Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ill-informed New Jersey Fundamentalists Help Defeat Stem-cell Research

The voters of New Jersey two weeks ago rejected an initiative of Governor Corzine that would have permitted the state to borrow $450 million for stem cell research. "Supporters had argued that the borrowing would help pay for research that could help deliver New Jersey from financial distress by bringing additional tax revenue and tens of thousands of jobs to the state," says a NYT article on the loss.

Further in the article we read this:

"Though recent polls had indicated that the initiative would pass easily, a coalition of conservatives, anti-abortion activists and the Catholic church conducted a last-minute advertising blitz against it."

There you go. The so-called right-to-lifers again ignorantly influencing the voters to reject anything with the heretical term, 'stem cell' in it. What fools they are.

That is what we face here in Ohio and across this nation: ignorant voters being conned into voting a certain way by clever and devious half-truths planted by the religious police, aka fundamentalists. They depend on a bevy of lock-step voters to keep their ancient values current in our society. Just the term, stem cell research, will scare a whole group of voters to vote against it and the candidate who embraces the concept.

Keep 'em dumb. That's the fundamentalist tactic, and it has been working in election after election.

The fundies don't want the folks to know about a new form of stem cell NOT derived from embryos. Keep them ignorant of the new [2006] discovery by Professor Yamanaya of Tokyo University who clones stem cells from adult skin cells. Yes, skin cells. Check the article.

Rather, the smooth-talking fundies want the American voters to think 'embryo' when they hear the term stem cell. They have an agenda and 'stem cell' is a vital part of the package.

Will they bamboozle the voters in '08 with their nonsense? You bet they'll try very hard. After all, their quiver is becoming awfully empty of late.

"We are here only because of our work with the Americans"

That's their message and their fate: they worked with the Americans and have been marked for death in Iraq. This line comes from a Washington Post article published today. The important message in this article is this:

"We are here only because of our work with the Americans," said Intisar Ibrahim, 53, a tall, solemn engineer who left Iraq two years ago. "They have an obligation to help us, but until now we have not seen any help."

More than four years after the U.S.-led invasion, the number of Iraqis being resettled in the United States is expanding, although the numbers are minuscule and the pace is glacial. Only those who have worked directly for the U.S. government or military -- a tiny percentage of the refugees -- are eligible for fast-track immigration processing. An estimated 100,000 Iraqis employed by U.S. contractors -- from office cleaners to managers to highly skilled professionals -- have much lower priority, although they faced similar dangers and underwent rigorous background checks.

In Iraq, these workers paid a price for being America's allies. They led double lives sheathed in lies and secrecy. Many were killed. Those fortunate enough to make it to Jordan have found that life as a refugee is precarious."

They ought to 'thank' George Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, and Condi Rice among others.

Great job, fools!

Surprising Votes on Iraq Senate Bill Thursday

Democrats in the Senate tried to tie $50 billion in funding for the war to withdrawal dates. The appropriations bill was defeated 53-45. Although 53 senators voted 'aye' it needed 60 votes to move forward. Of course this 60-vote rule has come to bite the Dems time and again as it did again on Thursday.

The vote of presidential candidate Chris Dodd of Connecticut was quite a surprise; he voted 'nay' along with Dem turned Independent-Republican Lieberman. His 'nay' vote was the only one of a Democrat. Even conservative Democrats like Nelson, Tester and Baucus voted 'aye.' Perhaps Dodd explained his vote or spun his vote.

Four Republicans voted 'aye' including Snowe and Collins of Maine, Hagel of Nebraska, and Smith of Oregon. The 'aye' vote of Olympia Snowe is a switch from previous votes. Her fellow senator Susan Collins has been voting with the Dems as she is up for re-election in '08. The state has become a solid D in presidential voting. Gordon Smith is up for re-election and has moved to the left in his solid blue state of Oregon. Hagel, a combat vet, opposed the war from the outset.

The 'nay' vote of John Sununu of New Hampshire was a surprise. He is up for re-election in '08 and his state has been trending blue in the past 3 presidential elections. Maybe he thinks the voters didn't notice that vote.

The 'nay' vote of Norm Coleman in Minnesota is also unexpected. In solidly Democrat Minnesota, the voters may take note of that vote as he too is up for re-election in '08.

The 'aye' vote of Louisiana senator Mary Landrieu was bold. She is up for re-election in '08 in a state that is trending deeper red now that Katrina displaced so many Democratic voters.

Back here in Ohio, George Voinovich has been casting his lot with George Bush from day one of this war. As his re-election isn't until '10, he hopes the voters here will not remember his stead-fast support of the Bush War. Knowing how easily Ohio voters can be bamboozled, he may be right. A little gay-marriage amendment could easily tip the voters towards him.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Authentic Fakes: Religion and American Popular Culture.

From a Barnes & Noble review:

Chidester travels through the cultural landscape and discovers the role that fakery--in the guise of frauds, charlatans, inventions, and simulations--plays in creating religious experience. His book is at once an incisive analysis of the relationship between religion and popular culture and a celebration of the myriad ways in which invention can stimulate the religious imagination.

A much more thorough review of the book is on the Journal of Religion and Pop Culture website.

Mr. Chidester will be one of the guest speakers at the annual American Academy of Religion's seminar in San Diego this week. Aslo on that agenda is a discussion of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The discussion of this 'deity' will raise questions about the essence of religion itself.

That pasta deity came to the fore as Kansas debated the teaching of Intelligent Design in its public schools back in 2005. Supporters of intelligent design hold that the order and complexity of the universe is so great that science alone cannot explain it. The concept's critics see it as faith masquerading as science.

As a result, an Oregon State physics graduate named Bobby Henderson stepped into the debate by sending a letter to the Kansas School Board. With tongue in cheek, he purported to speak for 10 million followers of a being called the Flying Spaghetti Monster — and demanded equal time for their views.

Fortunately for the children of Kansas, the state school board pulled ID from the school program.

Bush Family Good Friends: The Barbaric Saudis

The Bush Family and the House of Saud go way back. We recall George W. holding hands with Prince Abdullah walking into their meeting back in 2005. Charming photo.

The Christian Science Monitor said of the photo, "Symbolic hand-clasp between Bush and Saudi prince showcases solidarity, especially on oil policy."

Oil policy. $95 dollars a barrel. $3.19 at the pump. Solidarity for sure.

Today we read that in Saudi Arabia a woman who was gang-raped was sentenced to 200 lashes and six-months in jail. When she appealed, judges doubled her sentence, saying she had been trying to use the media to influence them.

Bringing democracy to Iraq, Mr. Bush? Try bringing it to your hand-holding buddy first.

Atlanta's Free-Thought Society Demonstrates Against Rain-prayers

On Tuesday Georgia governor Sonny Perdue led a public prayer service asking God to end the drought in his state. While this was taking place, there was a counter-demonstration against this church-state separation violation by a group called the Atlanta Freethought Society. They quote Matthew 6:5-6 and his rebuke: 'when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites...But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret.'

It rained 14/100 of an inch in Atlanta yesterday. Fundamentalist Christians saw that as an answer to their prayers. Concurrently, however, the same storm tore the roof off of a Baptist church in Tennessee. That area received over 4 inches of rain.

No doubt there was a strange conflict of karma over Atlanta on Tuesday. The 'spirits' received mixed messages which may be responsible for the awkward results. Perhaps the god-of-the-world was too busy in other places around the globe to find the time to adequately prepare a rain event for Atlanta. With all of the other concerns of human suffering and death, especially at the hands of military forces, the god-of-the-earth no doubt relegated the green lawns of suburban Atlanta to the back burner.

GOD save us from religious proselytizers in the upcoming presidential election.

This is the first sentence in an op ed appearing in the Toledo Blade. Its author, Marilou Johanek, will no doubt be the butt of many stinging letters to the editor for her remarks, but she has come to expect that over her years as a journalist.

Both she and I worry about this upcoming election because we have paid attention to elections past and we know full well that both politicians and religious folks like to team up for the main event in the political arena. Already the GOP candidates have opened their doors to the religious right, the fundamentalists, the folks who live Leviticus and seemingly ignore the 'love thy neighbor' teachings of Jesus.

Ms. Johanek writes, "This direct intrusion of religion into politics and public life dangerously blurs the critically important line between church and state. It motivates some -but fortunately not all - of the faithful to vote their religion at the ballot box, often without regard for which candidate is most qualified to move the country forward."

The religious right seem to gloss over that part of the Constitution in the same way they omit the 'love they neighbor' command.

If only these zealous Christian fundamentalists knew how closely their thinking is aligned to the Wahhabists in the Muslim world, the same people who they loathe and fear. Do they also know how closely related they are to the Taliban and their strict Sharia laws? Probably not: ignorance is bliss.

Odd isn't it? Seemingly all of the world's fundamentalist families are kin. Harsh interpretations of a set of laws set down by some distant god with little or no room for compromise. More strange still is that each of these groups use violence to obtain their ends. Who doubts that the idiotic Bush War in Iraq is nothing less than his personal crusade, a battle that his alcohol-soaked brain believes was dictated by God?

Curiously deranged leaders pop up from time to time throughout the history of the world, zealots who grab a religious sword and, in the name of their god, bring god's justice to the infidel. Ours will have led his crusade for nearly all of his 8 years in office.

Thanks to the political christian zealots who masquerade as patriotic Americans, George Bush was able to fulfill his mandate from god. Now, they have their eyes on a successor who will take that blood-stained sword from Mr. Bush and continue the slaughter of the infidel, in the name of that same god. Whom will they choose?

The larger question looms: will the American electorate fall once again for this candidate? Will they believe the oh-so christian message he will speak? Will they be bamboozled into believing that this candidate alone represents their 'values?' I shutter to think of that possibility next November.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Listening to the Evening News With the Book of Revelation in Hand

John Crossan said these words in an interview on Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders as he was discussing his newest book, God and Empire: Jesus Against Rome, Then and Now.

He also said that Jesus would never preach 'peace through violence' and thus what this Christian foreign policy being promoted by our government is doing would never have been condoned by Jesus. The Romans did. They won the battle and then talked peace.

"Perhaps the wrong Jesus was revealed," Crossan said. "He preached peace and entered Jerusalem on a donkey. What did that say to the Romans who were in control of the city?"
To hear the 55 minute interview, click this site.

The vengeful God of the old testament would have better fit the U.S. foreign policy. The God who smote his enemies sounds like the mascot for the Bush-Cheney preemption policy. Revelations is again filled with this justice-serving power through killing all of the infidel, non-believers.

Between the first books and this last book of the Bible is the story of Jesus the pacifist- turn the other cheek. Blessed are the peacemakers. My peace I leave with you. Love one another.

As I hear the GOP candidates dripping with war-talk I wonder if they, too, had wished for another Jesus to model: a strong one, a smiting one. That way, when they claim to be oh-so 'christian' they too could also argue preemptive invasions of other nations, bringing democracy at the end of a gun.

American Heads Firmly Planted in the Sand?

Apparently most folks don't want to know. They'd rather be in a state of denial than face up to the facts. The BBC has a story entitled, Understanding the climate ostrich , which says:

"Community members described fears about the severity of the situation, of not knowing what to do, fears that their way of life was in question, and concern that the government would not adequately handle the problem."

The article goes on to say, "Emotions of fear and helplessness can be managed through the use of selective attention; controlling one's exposure to information, not thinking too far into the future and focusing on something that could be done."

Mind if I change the topic to politics? To the Bush Wars? Would these 'emotions of fear and helplessness' mentioned in connection to the climate problem be the same emotions that are present in the majority of Americans as they view these wars?

Does 'helplessness' answer the question often asked, "Where are all of the citizens out in the streets protesting this stupid war?"

'Controlling one's exposure to information' might explain why my wife was asked a few days ago, "How did you know that this war was not right from the beginning?"

Are the American masses in denial and practicing avoidance as they stuff themselves with food, watch idiotic sit-coms, and go to the mall? Do we settle for 'not thinking too far into the future'? If so, we are doomed as a nation, pure and simple.

Is 'Christian' Pet Burial Kosher?

For a few hundred dollars, your pet can be buried in this 'christian' casket. Funeral services for your dog or cat are available in Carmel Indiana for the grieving 'family.'

Pet funeral homes have to be as absurd as any society-gone-wrong can be, but that's where our nation has gone.

"Honoring deceased pets and people is similar in many ways. The 1,200-square-foot memorial center, located outside of Indianapolis, offers a full line of caskets, urns and memorial items.
The lowest priced package starts at $230 (for a dog up to 25 pounds) and includes pick-up, cremation and urn, as well as a keepsake paw print and tuft of fur.
About 15 funerals have been held at the center."

Let's open our history books, boys and girls, to where we left off. Recall that we were discussing the opulent lives of the Romans...

The Clone, The Clown, The Rich and The Rain

Four news items struck me this morning.

Monkey cloning hit the news today. That story begins: "For years, scientists have been trying to develop a technique to clone primates. Now researchers in the US say they have successfully cloned embryos from rhesus monkeys. The scientists extracted stem cells from the cloned embryos, and developed them into heart and nerve cells. They say they hope the work will help pave the way for therapeutic human cloning, and dismiss concerns about the ethics of the work."

The ethics, always the ethics before hope for humanity. The Bible-thumpers have successfully stopped valuable research into finding ways of enriching the lives of people suffering each day from disorders and diseases which could be helped through stem-cell research. Apparently their view of 'ethics' is to see as much human suffering as possible. God would surely enjoy that.

The clown is Indiana Rep. Mike Pence of the rural eastern-most section of the state. I heard him live on C-Span yesterday, using White House rhetoric, chastising the Democrats for 'tying the hands of the military' as he attempted to persuade the members to vote no on the newest attempt to limit the Bush War. Also dripping from his Bush-toady mouth were idiotic phrases like 'winning the war' and 'victory for democracy in Iraq.' The poor man. Hopefully the once dark-red state of Indiana which turned a much lighter shade in 2006, will send this clown back to the circus.

Warren Buffet is a pain in the ass of other uber-wealthy Americans. He bothers their conscience, assuming there is one. The 2nd richest man in America told the senate conference that Congress should keep the estate tax rather than repeal it and help a few rich Americans like him. "I think we need to ... take a little more out of the hides of guys like me."

Whoa! Imagine that: a wealthy American thinking of other, less fortunate citizens of his country. Both he and Bill Gates put those other American billionaires to shame in their words and actions. Gosh, what ever happened to good old American narcissism?

The Rain fell on Atlanta last night, answering the 'prayers' of those who stood on the statehouse steps earlier in the week. The city received 13/100 of an inch. "Our prayers were answered," said one woman enjoying the sprinkling. Odd, though, that this prayed-for rain brought much destruction with it in the form of tornadoes just north of Georgia. Video shown on CBS this morning showed the Atlanta sprinkles as well as entire neighborhoods in ruin in Tennessee from the same storm. You would think that God would be a bit more accurate in answering prayers!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hidden Costs of Bush Wars

$1.6 trillion is the current estimate of the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan. This is double what Bush and the Republicans
have said. The report was released Tuesday from the Joint
House and Senate Economic Committee.

Bush-Cheney and Republicans try to give only the actual cost
of making war. This report, however, goes beyond the up-front
outlays and gives the costs that are hidden. These costs include
interest payments on the money borrowed to pay for the wars,
lost investment, the expenses of long term health care for injured
veterans, and the cost of oil market disruptions. The amount for
Iraq alone is $1.3 trillion.

The White House says the report is political. Republicans in Congress
call this a "thinly veiled exercise in political hyperbole masquerading
as academic research." LOL.....What the hell is this? Oh, spin?

The report was prepared by the non-partisan CBO and by the Committee's
own, long standing professional economists.

At the start of the war, oil was $37 a barrel. Today oil is over $90 a barrel.
Who benefits? Moreover, the interest alone will total over $550 billion by
2017. The national debt today stands at $9 trillion. The Comptroller General,
a Republican, says the hidden costs of the total national debt is $50 trillion,
not $9 trillion. Will any one face facts?

The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Another GOP President

update at bottom

It will be a relief when a neocon doesn't have the ear of the president. They are a small but deadly lot. Most names are familiar to those who pay attention: Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, Richard Perle, William Kristol, John Bolton and Lynne and Dick Cheney.

Working behind the scenes, however, is the godfather of neoconservatism, Norman Podhoretz. Podhoertz, a Zionist, has been accused of anti-Muslim rhetoric. He is the founder of the Project for the New American Century, PNAC, a far-right think tank. PNAC is a coalition of mainly Jewish, neo-conservatives and more traditional right-wing hawks like Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld [link] Another 'star' of PNAC is Daniel Pipes, "a staunch Likud supporter who has long argued that Washington has been too complacent about the threat of Islamist radicalism both overseas and at home."

Podhoretz seized the opportunity on the election of George Bush to fulfill his world-order plan: preemption. We Americans are now reeling with blood and debt for that foolish plan.

In the late summer of 2000, the naive Texas governor was 'educated' about foreign policy by a team of neocons including Podhoretz and Cheney. As Mr. Bush was essentially an empty slate, he absorbed the neocon philosophy like a sponge. And, right after 9-11, the words of Podhoretz were reiterated in the White House by Rumsfeld. It did not take Bush too long to order the invasion of Iraq.

"The Case for Bombing Iran I hope and pray that President Bush will do it" was and op ed by Norman Podhoretz published May 30, 2007 in the Wall street Journal.

As frightening as this is, even more frightening is this: Podhoretz is a foreign policy adviser to GOP front-runner Rudy Giuliani. Imagine that.

Paul Krugman in an op ed in the NYT says this: "And Mr. Podhoretz's rants are, if anything, saner than some of what we've been hearing from some of Mr. Giuliani's rivals. Thus, in a recent campaign ad Mitt Romney asserted that America is in a struggle with people who aim "to unite the world under a single jihadist Caliphate. To do that they must collapse freedom-loving nations. Like us."

Further Krugman said, "Mike Huckabee says that if Hillary Clinton is elected, "I'm not sure we'll have the courage and the will and the resolve to fight the greatest threat this country's ever faced in Islamofascism."
It seems to me that our democracy cannot afford to elect another Republican who will have the ear of fascist military reactionaries like Podhoertz. We can kiss our way of life good bye if we do.

Wake up, citizens: our enemies are inside our borders.


I just read Ray McGovern's newest piece, Attacking Iran for Israel, which adds a great deal more fuel for this disturbing topic.

Bishops' Statement on Iraq Puts Catholic Voters to the Test

With a stern-looking Jesus looking down on them, five leading bishops of the Catholic Church issued a statement yesterday against continuing the Iraq War. Note that Jesus is flashing the 'peace sign.'

BALTIMORE - Increasingly frustrated by the war in Iraq and worried about bellicose talk toward Iran, the outgoing president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops described the situation in Iraq yesterday as "unacceptable and unsustainable" and called for the Bush administration to work with Iran and Syria to stabilize the region.

Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, in one of his last acts as president of the bishops conference, issued a public letter saying the bishops are "alarmed by the political and partisan stalemate in Washington" and declaring "our country needs a new direction."

The bishops conference and the Vatican raised concerns about the Iraq war before it began and have issued repeated statements calling for a "responsible transition" to Iraqi self-governance and the withdrawal of US troops "at the earliest opportunity consistent with that goal."

I like the descriptive words used by the bishops: unacceptable and unsustainable. Of course, many of them prior to the preemptive invasion by the Bush/Cheney junta called it illegal and immoral.

Many Catholics did not listen to those words, apparently, when they entered the voting booth here in Ohio in November 2004. That bloc of voters helped re-elect George Bush and sustain the war for another three years. Listening to the bishops now is of little value; the damage has been done and we will remain in Iraq as long as Bush remains president.

Catholic voters can, however, 'serve' a penance for their careless sin of '04 by carefully reviewing the geo-political stance of the candidates for the '08 election. The War-hawks of the GOP, seemingly all but Ron Paul, not only want to sustain the Bush War but are itching to drop the bomb on Iran when they get into office.

For the Catholic voter, the question of sanctity of life becomes a stark reality that they must face. The pro-life movement, with its narrow focus on abortion, has already endorsed Fred Thompson for president. Will the Catholic voter choose him and his pro-war stance?

Quite the dilemma for the Catholic voter.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Crack Convicts Return to the Streets

In the next few months up to 20,000 Americans, convicted of crack cocaine possession, will be realeased back to their homes. This is a result of the Supreme Court's decision, effective on the first of this month, that the manditory sentencing rules imposed on judges back in the 1980's were too harsh and, in fact, racist. Possession of crack mandated 5 years in prison. Ten years if 5 grams.

As crack is the ‘black man’s drug’ and the powdered form is the ‘white man’s drug,’ our racist culture encouraged their legislators to impose mandatory jail time for crack, effectively removing thousands of black folks from the streets of America. Eighty-five percent of crack users are black.

In June of this year, the pernicious and punitive Bush Administration asked its now-defunct attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, to persuade the high court to halt this sentence reduction order. Gonzales and Bush are fellow Texans, a state known for killing more inmates than any other. Mr. Bush, himself, as governor, allowed 116 to be executed in his 4 years in office; he granted one stay of execution. He was known ‘the chief executive officer of the Texas death industry.’

Wisely, the US Supreme Court did not listen to Bush/Gonzales and on the first of this month, reduced the average crack sentence by 15 months. The Republican Party, of course, is appalled by this ruling, preferring ‘those people’ to stay in jail to ‘keep our streets safe.’ No doubt they will use this ruling as a campaign wedge in the presidential election next November.

The terribly skewed thinking of the Republican Party on this issue of ’safe streets’ and mandatory sentencing for crack users is this: most Republicans live in the suburbs or on farms in America, miles and miles from the ‘dangerous streets’ that they hope to protect. Were it not such an egregious political scam it might be laughable. The folks in the inner city watch each day as their young men are hauled away to jail, disappearing from the community for 5 to 10 years, for possessing a rock of crack while in the suburbs, their young men snort a line with near impunity. Whose ’safe streets?’

Yet, because of the highly-effective political spin machines employed by the Republicans [read swiftboating of John Kerry] many Americans will blindly support tougher mandatory sentencing, believing that ‘their’ streets will be safer because the drug dealers and users will be behind bars. That’s how the Republican Party here in America survives- fear and ‘justice!’

What a racist history we present to the world. We were not ashamed enough that we stole the native lands? That we enslaved Africans? Today, decades later, our white superiority still knows no shame or sorrow. When will we ever learn?

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Coup at Home: Let's Begin Ours

Frank Rich of the NYT wrote an op ed on Sunday with the title, The Coup at Home. Remarking on how the Taliban and al-Qaeda have grown ever-stronger in Pakistan because Musharraf has bungled his job, he says:

"It also casts a harsh light on the mess we have at home in America, a stain that will not be so easily eradicated. In the six years of compromising our principles since 9/11, our democracy has so steadily been defined down that it now can resemble the supposedly aspiring democracies we’ve propped up in places like Islamabad. Time has taken its toll. We’ve become inured to democracy-lite. That’s why a Mukasey can be elevated to power with bipartisan support and we barely shrug. "

Rich talks of how the Executive Branch [read Bush and Cheney] has grown to become more and more powerful, thus the title of his opinion piece.

Rather, I have been preaching for months now that the American citizens need to organize a coup against this branch of government and turn it back to people who will follow the mandates and limitations of the Constitution.

Congress and the gutless Democrats won't begin impeachment because, after all, 'they have only 14 more months in office.' Right! Fourteen months to bomb Iran and where ever else these fascist neocons desire to do.

Toss the bumbs out of office quickly- with the first American Coup!

Christian Fundamentalists Still a Key to Ohio in '08

The Akron Beacon Journal has a story about a recent survey done with the voters of Ohio and finds this alarming piece of data: "President Bush and his military policies remain unpopular among Ohio voters, but they aren't ready to abandon Republicans in next year's presidential election, a poll released Sunday found."

Then there is this finding: "Ohioans remain divided on the issues that likely will be of importance in next year's election, when the state is expected to again play a crucial role in determining the winner. The state gave Bush the electoral boost he needed to win a second term. He won the state by just 118,000 votes out of more than 5.5 million cast."

It is to be noted that Christian Fundamentalists were key to the Bush victory in Ohio in 2004. They were highly organized, got their message out, and their people got to the polls in great numbers. It is also to be noted that there were Republican shenanigans then and now aimed at people of color, traditionally Democratic voters, attempting to disenfranchise their vote.

Both of these factors, disenfranchisement and a strong, solid GOP-fundamentalist bloc of voters will be crucial to the outcome of the presidential election one year from now.

Here's the issue: Even though Ohio voters oppose the war, they trust the Republicans to better prevent terrorism than Democrats. Terrorism. Scare-tactics. The GOP are masters of this and the citizens must be on alert. Preemption, used by the neocons to invade Iraq, ought to be used to disquiet the fear mongering that surely will be a large part of the GOP message to Ohioans.

Wake up Chris Redfern: if you don't want Ohio to become a GOP trifecta, get the message out now. Preemption. Take steps to prevent disenfranchisement of inner city voters. Do your job, Mr. Redfern and, if you can't handle it, move over.

Right-wing Columnist Berates Middle School Magazine

She hates all things left of Barry Goldwater and hangs out with the Townhall Club, that pool of festering hate-mongers who adore Dick Cheney. Now she is attacking a social studies magazine that is widely used by middle school teachers and students to gain insight into national and international issues.

This most recent attack, not surprisingly, has a pro-Israel bent: she is angry with the magazine because they do not denounce the Iranian president's remarks on Israel while suggesting that the bush Administration is warmongering: “Some members of the Bush Administration want to take military action against Iran.” But nary a word on Ahmadinejad’s threat to annihilate Israel or to see a world “without the United States.” She writes for the e-zine Jewish World Review.

It would be interesting to see if the editors of Junior Scholastic Magazine would allow her to write an article: I bet it would be dripping with praise and admiration 'for this wonderful administration we currently have serving our nation.'

Ms Charen rarely criticizes the Bush Administration but is the author of two anti-Democrat, anti-liberal books: Useful Idiots: How Liberals Got it Wrong in the Cold War and Still Blame America First (2003) and Do-Gooders: How Liberals Harm Those They Claim to Help — and the Rest of Us (2005). No wonder she is so outraged at criticism of her most-favored president.

Coincidentally, as I was reading this article in The Blade, I was listening to C-Span and a caller from Florida who was berating C-Span for becoming so 'liberal' and so pro-Democrat. The upshot, I think, is that there are fewer and fewer folks in America who cling to the worship of Bush and Cheney and those that still do find themselves increasingly in the minority. They are shouts of despair, cries of loneliness. I think of the horseshoe makers in their last throes, scolding the automobile.

The last throes....where have I heard that phrase used?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fascist America, in 10 Easy Steps Thanks to Bush/Cheney

Naomi Wolf's The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot lists the 10 steps that a fascist government needs to take to attain full-fascism. She says that the Bush Administration has taken all ten.

The publisher says this about the book:

"In authoritative research and documentation Wolf explains how events of the last six years parallel steps taken in the early years of the 20th century’s worst dictatorships such as Germany, Russia, China, and Chile."

Wolf says:

“Recent history has profound lessons for us in the U.S. today about how fascist, totalitarian, and other repressive leaders seize and maintain power, especially in what were once democracies. The secret is that these leaders all tend to take very similar, parallel steps. The Founders of this nation were so deeply familiar with tyranny and the habits and practices of tyrants that they set up our checks and balances precisely out of fear of what is unfolding today. We are seeing these same kinds of tactics now closing down freedoms in America, turning our nation into something that in the near future could be quite other than the open society in which we grew up and learned to love liberty.”

The frozen Dems in Congress are paralyzed to act against Bush and Cheney, declaring impeachment off the table. Curious or collusion?

I Hope Connecticut's Recall of Senator Lieberman is Moving Along

Senator Lieberman of Connecticut surely must be an embarrassment to the folks of that state. The Dem turned Independent and talks and acts like a Republican sure pulled the wool over the eyes of the citizens of that state.

Last week, in a speech before the Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, he castigated Democrats as if he were a right-wing Republican. Karl Rove could not have written a nastier partisan speech. In it he accused the Democrats of "betraying the tradition of presidents Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy." Imagine that, a former Dem pouncing on his friends. Did he say anything about his buddy George W. "betraying the Republican Party?"

What a warmongering hypocrite you have for a senator, dear Connecticut. Take him down.

The Last 7 Presidents Promised Energy Independence

...but foreign imports increased every year of their terms in office. What a farce. And we Americans just nod and ask where the clicker is. Gas is $3.19 in Toledo, yet there are no protests, no letters to the editor about it. We just go on filling our tanks like mindless robots.

A company called, Recycled Energy Development, has been attempting to sell and install a product called Turbosteam. Turbosteam is a retro-fitted devise attached to the smokestacks [heat releaser] of factories and businesses 'to profitably reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by converting waste energy into electric power. Turbosteam achieves this mission by designing, building and installing on-site power plants in industrial and institutional facilities around the world.'

The concept is fairly obvious: the 'waste' heat produced by business and industry is used to drive electric generators that sit atop the heat stacks and thus produce 'free' electricity for that establishment or which can be sold back to the electric company.

The company touts three benefits:

• Manufacturers—reduce energy costs, increase power reliability, and obtain additional revenue from emission credits.

• Investors—enjoy above-market returns, with the diversity and liquidity of conventional private equity.

•Society—benefits from reduced manufacturing costs, fossil-fuel usage, grid vulnerability, and greenhouse-gas emissions.

The question arises: so why did I not know about this back in 1987 when this company began its production of this product?

I suspect the American Petroleum Institute along with their co-conspirator the American Coal Association has been working very hard to suppress this information. After all, think of the profits they would lose were this product in use across America.

Profit above the common good.

Profit above the environment.

Profit above national safety.

No doubt, these profits are being tabulated by good standing members of the GOP.

National security- the hallmark of Bush, Cheney and Rice- all former executives of the oil industry.

I get it. Just another ruse, another smoke and mirror magic trick played on the unsuspecting American citizen.

The Happy Idiot's Guide to Education: Part 1

This post [in two parts] is a corollary to a post yesterday on my blog, TPS Performance, by team blogger UptheFlag.

Already there is a comment on his posting about the fate of another urban public school system is a suggestion to beat the children: that will 'teach' them! There are plenty of lunatics like this out there such as this person who lives in the past. Folks like these cannot accept the fact that what was done 20-30 years ago in schools may never have been the right thing to do in the first place, let alone today. Just beat them into submission satiates their anger, but offers no solution.

At first you might think that the comment came from a person who spent their school days in a Catholic school where the maxim was to rap them on the knuckles with the ruler! Rather, she is quite an anti-Catholic fundamentalist. As a fundamentalist, then, it becomes quite clear why she holds these extreme and idiotic views about public education: she is living in the past and wishes to return to those 'good old days.'

Not only the fundamentalists, but so many other Americans wish to return to the 'good old days' of education when teachers could 'handle' the children in the classroom. Terrify them, more exactly.

Of course, at the root of the education dilemma is the so-called factory schools that were set up in America; we still have them today. Factory schools were envisioned to be miniature factories, assembly lines for the children, to learn in a piece-meal fashion as well to be brainwashed into thinking like a factory worker. Behave for the teacher and behave for the line-boss; don't think too much and do what you are told. Be nice little workers and don't ask questions.

Interestingly right here in Toledo that very idea came to a violent head. The unionization of the auto workers, a bitter bloody battle, gave more humanity to the linemen working in those noisy, dirty, contaminated factories. Henry Ford and other wealthy industrialists, naturally, fought such worker-rights because these were anathema to having complete control over the lives of his workers. The deadly Auto-Lite strike of 1934 right here in Toledo stands as an ugly witness to the attempts of big business to intimidate its workers and to literally beat them back into submission. Beat the workers! Naturally, the strikers were labeled 'socialists' and 'communists' in an attempt to de-humanize their efforts. Fortunately, after the blood was washed from Toledo's streets, workers were granted the power to unionize and to have a voice in their own destiny.

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard, especially before an election on a school issue, "Them schools was good enough for me, and I ain't vot'n them no more money." Right-wing Republicans love folks like these; they are easy targets for their anti-public school propaganda. In fact, platform committee of the 2000 Republican National Convention had language calling for the abolition of the Department of Education. The right-wing of the GOP hates free, public schools and prefer to have dumbed-down masses of people as workers in their non-union factories. Today, of course, these CEO's have found their dumbed-down workers in China, by-passing the American workers who were educated to exactly perform in these non-existent factories.

Right-wing Republicans and their religious compatriots, Fundamentalist Christians, keep their guns focused on public education, propagandizing the masses with their usual array of smoke and mirror delusions. Actually, fundamentalists want their Christian schools to get the public money for their schools. Toledo' s own Sally Perz was able to manipulate the Ohio State Legislature to fund so-called 'community schools.' These schools legally take local and state tax revenues and use them in private schools of their own creation.

Right-wing ditto heads continue to absorb and spew the anti-tax message against public school funding. Apparently they do not believe that a highly-educated public is good for our republic.

Racism too lifts its ugly head in all of this. Of course, the upper middle class whites have mostly moved to the suburbs, taking their children out of urban schools. Note further that the more well-off blacks most often send their children to private schools or move to the suburbs. What is left is a pool of poorer whites and black students who come to school ill-prepared for such a situation and who do not receive the at-home support for education during their school days.

Rather than addressing all of these issues facing today's schools, black-and-white thinking by these right-wing groups offer no new insights into solving this problem other than hitting the children over the head or stamping out public schools...

[end of Part 1]

The Bush Fool-Factor [Again]

He's our fool, at least. A Texan to boot! What more could one ask: homegrown fool, par excellence. This time its Musharraf who plays him for the fool and he dances right in step.

Who else laughed at the fool who touted that Musharraf promised to step down from his army position? Who laughed even harder when the same fool told us that Musharraf promised to hold elections?

Apparently Bush's good friend and 'ally on terror' must be doin' a heckofa job over there. Maybe Bush can give him one of those tin medals he likes to hang around the necks of 'heroes' like Rumsfeld.

But he's OUR fool.

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