Sunday, September 30, 2007

McCain: Constitution Establishes A "Christian Nation"

(this item is stolen verbatim from Georgia10 at Dailykos. Disclosure: I voted for Sen. McCain in the 2000 Republican primary in an overwhelming sentiment of Anyone But Bush, which is allowed by Michigan law, and I stand by that vote- Grodge.)

Sat Sep 29, 2007 at 05:55:29 PM PDT

Republican John McCain in an interview with Beliefnet:

Q: A recent poll found that 55 percent of Americans believe the U.S. Constitution establishes a Christian nation. What do you think?
A: I would probably have to say yes, that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation. But I say that in the broadest sense. The lady that holds her lamp beside the golden door doesn't say, "I only welcome Christians." We welcome the poor, the tired, the huddled masses. But when they come here they know that they are in a nation founded on Christian principles.

Just for giggles, let's actually look at the text of the Constitution, shall we?

Article VI:

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.

The First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

See? Obviously, the Constitution establishes a Christian nation. God & Jesus are all over that document. Or hidden in its fibers. Or something. Because when the founders wrote "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification" for public office, they meant there's no need to test all the good Christians who are elevated to public office. After all, Americans wouldn't vote for someone that didn't already know the Bible chapter and verse, right?

And of course, since America is a Christian nation, Muslims will have to work extra hard to get McCain's vote:

Q: Has the candidates’ personal faith become too big an issue in the presidential race?
A: Questions about that are very legitimate.... And it's also appropriate for me at certain points in the conversation to say, look, that's sort of a private matter between me and my Creator.... But I think the number one issue people should make [in the] selection of the President of the United States is, 'Will this person carry on in the Judeo Christian principled tradition that has made this nation the greatest experiment in the history of mankind?'"
Q: It doesn't seem like a Muslim candidate would do very well, according to that standard.
A: I admire the Islam. There's a lot of good principles in it. I think one of the great tragedies of the 21st century is that these forces of evil have perverted what's basically an honorable religion. But, no, I just have to say in all candor that since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles.... personally, I prefer someone who I know who has a solid grounding in my faith. But that doesn't mean that I'm sure that someone who is Muslim would not make a good president. I don't say that we would rule out under any circumstances someone of a different faith. I just would--I just feel that that's an important part of our qualifications to lead.*

See that little asterisk? When McCain's campaign saw his shocking words in print, they contacted Beliefnet to "clarify" his statements:

*McCain contacted Beliefnet after the interview to clarify his remarks: "I would vote for a Muslim if he or she was the candidate best able to lead the country and defend our political values."

So, McCain would vote for someone who follows "the Islam," as long as they, by his own words, "carry on the Judeo-Christian principles" that McCain believes this nation was founded upon.

Well then. That settles it.

Onward, Christian warriors! There's a primary to be won! Just hope that no one points out the pandering along the way:

Beliefnet columnist David Kuo said McCain was "pandering to what he thinks the Christian conservative community wants to hear" and predicted he "will have a lot of explaining to do about this interview."

(from Georgia10 at Dailykos)

Friday, September 14, 2007

The End is Nigh; Bees to Quasars

Bush's speechifying last night got my inner cynic all juiced up. I came up with some great plots for disaster novels. The Top Ten best ways for the extinction of humanity.

10. Imported Australian virus and genetically modified crops contribute to colony collapse disorder of US honeybees, which brings crop failures and hemispheric shortages of food with half a billion people starving to death, leading to worldwide economic collapse.

9. The Pope makes a special mission of reducing elective abortions and contraceptive use in predominantly Catholic countries in Mexico and Central and South America (which currently have the highest abortion rates in the world), thus causing a massive increase in the birth rate, which stresses their medical systems and food supplies, leading to increase attempts to migrate to the developed world, stimulating military action by the US and Canada as well as Brazil and Argentina, leading to hemispheric economic collapse.

8. The subprime mortgage defaults in the US and Great Britain cause deterioration of the US dollar and British Pound, massive unemployment and loss of capital liquidity which triggers interest rate decreases, currency devaluation, episodic hyperinflation, and worldwide economic collapse. (This could be marketed as a non-fiction investment book which recommends burying silver dimes in a vault in your backyard next to your guns, MRE's and ammo.)

7. The Chinese are unable to improve the quality of their exported food and consumer products, which leads to a western embargo of Chinese goods, triggering gunboat diplomacy by the Maoist oligarchs, massive unrest, spiking gold and oil prices, nuclear threats and worldwide economic collapse. (Foreword would be written by Lou Dobbs.)

6. Dirty bombs in NYC, London, Berlin and Paris set off an allied military assault on the Muslim world, killing half a billion people total, leading to asymmetric terrorist retaliation and global urban guerrilla warfare, destabilizing the oil supply, leading to worldwide economic collapse. (“You can't fight in here, this is the war room.”)

5. Global warming causes the temperature of the earth to rise 4.5 degrees in the next three years, causing melting of the polar icecaps and Greenland and inundation of coastal areas, displacing half a billion people, leading to worldwide economic collapse. (Foreword by Al Gore.)

4. God decides that humans are too imperfect as beings and He is tired of us showing so little respect for each other, other living organism and the planet. He sends His Son down on a cloud in Judgment as, the earth ends as we know it, gnashing of teeth, Rapture occurs leading to the 1000 year Reign. (Already fictionalized by John of Patmos 1900 years ago in his tome Revelation.)

3. Vladimir Putin calls for dissolution of his cabinet and the Politburo, imprisons political enemies and declares martial law before invading Ukraine and Belarus under cover of the night. This leads to a shooting war among former Soviet republics, a nuclear showdown with the West, possible miscalculation of the threat levels and a significant risk of nuclear war, nuclear winter, destruction of higher life forms on the planet and 10 million years of a rising Reptilian Era. (Would need Tom Clancy as co-author for technical advice.)

2. A meteorite crashes into Southern Asia or the Indian Ocean causing the immediate death of two billion people, an ashen sky for 50 years allowing no sunlight leading to death of nearly all terrestrial plant life along with higher life forms, and the advent of 10 millions years of the Insect Era.

And my favorite:

1. A supernova remnant collides with the Sun causing a split-second solar flare, a huge tongue of 4000 degree Kelvin hydrogen scorches the earth's atmosphere which leads to the immediate vaporization of every living thing on the planet as well as the top 50 miles of the earth's crust, rendering the planet a permanently barren molten rock. (This would be just a short story.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Six Years On

This morning MSNBC was broadcasting a real-time repeat of the coverage from September 11, 2001. At 11:36 am, approximately two hours after the attacks, Tim Russert was interviewing a congressman who said:

This does not look like state-sponsored terrorism, but rather some loose network of terrorists who are able to co-ordinate the attack. Terrorists hope this leads to confusion and disrupts our priorities and our way of life.

The most important things at this point are to-- number one-- catch the people who did this and-- number two-- do not do anything that will provoke another attack.” 9-11-01

That congressman was none other than Rep. Porter Goss (R-FL), pictured at right, who at the time was Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a former CIA agent. Later he was appointed CIA Director by President Bush in September 2004.

I find it interesting that the first two things that Mr. Goss felt were immediate priorities have not been accomplished to this date. Osama bin Laden still entertains us with periodic videos and, according to the co-Chairmen of the 9-11 Report Committee, Muslim extremist groups have been apparently recruiting young men in record numbers. Both of these unfortunate circumstances are directly due to the terribly counter-productive and incompetent policies of the current administration.

To truly respect the deaths of those who were slaughtered in NYC 6 years ago, I would think capturing bin Laden and simultaneously fomenting peace in the world would have been a good start...

...and very possible.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Bring 'Em Home Now

It's a sad day for the US and for the world.

Today General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker testified before Congress about the progress in Iraq. And now it's official: there has been no progress in Iraq. We've used up our last Friedman Unit and it is over.

Gen. Petraeus used suspect data about the violence in Iraq in order to justify further military intervention. Ambassador Crocker admitted that the diplomatic efforts were not tried and Iraqi political avenues were not traveled. Atrocious.

Mr. Bush had nine months of a military surge to get this right and it looks like they didn't even try. The patience of the American people is spent and the war is over. Aside from a few phone calls, how much pressure was put on the Iraqis by our Commander-in-Chief?

It's over and the soldiers need to be redeployed now. As outlined last winter on this blog. I was in favor of a surge in January. I thought a larger surge with a complete national mobilization here in the US and in Iraq was in order. Nothing short would have sufficed. The administration had nine months to get this right, and unfortunately they did not.

Bring these men and women home now where they belong, and fight this war on terror the way it should have been fought in 2001.

1. Reduce funding regimes with oil money by achieving oil independence.

2. Pressure Arab allies to respect human rights, build schools not medrassas.

3. Work on a peaceful US foreign policy that promotes the health and safety of everyone.

4. Strengthen our diplomatic ties with our allies.

5. Prepare for a southern Asia with a stronger Iranian influence, thanks to George W. Bush.

Our current policies and incursions have been mismanaged from the first summer of this administration's tenure and it will take a generation to correct the bad policies and poor execution that the world has endured. Nothing has been done well in Iraq and now the time is up. Millions more will die, oil prices will rise and the world will be less stable, thanks to George W. Bush. And thanks to the civically illiterate voters who elected him.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Sen. Larry Craig is Still NOT Gay

Go get 'em, Larry.

Senator Larry Craig is reconsidering his resignation from the Senate! Good for him. While I may not be a fan of Senator Craig's policies and Senate votes, I have to add my support for him on this issue. I thought it weird how quickly his “friends” threw him under the bus over a misdemeanor charge. Seeming to breathe a sigh of relief, the Republican leadership welcomed the apparent end to this mess, and seemed happy to let Idaho's Republican governor appoint Craig's replacement, never mind the cavalier disenfranchisement of the Idahoan voters. Now, Craig is reconsidering.

Meanwhile, the Louisiana Republican Senator, David Vitter, who admitted to whoremongering which started the minute his plane first touched down in Washington several years ago, is welcomed back into the Republican party to serve out his term. Not wanting the Democratic governor of Louisiana to have a hand in picking Vitter's replacement, the GOP leadership has circled the wagons, citing the expiration of the statute of limitations on the charges. As usual, the Rude Pundit puts the finer point on the issue, and explains why Vitter needs to be destroyed and how it should be done.

Never mind the double standard, Senator Craig, you should fight this thing. Never mind your plaintive cry of “No!” when you saw the officer's badge, obviously understanding the consequences of your behavior-- you should fight this thing. Never mind your guilty plea, which can only be explained by your guilt. Never mind the “ick factor” of having to explain in court, with all your blue-haired constituents listening, how you didn't get fellated in other bathrooms around the country when men are willing to testify otherwise. You fight these charges, Senator Craig, because you know you're not gay.

Good luck with that.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

You're being conned. So What?

Sure, we're being conned. I can feel the frustration from many anti-war Democratic voters who feel that their legislators should be doing more to end the Iraq war. As much as I hate this war and know that it's been a con job from day one, I believe that the Reid-Pelosi tactic is the proper one.

Steve Benen at TPM has a scathing assessment of the current events in Iraq. As he says:

The GAO prepared a "strikingly negative" assessment of conditions on the ground, with no political progress (the intended point of the "surge") and little evidence of reduced violence. Of the 18 Iraqi benchmarks, Bush's policy has come up short on 15. An independent federal commission believes Iraq's 26,000-member national police force is beyond repair and might need to be disbanded altogether. A working draft of a secret document prepared by the U.S. embassy in Baghdad shows that the Maliki government is rotten to the core. Iraqi civilian deaths are getting worse, not better. The latest data shows U.S. troop fatalities worse every month this year compared to the same months last year. A smidgeon of evidence pointing to at least marginal political progress late last week turned out to be smoke and mirrors.

Read the links if you want your blood to boil. The administration, full of snarky chickenhawks who seemingly spend more mental energy pranking their colleagues with Saran Wrap than strategizing a war effort, is going to the wall with the Iraq war. The Democrats have only a few choices to make.

  1. While the Democrats have a nominal lead in both Congressional Houses, their majorities are too small to override vetoes.

  1. Any war funding bill with benchmarks will be vetoed by the President, thus giving the impression of the Democrats de-funding the war.

  1. If the war is de-funded, then the President will say, correctly, that his hands are tied and the war is no longer his responsibility.

  2. The last thing Reid and Pelosi want is to buy this war.

Yeah, it sucks. Believe me, nobody is as upset as I am at the mayhem committed with my federal tax dollars. unfortunately, we are destined to watch this play out for at least 15 more months with a slow-motion train wreck of sectarian violence and lies from our leaders about progress. Honestly, there is no way for plebes like us to know what is actually going on in Iraq, but I'm pretty confident that Bush's appraisal is too optimistic, just like it has always been.

The Democrats are on the verge of a real victory in 2008. Chances are, if they don't roll over, that they will hold the White House and have substantive, veto-proof, majorities in both the Senate and the House. To upset the apple cart now with creative war funding bills and demagoguery has the potential of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Change takes time and certainly more time than what our current “right now” culture is accustomed to.

Bush is the President, elected as fairly as the system allows. Reid and Pelosi didn't elect Bush Commander-in-Chief, I guarantee it. If the anti-war lefties want to point fingers, then they should look around their neighborhoods and family gatherings for the real culprits. Democracy can get pretty ugly, especially when the electorate is asleep.

If you want to conduct a thought experiment, then do the “then what” challenge. If the the Democrats de-fund the war, then what? Bush, in all his petulant glory, will certainly continue to mismanage the war and the withdrawal. Diplomacy will not occur where it has not all these years. The Sunnis and Shia will not suddenly become friends. The Iranians will not become brokers for peace. Little George would not suddenly become an arbiter of restraint and reason in the world. NATO, the UN and regional allies like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan would not be any more willing to sign onto the sinking ship of a withdrawing US.

The Iraq situation under Bush's scorned leadership will certainly devolve faster and further than it is now. We would see bodies floating in the Tigris and Euphrates, Iran laying claim to southern Iraqi oil fields, Sunnis killing Kurds, and vice versa, in the north. Refugee crises could further destabilizing neighboring countries as Iraqis flee genocidal marauders. The Straits of Hormuz could become a war zone thus spiking the price of oil and leading to worldwide economic strife. The potential for a worse situation is certainly out there. And Reid and Pelosi would be the proud owners of the debacle, all the blame and none of the control.

Be patient, grasshoppers. Change takes time. Change always comes. And if you're in Iraq, keep your head down.