Friday, May 9, 2008

Atheistic addiction

(Photo is of "addicted" atheistic youth at an atheist conference)

It's rather fun and always interesting to read some of the so-called "Christian" blogs and websites on the Net. You won't learn much of value, but you'll quickly find out how just how goofy some of your friends and neighbors are.

For example, this blog has an article titled "Addicted to Atheism." The writer, Edward, is deadly serious. Atheism is an addiction and he can prove it. In fact he's drawn a diagram to "illustrate how the dynamic of atheistic addiction operates," and you can see it here.

Edward complains that atheists are tough to convert to Christianity because "many of them are in the throes of addiction. They are addicted to atheism."

He explain that atheism brings an "initial rush of freedom combined with ... intense narcissism that follows the abandonment of ... faith in God" and that "tends to hold atheists in a spiral that results in the destruction of their purposeful lives."

Oh god! Edward is a disaster. Someone help the poor fellow!

The sickness of religious narcissism

Narcissism is defined as an excessive admiration of self. In everyday parlance, however, it seems the definition has broadened to an excessive concern of self.

Bopping about the Internet the other day, I stumbled across a blog that featured a brief essay by "Guest Writer - Katie Corbett, VA." This essay is a revealing, as well as revolting, glimpse of someone caught in the throes of the sickness of religious narcissism.

Katie describes how her church had become involved in an event called "50 Days of Unbroken Prayer." Many Christian fundamentalist and evangelical churches do this kind of thing -- conduct prayer marathons in the hopes that maybe there is a God somewhere who, if they pray long enough and with enough fervor, will hear their supplications and make their lives meaningful.

Actually, that never happens. They never hear from God. Rather, it is in the act of praying that they find "meaning," for as they reflect on their lives and draw various conclusions, they deduce that these conclusions are, in fact, messages from God.

In one sense, it's an effective system, as people can justify pretty much whatever they want to believe or do. They are just obeying God's commands.

Katie's prayer time was at 4:00 AM...which she admits "is crazy." At least she's rational enough to realize it's rather weird to go to an empty hotel room at four o'clock in the morning to spend an hour in prayer.

Did Katie pray for peace on Earth, for goodwill to be established among all people, for truth and justice to prevail in our country, for war to be abolished, for the suffering souls in Burma...? No, in fact, she didn't.

Katie prayed that God would tell her how to deal with the minutiae of her life. And after 54 minutes pouring out her soul in that hotel room, God gave her a "clear" message: He told her that she could not "be consistent with temporal things but allow spiritual things to fall to the wayside."

Isn't that amazing? Katie says she heard God clearly telling her to get her spiritual act together.

Please be warned; what follows is a bit perverse!

Katie writes that "Humans are a desperate people who need to spend consistent time with the true lover of our souls. I am a woman," she said, "in desperate need of my holy God."

So Katie, in her prayer time, went through the ACTS system: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. That's when God showed her what he thought she needed to do: be more consistent with Him.

But it's so hard, Katie mused: "Why do I allow the giver of true and awesome love to be pushed aside? Am I really that busy? I doubt the Love of my soul is filling up my day planner with everything except him. At this moment, I feel him asking me to come to him...all the time. This great big God, who is so beautiful and mighty, wants to spent time with little, insignificant me. He is so consistent with me. Don't I owe him the same?"

(Welcome to Ditzyland! But what would Dr. Freud say?)

How to be consistent with the "Love" of her soul? How to be consistent with her "great big God"? Those are the questions that concern Katie, "a woman in desperate need of [her] holy God. Thus, caught up in religious narcissism, she turns inward and concentrates on minutiae.

If she can run three miles a day, she ought to be able "to spend more than a few minutes with [her] Father ..." the "Lover" of her soul.

If she spends "time dressing and putting on make up" ... [or] if she spends "a good 30 minutes just staring at the mirror every morning focusing on [her] physical beauty," and then allows "the beauty of God's redemption to go unnoticed" ... she feels guilty and sad.

So Katie decides she must "rearrange some stuff and get consistent." Great things will happen if she does that. Rhetorically, she asks, "What amazing things will God bring forth in the hours to come? I can't even begin to imagine, but I can't wait to find out."

As utterly repulsive as this narcissistic religious panting for Daddy God is, it is fairly representative of the kind of religion promoted among the Christian fundamentalists: a religion utterly absorbed with individual "salvation," with one's feelings, with the notion that there is a Supreme Deity who created the entire Universe but who is nevertheless deeply and ultimately concerned, not with the suffering in Darfur, not with little children starving, not with the victims of cyclones in the Far East, but with whether one spends as much time thinking about or praying to Him/Her as one does putting on makeup.

There is not a whit of concern for anything or anyone beyond one's insignificant and mundane daily existence.

It is a truly sick business.

Mason, McCain and more chicanery by Bush

(From Media Matters)

David Mason has been the chairman of the Federal Election Commission. Mr. Mason told John McCain that he could not opt out of the public financing system in the presidential primary without the permission of the FEC.

McCain has tried to do just that as he is spending over the limits of the public financing system which means he could be (is probably) breaking federal law.

Last February 21, the Associated Press reported:

"The government's top campaign finance regulator says John McCain can't drop out of the primary election's public financing system until he answers questions about a loan he obtained to kickstart his once faltering presidential campaign.

"Federal Election Chairman David Mason, in a letter to McCain this week, said the all-but-certain Republican nominee needs to assure the commission that he did not use the promise of public money to help secure a $4 million line of credit he obtained in November."

Big problem. If McCain is guilty of "knowingly violating the spending limit," he has committed a criminal offense the penalty of which consists of rather large fines and up to five years in prison.

(That would be an interesting scenario: The Republican candidate for president up on criminal charges! Won't happen, though. Hell, we haven't been able to do anything about the criminals occupying the two highest offices in the land -- and we've got the "goods" on them!)

It so happens that the FEC has been operating short-handed for some time with only two of six members and thus has been unable to deal with McCain's request to get out of the public financing system.

To get around this stalemate, the prezident has nominated three new candidates (refusing, as we mentioned a few days ago, to retract the nomination of Hans von Spakovsky--a crony to whom Bush in deeply in debt.)

Not only so, but our ethically-impaired prezident withdrew the nomination of David Mason!

Why would he do that? Might it have anything to do with the fact that if Mason remained on the commission he might cast a negative vote relative to John McCain's bid to get out of the public financing system?

Nah...our prez would never do anything like that...

(The only good thing about this mess is that Harry Reid's office indicated they'd move ahead on the confirmation of all nominees, with the exception of Spakovsky. They want Spakovsky gone and expect he will not be confirmed.)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Disenfranchising voters in Indiana

(This photo of a nun has no connection to the nuns in Indiana)

The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says, in part: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States..."

The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says, in part: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

The State of Indiana, as coerced by the Republican Party, redid its voting laws to require prospective voters to provide photo identification which effectively denied a number of citizens the right to vote thereby violating the U.S. Constitution.

The United States Supreme Court, driven not by a desire to ensure truth, justice or adherence to the U.S. Constitution, upheld Indiana's laws thereby setting in stone this blatant denial of the right of certain citizens to vote in violation of the United States Constitution which the Supremes swore to uphold.

We've already referred to one of those involved in the remaking Indiana's voting laws - Hans von Spakovsky, a Bush crony and amoral Republican shark who Bush has again nominated for a seat on the Federal Election Commission, and who, if elected would give new meaning to the old saw about foxes guarding the chicken coop.

The ONLY reason for this photo ID law is to make it more difficult for certain classes of people to vote - most of which would normally vote Democratic. While disenfranchising Democrats may not be critical in a primary election, it wreaks havoc in a general election. And it makes a mockery of our democracy!

Here are some of the unfortunate and unnecessarily stupid things that happened in Indiana during Tuesday's primary elections:

Twelve nuns were sent packing by a sister nun because they didn't have the proper ID. Sister Julie McGuire was working at a polling place in South Bend when her fellow sisters -- all in their 80's and 90's showed up to vote. They didn't have state or federal identification with a photograph! Some brought passports, but the documents were out of date!

Then you have the case of a just-married woman who was turned away because the name on her driver's license did not match the name on her voter registration card. Another woman had to pack it in because she only had a college ID and her driver's license was from out-of-state.

There have never been a case of someone impersonating a voter in the state of Indiana. Nevertheless, the Republican Party in Indiana, pushed this new photo ID law because they were so worried about voter fraud, or so they said.

What the rest of us should be worried about is Republican fraud.

We know from bitter experience the Republican Party will do whatever it takes to disenfranchise potentially Democratic voters.

Anti-Radiation Pills for the Rapture

Artisan Publishers is an outfit in Oklahoma that prides itself on being one of the main outlets for Christian wingnut end-times crap.

We've dealt extensively with John Hagee and his insanity and will continue to do so for he represents a great threat to the security of our nation and to the stability of the world.

In Section 1 of his book, "Jerusalem Countdown," Hagee notes he is writing the book "in the spring and summer of 2005. It's very likely," claims Hagee, "that before this book is published early in 2006, America and the nations of the world will be staggering beneath the realization that Iran, a rogue Islamic terrorist state, has officially joined the nuclear club."

(Oops. Wrong again, John!)

Now you might think that would be something to fear. But Iran's nuclear capability, and "The rise of terrorism" are part of "the emerging crisis in the Middle East between Israel and Iran" and thus "part of a much bigger picture -- that of God's plan for the future of Israel and the entire world."

What's coming, says Hagee, is "the Jerusalem Countdown" ... "a countdown that will usher in the end of this world."

A bit later in the book, this fruitcake says, as if he would have a clue, "In the eternal counsel of almighty God, He has determined to make Jerusalem the decisive issue by which He will deal with the nations of the earth."

Nations who follow God's purposes will be blessed by God, but God help those who oppose God 'cause they are going to be in deep merde - they'll "receive the swift and severe judgment of God without limitation."

Because Hagee has the ear of a number of important poohbahs in Washington, including the cowboy in the Oval Office, he is extremely dangerous and as time goes by we will deal further with him, the "Jerusalem Countdown" book and some of the other aggressively stupid and insane things he has said and done.

Meanwhile, note that he expects a nuclear holocaust to bring about the end of the world. He's not alone in this farcical prophetic fantasy, and you can find a number of like-minded nitwits and the books they have written at Artisan Publishers.

And that's also where you can purchase Anti-Radiation Tablets, which "Will help You Survive a Radiation Event." Only $18.95 for 200 tablets.

Sheesh! If Jesus is coming back and the good guys are gonna be raptured "up" to Heaven (I wonder if these clowns know there is no such thing as "up"?) why would anyone give a flip about anti-radiation tablets.

Oh, that's right...Jesus may be delayed...probably on a conference call with Moses, Isaiah, and Hagee...

Decriminalizing marijuana - It's about time!

(I don't know whether this is important or not. I don't think so. Nevertheless, I feel it necessary to say that I do not smoke marijuana and have never in my life used marijuana.)

But at this very moment, in jails and prisons around the country, we have thousands upon thousands of people under lock and key because they were caught using or in possession of marijuana.

Some of these people have been imprisoned for years for this terrible and vicious crime!

On April 17, 2008, two marijuana decriminalization bills were introduced in the United States Congress by Representative Barney Frank (D-MA). One has to do with federal penalties for possession of marijuana and the other with the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

HR 5843 was co-sponsored by Representatives Ron Paul (R-Tx) and William Lacy (D-MO) and "would eliminate all federal penalties, including arrest, jail time, and civil fines, prohibiting the personal use and possession of up to 100 grams of marijuana."

It's about time we got some federal action! The Feds have better things to do than chase after people using marijuana for their own personal pleasure or to alleviate medical problems.

Twelve states have already passed laws decriminalizing the personal use of maryjane: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Oregon.

Other states considering decriminalization include New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts.

Another bill, HR 5842, co-sponsored by Representatives Ron Paul, Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), and Sam Farr (D-CA) would require the Feds [the DEA] to act according to state law when in comes to the medicinal use of marijuana. That's a bit weak, but again, it's a start.

Decriminalization may all be a dream, though, as the bills are unlikely to be heard this year. Chances for passage increase if the Democrats can hold majorities in both legislative bodies and especially if the Dems win the White House in November.

It is absolutely crazy and extremely hypocritical to lock up people for years for using a drug that is not as potent or as addictive as either alcohol or tobacco! Furthermore, it is clear that marijuana is used extensively throughout the country by almost every age group. It's about time the United States government dealt with this issue in a rational and adult manner.

In fact it's past time for the legalization of all uses of marijuana!

God Bless America!

Karl Rove, Fox News and John McCain

I found a note but can't remember where it came from. But I learned a couple of things from that note.

First of all, I learned that Karl Rove has given money to John McCain's campaign, and worse, is serving as an adviser to John McCain's campaign. I don't think McCain will need any help in creating and airing the tons of dirt his campaign is sure to generate, but with Rove on board the level of truth will sink to record lows.

Secondly, Rove is appearing on Fox News as a "commentator" which, in a sense, really isn't news nor is it surprising, as Rove has been "commenting" on Fox News--behind the scenes--for a number of years. Fox News has parroted the Bush Administration line almost word for word since its inception and the Bush Administration is a Rove creation.

More interesting is the fact that Fox News has not disclosed Rove's connection to the McCain campaign! So, old Karl sits on his big fat ass, making like a pundit, and while nobody expects him to be the least bit objective, Fox News should be truthful about his connection to McCain as that gives even less objectivity to anything he might say about either Obama or Clinton or anything else, actually!

Over at Think Progress they're "running a Rove Watch clock, currently sitting at 91 days and counting, measuring the time since it was revealed that Rove" is connected money-wise and advice-wise to McCain and company.

It is likely, of course, knowing what Fox thinks of openness and honesty, that connection will never be revealed.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Dr. Ira Katz a lying crony

(Photo of Dr. Ira Katz)

Back in 2005, CBS News did an investigation of suicides in the U.S. military. They discovered that, on average, "120 people each week who had served in the military committed suicide. That's an average twice that of non-veterans."

There is no question that the number of military suicides has risen since 2005.

In December, 2007, Congress held a hearing to clarify and deal with the problem. There was bitter, emotional testimony by persons affected by these suicides. The Veteran's Administration was accused of failing to meet the mental health needs of our military men and women.

Much of the criticism was directed toward Dr. Ira Katz, the VA's mental health director. Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., said the VA failed to collect the proper data: "You don't track this stuff. You simply don't track; you don't want to know about it."

Dr. Katz disputed the findings of CBS News. The numbers were wrong he said, the implication being that CBS had somehow come up with inflated numbers.

"Their number is not, in fact, an accurate reflection of the data," said Katz.

Well, the crony Katz is back on the hot seat. Yesterday he was defending himself before the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Seems that Dr. Katz sent an email concerning military suicide data. Dr. Katz started the email by writing "Shh!"

Then he went on to report that 12,000 veterans a year attempt suicide while being treated by the VA. Obviously, that's not good data. So Dr. Katz asked "Is this something we should (carefully) address ourselves in some sort of release before someone stumbles on it?"

"Shh!" Someone might find out how screwed up we are in the Veteran's mental health department.

"Shh!" We don't want anybody to know how many suicides we've got on our hands and how badly we're failing those in need of mental treatment.

"Shh!" Someone might "stumble" onto this information. We don't want to get our sorry asses in trouble.

So, the sorry Dr. Katz told the House VA Committee, he was sorry. "I deeply regret the subject line. It was an error and I apologize for that."

The good doctor, even with an MD and who knows what other educational degrees, just doesn't get it! This isn't about a minor error in verbiage. This is about what that error points to - an uncaring disregard for those persons for whom Katz and the VA is responsible, and a mentality that is more concerned about perception than fact. That's why Katz lied to Congress back in December.

The fact is all sorts of people are dying while under the VA's watch because they are not getting the help they need.

Katz may not be responsible for all of them, but it would seem to me that he ought to give a damn!

"Shh!" indeed!

Vote NO on Von Spakovsky

In 2007, Prezident Bush nominated Hans von Spakovsky to the Federal Election Commission. It was a typical crony appointment.

Hans is another amoral Republican who believes and acts on the premise that what's good for the Republican Party is good for the country and is most definitely God's will! He has a nasty record of messing in elections - in fact he's the one largely responsible for "purging" Florida's voting rolls in 2000 which resulted in Bush being appointed prezident by the U.S. Supremes.

He's also tried to defranchise voters in Georgia and in Indiana. Unfortunately, our "activist" Supreme Court justices just upheld his effort in Indiana.

According to SourceWatch, Ted Kennedy said Spakovsky, as a Justice Department lawyer, "was involved in a decision that rejected a recommendation of career Justice Department lawyers in a Texas redistricting case. Those lawyers had concluded that the redistricting plan violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 because it eliminated several districts where minorities had substantial voting power and illegally diluted black and Hispanic voting power."

And that's exactly the kind of immoral, unethical actions that define Spakovsky!

His nomination, thanks to Barack Obama and other Democrats, has been effectively blocked.

Hans threw in the towel back in January and left the FEC, but Bush has "resisted efforts to withdraw [his] nomination..." Of course he has. Bush doesn't make mistakes. And he owes Spakovsky - big time!

But now Bush claims he wants to "compromise," and he's nominated "two new Republicans and one new Democrat to the" FEC. This, according to the arcane rules of the U.S. Senate will somehow allow a separate vote on von Spakovsky.

Write your senators now. Tell them to vote "No." Hans is not a nice man. Hans will do anything to further the right wing Republican agenda. Hans is representative of exactly the kind of person we do not want on the Federal Election Commission!

McCain and the Chief Supreme

Personally, I don't think 72 is old. Now John McCain may be old at 72, but he's an aberration. In more ways than one.

I also don't think McCain loves Chief Justice John Roberts. I think John McCain wants to be prezident and thus he makes truly stupid statements about John Roberts and the fact that Obama didn't vote to confirm Mr. Roberts. McCain is blatantly transparent as he tries to show the Christian Right that he, John McCain, is really as nasty as they are!

So John said, if elected prezident of Amerika, he would appoint judges "in the mold of Roberts and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito." In other words, they'd be judges who would vote against allowing women to control their own bodies in the belief the government knows better than they do what's right or wrong for them; they'd be anti-abortion. (Did you get that, James Dobson?)

Then McCain put his foot down and stepped right in the ca-ca. (Maybe he is a bit senile?) He berated Barack Obama for voting against Bush's nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court. He used that "elitist" brush again by painting Obama as one of those who think that the only people worthy of sitting on the Supreme's bench is "an elite group of activist judges, lawyers and law professors who think they know wisdom when they see it -- and they see it only in each other."

McCain isn't smart enough to have written that nasty little rant. It sounds Rovian, actually, and it could be for Rove is surely hiding in the darkest cracks of the haunted Republican house with the other cockroaches!

Too bad for John but that smear isn't gonna fly! McCain is so out of it he doesn't realize that one really good reason to vote for Obama IS THE FACT THAT HE VOTED AGAINST THE NOMINATION OF JOHN ROBERTS!

Hopefully, most Americans today realize that when Republicans try to tar judges that refuse their right wing agenda with the word, "activist," they are wrong by 180 degrees.

The truly "activist" judges are those Republican appointees who ignore or change the Constitution to conform to their party's current political platform or the fundamentalist religious beliefs of their party's base; judges like those, who in 2000, ignored the will of the people and the rights of the people to appoint George W. Bush prezident.

What we absolutely don't need are more "activist" justices like Roberts, or Alito, or Thomas! What we desperately need are moral, ethical justices who will carry out their solemn promise to abide by the Constitution of the United States.

Once again, John McCain just doesn't get it!

John McCain & Abortion

It is a fact that our celebrity-addled media is in love with John McCain and gives him a free pass pretty much every times he asks - hell, even if he doesn't ask! That is unfortunate and unhealthy for a democracy, but that's the way it is in Amerika in 2008.

For example, a Wednesday AP article by one Libby Quaid carried this comment:

"Despite his rocky relations with the right, McCain's record on cultural issues like abortion is conservative. McCain has repeatedly voted against federal funding for abortion and has opposed federal Medicaid funds for abortion."

Hmmm. Notice what that doesn't say. Even though it leads one to assume that McCain has always opposed abortion, it doesn't actually say that. It sounds very much like a McCain press release. It probably is. I don't know Libby Quaid, but most political reporters these days do not investigate news stories, nor do they even verify news stories--they simply write what's handed to them.

Cliff Schecter, the author of the recently-released book, "The Real McCain," in an interview with, says that McCain is a flip-flopper on a number of issues, including abortion! "In 1999," says Schecter, "he had two interviews with CNN and the San Francisco Chronicle where he said making abortion illegal would force women into horrible operations and we shouldn't overturn Roe v. Wade.

"Now he wants to overturn it. He even indicated he would support a human rights amendment."

It shouldn't have been difficult for Libby Quaid to do a bit of fact-checking before talking about McCain's "conservative" abortion record.

Quaid would have discovered the following:

In July of 1998, McCain was anti-abortion to the extent he wanted to restrict abortions; forbid partial-birth abortions and deny public funding of abortions.

But about a year later, in August of 1999, McCain said that while he would like to see Roe v. Wade made "irrelevant," he did not want to repeal it.

In October of 1999, McCain said he supported adoption and foster care and that he wanted to work together on abortion. The Republican party could include both Pro-Choice and Pro-Life people.

That was also the year that McCain said women shouldn't be forced to have illegal operations.

By January of 2000, McCain is moving the other direction and expressed a desire to overturn Roe v. Wade, while making exceptions for rape & incest. But he also supported fetal tissue research and said again abortion was OK in case of rape plus there should be no testing for rape.

If a daughter in a family wanted an abortion, there should be a "family conference" about the matter.

Doctors who perform abortions should be prosecuted, but not the women who get them.

Jumping to May of 2007, we find McCain still supporting federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Simultaneously, he again expressed concern for women who undergo illegal dangerous operations.

In February 2008, McCain repeated what he said in 1999 - that women shouldn't be forced to have illegal operations.

Somewhat incongruously, also in February 2008, he noted he was "Pro-life and an advocate for the Rights of Man everywhere."

But in April of 2008 he re-affirmed his belief that the United States Government should take control of women's bodies to better conform to Roman Catholic and Evangelical Christian religious dogma and forbid them the right of abortion, i. e. Roe v. Wade should be overturned.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Meet Texe Marrs - Insanity on the Right

Some deeply-religious people are clearly insane.

One of those is a man by name of Texe Marrs.

Wilkyjr on Talk 2 Action tells some stories about Texe. He says that he first heard of Texe "through a book circulating in my Senior Adult department in church. Texe had published a book he claims to have sold nearly a half million copies of over a decade ago. The book was called BIG SISTER IS WATCHING YOU. The jest of the manuscript was that Hillary Clinton was working secretly with Janet Reno to destroy Christianity and overthrow the nation through a lesbian network."

Insanity often appears truly banal - see photo at right of Texe, wife and doggy!

Texe, says Wilkyjr, likes to "mix ... eschatology with right wing conspiracies. The best way to explain Texe is to use the illustration of Pat Robertson. In Pat's book, NEW WORLD ORDER, Pat claims the Masonic Lodge, PTA, the Congress and the Council on Foreign Relations (to name just a few of the parties) are working to overthrow the government to set up a one world order. Texe Marrs believes the same thing, but he believes Robertson is in on the plot."

Ha, ha!

Actually, it isn't very funny. Whole bunches of people swallow this crap whole and send Texe gobs of money and try to live their lives based on what the idiot says.

Wilkyjr tells us that Texe doesn't much like John McCain, either. "John McCain is a vile, wicked, deceitful man," says Texe, "a warmonger and sexual deviant. Make no mistake about it. If this man wins the presidency, America is finished as a nation. Forever."

Joe Lieberman, according to Texe Marrs is an "...ADL stooge handler, Jewish bigot, and closet homosexual."

Ah, there's so much more. You can read the rest of what Wilkyjr says on Talk 2 Action, but to get the essence and the flavor and the depth of the insanity of Mr. Marrs, go to his website here.

Take an anti-nausea pill first, though!

McCain and the League of Nations

There really used to be a League of Nations. It was adopted by the Paris Peace Conference after WWI in April of 1919. The League was headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and one of its main concerns was disarmament.

The League was never very successful. No doubt a major reason for that lack of success was because the United States never joined. The League was formed as a result of the Treaty of Versailles and the United States never signed the Treaty of Versailles.

It's not easy for a so-called League of Nations to succeed when the largest and most powerful nation on earth chooses not to become a member.

The League of Nations did not meet during WWII, and at the end of the war was disbanded, its responsibilities taken over by the United Nations, of which the United States was a member.

John McCain doesn't seem to know the difference between the League of Nations and the United Nations.

If you go to Americablog here, (scroll down) you can view a video which shows the Senator saying that the "League of Nations" needs to deal with Iran.


George W. Bush - Defiling religion, faith and hope

Jenna Bush is getting married at the Crawford ranch on Saturday. A "giant" limestone cross has been built for the occasion. This cross will serve as a landmark for the ranch for many years.

It is an appropriate symbol for Bush and company. Not, however, in the way he envisions.

The National Day of Prayer is all tied up with James Dobson's Focus on the Family and the coordinator for the event is none other than Shirley Dobson, spouse of James. The Dobsons are well-known Christian rightists and dominionists with little love for our cherished Constitution and the wall that separates church and state. Bush, however, believes this is a splendid event, and people all over the nation spend the day pleading with the Almighty to bless America.

The National Prayer Breakfast is sponsored by the Fellowship Foundation. The Fellowship Foundation is another name for The Family, the spooky, cultish, ultra-secret right-wing group that concentrates on achieving power by using Jesus as an agent of domination and strength. Originally, the organization had fascist ties, and today still attracts right wing dictators from around the world. Perhaps that's what makes it attractive to the Bushes.

This year's National Prayer Breakfast was held in the Hilton Washington's International Ballroom. Some 2800 people attended to nod to God.

George W. Bush remarked. George W. Bush thinks he's the pastor of the nation. A Christian pastor, naturally, for his Christian nation.

Bush said he likes prayer. Prayer is big with him. You can overcome denominational differences with prayer, he told the group, assuming, probably rightly, that everybody present agreed with him.

"The people in this room come from many different walks of faith. Yet we share one clear conviction. We believe that the Almighty hears our prayers - and answers those who seek Him."

Pastor Bush went on: "Through the miracle of prayer, we believe He listens - if we listen to His voice and seek His presence in our lives, our hearts will change. And in so doing, in seeking God, we grow in ways that we could never imagine."

Ignoring any non-Christians that might have been present, the pastor of the nation said that Christians have a special relationship with God, so "the more time we spend with God, the more we see that He is not a distant king, but a loving Father."

Now I don't care if Bush believes in Haysus, Jesus, Allah, Buddha, or the Easter Bunny! But I do care when he sticks his thumb in the eyes of millions of Americans who hold religious beliefs at odds with his fundamentalist Christian convictions.

He is not the "pastor" of the nation. As the president, he should not speak as to whether his God answers prayer or not, or infer that a relationship with the Christian God will improve our individual or national well-being.

We are all too aware of the fact that Bush heard God tell him to invade Iraq and depose Saddam. Look what that led to!

By preaching his little sermon at the National Prayer Breakfast, the president of the United States declared this to be a Christian nation, and ordained himself as it's leading clerical representative.

Much of the world thinks G.W. is a fool. His appearance and remarks at the this exercise in pious pedantry removes all doubt. His Prayer Breakfast appearance and remarks also remove any doubt as to the depth of the man's hypocrisy.

Dovbear hit it on the head, I think. When Pope Benedict XVI arrived in the U.S. recently, Bush said to him:

"In a world where some treat life as something to be debased and discarded, we need your message that all human life is sacred..."

For many of us, that was too much! Dovbear put it rightly by commenting thusly:

"The simplistic chutzpah of this imbecilic president never fails to amaze me. Where does the president find the nerve to declare that we need to hear from the Pope that 'all human life is sacred' when Bush has done nothing but disregard the Pope on this point. The pope [sic] opposes capital punishment, yet as Governor of Texas Bush presided over 151 executions. The Pope opposes the war in Iraq. The Pope opposed the execution of Saddam Hussein. The Pope has condemned the use of torture at all times and in all forms. The Pope, unlike Bush, is consistant [sic]. The Pope, unlike Bush, does not shrug his shoulders when soldiers and civilians are killed in the Middle East. The Pope, unlike Bush, does not make pious sounding noises about the towering moral value of zygotes while also embracing capital punishment. The Pope, for all his shortcomings, is a man of principle, and one of the scandals of this decade is how Rove and the media deceived the electorate into thinking that George W. Bush was one, too."

At this year's National Prayer Breakfast, Edward Brehm, chairman of the United States African Development Foundation praised Bush for giving additional money to help fight poverty and AIDS in Africa. This foundation was established in 1980 by the U.S. Congress and functions as a sort of Small Business Administration in Africa. Edward Brehm, a conservative evangelical, with some connections to the World Vision group, seems to have a true concern for the people of Africa.

But, the Bush administration has not helped the fight against AIDS in Africa; it has been a major detriment! Any organization working in Africa that so much as mentions abortion or hints at the use of condoms gets not a dime from good old God-loving G.W. Bush! The Religious Right has its clammy hands all over African aid, and will stop the flow even if it means millions more die from the disease...better they die than use condoms!

In the audience at the Hilton in Washington were the president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya; the president of El Salvador, Tony Saca; the president of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza; the president of the Federated States of Micronesia, Emanuel More; and the prime minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaol.

Manuel Zelaya, is a left-winger, friend of Fidel, who claimed the presidency of Honduras in 2005 just two hours after the polls closed. The Honduran media announced him to be the winner. He is also known as Manual Zelaya. It is reported he likes to strut about wearing cowboy clothing.

Many El Salvadorans consider Tony Saca a dictator and portray his presidency as illegitimate. They claim he is "presiding over a resurgence of death squads. Brutal police attacks on activists, street vendors, and other dissidents" are on the rise. Saca is blamed for the January 2008 murder of an opposition Mayor.

Until recently Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi was a rebel leader fighting the Burundi government. In 1998 he was condemned to death, but was given a pardon. He is a born-again Christian but says he does not wear his faith on his sleeve.

Also sharing in the prayers and piety were Senator John McCain and Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. Other hypocrites basking in the slimelight of the prezident were Senator Joseph Lieberman (sitting with McCain), and our old friend of the bathroom stall, Senator Larry Craig.

Back to the limestone cross. The cross will indeed always be a landmark, not only of the Crawford ranch, but of the entire Bush administration.

It will remind people all over the world of the many lives crucified by Bush's stupidity, guile, and intransigence. The limestone cross will stand as a symbol of the country of Iraq, nailed to the tree of oily ambition, and sacrificed to the imperial ambitions of insane neocons.

The poor, the sick, the needy in this country can look upon the cross and think how Bush stripped them bare the better to feed the coffers of the rich and the very rich.

Terrorists all over the world will take delight in their vision of the limestone cross as a sign of Bush's weakness and impotence, as they roam freely through the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

And too soon, all of us will look at that cross and remember with sadness and anger that we had a chance to redeem our world by leading the charge against the coming environmental terror to be unleashed by unfettered global warming. That limestone cross will stand silhouetted against the Texas sky as a sign of our betrayal by the people we chose to show us what was required of us to provide a future for our children and grandchildren.

It's hard to imagine anything more defiling of religion and faith and hope than President Bush preaching his pious platitudes at a Christian National Prayer Breakfast!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Kaballah. Big Bang, and the earth stood still!

Some items of interest fall through the cracks. I found one such item yesterday when going through a pile of old articles. It has to do with two state legislators - one from Georgia and the other from Texas.

A little more than a year ago, a nitwit by name of Marshall Hall wrote a memo for State Rep. Ben Bridges of Georgia that carried Bridges' name. The memo claims that the source of the Big Bang theory is Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism.

"Indisputable evidence - long hidden but now available to everyone - demonstrates conclusively that the so-called 'secular evolution science' is the Big Bang, 15-billion-year, alternate 'creation scenario' of the Pharisee Religion. This scenario is derived concept for concept from Rabbinic writings in the mystic 'holy book' Kabbala dating back at least two millenia."

Even when compared to the goofiest of right wing religious freaks, Hall stands out. Another of his major ideas is that the earth does not move, and that too is somehow due to a Jewish conspiracy.

The range of the derangement of this self-described omnipotent poohbah can be seen clearly on the pages of his website. Here are a few excerpts from "The Non-Moving Earth & Anti-Evolution Web Page":

"All of the evidence that is required to expose and destroy the counterfeit Copernican Model of a rotating and orbiting Earth--and the entire evolutionary paradigm resting upon that counterfeit--is set out in ... scores of links on this web page.

"Those who read some or all of these links will quickly realize that this is no idle claim. Rather--as will become evident with each subject listed--there is abundant proof that both the Copernican Counterfeit and the Big Bang Evolutionary Paradigm that is built upon it are factless frauds from start to finish.

"Indeed, the diligent reader will be astonished at the level of demonstrable hi-tech fraud, baseless assumptions, occult mathematics, etc.,--all part of an anti-Christ religious Cabal--that has been at work over many centuries implanting the incredible evolution myth about the origin of the Universe, the Earth, and Mankind.

"On this web page the Bible is not used to prove anything scientific. Instead, the scientific facts--along with proof of high tech fraud, and historical and religious facts--prove the Bible to be precisely what it claims to be, namely, the infallible Word of God."

Hall, now 77, is a retired high school teacher. His wife ran Bridges' election campaign. According to Hall, Bridges gave him the OK to write the memo, which was sent to legislators in several other states, including California and Texas.

It is not surprising that George Rep. Ben Bridges was involved in this farce as he has long fought the teaching of evolution in Georgia schools, and has introduced legislation requiring that only "scientific fact" be taught. (It's a good thing these good ol' boys are so damn stupid; if they were smart, they'd really be dangerous!)

The Jewish Anti-Defamation League wrote to Bridges to express their displeasure with his involvement in the memo and demand that he apologize. So far as I know an apology has not been forthcoming.

Warren Chisum is or was the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee in the Texas House of Representatives -- probably the most powerful of all the committees in the Texas House. Chisum is the fellow who distributed the Hall memo to his committe members. Chisum evidently didn't think the Texas legislature had enough to do last year so he wanted them to know that "the earth stands still -- doesn't spin on its axis or revolve around the Sun -- that Copernicus was part of a Jewish conspiracy to undermine the Old Testament ... [which] would be the same Old Testament that was written by the folks Chisum's friends say are conspiring to undermine it."

Evan Derkacz, in an AlterNet article of a year or so ago, accused Chisum of "believing that GOP interests revolve around the pocketbooks of its wealthy contributors. And that's why he wants to take dollars stolen from middle class Texans in higher tuition, double-taxed highways, underpaid teachers, sick kids and teachers and cut property taxes for those who own a lot of property -- businesses and the very, very wealthy."

Chisum did get a bit of criticism for his circulation of the Hall/Bridges memo. He was not abashed, however, or ashamed, either, which you might expect of someone with a conscience or moral sense. Instead, he whined to the Dallas Morning News that he was simply trying to do a "Good Samaritan" deed for Bridges. "If that's a sin," he said, "well, shoot me."

It may not have been a sin, but it was most assuredly stupid! I haven't heard whether or not anyone shot him.

The scariest part of the whole thing is that people in Georgia and Texas actually gave these two bozos enough votes to elect them to their respective state legislatures. The situation is no different, of course, in Florida, and many other states.

None of which bodes well for the presidential election in November.

(For a critique of Mr. Hall and his work by a fellow Creationist, go here.)

How old is the Grand Canyon, really?

For several years now, the age of the Grand Canyon has been an issue between the National Park Service, employees of the National Park Service, the public, and the scientific community. Why?

In January of 2007, Don Hazen of AlterNet published an article dealing with a critique by the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) of the National Park Service. PEER claimed that Grand Canyon National Park "is not permitted to give an official estimate of the geological age of its principle feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees."

At the same time, says Hazen, "a book approved by the Service claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood, rather than geologic forces," has been on sale in the park bookstore for three years, "even though a review was promised to Congress and the press. A Freedom of Information request ... reveals that no review has ever been requested, nor taken place."

Jeff Ruch, Executive Director of PEER, says "In order to avoid offending religious fundamentalists, our National Park Service is under orders to suspend its belief in geology. It is disconcerting that the official position of a national park as to the geologic age of the Grand Canyon is 'no comment.'"

Ken Ham, the fundamentalist creator of the Creation Museum, among other assaults on common sense, has printed material from the National Park Service, ostensibly to deflect criticisms such as those raised by PEER.

The following is from David Barna, Chief of Public Affairs, National Park Service:

"The National Park Service uses the latest National Academy of Sciences explanation for the geologic formation of the Grand Canyon ... If asked the age of the Grand Canyon, our rangers use the following answer.

"The principal consensus among geologists is that the Colorado River basin has developed in the past 40 million years and that the Grand Canyon itself is probably less than five to six million years old ...

"So, why are there news reports that differ from this explanation?

"Since 2003 the park bookstore has been selling a book that gives a Creationist view of the formation of the Grand Canyon, claiming that the canyon is less than 6,000 years old. This book is sold in the inspirational section of the bookstore. In this section are photographic texts, poetry books, and Native American books (that also give an alternative view of the formation of the canyon) ... We do not use the Creationist text in our teaching nor do we endorse its content. However, neither do we censor alternative beliefs ..."

Carl Zimmerman is an award-winning scientist and writer. In March of this year he published an article titled "How to Date the Grand Canyon: Go With the Flow." Here's part of what he says:

"The Grand Canyon is a victim of terrible press.

"Its banded walls make up one of the most magnificent landscapes on Earth. And yet it seems the only time reporters bother to mention its geology is when they are writing about creationists and their bogus claims that the Grand Canyon formed a few thousand years ago. It's a shame, because the real story of the Grand Canyon is a riveting epic. Even its scientific history is fascinating: Figuring out just how old the Grand Canyon is has challenged geologists for 150 years. And just this week, the mystery may be solved."

Zimmerman refers to the creationist book, "The Grand Canyon: A Different View," by Tom Vail. He says when the book appeared in park stores in 2003, "National Park geologists went ballistic. They demanded that it be pulled. Vail's lawyers threatened to sue. As the national media's attention turned to a juicy fight, the National Park Service hemmed and hawed, saying that they would review the matter. They never did. [My emphasis]

"As I worked on this story I checked with the National Park Service, five years after the book appeared in their stores to see if it was still for sale. It is."

Zimmerman continues to describe how geologists have discovered time stamps "inside the hundreds of caves inside the Grand Canyon's walls" ... exactly what geologists have been looking for, and these time stamps have provided the data needed to determine the age of the Grand Canyon.

Thus Zimmerman concludes: "The Grand Canyon is far older than Noah's flood, but at just 17 million years or so, it's geologically infantile. For 99.99 percent of Earth's history, the Grand Canyon as we know it did not exist. ..."

Let's back up and consider the disingenuous comments of Mr. Barna, PR poohbah for the Park Service. Notice that he does not deny the reported pressure from the Bush administration nor does he say park employees did not refrain from saying "No comment" when asked the age of the Grand Canyon. Like most PR people, Barna is adept at avoiding the question.

The rest of his answer is just as disingenuous. Why would a government agency like the National Park Service carry a Creationist treatise in its book store that defies the park service's basic explanation for the age of the Grand Canyon? What possible explanation could there be for such stupidity, other than pressure from above?

And his lame comments about other books -- "photographic texts," poetry books, and Native American books" giving an "alternative view of the canyon's origin." That's plainly moronic. Vail's book pretends to be "scientific," but is a lie! The other books are in the realm of myth, or legend, or as he noted, poetry!

Barna concluded his comments this way: "It is not our role to tell people what to believe."

The hell it isn't! We're not dealing with theology here, we're dealing with geology! And when Barna says something as idiotic as that, it becomes quite clear that the Bushites did indeed put pressure on park employees and you can bet your bippy they said "No comment" when asked the age of the canyon. You think they wanted to lose their jobs?

We moved several centuries backward since Bush came into office eight years ago dragging his fundamentalist friends behind him!

Why can't George read?

(Photo of Bush & Margaret Spelling by

Not so long ago, before the disaster known as G. W. Bush, the Republican Party wanted to abolish the federal Department of Education.

I'm not sure what happened, but the next thing I heard was that G.W., the fearless White House intellectual without a reading level, was not only not getting rid of the Department of Education, but was brandishing a big, new and expensive program called "No Child Left Behind."

This program has been another disaster, some called it "All Children Left Behind."

An important facet of the No Child Left Behind law was a reading program, "Reading First," which introduces special reading instruction into elementary schools. Bush and his education secretary, Margaret Spelling, thought they had a winner.

Unfortunately, like most of Bush's programs, a winner it was not! Although the federal government has spent about $6 billion (yes, that's billion!) on Reading First, it has flopped, totally!

The Institute of Education Sciences, an "independent arm of the Education Department," found, through an extensive study, that there was no difference in reading comprehension scores among students who were part of the Reading First program and students who were not part of the program.

Typically, last year Spelling saluted the program as a success, and released data she said showed Reading First schools had higher reading comprehension scores. Oops! Ms. Spelling, a Bush crony, somehow forgot to compare those scores with schools that didn't use Reading First.

A typical ethical lapse among Bush appointees.

So, after six years and $6 billion, here are the results of Reading First: It did no good whatsoever!

[The program was also rife with corruption, again typical of a Bush operation. RMC Research Corporation was given $40 million worth of contracts to help put Reading First together. However, RMC also assisted in assessing how reading is taught in the classroom and trained classroom observers, which meant it was "in effect, involved in judging its own work."

Congressional investigations have found evidence of other conflicts of interest. "For example, officials who gave states advice on which teaching materials to buy had financial ties to publishers of such materials."

Ho, hum! Just another day in Bushdom!]

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Did you hear the one about the rabbi & the Pope?

At the time, I thought it was an ironic bit of unwitting nastiness...then I forgot about it...then I found this piece I'd misplaced by RenReb over at DovBear ... a piece about a meeting in a New York synagogue between a rabbi and the Pope...

"The Rabbi and the Pope exchanged gifts last Friday, during the Pope's absurdly meaningless and inappropriate visit to the Park East Synagogue. The Rabbi who, no doubt wishes desperately to be loved, gave the king of the Catholics a silver seder plate and a box of matzohs (and we know what Catholics do with crackers.) In return, the Rabbi received from the Pope a reproduction of a Jewish manuscript kept in the Vatican Museum.

"You read that correctly.

"The Pope's gift to the Rabbi was a COPY of a document his predecessor STOLE which is kept locked away in a museum where only a select group of Jews and Jewish scholars may examine it. Talk about nasty. Its like if the school bully were to take your lunch and give you the bag, and maybe some wrappers, as a gesture of reconciliation."

The Virgin Mary in the Alps

[There was no Virgin Mary. There was no virgin birth. The two stories of Jesus' birth, which disagree drastically with each other in Matthew and Luke, are fables. There was no immaculate conception.]

Nevertheless, in keeping with its policy of keeping the faithful deep in the darkness of religious superstition and ignorance, the Roman Church has "officially recognized that the Virgin Mary appeared to a 17th-century shepherd girl in the French Alps."

[Maybe she was just high, you know, being in the Alps and all?]

How would the church know this? Well, my goodness, they assembled a "panel of experts" to conduct what they call the "recognition process." The panel included not one, but two "theologians," and one "investigating judge." After a truly sound and scientific study, they said it really happened.

[Why'd they wait 'til now? My God, this stuff started over 300 years ago!]

Anyway, a Monsignor Jean-Michel di Falco Leandri spoke on France-2 TV and pronounced "he recognized the 'supernatural origin' of the apparitions to 17-year old Benoite Rencurel from 1664 to 1718."

Jean-Michel must be some really big poohbah in the RC organization, because now the church has said "whoop-dee-doo!" which in French means pilgrims "can come here [the site of the apparitions] in total confidence."

[Right! You can go there in complete confidence you're getting scammed!]

Remember the saying that 10 million Frenchmen can be wrong? Well, every single year, 120,000 poor deluded souls make their way to the place where back in the 17th century the Virgin Mary appeared to this French teenager and told her to build a church and a house to receive priests."

Why would a little Jewish girl who knew from nothing about priests and who (assuming there was a VM) died some 1600 plus years before, appear to a little French girl in the French Alps and tell her to build a church a house to receive priests?

And don't you wonder if all the folks that trod up to visit this apparition site and paid their money to receive "blessings" before the church said they could come in "total confidence" were wasting their time...that because it hadn't been officially approved, it lacked any salvatory effect?

There's simply no accounting for the stupidity of people or the duplicity of the Roman Church!

Go here to get the whole story!

Bush burnishing legacy in Greensburg

About a year ago, a 205 mph tornado took out 95 percent of the town of Greensburg, Kansas. Since then, the people of Greensburg have worked hard to rebuild, and even though the town's high school had been leveled, 10 boys and eight girls made it through their senior year in "a makeshift campus of trailers."

These young people became instant celebrities when President George W. Bush came to town to address, for the first time, a high school graduating class. The only problem with the prez wanting to drop in and offer a few pieces of his wisdom at their commencement was that his daughter, Jenna, had planned her wedding on the same day, May 10.

So, the soon-to-be graduates agreed to bump up their big day to today, May 4, which is exactly one year since the devastation occurred.

Why would Bush do this? Is he trying to make up for Katrina? The Feds have doled out more than $62 million to help rebuild Greensburg, a worthy effort. At the same time, however, we still have thousands of Katrina victims without homes or jobs, wandering lost around the country. Has Bush forgotten about them?

Bush told those assembled that "The federal government will honor its commitments, and stand by you." Because the people of Greensburg are very nice, they didn't laugh out loud, but some were reminded of that old joke with the punch line, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you," and I'm sure there were a few giggles in the crowd.

The prez also said that the people of Greensburg were guided through their recovery efforts by "the power of faith, the love of family and the bonds of friendship." That may be true, but there isn't any way that Bush could know that.

But then these kinds of presidential remarks are more for the country as a whole, not so much just for the folks in Greensburg - they're to show everyone what a kind, loving, caring president we have.

And as you might have guessed, he somehow managed to throw in 9/11, too...comparing the "resolve" of the Greensburg people to that of the victims of other disasters, such as 9/11.

He went on to say that this graduating class has sent a powerful message to the nation, "Greensburg, Kansas, is back and its best days are ahead."

I think the eleven people who died in the tornado might take issue with that!

Nevertheless, the prez is out and about, no doubt looking to burnish his "legacy." That's the only reason I can think of that would prod him to mosey off to Greensburg, Kansas, to talk to 18 high school graduates. And if ever a legacy needed burnishing, it's his. Many people, I think, feel like this man, who, upon hearing that Bush was going to Greensburg, said he wasn't surprised 'cause "Wherever you find death and destruction, you find Bush."

There are many of us cynics around the country who simply can't believe that Bush gives a rat's ass about the people of Greensburg, but see his visit as nothing more than a barely disguised publicity stunt to try to portray him as other than the lying, ruthless, anti-constitutional tyrant we know him to be.

There isn't anything he can do to restore his legacy! He is the worst president in the world, ever!