons, training and financing to Iraqi groups that are attacking and killing Americans."

Not only so, but according to Mr. Gates, Iran is "hell-bent on acquiring nuclear weapons." Now that is scary and the reason he said it was to scare us, so when Bush gives the "go" to the bombers, we'll all clap and cheer. Gates did opine that war [with Iran] would not be pretty, but he continued to insist we must consider the nuclear option as a viable option. He did not speak specifically as to why a nuclear strike might be necessary. A nuclear strike, for god's sake!

And now the soon-to-be top dog of all U.S. forces in the Middle East, Army General David Petraeus, is said to be planning a briefing which will detail how we have discovered Iranian weapons in Iraq.

Aha! Probably just like those WMD in Iraq!

Well, the shooting is already underway; sort of. Last week an American cargo ship, known as either the Westward Venture or the Western Venture, claimed it was in international waters when Iranian speedboats came close and didn't respond to radio calls. The American ship fired. Iran says it never happened.

And you will recall how we were told last January that an American warship in the Strait of Hormuz was approached by five Iranian patrol boats which, as they neared, dropped small, boxlike objects in the water. Bush called this a "provocative act."

It turned out to be a complete fabrication! More bullshit from the Bushshites!

Isn't it interesting, too, that a top military officer (Mullen) is making foreign policy announcements? That is what the president is supposed to do! Are we supposed to think that this is not all Bush's doing, but even the best and the brightest of the military lights see things through his war-like eyes?

The other fly in the ointment has to do with the Christian Right's influence on Bush and his administration. It wasn't long ago that John Hagee bragged about his weekly calls to the White House. But it's not just Hagee. There are a number of other, very powerful and influential wingnuts out there who are looking forward to an end-times event that will destroy the world, as insane as that may seem.

These truly crazy people believe in a scenario involving a nuclear conflict with Iran which they think will fulfill biblical prophecy and usher in the final days -- Jesus' return, the Rapture and Armageddon! Certainly such belief is evidence of madness! To act on such a belief is beyond madness!

Somewhat frightening, is the knowledge that where you find Hagee you find John McCain, who is "proud" to have Hagee's support in his try for the White House.

In an article titled, "Warrior envy, mass psychosis and McCain," Paul Campos quoted a McCain statement from 2002:

"Theodore Roosevelt is one of my greatest political heores. The 'strenuous life' was T.R.'s definition of Americanism, a celebration of America's pioneer ethos, the virtues that had won the West and inspired our belief in ourselves as the New Jerusalem, bound by sacred duty to suffer hardship and risk danger to protect the values of our civilization and impart them to humanity. 'We cannot sit huddled within our borders,' he warned, 'and avow ourselves merely an assemblage of well-to-do hucksters who care nothing for what happens beyond.'"

"Those are the words," says Mr. Campos, "of a man who sees war as a noble enterprise: one which builds our collective character, protects us from the moral dangers of an easy life, and gives us a chance to impart our values to the rest of the world. There can be no better reason to vote against him." [My emphasis]

Now Hillary, as you know, promises to kiss Iran goodbye with a nuclear bomb if they cause trouble for Israel. Hillary also voted for the Kyl-Lieberman resolution, which declared the "Iranian Revolutionary Guards -- an official part of the Iranian armed forces -- as a 'terrorist organization.'" Not too much sanity there, either.

Where does Obama stand? He stands for a policy of engagement "because it's talk or fight." As Justin Raimondo said on, Obama "clearly realizes waging perpetual war is hardly in our interests, even if we had the financial and military capacity to carry out such a crazed policy." Hopefully, we will hear soon what Obama thinks about this latest banging of the drums.

Again from Raimondo: "In a world where 'benevolent global hegemony" [hegemony refers to the dominance of one state over another] is the goal of America foreign policy, there is no right to self-defense; that, along with national sovereignty, has been abolished. Defiance is met with an implacable campaign for regime-change by the offending nation. By all indications, Iran is the next victim to be made an example of, sometime in mid-summer, or so the rumor goes."

That is one of the most accurate descriptions of Bush foreign policy I have seen thus far. Raimondo nails it! The U.S. is going to run the world its way! The nation that fails to live up to what the U.S. requires will suffer the consequences, even a nuclear strike!

There are numerous problems with this kind of foreign policy, but a major problem is that it is built on perpetual warfare! It ignores the lesson history has taught us over and over again and which we should have learned, but evidently have not: in a war, nobody wins!

Or, again from Paul Campos: "War is a form of mass psychosis, during which horrifying acts are transformed into heroic deeds, through the magical moral disinfectant of state sanction."

He is not saying that war is never justified, even given the truth of his statement. He is saying it is crazy and whether justified or not, is arguably the most devastating and terrible scourge on the face of the earth.

Don't listen to the liars. Don't listen to those rattling their sabers. Don't listen to their doomsday scenarios. There is no Rapture; there is no Armageddon. Jesus is not coming back.

The only possible result of war with Iran is hell on earth!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

McCain's Insensitive to How Insensitive He Is!

Sunday, April 27, 2008. John McCain is campaigning in south Florida.

This "hero" of the Republican Party is promoting his candidacy in Coral Gables, Florida, one of the more posh enclaves in the Miami area. Not only so, but the multi-millionaire Republican candidate for president has been flitting about the country in a corporate jet owned by a company run by his multi-millionaire wife who just happens to be the heiress to a beer fortune.

John McCain, pretending to be "one of us," a "working man," had the unmitigated gall (I haven't used that term in a long time!) to claim that Barack Obama is "insensitive to poor people and out of touch on economic issues." He also said that Senator Obama's policies are dictated by "the special interests."

Ha, ha, ha, ha.

This from a guy who's got more money than he could spend in a dozen lifetimes, a man who hasn't a clue as to what it means to live from paycheck to paycheck. This from a guy who lives with the special interests (and pretends not to)!

McCain got even funnier. He was asked about his position on Bush's tax cuts for the rich, which at one time he furiously opposed but now thinks are wonderful and should be extended. McCain ignored the question and and went right to criticizing Obama for wanting to raise the capital gains tax...Obama, he said, "has no understanding of the economy and ... is totally insensitive to the hopes and dreams and ambitions of 100 million Americans who will be affected by his almost doubling of the capital gains tax."

Obama, speaking on "Fox News Sunday," noted that McCain wants to continue Bush's tax cuts for the very rich but hasn't any idea how to pay for them. That, said Obama, is irresponsible. "And the irony is he said it was irresponsible."

Old "flip-flopper" McCain.

Not only so, but Obama, sensitive to those folks who worry about capital gains taxes (which, by the way, is NOT a concern of most Americans -- especially those poor folks McCain pretends he's so worried about), said that he wouldn't raise the capital gains tax any higher than what it was during the reign of President Reagan. "I'm mindful," he said, "that we've got to keep our capital gains tax to a point where we can actually get more revenue."

Hah! Who's "insensitive" now, John?

I think the American people should write Mr. McCain a "Dear John" letter!

Define Necessity

[The photo above is from Define Necessity, a terrific site. Click here.]

With much thanks to our friend, Blue Gal...who reminds us it's all about priorities...

A Tortured Defense

The United States today is not the country I grew up in, the country I grew to love.

The United States that I grew up in was not perfect by any means. Discrimination, for example, was practiced in the whole of the country, openly in the South, less openly but just as devastating, in the North. The United States I grew up in tended to treat as inferior, black people, Jews, Hispanics, homosexuals, women, the poor, the mentally retarded, the physically handicapped, homeless people, non-religious people, etc., etc.

But there was a sense in the United States I grew up in that we were changing for the better.

And indeed, as time went on, visible progress was achieved in terms of our relationships with one another. In 1954, the Supreme Court outlawed segregation in our public schools, which resulted in something of a societal revolution. A sense of community, of responsibility for one another, was growing, though we had to live through the riots and disruptions of the 1960s.

But it was the War in Vietnam that was the beginning, I think, of a rending of the fabric of the commonwealth that has never healed. Many of us perceived, for the first time, that we had been naive, and realized we could not trust our government because the people we elected to serve and protect us deceived us for their own devious reasons and their own twisted rationale. Fifty-eight thousand Americans gave up their lives in service of those most twisted and deviant politicos.

Still, the United States I grew up in, the country I grew to love, never descended to the depths of depravity that defines the United States today. And I'm not talking about the "depravity" that raises the hackles of the Religious Right. The Religious Right is part of the problem, not part of the solution!

I'm speaking now of the men and women who have brought this country to its knees over the past eight years through their lies, their amorality, their utter disregard for our constitution, their neglect of the welfare of everyone but the very wealthy; their selling of their souls to pander to their base to stay in power - these are the people who have destroyed much of what was good about our country in terms of its financial well-being, its reputation around the world, it's military prowess, its ability to care for its people, indeed its spiritual essence.

You see the United States I grew up in did not invade sovereign countries that posed no threat to its well-being. The United States I grew up in did not instigate a military action based on lies to obtain the oil wealth that belonged to another country. The United States I grew up in did not twist the truth into so many convoluted strands it quickly became unrecognizable.

But, most importantly, the United States I grew up in did not torture its enemies!

This morning, again, the media told yet another story describing the United States government defending its use of torture. As reported by The New York Times, the Justice Department, in a series of letters, provided Congress with a legal interpretation which said "that American intelligence operatives attempting to thwart terrorist attacks can legally use interrogation methods that might otherwise be prohibited under international law."

I'm sorry, but that's exactly the same goddamn excuse the Nazis used when they rid Germany of its constitution and its laws to establish a dictatorship.

Our own Justice Department is arguing that the ends justify the means, that if an interrogator thinks he might gain information about a terrorist attack, he can do pretty much whatever the hell he wants. And, it would be mighty easy to argue that every "terrorist" suspect is certain to have information he would not wish to divulge. So waterboard the sucker!

I, for one, am sick of the leaders of my country arguing that they have the right to torture other human beings for the good of the country. I am sick of it for several reasons but an important one is that it showcases our callous disregard for human life. A second, and more significant reason is that torture makes us no better or different than the people we accuse of being "terrorists"! We become the enemy!

This is not the United States I grew up in, the one I grew to love, the country I now mourn.

McCain and the Letter of the Law

McCain, according to much of the media, is a "maverick" and a fighter for justice, and one thing that exemplifies this is his support for campaign finance reform.

According to a story by Barry Meier and Margot Williams in The New York Times, McCain got on that campaign finance reform bandwagon last year and "backed legislation ... requiring presidential candidates to pay the actual cost of flying on corporate jets.

"The law," writes Meier and Williams, "which requires campaigns to pay charter rates when using such jets rather than cheaper first-class fares, was intended to reduce the influence of lobbyists and create a level financial playing field."

First off, I can't imagine why a candidate would be allowed to use a corporate jet for any campaign-related purpose, no matter what the cost. I'm naive, I know, but I'm constantly amazed at how corruption rules the roost among the chicken-hawks, the chicken-hearted, and the chicken-shit in Washington.

If you're flying around on a jet owned by the ABC Major Weapons Corporation while campaigning for the presidency, the cost is really incidental to the real problem which is that the ABC Major Weapons Corporation is going to expect something in return for the use of their corporate jet. And you can bet your bippy that it won't be something to help the "average" American citizen!


Back to McCain, who despite the media's adulation, is really not so righteous as painted on paper and Television. Here's what The New York Times says: "...over a seven-month period beginning last summer, Mr. McCain's cash-short campaign gave itself an advantage by using a corporate jet owned by a company headed by his wife, Cindy McCain, according to public records. For five of those months, the plane was used almost exclusively for campaign-related purposes, those records show."

The McCain campaign paid $241,149 to use the plane, which is estimated to be the cost of chartering the same type of jet for "a month or two."

You might think that was illegal, but it wasn't because there's a loophole in the law that "exempts aircraft owned by a candidate or his family or by a privately held company they control." The Federal Election Commission tried to close the loophole by requiring candidates pay a more appropriate amount for using family-owned planes, but the FEC was not able to pull it off.

Some people think, even though legal, it isn't right for McCain to use his wife's jet. While using his wife's jet campaigning for president may be OK according to "the letter of the law," such activity does "not reflect its spirit."

Sheila Krumholz, who leads a nonpartisan organization that collects and analyzes campaign data said "This amounts to a subsidy for his campaign, which is notable given how badly they were struggling last year."

How did the McCain campaign respond when queried about this "problem?" McCain could not be reached, but a spokeswoman, Jill Hazelbaker said that they had done everything on the up and up - legally and ethically - by paying first-class airfares for McCain's flights about the country.

But, last summer, McCain (before he started flying around on his wife's jet) said he would not utilize his wife's vast financial resources in his bid for the Republican nomination. "I have never thought about it," said John, according to The Arizona Republic. "I would never do such a thing, so I wouldn't know what the legalities are."

Well, we're going to leave it there. John McCain has a bad habit of saying one thing and doing another or conveniently forgetting what he said as he does the opposite or denying that he held a position as he now proposes the opposite position.

Maybe he's just getting old? Nah, he's always been that way!

The complete article from the New York Times is available here.

And another article about McCain being the fox guarding the

Broun Fights Porn for Fighting Men (& Women)

You'll remember Paul Broun, the neophyte Republican congressman from Georgia, the killer of animals, the physician from Athens, the one who insists on the comma in the Pledge of Allegiance, the one who found Jesus and thinks it is his job as a Congressperson of the United States of America to bring everyone else to Jesus and make our nation into a godly, Christian nation...

Well, thanks to the folks over at therawstory, we have learned that dumbo is at it again. He, and 15 other Congressional dumbos, supported by such fine uptight, moralistic, puritanic groups as the Alliance Defense Fund and the American Family Association (the latter group being the one that believes it has the right to determine what Americans read, see, or hear), have sponsored "a bill that would strengthen the ban on sales of adult-themed publications on U.S. military installations."

Yep, you heard it right. These clowns of righteousness want to tell our fighting men and women what they can and can't read while they are in the service.

Currently, the Department of Defense operates under the restrictions of the National Defense Authorization Act of 1997 which "bans the sale of 'sexually explicit material' on property under Department of Defense jurisdiction..." But, some stuff still gets through if it isn't too terribly "sexually explicit."

So, hail to our hero, the animal killer from Athens, the lover of Jesus and all things good and holy, Mr. Paul Broun: His bill, H.R. 5821, aka the Military Honor and Decency Act, would shut down any nasty, little loopholes that might allow one of our fighting men and women the opportunity to see a nekkid human being, or human beings having a little sexual fun with one another. It's OK, of course, for them to see little kids blown up in the streets of Baghdad and to see blood and guts flying every which-where, but don't let them see anything having to do with human sexual activity. God, as they understand her, doesn't like human sexual activity.

Broun, the pious fraud, says "As a Marine, I am deeply concerned for the welfare of our troops and their mission. Allowing the sale of pornography on military bases has harmed military men and women by: escalating the number of violent, sexual crimes; feeding a base addiction; eroding the family as the primary building block of society; and denigrating the moral standing of our troops both here and abroad. Our troops should not see their honor sullied so that the moguls behind magazines like Playboy and Penthouse can profit. The 'Military Honor and Decency Act' will right a bureaucratic--and moral--wrong."

Wow! That's more bullshit from a member of Congress than I've heard in a long time. None of what he says has any basis in fact! And furthermore, it is not the business of our government to tell us what we can or cannot read or see or hear.

Someone grab Mr. Broun and point him to the United States Constitution, the very First Amendment! Someone suggest to Mr. Broun that if he doesn't want to abide by the Constitution and instead wants to reshape the ideas and beliefs of the nation into some kind of Christian theocratic state, he should resign immediately and take up fundamentalist preaching. He could start his own mega-church, the Broun Bag of Bullshit.

Isn't it wonderful that our fighting men and women, under tremendous pressure and in constant fear for their lives have the backing of such men as Broun and bunch? I mean, what about weapons and bullets and humvees and body armour and...well, you name it. How about coming up with a plan to bring these fighting men and women home in one piece? How about providing them with proper medical care when they get home? How about seeing to the mental health of the estimated 300,000 fighting men and women who are having a hell of a time getting their act back together after being bombed in Baghdad or assaulted in Afghanistan?

Is this what you think is supporting the troops, Mr. Broun, censoring what they can read on their military base far from home?

Is this the freedom they are fighting for, Mr. Broun, the freedom not to be able to read what they want to read?

What next, Mr. Broun - are you going to require them to read a chapter of the Christian Bible every night? You know, seeing as how you're a Marine and all and so damn concerned about their moral welfare and eternal souls!

Join the Salvation Army, Mr. Broun, if you insist on being a warrior for Christ!