Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dobson flip-flops, will vote for McCain

Maybe it was Sarah Palin.

James Dobson, the fanatical Christian fundamentalist goofball who runs the massive monument to ignorance and superstition, Focus on the Family, has flip-flopped and said he will now vote for John McCain for prezident. Not so long ago he said, unequivocally, he would never vote for John McCain!

Why? Nothing has changed. McCain's still the same old guy he was before. He's still John McSame.

Could it have something to do with McCain's choice of the vapid Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate? Could Palin's opposition to abortion and homosexual rights be all that it took for Dobson to stagger into the McCain camp?

It is beyond comprehension that in this world with so many massive problems facing us nationally and globally, Dobson and hundreds of others of his ilk base their support of a political candidate on one or two issues - in Dobson's case, abortion and homosexuality.

Good people on all points of the political spectrum disagree on these issues. Furthermore, they are of minor significance when compared to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; or the threat that nuclear powers might decide to blow up the world; or in the face of Russia's seeming new belligerence; or in light of Bush's incredible missile posturing; or an economy down the toilet; or the refusal of the Bushites to so much as begin looking at alternative energy sources; or the threat of global warming, which in a few years, may make all the other threats moot...etc...

What is really sad is that millions of people will walk into the polling places on November 4 and, like the sheep they are, will punch the ballot as James Dobson's told them to do.

Charlie Crist appoints rightwinger to Florida Supreme Court

Charlie Crist tries to appear as a political moderate. He is not. He never has been. When push comes to shove, Charlie lines up on the extreme right.

Nowhere has this been more clear than in his recent appointment of Appellate Judge Charles Canady to Florida's Supreme Court.

Canady is 54, and speaks of the judicial role as "limited." What that means, of course, it is limited to decisions which bolster right-wing " Republican conservative" political ideology.

"Canady was part of the GOP-controlled House's legal team that argued Clinton should be removed for lying under oath about his affair with intern Monica Lewinsky." Canady has also served as general counsel to former Florida governor Jeb Bush who later appointed him to the appellate court. [Payback, perhaps?]

It isn't surprising then, that Canady supported Jeb's illegal voucher program (ruled by the Florida Supremes as unconstitutional). It is also not surprising that while in Congress, Canady voted "to ban gay adoptions in the District of Columbia, end preferential treatment by race in college admissions, establish voucher programs and restrict federal aid only to schools that allow voluntary prayer."

Crist thinks this is "the kind of man that certainly will serve the people of Florida well ... he'll do great."

Maybe. If you're rich, white and Republican and you love using taxpayer money for private (mostly religious) schools, and you think gays should be discriminated against, and you don't want minorities to get a fair shake in college, and you believe that only schools that allow voluntary prayer to a particular god should get federal aid.

If you are a minority person, or if you don't think the Christian god should be enshrined in our public schools, and if you don't want your tax dollars used to send other parents kids to religious schools, you are gonna be out of luck with Judge Canady.

Thanks for nothing, Crist!

The people of New Orleans are on their own

Hurricane Gustav is coming. Where, exactly, is uncertain. Probably somewhere near the city of New Orleans.

The city of New Orleans is not opening the Superdome this time. No rowdy crowd is again going to get stuck in there for days without sanitary facilities, food or water!

In fact, the city is not planning to open any shelters.

Insteady, the city is preparing to evacuate 30,000 resident in 700 buses. I'm not sure where they will be going.

New Orleans has between 310,000 and 340,000 residents - nobody knows for sure the exact number. Notice the evacuation is anticipated to move less than 10 percent of the residents!

Here's the situation. You can leave on your own or you can get on a bus. If you decide to stay, well, you're on your own. Good luck and farewell!

Oh, never fear, Bush, with Katrina on his mind and a Republican Convention to consider, has already done the politically-correct thing and declared an emergency which means nothing to people left behind in New Orleans, but will allow the feds to get busy before the storm to try to do something of value after the storm.

Don't let them put you in a FEMA trailer, though!

God is sending Gustav

Gustav, now a category 4 hurricane and forecast to become a category 5, is a monster and extremely dangerous and people living along the Gulf Coast are in its path. There isn't much to be done except prepare by taking all precautions possible and getting the hell of out its way!

Ironically, down in New Orleans yesterday, they were commemorating the three-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, laying to rest the "last seven unclaimed Katrina victims. A horse-drawn carriage brought bodies for entombment at a memorial site, and the mayor helped guide a gleaming casket into a mausoleum."

Ray Nagin, still the mayor of New Orleans said that "We look forward to a better day, as we also prepare ourselves for another threat."

But the quote of the day came from retired Army general, Russell Honore, the man who was responsible for rescue efforts three years ago:

"I think God is reminding us on the eve of Katrina, God can bring nature back."

What does that mean? Does he think, ala John Hagee, that Katrina was god's punishment for New Orleans' acceptance of homosexuals? The general's statement is incredible on the face of it. Why assume, without any evidence whatsoever, that a deity is involved in sending a hurricane to the Gulf Coast?

Perhaps he just wasn't thinking. A lot of public people these days believe they have to introduce god into every conversation, no matter how innocuous.

I'm sure the general is a good man, but his statement is moronic.

Sarah Palin - an insult to the American people

I'm sure that Ms. Palin is a fine Christian woman and that she loves her husband and children, but none of that has anything to do with her qualifications to be vice president, or a heartbeat away from the big house. In fact, her selection as McCain's running mate is an insult to the American people!

McCain met Palin ONE time before inviting her to join the GOP ticket! Last February. Oh, he also talked to her on the phone. That's the extent of their relationship until this past week.

Palin was chosen, it would appear, for two reasons: 1) to appeal to women voters, especially those unhappy that Hillary is not the Democratic nominee, and 2) as a sop to the extremist religious right, those who McCain used to call "agents of intolerance."

Let's look at Palin a bit closer:

According to Andrew Sullivan, both Stevens and Young, two of Alaska's most ethically-challenged politicians, appeared at Palin fundraisers in 2006. On the environment, her record reeks of oil. She "vetoed wind power and clean coal projects, including a 50-megawatt wind arm on Fire Island and a clean coal facility in Healy..."

Firedoglake notes that Alaska TV news station KTUU reported Palin "was so determined to defeat a Clean Water ballot measure this summer that she broke the law to oppose it.

"'It is against the law for the governor to officially advocate for or against a ballot measure; however, Palin took what she calls "personal privilege" to discuss one of this year's most contentious initiatives ...' [Sounds like she also took a lesson from G.W. Bush!]

"Along with taking a position on the big mines' side, Palin's administration apparently used state Department of Natural Resources resources to lobby for defeat of the Clean Water Initiative under the pretense of creating a state run website to 'educate' citizens.'"

The Alaska Public Offices Commission order the website be abandoned as it was illegal.

Note that the Clean Water initiative "was opposed by mining interests" because it required that wild salmon runs be protected by any new mining operations."

"The initiative was defeated -- with the Governor's help -- on August 26 -- opening up Bristol Bay for the largest open pit mining operation in the world."

And to hell with the salmon.

How about the polar bears? Well, Joe Sudbay at Americablog reports that Palin is one of the oil company "cronies fighting the new rules designed to protect polar bears."

"The state of Alaska will sue to challenge the recent listing of polar bears as a threatened species, Gov. Sarah Palin said Wednesday.

"She and other Alaska elected officials fear a listing will cripple oil and gas development in prime polar bear habitat off the state's northern and northwestern coasts.

"Palin argued there is not enough evidence to support a listing. [Again, she sounds like a clone of G.W. Bush!] Polar bears are well-managed and their population has dramatically increased over 30 years as a result of conservation, she said.

"Climate models that predict continued loss of sea ice, the main habitat of polar bears, druing summers is unreliable." [Yes, that's exactly like G. W. Bush. Totally ignore reality and truth!]

Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity responded by saying, "She's either grossly misinformed or intentionally misleading and both are unbecoming."

I think she sees the economic interests of the oil and gas industry as being of more value than the polar bears. Polar bears can die. Who cares?


Palin is also a member of Feminists for Life, a group founded in 1972, which "now focuses exclusively on practical alternatives to abortion for college-age women. The mantra of the group is that no woman should have to choose between having a career and having a child. The problem is that, for this group, choice means choosing to carry a fetus to term; it never refers to abortion. Ruth Posen says that its website carries "the slogan, 'refuse to choose' ... repeatedly."

"The real goal," writes Posen, "is to convince professionals to persuade young women to 'choose' to bear a baby."

"In the end," Posen says, "... Feminists for Life is neither about feminism nor about choice. It is a cunning attempt to convince young women that choice means giving up the right to 'choose.'"


Back to Andrew Sullilvan. Sullivan further notes that, "According to the Frontiersman newspaper, Wasilla's library director Mary Ellen Simmons said that 'Palin asked her outright if she could live with the censorship of library books.' Palin later dismissed the conversation as a 'rhetorical' exercise."

When Repugs start waxing "rhetorical," watch your back!


The Pensito Review reports that Karen Thurman, chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party, was quick to pounce on Palin's palid past and lack of experience.

In an email, Thurman said "Don't let your friends, family and co-workers be fooled: Alaskan Sarah Palin is a dangerous right-winger who lacks the judgment to lead.

"In 2000, Palin endorsed Pat Buchanan for President. Yes, that Pat Buchanan.

"She's no Hillary Clinton. She's Dan Quayle in a dress.

"Women who care about equal rights, choice, family and other issues, will not see a partner in Palin.

"She is in lockstep with Bush and McCain on issues important to women. Every one of them. That's scary.

"The corrupt trio of Ted Stevens, Don Young, and Lisa Murkowski all raised campaign money for Palin."


Penultimately, it should be noted that Palin doesn't have a clue as to what a vice president does. About a month ago, in an interview with Larry Kudlow of CNBC's "Kudlow & Co.", she was asked about her chances of being chosen as McCain's vice presidential running mate.

Palin said, "As for that VP talk all the time. I'll tell you, I still can't answer that question until somebody answers to me what is it exactly that the VP does every day? I'm used to being very productive and working real hard in an administration. We want to make sure that that VP slot would be a fruitful type of position, especially for Alaskans and for the things that we're trying to accomplish up here for the rest of the U.S., before I can even start addressing that question."

Well, it looks like someone must have explained what the VP does every day, and she must have liked the answer, and isn't it nice she's decided that the VP position is potentially a good enough slot for a hard-working mama like herself, and that it is a fruitful type of position, especially for Alaskans?


Andrew Sullivan sums up McCain's choice of Palin this way: "Putting country first? This is a reckless act of egotism and politics. The more you think about it, and the more you consider how many charges he has leveled against Obama's alleged inexperience in a time of peril, the more outrageous it is that ... he picks an unknown politician he has only met once before to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

"Palin isn't the issue here. McCain's judgment is. It's completely off the wall. Is there something wrong with him?"

Yes.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin - another of McCain's monumental errors in judgment

The extremist Christian right is ecstatic with McCain's choice of Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. Conservative GOP strategist, Greg Mueller, claims that "Conservatives will be thrilled with this pick." Ralph Reed, the ethically and morally challenged former head of the Christian Coalition, says "social conservatives" are "...beyond ecstatic. This is a home run. She is a reformer governor who is solidly pro-life and a person of deep Christian faith."

That might matter if we were engaged in choosing a Christian pastor for the country.

The reality is something else altogether. We're not choosing a pastor. One's religious faith has no relationship to one's qualifications for president or vice president. In fact, Ms. Palin's qualifications for vice president or president are almost nil: She's been governor of Alaska for less than two years. As noted by Ron Fournier of the AP, before her elevation to the state house, "[S]he was a two-term mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, a town of 6,500 where the biggest issue is controlling growth and the biggest civic worry is whether there will be enough snow for the Iditarod dog-mushing race."

That did not stop the McCain campaign from releasing this idiotic and inane statement: "As the head of Alaska's National Guard and as the mother of a soldier herself, Gov. Palin understands what it takes to lead our nation and she understands the importance of supporting our troops."

Which, of course, begs the question: What does heading the Alaskan National Guard and being the mother of a soldier have to do with leading our nation? That's more or less comparable to McCain's claim that he should be president because he was a POW.

The McCain campaign also put out a statement promising that "She is ready to be president." Why would they say anything that stupid, number one, and on what grounds would they say it? Are they afraid McCain won't make it through four years? Even more curious, how can she be "ready to be president" when her experience is close to zip, nada, nuttin!

It's also important to consider that one of the things the McCain bunch has blasted Obama for (unjustly, in my opinion) is his lack of foreign policy experience. Compared to Gov. Palin, however, Obama is a master of foreign policy!


Daily Kos points out that "Obama felt no need to use his VP pick to rally the base and unite his party. Biden was picked precisely because Obama felt he was the best pick for the ticket, not because he needed to mollify one group or another.

"Now we see McCain's pick of ... Palin, and it's clear that he was forced to kow-tow to the Huckabee/Dobson wing of the Republican Party."


Who is Sarah Palin? Here are some highlights:

Born in 1964. Has lived in Alaska since a small child. Runner and basketball player. Hunter. Eats moose that she kills. Leader of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in high school. First runner-up in the 1984 Miss Alaska beauty pageant. Smoked marijuana when it was legal but didn't like it. Lifetime member of the NRA. Bachelor's degree in journalism. Married high school sweetheart, Todd Palin. Five children. Oldest son is in the Army. Youngest son has downs syndrome. She refused an abortion. City councilwoman for two terms before being elected as mayor of Wasilla. Served on Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation.

There are a few good points: She proposed plans to cut green-house gases and address climate change. (McCain may have a problem there with the dingbats on the right, such as Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission .) She has bucked her party and "campaigned on ethics reform in the 2006 GOP primary."


Palin's problems: She strongly opposes abortion and she supports capital punishment. (That's always an interesting position - save one life and take another.) She supports the teaching of Creationist nonsense in the public schools. She opposes same-sex marriage, and even though she signed a bill ordering same-sex benefits, she was against it and "supported a democratic advisory vote from the public on whether there should be a constitutional amendment on the matter. In 1998, Alaska passed a constitutional ban on gay marriage and she has stated she supports that amendment. Palin is also a big supporter of drilling for oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Preserve.

At the moment, her biggest problem may be the fact she is under investigation for unethical conduct by the Alaska state legislature. The lawmakers are trying to determine whether or not she was involved in the firing of an Alaska state trooper who was involved in a nasty divorce and custody battles with Palin's sister.

Palin has denied being directly involved but has acknowledged that dozens of phone calls were made by her husband and members of her staff to the trooper's bosses in an attempt to remove him from his job.

Is it believable that she did not know what her husband and staff were doing?


The Obama campaign has not been silent about McCain's choice of running mate. The New York Times quotes Bill Burton, an Obama spokesman, as saying, "Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 [I think that should be 6,500, but who's counting?] with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain's commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush's failed economic policies -- that's not the change we need, it's just more of the same."

Perhaps Rep. Rahm Emanuel, the No. 3 Democrat in the House, put it best: "On his 72nd birthday, is this really the one-heartbeat away he wants to put in the White House? What does this say about his judgment?"


It says that McCain has made a monumental error in judgment and his choosing of Palin dramatically portrays why John McCain should never come close to taking up residence in the big White House in Washington, D.C.

Karl Rove doing McCain's dirty tricks?

Karl Rove, the man who has become synonymous with gutter politics, is still in the middle of John McCain's presidential campaign, even though he denies any "advisory" status.

Matt at ThinkProgress tells another story, noting how Rove is "dialed in" with McCain's campaign efforts:

"In private, Rove speaks regularly with the McCain campaign, where his former protege Steve Schmidt is now the manager. He's also dialed in at the Republican National Committee, run by Mike Duncan, another former aide. And he still lunches two or three times a month with President Bush."

Ugh!

Matt goes to to suggest that "As ThinkProgress has previously noted, one reason Rove may be reluctant to admit his ties to the McCain campaign is the fact that he is also reported to be 'developing outside groups' to help Republicans and McCain in November. It is illegal for outside groups to coordinate with campaigns."

Why isn't this SOB in jail?

You can read Matt's article here.

White Supremacist nutcases no threat says Secret Service

It is curious that three white supremacist nut cases arrested in Colorado, loaded with drugs and weapons, including one scoped high-powered rifle, and who admitted to a desire to kill Barack Obama, were not charged "with threatening an assassination."

The reason? They were high on drugs.

Meg White, writing for BuzzFlash, says that "After what they call an 'intensive' ... investigation lasting only a couple of days, the FBI and Secret Service say there is no real threat to Obama ...
U.S. Attorney Troy Eid seemed to say that because the men were on drugs, they shouldn't be taken as a serious threat."

The three druggies were discovered after a "chance traffic stop." That's bad enough, as it indicates the federal authorities had no clue these clowns were out there. Even worse, though, is that they were carrying "...two high-powered rifles, including one with telescopic sights, along with radios, wigs, a bullet-proof vest, a high-magnification spotting scope, three identifications not belong to Mr. Catrell, and 44 grams of the stimulant methamphetamine. One rifle had a threaded barrel so that it could be fitted with a silencer."

What does it take to be considered an assassination threat these days?

It appears that the FBI and the Secret Service believes if you're on drugs you couldn't possibly carry out an assassination threat.

And why, as Ms. White points out, was some man arrested in Miami earlier this month and charged with "verbally threatening Obama's life" when these clowns are not charged when attempting to carry out a plot and loaded with assassination gear? The Miami man faces up to five years in prison.

It's all very weird.

A delayed Repugnican Convention?

According to a story in today's Washington Post, the Republicans are posing the possibility of delaying their convention, scheduled to begin Monday in St. Paul, Minnesota.

They feel threatened by Tropical Storm Gustav, no doubt soon to be Hurricane Gustav, which is on track to hit somewhere along the Gulf Coast early next week.

White House poohbahs are also talking about canceling the prezident's appearance which is now set for Monday.

It would be difficult to mount a convention during a major national disaster. But the Repugnicans can do it if they try. When Katrina hit, Bush and McCain celebrated McCain's birthday on the tarmac of Luke AFB while New Orleans drowned!

And what would Bush do if, instead of bumbling through some speech written for him by a neoncon, he headed to the scene of the disaster and scratched his head while looking around for "Good Job," Michael Brown? He could, of course, get in a plane and do a "fly-over."

There are two items of good news for the Republicans in this, though. First of all, it would be of great benefit if Bush failed to show. His appearance would simply reinforce, in the minds of millions of Americans, how badly the Republicans have screwed up. Secondly, if a hurricane should strike, the Repugnicans could pretend to be all concerned and run around giving orders and watch as cities and lives are swept away. Then they could put survivors in chemically-diseased trailers. Hell, any hurricane would do.

It's appropriate, though, that a natural disaster strike while the Republicans gather to celebrate, what? Although the last eight years have not been a "natural" disaster, they certainly have been a "national" disaster of unprecedented proportions.

Stay tuned!

Rabbi Sam Berman - In Memoriam



Sam Berman was the rabbi of Temple Beth Shalom in my town. He died unexpectedly and much too young while undergoing heart surgery. His passing has left hundreds of people saddened and bereft of a true spiritual leader.

Sam was born to Holocaust survivors in a displaced persons camp in Germany. He graduated with a degree in Sacred Music from Hebrew Union College and received his Doctor of Music in 2000. He served congregations in the U.S. and Canada. In 2005, he was ordained a rabbi. Sam had an incredible tenor voice and sang in a variety of venues in this country and in Canada.

Sam leaves behind his beautiful wife, Dale, two children and two grandchildren.

Our community will miss his activism and commitment, his grace, wisdom and generosity. Sam headed our town's Interfaith Alliance and its ministerial association. He also served as chaplain for the police and fire departments.

I miss him for he was a good friend and a mentor. Sam was a scholar, devoted to study of the Torah and his biblical knowledge was massive. But it was his love for people and his willingness to always be present for those in need that defined him.

After his passing, his wife, Dale, discovered the following on his computer. It is a fitting tribute to him as a person and the life to which he aspired.



When I Die

When I die
If you need to weep
Cry for someone
Walking the street beside you.

And when you need me
Put your arms around others
And give them what you need to give me.

You can love me most by letting
Hands touch hands, and
Souls touch souls.

Your can love me most by
Sharing your joys
Multiplying your good deeds.

You can love me most by
Letting me live in your eyes
And not in your mind.

And when you say
Kaddish for me
Remember what our tradition teaches:
Love doesn't die, People do.

So when all that's left of me is love,
Give me away.


Rest in peace, my friend!







McDonald's "blacklisted" by pro-family investor

McDonald's has been on the extremist Christian right's hit list for some time because the giant fast-food company had the unChristian temerity to donate $20,000 to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

According to the religious news source, onenewsnow, this pissed off "The president of a pro-family values mutual fund company." Art Ally says his group, which follows "socially responsible investing" and "includes screening of companies whose revenues or actions support pornography, abortion, anti-family entertainment, or promotion of non-married lifestyles," thinks McDonalds went 'over the edge.'"

Ally claims that McDonalds is using an "aggessive approach ... in promoting and supporting the homosexual agenda."


There is nothing new in all of this. A notorious screwball outfit, The American Family Association, has called for a boycott of McDonald's for the same reasons Ally's group will include no McDonald's stock in its portfolio.

It's just interesting that these fundy Christians, who claim to follow Jesus, spend their lives engaged in hatred of people because of their sexual orientation, and try to pressure companies to deny homosexuals the same benefits that are extended to other, non-homosexual people.

Jesus never said a word about homosexuality. So, they're not following Jesus here at all. But he did speak of not judging one's neighbor; and he spoke about treating people with respect; and he did say, very specifically, if you accept the stories as historical, that those who would follow him should "love their neighbors as they love themselves."

I guess even fundy Christians have to hate somebody.

Ugh!

McCain in Dayton - embarrassing!

Steve Benen, writing at The Washington Monthly, says that McCain will announce the name of the person he's selected to be his vice presidential running mate today, August 29, in Dayton, Ohio. There's no question a lot of people are curious, even interested, in his selection.

Not too many people in Dayton, Ohio give a flip, however.

"Barack Obama can fill a 75,000 seat stadium. John McCain, it seems, is having trouble filling a 10,000 seat theater in Dayton. They're giving away free tickets in several states and plan to bus in supporters. The VP announcement can't be overshadowed by a less-than-capacity crowd."

This gets even more embarrassing when you realize that not only was Mile High Stadium jammed to capacity, but thousands more watched the event from outside of the structure. Moreover, hundreds, if not thousands, stood in New York's Times Square and in the open air in Pasadena, California, and thousands more gathered in private venues to watch Obama accept the nomination of the Democratic Party and listen to inspiring speech.

The lack of interest in McCain in Dayton is a good sign. We can only hope its a harbinger of things to come!

Benen's post is here.

No rain in Denver

Not long ago, we wrote about certain right-wing Christian wingnuts who suggested (tongue-in-cheek?) that the faithful should pray for rain on Thursday night in Denver with the hope that God would flood Mile High Stadium and drown out the devilish Barack Obama.

Did they pray for rain?

It didn't rain! It was a beautiful night. It couldn't have been a more glorious evening. Everything went off without a hitch. Obama shone like a sunny day!

We've got a problem, Houston! Does this mean that God is on the side of the Democrats and wants Obama to be president?

You betcha!

Cindy's sister not voting for McCain

The Huffington Post reported yesterday that Cindy McCain's half-sister, Kathleen Hensley Portalski, will not be voting for John McCain.

"I'm voting for Obama," she said. "I think his proposals to improve the country are more positive and I'm not a big war believer."

Her son, Nathan, was more adamant. "I would not vote at all before I'd vote for him. I question whether Cindy is someone I'd want to see in the White House as first lady."

Part of this animosity toward McCain may derive from the fact that Kathleen became angry when she heard Cindy refer to herself as an only child. "I'm upset," she said, "I'm angry. It makes me feel like a nonperson, kind of."

Perhaps she also doesn't like Cindy's pilfered recipes.

You can read more here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

BARACK OBAMA GETS IT!!!!



Finally, after eight long years of hopelessness and despair with no light to be seen at the end of the tunnel, but rather only darkness and bleakness representing more of the same, Barack Obama stands up as the man for the times and he really gets it!

His speech tonight at the Democratic National Convention had to be one of the greatest political speeches of all time! Not merely for what he said, although he said all the right things, but because he offered this weary, cynical, angry, hopeless, older American, and millions of people around the world who share my feelings, HOPE for the future!

The entire evening was wrapped in an incredible aura of expectancy and beauty. As the cameras panned through the crowd, a sense of hope leaped in my heart as I saw the incredible diversity that defines the American people, and more importantly, that Americans can come together and work together toward a mutual goal of reclaiming the American dream.

Obama is not divine. He is as human as any of the rest of us. He may be smart and wise but he can't possibly know all there is to know or everything a president needs to know. But the spectacle tonight at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado, exemplified his ability to attract other talented and wise people who, because they believed in him, constructed perhaps the most impressive closing ceremonies of any political convention in modern times. It also was indicative of his ability to think and move "outside the box."

Let the Repugnicans whine and growl and snarl and lie. Who cares! They've become the party of defeat and despair, of war and torture, of lawless programs and unconstitution actions. They are irrelevant to the future of the United States of America.

BARACK OBAMA GETS IT!!!!

Christian militarism in Texas compliments of Rick Perry

The Texas Freedom Network has reported on a Christian militaristic impulse raising its ugly head in the state of Texas.

"Texas Gov. Rick Perry is calling on Texas pastors to defeat 'radical jihadists' who threaten our nation's 'Judeo Christian heritage.'"

The invitation to conservative evangelical Christian pastors says, in part, "...While Congress occupies its time trying to legislate defeat in Iraq, we hope you will attend a Pastors' Policy Briefing that will equip you to walk point in the war of values and ideas...

"...(W)e must ally godly people and seek God's provision for the resources, the courage, and the strength necessary to win, and ultimately, glorify Him."


This Pastors' Policy Briefing, to be held on Oct. 9-10 in the city of Austin is the eighth such event since May of 2005 and Governor Perry "has been the featured speaker at all of them." It is free of charge and thousands of clergy and their wives attend. (... "Gays and same-sex marriage were the major Restoration Project demons in 2005 and 2006. Muslims now appear to be the enemy du jour.)

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee will also attend, along with David Barton, a Christian theocrat who heads up the notorious WallBuilders, as well as Kelly Shackelford the head honcho of the Texas affiliate of Dobson's Focus on the Family.

Here's part of Perry's invitation:

"Both our nation and our Judeo Christian heritage are under attack by a force that is more dangerous than any threat our world has faced in recent memory. I am convinced that our ability to defeat the radical jihadists who threaten our nation will be significantly impacted by the prayers and leadership of America's evangelical pastors. ...

"Because God entrusted you to care for and lead His flock, you can play a key role in restoring God to the center of American life, thus strengthening our nation to confront this looming threat. ...

"Rediscovering God in America-Austin is intended to remind us that excuses are not the proper strategy when facing evil and confronting enemies. Instead, we must rally godly people and seek God's provision for the resources, the courage, and the strength necessary to win, and, ultimately, glorify Him."


You might wonder, rightly, just what that hell Perry thinks he is doing or who he thinks he is. If he wants to be an evangelical pastor, he ought to step down, go to some "bible" school and put together his own church of like-minded fruitcakes!

This kind of rightwing religious war-mongering is not part of a governor's portfolio!

Doesn't Texas have some other problems that need addressing other than some vague "jihadist" Muslim threat?

By the way, Perry is a good buddy of ol' John McSame!

Read more on this and other issues here.

Meanwhile, "Onward Christian soldiers!"

John McCain just doesn't get it!!!


John McCain just doesn't get it!


Michelle Obama gets it!

Hillary Clinton gets it!

Brian Schweitzer gets it!

Mark Warner gets it!

John Kerry gets it!

Bill Clinton gets it!

Joe Biden gets it!

Barack Obama gets it!

Hell, even Joe Biden's mother gets it!


But, John McCain just doesn't get it!!!



































GOP wants to ban private funds for stem cell research

According to a post today on "The Daily Dish" by Andrew Sullivan, the authors of the GOP's party platform have been co-opted by the extremists on the Christian right.

"The party is now formally comitted not just to forbidding government from funding research [re: embryonic stem cells], but also to banning private funding for such research."

Sullivan says "I'm unaware of any previous commitments to banning private scientific research because it violates Christianism."

Then he asks the really big question which hits directly at the heart of our mainstream media which is so enamored of McCain, so disregarding of truth, so caught up in the minutiae of the moment:

"Why isn't McCain asked about this? Why is this not a major story? Not as vital as whether a campaign set is Greek or Roman or just, well, columns for large TV screens?"

The Daily Dish here.

Welcoming Repugnicans to the Twin Cities


Thanks for Fly By Night for the photo!

This is the sign close to the airport welcoming Repugnicans to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul as they arrive for their convention next week.

Couldn't have said it better, myself!

Invocations & benedictions at the DNC - bad religion

It's too bad that the Democrats decided they had to try to outdo the Republicans in the god bizness. We're not electing a pastor or pope or any other religious potentate. Furthermore, it should have been obvious long ago that there is no way a few pious nods to god would satisfy the rabid religious right. They want your soul!

Nods to god are frequently somewhat humorous in that the preacher or another of god's representatives on earth stands before the crowd mumbling imprecations to the deity while the crowd is mumbling among themselves, the great majority neither listening to or giving a rat's ass about what is being said at the podium.

Secondly, every one of these pious reflectors belong to one form of religion or another and they just can't seem to help themselves. They've got to try to push their beliefs on the rest of us. It's like an addict who can't stop himself from reaching for just one more cigarette.

So, at the opening invocation, former Colorado state senator, Polly Baca, started the DNC off plying god's good graces, mentioning, of course, her favorite savior, Jesus Christ, and finishing the whole thing by crossing herself "in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."

That's probably not a good way to set the mood for Jews, Muslims, non-practicing Catholics, non-believers, Wiccans, Buddhists, Southern Baptists, Pentecostals, and all the other assorted systems which claim to have a different "truth" about deities, sons of deities, mothers of deities, heavens of deities, or hells of deities.

Monday night's benediction followed the same pattern as set by Ms. Baca, except it was given by an "evangelical," the writer Donald Miller. State of Belief Blog noted that Miller started out well, praying for "education, healthcare for all and a living wage ... Near the end of the benediction, [he] prayed for unity, acknowledging the vast diversity in America."

Then, incongruously, he blew it, saying, "I make this request in the name of your son, Jesus, who gave his own life against the forces of injustice. Let him be our example."

I'm sure Miller thought he'd done a good deed. But as State of Belief Blog says, "...prayers need to be reflective of the audience, not just the person leading the prayer. In that convention hall there were Christians, yes, but also Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Unitarians, and many others who do not have a faith tradition. Closing a prayer in such a sectarian fashion sends the wrong message to those who are different."


Two things:

1. Most prayers at secular, public gatherings end up as sermons, telling the crowd what they should believe or should do and reflect the pray-er's own theological understandings. They should be banned for that reason.

2. Secondly, as State of Belief Blog noted, prayers should reflect the audience. But that is simply impossible. One prays only out of a particular religious tradition. Religious traditions, by nature, are exclusive, not inclusive. A prayer cannot, under any circumstances, be reflective of a large, diverse audience!

Conclusion:

Let those who pray do so privately or in their church, temple, mosque or wherever their deity lurks behind the scenes. There is absolutely no valid reason whatsoever that we need prayers said at political conventions, public school graduations, at meetings of state legislatures, or in the halls of Congress.

And if you think you can manipulate god by praying in public or if you think that somehow your prayer rises to the deity like sweet incense, re-read your holy book!

McCain's "press release" ads

Repugnicans are pretty damn sneaky.

Steve Benen, writing at the Washington Monthly, notes that "Just about every day, the McCain campaign releases a new 'ad' which is released to the media along with a vague promise that the commercial will air somewhere, at some point. Cable networks, predictably, run the ad over and over again, for free, as part of their coverage of the campaign. This has been especially true this week, with a series of McCain campaign 'ads' featuring Hillary Clinton."

What happens, though, is that the so-called ads just don't show up as commercials very often. Why bother paying for an ad when you can fool the cable people to give you the gift of free air time?

Aaron Rutkoff at the Wall Street Journal considers this "part of a well-executed scam." He quotes CMAG's Evan Tracey as claiming "These were basically video press releases." They are "designed to get under Democrats' skin in Denver and designed to get into the convention coverage."

Well, we've come to expect nothing less. Repugnicans always play dirty!

Read the entire article here (scroll down.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Garrison Keillor, McCain & the Yalie

Garrison Keillor once again takes aim, fires, and hits dead center.

In an article at salon.com, titled "Rolling with the punches," he notes that the politicos are no longer able to use 9/11 to cry that the terrorists are coming, thereby "hoping to turn a traumatic occasion ... into a permanent Republican majority.

"You can't wave the bloody shirt anymore and expect people to fall into line.

"And that's a problem for John McCain. A great candidate for hustling neocons and owners of five or more homes, he is dead wrong about Iraq, dead wrong about the economy, and he was born 20 years too soon. But Republicans feel sorry for how he was savaged eight years ago and so they will prop the old man up, retrain him as best they can, keep him on message, stuff a rag in him when he starts kidding around."

Keillor says that McCain's got another problem, too: George W. Bush, who will be diddling away his time for awhile, "but he's bound to emerge in the fall, make a speech, issue a statement, do something, and this will not be good for McCain."

And then Keillor puts into a few words, a summary of the vapidness that is George W. Bush; an excellent and insightful commentary that captures well the faux cowboy from Crawford.

"America has paid a terrible price for one family's decision to take a boy out of the public schools of Midland, Texas, and send him off to Chutney or Amway or whatever his prep school was called, and then to Yale, where he picked up a permanent grudge against people who were smarter than he. A Yalie who learned to pass for redneck, a Methodist who learned to pass for evangelical, he was cut out for politics, but what a lousy administrator and what a dull, uninspiring leader. Fewer people want more bushiness than want to see the return of infantile paralysis. And the truth is marching on."


Read the entire article here.

Senator Ted Stevens - Unrepentant thief

Ted Stevens, known most infamously, recently, for his "bridge to nowhere," has been in the U.S. Senate too damn long (40 years!)! He's 84 years old, corrupt as a rotten barrel, under indictment by the federal government, and still 60% of the Repugnican voters in Alaska punched his button which won him the primary election!

That doesn't say much for the Repugnicans in Alaska. Actually, it tells us that Repugnicanism is about the same in all 50 of our states.

Stevens says he will win the senate race in November. It will be, says Ted, "a piece of cake."

But it will be rather difficult for Stevens to do much campaigning, as his trial starts on September 22 in Washington, D.C. He tried to have his trial moved elsewhere, but that was denied. I guess he figures too many people know him too well in the capitol city.

But Stevens is not concerned. The people of Alaska, he said, "trust me. This is still a Republican state."

Does really cold weather scramble the brains?

Dysfunctional government and the act of voting, or not

Dysfunctional means to be "impaired," or to function "abnormally."

The government of the United States might rightly be termed "dysfunctional." Except for a few gruntled Repugnicans, most Americans would agree. Descriptions as to how the U.S. government is impaired and functions abnormally have been reiterated ad nauseum and need not be listed again here.

Unfortunately, this malady is not limited to our national government. Many state governments, country government and city governments, as well as agencies of these governmental entities are dysfunctional.


You've seen the bumper stickers that say "Don't blame me, I voted for Gore!"

A lot of bumper stickers should say, "Blame me, I didn't bother to vote."

The problem of dysfunctional government and thus the blame for dysfunctional government ultimately rests squarely on the shoulders of the citizens of the United States who are eligible to vote.

In the 2000 election, George W. Bush lost the popular vote, and was handed the presidency only because of Republican chicanery and the collusion of right-wing Republican "activist" judges on the U.S. Supreme Court. Nevertheless, enough Americans voted for Bush/Cheney to put them in a position to take the presidency in a cloud of illegitimacy.

There's no excuse in 2004 (except for the stolen votes in Ohio): Too many Americans voted for Bush/Cheney in spite of the fact their first four years in office were an unmitigated disaster for the people of the United States and the nation as a whole.

In both elections, the fault for the Bush/Cheney disaster must also fall on those who couldn't be bothered to drag their sorry asses to a polling place and cast a vote for American values and thereby allowed the Repugnicans to continue to despoil the American dream!


Yesterday was Primary Day here in the state of Florida. In Marion County, Florida, there are 205,719 registers voters. Only 31,290 or 15.3 percent could find the time to cast a ballot!!!

In Florida overall, only 17.4 percent bothered to go to the polls!!!


In other words, the great majority of people in the state of Florida don't give a tinker's damn for their own welfare, the welfare of the state or the welfare of the nation.

And that's why we have had eight years of war, defeat, impoverishment, despair, international derision and a wholesale looting of the government coffers by the rich and powerful.

Oh, it's the fault of Bush and Cheney, all right. But the really important questions are: who the hell voted for these clowns; and who the hell didn't care enough to vote; thus, by default, giving the Bush/Cheney gang permission to shred their way through the Constitution on their road to becoming the worst administration ever, and, in eight years, dragging our country down from world-class status, to what some have deemed, a nation akin to a third-world banana republic?

Class is over.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lies on the right and the right of violence

Media Matters, on Monday, reported, in part, the following:

1. On The War Room with Quinn & Rose, guest host Mike Pintek opened the show by saying, 'You need to know that Barack Obama is a monster and a liar who would be very much at home in Communist China, where killing babies is an industry.' Pintek went on to claim that Obama 'believes so firmly in abortion, he is so radical in his support for abortion and infanticide that he believes if a woman chooses abortion, she's entitled to a dead body no matter what.'"

The "monster and liar" is clearly Mike Pintek!


2. An editorial in Investor's Business Daily claimed "that after Kenyan politician Raila Odinga lost his country's presidential election in late 2007, 'angry Odinga supporters crying fraud sparked riots that resulted in some 1,500 deaths. Amid his ancestral country's civil unrest, [Sen. Barack] Obama took time out from the campaign trail to phone Odinga to voice his support.'

"However, while IBD claimed that Obama phoned Odinga to 'voice is support,' Obama and his campaign have reportedly said that he pressed Odinga to conduct unconditional negotiations to end the violence during the phone conversation, which was reportedly approved by the State Department."


3. Over and over again, rightwing crackpots have, as did Fox News' Sean Hannity and Karl Rove, "that Sen. Barack Obama paid below market value for his house, despite the fact that the sellers reportedly said tthey did not cut the price for Obama." In fact, this claim has been disproved numerous times over the past few months, but Hannity and Rove and others of their ilk continue with the lies!


4. Again from Fox (Faux) News. This was before Michelle Obama's speech to the DNC Convention. Juan Williams claimed that Michelle would have a problem. "Well, she's got to her herself, but I do not think she can go for it all out in terms of this kind of militant anger that she sometimes uses."

Other than the sentence consists of lousy English, Williams is full of crap. What does he know of Michelle Obama? And he never states just what this "militant anger" is.

After listening to the speech, one would have to say that Mr. Williams should be given his walking papers.


5. "Radio host Neal Boortz falsely suggested Sen. Barack Obama is a Muslim, saying, 'Let's ask Obama how many prayer rugs he has.' Obama is a Christian, not a Muslim."


6. A contradiction in terms. David Freddoso claimed, on Fox New's America's Election HQ, that "Senator [Barack] Obama says that he is a reformer, an agent of positive change. And looking at his record, though, in Chicago, Springfield, and Washington, I found that he is absolutely -- there's nothing in his record to bear out that claim."

That's funny because "in Freddoso's recently released book, he specifically credit Obama with two 'real accomplishment[s] ... in the name of reform' -- the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, and a 1998 Illinois ethics bill."


7. Bill Kristol never knows what he's talking about, but he put his foot in his mouth again. When Obama chose Joe Biden as a running mate, Kristol whined that what "Obama's imposition of a glass ceiling."

The trouble is Kristol's not one who gives a damn about women or gender equity. During the primary he said that "'[w]hite women are a problem' and attributed Sen. Hillary Clinton's New Hampshire primary victory to here 'pretend[ing] to cry.'"


The above incidents and statements are not in the least unusual. Similar comments are broadcast around the clock on media outlets around the world. It is very clear that Republican leaders, operatives, and media pundits have utterly no regard for the truth!

Even worse, many of them call for violence against their perceived enemies. We've already seen how one man, no doubt deranged to begin with, was pushed to assault and kill "liberal" church worshipers because of things he had heard on radio and television. Ann Coulter, among others, has actually suggested that certain people be murdered.

If anything happens to Barack Obama, much of the blame must be laid at the feet of these self-righteous, yet evil people, who spew their filth across the airwaves and in the pages of their newspapers, magazines and blogs.

And if that seems harsh, or too "sectarian," ask yourself when you have heard a Democrat, either in the political arena or elsewhere -- in any capacity -- call for violence against a political opponent.

Arrests made in plot to kill Obama

CBS4Denver.com reports that four people were arrested yesterday afternoon. The four are "suspected in a possible plot to shoot Barack Obama at his Thursday night acceptance speech ... All are being held on either drug or weapons charges."

One of the suspects told CBS4 investigative reporter Brian Maass that "his friends had discussed killing Obama." They didn't want Obama to become president, said the suspect. Maass also said that on Monday one of the four "told authorities they were 'going to shoot Obama from a high vantage point using a ... rifle ... sighted at 750 yards."

The plot came to light when police in Aurora stopped Tharin Gartrell, 28. "He was driving a rented truck in an erratic manner."

CBS4 says the coppers discovered "two high-powered scoped rifles ... along with camouflage clothing, walkie-talkies, wigs, a bulletproof vest, a spotting scope, licenses in the names of other people and 44 grams of methamphetamine. One of the rifles is listed as stolen from Kansas."

Aurora authorities contacted federal officials.

One of the suspects, Shawn Robert Adolph, 33, jumped from a six-story window when authorities moved in but merely broke an ankle. He is wanted on a number of warrants. In his possession, police found a handcuff ring and he was wearing a swastika. He is "thought to have ties to white supremacist organizations.

The group of four did not want a black man to become president. From what I know of white supremacists, I'd guess they figured any scumbag would do, so long as he wasn't "black."

The investigation is on-going...

"Rain" falls on the unjust - Faux News

You'll recall that Jesus told his disciples that the rain falls on the just and the unjust. Meaning, I suppose, that god does not discriminate when it comes to handing out his heavenly benefits. Even the bad guys get their share.

Sometimes that works out well.

For example: Recently we noted certain fundamentalist Christian wingnuts were praying for rain in Denver on the night that Obama is to deliver his acceptance speech. That, they believed, would show that god was on the side of the Repugnicans.

Well, the "rain" (so to speak) fell, but it was on the wrong night and the wrong site. The Denver Fire Department was called out yesterday morning to respond to a flood report. Evidently, a sprinkler system at the Pepsi Center went off and flooding part of the building.

Denver's 9news.com says "The sprinkler was located on the club level in a skybox which had recently been renovated to host a news crew. It appears the skybox belongs to Fox."

Read that again: "the skybox belongs to Fox," better known as "Faux News."

Thanks, god.

Why McCain, the POW, owns ten homes

If one questions John McCain with regard to any alleged impropriety or fault, his justification almost without fail references his time spent as a POW in Vietnam.

The latest reference to his being a POW came in response to criticism that he's an elitist and out-of-touch with common folks as exemplified by his inability to recall just how many homes he owns.

"In an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, McCain, 71, said his priority was to keep Americans in their homes in touch economic times.

"Then he recalled his Vietnam experience.

"'I spent 5 1/2 years in a prison cell without -- I didn't have a house. I didn't have a kitchen table. I didn't have a table. I didn't have a chair,' he said.

"I spent those 5 1/2 years ... not because I wanted to get a house when I got out."


Huh?

Mac Hammond, one more Christian con artist

Mac Hammond is the founder and pastor of what's called the Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

The Religion News Blog reports that the IRS is investigating Mr. Hammond for possible violations of the law in connection with "favorable compensation and loan dealings" given to him by the church.

You might assume, being good Christians and all, that Mr. Hammond and his congregation would gladly invite the IRS to look over their books because they would never do anything illegal or of a shysterly nature.

Hah! Not so. The church has "resisted" IRS demands to open its books for an audit!

The IRS took the church to court. A US District Court judge "ordered Living Word representatives to appear and explain their refusal to comply with the IRS." You might also wonder why a church would need an attorney, considering that it would never violate the law.

But it does have an attorney and said lawyer responded to an IRS summons saying the church would not "comply until 'an appropriate high-level IRS official' using 'reasonable belief' requested information."

Documents obtained by the Minnesota Independent over a year and a half ago reveal some rather fascinating facts: "Hammond owned two airplanes, one bought from Living Word for $1.06 million on credit supplied by Living Word. He leased the planes back to the church at a total annual rate of more than $893,000. The church asserted that 'the aircraft are imporant to the efficient management of its ministry at the present time.' Living Word also rented a hangar to store the planes, and it paid for the expenses of the planes as well."


Hammond, being a good Christian and devoted follower of Jesus Christ and an exemplary pastor, said that the IRS investigation was "politically motivated," and it desired "to descredit, defame and intimidate ministries and preachers of what has been called the 'prosperity gospel.'"

Well, of course. You knew that. That's the main job of the IRS - intimidating ministries and preachers of the prosperity gospel!

Which means, also, of course, according to Mac Hammond, servant of Jesus, that the people "behind these attacks [are] enemies of the gospel."

I'll bet that if you checked the IRS training manual, you would find a whole section on "How to be an effective enemy of the gospel."

Mac Hammond is full of crap, obviously, and due to his reluctance to open his books for auditing, is probably a crook.

So what's new?

[And why would a fundy preacher in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota need two airplanes, anyway?]

Repugnicans in Denver

According to Wonkette, the Republican National Committee is sponsoring a "happy hour party for Clinton supporters" in Denver.

Persons wishing to attend must show "a valid DNCC and press organization credential." Hmmm...could it be that the RNC doesn't really want Hillary supporters but rather representatives of the press where they can perpetrate their usual nasty nonsense? How many delegates who were Hillary supporters carry press credentials?

Several of the Repugnican Party's "names" are in Denver, including Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani. Hillary will be speaking to the delegates today and today is when "Romney will anchor the GOP's Tuesday press availability."

Also present are such Repugnican nasties as Eric Cantor (VA), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL), and Marsha Blackburn (TN).

Maybe the rich and powerful are getting worried?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Todd Bentley, his women and revivalist con artists

The word is that Todd Bentley, the recently disgraced revivalist conman doing business in Lakeland, Florida, had an affair with another woman 2 1/2 to 3 years ago. His marital infidelities are bothersome to many people.

That's the least of it, however. Bentley is a con artist of the old school. Well, actually, he didn't go to school. He's not been educated at all. Which isn't to say he's not smart. Bentley has what they call "street smarts." He came off the streets into the pulpit bringing with him all those survival tools he had learned to use so well.

The game's the same, though. A con game.

Bentley doesn't work alone. One of his partners in this grime crime is Joshua Mills, a musician and magician, skilled at sleight-of-hand. He's also full of crap and a liar. Mills, like Bentley, and so many of these other Pentecostal revivalists, has encountered angels. He speaks of returning from a meeting one night to have the heavens "opened" with God sending an angel who brought he and his friend(s) "'golden leaves from the trees of heaven.' They were literally golden leaves from the Tree of Life in Heaven. And the angels brought them to us, and we got these leaves, and we're llike 'wow this is amazing' ..."

Then the "Lord" told one of the ladies to eat the leaves which they did and "all of sudden (sic) we began to feel so refreshed and so rejuvenated in the middle of the night that we couldn't get back to sleep."

You obviously observed all the problems in that so-called "angelic" encounter...but the fact that people believe this bullshit is the biggest problem.

Some folks think that Mills is a closet homosexual because of his effeminate ways and his dream of a beautiful male angel. "The angel leaves glasses full of oil at the end of his bed." Mills says that during his ministry this "oil sign" became manifest by "glory dust falling" (cheap plastic glitter) and a keyboard began playing all by itself for the purpose of providing accompaniment to an angel chorus.

Mills has also shown a video of how he changed water into wine in his hotel room..."when no one else was looking.." Tasted just like grape juice!


Back to Bentley. Enough has been written of his criminal past and sexual assault on a young boy that we need not go there again. Furthermore, he's been "born again."

Bentley is part of an extreme charismatic network which I'd never heard about nor would I ever dream that this kind of wackiness would become mainstream in so many communities.

How extreme?

Bentley has claimed a visitation from St. Paul. But that's nothing. "In one televised session he said God asked him to grab a crippled woman's legs and bang them on the stage. He did, he claimed, and she was healed."

Another woman said the spirit told her to ask him to "Kick her in the face." He did. "I went like this bam. Just as my boot made contact with her nose, she fell to the power of God.

"Another time I called up this Chinese gentleman and all of a sudden I went running down the aisle and hit the guy so hard he hit the ground and his tooth popped out of his mouth."

Bentley claims no one was hurt and people were actually healed.


Martin Wickens attended Bentley's Lakeland revival. Here are some quotes he heard about the revival.

Quote #1:

"The worship was DEAFENING... The sound from the people was LOUDER than the P.A. system...everyone was dancing or jumping!!!

"The Glory came on Todd and the ushers helped him on the stage. Minutes later, he fell out under the power!!!

"A few minutes later he stood up, and YOU COULD SMELL SMOKE IN THE ROOM!! ...

"It literally smelled like a sweet barbeque!! IT MADE US HUNGRY FOR GOD!!!

"The worship leader, Roy, cried out... THE GLORY IS HERE!!! He whirled around several times... the fire hit his feet... and he jumped into the air and fell flat on his face!!!"


Quote #2, this one by Bentley:

"Then I saw the Lord turning you into a human nail, you know, like a spike nail. I saw the hand of the God. I saw the Father hit this hammer & it hit you & it went straight into the ground of Floridas.

"I saw a scroll attached to this nail & it said the Kingdom of God has now come."


Quote #3:

"All kinds of spirits of death, infirmity and depression are cast out. This is on-going, day after day, just as Lakeland. It fell here! A cesarean (sic) scar disappeared from a patient. Another patient was lifted up and visited rooms in heaven and received a crown. All this and more is happening at the doctor's office. Bless you. Keep revival on. Thank you Jesus."


Quote #4:

"Todd shares... on the morning of Mothers Day 1998... Todd had a visitation of the Holy Spirit. For over three months the power of God touched him. But on Mothers Day, the Lord Himself appeared to him."


God help us!


The particular "prophetic" movement that Bentley represents is chock full of weirdos, sexual misfits and people who are visited regularly by angels or other heavenly beings. Some are involved in the occult.

One of these is Jill Austin from Master Potter ministries. She has told of meeting with the angel Gabriel and other spiritual entities. She claims to have moved through "portals" which connect this world to the next, including the portal to heaven.

Patricia King is another "big" name in the movement who also speaks of portals, jewels, angels, etc.

There are many others and they are active around the world.

Fortunately, for a time at least, Bentley will be off the circuit. After installing ATM machines at his revival in Lakeland, he's probably got enough money to pay off his soon-to-be ex-wife and live a life of luxury...plus, there are millions of other gullible souls out there who will believe anything if it promises a way out of their day to day misery and the hope of heaven when they die. They'll wait for Todd to reappear.

The con goes on!

[Thanks to canadianChristianity.com, endtimespropheticwords.wordpress.com, thewickens.info, and eternalpath.com for much of this information.]

It depends on whose angel's being gored

I came across a truly hilarious article the other day at fireinmybones.com. It's called "Angels, Deception and a Cry for Biblical Truth," and was written by J. Lee Grady, editor of Charisma magazine.

(I'm going to write more in the near future about devilish Pentecostal revivalists who have their own special angels, but first this:)

Grady says,

"Weird teachings about angels have become the norm in some charismatic circles today. It's time to demand sanity on the subject.

"At a growing Brazilian church in Boston, a pastor told his congregation he was having regular conversations with an angel. Weeks later he set a chair on the stage for his heavenly visitor, whom he said was attending Sunday services even though no one could see him. The pastor eventually wrote a book containing message he had supposedly received from the angel."


That's just one example. The article notes that weirdo Todd Bentley has his own special angel called Emma, who "wears a long white dress, floats above the floor and resembles Kathryn Kuhlman."

Up in Canada, a youthful evangelist "held up a jar with a feather in it and told the congregation it belonged to an angel who visits him. He said the angel was coming to the service to release riches and healing to those who wanted prayer."

Other of these nutcases speak of angels bringing "healing, wealth or special anointings (sic). Some have described angels as tall as skyscrapers while others say they have seen tiny angels the size of insects. One prophet spoke of angels who are sleeping inside the walls of churches. Another segment of believers claim that the glowing circles of light that often show up on photographs are angels in the form of 'orbs.'"


J. Lee Grady is disturbed by all this nonsense, and rightly so. But then he promotes his own form of the same nonsense. We've got to go to what the Bible teaches about angels, he argues; or, at least certain parts of the Bible. Most of his information comes from the New Testament books of Acts which is really part II of the Gospel of Luke.

Here's what he found:

1. Angels that looked like men who announced Jesus would return in the future.
2. Angels minister to the saints behind the scenes, "especially to offer protection."
3. Philip was told to preach by an angel.
4. On some occasions, angels come via visions.
5. Even good ol' St. Paul was visited by an angel who gave him strength.

Some angels are bad.

1. "Paul warned the Corinthians about 'angels of light' that are messengers of Satan."
2. "Paul warned the Colossians about misguided people who worship angels..."


So, what does Mr. Grady conclude? Angels are real. Angels are good, usually. But angels only do certain things.

1. They "help the church fulfill its mission, and they protect and guide the saints."
2. "Angels sometimes intervene with direct messages."
3. "Angels don't teach or explain doctrine."
4. "Angels don't bring healing."
5. "Angels look like people, and in every case in Scripture they appeared to be male."
6. "False angels preach a different gospel."


God, wherever he/she may be, must have a great sense of humor to put up with all this folderol.

Angels aren't the problem, according to Grady. The problem is you've got to understand what angels are all about. Do you suppose he's had an angelic divine intervention? And how would he know that? Did an angel appear to him? Was it a male angel? (Isn't it funny, though, that almost always angels are pictured as female?)

Most curious is that Grady does not refer to any of the many angels mentioned in the Hebrew bible.

Maybe you know someone who's been contacted by an angel. Ask what the "direct message" was. Try to determine whether or not the angel taught or explained doctrine, and whether it tried to bring healing. Also, be sure to find out if the angel was male or female. If female, you can discount the story. Finally, check the gospel the angel preached. Was it a false gospel?

And, of special importance: Did the angel have wings hiding under his clothes? It seems to me that lots of the biblical angels had wings.

Methinks some folks have watched the Travolta movie, "Michael," a few too many times.

Religious wingnuttery is just too funny, sometimes!

If you wish, you can read all of Grady's article here. And you can find pictures of "real" angels here.

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention

[Photo of Dr. Richard Land, SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission]

It is a dismal truth that fundamentalist Christians just don't get it. Having developed a convoluted theological mishmash of beliefs, they struggle constantly to twist their bibles to confirm those beliefs.

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, headed by the notorious Dr. Richard Land, is a good example of a form of Christianity going off the rails. For example, the Commission has this to say about science:

"Does science supersede the teachings of Scripture? No. In reality Scripture is in harmony with, and instructive to, science. No finding of science has ever debunked the Truth of God's Word. Scripture is authoritative on all matters in life, including science. Most conflicts between scientific and religious faith arise when observable and quantifiable findings give way to conjecture and speculation. A proper perspective on the relationship between Christian faith and science leads to a healthy and ethical application of the findings of science in critically important fields, such as biology and the other life sciences."

Blah, blah, blah. Scripture is instructive to science? Please. Science debunks scripture constantly and in multitudinous ways. One biggie, for example, is that archaeologists have come to the conclusion that there is absolutely no evidence for most of the people and events we thought "historical" in the Hebrew Bible. In fact there is no extra-biblical evidence of any kind for any of the biblical heroes -- Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Saul, David, Solomon...not historical! Good stories, though, with some theological and philosophical insights, but none of them were real, live, human beings.

Of course, you can deny archaeological findings just as you can believe in any particular fairy tale you wish, as does this SBC Commission.


Let's see how the views of the SBC Commission work out in practice. The huge majority of scientists the world over (99%?) are convinced that climate change or global warming is a problem of immense magnitude that calls for immediate and drastic action if we are to continue to live on a viable planet.

The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, reading from their bible, disagrees. The Commission has teamed up with the "climate change denier," Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), to fight a bill which would call for drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

The ERLC believes that the threat of "cataclysmic global warming" is "unfounded."

Thus, they've joined a campaign called "We Get It," which purports to oppose climate change legislation out of concern for the poor (cutting greenhouse gas emissions will make food and fuel more expensive).

The ERLC says this is all about taking a "biblical, fact-based approach to global warming."


The Commission is also supporting a new rule proposed by the Bush administration that would allow medical institutions and doctors to refuse to "participate in abortion and other medical procedures to which they object on moral or religious grounds."

The Department of Health and Human Services, headed by the ultra-conservative wingnut, Mike Leavitt, issued the regulation on August 21. Leavitt said that "Doctors and other health-care providers should not be forced to choose between good professional standing and violating their conscience."

Richard Land was ecstatic: "The Bush administration and the Department of Health and Human Services are to be applauded for taking important steps to protect the freedom of conscience of physicians and other health-care providers in the United States who find the wholesale termination of the lives of our preborn citizens to be unconscionable and reprehensible."

Science versus Southern Baptist religion. Hmmm. I wonder what Dr. Land would say if I were a noted oncologist and he came to me for treatment of a tumor, and I refused to treat him because my bible says that Southern Baptist leaders are reprehensible and odiferous billy goats?

Anyway, he probably brought on the tumor by spending so much time fighting good science with biblical tripe.


What is the most important concern and the most pressing need of our country as determined by the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission?

"...we are in desperate need of a great movement of God among His people and across the farthest stretches of our land, including the corridors of Washington, D.C."

What they mean by that, of course, is that everyone should adopt their peculiar fundamentalist understanding of scripture and their peculiar hide-bound fundamentalist Christian theology.

They plan to meet this "desperate need" by holding prayer meetings! They've established something called "40/40 Prayer Vigil for Spiritual Revival and National Renewal." It will involved "40 days of prayer from Sept. 24 to Nov. 2, culminating in 40 hours of around-the-clock intercession during the last three days."

It seems that the fundys love to pray because then they can pretend they're actually doing something of value. And I love that around-the-clock stuff, as if really intense praying by bunches of folks will better manipulate their skygod into doing what he/she should have done in the first place. What kind of god needs this type of manipulation? What kind of god fails to take action when "need" arises?

Dr. Land and the Commission believes that all this prayer is needed so that our country meets the conditions laid down by god in 2 Chronicles 7:13-14: "If...My people who care called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land."

Dr. Land and the ERLC want a revival so that god will "pour out His blessings on America once again."

When did god pour out his blessings on America in the past? Fundys always talk about some kind of a golden past, but I'm not quite sure when this was? Maybe it's all a dream?

Another rather important question: Why is it when the fundys talk about "revival" and nation-blessing they never quote from Jesus, but always from some ancient Hebrew scripture? That seems strange because they preach constantly that the New Testament has superseded the Old Testament and that Jesus has, through his sacrifice, taken away the need to obey the Law.

I think I know the answer. Jesus never talked about what they think is so important! Yikes!