People For the American Way has created a "Nuclear Option" Mass Immediate Response. By giving them your cell phone number, they will text message you as soon as Senate Republicans trigger the "nuclear option." Embedded in that text message will be a link to the Senate switchboard. With the push of a couple buttons, your call – along with thousands of others – will go right through to the corridors of power demanding preservation of the filibuster.
This is a brand new technology, and this is the first time it is being used on a large scale. They say:
"Don’t worry: we will NEVER send you spam or disclose your number to anyone else; in fact, we won’t even send you any more text messages without first sending you an e-mail like this one, asking you to opt in."
Even in an era of intense partisan divides, the reaction of parishioners here suggests that even in the heart of "red-state" America, many want to see some boundary drawn between the demands of their faith and their ballot-box choices.
H.R. 418, the "Real I.D. Act" was passed by the House. Margaret Stock explains what a nightmare it will be for the Department Of Defense if it is signed into law. Raw Story has reported that House Democrats were locked out of debate on the sweeping and controversial REAL ID Act. A total of 42 House Democrats supported the bill. Currently, the legislation is sitting in a Senate committee.
(2) NO JUDICIAL REVIEW- Notwithstanding any other provision of law (statutory or nonstatutory), no court shall have jurisdiction—
(A) to hear any cause or claim arising from any action undertaken, or any decision made, by the Secretary of Homeland Security pursuant to paragraph (1); or
(B) to order compensatory, declaratory, injunctive, equitable, or any other relief for damage alleged to arise from any such action or decision.
...A "delightful example of the Rule of Man-not-Law", writes Brian Doherty of Reason"..That any member of U.S. Congress could vote for a law with such a provision—giving one (non-elected, no less) official the power to override any existing law, exempt from any judicial oversight or relief, in pursuit of his goals ought to be enough to chill your blood, kids, and send us running for the border—after our passport gets biometrically chipped, of course."
Roch Smith Jr's site, Greensboro101.org, based in North Carolina, was hacked April 28 by someone with self-described Republican leanings. Smith said he had no qualms about seeking assistance from the FBI, even though he has received e-mail from others who worry that the FBI won't treat the organization fairly because of their leftist leanings. "Law enforcement isn't for Republicans only. It's a crime. This is America, and we have laws that should be enforced," he said. "In my opinion, if they continue to have a childish view of law enforcement and the FBI, then they'll continue to leave themselves vulnerable to attacks."
Social Security: Just who is the "middle class"? Who gets what taken away? That's an all-important question in the Social Security debate.
US real wages fall at fastest rate in 14 years - Stingy pay rises mean many Americans will have to work longer hours to keep up with the cost of living, and they could ultimately undermine consumer spending and economic growth.
The U.S. Army, remaining short of its recruiting goals and with recruiters facing disciplinary action for their dealings with potential recruits, will halt its recruiting efforts for one day this month to allow commanders to emphasize proper conduct.
US towns brace for base-closing wave: The Pentagon is expected to announce a large number of closings among its 425 domestic bases.
Blogger-Pundit Ed Cone talks about his recent "appearance" on Jon Stewart's Daily Show. Skippy The Bush Kangaroo "appeared" the same night. Jon Stewart says "When I want news, I turn to CNN...and they turn...to...skippy...the bush kangaroo."
Helena Cobban discusses war-crimes prosecutions and how they can actually be counterproductive, and uses the example of Southern Sudan, where international funds were used to support the demobilization and resettlement of former fighters.
"We tell ourselves that, statistically speaking, there are more murders in New York City or Washington, D.C. than in a war-zone like Kabul...But with a single terrorist attack, that confidence can evaporate. A bombing at an Internet cafe in Kabul will always get more attention than a murder in, say, New York’s Central Park. One is a symbolic attack on The West; the other is just a senseless death."
Protests are breaking out in Afghanistan over alleged abuses of the Koran at Gitmo. Four protestors were shot down and 70 were wounded yesterday in Jalalabad where protesters threw stones at police, and at least three more were shot down today. Several hundred students shouting "Death to America" held a peaceful protest in the capital of Kabul today. Protesters attacked police and government offices in Wardak province, southwest of Kabul. Hundreds of protesters in Logar province, 50 km (30 miles) south of Kabul, blocked the main road and chanted "Death to Bush" and "Long live Islam".
Pat Lang argues that this is a civil war. It may be, of an odd guerrilla sort....Sunni politicians are complaining bitterly about the demands for ideological conformity coming from the Shiite religious parties that dominate the new government....Iraq expert Phebe Marr thinks the Sunni Arab problem is not going away and that the American public will have to get more realistic about the situation.
David Sirota expects a hell of a lot more than the mainstream media (ABC, in this case) is apparently willing to give us on Iraq.
....how unbelievable this actually is: A MAJOR AMERICAN MEDIA OUTLET HAS NOW DECLARED THAT THEY SIMPLY ARE NOT INTERESTED IN LETTING THE CARNAGE IN IRAQ "BREAK THROUGH" IN THEIR NEWS COVERAGE - AS IF IT IS SIMPLY NOT NEWSWORTHY. You can just imagine the pathetic newsroom attitude: we don't cover cats getting stuck in trees, we don't birthday parties at the local McDonalds, and we don't cover America's multi-billion dollar war in the Mideast.
Several weeks ago, Episcopal priest and former Republican Senator John Danforth began an op-ed in the New York Times by writing: "By a series of recent initiatives, Republicans have transformed our party into the political arm of conservative Christians." And, I would add, some Religious Right leaders are trying to transform the church into the religious arm of conservative Republicans. Either way, these partisan attempts to hijack faith and politics are wrong.
Yet each week brings a new outrage. This week's news was of a Baptist church in North Carolina, where nine members, including three deacons, say they had their membership revoked because they were Democrats who supported John Kerry. According to the Charlotte News-Observer, the nine walked out of a church meeting when Pastor Chan Chandler asked them to sign documents agreeing with his political views. When they left, members remaining voted to terminate their membership.
While the pastor has attributed it to a "misunderstanding," the former members say that last fall he told the congregation that anyone who planned to vote for Kerry should either leave the church or repent. One, a 75-year-old deacon, told the News-Observer: "He went on and on about how he's going to bring politics up, and if we didn't agree with him we should leave. I think I deserve the right to vote for who I want to." News reports today indicate that Pastor Chandler is resigning.
It's the latest outrage in a continuing pattern. Last year, news stories included Republicans seeking church membership lists and mailing postcards implying Democrats wanted to ban the Bible. Just a few weeks ago, Religious Right speakers held what they billed as "Justice Sunday - Stopping the Filibuster Against People of Faith" in support of President Bush's judicial nominees. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council was quoted in the New York Times as saying Democrats "have targeted people for reasons of their faith or moral position."
Because many other religious voices spoke to challenge the attempt to make God a partisan, President Bush, to his credit, repudiated the equation of faith with his policies. He was asked at his recent press conference whether he thought filibusters against nominees were "an attack against people of faith." He replied: "I think people are opposing my nominees because they don't like the judicial philosophy of the people I've nominated.... I don't ascribe a person's opposing my nominations to an issue of faith."
Then, on ABC's This Week, George Stephanopoulos asked Pat Robertson about his statement that "the out-of-control judiciary, and this was in your last book Courting Disaster, is the most serious threat America has faced in nearly 400 years of history, more serious than al Qaeda..." Robertson replied: "George, I really believe that. I think they are destroying the fabric that holds our nation together...the gradual erosion of the consensus that's held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings."
This latest news from North Carolina is the logical, inevitable result of the road the Religious Right and some Republicans have taken.
It is the assumption that Christians must accept one partisan political position on issues, or be accused of not being Christian. This is an assumption we must reject. Rather, we must insist on the deep connections between spirituality and politics while defending the proper boundaries between church and state that protect religious and nonreligious minorities and keep us all safe from state-controlled religion. We can demonstrate our commitment to pluralistic democracy and support the rightful separation of church and state without segregating moral and spiritual values from our political life. Abraham Lincoln, in his famous Second Inaugural Address, said of the two sides in the Civil War: "Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other." He would say the same today.
The Republican Party is not God's own party, as the Religious Right and some Republican leaders seem to be suggesting. And, of course, neither is the Democratic Party. We must say it again and again until it is heard and understood: God is not partisan; God is not a Republican or a Democrat. When either party tries to politicize God, or co-opt religious communities for its political agenda, it makes a terrible mistake. God's politics challenge all our politics. Our faith must not be narrowed to the agenda of one political party.