Saturday, December 22, 2007

Campaign Funding

On the Houston Chronicle site (second item):

"Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has been gaining ground in the Republican presidential primaries, is scheduled to meet campaign donors in Houston today at the Tanglewood home of physician Steve Hotze, a longtime Christian conservative activist. Like other major presidential candidates, Huckabee is making a last dash for Texas cash before the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary next month. His trip includes a fundraising event in Dallas after his Houston event."

So, who is this Hotze guy and what does he stand for? Let's take a quick look:

"As a Christian fundamentalist who espouses antigay rhetoric, he's received his share of criticism. Hotze first popped up on the radar in 1982, when he supported a proposed Austin ordinance that would have made it legal for homosexuals to be denied housing based on their sexual orientation. Hotze's organization, Austin Citizens for Decency, proposed the measure to see if Austinites wanted to afford 'special privileges to sodomites.'

Hotze was able to better articulate his views in 1986, when he was one of dozens of ministers, professionals and laypersons who signed the Coalition on Revival's Manifesto for the Christian Church. The coalition claims on its Web site to be a national network of religious leaders aligned in a mission "to help the Church rebuild civilization on the principles of the Bible so God's will may be done on earth as it is in heaven." They want all aspects of life -- government, science and education -- to adhere to fundamental biblical beliefs. These beliefs include the following:

  • A wife may work outside the home only with her husband's consent
  • "Biblical spanking" that results in "temporary or superficial bruises or welts" should not be considered a crime
  • No doctor shall provide medical service on the Sabbath
  • All disease and disability is caused by the sin of Adam and Eve
  • Medical problems are frequently caused by personal sin
  • "Increased longevity generally results from obedience to specific Biblical commands"
  • Treatment of the "physical body" is not a doctor's highest priority
  • Doctors have a priestly calling
  • People receiving medical treatment are not immune from divine intervention or demonic forces
  • Physicians should preach to their patients because salvation is the key to their health"

Yup ... just what the doctor ordered. Find the full rundown on Hotze along with some really, really good medical advice here.

By the way, were you aware that "The Flintstones" was a documentary?

The Ghost of Willie Horton

Republican operatives invented Willie Horton style attack advertising. George Bush, the Elder, destroyed the Dukakis campiagn with it in the 1988 Presidential Election. Now, in the spirit of "what goes around, comes around", it bites them in the ass.

(or get the video here ... )

A new attack ad accusing Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee of freeing a rapist who then committed murder resembles any of the professionally produced negative TV spots shot by political ad agencies for decades.

But the emotional 58-second video doesn't advocate for any particular candidate, and it hasn't aired as a paid advertisement on any television network. Instead, it made its debut on YouTube on Thursday, where it's chalked up more than 20,000 views, and risen to become the seventh most watched clip in YouTube's news and politics section.

"It's pretty brutal, and it's a very stark reminder to those of us involved in politics of the power that YouTube has to spread a story quickly and virally," says Republican strategist Matthew Klink at Los Angeles-based Cerrell Associates.

More after the click ...

My comment: It's most interesting when you find that they're using the Willie Horton style on each other. The article continues ... "The work of 29-year-old Republican operative Keith Emis, the video is a prominent example of the fruits of a March 2006 decision by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that exempts non-paid political advertising on the internet from rules requiring disclosure of who produced the ads."

In a typical case of "unintended consequences" and total lack of foresight (that originates with the conservative philosophy of driving the car while focusing on the rear view mirror), the Republican dominated FEC ASSUMED that all the "swift boating" would be aimed at the other side of the aisle.

There's an old joke that seems to apply. It goes something like, "they're so confused over there that they're stabbing each other in the chest".

Friday, December 21, 2007

Hitchen's Challenge

And my challenge is this: "Can you name me a good action done or a good thing done by a believer that couldn't have been said or done by a non-believer?" I've offered this challenge now in print hundreds of times, and on the air, and on the Web, and in public, debating with quite senior religious people. None of them have come up with an example. Whereas, if I say in front of any audience you can think of, "Can you think of a wicked thing said or an evil thing done by someone because of their religious faith?" Nobody needs you to get to the end of the sentence, they've already thought of an example.

-- Christopher Hitchens

Thought for the day

'All sorts of people gather in this town for the feast. Among them there are magicians, astrologers, diviners and murderers,' the procurator spoke in monotone, 'and occasionally also liars. You, for instance, are a liar. It is written clearly: "Incited to destroy the temple". People have testified to it.'

'These good people,' the prisoner spoke and, hastily adding 'Hegemon', went on: '... haven't any learning and have confused everything I told them. Generally, I'm beginning to be afraid that this confusion may go on for a very long time. And all because he writes down the things I say incorrectly.'

Silence fell. By now both sick eyes rested heavily on the prisoner.

'I repeat to you, but for the last time, stop pretending that you're a madman, robber,' Pilate said softly and monotonously, 'there's not much written in your record, but what there is enough to hang you.'

'No, no, Hegemon,' the arrested man said, straining all over in his wish to convince, 'there's one with a goatskin parchment who follows me, follows me and keeps writing all the time. But once I peeked into this parchment and was horrified. I said decidedly nothing of what's written there. I implored him: "Burn your parchment, I beg you!" But he tore it out of my hands and ran away.'

'Who is that?' Pilate asked squeamishly and touched his temple with his hand.

'Matthew Levi,' the prisoner explained willingly. 'He used to be a tax collector, and I first met him on the road in Bethphage,' where a fig grove juts out at an angle, and I got to talking with him. He treated me hostilely at first and even insulted me - that is, thought he insulted me - by calling me a dog.' Here the prisoner smiled. 'I personally see nothing bad about this animal, that I should be offended by this word ...'

The secretary stopped writing and stealthily cast a surprised glance, not at the arrested man, but at the procurator.

Mikhail Bulgakov. The Master and Margarita

Maybe I should have waited for Easter?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Truth takes a holiday, Honesty takes a vacation

Earlier this month, in a speech defending the racist, uhm, quirks of his proud but secret religion, Mitt Romney declared:

"I saw my father march with Martin Luther King."

So, well, that's that. Except, according to a report in the Boston Phoenix, it turns out that depends on what your definition of "saw" is. And "march." And "with." And "Martin Luther King."

Because it never happened.

"A spokesperson for Mitt Romney now tells the Phoenix that George W. Romney and Martin Luther King Jr. marched together in June, 1963 -- although possibly not on the same day or in the same city."

More here ...

My comment: (Rolling eyes.) But, then, it seems conservatives are rarely troubled by actual facts ... at least in my experience. But that's not the end of it. It's only the beginning.

A new ad from the Romney campaign points out a small but significant difference between their candidate and Mike Huckabee: Mike Huckabee wants murderers to kill you.

Also, Mike Huckabee loves methamphetamines. (Which might explain how he lost all that weight.) He'd turn the entire state of Arkansas into one giant meth lab, except that laboratories could lead to science.

Mitt Romney thinks there's a better way.

In fact, according to the ad:

"Romney got tough on drugs like meth."


It's almost like he's a liar who thinks you're an idiot.

More on that here ...

A Closer Look at Mercenaries

(or get the video here ...)

"There has not been a single completed prosecution of a crime involving a contractor implicated in violent crime coming out of Iraq, although the reported incidents which would have merited investigation are legion. Again, it is simply impossible to believe that in a community with a peak population of 180,000 people — with many more people than that actually cycling in and out of these jobs, tens of thousands of them Americans — over a period of approaching five years there has been no violent crime. The facts point to something else: an attitude of official indifference within the Department of Justice, or at least a decision to accord these crimes a very low priority and no or very little resources."

from Harpers.

My comment: 180,000 people, many armed to the teeth; 5 years in a high tension war zone and no crime worthy of attention. That's absolutely marvelous! What are the odds?

During the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries governments (particularly England, France, and Holland) contracted with Pirates to wage war on their enemies. They legitimized the pirates by giving them "letters of marque", essentially making them "contractors" and calling them "Privateers". As such, these Privateers were pardoned of all their crimes, exempted from prosecution and encouraged to practice their brutal trade on the enemies of the state that contracted them. The Privateers were subject to no laws other than the laws laid down by the captain of their company of men - as long as they took no overt actions against the contracting country. Sound familiar?

Reality Based Quiz

So, you think you know Rudy?

Take the quiz on The New Yorker Magazine's site. Who knows Rudy better than a New Yorker? (In the interest of full disclosure, I was living in New Jersey at the time Rudy was the mayor of New York - 30 miles from Manhattan and closer to Rudy than 95% of the geography of the State of New York.)

OK ... so maybe you actually want a Fruit Cake delivered to you on January 20, 2009.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

And its 1-2-3 what are we fightin' for?

'Bad' Women Raped and Killed in Southern Iraq

by Ali al-Fadhily on AntiWar

Women are being killed by militia groups in southern Iraq for not conforming to strict Islamic ways, the police say. And increased threats from militia groups are driving many women away from their homes.

Basra police chief Gen. Jalil Hannoon has told reporters and Arab TV channels that at least 40 women have been killed during the past five months in the southern city.

"We are sure there are many more victims whose families did not report their killing for fear of scandal," Hannoon said.

The militias dominated by the Shia Badr Organization and the Mahdi Army are leading imposition of strict Islamic rules. The enforcement of these rules comes at a time when British troops have left Basra, the biggest town in the south, to the Iraqi government.

More after the click ...

My comment: I guess we're winning ... democracy and freedom are on the march! Mission accomplished!!

Huckabee Rejects Darwin, Copernicus, Newton and Einstein

Written by Warren Redlich

Surging Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee reached a new high this week following questions about his denial of the theory of evolution. His poll numbers skyrocketed as the American public finally found a candidate in sync with their views on Darwin. Noticing how the controversy boosted him in the polls, Huckabee took it a step further and denounced several prominent scientists from history.

Comedian and talk show host Bill Maher cornered Huckabee and pressed him about his position on evolution. Huckabee dodged the question on the show, but later came out strongly after he was criticized by the Christian Broadcasting Network.

The Huckabee for President website now prominently features Charles Darwin being hung in effigy, along with position statements insisting that the world is actually flat, the sun orbits the earth in a circular (not elliptical) manner, gravity is a fiction, and space-time is absolute rather than relative. After the New York Times sharply criticized Huckabee for these new positions, the candidate jumped another ten points in the polls.

Evangelicals from all over the country are now swarming Iowa, knocking over Ron Paul supporters as they seek to convert the local heathens and get votes for their candidate. President George W. Bush endorsed Huckabee after finally finding a candidate whose views fit closely with his own.

Several candidates reacted to the Huckabee surge by adopting versions of some of his positions. Hillary Clinton said that her husband Bill is descended from monkeys but she isn't. Barack Obama claimed that he was a monkey when younger but grew out of it. Mitt Romney agreed with Huckabee on relativity and denounced Einstein. Rudy Giuliani insisted that his ancestors were the ones who imprisoned Copernicus, and he assured voters he would do the same. Ron Paul flew a blimp to show that gravity isn't real, though campaign officials denied that the blimp had anything to do with Huckabee.

(Source ...)

Thought for the day

“When fascism comes to this country, it will be wrapped in a flag carrying a cross.”

-- Sinclair Lewis

Footnote: Now watch the Huckabee ad.

You were expecting a screamer?

Orders from Headquarters

from Wonkette

The Catholic Diocese of New Hampshire this Sunday started distributing its voter guide. Since they can’t tell you who to vote for and keep their tax exemption, they’ll just tell you that you can’t ever vote for anyone who is for abortion or stem cell research, but that everything else is totally negotiable based on your conscience as long as those things are the most important things! Other things your conscience need not feel quite as worried about include war, poverty, social justice, racism and environmental policy.
Also, in case you’ve forgotten, the Catholic Church is all about hierarchies! Levels of hell, purgatory, layers upon layers of paper bureaucracy and obfuscation, they loooove it all. And, so, they’d like to remind Catholics that while war might be “seriously wrong” if it involves killing civilians, abortion, euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research are “intrinsically evil.” That’s, like, worse and stuff. The death penalty, however, isn’t classified.

The rest after the click ...

Monday, December 17, 2007

This Is Not a Test

by Christopher Hitchens, Slate

It's perfectly reasonable to reject a candidate because of his religious views.

Just before this gets completely out of hand and becomes a mantralike repetition, let us please recall what the careful phrases of Article VI of the U.S. Constitution actually and very carefully and deliberately say:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

As so often, the framers and founding fathers meant what they said, said what they meant, and risked no waste of words. A candidate for election, or an applicant for a post in the bureaucracy, could not be disqualified on the grounds of his personal faith in any god (or his disbelief in any god, for that matter). This stipulation was designed to put an end to the hideous practice of European monarchies—and the pre-existing practice of various American colonies—whereby if a man did not affirm the trinity, or deny the pope, or abjure Judaism (depending on the jurisdiction), he could be forbidden to hold office or even to run for it. Along with the establishment clause of the First Amendment, and the predecessor-language of the Virginia Statute on Religious Freedom, it forms part of the chief glory of the first-ever constitution that guaranteed religious liberty, religious pluralism, and the freedom to be left alone by priests and rabbis and mullahs and other characters.

However, what Article VI does not do, and was never intended to do, is deny me the right to say, as loudly as I may choose, that I will on no account vote for a smirking hick like Mike Huckabee, who is an unusually stupid primate but who does not have the elementary intelligence to recognize the fact that this is what he is. My right to say and believe that is already guaranteed to me by the First Amendment. And the right of Huckabee to win the election and fill the White House with morons like himself is unaffected by my expression of an opinion.

Full text following the click ...

My comment: There may not be a religious test to HOLD office but there certainly is a religious test for my vote. To continue with Hitchen's thought, the follwing is a list of candidates (from his article) who won't be getting my vote ... ever:

* A candidate who followed the "Rev." Jim Jones to a Kool-Aid resort in Guyana (don't forget that this did actually happen)

* A candidate who said that the pope could excommunicate other American candidates with whom he disagreed

* A candidate who said that the above-mentioned pope was the Antichrist

* A candidate who said that L. Ron Hubbard was a visionary

* A candidate who said that Joseph Smith was a visionary

* A candidate who said that any holy book was scripturally inerrant

* A candidate who was a member of Hezbollah or the Muslim Brotherhood or the Nation of Islam

* A candidate who was a supporter or member of the Orange Order or the Ulster Unionist Party

* A candidate who was a supporter or member of Opus Dei or the Phalange Party

* A candidate who was a supporter or member of Lehi or the Jewish Defense League

* A candidate who was a member of the Aryan Nations, the KKK, or any other white Protestant "Christian Identity" faction

* A candidate who said that the Quran was dictated by the archangel Gabriel

... and I think a couple of 'em are running for office as I write this.

Time for another rousing round of ...

write your own caption!

thanks to the General ...

"Golleeeeeee ..."

Keep in mind, we're talking about a fully grown, supposedly educated man who believes "The Flintstones" is a documentary.

#14 on Mad Magazine's 20 dumbest people, events, and things of 2007

Finally there is compelling evidence that the theory of evolution is wrong! For proof positive that man's intelligence has not evolved in eons, consider the Cro-Magnon brained imbeciles behind the recently opened Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. The museum's exhibits don't merely challenge science, they ignore it completely! It's the only place in the world you can see man riding bareback on a dinosaur — except, of course, in an old episode of The Flintstones.

The World to the US

Bali - Climate Change Conference

"We seek your leadership. But if for some reason you are not willing to lead, leave it to the rest of us. Please get out of the way."

The conference exploded with applause, the U.S. delegation backed down, and the way was cleared yesterday for adoption of the "Bali road map" after a dramatic half-hour that set the stage for a grinding two years of climate talks to come.

My comment: How far we've fallen in the eyes of the world. How great our loss of credibility!

In our press to protect short term economic stability we have ignored the long term consequences and abdicated our position as leaders of the world. The long term consequences are almost universally recognized in the scientific community ... that part of the scientific community not on corporate PR payrolls ... and those consequences are dire. The long term economic consequences are far greater than any of the imagined short term consequences inherent in taking action.

But, if you believe that the second coming is at hand and you believe that you are in a position to "bring it on" ... well, the best course of action on this issue is in-action and that is precisely what our so-called leadership has been doing.

File it all under "You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time ... but you can't fool all of the people all of the time."

Romney weighs in on waterboarding

Chris Dodd's Filibuster

The telecom companies want immunity from prosecution for their complicity and active participation in spying on American citizens. If no laws have been broken, why would one want or need immunity?

In a Republican world of "personal responsibility" it seems no one wants to be held accountable. The administration wants to eliminate the system of checks and balances that have served our country well for over 200 years and now, telecoms want to be excused from responsibility for their actions (in advance). What ever happened to that ole' time value of taking responsibility?

On Monday, December 17th, 2008, Chris Dodd will take to the floor the Senate and begin his filibuster of telecom immunity. He will start talking and he won't stop until he loses a cloture vote or Harry Reid shelves any FISA bill containing retroactive immunity.

To close debate, opponents will have to muster 60 votes. If every Republican (and Joe Lieberman) votes for cloture, this means at least 10 Democrats will have to betray their fellow party member to end Dodd's filibuster.

Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton have all said they will support Dodd's filibuster. Senator Feingold is also supporting Dodd.

Find out more about Chris Dodd's Filibuster here.

Finally, a Democrat with a spine!

If you're not familiar with the circumstances, this article in the New York Times will provide a briefing.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Modern Christmas Carol

... or get the video here.

Words and music by Billy Joel. Sung by Cass Dillon. Joel wanted someone a little closer in age to the sentiment ...

Sometimes its hard to tell the parody from reality

... or get the video here.

That didn't take long!

Yesterday Rep Wexler asking for citizens to sign the petition on his website in support of impeachment hearings for Vice President, Dick Cheney. Wexler was hoping to get 50,000 signatures and it didn’t take long — it took just 24 hours to meet his goal and the signatures are still rolling in. If you haven’t signed the petition yet, you can find it here.