It's the end of the world as we know it...

Politics, philosophy, the law, current events, left leaning debates, religion, baseball, football, pop culture, growing up Greek, random events in my life...whatever hits my mind at the time.


Airing Voter Fraud Concerns

Random Thoughs on Politics has posted about the dirty politics in this election. Interesting reading. It obviously focuses mostly on the attempts to intimidate voters.

And also great reading, Respectful of Others writes an great post on applying common sense to the fear of "voter fraud." It will likely not amount to any actual voter fraud. And for the record, I am one of those people that she is referring to who is registered in two counties. I moved in June, sent in my registration in, and got my new information about two weeks ago. Maybe three. But when I wasn't sure where I was supposed to vote, I called my old county, and I am still registgered there. It's not illegal unless I vote twice. But does that mean that there could be more registered voters in Medina County than actual voting age individuals. Maybe.

But she discussed the three alleged problems (according to Republicans), that being (1) People are registering at addresses where they don't live, as evidenced by returned mail; (2) There are more registered voters than eligible voters in some Ohio cities; and (3) People have been submitting voter registrations under names like "Mary Poppins" and "Mickey Mouse." She gives answers for the first two, showing how they aren't problems at all, and not even suggestive of voter fraud. The third one is a problem, b/c the NAACP was actually paying individuals to register voters. I am sure that everyone heard about the crack for voter registration story. Of course, other than the NAACP registration where individuals were paid for the numbers they registered and independently decided to lie to get more money, there has been no evidence that any of the VOLUNTEERS registering voters have registered even one ineligible individual, try as they may. So this problem isn't as widespread as they would like us to believe. More importantly, Mary Poppins may have registered to vote - and that challenge is legitimate. But Mary Poppins isn't actually GOING to show up to vote. So that (legitimate) third concern really isn't a real concern - but highlights why no organization should be able to pay individuals to register voters.
So wanna hear gross? I have my ID for work clipped to my pant pocket. One of those bungee things so that I can swipe it as necessary. Anyway, today, for the first time ever, I dropped it in the toilet. Which normally would only be eww gross. But no. Today there was a sign that read, "Ladies, the water was shut off on Saturday 10/30. The toilets were able to be used, but not able to be flushed. We apologize for any inconvenience." Umm...inconvenient?? Try gross.

Second, Halloween. First, why don't I have the types of friends who throw Halloween parties? Why are they always on tv? Who are these peple? I haven't had a Halloween party since law school. I never thought that law school would be the pinacle of my social life...I am officially pathetic.

And sticking with that Halloween theme, I was amazed at how parents go trick-or-treating with their older kids. I think my parents stopped when I was around 10. But here, teenagers are still with their parents. Wow. And most *aren't* with friends. And I am amazed that kids are so...greedy. I have this big bowl with candy, and I will let them choose any two that they want. It's amazing how many kids will take more than that, an entire handful. Give me a break. On a side note, I have to throw away my Halloween socks. I have had them since 1994 and they are so worn. Holes in them. Bye socks.

I took a political compass quiz and learned that my beliefs are on par with Gandhi, Nelson Mandella and The Dali Lama. Nice... Specifically, I am Economic Left/Right: -5.62 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.64.

A poll of Europeans found Israel, North Korea, Iran...and the Unitd States as the greatest threats to world peace. Great company we have there. Two of Bush's "axis of evil" are TIED with us for second place. Nice.

Signs of a Kerry victory??

The Redskins lost this weekend. Since 1933 (when the Boston Braves were renamed the Redskins) the result of the Redskins' final home game before the presidential election has always accurately predicted the White House winner. If the Redskins win, the incumbent party wins. If they lose, the incumbent party is ousted. (Of course, this was the year that the Red Sox destroyed an 86 year old curse - that is really only 16 years.)

I still don't see it. I expect Rove & the Republicans to steal this election again. Notably, Ohio and Florida.


"We'll take your children away if you vote Kerry..."

From Scrutiny Hooligans, and Vast Dairy State Conspiracy, check out this handout being circulated to around Milwaukee's African American communities. I *have* to think that this is a sarcastic thing. But at the same time, it does seem to go into their entire thought process that Republicans seem to have to do anything to prevent people from voting.

If this is legit, this is beyond frightening. Your children will get taken away from you?? Are you serious? If you've already voted in any election (i.e. the May general election) you can't vote now? Oh my gosh, if this doesn't target lower socio economic individuals, I am not sure what does.

On another note, the reason that there are new people registered to vote is that they are unhappy with the current administration. If they were satisfied, they'd be slackers and let the 9 old guys on the Supreme Court decide, like they have done for years...


Oh, and A New York Escorts Confessions, who I found via James, has the great Nike (Just Do It!) commercial for the Boston Red Sox. If you have any type of emotions, any love of baseball, any sense of history, or any belief in curses, you will love this commercial. Check here.

Bush supporters point guns at Kerry supporters and try (again) to steal Florida - meanwhile, Ohio does all it can to *not* count votes

I heard Jerry Springer speak today. It was mostly about him wanting to be governor of Ohio (in 2006) and his plans for the state. I'll say, in the last week I got to hear Edward Norton and Jerry Springer. (He looks a lot older in person that I expected. Then again, he said that he was over 60 so that can't be that much of a surprise.)

Oh my gosh. A Bush supporter pointed a gun to the head of a Kerry supporter. That is frightening.

And before the election even starts, Bush is ahead of Kerry. Guess that's what happens when your brother is governor??

And why are they giving provisional ballots if they don't count? Why bother? Here's my concern with provisional ballots. I am voting at a school down the street. EXCEPT - TODAY the street closed for 6 weeks. We can't drive on the street. So in order to vote, everyone will have to WALK there. I don't get it. Why not close the street in a week from today?? I obviously don't need to point out that I live in a largely democratic area...but seriously, my real concern is, where exactly can I vote? I literally have to walk down my street, then down the other street, then down the third street. It's about a mile. How many people are going to walk to vote? I hope that they open the street, but as they just open it today, it doesn't seem likely. It's weird.

I find it interesting reading about Republicans voting against Bush. "I have been a registered Republican since I first became eligible to vote. I've been an Air Force officer for 20 years, first on active duty and now in the reserves. I gladly voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and supported his battle to win the Cold War. If called to serve in Iraq, I would willingly do my duty for my country. You might think I'm a slam-dunk for the Republican ticket this year, but you'd be wrong. I backed John McCain in the 2000 primary, but I did not vote for George W. Bush and I'm even more opposed to him after seeing his performance over the past four years. I can't say I'm a big fan of John Kerry, but he's a smart guy and I'm willing to give him a chance because Bush has done such a bad job and shows so few signs of improvement that he doesn't deserve to get reelected. This letter explains why I'm voting against my Commander in Chief." Check here.

I can't believe that Boston swept the Cardinals. (Are they really America's Team?) Guess when they end the "curse" they do it in style. Oh, and when Jason said that Theo Epstein could sleep with anyone he wanted within a 250 mile radius of Boston, I'd actually expand that. He's "wicked" hot...

And because the Sox won, he was soaked in champagne. Yum...

Finally, I sent an email to several of advertisers concerning the Sinclear anti-Kerry broadcast. Reporting some of their email responses:

Yum Consumer Affairs: Thank you for taking the time to contract us to let us know your perspective about Sinclair Broadcasting's plans to air a controversial film. Please know that we had no plans to advertise on this program. We are very interested in quality television advertising and we encourage advertising on programs that reflect the positive image of our products.Thank you again for writing, we appreciate hearing from you. Yum! Consumer Relations

General Mills (as much as I support free more Cheerios for me): Thank you for contacting General Mills. Many consumers have written to share their views on this issue. Some have urged General Mills to use its influence as an advertiser to ensure that the media reports the news in an unbiased manner. Some have urged General Mills to continue advertising, and have threatened to withdraw support for our products if we alter our advertising plans. Passions run deep on both sides, particularly this close to an election. Whenever possible, General Mills does strive to preview the programs on which our advertising appears. We do so to assure that we do not advertise on programs inconsistent with the family-oriented nature of our products. This works well with entertainment programs produced and available for advance screening, but pre-screening of news broadcasts is usually not possible. Our view in this area is clear. We believe one of the fundamental elements of our society is the freedom of the press. Companies such as ours, in our view, should not attempt to influence, control or pre-empt the content of news through the leverage of advertising sponsorship. To do so would undermine that fundamental freedom. From time to time, any one of us as viewers may consider a particular news story to be inaccurate or imbalanced. News organizations do err. Judgment is not always well applied. One major news organization recently acknowledged that errors were made in stories relating to the current presidential election. When such errors occur, certainly a price is paid in terms of reputation. But errors and questionable judgment are an acceptable price to pay, in our view, to assure the presence of a free and independent media in our society. As viewers, each of us is free to make a choice. We can choose to patronize or not patronize programs with our viewership. We can choose to patronize or not patronize particular television stations, or even entire networks. Similarly, advertisers may choose not to sponsor certain broadcasts, a particular network or specific publications because of their journalistic standards and judgment. But advertisers should not attempt to control or pre-empt news programming prior to broadcast or publication. That, in our view, would be inappropriate. In this instance, as in the example cited earlier, passionate voices are calling on advertisers to insert themselves into the election by threatening to boycott those who remove or who do not remove their advertising. We choose to stand with freedom of the press. We welcome the views that you and others have shared with us. You may rest assured that we will remind the networks we sponsor that the integrity of their reporting reflects on the companies that advertise during their broadcasts. Hopefully, you will understand our views – and the importance we place on a free press. Again, thank you for taking the time to contact us and share your views. Sincerely, General Mills

Some poor small local business that was just included: To whom it may concern, it is simply amazing the response I have gotten from all over the country in regards to the Sinclair program to be shown. To be listed with the likes of "Arby's, Circuit City and U.S. Cellular, I am wondering if the budget I have spent with channels 18/24 in Milwaukee is to much. I can only imagine that these company's had to spend in the millions to get your attention and Rank & Son has a budget less than $800.00 per month. WOW, talk about getting out to the people! That might sound a little sarcastic, but I am trying to make a point. We are a small metro car dealership in Milwaukee and some how got on this list of company's that literally spend millions. ...

Iams: Dear Concerned Consumer: Thanks for contacting us about Sinclair Broadcast Group's plans to air "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal." We haven't reviewed the content of this program, nor would we advertise in it. One of our guiding principles is that we don't advertise in programs where there is expression for or against a given political candidate. The way we spend our advertising dollar is important to us. For most TV programming, we're able to review the content on a show by show basis before making any advertising decisions. You may see some of our commercials air on the Sinclair Broadcast Group's network during shows that we've already agreed to appear in. The networks also have control over TV programming and can choose to preempt regularly scheduled programming with different programs, such as this one. We appreciate your comments and I'm sharing them with those responsible for television sponsorship. Sincerely, Marilinn Iams Consumer Care, North America

Just thought I'd put out there the opinions of some advertisers.


Lunar Eclipses and Politics

First, everyone remember to watch the full lunar eclipse tonight. It would have been cooler if it actually occurred on Halloween, but we’ll take what we can get.

Second, looks like the Republicans in Florida are planning to steal the election again. "Two e-mails, prepared for the executive director of the Bush campaign in Florida and the campaign's national research director in Washington DC, contain a 15-page so-called "caging list".
It lists 1,886 names and addresses of voters in predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas of Jacksonville, Florida." However, going after a minority such as African Americans to prevent them from voting is against the law. Interestingly enough, as the Washington Post points out, "Republicans are spending these last precious days devoting nearly as much energy to suppressing the Democratic vote as they are to mobilizing their own. " Yes, here in the US everyone vote counts - except when the Republicans don't want it to...

Third, more proof that the smart people are voting Kerry. "Strikingly, Bush leads Kerry in the poll among lower- and middle-income white voters, but trails his rival among whites earning at least $100,000 per year. Bush also runs best among voters without college degrees, whereas Kerry leads not only among college-educated women (a traditional Democratic constituency), but among college-educated men — usually one of the electorate's most reliably Republican groups in the electorate."

Finally, via Erin - isn't this fucking frightening?? The interesting this is, over the weekend the Judge was talking about how it was odd b/c when Bush's father was in the white house, he would campaign for him and spoke well. I wonder...


I heard Edward Norton speak last week. He discussed the attack on our civil liberties and pointed out that the Constitution (currently being ignored) was actually just a list of complaints to another tryant named George. I found him very interesting.

The fact that not enough people seem to care about this assault on our civil liberties is astonishing. All I can think about is how far we got in the 50s before someone FINALLY said, "Have you no decency sir? Have you no shame?" and before it finally sunk in what was going on around them. Until it gets so bad that people are going to hear that statement and REALLY hear it, it won't make a difference. Right now, those of us asking the questions are like an annoying bug. Sooner or later, sink in. It's just a matter of waiting. And every time I think that it has to be almost dawn, it gets a little darker...

So it’s awful when Kerry points out that Cheney’s daughter a lesbian and it wasn't a choice but being who she is, but it’s
ok when Alan Keyes calls her a "selfish hedonist??" I don’t get Republicans.

And I have to say - I was glad to see Clinton out on the campaign trial. It's good tosee that he's doing better.

On a personal front, a few more things from polling voters last week. First, Rooy - is that a guy or girls name? And how is it pronounced? Second, as I might have mentioned, some compassionate conservative told me to go to hell. Nice... Third, I am really bad at numbers. I actually have dyscalculia. So I'm making calls and trying to be VERY precise. And I get a hold of a woman and ask to speak to the woman. She tells me - who is that? I told Mario to end it with her. I will kill him" and hung up on me. So Mario, man, I'm sorry. Annie was the next woman I was supposed to call, and it's just bloody bad luck that you apparently had an affair with an Annie.

Fourth, I tried changing a light bulb by myself - failed. You know those jokes, how many blondes does it take to change a light bulb? I can't laugh anymore. I have lost that right. Actually, let's review my weekend. I drove to PA for dinner. On the drive back on Saturday night (yes, I drove there on Saturday am and drove - most of the way - back Saturday night), my car starts jerking. NOT good. All I know to do to a car is put in gas, put in oil, and check to see if the the tires are flat. (No, I can't CHANGE a tire. I know HOW to, but i'm not strong enough to take off the lugnuts, as I learned on 90 on my way to Boston one year). Anyway, I decide to put in oil because I'm 10,000 miles OVER my last scheduled oil change (lecture me later). Anyway, I buy oil (the wrong numbers, I later learned, but who knew oil had numbers anyway?) and I go to put it in. I'm not strong enough to take the oil cap off. I'm at some gas station, 30 miles away and still 5 1/2 hours away from home, totally alone in the world, and ready to cry b/c it's 10:00 pm and I can't get the oil cap off. So after half an hour, I just give up and decide to go home and fuck it. My car didn't blow up; I consider this a positive step.

Then Sunday night, I have the 4 lights in the family room, and 3 are burnt out, so it's dark and hard to see. I don't have the right TYPE of light bulb, but hey, I have a light bulb, right? So whatever. I get my step stool to reach it. I grab the light bulb - and shatter it. Cut my thumb. Blood. Ickiness. Again I'm ready to cry b/c I'm a miserable failure at this entire house thing and what the hell was I thinking when I thought that I could be a responsible adult?? And then my cats want to see what's going on so they walk over. I jump off the stool (and cut my foot - more blod and more ickiness) and try to usher them away, but my one cat refuses to budge. So I put him in his cage right near me. Go upstairs and get the vacuum cleaner and turn it on - and my cat starts having a heart attack right there in the cage b/c of the vacuum cleaner. AAGH! So after I get all that taken care of, I go back to try to change the light bulbs because it's obviously still dark. Except the one that is shattered, I can't grab it to twist it off without cutting myself more (now my pointer finge is bleeding and ickiness.) So I go to a different one (if at first you don't succeed, give up and try something else). Anyway, THAT one I manage to take the light bulb off...from the part that is screwed in. So litererally, I'm holding the light bulb and the screw part is STILL screwed in. Sigh. So I've been in the dark...

Gutting the Geneva Convention

When you don't wanna follow the Geneva Convention (or when you are caught violating it by transferring a dozen non-Iraqi prisoners out of Iraq in the past 18 months, in violation of a provision in the conventions that bars civilians from being deported from occupied territories), just decide that it doesn't apply.

Me, I'm glad that the Bush administration has ruled this way. I mean, that means that when terrorists do the same to us, they are technically obeying the law. The short sightedness of this administrationi s astounding. Does he not realize that everything he does (such as preemptively striking a nation that poses no harm and gutting the Geneva Convention) he creates a past practice for other countries to do the same thing. And as any attorney will tell you, stare decisis, whether a good or bad decision, is a powerful tool.



I guess that it was bound to happen. After two years, the powers that be (aka the office administrator) sent out an email saying that we can no longer burn candles. :( Allegedly b/c the smell is disrupting people’s allergies. I say allegedly b/c when I asked if we could burn non-scented candles then, I was told no b/c it was a fire hazard. Now, this irritates me b/c I’ve been burning them for two years, and if I wanted to burn the place down, I would have by now. But what can you do? Other than look for a new job. Which I just might do. The problem is, most law firms want you to be a cookie cutter attorney. And I’m most decidedly not. When I’m wearing a suit, I swear that I look like a teenager playing dress up. Some people wear a suit and you look at them and say, "that is an impressive person with power." I wear a suit, and you struggle not to smile at the sight of me trying to pretend to be adult. And fail. Gosh, I spend enough friggin' time here that I should be able to burn candles if I want too...

Bush's (False) Religion

A few interesting articles. First, s question whether Bush is actually a Christian. Then, a more biting attack, where a Conservative Christian actually called Bush a facist. And, of course, The American Conservative editorial endorsing Kerry...

As God Is His Witness

By Ayelish McGarvey
Web Exclusive: 10.19.04

Bush is no devout evangelical. In fact, he may not be a Christian at all.

Late in the summer, at the Republican national convention in New York, a movie billed as the conservative alternative to Fahrenheit 9/11 debuted for the party faithful. The film, George W. Bush: Faith in the White House, opens with a montage of a billowing American flag, a softly lit portrait of Jesus in Gethsemane, and a shot of the tawny profile of our 43rd president with his eyes gazing heavenward. Myriad times throughout the film Bush is referred to reverently as a man of faith.

Like no president in recent memory, George W. Bush wields his Christian righteousness like a flaming sword. Indeed, hundreds of news stories and nearly half a dozen books have evinced a White House that, according to BBC Washington correspondent Justin Webb, “hums to the sound of prayer.” Yet for the past four years the mainstream press has trod lightly, rarely venturing beyond the biographical to probe the depth, or sincerity, of Bush's Christian beliefs. Bush has no doubt benefited from the media’s reluctance; Newsweek, for example, in the heat of the run-up to the Iraq War, ran a cover package on the president’s faith under the headline “Bush and God” -- a story whose timing lent the war the aura of having heavenly sanction. Even lefty believers like Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourners, and Amy Sullivan, journalist and Democratic adviser, politely maintain that Bush’s faith is strong, if misguided.

Indeed, in an 8,000-word lamentation appearing in The New York Times Magazine last weekend, Ron Suskind attempted to trace Bush’s lack of intellectual curiosity, and the policy disasters that have stemmed from that, back to his relationship with God. “That a deep Christian faith illuminated the personal journey of George W. Bush is common knowledge,” Suskind wrote. In other words, the devil, as it were, is lurking among the articles of faith, but not in the heart of the man.

This is a huge mistake, because when judged by his deeds, an entirely different picture emerges: Bush does not demonstrate a life of faith by his actions, and neither Methodists, evangelicals, nor fundamentalists can rightly call him brother. In fact, the available evidence raises serious questions about whether Bush is really a Christian at all.

Ironically for a man who once famously named Jesus as his favorite political philosopher during a campaign debate, it is remarkably difficult to pinpoint a single instance wherein Christian teaching has won out over partisan politics in the Bush White House. Though Bush easily weaves Christian language and themes into his political communication, empty religious jargon is no substitute for a bedrock faith. Even little children in Sunday school know that Jesus taught his disciples to live according to his commandments, not simply to talk about them a lot. In Bush’s case, faith without works is not just dead faith -- it’s evangelical agitprop

Richard Land directs the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the conservative Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination and a group that enjoys a close relationship with the Bush administration. In an interview for Frontline earlier this year, Land denounced the scriptural cherry-picking on the part of contemporary American Christians. “It's only been in the last half-century when you've had the rise of groups [in] modern Christendom who believe in what I call ‘Dalmatian theology,’” he explained. “The Bible's inspired in spots, and … [t]hey think they can reject large chunks of Christian Scripture and biblical revelation that they don't agree with … .”

But while Land’s censure was probably intended for liberals, so, too, does it apply to the president. For George W. Bush does not live or govern under the complete authority of the Bible -- just the parts that work to his political advantage. And evangelical leaders like Land who blindly bless the Bush White House don’t just muddy the division of church and state; worse, they completely violate Scripture.

Jesus, after all, didn’t do politics.

* * *
The president’s storied faith journey began at the bottom of a bottle and led him all the way to the White House. But though these accounts ramble on for hundreds of pages about his steadfast leadership and prayerfulness, they all curiously rely on one single event to confirm that Bush is a man transformed by a deep Christian faith: He quit drinking and took up running instead. “I would not be president today," Bush himself told a group of pastoral social workers in 2003, "if I hadn't stopped drinking 17 years ago. And I could only do that with the grace of God."

But Christianity is more than teetotalism and physical fitness. Conservative believers liken a Christian conversion to a spiritual heart transplant -- one that completely transfigures a person’s motivations, sensibilities, relationships, and actions. In the Book of Ezekiel, God tells his children:

“I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws … .” (emphasis added)
Judging him on his record, George W. Bush’s spiritual transformation seems to have consisted of little more than staying on the wagon, with Jesus as a sort of talismanic Alcoholics Anonymous counselor. Bush came to his faith through a small group program created by Community Bible Study, which de-emphasizes sin and resembles a sort of Jesus-centered therapy session.
But sin is crucial to Christianity. To be born again, a seeker must painfully acknowledge his or her innate sinfulness, and then turn away from it completely. And though today Bush is sober, he does not live and govern like a man who “walks” with God, using the Bible as a moral compass for his decision making. Twice in the past year -- once during an April press conference and most recently at a presidential debate -- the president was unable to name any mistake he has made during his term. His steadfast unwillingness to fess up to a single error betrays a strikingly un-Christian lack of attention to the importance of self-criticism, the pervasiveness of sin, and the centrality of humility, repentance, and redemption. Indeed, it is impossible to imagine George W. Bush delivering an address like Jimmy Carter’s legendary “malaise” speech (in which he did not actually say the word “malaise”) in 1979. Carter sermonized to a dispirited nation in the language of confession, sacrifice, and spiritual restoration. Though it didn’t do him a lick of good politically, it was consonant with a Christian theology of atonement: Carter admitted his mistakes to make right with God and the American people, politics be damned. Bush, for whom politics is everything, can’t even admit that he’s done anything wrong.

Save for a few standout reporters, the press has done a dismal job of covering the president’s very public religiosity. Overwhelmingly lacking personal familiarity with conservative Christianity, political reporters have either avoided the topic or resorted to shopworn clichés and lazy stereotypes. Over and over, news stories align Bush with evangelical theology while loosely dropping terms like fundamentalist to describe his beliefs.

Once and for all: George W. Bush is neither born again nor evangelical. As Alan Cooperman reported in The Washington Post last month, the president has been careful never to use either term to describe his faith. Unlike millions of evangelicals, Bush did not have a single born-again experience; instead, he slowly came to Christianity over the course of several years, beginning with a deep conversation with the Reverend Billy Graham in the mid-1980s. And there is virtually no evidence that Bush places any emphasis on evangelizing -- or spreading the gospel -- in either his personal or professional life. Contrast this to Carter, who notoriously told every foreign dignitary he encountered about the good news of Jesus Christ.

If he is anything at all, Bush is nominally Methodist, the denomination of his home church in Dallas. John Wesley, Methodism’s founder, emphasized an emotional “warming of the heart” to Christ as fundamental to conversion. (That self-help ethos is evident in the resident’s “compassionate conservatism.”) But Wesley was equal part freedom fighter: As a pastor in 17th-century England, he was barred from the pulpit for crusading against the abhorrent evils of slavery. Wesley died a poor man, his life a testament to Christ’s exhortation of charity in the Gospel of Mark: “Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.”

Bush, on the other hand, is no ascetic firebrand. The president has a net worth of nearly $20 million, and there is no indication that he is on the brink of abandoning his fortune to live righteously with the poor. And unlike Wesley, Bush has never compromised his political standing to challenge the conservative status quo -- regardless of its Christian righteousness.

The president is, safe to say, a “Dalmatian” Methodist.

* * *
Two months prior to launching his first presidential campaign, Bush sat for an interview with The Dallas Morning News to discuss the role of religion in his life and his politics. He spoke evasively and didn’t seem comfortable discussing his Christian conviction. “I view my religion as very personal,” he explained. “I want people to judge me on my deeds, not how I try to define myself as a religious person of words.”

But the president’s supporters in Christendom cling to his words as prima facie evidence of his deep Christian faith. And though Bush is not an evangelical, he certainly talks like one. As has been often noted, Bush effortlessly speaks the language of the born again, and his remarks are loaded with subliminal messages to the nation’s 60 million white evangelicals. Ironically, the theology embedded in this language is not even the president’s own -- it belongs to Michael Gerson, Bush’s crack speechwriter, himself a devout Christian and a graduate of Wheaton College, the “evangelical Harvard.” Far too often, though, the press confuses Gerson’s words with Bush’s beliefs.

The distinction is critical, as the press, as well as many of Bush’s most ardent supporters, curiously points to the president’s words, not his deeds, as evidence of his deep Christian faith. In Alan Cooperman’s recent Washington Post article, David Frum, a (Jewish) former Bush speechwriter, said of the president’s religious beliefs, “If you want to know what George Bush really thinks, look at what he says.”

Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, has met with the president and advised the Bush White House. “I sat down with [Bush],” he told me. “What I do know is that … [the president] is an honest guy who really believes what he says.”

Bush’s attraction to Jesus jargon is no accident. As an aspiring pol, he learned early on that religious language could give him the cowboy cred he needed to woo voters in Texas. Doug Wead is a close friend of the Bush family and a prominent evangelical motivational speaker. Wead worked closely with the president when he advised George Bush Senior during the 1988 presidential campaign. “There’s no question that [George W. Bush’s] faith is real, that it’s authentic … and there is no question that it’s calculated,” Wead told Frontline. “I know that sounds like a contradiction.”

Wead taught Bush Junior to “signal early and signal often” when he spoke to conservative Christians on behalf of Bush Senior. “George would read my memos, and he would be licking his lips saying, ‘I can use this to win in Texas,’” Wead told Guy Lawson in an article that appeared last year in GQ.

But in the Bible, Jesus Christ disdained insincere religious posturing. In the famed parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee, the penitent taxman prayed in a far corner of the temple and wept, hiding his face from God in shame. The Pharisee stood up, front and center, and exalted himself, thanking God that he was better than other men. Christ was unequivocal: “I tell you that [the tax collector], rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

The president has made sure to tell any Christian media outlet that would listen that he reads the Bible daily. Does he skip over the Gospel of Luke?

Bush’s defenders would argue that reproving the president’s Christian commitment is opportunistic and cheap, perhaps even sinful. They would say that an outsider could never appreciate the depths of the man’s private religious conviction.

But just as voters will judge his economic track record and his failed war in Iraq, so, too, must believers hold Bush’s actions as president to the standard of his professed Christian beliefs. After all, Bush made religious faith his characterological calling card from the outset of his very first campaign. Scripture says we have a right to scrutinize such claims; indeed, Scripture even obligates Christians to protect one another from creeping sinfulness. The author of the letters to the Hebrews in the New Testament left no room for interpretation on this point: “Take care, brethren, lest there should be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart … . But encourage one another day after day … lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

Just who will boldly hold the president accountable to Scripture? Sycophantic religious conservatives are heavily invested in politics; they dare not rock the boat. Religious liberals are cast aside as partisan. And as Amy Sullivan noted recently in The New Republic, Bush does not regularly attend church -- he doesn’t even have a pastor or fellow congregants to keep him on the straight and narrow.

For Bible-believing Christians, nothing in the entire world is more important than “walking” with Jesus; that is, engaging in a personal relationship with their savior and living according to his word. With this in mind, I recently asked Haggard, himself the pastor of a large church in Colorado, why the president, as a man of supposedly strong faith, did not publicly apologize for continually misleading Americans in the run-up to the Iraq War. Instead, Bush clung zealously to misinformation and half-truths. I asked Haggard why, as a man of Christian principle, Bush did not fully disavow Karl Rove’s despicable smear tactics and apologize for the ugly lies the Bush campaign spread over the years about Ann Richards, John McCain, and John Kerry, among others. After all, isn’t getting right with God -- whatever the political price --the most important thing for the sort of Christian Bush has proclaimed himself to be?

Haggard laughed as though my questions were the most naive he’d ever heard. “I think if you asked the president these questions once he’s out of office,” Haggard said, “he’d say, ‘You’re right. We shouldn’t have done it.’ But right now if he said something like that, well, the world would spin out of control!

“That’s why when Jimmy Carter ran, he [turned out to be] such a terrible president. Because when he [governed], he really tried to maintain [his integrity] and those types of values -- and that is virtually impossible.”

The pastor returned to my charges of Bush’s deceitfulness. “Listen,” he said testily, “I think [we Christian believers] are responsible not to lie [sic], but I don’t think we’re responsible to say everything we know.”

* * *
Bush’s religious backers like Haggard point to the president’s policy agenda as evidence of his spiritual ideals. The Christian spirit of compassionate conservatism, they say, infuses Bush’s commitment to policies like faith-based social services; many believers hold that a poverty of the spirit is at least partly to blame for such social ills as drug abuse and crime. Bush’s stance on abortion and other so-called life issues is also in concordance with the conservative Christian worldview. And the administration’s proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, while theologically dubious, certainly resonates among more traditionalist believers. Even the war in Iraq, on which Bush famously consulted his heavenly (rather than earthly) father, was proffered as an Old Testament-style battle between the forces of good and The Enemy, as such Christians refer to Satan. “Our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil,” the president declared after September 11.

But the aforementioned issues are Christological softballs, as it were. After all, Bush’s positions on such matters land him safely in Republican territory. Never once has the president crossed party lines to uphold Christian principles such as aiding the poor or caring for the environment, for example. Much more of the president’s record reveals a man with a far deeper commitment to partisanship, or just simply being right -- even at the expense of clear biblical teaching.

Ironically, the Bush’s policy on embryonic stem-cell research, often described by its opponents as a triumph of theocracy over sound public policy, is better understood as just such a victory of partisanship over religious principle. It seems like a lifetime ago, but the debate over embryonic stem-cell research in the summer of 2001 was pitched as a battle between blinkered religiosity and scientific progress. On stem cells, Bush walked a fine line between two powerful constituencies early in his term: To his right, freshly empowered evangelicals and conservative Catholics vehemently opposed the destruction of live embryos, often referring to the cell clusters as “the tiniest human beings”; to his left stood the scientific community and, according to an ABC News/Beliefnet poll conducted at the time, 58 percent of Americans who supported the research.

On the campaign trail, Bush himself bandied about Catholic “culture of life” lingo while siding with religious conservatives who unequivocally opposed embryonic stem-cell research. "During the campaign, President-elect Bush ... said that as president he would oppose federally funded research or experimentation on embryonic stem cells that require live human embryos to be discarded or destroyed," spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters in early 2001. The message was clear: Opposing embryonic stem-cell research was a matter of conscience for the new president.

But as Bush’s political viability waned, so, too, did his Christian conviction. By August of 2001, he had finally located the political sweet spot: The president ultimately approved federal financing for research on 60 stem-cell lines that had already been harvested, but prohibited the creation of any new ones. The resulting policy is neither scientifically nor religiously defensible. If the destruction of embryos is the moral equivalent of murder, it should be banned; if it is not, there is no reason to restrict federal funding to already extant stem-cell lines. The decisive ethical issue here concerns the status of the embryo and the legitimacy of its destruction. Bush's position amounts to saying that murder is OK as long as it isn't done with federal funds. But while there may be little that can be said in favor of Bush's position from a moral or research point of view, it's the perfect answer to the president's political program. His base gets messages like “[embryonic stem-cell research] leads down a slippery slope [toward] designer clones,” while a general audience recently received a communiqué from the Bush campaign bragging that he "delivered the first funding ever for embryonic stem-cell research."

Conservative Christians call this moral relativism. But in the simpler language that George W. Bush prefers, it’s a “flip-flop.”

* * *
In Exodus, the Ninth Commandment admonishes, “Thou shalt not bear false testimony against thy neighbor.” God wasn’t joking around there. But time and again, Bush and Rove have relied on repugnant lies to discredit their opponents. In the final days of the Texas governor’s race in 1994, barroom rumors swirled that Governor Ann Richards was a lesbian, and that she had appointed “avowed homosexuals” to her administration. Those rumors were lies, but Bush won the race.

In 2000, Bush squared off against John McCain in the hotly contested Republican presidential primary in South Carolina. Rather than go one on one with the war hero and popular pol, Bush let shady henchmen do his dirty work for him. In the final days before the showdown, Bush supporters waged whisper campaigns and distributed parking-lot handouts spreading the vilest of lies: that McCain was mentally unfit to serve after his long captivity in Vietnam; that his wife was a drug addict; that the senator had fathered a black daughter with a prostitute.

Bush won that race, too.

Little has changed this time around. When the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth emerged this summer to attack John Kerry’s admirable military service in Vietnam, veteran observers of past Bush campaigns immediately recognized Karl Rove’s handiwork. And with less than a month to go until November, the conservative Sinclair Broadcast Group abruptly preempted regularly scheduled television programming to air a propaganda film that denigrates Kerry’s war record. The media markets affected by this decision just happen to be in swing states.

Just how low will George W. Bush stoop for a victory?

For most candidates running for office, foul play is par for the course. But Bush is not like most other candidates. If he is a Christian, he is called to be the salt of the earth, the light of the world, a beacon of goodness and righteousness in a society havocked by moral depravity. In late May, Bush said as much to a group of Christian media players during a rare unscripted interview.

“I think a person's faith helps keep perspective in the midst of noise, pressure, sound -- all the stuff that goes on in Washington … ,” he explained. “It is one of the prayers I ask is that God's light shines through me as best as possible, no matter how opaque the window … .

“I'm in a world of … fakery and obfuscation, political back shots, and so I'm very mindful about the proper use of faith in this process And you can't fake your faith, nor can you use your faith as a shallow attempt to garner votes, otherwise you will receive the ultimate condemnation.” (emphasis added)

You can't, that is, if "ultimate condemnation" is your real concern. For the purposes of winning elections, it seems to do just fine.

Ayelish McGarvey is a Prospect writing fellow.
Copyright © 2004 by The American Prospect, Inc. Preferred Citation: Ayelish McGarvey, "As God Is His Witness", The American Prospect Online, Oct 19, 2004. This article may not be resold, reprinted, or redistributed for compensation of any kind without prior written permission from the author. Direct questions about permissions to
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Christian Republican speaks to other Christians
Beware: the GOP has become a fascist cult
By Karl W. B. Schwarz
Online Journal Contributing Writer

October 23, 2004—Many people are getting in touch with me asking about what I see, what I know, and why as a Conservative Christian Republican I am not backing Bush-Cheney and would not vote for them at gun point.

I have been telling Conservative Christians that who should be howling at the top of their lungs is not the Liberal Left, it is the Far Right Christian Conservatives for they are being lied to, seduced and misled even more so than the Liberal Left. They are being seduced into fascism and that is not Christianity.

Christians are admonished in the Bible to be leery of new prophets for all prophecy ended with the coming of Christ the Messiah. In the Book of James we are warned of the evil that comes from the mouths of men. James 3:5-6: "Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell."

Book of James 3:9: "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in Gods' likeness. Out of the same mouth comes praise and cursing."

Unless you are deaf, dumb and blind, Christians need to come to grips with the fact that Bush-Cheney are lying to the world and that is not a mark of Christian virtue, nor is it a mark that the Bible tells us to seek, or to follow as Christians.

One does not have to look very far or dig very deep to find one lie after another that has come from Bush-Cheney. It is all an agenda; it is all about empowerment and greed and doing anything they wish, to anyone, and wrapping that all up as lies and spin to deceive us all.

I see it very clearly and if you saw it as clearly as I do, you would not vote for them at gunpoint, either, for to do so would be making yourself a deluded Christian that is not using discernment, that is following liars, and is on the wrong course.

Many Christian teachings give step-by-step advice on how to recognize a religious cult, and the same basic steps are necessary to recognize a political cult. If you know what to look for, and take the time to study closely, you can accurately recognize that Bush-Cheney is a cult of lust, power and greed, none of which are considered Christian virtues.

How to Identify a Cult

Here's a few guidelines to recognize a cult. If several of these apply to a group which has approached you, think twice before getting involved.

Do they put the demands of the group before family, school, and interests?

Are they vague about what their beliefs are until you're in the group?

Does the leader demand unquestioning agreement or obedience?

Is the leader a charismatic person who claims special spiritual powers?

Does the group change your sleeping and eating patterns?

Does the group keep you in constant group situations and promote dependency?

Does the group feel that only they have spiritual truth and that all other groups and churches are wrong?

Do group members keep contacting you even after you have told them you are not interested?
In fact, if you look real close at Bush-Cheney and understand the fundamental dynamics of what brought Hitler to power, how he controlled the masses, how he sold the Great Lie, it is very easy to see that Bush-Cheney "Compassionate Conservatism" and Fascism are one in the same. Many hear the term "Neocon" and do not recognize that in its current operative sense, it is a term meaning New World Order Fascist.

Following are the Fourteen Common Threads of Fascism and how to spot fascism. I ask that you read and think, as an American, as a Christian. Use the mind that God gave you and use discernment that the Bible warns you to use as a shield against following wrong or evil. I have taken the Laurence W. Britt section headings and written what I have to say to you Christians, coming from me as a Christian about each of those 14 points.

Fascism Anyone?

"Fascism's principles are wafting in the air today, surreptitiously masquerading as something else, challenging everything we stand for."

By Laurence W. Britt

The cliché that people and nations learn from history is not only overused, but also overestimated; often we fail to learn from history, or draw the wrong conclusions. Sadly, historical amnesia is the norm.

We are two-and-a-half generations removed from the horrors of Nazi Germany, although constant reminders jog the consciousness. German and Italian fascism form the historical models that define this twisted political worldview. Although they no longer exist, this worldview and the characteristics of these models have been imitated by protofascist regimes at various times in the twentieth century. Both the original German and Italian models and the later protofascist regimes show remarkably similar characteristics. Although many scholars question any direct connection among these regimes, few can dispute their visual similarities.

1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. We were purportedly attacked by al Qaeda, but Bush-Cheney do not want any of us to know who the American and foreign names are that FBI translator Sibel D. Edmonds found in translating those documents and who financed 9-11. We were told Saudis did it, but what Sibel found disputes that and Bush, Cheney and Ashcroft put a federal gag order on her so you and I cannot know whose names are on that list.

Stop and think—what does protecting the identity of American and foreign names have to do with "national security" except to prove "WHO DID IT?"

2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. If you have not figured it out yet, the USA PATRIOT Act and Patriot Act II are undermining the freedoms of all of us, treating us all as al Qaeda suspects, and is part of a larger New World Order objective. Consider this—there are some who want the American Dream only for themselves and you do not get to have it if they win. We are also having many things "done in our name" in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere that Americans would reject if they knew the truth. What is really disgusting is that both sides of the aisle are doing it to America. Their wealthy masters (contributors) are telling them to. They are making the big bucks and we are getting stuck with the debt, the dead and maimed soldiers, not to mention the burdens their families are bearing and the burdens the rest of our families are enduring, all in the name of lies, imperialism and greed.

3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The entire world now knows that Bush lied about Iraq. I have made millions come to know that the Taliban had signed a contract with Argentina based Bridas Corporation to build that pipeline we now control across Afghanistan. The shortest and cheapest route to the sea for $10+ trillion in oil and over $3 trillion in natural gas is from Turkmenistan, across Afghanistan, Pakistan to the ocean.

4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. George W. Bush is not Caesar and our troops are not Roman Legions out to do the bidding of the Wealthy Elite.

5. Rampant sexism. I hear one woman after another talking about how "hot" George W. Bush is and why they support him. This election is about the fate of this nation and has nothing to do with following a liar. I do not think the Stepford Wives is what ladies want to be, but there is plenty of Republican sexism and plenty of misleading to sell it as something it is not. They want your vote, other than that could not care less what you think, feel, want or need.

6. A controlled mass media. If you think you are getting all you need to know from Clear Channel, CNN and FOXNews, you need to look around and consider that maybe they are not being truthful with you, and maybe there is more going on in this world than Scott & Laci Peterson, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jackson, etc. Maybe the media is answering more to their masters than to the truth. Maybe they do not show us the facts because their wealthy masters will not let them. How can you make a decision with only lies to found a decision upon?

7. Obsession with national security. To the point of treating all of us as al Qaeda suspects, lessening our freedoms for "security" that is non-existent. Always remember, what government takes away they rarely if ever give back. Consider the words of Thomas Jefferson—"where the government fears the people, there is freedom. Where the people fear the government, there is tyranny." Welcome to current day America. Homeland Security is protecting the government, not you and your family, loved ones and friends.

8. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Separation of church and state is so that the government cannot dictate or ordain what each of us is to believe when it comes to religion. What has slowly evolved is a circumstance where our religion elite and government elite are pursuing the same end and I do not see a healthy future in that department. God is our Lord, not George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Jesus Christ is our Savior, not George Bush or Dick Cheney. Our church is within each of our hearts, not in the idle words from Washington, DC.

9. Power of corporations protected. What you have been witnessing over the past 12-16 years is the "Corporatization of the U.S. Government" and that by its very definition is fascism. That is why the corporations grow more powerful as you grow weaker. That is why they have the American Dream and many Americans do not and will not. That is why corporate fraud is not punished but if you do anything wrong, are punished. Richard W. Behan, author of The GOP, Inc calls them Movement Conservatives, and I call them Financial Terrorists. We are describing the same thing, but he is describing the disease and I am describing in my book the etymology of how that disease is systematically ruining this nation, this world and diminishing the lives of us all; how it kills hopes, dreams, futures. Richard is a Liberal and I am a Conservative and on this, we totally agree.

10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. Three million jobs lost, many of them organized labor positions and just in case one has a Ph.D or MBA, quit complaining and take the Wal-Mart job, lose your home, health care, etc. Look around you, Christians, at the hopelessness you see in the faces of those around you and the sheer indifference of the government that pretends to lead us, be us. When was the last time you saw goodness, integrity, honor, Christian values come out of DC? Such does not come from there, so be careful with your answer.

11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts. Extend that to include freedom of speech, freedom of dissent, etc. If you stand up against this fascism, your "report" is sent to the Homeland Security Counter Terrorism Division, which in part explains why Homeland Security is protecting this government, not this nation, and in part explains why they just cannot seem to find the real terrorists. They are almost totally focused on U.S. citizens as the terrorist they fear. In my book, I define Financial Terrorists, what they do that creates the other forms of terrorism. We are not hated for our freedoms—we are hated for abusive U.S. policies and that is driven not by you and me, but that is driven by DC and their wealthy corporate masters. Greed is not a Christian virtue.

12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Lest you have not noticed, Ashcroft is batting 0 for 5,000 in the department of nailing the bad guys. I sent a letter to President Bush, Kerry and the Democratic National Committee on September 30 and these were two of the demands for the truth I put before these leaders and wannabe leaders:

2. I demand to know what energy companies were in that Cheney Energy Task Force meeting and what discussions there were as to the steps that would be taken to remove the Taliban and Bridas Corporation as the last remaining obstacle to the United States controlling the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline. I met that company in 1999 and have known since then about the Bridas v Unocal, $15 billion interference of contract lawsuit in US District Court, Southern District of Texas. I also know about the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision on September 9, 2003 that upheld the Bridas $500 million arbitration settlement and the March 22, 2004 denial of Writ of Certiorari at the United States Supreme Court, Case 03-1018, Turkmenneft v Bridas

3. I demand to know how many prisoners are being held at GITMO and other places that are either BRIDAS EMPLOYEES or are persons that know all about Bridas Corporation and what your administration did to get control of that Trans-Afghanistan pipeline.

This administration is more focused on defending themselves against Americans who do not buy off on their lies than looking for al Qaeda. They are more concerned about four more years of entitlement to plunder this nation and others abroad. They are totally focused on taking over trillions of dollars worth of oil even with lies and making war to do so. That is not a mark of Christian virtue.

13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Just look at Cheney-Halliburton and one should have all they need to know. Look at the "no rule of law" brought against Enron, Tyco, Williams Communications Group, Global Crossing, etc., etc., etc., and the millions of investors plowed under the in wake. You are poorer and they are wealthier than ever. When you figure out that the robber barons are the major campaign contributors to both parties and they want "legal rights under color of law" to plunder you, let me know. You will have had an epiphany.

14. Fraudulent elections. The 2000 Election still stinks to high heaven. If you have not heard, all across the U.S., Republicans are signing up people to vote. If Republican, those are being recorded; if Democrat, being discarded in the trash. That is not American; that is abusive, deceitful and un-American. Check Voter Fraud, KLAS, George Knapp, Las Vegas, NV.

I spent election night 1994 with RNC Finance in Washington, DC at the Renaissance Hotel, 10th & K Streets, at the table of William J. McManus, former RNC Treasurer. I pulled out of the RNC (Republican National Committee) when I learned that the Contract with America and the media spin was actually a Contract On America. It is all about Big Corporate business and socially malevolent to folks like you and me. Look close, pay attention.

Remember ladies and gentlemen, the U.S. government is not America, merely the instrument of government in America. We are America, not them. U.S. Corporations are not America, merely businesses based here. We are America, not them.

When they lie to us to lead us, they do not deserve to lead us. This is in Chapter 1 of my book. You would be wise to read it and heed it:

"It is not a pleasant thought, or one that's often discussed, but lies are at base coercive. Deceit is a form of control. More than a few philosophers have compared the coercive force of lies to the power of violence. So even if they are common, they are not as benign as people pretend. Lies undermine the value of information, each one leaving us less able to trust the truthfulness of what we hear—or read, as the case may be. Lies are more subtle than guns, but as threats to personal freedom, they should be regarded as no less dangerous."—Mara Leveritt in the Arkansas Times

Consider what you are voting for November 2:

"Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms [of government] those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny."—Thomas Jefferson

Do you want Our America, or their Fascist Amerika? What you just read is what they have done to Our Nation. Through slow operations they have perverted it into tyranny.

Karl W. B. Schwarz lives in Little Rock, AR and is the author of "One-Way Ticket to Crawford, Texas, a Conservative Republican Speaks Out." He is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Patmos Nanotechnologies, LLC and I-nets Security Systems, a designer of intelligence and UAV systems.

And here's The American Conservative editorial endorsing Kerry. It's actually really interesting b/c The American Conservative editorial isn't exactly endorsing Kerry, but rather believes that a Kerry victory will force the Republican Party to reevaluate and turn from the neoconservativism of Bush and those currently running his administration. (It assures it's readers that "If Kerry wins, this magazine will be in opposition from Inauguration Day forward.") However, as a conservative, he explains that "George W. Bush has come to embody a politics that is antithetical to almost any kind of thoughtful conservatism" and "Bush has behaved like a caricature of what a right-wing president is supposed to be, and his continuation in office will discredit any sort of conservatism for generations." The article itself is extremely interesting.

Chief Justice Rehnquist

Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist has cancer.

Again, all the Supreme Court Justices are old (other than Thomas, all over 65) - Rehnquist is 80 himself - and there may be many changes (Stevens, Rehnquist, O'Connor, and Ginsburg are my guesses).

I can't imagine another 4 Scalia/Thomas judges! People say that the talk of controlling the Supreme Court isn't a real concern. This just highlights why it is. Right now, it's a loose 5-4 conservative majority. If Ginsburg and Stevens retire, then it's a strong 7-2 stronghold - with 4 of those manical in their out of date views, wanting to live like it's the 1700s, able to reach back through time to know what the framers though when they wrote the Constitution, and not allowing society to change in any way. Great...

Just another reason why Bush must be defeated.

Why John Kerry?

Mustang Bobby posted an editorial endorsement from the Des Moines Register. He felt it important enough to post in it's entirety - and so do I. Rather than just say why NOT Bush, as most endorsements have done, this lays out WHY John Kerry.

About half of Americans have lost confidence in President Bush, yet many hang back from embracing the alternative. That's unfortunate, because Senator John F. Kerry is a wise and decent man who has the makings of a fine president.

Still, there's little wonder that voters have doubts. Most of what they think they know about the senator comes from a masterful job of "defining the opposition" carried out by the Bush campaign and its surrogates before most people got a chance to know the real Kerry.

So Americans were introduced to Kerry the flip-flopper. Kerry the softie on defense. Kerry the wild-eyed liberal. Kerry the appeaser who will let terrorists attack America.

It's sad that an incumbent president chose to employ so much of his vast campaign resources to tear down his challenger, and not to cite his own accomplishments or to move the nation ahead. But perhaps that's precisely the difficulty the president faces.

His presidency has been one of bold leadership undermined by a failure to achieve meaningful results. The resolute leader Americans rallied behind after Sept. 11, 2001, sidetracked the country into a mess in Iraq. The fiscally responsible, compassionate conservative Americans thought they elected, the man we hoped would improve schools, lower the cost of health care and find more jobs, has failed to do so and instead run up an unprecedented national debt.

The president, whose swagger in adversity and plain-folks straight talk can be so appealing, has failed to see the reality of the problems or outline a road map for progress for the next four years.

National polls show the president's disapproval numbers hoving near 50 percent.

Now it is time to take the next logical step and recognize John Kerry as someone who could do better. It's time to see Kerry as the person he is, not as the caricature created in the president's campaign ads.

Kerry won the presidential debates because the man Americans saw on live television differed from the caricature. Americans saw a thoughtful, experienced, exceptionally well-informed candidate who cares deeply about his country and its people.

They didn't see Mr. Perfect. Kerry tends toward wordiness and overexplanation. His positions on some issues - such as being nearly indistinguishable from Bush on Iraq - are unsatisfactory. His New England reserve comes off as aloofness. It takes time to gain an appreciation of him.

A search for the real John Kerry should focus on his 22 years in elective office - unblemished service as Massachusetts lieutenant governor and U.S. senator. The strongest indication of his success is that the people of Massachusetts - the cradle of American liberty - chose four times to elect him to the Senate.

Yes, Kerry is liberal. But what's to fear from a liberal president? That he would run big deficits? That he would increase federal spending? That he would expand the power of the federal government over individuals' lives? Nothing Kerry could do could top what President Bush has already done in those realms.

Kerry is not the stereotypical liberal in any case. According to the "Almanac of American Politics," Kerry is "more respectful of economic free markets" and more inclined to an expansionist foreign policy than other liberal Democrats. He has been a champion of small business. He was an early supporter of the conservative Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit-reduction act.

An overview of Kerry's 20 years in the Senate shows a conscientious lawmaker, popular with the home-state voters. Kerry's legislative interests have run to investigating government wrongdoing, strengthening law enforcement, securing health care for children and preventing nuclear proliferation. He has a strong record on the environment.

Most interesting - and relevant to Nov. 2 - Kerry has a reputation for being able to work across party lines. He worked well with Republican Gov. William Weld for the common good of Massachusetts. He worked with Republican Senators John McCain and Bob Smith on POW/MIA issues.

That's a key quality, especially in an angrily polarized America. Of President Bush's shortcomings, the most disappointing is the betrayal of his promise to be a uniter. America should be united at times like these - and was for a shining moment after 9/11. But the president let that slip away, deepening divisions by adopting a my-way-or-the-highway cocksureness on both domestic and foreign affairs.

It can be assumed that the next president, be it Bush or Kerry, will do everything in his power to make America safe from terrorism. That's job No. 1, and the American people will stand for no less. But on the broad range of other issues, Kerry has more to offer. He is in touch with the middle class. He is better informed on health care and has sound ideas for creating jobs. He understands that protecting the environment need not be a drag on the economy but can be a great boon as new energy technologies are developed.

By nature, he is more of a uniter than Bush.

It won't be easy. The partisans on neither side will go silent on Inauguration Day. If Kerry wins, those who have been attacking him will do their best to undermine his presidency. The same will be true on the other side if Bush is re-elected.

But Kerry, we believe, has a better chance of overcoming that anger. It is the nature of the man to listen and to respect others. He does not tend toward vindictiveness or in-your-face triumphalism. There is a dignity about him. We have watched him from early in the Iowa caucus campaign through a grueling general-election campaign in a battleground state. We have seen Kerry grow and develop in presidential qualities to the point we're confident in recommending him as a person of common sense and decency - a leader who has what it takes to bring Americans back together.

I'll be the first to agree that the endorsements are often unimportant. However, some of them make points that the avarage voter should (but isn't) asking.


When internet dating fails, go for billboards...

Some political comedy

Oh my gosh, this is hysterical. From Dyskeptic.

And speaking of comedy, check out Enjoy The Draft.

Finally, a joke from Where the Dophins Play:
Q: What's the difference between Iraq and Vietnam?
A: Bush had a plan to get out of Vietnam.

A few fun websites to check out:

Kerry Hater for Kerry

Botox Kerry

Osama Sweepstakes (October 31 is currently willing...)

Build a new candidate (choose between Kerry and Bush)

Bush is Lord (yikes...)

Too Stupid To Be President

Until health care is run as a service and not as a business, we are going to have problems in the US with health care

I went to the Judge's reunion yesterday. I spent more time in the car on ONE DIRECTION than I spent at dinner. And naturally, we got into political discussions. The Judge is a Democrat, appointed and friends with Clinton, and his political stance is known. I felt bad for the secretary b/c the Judge was totally toying with her. "I might vote for Bush" [insert secretary's clapping] "because he has never made a mistake. He told me." and "I might vote for Bush" [insert secretary's cheering] "because I support affirmative action and, the way I see it, Bush is America's first affirmative action president." Each time she thought that he was serious.

She kept saying, "I'm a Democrat and I'm voting for Bush." At one point, I said, "I could call myself a Republican but that doesn't mean that I am." She is one of those Bush supporters who believes everything that the administration is saying. She still believes that Iraq has WMD (and they are just hiding), then changed it to "the terrorists are in Iraq" and then said that we are there b/c Saddam tortured his own people. When I kept asking why, if she is right in claiming that is an appropriate reason to be there, we weren't in Saudi Arabia or North Korea or China, she said that they were all the same. I mean, and then we went back to the weapons were in Iraq. Another clerk , a Republican said, "I am glad that people think these wrong things b/c it's a vote for Bush." I was would rather have an uneducated voter because it's a vote for your guy than have the American public know the truth and make an informed decision?? Ugh!

We were also talking about how flu shots are just not as profitable as other types of medical shots - and health care isn't a service, it's a business. One of the clerks with daughters said that he had a big problems getting mumps and measles shots last year for the same reason. So I come back this year and read that:

"Preventing a flu epidemic that could kill thousands is not nearly as profitable as making pills for something like erectile dysfunction, a decidedly non-fatal condition. Viagra, for example, brings in more than $1 billion a year for its maker, Pfizer. The profits to be made from selling flu vaccine are measly in comparison. If selling flu vaccine were as lucrative as marketing Viagra, sports broadcasts and the nightly news would be flooded with commercials warning that "winter is almost here; ask your doctor about flu vaccine" - and it would be available to anyone who wanted it. Instead, while many of those at risk of the flu go without the vaccine, primetime programs are sponsored by the makers of Viagra ("Get back to mischief"), Cialis ("Will you be ready?") and Levitra ("Stay in the game").

To understand what has gone wrong in health care, one need only look at the booming market for prescription drugs. Once upon a time, drugs were a needs-based product. You received a prescription when you were truly ill. Now many drugs are demand-driven, just like Froot Loops and Lucky Charms. Instead of using the cartoon characters that sell cereals, the drug companies employ celebrities."

Do I think that the flu vaccination problem is Bush's fault? Actually, no. The fact that what should be a service is run like a business - cost analysis - that is the problem. Does Bush have a plan to address that?? He isn't even properly identifying the problem. The fact is, the flu vaccination shortage is the symptom for the problem, not the cause of the problem. And we are not even good at health care. "We spend more per capita on health care than any other developed country. Yet on the important yardsticks, like life expectancy measured in healthy years, we don't even rank among the top 20 nations. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, we come in an embarrassing 29th, sandwiched between Slovenia and Portugal."

In other election news, this is the reason that I am going to volunteer as a challenger for the Democratic Party in Lake County on election day (assuming that I can get the day off work).

Meanwhile, Republicans are switching parties of college students. Are the Republicans going to go into the polling booth and vote for them as well?

And like Ohio, Pennsylvania, another important swing state, has said that Nader will not be on the ballot there either. This is a troubling statement though, "Mr. Nader would continue to appeal rulings made on the state level, even after the election."Great...just what we need, the courts involved after the election for a guy not even on the ballot. (This shows where Nader is and isn't on the ballot, if anyone is interested.) One of the clerks made an interesting point - if (as appears to be likely) the election is contested for months again in the courts like last time, as our attention is focused on that, wouldn't that be a good time for terrorists to attack? Though there doesn't appear to be any such evidence that such an attack is in the plans. But really, I don't think that for an independent, it's a bad thing to require that the people supporting to put you on the ballot are registered voters. Isn't that the same as the primaries for the parties - they decide who the candidate will be from registered voters?? Though I still believe that the election should not be decided by courts, but the Supreme Court has asked for this. (And how do they count those votes so quickly anyway?)

And in football - 43 seconds into the game, Cleveland was already down 7-0. Nice...This is going to be one of those types of games, huh?

And I think I'm getting sick -- I've had a sinus headache for about 27 hours -- coincidentally, the amount of time when I was in the car driving...


Where Is Our Constitution When We Need Our Liberties Protected From Tyrants?

Via mousemusings, comes the story of just how far our First Amendment has truly fallen. Where is the outrage?? Since when is this obscenity?

"I know it when I see it" -- and this sure as hell ain't it...What are we teaching our kids??

I have to drive to Scranton PA tomorrow. In case you were wondering what that means, I have to wake up, drive about 6 1/2 hours to have DINNER, and then drive back. That's it. Driving across PA via 80 just might be the most boring thing ever. At least there is the possibility that the leaves will be changing. Why subject myself to Scranton PA, when I couldn't wait to leave the year I was there? Well, the Judge that I worked for has a "reunion" every year. In December. Last December there was a friggin' blizzard on the way home, and I complained, so he changed the date of the reunion, which of course, makes it so that I *have* to go. So yes, I have 13 hours of driving for a 3 hour dinner...

Tonight I made calls to voters for Kerry's campaign. I was all flustered when there were multiple voters on the same telephone number - who do you ask for? Then, you identify yourself and ask if they have a moment, and one guy actually told me, "you Kerry people can go to hell." should I mark that down as a Bush supporter??

Fun story, calling these voters, one was actually old "friend"...what does one do?? I figured, I'm getting an answering machine about 95% of the time, what are the odds that he's home on a Friday night? So I called to leave the message...and he was home. D'oh. I was so flustered, I accidentally skipped over the start of the speech (the part asking if it was him - I knew it was him already). Then I just felt dumb. I recognized his voice right away (it helped that I knew it would be him before I called) but I'm not sure if he realized it was me - then again, after that many years, why would he expect a random Kerry caller to be someone from a half a decade ago? Anyway, he was in the middle of dinner, but said I could call tomorrow and he would answer the questions. I will take that as confirmation that he was a Kerry supporter. See, I had good taste even in high school...

Chech out the alternate realities of Bush and Kerry supporters - I knew Bush supporters were loco. This explains so much...
Bush Supporters Misled
A new study by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) shows that supporters of President Bush hold wildly inaccurate views about the world. For example, "a large majority [72 percent] of Bush supporters believe that before the war Iraq had weapons of mass destruction."Most Bush supporters [57 percent] also believe that the recently released report by Charles Duelfer, the administration's hand-picked weapons inspector, concluded Iraq either had WMD or a major program for developing them. In fact, the report concluded "Saddam Hussein did not produce or possess any weapons of mass destruction for more than a decade before the U.S.-led invasion" and the U.N. inspection regime had "curbed his ability to build or develop weapons."

According to the study, 75 percent Bush supporters also believe "
Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda." Most Bush supporters [55 percent] believe that was the conclusion of the 9/11 commission. In fact, the 9/11 commission concluded there was no "collaborative relationship" between al-Qaeda and Iraq.

Bush supporters also hold inaccurate views about world public opinion of the war in Iraq and a range of Bush's foreign policy positions.

Just reaffirms what I always suspected - Bush supporters are idiots...


Why Not Nader??

First, when the hell did Halloween become a light holiday? Not the candle in a pumpkin kind of lights, but strings of orange pumpkin and white ghost lights that otherwise are identical to Christmas lights? I don't get it. From what I remember from my childhood, Christmas lights two months away from Christmas was...trashy. Now it's cool to have them out starting in October???

Second, I know a lot of people who are planning on voting for Ralph Nader. They sincerely want to send a message to the two party system. I understand that desire. I actually think the system would improve (read: be less corrupt) if there were more than two (real) parties. Monopolies are bad, whether a telephone company, cable service, or political parties. Despite this, I don't think that this is the time to make that stance. Too much is at stake with another four years of Bush. A friend warns me that this approach will not work b/c the Republicans can dig up these candidates on demand, so in 4 or 8 years, they'll just have another tyrant on the podium waiting to rob us of our freedom. He's worried that liberals are constantly voting out of fear rather than out of principles. I understand that, but at the same time, I read this open letter to George Bush and concur.

Dear Ralph:
You have publicly expressed your dismay at what you perceive to be a loss of nerve by those of us who supported you in the 2000 presidential race, but now endorse Senator Kerry. It is not a question of nerve. It is a question of pragmatic good judgment in a time of deep national crisis.

I bought into the argument in the 2000 election that there was little consequential difference between Bush and Gore and joined with you to send a signal to the Democratic Party and build the Green Party. The judgment that there was no consequential difference between the two establishment candidates has proven to be more wrong than I ever imagined possible. If Gore were president, the United States would not be bogged down in a pointless and unwinnable war in Iraq; we would not have the biggest budget deficit in our history; and we would not be experiencing a massive rollback in civil liberties and in environmental, health, and worker protections. We might not even have had 9/11. You more than anyone should be aware of this.

With regard to differences between Bush and Kerry, I must admit to having serious questions about a political system that offers us a presidential choice between a rich white male graduate of Yale University and a rich white male graduate of Yale University. However, to deny the significant differences between Bush and Kerry on issues ranging from environmental protection, nuclear proliferation, women’s rights, civil liberties, the Supreme Court, labor rights, and national security is intellectually dishonest. Furthermore, Kerry has a stunning advantage over Bush in his intelligence, honesty, emotional and moral maturity, understanding of the world beyond America’s borders, respect among foreign leaders, his ability to admit and learn from mistakes, and his capacity to articulate a coherent sentence. These are far from inconsequential differences.

Bush stands on his record. Indeed, the accomplishments of his administration have been breathtaking. In less than four years it has turned the largest budget surplus in our nation’s history into the biggest deficit; presided over the first net loss of jobs since President Herbert Hoover; squandered lives, money, and international reputation on an unwinnable war with no exit strategy against the wrong enemy; weakened milestone environmental protection laws like the Clean Air Act; exacerbated inequality, threatened Social Security and Medicare, undermined guaranteed overtime compensation and key labor rights; dismantled what once were considered unassailable Constitutional rights; appointed extremist judges to our country’s courts; and established a new military doctrine of pre-emptive nuclear war.

Perhaps Bush’s greatest failure is in the area he claims to be his greatest strength: national security. The most devastating terrorist attack in human history occurred on his watch. Three years later his administration has yet to identify and charge a single U.S.-based accomplice. Nor has it charged anyone with responsibility for the subsequent anthrax attacks. The administration that immediately identified Osama Bin Laden as the September 11 ringleader could not find him in Afghanistan; so it invaded Iraq and captured Saddam Hussein instead.

I have no illusions that Kerry will be a great progressive leader, but he will at least be a competent leader. At this point a return to competent plutocracy as usual will be a major improvement over gross incompetence and naked fascism — and this improvement is the best we can hope for in the 2004 election.

Whatever the original intention of your campaign, the only issues that have gained any attention center on personal ballot access for a candidate whose main support comes from his sworn enemies. You have not even positioned your run to build a third party.

Like Bush's war against Iraq, your campaign is the wrong war against the wrong enemy for the wrong reason. Tragically, it has come increasingly to appear that its primary intention is to throw the election to Bush to extract your personal vengeance against the Democratic Party, an outcome that will serve only to further harm your reputation and the hard-won victories of your lifetime of service.

George W. has become well known for his inability to admit a mistake and his self-righteous dismissal of all who challenge him. You risk history saying the same for Ralph Nader. When so many of your once closest friends and most ardent lifetime supporters urge you to withdraw and your main support comes from those on the Republican far right who detest everything you stand for, perhaps you should take note. Your one hope of avoiding further harm to your country, your cause, and your own reputation is to announce that you have made your statement and that now it is time for your remaining supporters to cast their ballots for Kerry.

This is a time for unity among all of us concerned for democracy and the future of America. We simply cannot afford four more years of what may be the most extremist, corrupt, and dangerously incompetent administration in U.S. history.

--David C. Korten
David C. Korten is the author of "When Corporations Rule the World."

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