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Monday, 17 July 2006 02:44

He's Back - Commentary by Will Durst

Hey guys, guess what: he's Back! Yes, dear friends, Tom DeLay has crawled out from under the rock he's been hiding for the last couple of months apparently prematurely completing all those important pieces of personal business he needed to attend to, like the filing of the scuff marks off his cloven hooves and the sucking of hundreds of pints of virgin Mormon blood so he's refreshed and ready to jump back into electoral politics. Whether he wants to or not. Inflicted with a tertiary case of the Michael Corleones: every time he tries to get out, they pull him back in. And if the "they" in question have a lick of common sense, they're wearing sterile gloves while they're doing it.

Monday, 17 July 2006 02:01

World Media Watch for July 17, 2006

WORLD MEDIA WATCH FOR JULY 17, 2006

1//The Independent, UK--FURY AS KARZAI PLANS RETURN OF TALIBAN’S RELIGIOUS POLICE (The Afghan government has alarmed human rights groups by approving a plan to reintroduce a Department for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the body which the Taliban used to enforce its extreme religious doctrine. The proposal, which came from the country's Ulema council of clerics, has been passed by the cabinet of President Hamid Karzai and will now go before the Afghan parliament. "Our concern is that the Vice and Virtue Department doesn't turn into an instrument for politically oppressing critical voices and vulnerable groups under the guise of protecting poorly defined virtues," Sam Zia Zarifi of Human Rights Watch said. "This is specially in the case of women, because infringements on their rights tend to be justified by claims of morality." Under the Taliban the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice became notorious for its brutal imposition of the Taliban's codes of behaviour. … Western diplomats have reacted with unease to the proposal. However, several told The Independent that they believed the move was partly designed to defuse Taliban propaganda which accuses the Karzai government of being un-Islamic. "This is an Islamic republic and sharia is a part of the constitution," one diplomat said on condition of anonymity. "If it is constitutional and within the framework of the International Convention on Human Rights [to which Afghanistan is a signatory] then it could represent a public information victory for the government.")

Gingrich Declares "World War III Has Started"

by Tony Peyser

Trash talk like this from a chicken hawk
White House wannabe Neo-Conista
Shows Newt will say anything to make
People stop asking about Calista.

* * *

Shuttle Lands Safely

by Tony Peyser

In the astronauts absence began
This bloody new Mid-East war
I thought they might’ve asked to
Stay out in space a little more.

A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS

Today we will just quote from a story in "Newsday" that indicates even the mainstream media may be awakening to the gross negligence and cluelessness of Mr. Bush:

"As Israeli warplanes were preparing an attack on Lebanon Thursday afternoon, and a Lebanese militia was aiming a rocket at the ancient Israeli city of Safed, President George W. Bush was bantering with reporters in Germany about a pig.

"Bush kept bringing up the roast wild boar he was about to dine on at a banquet that night, even when asked about the swelling crisis in the Middle East, where pig meat is forbidden to religious Jews and Muslims.

"Does it concern you that the Beirut airport has been bombed?" a reporter asked. "And do you see a risk of triggering a wider war?"

"I thought you were going to ask me about the pig," Bush replied blithely. Then he brought the pig up again -- for the fifth time -- before giving a long answer that ended with his saying Israel needed to protect itself.

"He was asked a serious question," said Ian Lustick, a Middle East expert now at the University of Pennsylvania, and his answer "epitomized his disengagement in the Middle East."

A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS

We've all heard plenty of "Bushisms" over the years, when Bushit offends not only our sentiments but the English language. Entire 365-day calendars have been filled with various gaffes and slip-ups.

Recently, BuzzFlash.com discovered dozens of Bushisms on the President's own website, www.WhiteHouse.gov . A search on the site for the Latin word sic, which is used to indicate that printed mistakes were in the original source and are not typos, reveals several specific instances when Bush's own transcribers were forced to distinguish their own competency from that of the President.

Of course, this method only found the small percentage of Bushisms that happened to be specifically labeled as such. The following are just a few of the highlights we copied straight off the site:

Saturday, 15 July 2006 09:26

Cindy Sheehan: Me, Hugo and George

A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION

When I was growing up in Bellflower, Ca., I never, as a child with a good imagination, could have ever imagined that my life would take the peculiar turn that it has. I could not have foreseen giving birth to a child that would eventually be wrongfully and devastatingly killed in war or that I would be meeting with world leaders or be nominated for the Noble Peace Prize.

We wish we had more good news to report, but we feel like we are tied to the back of a garbage truck and the cans full of slop keep coming our way. After years of bankrupt policies in the Middle East, including Iraqmire (which deteriorates further every day), it is manifestly clear that the Bush ship of fools continue to fail because they don't have even the remotest idea of how to succeed, except at destroying democracy and the Constitution at home. (Oh, and at making the rich, richer.)
A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS Dispatch from the Department of Reality: It's hard to fully accept that your father might be psychotic, as it is for many of the American people -- spoon fed White House propaganda by the mainstream media -- that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their political brothers have a similar problem with reality. Of course, there was that famous quote in the New York Times attributed to a senior White House staffer that the Bush people are not reality-based, because they are so omnipotent that they make their own reality.
When every Republican every day Shrieked about Bill and his Monica fling Senator Joe Lieberman, Scold-In-Chief, Was standing proud with the far right wing. When he had a chance in the VP debate To tell Cheney what every Democrat thinks Joe chatted with Dick as if they were At a Neo-Con party having drinks. There's another thing "Joementum" does Which results in left wing profanity: His frequent bashing of Democrats on His regular visits with Hannity. Despite all this, Barbara, Chuck and Joe Are happy to help put the fix in They look like Sammy Davis Jr. Giving that infamous hug to Nixon.

BuzzFlash Note: Thom Hartmann is so impressed with "Kingdom Coming," by Michelle Goldberg, that he is offering us his own perspective on this BuzzFlash premium.

As a resurgent Taliban takes over large swatches of Afghanistan, changing that nation's social mores, educational curriculum, and legal system, many Americans would be shocked to discover how massive and powerful the new American Christian Taliban has become. So powerful, in fact, that it could be argued it's taken over large portions of the federal government, several state governments, and thousands of county and municipal governments.

Indeed, billions of dollars of your and my taxpayer dollars are today being diverted to GOP-affiliated ultra-rightist so-called Christian "charities" across the nation, without even the benefit of enabling legislation in many cases. As Michelle Goldberg writes in "Kingdom Coming":

"The diversion of billions of taxpayer dollars from secular social service organizations to such sectarian religious outfits has been one of the most underreported stories of the Bush presidency. Bush's faith-based initiatives have become a spoils system for evangelical ministries, which are now involved in everything from prison programs and job training to teenage pregnancy prevention, supplanting the safety net that was supposed to catch all Americans. As a result of faith-based grants, a growing number of government-funded social service jobs explicitly refuse to hire Jews, gay people, and other undesirables; such discrimination is defended by the administration and its surrogates in the name of religious freedom. Bringing the disposed to Jesus Christ has become something very close to a domestic policy goal of the United States government. And all this has happened with far less notice or public debate than attended the removal of Terri Schaivo's feeding tube or the halftime baring of Janet Jackson's breast."

I say "pseudo Christian" (although Goldberg does not - she doesn't engage in theological debate in her book) because for most people like myself who were raised as Christians, the Christian Nationalists propound a form of church/state merger, and an essential theology, that is completely at odds with the Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount and Matthew 25 ("feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those in prison, heal the sick," etc.).What Goldberg brilliantly reveals in this wonderfully readable and thoroughly researched book is the extent and reach of the Christian Nationalist movement in the USA -- what is rapidly becoming a theocratic shadow government, intent on nothing less than rolling back the Enlightenment of the late 17th and 18th centuries, and replacing it with something that very resembles the Puritanism of Oliver Cromwell, a pseudo-Christian version of the Islam of Osama Bin Laden.

Instead, their Jesus is a muscular militarist who hates gays, is the first to see and condemn sin in others, and finds salvation not in poverty and charity but in building multi-million-dollar ministries, living high, and preaching that all problems are solved, all sins redeemed, all diseases cured (both physical and political) by simple belief in His name. This Jesus hates science, wants to use the power of the state to finance his ventures and punish his enemies, and wants to use the power of police, prisons, and courts to enforce his rigid view of everything from the role of women in society to the sanctity of the American flag.

This is not the Jesus that most Christians know, but it's the Jesus in whose name a powerful and unrelenting movement is working to establish a theocracy in America. This Jesus is so far from the Biblical Jesus, in fact, that most in the movement refers to Him in His role -- Christ -- rather than His name - Jesus. The Jesus of the Bible, after all, had long hair, was homeless, hung out with social misfits, and preached poverty, pacifism, and mysticism. Hardly appropriate company for wealthy and powerful men like Falwell, Robertson, and Bush.

To write "Kingdom Coming," Michelle Goldberg went from coast-to-coast deep inside the Christian Nationalist movement. Ninety percent of the book is storytelling -- fascinating and often chilling -- from these visits to everything from small rural churches to political-strategy conference calls with the most powerful men in America.

In a thoroughly dispassionate way, Goldberg walks the reader through Christian Nationalism from the level of the grass roots to the Astroturf to the offices of Bill Frist, Rick Santorum, and George W. Bush.

The final chapters of the book include one of the most lucid calls for a liberal response to Christian Nationalism I've read anywhere, and strategy outline that should be read by every progressive in America.

This is one of those books you can't put down, in part because of Goldberg's storytelling and reporting skills, but in larger part because it lays bare a truly frightening view of the future these folks have in mind for you, me, and the rest of America. And how shockingly close they already are to realizing their goals.

* * *

Thom Hartmann (thom at thomhartmann.com) is a Project Censored Award-winning best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk show and a morning progressive talk show on KPOJ in Portland, Oregon. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection," "We The People," "The Edison Gene", and "What Would Jefferson Do?"

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