Friday, April 29, 2005

Bush was wired for his press conference

Check out the video at Crooks and Liars

William W. Baker, has ties to Neo- Nazi's but

is still able to work with Reverend Robert H. Schuller .

William W. Baker appeared three times as a guest lecturer at a Crystal Cathedral pastors’ conference on Jan. 29 and 30. Now head of Christians and Muslims for Peace (CAMP), Baker was chairman of the neo-Nazi Populist Party in 1984 and organized its national convention that year. The Populist Party was established and directed by Willis Carto, head of the now-defunct Liberty Lobby. The dean of American neo-Nazi politics, Carto also founded the Costa Mesa-based Institute for Historical Review, a group whose central purpose is Holocaust denial.

evidence supplied by the Anti-Defamation League shows that Baker delivered a 1983 speech to the racist Christian Patriot Defense League in Licking, Missouri, in which he made several references to Carto’s neo-Nazi newspaper, Spotlight. A 23-page transcript of that rambling speech reveals a number of anti-Semitic remarks, including Baker’s reference to Reverend Jerry Falwell as "Jerry Jewry." (Falwell is known to be friendly to Jews.) In the same speech, Baker described his disgust at traveling to New York City: "God help me. Why? ’Cause the first people I meet when I get off the plane are pushy, belligerent American Jews."

The more you find out, the more disgusted you become.

Friday's places to visit, just a click away

Our first stop is the Columbia Journalism Review and their story Stations Of The Cross, on How evangelical Christians are creating an alternative universe of faith-based news.

From DAILY DELAY a quick note about a his $784.00 a day meal bill on vacation.

Christian Democrats, in an older post I just found, asks Did the Nazi's Separate Church and State?.. hint, the answer is no.

A Cartoon helps us understand faith, at least from the Republican political side of things.

Dominionists are the focus of Local Tint (and a past effort on my part), check tint out.

A quick look at Bush's Proposed Social Security Cuts is presented by Eschaton. I told you there would be cuts, and these look nasty.

And from the office of Sen. B. Boxer (D-Ca) a look at the "Galveston Option' and how it compares to the current Social Security program.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Just darn funny

Military Drill doesn't work out as planned.

A video

So long Shakespeare, Bye Bye Tennessee Williams

"Out, damn'd gays! out, I say!"

Allen said that if his bill passes, novels with gay protagonists and college textbooks that suggest homosexuality is natural would have to be removed from library shelves and destroyed.

"I guess we dig a big hole and dump them in and bury them," he said.

So, a return to the Dark ages is the goal. Well, at least the goal is now clear.

No doubt there is some bight eyed South Carolina politician who has already called over to Montgomery to get the details of this bill, so we can start our devolution. You have to wonder if the works of Da Vinci and Michelangelo are to be included in this ban, or the next one?

I, swear, some of this stuff feels like it comes straight from 'The Handmaind's Tale'.

A good question about the filibuster vote.

I overheard this yesterday, and it interested me.

Why are the Senate Republicans only trying to change the filibuster rule for Judicial appointments?

What was most interesting was part two of the question

It seems that the Republicans are trying to remove the power of the filibuster from what may be the most important job they do.

The Senate handles a number of items, Bills, Appoints as ambassadors, Department positions, almost countless items. Any member of the body can currently filibuster any item brought to the floor. This is an important tool that is used when a member representing a minority opinion feels he needs to slow down or stop the action of the majority. The Republican leadership has tried to reassure us that they don't want to change much. We still have the Filibuster, just not on Judicial appointments.

Why just for judicial appointments?

Everything else the Senate does is either an appointment for a few years at most, or can be changed by a writing new law. Appointments to the bench are for life, and you could argue the most important thing the Senate does.

This is an effort to get extremist in place for decades. A law can be changed as soon as a few new Senators are voted in, Administration officials come and go, a Judge is forever.

That is why the Republicans are willing to let the filibuster remain for everything else, but not Judges.

Judges are forever, and they want to stack the bench with as many radical right wing jurists as they can in the next 3 1/2 years.

For more reading on this, please visit:

Bats Left, Throws Right

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Words of love from the Religious Right, Part 1

In what will be a continuing but only occasional look at the words of various leaders in the movement to re-make America into Christ's image.

Out first guest, Randall Terry, Church Leader, Family Man, and Spokesperson for the Schindlers.

Just a couple of examples of his love and charity.

I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good . . . Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a biblical duty, we are called by God to conquer this country. We don't want equal time. We don't want pluralism. Our goal must be simple. We must have a Christian nation built on God's law, on the ten Commandments. No apologies.

and this

When I, or people like me, are running the country, you'd better flee, because we will find you, we will try you, and we'll execute you. I mean every word of it. I will make it part of my mission to see to it that they are tried and executed . . . There is going to be war, [and Christians may be called to] take up the sword to overthrow the tyrannical regime that oppresses them.

Social Security, a few ideas.

There are a couple of points about the current Social Security issue that should be beyond debate.

1. Something has to be done. The Social Security Board of Trustees project a shortfall in funding for the program starting in 2041. Their numbers should be respected, and it is reasonable to assume that within thirty to forty years this will happen if we do nothing. The projected 75 year shortfall is about 4 trillion dollars.

This does not mean social security is 'bankrupt' as out President keeps claiming, it means that IF we do nothing we will start to see a short fall. To meet the target, we would need to set aside an additional 54 Billion dollars a year, starting right now. For perspective, that is much less than we are spending on the war in Iraq this year.

2. Presidents Bush's only proposal to date is to carve out private accounts. This plan would do nothing to address the current shortfall, NOTHING. In addition is would cost an extra 1 to 2 trillion dollars. He refuses to mention any other plans, but VP Dick Cheney has admitted 'other things' would have to be done.

I have no doubt that this is where the benefit cuts come in.

We have to find a viable compromise for the system, and I have a starting point that I would love to see calculated.

1. Remove the wage cap on tax collection for social security, this alone could add 40 billion a year to the program.

2. Raise the retirement age by 1 year.

3. Change the way that benefit increases are calculated. The bottom 50% will still be indexed on Wages, the top 25% indexed on prices. The 51-75% group will get the increased at the average of the 2 other sets of numbers.

4. Allow add on private accounts.

Run the numbers and see where we stand. We may have a fix in place, without having to kill the system to 'save it'. However, I suspect that killing the system is the true goal of many who are pushing for change.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Syria finishes pull out of troops from Lebanon

This is a very positive step in the re-emergence of Lebanon as an independent state. Syria first moved troops into Lebanon in 1976 as peace keepers in the Civil War that started in 1975. This action was supported by the US, and was part of the plan to stabilize the nation, but that was 29 years ago.

The removal of the current force, and intelligence infrastructure, was seen as a vital step for Lebanon to become truly independent. Syria was not shy about inserting itself into Lebanon's domestic and international politics. Maj. Gen. Ghazi Kanaan, a one time head of Syrian intelligence, was able to order a meeting with any official of the government of Lebanon, and that official was sure to be there on time, and ready to listen. This should have been expected, it is generally felt that with an army of up to 40,000 men from another nation parked inside it's borders, Lebanon couldn't be truly free.

It is wonderful that this is happening at last and sad that it has taken 30 years for it to happen. Syria's efforts did aid in the stabilization of the country during the Civil war, and blunted Israel's occupation of the south of the nation. Syrians died in the effort to secure the nation, and this should not be forgotten, but it was time to go home.

This also raises a few questions about Iraq. Can they be truly free with 200,000 foreign troops in their nation? Was Rumsfeld's advice during his last visit just advice, or instructions? And maybe most importantly, will we still be in Iraq 25 years from now?

Monday, April 25, 2005

Shocking news from Iraq

No WMD were found

The CIA's top weapons inspector in Iraq, Charles Duelfer, said Monday that the hunt for weapons of mass destruction has gone "as far as feasible" and has found nothing

well, maybe not that shocking.

It is interesting to note that in a new poll about half of those interviewed now think the administration lied about this to gain approval for the war. Still, I don't see any rush to hold anyone accountable for this gross misstatement of fact that has led to the death of over a hundred thousand people.

Choices and courage

A look at Joseph Ratzinger from Body and Soul.

Some locals in Traunstein, like Elizabeth Lohner, 84, whose brother-in-law was sent to Dachau as a conscientious objector, dismiss such suggestions. It was possible to resist, and those people set an example for others, she said. The Ratzingers were young and had made a different choice.

Some are obsessed with what others are doing

Normally this is of little harm. The desire to gossip, to get the dirt on friends and neighbors, isn't new. Reading the latest People magazine to catch up on the lives of the beautiful people in the world, while not very useful, isn't uncommon. The difference is when that desire to know, is coupled with the desire to stop that actions that offend you.

The fear of the moral decline of society is the argument. In truth, it is better summed up this way;

It really amounts to slander: You don't share my agenda; therefore you have no principles.

and for a laugh, a letter by Bill Romansky is reviewed for flaws

Sunday, April 24, 2005

DeLay's water is getting hotter

Reports indicate that Newsweek will break a new story indicating more trouble for Tom.


My heart breaks

First they come after the Homosexuals

and Shakespeares Sister ask who is next, and explains why it is important to not be quiet.

Local Tint has more on this,and the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act of 2005 .

Friday, April 22, 2005

This battle of Theology, could be fun to watch

In this corner we have R. Albert Mohler Jr, a Focus on the Family leader involved with this Sundays judge burning, who produced this gem of brotherhood and love.

"I believe that the Roman church is a false church and it teaches a false gospel And indeed, I believe that the pope himself holds a false and unbiblical office."

and in the Latin corner we have Pope B-16 and Dominus Iesus

"people outside of Christianity 'are in a gravely deficient situation in comparison with those who, in the Church, have the fullness of the means of salvation",

A statement out of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, that many understand to claim that the path to God was ONLY through the Catholic church.

The Friday collection of news and post of interest

Remember the Affirmation Project, hop over and read some of the contributions.

From the LA Times, more about the religious rights efforts to take over the nation.

An audio recording obtained by the Los Angeles Times features two of the nation's most influential evangelical leaders, at a private conference with supporters, laying out strategies to rein in judges, such as stripping funding from their courts in an effort to hinder their work.

and from the Magic City morning news, another view of the goals of the right.

To answer her question, it's necessary to understand the fundamental goal of the fundamentalist Christians: To deny basic human rights to segments of society they deem unworthy in their god's eyes. They believe that Americans should reject the Constitutional concept of equality in favor of their religious caste system. They seek to legally stigmatize all non-fundamentalist Christians.

T-Blog has noticed that some of the Koolaid drinkers are starting to attack their own for a lack of enthusiasm.

David Corn has a collection of the more interesting (weird, dumb or twisted) things Republicans have said this week.

I will be adding to this post all day, check back

Thursday, April 21, 2005

For the one I love

Moms Hold Breast-Feeding Protest in Fla.

A city commission candidate was criticized for breast-feeding her daughter during a public meeting, so 16 other mothers turned up and nursed their children at another gathering as a show of support.

Gabrielle Redfern apologized for offending anyone, but says she won't stop breast-feeding her child when necessary. She had been criticized by some for breast-feeding her 1-year-old daughter, Elsie, during Mayor David Dermer's recent State of the City address.

"Elsie's been coming to public meetings since she was 2 weeks old," said Redfern, who is in her first bid for public office. "I shouldn't have to choose between being a publicly involved citizen and being a good mother."

On Wednesday, 16 women held a "nurse-in" in support of Redfern, breast-feeding their babies at a Miami Beach Commission meeting.

I know you are proud of them standing up for what is right.

American theocracy, is it coming?

Some excellent work is being done on this topic

Orcinus has a wonderful, and very well documented, look at the threat to the judiciary from the religious right in Black Robes

Seeing the Forest points out They Mean It

and Liberal Oasis reminds us of the The Institute for Religion and Democracy. Their use of false front groups to attack mainstream faiths in an effort to sway them to the Republican party is especially disgusting.

They are so good, better than my little effort, but all note the same push by the religious right. Their drive to impose their faith upon all the persons of this land.

A unique reminder of the priorities of South Carolina

Our legislators have been busy lately.

(Columbia) April 20, 2005 - The State House took up two pieces of legislation this week aimed at protecting two different groups. Up for debate was cracking down on gamecock fighting and protecting victims of domestic violence.

A bill protecting cocks passed through the House Judiciary Committee. Rep. John Graham Altman (R-Dist. 119-Charleston) was in favor of the gamecock bill, "I was all for that. Cockfighting reminds me of the Roman circus, coliseum."

A bill advocates say would protect victims against batterers was tabled, killing it for the year.

Lets rush to protect gamecocks (a good thing), but let table the domestic violence bill. We don't want to be too hasty here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

DeLay's attacks on the judiciary continue

and they are becoming even more absurd.

DeLay told Fox News Radio on Tuesday. "And not only that, but he said in session that he does his own research on the Internet? That is just incredibly outrageous."

How dare a judge research anything. If he needs information or background he shouldn't do research. The White House, or even Tom delay will be glad to answer any questions he may have, and joyfully tell him how to craft his final ruling. Past president, the fine points of law, compelling judicial thought, they don't matter. Just call Karl Rove, he can do it all.

It is clear that the pressure of the ethics scandal is taking it toll of Tom. He is resorting to large scale efforts at distraction and misdirection. His actions are becoming even more comical and pathetic.

and remember the Affirmation Project, hop over and read some of the contributions.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

A new Pope has been presented.

The over one billion Catholics have a new Father, and one of the worlds smallest states has a new leader.

Cardinal Ratzinger is a hard line conservative, who was the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He has been very aggressive using this office to stifle dialog that he considered too liberal. He has defined homosexuality as a moral disorder, so we already know he has defined himself as a bit wack on that point alone. He has even dabbled in American Politics, encouraging the denying of communion to pro choice politicians.

His policies and his habit of the aggressive suppression of liberal thought is blamed by some for contributing to the decline in the active Catholic population in Germany. The church has been seeing it's rolls drop by 150,000 members a year for a while now.

Despite this, don't expect much reform from this Pope. He has made statements in the past that seem to almost look forward to being in an 'unpopular' church.

The next few years will maybe be even more dictatorial that those of the rule of John Paul II, but there may be a small chance of seeing change. This election is too complex to see as just an endorsement of the continued ultra conservative past of the Church. His age might also indicates that the College of Cardinals were looking for a short term from the next Pope. This could be a hopeful sign, that at least some of the leadership want to make some small changes the direction of the church.

and please remember the Affirmation Project, hop over and read some of the contributions.

Chaffee will cast the swing vote on Bolton,

A man who may be uniquely ill-suited to serve in the position at the UN. Many on the left have been working to sway him into voting against this comical nomination. He has been on the fence, but keeps hinting that he favors voting for approval.

Prior to this morning, I didn't understand how he could still be on the fence. After his NPR interview and story this morning, I have a new view. He makes a very valid point, that Bolton will be working for and with Bush. He argues that Bush should be able to hire those who he wants working with him. He views the roll in these confirmations as making sure that Bolton is neither corrupt, or lacking in the needed education and background to do this job. On those points, I think Bolton does qualify.

The fact that Bolton is also a boorish, abusive, anti intellectual ideologue are not, by and of themselves, disqualifying.

I have to agree, and hate to say it. Bolton's selection was a bad practical joke in many ways, but within the purview of the President. Appointments at this level don't need to meet the same standard of quality and fairness that you want to see in judicial selections. When talking about positions within the administration, the President should be allowed more leeway to have the people he wants in the slots he wants.

Senator Chaffee, when you vote, vote your conscience, I do understand.

Chaffee is a true centrist moderate. A man who votes for what he thinks is right, not what his party wants. We need far more of these men and women in DC. I will not think much less of you for this vote. After all, at most Bolton will serve three years, and he is not much worse than Rice, Gonzalez, Negroponte and Rumsfeld.

and please remember the Affirmation Project, and read some of the contributions.

Monday, April 18, 2005

The affirmation Project, a great idea.

Rev. Daniel Schultz has had enough, and is standing up to be counted.

I don't know about you, but I've had enough. It's time Dr. Frist, Tom DeLay, James Dobson, the Family Research Council, and anyone else who would make adherence to political goals a literal article of faith heard from another side of the country. To that end, and for the time being, I am suspending the regular business of this blog and giving it over to a single project.

It is time for us to state, simply and directly, that we can affirm faith while disagreeing with the Republican legislative agenda. By "we," I mean anyone who can get under that statement. You don't have to be religious yourself. You don't even have to be a Democrat. You just have to be willing to say that you are willing to affirm faith, but you don't believe that it should be used as a weapon in a partisan campaign to increase the political power of a single party in the American commonwealth.

The kidnapping of the Christian faith by the right has been an effective political tool. Those in the Middle and on the Left need to step forward and start to proclaim our own right to faith, and our constitutionally protected right to express it as we wish. Most importantly, the right to not have the faiths of others thrust upon us.

Go visit, Rev. Schultz's Blog, and if the spirit moves you, contribute your declaration to the cause.

It's a work in progress. Here's some general guidelines, and my own statement.

Give as much of the following information as you feel comfortable sharing: your name, your hometown, and whatever religious affiliation you may have. Include a picture of yourself if you're brave enough.

State, in the simplest possible terms, that you affirm faith, but you disagree with the Republican agenda to impose the nuclear option and appoint radical right judges. Tell them why.

Conclude with a positive statement of your vision of what this nation could become, minus the fear, selfishness, arrogance, and general recklessness we have experienced in the past four years.

In your statements above, try to avoid profanity if at all possible. This is for public consumption.
Isn't that easy?

You can do it.

Harris poll shows Bush numbers fall again

ROCHESTER, N.Y., April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The last month has not been a good one for President Bush and the Republicans. Most people have opposed the President's proposals for reforming Social Security and most were unhappy with the positions taken by Republicans in the Terri Schiavo case. The result is that the president's job ratings have fallen to 44 percent positive, 56 percent negative, the worst numbers of his presidency, and a drop from 48 percent positive, 51 percent negative in February (and 50% positive, 49% negative last November).

This is one of the results of a new Harris Poll of 1,010 U.S. adults surveyed by telephone by Harris Interactive® between April 5 and 10, 2005.

The negatives extend to most of the other members of the administration, and the House and Senate.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Bill S-520, the Constitution Restoration Act

Just another scary reminder of what George Bush, Tom DeLay, Bill Frist and the rest of the radical religious right want.

From Fr. Jake stops the World.

When will the noise of those who see and oppose this movement be heard?

Saturday, April 16, 2005

With luck, the last words on the Schiavo case

A wonderful summation from No more Mr. Nice Blog, including detail from the press, like this.

In the four years after Michael Schiavo won the right to remove his wife's feeding tube, the state's social-welfare agency methodically investigated 89 complaints of abuse, but never found that he or anybody else harmed Terri Schiavo, records released late Friday show.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Senator Frist is heading up to the alter

to join with the Family Research Council in unholy governmental church wedlock.

In a clear indication that he is willing to go nuclear, Mr. Frist will appear on a April 24th telecast demanding judicial overthrow.

"The filibuster against people of faith", as it is called, will further beat the drum of religious radicalism.

As a person of faith, I suspect I should be angered by the title of this meeting, but I have learned to expect lies and insults from this extreme sector of our society.

A few of this weeks stories of note

From Cannonfire a continued focus on vote fraud, at last people may be noticing, a very good collection of work.

I am a Christian too looks at theThe Constitution Restoration Act, a fantastic and highly misleading title for this little act.

Minutemen and the mainstream
is the focus of a long piece on Orcinus.

Think Progress has a very disturbing clip, where Edwin Vieira, while speaking at the 'Confronting the Judicial War on Faith' conference recommends following Stalin's advice.

Pandagon introduces us to Yusuke Joshua Banno , stuck in New York due to misidentification

This links to the corruption of Tom DeLay

and, a late addition, but fantastic, from Shakespeare's Sister, longing for the rapture.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Another sad note on the death of Pat Tillman

The Martini Republic has an excellent summation.

The military has completed an investigation into former NFL star Pat Tillman's death in Afghanistan that aimed to address concerns raised about whether the Army held back information

"We are not going to release it," said Lt. Col. Pamela Hart, an Army spokeswoman at the Pentagon.

We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who

appears unable to find the real interesting news in poll results.

An A.P. - Ipsos poll was released earlier in the week. A quick sampling of opinion about taxes.

There were some interesting points made. One very interesting one was most people felt paying taxes was to complicated, but didn't want to give up deductions to make it simpler.

Another one was that the majority of respondents wanted a PROGRESSIVE tax basis, and opposed a flat tax. Only in the group making over $75,000.00 did a majority want a flat tax.

But, what did the media focus on, From CNN to the local news?

The fact that most people don't like to pay taxes, and that the nation was split on what was more unpleasant, doing your taxes or going to the dentist.

There was real news in that poll, and we get a punch line from all of the talking heads.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Joe Wilson was a good little boy

and Drank ALL his Kool aid.

"Congressman Tom DeLay has been called one of the most effective leaders in the history of the House of Representatives, and it is his effectiveness that motivates his critics. Radical liberals, such as George Soros, are leading a desperate smear campaign against a decent man who has delivered remarkable results. His critics are inspired by bitterness, hatred, and partisanship. Their smears will fail, just as they failed against Vice President Cheney, Dr. Rice, Secretary Rumsfeld and former Attorney General Ashcroft."

The fact that he has been disciplined Multiple times by the ethics committee, that even his past partners in crime are turning over on him, that it is his actions that we are talking about, these are not important.

It isn't his fault, George made him do it.

Drink deep Joe, I am sure there are more contributions in it for you

Bad legislation marches forward

The Estate Tax is still marching on. In an Ironic twist, some have noticed that it may actual harm family farmers and small business. The very group the proponates claimed it was need to 'save'. But don't worry, the ultra rich will do quite well with this.

and the Bankruptcy Bill is being pushed forward, despite efforts to fight it.

Maybe one day the voting public will actually pay attention

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

DeLay is trying a typical ploy

Blame someone else (anyone else) for problems you made for yourself.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, hoping to hold support among fellow Republicans, urged GOP senators Tuesday to blame Democrats if asked about his ethics controversy and accused the news media of twisting supportive comments so they sounded like criticism.

Officials said DeLay recommended that senators respond to questions by saying Democrats have no agenda other than partisanship, and are attacking him to prevent Republicans from accomplishing their legislative program. One Republican said the Texan referred to a "mammoth operation" funded by Democratic supporters and designed to destroy him as a symbol of the Republican majority.

Yes, the vast left wing conspiracy is at play again.

What does the religious right really want?

"I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag, and to the Savior for whose kingdom it stands. One Savior, crucified, risen and coming again, with life and liberty for all who believe."

The leaders of this confederation want to see this pledge recited daily by the youth of America, but very few Americans appear to understand who they are and what their ultimate goal is. The public knows there is a movement, but don't seem to know it's size, power, or it's membership.

So many of them appear to be well known, easy to identify personalities, but others keep a lower profile. When you start to actually look, the working members of these groups seem to exist everywhere and they all are working to fundamentally change this land. They envision a nation where faith and public policy are joined in lockstep. One where the bible is flawless, and is the foundation of ALL law and principal. They work for various groups, under the leadership of people that include James Kennedy, Jerry Fawell, Richard Land, Robert Schuller, who we have heard of, but also the less well known Roy Moore, Dr. John Morris, down to the likes of Kevin McCoy, who's claim to fame is having an anti-bullying program closed, because he felt it was an effort to promote a homosexual agenda.

Their political water is joyfully carried by George and Jeb Bush, Tom DeLay, Bill Frist, Katherine Harris, Phill Kline and what feels like countless others, both elected and staffers. They now control school boards, State Houses, Congressional and Senate offices and have full access to the White House. These are people who know what they want, and are now bold enough to shout it out. "I'm a radical! I'm a real extremist. I don't want to impeach judges. I want to impale them!" announces the chief of staff of Oklahoma's GOP Senator Tom Coburn, outside the 'Confronting The Judicial War On Faith' conference in Washington.

What is their goal? Rev. Kennedy reminds us of their singular target.

"Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost,"

To do this, they promote the fiction that the US was established as a Christian nation, and that there is some systematic conspiracy to overthrow this. They put out a constant call to arms over any incident, real or imagined, that can be twisted to support their position. They have pumped millions of dollars into the political process, and some say pumped about four million new voters into the polls in 2004. The Christian far right has developed far more strength than their raw number would imply.

But, why?

What do they really want. Again we look to Rev. Kennedy for an answer.

"As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors -- in short, over every aspect and institution of human society."

This is the total control of almost EVERY aspect of our lives. Our Faith, our Education, our Fun, our Exercise; every aspect of our public life is the target of this collection of activists. We will attend a church approved school, watch church approved movies, attend church approved sports, shop at church approved stores, all aspects of our lives will be in their hands.

A few novelist have played with these themes, Margaret Atwood's 'The Handmaids Tale', may be the most often mentioned. Robert Heinlein's lead character in 'Job, a Comedy of Justice', was a minor leader in just such a society. In both cases, the world's they presented were at best terrifying. The show us a depressing reality, where faith overrules truth, power trumps right.

Yet, the grass roots still think of this gathering of like minds in a kind and respectful way. Rev Mel White puts it this way. "Most people hear them talk about a 'Christian nation' and think, 'Well, that sounds like a good, moral thing, "What they don't know -- what even most conservative Christians who voted for Bush don't know -- is that 'Christian nation' means something else entirely to these Dominionist leaders."

The majority refuse to be bothered look inside and see the truth, preferring to see these 'Christians' as they see themselves. The end result of this lack of interest could be exactly what the far right wants, and the majority claim to have no interest in creating.

An American Christian Theocracy .

KLM Flight to Mexico returned to Amsterdam

On Friday, the US refused access to this flight because of security concerns about two passengers on board. The flight re-crossed the Atlantic, returned to Amsterdam, removed the two passengers in question, and flew back to Mexico City.

The two unnamed passengers, who were not suspected of any crime, were not detained, and 'went on their way'. It also appears these persons were not on the no fly list. KLM is considering filling a claim against both of the Governments to help cover the cost associated with this delayed flight.


can anyone explain this whole event, or is it just another exercise in overwhelming paranoia?

and now KLM wants to know how the US got the passenger list for a flight NOT coming to the US.

AMSTERDAM — Dutch airline KLM has demanded the US explain how it gained insight into passenger details of a flight US authorities turned back from its airspace despite the fact it was not scheduled to land on American territory.

KLM said on Monday US authorities are not allowed to have access to passenger details on flights that do not land in America. The airline said US authorities are only given restricted access to details on US-bound flights.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Bush's poll numbers the worse since 45

Poor poll numbers are not new for Mr. Bush, but they continue to reach deeper and deeper into the abyss.

Bush has the lowest approval rating of any president at this point in his second term, according to Gallup polls going back to World War II.

Bush's erosion of support among independents in particular has helped bring his overall approval rating down to 45 percent. Forty-nine percent disapprove of his performance.

The next question, will he continue the push for his unpopular programs, or try to find friendlier issues to focus on. One has to wonder how low can the numbers go.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

DeLay is being distanced by more Republicans

and now it appears that Jack Abramoff, DeLay's partner in many of these events, may soon be speaking out.

"Everybody is lying," Abramoff told a former colleague. There are e-mails and records that will implicate others, he said. He was noticeably caustic about House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. For years, nobody on Washington's K Street corridor was closer to DeLay than Abramoff.

His time in the leadership of the Republicans appears to be very limited.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

You have to be kidding me, Finkelstein marries his partner

His reasons are sound, and he should be able to do just that.

It is just odd that a man who has spent his life promoting politicians who oppose this, has gone public. You have to wonder how he can look himself in the mirror in the morning.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

A very special fundraising moment.

You too can be the "Physician of the Year"

April 5, 2005 — The good news reached the Jamestown, N.Y., office of Dr. Rudolph Mueller in a fax from a congressman in Washington. Mueller had been named 2004 Physician of the Year.

"My secretary came running in and said, 'Dr. Rudy, look at what you've won, you're Physician of the Year,' " said Mueller, an internist.

But to receive the award in person at a special two-day workshop in Washington last month, Mueller found out that he would have to make a $1,250 contribution to the National Republican Congressional Committee. It was a disturbing discovery, he said.

"To actually buy your award and it's not from your peers or from your patients or from the community that you serve, it's really deceptive," said Mueller, author of "As Sick As It Gets: The Shocking Reality of America's Healthcare, A Diagnosis and Treatment Plan." "It's not being honest, it's just not right."

To see what the award process was all about, Mueller sent in his $1,250 contribution and ABC News paid for his travel to Washington for the scheduled events March 14-15, which included a tax-reform workshop as well as appearances by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and President Bush.

Mueller soon found he was not the only winner. There were hundreds of Physicians of the Year present, many of whom found the criteria for being selected equally as opaque.

Well, at least it made one heck of a fundraiser.

American Airlines statement on the DeLay fund contribution is hysterical

At American Airlines, which gave $5,000 in late 2002, spokesman Tim Wagner said that "we were told that Mr. DeLay, a member of Congress from our headquarters state of Texas, was facing substantial legal bills that he was unable to pay personally because of their size and his limited resources." He added that American made no further donations.

Limited Resources?

Only yesterday we learned that
his wife and daughter have been paid over $500,000.00 dollars in the last few years by his PAC and campaign committees.

Just fess up American. You were asked to contribute, and not wanting to risk having a bought and paid for politician getting upset, you 'contributed'. I hope you got the return for your investment you were expecting.

Martinez admits his office did it.

The legal counsel to Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) admitted yesterday that he was the author of a memo citing the political advantage to Republicans of intervening in the case of Terri Schiavo, the senator said in an interview last night.

Now, lets see who those who denounced the memo as a crude fraud respond. Fox, Rush, The Washington Times and the Bloggers on the right should be entertaining today.

and Roger Ailes has a very good introduction to Brian Darling, the advisor who did write the memo in question.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Hostage or Prisoner, only the Army knows for sure

and it is a safe bet what they will say.

BAGHDAD, April 6 (Reuters) - The U.S. military in Baghdad confirmed on Wednesday it was holding two Iraqi women and was investigating accusations that they were being held hostage to pressure their fugitive male relatives to surrender.

A spokesman said the women were detained as insurgent suspects, not hostages. The latter would be a breach of international law, human rights experts say; it could, however, be legitimate to hold relatives as suspects in their own right.

Batawi, who farms at Taji just north of Baghdad, told Reuters on Tuesday that the women had been arrested to try to pressure him and his brothers Muhammad and Saddam to surrender themselves to U.S. troops who suspect them of insurgent attacks.

A handwritten note in Arabic at the house read: "Be a man Muhammad Mukhlif and give yourself up and then we will release your sisters. Otherwise they will spend a long time in detention." It was signed "Bandit 6", apparently U.S. army code, possibly designating a company commander.

Several neighbours corroborated Batawi's account of events.

When Reuters called a mobile phone number left on the note, an American who said he was a soldier appeared to be aware of Batawi's accusation but declined further comment.

Where Are The Good Christians?

From SF Gate

I know they're out there.

I forget, often, too often, just how many there are but I know they exist in much larger numbers than you might be led to believe by current spiritually embarrassing headlines and I know they are just as, if not more, passionate and healthy and deeply felt in their beliefs than the overpublicized sects of angry and frothing "true believers" screeching into the megaphone of the culture, the ones yanking BushCo's chain and pounding their Bibles and hiding their warped porn fetishes and forcing their way into our lives and laws and bedrooms right now.

DeLay, the end is near

The clock is surely running out on 'The Hammer' now.

The New York Times breaks the news that The wife and daughter of Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, have been paid more than $500,000 since 2001 by Mr. DeLay's political action and campaign committees

and the Washington Post has found a 3rd trip paid for by mysterious sources.

A six-day trip to Moscow in 1997 by then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) was underwritten by business interests lobbying in support of the Russian government, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the trip arrangements.

DeLay reported that the trip was sponsored by a Washington-based nonprofit organization. But interviews with those involved in planning DeLay's trip say the expenses were covered by a mysterious company registered in the Bahamas that also paid for an intensive $440,000 lobbying campaign.

Atrios has a masterful rundown of the current situation

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

More than a diversion, maybe an opportunity.

Those on the right thought they had a nice little political football to play with a couple of weeks ago. A chance to make a little noise, raise a little money, and grandstand for political gain. Tom DeLay, like all shrewd politicians, saw a golden opportunity. This was a chance to take attention away from his current ethical difficulties. As the story grew he saw the chance to somehow tie his troubles with hers and blame a vast left wing conspiracy that was out to destroy him. We see the climax in this from CNN, 23 March 05.

"One thing that God has brought to us is Terri Schiavo, to elevate the visibility of what's going on in America, that Americans would be so barbaric as to pull a feeding tube out of a person that is lucid and starve them to death for two weeks. I mean, in America, that is going to happen if we don't win this fight. This is exactly the issue that's going on in America, the attacks against the conservative group, against me and against many others. The point is, is the other side has figured out how to win and to defeat the conservative movement, and that is to go after people personally, charge them with frivolous charges."

Now this distraction has now grown even further. It has become a tool that some in the radical wing of the republican party think they can to use to make unprecedented changes in the way our nation operates.

Tom DeLay has sent out a call to action, and it has been taken up by fellow Texan. Sen John Cornyn, and Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey. All are talking tough, trying to create outrage in order to justify their goal; the neutering of one of the branches of government. Here, in a family's private tragedy, lies a weapon to be used to further damage the protections that the constitution and the courts afford us.

This was the battle of judicial activism, but now we have a new twist. This time the complaint is judicial INACTIVISM. No longer will the battle be defined over legal argument and the fine, but difficult to understand, points of law. It is now about power and control. The Republicans know what is best, and everyone will do as they say. The far right has long been intent on having the government control of aspects of individuals personal life. Court cited protections offered to individuals to shield them from the power of the government are denounced with regularity and passion. Now it appears that they think they have the last piece in place to make real change.

What is most interesting about this sudden development is that it proves they have no consistent view on how the court should operate. They decry so called activism, then denounce the courts for not being activist. This has further exposed their singular goal, the concentrating power and control into conservative hands. Now we have serious talk about attempting to end the practice of filibusters, the removal of judicial oversight of some laws and only those with seats in the republican caucus knows what else. Destroying the constitution, and the intent of the founding fathers is fine, as long as the Republicans get the control they desire. As Stanley Birch Jr. points out ( Bush 41 appointee judge ), their efforts were flawed and

"in a manner demonstrably at odds with our Founding Fathers' blueprint for the governance of a free people, our Constitution."

It is clear, he understands the simple concept of the separation of powers. One of the core principles that our country was founded on and one that every American citizen should cherish.

The Houston Cronicle reminded Tom DeLay and us all of something that should need no reminding.

"We will look at an unaccountable, arrogant, out-of-control judiciary that thumbed their nose at Congress and the president," DeLay fumed after learning of Schiavo's death.

That was an amazingly preposterous and hypocritical statement from someone who not only reeks of arrogance himself but also, as the majority leader of the U.S. House, should know very well that it sometimes is the constitutional duty of the courts to "thumb their nose"at the other branches of government.

This bit from Agitprop, Those Damn Judicial Tyrants, is very good and worth a read

Another book to buy

It looks like it will be worth the time. This Der Spiegel review makes you want to know How Germans Fell for the 'Feel-Good' Fuehrer

Monday, April 04, 2005

"THEY" Don't have a clue about what they want.

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll of American Catholics can not help but to again raise question; what are 'they' thinking. According to this poll, on a number the major issues facing the Catholic Church in the US, a change in policy is needed.

78% want papal approval of Birth Control

63% want to allow Priest to marry

59% want some easing of stem cell research restrictions

55% want to allow women to become priests

There is an even a split on the issue of allowing divorce

Yet, Fifty-nine percent of this same group say they want the next Pope to be like John-Paul II, a man who opposed all of the desired changes. This leaves you asking, do they really understand what they say they want. Where is the logic in wanting change, but wanting a Pope who will refuse to allow, much less, champion the very changes you claim to want.

The poll sample was small, only about two hundred and fifty people. Just looking at the results can not always capture what the respondents were actually meaning. Many could want a pope who was as loving and strong and faithful as John-Paul, but want one who also supports their desired change. That said, we are still left with an amazing, but not unusual contradiction.

Last fall, there were a couple of new PIPA (The Program on International Policy Attitudes) reports put out. They looked at the perception verses reality on the war in Iraq and other policy issues related to the election.

Here is one bit of one, from NewsHounds

Even after the final report of Charles Duelfer to Congress saying that Iraq did not have a significant WMD program, 72% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq had actual WMD (47%) or a major program for developing them (25%). Fifty-six percent assume that most experts believe Iraq had actual WMD and 57% also assume, incorrectly, that Duelfer concluded Iraq had at least a major WMD program. Kerry supporters hold opposite beliefs on all these points.

Similarly, 75% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda, and 63% believe that clear evidence of this support has been found. Sixty percent of Bush supporters assume that this is also the conclusion of most experts, and 55% assume, incorrectly, that this was the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission. Here again, large majorities of Kerry supporters have exactly opposite perceptions.


This tendency of Bush supporters to ignore dissonant information extends to other realms as well. Despite an abundance of evidence--including polls conducted by Gallup International in 38 countries, and more recently by a consortium of leading newspapers in 10 major countries--only 31% of Bush supporters recognize that the majority of people in the world oppose the US having gone to war with Iraq. Forty-two percent assume that views are evenly divided, and 26% assume that the majority approves. Among Kerry supporters, 74% assume that the majority of the world is opposed.

So many of those supporting Bush appear to just be unaware of the facts. On other topics the reports indicated that some of those who supported Bush assumed he held positions they supported, when the actual bush policy is vastly different. Last October, .Washington Monthly looked at this as has some good examples is a chart.

Sometimes 'they' just don't appear real bright

Friday, April 01, 2005

Terri Schiavo & the Right-Wing Machine

From the Consortium News

The media frenzy surrounding the Terri Schiavo case is new evidence of the American Right’s ability to dominate national news cycles, a power that has become possibly the most intimidating force in modern U.S. politics. In the Schiavo case, however, the Right has discovered that even its impressive message machinery sometimes can push the envelope too far.

In the Schiavo tragedy, leaders of the Christian Right and the Republican Party marketed themselves as the defenders of life and painted their liberal adversaries as intellectual elitists lacking compassion for a defenseless woman. Conservative leaders also hoped to rally their base around the need for more conservative judges who would defend the so-called “culture of life.”

With stunning bravado, the Right played on the Schiavo story’s appeal as a round-the-clock cable TV drama: a life-or-death countdown; grieving parents; a husband who could be made into the heavy; supposedly insensitive judges; Republican leaders rushing to the rescue, including both Jeb and George W. Bush.

It is worth the couple of minutes it will take to read.

Is he that stupid,

Or does he think we are?

President Bush has taken to pointing out the government worker's savings plan as a grand example of what the new Social Security plan could be. The trouble is, every worker can already have about the exact same thing.

The Government thrift Savings Plan is in addition to Social Security, not instead. The workers still pay into Social Security, and still get a guaranteed benefit when they retire. The Thrift plan is just the governments version of a 401K.

I guess any slight of hand is acceptable when you are trying destroy Social Security.