Monday, September 04, 2006

You Are What You Do.

Headline gleefully stolen from Bill Mahr, who says he likes to say it often. It's a good truth-test technique. In the case of our current government, we know we can't trust what they say, but they cannot entirely hide what they are up to. Connecting the dots is not all that hard.

Frog Style Biscuit: What is Bush Preparing For?

q Links and the conclusions of an ordinary guy like me connecting the dots.

q Plans to federalize the National Guard, over the objections of the Governors.

q Attempts to repeal the Posse Comitatus Act. Pentagon’s classified plans for Domestic takeover.

q HUNDREDS of functional FEMA detention camps, with contracts in existence with KBR/Halliburton to construct more if needed. No bid contracts, of course.

And of course, the administrations treasured "enemy combatant" theory for detaining citizens indefinitely, without trial, on the basis of the President deciding you are an enemy, with no evidentiary threshold at all.

He's got the links, go there and give him the love.

Now, here are a few dots I want to add.

Air Force probes religious bias charges at academy

We have concluded that both the specific violations and the promotion of a culture of official religious intolerance are pervasive, systematic and evident at the very highest levels of the academy's command structure," said the report from Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The group, which according to its Web site is a nonpartisan, nonsectarian organization founded in 1947 to defend the principle of religious freedom, said its investigation and report were based on "numerous complaints from a variety of sources."

Among the allegations are that cadets are frequently pressured to attend chapel and take religious instruction, particularly in the evangelical Christian faith; that prayer is a part of mandatory events at the academy; and that in at least one case a teacher ordered students to pray before beginning their final examination.

The report said it found that non-Christian cadets are subjected to "proselytization or religious harassment" by more senior cadets; and that cadets of other religions are subject to discrimination, such as being denied passes off-campus to attend religious services.

The report said that in at least two cases "highly qualified individuals were dissuaded from attending the academy ... after learning of the official culture of religious intolerance and hostility toward those who do not subscribe to and practice evangelical Christianity.

"When the Air Force is denied the service of the country's best and brightest young people because they feel excluded from the academy by religious intolerance, the armed forces and the nation as a whole are weakened," the report said.

Consider that Air Force Academy grads have direct and indirect control of a lot of very lethal hardware, and if you were wanting to ensure the success of a coup, or enforcing martial law on an uncooperative or even hostile population.

Now consider this:

America as a One-Party State
Today's hard right seeks total dominion. It's packing the courts and rigging the rules. The target is not the Democrats but democracy itself.

By Robert Kuttner
Issue Date: 02.01.04

We are at risk of becoming an autocracy in three key respects. First, Republican parliamentary gimmickry has emasculated legislative opposition in the House of Representatives (the Senate has other problems). House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas has both intimidated moderate Republicans and reduced the minority party to window dressing, rather like the token opposition parties in Mexico during the six-decade dominance of the PRI.

Second, electoral rules have been rigged to make it increasingly difficult for the incumbent party to be ejected by the voters, absent a Depression-scale disaster, Watergate-class scandal or Teddy Roosevelt-style ruling party split. After two decades of bipartisan collusion in the creation of safe House seats, there are now perhaps just 25 truly contestable House seats in any given election year (and that's before the recent Republican super gerrymandering). What once was a slender and precarious majority -- 229 Republicans to 205 Democrats (including Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who votes with Democrats) -- now looks like a Republican lock. In the Senate, the dynamics are different but equally daunting for Democrats. As the Florida debacle of 2000 showed, the Republicans are also able to hold down the number of opposition votes, with complicity from Republican courts. Reform legislation, the 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA), may actually facilitate Republican intimidation of minority voters and reduce Democratic turnout. And the latest money-and-politics regime, nominally a reform, may give the right more of a financial advantage than ever.

Third, the federal courts, which have slowed some executive-branch efforts to destroy liberties, will be a complete rubber stamp if the right wins one more presidential election.

Taken together, these several forces could well enable the Republicans to become the permanent party of autocratic government for at least a generation. Am I exaggerating? Take a close look at the particulars. Read more

How and why.

Some clues from Theocracy Watch.

Voter apathy is key to the phenomenal ascent of the theocratic right in the U.S. government.

With the apathy that exists today, a small, well-organized minority can influence the selection of candidates to an astonishing degree. (Pat Robertson, The Millennium, 1990)

Robertson tells us who makes up that "well-organized minority." It includes only Christians who share his point of view. As he said on his television program, the 700 Club:

"You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists, and this and that and the other thing. Nonsense! I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist." (Rob Boston, Pat Robertson, the Most Dangerous Man in America?, Prometheus Books, 1996, p. 149.)

"The apathy of other Americans can become a blessing and advantage to Christians," wrote Mark Beliles and Stephen McDowell in 1989 in America's Providential History, a popular textbook for Christian schools and the Christian homeschool movement.

If just 10% of all Christians in America today woke up and realized how easy it is, got involved consistently for the long haul, it would not take long to reform America completely. (p.266)

For the authors, the term "Christian" refers uniquely to people who share their biblical worldview. The word "reform" is key. It means reforming the United States so that it becomes a "Christian" nation.

Also consider this: the Left Behind Demo includes spyware.

Why? To serve targeted ads to the kids you downloaded it for. Cheating? Well, yes. The 25 year history of the Dominionist movement is full of examples of stealth advocacy, bait and switch, linkage with various pyramid schemes (Amway, Matol); in small words, they intend to rule "by any means" and that means throwing out the Ten Commandments while giving the impression they are trustworthy because they believe in them.

And they do. Sort of. They believe The Ten Commandments are for others; they only honor the 11th; Thou Shalt Not Get Caught. Fortunately, that doesn't always work as well as they hope.

MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris told a religious journal that separation of church and state is "a lie" and God and the nation's founding fathers did not intend the country be "a nation of secular laws."

The Republican candidate for U.S. Senate also said that if Christians are not elected, politicians will "legislate sin," including abortion and gay marriage.

Harris made the comments -- which she clarified Saturday -- in the Florida Baptist Witness, the weekly journal of the Florida Baptist State Convention, which interviewed political candidates and asked them about religion and their positions on issues.

She also went on record saying separating religion and politics is "wrong because God is the one who chooses our rulers." In an interesting side note, there is an editorial, linked from the page of the interview, which states that it’s a sin to not vote.

A lot of people tend to be more candid when they think they are speaking to a "friendly" audience. They tend to forget that not every person there, or every reader of such a publication will share such values, or at least agree that a value imposed on others creates a moral benefit. And in this case, they forgot the fact that Google and Digg exist.

In fact, some, like Dr. James Dobson, feel that it's a religious right to discriminate against gay, bisexual and transgender persons - while accepting state funds. And they are not at all embarrassed by being quoted, it’s now a common theocratic talking that any restriction on their right to harrass, denigrate, intimidate, shame, slander and discriminate against persons or views they disagree with is "religious persecution" and a violation of their “free speech rights.”

But they still want that tax-exempt status - and expect to be catered to in the public sphere with prior restraints put on those who disagree. In other words, the demand that their "religious freedom" be respected is in fact a an expectation of exceptional, preferential treatment - the very thing they claim same-sex marriage advocates are demanding.

Now, don't get me wrong; I'm a strong advocate of personal responsibility, of a strong moral code and of impeccable personal ethics. I believe that it's the duty of a religion to advocate the principles they stand for.

The difference is, I do not expect other people to live up to my standards, or impose my standards upon them as a condition for my help.

I stopped dealing with a local charity organization entirely because they violated my principles in this way.

My view on our current infestation on the overtly religious in political life is simple: Unethical behavior trumps any public statement of belief. Don't quote the Bible at me, not Leviticus nor the Beatitudes. Act according to your faith, while respecting the law, the constitution and the rights of others and I'll respect you for it, even if we disagree on certain points. But play fair.

When you steal votes, lie about the cause of war, legislate so that the rich are favored and the poor are oppressed, put moneychangers in your temples (did you know some big box churches have their own banks, which automatically remove tithes up to THIRTY percent from automatic payroll deposits?) and otherwise act just like the Pharisees and Sadducees Jesus condemned and mocked, what you call yourself is just another lie.

There are no Beatitudes in the Republican legislative agenda, but that’s ok. I'm voting the straight Samaritan ticket.

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