Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Religion vs Credibility

When religion loses its credibility
Galileo was persecuted for revealing what we now know to be the truth regarding Earth’s place in our solar system. Today, the issue is homosexuality, and the persecution is not of one man but of millions. Will Christian leaders once again be on the wrong side of history?
By Oliver "Buzz" Thomas

What if Christian leaders are wrong about homosexuality? I suppose, much as a newspaper maintains its credibility by setting the record straight, church leaders would need to do the same:

Correction: Despite what you might have read, heard or been taught throughout your churchgoing life, homosexuality is, in fact, determined at birth and is not to be condemned by God's followers.

Based on a few recent headlines, we won't be seeing that admission anytime soon.

(Illustration by Adrienne Lewis, USA TODAY)

Last week, U.S. Roman Catholic bishops took the position that homosexual attractions are "disordered" and that gays should live closeted lives of chastity. At the same time, North Carolina's Baptist State Convention was preparing to investigate churches that are too gay-friendly. Even the more liberal Presbyterian Church (USA) had been planning to put a minister on trial for conducting a marriage ceremony for two women before the charges were dismissed on a technicality. All this brings me back to the question: What if we're wrong?

Religion's only real commodity, after all, is its moral authority. Lose that, and we lose our credibility. Lose credibility, and we might as well close up shop.

It's happened to Christianity before, most famously when we dug in our heels over Galileo's challenge to the biblical view that the Earth, rather than the sun, was at the center of our solar system. You know the story. Galileo was persecuted for what turned out to be incontrovertibly true. For many, especially in the scientific community, Christianity never recovered.

This time, Christianity is in danger of squandering its moral authority by continuing its pattern of discrimination against gays and lesbians in the face of mounting scientific evidence that sexual orientation has little or nothing to do with choice. To the contrary, whether sexual orientation arises as a result of the mother's hormones or the child's brain structure or DNA, it is almost certainly an accident of birth. The point is this: Without choice, there can be no moral culpability.

Answer in Scriptures

So, why are so many church leaders (not to mention Orthodox Jewish and Muslim leaders) persisting in their view that homosexuality is wrong despite a growing stream of scientific evidence that is likely to become a torrent in the coming years? The answer is found in Leviticus 18. "You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination."

As a former "the Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it" kind of guy, I am sympathetic with any Christian who accepts the Bible at face value. But here's the catch. Leviticus is filled with laws imposing the death penalty for everything from eating catfish to sassing your parents. If you accept one as the absolute, unequivocal word of God, you must accept them all.

For many of gay America's loudest critics, the results are unthinkable. First, no more football. At least not without gloves. Handling a pig skin is an abomination. Second, no more Saturday games even if you can get a new ball. Violating the Sabbath is a capital offense according to Leviticus. For the over-40 crowd, approaching the altar of God with a defect in your sight is taboo, but you'll have plenty of company because those menstruating or with disabilities are also barred.

The truth is that mainstream religion has moved beyond animal sacrifice, slavery and the host of primitive rituals described in Leviticus centuries ago. Selectively hanging onto these ancient proscriptions for gays and lesbians exclusively is unfair according to anybody's standard of ethics. We lawyers call it "selective enforcement," and in civil affairs it's illegal.

A better reading of Scripture starts with the book of Genesis and the grand pronouncement about the world God created and all those who dwelled in it. "And, the Lord saw that it was good." If God created us and if everything he created is good, how can a gay person be guilty of being anything more than what God created him or her to be?

Turning to the New Testament, the writings of the Apostle Paul at first lend credence to the notion that homosexuality is a sin, until you consider that Paul most likely is referring to the Roman practice of pederasty, a form of pedophilia common in the ancient world. Successful older men often took boys into their homes as concubines, lovers or sexual slaves. Today, such sexual exploitation of minors is no longer tolerated. The point is that the sort of long-term, committed, same-sex relationships that are being debated today are not addressed in the New Testament. It distorts the biblical witness to apply verses written in one historical context (i.e. sexual exploitation of children) to contemporary situations between two monogamous partners of the same sex. Sexual promiscuity is condemned by the Bible whether it's between gays or straights. Sexual fidelity is not.

What would Jesus do?

For those who have lingering doubts, dust off your Bibles and take a few hours to reacquaint yourself with the teachings of Jesus. You won't find a single reference to homosexuality. There are teachings on money, lust, revenge, divorce, fasting and a thousand other subjects, but there is nothing on homosexuality. Strange, don't you think, if being gay were such a moral threat?

On the other hand, Jesus spent a lot of time talking about how we should treat others. First, he made clear it is not our role to judge. It is God's. ("Judge not lest you be judged." Matthew 7:1) And, second, he commanded us to love other people as we love ourselves.

So, I ask you. Would you want to be discriminated against? Would you want to lose your job, housing or benefits because of something over which you had no control? Better yet, would you like it if society told you that you couldn't visit your lifelong partner in the hospital or file a claim on his behalf if he were murdered?

The suffering that gay and lesbian people have endured at the hands of religion is incalculable, but they can look expectantly to the future for vindication. Scientific facts, after all, are a stubborn thing. Even our religious beliefs must finally yield to them as the church in its battle with Galileo ultimately realized. But for religion, the future might be ominous. Watching the growing conflict between medical science and religion over homosexuality is like watching a train wreck from a distance. You can see it coming for miles and sense the inevitable conclusion, but you're powerless to stop it. The more church leaders dig in their heels, the worse it's likely to be.

Oliver "Buzz" Thomas is a Baptist minister and author of an upcoming book, 10 Things Your Minister Wants to Tell You (But Can't Because He Needs the Job).

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Stem Cell Clarity

From a molecular biologist. His research is in an area of cell biology related to cancer. As such, he is following the findings and debate surrounding stem cell research very closely.

First let's define what stem cells are. There are two major kinds, adult and embryonic.

A stem cell can be roughly defined as a cell that can divide, such that one or both of the resulting daughter cells can go on to become a progenitor (or founder) for a large number of other cells that have a specific functions (brain cells, muscle, bone, etc). In adult tissue the stem cell remains a stem cell, providing new progenitor cells throughout its lifetime, but only dividing slowly when new cells are needed. These are adult stem cells. In the embryo, a stem cell could continue dividing rapidly, producing not only progenitor cells of a particular cell type, but also other stem cells.

As adults, we are likely to carry stem cells in all major tissues of our body, including brain. Much effort has taken place over the last decade in trying to identify and isolate these cells (without compromising the function of the tissue). For example, in skin researchers have shown that the stem cells are located in a small bulge structure that is part of every hair follicle. Thus, if we can isolate enough of these from for example a burn victim, we could theoretically resupply the necessary skin cells in the laboratory using the stem cells as the progenitors. These cells could then be grafted onto the wounded areas, without all the graft-host rejection problems when donor skin is used. One can now imagine similar strategies for replacing damaged brain tissue (Parkinsons, Alzheimers, accidents, etc), lung tissue, liver, kidney, muscle, and so forth.

Why take stem cells from embryos if we can do the above? That is more a practical problem. Right now skin and bone marrow are amongst the few adult tissues where identifying and isolating the stem cells can be done efficiently. And even in these cases it will be some years before these techniques are widely applied clinically. Embryonic stem cells on the other hand are usually easier to propagate in culture (they divide much more rapidly), and often can be directed towards a particular cell type. The holy grail in stem cell research would be to isolate cells that can be directed to become any cell type, using the right culture conditions.

Advances in stem cell technology are coming every day, whether made in the US or abroad. In fact, with the current federal funding restrictions, we can be assured that most of the major advances will not be in America, unless funded by private sources, as is taking place in California and Massachusetts (not coincidently blue states). We need to continue stem cell research if we are ever to advance beyond the need to isolate stem cells from embryos.

Those whose power is based on clinging to tradition and maintaining the status quo (religious leaders, conservative politicians) are once again standing in the way of scientific advancement. And as always, they stand on the wrong side of history.

The children and grandchildren of people like George Bush and Pat Robertson (and the Pope, in a non-literal sense) will live longer and healthier lives, not because of anything they've done, but in spite of their ignorance.

Seven blunders of the world that lead to violence

"Seven blunders of the world that lead to violence: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics without principle," - Mahatma Gandhi.

Some Levity

These bumper stickers were compiled by Jerry Paull, a
former Methodist minister in Lakeside, Ohio, who
writes:
"The following are actual bumper stickers on cars. I
didn't write any of them. I'm only the messenger.
If they make you laugh, good. If they make you cry,
good. If they make you angry, that's good too."

BLIND FAITH IN BAD LEADERSHIP IS NOT PATRIOTISM

IF YOU'RE NOT OUTRAGED, YOU'RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION

IF YOU SUPPORTED BUSH, A YELLOW RIBBON WON'T MAKE UP
FOR IT

POVERTY, HEALTH CARE, AND HOMELESSNESS ARE MORAL
ISSUES

OF COURSE IT HURTS. YOU'RE GETTING SCREWED BY AN
ELEPHANT

BUSH LIED, AND YOU KNOW IT

RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISM: A THREAT ABROAD, A THREAT
AT HOME

GOD BLESS EVERYONE (No exceptions)

BUSH SPENT YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY ON HIS WAR

IF YOU SUPPORT BUSH'S WAR, WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE?
SHUT UP AND SHIP OUT

FEEL SAFER NOW?

I'D RATHER HAVE A PRESIDENT WHO SCREWED HIS INTERN
THAN ONE WHO SCREWED HIS COUNTRY

MY VALUES? FREE SPEECH. EQUALITY. LIBERTY.
EDUCATION. TOLERANCE

IS IT 2008 YET?

DISSENT IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF PATRIOTISM -- Thomas
Jefferson

DON'T BLAME ME. I VOTED AGAINST BUSH -- TWICE!

ANNOY A CONSERVATIVE: THINK FOR YOURSELF

VISUALIZE IMPEACHMENT

HEY BUSH! WHERE'S BIN LADEN?

STOP MAD COWBOY DISEASE

GEORGE W. BUSH: MAKING TERRORISTS FASTER THAN HE CAN
KILL THEM

KEEP YOUR THEOCRACY OFF MY DEMOCRACY

DEMOCRATS ARE SEXY. WHOEVER HEARD OF A GOOD PIECE OF ELEPHANT?

ASPIRING CANADIAN

DON'T CONFUSE DYING FOR OIL WITH FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM

STEM CELL RESEARCH IS PRO-LIFE

HATE, GREED, IGNORANCE: WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION

HONOR OUR TROOPS: DEMAND THE TRUTH

REBUILD IRAQ? WHY NOT SPEND $87 BILLION ON AMERICA?

FACT: BUSH OIL 1999 - $19 BARREL, 2006 - $70 BARREL

THE LAST TIME RELIGION CONTROLLED POLITICS, PEOPLE GOT
BURNED AT THE STAKE

I'LL GIVE UP MY CHOICE WHEN JOHN ROBERTS GETS PREGNANT

HOW ON EARTH CAN 59,411,287 PEOPLE BE SO DUMB?

Democratic Reminder

From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE...from www.dailykos.com

A Message to the Democratic Leadership:

Okay, you're in and they're out. Welcome to the winner's circle. Since C&J is the most widely read publication on "The Hill" (named after Senator Hillary Clinton) I know you're expecting me to provide some personal guidance. Consider this a freebie:


Do the nation's bidding, not just the Democrats' and certainly not just your own (one Joe Lieberman is enough, thank you).

If I have to fork over a third of my income to you guys in taxes, I damn well expect you to be responsible with it. My broker doesn't take my money with the intent of building bridges to nowhere and neither should you.

I'm retiring in 23 years. I don't expect sweets and flowers but I do expect Social Security to be strong and non-privatized. Make it so and keep it so.

Silly flag-burning and gay marriage amendments are a waste of everyone's time. They are now off the table. A constitutional amendment establishing a permanent three-day weekend is back on the front burner.

Communicate with the netroots once in a while. Come to YearlyKos in August. Talk to us---we're a big ball of Democratic fusion (or is it fission? Whichever one doesn't make us literally explode, that's us) and we're here to help. That said, we will be watching and judging you based on spine, principle, talent and the swimsuit competition.

President Bush is not a moron---he just plays one on TV and in person. To put it diplomatically: when dealing with "43" "31 Percent," trust but verify. To put it less diplomatically: don't trust him ever.

The days of Republicans calling our side terrorist sympathizers are over. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid can show you how to deliver a right hook to the jaw. If that's what it takes to stop this nonsense, so be it.

America's health care system is ranked lower than Cuba's. Fix that.

There is much Republican-fueled chicanery to investigate and many subpoenas to issue. Start with the war profiteers, the real traitors in our midst. Make them pay for putting their country club lifestyles ahead of our soldiers' lives.

You will memorize the following phrases and use them when the traditional media tries to push an inaccurate frame or outright lie about you or the Democratic agenda: "Where do you come up with this stuff?" "Prove it!" "Who said that?" "You've got to be kidding---is that what you really think?" "You want to step outside and tell me Democrats are weak?" You will not let the talking heads off the hook until they either prove their assertion or they admit they're full of bull. If the interviewer has been a total jerk, end the interview with, "Thanks for having me on. I hope next time we talk you'll do your homework first."

We understand that democracy is messy. We get that you're all jockeying for position and protecting your little fiefdoms---it goes with the territory. Just try and keep it a notch or two below Level Embarrassing, okay? If you're stooping, you're losing.

You promised to bring transparency and accountability back to Congress. Good. We the People are your boss and we pay your salary. We deserve to see what you're doing in our name.

For our men and women in uniform: 1) Body armor NOW. 2) Vehicle armor NOW. 3) Full funding of VA services NOW. 4) Unrelenting pressure on the president NOW to present his "plan" for getting us out of Iraq. (He, not you, is the Commander-in-Chief. This is his hot potato.) Our troops have been through---and continue to go through---hell. Let's reverse the Republican course and start showing `em some goddam respect.


You've got a helluva mix of seasoned veterans and new recruits with a golden opportunity that's been a long time coming. We don't expect you to be perfect. But we do expect you to be competent. Dear Lord, at least be that.

Sincerely,

---Bill in Portland Maine
American Pundit of Great Influence

Jim Webb Seems to Get IT

Class Struggle
American workers have a chance to be heard.

BY JIM WEBB
Wednesday, November 15, 2006 12:01 a.m. EST

The most important--and unfortunately the least debated--issue in politics today is our society's steady drift toward a class-based system, the likes of which we have not seen since the 19th century. America's top tier has grown infinitely richer and more removed over the past 25 years. It is not unfair to say that they are literally living in a different country. Few among them send their children to public schools; fewer still send their loved ones to fight our wars. They own most of our stocks, making the stock market an unreliable indicator of the economic health of working people. The top 1% now takes in an astounding 16% of national income, up from 8% in 1980. The tax codes protect them, just as they protect corporate America, through a vast system of loopholes.

Incestuous corporate boards regularly approve compensation packages for chief executives and others that are out of logic's range. As this newspaper has reported, the average CEO of a sizeable corporation makes more than $10 million a year, while the minimum wage for workers amounts to about $10,000 a year, and has not been raised in nearly a decade. When I graduated from college in the 1960s, the average CEO made 20 times what the average worker made. Today, that CEO makes 400 times as much.

In the age of globalization and outsourcing, and with a vast underground labor pool from illegal immigration, the average American worker is seeing a different life and a troubling future. Trickle-down economics didn't happen. Despite the vaunted all-time highs of the stock market, wages and salaries are at all-time lows as a percentage of the national wealth. At the same time, medical costs have risen 73% in the last six years alone. Half of that increase comes from wage-earners' pockets rather than from insurance, and 47 million Americans have no medical insurance at all.

Manufacturing jobs are disappearing. Many earned pension programs have collapsed in the wake of corporate "reorganization." And workers' ability to negotiate their futures has been eviscerated by the twin threats of modern corporate America: If they complain too loudly, their jobs might either be outsourced overseas or given to illegal immigrants.

This ever-widening divide is too often ignored or downplayed by its beneficiaries. A sense of entitlement has set in among elites, bordering on hubris. When I raised this issue with corporate leaders during the recent political campaign, I was met repeatedly with denials, and, from some, an overt lack of concern for those who are falling behind. A troubling arrogance is in the air among the nation's most fortunate. Some shrug off large-scale economic and social dislocations as the inevitable byproducts of the "rough road of capitalism." Others claim that it's the fault of the worker or the public education system, that the average American is simply not up to the international challenge, that our education system fails us, or that our workers have become spoiled by old notions of corporate paternalism.
Still others have gone so far as to argue that these divisions are the natural results of a competitive society. Furthermore, an unspoken insinuation seems to be inundating our national debate: Certain immigrant groups have the "right genetics" and thus are natural entrants to the "overclass," while others, as well as those who come from stock that has been here for 200 years and have not made it to the top, simply don't possess the necessary attributes.

Most Americans reject such notions. But the true challenge is for everyone to understand that the current economic divisions in society are harmful to our future. It should be the first order of business for the new Congress to begin addressing these divisions, and to work to bring true fairness back to economic life. Workers already understand this, as they see stagnant wages and disappearing jobs.

America's elites need to understand this reality in terms of their own self-interest. A recent survey in the Economist warned that globalization was affecting the U.S. differently than other "First World" nations, and that white-collar jobs were in as much danger as the blue-collar positions which have thus far been ravaged by outsourcing and illegal immigration. That survey then warned that "unless a solution is found to sluggish real wages and rising inequality, there is a serious risk of a protectionist backlash" in America that would take us away from what they view to be the "biggest economic stimulus in world history."

More troubling is this: If it remains unchecked, this bifurcation of opportunities and advantages along class lines has the potential to bring a period of political unrest. Up to now, most American workers have simply been worried about their job prospects. Once they understand that there are (and were) clear alternatives to the policies that have dislocated careers and altered futures, they will demand more accountability from the leaders who have failed to protect their interests. The "Wal-Marting" of cheap consumer products brought in from places like China, and the easy money from low-interest home mortgage refinancing, have softened the blows in recent years. But the balance point is tipping in both cases, away from the consumer and away from our national interest.


The politics of the Karl Rove era were designed to distract and divide the very people who would ordinarily be rebelling against the deterioration of their way of life. Working Americans have been repeatedly seduced at the polls by emotional issues such as the predictable mantra of "God, guns, gays, abortion and the flag" while their way of life shifted ineluctably beneath their feet. But this election cycle showed an electorate that intends to hold government leaders accountable for allowing every American a fair opportunity to succeed.

With this new Congress, and heading into an important presidential election in 2008, American workers have a chance to be heard in ways that have eluded them for more than a decade. Nothing is more important for the health of our society than to grant them the validity of their concerns. And our government leaders have no greater duty than to confront the growing unfairness in this age of globalization.


Mr. Webb is the Democratic senator-elect from Virginia.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Another great post on my travels.....

From: www.fatladysings.typepad.com

October 21, 2006

What is Hope?


Senator Barak Obama (D-IL), addressing the DNC in 2004, gave hope to so many of us as he reaffirmed the genius of America. He quoted these words from the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." And then he talked about the true genius of America: that these simple dreams let us put our children to bed at night, knowing they are free from harm. "That we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door. That we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe or hiring somebody's son. That we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution, and that our votes will he counted — or at least, most of the time."

He was speaking before a crowd who needed igniting, on a national podium, before a crucial election. Our nation stood at a turning point: the choices were the hammer of fear, or the glimmer of hope. And we chose fear. The end result of that choice is the Military Commissions Act of 2006 which turns bad policy into bad law. It strips away the very fundamental nature of our being, as Americans: that we will not be awakened in the middle of the night by a knock at the door for something we said, or wrote, or thought. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 means that any of us can be arrested and held without being charged - it strips away the meaning of the Writ of Habeas Corpus, and it shreds the First Amendment.

And still, still I have hope that this sleeping giant that has become the American People will wake up and say "NO MORE." We are less than 20 days before a mid-term election which actually means something. Traditionally voter turnout at mid-term elections is low. Yet I have hope that Americans will vote, and will vote for the truth, and for dignity, and for hope rather than for the hammer of fear.

Obama spoke about a common belief: A belief that we are connected as one people. If there's a child on the south side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me, even if it's not my child. If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it's not my grandmother. If there's an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It's that fundamental belief — I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper — that makes this country work. It's what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. "E pluribus unum." Out of many, one.

Still, the Republicans divide us, demonize us, hammer us with fear. The result of negative advertising is the voters lose. In an upcoming Cable Television ad, the Republicans are featuring the image and words of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and a warning to voters that "these are the stakes" in the November 7 election.

And tell me, please, how after six years of Republican leadership we are safer? Bin Laden remains at large, and Bush himself has said repeatedly that he's not concerned with Bin Laden. But the Republicans prey upon fear, and use it like a hammer.

I prefer hope. I prefer the path of dignity. I prefer the path of debate, discourse, disagreement and truth. I prefer the AUDACITY of hope. Obama said of the 2004 election that the choice was the choice of the politics of cynicism or the politics of hope. That holds true today, more than ever. We were a great nation, although flawed and capable of great mistakes. We can be again.

Dare to hope, and dare to not give up. Wake up!

Posted by Diva Jood in A Call to Arms

Moral? I think not.

Excellent post from: http://fatladysings.typepad.com/

Moral? I think not.
A guest post by Kelley Bell:

http://kelleybell.blogspot.com




When I read about the moral values debates in our country, I can not help but compare our rhetoric to that of the Islamists.

While reading news articles about U.S.conservatives pushing for Pro- Life and marriage laws, I also read how the Muslims are prohibiting women from swimming at “family beaches.” (A powerful cleric in Somalia said women are welcome to gather jars of ocean water, then take it home and “bathe in it” if they want to enjoy a day at the beach.) Apparently, having the women swim while fully covered in a giant black bag was not moral enough for these folks. It seems, no matter where the line is drawn, someone wants to move it even further.


The problem is not that Muslim and Christian conservatives value morality; rather, it lies in the fact, they both feel they have the duty to impose their version on the populace. Folks, morality can not be compelled. It must be learned, and embraced as a personal choice. If you feel strongly that your particular framework for morality is correct, and then by all means, spread it, by setting a good example for others to follow. But when you cross the line, and demand compliance through force, fear, or rule of law, be aware, the devil is behind your deeds.


It strikes me as ironic, how similar we are to the enemy we fight. Both sides seek a conservative moral world order, deeply rooted in Aberhamic tradition, and both sides focus on sex, and the control of women’s bodies to achieve their aim…Pretty shallow thinking, for a world with scores of bigger problems.

Quite frankly, as a woman, I am offended. I am quite capable of defining my own moral values without the strong arm of the law, thank you very much, and I am deeply saddened when I realize the horrors in Dafur are of less importance to Washington than my sex life.

Ladies, enough is enough; All this ranting and raving needs to come to an end. It is time we use our votes to step in and clean house.

Women represent over 50% of the vote, and account for somewhere near 75% of consumer spending in the United States, yet we comprise less than 25% of policy makers.

If we would stand together, and support each other, we could become the most powerful force in government. We could put an end to the attack ads, and the screaming extremists on the airwaves. We could change the focus of the debate to issues of world hunger, world peace, quality healthcare, and protection of the eco-system for future generations. We could change the model of “superpower” from military might to humanitarian rights.

We could bring the voice of reason into American politics, if we simply stood together and set an example of our own.


Let's shift the moral debate, and move the focus of politics out of the bedroom, and over to issues that really matter. For instance:

* The World Health Organization ranked the United States 37th in health performance. The irony is that the United States spends more per capita for health care than any other nation in the world" (The European Dream, pp.79-80).

* "The U.S.and South Africa are the only two developed countries in the world that do not provide health care for all their citizens" (The European Dream, p.80).

* Lack of health insurance coverage causes 18,000 unnecessary American deaths a year. (That's six times the number of people killed on 9/11.) (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005.)

* Women are 70 percent more likely to die in childbirth in America than in Europe. (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005).

* The United States is 41st in the world in infant mortality. (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005).

(I can not even comprehend how the Pro Life people can claim any moral dignity at all on this issue when they throw millions of dollars at in the political arena while ignoring this statistic. It represents the worst form of hypocrisy imaginable.)

* Three million six hundred thousand Americans ran out of unemployment insurance last year; (NYT, Jan. 9, 2005).

* "U.S.childhood poverty ranks 22nd, or second to last, among the developed nations. (The European Dream, p.81).

* Twelve million American families--more than 10 percent of all U.S. households--"continue to struggle, and not always successfully, to feed themselves." Families that "had members who actually went hungry at some point last year" numbered 3.9 million (NYT, Nov. 22, 2004).

* The leading cause of death of pregnant women in this country is murder (CNN, Dec. 14, 2004).

* Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Korea hold 40 percent of our government debt. "By helping keep mortgage rates from rising, China has come to play an enormous and little-noticed role in sustaining the American housing boom" (NYT, Dec. 4, 2004). “Read that twice. We owe our housing boom to China, because they want us to keep buying all that stuff they manufacture.”

* Bush: 62,027,582 votes. Kerry: 59,026,003 votes. Number of eligible voters who didn't show up: 79,279,000 (NYT, Dec. 26, 2004).

The Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University offers these statistics on women in American politics:

Congress: women hold 15.1%, of the seats in Congress: 14.0%, of the Senate, and 15.4%, in the House.

State Legislature: 22.8%, of state legislators in the United States are women. Women hold 20.8%, of state senate seats and 23.6%, of state house seats.

…And we have never elected a woman president.

Moral? I think not.

Posted by Kelley Bell in A Call to Arms

Gitmo Torture may let 20th Hijacker walk....way to go George !!!

Full story at this link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15361462/

Gitmo Torture may let 20th Hijacker walk....way to go George !!!

Full story at this link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15361462/

Gitmo Torture may let 20th Hijacker walk....way to go George !!!

Full story at this link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15361462/

Gitmo Torture may let 20th Hijacker walk....way to go George !!!

Full story at this link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15361462/

Kevin Tillman

It is Pat’s birthday on November 6, and elections are the day after. It gets me thinking about a conversation I had with Pat before we joined the military. He spoke about the risks with signing the papers. How once we committed, we were at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people. How we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition. How fighting as a soldier would leave us without a voice… until we got out.

Much has happened since we handed over our voice:

Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can’t be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few “bad apples” in the military.

Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It’s interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.

Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.

Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.

Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.
Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.
Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.
Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.
Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.
Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.
Somehow torture is tolerated.
Somehow lying is tolerated.
Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense.
Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.
Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.

Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.

Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.

Somehow this is tolerated.
Somehow nobody is accountable for this.

In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don’t be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that “somehow” was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.

Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat’s birthday.

Brother and Friend of Pat Tillman,

Kevin Tillman

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Real Face of the Republican Party....Exposed

Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Mark Foley and the unmasked Republican Party

Denny Hastert is smack in the middle of one of the tawdriest and ugliest sex scandals in American political history. As a result, he has been the target of aggressive criticism, even from a few members of his own party, and, by all accounts, is desperately battling to keep his job.

In need of moral absolution and support from a respected and admired figure who possesses moral authority among Hastert's morally upstanding Republican base, to whom does Hastert turn? A priest or respected reverend? An older wise political statesman with a reputation for integrity and dignity? No, there is only one person with sufficient moral credibility among the increasingly uncomfortable moralistic Republican base who can give Hastert the blessing he needs:

Rush Limbaugh. And so that is where Hastert went yesterday in order to obtain the Decree that He Did Nothing Wrong.

As much as I tried -- and, trust me, I really tried -- I couldn't expunge this picture from my mind yesterday because, in all its visceral hideousness, it really illustrates what I think is the principal reason why this Foley scandal is resonating so strongly. This is the real face of the ruling Republican party, and it has been unmasked -- violently -- by the exposure of Mark Foley and his allies who protected and harbored him.

If the term "moral degenerate" has any validity and can be fairly applied to anyone, there are few people who merit that term more than Rush Limbaugh. He is the living and breathing embodiment of moral degeneracy, with his countless overlapping sexual affairs, his series of shattered, dissolved marriages, his hedonistic and illegal drug abuse, his jaunts, with fistfulls of Viagra (but no wife), to an impoverished Latin American island renowned for its easy access to underage female prostitutes.

Yet that is who Hastert chose as the High Priest of the Values Voters to whom he made his pilgrimage and from whom he received his benediction. The difference between Rush Limbaugh and Mark Foley, to the extent there is one, is one of hedonistic tastes, not moral level. Rush Limbaugh isn't just tolerated within the party that stands for religious piety and moral strength. He is a leader of it, arguably the leader of its most righteous wing. Is it really all that surprising that a political movement that has chosen a moral degenerate like Rush Limbaugh as one of its most revered and morally respected leaders is not all that bothered by -- and therefore actively harbors -- the Mark Foleys of the world?

The individuals who never tire of making public displays of how concerned they are with our moral fabric -- the Kathryn Jean Lopezs of the world who find Bill Clinton's sex life such a cause for condemnation and who publicly crusade to have John Kerry shunned by good Catholics because of how immoral he is and interrupt such crusades only in order to coo with giddy love and profound respect for Rush Limbaugh -- are well aware that their party is filled to the rim with sleazy, corrupt hedonists with as bloated and piggish a sense of entitlement as can be imagined. But as long as they help keep the party in power, they are not just tolerated but embraced. That dynamic is a core operating principle of the Bush-led Republican Party, and it is why Mark Foley was able to rise within it despite its being an "open secret" in Washington GOP power circles -- a very open secret -- exactly what he was.

When this scandal first broke, I spent a few hours researching federal law with regard to Internet sexual activities and "minors" and, while I knew that Foley was involved in enacting some of these bills, I was really amazed how far beyond that it went. Mark Foley was literally at the center of virtually every activity and law and program over the last 10 years ostensibly designed to battle the evils of Internet sex and minors. Mark Foley spent 12 years in Congress and it is not an exaggeration to say that he basically devoted his whole Congressional career to adding decades of imprisonment on to the mandatory punishments for those who use the Internet to talk about sex with children. He didn't just condemn that which he was doing. He made the crusade against it his life's work, in the most vocal and public way possible.

Mark Foley isn't some isolated case of shocking hypocrisy. Quite the contrary. People who have a publicly and vocally expressed obsession with other people's moral behavior and who want to use the power of the Government to enforce that obsession -- the Rick Santorums and Rush Limbaughs and Newt Gingrichs and Jim Bakkers and Ralph Reeds and Mark Foleys of the world -- are almost always fighting their own demons, not anyone else's. It is so important for them to parade around as moral protectors and moral warriors precisely because they have no other way to cleanse themselves, despite being in desperate need of a cleansing. That's why, all over the Internet, one easily finds things like this:


STATEMENT OF ATTORNEY GENERAL JOHN ASHCROFT ON THE PASSAGE OF THE SMITH-POMEROY-FOLEY CHILD OBSCENITY AND PORNOGRAPHY PREVENTION ACT

"I am pleased that the House of Representatives passed the Child Obscenity and Pornography Prevention Act, a bill that will strengthen the ability of law enforcement to protect children from abuse and exploitation. I urge the Senate to bring this important legislation to the floor as soon as possible.

"I want to thank Chairman Sensenbrenner for guiding this important legislation through the Judiciary Commitee (sic), and Congressmen Lamar Smith, Mark Foley, and Earl Pomeroy for their leadership on this bill. They have worked tirelessly to protect the health and safety of children.

"The Department of Justice remains solid in its commitment to identify, investigate, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children. I look forward to working with Congress to see to it that this legislation becomes law, so that we may continue in our efforts to eliminate child pornography and prosecute offenders."


This isn't some "great find" or specially revealing document. Documents like this are everywhere, because this is the twisted, warped, dysfunctional and rotted political rule to which we have been subjected for the last six years and even before that (though not with the unchallenged power it has now). Mark Foley is the GOP face of efforts to combat the use of the Internet to sexualize minors, and Rush Limbaugh is their High Moral Priest.
We have been barraged with laws, programs, sermons, demagoguery and all sorts of moral demonization from a political movement whose most powerful pundit is a multiple-times-divorced drug addict who flamboyantly cavorts around with a new girlfriend every few months in between Viagra-fueled jaunts to the Dominican Republic.
It is a political movement whose legacy will be torture, waterboards, naked, sadomasochistic games in Iraqi dungeons (or, to Rush, "blowing off steam"), with all sorts of varied sleaze and corruption deeply engrained throughout its DNA -- all propped up by a facade of moralism and dependent upon the support of those who have been propagandized into believing that they are voting for the Party of Values and Morals.

It is not a coincidence that the GOP was harboring someone like Mark Foley within its highest ranks while their most powerful political officials purposely looked the other way and even actively helped to conceal what he was up to, thereby enabling him to continue. After all, even now that this conduct has been exposed, their instinct -- all the way to the highest levels -- is to excuse and defend those leaders and offer up the most disgusting defenses -- all because preservation of their political power depends on it. This is not some bizarre aberration. This is how they operate and it is what they are. And the Mark Foley scandal is making it virutally impossible for anyone to convincingly deny it any longer.

posted by Glenn Greenwald | 8:55 AM www.glenngreenwald.blogspot.com

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Condi - Another new job?

"If Condoleezza Rice Were A Mall Security Guard"


"Ms. Rice, the Banana Republic has been looted by armed thugs and the Sunglasses Hut is on fire!"

"Nobody could have foreseen such a thing." (blows nose)

"What are you blowing your nose on?"

(unwads paper) "Some kinda Saf-T-Guards memorandum from last month: 'Armed Thugs Determined To Strike Panda Express.' Whatever that means."

"I think it means that armed thugs were going to hide in vats of Panda Express sweet and sour sauce and pop out during the lunch rush, terrorizing the customers."
"Jesus, like anybody could have seen that coming.""Well, it happened at Northcross Mall about a year ago. Didn't you get the continuity notebook from the previous security guard?"
"I don't do historical documents. I'm all about the future.""What about the JC Penney floor manager? Didn't he mention the skateboarding problem?"

"I can't really remember what I even had for breakfast this morning."

"But we have it on videotape!"

"Fucking stop riding me, asshole, I gotta get a manicure at Visible Changes and hit the Payless Shoes clearance sale!"

"That's the kind of spunk I like! You're promoted to Highland Mall Armed Punk Liaison! Long may your community dialogues be facilitated!"


More here for the metaphorically impaired. You can also construct your own Dennis Hastert as the general manager of a Chuck E. Cheese Funtime Pizza Parlor scenario, so long as it ends with his being fired after overlooking the shenanigans of the deviant employee who installed a risque soundtrack for the animatronic animal musicians. Or skimming cheesy pepperoni rolls for personal consumption.


From: www.norbizness.com

FU GWB

Found the following on www.fuckyougeorgebush.com ... I find it cathartic and reminds me of the rude pundit. LOL

Fuck you, George W. Bush.

Fuck you for not cutting off your vacation when you got the PDB on August 6, 2001. Fuck you for telling the briefer, “You covered your ass.” Fuck you for those seven minutes in that Florida classroom.

Fuck you for not listening to the warnings of Richard Clarke. Fuck you for appointing John Ashcroft, who told aides that he didn’t want to hear anything about terrorism.

Fuck you for using the horrific deaths of 2,973 on 9/11/2001 to justify the invasion of Iraq, which we now know you had planned since the day you took office, and started ratcheting up within days of 9/11.

Fuck you for squandering the good will and sympathy of the world that existed on 9/12, when even people in Tehran mourned our loss. Fuck you for thumbing your nose at our allies, who were willing to commit unlimited resources to helping us catch the perpetrators of 911, but most of whom rightly couldn’t see the logic of invading a country that had nothing to do with it.

Fuck you for promising to catch or kill Osama Bin Laden, but quickly dropping that pursuit, and to allowing him to still breath the sweet air of freedom, now 5 fucking years after his minions murdered our citizens. Fuck you for letting him escape at Tora Bora, when a decisive or even competent leader would have committed enough forces to make sure he was caught. Fuck you for pulling our Special Forces from the pursuit and sending them to Iraq. Fuck you for disbanding the unit changed with tracking him down. Fuck you for telling the American people that you just don’t think about bin Laden. Fuck you for not thinking about him. Fuck you for allowing Pakistan to pretend to try to catch him. Fuck you for letting them cut a deal with the Taliban. Fuck you for appointing as CIA director a partisan hack, Porter Goss, who said that we could catch bin Laden but for political niceties.

Fuck you for not enacting the 911 commission’s recommendations. Fuck you for not protecting the ports. Fuck you for not protecting chemical and nuclear plants. Fuck you for turning Homeland Security into a corrupt bureaucracy that spends more money guarding flea markets and petting zoos than it does major cities.

Fuck you for claiming, both yourself and through your minions, that Iraq was linked to 911. Fuck you for claiming that the clusterfuck that you created in Iraq is part of the war against terrorism. Fuck you for invading and occupying Iraq INSTEAD of fighting the war against the terrorists who attached us on 911. Fuck you for insisting that Iraq had WMD. Fuck you for not allowing Hanz Blitz and team to confirm that. Fuck you for telling them to leave Iraq before they proved to the world that you were wrong.

Fuck you for squandering the lives of nearly 3,000 brave Americans in your unprovoked war. Fuck you for not sending those brave Americans to fight Al-Qaeda instead. Fuck you for directly or indirectly causing the deaths of 50,000 to 100,000 or more innocent Iraqis.

Fuck you for using 911 as a political cudgel against your foes. Fuck you for impugning the patriotism of Max Cleland. Fuck you for calling Democrats weak on terror. Fuck you for swiftboating Kerry. Fuck you for ratcheting up the terror alert every time your poll numbers require it.

Fuck you for using 911 as yet another justification for cutting taxes. Fuck you for cutting taxes for yourself, Dick Cheney, Mary Cheney, the Bush twins, and Paris Hilton, while sticking my kids with the bill, and running up more federal debt than any president in history. Fuck you for blaming that debt on 911.

Fuck you for pissing away $313,679,500,000 of our tax money in Iraq. Fuck you for not spending that on finding and killing bin Laden. Fuck you for not spending that money working to prevent more bin Ladens and more Al-Qaedas from popping up. Fuck you for insuring that they will.

Fuck you for not knowing the difference between Sunni and Shia. Fuck you for not listening to those who warned that the aftermath of the invasion would be chaos. Fuck you for not planning for it. Fuck you for continuing to claim that it’s all good even as it gets worse day by day. Fuck you for hiring Rumsfeld, who, we’ve recently learned, forbade his staff to even talk about postwar planning. Fuck you for pretending that all you need to make a democrasy is a bunch of purple fingers.

Fuck all the people who work for you, who have all been complicit in your failure to fight the war against Al Qaeda. Fuck Cheney and Rumsfeld and Rice, of course, and fuck the theorists, Perle and Wolfowitz and Feith, and fuck the chickenshit enablers, Powell and Armitage, and fuck the mouthpieces, McClellen, Mehlman, Gillespie, and especially Fleisher. Fuck every staff member, fuck every intern, fuck anybody and everybody who worked in your administration and didn’t go screaming to the media about your mendacity and incompetence. And fuck all the old “grown up” republicans, like James Baker and George HW Bush, for not smacking you down before you caused some serious damage.

Fuck all the people in the mainstream media, who have failed to this day to remind the public that bin Laden is still alive and that you have failed to find him. Fuck the right wing media for hypocrisy and their non-stop lies about everything you do.

Fuck all of the people in Congress who have supported you, your war, and your refusal to protect the nation against further attack from al Quada.

Fuck everybody who voted for you in 2004. They get a pass for 2000, cause they didn’t know any better but in 2004 everybody should have known better, so fuck all of you - even if you’re a relative of mine, in which case, double fuck you!

Fuck you, Tony Blair, for being Bush’s bitch. Fuck you, Supreme Court, for appointing him.

And finally, for not storming the gates of the White House tomorrow and tossing the incompetent son of a bitch out on his ear for letting bin Laden get away with 911, fuck each and every one of us.

Soviet America

By Charlie Brennan, Rocky Mountain News
October 3, 2006

A Denver-area man filed a lawsuit today against a member of the Secret Service for causing him to be arrested after he approached Vice President Dick Cheney in Beaver Creek this summer and criticized him for his policies concerning Iraq.
Attorney David Lane said that on June 16, Steve Howards was walking his 7-year-old son to a piano practice, when he saw Cheney surrounded by a group of people in an outdoor mall area, shaking hands and posing for pictures with several people.

According to the lawsuit filed at U.S. District Court in Denver, Howards and his son walked to about two-to-three feet from where Cheney was standing, and said to the vice president, "I think your policies in Iraq are reprehensible," or words to that effect, then walked on.

Ten minutes later, according to Howards' lawsuit, he and his son were walking back through the same area, when they were approached by Secret Service agent Virgil D. "Gus" Reichle Jr., who asked Howards if he had "assaulted" the vice president. Howards denied doing so, but was nonetheless placed in handcuffs and taken to the Eagle County Jail.

The lawsuit states that the Secret Service agent instructed that Howards should be issued a summons for harassment, but that on July 6 the Eagle County District Attorney's Office dismissed all charges against Howards.

The lawsuit filed today alleges that Howards was arrested in retaliation for having exercised his First Amendment right of free speech, and that his arrest violated his Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful seizure.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Tenet warned Rice pre-911 we were about to be hit, Rice ignored him !!!!!!!!!

9/11 Commission not told of key meeting between Tenet and Rice pre-9/11, Tenet warned Rice we were about to be hit, Rice ignored him
from www.americablog.com


I noticed this buried in the Washington Post story last night about Woodward's book, and Editor & Publisher picked up on it too. Here is Editor & Publisher's excerpt of it. This is a big deal. It's the most important piece of evidence, other than the PDB, showing that the Bush White House ignored the signs that 9/11 was coming. How the hell did the 9/11 Commission miss this? This is long, read it:

Tenet called Condoleezza Rice, then national security adviser. "For months," Woodward writes, "Tenet had been pressing Rice to set a clear counterterrorism policy... that would give the CIA stronger authority to conduct covert action against bin Laden.... Tenet and Black hoped to convey the depth of their anxiety and get Rice to kick-start the government into immediate action.

"Tenet had been losing sleep over the recent intelligence. There was no conclusive, smoking-gun intelligence, but there was such a huge volume of data that an intelligence officer's instinct strongly suggested that something was coming....

"But Tenet had been having difficulty getting traction on an immediate bin Laden action plan, in part because Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld had questioned all the intelligence, asking: Could it all be a grand deception? "

Woodward describes the meeting, and the two officials' plea that the U.S. "needed to take action that moment -- covert, military, whatever -- to thwart bin Laden."

The result? "Tenet and Black felt they were not getting though to Rice. She was polite, but they felt the brush-off. President Bush had said he didn't want to swat at flies."

"Tenet left the meeting feeling frustrated. Though Rice had given them a fair hearing, no immediate action meant great risk. Black felt the decision to just keep planning was a sustained policy failure. Rice and the Bush team had been in hibernation too long....

"Afterward, Tenet looked back on the meeting with Rice as a lost opportunity to prevent or disrupt the attacks. Rice could have gotten through to Bush on the threat, Tenet thought, but she just didn't get it in time. He felt that he had done his job and been very direct about the threat, but that Rice had not moved quickly. He felt she was not organized and did not push people, as he tried to do at the CIA.

"Black later said, 'The only thing we didn't do was pull the trigger to the gun we were holding to her head.'
"

At the close of this excerpt, a Post editor's note states:

"How much effort the Bush administration made in going after Osama bin Laden before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, became an issue last week after former president Bill Clinton accused President Bush's 'eocons' and other Republicans of ignoring bin Laden until the attacks. Rice responded in an interview that 'what we did in the eight months was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton administration did in the preceding years.'"Then we learn the following:
"The July 10 meeting of Rice, Tenet and Black went unmentioned in various investigations into the Sept. 11 attacks, and Woodward wrote that Black 'felt there were things the commissions wanted to know about and things they didn't want to know about.'"Jamie S. Gorelick, a member of the Sept. 11 commission, said she checked with commission staff members who told her investigators were never told about a July 10 meeting. 'We didn't know about the meeting itself,' she said. 'I can assure you it would have been in our report if we had known to ask about it.'

"White House and State Department officials yesterday confirmed that the July 10 meeting took place, although they took issue with Woodward's portrayal of its results."Nice.

Well, as I recall, DoD and FAA also apparently lied to the 9/11 Commission and that's a crime. So who at the White House "forgot" to mention this key meeting to the commission, and was that a crime as well?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Olbermann is on a roll....

Keith pulled no punches and launched another smack down on Bush and FOX News…

See original footage and comments at: www.crooksandliars.com

And finally tonight, a Special Comment about President Clinton’s interview. The headlines about them are, of course, entirely wrong. It is not essential that a past President, bullied and sandbagged by a monkey posing as a newscaster, finally lashed back.

It is not important that the current President’s "portable public chorus" has described his predecessor’s tone as "crazed."

Our tone should be crazed. The nation’s freedoms are under assault by an administration whose policies can do us as much damage as Al-Qaeda; the nation’s "marketplace of ideas" is being poisoned, by a propaganda company so blatant that Tokyo Rose would’ve quit. Nonetheless.

The headline is this: Bill Clinton did what almost none of us have done, in five years. He has spoken the truth about 9/11, and the current presidential administration.

"At least I tried," he said of his own efforts to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden. "That’s the difference in me and some, including all of the right-wingers who are attacking me now. They had eight months to try; they did not try. I tried."

Thus in his supposed emeritus years, has Mr. Clinton taken forceful and triumphant action for honesty, and for us; action as vital and as courageous as any of his presidency; action as startling and as liberating, as any, by anyone, in these last five long years.

The Bush Administration did not try to get Osama Bin Laden before 9/11.

The Bush Administration ignored all the evidence gathered by its predecessors.

The Bush Administration did not understand the Daily Briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined To Strike in U.S."

The Bush Administration… did… not… try.—

Moreover, for the last five years one month and two weeks, the current administration, and in particular the President, has been given the greatest "pass" for incompetence and malfeasance, in American history!

President Roosevelt was rightly blamed for ignoring the warning signs — some of them, 17 years old — before Pearl Harbor.

President Hoover was correctly blamed for — if not the Great Depression itself — then the disastrous economic steps he took in the immediate aftermath of the Stock Market Crash.

Even President Lincoln assumed some measure of responsibility for the Civil War — though talk of Southern secession had begun as early as 1832.

But not this President.

To hear him bleat and whine and bully at nearly every opportunity, one would think someone else had been President on September 11th, 2001 — or the nearly eight months that preceded it.

That hardly reflects the honesty nor manliness we expect of the Executive.

KO-Bush.jpg

But if his own fitness to serve is of no true concern to him, perhaps we should simply sigh and keep our fingers crossed, until a grown-up takes the job three Januarys from now.

Except… for this:

After five years of skirting even the most inarguable of facts — that he was President on 9/11 and he must bear some responsibility for his, and our, unreadiness, Mr. Bush has now moved, unmistakably and without conscience or shame, towards re-writing history, and attempting to make the responsibility, entirely Mr. Clinton’s.

Of course he is not honest enough to do that directly.

As with all the other nefariousness and slime of this, our worst presidency since James Buchanan, he is having it done for him, by proxy.

Thus, the sandbag effort by Fox News, Friday afternoon.

Consider the timing: The very same weekend the National Intelligence Estimate would be released and show the Iraq war to be the fraudulent failure it is — not a check on terror, but fertilizer for it!

The kind of proof of incompetence, for which the administration and its hyenas at Fox need to find a diversion, in a scapegoat.

It was the kind of cheap trick which would get a journalist fired — but a propagandist, promoted:

Promise to talk of charity and generosity; but instead launch into the lies and distortions with which the Authoritarians among us attack the virtuous and reward the useless.

And don’t even be professional enough to assume the responsibility for the slanders yourself; blame your audience for "e-mailing" you the question.

Mr. Clinton responded as you have seen.

He told the great truth un-told… about this administration’s negligence, perhaps criminal negligence, about Bin Laden.

He was brave.

Then again, Chris Wallace might be braver still. Had I — in one moment surrendered all my credibility as a journalist — and been irredeemably humiliated, as was he, I would have gone home and started a new career selling seeds by mail.

The smearing by proxy, of course, did not begin Friday afternoon.

Disney was first to sell-out its corporate reputation, with "The Path to 9/11."

Of that company’s crimes against truth one needs to say little. Simply put: someone there enabled an Authoritarian zealot to belch out Mr. Bush’s new and improved history.

The basic plot-line was this: because he was distracted by the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Bill Clinton failed to prevent 9/11.

The most curious and in some ways the most infuriating aspect of this slapdash theory, is that the Right Wingers who have advocated it — who try to sneak it into our collective consciousness through entertainment, or who sandbag Mr. Clinton with it at news interviews — have simply skipped past its most glaring flaw.

Had it been true that Clinton had been distracted from the hunt for Bin Laden in 1998 because of the Lewinsky nonsense — why did these same people not applaud him for having bombed Bin Laden’s camps in Afghanistan and Sudan on August 20th of that year? For mentioning Bin Laden by name as he did so?

That day, Republican Senator Grams of Minnesota invoked the movie "Wag The Dog."

Republican Senator Coats of Indiana questioned Mr. Clinton’s judgment.

Republican Senator Ashcroft of Missouri — the future Attorney General — echoed Coats.

Even Republican Senator Arlen Specter questioned the timing.

And of course, were it true Clinton had been "distracted" by the Lewinsky witch-hunt — who on earth conducted the Lewinsky witch-hunt? Who turned the political discourse of this nation on its head for two years?

Who corrupted the political media?

Who made it impossible for us to even bring back on the air, the counter-terrorism analysts like Dr. Richard Haass, and James Dunegan, who had warned, at this very hour, on this very network, in early 1998, of cells from the Middle East who sought to attack us, here?

Who preempted them… in order to strangle us with the trivia that was… "All Monica All The Time"?

Who… distracted whom?

This is, of course, where — as is inevitable — Mr. Bush and his henchmen prove not quite as smart as they think they are.

The full responsibility for 9/11 is obviously shared by three administrations, possibly four.

But, Mr. Bush, if you are now trying to convince us by proxy that it’s all about the distractions of 1998 and 1999, then you will have to face a startling fact that your minions may have hidden from you.

The distractions of 1998 and 1999, Mr. Bush, were carefully manufactured, and lovingly executed, not by Bill Clinton… but by the same people who got you… elected President.

Thus instead of some commendable acknowledgment that you were even in office on 9/11 and the lost months before it… we have your sleazy and sloppy rewriting of history, designed by somebody who evidently redd the Orwell playbook too quickly.

Thus instead of some explanation for the inertia of your first eight months in office, we are told that you have kept us "safe" ever since — a statement that might range anywhere from Zero, to One Hundred Percent, true.

We have nothing but your word, and your word has long since ceased to mean anything.

And, of course, the one time you have ever given us specifics about what you have kept us safe from, Mr. Bush — you got the name of the supposedly targeted Tower in Los Angeles… wrong.

Thus was it left for the previous President to say what so many of us have felt; what so many of us have given you a pass for in the months and even the years after the attack:

You did not try.

You ignored the evidence gathered by your predecessor.

You ignored the evidence gathered by your own people.

Then, you blamed your predecessor.

That would be the textbook definition… Sir, of cowardice.

To enforce the lies of the present, it is necessary to erase the truths of the past.

That was one of the great mechanical realities Eric Blair — writing as George Orwell — gave us in the novel "1984."

The great philosophical reality he gave us, Mr. Bush, may sound as familiar to you, as it has lately begun to sound familiar to me.

"The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power…

"Power is not a means; it is an end.

"One does not establish a dictatorship to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.

"The object of persecution, is persecution. The object of torture, is torture. The object of power… is power."

Earlier last Friday afternoon, before the Fox ambush, speaking in the far different context of the closing session of his remarkable Global Initiative, Mr. Clinton quoted Abraham Lincoln’s State of the Union address from 1862.

"We must disenthrall ourselves."

Mr. Clinton did not quote the rest of Mr. Lincoln’s sentence. He might well have.

"We must disenthrall ourselves — and then… we shall save our country."

And so has Mr. Clinton helped us to disenthrall ourselves, and perhaps enabled us, even at this late and bleak date… to save… our… country.



The "free pass" has been withdrawn, Mr. Bush…

You did not act to prevent 9/11.

We do not know what you have done, to prevent another 9/11.

You have failed us — then leveraged that failure, to justify a purposeless war in Iraq which will have, all too soon, claimed more American lives than did 9/11.

You have failed us anew in Afghanistan.

And you have now tried to hide your failures, by blaming your predecessor.

And now you exploit your failure, to rationalize brazen torture — which doesn’t work anyway; which only condemns our soldiers to water-boarding; which only humiliates our country further in the world; and which no true American would ever condone, let alone advocate.And there it is, sir:

Are yours the actions of a true American?

I’m K.O., good night, and good luck.