NEWS -- 2011.03.13.Sunday School Lesson
- 1) Inside Job
2) Why Evangelicals Hate Jesus
3) How the So-Called Guardians of Free Speech Are Silencing the Messenger
4) In brig, WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning ordered to sleep without clothing
5) Jobs returning - but good ones not so much
6) The New Humanism
7) Unequal Protection: The Battle to Save Democracy
8) Too Long to Wait
9) Same-sex weddings, now
10) from Fallbrook, California (north San Diego County)
11) from the "Family Research Council"
12) Peter King hearings: Was anything accomplished?
Winner of Academy Award Documentary --->
2010 PG-13 108 minutes
From filmmaker Charles Ferguson comes this sobering, Oscar-winning documentary that presents in comprehensive yet cogent detail the pervasive and deep-rooted corruption that led to the global economic meltdown of 2008. Through unflinching interviews with key financial insiders, politicos, journalists and academics, Ferguson paints a galling portrait of an unfettered financial system run amok -- without accountability. Actor Matt Damon narrates.
Professor of Sociology, Pitzer College in Claremont, CA.
Posted: March 3, 2011 10:06 AM
Why Evangelicals Hate Jesus
This article was co-authored by Dan Cady is an assistant professor of history at California State University, Fresno. He publishes on the history of the American West, music, and religion.
The results from a recent poll published by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (http://www.pewforum.org/Politics-and-Elections/Tea-Party-and-Religion.aspx) reveal what social scientists have known for a long time: White Evangelical Christians are the group least likely to support politicians or policies that reflect the actual teachings of Jesus. It is perhaps one of the strangest, most dumb-founding ironies in contemporary American culture. Evangelical Christians, who most fiercely proclaim to have a personal relationship with Christ, who most confidently declare their belief that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, who go to church on a regular basis, pray daily, listen to Christian music, and place God and His Only Begotten Son at the center of their lives, are simultaneously the very people most likely to reject his teachings and despise his radical message.
Jesus unambiguously preached mercy and forgiveness. These are supposed to be cardinal virtues of the Christian faith. And yet Evangelicals are the most supportive of the death penalty, draconian sentencing, punitive punishment over rehabilitation, and the governmental use of torture. Jesus exhorted humans to be loving, peaceful, and non-violent. And yet Evangelicals are the group of Americans most supportive of easy-access weaponry, little-to-no regulation of handgun and semi-automatic gun ownership, not to mention the violent military invasion of various countries around the world. Jesus was very clear that the pursuit of wealth was inimical to the Kingdom of God, that the rich are to be condemned, and that to be a follower of Him means to give one's money to the poor. And yet Evangelicals are the most supportive of corporate greed and capitalistic excess, and they are the most opposed to institutional help for the nation's poor -- especially poor children. They hate anything that smacks of "socialism," even though that is essentially what their Savior preached. They despise food stamp programs, subsidies for schools, hospitals, job training -- anything that might dare to help out those in need. Even though helping out those in need was exactly what Jesus urged humans to do. In short, Evangelicals are that segment of America which is the most pro-militaristic, pro-gun, and pro-corporate, while simultaneously claiming to be most ardent lovers of the Prince of Peace.
What's the deal?
Before attempting an answer, allow a quick clarification. Evangelicals don't exactly hate Jesus -- as we've provocatively asserted in the title of this piece. They do love him dearly. But not because of what he tried to teach humanity. Rather, Evangelicals love Jesus for what he does for them. Through his magical grace, and by shedding his precious blood, Jesus saves Evangelicals from everlasting torture in hell, and guarantees them a premium, luxury villa in heaven. For this, and this only, they love him. They can't stop thanking him. And yet, as for Jesus himself -- his core values of peace, his core teachings of social justice, his core commandments of goodwill -- most Evangelicals seem to have nothing but disdain.
And this is nothing new. At the end of World War I, the more rabid, and often less educated Evangelicals decried the influence of the Social Gospel amongst liberal churches. According to these self-proclaimed torch-bearers of a religion born in the Middle East, progressive church-goers had been infected by foreign ideas such as German Rationalism, Soviet-style Communism, and, of course, atheistic Darwinism. In the 1950s, the anti-Social Gospel message piggybacked the rhetoric of anti-communism, which slashed and burned its way through the Old South and onward through the Sunbelt, turning liberal churches into vacant lots along the way. It was here that the spirit and the body collided, leaving us with a prototypical Christian nationalist, hell-bent on prosperity. Charity was thus rebranded as collectivism and self-denial gave way to the gospel of accumulation. Church-to-church, sermon-to-sermon, evangelical preachers grew less comfortable with the fish and loaves Jesus who lived on earth, and more committed to the angry Jesus of the future. By the 1990s, this divine Terminator gained "most-favored Jesus status" among America's mega churches; and with that, even the mention of the former "social justice" Messiah drove the socially conscious from their larger, meaner flock.
In addition to such historical developments, there may very well simply be an underlying, all-too-human social-psychological process at root, one that probably plays itself out among all religious individuals: they see in their religion what they want to see, and deny or despise the rest. That is, religion is one big Rorschach test. People look at the content of their religious tradition -- its teachings, its creeds, its prophet's proclamations -- and they basically pick and choose what suits their own secular outlook. They see in their faith what they want to see as they live their daily lives, and simultaneously ignore the rest. And as is the case for most White Evangelical Christians, what they are ignoring is actually the very heart and soul of Jesus's message -- a message that emphasizes sharing, not greed. Peace-making, not war-mongering. Love, not violence.
Of course, conservative Americans have every right to support corporate greed, militarism, gun possession, and the death penalty, and to oppose welfare, food stamps, health care for those in need, etc. -- it is just strange and contradictory when they claim these positions as somehow "Christian." They aren't.
How the So-Called Guardians of Free Speech Are Silencing the Messenger
Saturday 12 March 2011
by: John Pilger, t r u t h o u t | News Analysis
Julian Assange, the founder of the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy group, speaks to the press. (Photo: Andrew Testa / The New York Times)
As the United States and Britain look for an excuse to invade another oil-rich Arab country, the hypocrisy is familiar. Colonel Gaddafi is "delusional" and "blood-drenched" while the authors of an invasion that killed a million Iraqis, who have kidnapped and tortured in our name, are entirely sane, never blood-drenched and once again the arbiters of "stability."
But something has changed. Reality is no longer what the powerful say it is. Of all the spectacular revolts across the world, the most exciting is the insurrection of knowledge sparked by WikiLeaks. This is not a new idea. In 1792, the revolutionary Tom Paine warned his readers in England that their government believed that "people must be hoodwinked and held in superstitious ignorance by some bugbear or other." Paine's "The Rights of Man" was considered such a threat to elite control that a secret grand jury was ordered to charge him with "a dangerous and treasonable conspiracy." Wisely, he sought refuge in France.
The ordeal and courage of Paine is cited by the Sydney Peace Foundation in its award of Australia's human rights gold medal to Julian Assange. Like Paine, Assange is a maverick who serves no system and is threatened by a secret grand jury, a malicious device long abandoned in England, but not in the United States. If extradited to the US, he is likely to disappear into the Kafkaesque world that produced the Guantanamo Bay nightmare and now accuses Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks' alleged whistleblower, of a capital crime.
Should Assange's current British appeal fail against his extradition to Sweden, he will probably, once charged, be denied bail and held incommunicado until his trial in secret. The case against him has already been dismissed by a senior prosecutor in Stockholm and given new life only when a right-wing politician, Claes Borgstrom, intervened and made public statements about Assange's "guilt." Borgstrom, a lawyer, now represents the two women involved. His law partner is Thomas Bodstrom, who, as Sweden's minister for justice in 2001, was implicated in the handover of two innocent Egyptian refugees to a CIA kidnap squad at Stockholm airport. Sweden later awarded them damages for their torture.
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These facts were documented in an Australian parliamentary briefing in Canberra on 2 March. Outlining an epic miscarriage of justice threatening Assange, the enquiry heard expert evidence that, under international standards of justice, the behavior of certain officials in Sweden would be considered "highly improper and reprehensible [and] preclude a fair trial." A former senior Australian diplomat, Tony Kevin, described the close ties between the Swedish Prime Minister Frederic Reinfeldt and the Republican right in the US. "Reinfeldt and [George W] Bush are friends," he said. Reinfeldt has attacked Assange publicly and hired Karl Rove, the former Bush crony, to advise him. The implications for Assange's extradition to the US from Sweden are dire.
The Australian enquiry was ignored in the UK, where black farce is currently preferred. On 3 March, The Guardian UK announced that Stephen Spielberg's Dream Works was to make "an investigative thriller in the mould of All the President's Men" out of the book "WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy." I asked David Leigh, who wrote the book with Luke Harding, how much Spielberg had paid The Guardian UK for the screen rights and what he expected to make personally. "No idea," was the puzzling reply of The Guardian UK's "investigations editor." The Guardian UK paid WikiLeaks nothing for its treasure trove of leaks. Assange and WikiLeaks - not Leigh or Harding - are responsible for what The Guardian UK's editor, Alan Rusbridger, calls "one of the greatest journalistic scoops of the last 30 years."
The Guardian UK has made clear it has no further use for Assange. He is a loose cannon who does not fit Guardian-world, who proved a tough, unclubbable negotiator. And brave. In The Guardian UK's self-regarding book, Assange's extraordinary bravery is excised. He becomes a figure of petty bemusement, an "unusual Australian" with a "frizzy-haired" mother, gratuitously abused as "callous" and a "damaged personality" that was "on the autistic spectrum." How will Spielberg deal with this childish character assassination?
On the BBC's "Panorama," Leigh indulged hearsay about Assange not caring about the lives of those named in the leaks. As for the claim that Assange had complained of a "Jewish conspiracy," which follows a torrent of Internet nonsense that he is an evil agent of Mossad, Assange rejected this as "completely false, in spirit and word."
It is difficult to describe, let alone imagine, the sense of isolation and state of siege of Assange, who, in one form or another, is paying for tearing aside the façade of rapacious power. The canker here is not the far right, but the paper-thin liberalism of those who guard the limits of free speech. The New York Times has distinguished itself by spinning and censoring the WikiLeaks material. "We are taking all [the] cables to the administration," said Bill Keller, the editor, "They've convinced us that redacting certain information would be wise." In an article by Keller, Assange is personally abused. At the Columbia School of Journalism on 3 February, Keller said, in effect, that the public could not be trusted with the release of further cables. This might cause a "cacophony." The gatekeeper has spoken.
The heroic Manning is kept naked under lights and cameras 24 hours a day. Greg Barns, director of the Australian Lawyers Alliance, says the fears that Assange will "end up being tortured in a high security American prison" are justified. Who will share responsibility for such a crime?
In brig, WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning ordered to sleep without clothing
Picture of Bradley Manning with Equality poster here:
By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 5, 2011; 10:02 PM
Military jailers are forcing Bradley Manning, the 23-year-old soldier accused of passing classified documents to WikiLeaks.org, to strip naked in his cell at night and sleep without clothing, a requirement his lawyer says was imposed after Manning made a "sarcastic quip" about his confinement.
For most of the past eight months, Manning has been required to sleep wearing only boxer shorts, because of his status as a detainee under "prevention of injury watch," said 1st Lt. Brian Villiard, a spokesman for the military detention facility, or "brig," in Quantico. Beginning Wednesday night, the facility commander ordered that Manning turn over his boxers, too.
"The intention is not to cause any sort of humiliation or embarrassment," Villiard said. "The intention is to ensure the safety and security of the detainee and make sure he is able to stand trial."
Villiard said he could not explain how Manning might harm himself if he were allowed to keep his underwear, citing rules to protect detainees' privacy. All he could say was that "circumstances warranted" the measure, which was ordered by the brig commander, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Denise Barnes. The requirement will remain in effect until a review next week, he said.
But Manning's attorney, David E. Coombs, said he believed the order was "punitive" under the "guise of being concerned" about Manning's welfare.
In a blog post Saturday, Coombs gave this account of how the boxers were taken away: On Wednesday, Manning was told he would continue to be kept under the restrictions of prevention of injury watch, that there was nothing he could do to change his maximum-custody status and that the brig commander considered him at risk of self-harm. Manning then said that the restrictions were "absurd" and that if he wanted to harm himself using an item of clothing, he could do so "with the elastic waistband of his underwear or with his flip-flops."
Without consulting the facility's mental health provider, the brig commander used Manning's quip as "justification" to increase the restrictions on him, Coombs said. He said Manning was not placed under suicide watch because that would have required a mental health provider's recommendation that the brig commander lacked.
In response to this specific incident, the brig psychiatrist assessed Manning as "low risk," Coombs wrote. In particular, the psychiatrist said that Manning's statement about his underwear waistband was "in no way prompted by 'a psychiatric condition.' "
Villiard did not immediately respond to messages left late Saturday seeking comment on Coombs's claim.
The conditions of Manning's confinement have become controversial, with the United Nations special rapporteur on torture saying he submitted a formal inquiry to the State Department about Manning's treatment. The State Department confirmed Saturday that U.S. officials "have met with the special rapporteur and are preparing a formal response."
Under prevention of injury watch, Manning sleeps on a mattress with a built-in pillow. He has no sheet, only a blanket designed so that it cannot be shredded.
He is in maximum custody, which means he is allowed out of his cell for only one hour each day - to exercise by himself, indoors or outdoors. The maximum-custody designation is based on the seriousness of the alleged offense and the potential length of the sentence, as well as the military's duty to protect him from himself and others, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said last month.
Morrell said he had visited Quantico to observe the conditions of Manning's detention. "I came away enormously impressed by the professionalism of the brig staff and reassured that the manner in which they are housing and treating him is appropriate," he said.
Morrell said that he did not actually speak to Manning but "was just able to see him." He said he was accompanied by Pentagon general counsel Jeh Johnson.
"There's this misperception out there that he is in somehow in solitary confinement, out on his own somewhere in a dark and dreary cell," Morrell said. "That could not be further from the truth."
Coombs said that although Manning is technically not held in solitary confinement, "the cumulative effect of his confinement conditions are tantamount to solitary confinement." He said that there are no other detainees on either side of his cell and that the cell lacks a window or natural light. If Manning tries to speak to others several cells away, "the guards will likely view it as disruptive and require him to stop speaking," he wrote in his blog.
On Friday afternoon, Manning was the only detainee in maximum custody; two other maximum-custody detainees had left that morning, Villiard said.
The jail has 30 cells arranged in a U formation. Though the detainees may talk to one another, the cells are designed so that no detainee has a direct line of sight to another, Villiard said.
On Wednesday, the government denied Manning's request to be removed from maximum custody and prevention of injury watch, said Coombs, who will appeal.
Villiard said the prevention of injury watch status is reviewed every week with input from mental health providers.
Coombs has asserted that the facility's forensic psychiatrist recommended that the watch be lifted. A separate psychiatrist hired by the defense concurred, he said.
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Wed Mar 9, 12:10 pm ET
Jobs returning - but good ones not so much
By Zachary Roth
When it comes to jobs, it's not just quantity that matters--it's also quality. It's great news that the economy is finally producing jobs again--even if it'll take another few years of this kind of growth to get us back to where we were before the Great Recession. But that also means it's now time to ask what kind of jobs are being created. And on that front, things are a lot less encouraging.
Several recent studies suggest that the new jobs pay less and offer fewer work hours than the ones they have replaced. Let's look at the numbers:
. Lower-wage industries -- things like retail and food preparation -- accounted for 23 percent of the jobs lost during the recession, but 49 percent of the jobs gained over the last year, a recent study (pdf) by the National Employment Law Program found. Higher-wage industries, by contrast, accounted for 40 percent of the jobs lost, but just 14 percent of the jobs gained. In other words, low paying jobs are increasing as a percentage of total jobs, while high-paying jobs are on the decline.
. Meanwhile, the percentage of those working who have part-time jobs and want full-time ones surged in mid-February to 19.6 percent -- almost as high as it was a year ago before the recovery began, according to Gallup numbers. That suggests, of course, that a large number of the new jobs created over the last year are part-time.
. And a recent Wall Street Journal analysis found that even though productivity rose 5.2 percent from mid 2009 to the end of 2010, wages increased by just 0.3 percent. That means only 6 percent of productivity gains were shared with workers. In past recoveries, that figure has averaged 58 percent. This time around, far more of the gains went to shareholders, in the form of profits, which are at record levels.
There are no easy answers for how to fix the problem. Some argue that workers need more clout in their relationship with employers, something that would require a renaissance of private-sector labor unions, which have been on the decline for the last half-century. But that prospect looks unlikely: Indeed efforts are underway in several states to make public-sector unions as weak as their private-sector counterparts.
Still, as the economy continues to add jobs in the coming months, it's worth keeping the issue of quality in mind. An economy with a glut of low-paying and part-time jobs isn't an economy that's working for most Americans.
March 7, 2011
The New Humanism
By DAVID BROOKS
Over the course of my career, I've covered a number of policy failures. When the Soviet Union fell, we sent in teams of economists, oblivious to the lack of social trust that marred that society. While invading Iraq, the nation's leaders were unprepared for the cultural complexities of the place and the psychological aftershocks of Saddam's terror.
We had a financial regime based on the notion that bankers are rational creatures who wouldn't do anything stupid en masse. For the past 30 years we've tried many different ways to restructure our educational system - trying big schools and little schools, charters and vouchers - that, for years, skirted the core issue: the relationship between a teacher and a student.
I've come to believe that these failures spring from a single failure: reliance on an overly simplistic view of human nature. We have a prevailing view in our society - not only in the policy world, but in many spheres - that we are divided creatures. Reason, which is trustworthy, is separate from the emotions, which are suspect. Society progresses to the extent that reason can suppress the passions.
This has created a distortion in our culture. We emphasize things that are rational and conscious and are inarticulate about the processes down below. We are really good at talking about material things but bad at talking about emotion.
When we raise our kids, we focus on the traits measured by grades and SAT scores. But when it comes to the most important things like character and how to build relationships, we often have nothing to say. Many of our public policies are proposed by experts who are comfortable only with correlations that can be measured, appropriated and quantified, and ignore everything else.
Yet while we are trapped within this amputated view of human nature, a richer and deeper view is coming back into view. It is being brought to us by researchers across an array of diverse fields: neuroscience, psychology, sociology, behavioral economics and so on.
This growing, dispersed body of research reminds us of a few key insights. First, the unconscious parts of the mind are most of the mind, where many of the most impressive feats of thinking take place. Second, emotion is not opposed to reason; our emotions assign value to things and are the basis of reason. Finally, we are not individuals who form relationships. We are social animals, deeply interpenetrated with one another, who emerge out of relationships.
This body of research suggests the French enlightenment view of human nature, which emphasized individualism and reason, was wrong. The British enlightenment, which emphasized social sentiments, was more accurate about who we are. It suggests we are not divided creatures. We don't only progress as reason dominates the passions. We also thrive as we educate our emotions.
When you synthesize this research, you get different perspectives on everything from business to family to politics. You pay less attention to how people analyze the world but more to how they perceive and organize it in their minds. You pay a bit less attention to individual traits and more to the quality of relationships between people.
You get a different view of, say, human capital. Over the past few decades, we have tended to define human capital in the narrow way, emphasizing I.Q., degrees, and professional skills. Those are all important, obviously, but this research illuminates a range of deeper talents, which span reason and emotion and make a hash of both categories:
Attunement: the ability to enter other minds and learn what they have to offer.
Equipoise: the ability to serenely monitor the movements of one's own mind and correct for biases and shortcomings.
Metis: the ability to see patterns in the world and derive a gist from complex situations.
Sympathy: the ability to fall into a rhythm with those around you and thrive in groups.
Limerence: This isn't a talent as much as a motivation. The conscious mind hungers for money and success, but the unconscious mind hungers for those moments of transcendence when the skull line falls away and we are lost in love for another, the challenge of a task or the love of God. Some people seem to experience this drive more powerfully than others.
When Sigmund Freud came up with his view of the unconscious, it had a huge effect on society and literature. Now hundreds of thousands of researchers are coming up with a more accurate view of who we are. Their work is scientific, but it directs our attention toward a new humanism. It's beginning to show how the emotional and the rational are intertwined.
I suspect their work will have a giant effect on the culture. It'll change how we see ourselves. Who knows, it may even someday transform the way our policy makers see the world.
Unequal Protection: The Battle to Save Democracy
Monday 07 March 2011
by: Thom Hartmann, Berrett-Koehler Publishers | Serialized Book
NEW YORK TIMES
March 7, 2011
Too Long to Wait
Seven months have passed since Proposition 8, California's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriages, was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge in San Francisco following a much-publicized trial that turned up no evidence to justify the measure's denial of equal protection and due process.
Yet the 2008 initiative continues to inflict serious harm on same-sex couples and their families thanks to a court order that prevents gay men and lesbians from marrying in California while the case is being appealed. That stay should be lifted now.
The appeal was argued in December before a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. It could be many more months before the panel rules. In February, it asked the California Supreme Court to resolve a procedural question regarding the standing of the initiative's sponsor to bring the appeal. The state's top court has said it will not even hold a hearing on the issue until September, at the earliest.
In legal papers filed last week, lawyers challenging Proposition 8 took note of the "serious, lasting, and irreparable damage to gay men and lesbians who wish to marry" caused by this extended timetable and called on the federal court to lift its injunction.
The stay should never have been granted in the first place. Applying traditional legal criteria, the extraordinary relief of a stay is only warranted when the applicant makes a strong showing of likely success on the merits and of irreparable injury in the absence of a stay - two arguments that cannot be satisfied here.
As the trial judge's ruling affirmed, the denial of marriage equality furthers no legitimate governmental aim. And defenders of Proposition 8 can point to no real injury they would suffer if gay men and lesbians are permitted to wed.
Every day same-sex couples are denied their right to marry is another day of injustice for them and their families. Couples who wish to wed knowing that the appellate court could decide to uphold Proposition 8's ban should be allowed to take that chance.
LOS ANGELES TIMES
Same-sex weddings, now
Gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to marry while the Proposition 8 case works its way through the system.
February 28, 2011
Although the federal courts expedited their handling of the lawsuit challenging Proposition 8, the issues are far from resolved. And now that the California Supreme Court has been asked to weigh in, the case could be delayed for another year or more.
Enough already. Gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to wed while the case works its way through the system.
The state Supreme Court was asked by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to rule on whether supporters of Proposition 8 have the right - known as "standing" - to continue with their case. It indicated that it would hear arguments late this year, with a ruling likely to follow a few months later. Meanwhile, a stay pending the outcome of the appeal has kept gay weddings from going forward. Now, however, the lawyers challenging Proposition 8 have asked the 9th Circuit to lift the stay and allow the weddings to take place. We agree that it should.
Every day that the case drags on, gay and lesbian couples who would like to marry are being deprived of their civil rights. That's not our wording; the federal trial judge decided that issue, at least for now. The denial of constitutional rights, even temporarily, is a deplorable situation that must meet high legal standards to be allowed to continue. In our view, those conditions have not been met.
First, a stay should be issued only if there is a strong likelihood that the appealing party - in this case, the supporters of Proposition 8 - will prevail in court. Yet there are serious questions about whether they even have the standing to appeal, so the outcome is very uncertain. There are other factors the courts take into account when deciding whether to keep a stay in place. Those filing the appeal must show that they would be irreparably harmed if the stay were lifted; the courts also take into account where the public interest lies. During the trial, the supporters of Proposition 8 were unable to identify any harm that would befall them if same-sex weddings took place.
Certainly it would be messy if California were to resume performing wedding ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples, only to have to stop again when another ruling comes down. But there may be no other option. Right now, same-sex couples are being deprived of their constitutional right to marry, and every indication is that unless the stay is lifted, they'll have to keep waiting for more than a year. That is real harm, and there is no valid reason to allow it to continue.
from Fallbrook, California (north San Diego County)
No, indeed, Brother Brian - and I pray you are listening. Leading your followers to vote away the rights of a class of people in the name of "Religious Liberty" is a thing of the Devil! Encouraging the fearful to celebrate their prejudice - presumably in God's name! - is downright satanic, Brother Brian, satanic! And I fear for your soul. You are slip-sliding toward Hell in a bigot basket, straight toward Hell. The Evil One has tempted you with the sinister lust for white heterosexual male privilege, the craving for power, and you have succumbed. Your soul is at risk of an eternity of fiery damnation, Brother Brian. Repent before it's too late! You must drop to your knees and pray to God. Pray for God to exorcize the demons from your heart. Pray for God's great and abundant forgiveness for the sins you have perpetrated on the voters of Maine and California, New Jersey and New York, Delaware and Washington, D.C., Rhode Island, Texas and Illinois. Throw yourself before God's merciful heart and thank Jesus for suffering for your bigoted sins. Repent, Brother Brian, repent before Satan's snaky tail has an unbreakable grip on your soul and you are lost to his hellfires forever!
from the "Family Research Council" (Southern Baptist political front)
March 11, 2011
Maryland Gets Cold Feet on Same-Sex 'Marriage'
Never underestimate the power of a few committed Christians! Just a few hours ago, the Maryland same-sex "marriage" bill went from the verge of passage to crushing defeat. After a passionate debate that lasted more than two hours, the House of Delegates shocked everyone by sending the legislation back to committee--all but guaranteeing its demise. If legislators decided to revisit the issue, they would have to start the process from the very beginning with new hearings, amendments, and votes. Sen. Jamie Raskin says that it isn't likely. For all intensive purposes, the bill was killed.
In an overwhelmingly Democratic Assembly, this is victory of gigantic proportions. Once again, it signals that even the most liberal states are not on board with the agenda to redefine marriage. FRC's Peter Sprigg, who testified against the bill in both chambers, was instrumental in pointing out the harms of same-sex "marriage." As he said, the confidence of the homosexual community is clearly misplaced. The opposition to this legislation, even from one its former cosponsors, shows the groundswell of resistance that exists in Maryland and beyond. This is in no small part due to the effort of FRC allies, Bishop Harry Jackson and Derek McCoy, who took such a courageous stand. Our thanks go out to everyone in the state who worked against all odds to protect the sanctity of marriage. It does make a difference!
March 10, 2011
Boehner's Got a Brand New BLAG
At the Department of Justice, attorneys are apparently so bored that they're playing computer solitaire. And with the Attorney General walking out on his responsibilities faster than you can say "traditional marriage," things aren't likely to get any busier. So what's in the cards for the DOJ? The Department won't prosecute child pornography. It won't enforce our federal marriage law. And, we just found out last week, it won't investigate Planned Parenthood. Considering how little the agency is doing, Congress would be better off taking a chunk of the DOJ's budget and redirecting it to their own counsel to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)--an idea Rep. Steve Austria (R-Ohio) says Republicans are considering. "I know there are suggestions that whatever dollars are being used right now by the Department of Justice to be moved to whatever area--whether it be the legislative branch attorneys to defend Congress's statute."
Yesterday, in what I am told was a 3-2 decision, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) led the five-member Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) in setting the stage for the House to hire its own lawyers to fight for DOMA in court. Now that Holder's team has pulled out, the Republicans are stepping in. The move was important for a couple of reasons. First, it shows the GOP's commitment to its Pledge to America, which vows to honor families, life, and traditional marriage. Secondly, it makes a strong statement to the Obama administration that Republicans will not stand by while this President challenges Congress's authority. The DOMA challenge in the First District Court of Appeals, which was what prompted the administration's announcement of retreat, deals with not only marriage but delves deeper into congressional authority over federal spending.
In a somewhat predictable fashion, liberals were quick to criticize the cost attached to DOMA's defense. Perhaps they should have thought of that before they encouraged the President to step aside. "The Republicans' decision will "sap hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars... during a time of limited fiscal resources." Let's be clear. It was not conservatives who asked for a debate over marriage, nor was it the Republicans' decision to be saddled with DOJ's job. It was the Left's and this administration's, respectively.
Obama's Bully Pulpit
Anyone who has survived middle school knows that bullying is real. You've probably experienced it. I certainly have. As an overweight kid growing up in Ohio, I know how hard it is to be ridiculed and laughed at for how you look. While I relied on my faith, humor and a determination to change to make it through those difficult middle school years, it was painful--and it's a big reason why I've taught my kids not to make fun of people who are different. But just because people are different doesn't mean we can't engage them in conversations about decisions that could harm them and positive choices that can change the future.
Unfortunately, I think that message is missing from today's White House conference on bullying. As Christians, we don't believe that a person should be harassed for their sexuality, their physical appearance, their beliefs, or any other reason. But sadly, the Left tends to spin the issue of bullying as a uniquely homosexual problem. They hold up tragic incidents like Tyler Clementi's suicide to push for school-based curriculum and other initiatives that give homosexuals a platform for normalizing their behavior.
Even the government's StopBullying website is dominated by information about LGBT bullying. This is the liberals' way of turning a serious problem into an opportunity for greater censorship of those who disagree with their behavior. In the White House materials, they turn a dialogue about bullying into a conversation about protecting homosexuals. The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Alliance (GLSEN) is featured in the government's resources with a generous plug from President Obama. The debate has also created a window for homosexual Kevin Jennings, the embattled "safe school czar," to spread his propaganda in the classroom--and on the White House website. Does the anti-bullying initiative extend to young people with Christian beliefs, who find themselves the subject of a teacher's ridicule on subjects like sexuality or science? If it doesn't, then America is only exacerbating the problem.
The Dues and Don'ts of Union Membership
Yesterday, it would have been easy to mistake Wisconsin's unions for an angry third-world mob. For three weeks, state Republicans have been under assault from Big Labor over a collective bargaining agreement in the latest budget bill. By Wednesday, the assault was real. Angry throngs stormed the capitol after the state senate voted to pass the proposal without help from Democrats, who stomped out of the capital like angry toddlers and refused to work. A lot of the credit for yesterday's vote goes to new Gov. Scott Walker (R), who stood his ground in what became a national standoff with union leaders, liberals, and even the President, who felt compelled to insert himself into the state's business. Walker, who has just three months under his belt, refused to crumble under the pressure and plowed ahead to do what he had been elected to do: balance the budget. Within an hour of the vote, however, local protestors had "climbed through windows and flooded the Capitol." According to the Associated Press, "protestors had seized the building's lower floors, creating an ear-splitting, free-for-all of pounding drums, screaming chants, horns and whistles." At one point, "Police gave up guarding the building entrances and retreated to the third floor."
While some see it as a messy fight over worker rights, others see it as a fight for democracy. "Remember back during the health care debate when the Republicans fled D.C. to hide in hotels, the Tea Party protestors manhandled women & pushed people around culminating in that grand sacking of the Capitol we did?" RedState's Ben Howe asked. "Of course you don't. Because conservatives believe in protest as well as the rule of law. And when we don't get our way, we win at the polls, not at the end of a stick."
As shocking as yesterday's riots were, it's even more stunning how many Americans don't make the connection between the Left and the unions. While members are faithfully sending in their dues, some of them have no idea that their leaders are not focused on making America competitive--but using their power to underwrite an agenda most of them would never support. From labor to education, unions have been walking in lock-step with the liberal agenda and this administration. We witnessed it with ObamaCare, as unions spent millions endorsing a law that many have since been exempted from. At the National Education Association (NEA), the radical politicking is legendary. The NEA officially supports same-sex "marriage," abortion, and more recently, kids' programs on sexual satisfaction. It even has its own Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Caucus. When Planned Parenthood made headlines for supporting child prostitution, Service Employees International Union rushed to the organization's defense. Of course, these organizations don't go out of their way to tell members about their positions, because they know a majority would oppose them! It's time we started pulling back the curtain on the real union agenda so that more Americans understand where their dues are going.
** Sex Trafficking in America: from the Boulevard to Planned Parenthood **
Each year, right under our noses, 100,000 American children each year are victimized by sex traffickers. Make no mistake, this is not a problem that's just "over there." These heinous crimes are happening in our own backyards. A special live video webcast hosted by Family Research Council on Tuesday, March 15 at 2:00 p.m. ET will bring together leading experts shed light on this growing problem that affects every corner of our nation--from neighborhoods, playgrounds, and malls to the local Planned Parenthood clinic. You will also learn what actions you can take to help restore these victims, and stop those who prey on them.
My comments ---
As usual, nobody knows how to lie and bear false witness like a Southern Baptist or an SB clone.
Among other things, the cost of illegal immigrants ["Mexicans"] in this country is money in the bank compared to what white men on Wall Street have cost this country.
Southern Baptists and their clones do not have the mental ability to listen to anything but their own prejudices. They have been blinded by faith.
Rep. Peter King (R, New York)
Peter King hearings: Was anything accomplished?
"The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response"
My comment ---
He should have asked about the radicalization of all religions. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam included.
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