My featured quote of the day is from David Sirota. He's talking about the Washington Post's front page story this Sunday about the Democratic Party's position on the Iraq War, in which he believes the newspaper makes a highly misleading statement about the Republican Party's position:
"Here's the thing - politicians either support a plan to draw down troops at some point in the future, or they support leaving U.S. troops in Iraq indefinitely. There is no "middle ground" and there is no "third way." Being for one of those positions automatically means you are against the other position, and vice versa - it's a zero sum question, no matter how much the Washington Post, the Beltway neoconservatives or D.C. Republican Party operatives try to fudge the issue with warmed over double talk. In other words, this is the one of the times where Bush's black-or-white world view is actually applicable: you are either for ultimately bringing troops home, or you are against ultimately bringing troops home - and thus for leaving them as targets in the Iraqi shooting gallery indefinitely."
Mr. Sirota's entire opinion can be seen at his Daily Kos diary.
After Katrina: Bush and GOP Have Neglected Poverty
On today's Fox News, Bush point-man on Hurricane Katrina, Don Powell, proved to America that the Bush adminstration is intent upon rebuilding the curtain that hid the face of poverty from our eyes for far too many years in the city of New Orleans. Mr. Powell appeared proud to say that he was satisfied that the ports, energy, and tourism were "back." He said nothing about the President's blatantly broken promises to attend to the poverty that has been so pervasive in the city. If anyone who heard Mr. Powell speak on Fox News this morning had suspected that the government's slow response to the hurricane was due to racism or class discrimination, their concerns may have been further reinforced. Don Powell looked like he didn't care about the people while he was concentrating on the fact that the money-machine was rolling in the region.
Shortly after Katrina, George Lakoff had best explained how the hurricane had moved the issue of poverty into the forefront of America's consciousness:
"The Katrina tragedy should become a watershed in American politics. This was when the usually invisible people suddenly appeared in all the anguish of their lives -- the impoverished, the old, the infirm, the kids and the low-wage workers with no cars, TVs or credit cards. They showed up on America's doorsteps, entered the living rooms and stayed. Katrina will not go away soon, and she has the power to change America."
Last September, NY Times columnist David Brooks had anticipated "political disturbance" because of the fact that the victims of the terrible storm were predominantly black and poor. He explained how floods are also civic examinations. He said:
"Amid all the stories that recur with every disaster - tales of sudden death and miraculous survival, the displacement and the disease - there is also the testing. Civic arrangements work or they fail. Leaders are found worthy or wanting. What's happening in New Orleans and Mississippi today is a human tragedy. But take a close look at the people you see wandering, devastated, around New Orleans: they are predominantly black and poor. The political disturbances are still to come."
Almost a year ago in his Jackson Square speech, President Bush said that "the floodwaters exposed a deep-seated poverty that has cut people off from the opportunities of our country," yet he hasn't taken discernable steps to do a thing about it. Newsweek's Jonathan Alter mentions an article written one year ago that suggested the hurricane's wrath had prompted a fresh look at "The Other America" — the 37 million Americans living below the poverty line. Today, Mr. Alter points out that the federal government's neglect of the problems of the poor is not in the least "benign." Congress has been MIA on the issue of Poverty, and if you look at their tax cuts for the wealthy and their immoral budgeting efforts, it is easy to get a sense that this Republican-controlled governnment firmly agrees with Grover Norquist's "drown American social safety net in the bathtub" style of governing.
It is evident that the Philadelphia Inquirer's editors can see the forest for the trees in their editorial:
In the days and weeks that followed [Katrina], pundits, politicians and others expressed remorse that their nation had allowed the situation to get so out of hand in New Orleans. Not just post-Katrina, but before, when the poverty that made the storm's victims so vulnerable was cultivated. Their hand-wringing commentaries got the president's attention and focused the nation's attention on the many holes in its safety net - for about 11 seconds. That was then, and this is now. A year later, Washington's approach to the issue of poverty amid plenty in America is little changed: Ignore it as much as you can.
Newsweek's Michael Eric Dyson suggests that those who experienced a heightened state of consciousness about poverty after Katrina and focused on the government's need to attend to the problems of the poor that affect us all have been disappointed by the Bush administration and GOP-led Congress in the past year, when they had every opportunity to use their power to do something aboout it. Instead, the president (with a willing GOP-controlled Congress} have "failed to foster public policy and legislation that helps the poor to escape their plight. Instead, Mr. Dyson suggests, President Bush "remains intent on slashing tens of billions from social programs that help the poor combat such a vicious legacy.":
In the aftermath of the tragedy, Katrina’s violent winds and killing waters swept into the mainstream a stark realization: the nation’s poor had been abandoned by society and its institutions long before the storm. Since then, we have failed to acknowledge that grinding poverty is fueled by social choices and public-policy decisions that directly impact how many people are poor and how long they remain that way.
Over 70% of the Dutch economy operates below sea level and over 70 percent of the deaths from Hurricane Katrina were (mostly poor) people over 60 years old. Half a telephone directory after the worst natural disaster in America's recent history, the Bush administration and GOP-controlled Congress have shown that, with all of its wealth, their America isn't an efficient or caring place. If we were to be politically caustic, Katrina's wrath which took more than 1,000 (mostly poor) people in the city and displaced tens of thousands (mostly poor) people could easily be seen as a helpful Republican tool for eradicating poverty from New Orleans.
The tragedy surrounding Katrina had morally called, required, and empowered all of us to change America. It had driven Senator and 2004 VP candidate John Edwards’ “Two Americas” message front and center – and straight into our hearts and minds. American citizens heard the call, and what did the Bush administration and GOP-controlled Congress do about poverty? They ignored it after enough time had passed and once they felt that the cry of the poor had left the consciousness of the American public. They went on to pass one of the most immoral budgets ever seen and they are fighting minimum wage increase unless it comes in a package with more obscene tax cuts for the richest.
D. James Kennedy Is An Irresponsible, Manipulative Extremist
We have to question D. James Kennedy's sense of ethics and motivation as he defends his pseudo-documentary about a Darwin-Hitler link. John Dean has written about Michelle Goldberg's study of the rise of Christian Nationalism and said that, although Kennedy is a lesser-known figure, he is now a key player in Christian nationalism. Kennedy's latest efforts seem to speak far less of spiritual faith and much more of extremist manipulation. His abuse of power as a spiritual and religious leader is most irresponsible and highly unfortunate. The Anti-Defamation League, whose mission is to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all citizens alike, is boldly denouncing a television documentary produced by the extremist Christian broadcaster and his Coral Ridge Ministries that attempts to link Charles Darwin's theory of evolution to Adolf Hitler and the atrocities of the Holocaust.
Can you believe it? As a Christian, I clearly see that Kennedy is making a mockery of our Christian sensibilities as human beings in a world where we are perfectly aware that we don't have all the answers. P.Z. Myers shows how the Coral Ridge Ministries is revising their blurb about the upcoming broadcast - and it's apparently changing by the moment. Frederick Carlson points out to the fact that the brash rightwing pundit Ann Coulter follows Kennedy, one of the leaders of the schism known as Presbyterian Church in America. Go figure.
Orac of Science Blogs has more. Pam Spaulding points out that the wingnut crowd will be in their glory watching this crap. Ellis Weiner asks in his own delightfully humorous way:
I'm stunned. How could I have gone through twelve years of public school, and six years of Hebrew school, and four years of college, and two years of drum lessons, and still not know that the deadly career of the world-famous dictator, Adolph Hitler, is directly attributable to Jesus Christ?