Saturday, April 22, 2006
The story was buried in a blurb in the Sunday Washington Post.
This administration is rushing madly into what could be a nuclear confrontation with delusions of absolute power. Bush and his advisor/cronies are drunk on the power they have achieved and seem destined to start a major global conflict with roots in the middle east.
I can only wonder if they will push this madness right before the election and use it as the excuse to either suspend elections or declare martial law. It's beginning to look a lot like Germany in the 1930's. Alarmist? Maybe, but the alarm has to be sounded to stop Bush and his cronies from making another big military blunder. The difference is that this one will gain us only the hatred of the few remaining allies we have.
The real underlying reason for trying to prosecute these kinds of victimless crimes is very plain. In the minds of the puritanical legislators sex is for "makin babies" and anything that would enhance the experience or bring pleasure must be a sin. What a bunch of repressed hypocrites these guys are!
In trying to pander to the wacko fundamentalist fringe they are passing laws that they don't feel will hurt anyone, or at least anyone they might care about. That way they can say they are strong on "family values" and yet do nothing significant. In reality these yokels are blind to any moral judgment that doesn't fall between the waist and the knees. Take kickback, graft, steal, and murder people in the name of the state, is just fine, as long as there was no sex involved. Of course I do remember Jesse Helms and the African American woman he got pregnant out of wedlock. I guess that was OK because she was black.
The new law will make it a felony to distribute or sell sex toys and levy offenders with a $10,000 fine and five years in prison. I guess this law could have been pushed by the local law enforcement who has been the victim of drive by dildoings lately. Gawd bless Amerika!
Friday, April 21, 2006
Is something wrong with this picture? Wouldn't a government that was really concerned about security have some better guidelines than this to assure that actual security improvements happen? Guess I need to go pitch a magic show to the White House, they already have their full contingent of clowns.
Joe Barton (R-TX), Chair of the United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce will receive the first annual "Earth Killer" award. The award, created by Hope for Peace and Justice was designed as a way to highlight public servants who "have worked tirelessly to remove and prevent regulations that would ensure clean air and water for future generations."
The mock ceremony will take place Sunday, April 23 at the Cathedral of Hope during its 9 and 11 a.m. worship services. The Earth Killer Award will be presented in conjunction with the Cathedral of Hope’s observance of Earth Day. Congressman Barton has been invited to attend in order to receive the award in person, but he has not yet accepted the invitation. What a surprise!
Besides their public relations disaster potential, these planners had another surprise. This little operation was planned back in 2003. Of course here in the USA we never hear about these things, but in the middle east and the rest of the world, they keep a keen eye on this stuff.
In addition to this plan, we made plans for missile attacks on Iran as well as held war games in cooperation with Britain. And according to security analyst William Arkin, it would be " a Caspian Sea scenario that could also pave the way for northern operations against Iran."
Of course the pentagon makes lots of contingency plans, and rightly so, but lately it seems that these contingencies turn into pretty poor on-the-ground realities. We can only hope that this stays a plan and not tomorrows headlines.
His voice in the church, for tolerance, peace and justice rang clear and his influence on American culture was profound. When defending the recent television campaign of the UCC he said about fundamentalists, "The UCC properly implied that millions of American Christians are at odds with the Christian Right. In reality, there are no biblical literalists, only selective literalists."
It is my hope that other voices with the clarity and strength of Coffin's will take up the struggle and continue to work for peace and justice in our country and the world.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Noted civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel is defending the women in court. "We should be praising these grandmothers, not prosecuting them," Mr Siegel said.
One of my personal heros, Cindy Sheehan, has joined a large group of anti-war protesters who are supporting the Grannies. "When women like grannies are punished for trying to save lives, this country is in a terrible mess," she said. Truer words have rarely been spoken.
I wonder if it isn't an attempt to distance Bush from another soon to be indicted criminal? It is a pattern with this White House that people mysteriously resign or are shifted away just before a scandal breaks. If Rove wasn't so key to the Republican Party, I suspect he would be on TV telling us he wanted to spend more time with his family.
For a list of possible candidates for the "perp-walk" see this list from Center for American Progress.
Even Faux has to concede that Bush and his cronies have hit new lows in popularity polls. Now it's at 33% down from 36% just two weeks ago. Among Republicans, the approval rating has dropped below 70% for the first time.
Now if this will only translate into votes this fall, perhaps we can save the country from total destruction by this corrupt administration.
This will soon be followed by the "H.R. 282: Iran Freedom Support Act" which will again give a convoluted justification to Bush that he can do whatever he pleases, even use nuclear bombs against a "potential" aggressor who has not attacked us. He is after all "The Decider".
"Safe, credible, and reliable nuclear forces continue to play a critical role. We are strengthening deterrence by developing a New Triad composed of offensive strike systems (both nuclear and improved conventional capabilities); active and passive defenses, including missile defenses; and a responsive infrastructure, all bound together by enhanced command and control, planning, and intelligence systems. These capabilities will better deter some of the new threats we face, while also bolstering our security commitments to allies. Such security commitments have played a crucial role in convincing some countries to forgo their own nuclear weapons programs, thereby aiding our nonproliferation objectives. "
A long and sometimes convoluted discussion of this matter is online at informationclearinghouse.info, and though it goes into details of the specific bills and proclamations extensively, writer Jorge Hirsch makes a good point.
"Half a million people go to the streets on immigration law, yet nobody is demonstrating against the Iran war that will radically change the life of Americans for generations to come. "
Additional information is in this opinion piece in the Washington Post.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
The alleged "non nuclear" test about to take place in Nevada, the pentagon not so transparently climbs on the Holy War bandwagon with Operation Divine Strake. This test, though the pentagon waffles on it's purpose, is to test the tactical nuclear potential of a "bunker buster" weapon.
It is odd that they chose to christen this test with a quasi religious name and then even more ironic they will use ammonium Nitrate and Fuel Oil, the favorite weapon of terrorists to accomplish the nuclear effects.
Residents of nearby Pahrump Nevada and Las Vegas are worried that this test will disturb much of the contaminated soil at the former nuclear test site. This could spread a cloud of latent fallout over the area. Pentagon officials assure residents that there is no need to worry. Just remember these are the same officials who said the war in Iraq would be over in "6 months at the outside".
If I lived in the area I would get a couple of Geiger Counters just to make sure.
Bush will wage a nuclear war on Iran, the planning has been going on for months and even though Seymour Hersh broke the news this month, the web sites globalresearch.ca exposed this planning in January of this year. Why am I so sure of this? Well if you will remember the Axis of Evil speech Bush clearly defined what he was going to do in the future. Iraq, Iran and North Korea. One down, two to go.
This man thinks in very broad concepts, as we have heard many time, "he doesn't do nuance". That is a fatal flaw in an international leader. Because of his inability to think critically, he seeks only to accomplish objectives that are simple and black and white. Bush's "You are either with us or against us" mentality makes his world view simplistic and childlike. That's a dangerous combination for a man with the greatest arsenal of weaponry in the world.
Military planners, always eager to explore new uses of destructive technology, have laid out a careful plan for using nuclear bombs as tactical weapons. Though their planning started with the Soviet Union as the target, it is easy for them to substitute any other potential threat. One strategic thinker envisions tactical nukes as being part of an inevitable future, and discounts any opposition to their use, comparing it to the Catholic Church opposition to the crossbow.
To me, this sounds like insanity. I suspect no research has taken into account the new face of warfare, terrorism. The ability of terrorists to penetrate anywhere in the world regardless of security precautions. Take Israel for example. They have one of the tightest security plans in effect, yet regularly, suicide bombers detonate their deadly payloads within Israeli controlled territory.
Additionally, Bush's saber rattling only serves to infuriate and frighten the Iranian government, which responds in kind. This will create a self fulfilling prophesy. Bush will point to inflammatory statements by Iran in his run up to this war, statements which were actually prompted by his own threats.
Why does Bush want to use nukes? I suspect it is not only his simplistic view of the world, the "Aw heck, we'll just nuke the bastards" bravado which boils under the surface of his rhetoric.
It is also the defense industry, which has long yearned to restore America's nuclear weaponry programs which funnel huge profits into their coffers.
Think I am crazy? Well that test of "non-nuclear" weaponry that will take place in the desert this June is a simulated Bunker Buster, designed to test the efficacy of it against Iranian installations. Bush intends to do this, that is clear. What we must do now is demand that we step back from the brink. Unleashing a nuclear weapon in the middle east will spark the greatest conflict ever seen by mankind. From the Islamic viewpoint it will signal the beginning of a new crusade against then, a Holy War. Unfortunately, for America it will be surreptitiously promoted as the same thing, a Holy War against the "evil ones" Bush is so happy to talk about.
It is time to admit that we have our own "evil one" and he sits with his finger on a nuclear trigger. We must demand that congress take action and stop this mad man. We ourselves must act as well. From grassroots efforts to full scale demonstrations, we must show congress and the world that we will not sit by tacitly approving our insane president as he blindly marches us toward all out war.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Seem that this coach lured his female students with alcohol and then had sex with them. He also tried to tamper with a witness in the case. Sounds like real "Christian" behavior to me.
The sad thing, besides the fact that innocent students were assaulted, is that had this coach been diddling boys, this story would have been all over the news nationally. I guess raping girls is just so common that it doesn't make it to the wire services. The Christian angle is another strange fact. As a Christian myself, I am appalled that someone trusted with the safety and education of young people would try to exploit them sexually.
Unfortunately, most sex crimes are committed by the dangerous heterosexual population. It is appalling that a Bible school would endanger their youth by hiring heterosexual teachers.
Always the innovator, Ann Coulter in a recent interview on Faux News proposed a novel suggestion: "Hire the illegal immigrants to build the wall separating the US from Mexico"
Media Matters finds art imitates life as it compares her statements to a skit on Saturday Night Live which previously proposed the same action, as a joke.
I have to wonder how people with as little ability to use critical thinking manage to get on TV to spout their ignorance and how anyone would ever take them seriously. Coulter is known for outrageous statements, but this one really hits a new low. She is after all the idiot whose solution to terrorism is, "we should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." And that worked so well during the Crusades, wonder why no one else has thought of that.
As for me, I believe Congress can no longer ignore the actions of this administration. They must act now or be willing to surrender any powers they have to a potentially despotic and dictatorial Executive Branch. Will our elected officials give up over 200 years of democracy on the alter of a failed political ideology? Write your elected official and demand investigation.
Monday, April 17, 2006
The Washington Post recently ran a side by side comparison of an electronic voting machine and a Las Vegas Slot Machine. You have better odds in Vegas for honesty.
We must demand paper ballots that can be secured and recounted if necessary. The electronic machines are not only buggy, but unfair in many cases.
Too bad for Rev. Jerry, but the Fallwell.com site will stay on the internet! The site is filled with really good information on the bible and how Falwell distorts the message. Check it out
When I signed up with my church to go to Crawford, Texas on April 15 I had no idea of what I would find. I had only head of the Crawford Peace House and had a vague idea of where Camp Casey (Location of Cindy Sheehan's first protest) was. I just knew it was on the road to the Bush compound and that this was where the activism against the Iraq War really took off. 60 other church members and myself boarded a bus and left for Crawford around 9:00am.
After an uneventful ride, we turned down a couple of small farm roads and pulled up at the crossroads that mark the center of Crawford. There, standing in front of a large souvenir shop was a trailer with a plaster 10 Commandments and a fake Liberty Bell. Beside it were about 7 or 8 locals who greeted us with jeers and catcalls. Turning the corner, we arrived at the Peace House, just a block from the center of town.
As we left the bus, we were warmly greeted by a variety of folks who had all come to show their dedication to peace and opposition to the war. I flashed back to my short involvement as a peace activist in the 1970's while I attended Baylor University, just a few miles away. At that time, being against the war got you on an enemy’s list at the campus. Seeing the folks back at the souvenir shop I realized that little had changed, except that there was an institution, just a few miles from Bush headquarters that was an outspoken and visible reminder that not all Texans were screaming bigots.
After a few minutes at the Peace House we boarded the bus and took off for Camp Casey II, the relocated continued protest to the war. Here my first impression of the scene reminded me more of a group of aging hippies and assorted ren-fair refugees. That changed once I got my bearings. Though there were the usual assortment of drum circle folks and a few wide eyed youth selling copies of the Socialist Worker newspaper, I found many more people who like myself came because something drove them there. They had been moved by the injustice and madness of the war and felt they had to do something now. These people were sincere and motivated and doing whatever they could to organize their power.
I met veterans of the war, mothers of soldiers, local Crawford residents, and activists from all across the country and beyond. They were all highly motivated people who were determined to carry the message of peace back to their communities.
The rally began with an opening speech by the Dean of our church, Rev. Michael Piazza. His message of peace was related to the Easter observance, but his words motivated the crowd and brought several spontaneous outbursts of applause and cheers. He was interrupted by a large contingent of motorcycle riders gunning their bikes and making a racket, but continued on to finish with a standing ovation from the group.
I knew that Cindy Sheehan, the woman who had started Camp Casey, would be on hand to speak, and I was looking for a gaggle of reporters and handlers who would undoubtedly surround her when she arrived. After Rev Piazza finished, the MC, Ann Wright , former state department official and Ambassador to Afghanistan and Mongolia. She introduced the woman whose insistence that President Bush explain why her son died and who began this movement, Cindy Sheehan. I looked around for a car to arrive or other commotion, when the woman seated next to me stood and made her way to the stage. I had been seated next to Cindy and didn’t even know it.
She spoke with simple elegance and no pretense whatsoever. I was amazed. I had expected some sort of spin managed media hog and what I found was the real deal. A true kitchen table activist! What followed was a parade of speakers, all sincere and genuine as Cindy.
As I was milling around and chatting with people, the man next to me was asked for an autograph. I looked at him more closely and recognized that it was a much older Dr. Daniel Ellsberg the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War. Here was a famous peace activist, just milling around with everyone else, trying to do whatever he could to stop another unjust war.
At the end of the afternoon, Ann introduced Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, one of the founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the organization that Martin Luther King is identified with. He was also the only person with enough spirit to speak truth to power at the recent funeral of Coretta Scot King, when he turned to President Bush and the three other living former presidents and said, "We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there [standing ovation]... but Coretta knew and we know that there are weapons of misdirection right down here. Millions without health insurance. Poverty abounds. For war billions more but no more for the poor."
By the end of the day, I was reinvigorated to do whatever I can to stop this war and bring the people who lied us into it to justice. As we left Camp Casey II, I walked through the rows of crosses, planted by the families of the servicemen and women who have died in Iraq and I prayed that no more Americans or Iraqi’s would be killed or maimed by the war profit machine that has hijacked our country. Before our bus pulled out, Rev. Lowery climbed on to give us a farewell and a blessing.
All in all it was a surprising, invigorating and memorable way to begin the Easter Weekend. How better to celebrate the living Christ than by standing with hundreds of others to affirm peace and demand justice?