Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Is Bill O'Reilly brain-damaged?

(At the right is an alleged New York Times caricature of O'Reilly)

How many times have you asked the question, "How low can O'Reilly go?" Then you turn around and he reaches a new low. Perhaps he has brain damage. It's hard to explain him any other way. Of course, he does work for FOX News, which has nothing to do with either foxes or news.

Netroots Nation (formerly known as YearlyKos) just concluded its gathering in Austin, Texas. As John Stauber writes, Netroots Nation is "the annual conference for thousands of liberal bloggers, Democratic Party activists and liberal advocacy organizations...all designed this year to win the White House and solidify control of Congress."

Among the speakers at this year's event were Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean and former Vice President Al Gore. Gore lauded the event and those involved and said he believed they were part of an effort "to reclaim the integrity of American democracy."

Bill O'Reilly, not understanding how a democracy works, and not caring how a democracy works, went livid at the very thought of something like Netroots Nation. But what really gored his ox was Al Gore, who he despises (probably because Al Gore makes O'Reilly look like the fool he is!).

Matt at Think Progress tells us all about it:

"On his radio show today, O'Reilly claimed that Gore was now associating himself with the most 'hateful group in the country.' ... 'And I'm including the Nazis and the Klan in here' ... He then claimed that attending Netroots Nation was 'the same as if he stepped into the Klan gathering.'"

O'Reilly said that "Al Gore is now done. ... He is not a man of respect, he doesn't have any judgment. The fact that he went to this thing is the same as if he stepped into the Klan gathering. ... K, he loses all credibility with me. All credibility."

As if anyone gives a rat's ass about O'Reilly's credibility! It's nonexistent.

Such hysterics would be funny if I wasn't wrong in my statement about O'Reilly's credibility. Unfortunately, too many people see him as credible, even though he's nothing more than a mouthpiece for the extreme right.

But, the extremists who have run our government for the last seven and a half years must be worried. Power is a hard thing to give up. But what these fools and tinpot dictators never do realize that while one can grab or steal or coerce power, authority is bestowed. And what is happening across the country is that the authority bestowed upon the extremists is being rescinded as their failures come home to roost. When their authority goes, power is not far behind. Unless, or course, one uses armed force.

Thank goodness O'Reilly doesn't have an army!

Ann Coulter calls for the end of Judaism

This from Wonkette.

Ann Coulter, the right wing's favorite attack dog, "has called for the end of Judaism, and the end of the Jews in general. How will the hard-living old gal finally complete Hitler's dream? She's going to convert all the poor lost Jews to her religion. (Christianity, apparently. Who knew?)

"On a CNBC talk show Monday night -- who watches CNBC after the markets close? -- Coulter was talking to host Donny Deutsch about whatever, and then she demanded that all Jews be converted to Christianity so they would become 'perfected,' like she is.

"We assume all the people who are so excited about nuking Iran because Ahmadinejad is one of those holocaust-denier nutcases will immediately call for the U.S. to bomb Ann Coulter -- or at least boycott Coulter and any teevee station that lets her on the air and any book store that sells her terrific books, right? Right?"

Read the rest here.

McCain wrong about the Surge

I had heard of the Anbar Province in Iraq. That was the extent of my knowledge. I did not know it was the largest province in Iraq, geographically. I didn't know what it had to do with the surge. I didn't know much about the surge except that it involved sending thousands more troops to Iraq.

McCain claims to be an expert in foreign relations. He claims to know all about Iraq. He has made a number of comments about the effectiveness of the surge in reducing violence in that country. He has been a "champion" of the surge. He would have the American people know he has "expert" knowledge about the surge.

Not really. The Huffington Post reports that in an interview with Katie Couric on CBS on Tuesday, McCain once again exposed himself as a dummy. Couric asked him about Obama's statement in which he said that "while the increased number of troops contributed to increased security in Iraq... there might have been improved security even without the surge."

McCain said, "I don't know how you respond to something that is as--such a false depiction of what actually happened. Colonel MacFarland was contacted by one of the major Sunni sheiks. Because of the surge we were able to go out and protect that sheik and others. And it began the Anbar awakening. I mean, that's just a matter of history."

Sorry John. Wrong again. "In fact, as Spencer Ackerman and Ilan Goldenberg have noted, the record firmly establishes the opposite: instead of being caused by the surge, the first, key signs of the Anbar Awakening occurred not only before that strategy was implemented, but before it was ever conceived."

The Huffington Post says "that the military official cited by McCain, then-Colonel Sean MacFarland, described the Anbar Awakening in September 2006 -- four months before the "surge" was even announced -- noting that tribal leaders were 'stepping forward and cooperating with the Iraqi security forces against al Qaeda.' Moreover, a military review written by MacFarland notes that his unit actually left Anbar before most of the surge troops arrived; his success in the region came between June 2006 and February 2007."

A very interesting fact is that McCain's doofus answer to Couric was never seen. Keith Olbermann noted that "CBS curiously, to say the least, left it on the edit room floor. It aired Katie Couric's question, but in response, it aired part of McCain's answer to the other question instead."

Nothing like having the media in your pocket, hey John? And you're complaining about Obama being given "special" treatment by the media?

The very worst part of all this is that the Repugnican nominee is an ignorant man with a faulty memory. On top of that he is not a nice man.

You can read more here.

McCain charges Obama not patriotic, wants to lose war to win election

This from Americablog, July 22:

"Today, in what has to be one of the more desperate, unfounded and outrageous claims coming from McCain, he just said on national television that 'it seems to me that Senator Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign.' ...

"Pure desperation. In fact, the McCain camp said the same thing a week ago, with nary a word from the corporate media. ..."

As "John" said: "John McCain just questioned Barack Obama's patriotism. He did it probably on the advice of Karl Rove, who has been advising him for months. Rove's usual tactic is to say something like this in order to get a rise out of the left, and help us make the story. ... McCain is simply desperate to change the topic from Obama's wildly successful trip to the Middle East. ... John McCain basically just accused Barack Obama of treason. Had we done that to McCain, just imagine the fireworks. Will the media report how outrageous and desperate McCain has become, or will they do their usual he-said-she-said and present McCain's 'argument' as something worthy of honest debate?"

You can read the rest of the post and watch the video here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Blame Obama for high gas prices says McCain ad

If there is anyone who is NOT responsible for high gasoline prices, it's Barack Obama.

That, however, didn't stop John McCain and his campaign from producing a television ad blaming Obama for $4.00 plus per gallon gasoline prices!

In the ad, when the question is asked, "Who can you thank for rising prices at the pump?" voices chant, "Obama, Obama."

So much for McCain's promise to run a clean campaign.

McCain, pandering to his base, wants to allow the oil companies to commence drilling in areas long closed to their greedy corporate fingers.

But, as Matt Stoller of Open Left says: "If you drilled everything there is in the US tomorrow and oil started coming out of the ground tomorrow, gas prices would drop by about three cents."

If you want to lay blame, Mr. McCain, look to George W. Bush and your Republican Party.

From the beginning of his administration, Bush pushed to open the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for drilling. Eric Alterman in his book, The Book on Bush - How George W. (Mis) leads America, notes that "If development started today [2003-2004], oil wouldn't start flowing from the region for at least ten years, and production wouldn't reach full capacity until 2020 or later.

"Nonetheless both President Bush and Secretary Abraham have repeatedly attempted to justify the project, offering assurances that ANWR's oil reserves could help pry us from the grip of OPEC. Abraham wrote that the ANWR contained 'the equivalent of ten years of oil from the Persian Gulf.' Bush later claimed the reserve could produce 16 billion barrels of oil. In fact, the U.S. Geological Survey, in its most current [2003-2004] and extensive assessment, says, 'Technically recoverable oil within the ANWR 1002 [the section Bush has proposed opening to drilling] is estimated to be between 4.3 and 11.8 billion barrels, with a mean value of 7.7 billion barrels.'"

Thus, we could be pried "from the grip of OPEC" for only 18 to 36 months.

As Alterman notes, "Ultimately, ANWR is less about oil than about oil money, the $1.9 million poured into George W. Bush's [2000] presidential campaign by his supporters in the oil industry, supporters who will make more money and more donations if the ANWR is opened for business."

But here's the kicker. We've known for some time that increased gas mileage for vehicles traversing American roads would dramatically reduce our consumption of oil. Several years ago the National Research Council on automotive fuel efficiency reported that "automakers already have the technology to increase the fuel efficiency of SUVs to 25 to 30 miles per gallon and of standard cars to 40 miles per gallon."

The Bush administration paid little attention to that report, and "committed to raising SUV fuel efficiency standards by a mere 7 percent ... over the next few years ..."

As Alterman says, "This is a major lost opportunity." Daniel Becker, director of the Sierra Club's Global Warming and Energy Program says that,

"'If the vehicles on the road today averaged 40 miles per gallon, we would save more than 3 million barrels of oil a day, more than we currently import from the Persian Gulf.' [My emphasis]

'The degree of duplicity this administration has shown--in wanting to pillage the Alaskan wildlife for six months of oil but turning its back on programs that would save ten times as much oil by requiring our vehicles to go further on a gallon of gas--is unparalleled.'"

Alterman draws the circle tighter. Instead of the Bush administration providing tax breaks to Americans who choose to drive smaller and more efficient cars, the Bushites did just the opposite. As 2004 approached, "Bush's newest round of tax cuts would allow small business owners and the self-employed to take a special deduction for the purchase of extra-large sport utility vehicles. This 'Hummerdinger of a tax loophole,' in the phrase of Al Kamen of the Washington Post, would allow a doctor or an accountant to deduct $87,000 of the value of the purchase of a $102,000 Hummer H1."

No, Mr. McCain, Senator Obama is not responsible for the current high gas prices. Those most responsible include your friend in the White House and the Republican Party to which you both belong!

[One of the best, most extensively researched and thorough portrayals of the first years of the decadent and dangerous Bush administration is, The Book on Bush - How George W. (Mis) leads America," by Eric Alterman and Mark Green, 2004, Viking Penquin, New York, New York. The information and quotations above are from pages 21-23.]

A Chaplains prayer is no good without Jesus

What is it with some so-called Christians and public prayer? Don't they read the gospel stories? Are they unaware of what Jesus is reported to have said about praying in public?

We written previously about military chaplains praying in the name of Jesus at non-religious gatherings involving military personnel. They insist it is their "right," even if no one at the particular event professes the Christian faith.

Their desire to pray in Jesus name is not, of course, about prayer, or Jesus or Christianity. It's about power and the desire to dominate (they would say "evangelize") everybody within earshot.

Lt. Col. Bob Bateman, writing for Media Matters, refers to a column in the Washington Times (that's the Moonie right-wing paper) which says this:

"New legislation would assure that all military chaplains in every branch of the U.S. armed services, including military academies, would have the prerogative to recite a closing prayer outside of a religious service according to the dictates of the chaplain's own conscience.

"'For Christian chaplains, closing their prayers in the name of Jesus Christ is a fundamental part of their beliefs, and to suppress this form of expression would violate their religious freedom,' says Rep. Walter B. Jones, North Carolina Republican and sponsor of the legislation introduced last week.

"'The demand for so-called "non-sectarian" prayer is merely a euphemism declaring that prayers will be acceptable only so long as they censor Christian beliefs.'

"Jones says some progress is being made. The 2007 National Defense Authorization Act, for instance, directed the secretaries of the Navy and Air Force to rescind 2006 guidelines preventing chaplains from praying according to their own faith and conscience in public venues."

Lt. Col. Bateman responds: "Jones apparently does not understand the implications of his proposed legislation. If I, as an officer or leader, learn of or watch my chaplain invoke 'his' god at a public command-presence ceremony in accord with Jones' proposed law, I will have a very simple solution. I will not have a chaplain at such an event. Ever. Period.

"These events under consideration, you see, are not religious. They are secular military things, like change of command ceremonies, or a pre-deployment ceremony, or military social functions like a formal 'dining in.' In other words, they have nothing to do with religion, and enlisted men of all religions are required to be there. ...

"So, the effect of Jones' legislation is that I, and people like me, may well likely take the simple step of just not inviting the chaplain at all. We will dump the chaplain and his 'right' to invoke his own god in a public military ceremony. He can sit in his office or stand quietly in formation by himself for all I care. It is that simple. Jones probably should have thought of that first."

An excellent solution, me thinks. Except for the fact that there are a number of openly fundamentalist Christian officers in the military services (e.g. General Jerry Boykin) who will welcome prayers in Jesus name at secular military functions.

Furthermore, Bateman's solution doesn't deal with Jones and his compadres and their beliefs that are the foundation for the resolution promoted by this extremist Christian from North Carolina. Jones is one of those people who believe the U.S. is a Christian nation, or should be. He is a dominionist - working toward a theocratic state based not on the Constitution but on deranged biblical interpretations contrived by a spate of ultra-fundamentalists who don't give a damn about our form of government. They wish to overthrow our secular state and replace it with a government of their own creation - under which every knee shall bow!

This resolution, therefore, is not about prayer. It's about power! It's about imposing the will of a few on the majority. It's about a radical restructuring of the government and its agencies, including the U.S. military along fundamentalist Christian guidelines.

But there something else that Mr. Jones may have failed to consider. Let's say the chaplain in question, invited to recite a prayer in accordance with his own faith and conscience is Jewish or Muslim or some other religion. Will it be all right with Mr. Jones if Yahweh is invoked, or Allah is invoked?

Finally, why does the United States government hire religious professionals, give them a commission, put them in an officer's uniform, and send them off amidst the troops to promote their particular brand of religiosity?

Maybe the solution is to rid ourselves of the military chaplaincy, and simply offer volunteers to conduct services or other religious rites as needed, separate from any formal military connection. Maybe we should dump the chaplains, period.

Keeping abreast of Janet Jackson

You remember the flap (pun intended), I'm sure, when during the 2004 Superbowl halftime show, Justin Timberlake ripped at a flap of Jackson's bustier and one of her breasts briefly flashed in view.

It's very difficult to believe that this "horrible exposure" of a portion of the female anatomy became one of the biggest issues of 2004. Reuters put it this way: "Despite the brevity, lawmakers and regulators were outraged and vowed a crackdown on broadcast indecency."

Let's see...the brief public exposure (hell, it was so "brief" I never did see it!) of a human mammary gland is, in 21st Century America, "broadcast indecency."

We are surrounded by and governed by absolute frigging morons!

One of the biggest morons ever to hold down a government post is former attorney general, John Ashcroft, a dyed-in-the-wool Pentecostal fundamentalist Christian. He cost taxpayers $8,000 by ordering his Department of Justice to drape two, partially nude (breasts were showing!) giant, aluminum art deco statues that stood in the Great Hall of the DOJ.

Just to be fair, the DOJ said Ashcroft had nothing to do with draping the statues. And if you believe that...

Back to Jackson's breast. The outrage was so great that the FCC fined CBS $550,000!

CBS appealed, of course, and finally some judges exercised some common sense or at least their legal sense. The U.S. Court of Appeals said the FCC was wrong, that it "'arbitrarily and capriciously departed from its prior policy' that exempted fleeting broadcast material from actionable indecency violations." The fine was thrown out.

Thank god. I mean, if god didn't want us to look at mammary glands, she wouldn't have made them so damn cute!

The New York Times covers McCain's behind

On July 14, Senator Barack Obama wrote an op-ed for The New York Times titled "My Plan for Iraq." Senator Obama mentioned McCain in the article, but more or less in passing, while noting that "The differences on Iraq in this campaign are deep."

Obama continued to lay out, in some detail, what he believes about Iraq and how he intends to deal with the situation in Iraq. For example, he says " was a grave mistake to allow ourselves to be distracted from the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban by invading a country that posed no imminent threat and had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks."

The senator believes we should begin to redeploy our troops and "encourage the Iraqis to step up" and take responsibility "for the security and stability of their country." Obama believes that working with the Iraqi leaders we can set a timetable for the withdrawal of our troops. He affirms absolutely that his administration will not seek permanent bases in Iraq.

It's especially important to note Obama's flexibility. He is not chained down to ideology (or theology) as are our current leaders in Washington. "In carrying out this strategy, we would inevitably need to make tactical adjustments." Obama promises to meet with commanders on the ground and the Iraqi government "to ensure that our troops were redeployed safely, and our interests protected."

"Ending the war is essential to meeting our broader strategic goals, starting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Taliban is resurgent and Al Qaeda has a safe haven. ...

"It's time to end this war."

The New York Times op-ed editor suggested to the McCain campaign that their candidate might like to write a letter "that mirrors Senator Obama's piece."

McCain wrote the letter. David Shipley, The NYT's op-ed editor, rejected McCain's efforts. "I'm not going to be able to accept the piece as currently written." The reason, it seems, is that McCain merely ranted without offering much in the way of specifics as to how he would deal with Iraq. He castigated Obama over and over again, and got many of his facts and figures wrong.

The McCain op-ed is available at the Drudge Report.

Initially, many pundits claimed The New York Times was biased against John McCain. "A top McCain source said the candidate's op-ed was tossed because the newspaper disagreed with McCain's Iraq policy.

Jason Linkins at The Huffington Post suggests, contrarily, that typical of a media that fawns over John McCain, The New York Times rejected McCain's article to save him embarrassment. "...I've read the piece, and it's pretty clear to me that the Times' decision, if anything, is in keeping with the press' traditional friendly relationship [with McCain]. The Times put bros before prose, and in so doing, spared McCain no end of embarrassment, because the op-ed is rivetingly dumb and laden with inaccuracies."

You can read Linkins' article here, but one example might suffice. McCain wrote that "Perhaps he [Obama] is unaware that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has recently certified that, as one news article put it, 'Iraq has met all but three of 18 original benchmarks set by Congress last year to measure security, political and economic progress. ...'"

Linkins responded: "Wow. That's a mouthful of nonsense to parse. It's not the U.S. Embassy in Iraq who's made such a claim, it's 'Surge' architect and editorial-page-welfare recipient Fred Kagan who's contended that the Iraq has had benchmark success. This is a claim that CNN Reporter Michael Ware has already debunked. In truth, on benchmarks, it would be more accurate to say that McCain has it precisely backwards."

We should also note that Fred Kagan is brother to Robert Kagan. Robert is one of McCain's foreign policy advisers. Both are part of the infamous neoconservative cabal that got into this Iraq quagmire in the first place. Neither are trustworthy sources of information or advice!

I think Linkins is right on. McCain's op-ed piece is a bitter justification of the war in Iraq. The article is heavy with attacks on Obama and light on what McCain plans to do about the situation in Iraq. It is also, as Linkins said, "laden with inaccuracies."

The New York Times, in order to give McCain a break, pulled the article.

Monday, July 21, 2008

No oil spill for McCain

(Photo is of oil rig washed ashore by Katrina at Dauphin, Louisiana)

John McCain, as you know, is a fan (now) of drilling for oil in the coastal waters of Florida and other states. He maintains the pretense that this will somehow help our current "crisis" caused by high gas and oil prices. He probably knows better (or not) but is playing to his base and of course his pandering for more drilling also warms the heart of Exxon-Mobil and other corporate monsters of greed. And they have lots of money to spend in his increasingly faltering attempt to get elected as president of the U.S. of A.

But McCain's lack of knowledge problem keeps raising its ugly head. Just about every time he opens his mouth he shows the world how ignorant he really is. It's embarrassing! I mean people are laughing at him.

For example, a couple of days ago another of his senior advisers, one Nancy Pfotenhauer, said (falsely) that not a "drop of oil" was spilled by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Shortly thereafter, she backtracked, claiming she had been "misinformed." Misinformed by whom? McCain?

But that didn't stop ol' John. On July 18, he opened his mouth and promptly stuck his foot in it - again! He said that all those oil rigs out there in the Gulf of Mexico "survived, very sucessfully, the impacts of hurricanes."

Here's the fuller version which was his response to the impact of drilling on the environment:

"...I'm aware that off the coast of Louisiana and Texas there are oil rigs, as we well know, and those rigs have survived, very successfully, the impacts of hurricanes - hurricane Katrina as far as Louisiana is concerned."

Think Progress corrected ol' John:

"McCain is wrong. According to press reports, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita 'tore through the Gulf of Mexico's offshore oil and gas fields, toppling production platforms, setting rigs adrift and rupturing pipelines.' The U.S. Minerals Management Service reported that the hurricanes totally destroyed 113 offshore platforms.

"The hurricanes cost Transocean, the largest offshore driller, 'about $135 million in repairs, downtime and equipment upgrades' alone, and damage to offshore producers accounted for 77 percent of the oil industry's storm costs. One offshore rig, the Ocean Warwick, drifted 66 nautical miles before running aground."

There's more. It is estimated that 7-9 million gallons of oil spilled from damaged pipelines, refineries and storage tanks onshore!

In May 2006, the U.S. Minerals Management Service reported that along with the offshore platforms destroyed, and 457 pipelines damaged, "At least 741,000 gallons [of oil] were spilled from 124 reported sources." According to the Coast Guard, any amount over 100,000 gallons is a "major" spill.

Maybe ol' John needs new advisers or perhaps he should do a little more studying before he begins pontificating about things of which he is obviously ignorant.

In Texas the Religious Right wins; Texas schools lose

The Texas Freedom Network reports that the Texas State Board of Education failed to provide school districts with appropriate guidelines for teaching the Bible in public schools.

"The State Board of Education just threw those [school] districts under the bus by refusing [by a 10-5 vote] to give them the guidance they need to create courses that are respectful of the Bible, protect the religious freedom of students and keep our neighborhood schools out of court."

TFN accused the BOE of putting "politics and personal agendas ahead of the interests of ... schoolchildren and their families. This state board had the opportunity to make Texas a model for how public schools can teach students about the importance of the Bible in history and literature while also protecting religious freedom and taxpayers from unnecessary and costly lawsuits."

The State BOE failed to follow its usual process of holding multiple hearings when adopting curriculum standards for history, science and other courses. "...the full board heard not one word of testimony from experts, parents and other citizens ..." regarding the teaching of Bible in public schools.

Dr. Mark Chancey, associate professor and chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, has done a comprehensive study as to how the Bible is currently taught in Texas public schools.

'We know for a fact that most courses promote Christian beliefs over those of other religions. Some classes promote creation science. Some classes denigrate Judaism. Some classes explicitly encourage students to convert to Christianity or to adopt Christian devotional practices. This is all well documented ... The board approved the status quo, and approving the status quo means approving the widespread teaching of Bible classes from a conservative Christian theological perspective in public schools."

Marsha C., responding to the board's decision said this:

"Why on earth would the majority of the 80th Texas Legislature and members of the SBOE think that bible instruction was appropriate for taxpayer-supported public high schools in Texas? There's no lack of churches, mosques, synagogues, fellowships, etc., nor is there any disinterest among pastors, imams, rabbis, congregation leaders, etc. ...

"It is unconstitutional for any taxpayer to be required to support any religious activity. Our public money should be used for secular academic courses and vocational and technical training to prepare our young people for adulthood."

I agree. What Marsha doesn't get is that the Texas Legislature and the Texas State Board of Education is controlled by right-wing, extremist Christian fundamentalists who don't give a damn about the constitutional rights of people who disagree with their religious mythologies. The Texas Republican Party is quite openly run by and for extremist Christian rightists.

The fact remains, however, that the Bible is a "religious" book. It is not an "historical" book in any sense of the word. It is "literature" only in the narrow sense that it contains literary works of a specific religious groups.

Furthermore, there is no agreement on the Bible's descriptions, stories, theologies, or anything else. It is simply impossible to teach the Bible as "history" or "literature," for every teacher would necessarily approach the Bible from his/her own theological or non-theological viewpoint.

Sometimes the argument is made that one cannot understand English literature or American literature without a knowledge of the Bible. Balderdash! (Don't you love that word?) When biblical references pop up in real "literature," those references can be verified and discussed in context to better understand the passage in question.

Finally, the Bible is not a "book," as we think of a book. The Christian version is a collection of 66 "books," or writings, which include mythologies, legends, historical saga, and religious traditions among other things written over a period of about a thousand years by authors unknown. These 66 books contain various types of "literature." Some is pure fiction, much is poetry. One-half of the Christian "old" testament or the Hebrew Bible is poetry.

No attempt should be made to teach the Bible in any public school. It is a "religious" document or many religious documents. We don't teach religion in public schools.

As Marsha said, read your particular "holy" book in your church, your temple, your mosque.

Leave the public schools the hell alone!

You can read more here.

Obama advisers vs. McCain advisers

I borrowed this from Silent Patriot at Crooks and Liars.

"The discipline and organization of the Obama campaign is truly remarkable.

"A Cast of 300 Advises Obama on Foreign Policy

"Every day around 8 a.m. foreign policy aides at Senator Barack Obama's Chicago campaign headquarters send him two e-mails: a briefing on major world developments over the previous 24 hours and a set of questions, accompanied by suggested answers, that the candidate is likely to be asked about international relations during the day.

"Behind the e-mail messages is a tight-knit group of aides supported by a huge 300-person foreign policy campaign bureaucracy, organized like a mini State Department, to assist a candidate whose limited national security experience remains a concern to many voters.

"In contrast, McCain has [a] loose-knit group of about 75 advisers, consisting of a virtual 'who's who' of the neoconservative foreign policy establishment:

"McCain receives advice from several generations of Republican strategists and former top foreign policy officials such as Henry Kissinger and Richard Armitage, often grouped in the realist camp of foreign policy, as well as William Kriston and Robert Kagan, leading neoconservative voices. The campaign lists Kagan as a leading foreign policy adviser ...

"The last two names on that list really tell you all you need to know about the direction of McCain's foreign policy should he become President. McSame indeed."

My final comment is that no one sends McCain e-mails as he does not know how to use a computer and knows virtually nothing about the Internet!

McCain - Iraq, Maliki, Afghanistan - Oops!

We've mentioned previously that McCain still does not know that there is no Czechoslovakia.

Some folks say we should give him a pass. He's just getting a bit older and doesn't remember things so well.

But graduating 5th from the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy might indicate that he didn't learn much to begin with.

The Huffington Post reported that today, on ABC's Good Morning America, John McCain stepped in "it" again. I'm sure that McCain is absolutely befuddled at this point, so that may have something to do with his geography problem. He bugged Obama to go to Iraq and other countries, saying that he just couldn't understand how a man would think he had the ability to be president when he hadn't traveled to war zones and foreign countries. (Not mentioning that Obama had, in fact, visited Iraq a couple of years ago! Hell, he probably didn't know that!)

But Obama took up McCain's challenge and is now tripping about the Middle East and soon to be visiting Europe and everybody seems to think he's the cat's meow.

McCain really screwed up big-time. Not so long ago, when asked what we should do if the Iraqi government asks us to leave that country. He said that we would be wise to consider what the Iraqi leaders wanted relative to the continued presence of American troops in Iraq. "...I don't see how we could stay when our whole emphasis and policy has been based on turning over the Iraqi government to the Iraqi people."

But, when Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's statement supporting a 16-month timetable to move troops out of Iraq was raised, Marc Ambinder, a "senior McCain official" said "[V]oters care about [the] military, not about Iraqi leaders." Oh, oh!

Back to this morning. Maybe he forgot his vitamins? Diane Sawyer asked McCain whether "the situation in Afghanistan is precarious and urgent," and McCain replied, "I think it's serious. ... It's a serious situation, but there's a lot of things we need to do. We have a lot of work to do and I'm afraid it's a very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq/Pakistan border."

Think about that a minute. What Iraq/Pakistan border? Iraq and Pakistan don't share a border! There's a big country called Iran between them! If that was a test, you failed, Mr. McCain. Put on the dunce hat and stand in the back of the room!

Not only so, but notice how he sounds too much like da Bush. It's a "serious situation." Then he repeats himself, but adding nothing more so he sounds like an idiot. He goes on to talk about the "struggle"'s "hard" and "We have a lot of work to do." Da Bush always talks about how things are "hard," and everything is a lot of work, and he's working hard...blah, blah, blah.

McCain/McBush. Yikes!

Update on "Welcome to 1984, the DHS 2008 edition"

Dave Zirin, writing for the Huffington Post, tells a harrowing story of our government spies in action.

"...I have been a target of state police surveillance for activities - in my case against the death penalty -- that were legal, non-violent, and, so we assumed, constitutionally protected. In classified reports compiled by the Maryland State Police and the Department of Homeland Security, I am 'Dave Z.' This nickname was given by an undercover agent known to us as 'Lucy.' She sat in our meetings of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, smiling and engaged, taking copious notes about actions deemed threatening by the Governor of Maryland, Robert Ehrlich. Our seditious crimes, as Lucy reported, involved such acts as planning to set up a table at the local farmer's market and writing up a petition. ...

"Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act and the ACLU, we now know that 'Lucy' was only one part of a vast, insidious project. The Maryland State Police's Department of Homeland Security devoted near 300 hours and thousands of taxpayer dollars from 2005 and 2006 to harassing people whose only crime was dissenting on the question of the war in Iraq and Maryland's use of death row."

A "vast, insidious project" indeed!

One cannot help but wonder how many other police departments around the United States, working in cooperation with the Nazi-ish Department of Homeland Security are "investigating" liberals, Democrats, vegans, war protesters, and other "suspicious" and "dangerous" terrorists.

The DHS is probably at this moment training operatives to learn how to knit so they can infiltrate grandma's knitting club meetings where "terrorist" ladies might be planning to hold a protest in front of a local rag shop against the high cost of knitting needles. We all know knitting needles in the hands of angry, elderly women are dangerous weapons and thus an immediate threat to our well-being as a society!

All of Mr. Zirin's article can be retrieved here. Read it and weep!

The corruption of the Justice Department

The Attorney General of the United States represents the United States government in legal matters. The Attorney General, therefore, represents the people of the United States, for "we the people" are the government.

"The office of Attorney General was established by Congress in 1789. The original duties of this officer were 'to prosecute and conduct all suits in the Supreme Court in which the United States shall be concerned, and to give his advice and opinion upon questions of law when required by the President of the United States, or when requested by the heads of any of the departments." (From Wikipedia)

The Department of Justice was established in 1870 "to support the Attorney General in the discharge of his responsibilities."

The U.S. Attorney General heads the DOJ and "is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States government. The Attorney General is appointed by the president (subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate) and serves at the pleasure of the president. The Attorney General "is also subject to impeachment by the House of Representatives and trial in the Senate for 'treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors."

The Bush administration has politicized the office of Attorney General as it has almost every other office and agency in the government. Today, the Attorney General is President Bush's lapdog.

Eric Alterman writes that Brad Blakeman, a former Deputy Assistant to President Bush, and a dedicated neoconservative, went on the Dan Abrams Show where he spoke of the White House's refusal to turn over to Congress FBI interviews with Bush and Cheney in the Plame investigation, based on a brand new form of executive privilege invented by Attorney General Michael Mukasey. This is what Blakeman said:

"Look, what you have is a very smart attorney general who's trying to protect his client and that's the president of the United States, an executive privilege."

Alterman notes (correctly) "That is about as warped a view of how our Government is supposed to work as one can imagine. The core attribute of the Justice Department is independence, not allegiance to the President as 'client.' The President has his own lawyers in the White House Counsel's Office. The Attorney General is not and never was one of those lawyers. To the contrary, the Attorney General represents the people of the United States -- if he has any 'client,' that's who it is -- and is often required to take positions and actions adverse to the President. Few things could subvert -- and have subverted -- the American justice system more than thinking of the President as being the 'client' of the Attorney General."

Unfortunately says Alterman, "...Blakeman's understanding of the most basic aspects of how Government works is painfully ignorant, but -- thanks not only to the Bush administration but also to one of the most derelict Congresses in history -- that view also now accurately reflects the reality of how the Government actually functions."

When Congress has asked for records and documents from the White House, e.g., the records of Cheney's energy policy meetings, the White House stalled and refused to hand over those records and documents.

Now Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight Committee wants his committee to review "the FBI report of an interview with Vice President Dick Cheney and other records related to the administration's leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity in 2003."

The White House refused to turn over the documents, which is understandable for several reasons: Bush had formerly promised, if a person or persons in his administration were involved in this "leak," he would take swift action and hold them accountable.

That, of course, was a lie. What he did do was commute the prison term of "Scooter" Libby, one month after Libby was sentenced to 30 months for convicted for perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements related to the Plame leak. So much for accountability.

Many people felt (I believe rightly) that althought Libby was involved in the leak and guilty of the charges against him, he ended up being the "fall guy" for others in the Bush administration, certainly Dick Cheney and very likely including the President himself.

Henry Waxman wants the truth. A simple enough request: Let us see the FBI report. Help us get to the truth. Who was involved?

And it's serious business. Outing a covert CIA operative is a serious crime that would likely result in heavy penalties.

Bush refused. So Waxman subpoenaed Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who is supposed to work for the people of the United States. President Bush immediate invoked "executive privilege" which meant Mukasey could ignore the subpoena.

Waxman has threatened to hold Mukasey in contempt of Congress if he doesn't comply with the subpoena in short order.

Mukasey should be held in contempt, if for no other reason than that he has abrogated his responsibilities under the law. In effect, he has sworn his allegiance to the man, George W. Bush, and not to the United States Constitution. Here's what he wrote to Bush when he received Waxman's subpoena:

"I believe it is legally permissible for you to assert executive privilege with respect to the subpoenaed documents, and I respectfully request that you do so." Mukasey claimed his interest was merely to protect the "separation of powers."

The Attorney General of the United States has become the political agent of the corrupt Bush administration, further the Bush agenda of hiding its activities from public scrutiny and it's suspected criminal behavior from accountability!

We can only hope that Waxman has the fortitude and the backbone to follow through with his threat to charge Mukasey with contempt of Congress. Personally, I think impeachment should be a further option if Mukasey continues to refuse to submit the document(s).

Postscript: It seems we have here another instance in which Bush has taken a page from other dictators. The first thing a dictator does is to require those who work for him to swear a personal oath of allegiance. Everyone in Nazi Germany was forced to swear their allegiance, not to Germany or its guiding documents, but to Adolf Hitler.

Please read this carefully (from Eric Alterman): "...former White House official Sara Taylor actually went before the Senate and testified that she understood that she took an oath when she went to the White House that was 'an oath to the President..."

Postscript 2: Rep. Brad Miller introduced the Special Criminal Contempt of Congress Act on July 17, 2008. "The bill provides for a Special Division of the U.S. Court of Appeals to appoint an independent, 'special advocate' to investigate and prosecute alleged Contempt of Congress against current and former Executive Branch employees when the U.S. Attorney refused to act. The bill is co-sponsored by Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, and Subcommittee Chairs Linda Sanchez and Jerrold Nadler."

This is certainly a step in the right direction. We can only hope it is not too late.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Welcome to 1984, the DHS 2008 edition

The Department of Homeland Security is spying on you!

It didn't take long after 9/11 for that to happen. Many communities began setting up local departments of homeland security in the weeks immediately following that cataclysmic event. U.S. News & World Report tells how DeKalb County, Georgia "put in for--and got--a series of generous federal counterrorism grants. The county received nearly $12 million from Washington, using it to set up, among other things, a police intelligence unit."

What happened next is all too typical. Two agents of this intelligence unit were "assigned to follow around the county executive ... to determine whether he was being tailed--not by al Qaeda but by a district attorney investigator looking into alleged misspending. A year later, one of its plainclothes agents was seen photographing a handful of vegan activists handing out antimeat leaflets in front of a HoneyBaked Ham store. Police arrested two of the vegans and demanded that they turn over notes, on which they'd written the license-plate number of an undercover car."

This is the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Various police officials, "in the name of homeland security, have surveilled or harassed animal-rights and antiwar protesters, union activists, and even library patrons surfing the Web."

"A U.S. News inquiry found that federal officials have funneled hundreds of millions of dollars into once discredited state and local police intelligence operations. Millions more have gone into building up regional law enforcement databases to unprecedented levels."

Part of the problem is that guidelines for police spying are non-existent. "Documents and videotapes obtained from lawsuits against the NYPD," for example, "reveal that its undercover officers have joined antiwar and even bicycle-rider rallies. In at least one case, an apparent undercover officer incited a crowd by faking his own arrest."

It gets crazier. "In February 2006 near Washington, D.C., two Montgomery, Md., homeland security agents walked into a suburban Bethesda library and forcefully warned patrons that viewing Internet pornography was illegal. (It is not.) ... Similarly, in 2004, two plainclothes Contra Costa County sheriff's deputies monitored a protest by striking Safeway workers in nearby San Francisco, identifying themselves to union leaders as homeland security agents."

Now to the crux of the problem. In 2003, DHS "began requiring states to draft strategic plans that included figures on how many 'potential threat elements' existed in their backyards. The definition of suspected terrorists was fairly loose--PTEs were groups or individuals who might use force or violence 'to intimidate or coerce' for a goal 'possibly political or social in nature.'"

The result of all this was the identification of thousands of "potential" terrorists. And it isn't any wonder, that with such a moronic definition, states came up with wildly varying numbers. South Carolina found 68 PTEs. North Carolina said it had 506. Vermont and New Hamshire reported none. Texas identified 2,052 which one FBI official labeled "absurd." "Included among the threats cited by the states ... are biker gangs, militia groups, and 'save the whales' environmentalists."

What has changed over the years is the determination of the DHS to pit American citizens against one another by spying on their neighbors.

Last November, the AP reported on a program called Fire Service Intelligence Enterprise (FSIE) being tested in New York "to help identify 'material or behavior that may indicate terrorist activities."

It began with a conference in September of 2007, hosted by the FDNY and Homeland Security. Chief officers from fire departments around the country--Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and 12 other cities "met with NYC fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppette and officials from the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Surveillance."

The FDNY is now supposed to not merely fight fires by "help identify material or behavior that may indicate terrorist activities."

The Bush administration, in 2002, suggested that bus drivers, mail carriers and telephone repair personnel "spy on the American public as part of Homeland Security's 'Citizen Corps' initiative. This program, known as TIPS (Terrorism Information and Prevention System) was shot down in Congress, but the FSIE (Fire Service Intelligence Service), being a city program, "has bypassed federal regulation altogether."

One problem with this citizen spy business is that it involves untrained people who may well trigger various false alarms sending firefighters on wild goose chases. Another problem is that problem of definition - what is a "terrorist" activity? Is reading an ACLU bulletin terrorist? Is protesting Bush's illegal war in Iraq a terrorist activitiy? Is reading the Quran a terrorist activity?

May 2008. The DHS, not content with firefighter spies suggested that "boating enthusiasts ... be on the lookout for suspicious activities on the nation's coastlines and waterways."

If you're a boater and you see "small boats that could deliver nuclear or radiological devices" call DHS!

Again, most boating enthusiasts are not trained observers. And then you have the problem of the guy who's mad because someone's wake rocked his boat while in the middle of an assignation. Tell the Coast Guard he's carrying funny-looking material.

The Denver Post reported on June 28 of this year that "Hundreds of police, firefighters, paramedics and even utility workers have been trained and recently dispatched as 'Terrorism Liaison Officers" in Colorado and a handful of other states to hunt for 'suspicious activity' -- and are reporting their findings into secret government databases."

What the hell is "suspicious activity"? It could be "taking photos of no apparent aesthetic value, making measurements or notes, espousing extremist beliefs or conversing in code, according to a draft Department of Justice/Major Cities Chiefs Association document."

You better be careful. If you like to take upside down photos of neon signs as the sun goes down, you're in deep caca. If you're outside measuring a house under construction which you have just bought, you're probably already in a "secret" government database. If you decide that Bush is a goddamn extremist and tell the guy sitting next to you at the bar, you'll probably get a visit from DHS operatives wearing black hats and trenchcoats in the middle of the night. Hell, you may end up spending the next 20 years in a military brig and no one will know where where you went. If you are talking on your ham radio system and your basement window is open, and your neighbor reports you to the DHS you can bet your booty you're gonna wind up in a "secret" government database.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is currently going on now, not only in Colorado, but in other states as well, including Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Washington, D.C. According to one report, dozens more states are planning to get involved.

"Colorado alone has 181 Terrorism Liaison Officers, and some of them are from the private sector, such as Xcel Energy."

Matt Rothschild at The Progressive "found a description for a Terrorism Liaison Officer Position in the East Bay.

"Reporting to the Alameda and Contra Costa Counties and the city of Oakland, these officers 'would in effect function as ad hoc members' of the East Bay Terrorism Early Warning Group, which consists of local police officers and firefighters.

"The 'suggested duties' of these Terrorism Liaison Officers include: 'source person for internal or external inquiry,' and 'collecting, reporting retrieving and sharing of materials related to terrorism. Such materials might include ... books, journals, periodicals, and videotapes.'

"Terrorism Liaison Officers would be situated not only in agencies dealing with the harbor, the airports, and the railroads, but also 'University/Campus.'"

If that doesn't scare the crap out of you, nothing will! Except for what follows.

The DHS decided last August "to provide state and local authorities access to information gathered by the U.S. military's fleet of spy satellites..."

Supposedly, the National Applications Office (NAO) "would coordinate how domestic law enforcement and 'disaster relief' agencies such as FEMA utilize imagery intelligence ... generated by U.S. spy satellites."

Tom Burghardt at Dissident Voice reminds us, however, that " with other Bushist 'security' schemes there's little in the way of 'oversight' and zero concern for the rights of the American people."

Many members of Congress became irate when informed of the program, partly because DHS hadn't bothered to "vet this program with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board..."

That, however, as Burghardt says, is "standard operating procedure for the corporatist gang setting 'homeland' security policy in Washington: 'You don't ask, we don't tell, comprende?"

That hasn't stopped the Bushites. On April 12, the Washington Post said Bush plans to go ahead "rebuffing challenges by House Democrats over the idea's legal authority."

Jane Harman (D-CA), not particularly opposed to spying on American citizens, said "It will terrify you if you really understand the capabilities of [military] satellites."

Burghardt notes that the military satellites are different than civilian satellites in that they "are far more flexible, have greater resolution and therefore, more power to monitor human activity. By utilizing different parts of the light-and infrared spectrum, spy satellites, in addition to taking ultra high-resolution photographs to within a meter of their 'target,' can also track heat signatures generated by people inside a building."

[You may want to forgo skinny-dipping in your backyard swimming pool from here on.]

Worse, is that no one really knows all the capabilities of these satellites. "...only those inside NAO will actually know who is being monitored from space."

"Simply put," says Burghardt, "if Chertoff's plan passes congressional muster NAO will greatly enhance the formidable technological police state architecture already in place through current 'warrantless wiretapping' and data mining programs."

While the DHS plan to use spy satellites has not yet been put into place, it is still "hot" and the DHS is pressing for the OK.

To give you a better idea of what the Bush administration thinks about our civil liberties, note that the government's civil liberties board, first mandated by Congress in 2004 "and reauthorized with newly independent powers nearly a year ago ... exists today in name only. It has no office, no staff and no members."

Bush has recently rejected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's choice for the board. This may kill any chances of the board actually functioning so long as Bush holds office.

In other words, at this point there is no effective oversight. Nobody is watching the spies!

Perhaps we should check on the latest Bush version of the Constitution to make sure it still contains the Fourth Amendment which used to read as follows:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

While a spy satellite fails to meet the requirements of this amendment on all counts, that does not matter to Bush and company. The Department of Homeland Security (god, I even hate that Nazi-sounding name!) is moving us closer to a police state every day.

When agents of this monstrosity can call on you in the middle of the night and without a warrant, search your house and effects and haul your ass off to prison forever, perhaps we're already there!

The irony of all this is that George W. Bush fought tooth and nail against the establishment of a Department of Homeland Security prior to 9/11!

Baptist church gives away an assault rifle?

Originally, Windsor Hills Baptist Church of Oklahoma City intended to give away an AR-15 assault rifle to one lucky youth at its annual youth event. in Oklahoma City quoted Bob Ross, the youth pastor as saying it was an attempt to attract more young people to the event.

Such tactics must work as the church expected hundreds of youth to attend from as far away as Canada.

Each year this event includes a shooting competition. Last year the church gave away a gun, but this year, to make things even more enticing, they decided to give away an AR-15. In responding to criticism about the giveaway, Ross said, "I don't want people thinking, 'My goodness, we're putting a weapon in the hand of somebody that doesn't respect it who are then going to go out and kill. That's not at all what we're trying to do.'"

Well, thank god or somebody for that!

Ross insists the purpose of the event is to help teens find faith, not go home with a gun. reports that the gun giveaway was cancelled.

Maybe not. The church's website states that the shooting competition was held (the event ended last Friday) but a shotgun was given away instead of the assault rifle.

This annual youth program included lots of other fun activities for young people: Preacher Boys' Competitions, Boys' Basketball, Girls' Volleyball, Crunch Revival, Youth Workers' Golf, Sporting Clays with a Chance to win a Shotgun (there it is!), Two Dramatic Plays, The Youth Workers' Choir, The North/South School of the Prophets, Preacher Kids' Conference, Soulwinning Blitz, Ladies Banquet, Men's Day at the Campt with Swimming, Mud Games, and More!, Big Country Cookout, Hilarious Skits, Game Rooms, Great Preaching, Ice Skating, And Much More!

It's too bad about the assault rifle. Just think of how many more young people could have been won for Christ if they'd only had an AR-15 in their hands!

Read about it for yourself here.

Todd Bentley's crimes continue...Jesus is coming...

In today's local paper, a "reverend" from a small town defended holy roller "healing" revivals, in particular the one currently making headlines in Lakeland, Florida. God is present in these events, stated the rev fervently, "Thousands have been saved ... hundreds of medically verifiable miracles of healing [have occurred.]"

If you don't believe that, the good rev declared: "Myself, I have had two people raised from the dead, numerous blind people, deaf people, cancer victims, stroke victims and all kind of diseases healed in my ministry."

"Jesus Christ!" responded one skeptic.

Todd Bentley, the frantic seller of Jesus and faux healings in Lakeland is back in the news for two reasons. It seems that when he was 14 years old, he was arrested for assault. That story came out in a couple of magazines back in 2001. What it failed to say was that he had sexually assaulted another young man. He went to jail for a few months, and "five years afterward he gave his life to Christ."

The sexual assault was only part of Bentley's youthful escapades. He has spoken publicly about "his near-fatal drug overdoses, criminal burlaries, physical abuse of his mother and several stints in prison." He did not say anything about his sexual assault for a long time because he feared "the inability of Christians to forgive certain sins."

One wonders if there were other "assaults" between his jail time and his Christ time?

Today, Bentley claims he has "been changed by the gospel." Today, the Elmer Gantry of Lakeland is married with children, and a couple of "ministers who provide pastoral covering for Bentley ...[say] they have full confidence that God has forgiven him for his juvenile crimes and that he is no way susceptible to repeat offenses of that nature." [What is "pastoral covering?"]

That may be the case, but he sure is deceiving a lot of folks in Lakeland with his religious hocus-pocus! He didn't give up his evil ways, he just put a Christian label on them and made them legit.

So, he goes on stage, rants and raves, yells "Bam!" and has been known to help along the healing process by hitting and kicking people.

And that's the good part. Bridget Pierkarski, MS, LMHC, saw a story on June 22 about the "Florida Outpouring Revival." She immediately penned the following letter to the Lakeland Ledger.

"...I simply have to speak up. I am a psychotherapist. Several weeks ago, the mother of a young adult patient of mine called for an appointment for her son. He had been stable for quite some time on his medications for schizophrenia. He had recently decompensated, and was hospitalized in order to stabilize him and restart his medications.

"He had attended one of Todd Bentley's gatherings and was told by Mr. Bentley that he was 'healed.' He stopped his medications, only to relapse into psychosis.

"The outcome could have been worse. My client has very risky behaviors when psychotic. He might have died. Please, if you think you have been 'healed' of mental or physical illness, please consult your doctor before stopping medications or treatment. Your life may depend on it."

Is this not another form of assault? If Bentley wasn't wrapped in religious robes, would the authorities not throw him in jail where he belongs? At the least he's defrauding people with his healing con!

But there's more. From comes the story as how on Saturday, June 7, "Todd Bentley read out a prophecy from Wendy Alec of GOD TV. It was done to hype the Sunday night show (8th June ...) for the kingly annointing to fall. Jesus apparently said via Wendy Alec ... that 'I am coming to Lakeland. I am coming in the clouds, surrounded by chariots and hosts of angels. I will set foot on stage in a divine personal one on one visitation to the revival.'"

Evidently "this is the same scam that Benny Hinn (another fakir par excellence) used" back in 2000.

As the famous circus man said, "There's a sucker born every minute."

Read more here. Watch a video here. An ABC news article here.