Thursday :: Mar 31, 2005

If I Could Talk to the Animals, ...


by pessimist

I've been subjected lately to being exposed to the modern Colosseum, the Jerry Springer Show, by my coworkers, because they like to watch it while on their breaks. I've long wondered what it is about that show that is so appealing to people, and forced myself to watch them (my good Orange County (CA) Republican coworkers) as well as the show. Due to a couple of circumstantial coincidences, I may finally have a handle on this conumdrum.

Springer this week is running his 'best of' shows, and in the midst of one of these common-man wannabe World Wrestling Federation matches (my apologies to the real professional wrestlers for this comparison) during which those with no self-respect exposed their foibles and feuds (and their physical attributes for some 'Jerry beads') for the voyeuristic entertainment of cruel sybarites, the audience 'spontaneously' erupted into loud cheers of 'USA!' and 'George W. Bush!' This stuck in my mind as a curiousity. I couldn't quite get what it was that struck me so.

Then I read this quote of Ann Counter's:

"I've come to find I like liberals a lot more," Coulter said early in her speech.
"They're kind of cute when they're cold, shivering and afraid."

That's when the lights went on.

These people - these so-called conservatives, these good religious Christians - are nothing more than sadistic animals.

I have plenty of evidence.

The common man is the best place to start, for he doesn't quite have the subtlety to hide his baser motivations. Remember this bastard?


Teen pleads guilty to attacking girlfriend for her Kerry support

Steven Soper had his life all mapped out. The 18-year-old from Lake Worth had been accepted into the Army and planned to enlist after graduating this spring from Santaluces High School.

But the plan came apart in late October when he attacked his girlfriend after learning she planned to vote for Sen. John Kerry in the presidential election. Soper pointed a knife at 18-year-old Stacey Silveira and threatened to kill her, he added. A deputy found evidence of a struggle inside the home, including a broken pot. Silveira's neighbor west of Boynton Beach called 911 on Oct. 26 after seeing Soper carrying Silveira as she screamed "no, no, no," Assistant State Attorney Tim Beckwith said. Soper dragged Silveira, kicking and screaming, into her house before throwing her to the floor and spitting on her, police reports said. Soper reportedly bit Silveira and then placed a knife in her hand and told her to kill him, because a vote for Kerry would mean he would die anyway.

Kill or be killed! The Law of the Jungle! Might Makes Right! Caveman Love! Troglodyte Tenderness!

Family Values! Raise your kid to be a killer!

Here's another example of Mr. Average Wrong-winger American acting on his 'principles':


Norm Olson: Parents' lawyer thwarted plan to send militias to aid Terri Schiavo

Norm Olson, senior adviser to the Michigan militia and pastor of a strong right-to-life church in Wolverine, said Tuesday he had put together an unarmed coalition of state militias that were prepared to storm the Florida hospice where Terri Schiavo has been left to die, and take her to a safe house. Olson said that last Thursday he phoned Gibbs' secretary with a message that he had organized 1,500 to 2,000 militia members from Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia and Michigan, who were ready to remove Schiavo from the hospice and take her in a convoy to a safe house.

"We would have overwhelmed the local law enforcement," Olson said, adding the militias would not have been armed. "We were just going to push people out of the way. It was the mood and the heartbeat of America," he said.

Olson said he needed only the OK from Schiavo's father, Robert Schindler, either directly or through his attorney David Gibbs, to put the plan, called "Operation Resurrection," into action on Sunday. But Olson said Gibbs contacted the FBI instead of passing his message on to Schindler.

I suspect that the lawyer was well aware of what was likely to happen with a bunch of self-styled commandos acting in what they would believe to be an appropriate manner. My Steel Stetson is doffed in his honor for acting like a sentient human being instead of acting like the mindless and inconsiderate sort he has had the misfortune to be contacted by:

Excerpts from Norm Olson's e-mails, in chronological order [abridged - ed], to southern militias as he prepared a plan to organize a mass confrontation with Florida state law enforcement with a goal of removing Terri Schiavo from the hospice where she is dying to a safe house:

Wednesday, March 23:

"I've got some very angry Michigan militia folks chomping at the bit ..."

Thursday, March 24:

"Florida Militia: Please contact me. We're going to need several hundred willing to storm the building. I suspect that hundreds of 'civilians' may go with us. There is very little time, but I've got people ready to roll tonight."

"Too small of a force will mean total failure. It is a 'Bridge Too Far' but with enough people it may work.

"It isn't a commando raid or sneak attack. It is a mass saturation of people able to overwhelm the minimal forces there at this time."

"A large scale military assault need not be bloody. As much as we might like to, care must be taken to avoid inflicting injury on the bad guys."

Terri Schiavo wasn't the only cause taken up by these self-styled defenders of law and order. They are also planning on 'defending' the borders of the country in Arizona:


Immigration Opponents To Patrol U.S. Border

The call went out last autumn the way they do these days, in Internet forums and forwarded e-mails: Are YOU interested in spending up to 30 days along the Arizona border as part of a blocking force against entry into the U.S. by illegal aliens early next spring?

The Minuteman Project, set to begin tomorrow [4/1/5 - ed.] in Tombstone, Ariz., had no trouble finding any. About 1,300 people are expected to show up for some part of the month-long protest, say the organizers, who hope to place them at half-mile intervals to monitor a 23-mile stretch of border said to be the most porous in the nation.

But the project's unexpected popularity is raising serious safety concerns among federal and local officials and watchdog groups fearing it will attract extremists or spark violent confrontations.

Postings about the event have been spotted on white-supremacist Web sites, and fliers from hate groups have been found in mailboxes in recent days.
"They are going to draw every misfit, every renegade, everyone with an ax to grind about ethnic preference," said Ray Borane, mayor of Douglas, Ariz., a border town that will be ground zero for much of the month. "They are not welcome here."

Some officials have expressed alarm at the Minuteman organizers' acknowledgment that some of their volunteers may be armed with handguns, as permitted by state law.

Border Patrol officials say they fear for the safety of well-intentioned volunteers -- whose help, they hasten to add, they do not need. "I don't think they realize the violence that occurs here on a daily basis," said Andy Adame, a spokesman for the Border Patrol in Tucson. Since the federal government began putting a greater squeeze on the border, immigrant smugglers have become more desperate and dangerous, he said. "It used to be rock-throwing, now it's shootings." He added that the border is now lined with a variety of sensors that he fears could easily be set off by a Minuteman volunteer:

"What if an agent goes out there with night-vision goggles and sees someone armed?"

A former soldier with Iraq experience knows something about this sort of incident - he's been involved in similar situations:


"I can't go back to Iraq"

US Army Specialist Darrell Anderson hated his seven months in Iraq. He hated the people he was fighting against, hated the people he was fighting for. There was hate between soldiers. And hatred against the Iraqi people. Anderson hated facing death every day. Knowing people who died made him hate even more. "You stub your foot, you're going to hit something. You ruin your life, you're going to kill someone," the stocky 22-year-old Kentucky man told a crowd gathered at Dalhousie University in early March.

In all likelihood, Anderson did kill people. That, after all, is what the US Army trained him for. In Najaf, he and his fellow soldiers in the 1st Armored Division fired hundreds of rounds. Of course people died. But that was combat at a distance. It was impersonal. Anderson didn't see his enemies fall.

Najaf isn't what keeps him up at night. What haunts the young American instead are a pair of incidents in which he came very close to killing innocent Iraqi civilians. Anderson says he is haunted in recurring nightmares by a series of "what-ifs".

* What if I'd pulled the trigger that day?
* What if I'd followed procedure and fired?

Those are the questions he focuses on now, as he looks back on the recent chain of events and decisions that led him to flee the US Army and join a handful of other American war resisters in Canada. "That's why I can't go back to Iraq," says Anderson.

"You can't have a normal life after killing innocent people."
Former US Marine Staff Sergeant Jimmey Massey, 31, recently discharged following a 12-year career in the Marines, recounted how during one 48-hour period early in the war, soldiers in his platoon killed over 30 unarmed Iraqi civilians. "I was never clear on who was the enemy and who was not," Massey testified before the Immigration and Refugee Board.

"How would that lack of clarity affect your ability to comply with the Geneva Conventions?" lawyer Jeffrey House -- himself a Vietnam War-era "draft dodger" -- asked the former staff sergeant.

"It hindered our ability tremendously," Massey replied. "When you don't know who the enemy is, what are you doing there? What's the purpose of being there?

"When Marines go into battle they are designed, Marines are trained and designed for one thing, and that is to meet the enemy on the battlefield and destroy you. That is their mission. That is their purpose in life. If you have no enemy or you don't know who the enemy is, what are you doing there?"

Valuing Families

Darrell Anderson's recollections from Baghdad are similar. A car drove toward Anderson's position. It had broken what soldiers call a "safety perimeter." Also the car was emmitting sparks, probably from bad brakes. Protocol in that situation is to shoot first and ask questions later, which is what Anderson's fellow soldiers were yelling for him to do.

"It's ok, it's ok, it's a family," he yelled back.

Anderson held his fire. He had assumed the driver was confused, that he was trying to flee the city. He guessed right. Before the car sped away Anderson could make out two children sitting in the back seat. A boy and a girl, he thinks.

"Why didn't you shoot?" some of the other soldiers asked him. "Next time you shoot," they ordered.

"They got their procedures," says Anderson. In a firefight situation, procedure and training dictate that if you're shot at, you fire at anyone around. They're not innocent anymore, Anderson was told. If they're standing there when someone's done this crime against you, they're guilty.

"Even if it is a family, you're supposed to open fire, cause they broke the safety perimeter."

These are the rules of the oil piracy game as set up by the Bu$h (mis)Adminstration, kill anything that opposes your duty of taking over their country so that our patriotic SUV owners don't have to park their symbols of manly American virility and have to putt about in rice boxes like girly men! What would Arnold say?

Bu$hCo lied, and thousands died, 'but, it's all right!' the craven cry.

Is there any hope that anyone recognizes any guilt over these crimes? What about you, Colin?


Powell Says U.S. Was 'Too Loud' Over Iraq -Magazine

Powell said he was "furious and angry" that he had been misinformed about Iraq's stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction when he laid out the case for war before the United Nations Security Council in February, 2003. "Hundreds of millions followed it on television. I will always be the one who presented it. I have to live with that."

That's a good start Colin, but it doesn't really address the issue of culpability. Who's to blame for all this?


'Not I!', Said The Military Guy

Powell said he had argued for a diplomatic solution against cabinet colleagues such as Vice President Dick Cheney, who did not believe that diplomacy would work. "The situation with Saddam Hussein had to be resolved, either by taming him or by removing him by military means," he said. "I'm sure that the Vice President's view from the very beginning was: we'll never solve this through diplomatic means."

Finger pointing, Colin? Cheney is certainly in the swill up to his evil eyes, but pointing the finger isn't proof. Do you people think no one can see through you? I suspect that only you Bu$hevik$ are fooled by your words and actions:


Let's You And Him Fight!


Rice Alarms Reformist Arabs with Stability Remarks

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has alarmed many reformist Arabs with comments suggesting a new U.S. approach that promotes rapid political change without regard for internal stability. Rice said in an interview with the Washington Post last week the Middle East status quo was not stable and she doubted it would be stable soon. Washington would speak out for "freedom" without offering a model or knowing what the outcome would be.

The Bush administration has argued that political violence and hostility to the United States in the Middle East are the result of internal repression, rather than of U.S. policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the main Arab grievance.

"This a very dangerous scheme. Anarchy will be out of control," said Hassan Nafaa, a professor of political science at Cairo University and an advocate of gradual change.

A liberal Arab diplomat, who asked not to be named, said: "They seem to be supporting chaos and instability as a pretext for bringing democracy.

But people would rather live under undemocratic rule than in the chaotic atmosphere of Iraq, for example, which the Americans tout as a model."
Mohamed el-Sayed Said, a liberal who has challenged Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to his face over authoritarian government, said Arab societies were too fragile for the kind of rapid and unchecked change that Rice appears to welcome. Apart from the danger of extremists coming to power, the Arab world would face the threat that societies and states could collapse completely, he told Reuters. "We can hardly take the great risks that Dr Rice suggests. We are determined to keep domestic peace as well as external peace as far as we can, but not to the point of stifling change," added Said, who is deputy director of the al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo.

Helena Cobban, a writer on Middle East affairs based in the United States, said: "She (Rice) reveals a totally cavalier attitude to the whole non-trivial concept of social-political stability in Middle Eastern countries. So it looks as though Arc of Instability may now actually be the goal of U.S. policy, rather than its diagnosis of an existing problem," she added.

This goal of US policy has no basis in any logical fact, which begs the question of whether or not there is any recognition of reality among the members of the Bu$hCo Cabal. Journalist Seymour Hersh doesn't think so:


Seymour Hersh: Bush is "Unreachable"

Seymour Hersh visited New Mexico State University (Las Cruces) on Tuesday, March 29 as part of his speaking tour for his newest book, Chain of Command: the Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib. He opened his presentation by announcing that he intended to discuss “what’s on my mind” and “where we think we are.”

The first thing on his mind was a chilling assessment of George W. Bush. Hersh sighed. “Bush is as absolutely convinced he’s doing the right thing,” just as journalists are who think of themselves as white knights think they are doing the right thing. “Even if we have another thousand body bags, it won’t deter him. He believes he won’t be measured by today, but in 5 or 10 years” in terms of the Mideast. With regard to Iraq, “he thinks it’s going well.” Iran, according to Hersh’s contacts, is “teed up.”

And Iran is preparing for that attack.

Hersh warned that when the price of oil reaches $68-$69 a barrel, this will be the crunch point in terms of real economic decline. If Bush wants to move against Iran, which is pumping about 3.9 barrels a day, he’s heading for trouble. According to Hersh, Iran will scuttle every ship in the Straights of Hormuz and the Malaca Straits in Indonesia. It will take months of dredging and salvaging to approach normalcy. If oil is Bush’s top priority, “Bush is just not behaving as someone who is managing an oil crisis” and has already been “mismanaging oil in Iraq.”

And then he delivered the most chilling comments of the evening. “Nothing I write” is likely to influence Bush, he said.

“He is unreachable. I can’t reach him. He’s got his own world. This is really unusual and frankly, it scares the hell out of me.”

This synopsys can be applied to all those who follow Koenig Georg Kriegsfuehrer as well. They are in their own world, unaffected by facts or reality in any way:

Hersh described how he thought Bush treats Americans by retelling an old Richard Pryor story in which a man comes home to find his wife in bed with another man. “What you’re seeing isn’t happening,” the husband is told.
“Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?

There are signs of awareness emerging from the deep crevasses in which it has been hiding since the Rise of Reagan. This comment in an article about Senator (sic) Norm Coleman's attacks on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, from the Star-Tribune of Minneapolis, Minnesota, points this out clearly:

Coleman says that Annan "is responsible for the failed management that resulted in the fraud and abuse of the Oil-for-Food Program. His lack of leadership, combined with conflicts of interest and a lack of responsibility and accountability point to one, and only one, outcome: his resignation."

Well.

How about we try substituting President Bush for Annan, and substitute "prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo" -- or "intelligence failures," or any of half a dozen other transgressions readily available?

I've long been awaiting the rise of the True Conservatives in defense of their nation and its traditions of freedom and liberty. This may also be underway:


Bush is Hostage to Religious Right, Says Top Republican

One of the most respected figures in the Republican political establishment turned on his own party yesterday, accusing the leadership of falling hostage to the religious right. John Danforth, a former senator and US ambassador to the United Nations, writes: "Republicans have transformed our party into the political arm of conservative Christians."

Mr Danforth - a disappointment to the religious right who would have liked to have seen him, the only ordained minister in the US Senate, gain a leadership role - taps into the sense of disquiet over the erosion of the separation of church and state. "High-profile Republican efforts to prolong the life of Ms Schiavo, including departures from Republican principles ... can rightfully be interpreted as yielding to the pressure of religious power blocs," he wrote.

His broadside against the party's rightward shift in recent years appeared to crystallise growing unease over the increasingly political nature of religion in public life in the US - prompted by the public feud over the fate of Terri Schiavo, the severely brain-damaged woman who spent her 13th day without food or water in a hospice following the removal of her feeding tube. However, a CBS television poll last week found 82% of Americans opposed to efforts by George Bush and Congress to intervene to prolong Ms Schiavo's life against the express wishes of her husband.

His critique of the party went far beyond Ms Schiavo yesterday, and cited the party's active opposition to gay marriage as well as attempts in his own state, Missouri, to criminalise stem cell research.

"I am and have always been pro-life," he wrote. "But the only explanation for legislators comparing cells in a petri dish to babies in the womb is the extension of religious doctrine into statutory law."


The Genie Escapes the Bottle

Now that Rev. Danforth has spoken out, it seems that it's now OK to examine the connections between Bu$hCo and the Radical Religionists:


Backward Christian Soldiers

Maybe, just maybe, the religious right and its Republican friends have finally gone too far with the Terri Schiavo case. The Terri Schiavo freak show is so deeply crazy, so unhinged, such a brew of religiosity and hypocrisy and tabloid sensationalism, just maybe it is clueing people in to where the right's moral triumphalism is leading us.

Americans may tell pollsters the earth was created in six days flat and dinosaurs shared the planet with Adam and Eve, but I don't believe they want Tom DeLay to be their personal physician. I don't think they want fanatics moaning and praying outside the hospital while they're making hard decisions. I don't think they want people getting arrested trying to "feed" their comatose relatives, or issuing death threats against judges and spouses in the name of "life." I don't think John Q. Public wants Jeb Bush to adopt his wife or Newt Gingrich to call her by her first name or Senator Frist to diagnose her by video, or Jesse Jackson to pop in at the last minute for a prayer and a photo-op.

Jesse Jackson seems not to have gotten the memo--he's calling for the Florida legislature to overturn thirty years of carefully crafted medical ethics and pass a previously rejected bill requiring patients in a persistent vegetative state to remain on life support forever, unless they've left a written directive to the contrary. If that's the "religious left," forget it.

It's about time Americans woke up. The Schiavo case only looks unprecedented: For decades, women seeking to terminate pregnancies have faced gantlets of screamers, invasions of privacy, violence in the name of "saving babies," charges of murder and of evil motives, politically motivated legal obstacles, spurious medical "expertise" (abortion causes breast cancer; Terri Schiavo just needs therapy). There is the same free-floating vitriol: Abortion is the "Silent Holocaust," while, according to Peggy Noonan, those who support Ms. Schiavo's right to die are on "a low road that twists past Columbine and leads toward Auschwitz" (that would be the same road that Tom DeLay and his family went down when they withheld life support from his critically injured father--the same road, in fact, that Robert Schindler, Terri's father, took when he turned off his mother's life support). Randall Terry, the Operation Rescue showman who wants to make America a "Christian nation" and to "execute" doctors who perform abortions, is the Schindlers' chief strategist; other Operation Rescuers in the hospice parking lot include the Rev. Pat Mahoney, who freely gives out Michael Schiavo's home address; Cheryl Sullenger, who served two years for conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic in 1987; and Scott Heldreth, a convicted sex offender who told an AP reporter that driving long hours to the hospice and getting arrested was all his 10-year-old son's idea.

For many ordinary Americans, the stem cell debate was the first time the religious right strove to deprive them of something valuable. It's one thing to make women pay for sex with childbirth, or to deprive your children of modern scientific education, or to ostracize homosexuals, but it's going too far to value a frozen embryo more than Cousin Jim with Parkinson's. Now, with the Schiavo case, Americans have another opportunity to ask themselves if they really want to live in Randall Terry's world, where the next Michael and Terri Schiavo could be anyone of us.

Americans know that to "err on the side of life," as the enthusiastic death-penalty fan and Medicaid-cutter George W. Bush advises, is just a slogan.

With such statements, including recent comments by religious leaders formerly pleased with the GOP that their members should consider voting for conservative Democrats in order to teach Bu$hCo a lesson about respecting their religious values, can it be that those who support the GOP while suppressing their thought processes might just be finding out that isn't such a good idea? Might they be receptive to change in the form of a more moderate, truly centrist political spectrum?


Will GOP Moderates Look Left?

If current trends continue in the months ahead, growing discontent among GOP moderates may translate into Democratic gains in '06 -- if not sooner. Danforth's remarks [above - ed.] echo Connecticut Republican Rep. Christopher Shays, who recently said "This Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy."

In his SLATE.com article"The Not So Fantastic Four: The Demise of the Republican Moderates," Michael Crowley notes that Senate GOP moderates Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, and John McCain of Arizona are increasingly isolated as voices for sanity in their party.

As former Senator Bill Bradley indicates, the GOP has a stronger structure than the Dems' inverted pyramid to endure such splits. No one should be surprised if GOP leaders suddenly adopt a more moderate tone leading up to the '06 elections. Yet it is not out of the question that Senator Chafee, for example, would consider switching parties, if only because he will likely face a strong challenge from a Democrat.

Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Peter Wallsten reports on cracks in the GOP base in Florida:

With the GOP base polarized over the Terri Schiavo case and the public skeptical of Bush's plan to overhaul Social Security, two issues with explosive relevance in Florida are stirring up confusing political crosscurrents for Republicans preparing to face the voters there next year.

Even conservative media critic Howard Kurtz comments on the trend in "Splitsville", his wrap-up piece in the Washington Post:

One of the most common headlines around these days is "GOP Split on [Fill-in-the-Blank]." The image of a unified governing party is cracking fast.

Even assuming no GOP moderates switch parties between now and '06, it is clear that rank and file moderate Republicans are becomming increasingly uncomfortable with their Party's current direction.

Certainly, actions such as these have to be causing moderate Republicans to question where their party is headed, just as these Southern students are:


Ole Miss students speak out against hate



About 200 counter-protesters gathered in front of the University of Mississippi's Fulton Chapel last night to speak out against the Rev. Fred Phelps, proprietor of "godhatesfags.com," "godhatesamerica.com" and similar websites. His Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) (see A City Held Hostage) has been listed by the [Southern Poverty Law] Center as a hate group for years.

Phelps, who failed to appear after informing campus media Sunday that he and a dozen of his parishioners would protest guest speaker Judy Shepard, is notorious for his frequent demonstrations at public events. Members of his Topeka, Kan., church carry brightly colored signs with phrases like "God Hates Fags" or "Thank God for Sept. 11."



One might want to compare the beliefs of liberals and religious conservatives to those of Osama bin Laden. This is a good place to start.

But I digress.

WBC members declined to comment when asked about parishioners' failure to attend their scheduled protest.

"I think the main reason Phelps announced he was going to show up was to see if he could scare the campus Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) into backing out of hosting Judy Shepard," GSA president Steven Hall said. "Once he saw he had no chance of stirring things up, maybe that's why he and his group never came."

During the early morning hours of Oct. 8. 1998, two men later identified as Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson kidnapped Shepard's son, 21-year-old Matthew, drove him to a remote location east of his Laramie home and beat him nearly to death. "I think that night started out as just a robbery," Shepard said. "[The men] were looking for money to feed their drug habits."

The murder though, Shepard said, probably would not have taken place if Matthew had been heterosexual. "He handed over his wallet within five minutes," she continued. "Yet he was beaten 18 times on the skull and sustained four skull fractures. The last one smashed his brain stem. The level of violence was not [just a part of his] robbery."

Matthew spent 18 hours tied to a fence and became hypothermic before a bicyclist discovered him. He died four days later.

Speaking to a nearly packed house, Shepard began her lecture by playing a video that compared her son's death to that of James Byrd Jr., a middle-aged black man whose throat was slit before he was chained to a truck and dragged for almost three miles on June 14, 1998. "The reason I show this video that includes James Byrd Jr. from Jasper, Texas, is because hate is not relegated to the gay and lesbian community only," Shepard said. "It is alive and well in regard to all minorities still today."

It isn't just minorities who suffer from the intolerant hatred of others. Just recall Coulter's callous commentary cited at the start of this post.

Toward the end of the evening, an audience member asked Shepard to explain what constitutes a hate crime and why legislation against such crimes is necessary. "Hate crime [laws] protect everyone," she responded. "Everyone is a gender, everyone is a race, everyone is a religion [and] everyone is a sexual orientation. Christian falls into the religion category.
If someone were to murder a Christian, shouting [anti-Christian] epithets while bashing in their brains...that's a hate crime."
She said a crime becomes a hate crime when a group the victim belongs to, rather than just the victim himself, is affected or intimidated by that crime. "Burning a cross on someone's yard is not meant to intimidate just the person who owns that property; it's meant to intimidate the entire community," she said. "What happened to Matt sent his community into a tailspin because they knew it could have been them."

It has been us, and thus we know it can be us, even though the level of violence hasn't often reached fatal proportions:


Bush aide says ouster made 'out of concern'

The White House on Wednesday said three people were bounced from last week's presidential speech in Denver "out of concern they might try to disrupt the event." The three - Leslie Weise, 39, Karen Bauer, 38, and Alex Young, 25 - said they were forced out before the president's speech March 21 even though they had done nothing but arrive in a car bearing an anti-war bumper sticker.
And they said they were evicted by a man who dressed and acted like a Secret Service agent.
Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., has sent a letter to the Secret Service asking for information on the event, said his press secretary, Lawrence Pacheco. "If you're threatening someone with arrest, you're obviously impersonating a law enforcement official," Pacheco said.

But a Secret Service investigation found the man was a Republican Party staffer who was working President Bush's town hall meeting on Social Security at the Wings over the Rockies museum. The three who were ousted and their attorney met with the Secret Service chief in Denver on Monday and quoted him as saying the man admitted removing them solely due to the "No more blood for oil" bumper sticker on Weise's car. Also Wednesday, the attorney for the three asked U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to investigate the incident for possible violation of First Amendment rights, misuse of taxpayer funds and impersonation of a Secret Service officer.

Suppose these three didn't remain civil when asked to leave. Suppose that this 'man' had no intention of remaining civil himself. Suppose that when Ann Coulter called for '10 of the largest College Republicans' to 'start walking up and down the aisles and start removing anyone shouting', those who responded didn't just 'say they shouldn't stop her from speaking' and resorted to bully boy street-brawl tactics. Can anyone honestly claim that these reactions aren't driven by Radical Republican hatred for those of us who aren't going along with their Jerry Springer-style bacchanalia?

How would they respond if, instead of Ted Kennedy, it was Rush Limbaugh who was called a "human dirigible"? What if, instead of John F. Kerry, it was George W. Bu$h who was telling "big, fat, enormous lies"? Are they going to honestly tell me that they would respond as we progressives have with countervailing arguments with supporting evidence?

I hardly think so! Recall our Florida 'hero' I cited above who tried to kill his girlfriend for her support of Kerry. I have yet to hear of a Democratic man who tried to kill his woman for her support of Bu$h!

Remember also all the uproar from the wrong-wing over Bill Clinton's avoidance of complicity with Monica Lewinsky. Would you still have any hearing left if the following lies were being told by the Democrats?

Attorney Dan Recht has threatened to file a civil rights lawsuit against the man and his employer, which is the local Republican Party, according to what the Secret Service told Recht. But the White House and Secret Service are not revealing the man's identity, and the Colorado Republican Party and the Republican National Committee deny they had anything to do with the incident. The White House also described the man who ousted the three Coloradans as "a volunteer," and it has not criticized his actions. "We're increasingly upset because we don't know who did it, and we're getting the runaround on finding out who did it," Recht said.

Making the appropriate substitutions, can you not hear Rush bloviating over 'Democrat dirty tricks'? Can you not hear O'Reilly and Hannity and all of the other media whores winding up and getting ready to deliver the spinning curve balls?

Sure you can! So where are these diehard blowhards when it comes to one of their own who is destroying their movement from within?


Where in Washington, D.C. is Sun Myung Moon?

The Rev. Sun Myung Moon's recent speech on ending democracy in America is a good segue for examining David G. Racer's explosive 1989 tract Not For Sale: The Rev. Sun Myung Moon And One American's Freedom, popular in conservative circles at the time and endorsed by ex-Washington Times editor James Whelan.

Racer was a self-described New Right activist, uneasy in liberal Minnesota. An evangelical Christian, failed candidate, anti-Communist and staunch opponent of gay rights, he was thrilled when a wealthy new group, the American Freedom Coalition, promised to galvanize conservatives and roll back "godless" policies. Writes Racer: "Who knows, I thought, we might even be able to name someone like Robert Bork to the United States Supreme Court some day!"

But his conscience balked where others rushed in. The group turned out to be a vehicle for the Reverend Moon: one founder was Gary Jarmin of Moon-affiliated Christian Voice.

Soon Racer decided fellow conservatives were abandoning their ideals to participate in the empowerment of the Reverend.

"Nothing would destroy the conservative movement faster than to be linked inextricably to the Rev. Moon. I believe that Moon has plans for these conservatives, plans that would not please them...

"Regardless of what Dr. [Robert] Grant, Bob Wilson, Richard Ichord, Dr. Ralph Abernathy, Richard Viguerie, Gary Jarmin, Dan Peterson, or any of the other hundreds of officers and leaders involved in AFC believe, the documentation I received after my resignation provided to me that the Rev. Sun Myung Moon has a plan for America, and that his plan includes the American Freedom Coalition.

"What Moon adds to this political formula which has been missing in almost all concentrated conservative organizing efforts is millions of dollars and hundreds of committed 'volunteers,' the true believers and followers of Moon ... Moon has, in the AFC, a tremendous vehicle to assist his political movement in the USA. Combining the thousands of black church leaders trained through various Moon-linked organizations with the new-found political power and savvy of the so-called New Right Christian activists, many who would be attracted to Christian Voice, would have a profound impact on America and the world.

"The conference was devoted to the teaching of the history of the communist movement...and its many failures. Of all of the teaching, the only segment that caused me discomfort...was represented by an ideology called Godism ... Godism, it occurred to me, was simply replacing one form of tyranny with another, the latter based on religious fervor.

"Even Godism would require that someone be in charge. Since this was a Moon-supported conference, and because Godism was a Moon term, it seemed logical to me that Godism meant a system in which Moon ultimately would play a pivotal, if not leading, role. As the next several months progressed, I found myself being pulled into a mechanism which I came to believe would serve Moon's ultimate purpose: the establishment of his political power in America and the world.

"Many conservatives would rather not have this information made public, fearing that it will "damage the movement." Because almost all conservative organizations in Washington have some ties to the church, conservatives also fear repercussions if they expose the church's role.

I suggest that no one needs to fear the truth.

If the conservative movement is based on fraud and deception, which it would be if this truth is stifled, then it deserves to be damaged."

But even if this movement is damaged, it still remains very powerful. Money bestows great power, and these alleged plans of Sun Myung Moon have to run counter to those of the BFEE/PNAC Petroleum Pirate Posse. Are we in America going to be caught in a plutocrat version of the War of the Roses? Are the rival 'Christian' factions which each support their champions Bu$h and Moon going to bring about the American Thirty Years War?

Are we going to remember these words of the Michigan militia leader:

"In reality there are four branches of government in America, and we the people are the fourth."

Or will we be forced to act out these words of the former soldier in Iraq:


"These were just regular people, there were elderly men, young men. And then I remember looking around and seeing the blown up buildings, the people on crutches, the dismembered people, and thinking that these are just their family members. If someone blew up your house and killed a couple of your family, you're going to pick up a weapon and you're going to fight a war for it."

Wake up, America! That isn't coffee you're smelling! It's the fresh smell of the blood of your countrymen mixed with the acrid stench of corruption and the rank aroma of crude oil.

It's time to stand and ask these 'conservatives' the question: "Have you no decency?"


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