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NEWS -- 2013.03.20.Wednesday -- Spring Equinox

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  • James Martin
    Spring Equinox http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/18/first-day-of-spring-2013_n_2885044.html ... 1) Political cartoon sums it up. 2) Iraq War vet pens last
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 20, 2013
      Spring Equinox http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/18/first-day-of-spring-2013_n_2885044.html


      1) Political cartoon sums it up.
      2) Iraq War vet pens 'last letter' to Bush and Cheney
      3) History Channel Says Satan Does Not Look Like Obama
      4) Westboro Equality House: Aaron Jackson Paints Rainbow Home Across From Anti-Gay Church
      5) Will Portman, Senator's Gay Son, Criticized By Conservatives After Dad's Gay Marriage Reversal

      This sums it up. Republicans.


      [ picture at URL ]
      Iraq War vet pens 'last letter' to Bush and Cheney
      By Dylan Stableford, Yahoo! News | The Lookout - Wednesday 20 March 2013

      An Iraq War veteran who joined the U.S. Army two days after 9/11 has written a powerful open letter to former President George W. Bush and ex-Vice President Dick Cheney accusing them of war crimes, "plunder" and "the murder of thousands of young Americans-my fellow veterans-whose future you stole."

      Tomas Young, who was shot and paralyzed during an insurgent attack in Sadr City in 2004, five days into his first deployment, penned the letter from his Kansas City, Mo., home, where he's under hospice care.

      "I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney," Young wrote in the letter published on Truthdig.com. "I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans-my fellow veterans-whose future you stole."

      The 33-year-old, who was the subject of Phil Donahue's 2007 documentary "Body of War," continued:

      I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to "liberate" Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called "democracy" in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq's oil revenues.

      Young believes he was injured fighting the wrong war:

      I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love. I would not have to lie in my bed, my body filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away, and deal with the fact that hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire.

      "When Tomas Young saw President Bush on television speaking from the ruins of the Twin Towers, his life changed," his bio on the "Body of War" website reads. "As his basic training began at Ft. Hood, he assumed that he would be shipped off to Afghanistan where the terrorist camps were based, routing out Al Qaeda and Taliban warriors. But soon, Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq."

      In an interview with Truthdig.com, Young-who suffered an anoxic brain injury in 2008-said he had been contemplating "conventional" suicide, but decided to go on hospice care, "stop feeding and fade away."

      "This way, instead of committing the conventional suicide and I am out of the picture, people have a way to stop by or call and say their goodbyes," Young said. "I felt this was a fairer way to treat people than to just go out with a note."


      History Says Satan Does Not Look Like Obama
      By Kevin Dolak | ABC News Blogs - Monday 18 March 2013

      Creators of the History channel's "The Bible" today rejected suggestions that the character of Satan in the popular mini-series resembles President Obama.

      "This is utter nonsense," producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett said in a statement. "The actor who played Satan, Mehdi Ouazanni, is a highly acclaimed Moroccan actor. He has previously played parts in several Biblical epics - including Satanic characters long before Barack Obama was elected as our president."

      The History channel said any claims of a resemblance are "false."

      "HISTORY channel has the highest respect for President Obama. The series was produced with an international and diverse cast of respected actors. It's unfortunate that anyone made this false connection," the channel said.

      The 10-hour series, produced by Downey and Burnett, who also produced "Survivor," began airing March 3 and will conclude on March 31. The series has been pulling in strong ratings, with the premiere viewed by 13.1 million.

      Sunday night's reveal of Satan led many viewers to take to social media to express their surprise with the casting choice.

      "Anyone else think the Devil in #TheBible Sunday on History Channel looks exactly like That Guy?" conservative commentator Glenn Beck tweeted.

      "Did you catch # TheBible last night? Obama made an appearance," Twitter user Chris Forewit wrote.

      The White House did not immediately respond to ABC News when reached for comment.

      The casting decision recalls the uproar when it was revealed that the creators of "Game of Thrones" used a faux severed replica of former President George W. Bush's head mounted on a stake in a number of scenes in the hit series. HBO quickly released an apology over its inclusion.


      Also read http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/entertainment/2013/03/history-says-satan-does-not-look-like-obama/


      Lots and lots of comments at the URLs.



      [ Video at URL ]
      Westboro Equality House: Aaron Jackson Paints Rainbow Home Across From Anti-Gay Church
      Posted: 03/19/2013 9:55 am EDT

      The Westboro Baptist Church is about to get a big surprise in the form of a new neighbor who plans to give the notoriously anti-gay group a taste of its own medicine.

      Aaron Jackson, one of the founders of Planting Peace, a multi-pronged charity that has in the past concentrated on rainforest conservation, opening orphanages and deworming programs, bought a house that sits directly across from the church's compound six months ago. On Tuesday, March 19, he and a team of volunteers are painting it to match the gay pride flag.

      The project -- which the nonprofit is calling the "Equality House" -- is the first in a new campaign Planting Peace plans to wage against the group. Westboro is known for its intimidating tactics of protesting (or threatening to protest) what they refer to as America's pro-gay, anti-God agenda, in close proximity to pride parades, soldier funerals and other events like the Sandy Hook memorial services.

      "I read a story about Josef Miles, a 10-year-old kid who counter-protested the Westboro Baptist Church by holding the sign that says 'God Hates No One,'" Jackson told The Huffington Post.

      "I didn't know anything about the church or where they were located, but that story kept popping up. And one night I wondered, Where is this church? I got on Google Earth, and I was 'walking down the road,' and I did a 360 view. And I saw a 'For Sale' sign sitting in the front yard of a house. Right away it hit me, Oh my gosh, I could buy a house in front of the WBC! And immediately I thought: And I'm going to paint that thing the color of the pride flag."

      Jackson said he's always wanted to get involved in gay activism, but hadn't been sure of how to do it until this opportunity presented itself.

      "The reason I haven't gotten into the gay rights activism is because, in a sense, it's almost silly -- it's 2013, are we really still in this position? It just seems ludicrous," he said. "But it is a real issue and kids are killing themselves. I've wanted to do something, and I knew when I saw that house for sale that it all came together. Everyone who knows me knows that I'm a little crazy and there's no red tape in my charity. When I want to do something, I do it."

      Planting Peace bought the house for roughly $83,000, and Jackson has been living in Topeka for just over a month. As he waited for the perfect time to transform the house into a very visible celebration of gay pride -- and a direct challenge to what Westboro preaches -- he encountered members of the group, including the Phelps family, which has run the church since it was established in 1956.

      "They own the majority of the homes in the community, and I walk through the area every day, and I see them running in between each other's houses," he said. "One day I was walking, and Shirley Phelps [one of Westboro's main spokespeople and the daughter of the church's leader, Fred Phelps] was on her four-wheeler. And I said, 'Hey guys, how are you?' And [she and her husband] responded, 'Oh, we're good. How are you?' We had a short conversation, and she was extremely nice, and she made a joke and we all laughed."

      "It's the craziest thing -- and it really throws you off -- because she's the type of woman who calls you "hun" and "darling" -- she's very Southern," he said. "It's like, aren't you the lady that's supposed to be casting me into hell? It's truly mind-boggling, but I can't say anything personally bad about her because she was kind to me and she made me laugh. She'd probably be fun to hang out with."

      But pleasantries aside, Jackson said he's confident that the church is already wary of his presence and may be expecting some sort of action from him.

      "They're extremely smart, and I would be willing to guess that when I moved into this community that they looked up property records, especially considering that I drive a Prius and I have an original reelect Jimmy Carter sticker on the back of it -- I'm a screaming liberal," he said.

      Jackson said he's also witnessed members of the church taking photos of the house and the industrial flagpole he installed, which stands in opposition to the flagpole that currently flies the pride flag and the American flag upside-down in front of the Westboro Baptist Church.

      "It looks like the United Nations is having a stand off with flags. These flag poles are huge. They know that we've forked out big money for this," Jackson said.

      Jackson said he's seen people who he thinks are members of the church, including high-ranking member Steve Drain, taking photos of the house.

      By the end of Tuesday, the Westboro Baptist Church will no longer be wondering what is going on at Jackson's home. But beyond painting the Equality House the colors of the rainbow flag and flying the flag from the newly installed flagpole, Jackson is already working on the next steps in his new fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LBGT) equality.

      "We want this house to be a message that where there's hate, there's also love. But we also want to raise awareness and capital, and we want to put all that money into creating and sustaining anti-bullying programs, along with supporting anti-bullying programs that already exist," he said. "Beyond the symbolic message of the home, [the house] will be utilized by volunteers to live here, and these volunteers will work on promoting equality anywhere in the world and managing these anti-bullying initiatives that we plan on creating."

      While Jackson understands that Westboro feeds off of the attention that it receives from the media and others, he said he believes that it's still critical to address their hate.

      "The media has already given them such a huge platform, and I don't see that stopping," he said. "We're taking the energy that's being poured into them and turning it into something positive. This is how we plan on playing it: Use their energy and let's turn it into something incredibly positive for the LGBT community."

      Jackson said he also sees the Equality House as one more step toward bringing about the demise of the organization. In recent months, the group has faced a backlash both from former members -- like Lauren Drain, who released a book about her life in the church and who recently suggested that Westboro's leader, Fred Phelps, may himself be gay -- and city governments, which have passed legislation aimed at limiting the group's ability to picket.

      "I think the future for the Westboro Baptist Church is very bleak," he said. "These poor kids will hopefully continue to leave that church. They have a lot of kids over there, but unfortunately they're not in a place where they can make decisions for themselves."

      Jackson is confident that Westboro's loss of power and relevance is just one sign of the good things still to come for the LGBT community.

      "I love seeing all of these Republicans and all these people who have been anti-gay all this time jumping ship because they know they're on the wrong side of history. It's an amazing thing to see," he said. "I know we have a long way to go in fighting bigotry, but we all know the gays are going to win. It's going to happen."

      To find out how you can help support the Equality House and its anti-bullying campaign, click here.

      See a slideshow of images from the Equality House below:

      --- click on URL ---



      [ Video at URL ]
      Will Portman, Senator's Gay Son, Criticized By Conservatives After Dad's Gay Marriage Reversal
      The Huffington Post | By Meredith Bennett-Smith
      Posted: 03/20/2013 11:21 am EDT | Updated: 03/20/2013 6:53 pm EDT

      Days after Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) publicly reversed his stance on same-sex marriage, conservative pundits and activists have singled out the politician's gay son for his sexual identity.

      On March 14, Portman told Ohio reporters that his decision came after his son, Will, a junior at Yale University, came out to him in February of 2011, The Columbus Dispatch reports.

      Out of school on spring break, Will supported his father's change of heart via Twitter:

      --- click on URL ---> Especially proud of my dad today

      But while some people were quick to applaud the young man as "brave," others were less congratulatory.

      On the same day Portman's change of heart made national headlines, the right wing blog "Government Is Not God" warned the politician that homosexuality "may eventually kill his son from AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases, or oral cancer."

      "Homosexual sex is ultimately just as destructive as cocaine use," the post continued. "Would Portman suddenly call for the legalization of cocaine if his son had announced that he was a cocaine addict? Would that be "loving" and

      In a statement posted on the Family Research Council (FRC) website, FRC president Tony Perkins wrote that Will's choices, and the choices of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in general "are both harmful to them and society as a whole."

      Meanwhile, Bryan Fischer, the controversial mouthpiece of the anti-gay American Family Association, compared being gay to being a bank robber, adding "prayers for the senator, his wife, his son and their entire family are called for at this time."

      According to the Columbus Dispatch, the senator told reporters that he had consulted several people about his change in position, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has a gay daughter. Cheney reportedly told Portman to "follow [his] heart" on the issue.

      While much older than Will, Mary Cheney was also criticized by members of her father's party after he spoke about her on the campaign trail.

      In 2004, for example, Illinois Republican Senate candidate Alan Keyes called Mary a "selfish hedonist," prompting the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay and lesbian organization, to retort that "attacking (a) politician's children is beyond the pale."


      And on TV today, Wednesday 20 March 2013, Republican party spokespersons were doing their best to say that the Republican Party is "inclusive".

      My comment -- Nobody knows how to lie and bear false witness like a Southern Baptist, or and SB clone.


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