Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bailout based on a lie?

About two weeks ago, Joshua Holland wrote an article for AlterNet suggesting that the so-called "credit crunch" was a scam, a means of siphoning off trillions of dollars to our major financial institutions to do with whatever their greedy little hearts desired.

Few people today question that the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) "was a boondoggle of an intervention that's flailed from one approach to the next, with little oversight and less effect on the financial meltdown."

But, says Holland, the real tragedy is that TARP "was sold to Congress and the public based on a Big Lie."

In other words, in spite of Bush's warning that "Major financial institutions have teetered on the edge of collapse ... [and[ began holding onto their money, and lending dried up, and the gears of the American financial system began grinding to a halt," some economists are coming to the conclusion that was all a lie and a set-up to move taxpayer money into the hands of those running the banking community.

As Holland points out, such a phony Bush operation would be in character for he "used the threat of thousands of al-Qaida sleeper cells in the United States to sell Congress on the Patriot Act, the specter of mushroom clouds rising over American cities to push through the Iraq war resolution and the supposedly imminent crash of the Social Security system to push for privatizing Americans' retirement savings."

And aren't we glad he failed at that last maneuver?


Everyone's aware, says Holland, that the economy's in the toilet and few new loans are being issued to individuals and businesses, but he wonders if this is "because credit has dried up for qualified borrowers."

The economist, Dean Baker, says no. The problem isn't a "credit crunch," but rather has to do with the fact that housing wealth has collapsed, costing consumers trillions of dollars, and the markets collapsed to the tune of about $8 trillion [this was written a couple of weeks ago, so those figures may have increased]. Contributing to the mess is the fact that much of the wealth accumulted during the Bush era consisted of paper only. When that "vaporized ... consumers stopped buying, and businesses, anticipating a long slowdown, stopped seeking the loans that they might have otherwise tapped to expand their operations."

Here's the crux: If qualified borrowers can get loans because banks "are hoarding cash or lending has stopped because of a drop-off in demand for new loans," then Paulson's plan makes sense.

But, says Holland, the situation changes if people are busted and businesses aren't out looking for loans. Then, TARP involves pouring money into institutions [without rules or regulations on its use] which in turn use that money for purposes other than what was intended, e.g. bonuses for CEOs, purchasing other banks, retreats costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, etc.


Researchers at the University of Minnesota "crunched" some numbers and concluded that "'interbank lending is healthy' and 'bank credit has not declined during the financial crisis'; that they've seen no evidence that the financial crisis has affected lending to non-financial businesses' and that 'while commercial paper issued by financial institutions has declined, commercial paper issued by non-financial institutions is essentially unchanged during the financial crisis.'"

Baker believes that "'some banks are undoubtedly anticipating more write-offs from other loans going bad, so they will hang on to their capital now rather than make new loans." But, there are others, it appears, holding on to their cash hoping to buy less sound banks.


Holland suggests the economic crisis is "a product of long-term imbalance in the economy, and the idea that it's primarily a pathology of the banking system in isolation is a misdiagnosis that, if uncorrected, can only result in a longer, deeper and more painful recession than might otherwise be the case."


You can read the entire article here.

Indulgences and the birthday of the Apostle Paul

[St. Paul at his writing desk. Rembrandt. Click here.]

Roman Catholic theology can be confusing if only because it is so complex and nuanced. It begins with the notion of "original sin." Adam and Eve sinned against the creator God and because of their sin, all human beings are guilty, tainted and deserve eternal punishment.

I know, it doesn't make sense, but that's the way it is.

The Sacrament of Baptism removes the guilt of sin and "all the penalties attached to sin. In the Sacrament of Penance the guilt of sin is removed, and with it the eternal punishment due to mortal sin; but there remains the temporal punishment required by Divine justice, and this requirement must be fulfilled either in the present life or in the world to come, i.e., in Purgatory."

Sheesh!

But, lucky for you, there are such things as indulgences! "An indulgence offers the penitent sinner the means of discharging this debt during his life on earth." Then you can go straight to heaven when you die and bypass Purgatory!


Here's why: "An indulgence is valid both in the tribunal of the Church and in the tribunal of God. This means that it not only releases the penitent from his indebtedness to the Church ... but also from the temporal punishment which he has incurred in the sight of God and which, without the indulgence, he would have to undergo in order to satisfy Divine justice."

So, you must get right, not only with God, but with the Church. Divine justice, you know!

It gets even more confusing. An indulgence doesn't mean "that the Church pretends to set aside the claim of God's justice or that she allows the sinner to repudiate his debt. As St. Thomas says ..., 'He who gains indulgences is not thereby released outright from what he owes as a penalty, but is provided with the means of paying it." [My emphasis]

It's sort of like a spiritual loan company which controls a spiritual treasury. You owe the Great Poohbah, and the Church lends you or provides you with the resources out of its treasury to pay off your obligation.

There are different types of indulgences, but we're concerned here with only one - the Plenary type.


Last May, the Pope offered indulgences to those who commemorated the birth of the Apostle Paul.

Here's how the decree, titled "Special Indulgences are conceded to the faithful on the occasion of the 2000th anniversary of the birth of St. Paul the Apostle," begins:

"In the imminence of the liturgical Solemnity of the Princes of the Apostles, motivated by pastoral solicitude the Supreme Pontiff intends to provide promptly for spiritual treasures to be granted to the faithful for their sanctification, so that on this pious and happy occasion, from First Vespers of the Solemnity mentioned, they may renew and reinforce with even greater fervour intentions of supernatural salvation, principally in honour of the Apostle to the Gentiles, the 2000th anniversary of whose birth on earth is now approaching."

Whew!

In other words, the Pope will grant indulgences to people who honor the birthday of St. Paul. That's easy, you think. You'll just go to your local Roman Catholic church and light a candle and say "Happy Birthday, Paul."

Not so.

You can only get an indulgence by following these instructions:

1. First, you've got to get right with God and the Church by observing the Sacrament of Reconciliation and partaking in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Then you must "devoutly" make "a pilgrimage to the Papal Basilica of St. Paul on the Ostian Way," and pray "for the Supreme Pontiff's intentions."

This will be sufficient for you to receive a "Plenary Indulgence from temporal punishment" for your sins, once sacramental forgiveness and pardon for any shortcomings has been obtained."

[A Plenary Indulgence provides "remission of the entire temporal punishment due to sin so that no further expiation is required in Purgatory."]

2. You can gain a Plenary Indulgence by involving yourself "devoutly in a sacred function or in a pious public exercise in honour of the Apostle to the Gentiles; on the days of the solemn opening and closure of the Pauline Year, in all the sacred places; on other days specified by the local Ordinary, in holy places dedicated to St. Paul and, for the convenience of the faithful, in other places designated by the same Ordinary."

3. If you are ill or if for "another legitimate and important cause," you can't fulfill "the usual conditions as soon as possible," you can get a Plenary Indulgence, so long as you "spiritually join in a Jubilee celebration in honour of St. Paul, offering [your] prayers and sufferings to God for Christian unity.


You may need a lawyer to understand exactly what to do and how to do it, but how happy you will be to obtain relief from purging your unpurged sins in Purgatory!

It's amazing to a non-Catholic like myself, how the Roman Church developed into God's regent on earth with the ability to provide proper payment for the sins of its members.

What a creative bunch! And Purgatory; wow, that was dreamed up by some kind of theological genius!


If you're not Catholic, or even if you are, you really needn't worry about any of this stuff; it's all based on mythology and theological absurdities. None of it has any basis in reality. It's purpose is to keep the faithful in line and protect the power of the hierarchy. Guilt and fear work wonders.

What's even more humorous when you think about all this pompous piety is that no one has a clue when Saul, known as Paul, was born. There is absolutely no evidence to back up any of the "details" of Paul's life (of which there are very few) outside of the New Testament and the New Testament material is confusing and contradictory.

We can't even be sure where Paul was born much less when! If 2008 was the 2000th year of his birthday, he would have been born in 8 C.E., or about 12 years after the mythical birth of the legendary Jesus. But nobody, including the Supreme Pontiff, has a clue


I'd say, forget all this nonsense. Indulge yourself. Grab a beer and relax. Remember, God so loved the world ... and you have faith, right? You're gonna be OK!


More biblical artwork here.

Explanation of indulgences here.

"Read my lipstick" - out-of-date bumper sticker


"Read my lipstick"? In case you can't read what's underneath that, it is: "Sarah Palin for vp 08". Slightly out of date.

Will we ever be rid of this hockey mom who thinks being a Pit Bull with lipstick is sufficient qualification for the highest offices in our land?

Oh, no, that's right, she was mayor of thriving Wasilla (with about 7 thousand residents) just long enough to saddle the town with a multi-million dollar debt. What's she done as governor of Alaska?

.....

Thank you. That is correct. Except she did take a lot of trips with her family at taxpayers' expense.

[What happened to all the clothes?]

Why can't big John read?


Greg Toppo, writing in USA Today, reports on a "long-awaited federal study" that found "an estimated 32 million adults in the USA -- about one in seven -- are saddled with such low literacy skills that it would be tough for them to read anything more challenging than a children's picture book or to understand a medication's side effects listed on a pill bottle."

Hmm. That explains how George W. Bush was able to fool enough people to become president and why so many people continue to believe so many wrong things: that Iraq had WMD's; that Sarah Palin is a really smart person; that the Bible is inerrant and literally true; that auto workers make $73 an hour; that the New Testament book of Revelation tells about the end-times; that creationism explains how life began; that Intelligent Design is intelligent; that global warming is fiction; that Elaine Chao was a great labor secretary; that 100 years from now people will think George W. Bush was a great president; that homosexuality is a choice; that Ann Coulter is a nice person; that FOX News reports the news; that waterboarding is not torture; that the Iraq war was a success; and ... well, you can add to the list ...

One out of seven - about 14% - of adults (that's the big people) can't read well enough to understand a newspaper article "or deconstruct a fuel bill."


Why can't big John read? Dunno.

The research findings are here.

Toppo's article is here.

Papal Kitsch No. 9 - Baubles


Actually, these baubles are Christmas tree ornaments. They are called the JPII set.

Maybe you should sit down before you read this, but the JPII set has been "endorsed" by the Vatican itself and by the U.S. National Conference of Bishops.

Get yours here.

Living in Tok is tough!


It was 69 degrees yesterday and I just couldn't get warm!

It was -80 degrees in Tok, Alaska. That was after the thermometer had broken and been repaired, so it may have been even colder.

I guess I shouldn't complain.

There's a fascinating blog about living in frigid Tok here. And you'll enjoy the video which gives you an idea of what it's like driving to the store in -60 degree weather. Wear a jacket.


Friday, January 9, 2009

The appearance of Caroline Kennedy

[Photo from TV Guide]

There has appeared a very curious little article at the guardian.co.uk by one Tracy Quan. Ms. Quan raises the issue of Caroline Kennedy's appearance. She begins by asking "Why isn't the mainstream media as obsessed with Caroline Kennedy's looks as they were with Sarah Palin's?"

Why, indeed?

Appearance, apparently, for Ms. Quan, is important. Thus, Hillary Clinton, while her appearance was meticulously dissected by the press, "never traded explicitly on her looks," but she did use "her appearance to connect with us."

Unfortunately, Ms. Quan does not elaborate, so we're left wondering just how Senator and soon-to-be Secretary of State Clinton used her appearance as a connection with the public.


Ms. Quan then jumps to Caroline Kennedy. While people are excited about Kennedy's possible appointment to the Senate, they are not talking about her "hair and accessories." Why not? "Could this mean she's not being taken seriously?"

Huh?

The fashion choices of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin tell us a lot about the person.

Well, says Ms. Quan, "Clothes, hair, nails and lipstick -- these bits and pieces of a persona represent some aspect of what Sarah and Hillary have accomplished. They've gone out of their way to construct themselves for public life, and we reward them by caring how they look."

Hillary and Sarah "invented" themselves, says Quan.

Caroline Kennedy did not. She was made be other "forces." And her "looks" are a problem; distracting. "She looks more like her uncle Robert than her mother Jackie..."

And that's good? Not good?


Quan says "Caroline's looks are as inconsistent as New York's weather..." There are times when she "glows, but she has also appeared in public looking furrowed and wan."

So what? you ask.

Well, looks matter. And Caroline looks like she isn't all that excited about being a Senator. When she "endorsed herself in front of Sylvia's, there was no pleasure in her smile." Her face doesn't "light up" when she talks about becoming a U.S. Senator.

"As Senator John McCain demonstrated," says Quan, "there's nothing more disheartening than a candidate who doesn't want to win."


What do you think? Are Caroline's "looks" a problem? Is there "no pleasure in her smile"? Could it be that she really doesn't want to be a Senator and that is reflected in her facial appearance?

Or is Ms. Quan just a little batty?


Quan's article is here.

Jews attacked in Belgium over the Israeli/Hamas conflict

[Islamist protesters in Antwerp. AP photo from NRC Handelsblad]

About 22,000 Jews live in Antwerp, Belgium, one of the largest Jewish communities outside of Israel, according to Vanessa Mock of Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

There are about 30,000 Arabs that also live in this city of 470,000 people, most of whom are of the Muslim religion.

About a week ago, a group of protestors marched toward the Jewish neighborhood, a march that quickly became "a riot, with protesters attacking cars and buildings ... brandishing anti-Jewish slogans. In a separate incident, one Jewish house was attacked by arsonists. There have been other incidents in Brussels, including an attempted arson attack on a synagogue."

Antwerp is sending extra police into the Jewish area to help protect the residents. Diane Keizer, head of the Belgian Forum for Jewish Organizations, said "There have been arson attacks and some Jews have received death threats."


All of this has been "triggered by the violent conflict in the Middle East," i.e. the ongoing battle between Israel and Hamas.

Some think the anti-Jewish attacks are the work of extremist Islamists. At the same time, Muslim groups said the whole business has been blown out of proportion. Mohammed Chakar of the Federation of Moroccan Associations, said "Yes, there have been isolated incidents sparked by hooligans, which we condemn absolutely. But it's not the case that Jews and Muslims here are on a collision course. This is a village really, we live together."

But then, this: "I think that some of the harder-line Jewish organisations have blown up the scale of the problem to attract attention and to help their case."

What case? Jews are attacked in Belgium by radical Muslims because Israel responded militarily to the ongoing rocket attacks by Hamas. Isn't it obvious that the Jews need NOT make a case. The Jews in Belgium are not responsible for what is done by the state of Israel! And radical Belgian Jews did not attack the Muslim community, but the reverse!


It never ends for the Jews! Got a problem? Blame the Jews wherever they are! Kill the Jews!

And with regard to the "war" between Israel and Hamas: It would never have happened if Hamas had not sent thousands of rockets into Israel territory year after year! Israel did not attack Gaza because it likes war or wants to destroy Gaza.

Israel has not been attacking Gaza. Israel does not send suicide bombers into Gaza.

Israel attacked Gaza because the leaders of Gaza, Hamas, continue to attack Israel on a daily basis; because Hamas is dedicated to driving Israel into the sea, driven by the belief Israel has no right to exist; because Hamas believes that Jews are the scum of the earth and that all Jews must die.

The battle would end today if Hamas halted their rocket attacks against Israel.


Ms. Mock's article is here.

Palin v. Kennedy or Trash v. Class


Hey, she said it!

In another of her dithering, dorky interviews, this time with John Ziegler hosting, Sarah Palin rambled on about nasty bloggers publishing nasty stuff about her pregnancy and the birth of Trig. Anonymous bloggers were the bad guys, said Sarah.

It's tough being in the spotlight, especially when you're noted for being less than truthful every time you open your mouth.

Palin could have shut down any "controversy" pronto by simply releasing her medical records or the records of Trig's birth, but she chose not to; perhaps because she enjoyed being the center of attention and speculation. The actors and politicians credo, as we all know, is "bad publicity is better than no publicity at all."

She also complained about how her family was treated; that her family was not respected; that the Obama's were treated differently than poor little Sarah and her tribe. Not true, of course, and she's the one who the dragged the whole group, including pregnant unwed daughter and redneck future son-in-law onto center stage!

Furthermore, her unwed daughter, no longer pregnant but now with baby, and redneck future son-in-law were not, said Sarah, high school dropouts. My god, Levi was actually working toward his diploma while working illegally as an electrical apprentice on the North Slope!

The damn media never gets anything right. Except, of course, that he did "drop out" of high school. A GED, as wonderful as that maybe, is what drop-outs have to get to "graduate" high school!

Well, there's more along those lines, but where Sarah really showed her "class" was her suggestion that Caroline Kennedy will be treated with more deference than she was in her run for the VP spot, because Caroline is of a different "class."

"I've been interested," saith Sarah, "to see how Caroline Kennedy will be handled and if she will be handled with kid gloves or if she will be under a microscope. ... It's going to be interesting to see how that plays out and I think that as we watch that we will perhaps be able to prove that there is a class issue here also that was such a factor in the scrutiny of my candidacy versus, say, the scrutiny of what her candidacy might be."

Good grief, she has a hard time putting a few sentences together than make any sense!

Evidently, if she's still reading "all" the newspapers as she told Katie Couric, she doesn't comprehend what she reads or she would know that Ms. Kennedy has already been closely examined under a variety of both liberal and conservative microscopes.

Trash v. class pretty much sums it up.


Jason Linkins at the Huffington Post has an informative article on Palin's interview here.


Paving over Paradise


This is a view of an area in Central Florida that a short time ago consisted of orange groves.
We call it "paving over Paradise."


Papal Kitsch - No. 8 - The Vatican Game


This Vatican game is for when you have nothing better to do on these long, cold, lonely winter evenings. I'm not sure what it involves, but I'd hope you get a chance to burn heretics.

What with six cardinals lurking about, it actually looks like a lotta fun.

If interested, click here.

God & Tim (Tebow) win again!

[Photo from Mania.com]

It was a tough decision up there in the Pearly Gates what with both quarterbacks being christianists and "grounded in the Lord," but the call went to the guy with the bible verse scribbled on his face.

Tebow did it again, proving he is one heck of a football player.

But could he have done it without the help of his god? That's the real question.


It seems he's had the Lord's help all along. Because of a Florida law passed in 1996, Tebow, a home-schooled child, was allowed to play football for a public high school which he did not attend. The christianists have lots of power in Florida.


All that is water under the bridge, as they say. The real point of interest is Tebow's bible verse. Watching the game last night, I wondered how those Oklahoma defensive linemen felt looking up to see Tebow's ferocious face flaunting "John 3:16"? Yikes! Did they think, "Uh, oh, God's gonna get us!"

Yup, Tim changed the verse. Perhaps Tim figured for a big bowl game in which he certainly wanted his god's help, Phil. 4:13 was too prideful: "I can do all things..." So, Tim took out the "I," and scribbled a reference to another verse which stresses God's love, or lack thereof:

John 3:16 - "God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, that everyone who has faith in him may not die but have eternal life."

This verse has been the rallying cry for christianists for years, and is why they go off to convert little heathen kids in the Philippines, India, Israel, etc.

That's because they interpret it as being exclusionary; those who don't have faith are excluded from God's love and will burn forever in hellfire. But that is not a necessary or necessarily correct interpretation of the verse. In fact, the verse says nothing about the fate of those who do not have faith in God's "only Son." Furthermore, what kind of god "loves" the world but then sends most of its inhabitants to an eternal torture chamber?

We must also wonder why the verse promises that those with faith will never die, when it is obvious that everyone dies?

Notice, too, there is nothing in that verse about atonement, or Jesus' death being a propitiatory sacrifice offered to assuage our "guilt" and appease the God. Actually, the verse does not define what "faith in him" means at all.


The Gospel of John, author unknown, was written in the 2nd century by a nasty anti-Semite, steeped in the Gnostic tradition and the traditions of the Mystery Religions. The Gospel of John
ignores the more Jewish Jesus of the Synoptics and presents a mystical, heavenly being who descended from heaven to save the world.

John 3:16 is simply a summary of one more version of the Pagan Mystery religions. The same story had been told over and over again for centuries: God sent his son, often born of a virgin, most often on December 25, frequently in a cave or manger, in order to save the world, who then dies, most of the time on a cross, is buried, usually in a cave, and then is resurrected and returns to heaven. Those who have faith (learn the secrets of his truth) will find God.

That's the story told by the Gospel of John. It was an ancient and well-known story in the first century CE.


So maybe God had nothing to do with the Gators' win? Maybe Tebow and his teammates did it all by themselves with no help from the three Christian deities? Maybe he didn't need to scribble on his face?

But some people are scared to death of the Bible. It's a magic book, filled with all kinds of dire predictions and promises and fearsome gods.

Perhaps that's why Tebow wore the verse on his face; not because he thought he manipulate God into giving him "strength" to win a victory, but simply to scare the hell out of the Sooners!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Pope Benedict's take on the Gospel of John

The former Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, is playing biblical scholar and claiming the Gospel of John confirms the "historical reality" of Jesus. That, according to an article from Richard Owen, at timesonline.

Actually, Pope Benedict is just engaging in wishful thinking. He wishfully thinks that the Gospel of John is "'the passionate testimony' of a man who as a young, humble fisherman had been attracted to Jesus, had loved him as a disciple, had shared his experiences at first hand for three years, and had seen Him die on the Cross and then rise again."

He also wishfully thinks that "From this experience, which he meditated in his heart, John drew an intimate certainty - that Jesus was the Knowledge of God incarnate." Pope Benedict insists that "incarnation" was an historical reality.


Ah, if only it were so. Scholars, however, have known for years that the Gospel of John is fiction, a creative writing exercise by someone who used legends of godmen to put together a new and more extensive tale of the Jesus story as told by Matthew, Mark and Luke.

The writer of John, utilized only a fraction of the synoptic material. The rest he made up. Ninety percent of the Gospel of John does not appear in the synoptics. John gives an entirely different and quite gnostic picture of the godman, Jesus, putting long homiletical dialogues in his mouth, none of which were known to Matthew, Mark and Luke, who wrote many years before the Gospel of John was put to papyrus.

One glaring example of John's "creativity," is his three-year time span for Jesus' ministry. The synoptic gospels agree that Jesus wandered around Palestine for only a year. There are numerous other major inconsistencies and contradictions between John and the three Synoptics.


Pope Benedict may find St. John fun to read, and may wish it were all historical stuff as that would serve to further justify Roman Catholic theology and practice. But wishing does not make it so.

We get a clue in chapter 1:1-4 -

"When all things began, the Word already was. The Word dwelt with God, and what God was, the Word was. The Word, then, was with God at the beginning, and through him all things came to be; no single thing was created without him. All that came to be was alive with his life, and that life was the light of men."

No silly little Christmas story here. John doesn't want to hear anything about his Jesus being born of a woman in a cave/manger. His Jesus was the Logos, the Word, of God!

The writer of John uses motifs from the pagan mysteries and the gnostics to portray his Jesus as the "Word" of God. Freke and Gandy, in their most excellent book, The Jesus Mysteries, explain that "The concept of the Logos is completely foreign to Judaism and is entirely derived from the Pagan Mysteries. As long ago as the sixth century BCE Heraclitus set out on a journey of self-discovery and discovered the 'Logos shared by all.' ...

"The Pagan sage Epictetus preaches: 'The Logos of the philosophers doth promise us peace which God proclaimed through his Logos.' The Roman Vitruvius writes: 'Let no one think I have erred if I believe in the Logos.' Clement of Alexandria [a church father] acknowledges that: 'It may be freely granted that the Greeks received some glimmers of the divine logos,' and quotes the legendary Pagan sage Orpheus, who proclaims: 'Behold the Logos divine. Tread well the narrow path of life and gaze on Him, the world's greatest ruler, our immortal King.'"

Freke and Gandy further explain that the concept of the Logos, St. John's "word," is very old, "found in the ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts of the Third Dynasty, which were written more than 2,500 years before the Christian era!"


The Logos, or "Word," in the Gospel of John had many meanings to the ancients. Clement suggested it was "'the Idea of Ideas.' It was God's primal thought. The legendary Pagan sage Hermes Trismegistus expresses exactly the same concept. He describes the Logos--the Idea of Ideas--emerging from the Oneness of God like a word or thought."

Furthermore, the notion expressed in John's Gospel that the Word was with God and the Word was God, derives from ancient Pagan doctrines. The Son of God, the Word of God, is a personification of the Oneness of the the soul or God of the universe.

For the Pagans, however, the Logos represented "an eternal philosophical principle" and was mythically represented in various godmen down through the ages.

For Christians, as represented in John's Gospel, the Logos (now Jesus) no longer mythically embodied the principle, but actually, literally, became the incarnate representation of the Logos principle. He was, explains St. Augustine, the "Word made flesh."


All of the above was unknown to the writers of the Synoptic Gospels. The Gospel of John presents a new and mystical savior, different from the pagan godmen only in his incarnational representation. John is not writing history, but theology, taking Christianity out of its Jewish roots and moving it into the realm of the Pagan Mysteries from which it borrowed much.

So sorry, Pope Benedict. You can believe what you wish, you can wish for what you would like, but none of that makes it so.

The Gospel of John is not an historical portrait of a human being who lived and died upon this earth, but a creative theological representation of the Logos incarnated; a mythical construct that is based, not on historical reality, but on the wisdom of the ancient sages who taught that various godmen embodied mythologically, the Logos, the "word" of the one God.

On the beach - Hollywood (Florida)


A warm, day-after-Thanksgiving at Hollywood Beach, Florida.

Papal Kitsch No. 7 - Cologne


Yes, you can smell just like the Pope - musty and crusty and dank - Vatican cave-like. Well, maybe not, but you can buy The Pope's Cologne which will make you odoriferous or perhaps just plain odious.

Purchase here.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Joe the Plumber going to war ... ?

[Image from the Huffington Post]

Yes, Samuel Joseph Wurzleburger or Watsitbacher or Whirlybird or something is going off to Israel for ten whole days to play war correspondent.

He's representing a conservative website, PJTV. He's going to get the story of the regular Joe, the common man (or woman), the soldier in the trenches.

And how's he gonna write with a plunger?

Heh, heh.


You can't make this stuff up!

The anointing of Obama's "Inaugural Walkway"

Today, in Washington, D.C., three resplendent christianist wingnuts gathered to anoint the doorway through which Barack Obama will pass as he walks to the inaugural platform to be sworn in as president of the United States.

Congressman Paul Broun of Georgia, noted for his wacky wingnuttery such as saving our military from the perversity of porn, joined the right wing theocrat, Rob Schenck of Faith and Action, and the looney-tune Patrick J. Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition to anoint the doorway.

Schenck, who just can't get it through his thick skull that this is not a Christian nation, said "Oil symbolizes consecration, or setting something apart for God's use."

Obviously, he doesn't understand. He's a christianist clergy person and as such has no business setting anything or anyone involved with our government "apart for God's use."

This is a secular nation.


But Schenck and the other two christianist wingnuts did it anyway. Representative Broun, who should be recalled for his flaunting of our Constitution, preached a little sermon right there in the Capitol as to how we need to do God's will and how Obama needs to do what is "right."

Schenck dabbed his "sacred" oil on the doorposts while reading Bible passages.

Mahoney, who has been fasting and praying for Obama, read a Billy Graham inaugural prayer used some 40 years ago.

It's magic!


Maybe these clowns could put together their own sitcom, the plot focusing on three self-anointed christianist stooges who try to take over the government for God, shredding the Constitution in their wake. The name of the sitcom might be: "De-establishing the Establishment Clause for Christ."

At the end of each episode, they could sit around and howl and sacrifice chickens while reading from their holy books.

Here's the video.


The flamboyant priest problem

[Partying with Fr. Malia - by Gawker]

A brief article by AP, titled "Priest ousted for Flamboyant Partying," has been making the rounds, finding a spot at CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) and FOX News, among others.

Sounded interesting. Flamboyant, I figured, meant something kinda wild, gaudy, in-your-face stuff; leather pants, bright red bow ties, funny hats - you know, flamboyant!

The priest was probably less flamboyant than it would seem.


His name is Gregory Malia. He's of the Episcopal persuasion. He's 43 years old and currently single. In 2005, he was involved in a "bitter" divorce and is said to be estranged from his two daughters and there's also something about an assault charge in 1991.

What most defines him, though, is his hemophilia, from which he has suffered since childhood.

Thus, he is not just a priest, but the owner of NewLifeHomeCare, Inc., a company he formed in 2000, that provides medical services to people with hemophilia, Von Willebrand and other bleeding disorders.

Ordained in 2001, Malia is, in fact, merely a very part-time priest, serving as vicar of St. James Chapel in Dundaff, Pennsylvania. St. James is open 10 Sundays a year.


He is also, as reported by the New York Daily News, a "big-spending, champagne-swilling, club-hopping priest..."

And now he's out of a job. When the elders at his church found out about his escapades in the Big Apple, he was "relieved of his priestly duties" by the Right Rev. Paul Marshall, bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania.

The bishop was distraught at reports that Malia had dropped huge sums of money in New York City nightclubs. "What Father Malia is reported to have spent on a single evening would build and equip an African school or totally underwrite the homeless shelter we are building in Scranton," said the bishop. Bishop Marshall claimed Malia's lifestyle was a "scandal."


The NY Daily News tells quite a tale. "Malia is a legend in clubland, where staffers report that he routinely drops tens of thousands of dollars in a single night.

"He's known to buy magnums of Dom Perignon, which cost as much as $25,000 ... Everybody smiles when he walks in the door because in walks six figures," said one club impresario.


So that's what flamboyant means. I'll never be flamboyant!


Malia has defended himself. He has done nothing wrong. He does not live a lavish lifestyle. He takes no pay for his priestly duties. "I'm a national businessman dealing with very chronic and severe illnesses that cost huge amounts of money."

The story, said Malia, "has been blown way out of proportion and misconstrued. It's so twisted."

His nightclub activity has to do with fundraising and business. "I have business interests and there are some people who ask to meet me in club, and as a business person I'm sort of forced to be accomodating. I've never acted inappropriately."

Hmmm. Maybe he's never acted inappropriately, but certainly one does not need to meet business people in a nightclub. And when you look at the photos, the ones he's partying with do not fit a typical business person's description.


New Life Home Care has had a few problems along the way, also, such as a current $3.6 million lawsuit involving Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Last year NewLifeHomeCare was investigated by the Pennsylvania's attorney general's office, but no evidence of wrongdoing was found.


Here's the situation: A businessman (making pretty good money) is also a part-time priest in a little-bitty parish that's only open 10 Sundays a year and from which he draws no salary.

Same businessman owns an apartment in New York City because that is where he undergoes treatment for his illness.

When in the city, he parties in local nightclubs, and it seems he spends a lot of his money.

That's it. There have been no accusations of evil or sinister goings-on. No stories about drunken, sex orgies. No skimming off the collection plate.

I'm not trying to defend Malia. But I can't help be reminded of how Jesus was accused of eating and drinking with sinners and tax collectors which meant of course his accusers thought him to be a bad person.

The bishop would have probably taken away his "priesthood."


The New York Daily News story is here.

NewLifeHomeCare website here.

Party Pics by gawker.com here.

The auto bailout and the working people

Jim Hightower, in the latest issue of his newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown, issues a biting critique of congressional wingnuttery as regards the auto bailout.

"Republican lawmakers, backed by a raucous chorus of right-wing pundits and corporate lobbyists, have turned Motor City's economic woes into an excuse for launching a mendacious and pernicious assault on America's hard-working, highly-skilled, unionized working families--and on the middle class ideals that they embody."

Hightower notes that the "purple-robed princes of Citigroup, AIG, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and other bailees from The Street" were gifted a huge financial bonus by Secretary Paulson, who "unilaterally, secretly, and illegally nullified a federal law because it was in the way of his unauthorized plan to help big banks take over smaller ones. Hank's autocratic decree allows banks to use off-shore tax dodges that Congress banned 23 years ago. This executive maneuver provides an under-the-table tax subsidy for predatory banks wanting public financing to absorb their rivals--a subsidy that will cost our national treasury upwards of $140 billion even as it reduces bank competition."

And all this was done without hardly a murmur from those we elect to protect us from these greedy and degenerate nasties!

Isn't unfettered capitalism wunnerful?


But, when it came to Detroit, out elected poohbahs sang a different tune!

"Right-wing senators from the South and West were suddenly baring claws and hissing furiously that to get aid these supplicants had to restructure their businesses in accordance with government dictates. These congressional one-time free-market holy rollers made a demand that was specific and blunt: Whack your unions."

Hightower is referring to Bob Corker, a multimillionaire from Tennessee, Jim DeMint, an unredeemed clown from South Carolina, and John Kyl, McCain's buddy from Arizona. In fact, Kyl grabbed onto the myth perpetrated by the right that Detroit was going down the tubes because of those terrible unions. Why, union workers in the auto plants make $73 a hour, said the man from Arizona who suffers from sand on the brain.

Not so. As Hightower notes, "the $73 figure is a hoax. The right-wing contrived it by lumping in all of the health-care and pension costs of retirees, plus ... training costs and ... payroll taxes that the companies owe."

The truth is much different: "...the base wage of a veteran UAW member in a Big Three auto company is about $29 per hour, compared to $26 per hour for a non-union worker in Toyota's Kentucky factory."

Hightower has more. "In fact, it's not wages that burden the auto companies--it's the skyrocketing cost of health care in America. Japanese, Korean, European, and other carmakers don't pay this cost because their countries have national health care for all, financed by taxpayers."

And isn't it strange, asks Jim, that none of these self-righteous right-wingers support universal health care in our country, "which would drastically improve the global competitiveness of all of our industries"?

One more thing. These "union-busting senators don't mention" that "the share of a made-in-Detroit car's price tag that goes to cover all labor costs" is 10%! Labor, as Hightower notes, is not a burden so much as it is an asset, for "unionized workers bring award-winning productivity to the industry."

It isn't the fault of the workers that Detroit cars don't sell. The blame rests solely on the heads of those who fly corporate jets when they're not drinking coffee and complaining about the "bad" times in their corporate boardrooms: Rick Wagoner of GM; Alan Mulally of Ford, and Bob Nardelli of Chrysler.

Furthermore, as Hightower explicates, "90% of what we consumers pay for cars goes to bankers, bondholders, investors, executives, suppliers, dealers, and a myriad of others who are part and parcel of every vehicle we drive.

"The senators could force UAW members to work for free, but that would not begin to solve the industry's financial problems."


Once again, when it comes to our right-wing congress people, ideology and power trump common sense and true concern for the nation every time!


Hightower has much more to say and you can read it all here.

Christian Anti-Defamation Commission attacks Obama

[Image of the Rev. Don Hamer]

Normal people might think that the title, "Christian Anti-Defamation Commission," would have something to do with defending "Christians" or "Christianity" from being defamed by nasty atheists and such.

Actually, no. At the beginning of this new year, America's CADC has it shorts in a knot about the "Christianity" of President-elect Barack Obama. The CADC has launched a viral attack on Obama's Christian faith or what they perceive as the lack thereof.

This is curious, for Obama has not "defamed" Christians or their faith; in fact, Obama is adamant in his Christian stance.


Not good enough for the goofballs at the CADC!

In seven videos, CADC explains why Barack Obama is not a Christian. The overall theme is "Barack Obama, who claims to be a Christian, is not a Christian, by any biblical or historic measure." Here's why:

Video #1 - Obama believes there are many paths to heaven. Omigod! Can you imagine? Obama thinks that maybe there is a god big enough to allow people through the Pearly Gates even though they don't dot every "i" and cross every "t" the way the CADC thinks they should?

Here's the problem: Obama says he believes "there are many paths to the same place." Then he turns right around and says, "Jesus is the only way for me."

And that, says the CADC, is "a stunning example of subtle, diabolical deceit."

Stunning, diabolical!

Well, to hell with you, Obama!


Video #2 - Obama denies the authority of the Bible. Omigod, again! Obama seems to be of the mind that everything in the Bible is not literally true, and that there might be errors of fact in those 66 books.

Oh, and Obama, "In a very cynical way ... twists selective scriptures to advance non-Biblical lifestyles using the golden rule supporting homosexual sodomy."

Ah...there it is. Obama is a threat to the CADC homophobic agenda!


Video #3 - Obama supports homosexuality. Omigod, again! In fact, he "is an unabashed supporter of special privileges for homosexuals, a stand that flies in the face of the biblical prohibition on homosexual sodomy." Yup. The CADC has flies in their face!


Video #4 - Obama supports abortion. Omigod, once more! And he's going to sign the Freedom of Choice Act. The CADC, consisting of people who lie for a living, then pervert Obama's record on abortion by claiming he voted four times "against bills that prevented the killing of infants that are born alive."

That is not true, and the goddamned CADC knows it!


Video #5 - Obama affirms Muslim Prayer. Well, this is just silly.


Video #6 - Obama is associated with Black Liberation Theology. Guilt by association? Oh, and you remember all those passages in the gospels where Jesus warned that anyone associated with Black Liberation Theology would have a special place in hell!

Racism? You betcha!


Video #7 - Obama has no Bona Fide Christian testimony. Who decides what is "bona fide?" The CADC, of course.


All of this is ridiculous nonsense, and a transparent attempt at character assassination. If there is any group or any person whose Christianity might be challenged it's the creeps that run this outfit, like Gary Cass or the clown that narrated the videos, Don Hamer.

These are very sick people, and they represent a christianist right that's had too much power in our country, and continues to exercise too much power.

Maybe if "real" Christians, and other people of conscience and goodwill, mock the CADC wingnuts long and hard enough, they will slink off to their dark and dirty dungeons and sink into their own slime.

Or they could just go get a real job.


If you desire to watch the videos, click here. More here.

Photo - The calm before the storm


Central Florida - January 4, 2009
Photo by Mrs. Jacob

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Jeb won't run for U.S. Senator

Jeb Bush has been emailing his friends and supporters to inform them he will not be a candidate for the U.S. Senate when Mel Martinez retires.

This decision is surprising in that Jeb has been tossing out hints to certain power brokers that he just might try to fool the citizens of Florida into putting him on the public dole a third time.

So maybe there is a benevolent deity?

Jeb's father, however, George H.W., who spawned the Bush brothers, says he hopes that Jeb, some day, can be prezident of the U.S. As if he and his idiot son George W. haven't done enough damage!

Watch the video.

Ann Coulter banned for life?

According to the Drudge Report, NBC has banned Ann Coulter for life.

Click here.

Maybe there is a god?

And here, in a lighter vein, Al Franken and Ann Coulter, in 2007. Al makes Ann look like the fool she is!

Christian Anti-Defamation Commission & the "war" on Christmas

[Image of Gary Cass borrowed from southern4life blog]

Ah, the poor christianists in our country. They are sorely abused, challenged, chastised, made to feel inferior, unable to promote their religion, beat up by atheists, agnostics and other weird religious groups.

One wonders why this should be, seeing as how the majority of people in the United States lay claim to some form of Christianity. As PZ Myers notes at Pharyngula, you can't even get elected in this fair land without espousing a belief in God, and being a Christian believer just makes attaining a place on the public dole that much easier.

Nevertheless, Christians are under seige and we can be very glad there is such a thing as the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission! God can't help these poor christianists, so it's about time they took the situation in hand and did something about it. Rejoice in the fact that the CADC is on top of things and busy protecting Christians from their anti-Christians neighbors!


One example as to how Christians are persecuted, according to Dr. Gary Cass, head poohbah of the CADC, is the war that secularists and atheists and mainline church-goers wage on Christian Christmas celebrations.

Cass comments "The twin enemies of Christmas, secular humanism and political correctness, have had a very corrosive influence on Christmas this year."

What in the world does that mean? Were any Christians anywhere in the United States not allowed to celebrate Christmas according to the tenets of their faith? Did secular humanists burst into churches on Christmas Eve and disrupt the services? Was Santa Claus outlawed from sliding down the chimney anywhere in the U.S. where they have chimneys?

I'm mocking Mr. Cass.


The truth is that Cass has looked into the future and doesn't like what he sees. "Radical atheist groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation ... have gone on the offense." Yup. These nasties have actually placed signs and billboards around the country "attacking faith in general and Christian faith in particular." Dontcha know only Christians are allowed to put up signs advocating their beliefs?

It's almost too much to bear: "While FFRF is free to express their benighted perspective," whines Cass, "why do they feel they have to do it in the midst of the Christmas season?" They don't put up signs during Ramadan or during Jewish holidays. "Their intentions appear to be only anti-Christian."

Omigod.


Cass whines on about the bus signs in Washington, D.C. that asked "Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake." I guess he thinks people should only be good when and if a deity specifically instructs them to do so.

More whining, this time about "political correctness." There were just too many big retail stores that refused to mention Christmas in their advertising. Rather, they used the phrase "Happy Holidays" merely to avoid offending some people. Yikes!

And the schools! My goodness for goodness sake, some schools took the name "Jesus" out of Christmas assignments, and the University of North Carolina took down their Xmas trees because some folks complained about them.


'Tis a terrible problem, this persecution of Christians. Next thing you know some atheist SOB will want to throw 'em to the lions; right here in the US of A where trust in god is part of our money.

Cass suggests good Christian folks can help to mitigate the damage done by the atheists, agnostics, leftists, liberals, mainline Christians and just plain pagans by reading the Christmas story in Luke 1 & 2 to their families.

Why not read the Xmas story in Mark, or John, or even Matthew? Oops, that's right. There is no Xmas story in those Gospels! Well, except for Matthew. But his story conflicts with Luke's! Damn.

And go to church. Lock the doors behind you, though, just in case some leftist Christmas-hater walks by and shouts "Happy Holidays" through the portal!

Then run around wishing everyone a "Merry Christmas."

Try to smile!

Heh. Heh.

Contraception, a mortal sin, pollutes the environment

[Image from qassia.com]

Yup. Those little pills that women take to avoid unwanted pregnancies, are bad, bad, bad! That's according to the Roman Catholic poohbah, Pedro Jose Maria Simon Castellvi, president of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations.

I've a question for women "on the pill": Don't you feel just terrible? You're committing a mortal sin which means if you die before you confess said sin to the appropriate priestly authority, you'll spend eternity burning in hell. But not only that, you are also polluting the environment!

And that pollution causes male infertility!

Ye gods!

Yahoo News reports that Pedro Jose Maria Simon Castellvi says "We have sufficient evidence to state that a non-negligible cause of male infertility in the West is the environmental pollution caused by the pill."

"Non-negligible?"

How can that be? Pedro tells us that nasty little pill "has for some years had devastating effects on the environment by releasing tonnes of hormones into nature" via female urine.

Hey, that's what he said!


A number of organizations have disputed Pedro's nonsense.


It all has to do, of course, with the Vatican's stubborn insistence that God wants as many unwanted babies in the world as possible, so nobody can use birth control devices of any kind and the pill is one of the worst because it's so sneaky and Catholic women can indulge without their neighbors or their parish priest knowing!

Pope Benedict XVI hisself said back in October that contraception "means negating the truth of conjugal love, with which the divine gift (of life) is communicated."

Heh. Heh.

How the hell would this elderly and prostatic celibate gentleman have a goddamn clue about conjugal love?

The really funny part is that a majority of Roman Catholic women have simply ignored all papal pronouncements about contraception since contraception began!


Polluting the environment! What won't these clerical clowns think of next?


Link to Yahoo article here.

h/t to Freethinker

Though Christians say torture OK, Panetta says "no" to torture, "yes" to rule of law

[Image of Leon Panetta from Wikimedia]

According to every single poll I have seen in the past 50 years, a majority of people in the U.S. call themselves Christians of one stripe or another.

More recently, polls suggest a growing number of American Christians identify with the various fundamentalist or so-called "evangelical" movements. These are the "born againers," who are convinced that their God has great concern for the minutia of their lives, and, of all the nations in the world, is most supportive of the United States. The reason for God's prejudice toward our country, they say, is that our Founding Fathers were fundamentally, if not fundamentalist, Christians who conceived and structured the United States on the same biblical principles which fundy Christians believe crucial to survival today.

Over the past eight years, many leaders in our government have been born-again Christians. The most important of these is George W. Bush, who claims to have personally accepted Jesus into his heart, and has referred numerous times to his spiritual life: Bush not only claims to read the Bible daily, he has also heard the voice of God directing him to take certain actions.


George W. Bush is also a torturer. A number of the people George W. Bush placed in lofty government positions agree that torture is a valuable method of gaining information from our enemies. Bush's lawyers have taken torturous legal paths to justify the use of torture.

As incredible as it sounds, torture has been made acceptable under the Bush adminstration.


Things are going to change, however. Leon E. Panetta, Obama's choice to head up the CIA, has written a brief article in the Washington Monthly about torture and the rule of law.

Panetta begins by noting that the latest polls indicate "two-thirds of the American public believes that torturing suspected terrorists to gain important information is justified in some circumstances."

Two-thirds! To put it another way: most Christians in the United States believe torture to be a positive, not a negative practice; that torture, in some instances, is not only appropriate and legal, but the right thing to do.


"How," asks Panetta, "did we transform from champions of human dignity and individual rights into a nation of armchair torturers? One word: fear.

"Fear is blinding, hateful, and vengeful. It makes the end justify the means. And why not? If torture can stop the next terrorist attack, the next suicide bomber, then what's wrong with a little waterboarding or electric shock?"


What Panetta writes next should be required reading for all American citizens: "The simple answer is the rule of law. Our Constitution defines the rules that guide our nation. It was drafted by those who looked around the world of the eighteenth century and saw persecution, torture, and other crimes against humanity and believed that America could be better than that. This new nation would recognize that every individual has an inherent right to personal dignity, to justice, to freedom from cruel and unusual punishment."

These are the values that have defined the United States. "We are sworn to govern by rule of law, not by brute force."

And, most importantly for our times, Panetta says "We cannot simply suspend these beliefs in the name of national security."


To all those Christians fooled by the wankers of the religious right, this nation is not "under God" but under the Constitution.

And that is of critical importance! You'd be hard-pressed to find two people who agree on what God is, or what God requires and you'd be even harder-pressed to find two people to agree on anything in the Bible. People make the Bible say just about anything to to justify whatever actions they wish to take. You can even find passages that justify torture, and slavery and murder!

When the majority of Christians in our land come to believe that torture is OK, we know that religious belief is not only irrelevant to the greatness of America but is inimical to that greatness!


The United States of America lives by the rule of law as specified in our Constitution. While our Founding Fathers were primarily deists and often hostile to organized religion, they did on occasion nod to God, which would be expected given the times in which they lived.

They believed, however, primarily in the rule of law, as that rule evolved down through the centuries following the signing of the Magna Carta by King John in 1215. They feared religion and the corruption of government by religion and religious people. That is why there is no reference in our Constitution or the Bill of Rights to God. There is no statement in our founding documents about "depending" on God or any deity.


Many christianists today pronounce, as if it were a fact, that non-religious people have no basis for morality or ethics. The falseness of this has been proven over and over again. In fact, the opposite is too often true: it is the religious who are poverty stricken, morally and ethically. Belief guarantees nothing and often leads people to horrific actions based upon what they perceive their god desires.

That is why we should not be surprised that a majority of Christians in this country - people who claim to follow the Prince of Peace - find it possible to justify and support the torture of other human beings.

And that is why, we as a country, must never forget that our foundation does not rest on trust in a god, but on trust in our Constitution and our Bill of Rights.

Too many people have already experienced the hell that derives from our leaders' "trust" in their god.

It's time to get back to trusting the rule of law as laid out in our founding documents.


h/t to Andrew Sullivan

Papal Kitsch No. 6


It's soap on a rope you dope - of the Pope! Buy yours here.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Call to Dunkirk - Get your kids out of public schools!




For some time the christianist wingnuts on the right have pushed Christians to remove their children from the public schools.

A leader in this movement as been one of the chief christianist wingnuts, James Dobson, of Focus on the Family. Dobson's position is essentially the same as all the rest of the wingnuts and derives from 1) the notion that public schools should mirror the fundamentalist christianist mindset, and 2) extreme homophobia.

Another, perhaps more important leader in the effort to get "Christian" kids out of public schools is a fruitcake by name of E. Roy Moore, who is the "founder and director of the Exodus Mandate Project."

Moore is "launching" what some claim is "a new effort highlighting the need for Christians to exit the system [of public schools]." While it isn't a "new" effort at all, but simply part and parcel of continuing christianist attempts to destroy the public schools, the Exodus Mandate is pushing a video named "The Call to Dunkirk," which is the baby of one Dr. Bruce Shortt, the Rev. Voddie Baucham, and E. Roy Moore.

This video, says Moore, is "a special emergency effort to try to get other ministries, churches, pastors, and the major Christian right and pro-family movement to join with us and the other K-12 home-school ministries in rescuing the children from the public schools during the year 2009."

Moore is a retired Army chaplain, thus the military title. Dunkirk was a WWII disaster, but some 300,000 of the Allied forces at Dunkirk were assisted in escaping the clutches of the Nazis by local residents.

Get it? The public schools are a disaster, a Dunkirk. With your help, we can help our children survive by pulling them out of harm's way - the public schools.


Dr. Bruce Shortt is one of the strongmen of this effort. Shortt got a degree from Harvard Law, and then a Ph.D. from Stanford. Which just goes to show if you educate a fool, you've got a real problem - you end up with a really smart fool.

Shortt, Moore and others of their ilk find justification for their insanity in the work of Marlin Maddoux, a man largely responsible for Christian talk radio and a conspiracy theory which begs any form of rationality.

In a WorldNetDaily article, Shortt discusses Maddoux's book, Public Education Against America: the Hidden Agenda, revealing the massive mental breakdown that is the mind of Maddoux, and because he is as sick as Maddoux, praises him for his paranoid delusions.

Maddoux believed that our public schools were destroying our country. Public education is "a cauldron of toxic pathologies," and our government school system can best be summarized as "metastasizing pathologies."

How did he come to such conclusions. Well, our current system is one of "cultural Marxism," which derived from "an obscure band of German Marxists known as the 'Frankfurt School.'" These bad people began coming to this country with their pathologies in 1933 and they "all ... adhered to a form of Marxism developed by an Italian named Antonio Gramsci."

What does that have to do with anything, you ask?

Gramsci was the founder of the Italian Communist Party and became convinced that the West could not be beaten military or economically -- the Christendom of the West was just too strong. So "the only way," argued Gramsci, "was moral subversion through destroying the West's values, obliterating its knowledge of its own history, and destroying its Christian spiritual foundation."

Thus, when the German Marxists arrived in the good ol' US of A, "they almost immediately began drawing upon Gramsci's principles for 'deconstructing' American culture. ... the objective was to de-legitimize such pillars of American culture as Christianity, capitalism, the family, sexual restraint and patriotism."

Boy, they were good, too. They got jobs in "colleges, universities and other institutions where they were able to use their positions to influence generation after generation of students. As their influence on campus grew ... they consistently pursued 'a policy of intimidation, censorship, and slander against anyone opposing their agenda for America.'"

The result: "Today, Cultural Marxism is virtually the norm on most campuses."


The only solution, therefore, is to home school your children!
(Or send them to christianist wingnut non-educational institutions).

Of course it is.

I have attended four American universities and have obtained degrees from two of them including a degree in American History. I have also attended other graduate schools, earning yet another degree.

For eleven years, I taught American history in the public schools. My wife spent her working life as a teacher in the public schools.

Let me be clear:

Everything you've just read from Shortt/Maddoux about "cultural Marxism," is unmitigated bullshit!



These people are insane! They are also anti-Christian, anti-God, anti-American, and anti-just about everything else of any value in our society. They are destroyers, not builders. They are liars who know not the truth. They spend their lives hating, not loving. Today, they hate gays, Mormons, liberals, Democrats, free-thinkers, agnostics, mainstream Christians, atheists. They hate anyone who thinks for himself or herself. They hate all who disagree with them.

The best thing they could do for this country is pack up and leave for a deserted island where they could indoctrinate their precious children with all the hate that seethes in their hearts. At least we wouldn't have to listen to their nonsense and put up with their viciousness any more.


Shortt's entire article is here.

You'll find the Exodus Mandate Project here.

For another point of view, click here.

Vatican tells us what's new in sin

[Image from Vatican.va/news_services]

Isn't it wonderful that we have an international organization with a direct pipeline to the Almighty? The Roman Catholic Church, on more or less regular occasions, receives directives from on high to relay to the rest of us about what is and what isn't "sin."

Complicating the matter, however, is that God has told the Vatican impresarios there are two types of sin: venial and mortal. Venial sins are relatively minor, like telling a white lie. No biggie. Mortal sins, though, carry eternal weight. Unconfessed, these can send you to an eternity of hellfire.

Somewhere along about the 6th century C.E., a pope named Gregory defined what have become known as the Seven Deadly Sins. You won't find a list of these in the Bible, but nevertheless, they are bad. They are:

Lust
Gluttony
Greed
Sloth
Wrath
Envy
Pride

They are not only bad but they are pervasive. Can you name one single person you've known who has not committed all of them at some point in his/her life? Actually, when you think about it, when you put them all together, they sort of define the Vatican hierarchy.


Not only so, but the RC Church has traditionally also listed the following as mortal sins:

Murder
Contraception
Abortion
Perjury
Adultery



Now, however, having just received a communique from god herself, the Vatican says that while those sins are still "deadly," there are some other things we'd better be concerned about if we care at all for our immortal souls.

Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti, the Vatican poohbah who heads up the Apostolic Penitentiary and who thus speaks for the pope and other high and mighty prelates, claims god said that engaging in the following will leave one with hell to pay:

Drug dealing
Being "obscenely" rich
Polluting the environment
Genetic engineering
Abortion (again)
Pedophilia
Causing social injustice

Girotto wants us to know the Church considers the Seven Deadlies as "individual matters," but that these new "sins" have "social resonance." [That makes no sense when you think about it! The Seven Deadlies can and usually do sure as hell lead to "social resonance"!]

"You offend God not only by stealing, blaspheming or coveting your neighbor's wife," warns Girotti, "but also by ruining the environment, carrying out morally debatable scientific experiments, or allowing genetic manipulations which alter DNA or compromise embryos."

Furthermore, you put your mortal soul in danger by dealing in drugs, causing people to be poor, or having too damn much money.


Abortion continues to play its part as a really big sin. And Girotti noted that the Vatican was offended by whatever damages "the dignity and rights of women." That's just too funny, coming from an old dress-wearing celibate who claims his god won't allow women to be priests!

Oh, and the Church doesn't like pedophilia, in spite of the fact a fair percentage of its clergy have practiced it. Of course, the "media" has "blown up" the whole pedophilia scandal "to discredit the Church," says Girotti.

Of course.


I just think it wonderful that we are blessed with an institution which speaks for God and thus is able to tell the rest of us what is right and what is wrong. If only the media wouldn't keep confusing the issue by reporting on the evil that the Church and its priests commit!

Now, I just need to find a way to quit being "obscenely rich." Maybe just plain obscene is OK?

Papal Kitsch No. 5 - Caganer


If you have a taste for this sort of thing and wish to purchase the caganer, click here.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Central Florida - January 4, 2009

It was a beautiful evening, calm and warm.

Palin perversity goes on and on

[Photo from lalate]

The following is from an article by Sean Cockerham at the Anchorage Daily News.

Sherry Johnston, mother of Levi Johnston the father of Sarah Palin's daughter's baby, was under investigation while Sarah Palin was running for vice president on the Republican ticket.

Sherry Johnston was arrested on December 18 "on charges of selling the prescription painkiller OxyContin."

Now, according to "A Mat-Su drug investigator and the union representing Alaska State Troopers," there was "political meddling in the Sherry Johnston drug case, including a delay in serving the search warrant because of the November election."

Well, hell, it wouldn't look good if the mother of Sarah's daughter's soon-to-be husband was arrested and thrown in jail as a drug dealer. Right?


But, Col. Audie Holloway, the director of the Alaska State Troopers, and Joe Masters, the Alaska Public Safety Commissioner, "vigorously dispute that there was anything irregular in how this case was handled."

They may be right. But I'll always remember my days in the Navy when we expected a visit from some high and mighty poohbah. Everything was scrubbed down and everything was in perfect order and all the faults and cracks were hidden away. The high and mighty poohbah would come and look and like what he saw and go back to whatever Navy heaven from whence he came and write a report that had absolutely no relationship to reality!

So, I'm not sure if two of Alaska's head honchos have a clue.


Furthermore, the troopers' drug investigator, sent an e-mail to members of the Public Safety Employees Association saying that political meddling interfered with the investigation: "It was not allowed to progress in a normal fashion, the search warrant service WAS delayed because of the pending election and the Mat Su Drug Unit and the case officer were not the ones calling the shots."

Uh, oh.


Mr. Cockerham has lots more stuff to say and I must admit this appears to be another instance of Ms. Sarah Palin and/or her office abusing her powers as the governor of Alaska. Sometimes, as John F. Kennedy said, when there's smoke there's a smoke-making machine. Othertimes, however, there really is a fire.

Methinks we're talking fire here.

Oh, wait. Sources say she didn't know anything about the ongoing investigation. And if you believe that...


Read all of Mr. Cockerham's article here.

The National Intelligence Council and the Global Future

[Image from National Geophysical Data Center]

Richard Weitz, in an article for World Politics Review titled "Global Insights: Charting the Global Future," discusses a National Intelligence Council report released about a month and a half ago.

The report is called "Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World."

Weitz notes that those involved in this report do not attempt to predict the future, or suggest a "preferred vision of the future," but "Instead, they aspire to describe the key driving factors that will influence international developments during the next two decades."

But, the NIC analysts "clearly seek to help shape the future rather than simply describe it ... [and] hope to encourage U.S. and foreign policymakers to intervene in ways that promote the most benign outcomes and avoid the most adverse scenarios."


In this particular NIC report, the fourth they have published, the analysts "identify globalization, demographics, the rise of new powers, the decay of international institutions, climate change, and the geopolitics of energy as some of the most important drivers of international change."

One important trend identified is "the growth of 'state capitalism.'" Instead of following the "dominant Western liberal model of development, which seeks to constrain the government's role in economic policy ... the state capitalist paradigm allocates a wide role for government intervention to promote national economic development."

We have already seen this model at work in the US as our economic institutions have been taken over by the government in the wake of their crashing under the unregulated weight of greed and avarice.

The kicker is that for the most part, countries that practice state capitalism tend to be of a totalitarian nature. That, too, we have seen here as the administration of George W. Bush has moved the US closer to a totalitarian state.


Secondly, this NIC report expects that relative to the US, "China, India, and perhaps Russia or other countries" will gain strength due to "ongoing globalization, the diffusion of military technologies, 'an historic shift of relative wealth and economic power from West to East,' and other factors."


Ironically, says Weitz, the NIC report suggests that, as the globe undergoes a variety of power transitions, other countries might continue to look to the US for leadership "to balance threatening great powers, curb terrorism and WMD proliferation, and lead efforts to manage global problems like climate change."

The reason for this is that a "diffusion of power among individual national governments" is expected and nongovernmental organizations will not be able to carry the load. This will lead to a "global governance deficit," which will be addressed by multiple entities:

"Current trends suggest that global governance in 2025 will be a patchwork of overlapping, often ad hoc and fragmented efforts, which shifting coalitions of member nations, international organizations, social movements, NGOs [nongovernmental organizations], philanthropic foundations, and companies."


All of the above portray an "unstructured multilateral world ... bound to be more complex and probably more problematic."

It is possible that "three 'quasi-blocs'" will emerge "in Europe, East Asia, and North America, which would provide the basis for regionally-centered financial and trade arrangements that might extend into the security realm.

But the NIC is worried, "particularly about possible resource conflicts among states, a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, and the heightened prospects of adverse 'discontinuities, shocks, and surprises.'"

We should all be worried, for in fact we see those things happening now: the war in Iraq was a "resource conflict": the Bushites wanted Iraq's oil, or at the least wanted to ensure it didn't fall into the "wrong" hands. A Middle East nuclear arms race is incipient. And much of what we've experienced in the past eight years comes under the umbrella of "adverse 'discontinuities, shocks, and surprises.'"


The report ends with the hope that good leaders will be able to mitigate the worst scenarios. That hope grows as Bush and his cronies move out to pasture taking their stupendous incompetence and ideological idiocy with them.

The NIC says "Bad outcomes are not inevitable." And as Mr. Weitz says, that "should reassure the Obama team, many of whose expected members have both offered similar assessments of global trends as the NIC and suggested ways to manage them."


There's much more to Weitz's article. Click here.