Sunday, April 02, 2006

In the GOP God we must not trust


On Wednesday, March 1st, 2006, in Annapolis at a hearing on the proposed Constitutional Amendment to prohibit gay marriage, Jamie Raskin, professor of law at AU, was requested to testify. At the end of his testimony, Republican Senator Nancy Jacobs said: "Mr. Raskin, my Bible says marriage is only between a man and a woman. What do you have to say about that?"

Raskin replied:"Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible." The room erupted into applause.

The above came from a reader, and it coincided with my reading from Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis by Jimmy Carter. This passage caught my eye this week:

* Almost invariably, fundamentalist movements are led by authoritarian males who consider themselves to be superior to others and, within religious groups, have an overwhelming commitment to subjugate women and to dominate their fellow believers.

* Although fundamentalists usually believe that the past is better then the present, they retain certain self-beneficial aspects of both their historic religious beliefs and of the modern world.

* Fundamentalists draw clear distinctions between themselves, as true believers, and others, convinced that they are right and that anyone who contradicts them is ignorant and possibly evil.

* Fundamentalists are militant in fighting against any challenge to their beliefs. They are often angry and sometimes resort to verbal or even physical abuse against those who interfere with the implementation of their agenda.

* Fundamentalists tend to make their self-definition increasingly narrow and restricted, to isolate themselves, to demagogue emotional issues, and to view change, cooperation, and other efforts to resolve differences as signs of weakness.

* To summarize, there are three words that characterize this brand of fundamentalism: rigidity, domination, and exclusion.

Carter's description would apply equally to Tom DeLay, Archbishop Chaput of Denver, or Moktada al-Sadr of Iraq.


It was disheartening to watch John McCain on Meet the Press today. The words "toady," "quisling," or "prostitute" came to mind. On the other hand, retired General Tony Zinni was extraordinarily refreshing. His excellent, concise definition of what democracy is and isn't was a gem in itself.

Picks of the week:

Harper's Weekly Review

How the GOP became God's own party

"We have had small-scale theocracies in North America before -- in Puritan New England and later in Mormon Utah. Today, a leading power such as the United States approaches theocracy when it meets the conditions currently on display: an elected leader who believes himself to speak for the Almighty, a ruling political party that represents religious true believers, the certainty of many Republican voters that government should be guided by religion and, on top of it all, a White House that adopts agendas seemingly animated by biblical worldviews."

Buckley says Bush will be judged on Iraq war, now a 'failure'

"'Mr. Bush is in the hands of a fortune that will be unremitting on the point of Iraq,' Buckley said in an interview that will air on Bloomberg Television this weekend. 'If he'd invented the Bill of Rights it wouldn't get him out of his jam.'"

Bush wanted war

"It is my firm belief that if, say, a few dozen people simultaneously did an Internet search for the words 'Bush lied,' computers all over the country would crash and the energy grid would buckle, producing a rolling blackout that would begin somewhere around Terre Haute, Ind., and end in Barnstable, Mass. So common is the statement 'Bush lied' that it seems sometimes that I am the only blue-state person who does not think it is true. Then, last week, the indomitable Helen Thomas changed all that with a single question. She asked George Bush why he wanted 'to go to war' from the moment he 'stepped into the White House,' and the president said, 'You know, I didn't want war.' With that, the last blue-state skeptic folded."

Insulating Bush

"Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political adviser, cautioned other White House aides in the summer of 2003 that Bush's 2004 re-election prospects would be severely damaged if it was publicly disclosed that he had been personally warned that a key rationale for going to war had been challenged within the administration."

The US propaganda machine: Oh, what a lovely war

"This is the news from Iraq according to Donald Rumsfeld and the Bush administration."

'If you start looking at them as humans, then how are you gonna kill them?' They are a publicity nightmare for the US military: an ever-growing number of veterans of the Iraq conflict who are campaigning against the war.

"At a press conference in a cavernous Alabama warehouse, banners and posters are rolled out: 'Abandon Iraq, not the Gulf coast!' A tall, white soldier steps forward in desert fatigues. 'I was in Iraq when Katrina happened and I watched US citizens being washed ashore in New Orleans,' he says. 'War is oppression: we could be setting up hospitals right here. America is war-addicted. America is neglecting its poor.'"

America's brutal tactics

"From several ex-soldiers comes a vivid image of America's house-to-house methods of searching for 'insurgents.' A small block of C-4 plastique is fixed to the front door of a house, the door is blown in, and several armored giants rush through the shock and smoke with their automatic weapons at the ready. Women and children are held to one side at gunpoint, while any men are taken roughly for questioning. In most cases, the men have nothing worthwhile to say, but they and other members of their families are left with a terrifying experience they will never forget."

Iraqi girl tells of US attack

"Iman tells of screaming soldiers entering her house in the Iraqi town of Haditha spraying bullets in every direction.

"Fifteen people in all were killed, including her parents and grandparents. Her account has been corroborated by other eyewitnesses who say it was a revenge attack after a roadside bomb killed a marine."

What was the name of the Czech town that was razed after Himmler's number one man was assassinated?

Global Eye

"These charges are, as always, pure bunkum. As we have often noted here before, Bush is pursuing a remarkably effective 'win-win' strategy in Iraq, a highly flexible vision that is even now ripening to fruition. The savage militias, ethnic cleansing, mass murder, sectarian hatred and gruesome tortures that are turning Iraq into a howling moonscape of fear and chaos are but precision tools in the artful hands of the Leader, as he patiently crafts the ultimate victory."

Blaming the victim

"Yesterday, journalist Jill Carroll was released from captivity 82 days after she was kidnapped in Iraq. While President Bush has complained the media does not cover enough 'good news' in Iraq, Carroll's ordeal underscores the extraordinary danger of doing any reporting at all from the war-torn country. (In October, speaking to U.S. troops via teleconference, Bush said it was 'a little early' for him to visit Iraq now but 'one of these days perhaps the situation will be such that I'll be able to get back to Iraq.') Nevertheless, instead of spending yesterday honoring Carroll's courage and sacrifice, many on the right attacked her. Various compassionless conservatives speculated that Carroll, whose reporting for the Christian Science Monitor focused on 'the plight of Iraqis under occupation,' was a terrorist sympathizer, mentally imbalanced, and unwilling to cooperate with U.S. authorities. All around, it was a shameful display."

Mosul slips out of control as the bombers move in

"When the 3,000 men of the mainly Kurdish 3rd Brigade of the 2nd Division of the Iraqi Army go on patrol it is at night, after the rigorously enforced curfew starts at 8pm. Their vehicles, bristling with heavy machine guns, race through the empty streets of the city, splashing through pools of sewage, always trying to take different routes to avoid roadside bombs. 'The government cannot control the city,' said Hamid Effendi, an experienced ex-soldier who is Minister for Peshmerga Affairs in the Kurdistan Regional Government."

The endgame in Iraq

"It was chilling to read Edward Wong's interview with the Iraqi prime minister in The Times last week, during which Mr. Jaafari sat in the palace where he now makes his home, complained about the Americans and predicted that the sectarian militias that are currently terrorizing Iraqi civilians could be incorporated into the army and police. The stories about innocent homeowners and storekeepers who are dragged from their screaming families and killed by those same militias are heartbreaking, as is the thought that the United States, in its hubris, helped bring all this to pass."

Government [UK] in secret talks about strike in Iran

"It is believed that an American-led attack, designed to destroy Iran's ability to develop a nuclear bomb, is "inevitable" if Teheran's leaders fail to comply with United Nations demands to freeze their uranium enrichment programme."


US and UK forces establish 'enduring bases' in Iraq

"The Pentagon has revealed that coalition forces are spending millions of dollars establishing at least six "enduring" bases in Iraq - raising the prospect that US and UK forces could be involved in a long-term deployment in the country. It said it assumed British troops would operate one of the bases."


US Supreme Court hearing on Guantanamo tribunals bares attacks on basic rights

"Clearly emerging from the justices’ comments during the unusual 90-minute session (arguments on a single case are usually limited to an hour) were the deepening divisions and growing disquiet within the ruling elite over the Bush administration’s crude disregard for international law and constitutional traditions."

John Dean blasts warrantless eavesdropping

"'The resolution should be amended, not defeated, because the president needs to be reminded that separation of powers does not mean an isolation of powers,' Dean said in prepared remarks. 'He needs to be told he cannot simply ignore a law with no consequences.'"

Today's immigration battle - corporatists vs. racists (and labor is left behind)

"Americans will do virtually any job if they're paid a decent wage. This isn't about immigration - it's about economics. Industry and agriculture won't collapse without illegal labor, but the middle class is being crushed by it."

Pombo bills worry lawmakers

"Some senators have expressed concern that any bill they pass, even if it gains bipartisan consensus, would still have to be blended with Pombo's aggressive rewrite. And Pombo's bill goes way too far in easing environmental protection, according to many critics."

Bush light truck fuel standards rev up collision with states

"New fuel economy standards for light trucks announced Wednesday will save 10.7 billions of gallons of fuel and include the largest sport utility vehicles for the first time, said Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta. But environmentalists called the new standards too weak, and eight state attorneys general accused the Bush administration of attacking their regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles."

Tell Governor Owens to sign he EC bill now!

The Colorado legislature has passed HB 1212 -- a bill that would give women access to emergency contraception through their local pharmacies without a prescription. Now, it's up to Governor Owens to sign it into law. The Colorado Medical Society and Colorado Pharmacist Society agree that emergency contraception is a safe and effective form of birth control that can prevent an unwanted pregnancy. Make your voice heard on this issue. Join the list of Coloradans urging Governor Owens to sign HB 1212 into law. We'll hand-deliver the petition to the Governor before he makes his decision.

Quotes from

"Bush looked into Putin's eyes and saw his soul. Putin looked into Bush's ear and saw daylight on the other side."
-- Will Durst,

"The Republican Party has to recapture a focus on being a reform party. We can win this fall, but I think it does require real change. And not just doing more of the same, but real change." -- Newt "family values" Gingrich, (R-Three Wives) Link

"One of the keys is going to be to get a unity government up and running, a government that reflects the diversity of the country...We want the Iraqis to make that selection, of course. They are the ones who got elected by the people, the ones who must form the government."
-- Dubya, the Iraqi Kingmaker, Link

"Khalilzad said Bush doesn't want, doesn't support, doesn't accept' Jaafari as the next prime minister, according to Mr. Taki, a senior aide to Aziz al-Hakim, the head of the Shiite bloc. It was the first 'clear and direct message' from the Americans on a specific candidate for prime minister, Mr. Taki said."
-- Edward Wong, Link

"U.S., Mexican and Canadian leaders like to be known as the Three Amigos. But when two presidents meet a new prime minister here today, they will be the Three Ducks. Bush is a lame duck, Vicente Fox is a dead duck and Harper is the duck that didn't die."
-- James Travers, Link

"I don't think there's 100 percent support in my caucus for what time of the day it is."
-- Harry Reid, explaining how ineffective he is at being senate minority leader Link

"I weep about the suffering of the Palestinians. I particularly weep about the fact that the leadership has let them down for year after year after year."
-- Dubya, who doesn't give a rat's ass about Americans, much less Palestinians, Link

"While Bush was invading countries that did not threaten us, killing tens of thousands, torturing innocents, inspiring hatred, and portraying America as a nation of torturing hypocrites to the entire world, what else was happening? Oh yeah, he was AWOL on taking the steps needed to prevent a nuclear 9/11."
-- Eric Alterman, on the smuggling of dirty bomb materials into the US, Link

"We support democracy, but that doesn't mean we have to support governments that get elected as a result of democracy."
-- Dubya, on why military might trumps the right to vote, Link

"The people have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiques are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. It is a disgrace to our imperial record, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure. We are to-day not far from a disaster."
-- T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) 1920 Link

"We probably deserve a 'D' or a 'D-plus' as a country as to how well we're doing in the battle of ideas in the world today.."
-- Rummy, using the "W curve" to grade himself, Link The world gives you an "F-" on competence.

"It was a hand off the chin gesture meant to be dismissive, and not at all obscene." -- SCOTUS spokesperson, on Scalia's "bafangu" gesture, Link In the Bush Administration, of which Scalia is a part, "Go f**k yourself" is not obscene.

"Our faith has always been in direct conflict with the values of the world. We are, after all, a society that provides abortion on demand, has killed millions of innocent children, degrades the institution of marriage, and invades helpless backwards countries just to steal their oil. Wait, did I just say that?"
-- Tom DeLay, trying to "save the children" Link

"Saddam is a bad man who brutally tortured and murdered his own people." -- America's Monkey, trying to justify his torture and murders in a speech today. I wish a reporter would ask him, "If Saddam is such a bad man, like you say, why did your father and Cheney do millions of dollars in oil business with him?" ...but no, they're scared like the Democrats.

"Andy Card kept more of his own sense of self than most people who can survive George W. Bush, who is roughly like handling a psychotic homocidal maniac, in that the slightest peeve or tick is enough to get someone ruined - they call disagreeing with Bush 'Walking into the propeller' in the White House. Bush believes that the way out is to get more dedicated Yes men in place."
-- Stirling Newberry, Link

"If they are competent to fight this war, then I ought to be on American Idol."
-- Cheney, Link [Talking in a bipartisan way about Democrats]

"Some Democrats in Congress have decided the president is the enemy and the terrorist surveillance program is grounds for censuring the president. The American people have already made their decision. They agree with the president."
-- Cheney, pretending that Bush's approval is above 40 percent Link

"The Statue of Liberty is no longer saying, 'Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses.' She's got a baseball bat and yelling, 'You want a piece of me?' "
--Robin Williams, Link

"Why not? The man's been lying from Jump Street on the war in Iraq. Bush says there were WMDs but there wasn't. Says we had enough soldiers, but we didn't. Says it's not a civil war -- but it is. I was really upset about 9/11 -- so don't lie to me."
-- Ira Clemons, Vermont resident, asked if he would support impeachment, Link

"If the president says 'We made mistakes,' fine, let's move on. But if he lied to get America into a war, I can't imagine anything more impeachable."
-- Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) eager to let Bush skate, Link

"Of course the people don't want war. But it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

-- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials Link Damn, he sounds just like Bush.


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