When the Devil Asks You to Dance, Don't Expect to Lead

{from Scrutiny Hooligans:}

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us{via dKos:}

WaPo: "The number of serious international terrorist incidents more than tripled last year, according to U.S. government figures, a sharp upswing in deadly attacks that the State Department has decided not to make public in its annual report on terrorism due to Congress this week.

Overall, the number of what the U.S. government considers "significant" attacks grew to about 655 last year, up from the record of around 175 in 2003, according to congressional aides who were briefed on statistics covering incidents including the bloody school seizure in Russia and violence related to the disputed Indian territory of Kashmir.

Terrorist incidents in Iraq also dramatically increased, from 22 attacks to 198, or nine times the previous year's total -- a sensitive subset of the tally, given the Bush administration's assertion that the situation there had stabilized significantly after the U.S. handover of political authority to an interim Iraqi government last summer.

The State Department announced last week that it was breaking with tradition in withholding the statistics on terrorist attacks from its congressionally mandated annual report."
"Last year was bad. This year is worse. They are deliberately trying to withhold data because it shows that as far as the war on terrorism internationally, we're losing," said Larry C. Johnson, a former senior State Department counterterrorism official, who first revealed the decision not to publish the data."

The Bush administration's Global War on Everything has resulted in an increased number of terrorist attacks worldwide. Bush apologists assert that, since no attacks have taken place in the U.S., we are somehow winning this ill-advised global offensive. The U.S.-led NATO attack on the Taliban in Afghanistan was very effective in destroying the hornet's nest, but thousands of well-trained terrorists eluded capture or death there. Bush and Blair then chose to attack Iraq on the basis of intelligence they knew was suspect for reasons that had nothing to do with the Al Qaeda attacks on America, and the militant fundies in the Islamic world strapped their dancing shoes on.

The Global War on Danger was created by the neocons in the Bush administration. A Global police effort against the criminals who attacked the United States could have unified the world against a band of thugs. Instead, Bush elevated these murderers to the status of warriors, giving them legitimacy where before they had none.

If you voted for George W. Bush because you thought he'd keep you safer, know that he has botched the job and is withholding that fact from you. The terrorists who will murder innocents to create global instability have found their ideal dance partners in this arrogant administration. Our responsibility as citizens is to do what we can to stop the music before they dance us all to death.

WILPFer on Democracy Now! Today

Rhianna Tyson, the Project Manager of the Reaching Critical Will project, of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom will be on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman today. Rhianna will be discussing the nuclear NonProliferation Treaty review conference and WILPF's activities around the conference.

You can check this page for a local broadcaster of Democracy Now!

cross-posted from Chicken Foot Stew


Women's International League for Peace and Freedom May Day Events

Today is the official 90th birthday of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. On this day in 1915, women from around the world meeting at the Hague formed WILPF. In honor of our 90 years of making peace a reality, I'd like to invite y'all to join us for some May Day events.*

Chicago Social Forum
Attention Midwesterners!

In the spirit of the World Social Forum, please join us at the Chicago Social Forum this Sunday, May 1. I will be sitting at an exhibit table selling WILPF resources (and encouraging people to join WILPF). My fellow national board member, Gwen Braxton, will be presenting a racial justice workshop on behalf of the United for Racial Justice, Truth, Reparations, and Restoration (UFORJE) National Campaign.

Website: www.chicagosocialforum.org
Time: 8:00 am to 6:00pm (registration begins at 8, the Morning Plenary begins at 9)
Place: Jones High School, 660 S. State Street

No Nukes! No War! Central Park Rally
Attention New Yorkers and New Englanders!

Please join WILPF, Abolition Now!, and United for Peace & Justice for a May Day March by the U.N. and Rally in Central Park, NYC

March and Rally Details
We will assemble on 1st Ave. from 50th St. north between 11 AM and 12 noon. The march kicks off at 12 noon.

The rally will begin at 2 PM at the Heckscher Ballfields in Central Park and conclude by 6 PM.

The May Day Rally is part of a series of events surrounding the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Seventh Review Conference; May 2- 27, 2005 in New York

cross-posted from the new US WILPF Membership Blog.

*I am the At Large Membership Representative on the US WILPF National Board.


Christian Underground Wants You

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Dr. Beau D. Bagg has been assaulted with increasingly shrill emails from the armies of the Christian Underground. Evidently, they feel that George W. Bush's narrow victory in the general election should have afforded them a lot more pull. They lost the Schiavo incident, and it looks like they'll lose the 'activist judges'/'nuclear option' power grab in D.C. Their scare tactics on the gay marriage issue are more effective due to the general public's discomfort with sexuality in any form. Or maybe all those exclamation points they've been using are finally paying off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What's clear is that this frothy slice of American Christianity has no plans to go away quietly. From an article entitled "It Is Time To Face Goliath and Win the Culture War":

"The Culture War is going full strength. The Church is losing the battle. And like Goliath taunting the Israelites, Hollywood is daring the Church to send out it's best to fight.
"If you join those right-wing conservatives, you'll look stupid." Well maybe it's time we did look a little different than the rest of the world.

"If you step out and take a stand, you'll lose a lot of your constituents." If we lose our followers and the income they might provide for our work, so be it. God promised that we would get back – in this life – 100-times whatever we give up for His Kingdom (Mark 10:29-30).

"If you fight, your sins will be exposed and everyone will know you're just a hypocrite." Well, confess your sins and forget your past."

While the CU would prefer to compare itself to a victorious David, it's clear they're more akin to the proverbial one-legged man in a butt kicking contest. It's hard to take too seriously any group that encourages its troops to look stupid and have the courage to stand up for intolerance, bigotry, narrow-mindedness, and willful ignorance. Not too threatening... unless they somehow defy all conventional wisdom and become trendy. In efforts to widen their appeal, the field commanders are calling on the faithful to spread the word:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us"Please help us get the word out about the Christian Underground. For the CU to be more effective, we need to have a broader reach.

We are asking all existing members, like yourself, to invite three friends today. Every few weeks we will ask you to invite another three friends.

Our fellow Christians need to be informed about the trials we as Christians are facing in the culture war that is raging."

Raging? The war is raging? It looks to me like the war is a euphemism and that the Christian Underground is raging/enraged. Here are some samples from CU's latest emailing:

"Stalin Would Be Proud of Them - "What do most members of the Democratic National Committee, the American Bar Association and the American Civil Liberties Union have in common? They hate the Constitution of the United States of America."

"Creationist: Montana T-Rex Bone Supports Biblical Story, Not Darwins - "The president of the creationist Christian apologetics ministry called Answers in Genesis (AiG) says evolutionists are trying to spin the latest archeological discovery to line up with their erroneous theories of the Earth's history."

"Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Bushs Pro-Life Court Nominees - "The Senate Judiciary Committee approved two pro-life nominees selected by President George W. Bush for federal appeals courts. The votes move the nominees to the Senate floor, where pro-abortion Democrats are expected to filibuster them."

"Why the World Hates Christians - "Jesus said that if any church is moving in the power of the Holy Ghost and fulfilling its mission as he commanded, that the church is going to be hated and persecuted by the world. The church will be hated by ungodly politicians and ungodly leaders of society. It will also be despised by homosexuals, pornographers and, most of all, by backslidden, religious leaders who are spiritually dead."

The core features of Christian Underground's anti-science theopolitical world view are anger, righteous indignation, paranoia, power hunger, and piety. None of these except piety are particularly attractive features, and even the piety is splashed with so much judgmental hogwash that it wouldn't be suitable to wear to church on Sunday. Why the Republican party is tying its future to a segment of the population that flaunts hypocrisy, ignorance, and intolerance is beyond this novice political strategist's ken. Sure, I can understand that G.W. BushCo. would want to woo these folks, but to continue down their road of perpetual culture war is to invite political disaster.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWere the Generals in the army of the Christian Underground to declare victory, what sort of world would have supplanted this one? Zero abortions. Zero homosexuality. Zero pre-marital sexual activity. Subjugation of women. Zero tolerance of non-Christian religious beliefs. Fundamentalist Christians on every judicial bench. Widened use of the death penalty. Fundamentalist Christians in every seat in Congress. A Fundamentalist Christian in the Oval Office. Bible-centered government.

They elect a President who tells everybody he's born-again, and they figure the rest of the vision is on its way to becoming reality. Like the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Christian Underground takes its spiritual warrior status seriously. Like the Taliban, they would have all citizens bow down to a narrow interpretation of a book.

It's not going to happen. When I read the plaintive cries of the oppressed soldiers in the army of the Christian Underground, I take comfort in their self-defeating principles and poignant ineptitude.


Late to the Dance: My Reading of Fast Food Nation

There is shit in the meat.

The above sentence kept me up at night and stopped me from reading Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser. It appears on page 197, in chapter 9, which is titled "what's in the meat." Since then, mi chavo started reading the book and because of my competitive nature (I like to learn from books myself instead of learning from someone who has already taken the time to read books), I started reading it again today. I realize now that since I do the majority of my book reading during my hour lunch break, this book is not exactly the best one to be reading. It was amusing when I took the book to McDonald's, where I ate breakfast while learning about the history of fast food companies. Now that I'm actually reading about rendering and feed lots and E. Coli, it's not exactly the most pleasant book to have around during mastication.

Its an amazing book. The cover tells me that over one million copies have been sold. I'm sure they have - I've seen the book everywhere. Let's say half the people who buy the book actually read it. (Hey, we all know people buy a ton more books than they read. Just look at my collection for proof.) If half a million people have read this book, where's the outrage? Where's the change in the meat processing industry? I'm relatively sure half a million people didn't have to read The Jungle before Upton Sinclair's expose caused President Theodore Roosevelt to create new standards for meat packing back in the early 1900s. Where or where is our presidential leadership on this subject?

How I forget. Shrub's a good ol' boy with a farm. And good ol' boys think it is okay to feed feces, dead pigs, dead poultry and dead horses to cows. Cows - those animals with four stomachs to process grass, who would never choose to eat dead animals - are eating dead pigs, poultry, horses, and their shit. Oh, and poultry are being fed dead cows.

Another delightful tidbit: according to Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, "You'd be better off eating a carrot stick that fell into your toilet than one that fell in your sink." (page 221) That's because of the large amount of shit in ground beef.

Talk about powerful writing. This stuff is definitely having a more significant impact on me than a thriller by Dan Brown...

[cross-posted from angelheaded hipster.]


Another Way to Support the Troops

{cross posted at scrutiny hooligans}

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAs former VA Secretary Anthony Principi has said, the Iraq war's guerilla fighting and prolonged tours are having a profound effect on the mental health of the vets coming home. "This type of war – insurgency warfare – where you don't know whether you're going to be the next victim of a car bomb or roadside bomb or (rocket-propelled grenade)... it's like fighting in Vietnam." According to the New England Journal of Medicine, 15 to 17% of Iraq veterans suffer from major depression, generalized anxiety, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. {via Operation Truth}

Meeting the mental health needs of U.S. veterans and their families is at the heart of H.R. 1358, sponsored by Rep. Robin Hayes (R-NC). Rep. Hayes, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, has introduced legislation granting counselors independent practice authority under TRICARE, the military healthcare program, and in other Department of Defense programs. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) has signed on as an original cosponsor of the legislation. A Senate version of the legislation has not yet been introduced, but similar provisions are being considered for inclusion in the Defense Authorization Act.

Rep. Hayes chose to introduce the legislation because of his concern for the ability of soldiers and their families to access mental health services. Access to TRICARE-covered providers is especially worrisome in rural areas of Rep. Hayes’ district, where Guardsmen and Reservists may not live close to military treatment facilities or VA hospitals.

Currently, TRICARE and the Department of Defense do not recognize Licensed Professional Counselors. While Social Workers, Psychologists, and Marriage and Family Therapists are well-equipped to deal with the problems of our veteran populations, they are too few to handle the increasing numbers.

Veterans and their families will have easier access to mental health care if H.R. 1358 is included as part of the FY2006 Defense Authorization Act. You can help.

Click here, type in your zip code, and send a message to your Senators and Representative (especially if they're Republicans). Urge your lawmakers to include Licensed Professional Counselors in TRICARE, so veterans and their families can have better access to the mental health services so many of them need.


Republican War on Hectic Smurlbats

{from scrutiny hooligans}

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usSENATOR JOHN CORNYN: "I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that's been on the news and I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in - engage in violence." [Senate Floor, 4/4/05]

The Republicans who endlessly repeat the rootless mantra, "activist judges, activist judges", are now asserting that violence against the judiciary is understandable. Tom DeLay encourages it. Like Bush into Iraq, the Republicans are preparing to go nuclear to do away with another false threat. Created out of whole cloth by neoconservatives and buttressed by the Christian Coalition's Culture War, the 'threat of activist judges' is as real as Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction, as real as the "Social Security Crisis".

Seattlepi: "There is probably nothing I can do or say to convince you that the words "activist judge" have no more meaning than the words "hectic smurlbats." You've heard "activist judges" so many times -- from the president, from Congress, from the angry guys on the radio -- that you can define it right along with me. Together then: Liberal activist judges make law, as opposed to interpreting it. They ignore the plain meaning of texts to invent new rights. Superimposing their moral views onto their legal reasoning, they brazenly advance the cause of the fringe liberal elites in the culture wars.
We all evidently believe that you're either for the liberal activist judges or against them."

The Republicans are whipping up support for their next war, this one against the judicial system. The stated plan is to end the tyranny of hectic smurlbats. The real objective is to radicalize the judiciary into a fundamentalist arm of the Republican party. And they're willing to promote violence to get it done.