Friday, May 06, 2005

Sympathy for James Dobson

Please allow me to introduce myself
I'm a man of wealth and taste
I've been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man's soul and faith

And I was 'round when America
Held its National Day of Prayer
Made damn sure that Tom DeLay
Spoke my words and shielded his hate

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game

I stuck around Colorado
Where I preached it was a-time to beat all the children and the pets
Kill the judges and their Senators
Democrats screamed in vain

I cheered the tanks
And the general's ranks
When the Shock and Awe raged
And the infidel bodies stank

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
Ah, what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, ah yeah

(whoo whoo, whoo whoo)

I watched with glee
as the bankruptcy reform bill passed (whoo whoo)
and the tax cuts for the rich (whoo whoo)
made me rich real fast (whoo whoo)

I shouted out, (whoo whoo)
"Who killed the Iraqis?" (whoo whoo)
When after all (whoo whoo)
It was you and me (whoo whoo)

Let me please introduce myself (whoo whoo)
I'm a man of wealth and taste (whoo whoo)
And I merged Church and State (whoo whoo)
Duping you all as I took my place (whoo whoo, whoo whoo)

Pleased to meet you (whoo whoo)
Hope you guessed my name, (whoo whoo)
oh yeah (whoo whoo)
Confusion (whoo whoo)
Is my game(whoo whoo),
oh yeah, get down, baby (whoo whoo)(whoo whoo, whoo whoo)
(whoo whoo)(whoo whoo)(whoo whoo) ..........

Pleased to meet you (whoo whoo)
Hope you guessed my name, (whoo whoo)
oh yeah (whoo whoo)
But what's confusing you (whoo whoo)
Is just the nature of my game (whoo whoo)
um yeah (whoo whoo)

Just as every cop is a criminal (whoo whoo)
And all the sinners saints (whoo whoo)
As heads is tails (whoo whoo)
Just call me James Dobson (whoo whoo)
'Cause I'm in need of some restraint (whoo whoo)

So if you meet me (Dobson)(whoo whoo)
Have some courtesy (whoo whoo)
Have some sympathy, (whoo whoo)
and some taste (whoo whoo)
Use all your well-learned politesse (whoo whoo)
Or I'll lay your(whoo whoo)
soul to waste,(whoo whoo),
um yeah (whoo whoo)

Pleased to meet you (whoo whoo)
Hope you guessed my name, (Dobson)(whoo whoo)
um yeah (whoo, whoo)
Confusion (whoo whoo)
Is my game, (whoo whoo)
um mean it, (whoo whoo)
get down (whoo whoo) (whoo whoo)(whoo whoo) (whoo whoo)

Woo, who (whoo whoo)
Oh yeah, get on down (whoo whoo)
Oh yeah (whoo whoo)(whoo whoo, whoo whoo)(whoo whoo, whoo whoo)........
Oh yeah! (whoo, whoo)

Tell me baby,(whoo whoo)
what's my name(Dobson)(whoo whoo)
Tell me honey,(whoo whoo)
can ya guess my name (Dobson) (Whoo whoo)
Tell me baby, (whoo whoo)
what's my name (Dobson)(whoo whoo)
I tell you one time, (whoo whoo)
you're to blame (whoo whoo)

Woo Who (whoo whoo)
Woo Who (whoo whoo)
Woo (whoo whoo)
alright (whoo whoo)
Oh, who who, oh, who who, (whoo whoo)
oh, who who
Oh Yeah (whoo whoo)
Woo, who who (whoo whoo)
Woo, who who (whoo whoo)

Ah yeah, a-what's my name (Dobson(Whoo whoo)
Tell me, baby, (whoo whoo)
what's my name (Dobson)(whoo whoo)
Tell me, sweetie, (whoo whoo)
what's my name (Dobson)(whoo whoo)

Woo, who, who (whoo whoo)
Woo, who, who (whoo whoo)
Woo, who, who (whoo whoo)
Woo, who, who (whoo whoo)

Oh, who, who (whoo whoo)
Woo, who, who (whoo whoo)
Ah, yeah!
Whoo whoo Woo Who WhoWhoo whoo

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

War is as War does

Philips is blowing smoke and Ezra Klein is either forgetting or is just purposely being gentle here, but the term "jihad" is not a radical or inaccurate one when used to describe the activities of the religious right and its corporate sponsors in America.

Philips may think he and his clan are just a bunch of sweet folks, but maybe Philips didn't see this call to religious war from one of Bush's judicial nominees.

And maybe Philips was too busy to go to this conference where self confessed religious believers talked about dispensing with judges that, Republican-appointed or not, didn' t rule as they liked.

And maybe Philips' neighborhood church wasn't showing this on its telescreens.

And maybe Philips didn't catch this comment by James Dobson comparing the independent judiciary to the KKK.

And maybe Philips doesn't remember this morsel from Ann Coulter and that this prominent evangelical minister invited Ann along on his latest bookstorming tour.

So, yeah, John Philips, we think the Jihad term fits, it works, and we'll keep using it.

Abusing Religion

For some reason the Washington Post felt obligated to print this on its op-ed pages this morning, the latest of a long number of snide, whining pieces from a supposedly agrieved Christian, complaining about how misunderstood and maligned he and his cohorts are for wanting to coerce the nation's children to pray and to require us all to bow in homage to whatever monument conservative Christians want to place on every street corner.

As I've said before, as a daily-Bible-reading, practicing Christian, I find the religious right and its arguments repugnant, silly, unhelpful, and offensive to the degree that they attempt to define my religion and dictate what and how Christians should respond to issues in the public square.

But that isn't why I chose to reference this latest piece of Christian-right demagoguery.

Instead, I mention it because I want to compare it to this, which appeared in today's same Washington Post, on page 3, in the reporting section of the paper. Apparently, there are concerns that there is a hostile religious climate at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado*. Only the hostility is not towards evangelical Christian "people of faith" as the organizers of last week's Justice Sunday broadcasted around the country, but rather, by radical evangelical Christians towards Jewish, non-radical evangelical Christians, and non-Christians service members. The climate includes but is not limited to proselytizing from the front of the classroom and from the academy's chaplains, and hazing-like shaming rituals for those that don't adopt the radical evangelical line. To look into these concerns, which go back a number of years according to academy alumni, the Air Force has established a task force.

In what I am sure is only coincidental, the article also noted as an aside that two years ago, the Air Force was beset by accusations of the sexual abuse of its female service members. It is no doubt a coincidence only that a military institution happens to face charges of sexual abuse of its female service members and the evangelical coercing of both its female and male company. I have no doubt that it is merely a coincidence that the conservative, traditional, hierarchical evangelical Christianity that disdains the rights and progress of women would be dominant at an institution that has also experienced problems of the sexual abuse of women (which as we know is not about sex but about power).

I'm sure that this is all a coincidence.

And is there also a coincidence between the op-ed column arguing that we need to let the State establish the conservative's evangelical Christianity throughout the land, and the fact that the sexual abuse of women has been occuring in an institution that is also reported to be guilty of religiously bullying its members?

A coincidence? I report, you decide.

*Colorado Springs, Colorado also happens to be the haven of James Dobson's Focus on the Family militia "ministry". But I'm sure that the proximity between the Air Force Academy and the Focus on the Family compound and the religious climate at the former is purely coincidental.

Update: Here's a great post from Juan Cole on religious freedom. Although it's based on Pat Robertson's comments on This Week, it also has a lot to say about the subject of this post.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Pondering Gore

I've been thinking about this piece by Ezra Klein. I'd been wondering the same thing for several weeks, if not months since the election. Is Gore worth another look? He's certainly embraced a much more fiery tone, and his remarks last Wednesday to the gathering, while not stunning in their style, were nonetheless encouraging for their bold attack on the theocratic movement, even naming names (Dobson, Perkins).

So, should progressives give him serious consideration? I don't know what the answer to that question is yet. Fortunately, we have three years until the official primary season is upon us, and maybe at least two more years until candidates begin setting up exploring committees and raising cash.

But as much as I like the new Gore, I think there are problems. Of course he would carry the stigma of "loser", although he won the popular vote in 2000. Worse, it wouldn't take much for the media to resurrect much of the same baggage that haunted him last time (the Internet reference, no governing legal authority, etc), and while his approach to issues and tone of speech have evolved, his general style and charisma have not. And I'm afraid that his new tone, while an accurate reflection of the challenges the country faces from the right, are too angry to bridge the gap between liberal base and typical voter. Most of all, I don't think he's done much to make himself likeable, and ironically, any attempts to do might only worsen his image. I admire his new fight, but think it probably would be best if someone else carried the banner.

And who might that someone be? Although I panned him for his pro-bankruptcy "reform" vote, Joe Biden might be the best candidate Democrats could put forward. Mind you, I've not even in the vacinity of having a favorite candidate at this point, I'm merely making an objective determination based on a number of factors. He would be taken seriously on the national security front. And while he isn't especially charismatic, he comes across as more approachable and believable than either Gore or Kerry appeared. And he took the trouble to chastize Republicans and the radical right for their court and Justice Sunday shennadigans during a speech in Columbia, SC (of all places) last month. So he demonstrates at least some awareness of the looming threat from conservative totalitarianism that to me is so important.

On economic issues, Edwards would be a more satisfying choice. But I'm afraid his relative inexperience and boyish appearance could be a detriment. I've also not really heard him take on the religious right. Maybe he has. But if he runs, I would like to hear him address the cultural issues head on.

The other candidates as I see them are Hilary, Russ Feingold, Bayh and Warner. Of the four, only Feingold could be considered a progressive.

It's early, but never too soon to be thinking of who our standard bearer should be next time, and perhaps most importantly, what sort of platform and selection of issues they should run on.

Triangulating the Democrats

During the '90's it was fashionable to talk about how President Clinton had successfully triangulated the Republicans and co-opted their policy positions for his political benefit. But it seems to me that the '00's are witnessing the triangulating of the Democrats by faux liberal pundits and the media. Let's consider the evidence.

Democrats need to exorcise Michael Moore and from the party and talk as tough as Republicans on the "war on terror".

Lead Adherents: Peter Beinart, New Republic magazine, Al From, DLC, Joe Lieberman, U.S. Senator from Connecticut.

Implication: Democrats ought not subject the instruments and aims of war to democratic debate.

Reality: Attempts to shield America's war policies (covert and overt) from political debate risks creating the same abuses of power that ended two presidencies and has generated the blowback from five decades of not challenging American's intervention overseas.

Democrats need to offer a Social Security reform proposal of their own and agree to negotiate with President Bush.

Lead Adherents: Washington Post editorial board; Op-ed columnists Richard Cohen and Michael Kinsley.

Implication: Democrats should accept Republican arguments that Social Security is in trouble and must be phased out.

Reality: Social Security is not in crisis; the federal budget is, and its causes are the 2001-2003 tax cuts and the ending of the estate tax Republicans have pushed through with Democratic Party support.

Democrats should support bankruptcy "reform" because, um, because, well, some people are abusing the bankruptcy laws and we need to scold the poor so they develop "personal responsibility" and so that the credit card companies will be good to us and lower interest rates.

Lead Adherents: Al From, New Democrat Network, U.S. Senators from MBNA, Joe Biden and Tom Carper.

Implication: Democrats should ignore the power inbalances inherent between corporations and individuals, and accept Republicans argument that individuals, especially poor individuals, are the problem.

Reality: The bankruptcy "reform" bill was a shameless piece of legislation shopped around Congress for seven years by the credit card industry. Its passage will establish neither "personal responsibility" or lower interest rates.

Democrats should move to the "center" on abortion and other issues of interest to "values" voters.

Lead Adherents: Al From, DLC, Hilary Clinton

Implications: As with bankruptcy "reform", siren calls for Democrats to adopt conservative Republican policy positions on abortion, gays and other personal issues tempts Democrats to concede the Republicans' point that individuals are the problem and that the main duty of the state is to discipline them.

Reality: The problem with and the threat from the two worst regimes of the 20th century(Hitler's fascist Germany and Stalin's Communist Soviet Union) were not caused by their countries' individual behavior, but from their corrupt and power hungry leadership and military ambitions. Individuals are not the problem, institutions and ideologies of power and repression are.

Conclusion: Democrats need to change the debate from coercing individuals to challenging concentrated power and pockets of privilege.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Remember This?

It seems as if blog hearts are all a flutter these days, debating the administration's rationales for war in Iraq, and about how despite all the stuff about WMD's and mushroom clouds the whole thing was all really just a loving desire to bring Haliburton style democracy to the Middle East.

Well, it's amazing what you can still find on the Internets. It turns out that the neo-conservative government in exile in Clinton years ran a little operation called the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), and back in 1998, they wrote a letter to President Clinton stating the urgent need to invade Iraq. If you don't believe me, you can read the thing here.

Now, the first thing I'd like to do is review this letter and identify some of its main words, just to get an idea as to what the fine folks at PNAC were up to. Specifically, let's identify a couple of words and see how many times this letter references them. Ready? Here we go.

Democracy: 0

Liberty, liberate or variations thereof: 0

Freedom or freedom fries: 0

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) or variations thereof: 3

Oil: 1

Vital National Interests or variations thereof: 3

Next, let's take note of the many good Americans that signed this letter and play "where are they now", which so happens to be one of my most very favorite games. Ready, here we go.

Donald Rumsfeld: Current Position: Secretary of War/Defense. Claim to Fame: Directed Invasion and Occupation of Iraq in 2003; In response to soldier's question about supply of armor remarked that you go to war with the army that you have.

Paul "Wolfy" Wolfowitz: Current Position: Deputy Secretary of War/Defense. Claim to Fame: Said we had to make up that stuff about liberation and democracy and all that to get public's approval. Next gig: World Bank.

William Kristol: Current Position: Editor and Chief, Weakly Standard; Regular special guest policy political consultant for Fox News, conservative scold extraordinaire. Clame to fame: Counceled Republicans to oppose any and all efforts by President Clinton to pass health care reform in 1994.

Richard Perle: Current Position: wondering around the AEI or PNAC. Former position: Chairman, Defense Policy Board until 2004, a Pentagon group that urged war on Iraq after 9-11. Claim to Fame: Nickname, Prince of Darkness.

John Bolton: Current Position: Undersecretary of State for arms proliferation. Claim to fame: bullied peon analysts that disagreed with his goal of manipulating intelligence data. Next gig: United Nations.

Elliot Abrams: Current Position: Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Global Democratic Strategy. Claims to fame: too numerous to mention but was instrumental in helping to lead failed coup against democratically elected government in Venezuela in 2002.

Robert Z0ellick: Current Position: Deputy Secretary of State. Former position in W administrationL U.S. Trade Rep from 2001-2004. Claim to Fame: Served on Advisory Council for Enron.

Paula Dobriansky: Current Position: Under Secretary State, Global Affairs. Claim to Fame: Kinda cute. Marital status unknown.

Richard L. Armitage: Current Position: Unknown. Former Position: Deputy Secretary of State under Colin Powell.

Well, I'm afraid that's all the time we have today, folks. But I hope you can see that the organization that helped push for the war in Iraq, and which is now widely represented in the administration, didn't seem to care much for democracy or freedom fries or any of that mushy-gooshy stuff back in 1998. I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions. I report, you decide.