Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Religious Right On, Buying Influence, War ADHD, Rummy Don't Know, Sayanora, Nam Vets, Soccer, Shocking Behavior, Pentagon and South Dakota Rebellion.

I just got through reading an excerpt from Randall Balmar's new book, Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America: An Evangelical's Lament, and it's just fantastic.

As much as I enjoy raking the Religious Right over the coals, Balmar puts me in the shade.

As an evangelical, Randall Balmar really tears up the Religous Right, and rightly so, for basically disregarding Biblical teachings in their quest for political power.

Read it and you'll see that not all evangelicals are loony toons.

And what has the religious right done with its political influence? Judging by
the platform and the policies of the Republican Party — and I'm aware of no
way to disentangle the agenda of the Republican Party from the goals of the
religious right — the purpose of all this grasping for power looks
something like this: an expansion of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the
continued prosecution of a war in the Middle East that enraged our longtime
allies and would not meet even the barest of just-war criteria, and a
rejiggering of Social Security, the effect of which, most observers agree, would
be to fray the social-safety net for the poorest among us. Public education is
very much imperiled by Republican policies, to the evident satisfaction of the
religious right, and it seeks to replace science curricula with theology,
thereby transforming students into catechumens.

The Rev. Bush is doing the one thing he does well, raising money for the dark side. He walked off with $27 million, just for preaching to the choir. It's just amazing to think that these 5,000 people may be able to purchase the United States for $27 million. Unless we stop them.

President Bush suggested last night that Republicans must remain in control
of Congress for the country to effectively combat terrorism and keep the economy
healthy, speaking at a $27 million fundraiser meant to provide a needed boost to
the campaign war chest of congressional Republicans.

"The most important responsibility we have in Washington is to defend the
people of the United States," he said. "When this country sees a threat, we must
deal with it before it fully materializes."

He left out "real or imagined" before threat.

Richard Cohen explains Mr. Bush's Little War as a Culpability Deficit Disorder. I really think he's on to something here.

This drug for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is sorely
needed. ADHD explains why few seem to challenge the call to continue the mission
in Iraq, apparently forgetting that the mission has changed and no one is quite
sure what it is now. It explains why after just 100 hours the first President
Bush concluded the Persian Gulf War with Saddam Hussein still in power and his
helicopters slaughtering rebellious Shiites and Kurds. And it explains why the
Carter, Reagan and first Bush administrations so ardently supported Hussein and
then -- an administration later -- made it U.S. policy to topple him. We were
always forgetting the kind of guy he was

ADHD also explains why we are still fighting in Afghanistan almost five years
after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that launched the war against the
Taliban. It's because our attention got diverted from the Afghanistan-based
al-Qaeda, which had attacked us, to Iraq, which had not. Take two pills for this

I know I refer to Bush as an idiot an awfully lot. But after reading this, I think I'm being too easy on him.

Officials in US President George W. Bush's administration turned down a 2003
Iranian offer to begin talks with the US, recognize Israel, and end support of
Palestinian terror organizations, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.

The proposal, which arrived via fax along with a letter of authentication by
a Swiss ambassador, was ignored. Reports have circulated in the past that Iran
had extended its hand to the US, but the document itself was only recently
obtained by the Post - reportedly from Iranian sources - and confirmed as
genuine by both American and Iranian officials.

Bush's ability to hide the fact that he's not the brightest crayon in the box, may come from his tendency to surround himself with even bigger idiots who don't mind telling a few lies to make Bush appear that he has some idea of what he's doing.

It was a bumpy start to an odd interview, as Rumsfeld cited poor memory, loose
office procedures, and a general distraction with "the wars" in Iraq and
Afghanistan to explain why he was unsure how his department came to nearly
squander $30 billion leasing several hundred new tanker aircraft that its own
experts had decided were not needed.

It worked for Reagan and it worked for Rummy too.

Sayonara, Iraq. Japan has the good sense to get it self out of George Bush's mess. Henceforth, Japanese Beetles will be known as Freedom Beetles.

TOKYO, June 20 -- Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi announced today that he will
withdraw 550 troops from Iraq, ending a landmark mission that became Tokyo's
largest military-related operation since World War II.

They're saying that the images from Iraq are stirring up post-traumatic stress disorder in Viet Nam vets. I think it probably has more to do with the disbelief that their country would put another generation through this crap, once again for nothing. No one feels more empathy for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan than those who went through the same thing.

More than 30 years after their war ended, thousands of Vietnam veterans are
seeking help for post-traumatic stress disorder, and experts say one reason
appears to be harrowing images of combat in Iraq.

Figures from the Department of Veterans Affairs show that PTSD
disability-compensation cases have nearly doubled since 2000, to an all-time
high of more than 260,000. The biggest bulge has come since 2003, when war
started in Iraq.

It seems that some of our soccer players and fans equate the World Cup to war. We really go out of our way to make the rest of the world love us. Honestly, an Oklahoma/Oklahoma State football game would come closer to actual war.

"We're here for a war," Johnson said a few days before the game,
after visiting US troops at Ramstein Air Base. "Whenever you put your jersey on
and you look at your crest and the national anthem's going on, and you're
playing against a different country, it's like you do or die, it's survival of
the (fittest) over ninety minutes-plus. We're going to go out there and do
whatever we've got to do, make tackles, do the things when the referee's not
looking...to get three points." Johnson concluded by saying, "It's do or die....
I don't want to go home early." Ironically, most of the American troops Johnson
thinks he's supporting would like nothing better than to "go home early" from
combat duty in Iraq.

Our society is getting sicker all the time. I don't mean that in the conservative Republican sense.

We are actually putting devices on school kids that deliver an electric shock at the whim of the staff members. I'll bet that Hitler and Stalin could have really done something with this idea. It would make a great little training aid for the Religious Right too.

New York education officials issued a scathing report yesterday on a
Massachusetts school that punishes troubled and disabled students with electric
shocks, finding that they can be shocked for simply nagging the teacher and that
some are forced to wear shock devices in the bathtub or shower, posing an
electrocution hazard.

The report, based in part on an inspection last month of the Judge Rotenberg
Educational Center in Canton, portrayed a school in which most staff lack
training to handle the students and seem more focused on punishing bad behavior
than encouraging good acts.

Let's see, the Commander-in-Chief is a complete idiot and the Pentagon lists homosexuality as a mental disorder. We're not getting our money's worth from these people.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Pentagon document classifies homosexuality as a mental
disorder, decades after mental health experts abandoned that position.

The document outlines retirement or other discharge policies for service
members with physical disabilities, and in a section on defects lists
homosexuality alongside mental retardation and personality disorders.

And just so you'll know, there are people who are willing to go against the odds to stand up for what's right.

As you are aware, South Dakota passed a ban on all abortions, apparently in South Dakota, like a lot of Oklahoma, ignorance is considered a virtue. But even in a real red state there's folks that understand that freedom trumps Religious Right demagoguery.

Bitter jokes about Jesusland flew around the East and West coasts; some even
muttered about boycotting the state. (Take that, Mount Rushmore! And Fluffy, no
more Iams for you!) But then a funny thing happened. South Dakotans got busy.
Instead of challenging the ban in court, prochoicers decided to challenge it in
the voting booth. Relying entirely on volunteers, the bipartisan South Dakota
Campaign for Healthy Families got more than 38,000 signatures for its petition
to place a ban-repeal referendum on the November ballot--twice as many names as
required, from every county in the state, and a month ahead of the filing
deadline. You may have read of Cecilia Fire Thunder, president of the Pine Ridge
Reservation, who got quite a bit of media and blog attention after she said she
would consider putting a clinic on the reservation if the ban took effect. But
did you know that, spurred by the ban, an unprecedented number of Native
American women--Charon Asetoyer, Faith Spotted Eagle, Theresa Spry, Paula Long
Fox, Diane Kastner--ran for state and local offices in the June 6 primary? All
were progressive, all prochoice.

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I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.

John Stuart Mill (May 20 1806 – May 8 1873)