Sheila Samples's Journal
"Oh, big conniver, nothing but a jiver, done got hip to your jive,
Slippin' and a slidin', peepin' and a hidin', won't be your fool no more."
Fear and despair are billowing across the US political landscape, due in no small part to nearly three years of President Barack Obama's soaring jive even as he was breaking promises to millions of jobless, homeless, helpless Americans. Many of us watched, aghast, as Obama repeatedly took careful aim and shot himself in both feet; then, rather than deciding to fight on his knees, began scrambling around on them in a futile search for bipartisanship.
Ain't gonna happen. Those hoary old Republicans with whom he has strenuously attempted to bond have been around the political block more than once. Most are sexist; homophobic to the core, and racist from the core...on in. They're absolutely committed to -- obsessed with -- not only Obama's failure, but his complete destruction.
Obama should have learned by now there is no compromising with these filthy connivers -- that every single one of them is hell-bent on his destruction even if the nation goes down with him. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) has brazenly bragged since Obama's election that, "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." They spent the first two years of his administration in an obsessive campaign to prove that not only was he (shudder) black -- but he wasn't even an American citizen. They continue to insanely double down on blocking every piece of legislation he suggests, no matter how minute; and delight in blaming him for the resulting chaos.
Indeed, Republicans hold Obama in such contempt (he's black, remember?) that they make no effort to hide their political goal. Four days before Obama's inauguration, radio jiver Rush Limbaugh was spewing hate across the airwaves, blatantly calling for Obama to fail. It was a call to arms. The response was immediate, and continues to pick up steam.
If anyone doubts that Limbaugh is the titular head of the Republican -- or Grand Old Dittohead (GOD) -- Party, they have but to recall his bouncy, drug-addled hour-and-a-half hate screed in 2009 to the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC). Or calling Obama a "jackass" during his debt "compromise" speech ... "He's a jackass." Limbaugh screeched. "He's an economic illiterate. He's an economic ignoramus. And that's being charitable."
No, you don't have to wonder where their loyalties lie. When elevated to House Speaker, John Boehner (R-Oh) briefed Boss Hog Limbaugh on his debt-ceiling plan before even showing it to his conference, let alone his President.
These creatures claim self-righteously that, ultimately, the horror they are inflicting on the people is for the people. The Stockholmed masses just need to hang on to hope -- to understand that once the corrupt McConnell and his rapacious gang destroy the government prior to the election and blame it on Obama, things will get better. Much better.
Those on the right who fall for that crap are little more than frogs basking in the slowly increasing "warmth" of right-wing water. Sadly, those of us on the left are in as bad -- or worse -- shape, if only because we realize we are in serious political trouble. Many of us have been stumbling around in an Orwellian fog for so long our hope tanks are dangerously close to running on empty.
Like Robert Reich wrote recently...
"President Obama will be supported by progressives and the Democratic base, but without enthusiasm. His notorious caves to Republicans and Wall Street -- failing to put conditions on the Street's bailout (such as demanding the Street help stranded home owners), or to resurrect Glass-Steagall, or include a public option in health care, or assert his constitutional responsibility to raise the debt limit, or protect Medicare and Social Security, or push for cap-and-trade, or close Guantanamo, or, in general, confront the regressive Republican nay-sayers and do-nothings with toughness rather than begin negotiations by giving them much of what they want -- are not the stuff that stirs a passionate following."
However, when Obama comes soaring in once again, slippin' and slidin', grinning from ear to ear, proudly claiming to be a "warrior" for the middle class, many will be unable to keep from hoping for hope -- from ultimately voting for hope. It's not that they've forgotten the recent years of betrayal; of abandonment. It's that, somehow, when considering the alternative -- Obama's campaign jive sounds better and better to them.
French novelist Jean Giraudoux once joked, "The secret to success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made." Well, if you look at those who are challenging Obama, you can't help but hope he's got it made. And that's no joke.
Even with Sarah Palin, who was leading the pack, locked and loaded and firing away at Obama until she ran out of ammo and slipped and fell into a pool of "blood libel" -- and Herman Cain, with five women accusing him of sexual harassment and a sixth of a 13-year affair -- gone from the race, it's still a shuddering mess. And it ain't "fixable." Like C.S. Lewis once wrote, "No clever arrangement of bad eggs ever made a good omelet."
From Perry poop to Gingrich garbage to Bachmann blather, the stench billowing from the Republican presidential wannabes is overwhelming. The entire gang appears disjointed -- in total disarray -- mired in ideological confusion. It's impossible to come up with a single issue that this tangled mass can agree upon -- other than running that black guy out of town.
If it weren't so ghoulishly frightening, it would be amusing to watch the shallow, dumb-as-dirt little creatures shucking and jiving out there, racing madly from one media outlet to another in a desperate attempt to find a message that will catapult them to the top of the presidential heap. And what a heap it is. Just a gang of thin-skinned, egocentric Charlie Sheenians who are interested in one thing -- D'UH ... Winnnning!
With few exceptions, they have proudly announced they are pro-torture; most are panting for war -- have promised to attack Iran before the sun sets on their inauguration. Think about it. Because, as Robert Parry succinctly points out, the "hard reality" is ...
"Even if the two candidates' policies were identical, temperament would also be important, since the U.S. president controls a nuclear arsenal that can literally end all life on the planet."
It is possible -- even probable -- due to the masturbatory media coverage this bunch is getting, that one of this hopeless legion of loons will kick back from their crack buffet and emerge with the keys to the White House in one hand and a jug of tiger blood in the other.
If we have learned but one thing from these fools, it is that they will not compromise, regardless of the destruction they leave in their wake. Therefore, we need to wake up and realize that the November 2012 election is quite likely a matter of life or death.
"The two parties have combined against us to nullify our power by a 'gentleman's agreement' of non-recognition, no matter how we vote ... May God write us down as asses if ever again we are found putting our trust in either the Republican or the Democratic Parties."~~W.E.B. DuBois (1922)
In January, after the mid-term election blowout dumped the House of Representatives into the corporate lap, the Reverend Daniel P. Coughlin opened the 112th Congress with the standard prayer, asking the Lord's Spirit to "descend upon this Chamber; that from here may come forth good news for the poor and healing for the broken-hearted of this nation."
The good Reverend then demanded of the Lord -- "Let there go forth a proclamation to the people that captivity is ended. And the action of true politics will set this nation free."(emphasis added)
There was immediate news for the poor and broken-hearted, but it was hardly good. House Speaker John Boehner, awash in tears and incoherently mumbling over and over "the American people...the American people," set about blocking all Democratic legislation. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the "single most important" issue for the Republicans is to make "President Obama a one-term president."
And then there's House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who is arguably the most frightening Republican -- and that's saying a lot -- for "the American people." Cantor is adamantly opposed to anything that does not inflict further pain and sacrifice on the already suffering poor and middle classes, and struggled to shut down the government and blame it on President Obama.
Not only would Cantor and his Republican cohorts privatize Social Security and eliminate Medicare and Medicaid, but they are against all facets of health-care reform, Planned Parenthood, and any initiative that would ease the suffering of children, the elderly or those struggling in poverty.
One need go no further than the Table of Contents of Rep. Paul Ryan's grotesque Path To Prosperity budget resolution for 2012 to see the stark Republican agenda, and to realize that in no way are "the American people" on that prosperity path. Listed under . . .
...Efficient, Effective and Responsible Government -- Restraining the Growth of Government by Repealing the Health Care Law
...Strengthening the Social Safety Net -- Stopping the Abuse of Medicaid by Repealing the Health Care Law
...Fulfilling the Mission of Health and Retirement Security for All Americans -- Stopping the Raid on Medicare by Repealing the Health Care Law
...Pro-Growth Tax Reform -- Stopping Job-Destroying Tax Hikes by Repealing the Health Care Law
Once in power, most politicians can be depended upon to do whatever it takes to remain in power, regardless of the destruction they leave in their wake. In his penetrating Drifting Too Far From Shore: The Unresisted Rise of the Elite, Chris Floyd writes...
"Politicians are, with the rarest of exceptions, venal, preening, shallow-minded third-raters. Many of them are psychologically damaged, which is what draws them into the pursuit of power -- of dominating other people -- in the first place. Mostly, they like the perks (material and emotional) of power. They are not figures of deep character and solid principles. Strong political resistance -- or even a great lot of noise -- can scare them out of whatever 'principles' they find expedient to hold at any given moment. The Right has triumphed because no one has resisted it. Big Money has bought off and/or subsumed almost all of the institutional forces that once offered some resistance to its iron-fisted rule."
I have a real problem with Democrats who refuse to get off their knees long enough to stand up for what they believe in. What do they believe in? Community organizing? Democrats are not evil; they really really want to do what is right, but with few exceptions, they are timid, hypocritical little cave-inskis when it comes to walking their talk. They take the money and call it bipartisanship. I call it betrayal.
However, Republicans, for the most part, are sociopaths -- morally and politically corrupt. In her Editor's Preface to Andrew M. Lobaczewski's critically important Political Ponerology, Laura Knight-Jadczyk quotes Martha Stout, who appears to be eerily describing modern Republicans, in her book, The Sociopath Next Door . . .
"Imagine -- if you can -- not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members. Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken.
"If you are born at the right time, with some access to family fortune, and you have a special talent for whipping up other people's hatred and sense of deprivation, you can arrange to kill large numbers of unsuspecting people. With enough money, you can accomplish this from far away, and you can sit back safely and watch in satisfaction . . . Crazy and frightening -- and real, in about 4 percent of the population. . . .
"The high incidence of sociopathy in human society has a profound effect on the rest of us who must live on this planet, too, even those of us who have not been clinically traumatized. The individuals who constitute this 4 percent drain our relationships, our bank accounts, our accomplishments, our self-esteem, our very peace on earth."
Keenly aware that fair elections are beyond their grasp, Republicans rely on entities such as the Supreme Court (Election 2000 and the recent Citizens United decision), corporate billionaires such as the Koch Brothers (who organized and funded the Tea Party movement as well as the campaigns of neoconservative governors), and a myriad of fawning, right-wing media.
And, as added insurance, "the American people" most likely to vote Democratic need to be kicked to the curb. According to Think Progress...
"Since taking office in January, conservative legislators in state houses across the country have raised the specter of voter fraud to quietly -- and quickly -- push through a series of bills that would make it significantly more difficult for large swaths of the population to vote, including college students, rural voters, senior citizens, the disabled, and the homeless. Proposed legislation would dramatically change how the country votes ahead of the 2012 elections, requiring Americans in some states to present their birth certificates before registering to vote and show a DMV-issued photo identification at the polls.
"These voter ID bills would not only dampen voter turnout -- depressing Hispanic turnout by as much as 10 percent -- but also cost cash-strapped statehouses (and taxpayers) millions of dollars. Yet in dozens of states, Republicans have made bills restricting voting a central part of their legislative agenda -- passing voter ID bills before they even begin to work on budgets. Conservatives have claimed their assault on voting rights is necessary to combat the threat of mass voter fraud. Yet the Brennan Center for Justice notes that voters are more likely to be struck by lightning than commit voter fraud, and the Bush Justice Department's five-year "War on Voter Fraud" resulted in only 86 convictions out of 196 million votes cast. As The Progress Report's Alex Seitz-Wald notes, 'The only fraud in voter fraud is the allegation of fraud.' Instead, like their assaults on unions, Planned Parenthood, and AARP, conservatives' anti-voter agenda is aimed at silencing the voices of those who disagree with them."
North Carolina is targeting its elderly, disabled and college students. South Carolina said too many blacks voted for Obama in 2008 and they didn't want that to happen again. Kansas is working to require a "two-fer" -- proof of citizenship upon registering to vote and photo identification at the polls.
Well, alrighty then. That pretty much knocks a hole in the Democratic voting base, but when you consider the roster of Republicans straining at the bit to storm the Oval Office, it's difficult to imagine "the American people" turning out to vote for any of them either.
Think about it. Our world -- our political world -- has been knocked off its axis and is spinning out of control. Neither party can be trusted to do anything that is not totally self-serving.
When we see these selfish, immoral, corporate-owned money changers -- both Democrats and Republicans -- being hurled out of House windows and doors, it's possible that the Lord responded to the good Reverend Coughlin, and His Spirit -- at long last -- will have descended upon the Chamber.
Then -- and only then -- will our captivity be ended, and we can get about the business of true politics which, hopefully, will set this nation free.
"The time is always right to do what is right"~~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Whew. Nasty. That was one hell of a campaign season; one hell of an election. Democrats emerged, bruised and broken, yet their mindset seems to be -- hey, we survived Bush, how bad can it be? Sadly, the grim truth they refuse to face is -- we didn't survive Bush...
The radical right-wing, neo-conservative, religious-based, hate-empowered GOP once again owes the half-crazed ideologues in the Supreme Court a hearty thanks for plunging yet another dagger into the heart of democracy with its Citizens United corporate giveaway. And no Justice on that venerable body is more ideologically rigid than Dick Cheney's hunting buddy Antonin Scalia, who ramrodded the Court's 2000 Presidential "Selection" for George W. Bush, and is now out there taking aim at the century-old 17th Amendment to the US Constitution, which is literally the last barrier to a corporate-owned nation.
The 17th Amendment allows U.S. Senators to be elected by the people, rather than by individual state legislatures. Recently, referring to the Constitution, Scalia said the 17th Amendment "has changed things enormously. We changed that in a burst of progressivism in 1913, and you can trace the decline of so-called states’ rights throughout the rest of the 20th century..."
We need another "burst of progressivism" -- and soon. We are in the throes of a political convulsion, an intellectual and moral battle that we are increasingly in danger of losing. It's time to stop, take a deep national breath, and then...take a deep national bath. This nation has been in a spiraling nose dive for a decade...We need to make a genuine effort to actually see what we've only been looking at -- actually listen to what we've only been hearing.
Neither party spent much time talking about the issues; the real problems facing this country. Perhaps that's because the Republican party is a greedy force, too corrupt and venal to change -- and the Democratic Party is a shameless enabler, too timid and flabby to make a difference. Throw the corporate media in there, where it's all politics all the time because that's where the money is, and it's easy to see -- if you're really looking -- why we're caught up in the patriotic spirit of waving the flag for more tax cuts, trading freedoms for safety and following our presidential Pied Piper into the quagmire of endless war.
Republicans are dangerous. Like Bush, they are morally depraved, in that they feel no guilt or remorse for anything they say or do, regardless of the outcome. It's far too easy in this Tea Party sodden society to rationalize that murdering, wounding, displacing millions of innocent human beings was, and continues to be, necessary in order to protect the American people.
They say they are against big government, and justify their destruction of the social network by repeating "the american people...the american people...the american people" in mind-numbing repetition, much as Bush justified his bloodlust with a constant "september the 11th...september the 11th...september the 11th."
The only things Republicans have ever given to the American people is depression, poverty and despair. And their foot-stomping threats to shut down the government until their billionaire donors get a tax cut is a clear warning that more is on the way.
Having a Black man within a country mile of the Oval Office has driven a majority of Republicans, and some Democrats -- as liberal radio commentator Mike Malloy says -- "bat-shit crazy," and they are determined to destroy President Obama. Just days before the mid-term election, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declared, “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” Really? With the barrage of critical issues swirling throughout this nation -- more than 15-million "american people" unemployed and, every day, more losing jobs, homes, unemployment insurance, health insurance, their very lives -- yet nothing is more important than destroying the President?
Lest anyone think the old Kentuckian was racist, just days after the election, he chucked his hood and went into safe, regressive "american people" spin, saying for all practical purposes -- the american people reminded us this week that we work for the american people and we owe it to the american people and to future generations of the american people to work together to find solutions to present troubles of the american people and to help guide our nation of american people to better days...
“The formula is simple, really," McConnell said. "When the administration agrees with the American people, we will agree with the administration. When it disagrees with the American people, we won’t … If the administration wants cooperation, it will have to begin to move in our direction.”
Simple translation -- what all Republicans are saying if you listen -- Our way, or the highway -- and to hell with the American people.
Neither party can escape its history. American people struggling to prevent the American Flag from becoming their funeral shroud should remember that the Great Depression did not come about by accident. While Americans were standing in soup lines, the Republican administration was carrying Big Business through the crisis. Banks, insurance companies and corporate donors all got bailed out; big business got tax cuts -- but there was no relief for "the american people."
Sound familiar? Yes, because President Obama, in his cowering attempt at bipartisanship, is taking us "forward to the past" so rapidly that our knees are hitting our chins for nothing less than endless war, a recession caused by a permanent rich-man's tax cut and the final shredding of our social safety net. It is likely that our veterans, our children, our elderly will be forgotten or cast aside simply for the enrichment of lobbyists who paid for Republican campaigns and are now swarming all over the Capital.
Time is running out. Like Jon Stewart said when explaining the reason for his Oct. 30 Rally to Restore Sanity on the National Mall, the American people -- regardless of their political affiliation -- "Know instinctively as a people that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light we have to work together."
So let's do it. The time is right. Let's give Scalia another badly needed "burst of progressivism." After all -- like McConnell says -- we're the american people...
"History will repeat itself -- only if we let it"~~Mike Malloy
Hardly a day goes by that we are not inundated with demands to attack Iran. Our media, our Congress -- packs of neoconservatives -- have been howling for war on Iran for years. And years.
This reckless axis has been relentless in its orchestrated onslaught of lies in an effort to manipulate and influence public opinion. And, if we are to believe the myriad of polls, it's working. According to investigative journalist Gareth Porter, who wrote on July 30 that "polling data for 2010 show a majority of Americans have been manipulated into supporting war against Iran -- in large part because more than two-thirds of those polled have gotten the impression that Iran already has nuclear weapons."
Horror Tent Revival
Is it possible that a majority of Americans can be lured again into the tent of horror to support yet another bloody war? Have we learned nothing from history -- the blatant lies that catapaulted us into Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Pakistan? It's amazing how easily our handlers control us; enrage us; shape our beliefs, our opinions. As George Orwell wrote in 1948 about those controlled by Big Brother...
"A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one's will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.”
For centuries, those in power have known that fear is the easiest of emotions to work with. As with Iraq, and now Iran, we are paralyzed with fear; fear of "known unknowns" -- of factually unsubstantiated threats about Iran's lust for Israeli blood. Many of us have been ducking and covering for so long that we have lost the ability to reason; even to think beyond the "truth" that is hammered into our national consciousness with blow after blow of an Orwellian sledge hammer -- we must support, and protect, Israel, no matter the cost.
It's tempting to pretend that we believe Iran's refusal to give up its nuclear energy program -- which it has every right to pursue as a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty -- is proof that it is an "evil Islamic regime" whose maniacal leaders are feverishly working to wipe Israel off the map. Tempting to take at face value the sinister warnings of those like Reuel Marc Gerecht, a resident fellow at AEI and Weekly Standard contributing editor, who warned in his April 2006 article, "To Bomb, or Not to Bomb -- That is the Iran Question"...
"Given the Islamic Republic's dark history, the burden of proof ought to be on those who favor accommodating a nuclear Iran. Those who are unwilling to accommodate it, however, need to be honest and admit that diplomacy and sanctions and covert operations probably won't succeed, and that we may have to fight a war -- perhaps sooner rather than later -- to stop such evil men from obtaining the worst weapons we know."
Gerecht, a former consular officer for the State Department and CIA Mid-East specialist, is, like most of his neoconservative peers, pathologically obsessed with Iran's destruction, and is as good as it gets when using fear and misinformation to justify that destruction. Porter also wrote in his July article that "the aim of Gerecht and of the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu is to support an attack by Israel so that the United States can be drawn into direct, full-scale war with Iran." Porter pointed out that Gerecht first revealed his "Israeli-neocon fantasy as early as 2000, before the Iranian nuclear program was even taken seriously, in an essay written for a book published by the Project for a New American Century." Gerecht argued that, if Iran could be caught in a "terrorist act," the U.S. Navy should "retaliate with fury."
Now, a decade later, that appears to still be Gerecht's position. In his ponderous July 26, 2010 Weekly Standard piece, he writes...
"...if nuclear weapons in the hands of Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards are an existential threat to the Jewish state -- and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, like his predecessors, has said that they are -- Jerusalem has little choice. Bombing is the only option that could likely alter the nuclear equation in Iran before Khamenei produces a weapon. The Obama administration might fume, but it is hard to imagine the president, given what he has said about the unacceptability of Iranian nukes, scolding Jerusalem long. <...> The left wing of the Democratic party has been going south on the Jewish state for 30 years, but congressional Democrats, who’ve been pushing for new sanctions against Iran more aggressively than the White House, are not that far gone. By and large, the Republican party would hold behind the Israelis."
Here, Gerecht is echoing the belief blurted out by Netanyahu in 2001 when talking about a broad attack on Palestine and undermining the Oslo Accords -- "I know what America is," Netanyahu said. "America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won't get in the way."
Sadly, there many more like Gerecht -- Dick Cheney and his efforts to do an "end run" around a balking Bush to force an attack on Iran; Norman Podhoretz with his constant refrain "bomb Iran before Iran bombs us"; National Review's Larry Kudlow who says if Israel furiously attacks Iran, it will be "doing the Lord's work"; the Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol and Daniel Pipes with their confident forecast that Bush would attack Iran before leaving office if Obama won the election.
Then, there's the US Congress, whose members can agree on absolutely nothing to ease the suffering of their own citizens, but stand shoulder-to-shoulder in passing resolution after shameful resolution for Israel's right to defend itself and against Iran's right to do the same. If Senator Joe Lieberman's mouth is moving, you can bet he is demanding an attack on Iran -- and he was joined by his cohort Senator Lindsey Graham just last month, who said we must sic our military on Iran, "with the goal of overthrowing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."
But by far the the most strident is the wild and woolly former UN ambassador John Bolton. He runs at top speed from one media outlet to another, calling for Iran's destruction -- just as he did for Iraq. I can't help it. This guy is grotesquely fascinating. As I wrote in September 2008 about this issue...
It's no laughing matter, but the sight of this tousle-headed, "got milk?" maniac running in circles, warning of -- demanding -- a nuclear holocaust is good for a grin, albeit a grim one. Even as he was being forced onto the United Nations over national and international objections, Bolton was hot on Iran's trail. He insisted that Iran is the most dangerous critter out there -- harboring terrorists, arming terrorists, training terrorists -- sending bombs, IEDs, weapons to Iraq to kill Americans. If it weren't for Iran, there would have been no 9-11 attack because Iran provided safe haven for the box-cutting killers headed our way. Bolton warned if Iran managed to produce a single nuclear weapon, Israel, the United States -- the world -- was toast. He promised that Iran will come after us. "That's the threat," Bolton barked, "that's the reality whether you like it or not. And it will be just like Sept. 11, only with nuclear weapons this time."
Considering the consequences of history repeating itself, perhaps we should call a "time out" and take a closer look at Iran. We didn't bother to check out the accusations made by these same bloodthirsty warmongers against Iraq -- false cries of weapons of mass destruction, lies about Saddam Hussein aiding and harboring Al Qaeda terrorists -- we had but a scant 45 minutes to dive under our duct-taped plastic or we would surely die. Now, after hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings have been destroyed -- millions displaced -- trillions of dollars wasted, far too many of us say we were not to blame. Hey -- we were lied to. Besides, that was years ago. It's all history now.
Iran, as a major civilization, dates back to 4000 BC and, although it has been invaded by Greeks, Arabs, Turks, even Mongols, it has no modern history of attacking or occupying other nations. However, unlike other areas that continue to be devastated by US and Israeli assaults, history shows that Iran is capable of defending itself. Both its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and frisky little president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have promised to do exactly that if attacked.
In August, Khamenei said "the consequences of a US attack would be grave...not merely regional, but will cover a vaster scene." If our warmongering babblers took a closer look at that "scene," they would see the destruction of the 32 US bases in the region as well as the shutdown of the Strait of Hormuz -- the gateway to the world's oil.
Regarding Iran's nuclear ambitions, both Khamenei and Ahmadinejad have said over and over (and over) that Iran seeks nuclear power for generating electricity for medical purposes and for its growing population. In 2005, Khamenei issued a Fatwa that "the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that Iran shall never acquire these weapons." And, in spite of blatant lies and distortions to the contrary, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) continues to verify Iran's pursuit of peaceful nuclear energy.
The timeline of Iran's nuclear program from the 1950s shows that Iran has never sought nuclear energy for anything other than peaceful purposes. In 1957, the Shah opened the American Atoms for Peace in Tehran, and signed an agreement with the US for cooperation in research on peaceful uses of nuclear technology. And, in 1968, Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty on the first day it opened for signature.
Before we buy into railings from those like Gerecht about evil Iran's "dark history" in pursuing nuclear weapons, perhaps we should study the dark history of two other nations -- one that obliterated the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in mere moments just 65 years ago...that used napalm, chemical weapons, and deadly toxins against the Vietnamese...that uses deadly depleted uranium to wipe out entire generations, to deform future generations...or perhaps the one that takes great delight in dropping white phosphorus bombs on a trapped civilian population with nowhere to run...
The Choice is Ours
If our evil axis succeeds in its lust for war on Iran, yet another March 19, 2003 "Shock and Awe" will come roaring through. We can choose to sit, once again transfixed by sounds of explosions, gunfire, sirens, screams -- and once again listen to Mike Malloy say in a dead voice stripped of all emotion...
"This is a dark day.
This is a filthy day.
This is a day for shame..."
Or we can rise up and stand firm. As Malloy also says, over and over (and over) -- "We know the truth. We no longer have an excuse for remaining silent."
History is replete with examples of citizens uniting and changing the course of history. When that happens, empires -- even a shining empire on a hill -- must change...or fall.
History. Round and round it goes. Will the US and Israel attack Iran? Will history repeat itself?
Yes, but only if we let it. The choice is ours.
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress...but then, I repeat myself."~~Mark Twain
Much has been written -- argued heatedly by ideological TV pundits -- over the past several years about the inability of members of Congress to agree on anything. Republicans stomp around like elephants in a china closet, shouting "No! No! Hell No!" no matter what legislation comes before them. Democrats, in a timid effort to reach across the aisle, stumble and fall down, where they just sit, plaintively begging, "Please don't hurt me..."
Both parties are adrift; cut loose from their moorings -- in total disarray. Much of the chaos is a result of the previous administration lighting a myriad of fuses before slinking into the shadows, setting off a string of political and financial explosions designed to blow this republic all to hell. What they failed to consider -- and what the bumbling members of Congress have yet to realize is -- when the ship of state sinks, everybody on board is going down with it.
Which appears to be what the race-baiting Rush Limbaugh, the self-appointed "leader" of the Republican Party, is feverishly attempting to provoke. Anybody who doubts that Limbaugh hasn't been in racist meltdown since 2007 when it became obvious that Barack Obama was a threat to White-Wing Limbaughesque "values" just hasn't been paying attention. Throughout the campaign -- from constantly airing the insulting Barack, the Magic Negro jingle to calling Obama and actress Halle Berry "Halfrican-Americans," to accusing Obama of "disowning his white half and deciding to go all in on the black side" -- Limbaugh led the pack.
And he still does. Republicans are united in support of the "I Hope He Fails" Limbaugh Doctrine which El Rushbo announced as millions of relieved -- even giddy -- Americans gathered at the nation's capitol for Obama's inauguration. Just a day later, Limbaugh hit the racist trail, telling Fox's Sean Hannity...
"racism in this country is the exclusive province of the left. We're witnessing racism all this week that led up to the inauguration. We're being told that we have to hope he succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles. Bend over forward, backward, whichever, because his father was black, because this is the first black president. We've got to accept this. The racism that everybody thinks exists on our side of the aisle has been on full display throughout their primary campaign. So I think they've done a great job, the media has, of covering up his deficiencies."
So, it's all the Democrats' fault. The Democrats are militantly racist. If we buy into Limbaugh's rationale, none of his hateful, cruel, racist remarks would have been necessary if the Democrats hadn't selected a Halfrican-American who threw his grandma under the bus and then backed over her before going over to the black side as their candidate for president. On his October 12, 2009 show, Limbaugh explained just how innocent and colorblind he is...
"I'm interested in people's hearts and their souls, because that's what animates us as human beings. Not our skin color. I'm colorblind. I have reached the point where everybody professes we need to go. I treat everybody equally. Nobody is -- in the political arena -- I don't care. Male, female, black, white, gay, straight, bisexual. If you are opposed to the things I think are great for the country, I'm going to say so. I'm going to criticize you. Not because of whatever it is distinguishes you from me on a surface basis, but because of ideas. I'm just a lone guy here, in the arena of ideas, sharing mine."
The Democrats quake with fear at the thought of being labeled "racist." When Mark Halperin and John Heilemann in their January 2009 book, Game Change, wrote that, during the campaign, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was delighted that Obama was the Democratic presidential candidate, and had said privately that "Obama, as a black candidate, could be successful thanks, in part, to his "light-skinned" appearance and speaking patterns "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one," all hell broke loose.
Reid immediately apologized to the media, to "any and all Americans," and personally called President Obama, as well as "House Democrats Jim Clyburn of South Carolina and Barbara Lee of California; the Rev. Al Sharpton; CNN political contributor and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile; NAACP chairman Julian Bond; and the head of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Wade Henderson."
If there is evidence of Limbaugh or any of his White-Wing cohorts in the media, in Congress, or in the dangerously leaderless, out-of-control Teabagging movement offering even the semblance of an apology for their hateful rhetoric, I am unaware of it. Just last week, on July 2, Limbaugh was in full, bouncing racist fervor. According to Media Matters...
Rush stated that President Obama is "no different than Castro, in the sense that neither will be stopped by a governing document." He also asserted that "
Is anybody, other than a bunch of Dittoheads or his obedient followers in Congress, listening to this guy? As if we didn't have history to remind us, racism rots the soul of a nation, and the upheaval in Congress has its roots in racism.
This is about so much more than destroying one man, or even one party. Americans -- not just Democrats -- must find the courage to shout "No! No! Hell No!" to the destruction planned for this republic. Unless we stand up, shake ourselves off, and dare to fight back, the evil glory of White-Wing Politics will devour us.
We have no choice. Because this ship is going down.
Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is an OpEd editor, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.
"Going to church no more makes you a Christian than sleeping in your garage makes you a car."~~Garrison Keiler
Do you ever wonder what Jesus would say about the sadistic cesspool that is swirling throughout the Catholic disfunctional structure at tsunami speed? Unfortunately, since the New York Times drew attention to the issue in March, the answer to that is getting buried deeper each day under fresh accusations of child molestation, counter accusations, denials and sordid attempts at justification.
It's been an eye-opener for those attempting to struggle through the damage-control rhetoric coming from the Catholic hierarchy -- priests, cardinals, bishops -- all running around in such a frenzy that only a guy like Boots Randolph can keep up with them.
Just days after the March 25 Times article by Laurie Goodstein revealing the church's handling of sex abuse charges against Father Lawrence Murphy who was accused of abusing hundreds of deaf children at Milwaukee's St. John's School for the Deaf -- Cardinal William J. Levada, who succeeded Pope Benedict XVI as prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was on her case. The National Catholic Reporter quotes Levada as saying that Goodstein and the Times were not after the truth; their prey was Pope Benedict himself...
"She uses the technique of repeating the many escalating charges and accusations from various sources (not least from her own newspaper), and tries to use these 'newly unearthed files' as the basis for accusing the pope of leniency and inaction in this case and presumably in others," Levada said. He then shrugged the entire matter aside, saying he did not "have time to deal with the Times' subsequent almost daily articles by Rachel Donadio and others, much less with Maureen Dowd's silly parroting of Goodstein's 'disturbing report.'"
Then, back in the U.S., Brooklyn's Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio jumped into the mix, telling his flock to "send a message loud and clear that the pope, our church and bishops and our priests will no longer be the personal punching bag of The New York Times." But don't boycott the paper, he admonished, because "we need to know what the enemy is saying."
For weeks, they were in a frenzy. Bill Donahue, head of the Catholic League, pooh-poohed any crime committed or damage done to deaf children by Father Murphy. As Daniel Tencer wrote in Raw Story, Donahue stunned a panel of commentators on CNN's Larry King Live show by insisting that homosexuality -- not pedophilia -- was the church's problem...
"You've got to get your facts straight," Donahue said, addressing sex abuse victim Thomas Roberts. "I'm sorry. If I'm the only one that's going to deal with facts tonight then that'll be it. The vast majority of the victims are post-pubescent. That's not pedophilia, buddy. That's homosexuality."
On Easter Sunday, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, a Vatican official, denounced the "petty gossip" about sexual abuse of children, and said the Church would not be intimidated by spurious attacks on the Pope. Just two days earlier, on Good Friday, Reverend Raniero Cantalamessa, the papal household preacher, said the violent attacks on the church reminded him of the Jews, and such attacks were equal to anti-Semitism. However, because of the uproar, the Vatican quickly backed off that talking point.
The more they talk, the more apparent it becomes that the frocked molesters are the victims here, not the thousands of children forced into sexual bondage -- children at the mercy of those chosen to protect them -- with no help, no one to turn to. It's obvious that if the kids had just kept their mouths shut; had honored their forced vows of silence, there would be no scandal threatening God's House. Besides, didn't folks know there is a statute of limitations on sin?
Even Pope Benedict, who said at the beginning of his papacy that he was just "a simple humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord," appears unable to grasp the magnitude of the problem. Does the good Pope not see that the Lord's vineyard is overgrown with weeds? It's not just a priest here and there who should be removed to engage in a period of penitence and prayer as the Pope suggests. The scandal is sweeping the universe and, like the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, it appears to be uncontrollable. Cases continue to emerge, not just in the United States, but in Austria, Germany, Ireland, Holland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, France, and on and on...
There are those who say that others routinely abuse children, such as parents, teachers, medical personnel -- even the Boy Scouts. It's a "cultural" thing, they say -- so what's the big deal about the Catholic Church? Well, although raping a child is a sin (and a crime) no matter who does it, the Catholic Church claims to be holy -- God's own beacon of truth and light, with its moral authority authorized by Jesus Christ Himself. That's a big deal.
I have always viewed the Catholic Church as an organization that does unbelievable good in this world on many levels. As Nicholas Kristof wrote recently in the New York Times...
"In my travels around the world, I encounter two Catholic Churches. One is the rigid all-male Vatican hierarchy that seems out of touch when it bans condoms even among married couples where one partner is H.I.V.-positive. To me at least, this church — obsessed with dogma and rules and distracted from social justice — is a modern echo of the Pharisees whom Jesus criticized.
"Yet there’s another Catholic Church as well, one I admire intensely. This is the grass-roots Catholic Church that does far more good in the world than it ever gets credit for. This is the church that supports extraordinary aid organizations like Catholic Relief Services and Caritas, saving lives every day, and that operates superb schools that provide needy children an escalator out of poverty.
"This is the church of the nuns and priests in Congo, toiling in obscurity to feed and educate children. This is the church of the Brazilian priest fighting AIDS who told me that if he were pope, he would build a condom factory in the Vatican to save lives."
But these pedophile preachers have indelibly tarnished the image of the entire Church, as well as the reputations of those chosen to care for its children. It's time for the empty accusations, excuses and justifications to stop. I agree with Stephen King, who wrote on page 922 of his latest thriller -- Under the Dome -- "When the Devil got a preacher, he was apt to fall low -- low enough to put on a top hat and crawl under a rattlesnake." Creatures who roam hallowed youth halls in the middle of the night like ravenous zombies are not Christian, and it is my personal belief that they are committing a sin for which there is no atonement.
Some are saying, with justification, that Pope Benedict and the Catholic hierarchy are weary and confused. Perhaps they should ask Jesus what HE thinks about all of this, for Jesus said...
Matthew 18:6 -- But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Mark 9:42 -- And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.
Luke 17:2 -- It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Change is the process by which the future invades our lives~~Alvin Toffler, "Future Shock
Each time it appears that Republicans can't get any nastier, any more bereft of morality, they wrap themselves in the flag, grab their guns and Bibles, and manage once again to hit the bottom of the ethical barrel. A good example is Ben Smith's recent startling revelation in Politico.com, which exposed the dirty tricks Republican National Committee (RNC) operatives were planning to play, not only on Democrats in the upcoming elections -- but on their own donors. Smith writes...
"Manipulating donors with crude caricatures and playing on their fears is hardly unique to Republicans or to the RNC -- Democrats raised millions off George W. Bush in similar terms -- but rarely is it practiced in such cartoonish terms.
"One page, headed “The Evil Empire,” pictures Obama as the Joker from Batman, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leaders Harry Reid are depicted as Cruella DeVille and Scooby Doo, respectively."
Ruh-Roh. I can't help it -- that's good for a grin, albeit a ghoulish one. And the “tchochkes,” or swag, such as T-shirts, tote bags, baseball caps, and other useless crap they planned to give to their donors in exchange for big bucks made some of us laugh out loud.
But that's just the funny part. The far more frightening aspect is the lengths the rabid radical right -- not just the Republican Party -- is willing to go in order to destroy President Obama and the "socialist commies" who elected him. They are very open about it; proud to be the "Party of No," and brag about burying Obama under a burning health-care pyre. Nearly a year ago, South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint gloated -- "this health-care issue Is D-Day for freedom in America...If we’re able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo. It will break him."
Former Bush speech writer David Frum admitted to MSNBC's Ed Shultz on his March 18 show that negotiation has never been on the Republican's health-care table. Frum said...
"It's critical for everybody, and not just the president. It's critical for us on the Republican side, too. If this thing passes, there is going to be an accountability moment on the Republican side. We had a choice, do we negotiate and try to get some of our values in the bill? Or do we go for total defeat of the president and bet everything on that?
"I was one of those who said negotiate. That advice was rejected. We went for total defeat of the president. If he prevails, it is going to be a shutout of Republican views in one of the most important pieces of legislation ever passed in the United States."
Some are disillusioned with Obama because they feel he has not been forthcoming with his promise of change. They do not seem to realize that, for more than a decade, change in this nation has been overwhelming. Since the Kafkaesque mutation of the Republican establishment, whose metamorphosis into a destructive force was sudden as a result of five right-wing justices on the U.S. Supreme Court stopping the Florida recount in December 2000 and handing the presidency to one of their own even though his opponent won the national popular vote by more than a half million ballots, the change within the Republican party has been nothing less than frenetic.
This is no longer about politics, where opposing sides butt heads, twist arms and kick ass until they manage to agree on legislation that will benefit American citizens on both sides of the aisle. It is not, as Frum said, about merely defeating this president. It is about destroying him; about weaving a noose for him out of lies and dirty tricks; about sending a message to future generations of African Americans that the "White" House means just that.
If you doubt that the right-wing crusade is about race, you are either so oblivious of the past that you see nothing unusual about the present -- or you haven't been to a Tea Party lately. At Tea Parties across the nation, Obama is not only portrayed in hideous caricatures as the Joker, but as others such as Adolph Hitler, Karl Marx and Osama bin Laden.
Initially, the Tea Party movement was started by Congressman Ron Paul to appeal to Americans who were frustrated and fed-up with such things as taxes and wars, but it was immediately co-opted by right-wing think tanks and by Fox News whose target-eyed pundits brayed 24/7 about a massive "white culture" crusade taking over the nation. Racist hatemongers joined the party, especially Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and, in no time at all, had David Duke, a "white nationalist" and former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, looking like a rank amateur.
These guys aren't crazy -- okay, maybe they are -- but they know exactly what they're doing. They learned from eight years of K-K-Karl Rove and Dick Cheney that fear and hate are the two easiest emotions to work with. Stir in a generous helping of rage, and entire cultures can be manipulated into a frenzy. And, when those emotions feed on racism, a gathering can be turned into a mob, which can then be whipped into a destructive, extremist riot.
In the Spring 2010 Intelligence Report published by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Mark Potok examines the "Rage on the Right." He writes...
"Since the installation of Barack Obama, right-wing extremists have murdered six law enforcement officers. Racist skinheads and others have been arrested in alleged plots to assassinate the nation’s first black president. One man from Brockton, Mass. -- who told police he had learned on white supremacist websites that a genocide was under way against whites -- is charged with murdering two black people and planning to kill as many Jews as possible on the day after Obama’s inauguration. Most recently, a rash of individuals with antigovernment, survivalist or racist views have been arrested in a series of bomb cases.
"As the movement has exploded, so has the reach of its ideas, aided and abetted by commentators and politicians in the ostensible mainstream. While in the 1990s, the movement got good reviews from a few lawmakers and talk-radio hosts, some of its central ideas today are being plugged by people with far larger audiences like FOX News’ Glenn Beck and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn). Beck, for instance, re-popularized a key Patriot conspiracy theory -- the charge that FEMA is secretly running concentration camps -- before finally “debunking” it.
"Last year also experienced levels of cross-pollination between different sectors of the radical right not seen in years. Nativist activists increasingly adopted the ideas of the Patriots; racist rants against Obama and others coursed through the Patriot movement; and conspiracy theories involving the government appeared in all kinds of right-wing venues."
The SPLC also reports that just in the first year of the Obama presidency, "an astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) -- a 244% jump."
We are falling apart. We have lost our sense of decency, our sense of direction. The past is overtaking us, and will soon be our future. We are surrounded by increasingly violent gun-toting "Patriots" who are eager to water the Tree of Liberty with the blood of loony liberals, Commies, and Socialists -- starting with their Black President who, according to the mad dogs on the right, is determined to destroy the freedoms of loyal Americans.
Are we going to stand here, suffering from change shock -- too much change in too short a period of time -- and do nothing? It's tempting, but as Chris Hedges warns,
"To give up acts of resistance is spiritual and intellectual death. It is to surrender to the dehumanizing ideology of totalitarian capitalism. Acts of resistance keep alive another narrative, sustain our integrity and empower others, who we may never meet, to stand up and carry the flame we pass to them. No act of resistance is useless. ... But we will have to resist and then find the faith that resistance is worthwhile, for we will not immediately alter the awful configuration of power. And in this long, long war a community to sustain us, emotionally and materially, will be the key to a life of defiance. As long as we are willing to defy these forces we have a chance, if not for ourselves, then at least for those who follow."
I agree. We must resist -- in order to stop the right-wing's race to destruction before it's too late -- and to change the shock of our children's future.
Sheila Samples http://sheilastuff.blogspot.com / is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is an OEN editor, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.
I know you need your sleep now,
I know your life's been hard.
But many men are falling,
where you promised to stand guard.
My friend Bernie says he's suffering from Afghanistan information exhaustion. "During all those months that Obama was dragging his feet about escalating the war in Afghanistan, did you ever get the impression," he asked, "that foxes were in the hen house, chickens were squawking and running around crazily, wolves were tearing the foxes to pieces, and farmers were shooting wildly into the coop with no regard for the innocent?"
I stared at him, mouth agape, my mind trying to shore up all that activity. "Well ... I --"
"And that's just the generals -- David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal -- and their boss, or cohort, defense secretary Robert Gates. They were everywhere -- everywhere!" Bernie said, rolling his eyes. "And still are. Turn on the TV, pick up a newspaper, open a magazine, check out Congress, look under a rock -- peek behind a tree -- and there they are. They're a three-man brigade -- "we're going in, we're coming out -- we're winning, we're losing. Or maybe not. We won't know for 15 years...20 years...or until it's over --"
Bernie shook his head in disgust, and headed for the door. "You keep telling me to walk a mile in Obama's shoes; that he's got a lot on his plate. Well," Bernie said grimly, "every time I try to do that, I nearly drown. And, if you're paying attention, you know he's having trouble keeping his own balance out there on those turbulent partisan political seas."
Bernie says he'd like to give President Obama credit, or blame him, for the decision to expand the war in Afghanistan, but is convinced that Obama's input was neither wanted nor accepted by the three top war dogs. I agree. What those of us familiar with military protocol -- with a properly functioning chain of command -- witnessed was a crude, but effective, military coup.
Aided by an eager and complicit media, for months these insubordinates fueled the fire of Obama's inability to come to a quick decision to meet their demands. They brushed him aside as idealistic and inexperienced. Commander-in-Chief? C'mon, get real. During the recent health-care fiasco, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) put into words what all Republicans, not a few Democrats, and far too many military brass think of Obama...
"...I believe he didn't serve in government long enough to understand really how things work...Remember, he was in the Senate four years, but effectively only two years because he spent two years where he was hardly ever here at all -- he was campaigning for president. He really does not have an understanding of how Congress operates."
The hateful audacity of Chuck "Obama wants to kill your grandma" Grassley is the typical Republican mindset concerning this president. Each time Republicans push him or challenge him, rather than push back or kick ass, Obama backs down, preferring to compromise to reach a bipartisan agreement. Unfortunately, Republicans don't work that way. They want it all, and the only way they know to get it is to -- as Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol said -- "go for the kill."
The military also goes for the kill. But that is its mission -- what it is trained to do. And Obama needs to understand the military does not function on compromises or bipartisanship. It has a chain of command, and when the Commander-in-Chief, after considering input from field commanders, makes his decision -- gives an order -- all those throughout that chain of command, whether they agree or not, salute and continue to march.
That is not happening here. After ten "war council" meetings and months of considering input, an angry Obama rejected McChrystal's plan that had been leaked to Bob Woodward at the Washington Post, and informed McChrystal that his goal of doubling the force would not be met.
Two days later, on Dec 1, Obama announced his decision from the US Military Academy at West Point. He didn't mention smoking terrorists out, getting them on the run and bringing them to justice, but he dredged up 9/11 and why we should remain convulsed in fear. He spoke of "huge challenges," "bold action," "seizing the initiative," and "long-term consequences." While we were trying to figure out if former president George Bush had left a copy of his speech on the Academy podium, Obama announced he was sending an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan but insisted since America has no interest in fighting an endless war, 2011 was a definite time frame. He said unequivocally that there would be no counterinsurgency and, beginning in July of 2011, the troops would begin to come home.
Or not. Nobody saluted. Gates, Petraeus and McChrystal, along with Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Adm. Michael G. Mullen continued to march in lockstep. They raced to the media both here and abroad, where they shrugged aside Obama's promise of a July 2011 transition, saying it was an "open issue." They insisted that counterinsurgency and special ops remained "embedded" in their war strategy. Ten days after being rejected by Obama, McChrystal's request to double the size of the Army and police to 400,000 remained unchanged.
Foxes, Chickens and Wolves
Obama should take a long, hard look at the Dick Cheney "stay behinds" who are wreaking havoc, especially in defense; insubordinates who openly challenge his decisions and defy his orders while whipping up confusion with daily conflicting announcements and interviews. Perhaps he should start with Cheney who not only stayed behind but remains in his Virginia bunker, just a stone's throw from CIA headquarters, where he "goes for the kill" by giving hate speeches and issuing press releases accusing Obama of being a coward that are published verbatim by the media.
Just hours after Obama's speech, the placid, eerily serene Gates, along with Mullen and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, testified before Congress that troop withdrawal depended on conditions on the ground rather than a deadline. The consensus seemed to be that their commander-in-chief was simply indulging in "wishful thinking."
Days later, according to Think Progress, Gates, Petraeus, Clinton, and another Cheney "stay behind," National Security Adviser James Jones, were all over the Sunday talk shows. Gates told CBS Meet the Press, "We will have a significant -- we will have 100,000 forces -- troops there. And they are not leaving -- in July of 2011."
Jones agreed with Gates on CNN's State of the Union, repeating what he had told BBC two days earlier -- "It's very important that people in Afghanistan hear this very clearly: this is not a withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan in 2011, it is a decision to turn over to the Afghans some of the responsibility where they are ready to accept that responsibility. But in no manner, shape or form is the United States leaving Afghanistan in 2011." (emphasis added)
These stay behinds, their shoulders blazing with stars, now so eager to expand their military industrial killing spree throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan -- even Iran -- are like wolves circling their prey. They are presenting a powerful, united front against Obama.
And none has refused to follow orders more relentlessly than McChrystal, former commander of the clandestine Joint Special Operations Command, whose secret assassination teams answered only to him, and he answered to no one. McChrystal is a frightening lone wolf. Check him out here, here, here, and here.
It's difficult to imagine President Obama, after promising change -- promising to stand guard and end our wars of aggression -- deliberately putting himself in a position where he appears impotent when he is ignored and over-ruled by subordinates. He has been warned by those who have been there, done that. He is being warned by the people who are gathering for massive national anti-war marches in Washington D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco on March 20 -- the seventh anniversary of Bush and Cheney's illegal war of aggression against Iraq.
It's time for Obama to put aside empty, soaring speeches and come to grips with who his enemies really are. It's time for him to step onto dry land and walk a mile in his own shoes -- while he still has a pair.
Bawling cattle is what I see when I watch the teabaggers bumping into each other with misspelled signs at gatherings about which they have no clue. They just go where the Beckerhead tells them to go...
I agree about the wording; however, the entire piece was Religion vs. Christianity, so that's the reason for the phrase.
Thanks again, and I love Szasz too.
...is that I can be a mouse in the corner when these evil bastards stand before their Maker and try to buy Him off with their fist-fulls of filthy money. Whoo-boy! It's gonna get nasty!
Far too many "good" people worship the church rather than who/what that church is supposed to represent. I'm beginning to think that God has left practically every building. Where's Paul when you need him to chase the hypocrites and money-changers out of the churches?
As far as being "long-winded," well...um...uh...hey -- you sound like my husband. You ain't Ol' Yeller in drag, are you?
If you talk to God, you are praying; If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.~~Thomas S. Szasz, The Second Sin
Several months ago, CNN published the results of a couple of disturbing polls about Americans and their religious beliefs. The first found that more Americans are rejecting religion and thus, according to CNN, America is becoming "less Christian." The second, a Pew survey of only 742 mostly white evangelical Protestants, revealed that more than six in 10 of them believe that torture is often or sometimes justified.
More than six in 10? What this says about those claiming to be God's own is that perhaps they should use their Bibles for more than "thumping." Because not one in 10 -- not one in 10 thousand -- not one in 10 million -- Christians believes that torture can ever be justified. Ever.
Anyone who has paid attention to the growing number of evangelical zealots over the past couple of decades must be aware that there is a growing chasm between Religion and Christianity. Today, the term, "religious Christians" is nothing if not oxymoronic. It seems when folks become apocalyptic frothing-at-the-mouth religious, they ultimately stray from the light and life of Christianity, while descending deeper into the darkness and death of Religion.
Because, all religion is politics. CNN quoted Mark Silk of Trinity College, who said, "In the 1990s, it really sunk in on the American public generally that there was a long-lasting 'religious right' connected to a political party, and that turned a lot of people the other way." Silk cited the obvious link between the Republican Party and groups such as the Moral Majority and Focus on the Family.
Tony Perkins, the right-wing evangelical president of the Family Research Council, told CNN not to worry. He said people will return to their faith in droves; that soon, the decline will ease and religion will be an even greater part of people's lives. The good news, according to Perkins, is, "As the economy goes downward, I think people are going to be driven to religion." (emphasis added)
Yes, as more Americans lose their jobs, their homes, their very reasons for living, those like Perkins see them as Manchurian congregations -- flocks driven to religion like cattle -- bawling, shuffling, pushing, milling around with tags in their ears, looking for a leader. Even now, they can be seen in mammoth mega-churches, some with arms raised -- fists clutching at dead air -- others writhing in the aisles, moaning, begging for some "sign" from their rigidly religious God. Perhaps their panic stems from the instinctive knowledge that God, unable to get a word in edgewise, has left the building.
The conservative religious right is a frightening political force driven in its efforts to divide and conquer by greed, an insatiable lust for power, and an ideology of hate. Its members, unable to drag God down to their level, have no qualms about elevating themselves to what they perceive as His level. They succeed in controlling the flock because fear -- especially fear of God -- is a great motivator. They use God not only as a weapon against millions who stand between them and their goals of replacing democracy with theocracy and of controlling the worlds resources and its people -- but as a divine justification for the destruction they leave in their wake.
No one was more adept at giving God credit for his killing fields than former president George W. Bush, who openly bragged that God had hired him to remove evil from the face of the earth. "I trust God speaks through me," Bush said in 2004. "Without that, I couldn't do my job." And, even before that, in 2003, Bush tried to round up a "coalition of the willing" for his Iraq slaughter on God's behalf. According to Charleston Gazette editor James A. Haught, Bush told then French President Jacques Chirac that "Iraq must be invaded to thwart Gog and Magog, the Bible’s satanic agents of the Apocalypse." Haught wrote...
"Chirac recounts that the American leader appealed to their “common faith” (Christianity) and told him: “Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East…The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled…This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins."
But some presidents, such as Lyndon Johnson, were not so magnanimous. God got the blame, not the credit, for the Vietman atrocity. Ronnie Dugger, in his book, "The Politician: The Life and Times of Lyndon Johnson," writes that Johnson told Austrian ambassador Ernst Lemberter in 1966 that the Holy Ghost regularly visited him..."He comes to me about 2 o'clock in the morning," Johnson said, "--when I have to give word to the boys, and I get the word from God whether to bomb or not."
Now, you don't have to be a Christian to reject the right-wing bull hockey that the God who appeared in a blinding flash of light and spoke to Paul on the road to Damascus has sunk to the evangelical depths where He emits not even a glimmer as He bends our presidents' ears on who to slaughter, urges televangelist Pat Robertson to ask a woman about her sex life, and is still deciding if He wants Michelle Bachman or Sarah Palin to be president.
Christians should be lauded for rejecting modern-day Religion. When the God they are taught to love is either credited -- or blamed -- for all hell on earth; when they search in vain for Jesus, and finally find Him, hanging out in a secretive townhouse on Washington's C Street with the greedy, war-mongering gang who refer to themselves as "The Family," it's time to take a second look at the direction in which this nation is hurtling.
For years, conservative right-wingers have hidden out in the C Street "church," where they are free to conduct all manner of fraud and to carry on adulterous affairs. People who have sold their souls; who have no sense of morality, and who use God as a Trojan Horse to hide their political manipulations to replace both Democrats and Democracy are quite mad, you know. Right-wing evangelicals and neocon operatives are consumed with religious hate, not Christian love. Their modus operandi is, as Weekly Standard operative William Kristol said, "go for the kill."
And, those who are familiar with Kristol know he wasn't referring just to health care. Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition protege, the now disgraced Ralph Reed, dubbed in 1995 by Time magazine as "the right hand of God," was a master at evangelical politics, which he said was like Viet Cong-style guerrilla warfare. Reed said, "I want to be invisible. I do guerrilla warfare. I paint my face and travel at night. You don't know it's over until you're in a body bag. You don't know until election night."
Anyone doubting the viciousness with which Reed would "go for the kill" should have a talk with Vietnam War hero and amputee Max Cleland, who not only found himself crammed into a body bag on election night 2002, thanks to Ralph Reed, but was in there with Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.
But Reed and others are tyros when it comes to those most likely to cause Christians to reject religion -- those whom CNN failed to mention who incite violence by preaching sermons laced with politics, religion, racism -- and hate. Those like Tempe, Arizona's Steven Anderson, who has no college degree nor formal Bible training, but is qualified to preach because he "has memorized almost half of the New Testament." Anderson started his own church -- Faithful Word Baptist -- in 2005 on Christmas Day. A firey right-wing preacher, he's against homosexuality, liberalism -- and President Barack Obama.
In August, Anderson gave a breathtakingly vile speech entitled, "Why I Hate Obama," in which he said about President Obama, among many other things...
"Obama is a madman in control of this country."
"Obama is NOT my president."
"Obama mocks the Bible."
"Obama is a socialist devil murderer."
"I hope he dies and goes to hell."
"God looks down and says, 'Man -- I HATE that guy!'"
Anderson, and those like him, epitomize the breach between Religion and Christianity. The religious believe that God belongs to them. Christians know that they belong to God. It's that simple. Thus, CNN polls notwithstanding, America cannot become "less Christian" as a result of members of the flock jerking the tags from their ears -- and rejecting modern-day religion.
Posted by Sheila Samples in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sun Nov 01st 2009, 06:49 PM
Is there anything scarier than the New York Times' Halloween treat entitled, "Documents Detail Conditions Found at Secret C.I.A. Jails"?
Pardon my Palinese, but -- You betcha! You damnbetcha!
For starters, the "conditions" the Times mentions only briefly are, in reality, depraved, corrupt, immoral, inhumane torture. According to the Times...
"F.B.I. agents who arrived at a secret C.I.A. jail overseas in September 2002 found prisoners “manacled to the ceiling and subjected to blaring music around the clock,” and a C.I.A. official wrote a list of questions for interrogators including “How close is each technique to the ‘rack and screw'. . ."
What is more frightening -- that the C.I.A. got its jollies by torturing, even murdering human beings in its secret sodomy frat-houses -- or that the F.B.I. took one look, fled the scene and remained silent for years?
Perhaps it's the two-page memo President George Bush had circulated seven months earlier wherein he determined -- under his authority as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive of the United States --
"...none of the provisions of Geneva apply to our conflict with al Qaeda in Afghanistan or elsewhere throughout the world because, among other reasons, al Qaeda is not a High Contracting Party to Geneva." (emphasis added)
"...I determine that the Taliban detainees are unlawful combatants and, therefore, do not qualify as prisoners of war under Article 4 of Geneva. I note that, because Geneva does not apply to our conflict with al Qaeda, al Qaeda detainees also do not qualify as prisoners of war."
Bush then added piously that our values as a nation that we shared with many nations (?) required us to treat humanely even those not qualified as humans nor entitled to such treatment. So -- wink, wink -- rack 'em and screw 'em, boys!
According to the Times, the documents were released as a result of several Freedom of Information Act lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Judicial Watch. Makes you wonder if this nation's mainstream media, both print and electronic, has no access -- nor interest -- in freedom of information, doesn't it?
The Times did provide links (see below) to the released documents -- 953 pages it knew most of us would never read. To offset that, the Times assigned two of its top investigative reporters -- Scott Shane and Charlie Savage -- to get the critical information out.
These guys hopped right on it and, after yawning through the assignment, their bland 306-word "news" article was published on page A28.
I don't know about you, but even for Halloween -- that's scary!
Links to released documents via New York Times
A.C.L.U. vs. C.I.A.(SDNY)(13 pages)
A.C.L.U. vs. D.O.D.(DDC2)(441 pages)
Judicial Watch vs. C.I.A.(DDC)(34 pages)
A.C.L.U. vs. D.O.D.(SDNY)(98 pages)
A.C.L.U. vs. D.O.D.(DDC2)(61 pages)
A.C.L.U. vs. D.O.D.(141 pages)
Feinman vs. C.I.A.(DDC)(163 pages)
Judicial Watch vs. D.O.J.(DDC)(2 pages)
I didn't know Van Jones. I didn't know Van Jones was a friend of mine -- at least not until the stench billowing from the Fox Hate Channel became so foul I was forced to take a closer look at this terrifying creature. No -- not Jones, whom President Obama wisely had hired as Special Advisor for Green Jobs at the Council on Environmental Quality -- but the sobbing, lying, deliriously insane Glenn Beck.
According to Beck, who began his assault on Jones in a July 23 disjointed rant, wherein he claimed Jones is not only "a communist-anarchist radical," but a former black nationalist, avowed communist-anarchist radical. Or something. Anyway, according to Beck, Jones is really really dangerous -- a racist just like Obama, who has a "deep-seated hatred for white folks" and whose entire agenda is restructuring America into a land of reparations, social justice and jobs for minorities.
The appalling thing about the intellectually challenged Beck, like the Limbaugh-loon he so desperately struggles to impersonate, is that he is given a podium from which to spew his hate. Even more appalling is that he is allowed -- encouraged -- to do so with no reservation, no regulation, and no repercussion. Unless, of course, you consider the multi-million-dollar salary he receives for telling lies and for whipping paranoid masses of gun-toting racists into glassy eyed fury, then it's easy to see Beck is hitting the repercussion jackpot -- over and over again.
As Alexander Zaitchik points out in his three-part Salon series on Beck's background, Beck has always been desperate for two things -- attention and ratings. And he learned early in his career that nothing works as quickly nor as well with the media as personal insults, public humiliation and character assassination.
With few exceptions, the mainstream media fawn over him, laugh at his blatant lies, his death threats and his fake tears. Beck has long been obsessed with destruction -- even murder. In March 2001, he fantasized about killing Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) with a shovel as well as lining up several others and shooting them in the head. On his May 17, 2005 Glenn Beck Program, he chortled...
"Hang on, let me just tell you what I'm thinking. I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out -- is this wrong? I stopped wearing my What Would Jesus -- band -- Do, and I've lost all sense of right and wrong now. I used to be able to say, "Yeah, I'd kill Michael Moore," and then I'd see the little band: What Would Jesus Do? And then I'd realize, "Oh, you wouldn't kill Michael Moore. Or at least you wouldn't choke him to death." And you know, well, I'm not sure."
And more recently, on his Aug 6 Fox program, Beck regaled at least himself by giggling about putting poison in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's wine....
Not a pretty picture. No -- not Beck, who should have the FBI nipping at his heels like other "homegrown terrorists" for threatening the lives of legislators and sowing dissent within the government -- but the media, going all Hunter Thompson on us, curled up at Beck's feet like so many chimps in a zoo cage, feverishly pumping out masturbatory praise for the low-class dirty trickster.
When Jones, rather than sink to Beck's level, resigned his position over the Labor Day weekend, some in the media were ecstatic. NBC Deputy Political Director Mark Murray whooped it up in his 8 Sep "First Read"...
"Van Jones resigns: Speaking of distractions, Glenn Beck got his man -- Van Jones, who resigned from the administration over the weekend. And judging by how Beck responded to the news of the resignation of the mid-level staffer, he won't be satisfied with this scalp. Beck made it sound like he might even have a list of "Who's next," which will embolden defenders of the administration to start focusing on Beck and others . . . As for Jones, clearly, that 9/11 stuff made him indefensible and does call into question the White House's vetting process. The irony in all of this: Beck never lost his job for calling Obama a racist, but Jones did…"
Time Magazine, a partner of CNN, has led the charge to cover Beck's every move, every word, every teardrop in a desperate effort to get a piece of Beck's attention-and-ratings action. See here, here, here, here, here, and here.
Then, of course, there's Time's "photo gallery" and the much-heralded Sep 17 cover story wherein author David Von Drehle takes 3,598 words to debunk his own headline, "Mad Man: Is Glenn Beck Bad for America?" and to paint Beck as nothing more than a feisty, lovable -- albeit controversial -- little whippersnapper...
"Glenn Beck: the pudgy, buzz-cut, weeping phenomenon of radio, TV and books . . . The old American mind-set that Richard Hofstadter famously called "the paranoid style" — the sense that Masons or the railroads or the Pope or the guys in black helicopters are in league to destroy the country — is aflame again, fanned from both right and left . . . No one has a better feeling for this mood, and no one exploits it as well, as Beck. He is the hottest thing in the political-rant racket, left or right. A gifted entrepreneur of angst in a white-hot market.
. . .
Beck is 45, tireless, funny, self-deprecating, a recovering alcoholic, a convert to Mormonism, a libertarian and living with ADHD. He is a gifted storyteller with a knack for stitching seemingly unrelated data points into possible conspiracies — if he believed in conspiracies, which he doesn't, necessarily; he's just asking questions. He's just sayin'. In cheerful days of yore, he was a terrific host of a morning-zoo show on an FM Top 40 station. But these aren't cheerful times. For conservatives, these are times of economic uncertainty and political weakness, and Beck has emerged as a virtuoso on the strings of their discontent."
Not to be outfoxed by her peers, on Sep 22, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric premiered her new one-on-one high-profile online interview show "@katiecouric" with Beck, whom she introduced as a "one-man cottage industry." Beck fielded Couric's painfully shallow questions, such as, "Do you feel that you're...you're kind of being divisive?" with sly grins and winks. "Let me see, here," Beck said, giggling and rolling his eyes while tapping his forehead, "how can I answer that? You're just trying to make some news -- you just want me to give you a sound byte..."
But the most interesting -- and entertaining -- take on Beck comes from Fox News' Chief Beckerhead Chris Wallace, who boasts that he "is on the Glenn Beck bandwagon," and insists that "Beck is a meteor here at Fox News." Wallace was taking the irrepressible Shepard Smith to task for not giving Beck the proper respect; even accused Smith of being jealous of Beck's fame. "Oh no," Smith proclaimed, fighting back fake tears -- "We are here to celebrate, worship and adore..." You gotta watch this.
Most mainstream media -- if they acknowledge Beck's attacks -- present them as news, such as the czars fiasco, the fake Fox ACORN videos, etc. However, there are some, even on the right, who are concerned enough about the damage being done to sound the alarm. The New York Times' David Brooks writes about not only Beck, but Limbaugh, Hannity and others whose lust for power (attention and ratings) knows no bounds...
"For no matter how often their hollowness is exposed, the jocks still reweave the myth of their own power. They still ride the airwaves claiming to speak for millions. They still confuse listeners with voters. And they are aided in this endeavor by their enablers. They are enabled by cynical Democrats, who love to claim that Rush Limbaugh controls the G.O.P. They are enabled by lazy pundits who find it easier to argue with showmen than with people whose opinions are based on knowledge. They are enabled by the slightly educated snobs who believe that Glenn Beck really is the voice of Middle America. So the myth returns. Just months after the election and the humiliation, everyone is again convinced that Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity and the rest possess real power. And the saddest thing is that even Republican politicians come to believe it. They mistake media for reality. They pre-emptively surrender to armies that don’t exist.
They pay more attention to Rush’s imaginary millions than to the real voters down the street. The Republican Party is unpopular because it’s more interested in pleasing Rush’s ghosts than actual people. The party is leaderless right now because nobody has the guts to step outside the rigid parameters enforced by the radio jocks and create a new party identity. The party is losing because it has adopted a radio entertainer’s niche-building strategy, while abandoning the politician’s coalition-building strategy.
The rise of Beck, Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and the rest has correlated almost perfectly with the decline of the G.O.P. But it’s not because the talk jocks have real power. It’s because they have illusory power, because Republicans hear the media mythology and fall for it every time."
Like Chris Wallace says, they are all just meteors exploding across this nation's sky. Perhaps someone should remind Wallace and others in the media that the shining streak they're hanging onto is nothing but a trail of gas, and when it enters Truth's atmosphere, it will disintegrate -- taking the Beckerhead Bandwagon with it.
Posted by Sheila Samples in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Fri Jun 19th 2009, 05:14 PM
I can't help it. I'm suffering from intense guilt because I refuse to forward 50-billion freaking chain letters sent to me by folks who actually believe if I send them on to everyone I know, a poor little karma-deficient girl in the backwoods of Arkansas with a penis growing out of her forehead will be able to raise enough dough to have it removed before her enterprising redneck parents sell her to a traveling freak show where someday she may escape and become president of the United States.
I'll admit, back in 2002, I did get my hopes up when I got this notice from Bill Gates that he was gonna send me -- and everyone to whom I forwarded "his" email -- a thousand bucks. Call me gullible, but -- hey -- if I could believe that priests grope innocent children, that corporate CEOs snicker while their hands are working feverishly in my pockets, that pasty draft-dodging cowardly vice presidents beefed up calls to send my babies to chemical death, and nobody trusts nobody anymore -- why wouldn't I think the world's richest geek, a scholarly-looking little nerdy high-school dropout who serenely vacuums up the dollars of the universe, would be adverse to sending me a few measly bucks? After all, if anybody in this country could afford to do that it's little Billy Gates for God's sake...
The only thing that was in the mail back then was hope, and it died there. So I broke the chain.
But I'll admit the old adrenalin started pumping again recently when I was told if I scrolled down while simultaneously closing one eye, making a wish and loudly breaking wind, I'd get a new Boy Toy who looks just like Al Pacino. And -- here's the best part -- I would meet him the very next day!! Oh yes yes scroll wink wish blast!...scroll wink wish blast! All I got out of that little adventure was a nervous tic and a room of my own out behind the barn.
I keep getting told that what I'm promised is straight from the horse's mouth and I can take it to the bank. No way I'm taking anything to the bank that I received from someone who can't tell one end of the horse from the other. Huh-uh. No way.
And don't threaten me with evil chain-letter leprechauns who will swarm on my house and sodomize me in my sleep for not continuing a chain letter than St. Peter started in 5 AD and was covertly brought to this country by tiny little itty-bitty rogue pilgrims on the Mayflower. Screw them. That's what I always say...
Don't try to send me on a guilt trip about one of my fellow Americans with no teeth who was captured in Botswana and has been shackled against his will to the ass of a dead elephant for 27 years and whose only salvation is the 5-cents per letter he'll receive if I forward your email. Hey -- I've been suffering the same fate for nearly a decade myself. Unless my nickel will get that unfortunate twit to the polls where he'll be motivated to ram his marker up that Rooster's ass until the freaking bird squawks, I don't have time for him...
So, if I break the chain -- don't threaten me with my underwear turning carnivorous and consuming my nether regions. I don't care. If it's funny, I'll send it on, Okay? Otherwise, I don't need no steenkin' chain letters.
Point is -- don't piss me off. Make me laugh.
Now, forward this to everyone you know.
The ten most recent threads posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums.
FL GOP tries to close state pension system to new workers, yet take THEIR pension at 2X accrual rate
FL GOP denies $51 billion federal Medicaid to poor, yet order cheap health care for themselves
Happy Mother's Day
I love DU2!
Florida Senate President Don Gaetz (R) ran company now accused of Medicaid fraud (Rick Scott redux)
Mediterranean diet cuts risk of heart dis-ease
By No Elephants
Most surprising Oscar story for me:
By No Elephants
The ten most recommended threads posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums in the last 24 hours.
Use the tools below to keep track of updates to this Journal.