Is America Burning - a Forum To Discuss Issues

All comments welcome, pro or con. Passionate ok, but let's be civil. ...Pertinent comments will be published on this blog. Air your viewpoints.


Skyline - Houston, Texas

Monday, October 30, 2006

William Fisher on Honesty (he's for it)

Nothing I can add to this. The California campaigns are becoming sleazier by the day. Thanks to Truthout today.

The Morality of Campaign Ads
By William Fisher
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Monday 30 October 2006

The Republican challenger for the Wisconsin House seat of Congressman Ron Kind runs a TV ad headed, "Ron Kind Pays for Sex!" with "XXX" stamped across Kind's face. It turns out that Kind - along with more than 200 of his colleagues in the House - opposed an unsuccessful effort to stop the National Institutes of Health from pursuing peer-reviewed sex studies.

In New York, the National Republican Campaign Committee runs an ad accusing Democratic House candidate Michael A. Arcuri, a district attorney, of using taxpayer dollars for phone sex. The seductive voice at the other end of the line answers,"Hi, sexy, you've reached the live, one-on-one fantasy line." The facts are that one of Arcuri's aides had tried to call the state Division of Criminal Justice, which had a number that was almost identical to that of a porn line. The misdial cost taxpayers $1.25.

In Ohio, GOP gubernatorial candidate J. Kenneth Blackwell runs a TV spot accusing Democratic congressman Ted Strickland of failing to support a resolution condemning sex between adults and children. The truth: Strickland, a psychiatrist, objected to a line suggesting that sexually abused children cannot have healthy relationships when they grow up.

In Washington, DC, a black conservative group runs a radio ad proclaiming that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican. Fact: Liberals, who make up the overwhelming majority of black voters, have long disagreed with conservatives over ideology, public policy and economic strategies to better the lives of African-Americans.

A spot in the 2002 Georgia Senate race invokes the image and words of Osama bin Laden to accuse the Democratic incumbent of being weak on national security.

In Tennessee, former Chattanooga mayor Bob Corker runs an ad claiming his opponent attended a party at a Playboy Club and suggesting a flirtation between a young bare-shouldered white woman, played by a blond actress, and his challenger for a Senate seat, Congressman Harold Ford, who is African-American. The ghost of Emmett Till still lives!

This is just small sampling of some of the more outrageous political ads being run in this mid-term election. This phenomenon didn't begin with the 2006 campaign, but arguably it is more toxic this year than ever before. And some of it, inexplicably, is coming from religious groups whose commitment to truth is supposed to come from the Scriptures.

Professional political strategists say they continue to engage in this politics of personal destruction because "the ads work." But this is a little like working in the PR department of a cigarette manufacturer and feeling proud of the syntax and structure of a press release you just wrote - even though the subject matter conveys dangerously false information.

Perhaps, as the gurus claim, some of these ads may help candidates in desperately close races. But negative ads have a negative impact on our politics. They reduce public discourse to bumper stickers. They reduce honest differences to contests between good and evil. They stifle real debate on real issues. They play to what divides us, not what we agree on. They pander to our basest fears and prejudices. And they make it even more difficult for voters to make rational, informed decisions.

American voters are, most of the time, largely disinterested in politics. Which means they are also uninformed. The toxic environment created by negative campaign advertising does nothing to help them and everything to further emasculate the electoral process.

But their impact goes far beyond this campaign or that. They say to our society that it's OK to lie, to twist and distort the truth. The justification, as Bill Clinton recently put it, is that "politics is a contact sport."

But that's not good enough. We kid ourselves if we think it's OK to lie if we only do it for a few months every two years. Because we don't. The impact goes far deeper.

The politics of personal destruction undermines public confidence in our Constitutional institutions. It discourages young people from entering public service, once a proud aspiration. No wonder public approval of Congress is at an all-time low.

Most importantly, lying in politics gives a green light to lying, period. And the more we tacitly buy into this Faustian bargain, the more it helps to destroy the character of our country and the culture of our society. We see this process already well underway in our docile acceptance of "commercial speech" - non-political ads that defy even the most charitable interpretation of "truth in advertising."

Peddling falsehoods leads to a gradual erosion of our values. We lose trust in one another. We lose trust in our institutions. We become overwhelmed by the supposedly savvy political machines and corporations that spend billions to spin us. We lose faith in our ability to change anything. And then we drop out of the process altogether, leaving the field to those with political or ideological or corporate agendas.

The rest of the world also watches American elections and American culture. Despite the precipitous decline in overseas respect for our country, and despite the spin that comes relentlessly from politicians and private sector shills, many around the world still view our system as the fairest and most open in the world. Today, there is a clear and present danger that our persistent lying is destroying the model and the reputations of those who are supposed to be living by it.

This may be the most naive column I ever wrote. And I confess that I don't have a clue about how to change the status quo. That's always been the job of ordinary Americans, but that job is becoming more impossible exponentially.

I'm just old-fashioned enough to believe that elected and aspiring public servants, as well as those trying to sell us products, have a responsibility to speak truth to those whose support they seek.

The stakes couldn't be higher. The price of failure is a nation unable to distinguish truth from spin. The price of failure is to further divide an already dangerously divided nation.

William Fisher has managed economic development programs in the Middle East and in many other parts of the world for the US State Department and USAID for the past thirty years. He began his work life as a journalist for newspapers and for the Associated Press in Florida. Go to The World According to Bill Fisher for more.


The President's Lies (More and More and More)

I watched as much as I could stomach to further study the psychological tactics BushCo uses to manipulate the gullible public. Knowledge of specifics aid when discussing this with others. Unfortunately, this old woman lacks the grit and stamina that I once had for extended unpleasant research. WA

Out on the stump for Republican candidates, George W. Bush is letting loose a crowd-pleasing stem-winder full of distortions and lies, remarkable even by his standards.As his crowds chant "USA, USA," Bush presents the Democrats as people who don't want to detain terrorists, won't question terrorists and oppose putting terrorists on trial. The speech shows that Bush remains confident in his ability to paint a false reality without paying a price.For the full story about Bush and his never-ending pattern of treating the American people like they're really stupid, go to at .

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Not Just His Intellect That's Light...

A taste of satire, thanks to our Australian friend, Daniel, at .
I would suggest that instead of lead weights and a golden throne to which he be tethered to prevent him from floating away, his lies be hung about his neck like so many albatrosses; the sheer weight of his perfidy should not only keep him earthbound, but sink him to the bottom of the ocean. WA


Photo Source: American Street.
George Bush is shown here proving beyond all doubt that he is the most lightweight President in America's history. Clutching at his vehicle, George is desperately trying to stop himself floating off into the heavenly void while calling out, "Not yet. Not yet, you fool. I can't just cut and run!"
One aide did report he'd just finished singing Nearer My God to Thee and suggested that perhaps his Maker might be calling him home (a move that would be enthusiastically supported by billions of people)! Another whispered that heaven wouldn't be big enough to hold God and George simultaneously and that God might have to move out.
Special lead lined shoes of increasing weights are being made for the President to offset his increasing lightness. Eventually a gold throne may have to be cast to which George will be tethered permanently until His mission on earth is accomplished. Rumour has it that a matching crown of thorns will also be cast which he will wear on ceremonial occasions.
Whether the earth will still exist following George's eventual departure is very much in doubt. If it does most cling to the fervent hope that George will not be involved in any Second Coming!© Seeking Utopia. All Rights Reserved. 2006.
posted by Daniel at 7:06 AM 10 comments links to this post

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Apocalypse And The Religious Right (see below)

Our friend and commenter David Cho has written an excellent post on this subject. He included the link in his comment but it belongs on the front page.

Thanks, David.


Another Good Blogger

I don't even remember now how I stumbled across The Ostroy Report but I think it may have been linked in Truthout.

I've been trying to write this post for two days but first Blogger and then life intervened. At least I didn't procrastinate until after the elections. I've read several of his latest posts but this was the one which really caught my attention. He talks about making a difference.

I'm adding him to our ever expanding blogroll and I highly recommend his blog.

We must do whatever we can to get out the vote. I vote absentee but I'm making it known that' I'll be available on election day to transport people. I'm talking to my neighbors and asking them to talk to theirs. And, of course, I blog even though I'm sure all of us will be opening the polling places (if we haven't already voted.

Somebody (and now I can't remember who - I really should start taking notes) suggested making a copy of our absentee ballots. I think I'll do that. It may not do any good but it can't hurt. So far, absentee seems to be the safest way to go and CA has no restrictions. You ask for a ballot, you get one.

And then we need to start working on voter fraud in all its many forms.


U.S. Policy, Israel and the Middle East

These people, including Pat Robertson, believe that the Israelis must take back every inch of the land Israel possessed during Bible times in order for the prophecy to be fulfilled. The Israeli Zionists claim the same thing. It is not enough that the Jews were granted a homeland and the state of Israel was created; these people demand more. As long as these beliefs persist, there will be no peace between Israel and her neighbors. Gaza will continue to be an oppressed land and a war zone. The CZs are hand in glove with or a part of the CRs and RRs. WA.
Christian Zionism: An Egregious Threat to U.S. - Middle East Understanding
By The Council for the National Interest
Christian Zionism, a belief that paradise for Christians can only be achieved once Jews are in control of the Holy Land, is gathering strength in the United States and forging alliances that are giving increasingly weird shape to American policy toward the Middle East.

===The Armageddon Lobby
Dispensationalist Christian Zionism and the Shaping of US Policy Towards Israel-Palestine
By Rammy M. Haija
With nearly 10 per cent of US voters declaring themselves as Zionist or dispensationalist Christians, and another 35 per cent constituting mainstream Christianity, the Christian Zionist lobby has targeted both voting pools for its purpose of assembling a pro-Israel constituency among American voters through the promotion of biblical and dispensationalist doctrine.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

More Election Day Problems

I posted the other day about two counties here in CA who have experienced problems with the upcoming election.

We're not alone. I don't have time to list all the problems. They include voting machine meltdown, i.d. requirements in some states, consolidation of polling places (which makes it more difficult for those without transportation to vote), etc.

Truthout spells it out.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Vote for Impeachment and Protect Your Vote

"" : ; wrote:
To: (deleted)
Subject: Vote for Impeachment and Protect Your Vote
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2006 03:43:25 -0400

Vote for Impeachment and Protect Your Vote
If our votes are honestly counted on November 7, Democrats will definitely win the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate.
Progressive champion John Conyers (D-MI) will chair the House Judiciary Committee and Henry Waxman (D-CA) will chair the Government Reform Committee. Both have promised to investigate the innumerable crimes of the Bush Administration. When these crimes are fully exposed, we are certain the American people will demand impeachment.
But first we need to elect that majority and make sure the votes are counted. The best candidates to throw your last-minute support behind are those Democrats who are calling for impeachment.
ImpeachPAC Announces New Endorsements
ImpeachPAC is delighted to announce these endorsements, all of whom received $1,000:
  • Sharon Beery (CA-22) challenging Bill Thomas
  • Dr. Bob Bowman (FL-15) challenging Dave Weldon
  • Keith Ellison (MN-05) in a solid Democratic open seat
  • Bill Glass (NC-09) challenging Sue Myrick
  • Florice Hoffman (CA-40) challenging Ed Royce
  • John Laesch (IL-14) challenging scandal-ridden Speaker Dennis Hastert
  • Danny Stover (IL-19) challenging scandal-ridden Page Board chairman John Shimkus
  • Stacey Tallitsch (LA-01) challenging Bobby Jindal
  • James Wright (TX-08) challenging Kevin Brady
  • Steve Young (CA-48) challenging John Campbell
"Impeachment may be taboo in Washington - even in Nancy Pelosi's office," said ImpeachPAC President Bob Fertik, "but candidates from Maine to California believe George Bush and Dick Cheney must be held accountable for their brazen defiance of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We salute these outstanding candidates and we are proud to support their passionate campaigns."
ImpeachPAC previously contributed $5,000 to six candidates: Tony Trupiano (MI-11), Bill Durston (CA-03), Jeeni Criscenzo (CA-49), Jean Hay Bright (Maine, Senate), and two candidates who have been defeated in primaries: Chris Owens (NY-11) and Carl Sheeler (RI, Senate).
We believe there are more pro-impeachment Democratic candidates running whom we have not heard from - please help us by reviewing our list:
and drop us a note if we missed anyone:
We also need to raise more money to fund these candidates, so please support ImpeachPAC if you can:
Thanks for all you do!
Take Steps to Make Sure Your Vote Is Counted
Are you sure you're registered to vote? "Google" your registration at Also find links to vote absentee and to help make sure every vote is counted by volunteering for election protection efforts. No more stolen elections!
Protect your right to vote! Learn about ID issues, absentee ballots, provisional ballots, voter intimidation, voting machine breakdowns, removing names from voter lists, and changing poll locations. Be prepared for the worst!
Interview With Dennis Loo, Co-Editor of "Impeach the President, the Case Against Bush and Cheney"
"...after Katrina, it became clear that a lot of the scales on some people's eyes in America were washed away by that storm, and by the federal response to it, and it made it possible at that point to conceive of a movement possibly getting strong enough to be able to drive out this régime...."
Cindy Sheehan to Take Petition to White House
Stop a War!
Cindy Sheehan to lead delivery of petition with all signatures and comments to the White House at 10 a.m. on November 9th. We will demand that the White House accept the petition, and some of us will be willing to go to jail. Join us if you can.
Sign the petition and add your comment to it now!
Iran is open to peace. Iran is not threatening war.
Bush and Cheney are threatening war and think we don't know or care. But we know the Pentagon has drawn up plans and the ships have sailed.
The world needs urgently to hear your voice. Sign and post your statement on this petition.
Then join us, if you can, on November 9th at the White House at 10 a.m.
Groundbreaking Web Event to Raise Minimum Wage
Comedienne Roseanne Barr will host “7 Days @ Minimum Wage,” from Oct. 23-30. The video blog event is being sponsored by ACORN and the AFL-CIO in support of minimum wage ballot initiatives in six states.
The video blog, which features interviews with seven workers describing what life is like at or near the federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour, can be reached on the Web at and through YouTube. Bloggers will be urged to respond by posting their reactions and comments, as well as home videos of themselves and others telling their stories of struggling on low wage work. READ MORE:
Soul Singin' Black Crowes and Rocky Anderson: Give Us the Truth Remix
From Central Florida Veterans For Peace:
Listen to
this mp3 mix of a speech by Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson and The Black Crowes' "Soul Singin'".
It's brilliant and it will get you tapping your toes and searching for impeachment resolutions to promote. What we need you to do is ask all your local college and progressive radio stations to play it, together with some of these PSAs.
Meet John Nichols, Author of "The Genius of Impeachment"
John Nichols' book is a masterpiece that should be required reading in every high school and college in the United States, a history and portrait of the practice of impeachment.
John is on tour, and here's his schedule:
"Wars of Aggression" Video Available Now
"Wars of Aggression," a new 28-min. video from the Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration, has just been released. This outstanding video is specially designed for teach-ins, classrooms, community meetings, and public television. It features testimony by: Scott Ritter, former UN weapons inspector, on why and how the Bush administration knew that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; Amy Bartholomew, professor of law, Carleton University, on the structure of international law that prohibits wars of aggression; Larry Everest, author of Oil, Power & Empire: Iraq and the U.S. Global Agenda, on the global agenda behind the U.S. war on Iraq; Dahr Jamail, independent journalist who has reported extensively from Iraq, on war crimes being committed by U.S. forces in Iraq; Jeremy Scahill, writer for The Nation and former correspondent for Democracy Now!, on the targeting of journalists in Iraq; Camilo Mejia, Iraq vet and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, on what U.S. soldiers are called on to do to the Iraqi people; David Swanson, organizer of Camp Democracy, on the meaning of the Downing Street memo; Dr. Thomas Fasy, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, on the use of depleted Uranium weapons.
To purchase in time for the nationwide emergency teach-ins October 26-30, please go to the Bush Commission web site and order now.

Forward this message to everyone you know!
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Not Exactly a Victory in New Jersey

The State Supreme Court stopped short of allowing gay marriage but did say all the rights of marriage should apply.

The state has six months to comply.

This will put New Jersey in the same position as Vermont but not quite equal to Massachusetts.

Here's the complete story.


Is This the October Surprise?

From President Bush's October 25 press conference:

GREGORY: Mr. President, for several years, you have been saying that America will stay the course in Iraq, you're committed to the policy. And now you say that, no, you're not saying, "stay the course," that you're adapting to win, that you're showing flexibility. And as you mention, out of Baghdad we're now hearing about benchmarks and timetables from the Iraqi government, as relayed by American officials, to stop the sectarian violence. In the past, Democrats and other critics of the war who talked about benchmarks and timetables were labeled as defeatist, "Defeatocrats," or people who wanted to "cut and run." So why shouldn't the American people conclude that this is nothing from you other than semantic, rhetorical games and all politics two weeks before an election?

BUSH: David, there is a significant difference between benchmarks for a government to achieve and a timetable for withdrawal. You're talking about -- when you're talking about the benchmarks, he's talking about the fact that we're working with the Iraqi government to have certain benchmarks to meet as a way to determine whether or not they're making the hard decisions necessary to achieve peace. I believe that's what you're referring to. And we're working with the Iraqi government to come up with benchmarks. Listen, this is a sovereign government. It was elected by the people of Iraq. What we're asking them to do is to say, "When do you think you're going to get this done? When can you get this done?" So the people themselves in Iraq can see that the government is moving forward with the reconciliation plan and plans necessary to unify this government. That is substantially different, David, from people saying, "We want a time certain to get out of Iraq." As a matter of fact, the benchmarks will make it more likely we win. Withdrawing on an artificial timetable means we lose. Now, I'm giving the speeches -- you're asking me why I'm giving this speech today? Because there's -- I think I owe an explanation to the American people and will continue to make explanations. The people need to know that we have a plan for victory. Like I said in my opening comments, I fully understand if the people think we don't have a plan for victory, they're not gonna support the effort. And so I'll continue to speak out about -- about our way forward.


I've read it three times - didn't listen this morning, I turned off the t.v. as is my habit when he comes one. I still can't figure out what he's trying to say.

You can read the accompanying article at Media


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Neil Bush, Barbara Bush, and NCLB

This is old news and may not be a concern to everyone. I have three kids in Middle School and I've been fighting NCLB (No Child Left Behind for our overseas visitors who may not recognize our alphabet soup) since its inception. It's a useless piece of garbage which was passed to make the sheep think this Administration cared about our kids and are concerned about their education and well being.

I won't go into all the things that are wrong with NCLB. I don't think it can be fixed. I've known about the Bush connection for some time. Interesting how every new government program takes money out of our pockets straight into the pockets of the rich.

Am I the only one who sees a huge conflict of interest?

Meantime, we're getting closer to elections and it's no time to roll over and play dead. Keep getting the word out.


Granny and I have been busy bees the last few days and have posted prolifically. We know it is a lot of reading if you check all the posts but we feel that each has importance, especially as the election date nears. The Repubs and allies are pushing hard to influence voters (and we may yet be hit with an October Surprise) . Even though there appears to be a tiny crack in the fundie unity, the main body of the fundies are also pushing hard on the churches and members of the faithful, which represents about a million voters (more or less).

We must push back - hard - and continue to spread the word. This is a crucial election if we have any hope of saving our country.

Evangelical Expose: Bush's Faith Based Fraud

Reading David Kuo's "Tempting Faith" in 5 minutes. Brief Excerpts but very telling regarding the fraud perpetrated upon the faithful believers. Source: (full text below)

See Worried's post of 10/21 "When Politics Seduces Faith"
Are some mainstream Christians finally wising up? In same post as that above, see secondary post "Christians Counter Climate Change" as some reject the government's lies about the damage to our earth. Also, see post of 10/21 "Rift in Unity of Government and Fundies". Is there yet hope for separation of church and state?
Evangelical Exposé: Bush's Faith-Based Fraud
Posted by Evan Derkacz at 10:10 AM on October 19, 2006.
Reading David Kuo's 'Tempting Faith' in 5 minutes...

Evangelical David Kuo's new book "Tempting Faith" is rocking the 30 year old marriage between evangelicals and the Republican party. The earliest reports, first on Keith Olbermann's Countdown [VIDEO] and then on 60 Minutes [VIDEO], reveal a disingenuous and calculating program to keep up appearances with only the* barest of commitments to Bush's Faith-Based Initiatives program.
Below is a handy guide, cherrypicking the most *dastardly passages...

Karl Rove: "Just Get Me a F-ing Faith Based Thing. Got it?" "Three days later, a Tuesday, Karl rove summoned [Don] Willett to his office to announce that the entire faith-based initiative would be rolled out the following Monday. Willett asked just how *without a director, or plan the president could do that. Rove looked at him, took a deep breath, and said, 'I don't know. Just get me a fucking faith based-thing. Got it?' Willett was shown the door." [pp. 140-141]

Secretary of Education Margaret Spelling: "Just Get Me a Damn Faith Bill." "Yet for our House Republican friends, the initiative was primarily *useful for politics, and for some of my White House colleagues, the initiative wasn't even on their radar screen….Margaret [Spellings] listened cheerfully and said, 'David, darlin', you are doing a good job. Great job.' Then, lightly but seriously, 'but David, please. Just get me a damn faith bill. Any bill. I don't care what kind of bill. Just get me a damn faith bill.'" [p.166]

From the Beginning, Now-White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolton and Senior White House Staff Did Not Consider the Faith Based Office a Priority. "Even with the speeches and meetings, officials in charge of the Bush transition were ignoring the faith-based effort. In late December [2000], Josh Bolton, later to become deputy chief of staff for policy head of the Office of Management and Budget, and the White House chief of staff, responded to a pastor's inquiry about the initiative by saying, 'as far as I know, no one is in charge of the undertaking yet.' His disregard was surprising not only because he had been the campaign's top policy guru, but because he had the same role during the transition. As it turned out, it wasn't just that nobody had been named to shepherd the initiative through the crucial transition period, it was that nobody at the senior levels of the transition team was even paying attention to the problem. [p.138]

The Reality of Faith Based Legislation and Funding
Bush Was Directly Responsible for...
...the Faith Based Initiatives' Funding Shortfalls. "After leaving I learned that all budget decisions were made by three people once a year. President Bush, Karl Rove, and Andy Card would sit in the Oval Office and the president would go over the big numbers. Unlike his wonky predecessor, Bush didn't dig down into specific programs. It wasn't his style. He was America's CEO. He wanted to dictate the big picture and leave it to others to implement. That meant that while he may not have known the details of his compassion agenda, he* knew it was languishing and had no problem with that." [p. 257]

Josh Bolton Told Kuo's Office They Weren't 'Winning Any Friends' By Pushing the Faith Based Bill. "In October and November we met with Majority Leader Daschle's staff and with Daschle himself. He had minor objections but we could get past them. We had a bill supported by everyone. All we needed was a go ahead from Josh Bolton or Andy Card. Bridge [John Bridgeland] pestered them day after day. Josh finally took him aside. 'Bridge, you aren't winning any friends here. Just keep it down.'" [p.196]

White House Told Kuo's Office That Faith Based Legislation Was Too Expensive. "Our bill needed nothing more than an 'Okay', and it would have been done. Senator Santorum tried lobbying the White House and so did Senator Grassley. Still, nothing. It was 'too expensive'. By mid December as Congress was about to adjourn we had a final chance. Late one evening Daschle's office called and said they could attach the bill to another bill and get it done in hours. Would the White House support it? Bridge [John Bridgeland] went to Nick, Margaret, and Karl one last time. 'Not now, Bridge, not now. Maybe next year.'" [p.196]

Hastert and DeLay Wanted Red Meat Legislation for the Base, Not an Actual Bill. "We called it the Charity Aid, Recovery. And Empowerment (CARE) Act. In addition to Lieberman and Santorum, Senator Clinton supported it. Max Baucus, Democratic chairman of the Senate Finance Committee supported it. So did Charles Grassley, his Republican counterpart. Unfortunately, a lot of other people didn't like it. DeLay and Hastert's offices didn't like it. We were 'watering down the employment provisions.' Instead of fighting the divisive battle over hiring, we added provisions prohibiting the federal government from disallowing faith-based groups to apply for grants just because they displayed religious icons, had religious names or had clergy members on their boards. Our Unlevel Playing Field report showed those were somewhat problematic, or at least as problematic as hiring rights. Nevertheless, the House staffers actually tried to get some of the conservative Christian groups to oppose it." [p. 195]

President *Bush Broke Promises to Direct Millions to Faith Based Initiatives. "Billions had been promised - $8 billion in the first year alone. We were $7,969,000,000 short of that promise. This was halfway through the next year. There should have been $16 billion. All we had managed to get in the federal budget for the Compassion Capital fund was $30 million. The difference had nothing to do with 9/11. It had everything to do with *White House indifference, bipartisan Capitol Hill indifference, and interest group indifference." [p. 211]

Using Christians for Politics:
"For years I had wondered what it would be like to work in the White House improving and influencing our culture and politics for Jesus, I thought the enemy was the prevailing anti-God cultural and political forces, that is, Democrats and secularists. I never thought to worry about *Republicans using Christians for their own political ends - Republicans like me." [p. 230]

"Now, however, George W. Bush's White House was doing the same thing: it was*deceiving the public, and in doing so it was *mocking the trust of the American people. More disappointing, it was *mocking the millions of faithful Christians who had put their trust and hope in the president and his administration." [p. 253]

On the Faith Based Initiative, President *Bush Was All Talk, No Action. "Within three weeks of the president's grand announcement it became clear the White House wasn't going to fight for mentoring or vouchers any harder than it had fought for compassion programs. It wasn't a big secret. Friends at the Office of Management and Budget let me know that they would try to get some money for the program but that they couldn't make any promises." [p. 226]

Bush Did a Poor Job of Supporting Faith Based Initiatives. "He [President Bush] concluded by saying, 'my job is to get the initiative going, is to stay on it, not yield, and then to ask the questions to the people responsible for getting the money out the door, how are we doing.' If that was his job, he had done it very poorly." [p. 249]

President Bush *Broke His Promise to Include Charitable Tax Cuts in his Tax Legislation. "But something was missing; the president's promised $6 billion per year in tax credits for groups helping the poor. Those tax credits had been the center piece of compassionate conservative efforts for years and the centerpiece of the president's own compassion agenda during the campaign." [p. 161]

White House on Evangelicals
Rove Described *Jerry Falwell as Someone "We Have to Put Up With." "I told Karl about Jerry's behavior at the Memorial Service 'Listen, I don't know. Would you just call Jerry, apologize and make things nice? We just have to put up with him.'" [p. 194]

Senior White House Officials *Described Evangelicals as "Nuts" and "Boorish." "For most of the rest of the White House staff, evangelical leaders were people to be tolerated, not people who were truly welcomed. No group was more eye-rolling about Christians than the political affairs shop. They know 'the nuts' were *politically invaluable, but that was the extent of their usefulness. Sadly, the political affairs folks complained most often and most loudly about how boorish many politically involved Christians were." [p. 229]

Senior White House Officials Also* Described Evangelicals as "Ridiculous," "Out of Control," and "Goofy." "Political Affairs was hardly alone. There wasn't a week that went by that I didn't hear someone in the middle to senior-levels making some comment or another about how annoying the Christians were or how tiresome they were, or how 'handling' them took so much time. National Christian leaders received hugs and smiles in person and then were *dismissed behind their backs and described as 'ridiculous', 'out of control'', and just plain 'goofy.'" [pp. 229-230]

White House Officials Referred to the Faith Based Initiative as the "F-ing Faith Based Initiative." "The president had made great promises but they hadn't been delivered on. Worse than that, the white house (White House?) hadn't tried. Worse than that, we had *used people of faith to further our political agenda and hadn't given them anything in return. I went on and on for a few minutes. He [Andy Card] sat their bug-eyed. 'Formality' meetings are supposed to be just that. 'And finally, sir, this thought. I don't know if you are aware of this, but your staff frequently refers to the faith-based initiative as the *'fucking faith-based initiative', that doesn't help." [p. 243]

White House Held Conference Calls with Evangelicals to Placate the Religious Right; Their Advice Was Never Taken. "The calls began with an overview of what the president would be talking about in the coming week. If necessary, participants were asked to talk to their people about whatever issue was pending. Talking points were distributed and advice was solicited. That advice rarely went much further than the conference call." [p.171]

Karl Rove Chose the Head of the Faith Based Office on His Political Connections to Clergy. "Karl wanted to know how connected Jim [Towey] was to the hierarchy of the American Catholic Church. If he wants the job, Karl told *Jeb [Bush], tell him to get 'as many red hats as he knows to call on his behalf/' 'Red hats' were cardinals, the highest-ranking officials in the Catholic Church beneath the pope, notable for their scarlet caps." [p. 200]

Ken Mehlman *Used the Faith Based Office for Political Means; Deliberately *Misled the Public on the Nature of Faith Based Roundtables. "A few days later, Jim and I were sitting with Ken Mehlman, head of Political Affairs. We laid out a plan whereby we would hold 'roundtable events' for *threatened incumbents with faith and community leaders. Our office would do the work, using the aura of our White House power to get a diverse group of faiths and to help poor people in their area. Though the Republican candidate would host the roundtable, it would be a *campaign event. The member of Congress was just taking time away from his or her campaign to serve the community. It would be perfect…..Ken loved the idea and gave us our marching orders. There were twenty targets. On the Senate side, priorities included* Saxby Chambliss in Georgia, *Wayne Allard in Colorado, and *Tim Hutchinson in Arkansas. House priorities were *Melissa Hart in Pennsylvania, *Shelley Capito in West Virginia, *Anne Northup in Kentucky and *John Shimkus in Illinois. 'This is good, very good, very, very good', Mehlman said. 'But we want to be careful, too. We can't be requesting the events, we'll have to have the candidates request them. And it can't come from the campaigns. That would *make it look too political. It needs to come from the congressional offices. Well take care of that by having our guys call the office to request the visit.'" [pp. 201-202]

Faith Based Roundtables Were Partisan Events -** Democrats Not Invited. "Our press shop responded with a statement: 'the bottom line is that Jim [Towey] travels all over the country to talk about the president's faith-based initiative, and he visits with people regardless of political affiliation. That was true in general. It was certainly **not true of the roundtables. **Democratic candidates were not invited." [pp. 206-207]

Evan Derkacz is an AlterNet editor. He writes and edits PEEK, the blog of blogs.
« The AlterNet Blogs « PEEK « Evan Derkacz

WA: I am emailing this article to members of my family and friends who are deceived by Bush's b*** c*** about being a "godly man" who "talks with God" and "upholds Christian values". I recommend following suit. The deceived ones need to know the TRUTH!

GOP Election Strategy: Terror, Racial Division, Lies, Fraud

The Terror Card:
NEW GOP AD THREATENS VOTERS WITH DESTRUCTION...Americans don't agree... worldwide survey on torture
The Race Card:
BLACKER THAN THOU, CRACKER!Who's behind those offensive ads?
As with the Christian Right, the Repubs and cohorts have infiltrated, deceived and defrauded the African American communities in order to capture the black vote, dividing the races. See Worried's post of 10/19 "...Who Among Us...??"

And the haters:
RACISTS ON THE BALLOT: HARD-RIGHT RADICALS RUN IN 2006By Alexander Zaitchik, Intelligence ReportAcross America, right-wing radicals are running foreverything from national political office to a countymosquito control board.
OLBERMANN TO BUSH: 'YOUR WORDS ARE LIES THAT IMPERIL US ALL'... [VIDEO]The government is the most dangerous enemy.
See Granny's post of 10/19 "Keith Olbermann Special Comment"

Saturday, October 21, 2006

We Thought Absentee Voting Was Foolproof (Update)

And then along comes my friend Sheanc to disabuse me of that quaint notion.

Two adjoining central California counties are having problems. Sacramento County has managed to misprint some of their absentee ballots. I'm not in that countrycounty but I'll open my ballot (it's been here for a few days) and check it over before it's too late to get a replacement.

Yolo County (which includes West Sacramento and Davis among other cities) has discovered that some of the instructions on their electonic voting machine (audio) are in Vietnamese.

Makes me wonder what's happening nationwide. It can't be just these two counties in one state.

Oh, and by now you probably know about the Supreme Court and Arizona. AZ can require voter i.d. for this election while other related cases are making their way through the courts.

Update: I went back and found the truthout article about AZ and the Supremes. Republicans 1 - Democrats 0.


Habeas Corpus - The Origin and Demise

We just received a comment from Gaea Phoenix with a link to her post about this latest assault on our liberty.

If you're anything like me, you don't always go back to all the comments on all the posts on all the blogs. Her post is excellent so I'm putting the link here for all to see.


When Politics Seduces Faith

Melissa Rogers

October 18, 2006

Melissa Rogers is an attorney who currently serves as visiting professor of religion and public policy at Wake Forest University Divinity School.

Some Christians are pretty ticked off at former White House official David Kuo right now for what he has written in his new book, Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction . If his book causes more Christians to reevaluate the hard-wiring of faith into partisan politics, however, it will have done a great service to the Gospel.

In his book, Kuo documents the three years he worked for President George W. Bush (2001-2003) in the White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives.

One of the book’s themes is that the White House repeatedly and quite intentionally manipulated faith for partisan political gain. This certainly isn’t the first time such a charge has been leveled, but the fact that an insider does so buttresses those charges and provides previously unreported details. It also may give the charges a hearing with entirely new audiences.

For the whole sordid story, click on to

We KNEW that the politicos were using and manipulating the Christian groups but it is good to get proof from an insider. The Christian Right, et al, can deliver a million or more votes and they contribute millions to various political funds including campaign war chests of favored politicians. In return, the groups are granted all sorts of favors and perks, the prestige of being "in" at the White House, having laws passed that reflect their religious beliefs, and in line for huge sums of taxpayer money given/to be given to the churches as more of Bush's "faith-based initiatives" are effected. WA
But is there a rift in the unity of Christian Right and Government? Are some of them wising up to what is being done to the country and how they have been used and deceived? WA

Christians Counter Climate Change
By Vince Beiser
Dozens of evangelical Christian leaders, breaking ranks with the Bush administration, launch faith-based campaign against global warming. "We have seen and heard enough," one says.


GAO Says Abstinence-Only Education Must Change
By Elizabeth Gettelman
Government Accountability Office rules that abstinence-only education materials must include accurate information on sexually transmitted infections and the effectiveness of condoms.
Teach people about Sexually Transmitted Diseases, the effectiveness of condoms?? How novel!
Some of the links in the above article are no longer valid. Below is an article from a working link:

DANGER: DO NOT ENTER“Infertility, isolation, jealousy, poverty, heartbreak, substance abuse, AIDS, pregnancy, cervical cancer, genital herpes, unstable long-term commitments, depression, embarrassment, meaningless wedding, sexual violence, personal disappointment, suicide, feelings of being used, loss of honesty, loneliness, loss of personal goals, distrust of others, pelvic inflammatory disease, loss of reputation, fear of pregnancy, disappointed parents, loss of self-esteem, leaving high school before graduation…. ALL of them can be eliminated by being abstinent until marriage.” —Choosing the Best PATH
Illustration: Jed Morfit
[People who give advice to young girls about life, love, marriage and -(whisper)- "sex"- may want to pay close attention to the pearls of wisdom quoted above. Please note that "ALL" of life's heartaches, miseries and tragedies "can be eliminated by being abstinent until marriage". You will be delighted to teach your young charges that NO married woman who was a virgin at the time of her nupitals will EVER suffer any of the problems listed above. If anyone is so crass as to point out that some married women actually DO suffer these things, hasten to assure them that by suffering these ills, the woman is confessing to being a non-virgin when wed. After all, the fundies can not be wrong, can they, and they promised..... WA]

By Peter Meredith

Thanks to a well-publicized congressional investigation, we now know that federally funded abstinence curricula are riddled with scientific errors, half-truths, and outright lies. So what are students and taxpayers getting for $170 million a year? If the following lessons are any indication, overwrought metaphors, laughable lists, and a lesson in Russian roulette.

“Hold up a beautiful rose. Talk about the petals and how they add color and fragrance to the rose. Hand the rose to a student, telling that student to pull off a petal and pass it on to another student who also pulls off a petal. Continue passing the rose around until there are no more petals. At the end, hold up the rose. Ask: Of what value is the rose now?… The rose represents someone who participates in casual sex.”—Choosing the Best PATH
[Have you ever noted a girl or woman fit the condition of the rose? Isn't that a rather silly comparison? Is a human devalued simply because of having illicit sexual experience ?
If that is so, why did Jesus forgive the adultress and the prostitute? Apparently He thought these women still had value. WA]

“No matter how strong a condom is, it won’t protect you from a broken heart.” -A.C. Green’s Game Plan
[Is it supposed to? Is that its purpose? I thought it was for contraceptive and disease prevention purposes. Is there anything that will protect you from a broken heart? For that matter, will abstinence protect you from a broken heart? WA]

“The first player spins the cylinder, points the gun to his/her head, and pulls the trigger. He/she has only a one in six chance of being killed. But if one continues to perform this act, the chamber with the bullet will ultimately fall into position, and the game ends as one of the players dies. Relying on condoms is like playing Russian roulette.” —Me, My World, My Future
[Relying on condoms is surer than using nothing --- or relying on human nature to adhere to an abstinence-only plan, which is more likely to fail than a condom. WA]

“Watch what you wear, if you don’t aim to please, don’t aim to tease.”—Sex Respect
[So once again we are back to the "what was she wearing" query in the blame-the-victim scenarios for sexual harassment, abuse, or rape. The advice that if you don't aim to "put out", don't dress temptingly is so stupid. In the first place, provocative dress is a matter of opinion and perception; what is innocuous to one mind may be seductive to another. In the second place, the statement assumes that men are weaklings, helpless in the grip of sexual passion or arousal, that the very sight of an attractive female will drive him so wild with lust that he will be unable to control his urges. Crapola! I refuse to believe that men are so weak willed or weak minded. I will admit that I have seen some modes of dress that I thought were over the top, and males certainly stared, but not a one acted as if the exposure was a "come one, come all and get it" neon sign, nor did a single male erupt into an uncontrollable sexual frenzy! WA]

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Keith Olbermann Special Comment

Keith has a lot to say about the demise of America as it once was.

From Crooks and Liars with thanks to Tina at Fuzzy & Blue.


Baghad Burning

I hope this post is truly hers. I'd heard some very sad rumors which I wouldn't post because they were just that - rumors.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Lancet Study...
This has been the longest time I have been away from blogging. There were several reasons for my disappearance the major one being the fact that every time I felt the urge to write about Iraq, about the situation, I'd be filled with a certain hopelessness that can't be put into words and that I suspect other Iraqis feel also.

It's very difficult at this point to connect to the internet and try to read the articles written by so-called specialists and analysts and politicians. They write about and discuss Iraq as I might write about the Ivory Coast or Cambodia- with a detachment and lack of sentiment that- I suppose- is meant to be impartial. Hearing American politicians is even worse. They fall between idiots like Bush- constantly and totally in denial, and opportunists who want to use the war and ensuing chaos to promote themselves.

The latest horror is the study published in the Lancet Journal concluding that over 600,000 Iraqis have been killed since the war. Reading about it left me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it sounded like a reasonable figure. It wasn't at all surprising. On the other hand, I so wanted it to be wrong. But... who to believe? Who to believe....? American politicians... or highly reputable scientists using a reliable scientific survey technique?

The responses were typical- war supporters said the number was nonsense because, of course, who would want to admit that an action they so heartily supported led to the deaths of 600,000 people (even if they were just crazy Iraqis…)? Admitting a number like that would be the equivalent of admitting they had endorsed, say, a tsunami, or an earthquake with a magnitude of 9 on the Richter scale, or the occupation of a developing country by a ruthless superpower… oh wait- that one actually happened. Is the number really that preposterous? Thousands of Iraqis are dying every month- that is undeniable. And yes, they are dying as a direct result of the war and occupation (very few of them are actually dying of bliss, as war-supporters and Puppets would have you believe).

For American politicians and military personnel, playing dumb and talking about numbers of bodies in morgues and official statistics, etc, seems to be the latest tactic. But as any Iraqi knows, not every death is being reported. As for getting reliable numbers from the Ministry of Health or any other official Iraqi institution, that's about as probable as getting a coherent, grammatically correct sentence from George Bush- especially after the ministry was banned from giving out correct mortality numbers. So far, the only Iraqis I know pretending this number is outrageous are either out-of-touch Iraqis abroad who supported the war, or Iraqis inside of the country who are directly benefiting from the occupation ($) and likely living in the Green Zone.

The chaos and lack of proper facilities is resulting in people being buried without a trip to the morgue or the hospital. During American military attacks on cities like Samarra and Fallujah, victims were buried in their gardens or in mass graves in football fields. Or has that been forgotten already?

We literally do not know a single Iraqi family that has not seen the violent death of a first or second-degree relative these last three years. Abductions, militias, sectarian violence, revenge killings, assassinations, car-bombs, suicide bombers, American military strikes, Iraqi military raids, death squads, extremists, armed robberies, executions, detentions, secret prisons, torture, mysterious weapons – with so many different ways to die, is the number so far fetched?

There are Iraqi women who have not shed their black mourning robes since 2003 because each time the end of the proper mourning period comes around, some other relative dies and the countdown begins once again.

Let's pretend the 600,000+ number is all wrong and that the minimum is the correct number: nearly 400,000. Is that better? Prior to the war, the Bush administration kept claiming that Saddam killed 300,000 Iraqis over 24 years. After this latest report published in The Lancet, 300,000 is looking quite modest and tame. Congratulations Bush et al.

Everyone knows the 'official numbers' about Iraqi deaths as a direct result of the war and occupation are far less than reality (yes- even you war hawks know this, in your minuscule heart of hearts). This latest report is probably closer to the truth than anything that's been published yet. And what about American military deaths? When will someone do a study on the actual number of those? If the Bush administration is lying so vehemently about the number of dead Iraqis, one can only imagine the extent of lying about dead Americans…


Riverbend in Baghdad

Do you subscribe to ICH? This plea was on recent news mail.

NOTE: Does anyone have information regarding Riverbend - Iraqi girl
blog: Baghdad Burning:

Her blog has not been updated since Aug 5th and many of us who admire
her are worried about her safety. If you have information regarding her
well being please email me at


...Who Among Us...??

First, They Came For The Jews

In the past, our government realized that racism and xenophobia actually made our country less secure, not more. Check out this public service announcement from 1947 warning against the dangers of intolerance. Racism and xenophobia make us less safe and less secure. First they came for the Jews.....
© 2004 ( Project of The Institute for America's Future )

American Prison Camps Are on the Way
By Marjorie Cohn
Kellogg Brown & Root, a Halliburton subsidiary, is constructing a huge facility at an undisclosed location to hold tens of thousands of Bush's "unlawful enemy combatants." Americans are certain to be among them.

Documents Reveal Scope of U.S. Database on Antiwar Protests
Internal military documents released Thursday provided new details about the Defense Department’s collection of information on demonstrations nationwide last year by students, Quakers and others opposed to the Iraq war.

(Are bloggers and columnists on the list of dissenters? WA)

Recap Plus Warning

The Republic is Dead, Long Live the Republic.
By Juan Cole
Bush and a supine, cowardly Congress shredded the US Constitution on Tuesday, abolishing the right of a court review (habeas corpus) for some classes of suspect. Suspect, mind you, not proven criminal.

===A Time Of Shame
National yawn as our rights evaporate’
By Keith Olbermann - Anchor, 'Countdown'
First thing this morning, the president signed into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which does away with habeas corpus, the right of suspected terrorists or anybody else to know why they have been imprisoned, provided the president does not think it should apply to you and declares you an enemy combatant. Video and transcript.

===Sowing the Seeds of Fascism in America
By Stan Goff
Author Stan Goff, a retired 26-year veteran of the U.S. Army Special Forces, sounds a warning call that many of the historical precursors of fascism—white supremacy, militarization of culture, vigilantism, masculine fear of female power, xenophobia and economic destabilization—are ascendant in America today.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006




Except there will be no peace, at home or abroad.

Let the headstones represent the death and burial of the many freedoms and rights this administration has killed, and the casket the murder of America as we knew it.

Is this our future and the future of our children? Remember Bush's comment that if we were not with him, we were with the terrorists? Remember his comment that dissention was giving "aid and comfort to the enemy", a term that equates to treason and punishable by the death penalty? And remember that he is the decider, that he makes the judgement calls on offenses and offenders?
Whither now, America? Stalags? Gulags? Concentration camps? Execution chambers? For American citizens like you and me?

A Day Which Will Live In Infamy

Usually I post links with a short comment. This essay from Consortiumnews deserves to be published in its entirety.

How could we let this happen?

History should record October 17, 2006, as the reverse of July 4, 1776.

From the noble American ideal of each human being possessing “unalienable rights” as declared by the Founders 230 years ago amid the ringing of bells in Philadelphia, the United States effectively rescinded that concept on a dreary fall day in Washington.

At a crimped ceremony in the East Room of the White House, President George W. Bush signed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (note: link doesn't work and I'm not going to try to wade through all the code trying to fix it - the text of the Act should be easy to find online) while sitting behind a sign reading “Protecting America.”

On the surface, the law sets standards for harsh interrogations, prosecutions and executions of supposed terrorists and other “unlawful combatants,” including al-Qaeda members who allegedly conspired to murder nearly 3,000 people on Sept. 11, 2001.

“It is a rare occasion when a President can sign a bill he knows will save American lives,” Bush said. “I have that privilege this morning.”

But the new law does much more. In effect, it creates a parallel “star chamber” system of criminal justice for anyone, including an American citizen, who is suspected of engaging in, contributing to or acting in support of violent acts directed against the U.S. government or its allies anywhere on earth.

The law strips “unlawful combatants” and their alleged fellow-travelers of the fundamental right of habeas corpus, meaning that they can’t challenge their imprisonment in civilian courts, at least not until after they are brought before a military tribunal, tried under special secrecy rules and then sentenced.

One of the catches, however, is that with habeas corpus suspended these suspects have no guarantee of a swift trial and can theoretically be jailed indefinitely at the President’s discretion. Given the endless nature of the “global war on terror,” suspects could disappear forever into the dark hole of unlimited executive authority, their fate hidden even from their families.

While incarcerated, the “unlawful combatants” and their cohorts can be subjected to coercive interrogations with their words used against them if and when they are brought to trial as long as a military judge approves.

The military tribunals also could use secret evidence to prosecute a wide range of “disloyal” American citizens as well as anti-American non-citizens. The procedures are similar to “star chambers,” which have been employed historically by absolute monarchs and totalitarian states.

Even after the prosecutions are completed, the President could keep details secret. While an annual report must be made to Congress about the military tribunals, the President can conceal whatever information he chooses in a classified annex.

False Confidence

When Congress was debating the military tribunal law in September, some Americans were reassured to hear that the law would apply to non-U.S. citizens, such as legal resident aliens and foreigners. Indeed, the law does specify that “illegal enemy combatants” must be aliens who allegedly have attacked U.S. targets or those of U.S. military allies.

But the law goes much further when it addresses what can happen to people alleged to have given aid and comfort to America’s enemies. According to the law’s language, even American citizens who are accused of helping terrorists can be shunted into the military tribunal system where they could languish indefinitely without constitutional protections.

Any person is punishable as a principal under this chapter who commits an offense punishable by this chapter, or aids, abets, counsels, commands, or procures its commission,” the law states.

Any person subject to this chapter who, in breach of an allegiance or duty to the United States, knowingly and intentionally aids an enemy of the United States, or one of the co-belligerents of the enemy [presumably U.S. military allies, such as Great Britain and Israel], shall be punished as a military commission may direct.

Any person subject to this chapter who with intent or reason to believe that it is to be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign power, collects or attempts to collect information by clandestine means or while acting under false pretenses, for the purpose of conveying such information to an enemy of the United States, or one of the co-belligerents of the enemy, shall be punished by death or such other punishment as a military commission … may direct.

Any person subject to this chapter who conspires to commit one of the more substantive offenses triable by military commission under this chapter, and who knowingly does any overt act to effect the object of the conspiracy, shall be punished, if death results to one or more of the victims, by death or such other punishment as a military commission … may direct, and, if death does not result to any of the victims, by such punishment, other than death, as a military commission … may direct.” [Emphases added]

In other words, a wide variety of alleged crimes, including some specifically targeted at citizens with “an allegiance or duty to the United States,” would be transferred from civilian courts to military tribunals, where habeas corpus and other constitutional rights would not apply.

Secret Trials

Secrecy, not the principle of openness, dominates these curious trials.

Under the military tribunal law, a judge “may close to the public all or a portion of the proceedings” if he deems that the evidence must be kept secret for national security reasons. Those concerns can be conveyed to the judge through ex parte – or one-sided – communications from the prosecutor or a government representative.

The judge also can exclude the accused from the trial if there are safety concerns or if the defendant is disruptive. Plus, the judge can admit evidence obtained through coercion if he determines it “possesses sufficient probative value” and “the interests of justice would best be served by admission of the statement into evidence.”

The law permits, too, the introduction of secret evidence “while protecting from disclosure the sources, methods, or activities by which the United States acquired the evidence if the military judge finds that ... the evidence is reliable.”

During trial, the prosecutor would have the additional right to assert a “national security privilege” that could stop “the examination of any witness,” presumably by the defense if the questioning touched on any sensitive matter.

The prosecution also would retain the right to appeal any adverse ruling by the military judge to the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia. For the defense, however, the law states that “no court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider any claim or cause of action whatsoever … relating to the prosecution, trial, or judgment of a military commission under this chapter, including challenges to the lawfulness of procedures of military commissions.”

Further, the law states “no person may invoke the Geneva Conventions or any protocols thereto in any habeas corpus or other civil action or proceeding to which the United States, or a current or former officer, employee, member of the Armed Forces, or other agent of the United States is a party as a source of rights in any court of the United States or its States or territories.”

In effect, that provision amounts to a broad amnesty for all U.S. officials, including President Bush and other senior executives who may have authorized torture, murder or other violations of human rights.

Beyond that amnesty provision, the law grants President Bush the authority “to interpret the meaning and the application of the Geneva Conventions.”

In signing the Military Commissions Act of 2006, Bush remarked that “one of the terrorists believed to have planned the 9/11 attacks said he hoped the attacks would be the beginning of the end of America.” Pausing for dramatic effect, Bush added, “He didn’t get his wish.”

Or, perhaps, the terrorist did.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at It's also available at, as is his 1999 book, Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth.'

Back to Home Page


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

P.S. to Post Below

The movie below is only about a minute long. It is followed by a page to send the movie to friends and associates.

The fundies are pushing hard as are the Repubs for this upcoming election to be won by their current cohorts in government. They have been working beneath the radar, establishing their foothold in government, for several decades and have become confident enough to come out in the open the last few years. THEY MUST NOT SUCCEED IN RUNNING OUR COUNTRY.

The controversy about abortion aside, do we really want to have contraception banned, so that the only means of birth control is abstinence? Or that the only preventative of STDs, including AIDS, is abstinence? Or that umarried non-virgins, homosexuals, rebellious sons be legally punished or put to death? That children be home schooled or schooled in state run schools according to fundie beliefs? That much of modern science be forbidden? That women be banished from public service and returned to the home, and men once again totally rule the women? That all peoples be forced to convert to their belief system or be legally punished or put to death? And this is just the tip of the iceberg of their beliefs.
They are entitled to their beliefs and their interpretations of the scriptures but they are NOT entitled to force them on the rest of the nation or the world.
Fie on them.
Addendum: Excerpt from DefCom. I haven't read this man's books but intend to. Sounds like an expose of the fundies from an insider. Might be worthwhile to check out his books. Also, check out the links, especially Soul Force.

In 1993, Rev. White ended a decades-long career as the ghostwriter for religious right leaders Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. Rev. White has since committed himself to confronting their hate-filled agenda, co-founding SoulForce - an organization fighting religion-based bigotry against gay and lesbian Americans - and writing books about the true agenda of these extremists. Based on White's first hand experience, Religion Gone Bad exposes the religious right's war on homosexuals and the crucial role it has played in their dramatic rise to power

Watch Now: Religious Right's Assault Grows

Because I STRONGLY disagree with the beliefs and goals of the Christian Right, the radical fundamentalists, and publish warnings and negative information and opinions about them on this blog, I am sometimes accused of being anti-Christian, anti-God/Jesus, and called names I see no need to repeat here. Occasionally Granny is lumped into the diatribes because she shares the blog with me, even though she leaves most of the fundie ranting to me.

I have said it before but I will iterate it for those whose policy is "if you're not with us, you're with the Devil" or some such crud; they seem to follow our fearless leader in "if you're not with me, you're with the terrorists".

Neither Granny nor I are anti-Christian, anti-God/Jesus. Both of us are practising Christians, believe in God and do our human best to follow the teachings of Jesus ( that are basically how to live in peace and kindness in a civilized manner).Just because we disbelieve in the fundie interpretations of the scriptures or their nation/world domination goals does NOT mean that we are evil apostates. This blog WILL CONTINUE to expose the fundies, their beliefs and goals. So there!! And horror of horrors, we will continue to love and accept people of other faiths, other religions or people who have no religion at all, and -gasp!- even people of other races!!
Campaign to Defend the Constitution wrote:
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2006 18:17:08 GMT
From: "Campaign to Defend the Constitution"
To: (deleted-WA)
Subject: Watch Now: Religious Right's Assault Grows

They are in Texas. They are in Houston. They are everywhere. Click here to watch our new movie about the religious right.

"Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost."
- Rev. D. James Kennedy

Dear (deleted-WA),

They are in our nation's capital. They are in Texas. They are in Houston. They are everywhere.

Click here to watch DefCon's short movie about the religious right's assault on science and freedom.

Then, pass it on to your friends.

Clark, Jessica, and the rest of the DefCon team

*********© 2006 DefCon: Campaign to Defend the Constitution

This message was sent to Visit your subscription management to modify your email communication preferences or update your personal profile. To stop ALL email from Campaign to Defend the Constitution, click to r yourself from our lists (or reply via email with "remove or unsubscribe" in the subject line).