Investigate Murdoch here too

UPDATE: As Hamlet said, “O my prophetic soul…”: 9/11 implications.

If Rupert Murdoch’s reporters are hacking voicemails in Britain, given that much of his media investment here in the States is of similar, erm, quality, doesn’t it stand to reason that Congress, the FCC, police, etc., should look into it?

“Don’t Forget Medicaid”

See the whole thing from Congressman Chris Murphy of Connecticut:

“As we wait for the white smoke to emerge from the ‘grand bargain’ negotiations at the White House, most Americans are already aware of the Republicans’ plan to dismantle and privatize Medicare and Social Security. But what many people may not realize is just how dangerous it would be to slash funding for a program that 60 million Americans rely on for their basic health care needs: Medicaid.

“While it seems that just about every major industry or interest group has teams of lobbyists in Washington looking out for them, some of our most vulnerable citizens simply don’t have a voice in a town where unfortunately, money still talks the loudest.

“Why? Medicaid covers only the impoverished and disabled, so it lacks a traditional advocacy base. This may be news to Republicans — but most poor people I know are spending all their time trying to find a job and put food on the table.”

Clergy re-victimization of a rape, incest victim?

Beware what kind of chaplain you seek counsel from in our Armed Forces (maybe even anywhere else).  In this disturbing account, a “conservative” “evangelical” Protestant minister seems to say that when a gay woman in the Navy came to him about being raped by a male Sailor, he did two things to her I’ve never heard of in a lifetime of theological study:

  • he supposedly got her to agree, through that bizarre Scholasticism that only his branch of Christianity does so well anymore, to be “married to Jesus” on the spot,* and
  • supposedly he involuntarily, unsolicited, imposed on her an “exorcism” of her homosexuality.

I’m not a lawyer, nor an expert in Clergy Malpractice, and I guess as long as the young woman is satisfied with his treatment of her and its effects in her life, he won’t face that lawsuit, and she’ll join the list of the — for now at least — “ex-gays.”  But his superior officers in the Corps of Chaplains at least, his Denominational Judicatory (if applicable), and/or his therapeutic credentialing body (if applicable), should look into the clerical, religious, and professional ethics of his own claimed behavior towards a woman who was within the military structure, already forced once to submit to heterosexual, male impositions recently therein, and he claims, also a victim of repeated incestuous heterosexual abuse previously.

This isn’t about my opinions concerning “evangelicalism” or demonology, simply what I believe to be — yes, the re-violation of a rape and incest victim by a minister she’d turned to for counsel and not, apparently, for a “wedding,” nor for a “cure” for her lesbianism, about which she had not, by his own account, complained.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this preacher involuntarily “baptized” playmates with water balloons or the garden hose in younger days.

He as much as admits to manipulating her: “And she had to answer ‘well, of course they’re full of the devil’” (emphasis mine).  Now, that one question-and-answer might have legitimate use in a ministry situation such as this, but not to catapult someone in an apparently fragile state into actions of dubious therapeutic, professional, or theological nature.  (I pray he didn’t also take it upon himself to ‘stand in for Jesus’ and “consummate” this “wedding” with her physically.)  Furthermore, he doesn’t tell us about her “renouncing” lesbianism: Did he make it up, lie to “the spirit of lesbianism”??  Or did he consider that the root of the presenting issue, the recent rape, would be legalistically removed if the victim were of an orientation not so disinclined logically, fundamentally, to reject male impositions, ie, straight?  Was it just more “evangelical” Scholasticism?  If so, was that his commission, basically to collaborate in her being ‘raped straight,’ as we’re seeing recently in other parts of the world?

I’m fully aware that Protestantism, today and historically, is full of such pietistic, emotional manipulation, as are certain streams of Catholicism and probably Orthodoxy also.  We’ve all seen the movies, TV dramas, read the books.  But even if we were to simplistically ask “What Would Jesus Do?,” did He ever do so with a woman, a victim of any kind, innocent or guilty?  I could be wrong, but I can’t recall that He did.  Did He ever work Himself and His beneficiary into the kind of frenzy of guilt feelings we’re all too familiar with — in this case turning the victim into the defendant, as she may well have been undergoing in the trial of her assailant already, as often happens in rape trials?

Tragically, many Americans, faced with the 40,000 sects of this land, would be hard-pressed to distinguish between one kind of Protestant chaplain and another.  Furthermore, in chaplaincy situations often clergy of one stripe are theoretically required to do double or even triple duty, serving patients or charges of a diversity of denominations on any given base, ship, or unit; often there aren’t many different chaplains to choose from.  If you’re from a small denomination, you’re at the mercy of whoever got stationed with you — and the Pentagon too is at the mercy of whoever volunteered after ‘having it put upon his heart by the Lord’ to go and do something for/to somebody(ies).

I’m not seriously trained in counseling either.  But I know what not to do, Lord have mercy on me.

A couple more quick points: 

  • Can exorcism ever be voluntary?  Well, someone might have a relatively mild problem — no head spinning, no projectile vomit, etc. – and go to a cleric asking about it, but is that then demonic possession, or maybe something else?  Otherwise, someone else might bring the supposedly-possessed person to the clergyperson, figuratively or literally kicking and screaming.  Neither is reported as happening here.
  • I won’t discuss Orthodoxy’s approach to homosexuality in this post, because I don’t believe it would be constructive or helpful to do so at this time or in this context.
  • In another, less-detailed allusion to this incident, this chaplain claimed that during it the evil one left the woman’s heart and Jesus moved into it, in the context of the “wedding.”  Actually this is said to happen Traditionally, not as such during the Orthodox Mystery of Holy Matrimony, but of Baptism / Chrismation** / Communion.  Orthodox Tradition goes on to say that previously, the evil one acted on you from within, and the All-Holy Spirit of God, One of The Trinity, from without; afterward, the Spirit of God acts on you from within — a position of strength for Him if you will — but the evil one may still act upon you from without — a relatively weaker position for him.
  • It seems this chaplain has become a political figure since late in his military career (sic).  Information about that is available through the linked page and elsewhere.  I’m so concerned about the particulars I’m discussing in this post that I’ll leave out the political angle, as well as his apparent or possible personal issues.

(*–Apparently, though, this didn’t make her a nun: Roman Catholic piety used to consider Religious Sisters “married to Christ,” but this preacher says his charge “started dating boys” openly.)

(**–likened to the Western Sacrament of Confirmation)

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Catholic Bishops attack Obama again

Let’s be clear: I deplore Embryonic Stem-Cell research or usage in any way at all except for a good-faith attempt to bring to those embryonic human beings to birth.  This is because, as an Eastern Orthodox Christian who aspires to be a member of Christ, ie, one of His body-parts, I don’t consider endorsing human destruction of unborn humans — even disabled ones (I am Disabled, perhaps from birth or before) — to be in keeping with Christ’s body-parts.*

However, the U.S. Catholic bishops go out of their way to attack the democratically- and Constitutionally-elected Obama Administration in recent news releases on the issue.  They’ve been indignant that we elected him and VP Joe Biden (himself a Catholic), as they made clear at their winter meetings days after the 2008 Elections, televised live on cable.  But as any Civics student could have told them, the Executive Branch of the US Government doesn’t lawfully appropriate money, Congress does.  The Executive Branch does nothing with money that Congress has not authorized.  This is the bishops’ national release; this is from one of their most “conservative” divisions, Pennsylvania.

Their Eminences and Excellencies could be forgiven (if I had the power!) their confusion, after their boy in the White House, George W. Bush, appropriated money without Congressional authorization several times, occasionally with active deceit on the part of the corrupt then-Republican leadership of both Chambers.  (And they wanna come back?!?!?!)  False or cowardly Federal judges or Congressmembers allowed this ACTUAL theft of taxpayers’ money to fly almost completely under the radar.

What do I want?  President Obama and Vice-President Biden are no more nor less a threat to advance abortion or its related horrors than a Congress that hasn’t brought to the floor a Constitutional Amendment to reiterate the protection of unborn Americans in 27 years in the Senate, and EVER in the House, NOT EVEN UNDER REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP!  Instead, Republican alleged “pro-lifers” spend their time and money (and yours) fighting [PDF] real Democratic proposals (and candidates) to eliminate nearly all abortions voluntarily by addressing their causes — showing that they view the lives of Unborn Americans less sacred than their own political power (witness their last-minute, repeated deceptions over [lack of] abortion funding in America’s Healthcare Reform).

What I want is for the bishops and other non-Democratic pro-lifers to understand that specific parties and candidates clearly aren’t how to prevail, but bona fide proposals on the floor of Congress.  Based on that, who’s the REAL pro-life party?  THE DEMOCRATS, AFTER ALL!!!

And what about the bishops’ dioceses’ tax exemptions for targeting Obama/Biden?  After all, a partisan church’s tax exemption is like spending YOUR TAX DOLLARS ON THEIR FAVORED PARTY OR CANDIDATE.  (There are Orthodox Church clergy who could be called on the carpet equally and worse than these. But Catholic bishops tend to have more resources on which to call, and lawyer friends advising them, so they should know better. Orthodox, not so much yet.)

(*–The only exception I can see is, in shorthand, to save the life of the mother: where the best available medical opinion[s] is that continuing the pregnancy will kill her in and of itself, not via suicide or threats thereat, or financial impoverishment [falling through our coarse Social Safety Net], her own mental illness or disability, etc.  Because I don’t believe we can require mothers by law to actually — not metaphorically — lay down their lives for their babies; that must be voluntary.)

PS: I’m not “an anticatholic;” I’m a convert from Catholicism with extensive graduate work in Catholic and other (Western) Christian theological ethics.  I don’t “hate Catholics;” some of my best relatives and old friends are still Catholic.  Just for the record.

Why single out Charlie Rangel?

Something’s fishy here, the timing and everything.  And I mean oily-fishy, if you get my meaning.  They all do these things.  What about all those Repugs who “disgraced Congress” for a dozen years in charge, and took corruption to whole new levels, and had no “trials” or “hearings,” basically got away with it?  They made what Rangel’s accused of look like child’s play!  And what ever happened to going after all the Bush White House lawbreakers, even W. himself, Cheney, Gonzales, Ashcroft, Powell, etc etc etc?!  (So much for their “Christian nation”!)  Some of us only voted for Obama/Biden because of that promise — not revenge, merely justice, The Rule of Law.  Rangel’s charges are little worse than Lewinskygate.  But the MSM will hype this to the hilt, 24/7, we’ll have a special prosecutor who’ll find some link to Obama-Girl, and “What will we tell the children!” 

What we’ll tell them is that there really are Two Americas, like de jure 47th Vice-President of the USA* John Edwards said.  But I’d describe them this way: One America of Law, “for the little people,” and Another America Free of Law, for BP and Verizon and Comcast and Corporate lobbyists and Republicans and Teabaggers and militiamen.

But a progressive senior Black Democrat in the leadership, selling out to Big Business?  As Andy Samberg’s Rahm Emmanuel would say, “You f*ing turncoat!”

(*–Lieberman was 46th, not Cheney.)

Guns are not for self-defense.

They’re for revenge.

Think about it.

“We the Dollars, in order to form a more perfect Union…”

I’m DISGUSTED with all the money Democratic Party organizations and candidates and progressive groups now have to cravenly beg from me, to have a shot at making a showing in elections in this brave new Scalia/Citizens United world we’re forced to live in!  I guess Repugs like him think it’s a fair clawback for the personal government assistance some of us need … nevermind the Corporate Wealthfare you KNOW they’re now pouring through the floodgates.  That illegal, immoral ruling was “the mother of all Nuclear Options.”  Apparently “limited government” only applies when the GOP is out of power, and “originalism” and “judicial activism” and “legislating from the Bench” only when they’re IN power.

Naturally, we can’t hope to win the money race against our own Corporations, most rich people, and corrupt government officials/politicians, which is exactly how Scalia et al. timed this unprecedented procedural power-grab, a coup d’etat under color of law.

What can we do?

Actually, “conservative” support for Corporations attacks the culture, family,* tradition, family farms, small towns, etc., so they should be with us in trying to oppose this new trend by somehow MAKING CORPS.’ MONEY IRRELEVANT.

(*–As theologian Stanley Hauerwas pointed out a generation ago.)

Insurance cos. promote abortion to save money, killing disabled babies?

Looks mighty suspicious here.  I speak as a disabled person!

IOTM also to ask who’s more “disabled”: a person with special needs who maybe drives his family and neighbors and teachers and acquaintances crazy … or a world that would rather do without us?

“Suffering”?  I know a little about that subject, though definitely not as much as many of us disabled.  But killing us in the wombs of our mothers denies us even the chance that we’ll struggle and overcome it, or others will cure it or at least lessen our suffering.  Who ever said life was supposed to be free of suffering?

I also speak as an Eastern Orthodox Christian.  In original Christianity suffering has an honored place: it can make us more like our Founder, who suffered a bit Himself.  I don’t mean ‘Suffer like Jesus suffered’ — that’s just masochism.  But Orthodoxy teaches that suffering* may help cure us of our own will and inadequate understanding … and Orthodoxy itself directs us to the Will and Understanding of One Whose Will and Understanding are infinitely perfect.  In fact, many ancient Christians envied the original Holy Martyrs, and found the real and difficult Struggle was ordained for those who lived in the Faith to a ripe old age.  Furthermore, Orthodoxy says that even though we Orthodox with long-term illness/disability might not or ought not, for instance, participate in the Church’s fasting rules and Traditions (i.e., abstaining from certain foods at certain times), God Himself has as it were fitted us with this special ascesis to purify us of sinfulness,** He has allowed this to happen to us.  Some admired, sick Orthodox have taken this teaching so to heart that they have ceased desiring to be cured — again, understanding that it may be easier than the “normal” Orthodox ascetic spiritual path, and blessed by God.  If I may paraphrase St. Raphael of Brooklyn, ‘Man — or demons — may have meant this to me for bad, but God means it for the good.’  Orthodoxy also still teaches that miracles do happen, by the Graciousness of God.

(I don’t say this as someone who has reached such wisdom or dispassion himself yet.  But it does seem most reasonable.)

I also have some expertise in Western Christian ethics or moral theology.

As for calling aborting someone saving his or her life, that reminds me of “destroying the village to save it,” or “killing the Indian to save the man” — real Orwellian, and I don’t say this lightly to a rabbi who survived the Holocaust, even as an infant.  More than 40 million Americans have been electively aborted under color of law, few without the dubious benefit of genetic testing of them or their parents.  Now it’s being sold to us as a large-scale, historic, positive good?

(*–This is ‘redemptive suffering.’  In Peace Studies they talk about some “myth of redemptive violence,” which however I never heard of till then.  Violence does not redeem!  [And real "martyrs" don't die killing others intentionally, even vengefully!])

(**–Orthodoxy also remembers and teaches that all creatures suffer sinfulness from the first moments of their lives, thanks to the choice of our first parents — what one Western wag once called “Christianity’s only self-evident doctrine.”)

GOP health plan: Kill the sick.

Sure, that’ll save money … though only for the middle class and poor they’re taxing anyway!

As a Disabled person who, if God is patient with me, will be around to see the disaster (further) unfold … well, they’ll kill me.

I object.

SWINE FLU, DAMMIT!

How many people have died, been impaired, sickened, because “Swine Flu” fell off the radar screen, replaced by the incomprehensible “H1N1″ … just to protect the pork industry?

For that matter, how many other industries suffered lost “productivity” to protect pork?

If you got SWINE FLU, DAMMIT!, because you didn’t know what the FLIP “H1N1″ was, send the bill to Hormel or Oscar Meyer or somebody like that, ’cause you saved their pork butts!!!!!  Or tell your employer or health carrier to do so.

Interesting barometer of the increase in business/corporate influence in our society, though: A generation ago when Swine Flu hit, nobody had a problem with just saying, “Oh and BTW, you can’t get it from eating pork products.”  PLAIN AND SIMPLE.

SWINE FLU! SWINE FLU! SWINE FLU! SWINE FLU! SWINE FLU! SWINE FLU! SWINE FLU! SWINE FLU! SWINE FLU! SWINE FLU! SWINE FLU! SWINE FLU! SWINE FLU! SWINE FLU! SWINE FLU! SWINE FLU! SWINE FLU! SWINE FLU! SWINE FLU! SWINE FLU! SWINE FLU! SWINE FLU! SWINE FLU! SWINE FLU!

“Lazy Welfare recipients”

I would like to know where the idea came from that more than a tiny handful of criminal frauds are receiving any kind of assistance from government in the U.S., rather than do work they are able to do?  If you had any idea how hard it actually is to GET help from government or even so-called charity in this Puritan, Evangelical country,* even when you are plainly unable to work, you would shrivel up and die.

It must be like the “Lazy N—–” stereotype invented by U.S. slavemasters to help gratuitously put down and keep down Black slaves … which is perpetuated among Whites here to this day.  Funny thing: in the UK there’s an expression for when you work your butt off — “work like Blacks!”

So I’ll say it loud, I’m Black and I’m proud!

(*–Unless you’re a corporation, that is.  Most politicians and governments never met a corporation they didn’t like.  I guess now corporations are persons, and the Disabled and needy are not.)

Fiduciary Responsibility

Global catastrophe is NOT “fiduciary responsibility”!

If Business kills-off its stockholders and customers, isn’t that bad for business???

ISTM the REAL bottom line is to HAVE a bottom line!!!  But right now it seems most American business is in a race to the bottom, period: ‘He who dies with the most toys wins.’  :(

Irish Jacobitism/Legitimism?

A fascinating discussion here!  I’m not sure I buy it all, whether as an Irishman, an Indigenous person (whether of North America or of Ireland/Europe), or a half-baked Red Tory … even an Orthodox Christian … but intriguing reading and thinking.  I may have to re-read it.

Healthcare rationing as “New American Genocide”

Read all about it.  Except it isn’t just killing and threatening Blacks, but Native Americans, Hispanics, the disabled non-elderly like me, the poor like me, even the elderly who despite Medicare’s successes still can’t manage to get what they need, urban residents, rural** residents….  [*I* should be on Medicare, but that's another story...!]

Yes, folks, we’ve been rationing healthcare all along: TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER, or in more “economical” terms, “as high as the market will bear.”  Reform ideally should care on the basis of need, without regard to class, party, religion, orientation, race, Tribe, language, Ability, age, religion, color, intelligence, or any other criterion.  Frankly, I think we get an NHS like Britain (once had), add the benefits of the French and Norwegians and Germans AND America … and KICK BUTT!!!!!  AND SAVE MONEY!!!!!

PS #1: Is Rachel Maddow getting cuter and cuter?  Sweetheart, if you ever want to give “the other team” a try….  I kid!  God grant you and your loved ones Many Years!

PS#2: “Whitey On The Moon” — ah, the ’60s, great larks!

(**–Now THAT’S going to make you “Bitter”!)

Freedom from debt collectors!

  1. Did you know there’s a Statute of Limitations on many debts?!!  It varies by type of debt and by State, but basically if you avoid payments long enough [hopefully through no fault of your own, but sincere financial difficulty, sez I, but hey, the law is the law!], you’re Free and Clear!!!!!  Not that the predatory bastidges deserve the consideration….
  2. And after you browse this Federal court ruling, you may never give a debt collector the time of day again, may never agree to one of those mostly-bogus partial-as-payment-in-full arrangements, may never even stipulate that you have ever owed anything to anyone again!!!!!  Point being, be extremely careful, and if possible, get legal advice.
  3. Aren’t debt speculators the ones who caused the current Depression?!!!!
  4. From today’s research by me, it’s clear there’s alot of shady, barely-legal, deceptive, manipulative, maybe even illegal stuff going on by debt collectors.  Now THERE’S something (also) worth a probe!

SO HELP YOURSELF TO A “BAILOUT”!!!!!

ROUNDUP: Fitzmas II et cetera

Remember Fitzmas carols?!  They’re singing U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s praises again for accusing Rod Blagojevich – remember, innocent till proved guilty, and it’s possible not all us Eastern Orthodox Christians are saints (yet!) – but let’s remember all we got out of him in the Plamegate Treason case was a token conviction of Scooter Libby who took the fall for probably Cheney and many other scum, then walked unconstitutionally.  I have a feeling Blago’s right, and we haven’t seen the end of this, and there’s more to be revealed.  Meanwhile let’s get the Bu’ushists on their way out the West Wing, so they don’t get away with all their High Crimes, and nobody else in the future thinks they will either….

Did you hear about the White Racist vigilantes during Katrina in New Orleans killing poor Blacks escaping the flooding Lower Ninth Ward while cops batted an eye?  Me neither.  (Yeah, OK, it’s Katrina vanden Heuvel from The Nation….)  Sign the petition.

Did you hear Orthodox, former Evangelical bigwig, Frank Schaeffer sounding almost like a progressive conservative?!!!  (What those he calls “conservatives” and “progressives” have in common is Classical Liberalism, as he articulately characterizes without using the term.)  Alright, a pissed one, who forgot in that particular article to take some of the blame himself for driving the Religious Wrong all these years.  (That may be in his new autobiography, thankfully.)  He owes most of us a big honkin’ apology, quite frankly (no pun intended).  But, hell, welcome aboard, Franky, the water’s warm!  Besides, you’re my brother in Christ now, so I have to forgive you.  Do any of us get to retract our mistakes (or any do-overs, to use W’s typically-childish boxball analogy)?

Cheney: If President does something during war, it’s legal.  “Go F*@# yourself,” “Dick”!  Or let your cellmate do that for ya….

Finally, for something completely different(?), “Ten Ways to Make Your Kids More Likeable (and Yourself Too)” or something like that.  Happy Solstice!

Renewable energy

Great Wikipedia overview here.  We gotta do it, people, governments, charities, everybody!

Except burning stuff solves nothing, whether it’s imported or domestic.

I only recently heard of geothermal heat-exchange, which sounds like a no-brainer just about universally!  Heating and air-conditioning from the same cheap process and equipment?  Many buildings can even be retrofitted.

How about legally requiring implementation of as many non-burning renewable energy technologies as possible, with government help for the needy to do so, etc etc etc?!!!!!  It seems there’s so much that can be done RIGHT NOW.  We can’t let this slip by us like we did with motor vehicle gasoline mileage standards since Reagan: remember when we were supposed to be up around 100 mpg by the ’90s?!!!

Why would a good Catholic vote Democratic?

(Aside from the candidates’ personal qualifications to do their jobs, that is.)

Abortion shocks the well-formed conscience, especially when it’s not necessary to literally save the woman’s life.  Also, I never knowingly met a Gay person until I left the Catholic Church in the early ’90s.  And I’m a virgin, but I still feel a little weird about birth control, and sex ed in public schools.  And yes, I’m concerned about Islam’s progress in Europe and North America, when they don’t seem able to rein-in their radicals enough to prevent something as heinous as 9/11, the East Africa embassy bombings, the Cole bombing, 7/7, or Madrid.

Catholic radio is telling you to vote Republican for one, more, or all of the above reasons, or more, though they’re really not allowed to endorse candidates or parties.  Some or all U.S. Catholic Bishops are pronouncing abortion a transcendent issue.  Now, I’m a Catholic-trained ethicist.  I studied 5 years for the priesthood and religious life.  I attended 11 years of parochial school (Balto. Catechism questions and answers!), 4 of Catholic high school, 4 of Catholic college, and 2 of Catholic graduate school.  I don’t have a Ph.D., but I respectfully disagree with the idea of abortion as transcendent political issue.  Fr. Frank Pavone’s (of Priests for Life) logic that without “life” no other issue matters, is an emotional slogan, not a philosophical or theological or moral argument.  As such, it does a disservice to the Catholic tradition of moral theological reasoning.

I submit that the Global Warming Cataclysm and the restoration of (small-D) democratic, constitutional, law-respecting, internationally-cooperative government to the United States, are the two most important issues in this campaign, not only for Americans but literally the entire world, more than 6 billion people, exponentially more than are affected by the “conservative Catholic” issues.

Global Warming is expected to create at least a billion refugees by mid-century, and many will die of GW-related disease, hunger, thirst, war, and instability.  Some scientists believe it may transform much of the surface of the Earth, in bad ways.  And if my cumulative analysis is correct, by 2200 we will lose one-third to two-thirds of humanity because of the Global Warming Cataclysm and other parts of the coming “Perfect Storm”: Peak Oil, Third-World ‘dirty’ industrialization, the spread of unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles and asthma and allergies, and the (temporarily) declining planetary magnetic field with rising cancer rates from reduced solar shielding.  To be honest, neither major party is positively addressing these latter issues yet.  And the Republicans have been at the beck and call of Big Oil for 8 years — Bush and Cheney are oilmen, talk about the fox in charge of the henhouse – and have dropped the ball even on the Global Warming Cataclysm, whereas the Democrats say they’ll start trying to work to lessen and counteract its effects, the most compassionate, realistic plan available.

Linked to this is the restoration of respect for law and international aid and cooperation to the U.S. government.  What Washington does or fails to do – politically, economically, militarily, culturally – affects the entire world like no other single country.  We are today’s Rome, for good or for ill … the world’s sole hyperpower.

In the U.S. about a million abortions take place each year.  Even if each involves a father, mother, doctor, nurse, etc., that’s still a few million, against 6 billion plus, and tens of millions of lives if not more; plus, the Global Warming Cataclysm’s effects have been building since the dawn of industrialization in 1750, and will continue building even after we start doing something about them, so the longer we wait, the worse it will be, especially for the world’s weakest and poorest.

OTOH, what have the Republicans really done about abortion anyway, besides use it to raise funds and votes – “red meat for the base”?  There appears little to gain even on the abortion front by voting Republican, whereas Democrats for Life is gaining traction within their party by proposing to prevent most abortions performed in this country by working to remove their social causes: The 95-10 Initiative.

So I conclude that morally a Catholic should vote Democratic, and support Democrats for Life.

Not to mention the Democratic stands on all the other Catholic Social Teachings of the last century or more!

2006 e-voting election theft even bigger than 2004?!

Republicans harassing Blacks who vote early

Unbelievable but true in this day and age, the harassers learned nothing from the ’50s and ’60s except that Southern Democrats were done with that sort of thing.  Really desperate.  They show their true colors … and I haven’t heard McSame/Failin’ disavow them.  IIUC this kind of harassment is a crime, a violation of voters’ civil, legal, constitutional, and human rights … and the police do nothing — just like the cops who it seems were complicit in helping suppress turnout in 2000 and ’04 by blocking streets near polling places in Black neighborhoods, etc.

What could be scarier?: The idea that these people seek to enforce their belief that “Sundays are for church, not voting,” on the rest of us — by mob-rule yet!  There is no legally-established religion in the United States, and hasn’t been since before the Civil War.  People are free to make of Sundays or any other day of the week what they will as long as it’s legal.

Speaking of disavowals, I had forgotten that McCain “pals around with” wannabe-terrorist G. Gordon Liddy (text-search his name among the Comments on the linked page).

Yup, Yup,” it’s clear what Repugs mean when they talk about democracy and “traditional values”: Jim Crow, exclusion of people of color, or rather, of anybody who disagrees with them.  Just like the “Founding Fathers” did!  McCain is even willing to lie — or didn’t know, either way, it’s profoundly disturbing in a wannabe-President — about the scheduling of the last innings of the World Series, on which he chooses to attack Obama.  “You betcha, doggone it!”

Politics roundup

McCain above his own law?

Apparently the campaign that’s calling us “socialists” and “communists” wants Russian money for itself?!  So much for the McCain-Feingold “maverick” Repug!

BTW, it shows what kind of people they are when they put down as socialism and communism, what many of us consider basic Christianity!

Campaign Roundup

Please, you guys, Ayers / Wright is so old, learn a new tune, eh?  Either they don’t have much else to push on us, or they think just getting out their “base” will be enough on Election Day.  What do they know that we don’t?  Is it already “in the bag,” like 2000 and ’04?!!!  Election integrity, please!!!  And watch those polls from here on in for fudging both by pollsters and MSM.

Electoral College tally based on said polls looks good for America so far!  Remember it’s the Electors who elect … and we elect them.

Palin going to court … or so it looks, in connection with her “unlawful abuse of power” in Troopergate and possibly other matters.  It seems Wooten and Monegan want their reputations back, or just compensation.  It’s nice to see politicians being held accountable for their personal lies and abuses once in a blue moon!  I think if public figures defended their good names in court more, it might help clean-up our political discourse, which has been in the gutter since Reagan / Falwell / Robertson.  NOW I bet we’ll find out the meaning of IS!!!

De jure 44th President of the United States John Kerry isn’t just a hockey parent, he PLAYS hockey.  Did Comcast ever have him drop the puck at a Philadelphia Flyers game back in ’04?  It’s just Big Business, corporations, and Republican partisanship.

Political Roundup

Is a rich, powerful White politician like McCain in any position to tell Congressman John Lewis who does or doesn’t remind him of George Wallace and put him in fear of increased racist violence?  Is McCain a mind-reader?

Alaskans rally against Palin!

Palin illegally abuses powers in Troopergate and possibly another matter.  Isn’t 8 years of abuse of power in the Oval Office enough?!  “Political” investigation?  Yeah: BOTH parties in Alaska’s Legislature did it!  How about her expense-abuse and persecution of rape victims?

Who scares you more in the Oval Office, Palin or Obama, OK?!!  At least Obama has Federal, national, and international experience; Palin barely has State-level experience.

A dozen more people for McCain and/or Palin to denounce / repudiate….  And a more poignant look at Palin’s continuing connection with secessionists, from Bobby Kennedy Jr.  (The AIP’s citing of the UN Charter and international law is quite laughable to me as a Native American; maybe if it that party wasn’t so White….)

“Palling around with terrorists” charge is racist … against Arabs.  I think this is only for the Hard Right “base,” not to flip “independents” or such.  So many of them think because Obama has an Arabic name [Named after his father: Can't get much more "family values" than that!!], he’s a Muslim, so the “terrorists” they first think Palin is referring to are Arab / Muslim, not somebody who belonged to a radical American group when Obama was all of eight years old, and went on to become a respected educator.  McCain is little help when his audiences call Obama an Arab, acting like “Arab” is an insult or something bad!!!  As if Arab men aren’t “family men,” to use McCain’s expression?

A “hockey mom” only briefly, and many years ago?  That tells me what she’s doing is a carefuly-crafted false image for sheer political purposes.  Many politicians do it, of course, but to pollute a hockey game with it by letting her drop the puck is unforgiveable to hockey fans like me!  Of course, pro sports is just another business, teams are corporations.

My mother recently asked me what was the deal with Palin’s “betcha’s” and Slurvian droppin’ of final G’s.  Apparently she’s lyin’, pretendin’, and fear-mongerin’.  Just what we need, another “acting President“!

Rage rising on McCain campaign trail,” fear they’ll lose.  (Even though we know they’ll steal it again!)

“Negative ads”? “Attack ads”?  I think we have to stop equating factual criticism ads with lying, deceiving, or exaggerating ads.  I haven’t heard a single truly negative ad for Obama yet.  (Although somebody in my house usually mutes them on TV!)  OTOH I’ve never heard such a pile of stinking manure as we’re being subjected to from the McCain/Palin camp, so often, so many ways, so constantly.

Rolling Stone: The truth about McCain, Palin

…and on the U.S. political system as a whole (no pun intended).  For Palin, see both the mythbusting list on this page and the perceptive Matt Taibbi rant linked from the top of it.  Highlights include Abramoff, earmarks, pork, Alaska’s highest taxes, Alaska’s highest federal spending, Wasilla being Alaska’s meth capital, etc.

They also now have up top there the newer issue’s McCain expose.  I have to go to bed, but get a load of this just one page one:

…Dramesi, who went on to serve as chief war planner for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and commander of a wing of the Strategic Air Command, was not surprised. “McCain says his life changed while he was in Vietnam, and he is now a different man,” Dramesi says today. “But he’s still the undisciplined, spoiled brat that he was when he went in.”

McCAIN FIRST

This is the story of the real John McCain, the one who has been hiding in plain sight. It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather.

In its broad strokes, McCain’s life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers’ powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives’ evangelical churches.

In one vital respect, however, the comparison is deeply unfair to the current president: George W. Bush was a much better pilot.

The lady doth protest too much, methinks

Sarah Palin, I hear,* emphasized little else in her debate with Joe Biden last night than how she’s just like the people watching at home.  Maybe because she’s not?!!!: a young hot White rural Fundamentalist** businesswoman and petty politician***?  America’s alot more diverse than that, and always has been, but Republicans either don’t want to admit that, or want to make us all “petty White Fundamentalist businesspeople.”

In any case, the White House has been run by people “just like us” for 28 years, and look at the mess we’re in.  Maybe “people like us” aren’t qualified to be the federal government’s Chief Executive!  Maybe what’s important isn’t “who I’d like to have a beer with,” but who’s competent, experienced, leaderly, brave, law-abiding, socially just and compassionate, a smidge of political savvy to get the right thing done, “reality-based,” stuff like that.

(*–I didn’t watch or listen.  I find my patience for the drawn-out process is wearing thin.  It’s been clear for me what this nation needs since 2000, especially U.S. Constitution Memorial Day: 12/12/00!)

(**–Actually pentecostal, Assemblies of God.  Do we have any video or audio of her “speaking in tongues”?!  “slain in the Spirit”? — How about that during a national crisis … and while McCain’s post-traumatic under the Lewinsky desk?!!!  How about her delivering “a word of prophecy”?  At least W. doesn’t claim that when he gets foreign policy directives from the Almighty!!!)

(***–Petty in both senses of the word, clearly and sadly.)

A monetary-reform approach to the crisis

From monetary reformer Stephen Zarlenga, Mrs. Kucinich’s old boss.  [Wow, what a makeover!  I liked her better before....]

(Hey, I just realized something: We have debit cards, and debt cards!!!  Imagine if we called them that: I guess that’s why we don’t!!!)

Crisis and Bailouts: A moral question

How did our and the world’s economy become so dependent on gambling on bad debt generated by deceptive, predatory lending?

Can we declare the Reagan Revolution over and restore some sanity to our economic and financial relations with one another??

New Bushie ‘Business Plot’: Take Bailout Money and Run

It looks like Democratic leaders in Congress, and the MSM, are prepared to let them, too.  Here’s the details, and here’s a little different perspective.

I believe that “no review” provision is unconstitutional.  It comes from arrogant “conservatives” who propose using Congress’ power to delineate Federal courts’ jurisdiction, to exclude altogether pet projects like anti-flag-burning, public school prayer, anti-abortion, anti-pornography, etc etc etc.  But that’s at best a misunderstanding, at worst a vile perversion, of the provision, otherwise Congress could just explicitly exclude ALL its laws from judicial review, and do whatever it wants, the Constitution be damned.  But this power has never been seriously interpreted this way by Congress or the Courts.  Every act of the legislative or executive branches has to be reviewable judicially, even if just to say “It’s a political matter” or “It’s a Constitutional Amendment” (which would be obvious of course), “they’re allowed.”  If Congress (and the White House) sought to exclude a new bill from review by existing courts, they would be required to establish a new court just for that bill (like FISA), or designate State courts or something.  We can’t have NO review!

And a dictatorship of the Treasury Secretary, who works for the President?  Please!  I don’t see these powers granted in the Constitution.  Congress spends money.

As for the artificiality of the current “crisis,” you just know these guys were sitting around one day saying to each other, “What’ll they do, let us go under, and take the economy with us?!!”  This may be the culmination of W.’s “planned train wreck,” to totally “discredit” government by ballooning the deficit (incl. erasing the Clinton / Democratic surplus!), instigating a reaction to “shrink government small enough to drown it in a bathtub.”  (Of course, it all started with the Revolution of the Colonial Ruling Elites against The Crown and legitimate traditional government….)  They scream about “handouts” to us who are needy, but demand this total governmental giveaway to predatory corporations and the rich?!!!  This is right up there with trying to abolish Habeas Corpus and spy on us without a warrant.  And for the Democrats to just roll over and play dead on this when they have the majority in Congress would be a mortal sin.  RED states may not be buying it, but will they take that outrage to the polls in November and thrash the GOP that brought it on them?

Again, I have to wonder how much of this “bailout” money will find its way into Repug campaign coffers, or perhaps the corporate paychecks of Bush officials if they leave office in January?

Just more Republican “borrow-and-spend” “voodoo economics”!!!

Indigenous genocide

Andrea Bear Nicholas teaches and works in Native Studies at/from St. Thomas University in the Province of New Brunswick, Canada.  Read through this brief talk transcript at least twice for an inside sense/feel of the genocide that’s still going on against Indigenous people and peoples around the world, including the U.S., as well as “kinder, gentler” Canada.  Against children as well as adults.  Even now, after the closure of the Residential Schools, even now, in “politically correct” government schools.

I think if there’s even ‘one drop’ of ‘Red blood’ left in you, it’ll “cry out to Heaven for” redress.

Professor Bear Nicholas’ talk also raises the question for me, as an Irish / Native American convert in the Greek Orthodox Church, of, What about more-recent immigrants and their languages and cultures?  (UPDATE: Also see FURTHER, below.)  Well, bilingualism, English-French, remains the federal ideal in Canada, although as we are told, there are probably more Chinese speakers than French in British Columbia!  (Tho BC is perfectly entitled to adopt Chinese as an official language … and Manitoba, Ukrainian … and Nova Scotia, Gaelic … etc.  How about Mohawk in Quebec?!  Send Gilles Duceppe back to school! ;) )  As Bear Nicholas points out, when even school is a “cross-cultural experience” for an oppressed minority child, it’s alot harder: Look at how some majority adults need to receive special training in cross-cultural this and that!  So the alternative is not necessarily two – or more – “solitudes” in a country; she also points to so many Europeans who are multilingual.  (As British “executive transvestite” comedian and actor Eddie Izzard reminds us, “The Dutch speak four languages and smoke marijuana!”)  But it also reminds me how unnatural and perhaps unnecessarily difficult, such humongous and “diverse” conquest / immigrant countries are … maybe frees us to think of better, time-tested ways, tolerant rather than physical-force- or other-force-genocidal.  Can you imagine the Romans trying to impose Latin on the Greeks or the Jews?!  (Tho that scene has more to do with latter-day English schools than 2,000-years-ago Mideastern politics!)

Just thinking…!  Not advocating the violent overthrow of the government or anything.  (I need my driver’s license!)

She also shows how we *all* need Aboriginal education, not just Indians.

Finally, what kind of mental health can be expected from what imperialists have put the rest of the world through?  What blowback?  Suicide, schizophrenia, substance abuse, terrorism, rebellion, revolution, desperation, “unreasonableness,” dangerous romanticism, ideology, demagoguery, fragmentation, civil strife, sectarianism, overdependence, “fundamentalism,” “radicalism”…?

FURTHER

The difference between Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous peoples is just that, indigeneity.  In nearly every land there have been Indigenous peoples compromised by non-Indigenous settlers, conquerors, invaders, exploiters, overwhelmers, displacers, etc.  Sometimes their ancestors may not have relocated voluntarily, as with Slaves in the Americas from Europe and Africa.  But non-Indigenous peoples in one land are indigenous to other lands, or their families, their family cultures, languages or dialects, surnames, physical appearance, etc., are.  In theory – I say in theory - if they decided they didn’t like it in the new land, they would in some sense have a home … land … to “return” to, one where they might not stick out as much as if the Indigenous of their new land moved there, one where, if many Irish-Americans are typical, they might even feel an instant ‘mystical’ connection to, even before the plane lands there.  For Indigenous, where they are IS their home … land.  As hospitable as folks in other lands might be, it wouldn’t be the same, especially if the Indigenous in question have managed to retain some Indigenous sense of connection to their home … land … soil … etc.  In the ’90s I thought a little about emigrating to Ireland, but since I’ve learned more about my American Indian background, I wouldn’t dream of leaving the Americas permanently!  I’ve realized as never before in my life a relationship to this soil that goes back literally eons; it’s part of me.

All this may be one good way to understand the special status Indigenous peoples have in international politics, often in domestic law, treaties, countries’ customary law, social ethics or morality or social justice, racial or ethnic justice, etc.  Or should, or aspire to.  Indigenous peoples have been victimized in ways that prove to be fundamental to the very existence of the modern countries in which they now find themselves encapsulated, ways that in doing so fundamentally compromise Indigenous peoples’ way of life, spirituality, economy, language and self-expression, freedom and rights, homes and habits and customs, etc etc etc.  In former times often Indigenous peoples would simply be “terminated with extreme prejudice,” forcibly assimilated, exiled – all things we now consider criminally genocidal, or aspire increasingly so to do.

McCain lies

Recently got the following in a mass-email from national Democratic chairman, Gov. Howard Dean, M.D.:

John McCain is running the sleaziest and most negative presidential campaign we’ve ever seen — his campaign is setting new lows with their lies and desperate personal attacks.

Even Karl Rove, the mastermind of George W. Bush’s slash and burn politics, admitted that McCain’s attacks have gone “too far.”

…The McCain campaign has defended and repeated their lies, even after news outlets and independent watchdogs called them “shamelessly misleading,” “thoroughly dishonest,” and “a toxic mix of lies and double-speak.”

The Republicans even lied about the crowd size at one of Sarah Palin’s rallies — they reported 23,000 attendees when there were only 8,000.

These tactics are just more of the same culture of the dishonesty and division that has hurt America so badly the last eight years.

And John McCain is fighting for another four years of the same. Last week, he hired a Washington super-lobbyist to handpick potential White House staff. Apparently he wants to run our government the same way he runs his campaign — surrounded by lobbyists.

Biden hints at criminal prosecutions

Echoing an Obama promise from the Spring, Biden says if elected they’ll end the stonewalling against criminal prosecution of Bush administration officials where warranted, so no one is above the law.

(Too bad we had to go to British media to learn about it….)

Troopergate probe going Abramoff?

Did somebody “get to” the Palin aide who was to be a key voluntary witness and who proved Palin lied when she said none of her staff were involved?  Looks suspicious.  Just like how Abramoff fallout was going to bring down dozens of GOP Congresscritters … and what’s happened there?  “Challenging jurisdiction”?  Yeah, that’s real open, real change, real “maverick / reformer”!  If she has nothing to hide, she should go back to the Legislature freely, yes with lawyer if necessary … can’t do anything without lawyers anymore.  (And don’t let me hear them go on their “trial lawyer” tear now too!)  But by gosh, get them under oath, under pain of perjury, no Cheney / Gonzales special deals where they can lie again through their perfect teeth.  Sounds like she had a deal: no subpoena embarrassment.  For someone “not part of the Washington establishment,” she’s learning pretty quick!  “That’s not a maverick, that’s a sidekick!!”

Political Puritanism

Why do some denominations in America try to legislate their version of personal morality on the rest of us?

I’m something of a theological social ethicist, and I think it’s because either their churches don’t do a good enough job of regulating their own members (as Stanley Hauerwas opined), or because most Americans don’t belong to their denomination (whatever it may be) to begin with.  Or both.

Putting it another way, religious pluralism (the second reason above) inspires some religious Americans to try to force persons who don’t believe as they do to act as though they do.  You don’t see this so much anywhere else in the world except maybe the post-Communist Orthodox countries, also coping with a pluralistic situation, recovering from generations of state-sponsored militant atheism.  This is because these are the most religiously pluralistic countries in the world, where no one sect is all-powerful or very influential.  As if to prove the point, we’re starting to see this Europe-wide, as Catholics, conservative Protestants, and some Orthodox Christians get together against perceived secularization, even though each European Union country itself has a state or dominant-cultural religion / sect, witness recent controversies over “God” in their proposed constitution, homosexuality, abortion, etc.

If they can’t get us to join their sect through “evangelism” / proselytism, they’ll try to impose their views politically and/or socially.  (Or they’ll seek the state’s help in enforcing even with their own members, though at least this latter option has a long history in religion worldwide!)  Alcohol Prohibition or limitations, adultery or (consensual) sodomy as crimes, Gay adoption prohibition, Blue Laws, government support for religion, “God/Christianity” in the Constitution, censorship, etc. – nothing ever presented seriously with true public policy implications, mostly religious or “for your own good.”  (*I* have some good public-policy, not-explicitly-religious reasons for Blue Laws, but that’s for another post!)

Cynics say there’s a third reason: that the effort isn’t sincere at all, just a “wedge issue” to energize particular religious-political constituencies.  And one has to wonder, when formerly-reasonable-seeming Republican politicians from the ’80s and before, turn into Bible-thumping censors in more recent years: Are they for real, or just playing politics?  And when some of them get caught with their pants down etc.

Palin and shooting wolves from helicopters

(UPDATE 4 September 2008: Obviously Sarah didn’t go through school named Palin!  I was half-asleep when I wrote it.  Sincerest apologies.)

I knew there was something else: Palin and the Alaska Legislature interfered with this week’s referendum on once again trying to ban aerial hunting except in a biological emergency, by sponsoring anti-referendum publicity with taxpayer dollars.  A referendum which outside hunting enthusiasts also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeatState biologists themselves broke Alaska law by killing wolf mothers and pups in their dens, and covered it up!

“Hockey mom,” or “rifle-in-a-chopper mom”?!!!  Sportswoman?: Where’s the sport in that?!!!  I’d say it’s like shooting fish in a barrel, but Mythbusters proved it’s actually easier than that!

This reinforces something I realized a couple hours ago: Palin is giving McCain’s adoring media another chance to dust off his false “maverick” image, by painting her as one too … that’s what he sees in her.  That’s desperate.  But what Senator Bob Casey Jr. at America’s Convention this week said of the one seems to hold true for the other as well: “That’s not a maverick, that’s a sidekick!”  Or as Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said of McCain, the only green in their platform is the money for Big Oil, and the only recycling they’ll be doing will be of W.’s failed energy policies!

Looks like Little Miss Wonderful is crashing and burning, and it’s just been 24 hours!  John, there’s still time for a not-too-ungraceful exit!

I print this at some risk to my own name, and Todd probably got this all through school, but I can’t resist:

McSame/Failin’

Orthodox vision of human rights?

Last week the quadrennial Council of all Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church from throughout the world promulgated a statement, The Basic Principles of the Russian Church Teaching on Human Dignity, Freedom and Rights, discussed here by Interfax’ religion service.  It’s been a topic of discussion and continuing work since the release of the year 2000 Council’s The Basis* of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as of course ongoing human rights criticism of Russia, Serbia, and some other Orthodox and neighboring countries, the spread of the U.S./NATO/EU eastward into the former Warsaw Pact and the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Western-backed ‘color revolutions’ in Georgia, Ukraine, and threatening in Belarus and Mongolia, as well as notable contradictions in Western human rights and election practices itself.  It doesn’t seem available on the Web in English yet, but Interfax emphasizes its confrontation with what some Russians, using a term echoing the “militant atheism” reference to Communism, are now calling “militant secularism”:

According to the authors of the Orthodox vision of human rights released Thursday, “blasphemy shall not be justified by the rights of artist, writer or journalist.” Under the pretence of human rights protection, civilizations “should not impose their lifestyle patterns on other civilization{s}” and the human rights protection “should not {be used cynically to} serve interests of certain countries.”

The right to education provides for gaining knowledge with a view to cultural traditions and visions of a family and a person. Most world {cultures} are based on religion, therefore, any comprehensive education and upbringing should include the basics of religion which created the culture where such person lives,” the Basics read.

The document also states that private life, vision and people’s will should not be subject to “total control”. “Manipulation of people’s conscience and choice by government agencies, political powers, economic and information elites is dangerous for the society. It is also unacceptable to collect, concentrate and use information on any aspects of person’s life without his/her consent,” the Basics’ authors believe.  {Corrections, emphases, and clarifications Tiernan’s.}

Of course, most Russians living today well remember the abuses alluded to in the last paragraph!  I can’t endorse it without seeing it in detail, but I commend its reading, at least, to all of us who seek to deal rightly with Eastern Europe, the Orthodox World, and ultimately the whole Two-Thirds World.

(*–Sometimes translated as Bases, the plural of Basis.)

Gas gouging

How come gas prices at the pump seem to react immediately to predicted bad weather in the Gulf of Mexico, uncertainty in the Middle East or Venezuela, even news reports of increases in barrel prices?

What’s wrong with that?  When you hear “price per barrel,” that’s in the oil futures market.  Those prices shouldn’t make it to the consumer for a good part of a year, the time it takes to get bought at that price at the wellhead or wherever, across the oceans, through refining, and transporting to your gas station.  Plus, those futures are 3, 6, 9 months out.  ISTM somebody’s exploiting modern information overload for unfair profit.  I don’t wanna tax their windfalls; I wanna END them!!!!!

As for the other causes, they should have a delayed effect too.  They don’t.  Reminds me of the joke about PBS, “Petroleum’s British Subsidiary”!!  Except now it’s ALL the media!

Al Franken in trouble?

This doesn’t sound like it should be a big deal, but you know the Repug Smear Machine will make it into one.  But maybe writers can fix it….  After all, he’s still “Me … Al Franken!”

Al Gore on SNL: Perspective

Just in case you forgot what’s at stake in ’08 – easy to do - this video postcard from two years ago this month from the de jure 43rd President of the United States.

Ethical GOP Supremes?

Credit where credit’s due: Roberts and Alito stood down when required by judicial ethics, something their Republican colleagues have sometimes failed to do in celebrated cases when their Party or vested interests really needed them.

McCain has TWO preacher problems!

This from bravenewfilms.org:

You may have heard of Rev. John Hagee, the McCain supporter who said God created Hurricane Katrina to punish New Orleans for its homosexual “sins.” Well now meet Rev. Rod Parsley, the televangelist megachurch pastor from Ohio who hates Islam. According to David Corn of Mother Jones, Parsley has called on Christians to wage war against Islam, which he considers to be a “false religion.” In the past, Parsley has also railed against the separation of church and state, homosexuals, and abortion rights….

John McCain actively sought and received Parsley’s endorsement in the presidential race. McCain has called Parsley “a spiritual guide,” and he hasn’t said whether he shares Parsley’s vicious anti-Islam views. That’s because the mainstream media refuses to ask. And so, we’ve taken matters into our own hands, joining Mother Jones to present the truth about McCain’s pastor:

Watch the video: http://bravenewfilms.org/watch/27395636/38133?utm_source=rgemail

Since the media won’t question McCain about his deeply bigoted pastor, it’s up to you to call attention to this issue. Make McCain’s pastor problem a major story by forwarding this video to your family, friends, and colleagues. Digg it! Anything to spread the word.

We can’t let McCain get away with aligning himself with a religious leader who’s called for an all-out war on Islam, someone who draws no distinctions between Muslims and violent Islamic extremists. Now is the crucial time to act.

What’s Mrs. McCain hiding?

This couple are not new to politics.  She has to know she has to let us know about her money and especially her vested interests.  If a rich person or a Republican refuses to disclose, we have to conclude it’s for some reason they don’t want us to know about.  If she wanted “privacy issues,” she should’ve divorced John long ago!  But rich Republicans, actually rich people in general, are usually not squeaky-clean.  Like the old mustard commercial said, “How do you think they got so rich?!”  Not by winning the lottery!!!

Is Hillary stealing votes?

See here.  Has she made a deal with the devils who put Putsch / Chicanery in the White House?  Furthermore, would this be a good thing or a bad thing?  After all, if anymore in America as back in the USSR, “It’s not the votes that count. It’s who counts the votes,” is this the only way to “win”?  Does Obama need to hire himself some hackers???

It’d make one hell of a movie, leadership of the world decided by competing campaign hackers, something like the climactic scene in WarGames…!  Parallel plots: the real-world election campaign and the hacker intrigue.  “Sex, sex, must get sex into it…!

Remember, in d/Democratic primaries it’s not just winner-take-all, you need to run-up the score to get as many delegates as you can in each state.  Preferably d/Democratically, though….

F*CK YOU, SCALIA!

And the horse you rode in on!

He tells 60 Minutes (CNN video package preceded by commercial) America should “Get over it” for him and his four GOP partisan buddies on the Supreme Court illegally giving the 2000 Presidential Election not to Al Gore who won it, but to the real Sore W. Loserman and his cronies/handlers, who have basically flushed the country and the planet down the toilet, just like they planned.

Scalia should be brought up on charges of judicial misconduct for his political and inflammatory comments in and outside the court since joining it in the ’80s; he should even be disbarred.  He treats the highest judicial office in the land and one of the most important in the world like he’s some village traffic court judge, shooting off his mouth, ruling however he wishes with no real regard for the law or the Constitution.  I can even say personally that he is one of the most ingracious, even impolitic, public figures I have ever had the displeasure to encounter – and I’ve known a few doozies!  And he’s the biggest Fascist and Theocrat on the Court, giving Catholic lawyers and judges a bad name.

Finally, now we REALLY have to seat the Florida delegates at the Democratic Convention, and might as well the Michigan ones too for good measure.  Hillary won both, so she’d gain some delegates, but since Obama didn’t run in Michigan, it should either be rerun or else let their non-Hillary delegates vote their consciences – you know 40 pct. Uncommitted was a shadow vote for Barack!

Though why the CNN correspondent says not seating Florida would hurt US in November, when Floridians clearly can expect no justice or consideration from the Repugs that doesn’t go their way, beats the heck out of me.  You know those old Jews ain’t gonna vote for Hitler twice!!!  (How can Al Franken* [from 7 years ago no less] and I be the only people who remember that?!!!)

What this interview does do for me is raise the specter of another high court coup d’etat … if the GOP thieves don’t do their job right at the ballot box, er, computer, of course … and their pollster / Mainstream Media backers forget to fudge the exit polls again.  Scalia hasn’t quite retired yet….

(*–BTW he needs your help!)

Boobs

Looks like it was female exposure week on Late Night with Conan O’Brien!  (Is it Sweeps again already?!!!)  It concluded last night with the Rennaissance Faire “tavern wenches,” then Tina Fey plugging her new movie Baby Mama … and, well, BABY, MAMA!!!  If things don’t work out with What’s-His-Name, *I’m* a nice Orthodox boy who always loved you on Update with those glasses…!*

It seems today we have not just cleavage, but various kinds of actual breast exposure: ‘top breast meat,’ ‘side breast meat,’ even ‘bottom breast meat.’  If you know what I mean!  At 1am it’s OK, but “not ready for prime time” IMHO.

(*–UPDATE … so to speak … 23 May 2008: I kid, of course.  God grant Many Years to Tina and family!)

McCain, torture, revenge?

Might McCain allow torture as revenge for the torture he suffered in Vietnam?  Something to think about before voting for him for President.

More Torturegate

I approved.”

–George Walker Bush, de facto 43rd President of the United States of America

How many confessed (non-sexual) “high crimes and misdemeanors” does it take to get impeached in this country?  Do we really have to get him an intern?!!!

A governmental experiment in class harmony

The Senate of Ireland.  Inspired by a papal encyclical, no less!  If only it were open to actual members of the “vocational panels,” instead of their self-appointed (or party-appointed) representatives using it as a stepping stone to the far more powerful lower house of parliament, the Dail (pronounced DALL, sort of).  I thought I’d read about something similar on the Continent during the Middle Ages, like maybe the Diet of the Holy Roman Empire (so-called), but maybe not.

Intriguing is the “University panel,” anybody with a degree from the two big Universities in the Republic.  Though since college education is becoming more common, maybe it’d make sense to raise the qualification to holders of advanced degrees like Master’s and Doctorates.  Certainly it shouldn’t be abolished like some want: it’s ancient Gaelic tradition, going way back in Scotland; plus their expertise and study could be useful to a Republic, since Republics are normally so beholden to passions of the moment.

What about the equally-ancient tradition of senior churchmen – or women nowadays perhaps! – in upper houses, such as the leading ones in the four biggest religious groups in the land - Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, and mainline Presbyterian – who are lifelong or very-long-time citizens of the Republic?  What about minority religions in modern, multicultural Ireland?: Quakers, Hindus, Jews, Muslims?  A lay Orthodox Christian?  (Orthodoxy traditionally bars clergy from government, preferring a “symphonic” relationship with the State, counseling its leaders privately [usually], from its perspective of Faith and Truth.)  I know some Irish religious leaders have big mouths, but where else can they be debated with, publicly and in-person, politely, as I’m sure Seanad Eireann requires?

I’m intrigued about suggestions of Diaspora representation in the Seanad, but not sure how they’d work this out, with over 70 million of us worldwide….

There’s one other significant ethno-cultural interest among Irish at home and abroad that seems to cry out for representation, what are commonly called the Clans – a term borrowed from the Scots - or sometimes more technically the Septs, one of which is a collection of people (apparently) descended from the same original hereditary surname and place and/or instance* – IOW the same (apparent) extended family - or sometimes a collection of such with the same surname but differing places of origin or of instance within the Island of Ireland.  Who represents a Clan has sometimes been a matter of controversy, even involving the Irish government itself, understandings of different legal systems and traditions that claim to have been followed in Ireland and elsewhere, competing claimants to Clan Chieftainries or organizational legitimacy, alleged outright fraud in this regard, etc.  But Clans are often a means of aiding reconnecting with Ireland for Diaspora Irish, emotionally and not infrequently physically, with Clan Gatherings there promoting localized and broader tourism.  But I think it’s fair to say that the leading undisputed representative of any Clan is The O’Brien, Prince of Thomond, Baron Inchiquin, descendant of the best-known Irish High King Brian Boru (d. AD 1014), and a predecessor of whom was considered for restoring the Gaelic Monarchy in Ireland in the 1930s-40s.  I believe he’s Anglican also, so in Seanad Eireann he could wear three hats at once, covering Clans, Diaspora, and Protestants!

(*–I say instance to cover families who have come to definitely identify and be considered as Irish down through the centuries but originated outside Ireland, such as the Scottish Gallowglas families, the “Old English,”  Norman Irish “more Irish than the Irish themselves,” etc.  Although often these too must be identified or distinguished with the help of varying Irish geography.)

McCain lawbreaking

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