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  • (18)

    I can hear the right-wing murmurs of "of course not!" After all, men have rights!

    That's what the European Court for Human Rights ruled, too:

    Natallie Evans, 35, from Wiltshire, made an emotional plea to her former fiancé to change his mind and let her use the embryos, which cannot be implanted without his consent [under British law].

    Ms Evans was receiving fertility treatment in October 2001 when doctors discovered pre-cancerous cells on her ovaries. She immediately underwent a course of IVF, which produced six embryos fertilised by the sperm of her fiancé, Howard Johnston, before having her ovaries removed to head off the disease.

    The next year, however, the couple split and Mr Johnston wrote to the fertility clinic asking it to destroy the stored embryos.Natalie Bennett, whose post on this is where I saw this story, ponders:

    Two judges dissented from the ruling, which makes an appeal to the absolute final court, the Grand Chamber, where it would be heard by 17 judges.

    It is what you call a really tough one. A man surely has a right not to have children without consent, so I guess in the end while I have to feel for Evans, he should not be forced into parenthood.

    And the suggestion of a "right to parenthood" suggested by the dissenting judge worries me. If there were such a thing, just how far would a society have to go to make it happen?Well, in the United States, not very far ... when it comes to women. For the right-wing fad here in the United States is to force women who've become pregnant by any means to become parents (or at least give their lives in the endeavor).

    Note that in either case there is a fertilized egg -- an embryo in the British case -- so it's not simply a matter of choice before the fact. We're talking about choice after the fertilization. The only difference is that Howard Johnston would not even have to provide of his body to make the baby happen, while women in South Dakota and many other states -- and the whole country, if the forced pregnancy advocates have their druthers -- would have to give of their blood, their energy, their time, their health, their ability to work, their employability, perhaps their lives to fulfill the forced parenthood mandated by the State.

    Interesting that, for men, just the possibility of their genes -- which are considered their property -- living beyond their control is enough to preclude any State requirement that the men be forced into that situation, while with women, the genetic property view does not apply, and what's more, the fact that perpetuating the 9-month life-creation process must take place within their own bodies also is not enough to preclude forced pregnancy.

    Two different continents. Two different sets of laws. Two different genders. Two different outcomes.

    So to sum up:

    1. Men have rights not to be forced into parenthood.
    2. Women have no such right.

    Any questions?

  • (17)

    [url=]Leutisha Stills[/url] writes in her diary, in part,

    . . . I attended Tavis Smiley's "State of the Black Union" Conference in Atlanta, GA. As I sat in the santuary of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, a quote of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s replayed in my head like a refrain from a song. The quote is "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.". . .

    Can we continue to be silent on the matter of no longer having a free press, freedom of expression or the freedom to participate in political dissent, because dissent is essential to having true democracy?

    Can we continue to be silent on the matter of a government whose sole mission is to continue to reward the wealthy at the expense of the poor?

    Can we continue to be silent on the matter of not having a guaranteed, fundamental, inalienable right to a quality education, affordable, liveable, sustainable housing, not to mention a sustainable and replenishing environment, quality healthcare and jobs that pay liveable, sustainable, family-supportable wages?

    Can we continue to be silent on the matter of a woman's right to control reproductive choice, or quality, comprehensive education and information on health issues such as preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, developing sexuality, diabetes, hypertension, mental illnesses, not to mention the need to educate about medical treatment of all with sensitivity and awareness in a cultural and linguistically competent manner, while teaching the need for staying healthy, eating right, being active?

    Can we continue to be silent on the matter of our elderly - their quality of life, now that they have earned the right to retire and rest from their labors, while being attacked on an economic scale in terms of eliminating access to medicines that would enhance their quality of life, as well as sustaining the trust fund into which they have paid in preparation for retirement and enjoyment of their golden years?

    Can we continue to be silent on the matter that this government has sought to divide rather than unite; facilitates an inherent contempt for the poor, the elderly, the downtrodden, men and women of color, homosexuals, by initiating programs, initiatives and policies guaranteed to steal, kill and destroy life as we now know it?

    It's on Daily Kos and worth a read. Great words.

  • (17)

    I'm a little late on picking up this story:

    Her perfect game was even more perfect than the common definition of the term, which refers to a pitching performance in which every batter is turned back, either by striking out or hitting a ball that results in an out.

    Katie made it simpler: She struck out everybody, yielding no more than two balls to any batter.

    "I can't remember this ever happening," said Mr. Sage....

    He said players on other teams in the league might find it unnerving to be overpowered by a girl on the pitcher's mound, but that Katie's teammates "think it is great that she's on our side."


    Even before the game on Saturday, which was her team's third outing this year, Katie demonstrated striking abilities on the mound, relying almost entirely on a fastball that she can "place just about where she wants," Mr. Sage said. In the season's first game, she allowed only one hit and struck out 14 batters in five innings.

    She is also a major threat at the plate, with a batting average of .714 after three games.

    Ms. Bischoff said her daughter had been an avid baseball player since she was about 6, and learned the game from two older brothers. But she said Katie's first year as the only girl in the Little League was trying, and her teammates sometimes told her she should play softball with the other girls.

    The last part is telling, and I think stresses the importance of Title IX and providing access for women to athletic resources in schools. As girls get taller, thanks to better nutrition for girls -- is this a result of less gender bias at the family dinner table? (Johnny eat up and build your strength, Sally you'd better stop eating or you'll get fat!) -- many of the obvious disparities in performance are diminishing. If you take a professional female athlete and pit her against an amateur male, odds are now that she'll kick his butt. (How many beach bums could score even one point against Kerri Walsh and Misty May? How many Bobby Riggses are out there, still convinced of inherent male superiority, despite training, technique or tenacity?)

    Ours is a culture obsessed with sports. I don't really get into watching sports -- it's all rather boring, if you ask me -- but I'm grateful for the industry because it helps men vent their frustrations and insecurities that otherwise might come out in the form of more wars and murders and other violence. On the other hand, because of all the money in men's sports business, there's a definite imbalance in where money in sports education goes. Is that fair?

    Are men's baseball players more deserving of college resources than women ballplayers because millions of people like to get drunk and watch professional baseball on TV and in ballparks? Are women somehow less deserving because of beliefs that women just can't compete with men?

    The fact that one 11-year-old girl whiffed an entire team of boys in what is considered a boys' game I believe is proof that no assumptions of performance can be made based on gender. Girls kick ass, and now that being competitive and physical fit and strong are not so widely discouraged in girls, we're starting to see the results.

    Of course, the male sports culture, based as it is on the fragile male ego, is not ready to deal with competing with women. The very few women in college football, for example, have faced harrassment -- or even rape. The women in the military face similar treatment.

    Obviously men's culture has to grow up and own up to their own violence and misogyny. That means that the men who don't beat and rape women need to start asserting some authority over what is acceptable men's behavior. And that ranges into politics as well, and the misogynistic legislative agenda of the conservatives to take away birth control from wives and mothers and little girls. Where are the men? The women are speaking up, but most men are silent on this. Many in liberal circles will even deny that it's an issue.

    An entire team of boys got struck out by a girl. Is this the kind of thing it will take to get met to treat women as equals?

  • (17)

    Such was the sense from the president's speech, what with all the government programs, spending and planning. We'll see if he walks the walk, or if he's just talking the talk (as usual).

    I am cautiously optimistic, because such a horrid situation demands hope on the part of all of us. But I still carry a healthy amount of skepticism, because everything else this president has done has been so ineptly and incompetently executed.

    And there's the question of how we can afford this, when we're spending all of our money spreading, um, freedom around the world.

  • (17)

    So where are we? I say, same place as always. The party is top down, disinterested - for good or ill - in the base. Not too interested in the country under the Bush regime either, is my take.

    And I believe in hard fought primaries... bare knuckle. I want survivors. Or I did, once. I personally believe we are post-collapse. Of the Democratic party, that is. It heaves and thrashes... about it. Last throes. You know how it is, takes a while.

    I hope no one took ''Fighting Dems'' too seriously. Roll Call (subscription wall), in their round up of the Hackett walk, push, shove, mutual loss of love, whatever it really was or is!, makes the point, a Fighting Dem is of use til he or she is not. This is not news. Count out Ashe, Lentz (a Vice Adm. stepped in there) and no doubt a few more to come...

    Just last weekend Iraq war veteran and attorney David Ashe (D) dropped his campaign for a rematch with freshman Rep. Thelma Drake (R) in Virginia’s 2nd district. Ashe garnered 45 percent of the vote against Drake in 2004, in a late-developing open-seat race sparked by the last-minute retirement of then-Rep. Ed Schrock (R-Va.).

    According to a local newspaper report, Ashe’s decision was based primarily on the fact that he has been offered a position in the new administration of Gov. Tim Kaine (D). [...] his move clears the field for Virginia Beach Commissioner of Revenue Phillip Kellam (D), who had been viewed as party insiders’ preferred nominee. Kellam is a political legacy whose family is well known in the Tidewater area.

    Meanwhile, in New York’s 29th district, it briefly appeared this week as if retired Navy commander Eric Massa (D) might be getting pushed aside within the Democratic establishment in favor of a self-funding candidate in the race against freshman Rep. Randy Kuhl (R-N.Y.).

    On Monday, Democratic officials released a news release from businessman David Nachbar in which he announced that he would challenge Massa for the nomination.

    Privately, Democratic Congressional leaders had high hopes for Nachbar ... who was expected to pour at least $100,000 of his own money into the race. But problems with his candidacy became immediately apparent Tuesday morning. [laugh now]

    Nachbar is an unaffiliated voter, not a registered Democrat, meaning he would have to go through extraordinary measures to get on the Sept. 12 primary ballot — an effort that would have been complicated by the fact that seven of the eight county Democratic chairmen in the expansive 29th district had already endorsed Massa.
    [keep laughing, Massa was a Republican til sometime last year]

    A high-ranking New York Democratic official who did not want to be named said state party leaders were huddling with lawyers Tuesday afternoon to determine whether the county chairmen had the ability to put Nachbar on the ballot — a scenario that would have worked to Massa’s advantage — or whether the full Democratic committees in each county had the responsibility to determine whether he could compete.

    But the fact-finding would prove to be moot. Nachbar said Tuesday night that he would not run because he did not want to be “a divisive force.�
    [leave "divisive" to the party leaders]

    Quite a few round up pieces out there on the Hackett withdrawal.
    Cilliza in the Wapo
    , Robert Parry's Consortium News (broad based round up) and The Washington Note - Clemons is on point with what is required of insurgency inside the party:

    Furthermore, to win this battle for control -- some candidates, like Hackett, will have to vigorously run until the end, even if their candidacy looks doomed, or cash-strapped. It is certainly true that a slug-fest between Sherrod Brown and Paul Hackett may have harmed the Democratic Party -- and may even help Mike DeWine -- but to win a seat at the table and to chair the meeting when decisions are being made, the insurgent Dems will have to line up behind a number of candidates willing to go all the way. [...]

    A successful insurgency won't care what Emanuel does. The insurgents will see victory behind both short-term defeats and short-term wins. Hackett needed to go all of the way -- win or lose -- to give the insurgents validation and strength in the Democratic Party.

    Dem insurgents also over-invested in Hackett without lining up the rest of the insurgent candidacies. There are some out there, of course, but not enough. Hackett became the face of their overall campaign which I believe was a mistake.

    MSNBC/Curry and Sirota, as well.

    From the Curry piece (cue Blogger Boyz):

    'Brown better win this'

    “I just have one thing to say right now: Sherrod Brown better win this,� said Democratic blogger “Adam B� on the Daily Kos web site. “I hope that once Hackett's many supporters get over this disappointment, we can all work together this fall to make it happen. At the end of the day, Chuck Schumer's not the enemy -- Mike DeWine is, as is every other Republican who stands between us and control of the Senate.�

    oh but ''Adam B'' is part and parcel of the Casey push in PA... goose - gander? Fillies and foals, stem cells and abortion, when DOES life begin in the Democratic party?

    I ask you!!

    Casey and the Democratic party - and abortion? NO squeeze there? hmmm?

    Heck! Back to another blogger boy:

    But blogger Bob Brigham, who played a role in Hackett’s House race, had a scathing and obscene reaction.

    “Schumer has now ***** up beyond all recognition the primaries in both Pennsylvania and Ohio,� Brigham said in an e-mail distributed Tuesday morning. He called Schumer “a complete ******* fool.�

    Cool rag for the fevered brow. Now now. This all smacks of Chinese Opera. Much doings on stage. But the audience, in my experience, comes and goes thru the perfomance. They eat, visit, chat, gossip and look up from time to time. The stories are known.

    The Democratic Party, it's not "Chinatown" but it is Chinese Opera. And the crowd of 7, 8 or 9, the bloggers who are tightly linked together, are so tied into the party or factions or offshoots or dependants or aides or or or or each other! The incestuous amplification is ... repetitious.

    The close of Curry's piece for MSNBC:

    Assessing bloggers' importance

    The negative reaction to Hackett’s exit “will certainly pass, it may even pass before the next news cycle,� remarked Jennifer Duffy, an analyst with the non-partisan Cook Political Report.

    “Hackett is the kind of candidate who illustrates that the blogs are loud, but not necessarily representative,� she added. “In this election cycle in particular, people are watching blogs and assigning them enormous importance that isn’t necessarily warranted.�

    The Hackett episode showed that party leaders had decided it was worth risking the wrath of pro-Hackett bloggers in order to get the candidate they judged to be the stronger one.


    Jim Dean, brother of Howard and now head of DFA
    weighed in
    (click if you want the commentary about Hackett, I am for bigger game):

    Today that baby-sitting job got a lot tougher.

    Even after 15 years of losing, too much of our leadership continues to waste valuable time and donors' hard earned money trying to maintain a party machine in second place.

    They do this by trying to bring new and exciting ideas to heal for the sake of their own second place status, because to them second place in DC is better than fighting for our country, our values and our party.

    By late afternoon, Hackett had cooled a bit and voiced support for Sherrod Brown (whose people had worked his summer House campaign against Schmidt, one thing about politics, hand washing, back scratching, back and forth, back and forth... that ceaseless motion... LOL).

    Later, Howard popped up, speaking to HS students in FL:

    Dean told a student audience in Miami that "some skulduggery in Washington" improperly led to Hackett's decision to end his bid. And he said Democrats will have a tough time winning if similar things happen to others.

    Skullduggery? Oh to be sure... and Howard would know. Osama and the Democratic 527. But to Howard I would say: Pennsylvania. Casey.

    There is ''skullduggery'' to spare.

    A last few words for Howard, his inspired stump from February/March of 2003. Truly, he has forgotten:

    I want my country back. We want our country back.

    I am tired of being divided.

    I don't want to listen to the fundamentalist preachers anymore. I want America to look like America.

    Where we are all included, hand in hand, walking down. We have dream. We can only reach the dream if we are all together – black and white, gay and straight, man and woman. America. The Democratic Party. We are going to win in 2004.

    Thank you very, very much. Thank you very, very much.

    Stand up for America, Stand up for America, Stand up for America.

  • (17)

    Jonathan Singer offers this plaint:

    There has been a significant amount of unhappiness and even outrage within the progressive blogosphere are the direction the campaign for Congress has taken in recent months. The likely Democratic Senatorial nominee in Pennsylvania does not fall in line with the party's stance on abortion, a highly charismatic, though somewhat unpolished candidate in Ohio is no longer running for the Democratic Senatorial nomination in that state, and the possibility remains that the blogosphere's favored candidate in the Montana Senate race will not receive his party's nomination. The list goes on.

    Some of us in the progressive wing of the blogosphere have contemplated staying home on election day rather than supporting the eventual Democratic nominee in the state. Why, if my candidate did not gain the party nomination -- for whatever reason -- should I go to the polls on election day, let alone try to organize or work to get out the vote in the coming months?
    What Mr. Singer is missing is that none of this is about what I do? Who cares what I and a few hundred (?) or thousand (?) bloggers do on election day? The point is what will all the other voters do?

    Will voters go out into November weather to vote for a schmuck because he's slightly better than the putz running against him?

    Will voters take time off from work to vote for someone who thinks they are not entitled to basic human rights?

    Will potential voters even bother to register when both parties are offering nothing but right-wing zealots and consultant-massaged say-nothing-do-nothings?

    The Democratic Party today has not one idea or plan or initiative or position to offer the people except:

    "We're against the Republicans ... at least some of the time."

    That's hardly a get-out-the-vote plan. And when Democratic Party-line bloggers scold progressive bloggers for not getting with the program, I have to wonder if they really are that stupid, they're being deliberately obtuse, or they figure we just won't notice we're being made into "whipping boys" for the inevitable voter reaction to such cynical Democratic Party treatment of the electorate.

  • (17)

    Ya think?

    When was she not, I say.

    She must do something about getting a stump... er, fire hydrant speech. Just has to. After La Kerry we cannot have another self-impressed nom, who also does not have a credible stump speech. Kerry drooled his speeches, she spits out lectures.

    As I type this just the memory of her voice grates in my ear. Quite aside from the guff she upchucks (10K to Casey).

    Meanwhile Bill is handy. Useful, ministering, evangelising Bill.

    Spoiled Sparky [not kidding, that is his name]

    A little Bush Biz, some Africa Biz with Holbrooke (no pic, he is not a dog, he is a rock that speaks), some Ports Biz, little phoning to our (that means Bush and Clinton) friends. You know them: the UAE team for global security and ports and terminals administration.


    This is our Poodle Whirligig. It is 15 inches tall and has 10 inch legs. Available in black and white. $29. Look at our other dog whirligigs!

    Oh planning on adding enough senate seats to get to majority. Opera glasses at the ready!. This will be fun. Have some champagne, the bubbles help keep one upright in turgid times....

    And Rahm, doing what poodles like Rahm do.

    Fun stuff - fun for them. Much fuss and bother, accomplishing little.

    And all the while the party is:

  • (17)

    If Arizona hasn't gone and done it again. According to Time Magazine,

    Arizona Republicans will likely introduce legislation this fall that would deny birth certificates to children born in Arizona ...

    Arizona is a beautiful place with an expansive countryside -- crowned by the Grand Canyon -- with so many friendly and kind people. How is it then that the state manages to come off looking so odd-ball?

    According to the Time article, some Arizona legislators want to withhold birth certificates of children born in Arizona, to parents who are not U.S. citizens.

    The United States is a country which confers citizenship to anyone born in the country -- the so-called "natural born." Hence, to prove citizenship, someone born in the United States needs only to show a birth certificate to prove they are an American. Those not born in the United States need to get naturalization papers to provide this proof.

    Under this theory, if a child is by definition an American citizen by virtue of being born within the United States, then it follows children born of non-citizens are citizens of the United States. Some think that this is a loophole, and now the Arizona legislature is attempting to plug the loophole by withholding citizenship from these children by not supplying a birth certificate.

    Does withholding or otherwise manipulating a birth certificate invalidate citizenship? Possibly not.

    The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution states, in part:

    Section. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    The 14th Amendment was in large part meant to deal with emancipated slaves, who were native-born, but not full citizens prior to their emancipation. After emancipation, former slaves were in limbo and some people questioned the status of former slaves, as citizens. The 14th Amendment helps to clarify their status as full citizens, despite the circumstances of their birth in servitude.

    Some southern revisionist may say that the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments were foisted on the secessionist states by scalawags and carpetbaggers ... and there are those who say the votes weren't quite right for ratification of the 14th. Certainly the 14th amendment has been applied in any number of instances in the 132 years since its enactment, not to mention some degree of consternation because it has the "equal protection" language in it.

    Now the 14th is under attack by Arizona Republican and state Senator Russell Pearce. He is the man behind a move to strip persons born in the United States of the citizenship protected under the 14th. Of course, it is not phrased that way. It is couched in terms that those born in the United States, who fall under the proposed law, would not be given their birth documents. More benign sounding, as if the State of Arizona has the right to decide who and who is not a citizen of the United States.

    But the 14th is very clear that people born in the United States are citizens, without the permission or acquiescence of any State government. At the moment of their birth, these newborns are United States citizens, birth certificate, or not. The intent of the legislation seems to be that by withholding the birth certification, the citizenship of these newborns can be reversed. But notice that Section 1 of the 14th Amendment says nothing about birth certificates. Given the world on 1868, when people were born at home, birth certificates were not de rigueur.

    Even 68 years later, in 1936 to be exact, birth records were not that important, as we read in a Washington Post article about Arizona Senator John McCain's birth records.

    Curiously enough, there is no record of McCain's birth in the Panama Canal Zone Health Department's bound birth registers, which are publicly available at the National Archives in College Park. A search of the "Child Born Abroad" records of the U.S. consular service for August 1936 included many U.S. citizens born in the Canal Zone but did not turn up any mention of John McCain.

    The lack of such birth records does not make McCain any less a "native born" citizen.

    Possible discrepancies in the bureaucratic paperwork are of little concern to Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor who looked into [whether McCain was a "natural born" American] . . . . Tribe said it would be "astonishing if the recordkeeping practices of Canal Zone [officials] could have any bearing on eligibility for the U.S. presidency."

    Perhaps the same can be said of Arizona's pending legislation. It holds no force. It carries no sway. The matter of who is a citizen falls to the Federal Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Department of Justice, not any state.

    Nevertheless Arizona state Senator Pearce argues in the Time article,

    the 14th Amendment has been "hijacked" by illegal immigrants. "They use it as a wedge," Pearce says. "This is an orchestrated effort by them to come here and have children to gain access to the great welfare state we've created." Pearce says he is aware of the constitutional issues involved with the bill and vows to introduce it nevertheless. "We will write it right."

    Citing the popularity of such a bill, the article goes on,

    He and other Republicans in the red state Arizona point to popular sympathy: 58% of Americans polled by Rasmussen think illegal immigrants whose children are born here should not receive citizenship; support for that stance is 76% among Republicans.

    Of course, the reason the founders wanted a Bill of Rights was precisely to protect against majorities, 58% or otherwise, riding roughshod over people -- newly-born citizens, included.

    And now for the second round of birth-certificate-driven, odd-ball, politics. In a New York Channel 2 story we read,

    The Arizona House has approved a bill that would require President Barack Obama to show his birth certificate if he hopes to be on the state's ballot for a re-election bid.

    The report goes onto say that the State of Hawaii has passed legislation to deal with a flood of inquires about the President's birth certificate. The birth certificate has already been shown, and doing so time and again is a waste of taxpayer money.

    Perhaps the Arizona law will snare some of the people going across the boarder of one of the 13 other states that share the boarder with Canada, but I doubt that that is the real reason for all the Arizona brouhaha. The irony, if it can be called that, is how far people will go to erect fences and walls and how much birth certificates matter when the individual is darker-skinned.

    Read further in the Washington Post article concerning Arizona Senator, John McCain's natural-born status,

    The key constitutional issue is whether the Canal Zone was part of the United States .... the sovereignty question is "more complex" than Olson and Tribe concede. People born in some U.S. territories, such as American Samoa, are not recognized as citizens of the United States. According to a State Department manual, U.S. military installations abroad cannot be considered "part of the United States" and "A child born on the premises of such a facility is not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and does not acquire U.S. citizenship by reason of birth." Tribe said the manual is an "opinion" with no legal status.

    According to the Washington Post, other lighter-skinned folks, besides McCain, have run for President without there being such angst,

    Vice President Charles Curtis, who served under President Herbert Hoover and was born in the territory of Kansas in 1860, a year before it became a state. The 12th Amendment requires that vice presidents possess the same qualifications as presidents.
    Several prominent politicians have run for the presidency without having been born in the United States, including Barry Goldwater, who was born in the territory of Arizona in 1909, three years before it became a state. Mitt Romney's father, George Romney, ran in 1968, even though he was born in Mexico. Since neither Goldwater nor Romney won the presidency, the "natural born" clause was never tested.

    Looking back at the 14th Amendment, Section 3, it appears that we are a forgiving people -- even able to seat those, right after reconstruction, who took up arms against the United States. And during that same time, blacks were unseated and through adroit legislation, were disenfranchised. Rewriting reconstruction as a time of Northern excess and oppression of Southern citizens, does not always square with history -- see "The Era of Reconstruction," 1865-1877 by Kenneth M. Stampp. What actually happened was that after defeat, the southern states passed legislation that favored the white man and removed the darker-skinned people from power. We may be seeing another round of carefully crafted legislation that takes away people's rights. Same-old, same-old?

    It is doubtful the Arizona legislation will be upheld, but then again you never know with members of a Supreme Court who look to 18th century "intent" to apply to 21st century circumstances. So the battle goes on.

    And yet there is cause for hope. What some might call the most Secess' states of all, first-to-secede South Carolina, has led the way by nominating Nikki Haley, an Indian-American for governor in Tuesday's primary.

    Having won re-election in the midst of a Civil War, Lincoln said in his second inaugural

    With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

    It has been 135 years since Lincoln called on the citizens to bind up the nation's wounds and that we find "lasting peace among ourselves." That time may be here. Maybe now is the time to really start that healing and put all the birth-certificate-driven politics behind us.

  • (16)

    Reprint from The-Goddess, Oct. 04 Cross-posted

    I'm bumping this up in response to seeing Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Real Time with Bill Maher this week. He actually spoke about the Dominion Theology movement and the fact that the head of the Dept. of the Interior is a member of what he called a group of "Christian Heretics". He cited an "unholy alliance" between polluters like the Coors family trading money for political clout for these Right Wing Extremists. This is not some crack pot conspiracy theory, This is a very real movement that is affecting your quality of life right now and endangering our future.

    A Crash course in the Christian Supremacist Movement
    I've been doing research on the "Religious Right" this week and at the risk that you think I'm being overly dramatic, I honestly tell you that I'm scared shitless. I think the liberal intelligentsia has failed to grasp what's happening in America. Make note of these words:

    • Dominion Theology, Dominionism, Dominionist
    • Kingdom Now theology
    • the Reconstructionist movement, Christian Reconstructionism
    • Tribulation, pretribulationism, midtribulationism, posttribulationism
    • the Vineyard movement
    • Coalition on Revival (COR)
    • Charismatic
    • Evangelical
    • the Fellowship or the Foundation
    • Promise Keepers
    • The Family - described as "an invisible association", who's members include:1
      • Don Nickles (R., Okla.)
      • Charles Grassley (R., Iowa)
      • Pete Domenici (R., N.Mex.)
      • John Ensign (R., Nev.)
      • James Inhofe (R., Okla.)
      • Bill Nelson (D., Fla.)
      • Conrad Burns (R., Mont.)
      • Jim DeMint (R., S.C.)
      • Frank Wolf (R., Va.)
      • Joseph Pitts (R., Pa.)
      • Zach Wamp (R., Tenn.)
      • Bart Stupak (D., Mich.)


    I'm sure the names Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy, the late Francis Schaeffer and Billy Graham are familiar. The movement began with them. For a complete background, please read Katherine Yurica's beautifully researched article The Despoiling of America. There are numerous sources on the internet, so I'm just going to distill the main points here.

    They want to establish an American Theocracy. Their goal is to remove the checks and balances in the Constitution, and consider George W. Bush to be their leader, installed in his office by none other than "God" himself.

    " "Why is this man in the White House? The majority of Americans did not vote for him. He's in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this." - Lt Gen William "Jerry" Boykin

    "Gen. Boykin has repeatedly told Christian groups and prayer meetings that President George W Bush was chosen by God to lead the global fight against Satan."2

    Boykin and Bush are both fond of thinking of the war in Iraq as a "Crusade".

    They favor the death penalty in many cases, including things like heresy, adultery, abortion and homosexuality. (BE VERY AFRAID of the fact that Ashcroft is after women's medical records!)

    They have been systematically working to gain control of all three branches of government, and have made great inroads thanks to Bush's appointment of these Christian extremists to the judiciary, where they can attack Roe V. Wade and separation of church and state issues, and to key cabinet positions, where they are systematically supressing scientific findings that contradict their ideological goals. They've inplemented a global "gag rule" and are actively campaigning against any organization that promotes condom use or abortion. John Ashcroft's Dept. of Justice won't prosecute hate crimes against minority religions, and they are using the Patriot Act for drug crimes. They refuse to prosecute Christian extremists in this country - even when they blow up clinics - as terrorists. They've been running the Pentagon through the Office of Special Plans.3

    They promote the homeschooling of children, so they push for vouchers as a way to destroy the public school system; and they have their own Universities like Liberty U. and Patrick Henry, which are the source of many of the current administration's interns.

    They see poverty as God's way of punishing the undisciplined, and they believe that things like lying and cheating are fine as long as it's done to further the return of Jesus. Bush's consultations with Apocalyptic Christian groups concerning his policies on Israel are well documented.

    But when he starts invoking church doctrine in a holy war against "evildoers," well, that's enough. If, like me, you happened to have seen the Frontline documentary The Jesus Factor, then you saw the president speak in coded language to his evangelical followers. You saw the president say that the Bible is the "guidebook" for federal social policy. You realized that Bush really does believe he's God's right-hand guy. When you were through shivering with fear in your bedroom closet, you knew for certain that President Bush is a fanatic who will get us all killed if he isn't stopped.
    Neal Pollack, Church and State

    It's all about the Apocalypse. There's the popular "Left Behind" series of 12 books describing the Second Coming. There's a sort of kid's guide to the end of the world, a "Left Behind" graphic Novel and special Military and Political versions as well. ArmageddonBooks dot com offers the Apocalypse series and End Time novels with names like "666," "Nephilim" and my personal favorite "Jesus, the Computer and New York City." These sell in the millions and they're all about how Jesus will take them to heaven and leave us heretics here to burn.

    "When President Bush adds God to their formulation and says God's purpose or intention is somehow linked with American military preeminence, that's a very dangerous thing. [After September 11,] President Bush and the White House basically choreographed a liturgy at the National Cathedral. President Bush was a chief homilist. In the pulpit of the National Cathedral, he made a war speech. He called the nation to arms in the pulpit of the National Cathedral, and he claimed a divine mission for our nation to rid the world of evil. That is not only bad foreign policy or presumptuous foreign policy--I would say it's idolatrous foreign policy to claim God's purpose for that mission. And in the language that Mr. Bush has used, he does this again and again and again. Our role, and his role as president, this is acclaiming a righteous [decree] that Pax Americana is God's foreign policy. This is a very unsettling thing." quoted in Church and State

    It's getting hard to tell our Saviors apart, though. I've already linked to the story where the Pope thinks W. may be the Anti-Christ. Then we hear that a coronation was held in a SENATE (!) building with congress people carrying the crowns on pillows as Sun Myung Moon declared himself "sent to Earth . . . to save the world's six billion people. . . . Emperors, kings and presidents . . . have declared to all Heaven and Earth that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is none other than humanity's Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent."4 He's a big time campaign contributor, so the pols in D.C. tolerate him. Or maybe they needed a false prophet? Or maybe George is the false prophet and Sun is the real deal? Maybe they're all fakes? This is making the triple sixes on my scalp itch.

    I'm kidding about the 6's, as far as I know, but this is not a joke. The Left is treating these people as a joke, but it's far from funny. We are looking at a new strain of Christian Supremacists and they think they're playing for their very salvation. I live in the South, where these people don't have to resort to the stealth methods that they do in Washington. Most church-going Christians are good people trying to do the right thing. The problem is that good people are easily lead into bad things when their leaders know how to manipulate their fears, prey on the limits of their experience or education, and tell them what they want to hear while they do as they damn well please. These leaders are deeply entrenched in the oil and aerospace industry and many of them are in positions of power. That's a lot of money, a lot of connections, a lot of influence. Enough to send our troops to war for NO reason. Enough to loot our Treasury. Enough to destroy our global alliances and damage our credibility. Call me paranoid if you must, but remember that there were probably Germans who saw what was happening with their crazy little savior, too. I wonder if anyone listened to them?

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    Jeffrey Feldman offers some clear advice on avoiding rhetorical traps from the radical right elite when it comes to the Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. Among them:

    2. Reagan and Clinton Understood, Bush Does Not: This is not a Republican or Democratic Party issue. President Reagan broke the gender barrier on the Supreme court and President Clinton followed suit. Both Parties understand the importance of this issue. President Bush, by contrast, has used women as political pawns in the Supreme Court nomination process, but he does not get it. Women must be on the court.

    3. More Than Wives and Mothers: This is a critical issue that must be discussed. Women in America are essential to every aspect of our way of life. They are not just wives and mothers. George W. Bush seemed to get this when he nominated Condi Rice, but when it comes to the Supreme Court, he forgot.

    4. 'Freedom' Means Not Having To Ask Your Husband's Permission: Over and over again, President Bush has told the American people that we invaded Iraq so that women can be free--free to drive, free to study, free to vote, free to work--free to do whatever they want without living as second class citizens to men. Now, he nominates a judge who believes that women must be required by law to ask their husband's permission before seeking medical care. Our soldiers are dying in Iraq to overturn laws of this kind, but President Bush nominates a judge in America who supports them.

    (Read the whole thing.)

    Point #4 bears repeating -- often. In Alito's view, women must ask permission of their husbands to receive medical care. One might even call him Ayatollah Alito -- a fundamentalist zealot who considers women not only less than equal but, in fact, property of men.

    Now we see why the radical right rulers of the GOP were so opposed to Harriet Miers. As ideologically conservative and devotedly "born again" as she was, by being female she was too "feminist" to be trusted to relegate women back to chattel status.

    You can see the puppet strings in Washington. Bush is catering to the demands of the vocal arch-conservative pseudo-religious minority that runs the Republican Party and would rule the country -- by force, if necessary. Their will be done. Might makes right. Hatred is a virtue. For all the "religion" supposedly involved, one wonders where the teachings of the Bible went in all this.