Monday, August 16, 2004

Bush refuses to pray publically for Oregon

Bush refuses to pray publically for Oregon

Who's he trying to kid?

Exchange in an Oregon high-school gym, at a Bush campaign stump:

Female citizen: I've heard through the grapevine that Oregon is one of the most unchurched states in the union. And I really feel like it shows up in every walk of our society. Could you take a moment to pray for Oregon, for us, right now?

President Bush: I appreciate that. I think the thing about our country that you must understand is that one of the most valuable aspects of America is that people can choose church or not church, and they're equally American. That is a vital part of our society.

The question was probably no surprise. Bush campaign officials readily say that they carefully screen the crowds by distributing tickets through campaign volunteers. The result, according to campaign reporter Elisabeth Bumiller, is nearly always a "rapt Republican audience" and is often "a love-in with heavily Christian crowds".

The president declined to pray in the school gymnasium.

A bold move for Bush, who must think he's fooling voters (outside his campaign stump venues) by touting religious tolerance while hurling wedge-issues down their throats and supporting General Boykin's insanely fundamentalist comments about the Iraq war when he knows we're in a deadly power struggle with fundamentalist Muslims.

Thoughts from William Rivers Pitt

Thoughts from William Rivers Pitt

William Rivers Pitt believes the short-term purpose of the most recent terror alert is to "dissipate the building energy that is being directed at New York City by hundreds of thousands of protesters who intend to surround the Republican convention in a ring of rage."
*The FBI has been canvassing our communities and questioning political demonstrators across the country, and in rare cases even subpoenaing them, in an aggressive effort to forestall what officials say could be violent and disruptive protests at the Republican National Convention in New York.
Is this the free America you wish for..dream about??*


I recommend that you read the section titled "Killing the Buddha" at the same article by William Rivers Pitt. (Read the whole thing if you have time). Mr. Pitt says that progressives (whose political action groups have created a splinter-effect based on the respective Democratic candidates they'd supported this year) need to "leave aside the candidate they were following with such devout energy and hope. They need to remember that they, the people, are the point of the exercise, the power players, and not the candidates they followed."

As Mr. Pitt said in February of this year (as many progessives working for various Democratic candidates were becoming disillusioned as their candidates fell away):

The one you've been waiting for has always been here. The one you've been waiting for pressured these candidates to fight the onslaught of the Bush administration. The one you've been waiting for took to the streets before the Iraq invasion, worked for the campaign which most inspired, agitated against the PATRIOT Act, spoke to friend and neighbor and family about what has gone wrong.

This final truth is self-evident. You are the one you've been waiting for. You drive the agenda. You make or break this political season. You are the hero. You've been here the whole time.


Educate Yourself About Iraq Today

Educate Yourself About Iraq Today

..before it's too late.

How can two reporters see the same thing so differently? Who is a realist? Who is an idealist? You decide.

Juan Cole raises the stark contrasts in the reporting of the recent meeting of the Iraqi Congress by John Burns ofthe N.Y. Times and Rajiv Chandrasekaran of the Washington Post. While Chandrasekaran presents an almost panglossian story of the triumph of democracy, Burns says that the convention was a mess, disrupted by repeated mortar fire and by angry delegates who stormed the stage to denounce the Allawi government and demand it cease military operations in Najaf.

Who is Grand Ayatollah Muhammed Husain Fadlallah?

Shiite leader Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Husain Fadlallah (born in Najaf in 1935) granted al-Jazeerah an interview recently. The interview's subtext was basically: "Why isn't anyone doing anything about what those awful Americans are doing to the holy city of Najaf, which is an Arab as well as a Shiite issue?"
The issue came up of calls for the absent al-Sistani to resign, and Fadlallah (correctly) pointed out that high Shiite authorities don't resign, it isn't that kind of position. Fadlallah confirmed that he had called for the Iraqis to rise up and use all available means to force the Americans back out of Iraq. During the interview, he reaffirmed his opposition to Iraq's occupation and alliance with all who work for an end to it. He holds sway with a political party in Iraq, the Shiite al-Da`wa Party, who is currently averring to be cooperative with the U.S.

Who is Grand Ayatollah Kadhim al-Haeri?

Al-Jazeerah's crawl is saying that Grand Ayatollah Kadhim al-Haeri (the elder Sadr’s designated successor), based in Qom (Iran), has issued a fatwa or ruling that no Iraqi Muslim may fight another Muslim on behalf of the current regime in Iraq and its American backers. Al-Haeri is sometimes called the "fifth" grand ayatollah of Najaf.

President Bush has embroiled our nation in a Holy War

How many of my readers understand that President Bush has embroiled us in a Holy War, whether or not the war we've waged is religion-based? If one side clearly and successfully hypes the war as a Holy War, how do we, on the "other side", convince them that it is not a new crusade?

What does democracy mean to them?

What do we mean when we say we want to spread democracy? A stupid question, you say? Well, think about it. We see democracy as we have come to understand it here in America. The democracy we are promoting in Iraq is different from ours and the extremely powerful Fundamentalist leaders in the Muslim nations are calling us holy warriors who threaten their age-old customs.

Saddam was just a tin-pot dictator abusing Muslims

I'm not insinuating who's right and who's wrong here. I'm always on the side of freedom for all people. I'm simply pointing out that they have an incredibly different point of view about the pre-emptive attack on Iraq. Religion has an almost magical power over people and it's nearly impossible to separate the religious mind from the culture in the Muslim world. Attacking them certainly wasn't the way to convince them. Remember that the non-fundamentalist Saddam has been gone since last December and Iraq is still in chaos. The problem obviously is ages and ages old and Saddam was just a tin-pot dictator abusing Muslims to keep them under his thumb.

From where will our help come? Where are the brightest minds?

I'd like anyone who can successfully and convincingly argue with these Fundamentalists to step forward. No one in the Bush administration has been smart enough to convince them. Bombs won't convince them. Bombs will only kill them.

As sensitive as the Bush administration is trying to wage war in the holy city of Najaf right now, it seems that bombs are their only option.

What did the Bush administration get us into?

If they didn't have a convincing or desired idea to sway the people of Iraq, I believe the Bush administration has done Iraq, the U.S., and the Muslim world an incredible injustice. The Middle East has become an American-hating toilet of terror because we fell into Osama bin Laden's trap. Even if we catch him, he can still rejoice in seeing that his jihad is alive and well.

Frankly, I'm sickened at the thought.

Bush likely to lose election

Bush likely to lose election

Matthew Gross cites a Josh Marshall commentary about a recent David Broder column.

Bottom line, Broder believes the odds are against Bush being re-elected. Mr Broder states that, if you go by conventional ways of reading the numbers, both nationwide and in key swing states, President Bush is on the way to losing the presidential race. Sheer accountability for economic and foreign policy failures will be a prime factor for voters who decide to go against the Bush ticket.

Convention theme: "Let's dance the last dance..."?

Matthew Gross believes that pundits trying hard to find a bounce in early September (post-convention) for Bush, but he predicts it won't be there. He believes then, and only then, will the conventional wisdom intimated by Broder's column solidify.

I hope this is true. I do not have resounding faith in the mainstream media. If Kerry doesn't win by a landslide (by all that is sane, he should), I believe it's only because those in media have not done a proper job of reporting the truth. For example, I've seen one too many staged Bush rallies without news reporters pointing out the fact that they were limited to only those who were "friendly" to the Bush campaign. (CBS is the only news network I can credit for revealing the truth about these campaign stumps--and the word is spreading). I can't tell you how many times I've muttered "propaganda" under my breath when an audience-controlled Bush speech has been aired and the reporter never tells you the audience was practically hand-picked and that free speech was banned.

I credit organizations such as FAIR and Media Matters for exposing the dangerous cracks in the media. Disinformation leads to unnecessary wars and presidents (without a mandate) who push radical agendas down the throats of citizens.

Bush-supporters are well aware that the president is in danger of losing in November. They are blaming 527s and organizations such as America Coming Together for the incredibly successful voter-registration movement. Watch for the right-wing movement to end 527s (thus limiting free speech and the flow of new voters). I assure you that movement is coming. Strange bedfellows like Mitch McConnell and the ACLU would not approve.

Speaking of strange bedfellows, here's one last suggestion:
Do not 'misunderestimate' the power of Bruce Springsteen and Howard Stern.

Piedmont Bloggers Conference Aug 28th

Piedmont Bloggers Conference- August 28th

Blogger Ed Cone has written an article about political blogging at the Greensboro News & Record.

Ed Cone also makes us aware of the upcoming Piedmont Bloggers Conference August 28th in Greensboro. (For you bloggers in the South and anyone else who can make it). Moderators will include Matthew Gross, Ruby Sinreich, David Hoggard, and Ed Cone.

For a listing of NC blogs, see:
NC blogs
North State Blogs
Erskine Bowles for Senate