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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Moving is Complete

The move to my own domain at www.againstmadness.com is complete.

Starting this morning I will be posting only to the new site. Please change any bookmarks or links to this site that you may have.

All archives from this site have been duplicated at the new one.

I want to thank you all for reading Against the Madness and I hope you enjoy the new site as well.

Again the link to the new site is:

http://www.againstmadness.com/

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Family Values Guy

(Note: remember this blog is moving to a new home at: Against the Madness.)

If you have any friends or relatives that like Sean Hannity, forward them this link to a recording of Sean modeling the kind of "civility" that he says that Democrats lack.

In this recording he can be heard referring to Democratic Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia as an "asshole". Hannity says "I'm going to pound him to like those other guys . . . " and calls Moran a "jerk". The reason for Hannity's outburst appears to be that the congressman "wanted to talk about Medicare". Hannity goes on to say "I hate these people, you have no idea . . . " He ends by saying "How pissed was Moran? Not that I give a shit."

Well Sean, all I can say is that if that's the level of civility you long for your worries are over. All the democrats I know are at least that civilized.

Recording link courtesy of Oliver Willis

Family Values

(Note: remember this blog is moving to a new home at: Against the Madness.)

Browsing Daily Kos this afternoon led me to this article on Military Recruiting. Apparently, the Army and the Marines are shifting their recruiting efforts from the young people to their parents. They will pursue the "trust and attention" of these parents by means of "grassroots initiatives and multi-million-dollar advertising campaigns".

Studies done for the Army show that parents are the single biggest obstacle to recruiting. Imagine that!

One study, by GfK Custom Research, found that when potential recruits were asked who was the most influential in their decison, 81% listed their mothers. The study urged the Army to "Reach the parents with the Army's new message, particularly moms."

So, the Army and the Marines, under the command of Bush via Rumsfeld will work to further 'family values' by spending millions of dollars on a PR campaign to convince us that we should encourage our children to become cannon fodder. This is outrageous. For following our instincts and trying to protect our children, we will suffer an assault of TV ads, direct mailings and HOME VISITS??? Am I the only one who thinks this is nuts?

The reason that recruiting goals aren't being met is that the military is being misused! Lots of parents (and their kids) can see the waste these fascist leaders of ours are perpetrating on our military and our country. It's only a sensible decision not to enlist when chaos seems so imminent.

The problem is not so much the casualties but fact that those casualties were suffered for ill defined or non-existent reasons. I really believe that, if the country were pursuing a foreign policy that most were invested in, recruiting wouldn't be a problem. But that would require a democracy.

So, if you value your family (family values) keep them the hell out of the military until this fascist regime is no longer in power! And watch out for PRopaganda in your mailbox, on your TV or at your front door!

Chicken Hawk Anyone?

(Note: remember this blog is moving to a new home at: Against the Madness.)

The Ed Schultz radio show has posted a really interesting list of the military records of a lot of prominent members of the congress and the administration, both Republicans and Democrats.
Guess who seems to have more military experience? Now why do you suppose that is?

Monday, April 04, 2005

News the Mainstream Missed

(Note: remember this blog is moving to a new home at: Against the Madness.)

Want to know how a lot of the world sees the U.S. and Bush in particular? Take a look at 12th Harmonic's collection of pictures from protests held around the world on Sunday March 20, 2005.

It's kind of encouraging to see so many kindred spirits.

Reform? - Not Likely

(Note: remember this blog is moving to a new home at: Against the Madness.)

If one wants to know if the Catholic Church is likely to go through any big changes with the change in leadership, I noticed a clue this weekend.
Former Archbishop of Boston Cardinal Bernard Law appeared on ABCs "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos. He has also been heard, in the last few days, doing sound bites for various news broadcasts.

Cardinal Law, resigned from the Boston post in December 2003, after 58 of the priests in the diocese expressed a lack of faith in his leadership. This extraordinary event came as the culmination of Law's mis-handling of the sexual abuse scandals in the Boston Diocese.

In an article entitled Why isn't Bernard Law in Jail (Part 2), Dahlia Lithwick of Slate magazine described some of the evidence against Law:
"Last spring, Law admitted in a deposition that he was aware that John Geoghan had reportedly raped at least seven young boys in 1984 yet nevertheless approved the transfer of Geoghan to another parish, working with other boys. Other documents revealed that Law similarly knew of and ignored decades of reported child abuse by Paul Shanley, placing Shanley in ministries with access to other children."

"Throughout his tenure, Law seemed to reserve his warmest sympathy for the abusers, not the victims. He lied to a West Coast bishop about Shanley's history. He signed a document attesting that another known child-molesting priest, Redmond Raux, had "nothing in his background" to make him "unsuitable to work with children." Last week, more court documents revealed that the archdiocese gave new jobs to two priests, one of whom was known to have molested boys while the other had supplied cocaine to a teenage lover. Law's responses to these and earlier disclosures? The molesters had been cleared by physicians; the church kept bad records; his subordinates vetted the transfers; he forgot; he never knew; he's sorry."
In May of 2004, in what some saw as a move to dodge the U.S. legal system, Cardinal Law was appointed to a post in Rome.

Apparently none of the current Catholic leadership has a problem with Law's checkered past. The fact that Law is not only still unpunished for his actions but is apparently free to publicly represent the church should tell you all you need to know about any serious reform in the near future.

Culture of LIes

(Note: remember this blog is moving to a new home at: Against the Madness.)

In his remarks following the death of Pope John Paul II, on Saturday, April 2, Bush sounded all the right notes. He referred to Pope John Paul as a "wise and fearless priest who became one of history's great moral leaders." He said that " . . . the world has lost a champion of human freedom . . . ". " And that "throughout the West, John Paul's witness reminded us of our obligation to build a culture of life in which the strong protect the weak."

Culture of life is term that Bush likes to use. He's used it a lot lately. He used it in the Terri Schiavo case. The term 'culture of life' is largely drawn from the work of John Paul II. Some say he coined the term. In a 1995 Encyclical entitled "Gospel of Life", John Paul wrote extensively of a 'culture of life'. This could lead one to conclude that Bush was a devotee of the Pope. But the facts dont' bear that out.

When John Paul appealed for clemency for Carla Faye Tucker, who was scheduled to be executed in Texas, then governor Bush ignored him. Apparently the culture of life doesn't include the forgiveness that Jesus so often preached.

Before the invasion of Iraq, Pope John Paul made several pleas for peace. He said that the war, if it came, would be a "defeat for humanity". John Paul sent Cardinal Pio Laghi, a friend of the Bush family to deliver a message that said essentially, "God is not on your side if you invade Iraq." In a written plea on March 16, 2003, John Paul called on "member countries of the United Nations, and in particular those that make up the Security Council, that the use of force represents the last recourse, after having exhausted every other peaceful solution, in keeping with the well-known principles of the U.N. Charter itself." John Paul also pointed out that "to reflect on one's duties, to engage in energetic negotiations does not mean to be humiliated, but to work with responsibility for peace." It seems quite obvious that this was aimed first and foremost at Bush. Bush ignored him.

On June 4, 2004, John Paul delivered what The Guardian called: "a very public, relentlessly critical assessment of the US administration's performance in Iraq, attacking "deplorable" abuses of prisoners and calling for an international solution to the country's crisis." Referencing the prisoner abuse at Abu Graib, John Paul said: "In the past few weeks _ deplorable events have come to light which have troubled the civic and religious conscience of all and made more difficult a serene and resolute commitment to shared human values." "In the absence of such a commitment, neither war nor terrorism will ever be overcome." Did Bush respond by changing course or cleaning house? Rumsfeld still runs Defense. Negroponte will head intelligence. Bolton will deal with the U.N. Rice is Secretary of State. Wolfowitz is head of the World Bank. And the war drums are sounding over Syria and Iran. You tell me if Bush listened.

Bush's culture of life includes 152 executions as governor of Texas.

Bush's culture of life includes 1537 U.S. fatalities in Iraq since March of 2003.

Bush's culture of life includes 177 coalition fatalities in Iraq since March of 2003.

Bush's culture of life includes 11,442 U.S. troops wounded in Iraq since March of 2003.

Bush's culture of life includes, at least, 17,316 Iraqi civilians killed since March of 2003. Some estimates run as high as 100,000.

In the fire and brimstone spirituality of my youth, Bush's mouth would burst in to flames!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Dangerous Business

(Note: remember this blog now has a new home at: Against the Madness.)

One of the most under-reported stories to emerge from the last week is the gathering Republican assault on the court system.

For several years now, we have heard a building drumbeat from the right over what they call 'activist judges'. The numerous legal challenges and the contentious social issues in the Terri Schiavo case gave these people a platform to increase their rhetoric on these points and the indicators are that they will be attempting to weaken the judiciary in the upcoming months.

Not content to control the Executive and Legislative branches, they now have their sights set on the judiciary. As I mentioned in an earlier post, "Without DeLay", the House Majority Leader made some not-so-veiled threats against the judges who ruled in the Schiavo case, especially those who ruled on the emergency law passed to give the Federal courts jurisdiction in that case.

DeLay's comments were so irresponsible and inflammatory that they could easily lead to violence against these judges. We have been inundated with the irrational, anti-scientific, emotional reactions to this case. A combination of TV cameras and fanatical religious rhetoric tend to draw some less than stable people to the forefront. Some of these could easily interpret DeLay's remarks as a call to action. Yesterday, Senator Frank Lautenberg of N.J. sent a letter to DeLay calling DeLay's remarks "reckless", "irresponsible" and "downright dangerous", especially in the context of two recent violent attacks on judges. Unfortunately, this vein of inflammatory and highly irresponsible rhetoric about the judiciary has not been limited to DeLay. James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, said that the judges in the Schiavo case were "guilty not only of judicial malfeasance - but of the cold-blooded, cold-hearted extermination of an innocent human life."

Meanwhile, DeLay says he wants Congress to "look at an arrogant, out-of-control, unaccountable judiciary that thumbed their nose at Congress and the president." This goes to the real agenda of these people. In an interview with NPR last Saturday, Representative Steve King hypothesized on what actions Congress could take based on his interpretation of their power. "If we wanted to abolish the 9th Circuit, for example, we could do that. " said King. ". . . whatever Congress gives, they can take away." King also stated that "We could also cut the budget. We could prohibit the Justice Department from enforcing the orders of the court." While the Representative claimed that these actions were "not my preferred method" he said that the courts were ". . . counterproductive to this country and if we’re going to preserve our Constitution, we must get them in line."

One thing that belies all the conservative concern over "activist judges" is the actual judges involved. Many of the judges involved in the Schiavo case, especially in recent weeks, have been at least Republican appointees if not conservatives in their own right. Judge Greer, who did the lions share of the work in recent months is a conservative and Southern Baptist. Nevertheless, as a result of death threats stemming from the case, he is under the protection of Federal Marshals. In all, nearly 50 judges have looked at this case throughout the years and issued remarkably similar findings. The Daily Kos has a post detailing almost all of these and links to biography information for many. Recently, Judge Stanley Birch, of the Eleventh Circuit blasted both Bush and congress in a written opinion. Birch, a Bush I appointee is widely considered to be one of the most conservative judges on the federal bench. In his opinion, Birch accused both congress and Bush of acting "in a manner demonstrably at odds with our Founding Fathers' blueprint for governance of a free people - our Constitution." Birch's entire opinion, which is available on line, goes on to detail a number of ways in which the special legislation passed on Easter weekend is unconstitutional. He cites precedents for separation of powers that date to Marbury v. Madison in 1803 in which it is stated that this one of a number of principles upon which "the whole American fabric has been erected."

All of this really revolves around a few simple ideas. The purpose of the courts is to interpret the laws in each case and ultimately to determine whether those laws are constitutional and thus instruct the Executive Branch on what laws it can enforce. One essential of a civilization is an agreement, amongst the people being governed, to honor some authority as the final word on disputes. For hundreds of years, the courts have been the system for attaining that final word. That system, and our faith in it, has provided a relatively stable framework for the rest of American life to rest upon. If we undermine either authority of our court system, or the dominant perception of it's impartiality, we risk having no final arbiter of disputes. That will lead to chaos.

We cannot allow any majority to overrun the courts merely because they disagree with the outcome of particular cases. We cannot allow power-mad thugs like DeLay, King and Bush to play fast and loose with the very underpinnings of our society for their own political and economic gain. True conservatives, as opposed to political hacks, should and do agree with us on this one.

Nothing good can come of this!

Friday, April 01, 2005

Culture of Life (Hah!)

“The essence of civilization is that the strong have a duty to protect the weak. In cases where there are serious doubts and questions, the presumption should be in the favor of life.” --- George Bush – March 31, 2005


Where was this man and his strong moral principles when:

People all over the world demonstrated their “serious doubts and questions” about the invasion of Iraq and were answered by ‘Shock and Awe’ being visited on the “weak” by the “strong” in the so called 'Cradle of Civilazation'? (aka. The Cradle of Humanity - a term coincidentally coined by Evangelical Protestants!)

The ”weak” were sacrificed to the “strong” in the budgeting process? (See Meat Ax)

More people were shuffled through the Texas death house than all other states in the union combined, despite “serious doubts and questions”, including the “weak” Carla Faye Tucker who appealed to the “strong” Texas Governor G.W. Bush for clemency?

Massive tax cuts were given to the “strong” at the expense of the “weak”.

Hundreds of the “weak” were spirited off to foreign nations to be 'interrogated' by the “strong”?

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera . . . . . .

To quote Mike Malloy – Evening host on Air America Radio – “Have I mentioned yet today how much I loathe these people?”

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Without DeLay!

Tom ‘the despicable’ DeLay couldn’t let the passing of Mrs. Terri Schiavo go by without once again exercising his vitriolic, hate filled mouth. In the following quote, notice that the expressions of sympathy (which don’t include Michael Schiavo) are secondary to his bombastic accusations and not-so-veiled threats.

This vermin, who operates in an ethics-free-zone, has the temerity to threaten all those who served in good conscience throughout this extremely difficult case.

DeLay’s remarks are as follows:

“Mrs. Schiavo’s death is a moral poverty and a legal tragedy. This loss happened because our legal system did not protect the people who need protection most, and that will change. The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today. Today we grieve, we pray, and we hope to God this fate never befalls another. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Schindlers and with Terri Schiavo's friends in this time of deep sorrow. ”

Please take a few minutes and stop by the Public Action Campaign Fund and sign the petition calling for this thug to resign.

Theresa Marie Schiavo may you rest in peace!

It's the Cameras Stupid!

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

That’s all you really have to know to be able to judge one’s own participation in the death watch for Mrs. Terri Schiavo.

Already there are the somber conversations about what’s appropriate and how to get the news that people have a right to without trampling everyone’s rights in the process. I thought I’d weigh in early on this one. I’m going to keep it simple ‘cause I don’t think some of the people responsible think very deeply.

I’ts the cameras stupid!

The circus goes wherever you point the damn things!

You chose to set up right in front of a hospice. Inside are around 70 other patients, and their families, going through a sad, somber, inevitable, difficult, PRIVATE experience.

By setting up right in front of the hospice, you chose to trample on that process for all of those families as well as Michael and Terri Schiavo and their families.

There is no possible reason that we need to see the front of the hospice as a background for these shots. You could just as easily have put the cameras and the microphones and the satellite trucks and the Porta-Potty’s and the tents and the cars and the cables and the noise and the signs and the cops and the fences and the hazard tape and the noise and the protesters and the noise . . . . . . . .

. . . . . somewhere else!

How about a strip mall parking lot or a sports facility parking lot or a vacant lot or a field outside of town? Yes, you probably would need to pay some rent but your profits would surely cover it. And, you could have performed a public service at the same time.

How did we come to accept your presence in the middle of any and everything you deem ‘newsworthy? Your presence outside the Woodside Hospice House in Pinellas Park has been an obscenity and an affront to the entire hospice movement.

No amount of post-production de-briefing or on-air breast-beating will absolve you from this ugly, ugly incident.

Shame on you all!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Useful Information

I have decided to migrate this blog to a different host which should give me more control over it and should make it more responsive. The current host, while free and a great way to get started, seems overloaded. And I really wanted to have my url match the blog name. I now have my own domain now at www.againstmadness.com. I will be posting in both places for a while until I’m surer of the new setup. I’ll try to make it real clear when I stop using this space.

Click on over to www.againstmadness.com and take a look at my new digs. I am pleased with how they are coming along.

Thanks to all of you who read.