Friday, April 23, 2004

Follow the Leader
N.Y. Times op-ed by Joshua Micah Marshall
Reaching to the Choir

In this month's American Prospect, writer Ayelish McGarvey asks:
Think all evangelicals are right-wingers? Don't believe everything you read. Just as many are politically moderate. Can Democrats win their votes? God only knows, it's worth a try.


..Will secular liberals ever be willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with "Jesus people" who aren't afraid to talk about their faith?

..Open, unembarrassed professions of religiosity haven't been part of the Democratic Party's culture for some time now..

..The party won't change overnight. But the extremist ideology of this [Bush] administration -- clearly antithetical to virtually everything Jesus Christ stood for -- has created an opening among religious voters..

..The Democrats can win some votes, redefine the role that religion plays in American public life, and neutralize one of the right wing's great wedge issues -- if they choose to pursue it.."

Toomey strikes Um-Biblical Chord

Go here to see the floppy-eared Pat Toomey call the umbilical cord an um-biblical cord. (Go to time 23:00 and listen in). A political/Freudian slip or just goofy ignorance? He does it at least three times. It's nearly as hilarious as his opportunistic claim to being politically pro-life when he's been pro-choice on public record. Forgive me for saying it, but Toomey reminds me of "Preparation-H Raymond" (as played by Brian McCann) on the Conan O'Brien show.
I hope, with Pennsylvania's Republican voters, he loses soundly to the decent Republican Arlen Specter. If the Norquists of the extreme right-wing continue to harass and attempt to unseat Northeastern/Midwestern Republican incumbents, they may see the incumbents turning Independent as they jump off the extremist bandwagon. Fine. We could use a healthy and pragmatic third choice at the polls.

"Post 1994, Republicans don't raise taxes, and the ones who do "don't get promoted."
---Grover Norquist

If you've come looking for a John Kerry Waffle House Song....

It's not here. I notice many of you are searching for it. I haven't heard it yet. Must be funny?
Faith Waits for Opportunity

Make no mistake. The Shia insurgency in Iraq is based in strong faith as well as protective nationalism. The stretch of nomenclature from "nationalists" to "terrorists"...or from "occupation" to "democracy" will only take you as far as the borders of reality.

You just can't go any further (except crazy).

In 1965, an exile from Iran came to live in Najaf. Ironically, he was directed towards Najaf by the Shah of Iran, who was apprehensive about the warm treatment that this exile received in his first abode of refuge, Turkey. This cleric, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, would one day lead a revolution. Khomeini stayed in Najaf till October 1978, when he was thrown out of Iraq and found a home — and international publicity — in Paris. In Iraq, the elder Shia Ayatollahs had treated Khomeini with reserve if not disapproval. As Saddam expanded his power base within the Baath regime, there was little appetite for a radical activist. But Khomeini found admirers in the younger generation, including within the families of Sadr and Hakim.

Between 21 January and 8 February 1970 Khomeini delivered a series of lectures in Najaf that laid down the ideological foundations of his revolution and searched for a solution to the ‘hopelessness and impotence of the Muslim world’. He argued that while the Shias must wait for their promised Imam, they could still turn to the Quran and the Prophet’s life for guidance. The clergy would lead this battle for revival: after all, the Prophet was a political person. On the specific question of the national divide between Iraqi and Irani Shias, he offered practical advice: they should preserve their borders but unite their thoughts. Mohammad Sadr was in the forefront of Iraqi Shia support for Khomeini. A chant rose in Najaf: "Ash al Khomeini wil Sadr weddin-e lazim yantaser!" ("Long live Khomeini and Sadr, and faith will prevail!"). This was accompanied by "Kulana lak fida Khomeini!" ("We are for you to sacrifice, Khomeini!").

.....democracy is incompatible with occupation, and a mere change in nomenclature will not change reality."

It's time our government stopped calling Iraq part of a war on terror. It's never been about weapons of mass destruction or 9-11 and we'd have to be blind not to see that we were misled abour our reasons for being there. It's always been about a strong Bush-administration desire for regime change in Iraq (Iran to follow). If President Bush doesn't speak out about this obvious slap to our trusting American faces, he will never..I repeat never be re-elected. Congress gave him their trust (when they should have known better) and he betrayed them. George Tenet was integrally complicit in the rush to war by convincing the ignorant Bush that he had a 'slam-dunk' opportunity to fool the public. All this would create a fitting scenario for immediate impeachment, but with a bitterly partisan Congress and a polarized nation, we know it will not occur.

This government of ours is broken. It pains me to see the civil division. I believe it's as bad as it was in the days leading up to the Civil War. The Right has created a trap for our nation in gathering around them a gigantic gaggle of passionate social conservatives who will cling to and cluck about social issues and ignore all other issues at our nation's peril. The Right stokes the fires of social conservatism, thus appealing to the angels of our worst (wedge) nature. The Norquistian Right uses political strong-arm tactics to try to shame our Congressmen out of their true fiscal responsibilities to the People.

Meanwhile, the Right conducts a dreaded war of lies, misleadings, and empire (at a future nation-breaking expense to taxpayers without a current appeal for economic sacrifice....the most unrealistic and insane fact of all).
Right under our noses. (And does it ever smell).

Think on these things carefully. We're in a world gone mad.
The wild garden needs your tending. The plantings are of many origins....yet they stemmed from the dark-same timeless void. Their near-miraculous blooms come and go as seasons pass. Their beauty is hidden by a pestilence which may soon render the earth barren. The harmonious aura of each respective wild planting has been brought to the world by the source of dispassionate nature and, without tending, will never exist independently. The blooms of the wild garden cannot be left to stand alone...abandoned to the fates, fires and winds.

To all interested gardeners with the tools of love and truth in hand, I'm waiting for you to join me.
Born unimpassioned, the flowers have no knowlege or care of the source by which they were thrown together. They instinctively strive... only for innocent life itself. It's our responsibility to see they shine as they were meant to shine.

To assert that God is both violent and nonviolent is to declare that God is violent. It is analogous to the person who says, "I am nonviolent but..." The "but" is the place where violence is chosen and is justified....

......Once it is believed God endorses homicidal violence, then the only question left for violent monotheism is, "when" He endorses it. Theologies, sophisticated and simple-minded, complementary and contradictory, abound that designate the "when"..........

.......Does the omniscient and omnipotent God place anyone on this planet with the right to kill another person? Can the enemy of a state, tribe, religion, economic system or person objectively be the enemy of God?.........

.......In the world of violent monotheism, regardless of the institutional or theological architecture it assumes, it is inevitable that one person's collateral damage will be another person's beloved daughter or son or spouse or parent or friend, that one person's freedom fighter will be another person's terrorist, that one person's military hero will be another person's mass murderer, that one person's God will be another person's fiend......

.....since Christians and Christian leaders think Jesus' teachings on the rejection of homicidal violence are unrealistic, fatuous, fanciful, utopian, idealist, silly, and impractical, this effectively guarantees that Christian leaders and their followers will never attempt to implement them....."

-- Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy
Bandar outranks those sissies at Foggy Bottom

Regarding Bob Woodward's book about the inner sanctum of the Bush war council, Marie Cocco states:

I want more pages, but not from Woodward. Twenty-eight of them, to be exact......

....after 9/11, we learned of another part of the unspoken pact: We are supposed to avert our eyes from the Saudi nurturing of radical Islamists and the royal family's slush funds for terror. Congressional investigators wanted a hard look and wrote a chapter with their initial findings. The president says we can't see it.

Since when does the President have the uncheckable right to tell the people that they can't see or know anything about these 28 pages? Even the Saudi government long ago asked Bush to declassify the 28 pages and Bush continues to refuse. He obviously has something he needs to keep in the shadows...he can't be proud of whatever lies in those pages. Perhaps the information runs against the interests of the American people. Perhaps it shows allegiance to Saudi Arabia over the United States. After all, we now know that Bush gave his country's trusted secrets to Prince Bandar before his own cabinet members. If this is looked at too closely, I think the President will know he will be (appropriately) impeached. The 28 pages are all about CYA. America is not securely in the hands of the American citizenry where it has always been meant to belong. The President tells us he's on a God-inspired mission to spread democracy to foreign lands while democracy is made irrelevant here at home in America.
Pentagon not happy about released military coffin photos

A website published dozens of photographs of war dead arriving at the largest U.S. military mortuary, prompting the Pentagon to order an information clampdown today.

Dover Gallery here

Read here about how Tami Silicio came to lose her job.