Jews and Muslims unite against homosexuals (Daily Telegraph; plus an update below.)
Who says there is no hope for peace in the Middle East? Here's a very heartening development, as bitter enemies reach across the divide to join hands in a common cause. Surely such faith-filled cooperation between the "People of the Book," the "Children of Abraham," the "Fanatical Devotees of a Bronze Age Sky-God Cult" will be the way forward from the current hell of war and strife, leading the world into a new earthly paradise where human beings are not allowed to seek warmth, affection, contact and pleasure from one another, except in the severely restricted circumstances dictated by fanatical devotees of a Bronze-Age Sky-God cult. (The picture at right shows some good godly folk setting fires in the streets, offering up the fragrant aroma of, er, cardboard boxes and wooden crates to pleasure the nostrils of the Most High God.)
Of course, those other People of the Bookers â€“ the Bush-Base American Christianites who have made sexuality the great, throbbing focus of their heated, panting faith â€“ should also be standing shoulder-to-shoulder, cheek-by-jowl, arm-in-arm, thigh-pressed-firmly-but-chastely-to-thigh with their fellow Sky-God cultists in Jerusalem. Perhaps they could send a representative to the protests, some prominent figure of great spiritual power and high political connections, to show that America stands with the rabbis and mullahs in the holy crusade against warmth, affection, contact and pleasure. Add a comment
By Aaron Sussman
On October 17th, with Dick Cheney, Alberto Gonzales, and Donald Rumsfeld standing behind him, George W. Bush solemnly announced, â€œin memory of the victims of September 11th, it is my honor to sign the Military Commissions Act of 2006 into law.â€
It is apt that Bush invoked a terrifying assault on America as he signed the Military Commissions Act (MCA), legislation that chisels away at our civil liberties, abets and immunizes top-level torturers, and strikes at the core of American values and tradition. The message that Bush gave when he signed the Defense Bill in 2005 is now truer than ever:
â€œOur enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.â€
â€œIn memory of the victims of September 11th,â€ Bush passed a law that Robyn Blumner of the St. Petersburg Times calls â€œan obscenity against liberty and decencyâ€ and that the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) calls â€œunconstitutional and un-American.â€ A fitting tribute indeed for the victims whose names have been manipulated by this administration to justify everything from invading Iraq, to the USA PATRIOT Act, to torture, to tax cuts. This â€œhonorâ€ to the victims of September 11th is a national disgrace for which the Bush administration, both houses of Congress, and the media are to blame.
While the White House struggles to convince the nation that the MCA is perfectly legal and essential in order for the CIA to continue â€œone of the most successful intelligence efforts in American history,â€ the true implications of this act must be made clear. Out of the many dubious clauses in the act, the most egregious is the one that eliminates the writ of habeas corpus (the right to challenge the legality of oneâ€™s imprisonment), a fundamental right that dates back to the Magna Carta. In his First Inaugural Address in 1801, Thomas Jefferson said, â€œFreedom of the person under the protection of the habeas corpus I deem [one of the] essential principles of our government." Ironically, the Supreme Court case, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, which held that Bushâ€™s original military tribunals were illegal and made the Congressionally approved MCA necessary, would never have occurred if the MCA had been in effect, as it was petitioned by a detainee.
In the 1972 movie The Candidate, newly (and surprisingly) elected candidate Bill McKay â€“ played by Robert Redford â€“ asks, perhaps rhetorically, at the end of the movie, â€œWhat do we do now?â€
That statement/question is possibly an apt analogy to describe just what happened across this country on Election Day. What do we do now? As a radical progressive I view the Democratic victories with a note of cautious optimism. As a writer who has frequently criticized the laissez-faire policies of the Democrats, I believe it is a fair question to put forth.
In reading the myriad of blogs and news opinions, which cross my desk via this computer, Iâ€™m struck by the outlook held by many that, okay, â€œitâ€™s time for payback.â€ Many writers and so-called progressives feel that it is now time to jump in with all four feet and begin to look at impeachment proceedings and other assorted hearings relating to the Repugsâ€™ criminal and moral turpitude of the past many years. It is extremely difficult to argue against taking that approach, I wholeheartedly agree that Bush and Company should be tried, convicted and sentenced to hang along with their (former) underling Saddam Hussein.
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By Ramzy Baroud
Attempts to coerce Palestinians into submission have not always manifested themselves in the crude form of a tank, a bullet, the withholding of aid, or the denial of freedom of movement. These efforts were at times more imaginative and shrewd, through the sponsoring and espousing of factionalism, the purchasing of the integrity of a politician, and pressing Palestinians themselves to promote foreign agendas, whether knowingly or unwittingly.
Coupled with the collective punishment endowed on Palestinians by the ever-indifferent international community - Israel's friends in the West and a few Arab and Muslim allies - such creative methods often reaped the desired results, albeit for a little while. I became familiar with one of these attempts recently in London.
It was recently revealed that a few individuals, affiliated with the Hamas government and Hamas-dominated parliament were allowed entry into Britain. News of the visit was first unveiled by the disingenuous Israeli media, which concocted a skewed version of the event, claiming that the delegation met with Israeli 'academicians' in London.
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Hope you were hanging on to something solid Tuesday night because this country lurched so hard to the left, half of Washington woke up with a wicked case of whiplash on Wednesday. No, make that most of Washington. And all of K Street. And the Republicans should be grateful. Because if it werenâ€™t for Democratic persistence they wouldnâ€™t still be able to file for protection under the Endangered Species Act.
The electoral semi tsunami means new Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi is next in line after Dick Cheney in Presidential succession. In other words, sheâ€™s only two chicken bones away from the Presidency. And Bush does not look like a picky eater. Does the term unchewed pretzel have any meaning here? Not to mention one loud noise takes Cheney out like that, leading toâ€¦ President Pelosi. And to conservatives, thatâ€™s got to be scarier than a raw meat bathing suit in a shark tank.
Since sheâ€™s the human embodiment of what right wing talk show hosts refer to as (cue theme music from Psycho) the extreme agenda of San Francisco values, people all over the country have to be curious as to exactly what are these alarming values? Glad you asked. Pull up a chair, plop the kids in front of â€œCSI: Topekaâ€ and let me tell you about Ms Pelosi and the den of iniquity she represents and passes as the city named after Saint Francis of Assisi.
For the who canâ€™t wait to get Nancy Pelosi down on the ground to shave her head and expose her horns, I regret to inform you, they arenâ€™t there. Sheâ€™s a kindly old grandma now, and although she does smile like some fiend is twisting a knobby pole inserted up her butt, the ironic part is, in San Francisco, this supposedly frighteningly extreme liberal is considered a moderate and is often protested by leftist factions claiming sheâ€™s too deep in the mainstream and has sold out. And yeah, there are factions here that believe the same is true of Fidel.
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So, the Democrats have a majority in Congress. The bad times are over. The evil ones have been vanquished. Let's go ahead and declare world peace, an end to global warming, andâ€¹while we're at itâ€¹the cancellation of The O'Reilly Factor. I mean, what could be better, right? Hmm, we could also have a Democratic president to go along with a Democratic Senate and Democratic House. Can you say Hillary Rodham Clinton, boys and girls? Imagine that: A pinko by the name of Clinton running the White House with a merry band of liberals calling all the shots in Congress. How grand it would be...
Well, if you want a good idea of how things may go under the above scenario, you might want to reflect back upon the years of 1993 and 1994 because that's when President William Jefferson Clinton was enjoying the "advantage" of a Democratically-controlled Congress.
In just two years, the notorious liberal managed to abandon his pledge to consider offering asylum to Haitian refugees, renege on his promise to "take a firm stand" against the armed forces' ban on gays and lesbians, and back away from his most high-profile campaign issue: health care. He also signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), increased the Pentagon budget by another $25 billion, fired Jocelyn Elders, dumped Lani Guinier, ordered the bombing of Iraq and the Balkans, renewed the murderous sanctions on Iraq, ignored genocide in Rwanda, deported hundreds of thousands of "illegal" immigrants, and passed a crime bill that gave us more cops, more prisons, and 58 more offenses punishable by death. (All this came before the much-hyped Republican "revolution" in 1994. Can someone please explain to me why the right wing didn't like this guy?) Add a comment
It was horribleâ€¦ horrible. We heard a deafening explosion. The earth shook. A fraction of a second later a blizzard of shattered glass flew around us, and then it lay in drifts about our feet.
Then, horrors of horrors we heard the screaming: â€œYou did it! We saw you kids throw that rockâ€!
My close friend Bob and I were branded as terrorists!
I canâ€™t remember the year. Suffice it to say, it was back in my glory days. Bob and I were about thirteen years oldâ€¦ I think. We lived in a middle class, suburban housing development. One broiling summer afternoon, we had been innocently walking down the street carrying boxes of slot car track. We were going to make the biggest layout in Southern California.
What had happened? By chance, just as Bob and I were walking by the Griswold residence, the rear window of Mr. Griswoldâ€™s pride and joy, a shiny Dodge El Puerco, blew out all over the place. Parked halfway in the garage, with the back window exposed to the fierce sun of a Southern California summer, the Griswoldâ€™s Dodge was as explosive as Lucyâ€™s pressure cooker.
Now in that heat, not only would smart people entirely cover their car, but also they would at least leave open the carâ€™s side windows. However, the Griswolds werenâ€™t the sharpest knives in the drawer. That Dodge El Puerco was sealed up tighter than the Green Zone. Well, hot air expands and builds up pressureâ€¦ kind of like Senator â€œBullâ€ Horn. Something had to blow and it sure as hell did. It was spectacular. You would have paid money to see it!
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On Election Day, America took a step that history may show to have been absolutely crucial in saving this republic. At a time when the soul of America has been gravely endangered by our ruling powers, the American people have handed significant power back to the opposition party. Perhaps they will be an effective check on the hitherto unchecked power of this usurpatious presidency.
But winning even an important battle is not winning the war (if you will allow the martial metaphorâ€“ indeed, in a meaningful sense, this IS war).
To continue to roll back these dark forces, it is imperative that the opposition exercise its new powers wisely. In the coming days, I hope to explore here what that may require. I will begin now with some thoughts â€“and a questionâ€“ about what the Democrats should do with their new-found power to conduct investigative hearings.
by Dave Lindorff,
The big losers on Election Day were of course President Bush and the Republican Party, but there was another loser too: the conspiracy theory that had it that a slick operation run out of Karl Roveâ€™s office, and working in cahoots with the makers of the electronic voting machines increasingly being installed by voting districts around the country would steal the key elections electronically.
I always felt that this conspiracy theory was over the top, and that it moreover was having the pernicious effect of creating massive cynicism about elections that would keep many people from voting who otherwise might have.
There's no way to know how many people didn't go to the polls because they decided that it would be a waste of time, but I sure have heard plenty of people saying, over the past year, "What's the point? The Republicans are going to steal the election anyway."
Well, if they were ever going to steal an election, this would have been the one to do it to. The last thing a criminal president whose popularity is in the cellar needs is a Congress armed with subpoena power in the hands of the opposition party. Surely, if Karl Rove could have tinkered with the numbers on those voting machines in just a few dozen districts, or in states like Montana or Virginia where the margin was a few thousand votes, and where the key voter registrar officials were fellow Republicans, he would have done it.
Instead, we saw dozens of congressional races and a handful of key Senate races switch to the Democrats, and sometimes by the narrowest of margins.
by Mickey Z.
In a recent correspondence, Adam Engel wrote: "One of the greatest myths
about America is that it's the 'home of the brave.' Once, perhaps, prior to
1492. Now, it's most likely the greatest collection of cowards in the Milky
Way Galaxy." Engel specifically mentioned our lack of response to losing
habeas corpus and to being both "subject to eternal imprisonment for
liberating animals from vivisection labs" and "complicit in the murder of
hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Palestinians, Lebanese, Afghanis, South and
Central Americans, Haitians etc. etc. etc."
He could've also included our acquiescence in a frighteningly broad range of areas, e.g. access to health care, tolerance for voting irregularities, directly funding the Israeli war machine, and stomaching the groupthink behind saluting a flag. Americans talk the talk but when ordered to remove their shoes before going through airport security, it's "yes sir" all the way.
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For the purposes of this article I'd like to highlight another area in which American bravery is lacking...an area I have touched on before: supporting the troops. As John Kerry's recent episode demonstrated, one cannot appear to criticize the men and women in uniform without paying a high price. There are many who identify themselves as "anti-war" who will vigorously defend the troops. Even when faced with documented evidence of criminality, Americans still cannot summon the bravery to condemn the military.
As Don Rumsfeld is tossed overboard by the panicky Bushes (who value loyalty to themselves above all other virtues but never, ever, practice it toward others; there will be many more bodies left behind as the Family rallies to clean up Junior's mess again), Steve Gilliard steps in below to remind us that what we are actually dealing with here is not politics, not some Beltway horse race, or some idiotic media game of "who's up, who's down." The issue is mass murder -- thousands of Americans, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis -- and human suffering beyond imagining for millions more.
This is the reality. This is what really matters about Rumsfeld and the other architects of the war crime in Iraq. And although all the talk about the election's political ramifications for the Bush Administration is entertaining and diverting, as most gossip is, and not without some importance, on the most essential level it is a moral obscenity.
For when Bush opens his mouth, clotted bits of corpseflesh tumble out; when he walks, he wades through pools of human blood. And behind him, skittering and scooting in the blood-slick on their hands and knees, come all his ministers, handlers and toadies, come all the media sycophants who eagerly peddled his lies, come all the war profiteers who fill their bank vaults with hacked limbs, blown guts, crushed heads and mounds of viscera -- their treasure, their prize. Are we really supposed to be concerned about the political standing of such wretches? Should we not be outraged that they are allowed to walk among free people, much less exercise power and dominion over the nation? Why do they have any "political standing" at all?
And yet, they do. This too is reality, and we must deal with it.
by Joel S. Hirschhorn
Forget political correctness. The revolution has NOT arrived! Bush is still president. The corporate state is safe. The Upper Class has little to fear. Lobbyists will be writing different names on checks. Winning Democrats will entertain more than they will produce historic restorative reforms. Did Republicans deserve to lose? Of course!
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However, Americans who thought their votes would bring much needed change to our political system also lost. They just donâ€™t know or admit it yet. As usual, the third-party movement lost, because the two-party duopoly maintained its stranglehold on our political system. Populists and true progressives lost. Who or what was the biggest winner? The short-term and delusional tactic of lesser-evil voting won big.
On the liberal left, millions of anti-Bush, anti-Iraq war voters held their noses, repressed the truth about cowardly and compromised Democrats. They rationalized why beating Republicans was the most important goal. Fake, neo-progressives, little more than embarrassed Democrats, finally showed their true blue commitment. On the right, millions of fiscal conservative, pro-life, and evangelical voters blocked out many facts, disappointments and scandals, and rationalized why keeping Republicans in power was the most important goal. They wanted to stay the course. Many spiritual libertarians given no Libertarian Party candidates went red. Spiritual greens went blue. Many independents, centrists and moderates unable to vote for None of the Above, went lesser-evil. Self-delusion ran rampant as placebo voting ruled the day.
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