Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bahrain appoints Jewish woman ambassador

(Houda Nonoo - AP Photo)

About 500,000 people live in Bahrain. Approximately 50 of those are Jewish. Jews migrated to Bahrain in the 19th century, primarily from Iran and Iraq. The Jewish population grew larger until the 1948 Arab-Israeli war when many left Bahrain for Israel and other countries. There is one synagogue and a Jewish cemetery. The synagogue was torched in 1948 by angry Muslims, but has since been rebuilt.

Bahrain is an emerging democracy with close ties to the United States. Bahrain is a light in the Arab world. As Bahrain moves into the 21st century it is removing barriers of hostility and discrimination between people of different religious beliefs and backgrounds. Nevertheless, Bahrain is a work in progress, thus Jews "keep a low profile ... working mostly in banks, commercial and trade companies and retail."

Perhaps one of the most newsworthy events to come out of the Middle East in recent years -- an event which, unfortunately received almost no notice in the U.S. media -- is the appointment by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of a Jewish woman, Houda Nonoo, as the Bahrainian ambassador to Washington!

Nonoo is a 43-year old mother of two boys descended from Jews who came to Bahrain from Iraq. She is a businesswoman who lives in both London and Bahrain and has "served as [a] legislator in Bahrain's all-appointed 40-member Shura Council for three years." She is "also the first Jewish woman to head a local rights organization, the Bahrain Human Rights Watch."

Bahrain is to be commended for this appointment as it signifies to the entire world that life can be different in the Middle East for Arabs, Jews, women and other minorities. Hatred and war need not be a way of life.

In fact, Nonoo is Bahrain's third woman ambassador - the first being appointed to France in 2000 and the second to China.

Also of interest is the fact that Bahrain consists mostly of Shia Muslims, but the rulers are Sunni Muslims. So far, so good.

It is also reported that Jews who formerly departed Bahrain and now wish to return will be granted full citizenship rights.

May the light of peace, prosperity and democracy grow ever brighter in Bahrain.

Religion trumps science in Louisiana

We're in big trouble in this country. Way too many people know way too little about civics, history, philosophy, economics, mathematics, and especially science.

And when they want to know something "scientific," they turn to a passage in the Bible conveniently provided by their even more ignorant preachers or the pretend scientists who hold forth at places like the Discovery Institute or the Creation Museum.

Thus, one fool, in an article printed in today's newspaper, argues, "The fact is the founders of modern science and the scientific method were virtually unanimous in their belief in a Divine Plan, and, therefore, an Intelligent Design behind the scientific discoveries they were making."

This ignoramus then quotes from Francis Bacon and Sir Isaac Newton, and even Albert Einstein as believers in God and as examples of "founders of modern science." Typically, this person lies about Einstein, for he most definitely did not believe in a deity of any kind!

Such widespread foolishness is dangerous to the health of our country as the 21st century moves on toward an unknown and evermore frightening future. Recent studies have shown that the United States has fallen to the bottom of the list when it comes to scientific knowledge and research.

But that's why the Christian Right is able to achieve a certain amount of success as they promote Creationism through an underhanded methodology in the various state houses. We've written about the attempt in Florida, which was typical. The Christian Right claims it is all about "academic freedom," which is a blatant lie. The Christian Right says it has nothing to do with religion, which is another lie.

Creationism whether by itself or dressed in the costume of Intelligent Design, is fundamentally and basically about religion. That's what the court ruled in the Dover, Pennsylvania case and the ruling was absolutely correct. There is no Creationism or Intelligent Design without a "god" or an "intelligent designer"! And when you posit a god or ID'er, you've moved out of the realm of science and into the realm of religion.

Religion is not to be taught or substituted for science in our public schools.

In the great state of Louisiana, the Christian Rightists, using the "academic freedom" ploy, were able to convince the House Education Committee that teachers should be able to "use supplemental materials when discussing evolution, global warming and human cloning."

This is the strategy used by the Christian Right in states throughout the nation. If you accuse them of being devious, they get very angry of course. Thus, Sen. Ben Nevers, who is responsible for this misnamed "Science Education Act," said, "There is no language in here submitted by some secret agency trying to teach religion in public schools."

Here's the truth, from Stardust: Public school teachers, the scientific community and advocates of church-state separation objected frantically to the bill approved by the House Education Committee, which was "designed to undercut the teaching of evolution."

As noted, the bill was introduced by Senator Ben Nevers, but "is the handiwork of the Louisiana Family Forum, the Discovery Institute and other forces determined to damage science education and roll back constitutional safeguards."

What was most interesting was that when the hearing on this bill was held, the room "was packed with home-schoolers wearing stickers in support of the bill. Home schoolers won't be affected by the measure, of course, so it doesn't take much analysis to see what's going on here."

The Religious Right, a massive hypocritical operation covering many different people and groups, operates on the belief that the ends justify the means. Thus, as they move about the country attempting to undermine the teaching of evolution and introduce their god into the public schools, they lie over and over again as a matter of course.

And finally, one has to wonder why they are so adamant in trying to impose their beliefs on their friends and neighbors who do not share those beliefs? They can home school their little darlings, and can undermine the teaching of evolution to their heart's content. They can establish their own private, religious schools, and hire the dumbest science teachers in the world to teach their Creationist crap with no obstruction from any governmental entity.

So why won't they leave the rest of us the hell alone and allow us to get about the business of figuring out how we're going to make this world livable for our children and grandchildren?

This is what passes for political discourse in America

(Photo is of the right-wing radio commentator Michael Graham)

The following derives from Media Matters for America.

Michael Graham was guest hosting for Glenn Beck on the May 29th edition of CNN Headline News. Graham had a chat with a "comedian," Nick DiPaola, about political correctness in comedy.

Graham: Are your comedian friends telling you what my talk show's telling me, which is, if we have a President Obama, comedy will be dead? Not because of any, you know, political action or government action, because everyone will be so scared of saying anything.

You'll be scared to order blackened red fish, because you're afraid that an African-American or Native American will beat the crap out of you for it.

DiPaolo: Well, I think this campaign's actually been a blessing, because you've got a woman and an African-American, you know, running for the Democratic nomination. Because all of a sudden, all this political correctness, that they -- this environment that they've created over the last 20 years -

Graham: Yeah.

DiPaolo: -- is coming back to bit them in the ass.

Graham: You are absolutely right. Nick DiPaolo --

DiPaolo: And I'm enjoying it.

Not only is the notion that democrats or "liberals" have by some miracle means shut down the ability to say what one thinks in this country total and absolute nonsense, but notice in these comments the subtle racism and sexism that is implied.

Michael Graham, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Nancy Grace, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and all the other hate-mongers and hypocritical assassins of character have had no impediments placed in their way by democrats or anyone else. The airwaves are thick with the stink of the trash they promote.

Media Matters gives an example: "Appearing on the June 20, 2007, edition of Graham stated that while watching a spoof of a scene from the series finale of HBO's Glenn Beck, The Sopranos featuring former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton, he wanted to see someone 'whack' the Clintons."

All of the above is brought to you courtesy of CNN, a worldwide news source that pretends to be an exemplary media outlet. Unfortunately, these days what passes for political discourse on CNN, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, etc., is almost indistinguishable from the vile, vicious propaganda promoted by Fox News.

Religious Right Conspiracy Theories

At Talk 2 Action, wilkyjr offers his 10 favorite conspiracy theories of the Religious Right.

The first derives from Matt Taibbi's book, "The Great Derangement," where Matt mentions a theory heard in the precincts of Hagee's Cornerstone Church in San Antonio and promoted by Hagee's son: Al Gore is working secretly with people involved in global warming to take over the United States.

Things go downhill from there.

For example, the number 2 conspiracy theory in wilkyjr's list is the promoted by Texe Marrs of Texas. Marrs believes that Hillary Clinton was worked secretly with Janet Reno to form a lesbian plot to destroy Christianity.

The late, not-so-great Jerry Falwell gets into the act, also, with his notion that Satan was behind the 1954 Supreme Court decision to outlaw segregation in the public schools. Falwell, you'll recall, was the bozo who promoted the idea that the Clintons "took out" Ron Brown and Vince Foster.

Christian reconstructionist, Gary North, once wrote a whole book claiming the Bible said that the Council of Foreign Relations elected Franklin Delano Roosevelt and sent money to help both Vladimir Lenin and Adolf Hitler initiate their despicable reigns of terror.

Wilkyjr's favorite theory is Number 10. This has to do with a book by a Robert Snow on Christian militias. Snow said that many of these "militias believed that on the back of a 1993 box of Kix Cereal was a map teaching children about how the U.N. will divide up the United States."

And so it goes in the Kingdom of the Wingnuts. What's really frightening is that these conspiracy theories are not dissimilar to the "letters tot he editor" in our local newspaper. The future does not look too hopeful, folks!

You can read wilkyjr's entire article here.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Joe Lieberman and Christians United for Israel

Maybe when you come right down to it, fundamentalist forms of various religions are more alike than they are different. Joe Lieberman is an Orthodox Jew and John Hagee is a fundamentalist Christian. Under normal conditions, never the twain shall meet.

These are not normal conditions. John Hagee is more than just a fundamentalist Christian, he is an extremist crackpot who sees the future in the scribbles of ancient Middle Eastern scribes writing about their particular god who, they believed, was the best god of all. Joe Lieberman, who happens to believe in the same god the ancient Middle Eastern scribes wrote about, is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. He isn't able to discern that what Hagee sees in those ancient writings is completely contradicted by what his current tribal scholars see. Nor does he understand Hagee has determined that what those ancient scribblings reveal to be Israel's future is terminally detrimental for the Jewish people in the 21st century.

Hagee's outfit, Christians United for Israel, is holding its third annual "Washington-Israel" summit in Washington, D.C., July 21-24. According to their brochure, CUFI plans to bring "together some of the most influential leaders and thinkers in Washington to update you on recent developments in the Middle East and in Washington. We're holding a Night to Honor Israel down the street from the Capitol with Senator Joseph Lieberman and Pastor John Hagee. And we're going to Congress so that each of you can share your support for Israel directly with your elected officials."

If you should attend this so-called "summit," you'll hear John Hagee and Gary Bauer (another far-right wingnut) discuss the topic, "Supporting the Jewish State - Now or Never?" on Monday, July 21.

That afternoon, Gary Bauer, president of an organization called "American Values," along with Charles Jacobs of The David Project Center for Jewish Leadership and Liz Rothstein of StandWithUs, will discuss "Israel 101: The Basics of the Arab Israeli Conflict."

Other topics being reviewed during the day include "Iran: Eye of the Storm" and "Radical Islam: In Their Own Words."

Other speakers and leaders are Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, Clifford May, of The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Robert Satloff, of The Washington Institute, Daniel Pipes, of the Middle East Forum, former Senator Rick Santorum, among others.

Monday night offers a "Chairman's Club Donor Banquet," for those who've donated $1,000 to CUFI since July 2007. This will get you a speech by Denis Prager, and a private concert by Randy Travis!

Some folks think that in light of Pastor Hagee's obvious insanity, Joe Lieberman should opt out of his speaking engagement on a "Night to Honor Israel." Max Blumenthal in an article posted on Talk 2 Action, says that "On May 13, Fox News' Megyn Kelly asked Lieberman to respond [to] the gathering criticism of Hagee's remarks. But instead of distancing himself from Hagee's views as McCain had, Lieberman launched into a spirited defense of the televangelist, describing him as someone who 'represents a lot of people in this country, particularly Christians who care about the state of Israel.'"

According to Christopher Beam, writing for Slate, Lieberman has posted a statement explaining his decision to speak at CUFI.

(As you read this, remember that Hagee is convinced the Bible clearly says that at the end of time, (which is due to arrive very soon!) Jesus will return, and the end result will be that all Jews who fail to accept him as the Messiah will suffer an unimaginable holocaust of eternal hellfire.)

Here's Lieberman's statement:

"I believe that Pastor Hagee has made comments that are deeply unacceptable and hurtful. I also believe that a person should be judged on the entire span of his or her life's works. Pastor Hagee has devoted much of his life to fighting anti-Semitism and building bridges between Christians and Jews. The organization that he has helped build, Christians United for Israel, is a vital force in supporting the war against terrorism and defending our ally, Israel. I will go to the CUFI Summit in July and speak to the people who have come to Washington from all over our country to express their support of America and Israel, based on our shared eternal values and our shared contemporary challenges in the war against terrorism. At that conference, I will also make it clear that it is imperative that our language is always respectful and tolerant of all of our fellow citizens."

There are many ways to respond to this statement, but I don't think anything sums it up better than what Mr. Beam said:

"I can't think of any good explanation for this, other than Hagee has naked photos of Joe Lieberman ... eating shellfish."

Some weapons should never be used

Other than crazy fundamentalist Christian preachers and their followers in the United States, and perhaps some terrorists hiding out in the Afghan mountains, I don't know of any people who advocate the use of nuclear weapons.

There is no upside to the use of nuclear weapons. The damage done by the nuclear weaponry available today is of such severity that its use could very likely endanger or destroy all life upon the planet.

Some weapons should never be used.

Cluster bombs, like nuclear weapons, should never be used. They lay down "a carpet of dozens to hundreds of explosions with a single shell or rocket." While they can be very effective in terms of killing the enemy on the battlefield, the left over unexploded bomblets are the gift of death that keeps on giving. Civilians who accidentally hit these left over bomblets, or children that pick them up to play with them may well be blown to kingdom come.

That is why one hundred and eleven nations met in Dublin, Ireland, to deal with the problem of cluster bombs. This meeting involved 12 days of speeches, discussion and negotiation. It culminated in the adoption of a treaty banning the use of cluster bombs as well as calling for the destruction of stockpiles of this weaponry with eight years and the funding of programs to clear battlefields of the remaining bomblets.

Unfortunately, the United States was not among the group that adopted this treaty.

Other countries unwilling to be involved, include Russia, China, Israel, India and Pakistan, which along with the U.S., are the "biggest makers and users of cluster bombs."

I guess, being a Christian nation, and a paragon of morality, righteousness and democracy, we want all of our killing options left open.

White House continues to defy rule of law

(Photo of smog in L.A. by AP)

The White House finally, under pressure and a court order, released a Climate Report they were supposed to have released four years ago. It deals with the effects of man-made global warming.

The report is 271 pages long and tells a sad story of a potentially catastrophic U.S. future. As Andrew Weaver, a Canadian scientist said, the report is "a litany of bad news in store for the U.S."

Even more dramatic is the statement by biologist Thomas Lovejoy who claims the report " ...basically says the America we've known we can no longer count on. It's a pretty dramatic picture of all kinds of change rippling through natural systems across the country. And all of that has implications for people."

The White House pooh-poohed the whole thing. Sharon Hays, associate science director in the White House, wouldn't say it was a "bad" report, but rather presented issues that the administration takes seriously.

Do they really believe that anyone believes anything they say anymore? We know they don't take this stuff seriously. If they did, they wouldn't have sat on the report for four years, fighting tooth and nail to delay or stop its release! The White House is sinking so deep in bullshit that it's a wonder we can still see it on a clear day!

Here are some of the "bad news" findings:

Smog and heat are going to get worse and people are going to die due to that. Especially in cities like Los Angeles.

Water shortages are going to occur across the country.

Billions of dollars will be needed for new power plants.

Natural disasters and extreme weather will create increased death and destruction across the country.

The poor, elderly, disabled and uninsured are going to get clobbered!

Remember, this report is four years late. Does that mean the science is four years behind today's knowledge?

This is, of course, just one more example of, not only the complete incompetence of the Bush administration, but its lack of concern or care for the people of the United States.

One vital question is whether we're too late; whether we can salvage the situation. Another and perhaps just as vital a question has to do with which presidential candidate will be more likely to lead the United States toward possible solutions.

I'll give a clue: It most certainly is not John McCain, or John McBush as he rapidly becoming know.

With friends like these...God help Obama!

Here we go again. Some moronic Catholic priest, a white guy, serving as pastor of a mostly-black Catholic Church (St. Sabrina) on Chicago's Southwest side, gave a sermon which provided several rounds of ammo for the racists in our midst.

Father Michael Pfleger, mocked Hillary Clinton's emotional reaction just before the New Hampshire primary in such a way as to make her seem like a whiny racist because a black man was "stealing her show."

Pfleger, a friend of both Jeremiah White and Louis Farrakhan, must hate Obama. That's the only way to understand such a incredibly stupid sermon. Pfleger has apologized, saying "These words are inconsistent with Senator Obama's life and message and I am deeply sorry if I offended Senator Clinton or anyone who saw them."

Too damn late!

But please, racist America, do not blame Obama for this clown. Obama's not even Catholic! He's not a member of this guy's church! Pfleger has not been on Obama's staff. Pfleger's a white man! And Pfleger was right when he said his comments were "inconsistent with Senator Obama's life and message."

Senator Obama, offered a statement in which he said he was "deeply disappointed" in Father Pfleger.

"As I have traveled this country, I've been impressed not by what divides us, but by all that unites us. That is why I am deeply disappointed in Father Pfleger's divisive, backward-looking rhetoric, which doesn't reflect the country I see or the desire of people across America to come together in common cause."

Unfortunately, in spite of those words, this incident will give the racist pundits on the right another opportunity to attack Barack Obama. We've already heard from Michelle Malkin and you can bet that Ann Coulter and Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly and all the rest of the right-wing extremist twits will work this one to death - because they don't give a damn about our country; they care only about their ratings, which, because we have so many ignorant, biased, bigoted people in the U.S. of A., they can increase with their divisiveness and hate-mongering.

And while we can be sure they'll continue to smear Obama, the fact is you can't blame the Senator for this one!

Update on Militant Military Christians

First we had a soldier using a copy of the Koran for target practice. No biggie, except he was doing it in a Muslim country and Muslims get kinda touchy about their holy book. And if you're going to operate from the principle of "Do unto others...." you'd probably find another book to shoot at, even if you weren't in a Muslim country. Most Christians and Jews, I would think, would probably find a Muslim shooting up a Bible a bit irritating.

Now we've got the case of a U.S. Marine passing out coins in Fallujah with the intent of trying to convert Muslims in that city to Christianity. On one side the coins was written the question, "Where will you spend eternity?" and the on the other side was written the words found in John 3:16, about believing in Jesus so you won't perish.

Neither of these incidents should be particularly surprising in light of the fact that fundamentalist Christianity has such a strong foothold in the U.S. Armed Forces. Fundamentalist preachers in this country are shipping Bibles by the tons to our military men and women in the Middle East; there are more Bible studies and prayer groups in the Pentagon than generals, if that's possible; in some units it appears that confessing Jesus is more important than military discipline; and high-ranking officers talk about how God is the most important priority in their lives, trumping flag and family.

Colonel Bill Buckner, a military spokesman, noted that religious proselytizing is prohibited by "regulations." The trouble is that for many folks, introducing "pagans" to Jesus is more important than mere "regulations," or even the Constitution. At least that's what some of the more militant military Christian poohbahs say.

So, it isn't surprising that a lowly grunt decides to take a few potshots at a copy of the Koran, or that a U.S. Marine figures he'd better try to save some souls in the midst of saving Iraq for the oil companies.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Comic book training manual for next Jewish progrom

In a frightening article titled "Aimed at Children, Nationally Distributed Christian Comic Book Called a 'Training Manual' for 'The Next Progrom Against Jews,'" published at The Huffington Post, Bruce Wilson tells about "a product, currently sold at Barnes and Noble bookstores, that suggests the historically covert anti-Semitism within American Christian Zionist culture is mutating, changing and entering a new phase: the anti-Semitism is becoming overt."

Chip Berlet, senior analyst at Political Research Associates, claims that "the portrayal of Jews found in a Manga comic now sold in Barnes and Noble depicts 'A colorful comic training manual for motivating young leaders of the next progrom against Jews. Not just offensive - ghastly and horrific in content with a clear enemy scapegoat identified for venting apocalyptic religious bigotry."

The comic is called Manga Messiah, published by Tyndale House, which also publishes the wacko Left Behind series, and books by James Dobson of Focus on the Family. One individual, identified only as "a devoted and concerned student of the spread of anti-Semitic ideas within American pop-culture and religious culture," said this:

"The growing acceptability in our society of this stereotype of Jews is not happening in spite of the apocalyptic Christian Zionist movement. It is happening because of it! This movement has been the incubator of media objectifying Jews as non human as well as the source of media that is mainstreaming anti-Jewish conspiracy theory. It is dressed up as biblical interpretation or futuristic prophecy but the images are being projected to millions of people all over the world. Even worse, the images are being validated in the minds of these millions as an acceptable way to view Jews because of the visible participation of Jewish leaders with the movement."

Joseph Lieberman, anyone?

Mr. Berlet characterized the Manga Messiah comic book thus:

"Portrays a version of reading Biblical text about the crucifixion of Christ rejected by most Christians for decades--especially since the Nazi genocide of Jews."

"Many readers of the Bible's New Testament will recognize the jibes from the jeering crowd as coming from Jewish chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees. If readers don't know the references, the Bible verses cited below the images can be consulted to make clear the Jewish identity of the bloodthirsty crowd taunting Jesus.

"These images of Jews as Christ killers make Mel Gibson's 'The Passion of the Christ' hideous snuff movie seem tame in comparison."

You can read Mr. Wilson's complete article, which includes a rationale as to why this comic book could lead to a "progrom" scenario, here. Note the pictures from the Manga Messiah!

Three reasons to hope - Wasserman Schultz, Robert Wexler, and Barack Obama

Perhaps nothing has been as disappointing over the past 7 and one half years than the inability of Congress to get its act together and take action against Bush and company for their lies, perfidy, and constitutional violations.

I fail to understand why Bush and Cheney have not been impeached by the House of Representatives. What possible reason could Nancy Pelosi have had to take impeachment "off the table"?

In the past few days, however, there have arisen three reasons to hope that things will change in Washington. In an interview on MSNBC, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) "said that the House Judiciary Committee would be willing to arrest Karl Rove if the former White House official doesn't testify about his role in the firing of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006."

Rove has refused in the past to testify under oath, which has been typical of Bush administration officials.

The House Judiciary Committee Chairman, John Conyers (D-Mich.), has indicated that Rove would not be able to claim executive privilege to avoid testifying.

Wasserman Schultz, venting her frustration, said "...we cannot allow the co-equal branch of government, the legislative branch, to be trampled on by the executive branch. ... We are a co-equal branch, and this is an administration that essentially has ignored and disrespected the role of the legislative branch for far too long."

Rove indicated that the Bush administration would allow the committee to "find" the information it wanted if Rove didn't have to testify. Hmmm. The Bush bunch must be worried that if Rove is forced to testify under oath, a bunch of the Bush miscreants go could to jail. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch!

The second reason to hope has to do with the efforts of another Florida Representative, Robert Wexler, who is pushing for impeachment proceedings against vice president Dick Cheney. Because of the allegations by Scott McClellan, in his new "memoir," Wexler wants McClellan to be forced to testify about these allegations before a congressional committee.

Wexler refers specifically to the fact that McClellan believes Rove and Libby and perhaps Cheney conspired to obstruct justice, and said "Scott McClellan must now appear before the House Judiciary Committee under oath to tell Congress and the American people how President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, and White House officials deliberately orchestrated a massive propaganda campaign to sell the war in Iraq to the American people."

Go get 'em, Bob!

The third reason to hope has to do with Barack Obama. While attending a fund-raiser in Denver, Colorado, Senator Obama was asked what he wanted to accomplish during the fateful first 100 days if he was elected president.

Senator Obama said that some of his goals involved working out a plan to withdraw trooops from Iraq; to continue working on alternative energy plans; and to create legislation to reform the health care system.

But perhaps the most hopeful thing he said was this: "I would call my attorney general in and review every single executive order issued by George Bush and overturn those laws or executive decisions that I feel violate the constitution."

It's nice to think there might be a light at the end of the tunnel, yet.

In Colorado, an egg may soon become a chicken

Come November, in the Rocky Mountain State of Colorado, voters will have the opportunity to amend their constitution to define personhood as "any human being from the moment of fertilization."

This is all the doing of the extreme right, of course, in the form of a group called Colorado for Equal Rights, led by a 21-year old woman, Kristi Burton. The point is to "extend constitutional rights" to a fertilized egg, on the assumption that the egg is a real human person. The wackos of the Colorado for Equal Rights were successful in obtaining 103,377 valid signatures on the petition. They needed only 76,047.

Maybe it's the altitude?

Kristi Burton, who's full of knowledge and life experience and the love of God, among other things, says that "All humans should be protected by love and law, and this amendment is a historic effort to ensure equal rights for every person."


The truth is that this amendment is a backdoor approach toward the goal of banning all abortions in the state of confusion -- I mean Colorado. Obviously, if the fertilized egg is a person, then to hurt or kill that egg must be some kind of crime; a fetal felony, perhaps?

Those Colorado citizens with a tad of common sense realize this amendment is a disaster of large, but unforeseen consequences. If it passes, legalized abortion is over in Colorado; it's back to the alley and the coat hanger! If it passes, it is likely to make contraception illegal; how can one interrupt the process of sperm swimming to meet egg to fertilize and create an egg which immediately becomes a real human person? Toss your condoms or get arrested!

This proposed amendment also goes against the scientific and legal definition of pregnancy: "pregnancy is not from the point of conception -- it's from the point of implantation, when the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterus and the woman's body becomes able to support the pregnancy. In fact, it's estimated that 60 to 80 percent of naturally conceived embryos do not implant." (from

Note that we haven't begun to raise the issue as to when "life" begins.

It should be obvious that this amendment is a bald-faced attempt to impose the religious beliefs held by some people in Colorado on all the residents of Colorado! It has nothing to do with the any real concern for the sanctity of life. If that were the case, these same people promoting this nonsense would be out fighting capital punishment and would be marching to denounce war--especially illegal wars like the ones in which we've become mired in the Middle East.

Furthermore, since when does the hoi poloi or any state vote on answers to scientific questions? What's next, an amendment changing Colorado's constitution to include the date of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ? Or maybe Colorado should amend its constitution to teach Creationism in the public schools - the notion that the Earth is a mere 6,000 years old. Wait a minute, that's already being tried in some states.

Don Surber, a Colorado blogger, put this whole business in perspective.

Surber says "Regardless of how opposed to abortion one may be, we all have to agree that a fertilized egg is not a human being." It has the "potential," he says, "And hell yes, it is a gift from God. But a fertilized egg is not a person. It has no rights."

Surber is correct, except for the "gift from God" bit. And if Colorado approves this amendment, the rest of the world will point their fingers and laugh at all of the good citizens of the state for allowing themselves to be conned by a 21-year old religious fanatic.

An egg is not a chicken! An egg is not a human person. An egg is an egg.

Here's the "real" McCain!

Thanks to BSAlert for the following!

First, a video on "The Real McCain" which provides an opportunity to see first-hand just how "straight" Mr. Straight-talker really is. This video verifies with disturbing precision the exact things we have been writing about him the past few weeks.

Watch that video here.

Then a new video, or at least one I haven't seen before. Senator McCain in a speech refers to "President Putin of Germany." Evidently, he isn't aware of the fact that Mr. Putin is not now and never has been president of Germany, but was, until recently, the president of Russia!

Watch that video here.

The Republican Party, if it had any moral substance whatsoever, would boot this man back to his ranch in Arizona. He is simply not of presidential caliber. He is ignorant. He flip-flops all over the place. He is lacking the requisite experience in both domestic and foreign affairs!

Maybe the United States has committed terrible sins in its past and maybe the United States should be punished by some just deity, but the the United States has not been bad enough to deserve John McCain as president.

Newt Gingrich - Old Man, Old Tricks

It's all the "liberals" fault. That's the Newt Gingrich mantra.

Who's Newt Gingrich? Well, Newt and Gingrich are funny names, and may remind you of a movie about trolls, but but in case you've forgotten he's the serial adulterer, wife abuser, hypocrite who single-handedly destroyed bi-partisan government in the United States.

He's been gone for awhile, writing novels about things he's never done and places he's never been and a military life he's never experienced (with an historian "co-author," of course!).

Unfortunately, he is back in the news, still married, I think to his third or fourth's hard to remember the details of the lives of these Republican "family values" people. And he's still putting out his usual crap. Human (a right-wing propaganda site) published an article by ol' Newt titled "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less."

It's tripe as usual. Most of what he has to say in this article is flat-out wrong and quite stupid. Every once in awhile I ask myself why so-called conservatives are always jumping on the bandwagon with those who want to destroy our national forests, our waterways, our air quality, our oceans. Then, I remember that it's not so much they want to destroy these things, it's more that they just don't give a damn, especially if their corporate buddies are able to increase their bottom line.

"Liberals" in Congress are to blame for the rising cost of gasoline, says Newt, totally ignorant or oblivious as to the real reason for high oil prices--the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But it's the "liberals" who blocked what Newt says is "environmentally sound production of U.S. energy..." and by that he's referring to drilling in various places and digging out oil shale in Colorado. Now when a "conservative" serial liar like Gingrich starts talking about "environmentally sound production," sane people should run in the opposite direction as fast as possible! And those living in the Rocky Mountains should take up their arms as you can bet your bippy that Newt's plan is gonna knock down their Rocky Mountain high!

Newt also thinks that Mr. Bush did good in Saudi Arabia when he went begging his Arab buddies to pump more oil, but Newt's upset 'cause the "liberals" made fun of Bush on his knees in the Saudi desert. And even though the Saudis laughed at Mr. Bush, actually made fun of him, and then said, "OK, we'll pump 300,000 more barrels per day," which won't, of course, make a bit of difference to anyone, Newt thinks it's wonderful, because "it won't make" the problem worse!

Well, let's hear one liberal response. (Thank god for liberals!). The first thing that would have to be done to give Newt's plan a snowball's chance in hell of working, is block the Lieberman-Warner climate bill which is set to reduce greenhouse gas emissions between 2008 and 2050 to such an extent that we'll be able "to avert catastrophic global warming."

Newt doesn't mention anything about that. He just wants to "drill here, drill now," which he thinks will mean we'll pay less for gas, as if the cost of gasoline was our biggest problem, and global warming is a side issue!

David Roberts, writing for Vanity Fair, says that Newt's notion of lowering gas prices by drilling everywhere now, like off US coasts, in the Gulf of Mexico, in northern Alaska, and in the Rockies, is just plain "false."

"According to the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. has about 21 billion gallons in proven oil reserves--about 3 percent of the world's total. Even if we started drilling today, it would be 10 years before we got substantial production out of those fields, and 20 years before peak production."

But even more enlightening and damaging to Newt's case is this: "Right now, Saudi Arabia is sitting pretty, enjoying sky-high oil prices. They are ignoring our entreaties to pump more because they like these supply constraints just fine (and they probably couldn't pump any faster if they wanted to). Say we start pumping those reserves out into the world market. What's to stop Saudi Arabia from dialing back production a little bit, so supply (and prices) stay roughly the same? Answer: nothing. U.S. domestic oil prices rise to meet world prices, and those prices are outside our control.

"In short," says Mr. Roberts, "The U.S. cannot affect oil or gasoline prices in any significant way by drilling more oil."

Newt may know all this, or he may not. What he does know is that their are numerous corporations anxiously waiting in the wings for approval to gear up their money-making machines and get busy digging and drilling and destroying the environment in the process. And for a number of years now, "good conservatives" like Newt have believed that aiding and abetting such corporate chicanery is their highest calling.

It's time we started taking a different route in this country.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Militant Military Christians - fighting for Jesus

(Photo of Mikey Weinstein)

Mikey Weinstein has been in the forefront of a fight against fundamentalist Christians proselytizing in the U.S. military. He is the founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and author of the book, "With God On Our Side," which exposes "the systemic problem of religious intolerance throughout the United States Armed Forces."

Weinstein served 10 years in the U.S. Air Force, where he was a "JAG." He was legal counsel in the Reagan White House. He served as the first General Counsel to H. Ross Perot.

Today, he is working to counter the efforts of groups like Christian Embassy, the Officers' Christian Fellowship and Christian Military Fellowship, which he claims "are actively evangelizing among the various branches of US government and Armed Forces," and Weinstein "argues this is unconstitutional."

Weinstein was motivated to this effort by the fact that his sons were subject to harassment and anti-Semitic taunts while at the US Air Force Military Academy. When he sought to understand how this could happen, he discovered it wasn't just his sons who were involved. Christian evangelization and anti-Semitism were part of an endemic problem--fundamentalist Christians were imposing their views on the cadets with the blessing of those in charge. Weinstein further discovered that there was nothing he could do. The Academy leadership essentially told him to take a hike.

The Real News Network has an excellent article detailing the problem and what is being done to correct it.

Weinstein notes that about 30 percent of the military is comprised of fundamentalist Christians who take Jesus' so-called "Great Commission" in the 28th chapter of Matthew seriously, and who "believe that trumps any aspect of the Constitution, and basically that they have an illimitable right to push this biblical world view irrespective of federal law, constitutional law, irrespective of being regulated by time, place, or manner, to the exclusion of everybody else."

In a 2006 Christian Embassy Fundraising Video, the claim is made that "There are over 25,000 Department of Defense leaders working in the rings and corridors of the Pentagon. Through Bible studies, discipleship, prayer breakfasts, and outreach events, Christian Embassy is mustering these men and women into an intentional relationship with Jesus Christ."

Weinstein explains that there are almost 1,000 US military installations around the world, and "in every one of these installations, we have at least one, and some cases we have several dozen, chapters of a group called the Officers Christian Fellowship for the officers. For the enlisted folks it's called the Christian Military Fellowship.

"Their main purpose is to have Christian officers exercising biblical leadership to raise up a 'godly army'--their words, not mine. Their goal ... [is] to see a spiritually transformed United States military..."

Weinstein says their study guide describes how they are to counter the opposition--those on Satan's side who work "to prevent them from their mission of reclaiming territory in the US military for Christ."

A major, massive problem, as Weinstein points out, is that one cannot tell a military superior to "Go to hell" when he's trying to convert you to Jesus. Weinstein says some 8,000 military personnel have contacted his organization, the majority of which are Christians, complaining of this type of religious harassment and asking for help to counter this religious "persuasion" without creating a problem for themselves.

Back to the 2006 Christian Embassy Fundraising Video - It begins with Major General Jack Catton, US Air Force, speaking: "As I meet the people that come into my directorate, and I tell them right up front who Jack Catton is, and I start with the fact that I'm an old-fashioned American, and my first priority is my faith in God, then my family, and then country. I think it's a huge impact, because you have so many men and women who are seeking God's counsel and wisdom as we advise the chairman and the secretary of defense. Hallelujah."

Weinstein refers to a statement made by the number two Brigadier General in the Air Force chaplains corps, Cecil R. Richardson: "it is now Air Force policy to reserve its right to evangelize anyone we determine to be unchurched."

As Weinstein says, that remark violates the Constitutional mandate that Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion.

Again, from the Christian Embassy 2006 Fundraising Video - Colonel Ralph Benson, Pentagon Chaplain speaking: "Christian Embassy is a blessing to the Washington area. It's a blessing to our capital. It's a blessing to our country, being able to share the message of Jesus Christ in a very, very important time in our world, as [part] of the worldwide war on terrorism. What more do we need that Christian people leading us and guiding us? So they're needed in this hour."

"Standing General Order Number One in the AOR, which is exactly how the Pentagon refers to Iraq and Afghanistan -- it stands for the Area of Responsibility -- is that there will be no proselytizing of our own troops, let alone the Iraqis. And yet we have sent untold numbers of audio, visual, and written documents in Arabic to our troops to help try to convert the Iraqis and the people in Afghanistan."

Weinstein believes the problem "is overwhelming ... astonishing ... surreal, and it's beyond dangerous." He mentions photographs of basic recruits at Fort Jackson holding weapons and Bibles. "How do you think that looks to the other side?"

This is an immense problem and could not have come about without the approval of those in the highest levels of our government. Once again, November looms large on the horizon!

Please go to the website of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation for much more information.

The Doctor chose to be a Nazi

(Undated photo of Dr. Hans-Joachim Sewering)

If you were a Jew living in Germany in the 1930s, you lost the right to make decisions for yourself. You didn't chose to become a Jew, that's just what you were. You quickly became aware that people hated you because you were a Jew and as the years grew more violent you realized that the Nazis intended to kill you because of who you were, even though you did not chose to be a Jew.

In 1933, Dr. Hans-Joachim Sewering chose to join the Nazi SS. Back in 1993, the doctor told reporters "he had joined the SS Cavalry Corps in order to protect his medical career, but later admitted that he was a member of a regular SS batalion."

So, we know that the doctor is a liar, and was a Nazi. In 1934, he signed up with the Nazi Party, and in 1942 "he worked as a doctor in a special hospital for tuberculosis patients in Schoenbrunn near Dachau, Germany, where handicapped children were put to death in the Nazis' so-called euthanasia program."

The doctor's past would not be an issue today if it were not for the fact that he "was one of four physicians honored with the top award of the Professional Association of German Internists, known as the BDI, on March 30."

This isn't the first time Dr. Sewering's past has created a problem for him. He was investigated by prosecutors from Munich, but was not charged with a crime and the investigation was closed in 1993. Also in 1993, he was up for the presidency of the World Medical Association, but declined that particular honor when the World Jewish Congress threatened to lead a boycott of the WMA.

The BDI, 25,000 strong, is defending its choice of Sewering for this prestigious award. BDI president, Wolfgang Wesiack claimed that Sewering has made many contributions to the "freedom of the medical profession" in Germany.

Sewering, now 92 years of age, was unable to attend the awards ceremony.

Germany's Central Council of Jews was unhappy with BDI's decision. "This is absolutely wrong and it's a scandal," said Stephan Kramer, general secretary of the Central Council.

Sewering has served as president of the German Medical Association and is still an honorary member of that organization. He has always insisted that he was never took part in any murders. But we have proven that Dr. Sewering is a liar, so he is not to be believed.

But even if that were the case, as Efraim Zuroff, the Israel director of the Wiesenthal Center, said: "...the nurses working with Dr. Sewering knew that the patients sent to the killing center at Eglfing-Haar would very likely be murdered," so Sewering most likely knew as well."

In fact, four nuns alleged in January of 1993 that Sewering not only knew what was going on but participated "in the transfer of 900 German Catholic children from Schonbrunn Sanitarium to Eglfing-Haar ... where they died."

As Mr. Zuroff said, the BDI award is "an insult to his victims and their famililes, and is incomprehensible in the light of his record."

We agree. Giving this award to this doctor is indeed incomprehensible. To pretend that a doctor working at Schonbrunn did not know what was happening to children sent to Eglfing-Haar is disingenuous at best, unbelievably naive and criminally stupid.

Of all the physicians in Germany, you'd think the BDI would be able to find four that didn't include a doctor who chose to become a goddamn Nazi!

Go to this site for further info.

McCain, Iraq and other foreign places

Perhaps you read of McCain's condemnation of Barack Obama's foreign policy knowledge and experience. On Memorial Day, McCain said of Obama that "He really has no experience or knowledge or judgment about the issue of Iraq and he has wanted to surrender for a long time."

Besides being not true, this statement is clearly a vicious slam. Senator Obama has never said a word about "surrender." To state that Obama wants to "surrender" in Iraq is not only irresponsible, but reprehensible! It is also typically McCain who wants us to believe that because he was a shot-down Navy pilot and in a POW camp, he is an expert on just about everything. McCain is taking the low road!

Because Mr. McCain continues the pretense of being a foreign policy expert, and offers to "educate" Senator Obama about Iraq, it would behoove us to consider his understanding of the country of Iraq. You will recall that not so long ago he claimed neighborhoods in Baghdad to be safe, which was proven palpably false.

You will also recall he made this "admittedly false claim -- which he made repeatedly -- that Iranian operatives are 'taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back."

The first time he committed that grave error was on March 18 in Amman, Jordan, a day after he made a similar claim on a radio show. Senator Joe Lieberman had to whisper the correct information in McCain's ear who then said "I'm sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda."

On March 26, just before McCain headed to Iraq for another "fact-finding" tour, he told Bill Bennett that "[t]here are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods today." When questioned the following day by Wolf Blitzer on CNN, McCain said "General [David] Petraeus goes out there almost every day in an unarmed Humvee."

On April 8, McCain, then in Iraq, admitted that "There is no unarmored Humvees. Obviously, that's the case. ... Of course I'm going to misspeak and I've done it on numerous occasions, and I probably will in the future."

Not only so, but it turns out that McCain was surrounded by security when he was walking through those so-called "safe" neighborhoods in Baghdad! This security included "10 armored humvees, soldiers with rifles, and two Apache attack helicopters circling overhead."

The merchants of Baghdad were incredulous at McCain's claim that "the new security plan for the city was working." An article in The New York Times pointed out that "Shorja, the city's oldest and largest market, set in a sprawling labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways, has been bombed at least a half-dozen times since last summer. At least 61 people were killed and many more wounded in a three-pronged attack there on Feb. 12 involving two vehicle bombs and a roadside bomb."

Reuters reported that "[t]he crack of shots fired by unseen snipers echoed on Monday through Baghdad's wholesale Shorja market, a day after U.S. Senator John McCain held up his visit there as one sign of improving security in Baghdad." (My emphasis)

So much for McCain's vaunted "knowledge" and foreign policy experience. Maybe he thought he was in a country other than Iraq.

On Memorial Day, in spite of a story in the Washington Post claiming that "Neither candidate used the solemn day to launch political attacks...", McCain not only attacked Obama's "knowledge or judgment about the issue of Iraq, as noted above, but also his support of the new G.I. bill."

Bill Burton, an Obama spokesman, said that Obama would not be responding directly to McCain: "Senator Obama thinks Memorial Day is a day to honor our nation's veterans, not a day for political posturing."

Perhaps Senator Joe Biden, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, put it best. According to Bob Herbert, columnist for The New York Times, Biden "defended Obama against the searing attacks by the Bush administration, John McCain and Joe Lieberman [by saying]:

"I refuse to sit back like we did in 2000 and 2004. This administration is the worst administration in American foreign policy in modern history -- maybe ever. The idea that they are competent to continue to conduct our foreign policy, to make us more secure and make Israel secure, is preposterous. ... Every single thing they've touched has been a near-disaster."

Finally, some words from Senator Obama (from Eric Alterman's book, Why We're Liberals):

"It's easy to articulate a belligerent foreign policy based solely on unilateral military action, a policy that sounds tough and acts dumb; it's harder to craft a foreign policy that's tough and smart. It's easy to dismantle government safety nets; it's harder to transform those safety nets so that they work for people and can be paid for. It's easy to embrace a theological absolutism; it's harder to find the right balance between the legitimate role of faith in our lives and the demands of our civic religion. But that's our job."

Americans have an important choice to make this fall. We can choose to sound tough and act dumb as we've done for the past almost eight years, or we can try to stand tough and be smart, which is harder but is the only way to redeem this "land of the free and home of the brave."

Garrison Keillor's take on Harleys, flags and patriotism

Garrison Keillor has a great article at Salon titled "Playing soldier - What's patriotism got to do with fat men with ponytails on Harleys?"

"May 28, 2008 | Three-hundred thousand bikers spent Memorial Day weekend roaring around Washington in tribute to our war dead, and I stood on Constitution Avenue Sunday afternoon watching a river of them go by ... The street had been closed off for them and they motored on, some flying the Stars and Stripes and the black MIA-POW flag, honking, revving their engines, an endless celebration of internal combustion.

"A patriotic bike rally is sort of like a patriotic toilet-papering or patriotic graffiti; the patriotism somehow gets lost in the sheer irritation of the thing. Somehow a person associates Memorial Day with long moments of silence when you summon up mental images of men huddled together on LSTs and pilots revving up B-24s and infantrymen crouched behind piles of rubble steeling themselves for the next push.

"You don't quite see the connection between that and these fat men with ponytails on Harleys. After hearing a few thousand bikes go by, you think maybe we could airlift these gentlement to Baghdad to show their support of the troops in a tangible way. ...

" ... but the bikers riding in formation are more interested in being seen than in learning anything. They are grown men playing soldier, making a great hullaballoo without exposing themselves to danger, other than getting drunk and falling off a bike.

"No wonder the Current Occupant welcomed them with open arms at the White House, put on a black leather vest, and gave a manly speech about how he'd just 'choppered in' and saw the horde 'cranking up their machines' and he thanked them for being so patriotic. They are his kind of guys, full of bluster, giving off noxious fumes, and when they leave town, nobody missed them."

Riding a bike, waving a flag, honking one's horn doth not a patriot make!

Read the entire Keillor article here.

Truth rears its ugly head

(AP Photo of Scott McClellan)

I wasn't expecting Scott McClellan to tell the truth. He and his brother have been Bush cronies for years. So that was a surprise.

The truth, to be published in what Politico calls a "scathing memoir" next week, contains a number of particulars regarding the Bush administration's lack of veracity. Without saying, "I (we) told you so," McClellan's revelations are not new.

We knew from the start that Bush relied on "propaganda" to sell the Iraq adventure to the American people, which is a less harsh way of saying the SOB straight-out lied to the American people! McClellan says the MSM let Bush off the hook time and again. We knew that, too, and with the exception of Helen Thomas, wondered what happened to our vaunted "free" press.

Not having read McClellan's "memoir," I'm merely repeating what others, who have supposedly read the book, have said: such as Scott's characterization of the Bush response to Hurricane Katrina - "one of the biggest disasters in Bush's presidency." Or that the Iraq war was "unnecessary."

I love the way he calls his old boss, "Bush."

It seems that one thing especially irked Mr. McClellan: He was used over and over again to publish lies promoted by the people he worked for; sometimes willingly: "I had allowed myself to be deceived into unknowingly passing along a falsehood..."

There's much more and stories are appearing in media around the globe. Politico has a fine article here.

Two things:

First, I think and hope I'm right, that Scott McClellan is the first of many Bushites who will be coming out of the woodwork to cleanse their souls and clear their consciences. We can, I believe, look forward to a spate of books and other "memoirs" detailing the deviltry that Bush and Company cooked up during their two terms of terror.

Secondly, it is to be expected that the White House is "firing back." Typically, though, reflecting the usual Bush modus operandi, they are not so much disputing the truth of what Mr. McClellan says as they are engaging in assassination of his character.

The implication is that poor Scott, has lost his mind; that poor Scott is a traitor, a turncoat, and therefore cannot be trusted; that poor Scott is a hypocrite for not saying these things while still in the clutches of the Bush demons.

Dana Perino, the Bush press secretary, whined that "Scott, we now know, is disgruntled about his experience at the White House. For those of us who fully supported him, before, during and after he was press secretary, we are puzzled. It is sad - this is not the Scott we knew."

Notice how poor Scott is "disgruntled about his experience." Actually, it would appear the Scott is not so much "disgruntled" as he is truly pissed at being consistently lied to and at his culpability in those lies. Perino says the White House folks are "sad," the implication being that they've been betrayed, unfairly, of course. And this just isn't the Scott they knew, meaning that he must have gone off the deep end, perhaps he's even a little nuts!

Others have accused him of wanting to make money on the backs of the Bushites. And Fran Townsend, who at one time headed the White House counterterrorism office, said that Scott is "self-serving, disingenuous and unprofessional."

And Karl Rove never heard him complain once.

Let the memoirs roll while historians write!

Oh wait - I saved the best for last.

Perino said that Bush has had reports of the book described to him, but "He has more pressing matters than to spend time commenting on books by former staffers." Right. As if Bush can read!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bush restarts the Cold War

No president has committed as many national and international blunders in a mere seven years as George W. Bush. No president comes even close to exhibiting the monumental ignorance of George W. Bush. But perhaps the worst thing we can say is that no president in our history has lied so extensively to the American people as has Mr. Bush.

The following are bits and pieces from a CNN transcript of a Bush speech at a campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, just before the election on November 3, 2000:

(Watch for the lies. It isn't hard. It's all pretty much lies!)

"[This country] ... is ready for a leader who will bring this great country together. No, that's what this country wants. They want a leader who understands how to lead, how to bring folks together to achieve the people's business. ...

"...Ours is a campaign that stands squarely on the side of the people and the families and the workers of America. ...

"It's time for a leader to bring Republicans and Democrats together to make sure the Medicare system fulfills its promise to our seniors, that the Medicare systen makes sure there's prescription drugs available for all seniors. And if seniors are unhappy with the Medicare plan, they ought to be given additional options, additional choices from which to choose the plan that best suits their needs.

"This stands in stark contrast to my opponent, who not only has not gotten anything done for eight years, but has proposed a massive federal plan where all decisions will be made at the federal level. He trusts the government. We trust the people. ...

"...this country cries for reform of the Social Security system ... It's time for new leadership to bring Republicans and Democrats together. ...

"'s time for new leadership that understands that we must trust younger workers with your own money to be able to invest in the private sector to get a better rate of return. ...

"As you know, there's a lot of discussion about the surplus.

"Now, I want you all to understand clearly that our budgets grow over 10 years, and there's still money left over. That's why it's called a surplus. ...

"Here's what we believe. We don't believe the surplus is the government's money. We know the surplus is the people's money. And we're going to send some of that money back to the people who pay the bills. ...

"We ought to provide tax relief for everybody who pays taxes in America. ...

"But if you have any doubt about the difference of our opinion versus that of my opponent, I want you to hear his own words. At the Democratic National Convention he said, 'If you give me a chance to be your president, I will make sure that the right people get tax relief.'

"Think about that...That's not our vision of this great land. Everybody is the right person and everybody ought to be treated fairly. ...

"Eight years ago, the Clinton-Gore administration inherited a military ready for dangers and challenges facing our nation. The next president will inherit a military in decline. But if the next president is George W. Bush, the days of decline will be over. ...

"The Clinton-Gore administration has used our military too much and supported it too little. ...

"Dick Cheney, my good running mate Dick Cheney and I, have a message to all of our men and women in uniform and to their parents and to their families. Help is on the way. ...

"And whenever America uses forces in the world, the cause must be just, the goal must be clear and the victory must be overwhelming. ...

" president, I will protect America from -- America itself from missiles and blackmail. In a time of technology and terror, the defense of our homeland must be an urgent goal.

"Our main line of defense is a clear message. Every group or nation must know this: If they sponsor attacks against America, our response will be devastating.

"We will strengthen our intelligence operations to detect terror before it strikes. And our nation must build a missile defense.

"If I become the president, we will waste no more time preparing to defend the American people.

"...I will seize this moment of opportunity to build the military of the future. ...

"The best way to keep the peace is to redefine war on our terms. ...

"I will prepare our military not just to win war but to prevent war. ...

"Should Dick Cheney and I be elected, you have our word: We will build the military of the future to give our nation a strength beyond challenge. ...

"It's become clear to America over the course of this campaign that I've made mistakes in my life. But I'm proud to tell you, I've learned from those mistakes. ..."

Well, once you get over the fact that Bush can barely put a sentence together -- even one that was written for him -- you realize that he was lying through his teeth in most everything he said. He didn't bring Democrats and Republicans together, he established a brutal and vicious partisanship which has damn near destroyed all three branches of the government. He didn't bring the people of America together. We are more divided, more filled with distrust and hatred for one another than at any other time in our history.

Medicare is in shambles and seniors are still without adequate access to prescription drugs. The Social Security system was never "broken" as Bush claimed, he merely wanted to destroy it for the benefit of his Wall-street backers. Can you imagine what your Social Security investments would be worth if you opted out of the Social Security program to gamble your money in the stock market?

Budgets don't automatically grow over 10 years to leave a huge surplus. Bush must have thought Americans were really stupid. Hell, he must have been right; they bought his bullshit and elected him for a second term! And what happened to that surplus? Did he return the money to the people like he promised? Of course not. The rich got their tax breaks, the rest of us got bupkis. After almost eight years of Bush in office, the middle class is almost non-existent and the disparity between the very rich and the rest is a growing cataclysmic chasm.

He didn't protect the country. He ignored the multitudinous warning signs that Osama bin Laden was coming! He was out to lunch when the terrorists attacked. And he hasn't made us safer; he's simply shredded the Constitution in an attempt to gain control over the American people.

Let's discuss the military that he promised to care for. Our soldiers in the Middle East have to buy at least a portion of their own protective gear. Some of their machinery and weaponry is sub-standard. Today the media reported we are giving our soldiers ineffective ammunition!

The Veteran's Administration, which is responsible for our military men and women, has become a national joke, headed by ineffective leaders and underfunded and unable to provide the proper physical and mental care our soldiers need.

The military is so exhausted at this point that some soldiers are pulling two and three tours of duty!

All this because Bush forgot about fighting a "just" war, with a clear goal. Instead he preemptively invaded a little ragged country in the middle of a sandy nowhere which was no threat to us whatsoever. Because he had no plan and no goal, the "war" has become an "occupation" force trying to slow down a growing civil war. There is no "overwhelming" victory - just death and despair.

"Help is on the way," he said. He and Cheney were riding to the rescue. That statement would be absolutely hilarious except you have to view it in the context of almost 4,100 soldiers dead, thousands more wounded and disabled, millions of Iraqis either dead or wounded or living in exile, with no end in sight to the carnage!

Today, Bush and Cheney stand helpless before the America people, blood dripping from their hands!

Finally, in this speech Bush promised to build a missile defense. This is perhaps one of the most stupid, inane, idiotic ideas this warmonger ever came up with. Actually Bush has a hard time coming up with any idea on his own; this one he borrowed from Ronald Reagan the one time Reagan was actually awake and moving.

Why do we need a missile defense? Did Bush forget the Cold War is over? Does he expect Hizbullah to hit us with a long-range missile? Or Iran? Or maybe...who?

The problem is that our friends as well as our enemies see a missile system, not as a defense mechanism, but as an offensive weapons placement. And they know now, very clearly, that they cannot depend upon American leadership to operate from an ethic, moral or rational position. Bush has proven that we are actually as unstable as they have feared down through the years.

And we know now that the Soviet Union, during the Cold War, was terrified that some crazed American president would push the Red button and set a nuclear holocaust in motion. The Soviets were more afraid of us, and rightly so, than we were of them.

Today, Bush is back in the missile business, and is planning to deploy missile defense elements in various places in Europe.

The Russians are furious! "A top Russian general says Moscow will take adequate measures to counter U.S. missile defense plans," because Russia rejects "U.S. assurances that the plans were designed to counter a missile threat from Iran. It says the U.S. missile defense facilities will undermine its security."

What has happened is the Bush/Cheney warmonging administration, ignoring all of the studies which indicate the absolute futility and the imminent danger of a missile defense system, is going ahead with plans to establish just such a system in strategic European countries.

Little Georgie, has almost single-handedly, restarted the Cold War!

Bush quotes from the 2000 Campaign

We'll be posting a variety of quotations from the Connecticut CowBoy, George W. Bush, in the weeks and months ahead. We must never forget the "genius" of this warmonger prezident. And we must remember, too, that Senator John McCain comes out of the same mold.

The following quotes are from Serendipity.

* "It is clear our nation is reliant upon big foreign oil. More and more of our imports come from overseas." -- Beaverton, Oregon - September 25, 2000

* "The reason we start a war is to fight a war, win a war, thereby causing no more war!" -- spoken at the First Presidential Debate, 2000

* (This quote displays in painful detail how ignorant George W. Bush really is): "The Legislature's job is to write the law. It's the executive branch's job to interpret law." -- November 2000. (In case you're confused, the Judicial Branch interprets the law and the Executive Branch enforces or carries out the law!)

* "Natural gas is hemispheric. I like to call it hemispheric in nature because it is a product that we can find in our neighborhoods." -- December 20, 2000

* "Well, I think if you say you're going to do something and don't do it, that's trustworthiness." -- CNN online chat, August 30, 2000

* "I don't know whether I'm going to win or not. I think I am. I do know I'm ready for the job. And, if not, that's just the way it goes." -- Des Moines, Iowa, August 21, 2000

* "We cannot let terrorists and rogue nations hold this nation hostile or hold our allies hostile." -- Des Moines, Iowa, August 21, 2000

* "I have a different vision of leadership. A leadership is someone who brings people together." -- Bartlett, Tennessee, August 18, 2000

* "And if he continues that, I'm going to tell the nation what I think about him as a human being and a person." -- Today Show, August 1, 2000

* "This case had had full analyzation and has been looked at a lot. I understand the emotionality of death penalty cases." -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 23, 2000

* "The most important job is not to be governor, or first lady in my case." -- Pella, Iowa, January 30, 2000

* "States have the right to enact reasonable laws and restrictions particularly to end the inhumane practice of ending a life that otherwise could live." -- Cleveland, Ohio, July 1, 2000

* "The fundamental question is, 'Will I be a successful president when it comes to foreign policy?' I will be, but until I'm president, it's going to be hard for me to verify that I think I'll be more effective." - Wayne, Michigan, as quoted by Katharine Q. Seelye in The New York Times, June 28, 2000

* "There's not going to be enough people in the system to take advantage of people like me." -- On the coming Social Security crisis - Wilton, Connecticut, June 9, 2000

* "I think anybody who doesn't think I'm smart enough to handle the job is underestimating." -- U.S. News & World Report, April 3, 2000

More to come...

Who is John McCain, really?

On Monday, February 28, in the year 2000, John McCain gave a speech in the State of Virginia, a stronghold of the Religious Right.

Mr. McCain, running for the Republican nomination, took after Mr. Bush. He said that leaders of the Religious Right, allied to Mr. Bush, were "agents of intolerance," engaged in tactics of "division and slander."


Senator McCain continued: "I am a Reagan Republican who will defeat Al Gore. Unfortunately, Governor Bush is a Pat Robertson Republican who will lose to Al Gore."

McCain figured he had something going here, as Bush, baffled like usual, gave a speech at the ultra-conservative Bob Jones University (where interracial dating is taboo) and failed to say anything about prejudice or the fact that Bob Jones' leaders regularly make nasty comments about the Roman Catholic Church.

So Bush wrote a letter of apology to Cardinal John O'Connor, the RC Archbishop of New York.

Bush didn't take McCain's slam sitting down, however. He whined that "It sounds like Senator McCain has taken to name-calling, needless name-calling." But Bush refused to answer any questions about his relationship with Pat Robertson.

Meanwhile, Pat Robertson arranged for a taped phone call to be sent to Michigan voters in which he claimed McCain was biased against the Religious Right.

Now that pissed off the war hero, and referring to Robertson's phone call he said, "The political tactics of division and slander are not our values. They are corrupting influences on religion and politics, and those who practice them in the name of religion or in the name of the Republican Party or in the name of America shame our faith, our party and our country.

"Neither party," McCain continued, "should be defined by pandering to the outer reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance."

Don't you just love it? This is, in case you forgot, the same Senator John McCain who in 2007 and 2008 tripped all over himself pandering to these very same "agents of intolerance," indeed some even worse "agents of intolerance."

Now, Pat Robertson, James Hagee, Rod Parsley, Falwell Junior, et. al., have suddenly become faithful leaders of the faithful, who are able to provide spiritual advice to Senator McCain. And Senator McCain must have concluded that those tactics of "division and slander" worked well enough for George W., so he'd better have some of that stuff himself!

It is true that McCain has rejected the endorsement of a couple of these clowns, but only after they became an embarrassment he could no longer ignore. That does not alter the fact that he ran after these Religious Right cretins like a dog in heat until he could get their attention long enough to beg for their endorsement.

Who is John McCain, really?

Hate in America by Fox News and Friends

When speaking at the NRA Convention, Mike Huckabee, ultra right Baptist preacher, heard a noise backstage and joked as to how that was Obama ducking because he heard a gunshot. We have reached the place in this country where a moron like Huckabee thinks he is of presidential caliber.

Hal Turner, white supremacist and Neo-Nazi, spreads his hateful venom over the air waves from his base in New Jersey. He routinely calls for people he dislikes to be killed. He hopes that someone will kill Obama because he believes no black man should ever be president of the United States.

(Hal Turner has been a long-time buddy of Sean Hannity of Fox News.)

We are innundated with messengers of hate: Nancy Grace, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Hal Turner, John Hagee, and many more. What makes these people even more vile is they wrap themselves in the American flag and wave Bibles in the air even as they attack fundamental American principles and ignore the commandments of their God.

But hate pays. Hate is big business. Hate brings in the big bucks. Hate sells!

Someone once said we reap what we sow. Hate breeds more hate. Hate kills.

What should be our response when Fox News invites Liz Trotta to say what's on her mind and she suggests that Obama should be killed?

What should we say when the Colorado El Paso County Republican Party runs an ad boosting Bob Schaffer for U.S. Senate, which says that George Soros should take a long walk off of a short pier?

This is still May. There remain five months before the general election in November. That's a long time for a lot more of our professional haters to spread their poison. In years past, we were able at times to rely on the Main Stream Media to counter the spreaders of hate. Unfortunately, in too many instances today, the MSM has become the problem, and is no longer part of the solution.

Note to Michelle Obama: Just thought you ought to know that there are a number of people who love this country, but who are not very proud of it at the moment!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Who's playing the "god" card?

We will, from time to time, quote "religious" comments found in the statements and speeches of our three major presidential candidates. We are interested in knowing which of them panders the most to the religious sensibilities of the hoi poloi, remembering all the while that there is no religious test to hold a political office in this country.

Here are some excerpts from speeches given over the past few days by Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Barack Obama.

John McCain. In his Memorial Day speech, he made the following references to God: "...I have one responsibility that outweighs all the others and that is to use whatever talents I possess, and every resource God has granted me to protect the security of this great and good nation..."

In his conclusion, McCain praised our troops (playing the "hero" card): "I have had the good fortune to know personally a great many brave and selfless patriots who sacrificed and shed blood to defend America. But I have known none braver or better than those who do so today. They are our inspiration ... And I pray to a loving God that He bless and protect them."

Actually, it is the duty of the president as commander-in-chief to "bless and protect" the troops, not the duty of a god.

Hillary Clinton. In reviewing Senator Clinton's Memorial Day statement, which was quite good, containing a very apt quote by Archibald McLeish, I could find no place where she referenced religion or a deity.

That was not true, however, when she campaigned in Puerto Rico. She spoke, in fact, at a church - the Pabellon de la Victoria evangelical church. She got right down to it mentioning the importance of faith in helping her deal with adversity. Then she said, "There isn't anything we cannot do together if we seek God's blessing and if we stay committed and are not deterred by the setbacks that often fall in every life."

She's pandering here. There was no need for her to mention seeking God's blessing. The sentence stands just fine without that comment.

But she really blew it later, turning a political speech into a mini-sermon. After lots of singing and dancing backed by an eight-piece band and a 16-person chorus, Clinton said, "I believe in all my heart that what is happening in this church today is part of God's purpose and part of the community of believers that can in ways large and small transform lives."

For the life of me I can't find much difference between a statement like that and the one made by our cowBOY prezident that God guides him in making presidential decisions.

More pandering. Or not. If she really believes that, fine, but keep it private. To speak of a God who has a "purpose" that can "in ways large and small transform lives" in a political campaign in a country that consists of a large number of people who don't believe in that kind of god or even in a god at all is simply not appropriate.

Barack Obama: Obama gave a speech to the Wesleyan University Class of 2008 in Middletown, Connecticut. He was filling in for the ailing Senator Edward Kennedy. Obama spoke of how college graduates can help "'make us believe again' by dedicating themselves to public service."

He spoke of the many good things Ted Kennedy has done for this nation. And he closed his speech this way: "At a time of war, we need you to work for peace. At a time of inequality, we need you to work for opportunity. At a time of so much cynicism and so much doubt, we need you to make us believe again. That's your task, Class of 2008."

No talk of a god there.

In his Memorial Day statement, Obama paid tribute to "the generations of patriots who were willing to give their lives to defend this country."

He also noted that Memorial Day was "a reminder of our obligation as Americans to serve our fallen heroes as well as they served us ... That means giving the same priority to building a 21st century VA as to building a 21st century military. It means having zero tolerance for veterans sleeping on our streets. It means bringing home our POWs and MIAs."

He did not, you will note, cry for continued war in Iraq, as did McCain, or whine that we must "win" the war in Iraq, as did McCain.

Nor did he make any reference to the resources God gave him, as did McCain. And he didn't pander to the Religious Right by claiming to pray to a loving god that he protect and bless our troops, as did McCain.

So, the score on Day 1 of Avoiding Religious Fluff in Speeches by Presidential Candidates is:

McCain - 0
Clinton - 0
Obama - 1