Democrat and Independent Thinker..."The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." -Nietzsche
Commenting on many things, including..."A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from." - Keith Olbermann
Commenting on many things, including..."A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from." - Keith Olbermann
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
There will be no posting tonight due to the sorry state of the medical system in the U.S.
I lost my health insurance at the end of August when my employment was terminated, after being disabled for a year due to a rare and mysterious disease. I applied for an extension with Aetna, but it is November and I am told it may take another month before I know if I'm approved. The extension would last only until August, so the 1 year extension is now down to 9 months. I imagine if I get 6 months of coverage, I'll be lucky. I tried skipping one of my medications yesterday because I'm down to 7. What I have now, is only due to samples begged off my doctor. I'll be asking for more, soon, which is humiliating but unavoidable. Anyway, I'm not feeling well enough after skipping that one medication to do much tonight. So, this is the best I can do.
I've been out of my most crucial medication for over a month now. Aetna tells me that I can pay for it up front, and maybe, just maybe, I'll get reimbursed. One month's dosage costs $689.00.
That's right. $689.00.
Another is $570.00
I have that in spare change out of my 60% of salary disability check, you see. And that's only 2. Here is a breakdown of what my medicine would cost, out of pocket:
$2,231.00 TOTAL, monthly
That is $27,772.00 annually.
I think. One of the symptoms is that sometimes I can't do details, math, or retain memory functions when my body is producing massive amounts of excess chemicals.
Needless to say, I'll be going without most of all the medication it takes to make me feel halfway decent, insurance or no. The co-pays on some of the most expensive are more than I can afford. Hopefully, I'll be able to get some through the PPA program once I for sure don't have insurance any more. Thank goodness I don't have a disease that is life-threatening in and of itself. I may feel like I want to, but I won't die if I don't have some of my medicine (except for maybe the Epi-pen). It is possible that lack of proper medical care will contribute to this blood disorder/auto-immune disease causing the development of leukemia or a number of other possibilities. No one knows yet. It just happens sometimes. No one knows a whole lot about it yet.
They are doing stem-cell research. In Sweden.
Because it's against the religion of the far right Christian conservatives in America to help sick people. Oh my. What would Jesus do?
Oops, I see I left off one more. It's $187.99 a month. You add it, I can't.
And our Congress gives pharmaceutical companies millions of our tax dollars and God knows how much in tax incentives and tax breaks.
Please, people. We have got to have national health care and stem-cell research in this country.
I apologize for the color wackiness. Here is the broken link to Senator Leahy's press release. To find H.R.5122, you may have to go here and put it in to search, but here is another attempt to link you, if you really want to try to find it.
On October 17th, 2006, the same day that the President signed the "torture bill", he also signed Public Law 109-364, or the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007" (H.R.5122) (2), in a "private" ceremony. According to Frank Morales at the link above, this bill nullifies The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 which forbids the use of federal military forces for law enforcement: "From and after the passage of this act it shall not be lawful to employ any part of the Army of the United States, as a posse comitatus, or otherwise, for the purpose of executing the laws, except in such cases and under such circumstances as such employment of said force may be expressly authorized by the Constitution or by act of Congress".
Posse Comitatus would be nullified because it does not apply when the Insurrection Act is in force. The Insurrection Act was enacted to override the exception in the Posse Comitatus, where the use of federal troops for law enforcement is prohibited "except" as authorized by the Constitution or Congress. It enabled the President to federalize a state's National Guard with the permission of the state Governor, and use them along with federal troops to quell civil disturbances, again, as long as the Governor gives permission to the President.
Public Law 109-364 supposedly modifies the Insurrection Act, though you would never know it if you depended on the US DOD for your news. The President may now federalize any state's National Guard at any time he chooses, and the President may use federal troops against the American populace at any time he chooses if he thinks there is reason, such as civil unrest, according to Mr. Morales. He writes:
Public Law 109-364, or the “John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007″ (H.R.5122) (2), which was signed by the commander in chief on October 17th, 2006, in a private Oval Office ceremony, allows the President to declare a “public emergency” and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to “suppress public disorder.”
President Bush seized this unprecedented power on the very same day that he signed the equally odious Military Commissions Act of 2006. In a sense, the two laws complement one another. One allows for torture and detention abroad, while the other seeks to enforce acquiescence at home, preparing to order the military onto the streets of America. Remember, the term for putting an area under military law enforcement control is precise; the term is “martial law.”
Section 1076 of the massive Authorization Act, which grants the Pentagon another $500-plus-billion for its ill-advised adventures, is entitled, “Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies.” Section 333, “Major public emergencies; interference with State and Federal law” states that “the President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of (”refuse” or “fail” in) maintaining public order, “in order to suppress, in any State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy.”
I have spent many hours during the night attempting to confirm Mr. Morales statements. I have, as yet, been unable to locate the sections mentioned above in the massive John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007, S.2766 . However, also recorded in the Library of Congress, I have found in H.R. 5122 by the same name. It appears to be Mr. Morales' reference. I have copied it at the very end of this post, after very disturbing "interpretations" of the applicable laws by Homeland Security. He appears to be completely correct.
There was definite concern about the bill when it came out of committee, as I have confirmed at Senator Leahy's official website.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) spoke September 29, 2006:
"Let me repeat: The National Guard Empowerment Act, which is designed to make it more likely for the National Guard to remain in State control, is dropped from this conference report in favor of provisions making it easier to usurp the Governors control and making it more likely that the President will take control of the Guard and the active military operating in the States.
The changes to the Insurrection Act will allow the President to use the military, including the National Guard, to carry out law enforcement activities without the consent of a governor. When the Insurrection Act is invoked posse comitatus does not apply. Using the military for law enforcement goes against one of the founding tenets of our democracy"
"The implications of changing the Act are enormous, but this change was just slipped in the defense bill as a rider with little study. Other congressional committees with jurisdiction over these matters had no chance to comment, let alone hold hearings on, these proposals."
Also, read the press release from the office of Senator Patrick Leahy :
"Under the changes, the President would now be able to invoke the Act during such regular occurring events as a natural disaster. Because posse comitatus restrictions that prevent the military’s involvement in law enforcement do not apply when the Insurrection Act is invoked, the changes would nullify these long-standing laws."
Further remarks of Senator Leahy:
"Also, it seems the changes to the Insurrection Act have survived the Conference because the Pentagon and the White House want it. It is easy to see the attempts of the President and his advisors to avoid the debacle involving the National Guard after Hurricane Katrina, when Governor Blanco of Louisiana would not give control of the National Guard over to President and the federal chain of command. Governor Blanco rightfully insisted that she be closely consulted and remain largely in control of the military forces operating in the State during that emergency. This infuriated the White House, and now they are looking for some automatic triggers — natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or a disease epidemic — to avoid having to consult with the governors.
A Final Summary
And there you have it -- we are getting two horrible policy decisions out of this Conference because we are not willing to use our Constitutional powers to overcome leadership that ranges from the poor to the intemperate in the Pentagon and the White House. We cannot recognize the diverse ways that the Guard supports the Country, because the Department of Defense does not like it — simply does not like it.
Because of this rubberstamp Congress, these provisions of this conference report add up to the worst of all worlds. We fail the National Guard, which expects great things from us as much as we expect great things from them. And we fail our Constitution, neglecting the rights of the States, when we make it easier for the President to declare martial law and trample on local and state sovereignty. "
Being granted the powers of Dictator by his Republican Congress was not even enough for this power-mad and most dangerous President in the history of the United States.
Read the President's signing statement where, over and over again, he states that provisions of the law that require consultation or advisement of the Congress, will be construed by the President as meaning that he can basically do whatever the hell he wants without the involvement of Congress whatsoever, and he can withhold any information from Congress that he thinks should be kept secret.
"'From the inception of the Republic until 2000, Presidents produced signing statements containing fewer than 600 challenges to the bills they signed. According to the most recent update, in his one-and-a-half terms so far, President George W. Bush (Bush II) has produced more than 800,” explains the American Bar Association Task Force on Presidential Signing Statements and the Separation of Powers Doctrine."
The Insurrection Act has been used only a very few times in the history of the country. I found several sources that claimed it was only used 3 times before, but not according to this website. It claims it was used against the Bonus Marchers in 1932, against striking railroad workers in 1946, against the American Indian Movement at Wounded Knee, and in Los Angeles during the riots in 1992, ironically, by the first President Bush. I haven't been able to confirm whether it was 3 or 4 by any definitive sources yet, however, from what I recall of my studies, I do believe 4 is correct.
Regardless, it appears that it is inevitable that it will now be used against American citizens, within our own borders, whenever a sitting President cares to use it, regardless of the concerns or sovereignty of the local or state governments.
All because of the whimsy and petulance of a very dangerous President.
And because of a rubber stamp Congress. The bill passed with very little scrutiny. The roll call in the House was 396 Ayes, 31 Nays, 5 Abstained. See the roll here. Unfortunately, for all his words, words, words, Senator Leahy voted for the bill. It was unanimous in the Senate, both before and after committee.
Face it, people. "They" are not looking out for us. None of them. We have to look out for ourselves. The answer is not on "Dancing with the Stars" or "The Great Race". Freedom is not how many choices you have at the grocery store. You don't know what freedom means if you are not willing to speak out, stand up, and fight if necessary, for it.
I leave this post with two quotations of Abraham Lincoln.
"Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purpose - and you allow him to make war at pleasure."
"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."
Here is how the Department of Homeland Security interprets The Insurrection Act, apparently posted prior to October 17th, as the President now does not need the permission of a Governor to Federalize a state's National Guard:
"Quelling Civil Disturbances: The Insurrection Act (10 U.S.C. § 331 et seq.)
State and local governments have primary responsibility for quelling rebellions (32 C.F.R. § 215.4(a).
The President may use the military (including the Federalized National Guard) to quell (1) civil disturbances in a State (upon the Governor's request), (2) rebellions that make it difficult to enforce Federal law, or (3) any insurrection that impedes a State's ability to protect citizens' constitutional rights and that State is unable to unwilling to protect these rights.
Before committing U.S. troops, the President must issue a proclamation for rebellious citizens to disperse, cease, and desist.
Some government attorneys believe that the Insurrection Act is subject to a very liberal interpretation."
"Use of Federal Troops for Law Enforcement Purposes: The Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C. § 1385)
Army and Air Force may not be used for law enforcement. DoD policy extends the prohibition to Navy and Marines.
National Guard in State-status are not covered by the Posse Comitatus Act.
(My note...the below has nothing to do with posse comitatus, so you can see how they had already decided it was irrelevant.)
Federal troops (incl. Federalized National Guard) may be used for law enforcement if the President invokes the Insurrection Act to quell civil disturbances.
Other exception includes preventing the loss of life or property during serious disturbances or calamities, and protecting Federal property and governmental functions."
John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (Enrolled as Agreed to or Passed by Both House and Senate)
SEC. 1076. USE OF THE ARMED FORCES IN MAJOR PUBLIC EMERGENCIES.
(a) Use of the Armed Forces Authorized-
(1) IN GENERAL- Section 333 of title 10, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
Sec. 333. Major public emergencies; interference with State and Federal law
`(a) Use of Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies- (1) The President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to--
`(A) restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that--
`(i) domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order; and
`(ii) such violence results in a condition described in paragraph (2); or
`(B) suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy if such insurrection, violation, combination, or conspiracy results in a condition described in paragraph (2).
`(2) A condition described in this paragraph is a condition that--
`(A) so hinders the execution of the laws of a State or possession, as applicable, and of the United States within that State or possession, that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law, and the constituted authorities of that State or possession are unable, fail, or refuse to protect that right, privilege, or immunity, or to give that protection; or
`(B) opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.
`(3) In any situation covered by paragraph (1)(B), the State shall be considered to have denied the equal protection of the laws secured by the Constitution.
`(b) Notice to Congress- The President shall notify Congress of the determination to exercise the authority in subsection (a)(1)(A) as soon as practicable after the determination and every 14 days thereafter during the duration of the exercise of that authority.'.
(2) PROCLAMATION TO DISPERSE- Section 334 of such title is amended by inserting `or those obstructing the enforcement of the laws' after `insurgents'.
When it comes right down to it, not a whole hell of a lot has changed in that regard. There is more politeness, and I'm not sure I would continue to use the word "hate", at least as far as traditional Baptists viewpoints.
Let's just say that the day the Baptists, et al, find it acceptable for anyone to pray to Mary and the day Catholics even accept the confessional as optional will be the day the devil goes ice-skating in hell. If there were a devil and if there were a hell.
I don't know if any Baptist influenced individuals ever actually voted for Kennedy, but it must be remembered that the poor man had to stress that he would not be guided by the Pope in order to gain any support from Protestants whatsoever.
That's why I found this excerpt from the book The Theocons by Damon Linker somewhat flabbergasting. To think that certain conservative Catholics are in bed, so to speak, with the most fundamental of fundamentalist Protestants in their support of Bush and his warmongering is more than incredible. One has to think that the fundamentalists must not even be aware of how active this cabal of Catholics has been in supporting Bush. For, surely, if they did, it would mean that they have not only completely forsaken their own history, but that they are not even remotely what they present to the world.
I guess if you have a similar political agenda, it doesn't matter whether you maintain your faith's basic tenants. That is how thoroughly politics have influenced religious dogma.
I am beginning to wonder if it isn't politics that has taken over religious faiths, and it is only because of this factor that certain politically motivated religious leaders are attempting to eliminate the separation of church and state.
Here is a taste:
The following is an excerpt from Damon Linker's new book The Theocons: Secular America Under Siege (Doubleday, 2006).
For much of the past 25 years, a small group of Catholic intellectuals has worked to inject its radical religious ideas into the nation's politics. The leader of this theoconservative movement is Father Richard John Neuhaus. In the pages of his monthly magazine First Things, Neuhaus and his ideological allies set the theocon agenda on a range of policies. Michael Novak of the American Enterprise Institute argues that the American founders were orthodox religious believers who thought of the United States as a Christian nation -- and that American-style capitalism perfectly conforms to Catholic social teaching. Robert P. George of Princeton University insists that abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research, and same-sex marriage (and perhaps even contraception and masturbation) should be outlawed. And George Weigel of Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center uses Catholic just-war reasoning to justify neoconservative foreign policy. As the U.S. began to prepare for war in Iraq in 2002, the theocons set out to provide theological justification for the coming conflagration.
Monday, October 30, 2006
And I was trying to hear him. So, you can imagine what anyone casually watching heard. Probably, "bla".
My question is: Has the administration lied to the families of our dead soldiers when disclosing the truth about their deaths was embarassing or counter-productive to their pursuit of continuing this war which some of their mouthpieces have already admitted is simply about securing the Iraqi oil fields?
You know they have. Bush stood up before Congress and lied to Congress and the American people. The administration manipulated Colin Powell into lying to the United Nations. Do you think they would hesitate for a moment to lie to a couple of American families?
It makes me want to throw up.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
I seriously doubt if even a playboy bunny would act in such a way as portrayed by the actress in the commercial. Even if one would, to use that stereotype is an insult to thinking, educated women everywhere.
Anyway, I'm not delving far into the subject at this time. I just wanted to share a website I came across that made even my cynical, jaded jaw drop in its breath-taking hatred of all things feminine, of all women. Apparently a tool of the far religious right ultra-anti-choice idgets who are men and who suffer mightily in their affliction of uterus envy, this site has been visited by over 3 million people.
Having not actually witnessed Hitler's Nazism in my lifetime, I must say that this display is just about the most vile thing I have ever seen in my life. Just like Nazism, it attempts to present a face of blandness, but you only have to scrape its surface to find the hatred and pure misogyny. It's scary and it's frightening to know there are men who actually think this way. The authors of this site would say my making that statement was evidence of how women have skewed history in order to make themselves victims of men in order to further our Global Gynarchia. Yep, that's right. Global Gynarchia. You know, since women have held complete and absolute power over all of humankind since the dawn of time.
If it weren't so sick, it would be hilarious.
I am damn near apoplectic.
More later (surprise!), but I wanted to put this out there.
Do you remember that the cornerstone of the American justice system is that the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty? Well, apparently the Republican Idgets do not. I suppose that is another right we have had stripped from America. Check it out:
When Wolf Blitzer pointed out that some individuals have been arrested and interrogated despite having no ties to terrorism, Cheney warned, “I think that you might be a little careful” declaring someone has “clean hands.”
You see, even when there is no evidence to prove someone is a terrorist, the mere fact that a person is suspected of being one is enough to qualify them as a terrorist.
I want my country back, please.
What? Are there so few terrorists that they don't have enough to send over here now? If there are that few, what the hell are we worried about? Sounds like another reason to get out of Iraq to me.
Should those few follow us, I suppose they will have no problem getting in since he has failed to secure our borders or our ports.
He also said in an earlier speech that Democrats have no idea how to win in Iraq. Like he does. Neither he nor anyone in this country even knows what the hell we're trying to win in Iraq. How will we know when we win since he keeps changing the reasons why we went there in the first place? This bozo is such a joke.
He repeated the charge that the Democrats have said we will leave Iraq now, immediately. Overwhelmingly, Democrats have called for a staged withdrawal, not immediate retreat. This liar is such a liar.
Democrats: DO NOT let the Republicans paint us as soft on defense. We must address this accusation with full force. We must emphasize that we are stronger on defense than are they, that we will enforce the 9/11 Reports recommendations, we will secure our ports and borders and chemical and nuclear plants. We will defend our country, not uselessly invade a irrelevant countries with no ties to terrorism. We will prosecute the war on terrorism to its fullest, and defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan, who do harbor terrorism.
Democrats are no longer the party of the 60's. If the party is smart, they'll listen to Democrats like Dave "Mudcat" Saunders. If the Democratic Party becomes the party with guts, balls, and military strength bolstered, rather than tempered, by strong diplomacy, then we will make gains in the South this election, and we could win the South in the next. If we get back the votes of FDR Democrats who have just been voting Republican since it began to seem like Democrats were the party of the gutless, we will win the South. If we win the South, we win. Period. Mark my words. Forget Ohio. As the South goes, so goes the nation.
After all, my mother might read this!
One of these days, I'm not going to be such a freaking insomniac and not post almost exclusively in vampire hours.
I'm also impressed with the most recent post at Mainstream Baptist. I've been thinking about posting about abortion and the evolution of thought about it in respect to Southern Baptists. This post does it for me.
Even though I no longer consider myself Baptist, growing up Baptist has had a profound effect on me and my viewpoints. The original Baptist viewpoint about abortion sits hard in my heart, but I learned from the experiences of friends that there are many circumstances just as profound which make the availability of abortion critical. To the original viewpoint, that "Southern Baptists in the 1970's approved of abortion in the instance of rape, incest, when the life and health of the mother was at risk, and in the case of severe fetal deformity such as anencephaly", I have learned that "health" means the mental health of the woman has great bearing. I cannot think of many things that would be as injurious to the mental health of a female than to be forced to carry to term and give birth to a child when you never wanted to have a fetus growing in your body. If a minor child-woman gets pregnant, abortion must be available to her, without parental consent, because both her future mental health is at stake, and in too many instances, informing parents risks her physical health. It must be available for adult women when the condom breaks, or a lapse of judgement due to an altered state of mind (which is actually rape, in my mind, but happens), causes a pregnancy that cannot be prevented by Plan B for whatever reason, be it lack of availability or affordability or knowledge.
What might the most radical aspect of my viewpoint is that a woman who is so stupid and ignorant and immoral enough to have to have multiple (meaning 3 or more) abortions, then abortion must definitely be available to them. For one thing, no child should be burdened with such a moron for a parent. For another thing, I believe in evolution. Not only should a woman that stupid not even be living, no offspring of her genetic makeup should enter the world either. That's right. That's what I meant.
But, above all else, abortion should be available to women simply because every woman owns her own body. No man owns any woman's body. Nor does any other woman own another woman's body. Nor does any fetus own it's host's body. Certainly, Tony Perkins and Francis Schaeffer do not own any woman's body. Men like Tony Perkins and any man who protests or opposes a woman's right to chose whether to keep a fetus in her womb or expel it do have one thing: uterus envy.
Any woman politician who ratifies or condones the viewpoints of the enemies of women, such as Gov. Kathleen Blanco, should have their membership in the sisterhood of women permanently revoked. All women should shun such women. I say shun, because I oppose all violence against women, which is exemplified by anti-women's reproductive rights activists. However, tar and feathering might be permissible in such instances.
I sincerely hope that Baptists will revert to their original position which I am quite sure is much more reflective of the congregation, even if it's more conservative than mine. Because I found the entry to be so pointed and relevant and true, I am copying the entry from Mainstream Baptist here:
Friday, October 27, 2006
On the Southern Baptist Position on Abortion
Thanks to Carlos Stouffer at Jesus Politics for calling attention to Pew Forum's dialogue on "Is there a Culture War?" Alan Wolfe, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life, Boston College, made some interesting comments about politics determining theology. Here's a quote:
Does politics drive culture or does culture drive politics? I'm not at all persuaded that culture is the sort of indelible unchanging thing within which politics then operates because these things -- these so-called cultural values, these moral values, these religiously inspired values -- are not at all timeless in our country but change very, very dramatically.
To cite my favorite example -- and any of you who has heard me speak before has heard this example, so I apologize for that -- in 1973 when the infamous decision of Roe v. Wade came down, the Southern Baptist Convention, which is America's largest evangelical Protestant denomination, endorsed it. That is a remarkable fact that is almost totally neglected given the fact that the Southern Baptist convention sort of embodies everything that we think of when we think about being on the right side of the culture war issues.
But there were a number of reasons why the SBC endorsed Roe v. Wade. One of them was that they knew Catholics were opposed to abortion, and in our country if Catholics are in favor of one thing, the Baptists are always in favor of the opposite. But even more seriously, the Baptists in America have had a very long history and tradition of separating church and state and of being strong believers in religious liberty.
Roger Williams was one of our great philosophers in the separation of church and state tradition, contrasting the garden of religious faith against the wilderness of politics and upholding the garden over the wilderness. And John Leland, who inherited in the Baptist tradition Roger Williams' ideals, was a close friend of Thomas Jefferson's and was instrumental in the passage of the First Amendment to the American Constitution.
And I think for many Baptists in America, as recently as the 1970s, the idea that the state could tell the woman what to do with her body was not all that different from the idea that the state could tell a religious believer what to do with his or her mind. There is a libertarian impulse in the American Baptist tradition, a distrust of the idea of the established state. And certainly American Baptist history is filled with a kind of anti-theocratic sense, a sense that the blending of church and state is something that any good Baptist should be instinctively suspicious of.
So there were perfectly valid theological and religious reasons for the Southern Baptist Convention when Roe v. Wade came down to say, Hey, this is something we can support. But 10 years later they repudiated their support. They issued all kinds of apologies for what they had done. And they wound up on the other side of the issue. I don't want to get into the politics of why they did that. Personally I think it reeked of political opportunism, but that is not the point I want to make.
The point I want to make is this: if the notion of the right to life is so culturally embedded, if it is supposed to have such deep religious roots, if it is supposed to be one of those timeless things and then politics is epiphenomenal against that, how could it possibly change so radically? It seems to me that what we witnessed in this shift from one side to the other on this issue was in fact politics becoming much more important than religion. It wasn't that religion was the timeless thing at all. In its new formulation of these issues, the Southern Baptist Convention and its leaders talk about accommodationism between state and church rather than strict separation of state and church.
But, again, all of these things suggest to me that what happened in the United States, using this as an example, is that politics was enormously important for people, to the point where their position on a political issue determined their theological and religious views, and not the other way around. It couldn't have been that religious and theological views came first and political views came second and led to this change. It had to be the other way around.
The original Southern Baptist position regarding abortion was a little more nuanced than Wolfe suggests. Southern Baptists in the 1970's approved of abortion in the instance of rape, incest, when the life and health of the mother was at risk, and in the case of severe fetal deformity such as anencephaly.
posted by Dr. Bruce Prescott at 8:47 AM
Thanks to Mike at Crooks and Liars for pointing to this for me, although probably for different reasons than I would agree with.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Still, fatso drug addict Rightous Rush and his ilk have pissed me off mightily. So much so that I can't even post about it. I'm posting about gay marriage instead. I'm projecting. Sue me.
The Church has no power in the civil arena. The civil arena may grant the Church the opportunity to marry people and have that marriage accepted in the civil arena IF the couple gets a state provided license. It's the fracking license, stupid, that makes it LEGAL! Not the mumbojumbo.
Church people need to just shut the frack up about gay marriage, schmay marriage, civil unions or whatever the hell you want to call it. If Joe and Sam two streets over want to enter into a legal binding contract and call it a marriage or a civil union or a prisoner exchange program, it will not destroy your marriage, your church, your family, your child or have any effect on you and your beliefs and lifestyle whatsoever. So shut the frack up.
If you want the freedom to marry or contract with another person of the opposite sex, then you have to tolerate people of the same sex to do the same. It's the price of freedom. For you to be free, everyone else gets to be free, too.
If you are a politician, like Hillary Clinton or Harold Ford, speak sense or shut the fuck up. If you cannot educate people about your position, you are not persuasive enough to be a goshdamn dogcatcher. So, if you think you are making any sense, whatsoever, when you say something inane like, "I support civil unions between persons of the same sex but I oppose gay marriage", you are simply and unequivocably full of shit.
Personally, I don't give a shit either way. I'm a heterosexual and I was married to a man once. I think anyone who wants to bind their life, welfare, happiness and well-being to another human being for a nano-second is freaking batshit insane.
As far as politicians are concerned though, I'm sick, sick, sick of being lied to and I want it to stop, now. This minute. Even though some people may nod their head sagely when they hear a nitwit say, "I love blueberry pancakes but I hate pancakes with blueberries in them", I'm not one of them. I hear that and think, that's either a liar or an idiot. If you say you don't support either, then you are a fascist. So, which are you?
Friday, October 27, 2006
I would answer the question with a question. "Win what?" What, exactly are we trying to win in Iraq?
Defeat the insurgents? Why? How will that benefit Americans? Is it not true that the insurgency exists because we are there? Wouldn't the way to eliminate the insurgency be to remove it's reason for existence? Yes. Then we should leave. That will eliminate the insurgency. We will win by leaving.
Keep Iran from attempting to invade Iraq? Iran has been invading Iraq since before there was either, approximately 5500 years. The only time that has not been happening is when Iraq has been invading Iran, approximately the same 5500 years.
Are we to remain there with our troops in between Shi'ite (Iran) and Sunni (Iraq and most of the other muslim states), shedding our blood and our treasure for, oh let's guessimate, 6000 years? Is that what the idgets think qualifies as a win?
Thanks, but no thanks. Just like Letterman got (gaggygaggag) O'Reilly to admit, this entire enterprise is about nothing but providing unfettered access to Iraq's oil. Our blood for oil for the mega-multinationals who will then sell this oil back to us at an outrageous cost and pocket profits so enormous as to be vomitous.
There are other sources of energy besides the lifeblood of our soldiers.
Letterman to (gaaaaaa...) O'Reilly: "You're putting words in my mouth, just like you put artificial facts in your head."
Stop believing in our government, the wisdom of our people, the motives of elected officials, the fairness of elections, the very idea that most people share some modicum of decency and fairness and morality? Oh yeah. Baseball? Hell, no.
But, they sure can throw some balls away, that's for sure. The Cards aren't getting a chance to beat them. They are beating themselves.
She's a mighty brave woman to be throwing stones while living in a glass house. Brave, or stupid.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Of course, I always thought that judges and the courts were independant and approached each case with an open mind and no agenda of their own. The esteemed Scalia has certainly disavowed me of that notion with his statements following:
"'You talk about independence as though it is unquestionably and unqualifiably a good thing," Scalia said. "It may not be. It depends on what your courts are doing."
Scalia added, "The more your courts become policy-makers, the less sense it makes to have them entirely independent."
Policy makers. Hmmm. Golly, I'm a whole lot dumber than I thought. All this time, I've thought that Congress and the state legislatures made the laws and the executive branch made... er... policies for the country, in addition to upholding the law (ahh, pardon me while I have a chuckle).
pol·i·cies1. A plan or course of action, as of a government, political party, or business, intended to influence and determine decisions, actions, and other matters: American foreign policy; the company's personnel
policy.2.a. A course of action, guiding principle, or procedure considered expedient, prudent, or advantageous: Honesty is the best policy.b. Prudence, shrewdness, or sagacity in practical matters.
Supreme Court Justices were supposed to only interpret the Constitution and make sure that none of those laws violated the Constitution. That's what they taught me in Social Studies and Civics classes.
No. Abortion (what else?) changed all that:
"'Take the abortion issue,' he said. 'Whichever side wins, in the courts, the other side feels cheated. I mean, you know, there's something to be said for both sides.'"'The court could have said, 'No, thank you.' The court have said, you know, 'There is nothing in the Constitution on the abortion issue for either side,'" Scalia said. "It could have said the same thing about suicide, it could have said the same thing about ... you know, all the social issues the courts are now taking.'""Scalia said courts didn't use to decide social issues like that."'It is part of the new philosophy of the Constitution,' he said. 'And when you push the courts into that, and when they leap into it, they make themselves politically controversial. And that's what places their independence at risk.'"
Here I thought that the 10th amendment granted some power to the people. Call me optimistic, but I kind of thought that meant that, at minimum, a woman's body belongs to her, but maybe it belongs to the government. Except it doesn't say that it does in the Constitution, does it?
Wouldn't that mean that any laws claiming virtual ownership and determination by the state of what a woman may and may not do with her body would be un-Constitutional? So, wouldn't that be a Constitutional ruling rather than a policy?
Oh my. I guess it all depends on your point of view. Like if you're a woman who believes that she owns her body or if you're a big, fat old man who wants to make all women bow down to him and do as he wants them to do with their body, according to his own personal, religious beliefs.
Read the whole AP story by John Heilprin here.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Come on! How many times have we heard that? I believe they previously said that they should be fully up and operational as of, well, right about now.
We have been in Iraq for nearly 5 years. In that amount of time, we had fought and won WWII and Europe was beginning to re-build. The Iraqi's are not going to stand up until we and the billions of dollars we are pouring into their country and the politician's and contractor's pockets are GONE!
Then, they will tear themselves apart first and their blood will flood their streets. Or not. It's possible that they might just get their shit together once they realize they have no other option and Uncle Sam isn't there to keep picking up the pieces. Mostly, pieces of our dead and wounded soldiers.
Still, we did get rid of their dictator and have given them more than enough time to get some type of government established, imperfect or not. That is about the sum total of positive results we have made. Everything else has been a disaster.
Look, I'm really sorry for the Iraqi's. We never should have gone in there. It was a mistake from day one. What do you do when you make a mistake? You admit it, you apologize, and you try to make amends.
Bush should admit it, he should apologize. We have to get out and give it back to them to do as they choose. Everyone gets the government it deserves.
We should make amends by allowing immigration of very carefully screened Iraqi's, ask Eqypt, Syria, Iran, Jordan, etc. to allow immigration and allocate each family $3,000 per family member for relocation expenses. That's a hell of a lot more than Katrina victims got and it would be a hell of a lot cheaper than what we are doing now. Then, make it clear to the Iraqi government that once they have established a stable state that is not an avowed enemy of the U.S., we will offer tax incentives to companies willing to make substantial investments in the re-development of the country.
Then, we shake the dust off our heels and deal with whatever happens next. Because, when you make a mistake, you deal with the consequences.
Clinton (look, he's my hero!) campaigning for Sestak.
Sestak responding to attempts to swift boat him. How Weldon thinks he can even campaign against this guy is an example of Republican stupidity.
Speaking of stupidity, here's a great animation about our (too stupid to be) President and favorite, Lieberman.
Finally, a very nice and really good song, America My Daddy Taught To Me.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
"In September, there was a Values Voter Summit in Washington. The equation between values voters and conservative evangelical Christians had become so automatic that no one even noticed that the summit was held on Rosh Hashanah, a high holy day on the Jewish calendar. No Jews need apply. Or Muslims or liberal Protestants or ... fill in the blank."
"On Tuesday morning, at 7:46, the 300 millionth American was born into the most religiously diverse country in the world. We include an estimated 5 million Muslims, 2 million Hindus and 2 million Buddhists. We are home as well to Zoroastrians and Druids and millions who attach themselves to no religion. While 80 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christian, half now personally know a Hindu, a Muslim or a Buddhist. We go to school together, work together, live together."
"religious groups have obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in government funding—98.3 percent of it to Christian charities"
"In one hospital in the ultra-sensitive Muslim turf of Pakistan, the X-ray machine, the blood bank refrigerator and the radiology computer bear the USAID sticker, “From the American People.” In the waiting room of this underutilized hospital “The Jesus Film” is shown. "
Yet, we try to explain to Muslims that they need democracy instead of theocracy.
Baseball is a spring and summer game. Imagine freezing your ass off out in center field. It's ridiculous. They are going to have to come out with winter uniforms. Break out the old woolies.
I've loved the Cardinals since I was a little girl. I have close ties to places with Cardinal in the name. I collect Cardinals. I've always rooted for the Cardinals, except when they play the Braves. If the Cards, win, I'll be happy.
Still, I'm rooting for the Tigers. They've got game and they've got heart. It's time for them to win.
If I find myself in a conversation with a person who is making sense, and then they tell me that they are the emperor of the planet Slook in the Asgard system, then I pretty much don't believe anything he's said.
So I really couldn't tell you what the lying liar said.
Wait. I did just hear this. He just said Americans are against the war because of the images. Yeah, that's right. We look at pictures 'cause we are all just too damn stupid to read and be informed. The Repigs have no respect for the American electorate whatsoever.
I hate to be so cynical to think that they would get us into a war just to retain power. Who'd thunk it.
Could Russert try to get a moderate and a liberal to balance the panel?
John Harwood of the Wall Street Journal, David Broder, Robert Novak, and some other guy... Charlie Cook. Don't know Cook, but Jeez!
David Espo of the AP writes:
"Democrats hold solid leads for four of the six Republican seats they need to capture the Senate and about 10 of 15 required to win the House, according to officials in both parties. Numerous additional races remain highly competitive."
Feast your eyes:
"I credit Hillary Clinton for her witty understatement in provocative neck wear. Where Madonna feigns martyrdom on a neon crucifix, Hillary need only to let a wee diamond cross gleam as the symbol of her faith to madden the midnight hags. She dangles the bait, and their crocodile jaws snap. For them, no professional of religious faith from a liberal Democrat can be sincere, unless he or she is black (then it's assumed their handclaps rock to a gospel beat). This goes double for Hillary, their idea of an irredeemable phony. Only Republicans are permitted to pretend to be devout, their heads bowed in prayer as visions of comely pages and luxury-suite hookers flicker behind their eyeballs. Peggy Noonan seems especially miffed, perhaps because she assumed she had a monopoly on pious emissions, and doesn't appreciate Hillary crowding her act."
Here is a sample:
"Reason is indispensable to democratic self-government. This self-evident truth was a fundamental commitment of our Founding Fathers, who believed it was entirely compatible with every American's First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion. When debating policy in the public square, our government should base its laws on grounds that can be accepted by people regardless of their religious beliefs. Public commitment to reason and evidence is the bedrock of a pluralist democracy. Nevertheless, it has been eroded by the present administration in an ongoing campaign to pander to its hard right wing.
This government's failures to respect the process of public reason have generated predictable consequences -- none of them good. The Bush administration has failed to protect its citizens from disaster -- from foreign enemies on September 11, 2001, and from the hurricane and flood that afflicted the Gulf Coast in 2005. It has driven the war in Iraq to an impasse. It is incapable of presenting a plausible strategy to bring our military intervention to a tenable conclusion.
We insist that America be defended vigorously against its real enemies -- the radical Islamists who organize to attack us. But security does not require torture or the rejection of basic guarantees of due process. To the contrary, this administration's lawless conduct and its violations of the Geneva Conventions only damage our moral standing and our ability to combat the appeals of violent ideologues. By defending torture, the Bush administration engages in precisely the kind of ethical relativism that it purports to condemn."
Read the entire interview with Jonathan Turley, professor of constitutional law at George Washington University.
If only the president was sane and honest... but he'd still be president.
"OLBERMANN: Does this mean that under this law, ultimately the only thing keeping you, I, or the viewer out of Gitmo is the sanity and honesty of the president of the United States?
TURLEY: It does. And it’s a huge sea change for our democracy. The framers created a system where we did not have to rely on the good graces or good mood of the president. In fact, Madison said that he created a system essentially to be run by devils, where they could not do harm, because we didn’t rely on their good motivations. Now we must. And people have no idea how significant this is. What, really, a time of shame this is for the American system. What the Congress did and what the president signed today essentially revokes over 200 years of American principles and values.
It couldn’t be more significant. And the strange thing is, we’ve become sort of constitutional couch potatoes. I mean, the Congress just gave the president despotic powers, and you could hear the yawn across the country as people turned to, you know, “Dancing with the Stars.” I mean, it’s otherworldly."
Don't count on the Supreme Court to save us, either...
"OLBERMANN: Is there one defense against this, the legal challenges against particularly the suspension or elimination of habeas corpus from the equation? And where do they stand, and how likely are they to overturn this action today?
TURLEY: Well, you know what? I think people are fooling themselves if they believe that the courts will once again stop this president from taking over—taking almost absolute power. It basically comes down to a single vote on the Supreme Court, Justice Kennedy. And he indicated that if Congress gave the president these types of powers, that he might go along.
And so we may have, in this country, some type of uber-president, some absolute ruler, and it’ll be up to him who gets put away as an enemy combatant, held without trial."
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Will all the marriages between men and women be instantly nullified or require divorce? Will passing legislation to allow life partners to inherit joint property when their partners die, or even make medical decisions if they become incapacitated, or be notified as next of kin, immediately and irrevocably mean that straight men will no longer be sexually attracted to females and want to form a permanent union and vice versa? No. The legalization of gay marriage or legal unions will not affect one single, solitary straight marriage in this country, nor even the world, as the world knows since most industrialized nations already allow it, in one form or another. One more thing Republican domination of Congress has made us fall behind in: basic human rights.
The only possible argument against legal unions of non-heterosexuals is that some heterosexuals find it offensive. Some blame the Bible in a futile attempt to disguise their homophobia.
Well, guess what? There are a lot of things in life that are offensive. I'm offended when I'm at a restaurant or movie and a child starts screaming and his parents do nothing to quiet him. I want the police to come and take the child away from them and give them to a couple who will make him behave. Let's legislate that. I'm offended when I'm standing in line behind someone with body odor. Let's make a law and lock him up. Shall we abolish all freedoms?
If we legislate on the federal level for every thing any group finds offensive, we will have a enormous government far beyond our wildest imaginings. We’ll all have to go to work for the government. We will be living in Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil”. China will have to completely fund us so that we will be free to legislate one another’s every move.
That is what conservatives stand for, right? Giant government and fiscal irresponsibility must be their campaign slogans, otherwise, how would they explain the Homeland Security Department, and the gi-normous federal deficit?
The truth is that marriage is and always has been a custom. Unlike today, many, many, many centuries ago, before people were able to even write, people did have sense. Actually, common sense. If people said they were married, and kept saying they were married, society accepted them as legally married. Period.
Although most Christians began marrying in ceremony in church around 500AD, the Roman Catholics didn’t define it as a sacrament until the 12th century, and circa 1560 at the Council of Trent, required Catholic marriages to be witnessed by a priest. Everyone else continued to marry however they chose, whether in church or not. The Marriage Act of 1753 in Britain didn’t even apply to Colonial America.
By not challenging common-law marriages in the 11 states where it is still permitted in the United States, the federal government passively acknowledges that marriage is a cultural custom, and as such, the Supreme Court should have no comment on the matter. Marriage laws are entirely within the purview of the states. If common-law marriages are legal, even if the couple relocates to one of the other 39 states, then every state in the union in effect recognizes marriage as a cultural custom.
The fact that so many states are scrambling around trying to make marriage only between a man and a woman legal, it goes to show that the laws, as written, do not define it as such. Therefore, as I see it, an argument could certainly be made that marriage is a cultural custom and the laws concerning marriage do not specify the sex of the parties, therefore, gay marriage is already legal.
I think gay and lesbian couples ought to be presenting themselves as married couples in common law states, and/or being married in front of witnesses in whatever way they choose. When their unions are not acknowledged by other legal entities, then they should challenge them as violating their civil rights and/or legal unions as defined by state laws. And keep doing so, over and over and over.
When it is established within our culture that there exists a custom for homosexuals to marry, then overwhelming public opinion will require legislation to support it. It’s up to the gay community to normalize gay marriage so that the rest of society will accept it as normal and customary.
However, by that time, marriage itself may no longer be so common as to be a cultural custom, if it keeps declining. Cal Thomas attributes the falling number of people who are married to the media. Yes, the media.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Even if someone is convicted of murder, they will say "so-and-so was convicted of killing" his victim.
Killing is killing and murder is murder. Killing is not murder. Murder is killing on purpose.
Soldiers kill in war. A person attacked, kills his attacker. A woman being beaten by her husband, kills him and not often enough.
Do murderers deserve the same benevolence or benefit of a doubt as they?
The man who executed Amish schoolgirls did not kill them. He murdered them. Did you hear the word murder in any of the coverage or see it in any written account? I didn't.
There used to be a saying "call a spade, a spade", which I don't think had a racist connotation. The only spade I know of is in the garden or a pack of cards, but there's no telling how anything will be taken anymore.
Political correctness for the sake of hurting the feelings or sensibilities of the innocent or overly sensitive is one thing. But, I think it's a sad day when so-called reporters of the so-called news are too timid to call a murder a murder and a murderer a murderer.
I don't care if she says it was spawned from hell, that is giving free publicity to the Republican party.
Whatever happened to equal time on the American people owned airwaves?
I'm trying to behave over at ALW, so if any of my friends and family, who are, no doubt, the only ones to have visited me yet, if even... then please come on over and check us out.
And please comment! I don't even care if it's Mom telling me how I need to be careful what I write so I don't get arrested by the Presidential Thought Control Patrol and jailed as an Unlawful Enemy Combatant. I want to hear from everybody, good or bad.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Whooooo!! Mets lost, nananananayah! Whew!
TigersorCards?TigersorCards?TigersorCards? I dunno but Mets LOST!!!
It wouldn't have surprised me a bit to have awakened this morning to news that Keith (yes, I'm calling him by his first name, we're just that close!) had been the first, if not the inevitably last, American arrested as an Unlawful Enemy Combatant. I breathed a sigh of relief if not surprise that my love was safe for now, but spoke of my fears to a real-life loved one (yeah, my mom... don't get tooo excited for me).
Now, I see that I am not alone in my fears for my hunk of burning love man, and that these fears are not the groundless worries of a woman lost in passion.
So, do me a favor, will ya? Watch my sweetheart on MSNBC every weeknight at 8pm. If you can't make it, catch him at 12:00 midnight right after Jon-Jon and Stevie-boy. Make it a date... yes, yes, a date! That's what I want. And I do like to get what I want, y'know.
Remember, Keith needs me, he really, really needs me...uh, I mean you, yeah, you, that's right.
And write to GE, I mean, MSNBC and tell 'em that if they yank him (oops!) you're gonna throw your fridge, dishwasher, washer, dryer, vibrator, whatever... right out the door and go with, I dunno, Maytag or something.
Do it for Keith. Do it for us.
See the whole story at the link below.
Newly Released Surveillance Files Reveal Pentagon is Keeping Secret Tabs on Peaceful Protest Activities
The American Friends Service Committee Lawsuit Confirms Defense Department “Spying”
PHILADELPHIA - October 13 - Documents released today by the American Civil Liberties Union confirm the Department of Defense (DOD) has been “spying” on peaceful protestors.
The documents reveal the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker organization committed to the principles of nonviolence, came under Pentagon surveillance on several occasions last year for organizing or supporting peaceful protest activity.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
I want to be Paul Revere, riding my steed up and down every street in America, shouting "The Bushies are coming! The Bushies are coming!"
I want to be Tom Paine and write passionately and persuasively about human rights, human dignity and the Oppression Upon Us.
Most of all, I want to be Patrick Henry and shout to all who listen, "Give me liberty or give me death!"
Who will listen? Is there anyone out there who cares?
I want everyone to understand that you have had your basic fundamental human rights stripped right out from under you. It has been done in subordination of the Constitution, as it forbids suspension of habeas corpus except in time of invasion or revolution, neither of which has happened, yet.
You no longer have freedom of speech because you could get arrested if you say or write something the government thinks aids terrorists. You do not have freedom of assembly because you could get arrested if the government thinks the anti-war protest you went to or the book club you went to included some statement or activity it deems aids terrorists. The freedom of the press has already been threatened and compromised. I mean, I could go on, but do you get it yet?
It applies to American citizens. Read it and weep.
‘‘(1) UNLAWFUL ENEMY COMBATANT.—(A) The term ‘unlawful
enemy combatant’ means—
‘‘(i) a person who has engaged in hostilities or who
has purposefully and materially supported hostilities
against the United States or its co-belligerents who is
not a lawful enemy combatant (including a person who
is part of the Taliban, al Qaeda, or associated forces);
This means if I say, for example, "I don't blame the people in Iraq for fighting against our forces because if another country's army had been occupying our country for five years and wouldn't leave, I would fight them, too" then I could be classified as an Unlawful Enemy Combatant.
I'm not kidding. It has already happened. There is still one man in Guantanamo who was arrested 5 years ago and has yet to be charged with a crime.
If you are arrested, you can be tortured. They don't have to tell you the charge against you. You will not go before a grand jury. You will not see the evidence against you. You will be convicted without the right to appeal at all, let alone appeal to the Supreme Court. After they finish torturing you, they will execute you.
Okay, I've done my duty. I have told you what the Republican Congress and Republican President have done. Go ahead and vote for them if you want, or don't vote at all, but when the revolution comes, I'll be on the other side.
Just let me point out again that my statement in quotes above was for example only (See what I mean about freedom of speech?) because I don't feel like getting arrested and tortured by my government today, however, if it comes right down to it, I will gladly give my life for liberty.
Actually, that is not correct. They have been fighting a hell of a lot longer than that.
Pretty much, they've been fighting and killing one another since around 3500BC. Thats BC. That means at least 1000 years before the time of Abraham and eons before Moses' time, which is the earliest you could actually call biblical time. You know, because Moses supposedly wrote Genesis and all.
Now, people, 3500bc doesn't mean 35 hundred years ago. That means 3500 plus 2000+, so we're talking 5500 years ago. I don't mean to sound condescending, just trying to be understood. You never know who's reading.
Islamic sectarianism is just the most recent justification for the killing of one another. Before it was the standard I should be King instead. So, uh yeah, historically, they are able to tolerate bloodshed. It's in their culture, it just wasn't so much in this generation's daily lives until Bush got his big idea.
Five thousand, five hundred years they've been killing each other in Mesopotamia and the only times they had the least little respite from war and bloodshed has been when they were ruled by dictators with iron fists and mighty armies.
And George Bush thinks a few thousand troops and "because he says so" is enough to bring peace and democracy to Iraq.
I'm laughing so hard I'm crying.
The discussion was about whether anyone "owned" the Christian Evangelical vote. The consensus actually seemed to be that the answer was "no". I almost fell out of my chair to hear Land say that the only factor in how evangelicals vote is the candidate running. Now, of course, this is a lie, but that he even said it signaled a huge shift in the thinking and presentation of the SBC. I've been watching for this since the cabal of Church of God holy-rollers who hijacked the Southern Baptists were recently voted out. The pastor of my mothers church was elected in their place. A reasonable, intelligent man who is much more representative of the real Southern Baptists.
I only cringed once, can you believe that? It was when Land said that "God is pro-life".
First of all, there is no human being who can speak for God, because if there is a God, and if there is to be a God, then He is beyond human understanding, yet alone human explanation. Personal opinion.
Second of all, I wish these people would decide which God it is that they believe in. Supposedly, the Christian God is the same God as the God of Judaism, the God of the "old testament", which is the same God of the Torah and Pentateuch.
News flash! It’s settled rabbinical scholarship that, according to God, life begins at birth. So, yah, God is pro-life. God is all for human beings that have been born and are living, breathing, viable entities.
Gooey clump of cells, not so much.
Today is the 18th. The “threat” was made on the 12th. What? Did it take Homeland Security 6 days to find the posting? Or maybe did they only decide to release it today, one day after the greatest, real threat to this country was signed into law, i.e., the Military Commissions Act of 2006… The Torture Bill.
What better way to: a) distract the public from realizing that their right of habeas corpus has just been stripped from them so that any posting or any act the President decides is a threat can land me or you or yo mamma in jail and tortured with no right to see the evidence or know what charges are being made?
b) make idiots and other Republicans think such a violation of everything this country has ever stood for is completely justifiable.
Yeah, right. So why say anything? Because they know that it will trigger fear. Because they know that it will play into the hands of the Republican party who can prey on that fear.
They did exactly the same thing just before the last election. They think we are all completely stupid. And the sad thing is, they are 50% right.
Citing unnamed members of Mr Baker's committee, The Los Angeles Times yesterday said that two options under consideration would represent reversals of US policy - withdrawing American troops in phases, and bringing neighbouring Iran and Syria into a joint effort to stop the fighting.
The BBC also reported that a third possibility was under consideration - to concentrate on getting stability in Iraq, and stop aiming to establish a democracy there.
If someone is lawfully convicted in a US court of law, having been given every right and opportunity to defend himself, yet dies before he can appeal, his conviction is vacated. OK, I can accept that, even for Ken Lay.
But, now the President can decide to arrest someone without presenting any evidence whatsoever, there can be a trial without the defendant even seeing the evidence against him, and he can be executed. Period.
Ummmm, something doesn't seem right here.
Here are some excepts, but you really must read the whole column at the link above.
Molly Ivins: Habeas Corpus, R.I.P. (1215 - 2006)
The version of the detainee bill now in the Senate not only undoes much of the McCain-Warner-Graham work, but it is actually much worse than the administration’s first proposal. In one change, the original compromise language said a suspect had the right to “examine and respond to” all evidence used against him. The three senators said the clause was necessary to avoid secret trials. The bill has now dropped the word “examine” and left only “respond to.”
In another change, a clause said that evidence obtained outside the United States could be admitted in court even if it had been gathered without a search warrant. But the bill now drops the words “outside the United States,” which means prosecutors can ignore American legal standards on warrants.
The bill also expands the definition of an unlawful enemy combatant to cover anyone who has “has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States.” Quick, define “purposefully and materially.” One person has already been charged with aiding terrorists because he sold a satellite TV package that includes the Hezbollah network.
The bill simply removes a suspect’s right to challenge his detention in court. This is a rule of law that goes back to the Magna Carta in 1215. That pretty much leaves the barn door open.
I’d like those supporting this evil bill to spare me one affliction: Do not, please, pretend to be shocked by the consequences of this legislation. And do not pretend to be shocked when the world begins comparing us to the Nazis.
To find out more about Molly Ivins and see works by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
I think it’s both hilarious and sociologically fascinating when our brethren in the rest of the country purport to be shocked, shocked at the goings-on of our corrupt, (this time) Republican lawmakers. Don’t they know that, at best, it’s always a choice between the Devil and the Junkyard Dog?
I think its demonstrative of the enduring impact of the original settlers of America, of which my family were some of the earliest, except for those that were before, that is, the Cherokees and the Catawbas. I digress. What I’m trying to say is that it boils down to the influence of the Puritans, who settled up north, and the Cavaliers and Scotch-Irish , who settled the south. The rest of the country has been thoroughly influenced by the Puritan mores of the Northeast which still pervade their residents today. Not that any of that populace or that of the mainland US are still Puritans in any way, shape or form. They are just reacting as they think they should due to that influence, just the same as southerners do because of the influence of the Cavaliers.
That influence is why those who plop the southern religious right into the same category as the evangelicals of the mid and upper mid-west will never understand nor be able to predict the actions and reactions of either. Unfortunately, the southern waters have been muddied a bit by the mid-western evangelicals who have moved into my area specifically due to (S)ob Jones, but they are clearing somewhat. The Democrats do not understand that they do have a legitimate chance of winning back the South, but they may as well stay out of Kansas and her neighbors.
Except for some of the former (and haw! Unbelievably current!) snake handlers and holy spirit babbling Church of God Pentecostals up in western Tennessee who try to pass themselves off as Southern Baptists, but who have infiltrated that faith and attempted, and succeeded to a considerable degree, a coup d’tat, the vast majority of Southerners are reasonable people. Exceptin them that ain’t got no edication, o’corse. Which are few, I assure you.
Sure, they go to church on Sunday. Sometimes, even on Wednesday, too. And they pray a lot. Some, maybe half, believe the Bible literally. Or pretend to, at least. However, culturally, it is for vastly different reasons than those of the Midwest. In the south, church is, and always has been a) entertainment, b) social club, c) town meeting. Southerners go to church to find out who is wearing what, who is doing what (or whom), what’s going on that might be fun, and what’s going on in the community and is there anything they might get their nose in. Then, they go home and have a beer and watch football or NASCAR.
I don’t know anyone whose preacher tells them how to vote. In case y’all haven’t noticed, no Southerner appreciates being told what to do. By anyone, anytime. Not way back when, and not now. Nothing will get a Southerner’s back up faster. Ergo, the beer. Some may try, I don’t know. I’m not a churchgoer myself now for many decades. My beliefs defy labels and are more mystical than supernatural. But, I am a Southerner and I know that if the preacher preaches against the evils and alcohol for two hours, most everyone will smile at him and nod their head and shake his hand at the door. Then they’ll go home and forego the beer and pour a whiskey, instead.
That makes the South ripe pickings for the Democratic party if the DNC would just make the investment and TRY!
Now, I’m not a Midwesterner, so I won’t speak as an expert, but I have visited for mercifully short periods of time, so I’ll allow as to what I think. (And, yes, if you haven’t noticed, I prefer to write and speak in the vernacular, rather than pretend to be someone I’m not nor do I aspire to be).
Midwesterners are the heirs to Puritanism. When the Midwestern evangelicals go to church, it’s not to see what people are wearing because they don’t dress worth a fart. No one is doing much of anything other than the same old same old. Do evangelicals have sex in the Midwest? Just for procreation, I suspect. And they aren’t interested in finding out what’s going on so they can put their two cents worth in, they don’t have two cents. Meaning, opinions, not money, Yank. They go to church to find out from their preacher what they are supposed to do. That is, how they are supposed to vote. They don’t go to find out how to think, because they don’t do much of that. Then they go out and picket abortion clinics. Or a soldiers funeral.
Still, our little foray into the thorns is indeed a comma compared to the world of shit we are going to be in should this situation in North Korea escalate. And its all going to be because... are you ready?... Bush's White House wasn't paying attention. Although, wait just a minute. According to McCain, isn't this lap full of nuclear shit all Clinton's fault?
There is no excuse for it and I, for one, demand that it stop.
Were we not all raised to play well with others, to share, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, for God's sake?? And that if we did not, there would be consequences to pay. Okay, sure, maybe some aren't, but upon reaching the age of majority, surely everyone has at least been exposed to the concepts. There are no excuses.
There is no excuse for the religious right. They are not the sole proprietors of the knowledge of what is good and what is not. Nor were they appointed by their God to be the judges of the earth. In fact, they were admonished to not do so.
The Rude Pundit writes:
Echoing the President's rhetoric on Iraqistanalqaeda, since we live in a time of such a lack of subtlety, Perkins couches this all in terms of another of the endless battles for civilization we're engaged in: "One thing is for sure - the ideological clash between hedonistic secularists and Americans who draw their political values from moral law - will continue until one side or the other prevails. Battles over these issues are being waged in every political jurisdiction in America. Their collective outcome will determine whether our children will inherit religious freedom. Without it, they will have no real freedom at all."
First of all, "Americans who draw their political values from moral law"? Is he kidding? What moral law is he referring to? The 10 Commandments which are only 10 of hundreds the God of Moses mythologically handed to the people of Israel and which were taken almost completely carved letter by letter from the Code of Hammurabi? Perhaps Mr. Perkins of the Family Research Council should research why Christians get to pick and choose which moral laws of their God they will and will not obey. I bet if he did, he might just stumble around enough to discover what real religious freedom means.
Perhaps he might discover the massive bloodshed in Europe and primarily in Britain when the Christians were sorting out which laws which Protesant sect would obey as opposed to those of the Catholics. You know, when if a person didn't believe as you, you simply killed him, oftentimes by most ingenious and ghastly methods such as burning, once you'd finished torturing him. And they did this for hundreds of years!
It's a little bloodcurdling, to realize that the same people who tortured and murdered then are supporting whole heartedly those who subvert our Constitution in order to do so today, isn't it?
Religious freedom only came about by SEPARATING religion from government. If they truly value their religious freedom, they need to keep it the heck out of politics. And by remembering that the only reason they have freedom is because everyone else has it, too. They don't get to be the only free people in this sorry world of ours, now or ever.