Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Gerald Ford: A Profile in Political Courage

Gerald Ford, upon receiving the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2001:

“. . . The ultimate test of leadership is not the polls you take, but the risks you take. In the short run, some risks prove overwhelming. Political courage can be self-defeating. But the greatest defeat of all would be to live without courage, for that would hardly be living at all.”

He was a special President and a special man.

Quote from: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Break Time???

It's been several days since I posted anything so I thought I'd pop in and just write about what's been going on in my world.

I've been doing some deep cleaning at Mother's, getting ready for guests we'll have Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Yes, dear sister-in-law, I washed and changed your sheets today. The refrigerator has been cleaned out and the turkey, pulled from the freezer on Monday, is in the refrigerator to thaw...and it's taking its sweet time about it too.

Tomorrow I'll be doing the shopping. Mother went over her list and checked it, not twice but more like six times and then called me after I got home to add to it. :)

I've been having an interesting discussion in the group to which I belong. Not a lot of exchanges but a heavy topic. Maybe I'll share what I've learned at some point.

I saw Galway Kinnell on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer the other night. He read his poem "Why Regret?" One of my regrets in life had been that when I won an award when I was in my Senior year of high school to go to a summer workshop where I would have gotten to work one-on-one with Galway Kinnell, I ended up not getting to go due to some ugly circumstances. A friend of mine got to go and brought back a signed copy of one of his books of poetry for me. It would have been nice to have gotten to go but, as Kinnell pointed out, "Why Regret?" Things happened in my life that would never have happened if I had gone to that workshop. I met people I'd have never met and enjoyed the great, good fortune of working at "Taco Hut," oh, joy! Seriously, there are too many wonderful little things that happen each and every day, even the not so wonderful things can be of value. I decided to let go of my regret over not getting to meet Galway Kinnell at that workshop. I think he'd like that.

I have an idea or two for future posts when I get the time but, what better time of year than this to take a little break? Busy, busy.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

On Jeff Jacoby's "Atheists' bleak alternative"

Jeff Jacoby has written an excellent piece on the debated "war on Christmas," and it really isn't a war on Christmas as much as it is a war against Christians. Read it here:

Atheists' bleak alternative - The Boston Globe

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

...and yet, Christ Remains in CHRISTmas! Praise GOD!

My friend and co-contributor, PJ , has a new signature quotation on her email:

"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more." ~Dr. Seuss

It happens to be my favorite line from How the Grinch Stole Christmas but, as I was lying in bed suffering from insomnia last night, the song You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch, came to mind. There are a lot of Grinches in America today. It's as if some non-Christians want to completely remove the true meaning of Christmas and make it all about "com(ing) from a store."

I can't help but feel it's all sour grapes. Christmas is a holiday that is celebrated world wide, yet as long as it is associated with Christ, and it will always be associated with Christ, there will be people who, while professing Christians are sticking their noses into other people's business, would like to take Christmas away from Christians and turn it into an annual gift-giving extravaganza with no meaning.

Try as they might, they just can't make Christmas come from a store, and as I was thinking about that last night I realized something. I realized that for a Christian, no matter what anyone else chooses to call Christmas, it will always be Christmas and it will always truly live in the heart of a Christian as a celebration of Christ's birth, and more, the miracle of his birth and the miracle of God's plan to send his Son, as a baby, into this physical world to save mankind from his sin and offer us the gift of everlasting life. Non-Christians certainly don't have to celebrate God's gift of life, Christians can do nothing else in this season of joy. Take away every other "bell and whistle," and we'll still have that joy, that remembrance of what God has done for each of us. Christ, you see, lives in our hearts.

The politically correct crowd can take down Christmas trees, they can remove Nativity scenes, they can call Christians stupid, uneducated fools. They can beat us with rhetorical clubs, they can pretend to know what inspires us but, as "Grinch-like" as they are, they can never take away the hope in our hearts, the faith we hold so precious and which is so personal to us, the spirit of love that our annual celebration inspires.

Secularism has added some nice traditions to Christmas but try as it might, secular humanism will never provide that right relationship with God, will never change the heart of man, will never inspire love and forgiveness in a heart in any real and meaningful way. Only Christ can offer that, and for a Christian? We may open a few gifts, they signify a pale comparison to what God has done for us, and what he enables us to share out of that loving gift, so sacrificially given.

No, Mr. Grinch, "Christmas really doesn't come from a store."

I started this blog with the signature quotation being used by PJ in her email. I'll end it with the signature quotations I have been using in my own email:

"He was created of a mother whom he created. He was carried by hands that he formed. He cried in the manger in wordless infancy, he, the Word, without whom all human eloquence is mute." ~ Augustine of Hippo

"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift." 2 Corinthians 9:15

Merry Christmas! :)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Dominionist Hype Revisited

According to Religioustolerance.org,, under their topic of: CHRISTIAN RECONSTRUCTIONISM, DOMINION THEOLOGY AND THEONOMY, Dominion Theology derives its beginning from the beginning, Genesis 1:26 of the Hebrew Scriptures:

"Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground." (NIV)

ReligiousTolerance.org goes on to express that most Christians don't interpret the verse in the same way that dominionists do, Dominionists determine that Christian men are to have dominion over everything on earth, including non-Christian men. They state that most Christians interpret this verse as meaning God gave mankind dominion over the animal kingdom.

ReligiousTolerance.org claims that Dominionism was the only religious movement in North America which they "were" aware of that supports the idea of genocide against all people who do not follow their religious beliefs and agenda. They then mention a couple of Christian pastors from Texas who they claim support the killing of all Wiccans, but they do not give the names of these supposedly conservative Texas Pastors and list no reference to back up their claim. I spent a little time trying to find a story on this mysterious case in Texas and could find nothing, not even in a search of the claimants own site.

It continues to strike me as odd that if not for the hand wringing of liberals, Dominionism would get little notice, and in fact the whackos that are interested in subduing the world and all mankind under some theocratic system of government would likely receive little exposure and scant publicity.

Since most Christians do not adhere to Dominionistic belief why is the left treating it as though it is prevalent among conservative Christians, that it is a real threat?

ReligiousTolerance.org quotes:

"Ralph Reed, the executive director of the conservative public policy group the Christian Coalition (as having) criticized Reconstructionism as "an authoritarian ideology that threatens the most basic civil liberties of a free and democratic society." ....

According to ReligiousTolerance.org, Dominionists believe that before Christ can come again in the second coming that most of the world will have to be converted to Christianity. While stating that most fundamentalists don't agree with that position and pointing out that most fundamentalists believe that much of the criteria to be met before Christ's return has been met and that the time of the second coming could occur at any time, they don't really give the clear opposing belief regarding the "Great Commission," which they do not mention at all but should be given consideration:

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19-20).

Most fundamentalists believe we are to deliver that message the world over but that just as God has given us all a choice to accept Christ or not, man cannot force other men to love God or to accept Christ and only the Holy Spirit can soften the heart of an unbeliever and cause him to want to give their all to Him.

In my humble opinion, ReligiousTolerance.org goes too far when they quote Gary North, a Dominionist, from a Public Eye Magazine article:

"Gary North claims that 'the ideas of the Reconstructionists have penetrated into Protestant circles that for the most part are unaware of the original source of the theological ideas that are beginning to transform them.' North describes the 'three major legs of the Reconstructionist movement [as] the Presbyterian oriented educators, the Baptist school headmasters and pastors, and the charismatic telecommunications system'." 8

The foonote above refers to an article from PublicEye.org - Theocratic Dominionism Gains Influence - Part 3, and continues:

"What this means is that hundreds of thousands of Pentecostals and charismatic Christians, as well as many fundamentalist Baptists, have moved out of the apolitical camp. Many have thrown themselves into political work--not merely as voters, but as ideologically driven activists, bringing a reconstructed "Biblical world view" to bear on their area of activism.

This is probably the lasting contribution of Reconstructionism. Whether it is Operation Rescue activists called to anti-abortion work because of Francis Schaeffer's books, or Pentecostals who responded to the politicizing ministry and electoral ambitions of Pat Robertson during the 1970s and 1980s, the politicization of Pentecostalism is one of the major stories of modern American politics.

Indeed, Robertson has been pivotal in this process, mobilizing Pentecostals and charismatics into politics through his books, TV programs, Regent University, the 1988 presidential campaign, and his political organizations--first the Freedom Council in the 1980s and then the Christian Coalition...."

Yes, this is the same Christian Coalition headed, at the time of their writing by Ralph Reed, which ReligiousTolerance.org reports as having "criticized Reconstructionism as "an authoritarian ideology that threatens the most basic civil liberties of a free and democratic society." ....

The problem I have with the quote of the PublicEye.org article is with the assumption on the part of North (as though his opinion is fact), and apparently PublicEye.org, that because Pentecostals, Charismatics and some fundamentalist Baptists have seen the urgency of letting their voices be heard in politics that it, of necessity, means that those who do so have bought into the theology of Dominionism and/or Reconstructionism, and this has been my complaint all along with the vast over exaggeration of some people, generally liberals, that Dominionism is becoming a real threat in America. In PublicEye.org's "About" section we find:

"While attacks on civil liberties can come from any direction, the political and Christian Right use skillful marketing that exploits the public’s desire for quick solutions and capitalizes on today’s hectic information flow. With clever slogans that oversimplify complex public policy issues, the Right routinely scapegoats others in pursuit of their agenda."

Clearly, they admit that they focus on the political and Christian Right, and clearly, they bring a bias with them. Though they claim:

"PRA responds with fair and accurate analysis, looking beneath the sound-bites and slogans of the Right, exposing the true goals and agendas of specific leaders, organizations and movements. We then present our analysis in ways that can help the media, advocates and educators understand and challenge the Right." (emphasis mine)

How can one consider them to offer "fair and accurate analysis" when their primary goal is to "challenge the Right?" But challenge the right when they need challenged, by all means. This is a necessary thing and an important thing, the challenge of ideas is good or at least it can be good, if it is not used as a tool to try to paint all of the Christian Right who choose to become politically active and have a voice in government as Dominionists and/or Reconstructionists, who would promote the genocide of all people, including Christians who do not agree with and support the Dominionist/Reconstructionist agenda.

I have ignored this issue for a long time. I have considered the source and found that source unworthy of serious attention but to my own detriment and to the detriment of the Body of Christ.

One of the reasons I have begun to see the importance of this issue and the importance of not allowing liberal Americans to continue to slander all conservative Christians with, at least, the suspicion that they follow a Dominionist/Reconstructionist agenda is the article I spotlighted here last: Panelists: Evangelicals can help with their portrayal in news - (BP).

Since when did Christians in America have to go on a Public Relations campaign to get fair treatment in the press!?

As Christians, Christians know that there will be persecution, and we hear of much worse persecution in foreign lands than we do in America. We have been historically blessed with freedom of religion here in this great Nation, not only Christians, but all faiths. We have appreciated it, enjoyed it and unfortunately, we have taken it for granted.

While we have not forced ourselves on anyone, we long enjoyed a majority, we long understood that as a whole our Nation understood Christianity because the majority of Americans were Christians. There was no need of public relations campaigns. Now, Christianity is being divided among itself and a house divided cannot stand.

I have been concerned for some time that progressive Christians and conservative Christians should not be opposing one another but working with one another. We harm the Body of Christ when we let politics divide us. But don't get me wrong, politically progressive Christians, as American citizens, have a right to speak out in the political arena and politically conservative Christians also have a right to speak out in the political arena. I have, in the past, extended an olive branch to progressive Christians, only to have the branch broken and thrown like a rhetorical gauntlet at my feet. This should not be so. We should be able to have respect for one another's opinions, we should be able to disagree politically but agree in spirit, in Christian love for one another.

Am I crying in the wilderness, here, when I see all around me progressive Christians and the secular world uniting against conservative Christians because they disagree politically with us?

Is it not an historic fact that Christians have ALWAYS had a voice in government and is it not a fact today that progressive Christians are trying to rally a consensus voice, a progressive Christian agenda, a consensus of thought in order to become a progressive Christian voting bloc? If you need proof of this fact simply click on this link: Christian Alliance for Progress.

Should I take on the same mean spirited, slanderous language that liberals and some progressive Christians have taken up against their own conservative brothers and sisters in Christ and start propagandizing about those evil progressive Christian Dominionists and Reconstructionists?

I will not, except to make the point that if it is acceptable for progressive Christians to form an alliance and not be considered progressive Christian Dominionists or progressive Christian Reconstructionists then why is it wrong when conservative Christians merely want to have a voice in our government as well? Where are the conservative Christians demonizing progressive Christians as "Dominionists or Reconstructionists simply because they exercise their rights as citizens to play a political role in government?"

If we do not put an end to this misnomer that any conservative or Right-wing Christian who becomes politically active is trying to set up a theocracy, we are headed for much more persecution in the future...and that persecution will not rest solely on the heads of politically conservative Christians. People will begin to be suspicious of ALL those who carry the title of Christian, whether they be politically conservative or politically progressive. Who will progressive Christians blame? Only God can know, but it raises a doubt in my mind when politics trumps all, even one's own brothers and sisters in Christ whom God has commanded you to love:

"And this is his commandment. That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment." 1 John 3:23

At a time when our country is divided over so many things it is vitally important that Christians put God first and unite in the cause of Christ.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Panel Meets on Evangelicals' Portrayal in News

In Panelists: Evangelicals can help with their portrayal in news - (BP), in which it is reported Southern Baptists were represented by an ethics leader, a Christian radio talk show host was in attendance, along with an ABC News Producer and former religious writers for a couple of major news magazines, there was discussion about the representation of evangelical Christians by the media.

At one point:

"Jeanmarie Condon, a senior producer for ABC News said she believes the three-fold role of ABC and the rest of the news media is:

-- “To take seriously the fact that religion is a major mover and motivator for people all around the world and that it needs to be considered carefully in our coverage of almost any story.

-- “Not to treat it like an anthropological study, but to cover it from the inside, to look at what ideas people are debating, what causes conflict within various movements, what people agree on, what’s bothering them, what people are talking about around their Sunday dinner table.

-- “And the third thing is to provoke discussion.”"

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Katherine Yurica: The Plain Ordinary Born Again Christian

When I wrote about Dominionism, Progressive Christian Dominionists, on December 4th, I raised the question of why, if the definition of Dominionism, according to Wikipedia is...:

"Dominionism...seeks to establish specific political policies based on religious beliefs.

It is most often used to describe POLITICALLY ACTIVE conservative Christians WITH A SPECIFIC AGENDA. The term is rarely used as a self-description; many feel it is a loaded or pejorative term, and USE OF THE TERM IS PRIMARILY LIMITED TO CRITICS OF THE Christian Right." (emphasis mine)

...then why the term dominionism isn't used to describe progressive Christians who seek "to establish specific political policies based on religious belief" and are "politically active with a specific agenda," as well. I concluded that...:

"If politically active Christians who are seeking a specific agenda are "Dominionists" there are plenty of progressive Christian "Dominionists," as well."

...and I was right to conclude that. "Period. Dot. Bingo." (I heard that on Laura Ingraham's show the other day and I liked it.)

In the comment section of that entry, I was referred to an article written by Katherine Yurica at her website the Yurica Report, Katherine describes herself this way in the About Us section at the site:

"If someone were to ask, could two women senior citizens change the course of the political atmosphere in America today? I would say, “Not a chance.” Yet after I built this web site—after I looked at the “images for a corrupt time,” I began to believe that with your help we can change the course of history.

I’m not saying that my mother and I are special. We’re not. We are a mother daughter team. I’m the daughter—Katherine Yurica—...I’m in my sixties....Now we're* driving a 1993 Subaru I bought in April. Everything works on it! And it's got all wheel drive! It's name is Beeep! She's adjusting to life with us and learning how to counsel me on all important decisions! She'll only use unleaded fuel, and she likes to have her face and windows washed once a day! She'd like you to know that we're just plain ordinary born again Christians!...

I was educated at East Los Angeles College where I was elected the first woman student body president and earned an A.A. degree in English. I received my B.A. in English literature at U.S.C. I also attended the USC School of Law, where I was elected the first woman class president in the U.S. In 1966, I began the study of art in Mexico. I was shaken as an artist as I saw what others did not see: America was in trouble. Specialization was creating an airless vacuum where responsibility could not grow. Viet Nam began with a lie and ended with young and beautiful soldiers coming home in body bags. We learned nothing as a people." (emphasis mine)

*she and her mother, Kelly Leosis

Here's what the "plain ordinary born again Christian" has to say about America:

"Today, there’s a foul wind in the air. America stinks of open hatred, arrogance, greed and a lust for power. There’s a smug complacency brought about, no doubt by a sense of personal comfort that deludes millions into thinking that because they belong to the “in” group—hellish results will be visited only upon another class of Americans. So they live without protest, watching the Republican party become the instrument of the religious right, letting freedoms be torn away from the cloth—the very fabric of our country, and they say nothing. They will endure any hardship so long as they do not have to take a stand against the violent and corrupt among us. Satisfied with the twists and turns this country has made in the last two years, the fiddlers fiddle, while America burns its resources, its dollars, its credibility, its young men and women, and the very heart of our Constitution.

With your help, we can and will change the winds blowing in this nation. Liberty and freedom belong to all Americans, not just to a selected elite. Rush Limbaugh and his ilk have spread poison all over America. It’s a worse poison than anthrax or nerve gas. Those poisons will only kill our bodies, but the poison of the right wing talk show hosts and the religious right can and does enslave the souls of a free people and destroys all that is good and pure and noble in this land."

I'm not sure when Ms. Yurica wrote her "about me" section but apparently it was before the November 7, 2006 election because clearly Americans sent a message of "protest" to the "Republican party and the religious right," because the Republican party failed to hold a majority in either the House or the Senate. Obviously, Americans exercised their liberty and freedom and the "freedoms" Ms. Yurica claims have been "torn away from the cloth—the very fabric of our country," are still being enjoyed across the country and were exhibited by the fact that American voters voted a majority of Democrats into power in both the House and Senate.

I also must question her when she implies that someone, presumably Republicans and the religious right, believe that liberty and freedom no longer belong to all Americans, as though "Rush Limbaugh and his ilk" have somehow taken that liberty and freedom away from other Americans simply by the exercise of their own liberty and freedom of speech.

Apparently, according to Ms. Yurica, if these "right wing talk show hosts and the religious right" exercise their own liberty and freedom, which she states belongs to "all Americans," they are spreading "a poison worse than anthrax or nerve gas."

Isn't it interesting that other people who exercise their liberty and freedoms are welcome regardless of their agenda, and let's face it, we ALL have them, but if it happens to be a right wing talk show host or the religious right the very active utilization of that liberty and freedom threatens to "enslave the souls of a free people and destroys all that is good and pure and noble in this land." One must assume that since Ms. Yurica works under the erroneous assumption that only right wingers can be "dominionists," progressive Christians and the left wing radio talk show hosts on our airwaves are no threat, no threat at all...nah, no poison streams from the mouths of those innocent, "plain ordinary born again Christians" or left wing talk show hosts, they are simply righteously exercising the liberty and freedom with which all Americans are blessed. As, no doubt is Katherine Yurica.

I was referred to this article written by Ms. Yurica, The Despoiling Of America, and which was noted at Wikipedia:

"Political groups and individuals that worry about how, and to what extent, dominionism influences the Christian Right include People for the American Way, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Interfaith Alliance, and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Joan Bokaer[2] and KATHERINE YURICA[3]" (emphasis mine)

It is found directly above Sara Diamond's warning in the same Wikipedia entry:

"Sara Diamond warns, however, that while dominionism has influenced the Christian Right, liberals too often use hyperbolic language to describe the activities and goals of the Christian Right.[4]

The term "Dominionism" - with its close affiliation with notions of theocracy - can be used pejoratively to inaccurately describes the philosophical underpinnings of some individuals who identify themselves with the Christian Right. Very few of these see the Christian Right as an eschatological political movement designed to usher in the Kingdom of God; for them, the Christian Right articulates the traditional cultural critiques of paleoconservatives in the context of a worldview informed by orthodox Christian teaching.[citation needed] Moreover, many policies endorsed by the Christian Right contradict Dominionist notions. For example, the avid support of school vouchers by the Christian Right could lead to greater plurality in educational institutions, rather than a monolithic education system shaped by Dominionist ideas.[citation needed]"

Sara Diamond, also studies the agenda and methods of the "right wing" in American politics. She has written four books: Spiritual Warfare: The Politics of the Christian Right, Roads to Dominion: Right-Wing Movements and Political Power in the United States, Facing the Wrath: Confronting the Right in Dangerous Times and Not by Politics Alone: The Enduring Influence of the Christian Right. The fact that she moderates her language as cited in the Wikipedia piece, alone, gives me the impression that she, at least, considers what the Christian Right tells her rather than discounting and making blanket statements without consideration of individual conservative Christians she has interviewed. Apparently, this is not so with Katherine Yurica, who, in her paper, The Despoiling Of America, has this to say about how "Dominionism" began and who perpetrated it in America:

"Within a period of twenty to thirty years beginning in the 1970’s, Dominionism spread like wild fire throughout the evangelical, Pentecostal and fundamentalist religious communities in America. It was aided and abetted by television and radio evangelists. More than any other man, Pat Robertson mobilized the millions of politically indifferent and socially despised Pentecostals and fundamentalists in America and turned them into an angry potent army of political conquerors.[46]

But it would be a mistake to limit Dominionism to the Pentecostals and fundamentalists alone: conservative Roman Catholics and Episcopalians have joined and enlarged the swelling numbers.[47] Robertson, like other media preachers, used every form of communication: television, radio, books and audio tapes ...

However, it was the Pentecostals and fundamentalists who made up the core of Robertson’s audience. To a people who were largely uneducated and who often remained ignorant even if they went through college because of their fear of becoming tainted by the “world and worldliness,” Dominionism came as a brilliant light that assuaged their deep sense of inferiority. Pentecostals in particular could take comfort from the notion that no longer would the world think of them as “Holy Rollers” who danced in the “Spirit” and practiced glossolalia. This time, they would be on top—they would be the head and not the tail—and the so-called elite, the educated of the world, would be on the bottom." (emphasis mine)

I found it quite telling that Ms. Yurica describes Pentacostals and fundamentalists as "largely uneducated and who often remained ignorant even if they went to college" for whatever reason, though her chosen reason for totally dismissing educated Pentacostals and fundamentalists is that their Christianity, rather than being a guide in their lives, keeps them ignorant even if they receive higher education. Remember these so called uneducated, ignorant, fearful Christians cannot be educated due to their Christianity, while Ms. Yurika, self described as just a "plain ordinary born again Christian" CAN be a Christian and be educated too! And I'll bet she can even chew gum at the same time! Yeee Haaaw!

The problem with Ms. Yurica is that in her own zeal to promote her own political agenda and her own ideology is endeavoring to do the very thing which she accuses "Dominionists" of doing. She is an alarmist, seeing Dominionists around every corner, suspecting that every Christian who looks in the mirror sees the face of a Dominionist peering back at himself or herself. Except none of this applies to Ms. Yurica, herself, she has miraculously managed to be an educated Christian while other Christians remain ignorant, uneducated citizens "even if they went to college."

But she said a mouthful, I'll give her that, when she said:

"If someone were to ask, could two women senior citizens change the course of the political atmosphere in America today? I would say, “Not a chance.” Yet after I built this web site—after I looked at the “images for a corrupt time,” I began to believe that with your help we can change the course of history."

Bigotry takes all forms, people. Remember that. In the case of Katherine Yurica the many things she fears from the Christian Right she is guilty of perpetrating in her own liberally elite circles. Is she "changing the political atmosphere in America today?" Well, let's see...she's certainly being treated as a brilliant scholar among all the left wing web sites on the internet. She recently spoke at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles on the topic of Religion and Politics regarding the "role of faith and secular humanism" in U.S. politics and on December 4 she spoke at UCLA's Center for Social Theory and Comparative History on "Political Religion and Religious Politics."

I once asked the Curbstone Critic in a Comment:

"It appears you are trying to redefine "Dominionism" as anyone who "will hang with Bush no matter what," and that's all speculative, as well. How do we know whether any person (or these you identify as 25%) would hang with Bush "no matter what" unless he does "no matter what?" What is "no matter what?"

At any rate, I asked you a question and though perhaps I could have phrased it better, like, say, "What is your opinion of what constitutes a "Dominionist?" You have given me an answer. I wonder if you are engaging in a kind of reverse (?)McCarthyism?... Wherein any Christian who has a traditionalistic world view is suspected of "Dominionism?"

Wikipedia on McCarthyism:

"Suspicions were often given credence despite inconclusive or questionable evidence, and the level of threat posed by a person's real or supposed leftist associations or beliefs was often greatly exaggerated."

John Stone can cry foul, but I think I'm onto something.

Let's revisit The Despoiling Of America for a moment:

"Dominionists have gained extensive control of the Republican Party and the apparatus of government throughout the United States; they continue to operate secretly. Their agenda to undermine all government social programs that assist the poor, the sick, and the elderly is ingeniously disguised under false labels that confuse voters....

It is estimated that thirty-five million Americans who call themselves Christian, adhere to Dominionism in the United States, but most of these people appear to be ignorant of the heretical nature of their beliefs and the seditious nature of their political goals. So successfully have the televangelists and churches inculcated the idea of the existence of an outside “enemy,” which is attacking Christianity, that millions of people have perceived themselves rightfully overthrowing an imaginary evil anti-Christian conspiratorial secular society."

Yurica tells us that "Domininionists have gained extensive control of the Republican Party and the apparatus of government throughout the United States; they continue to operate secretly."

Yurica seeks to prove her suspicions by giving "credence despite inconclusive or questionable evidence," and I believe that she "greatly exaggerates" the "level of threat posed by a person's real or supposed (Dominionist) associations or beliefs." It is the very essence of McCarthyism, substitute the word leftist with dominionist as I have done above and there you have it.

Moreover, she accuses televangelists of "successfully...inculcat(ing) the idea of the existence of an outside "enemy," which is attacking Christianity, that millions of people have perceived themselves rightfully overthrowing an imaginary evil anti-Christian conspiratorial secular society," in the process giving credence to the charge by actually becoming that anti-Christian conspiractorial voice set on labeling all conservative Christians with the loaded, pejorative, hyperbolic moniker of "Dominionist." Further, she offers no reference for her estimation of 35 million Christians who are supposedly adhering to Dominionism. I suppose we are simply to take her word for that estimation?

She is a projectionist of the highest order. Projecting widespread "Dominionist" conspiracies on a majority of "plain ordinary born again Christians" while pretending she is the innocent and immune Jesus follower herself, well-educated and savvy. How very elite.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Michael Moore Admits he Lost his Mind

Michael Moore is unhappy and is making some demands of the Democrats. Namely, he wants the troops out of Iraq and he wants them out now but that's not what what I found interesting.

In his piece found here, Cut and Run, the Only Brave Thing to Do, he writes:

"In closing, there is one final thing I know. We Americans are better than what has been done in our name. A majority of us were upset and angry after 9/11 and we lost our minds. We didn't think straight and we never looked at a map. Because we are kept stupid through our pathetic education system and our lazy media, we knew nothing of history." (emphasis mine)

I have long suspected that some of our nation's fringy left wing conspiracy theorists were ignorant of history, incapable of thinking straight, stupid and had lost their minds on and after the 9/11 terrorist attacks but didn't want to mention it unless I had some indication of its truth. Moore seems to be confirming that for me.

Thanks, Michael!

Progressive Christian Dominionists

On September 12, Rosie O'Donnell made a statement on ABC's The View that had many Christians in an uproar:

"Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have separation of church and state."

At the time O'Donnell made this statement I, personally didn't really care. I mean, it was Rosie O'Donnell, who really cares what she thinks about Christians?

Rosie O'Donnell is known for her leftist views, no big surprise there and what with O'Donnell being a lesbian, many gay Americans are spiteful of Christians, so is Rosie O'Donnell. After all, many Christians challenge the practice of homosexuality as sinful, abnormal behavior. This fact doesn't sit well with a large portion of the gay population in America. No one likes to be told that what they do is wrong, especially when it is something they have no intention of giving up and are in the business of promoting as just another normal, healthy alternative lifestyle. People simply like to be approved and have their actions approved by other people. Even anarchists are anarchists for effect, they simply seek approval from other anarchists.

If Rosie O'Donnell lived in vacuum, I wouldn't really care what she says but the fact is she shares this view of Christians with other people and other people are thinking the things to which she gives voice.

For instance, recently on Curbstone Critic, John Stone had this to say:

"There is really not much difference between the Muslims that want to convert all of us by the sword, and the crazy Xtian Dominionist Americans who want to convert everyone by the sword."

Later, when I asked Stone:

"Is there a large percentage of the Christian population who you would consider to be "dominionists?""


"What do you consider to be indicative of "Dominionism?" Clearly not all Christians are "Dominionists," so which Christians are? "

He replied...:

"Last I heard the crazies were about 25 % of America."

and referred me to this Wikipedia article on Dominionism. To quote it:

"The dominionist interpretation sees adherents as heeding a command from God to all humankind to subject the world to the rule of the Word of God. The terminology of dominionism, and the broad concept of the trend described by critics, has been taken from the King James Version of the Bible, Genesis 1:26

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Christians typically interpret this verse as meaning that God gave humankind responsibility over the Earth, but anti-Dominionist critics commonly point to this passage as a paradigm that influences Christian attitudes of Western domination over the Earth and everything in it."

Wikipedia is correct in stating that "Christians typically interpret this verse as meaning that God gave humankind responsibility over the Earth," but the anti-Dominionist critics don't allow that fact to deter them in their slander of Christians.

It is clear from the Wikipedia article that those who are fear mongering about Christians wanting to set up a theocracy and force the entire world to believe in the Bible by the sword believe that Christians who voted for George W. Bush are of necessity "Dominionists," whether they realize it or not. I think it is a safe bet to assume that most people would identify Christians who voted for Bush as the "Christian Right" or "conservative Christians":

"Dominionism...seeks to establish specific political policies based on religious beliefs.

It is most often used to describe politically active conservative Christians with a specific agenda. The term is rarely used as a self-description; many feel it is a loaded or pejorative term, and use of the term is primarily limited to critics of the Christian Right.

The term emerged in relation to the Christian Right in the mid-1990s, but became more widely known due in large part to the U.S. presidential election, 2004 where the media attributed Republican wins to Evangelical voters in Red states who voted for "moral values".[1] "

I find it interesting that the term is "most often used to describe politically active conservative Christians with a specific agenda." It is not used to describe politically active progressive Christians with a specific agenda. What would be the difference? If politically active Christians who are seeking a specific agenda are "Dominionists" there are plenty of progressive Christian "Dominionists," as well.

I do appreciate the link provided, a close reading garners this:

"Sara Diamond warns, however, that while dominionism has influenced the Christian Right, liberals too often use hyperbolic language to describe the activities and goals of the Christian Right.[4]

The term "Dominionism" - with its close affiliation with notions of theocracy - can be used pejoratively to inaccurately describes the philosophical underpinnings of some individuals who identify themselves with the Christian Right. Very few of these see the Christian Right as an eschatological political movement designed to usher in the Kingdom of God; for them, the Christian Right articulates the traditional cultural critiques of paleoconservatives in the context of a worldview informed by orthodox Christian teaching.[citation needed] Moreover, many policies endorsed by the Christian Right contradict Dominionist notions. For example, the avid support of school vouchers by the Christian Right could lead to greater plurality in educational institutions, rather than a monolithic education system shaped by Dominionist ideas"

Using the term "radical Christianity" and comparing it to "radical Islam," as in the case of Rosie O'Donnell and claiming that "There is really not much difference between the Muslims that want to convert all of us by the sword, and the crazy Xtian Dominionist Americans who want to convert everyone by the sword," as in the case of Stone is used far too often to describe the "Christian Right."

When I asked Stone:

"Do you include the growing population of Progressive Christians among those Dominionists since they are actively trying to link Progressive politics with Christian values?"

He replied:

"The Progressives in the Church are less well known, I link Mainstream Baptist in the sidebar. I just heard of a minister of a megachurch who lost his congregation because he was interested in things like poverty and peace, rather than abortion and gays."

He dodged answering the question, as is a particularly prevalent liberal reaction when they are queried in depth about their beliefs and don't wish to face their own hypocrisy. But please, if the criteria for being a "Dominionist" is a politically active Christian with a specific agenda, then progressive Christians would qualify as "Dominionists" as well, right?

On Dec. 2, The Progressive Daily Beacon Opinion Piece, written by A. Alexander, "They are the Christian Taliban - The Christiban", Alexander writes:

"Still not convinced that today's Republican "Christians" are in the same league as Osama bin Laden and the Taliban in Afghanistan? In a moment you will be able to decide for yourself whether or not James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Donald Wildmon, Jerry Falwell, and other so-called Christian leaders are any less dangerous than the Imams and Ayatollahs preaching and practicing radical versions of Islam."

The author, A. Alexander, suggests because some Christian leaders wish to deny Keith Ellison's request that he hold the Quran when he is sworn into office in January rather than the Bible that they are seeking to go against this James Madison precident:

"Congress should not establish a religion and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any manner contrary to their conscience, or that one sect might obtain a pre-eminence, or two combined together, and establish a religion to which they would compel others to conform" - Annals of Congress, Sat Aug 15th, 1789 pages 730 - 731"

I don't know that I mind Ellison using the Quran when he's sworn in but if he doesn't, if he's required to place his hand on the Bible like everyone else does how the heck does that "establish a religion," "enforce the legal observation of it by law," or compel anyone to worship God in any manner?" Further, the whole premise that somehow this translates into ANY Christian becoming more of a threat to America than Islamo-fascists who want to enforce Sharia law across the entire world is just the most ridiculous premise I've heard recently. It certainly IS a "fear" tactic and an attack on a religion which, has shown no tangible indication of forcing itself on anyone by the sword. Why, they haven't even crossed Madison's lines as the author tried to suggest.

I would have to say that I believe a denial of Ellison being allowed to hold a Quran rather than a Bible goes against the spirit of historic freedom of religion in America but it is arguable that by wishing to hold him to being sworn in with his hand on the Bible, as has historically been done, somehow compels Ellison to worship a Christian God or establishes a religion to which Ellison must conform and, it is certainly arguable and quite ridiculous that it makes Christians comparable to the Taliban or equally as threatening to American life and liberty as is Islamo-fascism.

As far as I know, Rosie O'Donnell, John Stone or A. Alexander are not progressive Christians but it is and always has been interesting to me that some of the most vocal of critics of conservative Christianity have been progressive Christians.

There are progressive Christian blogs which I used to frequent and still occasionally visit in which the writers do little other than demonize and belittle conservative Christians for the very actions which they are currently promoting among their own flock. I have no problem with progressive Christians being politically active, as a matter of fact I believe that God admonishes the Christian, in his Word, to take an active role in government and politics. For that reason I would actually encourage progressive Christians to be outspoken in policy matters to bring them more in line with what they feel God would approve. Where I have a problem is them demonizing, belittling and libelously misrepresenting the majority of conservative Christians, their own brothers and sisters in Christ for doing what they, themselves, are doing. This is a sad situation for spiritual reasons.

In regards to others who use this moniker to bash conservative Christians, they too show their hypocrisy in that their complaints are exclusively leveled at conservative Christians, I suspect because they disagree politically with the actions of conservative Christians. They have nothing but accolades for progressive or emergent Christians, I suspect because they agree politically with the actions of progressive Christians.

Bottom line, this "Dominionism" talk is mostly a bunch of hogwash and those engaging in it are hypocritical at best and just outright ridiculous in their claims that Christians are threatening theocracy and are forcing their religion on anyone "by the sword."

By the way, I just named the post "Progressive Christian Dominionists" to show progressive Christians how it feels to be labeled as such. :)

Thursday, November 23, 2006


My Grandmother Ruby's favorite Psalm of Thanks. My Dad, Aunts and Uncles were all required to memorize it as children:

"Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.

Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.

Know that the LORD is God.

It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with prasie; give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations." ~ Psalm 100 (NIV)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

An Example of Unconstitutional Hostility Toward Religion

Yesterday I visited Granny Geek's blog. Now, I don't know Granny Geek, I've never met her. I have nothing against Granny Geek. I'm sure she's a fine lady, but the discussion I had with her in the comment section of her blog entry, "Pop Quiz," over the course of last night and this morning has been completely removed. I find that very unfortunate because it leaves her readers with the impression that Pizza Hut and other restaurants which ran a Sunday discount for their patrons who brought a church bulletin into the store were wrong and broke the laws of both Springfield and the State of Missouri. Based on Granny Geek's links that simply isn't the case.

I had a lengthy exchange with Granny Geek on the topic. I asked her some questions which she refused to answer, instead asking me a few questions of her own which I, in turn, declined to answer because I've been around the liberal debate tactic of changing the subject and turning the tables often enough to recognize it when I see it and I wasn't interested in playing the game.

I then took her advice and followed the links she provided in her original post, which I felt was a perfectly reasonable request on her part and if there was a legal precedent which would put the issue to rest I was fully willing to accept that. However, links which she insinuated would set a precedent for her self-proclaimed judgement that the actions of Pizza Hut were illegal and that other restaurants who participated in the giving of discounts in exchange for church bulletins on Sunday were illegal actions turned out to set the opposite precedent than what she claimed.

Following was the last comment I made in the comment section of her post titled "Pop Quiz" but which was almost immediately removed along with every other comment I made (I put it in quotes simply to designate it, I am quoting a comment which was removed and in some cases quoting comments made by Granny Geek which were later removed):"

Look, Ms. Geek, I like to learn and I like the truth. I haven't claimed to be a lawyer and I haven't claimed to be as knowledgable of past legal precendents as you may be but you made some firm statements in your original entry which you failed to prove with your links. You wrote:


You wrote:

"The sign was changed several weeks ago. Springfield is following precedents established in other cities."

However, your link establishes the opposite of what you implied it would establish.

You implied that there was a court case involving Pizza Hut, or perhaps you were referring to the one you referenced at your "other cities" link, when you wrote:

"Jack, (Fat Jack's Erratic Rants) you may disagree with the court’s ruling, but it’s now precedent. Your arguments are for naught."

It turns out the precedent was not what you implied it was but that the court ruled in favor of a base ball team's right to give discounts to those who provided them with church bulletins, even going so far as to state "THAT TO FORBID SUCH A PROGRAM WOULD EVINCE AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL HOSTILITY TOWARD RELIGION…."

Further, even if you can prove that Pizza Hut is "accommodating" the "public" in a sense that it would help your case, you cannot associate a person's having a church bulletin with them being a Christian, necessarily. I pointed out that one does not have to be a Christian to go to a church and obtain a bulletin...therefore, how is there any discrimination involved based on religion when a person does not have to be a
Christian to attend a Christian church or any other church that I am aware of, for that matter?

Had you not presented your argument by making flat statements as though fact and not succeeded in backing up those statements with the links you provided yourself, I would not question you, but you made a statement that it was:


...and then failed to prove your case.

If you can do so then you are welcome to do so. It isn't my job to prove it
for you. Sorry for the repititon but I based my comments on the links you provided in your post. If you have further information which will prove your point based on a past case involving YUM foods then either post it or don't. That's really not my business or my problem and I think I've already gone above and beyond in my "accommodation" of your requests. I've done what you requested based on your original post and your original links.

You have a nice day too, and a blessed Thanksgiving. :)

Now, let me reiterate that I do not know Granny Geek and it really isn't my intention to set about making as many enemies as possible among the local bloggers in my community. But there is no reason to believe that Pizza Hut or any other restaurant which gave a discount to people for producing a church bulletin has broken any law in Springfield or greater Missouri.

At one point in the discussion I commented that oftentimes businesses or even city governments will simply stop taking an action if there is a challenge to it because it is hardly worth the trouble or expense.

Restaurants are in the business of making a profit, not fighting for human rights' issues such as this and, in my opinion the ACLU takes advantage of that circumstance, knowing full well that, if challenged, a business or small town or city government will simply cave in on the issue to avoid lengthy and costly legal battles in a court of law. That businesses and small town and city governments fail to fight against a complaint is not representative of their concession that they were not within their rights to take an action, they simply don't want to be bothered with such challenges. I find that very disappointing and discouraging. I tire of watching the ACLU bully people, businesses, small towns, cities and other entities into giving up their rights because a person, perhaps only one person, has filed a complaint. A complaint is not proof of illegal activity. I suspect in the case of a person filing a complaint regarding the church bulletin discounts at Pizza Hut with either the Mayor's Commission on Human Rights or the Missouri Commission on Human rights, that both of those commissions are required by law to notify the business when a complaint has been made. Oftentimes a complaint, rather than being valid or holding any legal precedent, is proof of someone's thin skin and inability to tolerate other people's beliefs, sometimes they are simply on a vendetta to "get them stankin' Christians" whenever they possibly can.

In my humble opinion the truth suffered a loss today.

If Granny Geek chooses to have hard feelings over this, that's unfortunate, as well. Like I said, I don't know her, I'm sure she's a fine lady and and upstanding citizen in our community.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Eating Blunt's Cake

Many in the blogosphere were pointing out that John Murtha had been identified as ethically challenged by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) before he lost his bid, with the support of Nancy Pelosi, to become Majority Leader. So, in fairness, if a collective *we* are going to consider CREW a credible and reliable source, it is only fair to point out that Representative Roy Blunt (R-MO) has also been ethically problematic. According to CREW's Beyond Delay, they had this to say about Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO):

"His ethics issues stem from his misuse of his position for the benefit of his family."

The site claims:

"By pushing for legislation that would benefit Philip Morris and UPS, and, as a consequence, his then-girlfriend and his son, Rep. Blunt may have violated federal law and House rules." (emphasis mine)

...and there's more if you are inclined to read the links.

You may be wondering why I bring this up, especially considering that in the past I have seldom called this sort of attention to Republican leaders. Well, it's because I want to be fair and like many Americans I am weary of corruption among our Representatives in Washington D.C.

I'd like to call attention to Rep. Blunt's recent statement reported at ColumbiaTribune.com, Blunt role viewed as a ‘moderate’ signal:

"Today begins the rebirth of House Republicans’ common-sense agenda with a leadership team that is more unified than ever, ready to regain the trust of the American people and ready to restore faith in our ideals." (Again, emphasis mine)

Isn't that special? Republicans clamored for a return to conservative roots for multiple months prior to the election but there was no interest on the part of House Republicans or Senate Republicans to hear the unrest of their constituents. They had to lose their majority before they were willing to recognize that there was a serious problem with their credibility among Conservative supporters.

So, as though you are paying attention "today," Representative Blunt, I'm sorry but, at least for the time being, you're a little too late with your promises of "rebirth" and "restoration." You, in your arrogance, along with a good many other Republicans, lost the election for many fine Republican Representatives and Senators during this election cycle. Please, do remember that as you take your new position as Minority Whip in the new Congress, Representative Blunt. You can pat yourself on the back and thank yourself on behalf of Jim Talent and your Republican constituents in Missouri. I would have preferred that you had decided to return to a "common-sense agenda...regain the trust of the American people and...restore faith in (Republican) ideals" before the election rather than after the election, but what do I know?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Fairness Doctrine

Two days after the Democrats gained a majority in the House and the Senate, the "fairness doctrine" has reared its ugly head. Didn't take the left wing blogosphere long to fire it up, did it?

I am a regular listener of the Neal Boortz Show! He's been warning his listeners that the Democrats will try to chill free speech by reinstituting the "fairness doctrine" for a long time. Read: here (under THE DEMOCRATS HAVE NO AGENDA?) here (under FEDERAL CENSORSHIP COMMISSION STRIKES AGAIN) and here (under BLACK DAY FOR THE LEFT).

So, on November 9, 2006, two days after voters elected a Democrat majority, The Huffington Post blogger, Dave Johnson, wrote Restore The Fairness Doctrine! Surprise, surprise!

According to Dave Johnson: "the Fairness Doctrine:"

"would open up America's "marketplace of ideas." It would help to restore civility to our public discourse. It would help restore our democracy.

If the Fairness Doctrine were restored we would begin to see a variety of issues covered by the broadcast media, from a variety of perspectives. Currently we only see subjects that the corporate world is interested in, covered from a pro-corporate perspective. Imagine the effect on the country if the public were exposed to a variety of viewpoints on issues like trade, consumer protection, sustainability, unions, health care, global warming and energy, religion, the environment, nutrition, and SO MANY other issues!

Imagine the effect on our civic discourse if stations had to give time for a response to everyone that Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter smeared on the air!"

But wait just a doggone minute!

Doesn't the media already offer "a variety of issues?" Does the media currently only offer "pro-corporate perspective(s)?" Don't people with varying viewpoints already have forums in which to discuss "issues like trade, consumer protection, sustainability, unions, health care, global warming and energy, religion, the environment, (and) nutrition?" Are people who are "smeared" by Ann Coulter being denied the right to speak out on their own behalf over our airwaves if they so choose?

Further, was Mr. Johnson's article on the "Fairness Doctrine" fair? Did he practice what he preaches Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter should practice? Did he give them an opportunity to respond to his opinion that they "smear" other people? Did he adequately give the other side of the argument, the side against the "fairness doctrine?" Nope. He didn't.

There is another side of the story and a different perspective which Mr. Johnson failed to give equal or "fair" time and consideration.

According to The Heritage Foundation, The Fairness Doctrine Is Anything But Fair:

"The fairness doctrine was overturned by the FCC in 1987. The FCC discarded the rule because, contrary to its purpose, it failed to encourage the discussion of more controversial issues. There were also concerns that it was in violation of First Amendment free speech principles....

...The doctrine's supporters seem not to appreciate just how much the broadcast world has changed since 1949. With the proliferation of informational resources and technology, the number of broadcast outlets available to the public has increased steadily. In such an environment, it is hard to understand why the federal government must police the airwaves to ensure that differing views are heard. The result of a reinstituted fairness doctrine would not be fair at all. In practice, much controversial speech heard today would be stifled as the threat of random investigations and warnings discouraged broadcasters from airing what FCC bureaucrats might refer to as "unbalanced" views."

In other words, in view of our changing culture and "changing informational resources and technology," the fairness doctrine would have the opposite effect than that for which it was intended. Instead of encouraging differing viewpoints to be heard it would stifle the voices which are heard now.

Today, if there is a perspective one would like to consider, all one has to do is click a mouse, type a few characters, click a mouse again and one can access thousands of links to information on any given subject via the internet.

The real reason those on the left would like to see the Democrats reintroduce the "fairness doctrine" is not to make sure differing viewpoints and perspectives are heard. The real reason is that they want to silence Conservative radio talk show hosts.

Mr. Johnson gives himself away when he mentions Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter but doesn't mention any of the radio talk show hosts on, say, Air America, for instance. Why does he not mention any Air America radio talk show hosts? Because he has no problem with the "smears" perpetrated by leftist radio talk show hosts, and apparently he doesn't value his own free speech rights much either. If the Fairness Doctrine is intended to force Ann Coulter to offer other perspectives (and how many other perspectives are there on any given subject, is she required to give one alternative perspective or three alternative perspectives?) then will the fairness doctrine not also effect him, "an active participant in the progressive blogging community..." as described in his own bio, the link for which is listed above? What price are leftists ready to pay to silence the right? Are they willing to give up their own freedom of speech simply to keep a Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter from voicing his/her perspective? I'd like to know what is "fair" about the leftist "doctrine."

According to Wikipedia, regarding the Fairness Doctrine, they quote State Rep. Mark B. Cohen:

"State Rep. Mark B. Cohen of Philadelphia, said "The fairness doctrine helped reinforce a politics of moderation and inclusiveness. The collapse of the fairness doctrine and its corollary rules blurred the distinctions between news, political advocacy, and political advertising, and helped lead to the polarizing cacophony of strident talking heads that we have today.""

I guess we just can't have people speaking their minds and disagreeing with one another, leading to "the polarizing cacophony of strident talking heads that we have today," now can we? How will the government (or leftist socialists) be able to keep the citizens under control if they are openly and honestly discussing issues of concern, getting excited about issues, taking an interest and forming their own educated opinions!? Stop that dang discussion...let's get back to a day when we all relied on Walter Cronkite to tell us what to think. Dang that Al Gore for inventing the internet! Dang that Rush Limbaugh for giving a voice to the conservative movement which it had never been allowed before!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Donkeys who Champion Ethical Purity

At The Blotter, ABC News' Brian Ross and Rhonda Schwartz Report:

"that Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was one of the members of Congress Abramoff had allegedly implicated in his cooperation with federal prosecutors."

Abramoff who reported to a federal prison close to investigators today has begun to offer testimony regarding Democrat Senators.

In The Blotter story, Abramoff is reported to have stated that Senator Harry Reid not only accepted money from Indian Tribe clients but that Reid "requested" it. Further, The Blotter reports:

"A spokesperson for Reid, elected yesterday as the Senate Majority Leader, said the senator had done nothing illegal or unethical.

"We have no idea what Abramoff is telling prosecutors to save his skin, but I do know that these kind of old allegations are completely ridiculous and untrue," Sen. Reid's spokesman Jim Manley told ABC News." (emphasis added)

We were led to believe that such words when spoken by Republicans implicated by Abramoff rang hollow. Reid's spokesman apparently believes they will have more weight when uttered by a Democrat since everyone knows the new Democrat party plans to usher in a new age of ethical purity.

According to HeraldTribune.com Pelosi has a plan for Nonpartisan ethics reform:

"Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat who could become speaker of the House if her party wins enough seats, has vowed to "drain the swamp" of ethical misconduct if she wields the gavel."

Pelosi is the speaker of the house now, so, naturally, in keeping with her plan to "drain the swamp" of ethical misconduct, Pelosi is backing Rep. John Murtha for majority leader. The only problem is Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) BLASTS PELOSI ENDORSEMENT OF UNETHICAL MURTHA FOR MAJORITY LEADER, where they listed Murtha as one of:

"The 20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress (and five to watch). As reported in the study and by the news media, Rep. Murtha has been involved in a number of pay-to play schemes involving former staffers and his brother, Robert “Kit” Murtha."

You can read more about Rep. Murtha at John Fund on the Trail.

Meanwhile, in other news, yesterday, November 14, 2006, S.D. page scandal senator resigns. It seems that at the same time the mainstream media, left-wing blogosphere and press were so busy with the Republican Mark Foley scandal regarding alleged inappropriate instant messages which were sexually explicit and appeared to be grooming pages for later sexual encounter, State Senator Dan Sutton (D - South Dakota) was busy avoiding judgement by a Republican controlled Senate, opting to leave, seek and gain re-election with a 57% voting majority when faced with allegations that he:

"...groped a male high school student who served as a page."

The AP story at the link above tells us that:

"The new Senate seated in January can take up the issue."

Yes, "the new Senate seated in January can take up the issue."

Foley resigns, he is taken out of the running. Sutton runs to hide, we hear next to nothing about it from the mainstream media or press who is overly occupied with the scandalous Republican Mark Foley and Sutton is quietly re-elected by 57% of South Dakota voters.

I'm so proud of our new ethically pure Majority leaders. Ain't you? ;)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Who Needs Senate Orientation Any Old How?

CBSnews.com reported today that Freshmen Lawmakers Begin Orientation, it appears that all of the newly elected freshmen Senators were in attendance...

...with the exception of Senator Elect Claire McCaskill.

According to the report:

"Tester later appeared with his fellow Democratic freshmen _ minus Missouri's Claire McCaskill, who is on a post-election vacation with her husband...."

Kevin McCarthy of California remarked that:

"...the ethics training was important for those like him who came from state legislatures with different rules."

Indiana Rep. Joe Donnelly, a Democrat is reported as expressing:

"he was mostly concerned about getting his office up and running "as quickly as possible, so we can start working for the people back home.""

According to STLtoday Missourians should just Mark Her Absent, one of her spokeswomen said:

“She promised her family that, win or lose, she would take time to be with them after this election.”

Well, I don't know about the rest of Missourians but as a married woman who loves and values my own husband, I think I could expect my husband to be understanding about my need to attend orientation on behalf of my constituents who just days ago elected me to represent them in the United States Senate. If this is any indication of what we can expect from a Senator McCaskill I must say I'm even more underwhelmed than expected.

From the reports I read it appears that McCaskill is the only freshman Senator who felt that orientation simply wasn't important enough to set aside previous plans. Perhaps she feels she has enough understanding of her new job that she really didn't need to be there.

Friday, November 10, 2006

McGovern: "There isn't going to be any decisive victory in Iraq."

Over and over again wary Republicans have accused the Democrats of wanting to "cut and run" from Iraq and over and over again the Democrats have kept their "plan" for victory in Iraq to themselves, offering nothing but destructive criticism. Now, just as wary Republicans have suspected all along here is the proof that we were right in our suspicions that Democrats had no plan for victory in Iraq.

FOXNews reports that Former Presidential Candidate George McGovern will Discuss Iraq Exit Strategy With Democrats, and here it is in a nutshell folks:

"George McGovern, the former senator and 1972 Democratic presidential candidate, said he will meet with more than 60 members of Congress next week to recommend a strategy to remove U.S. troops from Iraq by June." (emphasis mine)

McGovern told reporters:

"There isn't going to be any decisive victory in Iraq."

Not if left up to the Donkeys, that's for sure.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A Donkey of a Different Color

With so many different issues driving voters to the polls Tuesday, I had the unfortunate experience of learning why a few Republicans chose to vote this past election day. It wasn't because of Immigration, Social Security, or even the war in Iraq. It was because of race.

My husband, a lifelong Republican, works for a business where nearly everyone employed there is a Republican and talk of politics is a regular part of their lunch breaks. Afterall, TN is a red state, so it's really not surprising. It being Election day, talk was more lively than usual and talked turned to how everyone would be voting that afternoon. Out of a table of seven men, my husband was the only one voting for Bob Corker because he felt he was the best man for the job. Five of them were voting for the simple reason they didn't want to see a black man win the senate seat for TN. The only democrat at the table was voting for Ford. I have to wonder if, like me, he felt terribly disheartened by the whole exchange. I wasn't even there and it has dampened my enthusiasm about the victories the Democrats achieved that day. I've not even had the heart to talk about Tuesday's outcome on the political thread that I participate in.

Because I had plans to see show at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium Tuesday evening, I had decided to take advantage of the early voting that had been going on in TN. I knew it was going to be a tight race and was looking forward to watching how it all unfolded on Tuesday. Whether Harold Ford lost or won, I felt he had campaigned well and won the admiration and support of many people across my area of East TN. It would have been quite an achievement for him........becoming the first black man sent to the senate from Tennessee since Reconstruction. I was anticipating leaving the show and catching up on all the election news on the way home. But after my husband shared with me what had happened that afternoon, all I could focus on was how stupid and mean some people are. All the way to the show I steamed and fumed. All the excitement I had been feeling vaporized. I shouldn't have given some ill-breed idiots that type of power over my feelings and I think it had to do largely with the shock. Racism isn't anything new here, but I had hoped people would have enough sense and decency to base their votes on the issues they felt strongly about or the content of a candidate's character. I can take the candidate of my choice losing because others didn't like his stance on the War on Terror or his fiscal policies. Disappointed, of course. But that's all part of politics........ya win some and ya lose some. But to think race played a part in it..........well, that's a little hard to take.

I'm not saying I believe all the people who decided to vote Tuesday were there to vote against a man only because he was black or that's even why he lost. For a Democrat, I think he did very well in a conservative state. I'm just saying that knowing anyone did is discouraging and heartbreaking.

On a different note, I just want to commend Jacke for being such a good sport. She has taken the results of the election with grace and style.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Saddle up your Donkeys

Naturally, all the liberals in my debate group are gloating and drawing conclusions that because the Republicans in the group haven't said a lot today after the Democrats took the House and garnered a small majority in the Senate that we're all off licking our wounds and pouting, crying and sulking, angry and depressed.

I'm not. I'm thankful to be living in the greatest country in the world. I'm happy that Republicans have not reacted in the way that the Democrats have reacted in the past when they have lost close elections. Crying voter suppression, voting machine irregularities, voter fraud and the like. I take a chance in saying this, hopeful that Republicans will continue to act like resigned adults, accepting of the choice of the majority in our country. It seems to me to be the responsible and graceful thing to do.

There will likely be those who will blame the media. I can't say that I would blame them for that, it is very tempting, but I don't want to react the way Democrats react to loss. This should be about what is best for our country and I don't think challenging the election every time one's party loses is the best for our country, this is where I differ from Democrats and I hope the Republican party continues to accept their loss with grace and maturity and with a hopeful optimism for the future.

There is some speculation that perhaps Allen will call for a recount in his race, see Webb Clings to Small Lead Over Allen. If the margin is slim enough I couldn't really blame him for that but for the most part Republicans have resigned themselves to the fact that the majority of Americans have spoken and have decided to give Democrats a shot at problem solving in both the House and Senate.

I have no problem with checks and balances. Perhaps they will be healthy for our Nation. That said, I am patiently waiting to see what the Democrats will actually do with their majorities since they kept their "plans" so well hidden that no one really knew what they were voting for, they only knew what they were voting against.

Republican Representatives have been too complacent. They have not been conservative. They have frustrated many of their consituents by not being attentive to what it is the people they were supposed to be representing wanted. It is true that the Bush Administration has not communicated well with the public. I'm not sure why but I don't think Republicans had to lose this election if they had lived up to their own conservative standards and communicated them well.

Likely, Republicans are missing the Great Communicator today. Facing the same problems that Bush has had, Ronald Reagan could have kept the people's support because he had a way of articulating himself that people understood and we enjoyed claiming support of him. The American people are asking for more than sound bytes and rhetoric.

So, saddle up your donkeys, Democrats. Let's see your brilliant ideas. As you've been pointing out, they can't be worse than "stay the course." I'm not so sure about that but I am truly anticipating what your "plans" will be and you can rest assured that America will be watching. Just as you are taking pride in "holding the Bush administration accountable" today, you will be held accountable for your actions. It is a grave responsibility. You asked for it, you got it.

My First Springfield Bloggers' Meeting

The Springfield Bloggers were having a live election night blog session (which apparently pooped out about 10:30) so I went to the Pub and met up with them tonight, excuse me...last night. Well sorta. As stated before, I'm a little shy so I didn't run around the table introducing myself individually to each and every person there and can't say I know who every single person was due to my own awkwardness.

It was a hoot to spend some time talking with John Stone of Curbstone Critic but I was suprised to find that it appears he only has the one set of clothes. Fortunately, his red plaid shirt must have been recently washed...whew! Just one word of advice, John: Buttons are there for a reason.

Then my husband and I scooted off to the Libertarian Party gathering and I had a nice visit with The Libertarian Guy (tm).

Congratulations to the Democrats seem to be in order.

Woo hoo.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Norma Champion is Misrepresented?

The Libertarian Guy (tm) clued me in that he and other politicians would be speaking at Cornerstone Church tonight and so, I decided to drive my Ma's big old Lincoln Towncar over that way and listen up.

The first thing I did was visit the table set up by the door which was covered with papers, bumper stickers and various other goodies. I picked up one of the papers that had Champion and Harpool plastered all over the front of it with little summaries of their views on Healthcare Cuts, Lifesaving Cures Through Stem-Cell Research (Amendment 2) and School Vouchers. The paper was paid for by Harpool New Direction Committee.

I took a seat in the second row of chairs and began to look over the front page of the Harpool paper. I read there:

"Champion supports taking dollars originally allocated for the public school system and diverting those moneys to individuals to attend private schools - the program is commonly referred to as a "voucher program."

"Harpool opposes vouchers. He believes that we should support our public schools, not abandon them."

Being a supporter of school vouchers I naturally bristled at the implication made by the Harpool paper that if you support school vouchers that translates into a desire to "abandon" public schools. It is just this sort of divisive language that keeps us from being able to discuss policies and ideas openly. So, I was thinking to myself, I hope Ms. Champion will mention her stand on school vouchers when she speaks when, about that time, Ms. Champion arrived and sat in a seat about three down and directly in front of me. I approached her, shook her hand and told her that when I was five or six years old I had been on "Children's Hour" with her and that she had scolded me for using my modeling clay to smear out a picture on a piece of paper rather than modeling something with it. I mentioned that the paper seemed to cast her in a bad light and, at that point I don't think she realized I was talking about the Harpool paper because she said the paper didn't endorse her and that was why...I didn't even realize until a moment ago that the paper was paid for by Harpool's committee. That explains the unflattering pictures of Champion and the glowing, toothy smiles of Harpool. Duh.

After Champion spoke and there was a call for questions no one appeared to be getting up to ask a question so I thought I'd give it a shot. Thinking about the vouchers I wanted to give her an opportunity to expound on her reasons for supporting them. I was surprised to find that she doesn't support school vouchers at all, so I guess Harpool or his paper are lying...I mean, if she says she doesn't support them why does his campaign rag state that she does? Politics is a dirty business, ain't it?

She said there were other ways that parents who wanted to send their children to private schools or home school them could have their expenses off set. Such as giving them tax credits.

I wish I could tell you more because she gave a rather lengthy list of other ways the issue could be addressed but apparently, though I thought I had my recorder turned on I didn't get anything recorded, isn't that special? All I can find is the recording of a police officer who spoke at my AWANA Sparkies Club meeting last night and my nephew saying "hello, Jacke."

You might find the police officer's comments interesting but they wouldn't tell you much about Champion's views on how to compensate parents for sending their children to private schools or for home schooling them. I'm not supposed to be *professional* am I? I'm just a lowly blogger doin' this fer kicks. You can sue me out of the stinkin' high pay I get fer doin' this.

Anyway, should parents get new money out of taxpayer's dollars for choosing to send their children to private schools or home schooling them? That doesn't seem to be a very "conservative" approach to me. I still like the idea of reimbursing them by voucher, that way they would simply be getting some of the money back they are paying into the system for access to public education of which they are not taking advantage rather than forcing them to pay for something they aren't using and then forcing all other taxpayers to give them credits or other forms of reimbursement.

I suppose all the money comes from the same place anyway, right? OUR POCKETS. Lots of people pay into the public school system who don't have children enrolled in government schools, unless you consider grandchildren, great grandchildren, infinity. If we pay it in one place and take it out another place we're still all depending on the government, huh? Dang it, now I'm thinking I don't like government schools (but support them anyway because what else can we do?) and I don't think government is responsible for paying for other's choices not to use the government school system either. Sigh. I guess I'm still trying to "figure it out as I go along."*

Thanks, Libertarian Guy, for the head's up...I enjoyed it and yer still tew kewl.

*Indiana Jones

Monday, October 30, 2006

You Want to Patent What!?

According to the International Herald Tribune, patent law is getting tax crazy. Get this: because a U.S. appeals court passed down a ruling that business strategies could be patented in 1998, individuals can now file for patents on tax strategies. As a matter of fact, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has already issued around 50 of them and there are more pending.

Andrew Cohen at washingtonpost.com writes: Don't Take My Advice-It Belongs to Me:

"Attorneys now are patenting their novel ideas, in the tax code area, so as to try to prevent or limit their competitors from also using those ideas to better serve their clients."

It appears now that when your friendly H&R Block tax preparer accepts your shoe box of prized receipts he may need to do a patent search before he can utilize tax strategies to save you a little of your hard earned cash. Do you have any idea how long it takes to do a patent search!? Those of you who are accustomed to e-filing need to crack the old patent law textbooks as well or you could find yourself on the receiving end of a lawsuit for using someone's patented strategy for saving yourself a buck when filing your taxes.

If there was ever a reason to reform our tax system and get rid of the thousands of pages of tax codes, here ya go!

I'd like to continue to voice my grandiose support of the FairTax but let's face it, Americans for Fair Taxation ARE lobbyists. Lobbyists are considered likely beneficiaries of these new patents, considering that they are in the position of lobbying Congress for new tax breaks and often the first to be privy to the information of a passage of a new tax break on behalf of their clients.

I have to confess, while still loving the idea of the FairTax I have become quite disillusioned with the organization which runs the grass roots effort to see it hoisted into law. Get ready to start all over again hitting your Congressmen and Senators up to support it and co-sponsor it under a new Congress and Senate. It just seems like a vicious cycle to me. I agree it is important to educate people about it and yes, it's important to contact your representatives about it, I agree that without Americans for Fair Taxation it wouldn't have the great numbers of supporters it has today (and that said, I didn't hear about the FairTax from Americans for Fair Taxation or one of their grass roots supporters, I heard about it from Neal Boortz) but we get all these co-sponsors in the House and Senate, then we have a new House and Senate and have to start the process all over again.

Will anyone ever actually bring the FairTax to a vote!? Grrrrrrr.