Dada is the sun, Dada is the egg. Dada is the Police of the Police.

4/30/2005

Florida girl's abortion

You've probably heard this: the Department of Children and Families in Florida is trying to prevent a 13-year-old girl who is in state custody, and who is pregnant, from obtaining an abortion, on the grounds that she is too young to make the decision. Well, she may be young, but she's certainly good at making her elders look stupid. Bitch, Ph.D. says:

Remember the argument about whether or not a 13-year old girl in Florida has the right to an abortion? Whether or not the state has the right to think for her, b/c she's a minor, blah ... blah?

Well all of us can just shut ... up, b/c this is one 13-year old girl who doesn't need anyone to speak for her. Read this, and then, if necessary, re-think that idea that women--including 13-year old girls in foster care--can't be trusted to think through the realities of abortion on their own. Better than some goddamn bureaucrat at the DCF or a judge who isn't the one carrying the pregnancy.


The Bitch then quotes from this article:

"Why can't I make my own decision?"

That was the blunt question to a judge from a pregnant 13-year-old girl ensnared in a Palm Beach County court fight over whether she can have an abortion.

"I don't know," Circuit Judge Ronald Alvarez replied, according to a recording of the closed hearing obtained Friday.

"You don't know?" replied the girl, who is a ward of the state. "Aren't you the judge?"

Ha!

... the exchange was typical of L.G.'s pluck as she argued that she had the right and capability to make her own decision, despite a move by the Department of Children & Families to seek a judge's permission for her abortion.

"I think if I want to make the decision, it's my business and I can do that," she told the judge.

...

DCF attorney Jeffrey Gillen said he was concerned L.G. was more likely to suffer "detrimental effects" if she underwent an abortion because she had psychiatric or behavioral problems in the past.

L.G., who told Alvarez she had run away at least five times from her youth shelter, maintained, "It would make no sense to have the baby."

"I don't think I should have the baby because I'm 13, I'm in a shelter and I can't get a job," the girl said as Alvarez and her guardian ad litem, assigned to shepherd her in the legal system, questioned her.

...

She also questioned the health risk of carrying the fetus to term.

"Since you guys are supposedly here for the best interest of me, then wouldn't you all look at that fact that it'd be more dangerous for me to have the baby than to have an abortion?" she asked. Alvarez called that "a good point."

Dr. Ethelene Jones, an expert in obstetrics and gynecology, testified earlier in the hearing that abortions are "definitely" safer than full term pregnancies for girls L.G.'s age.

"At her age and at her stage of gestation ... her risk of death from an abortion procedure is about 1 in 34,000," said Jones, who has held positions at Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. "The risk of death in pregnancy is about 1 in 10,000."

...

She had sex with "a boy" but refused to disclose his name to Alvarez saying: "That's not really necessary."

Yeah, sounds like someone who can't think for herself to me.

This girl is my hero. A thirteen-year-old who demonstrates more sense than the entire legal system.

You go girl!

Caption is left as an exercise for the reader

God hates you

An image captured by the Hubble telescope:




I've always suspected that the Gnostics had the most sensible conception of God:

Gnosticism preached that the God of Judeo-Christian tradition -- the God of the Bible -- was an imposter, an insane "demiurge" who sloppily created our false reality of flesh and sorrow, and who has no relation to the true Supreme Being whose existence is distant and removed from our corrupt world. (Link.)

Gnostic mythology ... holds that the world was created not by the God that's all-Good, but by an insane demigod and his assistants, the Archons, who rely on control of the created world for their continued existence ... this insane demiurge isn't *evil* in the way that we understand evil. Rather, it's mad, schizophrenic even, with a bona-fide God complex (probably the biggest one) ... It was created by accident, as an improper iteration within the fractal equation that brought about Being, and it resides, with us, within its creation, an imperfect, incomplete, illusory and often insane reality. (Link.)

This would explain so much ...

Disgusting nationalism

Blogger for Bush/40-year-old virgin Mark Noonan:

It is a truism today that the United States, as an entity, is heartily disliked around the world. This dislike is ascribed to our actions in the War on Terrorism, but that is just a leftwing, anti-Bush canard; they've disliked us for ages, and never had a thought about giving us a fair shake.

...

We are, as a people, more genuinely generous, brave and liberty-loving than any other people on earth. Europeans count their generosity in terms of how many people are on the government dole; we count it by how much we give, without telling anyone we did it. Terrorists count their bravery by how many people they kill; we count ours by how many we save at the cost of our best and bravest. The world-wide elite figures they are in favor of freedom because they allow people to engage in whatever sexual activity they wish without so much as raising an eyebrow; we know we are in favor of freedom because we'll defend to the death the freedom of those who hate us.

As an American, I'm happy to be disliked by the people who dislike Americans...those who hate us, hate us because they are despicable people and they can't stand to have Americans around as a living, breathing indictment of their sterile, worthless lives.

4/29/2005

U.S. to Iraqis: Eat shit (literally)

Bush cultists continue to insist that things are going ever-so-swimmingly in Iraq:

We're Winning

Oh yes we are.

The Naysayers have had their day. While much could still go wrong, we turned the corner some time ago and are on the way to wrapping this up. The terrorists will create trouble for awhile, but the prospect of their taking control of the Iraqi government is now remote ... Our troops became the equivalent to FDR's Civilian Conservation Corps, employing Iraqis in thousands of public works projects.

...

No doubt much went wrong at first. In retrospect, it almost seems obvious that this should have been the case. When one thinks back on most American wars, from the Revolution to the Civil War (from the North's perspective) to World War II, they all follow the same pattern; initial mishaps if not diasasters, incorrect assuptions, American rethinking, and finally we get our act together and utterly defeat our enemy.


But one of the nasty naysayers, Josh Buermann, obviously hasn't gotten the news:

There has been no reconstruction, but wouldn't I love to join in praising their vitrescent god if these incompetent, chickenhawk, cowpoking eggheads had actually reconstructed anything. For the love of fucking tits, the country isn't even on the mend yet, it's just falling further apart.


Now, Josh tries to pretend that his grim prognosis is based not on his depraved America-hating but rather on 'facts', a typical ploy of the moonbat left:

IRAQ: Doctors fear hepatitis outbreak

BAGHDAD, 18 April (IRIN) - Doctors in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, fear an outbreak of hepatitis, following an increase in cases reported by the Infectious Diseases Control Centre (IDSC) last week.

Officials said the increase was due to poor sewage control, particularly in suburbs of the city.

Dr Abdul Jalil, director of the IDSC, told IRIN that there had been a 30 percent increase in hepatitis cases in March 2005 compared to the same period in 2004, and that open sewers and polluted water were exacerbating the problem.

...

Jalil added that there had also been an increase in typhoid, tuberculosis (TB) and other water-borne diseases. He called for immediate action to control the situation.

"The system of sanitation in the capital should be fixed quickly. The Ministry of Public Works is moving slowly to solve this problem and it's affecting the health of Iraqis," Jalil explained.

In addition, Baghdad still has old sewage and water channels which haven't been repaired. The channels often run beside each other and lack of electricity has caused water to be pumped at low pressure, causing sewage to seep into the fresh water delivery system.

...

Jalil added that medicine for the treatment of patients, particularly for hepatitis B, could not be found in the country. He said they had asked Kimadia, the national drug company of the MoH, for help but there was a shortage of medicines and funds.

The WHO in Iraq told IRIN that it had offered to help the MoH by supplying tablets for water purification and awareness for families on how to prevent such diseases from spreading. But health officials maintain that all efforts are insignificant if the main cause of the disease, poor sewage treatment in the country, isn't rectified.


So many stories like this one; it's a good thing we've the right-wing blogs, or else our vision of the glorious American triumph that is Iraq might be obscured by the fact that the people there are INGESTING FECES.

Of course, the moonbats would prefer that they be eating their own shit under the watch of their hero Saddam Hussein, instead of wholesome, American-occupied sewage.

Freedom FecesTM, I like to call it.

Dear moron wingnuts,

Please try, over the course of your lifetime, to take at least one basic logic course.

This would be most advantageous to you. For instance, it would allow you to recognize that this is a fallacy.

Love,

D.

Hitler, Stalin, Derrida: The 20th century's greatest evildoers

According to Janice Shaw Crouse, that is. Via World O'Crap:

The cost of 'having it all'

Postmodern thinking offered women the opportunity to 'have it all.'Women flocked into the marketplace where they are having unprecedented success... Sadly, though, sexual liberation came as part of the post-modern package and gals began rivaling the guys in bed hopping, too.

Now we are learning the price those women are paying. Turns out sexual 'freedom' wasn't exactly free. This week, the Beverly LaHaye Institute (the think tank for Concerned Women for America) released its latest Data Digest which chronicles a disturbing trend for women: since 1976, the rate of childlessness has gone up between 50 and 90 percent among women in every age bracket, and the rate of singleness among women over age 30 has tripled.


My word! I'd no idea spinsterhood was so rampant!

Nobody mentioned in the mid-70s that 'having it all' would not include marriage and children ... So-called sexual freedom, loudly touted by libertines and radical feminists, has brought soaring rates of sexually transmitted diseases and plummeting rates of marriage. Abortion has eliminated 45 million pregnancies and left behind a host of problems ...


Yes, I've always thought the one thing the world needed was 45 million more people.

Millions of women are finding, through bitter experience, that ... at the end of the day--when the iPod and cellphone sit in their chargers, when the television’s relentless barrage is finally silent-- there is no hand to hold and no baby to cuddle.

Such loneliness is the sad ending to the promise of 'having it all.'

Today in America, we are beginning to reckon with the bitter harvest from the scourge of self-centered 'me-ism.' The moral relativism of post-modernism has resulted in a culture that scorns marriage, casually embraces cohabitation, and dismisses divorce; such values have decimated the family for the last 50 years.

Drinking from the springs of a false ideology can steal priceless, irreplaceable elements of life for years before its tragic consequences are evident and its true nature revealed for all to see.For instance, the millions of deaths from Hitler'’s Nazi horror or in Stalin'’s Gulags, or the bloody massacres of today's suicidal terrorists, reveal all too clearly the true character and the threat of counterfeit creeds.


Wow. I've never thought of it like that before. I'm willing to bet you haven't either.

Who is this 'Janice Shaw Crouse' anyway? Her brief bio from Town Hall says:

Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse is Senior Fellow at Concerned Women for America. She authors the Data Digest, a publication that analyzes and interprets trends in new data that affect women's well-being.


Well, when her husband gives her a few hours off from baking pies, that is!

Janice, I have a question: if you were going to write an entire column blaming a certain 'ideology' for the greatest evil since the Holocaust, don't you think you might bother to devote, oh, a paragraphy or two to defining or summarizing it? Especially when the ideology in question is an obscure, outdated academic mini-trend?

You know what? I am beginning to suspect that you have no fucking idea what you are talking about.

But since when did wingnuts feel the need to know what they're talking about? Especially when you can just serve up the same old Limbaughisms disguised in a vague approximation of scholarly locution, saying things like "universities today are hotbeds of postmodernism" even though that is a total fucking lie. Throw in a few remarks comparing your enemies to history's evilest monsters, and yourself to its bravest martyrs, and you're ready for the cover of Time Magazine.

Dirty, dirty wingnuts.

4/28/2005

The plight of persecuted rich white people

From David Limbaugh:

Left Never Tires Of Christian Bashing

If I didn't know better, I would think liberal politicians and columnists were out to prove the thesis of my book -- that there truly is a war being waged against Christianity and Christians in the United States.

Oh, yes, they deny it and attempt to turn the tables, saying it's Christians who are the belligerent ones, trying to take over the country and establish a theocracy. If it's not the New York Times' Maureen Dowd, it's her colleague Paul Krugman. It it's not them, it's John Kerry. They are all up in arms about Christianity and its influence in politics, governance and the public square.

What are these people so exercised about? Why must they insist on demonizing Christians? Why do they fear them so? Why are they so paranoid about them participating in politics and government?

... The war against Christians has intensified with the recent controversy over ending the Democrats' (nearly) unprecedented filibustering of judicial nominees ...

They are especially upset with Senate majority leader Bill Frist for agreeing to participate in "Justice Sunday," an event organized by Christian groups to rally Christians to support politicians trying to end the judicial filibuster. Frist's opponents ... have registered disgust that Christian politicians and Christian groups would presume to approach this issue from the perspective of their Christian worldview.

... Dowd's wrongheaded notion that "a person's relationship with God should be a private matter," needs to be vigorously challenged.

... Where did we get this crazy idea that Christians can't base their support and opposition of candidates, issues and even laws on Christian morality? Dowd's specious assertion ignores that the overwhelming majority of our Founding Fathers formed this government on Christian principles. Most of our laws, civil and criminal -- from trespassing, to stealing, assault, rape and murder -- are grounded in morality, and it is an astonishing deception to suggest otherwise.


Who would have guessed that Rush got all the brains in the family?

Oh, and the problem with "Justice Sunday" wasn't that Christians "presume to approach this issue from the perspective of their Christian worldview. " It's that it was hosted by someone with close ties to white supremacist groups.

There is disturbingly little daylight between the mainstream GOP and openly racist organizations. Incidentally, they share a common delusion--i.e., that there is a "war on America's Christian heritage" being waged by the 'secular left'.

Peggy Noonan is a loon




Peggy Noonan


Via James Wolcott, this is Peggy Noonan's latest Opinion Journal piece. The good parts, anyway.

People are complicated. You can hit distracted people with all the propaganda in the world, you can give it to them every day in all your media, and sometimes they'll even tell pollsters they agree with you. But something is always going on in their chests. Some truth is known there; some yearning lives there. It's like they have a compass in their hearts and turn as they will, this way and that, it continues to point to true north.

We want a spiritual father ... We want him to be standing up there on the balcony. We want to aspire to it, reach to it, point to it and know that it is there.

Because we can actually tell what's true.

We can just somehow tell.

We are living in a time of supernatural occurrences. The old pope gives us his suffering as a parting gift, says his final goodbye on Easter Sunday; dies on the vigil of Feast of the Divine Mercy, the day that marks the messages received by the Polish nun, now a saint, who had written that a spark out of Poland would light the world and lead the way to the coming of Christ. The mourning period for the old pope ends on the day that celebrates St. Stanislas, hero of Poland, whose name John Paul had thought about taking when he became pope.

Note: it really is no fair acting like the fact that it happens to be a Saint's day is some kind of crazy coincidence; anyone familiar with the Catholic Church knows that they celebrate an average of about 13.5 saints per goddamn day. I'm not kidding.

I especially like how it's supposed to make us gasp because the pope died on a day that celebrates someone whose name he thought about taking. Didn't actually take it, mind you, but he fucking thought about it, man. Eerie.

But more importantly: the pope's suffering was his 'parting gift'? What the fuck are you talking about?

Anyway.

It is an age of miracles and wonders, of sightings of Mary and warnings, of prophecy, graces and gifts.

The choosing of Benedict XVI, a man who is serious, deep and brave, is a gift. He has many enemies ... They want to make sure no one gets a chance to love him ...

They want to make sure that when he speaks and writes, the people of the world won't come running.

What to do to help? See his enemies for what they are, and see him for what he is. Read him--he is a writer, a natural communicator of and thinker upon challenging ideas. Listen to him. Consult your internal compass as you listen, and see if it isn't pointing true north.


I had a dream a while back. It was many years from now. Peggy Noonan and I were in heaven, trading bong hits, and she told me every time she submitted her latest column to Opinion Journal, she was sure it would be the one that got her found her out.

"I mean, come the fuck on," she said. "Consult your internal compass as you listen, and see if it isn't pointing true north?!?!? It is an age of miracles and wonders, of sightings of Mary and warnings, of prophecy, graces and gifts?!?!? I can't believe those assholes actually let me write that shit in their newspaper, let alone pay me six figures to do so!"

"I mean, they did realize that I was usually writing these columns three days deep into a sleepless crank binge, right? That was obvious, wasn't it?"

Patience




The stream of suffering is cut through by patience;

There’s nothing inappropriate in wanting that!

Thus when enemies or friends

Are seen to act improperly,

Be calm and call to mind

That everything arises from conditions

*

If those who are like wanton children

Are by nature prone to injure others,

What point is there in being angry-

Like resenting fire for its heat?

And if their faults are fleeting and contingent,

If living beings are by nature wholesome,

It’s likewise senseless to resent them-

As well be angry at the sky for having clouds!

"But they did it too!"

... might have worked as an excuse when you were five years old, but it's time to grow up, dipshit.

4/27/2005

No

Notice a pattern, wingnuts?

From World Net Daily

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=17768

Bullying and Oppression on Campus

People of Faith Face Accelerating Climate of Persecution

Click to continue reading this post

...

It appears that biblical morality is now a costly conviction ... In this morally ambiguous age, rules requiring principled behavior are not only foreign to many college administrations -- they are downright hostile to their blurred and hazy policies.

However, there are victims of this moral haziness. In this case, it is a group of devoted young people who are facing astonishing persecution. They have been set apart from the entire campus and branded as undesirable ...

... we can literally witness the building blocks for this agenda being stacked against us. Our biblically-founded beliefs have been apparently determined to be dangerous and valueless.

This is far from a singular issue, as represented by similar instances on many American college campuses. Two recent examples stand out.

Presently, Middlebury (Vermont) College, is debating whether it will require a Christian group to appoint gays to hold leadership posts. In addition, Grinnell (Iowa) College last year banned a student group that has a Bible-based policy stating that only married heterosexuals should have sexual relations.

In other areas of the country, biblical phrases are being expelled from state mottoes, the Ten Commandments are ruled inappropriate for baseball fields, young people are told they cannot distribute religious pamphlets to their classmates, NASA officials tell employees they may not use company e-mail to send out National Day of Prayer messages to co-workers, and people of faith in the workplace are frequently persecuted -- and even fired -- for voicing their biblically-based beliefs. The list of offenses against religious persons in our nation is virtually endless!

It is evident that our nation has declared all-out war on people of faith and it is an ugly, frightening thing to behold.

From NewsMax

http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/3/31/165221.shtml

Keyes Says Christians Must Battle ‘New Era of Oppression’

Click to continue reading this post

On Wednesday, Dr. Alan Keyes electrified a packed audience of students and faculty during a special Liberty University convocation service. Mere words cannot do justice to the passionate Dr. Keyes’ discourse in which he told students to uncompromisingly live out their faith in the social and political worlds in order to halt the modern-day movement to silence Christian expression — and even the mere appearance of Christian faith — in the public square.

The theme of Dr. Keyes’ address was that the fundamental truth of the authority of God has been willfully forgotten and shunned by many leaders in our nation. Subsequently, Christians have been cast as second-class citizens who are characteristically accused of being hate-mongers solely because they embrace the truth of the Bible.

“We can’t build a house on shaky foundation and expect it to stand,” Dr. Keyes admonished, utilizing a biblical context. He said that while our Founders built this nation on godly principles, we continue to witness the deterioration of our rights as leftist politicians and judicial activists attempt to cast the nation in their image — the image of secularism.

Dr. Keyes, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council in the Reagan administration, said that in virtually every component of our lives, we are abandoning our foundation.

We walk down a path that must and will lead to … a new era of oppression for us and for all of human kind,” he said, clearly stating what the future holds for people of faith if we continue to allow our rights to be eradicated.

“We are at the end of our rope as a free people,” he continued as the rapt audience reflected on his ardent warning. “We either turn around or this must happen — there is no way to avoid it.”

But Dr. Keyes offered a solution to the soulless invasion of secularism that is being forced on America. He said the simple solution is that we must look to Christ in the “confrontation of evil.”

“Like [Christ’s] disciples when He sent them out to preach to the lost sheep of Israel, we must be ready for all of the challenges we must face,” he said, pulling no punches on the fact that people of faith will face even more aggressive persecution if we choose to rise up against the growing tide of abject secularism.

Dr. Keyes told of the recent rally he and I attended for Chief Justice Roy Moore, citing him as an example of what can happen when we stand up for our faith.

“What did the chief justice do wrong?” he asked. “He simply refused to give up his right to acknowledge God almighty.”

As a result, he lost his job. Chief Justice Moore’s case served as a reminder to all Christians, he said, that we are confronted with the fact that we are being compelled to accept social policies that directly counter what the Bible teaches us.

The comfortable life is over for Christians in America,” Dr. Keyes advised, again referring to a biblical passage supporting this notion: “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake” (Matthew 10:42).

Dr. Keyes then suggested that Christians will one day face bona fide persecution because we refuse to give up our right to believe in and live out the Word of God.

He utilized this stark warning in order to encourage those present to be politically active and informed voters who step into the voting booth ready to elect officials who reflect the godly principles we love. The only people who can sustain our freedoms, he said, are those people who live in the basis of a trust in God. He also deeply criticized “so-called Christian voters” who often believe we can afford to choose “the lesser of two evils” in political terms.

“In Christian patriotism,” Dr. Keyes advised, “the Christian comes first.”

“We must be uncompromising in the insistence of our rights to worship and acknowledge Him as a free people — not only in our thoughts, but in our actions,” Dr. Keyes added.

Finally, Dr. Keyes encouraged young people in the audience to not only be politically active, but to go out into the world with the idea of making a positive impact on the culture.

“If we are truly Christian patriots … we must show that true love that ought to be characteristic of the Christian heart. [This nation] started out with a treasure trove of truth — the authority of the Word of God. We must be a reminder of the truths of that great treasure … so that once again our nation can be made whole on the basis of that foundation. … If it does not begin with us, that foundation will be permanently destroyed.”

He warned that such action will “require sacrifice,” but “we must stand for it in our citizenship if this country is to be saved.”

From History News Network

http://hnn.us/articles/5398.html


How the Christian Right Borrowed the Rhetoric of the Civil Rights Movement

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The great achievement of the civil rights movement was that it forced many reluctant whites to realize that African-Americans were oppressed and changes had to be made. This success spawned a wave of imitators from every point on the American political spectrum. Therefore it should not be surprising that, starting in the late 1980s, the Christian Right became the first conservative group to claim oppressed minority status. The Christian Right reached the height of its power when it declared itself a descendant of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement. While it seems astonishing that white middle class Christians could claim to be oppressed, evangelical theology is filled with such rhetoric (the Left Behind books are a good example). Scholars who study these two groups as only political organizations miss their religious similarities.

...

Pat Robertson was the most visible leader of this new “Christians as a minority” argument. After his campaign for president ended in 1988, he increasingly used the rhetoric of oppression to gain sympathy for his cause. Robertson compared Christians in America to Jewish Holocaust victims during a discussion of the film The Last Temptation of Christ. He claimed, “once you assault what people believe, like Hitler did the Jews in Germany, the next thing you do is go after them. . . . that’s the first opening shot, if you will, in the war to destroy the Christian population in America and the world.”

While Ralph Reed, now a campaign strategist for President George W. Bush, ran the Christian Coalition he explicitly compared the Christian Right to the civil rights movement. Reed’s 1994 book Politically Incorrect contained chapter titles like "To The Back of the Bus" and "The New Amos and Andy." He claimed that Christians were constantly “under attack whenever they enter the public arena.” While he did not believe, as Robertson did, that Christians were being systematically persecuted, Reed claimed that conservative Christians had been “viewed as less than full citizens.”

From The Nation

http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml%3Fi=20050509&s=blumenthal

Justice Sunday Preachers

by MAX BLUMENTHAL

[posted online on April 26, 2005]

Senate majority leader Bill Frist appeared through a telecast as a speaker at "Justice Sunday," at the invitation of the event's main sponsor, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins. "Justice Sunday" was promoted as a rally to portray Democrats as being "against people of faith." Many of the speakers compared the plight of conservative Christians to the civil rights movement. But in sharing the stage with Perkins, who introduced him to the rally, Frist was associating himself with someone who has longstanding ties to racist organizations.


Click to continue reading this post

Four years ago, Perkins addressed the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), America's premier white supremacist organization, the successor to the White Citizens Councils, which battled integration in the South. In 1996 Perkins paid former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke $82,000 for his mailing list. At the time, Perkins was the campaign manager for a right-wing Republican candidate for the US Senate in Louisiana. The Federal Election Commission fined the campaign Perkins ran $3,000 for attempting to hide the money paid to Duke.

As the emcee of Justice Sunday, Tony Perkins positioned himself beside a black preacher and a Catholic "civil rights" activist as he rattled off the phone numbers of senators wavering on President Bush's judicial nominees. The evening's speakers studiously couched their appeals on behalf of Bush's stalled judges in the vocabulary of victimhood, accusing Democratic senators of "filibustering people of faith."

James Dobson, who founded the Family Research Council as the Washington lobbying arm of his Focus on the Family, invoked the Christian right's persecution complex. On an evening when Jews were celebrating the second night of Passover, Dobson claimed, "The biggest Holocaust in world history came out of the Supreme Court" with the Roe v. Wade decision. On his syndicated radio show nearly two weeks earlier, on April 11, Dobson compared the "black robed men" on the Supreme Court to "the men in white robes, the Ku Klux Klan." By his logic, the burden of oppression had passed from religious and racial minorities to unborn children and pure-hearted heterosexuals engaged in "traditional marriage."

Bishop Harry Jackson, from Hope Christian Church in College Park, Maryland, was Justice Sunday's only black speaker. Jackson had recently unveiled his "Black Contract With America," a document that highlights wedge issues like gay marriage that would presumably pry black churchgoers away from the Democratic Party. But so far he has been disappointed. "Black churches are too concerned with justice," Jackson lamented in his speech. Nonetheless, his association with the right wing has done wonders for his personal profile. Just after Bush's second inauguration, he was among a contingent of black clergy members invited to the White House for a private meeting.

Justice Sunday also featured a token Catholic, William Donohue, who heads the nation's largest "Catholic civil rights organization," the Catholic League. In the battle to confirm far-right judicial nominees like William Pryor, who happens to be Catholic, Donohue has become a key asset for the Christian right's evangelical faction. He has argued that Democratic senators opposing Pryor and others are motivated by anti-Catholicism. "There isn't de jure discrimination against Catholics in the Senate," Donohue claimed on Sunday. "There is de facto discrimination. They've set the bar so high with the abortion issue, we can't get any real Catholics over it."

But for all his concern with anti-Catholicism, Donohue had no qualms about sharing the stage with Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Dr. Albert Mohler. "As an evangelical, I believe that the Roman Catholic Church is a false church," Mohler remarked during a 2000 TV interview. "It teaches a false gospel. And the Pope himself holds a false and unbiblical office." Donohue, who has protested against Democrats who have made no such comments about Catholics, was silent about Mohler. In fact, the site of Justice Sunday, Highview Baptist Church, in Louisville, Kentucky, is Mohler's home church.

"We're fed up and we're on the same side," Donohue declared. "And if the secular left is worried, they should be worried."

For Tony Perkins, Justice Sunday was the fulfillment of a strategy devised more than two decades ago by his political mentor, Woody Jenkins. In May 1981, in the wake of Ronald Reagan's presidential victory, Jenkins and some fifty other conservative activists met at the Northern Virginia home of direct-mail pioneer Richard Viguerie to plot the growth of their movement. The Council for National Policy (CNP), an ultra-secretive, right-wing organization, was the outcome of that meeting. The CNP hooked up theocrats like R.J. Rushdoony, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell with wealthy movement funders like Amway founder Richard DeVos and beer baron Joseph Coors. As DeVos famously said, the CNP "brings together the doers with the donors."

Jenkins, then a Louisiana state lawmaker, became CNP's first executive director, and promptly made a bold prediction to a Newsweek reporter: "One day before the end of this century, the Council will be so influential that no president, regardless of party or philosophy, will be able to ignore us or our concerns or shut us out of the highest levels of government."

Eighteen years later, in 1999, the CNP was addressed by Texas Governor George W. Bush, on the eve of his presidential campaign. At the gathering, which was closed to the press, Bush reportedly sought to put to rest any notion that he was a moderate. Later, when he was asked to release to the public a transcript of his speech to the CNP, Bush stubbornly refused. But the press reported rumors that he had promised the CNP he would appoint only antiabortion judges if elected.

For years, Jenkins had been grooming Perkins as his political successor. "To Jenkins, Perkins was like a son, and the feeling was and is mutual," wrote former Jenkins staffer Christopher Tidmore. In 1996 Perkins cut his teeth as the manager of Jenkins's campaign for US Senate. It was during that campaign that, in an attempt to consolidate the support of Louisiana's conservative base, Perkins paid David Duke $82,000 for his mailing list. After Jenkins was defeated by his Democratic opponent, Mary Landrieu, he contested the election. But during the contest period, Perkins's surreptitious payment to Duke was exposed through an investigation conducted by the FEC, which fined the Jenkins campaign.

Six years later, in 2002, Perkins embarked on a campaign to avenge his mentor's defeat by running for the US Senate himself. But Perkins was dogged with questions about his involvement with David Duke. Perkins issued a flat denial that he had ever had anything to do with Duke, and he denounced him for good measure. Unfortunately, Perkins's signature was on the document authorizing the purchase of Duke's list. Perkins's dalliance with the racist Council of Conservative Citizens in the run-up to his campaign also illuminates the seamy underside of his political associations. Despite endorsements from James Dobson and a host of prominent CNP members, Perkins was not even the leading Republican in the senatorial race.

In the wake of his defeat, with Dobson's blessing, Perkins moved to Washington to head the Family Research Council. In a closed meeting at the Plaza Hotel in New York City during the Republican National Convention in August 2004, an alliance drawing in Frist was sealed. Perkins's associates at the CNP presented the Senate majority leader with its "Thomas Jefferson Award." The grateful Frist declared, "The destiny of the nation is on the shoulders of the conservative movement."

On Justice Sunday, Perkins introduced Frist as "a friend of the family." "I don't think it's radical to ask senators to vote," Frist said from a giant screen above the audience. "Only in the United States Senate could it be considered a devastating option to allow a vote." His face then disappeared, and Perkins returned onstage to urge viewers to call their senators.

But there is more at stake here than the fate of the filibuster. With Justice Sunday, Perkins's ambition to become a national conservative leader was ratified; Bill Frist's presidential campaign for 2008 was advanced with the Christian right; and the faithful were imbued with the notion that they are being victimized by liberal Democratic evildoers.

Unacceptable

The blogger who calls himself The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler is literally out of his fucking mind. I'm not being hyperbolic. By any reasonable definition of insanity, this post (which comes via Daou) is insane:

Why do the Democrats now accuse people of faith of despicable demagoguery? Well, because people of faith dare to make the charge that the Democrats are lynching people of faith, and they make the charge while standing under an old elm tree with a rope around their neck. "String the bastard up! He dares accuse us of lynching him!"

Now, I think--I think--this is supposed to be metaphorical, that he doesn't actually think Democrats are lynching people. But to even think this is accurate (or appropriate) as a metaphor is completely fucking nuts. I can't believe this has become the type of discourse that is considered legitimate.

Attention, members of the Religious Right: you are not a fucking oppressed minority. You are not being subjugated by liberal heathen elites. Just because the Supreme Court says that a public school can't organize a prayer circle doesn't mean your religion is in danger of being wiped from the earth. Is Christianity that fragile? Is your commitment to it so tenuous that the absence of school prayer is going to discourage you from practicing your faith? If not, stop your whining.

... 'lynching people of faith' ... you know what? How fucking dare you make such an analogy? How dare you? You want to know what real oppression looks like, you vile mother fucker? You want to know what it looks like when lynching isn't just a metaphor? Well, take a look, you ignorant fuck:

Click to continue reading this post








































































Now do me a favor. Scroll back up and look again. Look at each of those pictures carefully, and try to imagine the sheer human misery that they represent. Try to imagine what it must be like to know even a tiny percentage of the pain that the people hanging from those trees, and the people they left behind, had to endure.

Now tell me again about the oppression you've endured.

People have been and continue to be persecuted for all manner of things, including their religious faith. But not American Christians. It just isn't happening. Ask the Jewish people what religious persecution looks like, and see if it bears any resemblance to the life of a white Christian in the United States. Ask a concentration camp survivor, and see if they sympathize with you.

I apologize to anyone offended or disturbed by the above images. I really do. Please believe me when I say that I wouldn't post pictures like that lightly, or just to prove a point. But the fact that someone could even say what this person did makes me wonder if people have lost touch with the reality of these things. I realize I'm being self-righteous, but I truly believe it is our duty to call people out when they try to pull shit like this.

I've had enough of this. I've had absolutely enough. This is fucking insanity. I am tired of playing make-believe. I am fucking sick of this 1984 bullshit where everyone pretends to believe what everyone knows damn well isn't true. I am tired of having to point out obvious lies. I am tired of indulging the fantasies of lunatics.

Redeem your humanity now and apologize for spitting on the graves of those who actually had to suffer the oppression that you are cruelly and shamefully trying to co-opt.

4/26/2005

Great line

From a song:

I swear, if there's a God, to make him sleep on the floor.

My everlasting admiration for anyone who can identify the artist/song. No fair googling.

50%: Bush lied to us

For what it's worth:

NEW YORK
Half of all Americans, exactly 50%, now say the Bush administration deliberately misled Americans about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the Gallup Organization reported this morning.

"This is the highest percentage that Gallup has found on this measure since the question was first asked in late May 2003," the pollsters observed. "At that time, 31% said the administration deliberately misled Americans. This sentiment has gradually increased over time, to 39% in July 2003, 43% in January/February 2004, and 47% in October 2004."

Also, according to the latest poll, more than half of Americans, 54%, disapprove of the way President Bush is handling the situation in Iraq, while 43% approve. In early February, Americans were more evenly divided on the way Bush was handling the situation in Iraq, with 50% approving and 48% disapproving.

Last week Gallup reported that 53% now believe that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was "not worth it." But Frank Newport, editor in chief at Gallup, recalled today that although a majority of the public began to think the Vietnam war was a mistake in the summer of 1968, the United States did not pull out of Vietnam for more than five years, after thousands of more American lives were lost.



Link.

Self-hating liberal

William Pitt hates other liberals.

Going to war

From the Los Angeles Times:

Faith 'War' Rages in U.S., Judge Says

A Bush nominee central to the Senate's judicial controversy criticizes secular humanists.

WASHINGTON — Just days after a bitterly divided Senate committee voted along party lines to approve her nomination as a federal appellate court judge, California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown told an audience Sunday that people of faith were embroiled in a "war" against secular humanists who threatened to divorce America from its religious roots, according to a newspaper account of the speech.

..


"There seems to have been no time since the Civil War that this country was so bitterly divided. It's not a shooting war, but it is a war," she said ...

"These are perilous times for people of faith," she said, "not in the sense that we are going to lose our lives, but in the sense that it will cost you something if you are a person of faith who stands up for what you believe in and say those things out loud."

...

The Advocate quoted Brown as lamenting that America had moved away from the religious traditions on which it was founded.

"When we move away from that, we change our whole conception of the most significant idea that America has to offer, which is this idea of human freedom and this notion of liberty," she said.

She added that atheism "handed human destiny over to the great god, autonomy, and this is quite a different idea of freedom…. Freedom then becomes willfulness."


Is Brown is saying that humans must not be allowed to be their own masters, that they must hand their autonomy over to God? Is that what conservatives believe?

Maybe. Today Liberal Quicksand quotes Ronald Reagan:

Without God there is no virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience...without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure.

One has to wonder about the inner character of someone who needs external incentives to do the right thing. (One could also wonder, in a Kantian fashion, whether there's anything particularly admirable about doing the right thing for selfish reasons.) Or, as a quote attributed to Einstein puts it:

Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.

Maybe man is in fact in a poor way. There are some conservatives who seem to think that the only thing standing between humans and uttery depravity is biblical law. During last year's Senate campaign in Illinois, Alan Keyes said that laws against gay marriage were necessary to prevent society from embracing the "selfish hedonism" of homosexuality. To which talk show host Bill Maher responded:

Which kind of makes it sound like he would like to suck a cock, but he just has a little too much discipline.

Actually, it sounds to me like those who proclaim the moral necessity of divine commands not only have the desire to engage in what they consider immoral acts, they don't even have the discipline not to--thus the need for external restraints.

Business is booming in Iraq

If you're in the business of building coffins, that is.

(Via the Werewolf.)

What the hell is wrong with people?

This is "corset piercing," a new trend among some young people:














I can't help but wonder what kind of fucked-up self-hatred you have to have to be willing to mutilate yourself like this.


UPDATE: Am I wrong about this? A few people have suggested that I am. Wouldn't you consider these acts a form of self-mutilation, though? Surely you would admit that there was something wrong with someone who, say, liked to cut off the tips of all his fingers. Is this different?

Trust us, we're innocent

Via Body and Soul:

After fully investigating ourselves, we have come to the conclusion that we are innocent.

And infallible.

Under the circumstances, Human Rights Watch is urging the United States to name a special prosecutor to investigate the culpability of high-level officials, including Donald Rumsfeld, for detainee abuse and torture:

Among Human Rights Watch’s findings:

• Secretary Rumsfeld should be investigated for potential liability in war crimes and torture by US troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantánamo under the doctrine of “command responsibility” ...

• Under George Tenet’s direction, and reportedly with his specific authorization, the CIA has “rendered” detainees to countries where they were tortured, making Tenet potentially liable as an accomplice to torture. The CIA has also “disappeared” detainees in secret locations and it is said to have used “waterboarding,” in which the detainee’s head is pushed under water until he believes he will drown, also reportedly with Tenet’s authorization.

• Gen. Sanchez approved illegal interrogation methods -- again, including the use of guard dogs to frighten prisoners -- which were then applied by soldiers at Abu Ghraib. Gen. Sanchez does not appear to have intervened to stop the commission of war crimes and torture by soldiers under his direct command.

• Gen. Miller, as commander at the tightly-controlled prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, may bear responsibility for war crimes and acts of torture there. He may also bear responsibility for bringing illegal abusive interrogation tactics to Iraq.

As Reed Brody, Special Counsel for HRW says, "[I]t's just not credible for the army to keep investigating itself and keep finding itself innocent."


But self-policing worked so well in the corporate sector ...

World Year of Physics

2005 is World Year of Physics.



Physicist Albert Einstein's famous equation E=mc2 is displayed on the 508 meter- ((1,679-foot-) tall Taipei 101, the world's tallest building, as fireworks are set off during an event entitled 'The World Year Of Physics 2005,' Tuesday, April 19, 2005, in Taipei, Taiwan. The display is part of a worldwide campaign in memory of physicist Albert Einstein and marks the 100th anniversary of Einstein's publication of his Theory of Relativity as well as the 50th anniversary of his death. (from Yahoo News)


Since one recent post here was (partly) about Einstein and another was about socialism, I thought I would throw in some quotes from Einstein about socialism and related issues.

This topic brings me to that worst outcrop of the herd nature, the military system, which I abhor. That a man can take pleasure in marching in formation to the strains of a band is enough to make me despise him. He has only been given his big brain by mistake; a backbone was all he needed. This plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism by order, senseless violence, and all the pestilent nonsense that does by the name of patriotism—how I hate them! War seems to me a mean, contemptible thing: I would rather be hacked in pieces than take part in such an abominable business.

Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.

Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.

The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil. We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labor—not by force, but on the whole in faithful compliance with legally established rules.

I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals.

... it is necessary to remember that a planned economy is not yet socialism. A planned economy as such may be accompanied by the complete enslavement of the individual. The achievement of socialism requires the solution of some extremely difficult socio-political problems: how is it possible, in view of the far-reaching centralization of political and economic power, to prevent bureaucracy from becoming all-powerful and overweening? How can the rights of the individual be protected and therewith a democratic counterweight to the power of bureaucracy be assured? ... Clarity about the aims and problems of socialism is of greatest significance in our age of transition.




4/24/2005

Spirit of the age



Otto Dix, Assault under Gas (1924)

Via the highly recommended blog Code Three, which I've just added to the old blogroll, comes an essay by Niall Ferguson from the March/April issue of Foreign Affairs that asks, "Could globalization collapse?" and draws parallels between 2005 and 1914:

It may seem unlikely today. Yet despite many warnings, people were shocked the last time globalization crumbled, with the onslaught of World War I. Like today, that period was marked by imperial overstretch, great-power rivalry, unstable alliances, rogue regimes, and terrorist organizations. And the world is no better prepared for calamity now.

...

It may seem excessively pessimistic to worry that this scenario could somehow repeat itself--that our age of globalization could collapse just as our grandparents' did. But it is worth bearing in mind that, despite numerous warnings issued in the early twentieth century about the catastrophic consequences of a war among the European great powers, many people--not least investors, a generally well-informed class--were taken completely by surprise by the outbreak of World War I. The possibility is as real today as it was in 1915 that globalization, like the Lusitania, could be sunk.


Félix Vallotton, Barbed-wire (1916)


Ferguson thinks that the world economic situation then was relevantly similar to the present situation:

The last age of globalization resembled the current one in numerous ways. It was characterized by relatively free trade, limited restrictions on migration, and hardly any regulation of capital flows. Inflation was low. A wave of technological innovation was revolutionizing the communications and energy sectors; the world first discovered the joys of the telephone, the radio, the internal combustion engine, and paved roads. The U.S. economy was the biggest in the world, and the development of its massive internal market had become the principal source of business innovation. China was opening up, raising all kinds of expectations in the West, and Russia was growing rapidly.

World War I wrecked all of this. Global markets were disrupted and disconnected, first by economic warfare, then by postwar protectionism. Prices went haywire: a number of major economies (Germany's among them) suffered from both hyperinflation and steep deflation in the space of a decade. The technological advances of the 1900s petered out: innovation hit a plateau, and stagnating consumption discouraged the development of even existing technologies such as the automobile ... the U.S. economy ceased to be the most dynamic in the world. China succumbed to civil war and foreign invasion, defaulting on its debts and disappointing optimists in the West. Russia suffered revolution, civil war, tyranny, and foreign invasion ...

But according to Ferguson, they should have seen it coming:

The end of globalization after 1914 was not unforeseeable. There was no shortage of voices prophesying Armageddon in the prewar decades. Many popular writers earned a living by predicting a cataclysmic European war. Solemn Marxists had long foretold the collapse of capitalism and imperialism. And Social Darwinists had looked forward eagerly to a conflagration that would weed out the weak and fortify the strong.

Yet most investors were completely caught off guard when the crisis came. Not until the last week of July 1914 was there a desperate dash for liquidity; it happened so suddenly and on such a large scale that the world's major stock markets, New York's included, closed down for the rest of the year. As The Economist put it at the time, investors and financial institutions "saw in a flash the meaning of war." The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by about 25 percent between January 1910 and December 1913 and remained flat through the first half of 1914. European bond markets, which had held up throughout the diplomatic crises of the 1900s, crashed only at the 11th hour, as the lights went out all over Europe.



Frans Masereel, Arise, You Dead, Infernal Resurrection (1917)


Could it happen again? Could we be sitting ducks, oblivious on the eve of disaster?

As the economic parallels with 1914 suggest, today's globalization shows at least some signs of reversibility. The risks increase when one considers the present political situation, which has the same five flaws as the pre-1914 international order: imperial overstretch, great-power rivalry, an unstable alliance system, rogue regimes sponsoring terror, and the rise of a revolutionary terrorist organization hostile to capitalism.

The United States--an empire in all but name--is manifestly overstretched ... 500,000 troops is the maximum number that Washington can deploy overseas ... Even just to maintain the U.S. presence in Iraq, the Army is extending tours of duty and retaining personnel due to be discharged. Such measures seem certain to hurt re-enlistment rates.

...

Then there is the second problem: great-power rivalry. It is true that the Chinese have no obvious incentive to pick a fight with the United States. But China's ambitions with respect to Taiwan are not about to disappear just because Beijing owns a stack of U.S. Treasury bonds. On the contrary, in the event of an economic crisis, China might be sorely tempted to play the nationalist card by threatening to take over its errant province ...

As for Europe, one must not underestimate the extent to which the recent diplomatic "widening of the Atlantic" reflects profound changes in Europe, rather than an alteration in U.S. foreign policy ... Meanwhile, Muslim immigration and the prospect of Turkey's accession to the European Union are changing the very character of Europe ... These rivalries are one reason the world today also has an unstable alliance system

None of these problems would necessarily be fatal were it not for the fourth and fifth parallels between 1914 and today: the existence of rogue regimes sponsoring terror--Iran and Syria top the list--and of revolutionary terrorist organizations ...

A doomsday scenario is plausible. But is it probable? The difficult thing--indeed the nearly impossible thing--is to predict a cataclysm. Doing so was the challenge investors faced in the first age of globalization. They knew there could be a world war. They knew such a war would have devastating financial consequences (although few anticipated how destructive it would be). But they had no way of knowing when exactly it would happen.

The same problem exists today. We all know that another, bigger September 11 is quite likely; it is, indeed, bin Laden's stated objective. We all know--or should know--that a crisis over Taiwan would send huge shockwaves through the international system; it could even lead to a great-power war. We all know that revolutionary regime change in Saudi Arabia would shake the world even more than the 1917 Bolshevik coup in Russia. We all know that the detonation of a nuclear device in London would dwarf the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand as an act of terrorism.

... we seem no better prepared for the worst-case scenario than were the beneficiaries of the last age of globalization, 90 years ago. Like the passengers who boarded the Lusitania, all we know is that we may conceivably sink. Still we sail.

You can read the full article here.

Do check out Code Three, by the way; it really is excellent. Look through the archives as well.

For more World War I era art, go here.

Yes, the pope was a Nazi, and yes, it matters

The human species has yet to exorcise the demons of the first half of the 20th century. Until it does so, it will be unable to look at itself in the mirror.

Max from MaxSpeak calls for an end to the "unreasoning, near-hysterical attacks that dwell on his youth in Nazi Germany."

Max is full of shit. This post from Body and Soul, which comes to us via Majikthise, explains why:

... talking about the pope's past is -- from a moral, if not a political standpoint -- not only fair, but essential ... Ratzinger has said that resistance to Nazism was "impossible," a word echoed by his brother in the recent Times of London article that revived the issue of the then cardinal's wartime experiences. Resistance was impossible. I'm sorry, but that's a blatant falsehood.

...

Clearly, when Ratzinger and his brother (who is also a priest) say that anti-Nazi resistance was "impossible," they're lying. And it's not an insignificant or harmless lie. Denying the option of resistance insults, indeed, denies the existence of, a lot of people who made far braver and more difficult decisions than the Ratzingers. Failing to exhibit extraordinary courage is human and understandable. Denying the extraordinarily courageous their due is shameful. Denying moral agency is surely unworthy of a man who would be pope.

Read the rest here.

It's the child rape, stupid

I think it is time for Catholics to admit that the Church has made a terrible mistake in picking Cardinal Ratzinger to be the new pope. You don't have to be a 'liberal' to see what a bad decision this was. In addition to Ratzinger's Nazi past, details of his role in the Church's cover-up of sexual abuse by priests are beginning to come out, and it's not pretty. From the London Observer, via Atrios:

Pope 'obstructed' sex abuse inquiry

Pope Benedict XVI faced claims last night he had 'obstructed justice' after it emerged he issued an order ensuring the church's investigations into child sex abuse claims be carried out in secret.

The order was made in a confidential letter, obtained by The Observer, which was sent to every Catholic bishop in May 2001.

It asserted the church's right to hold its inquiries behind closed doors and keep the evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the victims reached adulthood. The letter was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected as John Paul II's successor last week.

Lawyers acting for abuse victims claim it was designed to prevent the allegations from becoming public knowledge or being investigated by the police. They accuse Ratzinger of committing a 'clear obstruction of justice'.

The letter, 'concerning very grave sins', was sent from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office that once presided over the Inquisition and was overseen by Ratzinger.

It spells out to bishops the church's position on a number of matters ranging from celebrating the eucharist with a non-Catholic to sexual abuse by a cleric 'with a minor below the age of 18 years'. Ratzinger's letter states that the church can claim jurisdiction in cases where abuse has been 'perpetrated with a minor by a cleric'.

The letter states that the church's jurisdiction 'begins to run from the day when the minor has completed the 18th year of age' and lasts for 10 years.

It orders that 'preliminary investigations' into any claims of abuse should be sent to Ratzinger's office, which has the option of referring them back to private tribunals in which the 'functions of judge, promoter of justice, notary and legal representative can validly be performed for these cases only by priests'.

'Cases of this kind are subject to the pontifical secret,' Ratzinger's letter concludes. Breaching the pontifical secret at any time while the 10-year jurisdiction order is operating carries penalties, including the threat of excommunication.

The letter is referred to in documents relating to a lawsuit filed earlier this year against a church in Texas and Ratzinger on behalf of two alleged abuse victims. By sending the letter, lawyers acting for the alleged victims claim the cardinal conspired to obstruct justice.


On a more specific level, Ratzinger is accused of covering up the crimes of Marcial Maciel, a priest who was a serial sexual predator. From The Independent:

Pope 'ignored sex abuse claim against John Paul's friend'

Pope Benedict XVI has been accused of ignoring for seven years charges that Fr Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, had sexually abused nine teenagers in his organisation - because Fr Maciel was a close friend of Pope John Paul II.

In 1997 the then Cardinal Ratzinger was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican body which has the power to excommunicate priests guilty of sexual abuse, when Bishop John R McCann of New York forwarded him detailed charges of sexual abuse made by Fr Juan Vaca, a priest in Bishop McCann's diocese. The charges were in the form of a 12-page letter to Fr Marcial Maciel Degollado, who founded the Legionaries of Christ, a conservative Catholic evangelical order, in Mexico in 1941.

"Everything you did contradicts the beliefs of the Church and the order," Fr Vaca wrote in his open letter. "How many innumerable times did you wake me in the middle of the night and had me with you, abusing my innocence. Nights of fear, so many nights of absolute fear: so many nights of lost sleep, that on more than one occasion placed my own psychological health in jeopardy."

Fr Vaca was one of nine former members of Legionaries of Christ who charged Fr Maciel with having sexually abused them when they were teenage seminarians in the order in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. The accusers included three professors, a teacher, a lawyer and an engineer as well as the priest.

Another priest and former member of the Legionaries, Juan Manuel Fernandez Armenabar, made a deathbed declaration denouncing Fr Maciel's sexual abuse. But despite the gravity of the charges, Cardinal Ratzinger took no action. The Vatican confirmed that it had received Fr Vaca's letter, but nothing more was said.

When Cardinal Ratzinger was asked about the accusations he brushed the questions aside. On one occasion he literally slapped the wrist of an American television reporter, Brian Ross, who had the temerity to raise the issue. On another occasion Cardinal Ratzinger said: "One can't put on trial such a close friend of the Pope's as Marcial Maciel."

...

Jose Barba, a professor of Latin America studies, told Reuters ... "Was Cardinal Ratzinger totally and solely responsible [for the failure to investigate]? I think that to a great extent he was because it was his department."



Quite a man the Church has chosen to be its leader. The sexual abuse scandal is one of the blackest marks on the Church in all of its history; you would think they could at least refrain from electing as pope a man who played such a central role in the covering up of these decidedly un-Christ-like acts.

Penguins and airport security

A bunch of people have already posted this, including Majikthise and Outside the Tent, but I'm going to also because this is just too damn cute not to.





There's more pictures here.

This shit is not funny

I've noticed that a lot of conservative bloggers have a comic strip at the top of their page called Day by Day. For instance, this guy. Apparently you can add a little html script to your blog in order to display a new cartoon every day.

This cartoon, though, is like offensively unfunny (click to enlarge):





Now, I don't mean that the strip is unfunny because it's offensive; I mean it's offensive because it's unfunny. As in, you should have to be about a million times funnier than this guy is to have a comic strip.

And this is one of the funnier ones. I had to dig through the guy's archives just to find one that actually had a joke or even a point. It's really kind of sad.

But if conservatives think Ann Coulter is funny, I guess it's not surprising that they'll laugh at this shit. But come on, guys! Surely there's a wingnut cartoonist out there somewhere who can do better than this. Hell, this strip even makes Mallard Fillmore look witty and clever (click to enlarge image).





You see, Millard Fillmore was an American president from the 19th century. The character in the strip is a duck, so his name is Mallard Fillmore.

Get it?

It's not very funny, is it? But it kinda looks like something that might sort of start to begin to resemble funny when you compare it to Day By Day.

The case against realism

In the literary/artistic sense, that is, not the philosophical/ metaphysical/ scientific sense.

André Breton, founding father of Surrealism, on realism in novels:

The case against the realistic attitude demands to be examined, following the case against the materialistic attitude. The latter, more poetic in fact than the former, admittedly implies on the part of man a kind of monstrous pride which, admittedly, is monstrous, but not a new and more complete decay. It should above all be viewed as a welcome reaction against certain ridiculous tendencies of spiritualism. Finally, it is not incompatible with a certain nobility of thought.

By contrast, the realistic attitude, inspired by positivism, from Saint Thomas Aquinas to Anatole France, clearly seems to me to be hostile to any intellectual or moral advancement. I loathe it, for it is made up of mediocrity, hate, and dull conceit. It is this attitude which today gives birth to these ridiculous books, these insulting plays ... An amusing result of this state of affairs, in literature for example, is the generous supply of novels. Each person adds his personal little "observation" to the whole ...

If the purely informative style ... is virtually the rule rather than the exception in the novel form, it is because, in all fairness, the author’s ambition is severely circumscribed. The circumstantial, needlessly specific nature of each of their notations leads me to believe that they are perpetrating a joke at my expense. I am spared not even one of the character’s slightest vacillations: will he be fairhaired? what will his name be? will we first meet him during the summer? So many questions resolved once and for all, as chance directs; the only discretionary power left me is to close the book, which I am careful to do somewhere in the vicinity of the first page. And the descriptions! There is nothing to which their vacuity can be compared; they are nothing but so many superimposed images taken from some stock catalogue, which the author utilizes more and more whenever he chooses; he seizes the opportunity to slip me his postcards, he tries to make me agree with him about the clichés:

The small room into which the young man was shown was covered with yellow wallpaper: there were geraniums in the windows, which were covered with muslin curtains; the setting sun cast a harsh light over the entire setting…. There was nothing special about the room. The furniture, of yellow wood, was all very old. A sofa with a tall back turned down, an oval table opposite the sofa, a dressing table and a mirror set against the pierglass, some chairs along the walls, two or three etchings of no value portraying some German girls with birds in their hands – such were the furnishings. (Dostoevski, Crime and Punishment)

I am in no mood to admit that the mind is interested in occupying itself with such matters, even fleetingly. It may be argued that this school-boy description has its place, and that at this juncture of the book the author has his reasons for burdening me. Nevertheless he is wasting his time, for I refuse to go into his room. Others’ laziness or fatigue does not interest me. ... And I would like it understood that I am not accusing or condemning lack of originality as such. I am only saying that I do not take particular note of the empty moments of my life, that it may be unworthy for any man to crystallize those which seem to him to be so. I shall, with your permission, ignore the description of that room, and many more like it ...

The author attacks a character and, this being settled upon, parades his hero to and fro across the world. No matter what happens, this hero, whose actions and reactions are admirably predictable, is compelled not to thwart or upset -- even though he looks as though he is -- the calculations of which he is the object. The currents of life can appear to lift him up, roll him over, cast him down, he will still belong to this readymade human type ... "Diversity is so vast that every different tone of voice, every step, cough, every wipe of the nose, every sneeze...." (Pascal.) If in a cluster of grapes there are no two alike, why do you want me to describe this grape by the other, by all the others, why do you want me to make a palatable grape? Our brains are dulled by the incurable mania of wanting to make the unknown known, classifiable. The desire for analysis wins out over the sentiments. The result is statements of undue length whose persuasive power is attributable solely to their strangeness and which impress the reader only by the abstract quality of their vocabulary, which moreover is ill-defined.

-From Breton's 1924 Manifesto of Surrealism (an online text can be found here).

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