Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Rush Limbaugh, I dare you to accuse me of exploiting Huricane Katrina for my twisted political agenda.

Because, El Rushbo, that dog don't hunt.

Especially when you've been calling this Hurricane Katrina vanden Heuvel and saying things like: "It would be pretty cool if Fox played to caricature and repeatedly referred to the hurricane as Katrina vanden Heuvel" and "The destruction from Katrina vanden Heuvel is expected to be massive...The poor and disabled are particularly likely to suffer from the effects of Katrina vanden Heuvel."

Rush, I know you are a heartless horse's ass, but you can't say something like that and then turn around and claim that "doom and gloom" liberals are the ones who are exploiting this natural disaster for political gain.

As to exploiting tragedy for poltical gain, there is no one who is more practiced at it than George W. Bush. He's no more likely to see me than Cindy Sheehan, but since I'm also going to be impacted by Hurricane Katrina, I've got a few questions I'd like the President to answer.

If I could meet with the President Bush, these are the questions I'd like to ask:

  • If we've spent every single day since 9-11 preparing for a catastrophic terrorist attack with Weapons of Mass Destruction, why weren't we better prepared for the massive destruction caused by this natural disaster? Katrina gave us a lot more warning than the terrorists will.

  • Do you continue to feel that your efforts to "prevent" such an attack by pre-emptive war in the Persian Gulf is actually making us safer here at home? If a massive terrorist attack does happen, we now know that because so much of our National Guard force (and their equipment) is in Iraq, we're woefully unprepared to deal with that attack. And, since the terrorists watch CNN too, don't they also know this? 35% of the Louisiana National Guard is currently fighting in Iraq, and money to repair breached levees was diverted to the Iraq War.

  • Why, sir, when FEMA predicted that this exact event was one of the "three likeliest, most catastrophic disasters" did you cut funding by a record $71.2 million for the Army Corps of Engineers, representing the largest single-year funding loss ever for the New Orleans district?

  • Do you also, in retrospect, think that shelving the study of how to protect against Category 5 hurricanes was a mistake?

  • Now that we have had a natural disaster of what is being called "Biblical proportions", do you feel it is a mistake to have announced that FEMA is to "officially" lose the disaster preparedness function that it has had since its creation?

  • Will this administration now take a closer look at the "junk science" of global warming or will you continue to revise standards (such as CAFE last week) which actually encourage automakers to produce bigger, less fuel efficient vehicles, while preventing states from taking strong, progressive action to reverse global warming?

    Asking legitimate questions like this is not "pimping" Katrina, as the conservative blogger Steve Bowers at "Pardon my English" puts it in his attack of Robert Kennedy Jr.'s reasonable attempt to connect the severity of the hurricane to climate change.

    I think these questions need answers, and if you don't think so, which one of us hates America more?

    Hurricane Katrina is perhaps the worst natural disaster to hit the United States in history:

    • Entire cities across three states totally wiped out.
    • All along the Gulf Coast over a million people displaced from their homes.
    • All essential services in the area are out.
    • New Orleans is 80% under water and it is getting deeper.
    • At least $25 Billion dollars in damage.
    • There is no drinking water or safe food available to animals or humans. This will pose a terrible public health and safety problem for months to come.
    • Public health systems are pushed to the brink.
    • Over 110 people killed in the state of Mississippi and rising.
    • Oil prices are at $71 a barrel and rising, expected rationing of gasoline in afflicted areas, prices at the pump nationally expected to top $3 a gallon.
    • 80% of the state of Mississippi is without electric power. Refineries have shut down due to damage and loss of electricity.
    • Untold numbers of people now homeless and millions of jobs washed away. The stock market on the skids, the Dow retreating.
    • An oil rig washed up on shore, as yet no oil company is claiming ownership.
    • Horrific environmental damage to the entire region.
    • Reinsurers are in a panic about the massive blow these insurance claims will deal to the world economy.
    • It will be over two months before the airport in New Orleans can reopen.
    • Martial law declared, entire city of New Orleans ordered evacuated.
    • Looters are breaking into department stores and stealing all the guns and ammunition they can find.

    • Sources:
    • Global warming may be to blame for Katrina, By Andrew Buncombe, The Independent
    • How Not to Prepare for a Hurricane, AlterNet
    • State's military presence aids in storm relief: While some Guard members fight in Iraq, others battle elements. Shreveport Times
    • The Politics of Weather, American Progress Action Fund
    • Katrina Proves Bush Failed New Orleans, Swing State Project
    • Rush (mis)reads the news: Following pattern of distortion, Limbaugh contorts global warming article to falsely accuse NY Times of liberal bias, Media Matters
    • Destroying FEMA, By Eric Holdeman, director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.
    • New Orleans as a casualty of the war in Iraq, This Modern World

    Wednesday, August 24, 2005

    Holy Headstone, Batman, Bush's Graveside Advertising Exploits War Dead!

    Just when you think it can't possibly get worse....Bushco does something you couldn't have imagined.

    For weeks we have heard grieving pro-Bush parents of soldiers killed in Iraq complain that Cindy Sheehan is exploiting their sacrifice by putting up crosses with the names of dead soldiers on crosses near their protest site without the family's permission. Today we get a news story about how the Bush Administration has been putting the names of military operations on the headstones of war dead at Arlington.

    At first, you probably think, "So what?"

    Well, consider that ever since the invasion of Panama (Operation Just Cause) these operational names have been chosen specifically to help shape public opinion into support for the operation. In that light, any use of the operational name becomes political propaganda. "Operation Enduring Freedom" and "Operation Iraqi Freedom" were specifically designed to promote public support for these operations, because opposing them meant you must oppose freedom.

    Putting these slogans on the headstones of the people who gave their lives carrying the operations out not only implies the support of those dead soldiers for the operation they were ordered to participate in, but also continues to advertise those operations to an increasingly skeptical populace.

    While the families are supposed to be able to approve or disapprove of the additional inscription (all previous headstones, provided by the government and paid for by everyone's tax dollars merely list the name, rank, dates of life, and sometimes the war)....not all families have signed off on the inscriptions before they were added. Before this new program, families had to pay extra if they wanted anything beyond the basics inscribed on the stone.

    Even the people who make the headstones are uncomfortable about the new program:

    "It just seems a little brazen that that's put on stones," said Jeff Martell, owner of Granite Industries of Vermont. "It seems like it might be connected to politics."

    Personally, I don't like it when Bush invokes the dead of 9-11 to thwart critics of any of his policies and I don't like the way he invokes the more than 1800 US military dead as a justification to continue the occupation regardless of how many more casualties will occur since "major combat operations ended" in Iraq.

    Most politicians, and that is what Bush is, wrap themselves in the flag to get popularity. Bush wraps himself in corpses, a legacy of headstones, and most Americans seem to love him for it. But then, don't most victims of vampires fall in love with their demonic attackers?

    Where is Jonathan Harker when you need him?

    Troop graves bear operation names: Critics condemn move as public relations bid by administration By David Pace, Associated Press, August 24, 2005

    Bush Quotes Zarqawi Paraphrase of Bush Quote

    In what has to be one of the best examples of how irony isn't dead but Republicans are dead to irony, Bush made the following reference to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in a speech today before the military and their families (does he ever speak before anyone else?) in Idaho:

    "Now once again, freedom is confronting the follower...followers of a murderous ideology. And like the hate filled ideologies that came before it, the darkness of terror will be defeated...and the forces of freedom and moderation will prevail throughout the muslim world.

    (applause, look of grim determination)

    In the end the terrorists will fail because they have nothing positive (through snide chuckle) to offer.

    (satisfied smirk, followed quickly by return to look of grim determination)

    The terrorist Zarqawi sums up their appeal this way, "Anyone who stands in the way of our struggle is our enemy and target of the swords."

    (shrug of mystification at how anyone could see the world in such a black and white way)

    That's the sum of his grim vision."

    Wow. Zarqawi seems to have a grim vision remarkably similar to:

    "You are either with us or against us in the fight against terror."

    (shrug of mystification at how anyone could see the world in such a black and white way)

    This mantra of "freedom" that George keeps talking about...I don't think he realizes that they are think that they are fighting for freedom too.

    Freedom from us.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2005

    Pat Robertson's Hit List is Growing!

    Today I'm adressing the continuing saga of who Pat Robertson wants dead.

    If you've been reading this blog the past week or so, you know that Pat Robertson has been asking God to kill people he doesn't like. I guess Pat got impatient with God acting on his behalf, because yesteday on the 700 Club he advised killing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

    "We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come to exercise that ability," Robertson said, "This is a dangerous enemy to our south controlling a huge pool of oil." He went on to add, "We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one strong-arm dictator, it's a whole lot easier to let some of the covert operatives to do the job and get it over with."

    Well, you can't argue his math, but how about his ethics as an example of moral leadership and Christian ideals?

    In addition to seeking the deaths of those who are aligned with the Enemy, Pat would also like you to get thinner using his "age-defying" diet drink, which he uses his non-profit status to help market. In spite of the claim on his website that it is the drink recipie which keeps him energetic and able to leg press 2000 pounds, the same web page carries the standard legal disclaimer that states: No specific health benefit is implied or promised from this recipe.

    If only all his ridiculous statements carried a similar disclaimer.

    Other things Pat Robertson believes:

    Check out Issues in Bristol Virginia,
    Bristol Tennessee, and the Tri-Cities
    by Lewis Loflin. It's a very interesting website with a lot of fodder for discussion on all sides.

    You might also wish to read this rebuttal of Robertson on Natural Disasters caused by Unnatural Acts by Janis Walworth. She actually proves biblically and statistically that high concentrations of gay people protects you from tornadoes and by examining the data on the areas of the country God continually smites, who God must actually be angry at.

    Monday, August 22, 2005

    Through the Looking Glass: The 2004 Election

    I don't normally repost other editorials here, mostly because I'm too vain, but this one needs a wider circulation.

    No Paper Trail Left Behind: The Theft of the 2004 Presidential Election By Dennis Loo, Ph.D.

    I tried to post it in its entirety, but reformatting it to fit the blogspot template drove me nearly as insane as the actual content of the piece. I will sumarize the points, but you should read the entire piece and check his source material.

    Like Alice, who didn't seem to believe that anyone could believe an impossible thing, we are confronted with the fact that if we really think that, we haven't been trying hard enough.

    To believe that George Bush won the November 2, 2004 presidential election, you must also believe all of the following extremely improbable or outright impossible things.

    • A big turnout and a highly energized and motivated electorate favored the GOP instead of the Democrats for the first time in history.

    • Even though first-time voters, lapsed voters (those who didn’t vote in 2000), and undecideds went for John Kerry by big margins, and Bush lost people who voted for him in the cliffhanger 2000 election, Bush still received a 3.5 million vote surplus nationally.

    • The fact that Bush far exceeded the 85% of registered Florida Republicans’ votes that he got in 2000, receiving in 2004 more than 100% of the registered Republican votes in 47 out of 67 Florida counties, 200% of registered Republicans in 15 counties, and over 300% of registered Republicans in 4 counties, merely shows Floridians’ enthusiasm for Bush. He managed to do this despite the fact that his share of the crossover votes by registered Democrats in Florida did not increase over 2000 and he lost ground among registered Independents, dropping 15 points. (Try, try, try to uderstand....he's a magic man....)

    • Florida’s reporting of more presidential votes (7.59 million) than actual number of people who voted (7.35 million), a surplus of 237,522 votes, does not indicate fraud.

    • The fact that Bush got more votes than registered voters, and the fact that by stark contrast participation rates in many Democratic strongholds in Ohio and Florida fell to as low as 8%, do not indicate a rigged election.

    • Bush won re-election despite approval ratings below 50% - the first time in history this has happened. Truman has been cited as having also done this, but Truman’s polling numbers were trailing so much behind his challenger, Thomas Dewey, pollsters stopped surveying two months before the 1948 elections, thus missing the late surge of support for Truman. Unlike Truman, Bush’s support was clearly eroding on the eve of the election.

    • Harris' last-minute polling indicating a Kerry victory was wrong (even though Harris was exactly on the mark in their 2000 election final poll).

    • The “challenger rule” - an incumbent’s final results won’t be better than his final polling - was wrong.

    • On election day the early-day voters picked up by early exit polls (showing Kerry with a wide lead) were heavily Democratic instead of the traditional pattern of early voters being mainly Republican.

    • The fact that Bush “won” Ohio by 51-48%, but this was not matched by the court-supervised hand count of the 147,400 absentee and provisional ballots in which Kerry received 54.46% of the vote doesn’t cast any suspicion upon the official tally.

    • Florida computer programmer Clinton Curtis (a life-long registered Republican) must be lying when he said in a sworn affidavit that his employers at Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI) and Tom Feeney (general counsel and lobbyist for YEI, GOP state legislator and Jeb Bush’s 1994 running mate for Florida Lt. Governor) asked him in 2000 to create a computer program to undetectably alter vote totals. Curtis, under the initial impression that he was creating this software in order to forestall possible fraud, handed over the program to his employer Mrs. Li Woan Yang, and was told: “You don’t understand, in order to get the contract we have to hide the manipulation in the source code. This program is needed to control the vote in south Florida.”

    • Diebold CEO Walden O’Dell’s declaration in a August 14, 2003 letter to GOP fundraisers that he was "committed to helping Ohio to deliver its electoral votes to the president next year" and the fact that Diebold is one of the three major suppliers of the electronic voting machines in Ohio and nationally, didn’t result in any fraud by Diebold.

    • There was no fraud in Cuyahoga County, Ohio where the number of recorded votes was more than 93,000 larger than the number of registered voters and where they admitted counting the votes in secret before bringing them out in public to count.

    • CNN reported at 9 p.m. EST on election evening that Kerry was leading by 3 points in the national exit polls based on well over 13,000 respondents. Several hours later at 1:36 a.m. CNN reported that the exit polls, now based on a few hundred more - 13,531 respondents - were showing Bush leading by 2 points, a 5-point swing. In other words, a swing of 5 percentage points from a tiny increase in the number of respondents somehow occurred despite it being mathematically impossible.

    • Exit polls in the November 2004 Ukrainian presidential elections, paid for in part by the Bush administration, were right, but exit polls in the U.S., where exit polling was invented, were very wrong.

    • The National Election Pool’s exit polls were so far off that since their inception twenty years ago, they have never been this wrong, more wrong than statistical probability indicates is possible.

    • In every single instance where exit polls were wrong the discrepancy favored Bush, even though statistical probability tells us that any survey errors should show up in both directions. Half a century of polling and centuries of mathematics must be wrong.

    • It must be merely a stunning coincidence that exit polls were wrong only in precincts where there was no paper ballot to check against the electronic totals and right everywhere there was a paper trail.

    Loo goes on to point out that this list is only a partial listing of the irregularities from this election. He also does an amazing job of analyzing in incredible detail the problems surrounding Bush's landslide and mandate in the last "election." He is meticulous in his documentation.

    You have to scratch your head and wonder about what has happened to this nation when Jimmy Carter says that he wouldn't monitor US Elections because they don't meet his minimum standards. (Source) How are we supposed to be bringing democracy to the Middle East when we can't even prove we have it here at home?

    You really need to read this entire article, and to circulate the link to as many people as you can. Only outrage is going to change anything, and a lot needs to be changed.

    You will be chanting "Holy Crap, Holy Crap, Holy Crap" long before you get to the end of the article.

    If you aren't chanting it already.

    Sunday, August 21, 2005

    Book Report and Must See TV

    Not much to post today, have been very busy with two major occurrences. The first is that I went to see Dwight Yoakam in concert last night, and he was fantastic. He was playing to a huge crowd despite the fact that is was nearly triple digit temperatures in an outdoor pavilion in Charlottesville, Virginia in August.

    I have it on good authority that the performance in C'ville was much better than the Habitat for Humanity concert the night before in Asheville. Mostly due to the fact that it seemed like more people at the Asheville gig went to see and hear the patriotic song stylings of Charlie Daniels and his band (who opened for Dwight) than the headliner, but there you go. The opener in Charlottesville was Jim Waive. He was almost as good as Dwight.

    At any rate, the concert was great, the band was great, Dwight was great, and if you have a chance to see him live, you really should. Because he's great.

    The other thing occupying my attention is that my car died, and now, so has my lawn mower. I blame Pat Robertson. I'm planning to blame Pat Robertson for pretty much everything bad that happens to me from now on, and therefore, I have to theorize that in spite of Pat Robertson's prayers to stop me, God thought that denying me the chance to see Dwight Yoakam live in concert was more punishment than my Liberalism warranted.

    And Pat's vengeance for my alliance with the Enemy which struck my lawn mower is only going to aggravate my Republican neighbors, because I'm more than happy to have the excuse to sit in my overgrown front lawn and sip a cocktail. I'm telling myself that God heard Pat, considered the evils in my neighborhood, and decided to reward me with some down time and punish my neighbors using my mower as an instrument of His infinite justice.

    Due to my automobile imposed shut in status and mower induced leisure time, I have managed to catch up on some of my reading. I want to recommend Weapons of Mass Deception, by Sheldon Rampton, John Stauber. It is a very detailed analysis of the propaganda machine which propelled us into the war. I'd been meaning to read it for a long time, but hadn't gotten around to it yet. If you're in the same boat, read it now.

    Also, don't forget to watch CNN tonight at 8PM EST. They are doing a show called Dead Wrong: Inside an Intelligence Meltdown It will re-air at 11:00. You all should watch, it will be the talk of AM Radio on Monday, I'm sure. I'm equally sure there won't be anything on the show that readers of this blog didn't know already, but it will be nice to hear them on TV...Though why they couldn't have aired most of this info a year or two ago, that's the real mystery.

    I'm going to add some new links to the right side of the blog, including a suggested reading bookshelf and a few more new links to good blogs I've found. Keep checking back. I'm also going to try to keep true to my promise to Rhonda to try to make more frequent posts, even if the post isn't a work of editorial genius...Just to let people know Pat Robertson hasn't gotten God to smite me down yet.

    All the books listed in the Books of Note section I've actually read, so you can ask me about them if you want. I'm slogging my way through the 9-11 Commission report, but it gives me bad dreams. The books on the list are in the order I've read them, near as I can remember, and not ranked in any order of preference. I think you should read both the Bob Woodward books right away, though, if you haven't read them yet. The John Dean book is a must read, and so is the one by Mark Crispin Miller.

    The one by Stephen Mansfield might surprise people. I want you to know I don't just read Lefty Endorsed Official Books of the Ant-Bush Blame America First crowd. I figured that since this was a book the Right Wing Theocrats endorsed, I'd better have a look through it. It is scariest because of the insight into the real forces shaping this nation today.

    Well, that and the bad writing.

    I'll add more books as I finish them. Feel free to suggest some! We can have a book club! Maybe I'll start getting payola! That'd be swell. I need the money to thwart Pat Robertson and get my car fixed.

    Friday, August 19, 2005

    "Pat, this is W...I got a prayer request for you."

    The President is not one to admit a mistake...mostly because he isn't one to realize he's made any, since he's on a mission from God and all.

    Not meeting a second time with Cindy Sheehan is one of the dumbest mistakes I can think of. Bring her up to the ranch, let her make her accusations (all of which she has politely made on TV in advance) and simply repeat whatever Rove and Condi tell you to say, put her back in the car, send her to the end of the driveway and go on TV to say you've met with her and you have agreed to disagree, which is the embodiment of everything great about America.

    And it's over.

    Why on Earth would you not do that if you could solve the problem so easily?

    Well, because you don't think there's a problem, first of all. Second, if there is a problem, it isn't your problem.

    That pretty much sums up the philosophy of this Administration. Besides, who is getting the most benefit out of Cindy's protest? Cindy? Hell, no!

    Look at it from inside the Ranch. There's this grieving mother out there at the end of the driveway who is the living embodiment of everything you hate about the Liberal Left. Let her talk long enough, and let the Anti-War people use her as a flag, and the dividends start rolling in.

    For every minute of publicity she gets for her cause, you get an hour of bloviating by the AM Propaganda Machine decrying her support of the terrorists and her dishonor of her own son's sacrifice. Plus you get to criticize her for exploiting her son's death for the Anti-War crowd while you get away with exploiting her son's death in support of the war without anyone criticizing you for it.

    And the Liberal Media, in their zeal for balanced coverage, will present mother after mother of dead soldiers who support you. You can't buy publicity like that, and you should know, because you've tried!

    Not meeting with her shows you have courage and resolve in the face of harsh criticism. Best of all, she keeps the War on Terror (best thing that ever happened to your presidency) in the news. She literally forces you to keep talking about the war, instead of having to bring it up yourself at every opportunity. When you address her concerns in a press conference instead of a private conversation, you get to hammer the same talking points that have kept you in office...that we're at war and to do anything but what you want us to do would be a terrible mistake which helps the Terrorists and hurts America. Then sit back and let your minions do the negative attack campaign for you. It's always worked before, why change tactics now?

    But, all good things must come to an end...and the protest was starting to be more of a distraction...and with people shooting shotguns down there and saying things like "Dove season is coming soon" this whole thing could get ugly and start hurting rather than helping.

    So, you call up Pat Robertson and ask him if, while he's praying for Supreme Court Justices to drop dead, he can manage to slip in a request to God to do something to get Cindy out of Crawford.

    Then, next thing you know, Cindy's mother has a stroke and the troublesome Gold Star Mother flies to California.

    God's been good to George W. Bush. He's been a little rough on Cindy Sheehan.

    You have to wonder if Bushco has a whole wing of the Pentagon devoted not to new weapons technology but to focused prayer for the destruction of Evil Doers and the misguided supporters of the Enemy. If something bad happens to you, did it happen because you were unlucky or because George and Pat got God to lift his veil of protection from you?

    I hope Cindy's Mom is OK, the woman has had enough tragedy in her life. The thing Bush should do now is go visit her at the hospital, or send a card, or something. But he won't. Because he doesn't give a shit.

    Here are some of my biggest beefs about the Cindy Sheehan thing.

    1) That Neal Boortz can get away with calling her a publicity whore. No kidding, I heard it on the radio. Can someone tell me how Cindy Sheehan is exploiting her son's death when she wants to confront Bush about the justification for the war which killed him, but Neal Boortz and Rush Limbaugh are not exploiting her son's death when they use it to fuel a backlash against the entire anti-war movement?

    2) That the good people of Crawford are angry about Cindy and Camp Casey disturbing the Peace but not angry at Bush for spending so much of his time in office down there in Crawford. People have a right to protest their President when they disagree with him, and reasonable people would have an expectation that the President would be in Washington DC. If Crawfordians are upset about the American Citizens protesting in their own back yard, then tell Bush to get the hell out of your back yard and back in the White House where he's supposed to be. War President or Vacation President? Doesn't it upset anyone that he's trying to be both at the same time? Win the war and then take a vacation.

    3) The way the people who are angry at Cindy Sheehan think they are the ones supporting the troops. How is demanding to know the truth about why our service men and women were deployed doing them a disservice? If I were in the military, I'd rather have the support which resulted in my only going into harm's way for a clearly defined and easily justified purpose than the soup of lies we're being fed about this conflict. How is Cindy Sheehan disgracing the service of her dead son and that of all the other fallen warriors....but the guy in the pick up truck that ran over the white crosses they planted down there to represent them is somehow a better patriot doing more honor to the fallen dead?

    4) How good Americans like Rush Limbaugh applauded the Crawford citizen who was firing his shotgun in the air and saying "Dove season is coming." Holy crap. Do I even need to elaborate on why this is a gripe?

    5) How Sean Hannity and other conservative propagandists keep pointing out that the President already met with Cindy once. Well, yeah, but that was BEFORE the ample evidence that the justifications for the war were bogus. If I were Cindy, I'd want another audience with the guy who sent my son into harm's way, too.

    6) How, in the interest of being fair and balanced in their anti-war coverage, the liberal media presents an equal or greater number of mothers of dead soldiers who support the president. I think that the coverage should reflect the national opinion polls, and that would mean we should be seeing only about 34% of the mothers of dead soldiers supporting the president who sent those soldiers to Iraq. Not 50% or more mothers who think Cindy should shut up and go away.

    7) That Cindy Sheehan is exploiting the deaths of soldiers to further a personal political agenda. I just heard a neighbor of Bush down in Crawford, who was a former soldier himself, make that argument. Um, sir, thanks for your service, but with all due respect, hasn't George W. Bush been doing that since September 11th? How's come you're mad at Cindy Sheehan and not at George?

    8) How when comparisons are made between this war and Viet Nam it is either to demonstrate that this war isn't so bad, or that liberals just want to recapture their glory days when they used a war to bring down a President. Well, first of all, Nixon did himself in, and second, instead of comparing the numbers of dead and spent dollars of Iraq to all of Viet Nam, let's look at the numbers for just the first two years of Viet Nam. And also take into account that there was nothing at stake in Viet Nam anywhere near as important as the stability of the region which supplies the world with petroleum.

    There isn't really any comparison, because Iraq is so much worse in nearly every way. In particular because we should have known better. But, the comparisons have been there from the beginning--and every one who made them was poo-poohed as a Liberal Chicken Little. Well, this week even that radical liberal left-leaning Communist Henry Kissenger was pointing out comparisons between Viet Nam and Iraq.

    If that isn't a sign of the End times, I don't know what is.

    The sky is falling.


    So, maybe it isn't such a bad idea to hedge your bets and send a donation to Pat Robertson. He's the only one who seems to be getting results.


    And What does the Right Wing Propaganda Machine have to say?

    Thursday, August 18, 2005

    Dear God, Please Don't Kill Any Judges...

    Wow...I just saw it again on the 700 club. Pat Robertson praying that God would strike down the heretic judges on the Supreme Court in order to take this country further toward theocractic rule.

    He didn't phrase it exactly like that, but "open up more seats" to "defeat the far left hate machine" is pretty clear in its subtext.

    Clear enough that Channel 10 ran a disclaimer about Pat not representing the views of the TV station.

    I wonder, did Sandra Day O'Connor step down in order to avoid God striking her dead? Did she step down because Pat Robertson and his followers threatened her with divine retribution for her being "lukewarm" as a swing vote?

    One has to wonder. I bet she sure did.

    The whole Operation Supreme Court Justice thing leaves me, as a practicing Christian, appalled.

    Here are his "prayer points" for you to consider.

    (First of all, Jesus gave us a perfect example of prayer, and in no way, even though he was about to be arrested by the Romans and crucified, did His example bear any resemblance to the manner in which Pat Robertson wants you to pray.)
    • Pray that the person God desires would be appointed to the Supreme Court.
      Pat, are you saying the people on the court aren't who God desires to be there? If so, how the heck did they get there?
    • Pray that the President would have courage and rely on God's wisdom in nominating new Supreme Court justices. Are you implying that the President would otherwise lack courage and has no wisdom of his own? If so, we might have some common ground here in a very limited area.
    • Pray that the justices of the Supreme Court would rule according to the Constitution as written and not man's opinions. Aren't the justices on this court put there precisely to give opinions? Thus the phrase "It is the opinion of this court"?
    • Pray that additional vacancies occur within the Supreme Court. Since these are lifetime appointments, are you praying for the deaths of liberal judges?
    • Pray that those who oppose biblical truth would retire from the Supreme Court and be replaced by those who honor God's law. Nice proviso, but the implication is that if they don't quit, you want God to kill them. This kind of rhetoric inspires people, like the 9-11 terrorists, to become the instruments of God's vengeance.
    • Pray that truth would reign supreme during the Senate confirmation hearings. Here, Pat, I'm actually with you. Let's let the truth come out. Pray that the White House will release all documents requested, and that all nominees give full and honest answers to every question posed to them during the confirmation hearings.
    • Pray that any plan of the enemy for the Senate confirmation hearing would be thwarted. Take authority over the schemes of Satan concerning the Supreme Court. Wow. You come right out and say that anyone of a different opinion is working for Satan. It is dangerous indeed to label what should be called the "loyal opposition" in a two party system as the "enemy." I think it is also demonstrates a lack of faith in the power of God to worry that the enemy could succeed without such prayers.
    • Pray for the physical protection of Supreme Court justices, the current nominee, the Senate Judiciary Committee members, and all those involved in the confirmation hearings. This seems like a disclaimer. How can you pray for this and at the same time pray for more openings on the court?
    • Pray the biblical prayer, "But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream" (Amos 5:24) in the United States of America. Pat, as a Christian, why do you rely on references to the Old testament to justify your own hatred? A real Christian must adhere to the New Covenant and pray the way Jesus instructed us. (See below if you forgot how.)
    • Pray that the Ten Commandments would be more than just an historical memorial for the justices of the Supreme Court, but that their truth would reign in their hearts. Which Ten Commandments? Are you as supportive of the Iraqi constitution being based on Islamic Law as you are of a push for theocratic biblically based rule at home?
    • Pray that Roe v. Wade would be overturned. Why did God let this happen in the first place if he's going to help overturn it now? Oh, to unite his followers. Right. I don't think you should try to convince God to meddle in politics. Either get Him to revoke the New Covenant and start wholesale smiting again, like Falwell assumed he had when he allowed the terrorists to attack us on 9-11, or shut up and pray like a Christian. (See example below)
    • Pray that justices who believe in a loose interpretation of the United States Constitution be replaced by those who are strict constructionists. Wow, guess after that earlier prayer to protect the Justices, the confirmation hearings, and the nominee you needed to remind God of what your real prayer is...Death to people who don't agree with you.

    Now, consider how Jesus asked us to pray and compare it to Pat Robertson's attempt to influence God, and thereby the events of this secular world.

    "Teach us how to pray," the disciples said to Jesus. (Luke 11, 1) This is how He answered:

    Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.


    (For you Mel Gibson fans out there, here is a link for the prayer in Aramaic.)

    Jesus didn't pray for Caesar to be killed. He didn't ask his disciples to pray for regime change in Rome. He didn't ask for the laws of Rome to be overturned. He didn't concern himself with the things of this world.

    He sought to instruct each individual to look to their own soul and correct the wrongs they found there.

    He had the power, and so does God, to force us to live any way he chooses, and yet instead he gave us free will. That he does not force us, that he loves us enough to let us discover our own flaws in our own time....and trusts us enough to take action to correct ourselves is why the God I worship is worthy to be praised.

    All the laws these radical fundamentalist extremists can pass will not change that, increase the glory of the Lord at all, nor convert a single soul to salvation.

    No one comes to the Lord through Pat Robertson, but only through Christ.

    So, people, please don't listen to Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell or any other of those wolves in sheep's clothing seeking to use your faith against you. They only line their own pockets with gold you gave to God, and seek Earthly power to enslave you.

    Listen to Christ and to your own heart when you find him there.

    Christ taught us how to pray, so please, pray like him and not the way Robertson tells you to.

    If anyone else went on television and tried to solicit an outside entity to commit the murder of a Supreme Court Justice they'd be arrested and put in jail. Pat Robertson should be arrested for solicitation of murder, and anyone who gives him money is a co-conspirator.

    God, for his part, has not accepted the solicitation. I think there is ample evidence that he won't, and therefore, I don't think anyone should try to arrest God in this matter.

    Besides, unlike Pat Robertson, I think God should do what he wants, not what I want, or what Pat Robertson wants, or any idiot with a W sticker on his Hummer wants. Otherwise I'd be praying like heck to get God to strike Pat Robertson dumb.

    But instead, I think of what Christ said and revel in the truth of his warning that by their fruit shall you know them. The words that come from Pat Roberston's mouth defile him, and you would know this if you only had eyes to see and ears to hear.

    For more info:

    Friday, August 05, 2005

    Apologies, noble readers...

    Not that there hasn't been a lot to talk about this past month or so. There certainly has been. Unfortunately for me my summer has been jam packed and the blog has suffered.

    I had a family trip I had to take at the beginning of July which left me without a phone or internet for ten days, when I returned I was 10 days behind in my coursework in the graduate program I'm attending in a summer intensive program and had to concentrate on catching up. Only two courses, but they required 18 pages of writing each per week, plus the readings and screenings of films.

    Then, literally the week following the end of those classes I've been teaching a week-long intensive course at the graduate level. Cramming a full semester course into one week has left no time at all for anything else.

    I even missed Bob Novak exploding on CNN yesterday and walking off the set, followed by his suspension from CNN. Now you KNOW how much I regret missing that!

    I know I should have had a column about the change in language from war on terrorism to struggle against extremism, John Bolton, Bush saying he is in favor of teaching intelligent design, and a whole bunch of other stuff, but I've been over my head with other obligations.

    I know, I suck.

    But, the upside is that my students give their final presentations today--20 students giving back to back 20 minute Power Point presentations....can you say "Hell"?

    Starting Monday, I'll try to give my noble readers at least a weekly fix of my astute observations and inimitable phrasings...or forever stop complaining not enough people read this page.

    Sorry Rhonda, to you in particular. Thanks for noticing I was gone.