Saturday, July 5, 2008

Who is fighting global warming? Follow da money!

A friend of mine provided me with a list of some of the leading players involved in fighting the notion of climate change, trying their best to refute the mass of scientific evidence, much of which is being validated now around the world. My friend says "It seems to be a rather small group with lots of money and lots at stake. ... they also [have] some influential friends in very high places."


1. Global Climate Coalition

This outfit was founded in 1989 by 46 corporations and trade associations representing all major elements of US industry. It claims to be the "voice of business in the global warming debate." It has provided money for "several flawed studies on the economics of the cost of mitigating climate change, which formed the basis for their 1997/1998 multi-million dollar advertising campaign against the Kyoto Protocol."

And you thought the prez thought we needed more study. You didn't know that he was bought off by the "voice of business ..." Or maybe you did!

Although the GCC began to come apart back in 1997, and especially in 2000 when DaimlerChrysler, Texaco and General Motors pulled out, it has regrouped "and remains a powerful and well-funded force focused on obstructing meaningful efforts to" deal with our changing climate. Their main thrust is that while there may be something to global warming, it costs too much to fight it. And, like Bush said, "Kyoto is fundamentally flawed."


2. The George Marshall Institute

The GMI is a conservative think tank that has been downplaying the threat of global warming since the late 1980s. In 1989, GMI said global warming was no big deal as "cyclical variations in the intensity of the sun would offset any climate change associated with elevated greenhouse gases." Wrong.

Remember just because something is labeled a "think tank" doesn't mean it doesn't stink.


3. Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine

This outfit, along with the Marshall Institute, co-sponsored a "deceptive campaign -- known as the Petition Project -- to undermine and discredit the scientific authority of the IPCC and to oppose the Kyoto Protocol.

They sent out a mass mailing to thousands of scientists across the country asking them to sign a petition calling upon the government to reject the Kyoto Protocol. This mailing included a fake article made to look like it was from the journal of the National Academy of Sciences.

Although it was thoroughly debunked, the petition returned to life in 2001. The assholes never quit!


You can imagine how thrilled all these folks were when that dunderhead and failed oil-man was able to steal the presidency in 2000 and 2004!


4. Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

S. Fred Singer founded this organization in 1990, the purpose of which is to "document the relationship between scientific data and the development of federal environmental policy." SEPP has initiated a large media campaign for the purpose of discrediting "the issues of global warming, ozone depletion, and acid rain."

The funding for this operation comes from a variety of conservative groups, including the crazy Korean "messiah," Sung Myung Moon (a friend of both Bush I and Bush II) and owner of the Washington Times.


5. Greening Earth Society

What a phony name! But leave it to the fools at Western Fuels Association 'cause they're the ones who made it up and put together the organization.

These idiots claim that "increasing levels of atmospheric CO2 are good for humanity."

No wonder because Western Fuels "is a cooperative of coal-dependent utilities in the western states that works in part to discredit climate change science and to prevent regulations that might damage coal-related industries."


6. Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide & Global Change

The center is operated by Craig and Keith Idso, brothers. Both of these guys have at one time or another been on the payroll of Western Fuels. They spout the same nonsense, also, that increased levels of CO2 are good for you!


I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that these people are working so hard to discredit the accumulated evidence documenting climate change which is accepted by 99% of the world's scientific community. But it is most discouraging thing to realize that these people and their organizations and the corporate entities for whom they shill are willing to settle for a few more dollars in the short term while risking the destruction of the planet in the long term.

Do they not have anything or anyone they care about more than their inflated pocketbooks? Do they not have children or grandchildren who will pay, perhaps with their lives, for their shortsightedness? Talk about selling your soul to the Devil!

Eco-mania from Sierra

Sierra magazine's July/August issue offers some interesting eco-mania tidbits.

Last May, the Interior Department finally figured out that melting sea ice is threatening the habitat of the polar bear. Here's what they did to "solve" the problem: they moved the polar bear to the list of endangered species. But they were "adamant that the listing won't halt oil and gas drilling in their habitat or be used to promote greenhouse-gas regulations."

Last March, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, along with the Environmental Protection Agency promulgated a new set of rules that allow the destruction of wetlands so long as "developers help create other wetlands somewhere within the same watershed, even many miles away. The decision ignores a 2005 congressional study that found the Corps of Engineers couldn't tell whether the wetlands creation, known as 'mitigation banking,' was actually being performed."

This is the same Corps of Engineers mostly responsible for the recent flooding of Iowa and Missouri. They built "structures" in the river to make it easier for watercraft to navigate, but these structures also made it impossible for the river to move over the floodplain as usual, thus causing the flooding.


One of the major sources of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide emissions in the U.S. are factory farms which produce 500 million tons of cow, pig and chicken manure every year. The Bush's EPA, following its usual procedure of NOT protecting the environment, "is about to abandon rules that require these farms to report how much waste they are spewing. The losers are the farms' neighbors, who will have no way of pinpointing the source of their pollutant-induced respiratory problems."


Of an even more serious nature is a report by the GAO (Government Accountability Office). This report noted that "EPA reviews of the health risks posed by nearly a dozen common chemicals, including formaldehyde and perchloroethylene, are hampered by the meddling of nonscientists, often in secret."

Sheesh! Even when the EPA finally tries to do its job, da Bush and friends butt in!

Evidently, EPA scientists find that various personnel from the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, as well as NASA, are "looking over their shoulders and causing delays since the White House modified the EPA's review process in 2004."

The Union of Concerned Scientists concluded from its own study that "more than 800 EPA scientists have reported some form of political interference in their research in the past five years.

"Those who work in offices that write regulations or perform risk assessments were most likely to report meddling [and] industry groups and the White House's Office of Management and Budget were the most common sources of pressure."

This is not new news, but it does accent the fact that the Bush administration, rather than attempting to protect the people from various kinds of chemical risks, is protecting those who produce the risk-inducing chemicals.

Par for the course, as they say.


A bit of good news and remember, small steps are better than no steps. Japan has been trying to meet its Kyoto Prococol emission goals and one step that country has taken came from the Nippon Professional Baseball commissioner: he suggested speeding up baseball games. Cutting just six percent from the playing time of a game will reduce "carbon dioxide emissions by more than 200 tons over the course of a season."

Thus these new rules: Players are required "to take the field within two minutes and 15 seconds after the side is retired" and the pitcher must "throw the ball within 15 seconds of receiving it."

Methinks that would make most baseball games a heck of a lot more fun, too. There's nothing more boring than watching a pitcher chew his wad, turn his neck, stretch his back, check the bases, check the bases again, look for the sign, wave off the sign, until finally, he winds up and throws.


Both political parties intend to pretend they care about global warming during their conventions this summer. The Democrats have a "Green Team," which is promising to "compost, reuse, or recycle 85 percent of the waste generated by the party faithful and to power a portion of the festivities with solar and biodiesel." The City of Denver is also providing 1,000 bicycles for use by those attending the convention.

Those bikes will then be sent to St. Paul, Minnesota for the Republican convention. The Repubs will be meeting "on carpets made of recycled materials, under energy-efficient lighting and nonplastic banners."

I don't mean to be cynical (ah hell, I do, too!) but considering how Republicans view the threat of global warming, the only reason I can think of that would make them use recycled material carpets and energy-efficient lighting and nonplastic banners is that all of the afore-mentioned were made by corporations that donate big-time to the RNC.

The coming end of the world

According to the ancient Mayan calendar, the end of the world will come on December 21, 2012. That's not far away!

Some will survive, however, says the ancient Maya: "After Thirteen Heavens of Decreasing Choice, and Nine Hells of Increasing Doom, the Tree of Life shall blossom with a fruit never before known in the creation, and that fruit shall be the New Spirit of Men."

Tezcatlipoca, god of death, will remove his mask of jade and reveal himself as Quetzelcoatl, god of peace. At that time, "we will realize God within ourselves, and in the seventh age we will become so spiritual that we will be telepathic."

Better than psychopathic!

In the Netherlands, thousands of people are taking the end of the world prediction of the ancient Mayas seriously. A Dutch-language newspaper, de Volkskrant reportedly spoke with thousands of people who actually believe the Mayan fairy tale. According the de Volkskrant, "many of those interviewed are stocking up on emergency supplies, including life rafts and other equipment.

"Some who spoke to the newspaper were optimistic about the end of civilization. "You know, maybe it's really not that bad that the Netherlands will be destroyed," said Petra Faile. "I don't like it here anymore. Take immigration, for example. They keep letting people in. And then we have to build more houses, which makes the Netherlands even heavier. The country will sink even lower, which will make the flooding worse."


There are other people around the world who think the Mayans were on to something, but I can't find any other large groups actually making preparations for what so many Dutch feel will be the end of civilization. And I don't know why so many Dutch are taking this particular nonsense seriously. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the Dutch live in constant fear of being washed out to sea.

One must consider, however, that some students of the Maya claim the Maya had a circular view of history, and so this date will merely end one era and begin another. Maybe we'll be lucky enough to make it to the seventh age and become telepathic.


This is the kind of speculation, lacking a scientific understanding of the world, that leads people to do many stupid things. It's no different than all the so-called Christian and other religious prophecies about the end-times; none of which have come true, of course. But people following crazy preacher/prophets have sold all their goods and climbed on top of a hill to await their savior only to go home hungry and disappointed and a lot worse off than they were before.

It would seem that the religions of the world have perpetrated more scams than the Bush administration!

Charlie's getting married

Charlie Crist, the governor, still has a lot of fans in Florida, although I think the percentage went down when he flip-flopped on off-shore drilling just to be more in line with McCain's position so if McCain was looking at him for the VP slot, he'd think "Charlie's my man!"

Charlie was married once a lifetime ago, but it only lasted a few months. He's been "gun-shy" ever since, he says.

Now, though, he has found true love in one Carole Rome, 38. Carole is not yet divorced, but will be soon and has a couple of kiddos. She makes over a million bucks a year running a Halloween costume business. She's pretty smart, too, and graduated "with honors" at Georgetown University. She's also pretty darn good-looking.

Charlie and Carole met in New York about nine months ago. Charlie says "She's special in every way. She's brilliant, beautiful and sweet."


Some think that Charlie's getting married for the same reason he flip-flopped on off-shore drilling. It's been a long time since we've had an unmarried vice president and the American people are a bit fearful of unmarried vice presidents. Some think he's trying to shorten the odds; that he figures what with flip-flopping on off-shore drilling, and getting married, McCain will say, "You're the man, Charlie!"

Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do! Right, Charlie?

The matchmaking god

Leigh Devore, in Charisma Magazine, says that "Romance is one of God's most unique specialties. He brought the world's first couple together, and He still delights in arranging marriages."

That has to be one of the stupidest statements I've read in a long time.

It goes downhill from there. Leigh Devore has a lot more to say about her wonderful matchmaking god who "brought the world's first couple together."

That doesn't make sense, though. In the most recent creation story (Genesis 1) god created the first couple as a couple. The older and more primitive story (beginning at Genesis 2:4) says the woman was created from the rib of the man. She was "Adam's rib." So, to say God brought them together is really incorrect.

One problem is that Devore doesn't really tell us how god brings couple together. And that's pretty important. She does provide suggestions for singles who want to get married and singles needn't worry because "He [god the matchmaker] has a purpose for all single people and works above and beyond anything we could ever imagine--even when it comes to finding love."

Even if you're single, remember god loves you anyway and has a plan for you..."God has a plan in marriage."

Devore then introduces a bunch of psychological gobbledegook about being single and how singleness is OK and you should value yourself even if your single, and you should be happy being single, blah, blah, blah.

But if you want to get married, you "can and should pursue a mate." That doesn't follow if god was doing the work, if god's working to find the one "right" for you.!

It's not that easy, I guess. Devore says singles should wait "'the right way.' That is: 'Don't get desperate. Get deliberate before the Lord.'" And that means "to pursue wholeness and maturity in Christ", which, in practice "can range from learning how to make a bed to getting out of debt."

"Marriage is never about 'me. Marriage is always about the other person."

Most of this is, of course, a crock of religious psychobabble!


We still haven't figured out how god is a matchmaker, though. Devore quotes Amy Smalley, a family and marriage counselor, who says, "Ask God to play the role of matchmaker, even if you're using the services of eharmony.com or Match.com. We call it 'praying your way to a great mate.'"

So I guess you've got to pray to god to be a matchmaker for you. He can't figure out you want to get married by himself.

You pray and then, zippydedoodah, your "right" mate will show up, cause you can be confident "that He knows who would be best suited for us in lifelong marriages."

No, wait a minute. It doesn't work quite that way.

'Cause you can't rely only on prayer! You're got to get out and look around! Go to churches other than your own. Have your friends and family set up dates for you. Get involved in other social groups and organizations. And, by all means, join an online dating service.

Sheesh!


This is truly moronic stuff. If fact, you can take god out of the equation and nothing changes. It all boils down to fairly typical advice for singles. Devore even gives out hints as to how to work online dating services. God really isn't involved.

Maybe it's this kind of "godly" nonsense that is the reason for so many divorces among the so-called evangelicals and born-againers. These groups have a higher divorce rate than do either mainline Christians, or Jews, or people who don't go to church.

If god is a matchmaker he has a really lousy record!

Pakistan and the bomb

(Photo of Musharraf)

Pakistan is mostly a Muslim country. It is possible that bin Laden is hiding in the mountains of Pakistan or just across the border in the mountains of Afghanistan. Pakistan has many members of al Qaeda residing within its territory. Some believe that Pakistan has actually helped bin Laden hide from U.S. forces.

Pakistan is an ally of the United States. I'm not sure why that is so, but the United States gives bushels of money to Pakistan every year. Because Pakistan is an ally of the United States, the government of the United States, i.e. the Bush gang, allows Pakistan to build nuclear weapons. That this could create one hell of a problem in the Middle East doesn't seem to worry da Bush and friends very much.

In 2004, a Pakistani scientist, AQ Khan, confessed that "he was solely responsible for exporting nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya." The Pakistani government has said again and again that it knew nothing of these exports. Dr. Khan was put under house arrest in 2004, but lately those restrictions have been relaxed.

More recently, Dr. Khan has been talking to the media via telephone. He says now that his "confession" in 2004 was false, and made only because "he had been persuaded that it was in the national interest." As compensation for that confession, Dr. Khan was to have been given his freedom, but he says that promise was not honored.

President Musharraf did pardon him, however, for his "illegally transferring [of] nuclear secrets to other countries..."


So Dr. Khan has retracted his confession and claims it was the Pakistani army, in 2000, that was involved in transporting nuclear material (centrifuges) to North Korea. Musharraf was in charge of the army at that time.

"It was a North Korean plane, and the army had complete knowledge about it and the equipment," says Dr. Khan. Khan also claims that he made a trip to North Korea in 1999 with a Pakistani general to buy shoulder-launched missiles.

Musharraf, through a spokesman, "dismissed Dr. Khan's claims." Other governmental agencies are not commenting.


But here's the bottom line: someone or some group in Pakistan (our ally!) gave nuclear material to several countries, two of which were on Bush's "axis of evil" list.

Iran was one of Pakistan's beneficiaries; da Bush wants to attack Iran, despite intelligence which says Iran has halted its nuclear program, a program that received material from our ally, a Muslim country called Pakistan.

Maybe we should make Iran our ally and attack Pakistan? That would make more sense as Iran has oil and Pakistan, I think, does not. Furthermore, another of our allies, India, has the bomb, too, and India and Pakistan hate each other and have threatened to start shooting nuclear warheads at each other.

So, if we took out Pakistan, the threat of nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan would be dissolved. Iran would become our ally so we could back off sending the bombers to Iran. In fact, if Iran were our ally, we could help them with their nuclear program.

We'd take over Pakistan 'cause obviously we can't trust the Pakistanis at all. We'd shut down their nuclear program and head for the mountains to capture bin Laden.

What a world this would be!

Jesus is a doll!

Perhaps you're already doing your Xmas schlepping. Do you have a little Christian niece or nephew that you really don't much like? You wouldn't want to buy one of these atrocities for your own child, but you could upset a kooky relative or two.

We're talking about a talking Jesus doll. It really talks...not Aramaic, though, or Hebrew, it talks English. And Jesus' face gives a pained appearance while he spews out "the teachings of the Bible...one character at a time." The doll "recites easy-to-memorize verses from the Books of John, Mark, Psalms, Luke and Exodus for your children to learn and remember for the rest of their life."

Shoot! I was hoping Jesus would recite a few verses from the Song of Songs - just to spice things up a bit - maybe this passage:

"O daughter of nobles!
Your rounded thighs are like jewels,
The work of a master's hand.
Your navel is like a round goblet--
Let mixed wine not be lacking!--
Your belly like a heap of wheat
Hedged about with lilies.
Your breasts are like two fawns,
Twins of a gazelle. ...

Your stately form is like the palm,
Your breasts are like clusters.
I say: Let me climb the palm,
Let me take hold of its branches;
Let your breasts be like clusters of grapes.
Your breath like the fragrance of apples,
And your mouth like choicest wine.
Let it flow to my beloved as new wine
Gliding over the lips of sleepers."

(from the Jewish Study Bible, Tanakh Translation)


The Talking Jesus Doll (with prayer book) will arrive at your house dressed in "Authentic linen robes," a "Coarse shawl," a "Rope belt," and "Traditional sandals."

Best of all, this is "a great way to create a personal connection between God's word and your child."

We aren't told, however, which version of the biblical legends this doll recites. Is it the King James Version, the New English Bible, the Jerusalem Bible, the New International Version, the Douay Version? When Jesus recites from Psalms and Exodus, does he refer to the Hebrew Bible, one of the Torah versions, of perhaps the Septuagint?

That could make a difference 'cause every "real" Christian knows that God wrote only the King James Version.

You can order your Talking Jesus Doll here, for only $19.95. Beware, though, it is only for people who love really tacky religious crap.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Bush hunts for bin Laden - or not?

Back on June 15, 2008, timesonline.co.uk, reported that prezident Bush has asked the help of the British special forces "in a final attempt to capture Osama bin Laden before he leaves the White House." According to timesonline, which cited US and British intelligence sources, the hunt for bin Laden is underway.

"The Special Boat Service (SBS) and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment have been taking part in the US-led operations to capture Bin Lade in the wild frontier region of northern Pakistan. It is the first time they have operated across the Afghan border on a regular basis."

Supposedly the Pakistani government has approved this military operation, which "involves the use of Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles fitted with Hellfire missiles that can be used to take out specific terrorist targets."

These drones were said to have been used in an attack on an empty house earlier in June. Maybe this was the same attack which Pakistan claims killed 11 of its troops?

No one seems to know for sure where bin Laden is holed up, but "some analysts believe he is in the Bajaur tribal zone in northwest Pakistan.

"A Pentagon source said US forces were rolling up Al-Qaeda's network in Pakistan in the hope of pushing Bin Laden towards the Afghan border, where the US military and bombers with guided missiles were lying in wait."


But something is very wrong. First of all, it seems Pakistan is not all that happy with this "hunt" for bin Laden. Timesonline also said, somewhat contradictorily, "The step-up in military activity has increased tensions between Pakistan and the US."

Not only that, but on June 30, 2008 ABC News put out a story indicating that nothing has happened as yet because of inter-agency infighting.

"The Pentagon has drafted a secret plan that would send U.S. special forces into the wild tribal regions of Pakistan to capture or kill Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants, but the White House has balked at giving the mission a green light, The New York Times reported today.

...

"Although the special forces attack plan was devised six months ago, infighting among U.S. intelligence agencies and among White House offices have blocked it from being implemented, the Times reported."


So, what's going on? Is the hunt on or is it not? Did the timesonline give out phony information or report phony information back on June 15?

In March of 2007, ABC News reported that the CIA was "rushing" resources into the Middle East to find bin Laden. What's that about?

Even weirder is the comment by White House Press Secretary Dana Perino in a briefing on June 30, 2008. She responded to The New York Times story by saying,

"The president has been looking for Osama bin Laden since September 12th. That effort has never let up. And we are dealing with very dangerous terrain, difficult physical environment, very secretive people hiding in caves, an enemy that respects no uniform, respects no civilians, just absolutely wants destruction."

September 12th? Of what year? All of that is bullshit, of course, and says nothing whatsoever. It's a diversion.


So, is the hunt for bin Laden indeed underway? It appears not. It appears stalled. Maybe timesonline misunderstood its sources. Or maybe the quoted "intelligence" sources are providing "disinformation," or perhaps it's a game of CYA.


You will remember, I'm sure, that the CIA offered various intelligence reports through the summer of 2001 that al-Qaeda (bin Laden) planned to strike at the United States soon! Perhaps one of the most perfidious of Bush's actions was to simply ignore those reports. He, along with Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld and other nogoodnicks, did not want to hear about bin Laden for they had their own agenda -- the Iraqi oil fields! (We must also remember that not only are Bush and Cheney tied directly to the oil industry, but so is Rice!)

Bush said in the months and years following 9/11 that bin Laden wasn't important; Iraq was important. Iraq, said Bush and company, over and over again, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, had WMD with which to attack American interests, indeed perhaps the United States itself. Bush and company made it clear that Saddam was behind the 9/11 attacks. (Way too many people still believe that lie today!)

Richard Clark commenting on Bush's lack of interest in bin Laden, said, in 2004:

"There's a lot of blame to go around, and I probably deserve some blame, too. But on January 24th, 2001, I wrote a memo to Condoleezza Rice asking for, urgently -- underlined urgently -- a Cabinet-level meeting to deal with the impending al Qaeda attack. And that urgent memo--wasn't acted on.

"I blame the entire Bush leadership for continuing to work on Cold War issues when they back (sic) in power in 2001. It was as though they were preserved in amber from when they left office eight years earlier. They came back. They wanted to work on the same issues right away: Iraq, Star Wars. Not new issues, the new threats that had developed over the preceeding eight years."

In April of 2001, Clarke was finally authorized to meet with certain officials about his "urgent" request. These officials were "second in command in each relevant department." He met, for example, with Paul Wolfowitz, representing the Pentagon. Clark tells the story:

"I began by saying, 'We have to deal with bin Laden; we have to deal with al Qaeda.' Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, said 'No, no, no. We don't have to deal with al Qaeda. Why are we talking about that little guy? We have to talk about Iraqi terrorism against the United States.'"

Clarke is very critical of Bush because he ignored the al Qaeda threat, in spite of repeated warnings, in the spring and summer of 2001. Clarke says "He never thought it was important enough for him to hold a meeting on the subject, or for him to order his National Security Adviser to hold a Cabinet-level meeting on the subject."

Perhaps that's why, when Bush was finally told of the 9/11 attacks, he simply sat and stared moronically into space for seven full minutes.

The frosting on this particular piece of cake is the question put to Condi Rice by Ben-Veniste regarding the President's Daily Brief of August 6:

"Isn't it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the August 6 PDB warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that PDB?

Rice responded: "I believe the title was, 'Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States."

(Much of the above has come from an article by Josh Orton on mydd.com.)


Just to rub salt in the wound, two years ago Think Progress told the story of how Fred Barnes, editor of the Weekly Standard, appeared on Fox News to talk about a meeting he had with Bush in the Oval Office. According to Barnes "bin Laden doesn't fit with the administration's strategy for combating terrorism." Bush told Barnes that "capturing bin Laden is 'not a top priority use of American resources.'"


It would seem appropriate considering the Bush brain to go after bin Laden now, almost eight years too late. Bush's reputation is in the toilet, and in coming years the history books will have to try to explain how the American people could elect such a moron twice. Bush needs someway to try to wipe off some of the blood on his hands and believes capturing bin Laden would do that.

But somebody is lying. Is the hunt on or not? Are British special forces at this moment cooperating with American forces in Pakistan and Afghanistan to hunt down and "capture or kill" bin Laden?

Is the Bush administration so badly screwed up that it cannot mount, what would seem, at least in terms of planning and strategy, an uncomplicated search and destroy mission?

The "joke's on us!" Happy Fourth of July!





McCain and his tortured view of Vietnam

Joe Conason, at Salon.com, in an article titled, "What John McCain didn't learn in Vietnam," writes that in spite of his valor and service to his country, "almost nobody has asked the most important question about McCain's military experience, which is how his past might influence his future as president."

Conason believes that what McCain did learn in Vietnam was that "torture is morally wrong, illegal and counterproductive." Conason says McCain "has spoken with great moral authority on that issue."

Well, not entirely. Not when McCain is now backing Bush's promotion of torture or at least the "right" of the president to order the torture of those in American custody.


What Conason finds inexplicable is McCain's continued insistence that "we could have won -- that we should have won -- [the Vietnam War] with more bombs and more casualties."

Conason quotes a McCain statement made in1998 in which he said, "Like a lot of Vietnam veterans, I believed and still believe that the war was winnable. ... I do believe that had we taken the war to the North and made full, consistent use of air power in the North, we ultimately would have prevailed."

McCain also said something similar to that five years later. "We lost in Vietnam because we lost the will to fight, because we did not understand the nature of the war we were fighting, and because we limited the tools at our disposal."


The truth is something else. Conason notes that most military historians disagree and are convinced that "...a ground invasion and an even more destructive bombing campaign, with an unimaginable cost in human life" would not have achieved an American victory.

We must wonder about McCain or any man, politico or no, who maintains such a casual disregard for the preciousness of human life - either American or Vietnamese. Between 1965 and 1973, over 58,000 Americans were killed in action. That, however, is just a fraction of the cost in Vietnamese lives, which is estimated at one and a half million!


McCain is also wrong to assume this was a noble endeavor to protect the South Vietnamese from those damn North Vietnamese commies. Again, from Conason: "...the politics of Vietnam and the geopolitics of the war were at once more complicated and simpler. Complicated because South Vietnam was a corrupt dictatorship that had forfeited the loyalty of most of its citizens, who regarded the United States not as a liberator but as the latest invader in a long procession that dated back centuries and included the French and the Chinese as well."

The United States, says Conason correctly, had no "vital American interests" in South Vietnam, at least none that "required so many deaths and so much suffering."

Today "we live in peace and reconciliation with that same regime [communist] ... "


McCain's view of Vietnam, helps us understand why he thinks it would be OK for the United States to hang around in Iraq for another 100 years, in spite of the fact that the war in Iraq is just as fraudulent and stupid as the war in Vietnam.

Or as Conason says, "...it is hard to imagine why voters would elect a president who still believes that 60,000 American dead and more that 300,000 wounded in Vietnam were not quite enough."

Read Mr. Conason's entire article here.

The end of marriage in Pennsylvania, circa 1775

George Will, in his July4th column, "The day(s) of our independence," notes that the first so-called "declaration of independence" was enacted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 20, 1775.

"Presbyterians, meaning most Mecklenbergers, were incensed by Anglican meddling from London, such as the Vestry and Marriage Acts of 1769, which imposed fines on Presbyterian ministers who conducted marriage ceremonies."

Most Mecklenbergers, not doubt, believed sincerely that such Anglican interference in their affairs, especially in their right to conduct marriage ceremonies according to the tenets of their religious faith, would mean the end of marriage as we know it.

So, the day after they heard the news from Lexington and Concord, they wrote their own declaration:

"We the citizens of Mecklenberg County do hereby dissolve the political bands which have connected us to the mother country. ... We do hereby declare ourselves a free and independent people ... to the maintenance of which independence, we solemnly pledge to each other out mutual cooperation, our lives, our fortunes, and our most sacred honor."

No doubt the Anglican clerics in the "mother country" went apoplectic with the Dobsons and Sheldons of England crying that these upstart American rebels have destroyed the sacrament of marriage forever!

Some things never change, one of those being the constant attempt of certain religious people who believe they alone have the Truth, to demand other religious and non-religious folks follow their peculiar and particular dogmas.

The last refuge of a scoundrel

For most people today, patriotism and what it means will be the last thing on their minds. For most people, July 4th, is a day of family, friends, food and fun. And there is nothing wrong with any of that. In fact, if you asked them, I'm sure the great majority would say that getting together with family and friends for food and fun is the way they celebrate the independence of our country, and thus is indicative of their patriotism.


Unfortunately, however, the Bush gang has taken much of the fun out of the July 4th celebration. George W. Bush has besmirched, not just our nation, but the Oval Office. He has tried to make patriotism equivalent to imperialism, war, jingoism, and his particular penchant for a dictatorship.

He and those who march along side and behind him have, for the past seven years, declared that anyone daring to question the actions of this fool for a president is an unpatriotic, dangerous, evil supporter of those terrorists who would destroy our country in the name of Allah.


Samuel Johnson, on April 7, 1775, made this famous statement:

"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." Why he said that on the eve of the War of Independence is not known -- there is no context -- but that doesn't make it less significant.

Not so many years ago, when Barry Goldwater, then a Republican senator from Arizona, decided he wanted to be president, the mantra of his followers was "My Country, right or wrong!"

At the time, some people, in order to show what they thought of Goldwater and that slogan put bumber stickers on their vehicles which read: "Goldwater, my (picture of an ass)."


Robert Scheer of Truthdig, reminds us that patriotism, has a variety of meanings, not all good. He refers to the "Farewell Address" of President George Washington, in which Washington offers his country advice for the future. Washington hopes that the "men" running our nation "may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism. ..."

Scheer writes, "We are downing in the 'impostures of pretended patriotism,' used to cover the lies that got us into Iraq, the defense of torture and the violation of our basic liberties. In the name of patriotism, we presume a God-given American right to reorder the world to our liking, masking the vice of unfettered greed as an obligation of national security."

Barack Obama, sometimes criticized for not wearing an American flag replica in his lapel, in a recent speech in Independence, Missouri, quoted Mark Twain, who wrote that "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." Obama also said that while we hope our government would "stand up for our ideals," when it does not "then the dissent of ordinary Americans may prove to be one of the truest expressions of patriotism."

Here Obama was actually quoting Thomas Jefferson, who said, "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism," and "The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive."


Ambrose Pierce once said that "Patriotism is fierce as a fever, pitiless as the grave, blind as a stone, and as irrational as a headless hen."

Or as Louis Bunuel put it, "God and country are an unbeatable team; they break all records for oppression and bloodshed."


Patriotism isn't waving the flag or wearing a flag pin, or pledging allegiance, or blindly trudging in the footsteps of a nation's leaders. Patriotism has nothing to do with most things we do on July 4th. Patriotism is not the parroting of certain phrases or words reeking of the pretense of love of country.

Patriotism is to stand firmly for the fundamental principles and ideals on which this country was founded. It is to believe in and act in accordance with the Constitution, including the first ten amendments. Patriotism means to stand up and protest and to overthrow those who would blithely ignore our fundamental principles and ideals and under various pretexts -- even the pretext of protecting our country -- violate our fundamental principles and ideals.


We might do well to remember, on this July 4th, the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:

"When a whole nation is roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands that the purity of its heart."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

For Heaven's Sakes!

(Photo from ammasso.com)

On June 10, 2008, Robert Ritchie in the guardian.co.uk, related how the world's governments, in an attempt to halt or at least mitigate the relentless attacks of what some naively call "Mother Nature" on our planet, finally took action to resolve the conflict.

His story, titled "Regime change in heaven" is told here and replicated below.

"God's thunderbolts pose an existential threat to mankind," writes Ritchie. "Military intervention has become unavoidable.


"Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I apologise for getting you out of bed so early. At 0500 hours this morning the combined armed forces of mankind across the globe launched a massive and sustained land, sea and air attack on the Kingdom of Heaven. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. There will be time for questions later.

"As you are all aware, the world's governments have been concerned about the true nature and ultimate purpose of God for some years now. A being that proclaims Himself omnipotent clearly had to be watched closely - we would have been failing in our duty to protect our citizens had we not done so.

"Evidence of God's power is overwhelming. Indeed He has said nothing to deny it. He has brought famine on numerous occasions. He has inflicted plagues in the form of Aids, Sars and H5N1. Not a single year has passed without war raging in some corner of the globe, often with His explicit blessing on one side or the other and sometimes on both.

"Tsunamis, floods and hurricanes are three more devastating weapons in the deadly armoury He has not only developed but appears all too willing to use. Faced with these already terrifying powers, we tasked the world's intelligence services to establish when - not if, ladies and gentlemen, but when - He will have the capability to launch genuine weapons of mass destruction. I refer, of course, to thunderbolts from heaven.

"Ladies and gentlemen, it is my grave duty to inform you that all intelligence conclusively points to the fact that God already possesses such a capability and could launch it at a moment's notice. Please, please. Be calm. Not wishing to alarm the people unnecessarily, we have of course, up until this moment in time, kept this intelligence within the confines of the highest reaches of government.

"Behind the scenes we have been attempting to negotiate with God. Indeed, up until as recently as March of 2007 representatives of your government were trying to open lines of communication. We made it clear we were happy to talk either directly to God or to his Angels. These approaches, I am sure you understand, largely took the form of silent prayer. Unfortunately I have to report that our efforts proved fruitless. The evidence of His presence is all around us, so He claims, yet when we want to talk to Him He is nowhere to be found. Apparently God did not want to listen. Though, of course, being omniscient, He didn't actually need to listen to be aware of our intentions. Either that or He was in hiding. Which seems unlikely, given that He also claims to be omnipresent.

"As the world is aware, all nations are united behind the necessity of tackling the problem of God's might before it is too late. This, despite the fact that until recently many nations, for various reasons have preferred not to confront Him. Some have claimed that notwithstanding His terrible wrath and well-documented history of visiting vengeance upon mankind, He is a force for good in the world. Some countries - in fact, at the latest count, at least half the nations of the world - have at some time even claimed to be His Chosen People.

"Yet despite countless appeals to Him, not only over the last few years, but over many centuries, to bring peace to the world, He has blatantly failed to deliver us from evil. We now know that He even harbours terrorists. At least, if they do not come from heaven, we know that heaven is where they go afterwards, as they are only too willing to admit.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we have waited long enough. We have given God every chance, but our patience is at an end. I put it to you, can a being who chooses to be known under the guise of a number of different aliases ever be trusted? The time has come for regime change in heaven. (interruption) I'm sorry? Excuse me a moment.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I have just been informed that our mission has been successful. The forces of the people are now in control of all key targets. Overcoming determined resistance ... (interruption) ... Excuse me, little resistance ... (interruption) ... I'm sorry, apparently no resistance at all, our forces battled ... (interruption) er, strolled into ... what appears to be a deserted realm.

"(To aide: 'What, no angels? No seraphim, no cherubim? No hosts of heavenly choirs? No ... souls of the eternally blessed? I was hoping to meet my mother again ..." Aide: 'There's no evidence of anything, Mr. President.")

(Speaker takes sip of water.)

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you victory. Today marks the triumph of mankind. Heaven has fallen.

"And may God save us all."

Texe Marrs - on the fringe of the wacko Christian Right

The Christian Right in this country is inundated with a variety of hucksters, shysters, con men, dribbling and drooling idiots, biblical illiterates, scientifically-challenged morons, criminals running so-called healing ministries, ethically bankrupt revivalists--and those are the "good" guys.

Few, however, can compare with Texe Marrs. We've written about this clown before, but it's important, I think, to note how depraved humans can become.

Marrs is "President of Power of Prophecy Ministries and RiverCrest Publishing in Austin, Texas." His website and monthly newsletter are called "Power of Prophecy." Marrs has a radio program. You can hear him on shortwave radio on Saturday nights from 7 - 8 p.m., Central Time, and on Sunday nights, from 9 - 10 p.m., Central Time.

According to the bio presented on his website, Marrs has written many books, three of which were supposedly "#1 Christian bestsellers."

Marrs claims to have been "assistant professor of aerospace studies, teaching American Defense Policy, strategic weapons systems, and related subjects at the University of Texas at Austin from 1977 to 1982. He has also taught international affairs, political science, and psychology for two other universities [unnamed]. A graduate Summa Cum Laude from Park University, Kansas City, Missouri, he earned his Master's degree at North Carolina State University.

If the above is true, it just goes to show that you can be educated and still crazy as hell!

Marrs also claims to have been "a career USAF officer (now retired), [during which time] he commanded communications-electronics and engineering units."

This information would indicate something is seriously screwed up at the University of Texas and in our military for this man is truly unhinged! To think he would be in charge of young minds or any military unit for any reason is beyond comprehension.


Power of Prophecy is similar to other convoluted, simple-minded fundamentalist organizations, in that they hold many beliefs in common:

Jesus Christ is God, "the one mediator between man and God."

The only valid bible for Marrs, however, is the King James version, which Marrs says "is God's perfect word ... without error, and is man's authoritative guide for how we should live."

"God alone has salvation power through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross for our sins."

God is bigger and more powerful than Satan.

Marrs also believes "in the power of Bible prophecy," because he is convinced that "God has preordained the future from the beginning and that He holds the future in His hand."


Some specific teachings of POP include:

POP is "biased in favor of the Truth." POP hates lies and false teachings and hatred and abortion "and other forms of sin and depravity." POP is not afraid of being branded "politically incorrect."

POP is neither Republican nor Democrat. Marrs will support whichever candidate "is in line with the Truth, found in the Holy Bible."

POP does not accept government money because government money "always comes with strings attached."


Texe Marrs is not afraid of speaking his mind. Unfortunately, that openness has most often resulted in offering the public a view of just how seriously deranged he is.

In March of 1997, Marrs denounced the Mattel Toy Company for its "Goddess of the Sun" Barbie doll. Marrs wondered if this doll represented "the Whore of Babylon spirit, alive and with us today?"

In August of 1997, Marrs said that the New International Version of the Bible was "a feminist book for the New Age."

On Feb. 16, 2008, during his Power of Prophecy radio program, Marrs claimed that the FBI shoots the pets of American citizens. He further said that the government was telling lies about al Qaeda and concocting bombings reported in Iraq during "Operation Iraqi Freedom."

Marrs has also said that "America is a psycopathic nation." [It takes one to know some?]

Marrs has said that "A church can become dysfunctional because a psycopath gains control, and it's not always the pastor...soon the whole church goes insane." [Now that may be true!]

Marrs does not care for John Hagee, which is rather amusing, as he is at least as nuts as is Hagee! He slammed Hagee for claiming that Jesus was not the Jewish messiah and said Hagee "may be possessed by Satan," and "Most of these fakers have diploma mill [degrees]," and "His books are ghost written," and "John Hagee is a faker."

Marrs has further stated that Hagee is a false prophet, and part of the "Judaizer movement, an apostate and an Antichrist." Hagee attacks the word of God and is in bed with Jews, Lucifer, Satan, and the serpent."

Marrs doesn't much like the Roman Catholic Church or Freemasonry or the New Age movements.

Marrs is anti-Semitic and offers for sale the discredited "Protocols of the Elders of Zion." About this book he has said that "The Illuminati's March of Death as I call it was revealed in advance in the satanically prophetic textbook of terror called The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. Read what the Zionist monsters said they were going to do."

But Marrs says that doesn't mean he's anti-Semitic. "If we hated the Jews, we wouldn't want to see them in Heaven with us, would we? We'd want to see them go to Hell. But it's the Christian who truly loves the Jews, who truly wants the best for them. And that's why we preach to the Jews, as well as to gentiles."

"No Christian can be an anti-Semite. I cry tears for the Jewish men, women, and children about to be unknowingly sacrificed on the altar of Mammon. I plead with my Saviour, Jesus: Forgive them, Lord, they know not what they do."

That's not anti-Semitic? And in other books, Marrs cements his anti-Semitism: "The Jews rule over us, and nothing will ever be the same."

On his website, he thunders that whole congregations of churches - Baptist, Pentecostal, and mainline denomination congregations are "going Jew! And their pastors demand to be called 'Rabbi'. Their people are wearing Jewish garments and are into Yiddish songs and dancing in a circle. Meanwhile, some are working on a Christian Talmud, a book of laws and traditions for all Christians to obey."


The above is just a small sampling of the insanity of this prophetic moron. On his website you'll find more of the same.

You can buy, for example, a tape of CD of something called "Will Barack Obama be Assassinated?--Why the Elite Cannot Let This Man Exercise the Awesome Powers of the American Presidency."

Other "products" connected with his radio program this week, include: "The Elite Serial Killers of Lincoln, JFK, RFK, and MLK"; "Triple Murder at Martha's Vineyard--Bill and Hillary Clinton, the CIA, the Israeli Mossad, and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy, Jr.; "How the Illunimati Controls America (2-Hour Set)--The Synagogue of Satan and the Dancing Marionettes of the Democratic Party."

You will also be able to "Check Out These Bonus Articles" which include the following titles:

"John McCain, Rothschild Puppet, Zionist Warmonger"

"McCain and His Masters"

"The Detention Camps Are Real"

"God, Magog, and the Scroll of Bush"

"Jewish Zealots Ordered Bhutto Hit"

"The Truth About Israel, Corruption, and the Golem"

"The Golem Advances: Fascism, Zionism, and Corporatism"

"Texe Marrs' Codex Magica Featured The Golem Monster"

"Endgame--The Illuminati Blueprint for Global Enslavement"


Texe Marrs may be a raving lunatic, but there are enough crazed and deluded people in this country to provide him with the resources to continue producing his fantastical, anti-Semitic, misguided prophetic madness.

The really scary part is when you realize that many if not most of these people will find their way to a voting booth in November.

Sometimes I'm not sure if the light at the end of the tunnel which some people claim to see, is nothing more than the last flicker of human sanity.


You can read more about Texe Marrs at saintaardvarkthecarpeted, here; the letsrollforum, here; and at everything2come, here. These sites are only for those with strong stomachs, however.




















What to do with the Evangelical Vote

If you've been a bit frustrated with all the hype surrounding so-called "evangelical" Christians, their unhinged, money-grubbing, hate-filled leaders, and how they're going to vote or note going to vote in the upcoming election, Ian Gurvitz over at 23/6 has some suggestions in his article, "Screw the Evangelical Vote!"


"Would someone who knows someone at CNN please pass on a request that they cease and desist from treating anything James Dobson says as news? This intellectual shitkicker may have puffed himself up enough to think he's got enough moral highground to evaluate the authenticity of the candidates, but does CNN have to back up his bullshit by putting him on the air? Falwell may have gone and built himself a voting bloc once, but Falwell's dead. And frankly he can take his flock with him. Let McCain lick the barbecue sauce off the jowls of the Robertsons, Hagees and Dobsons on the world, as he flip flops from calling them agents of intolerance to angels of support. In the best of all possible worlds, candidates and news organizations wouldn't pander to the dumb vote. The moron vote. The ignorant vote. Instead they would say: screw 'em.

"Screw soliciting the opinions of anyone whose sense of values stems from the learnin' the got at an institution as inherently oxymoronic as Bible College. Screw the literal-minded clods and their comically transparent efforts to wedge a pseudo science, whether it's called Creationism or Intelligent Design into a school curriculum. Screw those whose brains have been washed from birth with notions of the Bible as history instead of metaphor and poetry, and who therefore can't cipher their way to even the most simple of conclusions that if religion is to have any meaning at all, it must be grounded in compassion. Not intolerance. In knowledge. Not superstition. In morality. Not moralizing. In wisdom, not willful ignorance and blind obedience. Anyone... regardless of whether they call themselves Pastor or Reverend, and no matter how many million suckers are in their TV ministry... anyone who actually advances the notion that God wants you to vote Republican to protect the country against the abortionists and homosexuals should not be advising the electorate or counseling presidents. They should be strapped to a gurney in a sanitarium with a Lithium I.V.

"How did this country become so colossally retarded? Sure, there will always be the lunatic fringe. The snake handlers and revival tent hucksters. But they belong on the fringe. Not playing host to presidential candidates. Or advising politicians. Or on CNN making any comment whatsoever that has to do with public policy. Unfortunately, that's not our political reality. It's clear Obama is reaching out for the evangelicals with words like values, and faith and family stitched into his latest speech. That's fine. A vote's a vote. And it should be obvious to anyone with ears that Obama is a moral man, which is why he may get many of those votes. But it's not up to cartoon characters like James Dobson to evaluate the sincerity of his message. Nor is it the place of a news organization to stick him on TV as an authority, simply because morons listen to what he says."


The website, 23/6 Some of the News/Most of the Time, has many more provocative articles. Click here.

Porn industry thanks Bush

Amanda Terkel has one of those "gotcha" articles at Think Progress titled "Bush Stimulates the Porn Industry With His Package."

Ms. Terkel notes that Bush was quite pleased with himself when he announced the stimulus package back in January, as if borrowing more money to give to people to buy junk from China would made the slightest difference in our moribund economy.

Here's part of what Bush said at the time:

"This package has the right set of policies and is the right size. The incentives in this package will lead to higher consumer spending and increased business investment this year." (Emphasis by Ms. Terkel)

Well, he may have been at least partly right. Ms. Terkel reports that "The adult pornography business has seen a huge uptick in business thanks to Bush's package." She then quotes from a press release put out by the Adult Internet Market Research Company.

"...many websites focused on adult or erotic materials have experienced an upswing in sales in the recent weeks since checks have appeared in millions of Americans' mailboxes across the country."

Normally, the summer months are slow for these website, but a number of them said they've experienced a growth of 20-30% since the middle of May, which was about the time people began receiving their stimulus checks.

Furthermore, one source noted that a survey of its membership indicated "thirty-two percent of respondents referenced the recent stimulus package as part of their decision to either become a new member, or renew an existing membership."

Ya gotta love it!

Read Ms Terkel's entire article here.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Afghanistan and da Bush and the coming coup

Updated 7-3-08, 8:55 p.m. EST

There is a growing body of evidence that da Bush is planning a military attack against Iran, ignoring the intelligence estimates of our various services and despite the warnings of our Secretary of Defense.


What follows validates the old cliche that "truth is stranger than fiction." The Bush administration will go down in history as the most crass and most stupid presidency in history!

At a Rose Garden "news" conference, Bush yesterday acknowledged things weren't going too well in Afghanistan; it has been a "tough month," he said. As if he would know about how "tough" it is in that beleaguered country! As if he gives a rat's ass how many men and women have died or that one-third of them have been civilians caught up in this misguided adventure into the netherworld of the resurgent Taliban.

Furthermore, even though additional U.S. troops are needed in Afghanistan, the Pentagon says its forces are too depleted to send more soldiers to that country. Admiral Mike Mullen, who chairs the Joint Chiefs of Staff, commented to the effect that if things in Iraq should improve, he maybe could move more of our forces to Afghanistan by year's end.

And still the Bushites talk about attacking Iran? As a last resort, of course! Is this a reprise of the Bush administration's monumental blunder in Iraq? Does Bush/Cheney and gang have a clue as to the possible repercussions of a military attack against Iran? Iran is not Iraq. Iran knows precisely what the military capabilities of the United States are. Iran has intimated that if attacked, one of its first responses will be to shut down its oil supply, which will create chaos across continents. Iran is capable of responding in other ways, too, with its assets spread across the Middle East, all of which implies untold death and destruction.

Do these war-mongers in the Bush regime give any thought whatsoever to all the people whose lives will be snuffed out by our man-made hell on earth? Does anyone give a damn about, not just our own men and women blown into tiny pieces of blood and guts, but also those innocents just trying to get on with their lives, make a living, survive and find a jigger of joy here and there? What kind of monsters have we elected to represent us? Perhaps we can tie them to the first bombs, so they can get a smell of burning flesh and hear the screams of the those frying to death up close.

Are American imperial (oil) interests so strong that we no longer see others (yes, even Iranians) as also human, sharing the precious gift of life?


The next thing this miserable excuse of a president did was to ask the American people "to pressure Congress to allow more oil exploration in the United States." We need to drill more, said da Bush.

The fact that this is a deliberate lie for the sole purpose of enriching his buddies in the oil business, seems oblivious to the MSM. There is no need to drill more. None! As we noted in a previous post:

What we have had in place for some 26 years is a moratorium on off-shore oil and gas drilling in certain areas. "Other areas are not only open to drilling but leases and drilling permits have already been issued.

"And they are not being drilled."


As noted, "only 17% of the leased areas is in production." There are some 33 millions acres of offshore areas that are currently available for drilling. "The fact is that nearly 25 BILLION barrels of oil off the coast of the United States" is in position for drilling.

It's amazing that anyone believes anything this lying president says!


Then, da Bush talked about the problem of global warming. At the upcoming G-8 summit, he will "urge" that these major nations commit to long-term goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

What a hypocritical monster. He's the one who has led the fight against action to deal with global warming! He's the one who has forced scientists to rewrite global warming reports to agree with the Bush administration's view that it isn't a problem!

In other words, Bush plans to do nothing. That's the way it's been since the beginning of his term. We need more study, he says. We need more conferences, he says. We need to look at long-term goals, he says. The result of which is, of course, that not a damn thing gets done, which is exactly what he wants.

Cutting greenhouse gas emissions is bound to cost his corporate friends a lot of money and if there's one thing you can say about da Bush, it is that he's loyal to his corporate friends, even to the end of the world!


Oh, and finally, da Bush warned us all again that we might be attacked by terrorists at any time. The terrorists are out there, biding their time. We are at "war" with them and we cannot afford to relax.

So, like usual, the fear-monger ends with his usual mantra: "The terrorists are coming, the terrorists are coming." That's why we've got to bomb Iran, and torture those who we think are our enemies, and toss away constitutional guarantees, and spy on American citizens...

I hope I'm wrong, but do not be surprised, if just before the November elections there is a major disaster or looming threat to our country of such proportions that da Bush will invoke his assumed right in a statement he has already signed, to continue as da leader and suspend the elections. That would not be such a terrible threat in itself, except that our spineless Congress and activist Supreme Court would no doubt pronounce their blessing on such an action - for it would keep in power the global corporate structures that in fact, rule the world.

Hail to da Chief!

Iran and da Bush

Let's start here. About a week ago, Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, told Fox News that President Bush may attack Iran if he thinks it likely that Obama will be elected to the Oval Office.

A few days ago, DownWithTyranny headlined a post this way: "The White House No-Brain Trust sets its beady eyes on an even excellenter adventure in Iran."

That was followed by a quote from Seymour Hersh's "Preparing the Battlefield," which appeared in the July 7 and 14 New Yorker:

"Late last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources. These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country's religious leadership. The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwaza Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations. They also include gathering intelligence about Iran's suspected nuclear-weapons program."

This congressional funding was granted "Despite warnings from the military and a National Intelligence Estimate 'that concluded that Iran had halted its work on nuclear weapons in 2003.'"

DownWithTyranny pulled more from RawStory, including the fact that "precious little detail was provided in the 'presidential finding.' Some congressional leaders were upset about that, but as Hersh said, "not enough to derail the plans."

It further appears that attempts are being made by the Bush administration to keep secret as much of this as possible. And, in the words of DWT, "It's hard not to imagine as well that that dribbling psychopath 'Big Dick' Cheney, thinking he's oh so smart, is doing the same thing he did with the gathering and analysis of intelligence to make sure he could have his war in Iraq: diverting as much of our covert activity as possible away from that damned CIA to people he can control better, as long as those CIA people keep sassing him about something they keep calling 'reality,' and refuse to see the world the demented way his diseased brain does."


So, we are engaging in covert ops in Iran to destabilize the religious (which is to say, the only) leadership, but which may be simply the lead-in to a military attack!

But maybe everyone isn't on board with Bomber-Bush and his friends. Again, Seymour Hersh reported this from a Democratic senator (unidentified):

"Secretary of Defense Gates met with the Democratic caucus in the Senate. ... Gates warned of the consequences if the Bush Administration staged a preemptive strike on Iran, saying, as the senator recalled, 'We'll create generations of jihadists, and our grandchildren will be battling our enemies here in America.' Gate's comments stunned the Democrats at the lunch, and another senator asked whether Gates was speaking for Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney. Gates answer, the senator told me, was 'Let's just say that I'm speaking for myself.' (A spokesman for Gates confirmed that he had discussed the consequences of a strike at the meeting, but would not address what he said, other than to dispute the senator's characterization.)"

At least one congressman came to his/her senses, suddenly developed a brain and part of a spine and "wrote a personal letter to President Bush insisting that 'no lethal action, period' had been authorized within Iran's borders. As of June, he had received no answer."

Who is running this country? The most depressing thing is that we cannot depend upon the Democrats in Congress to do their duty. The system is supposed to work this way, according to TChris at talkleft.com:

"Under federal law, a Presidential Finding, which is highly classified, must be issued when a covert intelligence operation gets under way and, at a minimum, must be made known to Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and the Senate and to the ranking members of their respective intelligence committees -- the so-called Gang of Eight. Money for the operation can then be reprogrammed from previous appropriations, as needed, by the relevant congressional committees, which also can be briefed."

So, despite the warnings of our intelligence services that Iran has dropped its nuclear weapons program and despite there being no evidence to the contrary, our Congressional leaders have cowardly given up their authority and secretly authorized Bush to expand covert activities directed toward Iran which may well be a prelude to a military strike!

These Democrats -- Harry Reid (Senate Majority Leader), Nancy Pelosi (Speaker of the House), John D. Rockefeller IV (Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee), and Silvestre Reyes (chair of the House Intelligence Committee) "have failed to provide oversight of the funds they delegated to covert operations."

This is very serious, because as TChris says, "There is a growing realization among some legislators that the Bush Administration, in recent years, has conflated what is an intelligence operation and what is a military one in order to avoid fully informing Congress about what it is doing."

Maybe McCain was not kidding when he said, "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran."



Christian extremist won't vote for Obama

You've probably never heard of him, but he's decided that Barack Obama is just not the right person to be president of the United States.

His name is James L. Lambert and he wrote a guest column for the Christian right news service, onenewsnow.com. He's pretty proud that in making this decision to vote no on Obama, he's in the company of such noteworthys as "Bill Keller, James Dobson, former NFL player and pastor Dr. O'Neal Dozier, Dr. Gary Cass, and Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, who all believe the Illinois senator would be a bad choice."

Most of those "important" folks I've never heard of but I suppose they're in the upper echelon of Christian right poohbahs.

And why, you ask, do all of these good folks think Obama would be a "bad choice"?

Well, like the frightfully freaky biblical scholar and theologian, James Dobson said, Obama is "deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology."

Now, to understand that, you have to realize that Dobson's "traditional understanding of the Bible" is less than a hundred years old, and his theology is so confused he thinks that he can take one or two verses from the Hebrew bible while ignoring all the rest to build theological judgment points.

But Lambert goes on to note that "Dobson and others" don't much like Obama's position on same-sex marriage, the right of a woman to choose, partial-birth abortion, and the real biggie - "his tendency to favor a socialistic philosophy in government."

What the hell does that mean? Lambert doesn't explain, but such a statement reflects how Christian fundamentalism has adopted free-market capitalism has a major part of its theology.


Lambert, helping the undecided decide who to pull the lever for in the voting booth, blasts Obama because:

He spoke at a Planned Parenthood convention, which obviously means he is "a strong defender of the abortion industry." (Notice the code word, "industry," which carries an undercurrent of nastiness, maybe even Mafia connections!)

Obama "recently appeared in the gay magazine Advocate." And we all know god hates gays!

This is really bad. Contrary to all fundamentalist screeds, Obama thinks maybe god is big enough to accept a variety of people into heaven, even those who don't take Genesis literally, or think that Jesus was born of a little Jewish virgin, or that he jumped out of that tomb and flew off into the sky into what St. Paul calls the "seventh heaven." Lambert says Obama's position reflects "big tent" salvation. I like that. But Lambert says it "runs completely contrary to scripture." Oh, oh! Send in the clowns, Obama!

Isn't it interesting that we have thousands of religious groups all calling themselves Christian and all of them believe they know what is "according to scripture" and what is "contrary to scripture?"

Obviously, they can't all be right. It would appear that god really screwed up. Why put out a collection of books like the bible, the meaning of which nobody can agree on? Furthermore, if you believe that god is just, that would mean he/she would have to make things right. A just god can't condemn someone to the eternal excruciating pain of constant fire if it was his/her own fault that the person couldn't figure out what god really meant! So maybe Obama's "big tent" is right and the fundys are wrong!

Lambert says that Obama negates "The sacrifice of Christ on the cross." And when it comes to the Supreme Court, you just know Obama would nominate "extremely liberal" justices!

And Lambert is worried about all the "ignorant" blacks out there who just don't understand what Obama is up to and will vote for him simply because he is "black." Obama's black? Hells bells! He's got a white mother. I thought he was white! The Jewish people believe if your mother is Jewish, you are a Jew. Shouldn't it work the same way for blacks?

Anyway, Lambert wants more black preachers in the black community "to teach Christians the importance of living right before God."

Lambert also accuses Obama of trying to get the so-called evangelistic vote by "aggressively marketing himself as a Christian." You know, it seems to me that one of the biblical no-no's is to bear false witness against another. That doesn't seem to bother clowns like Lambert, though. Obama is not really a Christian, they say, because he doesn't believe in the "core" beliefs of Christianity. Bill Keller, whoever the hell he is, says "He doesn't believe in Hell...Obama has stated that even though his mother didn't believe in Christ as her savior, she is in Heaven."


Lambert, Dobson, Keller and all the rest of these bozos are very sick people. They are enough to turn anyone away from the God they profess and the Christ they claim to follow. Who in hell would want to spend eternity with any one of these religious freaks?

Lastly, but most importantly, none of this has a goddamn thing to do with Obama's qualifications to be president of the United States! There is no religious test for public office in this country but, unfortunately, that bit of constitutional trivia has passed right over the bloated heads of these fundamentalist phonies!

There are important issues that we face as a country; life-threatening issues. But whether or not a presidential candidate believes in hell is not one of them!

Obama for non-discriminatory faith-based programs

I admit I was pretty angry when I first read Obama was pushing the notion of government social services being delivered through faith-based groups. Under George W. Bush, the Christian Right has made out like a bandit, grabbing buckets of tax dollars with no safeguards in place to protect the constitutional separation of church and state.

Obama's plan, however, is contrary to Bush's doling out government funds to fundamentalist groups so they can carry out their main mission which is always - always - to first convert the ones they serve. To actually care for their constituents comes last and isn't really all that important. The Bush regime has thrown billions of dollars at these groups in the past eight years with almost no accountability.

It is true that we have a long history of the government working with religious groups, but always with constitutional safeguards in place. Bush dumped those safeguards. The safeguards, said Bush, got in the way of the work of the organizations. Thus, they have been able to hire and fire based on a person's religious views, and proselytizing has been the order of the day.

Obama believes we should try again, reinstituting the constitutional bans on proselytizing and discrimination. I'm not convinced that such a plan is either necessary or good. Obama thinks that "The challenges we face today - from saving our planet to ending poverty - are simply too big for government to solve alone."

That may be true but it doesn't necessarily translate to engaging religious groups to do the government's work. In fact, privatization of government responsibilities has myriads of problems and often fails to deliver on its promises. We've seen that in Chuck Colson's national prison ministry, and in Florida's faith-based rehabilitation programs both of which have been criticized for placing sectarian issues first.


But maybe Obama is right. His plan means that a religious organization cannot discriminate against the people they hire on the basis of their religion. Furthermore, money given to religious organizations can be used only for secular programs (not "secular" programs that are mostly engaged in promoting conversion.)

For the fundys in our midst, that's not going to do it. Most, if not all, fundamentalist churches and organizations demand that their employees confess specific religious beliefs, and many have them sign a statement of faith. Secondly, the goal of every Christian fundamentalist organization is the conversion of "sinners," defined as people who have not committed their lives to Jesus Christ. Everything else is secondary. That's their very nature.

And that's fine. But, they cannot take government dollars -- your tax dollars and mine -- to use in their evangelistic mission!

So, if Obama thought he would garner a few votes with this faith-based proposal, he's SOL. And maybe that's just as well. We've had more than enough of these damn faith-based programs using tax dollars to sell Jesus to those who just want a bed and some food.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Oil Company CEOs should be put on trial - James Hansen

(Photo of oil company executives testifying before Congress)

Brian Gordon, writing for the Green Party of Canada, believes that the speech given by James Hansen before Congress was long overdue. "Any individual," he says, "who lies and obscures the truth, where those lies and obfuscations lead to a vastly diminished life - or even death - for others is as guilty of murder as someone using a gun, or bomb, or poison.

"The motive is irrelevant. It could be profit, it could be vanity, it could be psychological imbalance. ... Hiding behind a corporation is equally irrelevant. Corporations are simply collections of rules for making money, and those rules are directed by the executives and board members."


On June 23, 2008, James Hansen gave his testimony to Congress, "exactly 20 years after [his] June 23, 1988 testimony, which alerted the public that global warming was underway."

Hansen began by warning of the wide gap that "has developed between what is understood about global warming by the relevant scientific community and what is known by policymakers and the public.

"Now, as then, frank assessment of scientific data yields conclusions that are shocking to the body politic. Now, as then, I can assert that these conclusions have a certainty exceeding 99 percent.

"The difference is that now we have used up all slack in the schedule for actions needed to defuse the global warming time bomb. The next President and Congress must define a course next year in which the United States exerts leadership commensurate with our responsibility for the present dangerous situation.

"Otherwise it will become impractical to constrain atmospheric carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas produced in burning fossil fuels, to a level that prevents the climate system from passing tipping points that lead to disastrous climate changes that spiral dynamically out of humanity's control.

"Changes needed to preserve creation, the planet on which civilization developed, are clear. But the changes have been blocked by special interests, focused on short-term profits, who hold sway in Washington and other capitals."

Hansen then goes on to describe in detail the changes that are already occurring because of global warming and the disastrous changes that will occur in the future if no action is taken now. He refers to various tipping points, one being the melting of Arctic ice which is happening so rapidly that "the Arctic soon will be ice-free in the summer."

In fact, we have discovered that this may happen by the coming fall!

"Debate among scientists," claims Hansen, "is only about how much sea level would rise by a given date. In my opinion, if emissions follow a business-as-usual scenario, sea level rise of at least two meters is likely this century. Hundreds of millions of people would become refugees. No stable shoreline would be reestablished in any time frame that humanity can conceive."

We have already gone too far, perhaps irreversibly so, says Hansen. Our only chance is to halt carbon dioxide growth. "Solution of the climate problem requires that we move to carbon-free energy promptly."

Then Hansen calls a spade a spade. "Special interests have blocked transition to our renewable energy future. Instead of moving heavily into renewable energies, fossil companies choose to spread doubt about global warming, as tobacco companies discredited the smoking-cancer link. Methods are sophisticated, including funding to help shape school textbook discussions of global warming.

"CEOs of fossil energy companies know what they are doing and are aware of the long-term consequences of continued business as usual. In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature." (My emphasis)


There it is. But that isn't all of it. What about those politicians who have colluded with the energy companies in their lies and disinformation? What about a White House that has deliberately withheld and/or changed information about global warming so that it more closely coincides with energy company policies and thus promotes, not renewable energy exploration, but business as usual?

Hansen, over the past 20 years has been proven right in his prognostications. As he stated, the debate among scientists is not about whether there will be damage to the planet from global warming caused by greenhouse gases, but it is about dates - when the damage will occur. And from all indications, time is of the essence, as the damage is occurring much more rapidly than any in the scientific community had thought possible.

The urgency of the problem is a major reason why this coming presidential election is so important. McCain is McBush, guaranteed to follow almost all of Bush's failed policies. No one knows exactly where McCain stands on most issues because he can't remember his stance, or changes his stance.

And it's not just the presidential election that is important. This year, every seat is up for grabs in the House of Representatives. New Senators will be elected. We can no longer afford to put doofuses and dumbos in our national legislature. We don't have enough time to correct the bad laws and bad decisions they will make because of a political or religious "principle."

Every candidate, whether for the presidency or the congress, for a governorship or a position in a state legislature, must be pressed on how he or she plans to combat this global disaster that is global warming.

There is no time left.

You can read Hansen's entire speech here.

The Bush Oil Administration

Bush and Cheney are oil men tied closely to the oil industry. Actually, Bush is a failed oil man, who had to be bailed out by his daddy's friends. But together, the prezident and his sidekick, Cheney, represent the oil industry.

Buzzflash points us back to a Drudge report of June 2000. In the year 2000, the price of oil was on everyone's minds. In 1999, it hovered around $10 a barrel. By the spring of 2000, it had doubled. Whose fault was that? George W. Bush said the blame had to be place squarely on Bill Clinton. Al Gore said it was the fault of the oil companies.

It is now 2008 and Bush has been in office over seven years. The price of oil is over $140 a barrel and heading up. Exxon-Mobil, along with the other major oil outfits, are posting record-high earnings.

The other day an energy summit was held in Saudi Arabia where the oil producers blamed market speculators for the rising costs, while consumers complained there isn't enough oil being produced.

Ironically, when the Saudis pledged to increase their production by 200,000 barrels a day, because the speculators expected that pledge, the price of oil went up!

This is called gouging and it is happening because of the U.S. energy policy put in place by the Bush/Cheney gang of oil gangsters.

It really isn't hard to figure out. Ask yourself who profits under the Bush/Cheney energy policies. Follow the money.

Or, as Buzzflash puts it: "Bush has failed all of us, but he is the toast of the town as far as Big Oil is concerned, still protecting their right to gouge us and profiteer away, as we suffer at the pump.

Of even more concern, is that after seven years of Bush mismanagement we still have no viable policy in place to develop alternative energy sources, other than increasing the number of dirty coal plants and that is not a policy, that's simply a gift to the coal industry at the expense of the environment.