Thursday, July 28, 2005

JESUS GUNNE DOWN



JESUS GUNNED DOWN BY CIA:
UNDERCOVER AGENTS PUT HIT ON LORD AND SAVIOR



From the Anal Retentive Press

by Brandon



LONDON--Christians worldwide were stunned and horrified when the Lord and Savior, Jesus H. Christ was tackled to the ground and shot in the head five times by British undercover agents on a double decker bus as it was ferrying a group of American and Australian tourists to various tourists sites. According to eyewitnesses, Jesus, who had been preaching his gospel of love, peace, and forgiveness to is fellow bus passengers, was singled out as a terrorist because of his light brown complexion, large nose, and full beard and mustache.

"He fit the profile which had been provided by the American CIA," said undercover agent Nigel Chuutemkwik . "He looked like a bloomin' Mid Easterner and he was acting very suspicious like." According to Chuttemkwik, the CIA profile included any and all adult males between the ages of 16 and 44. Moreover, the profile also included a list of characteristics which the Bush Administration has considered to be anomalous under certain sets of circumstances, including the idea that Christianity might actually be a religion of love, peace, and forgiveness."

"The CIA, which is currently running the British government from the inside, and our subservient MI6 have both been very clear on this," said British Prime Minister Tony Blair. "We shoot first and ask questions later. This may well mean that 90 percent of the people we kill will be wrongfully assassinated, but the deaths of innocent people are nothing when compared to my political career."

Blair's allegations that tightened security measures combined with a shoot first and ask questions later policy of law enforcement come as no surprise to the critics of Bush and Blair. Indeed, the Jesus incident follows revelations by an anonymous White House source which claimed that the Twelve Apostles, Saint Paul, and the entire Holy Family had been listed by both, the FBI and CIA as potential security risks.

"You have to admit that this is a rather strange bunch," said White House Propaganda Minister, Carl Rove. "The idea that people would actually encourage us to love, trust, and comfort one another is alien to both, Christian Right values and the amorality of this administration."

President George W. Bush agreed. "This ahhhhh Jesus guy ahhhhh doesn't sound like the guy ahhhhh who I-ah, I-ah, I-ah was taught to love." According to Bush, the individual who was shot on the London bus had to be an impostor because Bush himself decided that he had to be. "I know that he-ah he-ah he-ah had to be an IM-POSSSH-TURRRR because ah, ah ah , I said-he-was."

When asked if the incident would result in changes to the war on terror, White House Propaganda Minister and all around prevaricator Karl Rove was doubtful.

"No, I don't think so," said Rove. "Making any changes now would be an admission that my trained monkey has caused more terrorism throughout the world than he has actually prevented." Having inadvertently told the truth for a change, Rove then went on to explain why Jesus, the Twelve Apostles, and the Holy Family had been declared more dangerous than Osama Bin Laden.

"You can't run an American Empire with my trained monkey as the puppet Emperor and with yours truly as the puppet master behind the curtain if the American people believe in a just and gentle Jesus," said Rove. In Rove's opinion, A Christianity which teaches love, compassion, and forgiveness is infinitely more dangerous than militant Islam because it can't be used to generate fear and a dependency on the Bush Administration for a sense of security. "Osama is actually useful in that he can be used to manipulate the American masses," Rove noted. "Jesus and his hippy crew are more dangerous because they can actually save and heal the masses. That makes them a threat to national security."

Rove's arrogance may be short lived. According to Caring Cross Hospital in London, the lord and Savior has performed yet another miracle, a self healing, and the result may not go well for Bush and Blair.

"These guys have some big time explaining to do," said Jesus spokesperson, mary Magdalene. "The Lord thy God is giving this crowd three days to repent. If they haven't done so at the end of that time I would suggest that they both change their policies and start looking for asbestos underwear."

Jesus offered no comment. Upon release from Caring Cross, he and his entourage departed for Washington. Magdalene would not say if the Lord and Savior had or had not used an airplane..

"We have some cleaning up to do in Washington" said Magdalene. "If Karl's trained monkey wants an angry, vindictive God then I think we can give him one."

Monday, July 25, 2005

What a Coincidence--NOT

This is just too much of a coincidence. Just as the United States Congress is debating whether or not we should renew the Patriot Act; just as the Brits are about to renew the debate on their own security tactics, Britain is "rocked" by a second "terrorist attack" in which not one, not two, not three, but ALL FOUR bombs prove to be duds.

Am I the only person on the face of the earth who thinks this is just a little fishy? Think about it. Opposition to the Patriot Act had been rising on both the left and the right, when lo and behold, just in time to have a calculated effect on the American and British people, four terrorist bombs fail to go off at the same time. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the last we knew the terrorists were evil, not stupid. What are the odds in favor of FOUR bombs failing to go off in the same attack? What are the odds of a failed terrorist attack taking place just in time to revive interest in the Patriot Act?

Let me be perfectly clear about this. I do not believe this was a coincidence. Nor do I believe that the second event in London was a terrorist attack at all. Call me suspicious but I suspect that the second, attack was a staged event to force the United States Congress and the powers that be in Great Britain to adopt permanent, Draconian security measures. If this had been an actual attack I suspect that there would have been actual damage. Not that anyone wants to see massive destruction or a loss of life, but as far as I'm concerned this was concocted in the backrooms at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and at 10 Downing Street to drum up support for the dismantling of civil liberties.

The next time Tony and George decide to invent the modern day equivalent of a Reichstadt fire they might try something which actually involves a little damage. It might make their staged event a little more believable. After all, even the Nazis had enough sense to start a real fire when they decided to clamp down on the constitutional liberties.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

THEY'VE TURNED LYING INTO AN ART

Editor's note.

Brandon here. I'm back. Before I say anything else I want to thank my brother, Kyle for "subbing" for me and for the fine posts that he made while Kelli and I were vacationing in Ireland.

I'll have more to say about our travels in future posts, but for now I want to say a few words about Carl Rove. What exactly is the deal here? I leave the country for a few days and everything begins to fall apart. Tsk tsk tsk. I wrote the first two thirds of this on the plane trip back home from Ireland. I finished the final third a few minutes ago. I hop you enjoy it.

And if I don't say so in the near future, it's great to be back,

Yours truly, Brandon



THEY'VE TURNED LYING INTO AN ART




You really have to give the Bush Regime credit where credit is due. They have more guts than they have decency or common sense. They get caught in a lie and they accuse their accusers of lying. They get caught spinning half truths and out right fabrications and they spin additional half truths and still more out right fabrications to cover up the previous set of distortions. And so it goes on and mercilessly on, with lie after lie after covering lie after lie after lie.


The latest example of right wing mendacity involves an attempt to transform Carl Rove into a kind of right wing superhero. I am of course talking about the effort which is now being made to recast Bush Regime Propaganda Minister, Carl Rove, as a kind of bureaucratic whistleblower in the Joe Wilson/Valerie Plame case.
Welcome to the demented world of the far right, where Carl Rove was actually performing a public service by outing a united States CIA agent. In Rove’s twisted version of the story, Rove himself should be congratulated, perhaps even rewarded because of right wing allegations that Joe Wilson had been sent to Africa (to check out reports that Iraq had tried to obtain yellowcake uranium for use in nuclear weapons) not by CIA director George Tenet nor by Vice President Dick Cheney, but by Wilson’s own wife, the above-mentioned Valerie Plame. Now I have to admit, this has been a rather interesting take on a serious situation. Indeed, there were times when I might have laughed if it hadn’t been for the fact that, as usual, Rove and his puppets in the White House have again made self-contradicting arguments. On the one hand they claim that Plame was such a low level official that outing her was no big deal. For days now I have been listening to right wing radio and it’s the same set of disingenuous arguments day in and day out. She wasn’t doing under cover work. She wasn’t that high up in the organization. Rove didn’t out her by name, only by relationship to her husband, ad nauseam. But then, in the next breath, the same right wingers will claim that this low level, unimportant official had enough official power to approve her husband’s trip to Africa. And the fact that the two arguments are mutually exclusive makes no difference at all to the callers on AM hate radio. At no time has it occurred to these dunderheads that Plame might have recommended her husband for the task (which is not the same as giving her approval) and that the actual approval had come from higher up in the Bush Regime or from the Powers That Be within the CIA. And what the Right Wingers fail to mention (their memories seem to rather selective on these points) is that when Matthew Cooper sent that incriminating email to his superiors, Cooper specifically said that he had spoken to Rove and that Rove had said that Wilson’s wife “apparently works” at the CIA. Indeed, the same email stated that Wilson’s wife, not Tenet or Cheney, who had authorized Wilson’s trip to Africa. But that only raises another question. Who specifically told this to Cooper? Was it another source besides Carl Rove? Or was it Cal Rove himself? Let’s face it. These right wing prevaricators have turned distortion and ass covering into highly developed art forms and it wouldn’t surprise me if Carl Rove were either directly or indirectly behind the deliberately planned fantasy which is now being accepted as fact by the far right.

Of course, the ironic part about all of this is that in the end, this is actually a very minor lie. The truly damaging lies were told during the weeks and months prior to the invasion of Iraq. In other words, while Carl Rove has again proven that he is a person of low character, this particular set of lies, while serious, were actually somewhat less destructive than the ones which landed us in Iraq in the first place.

FACT: In the weeks and months leading up to our invasion of choice, the Bush Administration deliberately created the impression that American Soldiers would be welcomed with flowers and Candy. This lie has been exposed by the fact that we have now been there for two years; that we have more than 1700 dead American soldiers and thousands of innocent dead Iraqis. Bush himself used meaningless, indefinable references to sacrifice. But while the President was spewing meaningless platitudes, right wing think tanks like the Heritage Foundation were flooding the airwaves with jingoistic rhetoric which sounded as if it had been written in Paris or Berlin during the opening days of World War I. American Soldiers were the best trained and best equipped soldiers on the face of the earth. They were well-prepared for the hypothetical battle. Talking heads from the far right espoused the superiority of the Pentagon’s high tech toys in just about any circumstance imaginable. The message was very clear. While Bush uttered mush, the talking heads described the war as a welcomed cake walk. The Iraqi people would be grateful to them. WE could expect low casualties. Well, friends and neighbors, you only need to look at the present outcome to see how those predictions turned out. Or is it a coincidence that even the right wingers themselves are now saying that we may be in Iraq for another ten to twelve years. Why, if you didn’t know better, yu might be inclined to think that the war hasn’t gone as they had planned!

FACT: During the build up to the war the Bush Administration consistently flip flopped over its reason or reasons for going to war. First it was to prevent Saddam Hussein from obtaining or using weapons of mass destruction. Well, friends and neighbors, the last we knew we have not found those weapons of mass destruction. That should tell us something. It tells us that Wilson had it right and that Rove had it wrong.

FACT: After the exposure of the WMD lie, Rove and his dependent puppets came up with a new lie. They wanted to kill or capture Saddam Hussein. This was the one aspect of the war that actually contained a grain of truth—but only a grain. We did indeed capture Saddam Hussein—whereupon the right wingers claimed that a corner had been turned and that the budding Iraqi civil war would eventually simmer down. Turn on your television; pick up a paper; listen to your radio. The insurgency is still raging. I guess you might say that we turned that corner and walked into another disaster.

FACT: When capturing Saddam Hussein didn’t quite produce the result they had anticipated, Bush, Rove and Company created a new lie. We were in Iraq to create a democracy.

How many ways can you say: “Not in this lifetime?”

As Kyle has already pointed out, Basra has recently announced that it wants to create a local theocracy and has concluded a $1 billion dollar deal with Iran to detect landmines and to modernize the military. At the same time the new, ruling Shias have indicated that women will be ruled according to (Islamic) Law. In other words, Sharia, the same repressive philosophy that we were fighting in Afghanistan! Now Iraqi women may actually find themselves with fewer rights than they had under Saddam! The right wing answer (i.e. distortion) has been that the Iraqis can always change their constitution if they don’t like it, but in the same breath those same right wingers will admit that this might take anywhere from 15 to 20 years or even longer. Somehow I don’t think this will be of too much comfort when women are forced to wear those long black robes and head scarves; and they probably won’t be too thrilled when they are beaten over even minor transgressions of Islamic law.

Moreover, democracy may not be possible in Iraq--at least not in the short term. Before, during, and after the invasion, the Neocons continued to claim that Iraq was the Mid Eastern equivalent of Post World War II Germany. Again, as Kyle has pointed out, this was either a lie or a horrible error in judgment. Unlike the west, Iraq, and the Mid East in general, have had little to no experience with the philosophies and institutions which made democracy possible in the west. That isn’t to say that the Mid East won’t ever be democratic, but it might it might help if the entire were to experience the Islamic equivalents of the Reformation, the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. Or to be succinct, democracy needs time to evolve--it cannot be imposed at the point of a gun.

Nor was that the only miscalculation, What Rove, Bush, and the entire administration never understood was the fact that Iraq was, and essentially still is, a tribal society. The only reason it held together was because of ruthless totalitarianism from the top down. The totalitarianism has been removed and now the ethnic and religious differences have again boiled to the surface. And there’s even more bad news. Despite right wing claims to the contrary I see growing ties between Iraq and Iran. The right wing lie or fantasy (call it what you like) regarding Iran goes something like this: The Iraqis may be Shi’ites, but they tend to think of themselves as Iraqis first. I would argue that in this case, the religious and cultural ties between Iraqi Shi’ites and Iranian Shi’ites are more intense than the Neocons have imagined. Or have they forgotten that the Iraq-Iran War (the one in which Iraq and the United States were buddies and Saddam was shaking Donald Rumsfeld’s hand) was conducted by a Sunni-dominated regime. Again, I would argue that the religious ties, being as strong as they are in the area, might prove more attractive to Iraqi and Iranian Shi’ites than the Republican Neocons have imagined.

As for the Iraqi Constitution, the right wingers are now claiming that merely having it will serve as a magical talisman against a civil war. That sounds good—at least in theory-- but let’s get real here. The United States had a Constitution in the mid1800’s but it didn’t prevent The War Between The States. A more immediate example might be Lebanon, which also had a constitution, but which managed to tear itself apart for bloody year after bloody year over religion and politics. Again, the right wing lie machine has it wrong. Constitutions and civil wars are not mutually exclusive.

The upshot here is that this administration has a very long record when it comes to twisting the truth and a very short record when it comes to expressions of honesty. The fact that they would choose to portray Carl Rove as a White House Whistler-Blower instead of the security leak and war criminal that he truly is comes as no surprise to this liberal blogger.

The only mystery is why so many people continue to believe a proven liar after he has told so many lies How can this man maintain credibility after the unnecessary death and destruction that he has helped to inflict? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The only way this administration would ever tell the truth about anything would be if it were to do so by accident. And as we have seen in the past, this administration has become quite adept at covering up its lies and mistakes with still more lies and mistakes.

Friday, July 22, 2005

YELLOW RIBBONS, UNITED WE STAND, and OTHER ORWELLIAN BULLSHIT

Editor's note

I'd really like to take credit for this, but it was written by my half brother, Brian, who is another half brother to Brandon. For those of you who are confused about the family relationships here, all I can say is "welcome to the club." Brian, Brandon, and I are half brothers by the same birth mother. Danny, on the other hand is my half brother by my biological father, although he is not related to Brian and Brandon. Easy, right?

Oh well, Brandon will be back on the 24th and should be getting into the swim of things again by Monday. Until then, I hope you enjoy what Brian has to offer.

Kyle Kilpatrick


YELLOW RIBBONS, UNITED WE STAND, AND OTHER ORWELLIAN BULLSHIT

By Brian Sinclaire


I wish someone would define what they mean when they say "we support out troops." Maybe it's me, but when I think about supporting the troops I think about keeping them safe, not putting them in harm's way. In other words, I would support the troops by not sending them to a war of choice in the first place. I guess you might say that I support the troops so much that want to bring them home as safely and as soon as possible. Of course, I'm probably the only person on my block who understands that "support the troops" means we are supposed to "suuport the war." Or, rather, "We support Bush and his unnecessary aggression of choice."

If the phrase "we support the troops," is a study in Orwellian doublespeak, the medium by which it is conveyed (bright yellow ribbons) is nothing less than an underhanded insult. I don't think too many people realize that yellow ribbons are a direct steal from the 1973 hit by Tony Orlando and Dawn, "Tie A Yellow Ribbon Around The Old Oak Tree." For those of you who are unfamiliar with this little tune, it is sung in the first person present and the person who is telling the story is not a veteran nor a former prisoner of war. He is a former inmate who has just been released from prison.

The lyrics couldn't be more clear about this:

"I'm comin' home I've done my time,"

This is followed, a few seconds later, by:

"I'm really still in prison and my love she holds the key..."

In other words, the pathetic indiviuduals who are displaying the yellow ribbons and (worse yet) magnetic yelow ribbon plaques on their cars are actually comparing the troops to former criminals. Now isn't that a fine way to show your patriotism for American soldiers? But then again, who said that Republicans are in any way selective when they advocate style over substance?But it doesn't end there, Some of those magnetic yellow ribbons, the ones enblasonned with the words "we support our troops," aren't even made in the United States! They're made in the People's Republic Of China, a world/super power wannabe, which is both, a growing security and economic threat to to the United States of America! You remember the People's Republic of China, don't you? You should. God knows enough American corporations are showing their "patriotism" by shipping American jobs over there.

Almost as bad as the yellow ribbons are the red, white, and blue "United We Stand" stickers that have been popping up in car and house windows."United We Stand." Now, what, exactly does that mean? I suppose that if it means we are all Americans, and that we live under the same laws and the same Constitution that it's probably a good thing. But that isn't what the war hawks have in mind. Far from it. "United We Stand" is nothing more than Orwellian Doublespeak for " we support the war criminal president who invaded Iraq in the first place." Or, if you prefer, "one people, one nation, one president." Which, when translated into the orginal German goes something like: "Ein volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer!"

You really have to give the Biush regime credit. Not only has it waged an illegitimate war in Iraq, it has also declared a war of choice on the English language.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

IT'S A LITTLE LIKE HERDING CATS--BUSH STYLE

EDITOR'S NOTE. Hello. My name is Kyle, and I'm Brandon's half brother. Brandon has been in Ireland for the past two weeks and he should be back on the 24th of July. Until then, I've been asked to sub for him here on COALITION. Below is a modest example that I've posted on my own blog, LeftWingRising.

I hope you enjoy it

Kyle.



IT'S A LITTLE LIKE HERDING CATS--BUSH STYLE

by Kyle Kilpatrick


Here in Wisconsin, the rightwing Neanderthals at the Wisconsin Conservative Digest have turned the time-dishonored practice of historical revision into a highly polished art form. With no weapons of mass destruction to be found in Iraq, and with the Bush administration’s inability to create a democracy through an invasion of choice, the low brow cavemen at the Wisconsin Conservative Digest have decided that the debacle in Iraq is a part of a Bush Administration “master plan” to congregate the world’s terrorists in Iraq where they can be handled more effectively by American troops. At a first glance this moronic theory appears to be a rehash of the meaningless platitude, “we have to fight them over there so we won’t have to fight them over here.” But on closer examination the WCD revision of recent history is even more delusional and asinine.

Does anyone remember what happened after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan the late 1970s? To refresh your memories, Afghanista became a training ground, a safe haven, for the U.S. backed Afghani freedom fighters who would eventually become the bloody, repressive Taliban. Admittedly, those were the good (bad?) old days of the Cold War, when anti-communist fanatics in the Reagen and Bush Administration looked upon warped individuals like osama Bin Vaden as anti-Soviet heroes. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Soviet Union, a world super power, was unable to defeat an Islamic insurgency in a neighboring country; nor does it change the fact that the Soviet invasion turned Afghanistan into both, a repressively brutal theocracy and a training ground for international terrorists.

Now fast forward to present day Iraq. Instead of herding the insurgents/terrorists into a convenient location, the Bush War has turned a country with porous borders into yet another training ground for Islamic terrorists. Someone really should have told the bUsh Administration that Iraq, unlike Post World War II Germany, had known little in the way of prewar democracy. And yet, for reasons which continue to boggle the imagination, the Bush regime decided that Iraq was the equivalent of a western, European nation—this despite the fact that Iraq had virtually no experience with the intel;lectual movements and political institutions which had made democracy possible in the west.

Or, to put it another way, democracy needs a fertile soil and viable seed if it is to sprout, grow, and flourish. But in Iraq, thanks in large part to its inexperience with representative government, coupled with decades of repressive rule and hidden ethnic/religious tensions, the soil and seed were both sterile. Instead of promoting a democracy, the Bush War has created a rich growing medium for the terrorist infection. It is no coincidence that Basra has announced that it wants a theocratic form of government and that it is pursuing a $1 billion agreement with Iran to help locate landmines and to modernize the military. Does that sound in any way Democratic? Not to this blogger.

Not that any of this maters to the cave dwellers at the Wisconsin Conservative Digest. Being the fine, Orwellian reactionaries that they are, they aren’t about to let reality get in the way of a good story. Or should I say a good propaganda tool? They really do believe that they have herded the terrorist cats into a convenient shooting gallery, although you really need to wonder. Have we herded the cats into a single location where they can be fought for effectively, or have we been suckered into a quagmire where it is our troops and innocent Iraqis who are being butchered like lambs at the slaughter? And, in the meantime, with our attention distracted in Iraq, the Taliban are making a come back in Afghanistan. Hello! Are you awake? Do you remember the Taliban, Osama Bin Laden, the people who took down the twin towers and a chunk of the Pentagon on 911? That’s right! I knew you’d remember them. You should. God knows the Bush War has given them enough free propaganda to fuel several more generations of up and coming fanatics.

The terrorists have proven that they, unlike President Bush, can actually chew gum and fart at the same time. They have demonstrated that they are more than capable of staging an insurgency in Iraq and waging international terrorism at the same time. Of course, that might just be my opinion, but then again suicidal/homicidal terrorists have struck London twice within a two week period, which should tell us that the Mammoth Hunters over at the Wisconsin Conservative Digest and on the right in general, aren’t only primitive, but deluded as well.
__________________________________________________

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

DECONVERSION: I THINK I FINALLY GOT IT!

I finally realized why religion has been such a problem for me. After finding a church which openly welcomed gay members I was still unhappy, still empty. Until a few weeks, ago when a close friend asked a few questions that I had never bothered to ask myself.

"Are you really comfortable believing in God when there's an alternative? Does it feel natural? Are you sure that you want to believe? Or are you just in love with the idea of believing?"

I now realize that the problem hasn't been in the churches I've been attending and rejecting. The problem is that I have doubts as to whether or not there even is a God, and I think I can now see where my doubts began.

When I was a fifteen and a member of my church choir, my pastor asked if any of us would be interested in directing the youth portion of our annual "Make a Joyful Noise Unto The Lord Concert." This was a yearly event, a summation fundraiser, that we held in the last week of July to raise extra bucks for the church music program. Or at least that's what we told ourselves. Part of me suspects that the related talent contest was nothing more than a blatant study in egotism, but that's another story for another time and place. On a more profound level, I now realize that this was just another psychological tool that religionists like to use to keep unsuspecting kids tethered to the church. You know what I mean. It was supposed to demonstrate that the church wasn't all that strict and that we were being trusted to produce an enjoyable concert. Of course, that didn't cross my mind at the time, so when Pastor Jacob asked for volunteers I foolishly shot my hand into the air like a pre-programmed android and volunteered.

A few days later I sat down with my fellow choir members, we tossed around a few suggestions. A few minutes later we had this idea for a thirty minute "musical" that would celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. We took the idea back to Pastor Jacob, and predictably, he loved it. We included seven songs. Five of which were contemporary Christian pieces, two of which were (gasp!) pop songs! To be specific, an old Carpenter's tune, a favorite of my mother called "TOP OF THE WORLD," and a more recent Carly Simon song called "LIFE IS ETERNAL." I have to say that with a little help from our choir director, I did a damned good job at arranging the songs. Especially "LIFE IS ETERNAL," which I unfolded as a kind of thee part round. All in all the whole thing was an upbeat and positive experience. Or at least it could have been.

The concert went smashingly. We got plenty of applause and the local paper said that the youth portion of the concert was "top notch." I felt as if I had accomplished something special. Until the Sour Puss Contingency in our congregation began to gripe and groan about the inappropriate song! While we were basking in a little, well-deserved praise, a couple of high power church members (read wealthy assholes) complained about the "New Age tunes" that we had performed. Suddenly Pastor Jacob--who knew what we had been doing from the get go--called me on the phone and asked me to come to the church.

When I arrived at the church, Pastor Jacob gave me a dressing down and ordered me to both, apologize to the congregation at the next Sunday morning service, and to write an apologetic letter to the local paper.

What a hypocrite. The smarmy little bastard had known all along what we had planned, and now he was asking a 15-year-old kid to cover his ass for him. I remember standing there, gritting my teeth in absolute rage, but agreeing to make the demanded apologies. How could I have been so fucking weak?

It didn't end there. I wrote the letter and mailed it off to the local paper like an obedient, little disciple, whereupon other members of the congregation and the community at large wrote in to defend our presentation. This COULD have been a good thing if the Sour Puss Constituency hadn't decided that a 15-year-old must have connections! In other words, I had asked the supportive people to write sarcastic letters to the editor! Yeah. Right.

My pastor was furious. He took me aside after our Wednesday night choir rehearsal and gave me another dressing down. This time I lost it. Somewhere between the words "gutless hypocrite," and the eye opening phrase "go fuck yourself," I decided that I didn't want to put up with this pewny little man's health problem (i.e. the fact that he had been born without a spine or guts) anymore.

When I got home, I learned that Pastor Jacob had called my adoptive father. I kind of figured this out when dad yelled at me for "mean-mouthing" a "man of God," and proceeded to beat the shit out of me. This was an unusually savage attack Not as bad as the one that I survived at the hands of a pack of Bible-thumping homophobes in 2003, but bad enough. Under normal circumstances I'm an avid swimmer. But not in the summer of 1998. I was so ashamed of the bruises that covered my ribcage for the next few weeks that I wouldn't even take my shirt off except when I went to bed at night.

By this time you might get the idea that little things like courage, integrity, and self-control are in short supply in some Fundamentalist churches, and if that's the idea you're getting, who am I to argue with you? You've got it right.

And yet, in a very strange way I am grateful for these events. They opened my eyes in a way that they had never been opened before. Beneath all the talk about God's love, and morality, and decency, I discovered a very shallow, hypocritical congregation which desperately needed to cast the beam from its own collective eye before it could condemn others. The first seeds of doubt had been planted, and there would soon be more.

Thinking I might find some answers in the Bible, I did something that Pastor Jacob had never recommended. I began to read The Bible. Not selected chapters. Not preassigned readings, but the ENTIRE BIBLE, from start to finish. I wasn't about to take my problem to my pastor because my pastor was the problem. But I could still differentiate between my Pastor and God. So if my pastor was the problem, where else would I go except The Bible?

What I found horrified me. Instead of the benevolent, deity that I had learned about in high school, I discovered a cruel, sadistic being who behaved more like the Devil and than a just loving God. The God I found outside my selective reading was neither moral nor immoral. He was worse. He was self-contradicting to the point of the ammoral. This was a deity who delighted in the deaths of innocent women and children; who had 42 children torn to pieces by a bear because the children had made fun of a prophet; who condoned the slaughter of innocent women and children.

Today I realize that if it hadn't been for Pastor Jacob's bullshit that I never would have read The Bible. Nor would I have recognized the fact that God is a made up story; that he was created by primitive people who were trying to explain life's hardships and natural events. And more importantly, I never would have realized that this invented Deity is a raving, right wing psychopath who deserves neither respect nor worship.

People keep asking me "Danny, how can you give up all that comfort?" To which I ask, "What comfort? How was I being comforted when I alowed my pastor and my congregation to do my thinking for me? How was I being comforted when my church wanted to hide the violence and cruelty in the Bible? Was this nothing more than a false sense of security? Was I not deceiving myself for all those years when I desperately wanted to believe that a loving god was running a well-ordered universe? In retrospect I would say that I was deceiving myself.

So if I no longer have the comfort of premade decisions and hand me down morals. I now have free thought. I am now compelled to think in a more rational manner. That means that I have to look at the facts, and weigh the evidence, and question everything. I really didn't intend to go through a deconversion process. It was the last thing on my mind. But now that I am on this path I want to continue. I want to find out where it leads.

It feels so liberating to no longer be a child of a an angry, anal- retentive god.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

THE MAKE REPUBLICANS FIGHT THEIR OWN WAR AMENDMENT

Kyle here, still filling in for my kid brother, Brandon.

I have an idea for a new Constitutional Amendment. It reads as follows:

THE MAKE REPUBLICANS FIGHT THEIR OWN WAR AMENDMENT

In keeping with the Republican delusion that Iraqis want a democratic form of government, let it be enacted that the adult children, ages 18 to 35 of those demented individuals who voted for the Bush Cheney ticket in either the 2000 or 2004 election shall be required so serve a minimum of eight years in active combat in either Iraq, Afghanistan, or whatever future war or combat situation the Republicans desire to initiate, no exemptions being allowed for any reason what-so-ever. Be it further enacted that those individuals ages 18 to 35 who actually voted for the Bush-Cheney ticket in 2000 or 2004 shall themselves be required to serve a minimum of eight years in active combat in either Iraq, Afghanistan, or whatever future war or combat situation the Republicans desire to initiate, no exemptions being granted for any reason or reasons what-so-ever. Be it also enacted that the above individuals may have their tours of duty extended by a period of no more than ten years, no exemptions being granted for any reason or reasons what-so-ever. In the event that the 18-to-35-year-old does not report for duty within 30 days of being ordered to do so, said 18 to 35-year-old shall be charged with desertion, and if found guilty permanently exiled from the United States, and its terrotitories. In the event that such an 18 to 35-year-old is found in either the United States or its territories after having been exiled, said 18 to 35-year-old shall be tried on charges of espionage and executed immediately upon the declaration of a guilty verdict, all appeals and pardons, presidential or otherwise, being strictly prohibitted by the terms of this Amendment.

I kind of like this because it would gurantee that the people who so loudly claim to love this war would actually get off their fat, hypocritical asses and fight it without dragging those who said "we told you so" into their interventionist venture(s).

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Song Parodies: DONALD RUMFELD'S LOONY STRIKEFORCE BAND (Reprint from May 17, 20050





















DONALD RUMFELD'S LOONY STRIKE FORCE BAND!
Based on "Sergeant Pepper"s Lonely Hearts Club Band
"By John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
New lyrics by The Lib'rals

It was 30 months ago tonight
Donald Rummy sent the boys to fight
And he says he's never gonna be foiled
But we know it's all about the oil
So may we introduce to you
The lies you've known for all these years!
Donald Rumfeld's Loony Strike Force Band!

They're Donald Romfelds Loony Strike Force Band
They hope you will enjoy his war
They're Donald Rumfeld's loony Strike Force Band
The're laughing as they go too far!

Donald Rumfeld's Loony
Donald Rumfeld's Loony
Donald Rumfeld's Loony Strike Force Band

It's horrible to be there
They sure do love to kill
We're such a trusting foolish bunch
They want a brand now power bass
They want to stay in power!

They don't really wanna stop the war!
And they're never gonna stop the gore!
So people go along for now

No one's ever gonna ask him howSo let us introduce to you
The lies we've known for all these years
Donald Rumfeld's Loony Strike Force Band!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

ROVE MAY BE GOING OUT--BUT AT WHAT COST?

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/12/politics/12rove.html?th&emc=th


For an administration that promised to sweep into Washington like a white Knight on white steed, bush incorporated has been anything but honest. I supposed that if Brandon were here he would say that this administration practices deceit as a virtue, but as a look at the circumstances surrounding Carl Rove I have to wonder why we ever expected anything different. This is a man who openly admits that his political hero is Niccolo Machiavelli. That should have been a warning right there. And while Rove is obviously a political genius--an evil political genius, but still a genius--it appears as if he has finally fallen prey to the characteristic which liberals have been using to describe this administration from day one.

Arrogance.

I suppose the thing that bothers me the most about this is that we have a genuinely determined prosecutor in the form of Patrick Fitzgerald, who, in his determination to uncover the truth, has decided to go after the free press in the process. Do I like Carl Rove? Do I think that he has been a beneficial force in America? Hardly. In fact, I would go so far as to call him a traitor. Not so much for his divisive politics, but because of the fact that he outed a CIA agent during a war on terrorism. As far as I'm concerned the man is dog food. He should be put on trial for treason, and if found guilty, be forced to pay whatever penalty is given to him. But at the same time I am not thrilled that the idea of anonymous news sources have become the victim in Fitzgerald's pursuit for justice. I know, I know, Fitzgerald is a right winger himself, but unlike Ken Starr, Fitzgerald actually seems to be rather straight laced on this matter. He's made up his mind that he wants to get to the bottom of this issue and he isn't about to let anything like a free press get in his way.

And that's what bothers me. I'd love nothing more than to see Carl Rove carted off in chains and shackles. But, by the same token, I don't want to endanger anonymous sources. Anonymous sources, while they should be used rarely and with caution, also provide a valuable service in that they do protect whistle blowers from governmental or corporate persecution. Also, 49 of the 50 states (the exception being Wyoming) have state laws which protect journalists and their anonymous sources. Unfortunately the Federal government does not, although there has been talk in the past few weeks about Congress passing protective legislation--which probably isn't going to happen considering the depth and degree to which this administration hates an independent press.

So, I guess you might say I'm torn on the issue. I'd love to see Carl Rove and his finger puppet of a president up for impeachment. Or better yet, on trial for crimes against humanity. But do I want to do so at the expense of the First Amendment? Do I really want to see more journalists (i.e. Judith Miller) thrown into jail for refusing to reveal an anonymous source? After all, only one private enterprise is mentioned in the constitution and that is the press, or rather, the right to a free press in our First Amendment.

I can't help but think that there has to be a way to root out the corruption of the Bush Administration while protecting the First Amendment at the same time.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

UK Attack Moblog



I am currently listening to BBC's online radio program Five Live which is live on the scence of the attacks and got the idea of looking for UK photoblogs or 'moblogs.' Moblogs are defined as mobile blogs, but they are usually camera phone photo blogs. There are some of the attack at UK Moblogs or www.moblogsuk.com

Personally, I mourn for the victims of this horrendous attack that has swallowed the lives of those doing their daily work and making contributions to their society and the free world. Much like their American counterparts who gave their lives on September 11th, the victims of July 7 were taken away from us so callously and so viciously. I pray for the families both devastated and interrupted by this incident. Ironically, it was a week ago to this day that I watched BBC and HBO's drama "Dirty War" about a series of (dirty) bombs exploding in London, only to see it partially unfold before my eyes. Yesterday was pure jubilence for the town and a day later countless lives have been lost. Though I may be thousands of miles away, my heart truly goes with those who perished today.

Sincerely,
Chris Bilal