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Booing Andrew Card

Booing Andrew Card

Andrew Card was booed big time at the graduate school commencement ceremony at UMass Amherst.

Tell me what they were thinking at UMass, bestowing an honorary degree on Card this year? Is there some federal funding problem? Oh, wait. UMass. Right.


At moments like this, I am so proud to be a UMass Amherst alum.

Sometimes Atlanta Georgia still seems like another country.

Indecent Bible?

Indecent Bible?

A recent column in the Chinese University’s Student Press magazine (Hong Kong) was deemed “indecent” by the Obscene Article Tribunal because it asked readers about whether they had ever fantasized about incest or bestiality.

A storm of debate followed – on freedom of speech, the right to open sexual discussion, and the obligations and limits of social morality.

Seemingly in response (although I’m not sure how they would know that), someone launched an anonymous web site ( ) that said the holy book “made one tremble” because of its violent and sexual (including rape and incest) content.

By noon Wednesday, Hong Kong’s Television and Entertainment Licensing authority (TELA) had received more than 800 complaints about the Bible. TELA now has to decide whether the Bible violates Hong Kong’s obscene and indecent articles laws.

If they decide that it does, then the bible could be sold only in a sealed wrapper, with a statutory warning notice. You’d have to be over 18 to buy it.

Ok, generalization time: Here in sanctimonious America it is common for people simply not to read the bible (really read, as you would read another book). Those who notice little issues tend, for whatever reasons, to keep critical thoughts to themselves. Many people on all sides feel ignore the parts that might make them at all uncomfortable, or that contradict one another, or that aren’t really comparable from one book to another. Many people don’t realize how much violence and censorship was involved in the selection and canonization of the scattered texts called the Bible, or that ideas about “inspiration” came along rather late.

“I think the Good Book is missing some pages….” – from “Icicle,” Under the Pink, Tori Amos

There are plenty of odd bits in these texts. Ancient peoples lived a bit closer to life’s edges than we do, and their cultures and perspectives varied. Ever wonder about how things looked from the Canaanites’ point of view? Or why God would order someone to impregnate his brother’s wife? Where did Cain’s wife come from? And what was that whole thing about grabbing “thigh” to make a vow?

I won’t list more examples here. Hey, it’s a PG-rated blog, and some of these are too… tooo… toooo…. unreflective of American “family values.”

But I’ll link ’em! Here are a couple of lists – I’m pretty sure that at least one example may startle you.

Books are better. Reputable biblical scholarship is best, but some of the others are interesting too:

“It ain’t the parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it’s the parts that I do understand.” – Mark Twain




I am participating in this blogger action, in a limited way. I’m not following directions, which would be to replace my entire front page with the single word “Impeach.”

I am participating in this more limited fashion because we don’t have the congressional votes for an impeachment process and I think there are actually even more important issues to work on. In the November election, we ought to be proposing solutions to this octopus-armed disaster that the Bush administration has created.

Still, there is certainly a solid case for impeachment. Here’s a sprinkling of the many available sources.

Bush Crimes Commission – International Commission of Inquiry On Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration

Articles of Impeachment

Four Reasons

“Constitution in Crisis” by John Conyers summarizes evidence of illegal activities.

A memo from a January, 2003, White House meeting of Bush and Blair at which Bush made clear that the U.S. would go to war with or without the United Nations and proposed various strategems to try to create a justification for war.

Bush Crimes

A report that the CIA had strong evidence before the war that Iraq possessed no Weapons of Mass Destruction.

A January, 2003, State Department memo showing awareness that Niger documents were forgeries.

A British memo shows that Bush proposed bombing Al Jazeera.

A report that Bush was personally informed that the aluminum tubes claims were not supported by the State Department or the Department of Energy and that Iraq was very unlikely to attack the United States.

Testimony that Bush and Cheney were involved in the leaking of misleading classified information and in a campaign of retribution against Joseph Wilson.

Paul Pillar, who was the CIA’s national intelligence officer for the Middle East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005, writes that facts were fixed to support going to war.

Top aide to Secretary of State says facts were fixed to support going to war

War Crimes

An Amnesty International report on ongoing torture and unlawful detention.

Reports that almost 100 prisoners have died in US custody.

“State of War” by James Risen reveals illegal spying and reports on meeting between MI6 and CIA that preceded the Downing Street Meeting in July 2002.

Henry Waxman collects 237 Bush administration lies in a searchable database.

Report that Germans told US “Curveball” was unreliable.

U.S. Army admits using White Phosphorous as a weapon

Cheney’s Chief of Staff Indicted for Obstruction of Justice

NSA spying months before 9/11

Chart of all stolen public data:

The Impeachment of George W. Bush: A Practical Guide for Concerned Citizens The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush

Yes. Thank you Colbert.

Yes. Thank you Colbert.

I’ve been waiting a bit to comment on the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. There are a lot of opinions out there, and I’m happy most of all that people are talking and writing and thinking about issues, humor and satire vs. criticism and insult, comedy as news, the role of a court jester, and so on.

Steve Bridges did a great imitation of Bush, and was obviously Bush’s own choice (for his own roast, he gets to choose?). I’ve heard that Bridges can do Clinton just as well. That was the light side of the dinner, although there were a couple of low-grade zings in that one, too.

But I have to say that I think Colbert’s performance was the more important. I did actually think much of it was funny, in the traditional way of a roast. As it went on, he transitioned through court jester, and went all the way to performative critique. The film clip of Colbert pretending to be the White House Spokesman forced the viewer to dwell in a fairly unpleasant space – it even made me a little anxious because of the genre of suspense, the music, the way it was drawn out. It was meant to make people squirm. It worked for that, but I could almost hear the pulse of a pounding vein in Bush’s own head by the end of it.

The video wasn’t funny – but it was performative, dramatic, and scathing in its depiction, and that was even better. Scott McClellan probably had the most right to feel attacked…. wasn’t that pretty much a depiction of him?

It focused on a single question, finally: Why did we really go to war in Iraq?

Helen Thomas herself – I swear I saw her wipe a tear. I was glad to see someone stand up for her, and for the questions she’s not been allowed to ask anymore despite her long history as the media hardnose to the President. And I was glad to see someone stand up for us, we who are being fed a bunch of hogwash propaganda day and night, straight from the White House to Fox News, etc.

Anyone who has watched the Daily Show or the Colbert Report would know what his humor was like. Remember, he was invited.

I fully expected Colbert to pull a Family von Trapp while the film clip was playing, but to my shock and admiration, he was still standing there at the end.

Thank you Stephen Colbert

The Speech Video

Stephen Colbert Musical Extravaganza

The Colbert Report

Colbert Clips on ifilm

Yes, I approve.

Why? Because I’m angry at his administration – Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, et. al. – as well as its bullied, corrupt, or spineless members of Congress, the controlled or cowardly media, and the American people themselves – who have allowed our country to be twisted and trampled into something it should never be. If we continue on this path, our future is dismal.

William Rivers Pitt puts it pithily (when angry, spitting and sputtering are common) – Why the anger?

Because millions of people are staggered by the idea that, yes Virginia, we have to go through this again. We have to watch soldiers slaughter and be slaughtered for reasons that bear no markings of truth. We have to watch the reputation of this great nation be savaged. We have to watch as our leaders lie to us with their bare faces hanging out.

Why the anger? It can be summed up in one run-on sentence: We have lost two towers in New York, a part of the Pentagon, an important American city called New Orleans, our economic solvency, our global reputation, our moral authority, our children’s future, we have lost tens of thousands of American soldiers to death and grievous injury, we must endure the Abramoffs and the Cunninghams and the Libbys and the whores and the bribes and the utter corruption, we must contemplate the staggering depth of the hole we have been hurled down into, and we expect little to no help from the mainstream DC press, whose lazy go-along-to-get-along cocktail-circuit mentality allowed so much of this to happen because they failed comprehensively to do their job.

George W. Bush and his pals used September 11th against the American people, used perhaps the most horrific day in our collective history, deliberately and with intent, to foster a war of choice that has killed untold tens of thousands of human beings and basically bankrupted our country. They lied about the threat posed by Iraq. They destroyed the career of a CIA agent who was tasked to keep an eye on Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and did so to exact petty political revenge against a critic. They tortured people, and spied on American civilians.

You cannot fathom anger arising from this?

There is at least a small amount of comfort in knowing that that the President had to hear, at least once, a few of the reasons why those approval figures are so low.

Main Page – WikiThePresidency

Main Page – WikiThePresidency

People For the American Way believes that “a healthy democracy is an informed democracy,” so they have created to establish a single place for the public to both acquire and share information about Executive Branch wrongdoings.

It’s a Wiki, so anyone can edit the site, but there are rules. You must post factual claims (no op-eds), with links to credible supporting material. No spouting off.

Take a look. It’s interesting reading.

Main Page – WikiThePresidency

US Concentration Camps?

US Concentration Camps?

KBR, the engineering and construction subsidiary of Halliburton Co. was awarded a $385 million 1-year contract (with 4 1-year options) from the Department of Homeland Security to establish “temporary detention and processing capabilities to expand existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs.”

“We are especially gratified to be awarded this contract,” an executive vice president, Bruce Stanski, said in a statement, “because it builds on our extremely strong track record in the arena of emergency management support.”

It’s amazing someone can stand up and say something like that, given the historical facts. Sigh.

So, the question is, why do we need concentration camps in the US, and who’s really gonna sit in them??

Terrorists? Immigrants to be deported? Victims of natural (or unnatural) events? Poor people? Old people? Whoever doesn’t sign up for the drug benefit written by the insurance industry? (the last a lame attempt at humor, sorry)

American citizens culled for one of the rapidly-developing “new programs”?

What kind of programs require major expansion of detention centers, each capable of holding 5,000 people?

Let’s ask the Bush administration exactly what it means by the “rapid development of new programs,” which might require the construction of a new network of detention / labor / concentration camps across the United States!

“Almost certainly this is preparation for a roundup after the next 9/11 for Mid-Easterners, Muslims and possibly dissenters,” says Daniel Ellsberg, a former military analyst who in 1971 released the Pentagon Papers, the U.S. military’s account of its activities in Vietnam. “They’ve already done this on a smaller scale, with the ‘special registration’ detentions of immigrant men from Muslim countries, and with Guantanamo.”

Peter Dale Scott, author of Drugs, Oil, and War: The United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina, suggests that it could be a preparation for conditions of martial law, and notes that a multimillion program for detention facilities “will greatly increase NORTHCOM’s ability to respond to any domestic disorders.”

…in April 2002, Defense Dept. officials implemented a plan for domestic U.S. military operations by creating a new U.S. Northern Command (CINC-NORTHCOM) for the continental United States. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called this “the most sweeping set of changes since the unified command system was set up in 1946.”

The NORTHCOM commander, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced, is responsible for “homeland defense and also serves as head of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)…. He will command U.S. forces that operate within the United States in support of civil authorities. The command will provide civil support not only in response to attacks, but for natural disasters.”

John Brinkerhoff later commented on PBS that, “The United States itself is now for the first time since the War of 1812 a theater of war. That means that we should apply, in my view, the same kind of command structure in the United States that we apply in other theaters of war.”

…NORTHCOM conducted its highly classified Granite Shadow exercise in Washington. As William Arkin reported in the Washington Post, “Granite Shadow is yet another new Top Secret and compartmented operation related to the military’s extra-legal powers regarding weapons of mass destruction. It allows for emergency military operations in the United States without civilian supervision or control.”

For an excellent, but chilling overview of some of the possibilities here (including labor camps, dissident and “Fifth Columnist” roundups, and so on), take a look at “Bush’s Mysterious ‘New Programs'” by Nat Parry, Consortium News, posted February 23, 2006. at AlterNet.

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