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Damn It All!

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Hearst Newspapers columnist Helen Thomas has taken on the quest of Diogenes in seeking a sign that "the American people to refuse to be shamed any more."

At least one US citizen has reached that point, noting in her comments that "I don't think people realize how far down we have been taken in the last 7+ years since the coup of 2000."

New York Times Op-Ed Columnist Bob Herbert is on a similar quest, observing that the entire political process has become thoroughly warped by histrionics and asks, "Are we in the news media going to be serious about this election, or is it really going to be all about Wright and race all the time?"

Considering that the campaign has already descended into the gutter, the short answer is: WRIGHT! David Swanson presents his view on why Hillary is participating in the race-baiting game while asking, "So, why does the corporate media behave as if it's still a contest (Here's a video of Chris Matthews admitting the media's role in this farce), and why does the independent media obediently fall into line?

There's independent media operating in America? If there were, one might think that these questions would not be asked by those within the industry, and Joan Vennochi of The Boston Globe wouldn't be wondering why the coverage of Bush's Terror War Against Terror was relegated to the back pages while the latest on the James Raven Revisited campaign stole the headlines. Said headlines remain focused on Obama, Hillary, and Jeremiah Wright. But what news of the GOP's participation in the revelry?

According to New York Times columnist Frank Rich, the Great Hope of Eternal White Supremacy is fading fast, and the Republican Party knows it. The eventuality that American Caucasians would cede numeric dominance has been politically known since the 1960's. When Lyndon Johnson lamented that his signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would cause racist Whites to bolt to the GOP after decades of clinging to the Democratic Party as the only alternative to the destroyer of The Southern Lost CauseHe knew well of which he spoke. These irrationally terrified folk became the nucleus of Richard Nixon's "Silent Majority" in an attempt to stave off the inevitable loss. To maintain influence with this group, the GOP thus used every advantage in defense of White Privilege, including religion.

Former Missouri Republican Senator John Danforth, an Episcopal priest, told Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne that for years the role of the religious right in Republican politics "did not get enough attention," in part due to so much of its activity being beyond public purview.

Dionne goes on to pose the stumper as to whether the media "will be just as tough on false prophets who happen to be white and right-wing." If this is to happen – and I doubt that it will – then the time is now ripe.

David Michael Green presents a thorough examination as to why John McCain has to be the luckiest politician in human history due to additional factors beyond racial fears. As the last Republican candidate standing, he will benefit from a disciplined political machine which is "congenitally incapable of running anything other than a vicious campaign."

Viciousness seems to be what the current version of Republicans is made of. Take John Hagee [PLEASE!]. He endorsed John McCain on Feb. 27, which was accepted gratefully despite John Hagee declaring "God Damn America" in a manner similar to Jeremiah Wright – if for different reasons. John Hagee also wrote on page 150 of his 2006 book Jerusalem Countdown: A Prelude To War that "America's role is to get nuked by God".

Cenk Uygur has found a hate sermon by Reverend Hagee in which he "is shouting maniacally at poor people to 'Starve!' and encouraging others to die before they compromise on (Hagee's view of) Christianity." Uyger concludes by asking, "Will McCain give a similar 45 minute speech explaining his relationship to hateful evangelical preachers like Rev. Hagee?"

I doubt it! I'm quite certain that neither Mr. McCain nor his camp knew anything then about Mr. Hagee's views – NOT!

But, despite the "conservative" corporate ownership, there seems to be a little honesty leaking out of the Information Gulag. In the mien of Chris Matthews' mea culpa cited above, Newsweek's Richard Wolffe revealed on MSNBC that he believes that "in some ways, John McCain is getting a free ride."

Another candidate for Helen Thomas' modern-day Diogenes is former Baptist minister Bill Moyers, who points out the nefarious un-Christian activities of certain well-known religious Republicans, such as Pat Robertson's promoting the assassination of a foreign head of state, and he and Jerry Falwell's usurping God's judicial function in delivering their own "God Damn America" shortly after 9/11. He also doesn't ignore the abuse [.wmv file-slow loading] that Christian icon Billy Graham levied upon God's Chosen People.

I'll add to that list the vituperation of Billy's son and heir Franklin Graham foisted upon the oil-rich Sons of Ishmael (…the God that I worship doesn't require me to strap a bomb on myself and go blow up innocent people to prove to God that I love him…), but I digress.

Moyers concludes, "This is crazy and wrong — white preachers are given leeway in politics that others aren't –which means it is all about race, isn't it?"

[Watch Bill Moyers expose the double standard.]

Blogger AzBlueMeanie now takes up the cudgels, asserting that with both The Washington Post and The New York Times displaying a sense of responsibility regarding their coverage of Obama and Wright, then the media should also report on McCain's associations with a white supremacist named Richard Quinn and the extremist religious radical Pastor Rod Parsley.

There really is a demonstrable disparity in the coverage. Media Matters recently documented that articles mentioning Wright and Obama have appeared more than 12 times as often as those covering Hagee and McCain, in both The New York Times and The Washington Post combined, since Hagee's endorsement.

But the media-driven religious radical preacher connection isn't the only commonality shared by Obama and McCain. Fresh on the heels of the vituperative calumny Obama received for his association with former Weather Underground domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, yet another candidate for Helen Thomas to consider is Chicago Tribune editorial board member and political conservative Steve Chapman.

Chapman notes that McCain deserves the same sort of attention for his hypocrisy in accepting support from Nixon administration-approved domestic terrorist G. Gordon Liddy. Chapman explains that Liddy's participation in Watergate and other political scandals – which represented "one of the greatest threats to the rule of law" this nation has ever faced until currently – was a function of the same (if the polar opposite) motivation of the era as that which drove Bill Ayers' illegal acts, for which both served time. The difference, as Chapman notes, is that Liddy has retained his "penchant for extreme solutions".

But getting back to examining the religious version of voter propriety offender, there is yet another Republican-connected holy man who has expressed his own version of God Damn America and suffered no calumny for doing so.

On March 5, 1995, in Tarrytown, N.Y., Bush family friend, Republican Party supporter, and owner of The Washington Times Rev. Sun Myung Moon excoriated America. "America has become the kingdom of individualism, and its people are individualists," Moon preached, "You must realize that America has become the kingdom of Satan." Reporter Robert Parry notes that Moon has escaped media scrutiny despite his extensive expressions of hatred regarding America. Financially bailing out Bush family members and sycophants must really help!

Once beholden to Moon for their rescue, such Bush family remoras saw to it that a room in the Senate Dirksen Office Building was made available to the Moonies so that Moon could be crowned the "King of Peace". Moon's followers hailed the 2004 "ceremony" as proof the U.S. government was bowing down to this self-proclaimed new Messiah.

So what does this have to do with McCain's connection to wacko shamans? McCain's current chief political adviser Charlie Black helped arrange that event, so can the apple fall far from the tree? Logic dictates a 'NO' answer.

All is not lost regarding the religious community. Joining the growing list of candidates for Helen Thomas' Seekers of the Lost Truth are the more than 80 evangelicals – including well-known evangelical author and speaker Os Guiness and Fuller Theological Seminary President Richard Mouw, who have signed the Evangelical Manifesto [to be released 5/7/8], which damns the use of faith for political purposes. The Conservative Christian signers of these anti-political theses believe the word "evangelical has lost its religiousness, and that Christians have become 'useful idiots' for one political party or another".

Support for the Manifesto is hardly universal. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention claims no knowledge of it, as does Focus on the Family founder James Dobson through a spokesman. Ohio evangelical activist Phil Burress sneers at the document, claiming that "it's like throwing a pebble in the ocean".

However, the signers assert that "All too often we have attacked the evils and injustices of others while we have condoned our own sins." The end of such damning hypocrisy would be a very welcome thing indeed!

An individual minister is also heeding the call to be inquisitive. Marty Parrish, a licensed Baptist minister, was ousted from McCain's Des Moines town hall meeting by security officials after asking if McCain had called his wife Cindy an expletive related to the female anatomy while running for re-election in the Senate in 1992. "Why does the news media continue to ignore this outrageous statement by John McCain, but fixates on Barack Obama's truthful observation that some people are bitter?" asked a pamphlet Parrish was distributing.

One would think that such a topic would be as relevant as whether or not Osama is a closet Islamic or Hillary's reputed sexual proclivities. Both of the latter get much more discussion than whether McCain really respects females enough not to use ugly sexual characterizations. But then, thought in the public is seriously lacking, or Hillary's campaign would have closed down.

I'll give David Swanson a last word on today's topic: "Is it so difficult for people to think for themselves and let the media and the Super Delegates and the Democratic Party know that WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH?"

Damn! Add the Republicans and the Religious Right to that list, and I think we have a winnah! However, other than my personal opinions regarding the question, it remains to be seen whether there remains sufficient cranial ability in the television/murderous video game-addled voting public to overcome the efforts of the status quo seeking to retain power by damping the beta brain waves of voters enough to manipulate their votes through "news" and "opinion". Considering that Rush Limbaugh is still on the air instead of in The Yard, the chances of this political psy-op working are very good.

Damn it!

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About pessimist

  • Dan Miller

    Realist,

    A cogent, well written article. I may have additional comments later, but for now — do you remember the old Pogo cartoon strip? In it, one of the characters, Pogo himself, as I recall, said We have found the enemy and it is us.

    News, whether TV, radio or the rapidly (I almost said vapidly) vanishing newspapers have a primary purpose, which is to get ratings and sell advertising time. They give us what they think we want, and the process is self perpetuating. The more crap we get, the more we want and the more they supply.

    It is sad, but I think it is true.

    Dan

  • JTS

    Realist,

    The problem that the press is overlooking with the right’s religious ties is that there are powerful political implications. The religious right is deeply involved in our politics. Look at Bush’s stances in RU486, abortion (including its ties to foreign aid), supression of scientific research, attempts to teach pseudo-creationism in the classroom, stem cell research, etc.

    What is worse, a religious affiliation with a minister who will cost votes (Obama), or political affiliation with ministers (and their voting blocs) that will deliver election-deciding votes to a candidate. Fear the religious right; they have real power and they are not shy to use it.

    -JTS

  • Ruvy

    I think that people like Hagee and Wright are full of shit, and no matter how many “halos of holiness” you put on the stuff, just because it shines in the sun doesn’t make it anything other than shit.

    But my beliefs aside, this election is rapidly becoming a contest over which idiotic pretender to the American throne can line up which goyisher preacher to back him up.

    I believe in and maintain the Jewish vision for the Redemption of Mankind, and in this Redemption many will die – including Jews. But I do not hold with all the Christian millennial garbage that sells like hotcakes in the States. Christians can delude themselves all they wish – they’ve been doing that for two thousand years. It is irrational to expect them to change now. But Jewish prophecy is coming true, whether I like it or not; and usually I don’t like it.

    Realist, your big problem is not that you can’t dig up facts; it is that you dismiss the truths of religion altogether. That is foolish.

  • Leslie Bohn

    Ruvy as usual is expressing one of the great universal truths of religion: Mine is correct; yours is wrong, and probably evil.

    The idea that Ruvy’s secret Jewish Da VInci codes predict anything is hilarious, though, although I don’t want to inspire another asinine fantasy explanation of how the frequency of letters in a certain section of the Talmud predicted the Asian bird flu.

  • bliffle

    Until we diminish the importance of religion and superstition in our lives people will be susceptible to these crackpot religionists.

  • jamminsue

    Dan Miller – Pogo was right
    Leslie – sooo right!
    Biffle – good point.
    I attended an event recently where the speaker was a political refugee from Iran, who counseled us “Fear the Fundamentalists!”