Thursday, December 20, 2007

Republican Hack: Thy Names are Bill Donohue and the Catholic League

Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog checks out whether Bill Donohue at the Catholic League is being "fair and balanced".

That would apparently be, uh, no.

Attention: "Harsh Interrogation Treatment" has just entered the building

Andrew Sullivan catches the AP carrying the Administration's water (no pun intended) on torture revisionisms.

Why are they shilling for the Bush administration? Here's their second sentence in a story today:

The destruction in late 2005 of the tapes, showing harsh interrogation treatment of two terrorism suspects, is being investigated by the Justice Department, the CIA itself and by several congressional panels.

No serious source denies that these two individuals were - at the very least - waterboarded. And no serious, reasonable student of history, warfare or basic ethics can deny that waterboarding is now and always has been a torture technique. Why can the AP not use the word clearly in accord with its plain meaning in English? They have to make a choice. And they have decided to enable the Bush administration's Orwellian perversion of the law and the English language. Really: a factual correction is required. This is not a subjective judgment. It is an objective fact.

Huck and his kookie friends

Well, Robert Novak's column today was a bit of a revelation, or as much of a revelation as one could expect given what we already know about Mike Huckabee's Christianist beliefs. Novak reveals that Huckabee:

Huckabee's base is reflected by sponsors of Tuesday's fundraising luncheon (requesting up to $4,600 a couple) at the Houston home of Steven Hotze, a leader in the highly conservative Christian Reconstruction movement. State Rep. Debbie Riddle was the only elected official on the host committee, most of whose members were not familiar names in Texas politics. David Welch is executive director of the Houston Area Pastor Council. Jack Tompkins heads a firm providing Internet services to the Christian community. Entrepreneur J. Keet Lewis is an active Southern Baptist.

A better-known committee member was Baptist minister Rick Scarborough, founder of Vision America. In endorsing Huckabee on Nov. 1, Scarborough said, "I acknowledge that Huckabee is not the perfect candidate" but one "who will listen to wise counsel."

If the term "Christian Reconstruction movement" send shivers down your spine, then you probably have some idea of the political and social regression that would occur in America should any of that inclination gain high office. For those unfamiliar, you might want to read a little of this Cato Institute post (via Andrew Sullivan), and the links contained therein:

Christian Reconstructionists, for those unfamiliar with the term, are Religious Right radicals who believe that America, and the rest of the world besides, should be governed in accordance with strict Biblical law. And yes, that includes stoning adulterers. Here’s a snippet from “A Manifesto for the Christian Church,” a 1986 document from an outfit called the Coalition on Revival that was signed by, among others, Steven Hotze:

We affirm that the Bible is not only God’s statements to us regarding religion, salvation, eternity, and righteousness, but also the final measurement and depository of certain fundamental facts of reality and basic principles that God wants all mankind to know in the sphere of law, government, economics, business, education, arts and communication, medicine, psychology, and science. All theories and practices of these spheres of life are only true, right, and realistic to the degree that they agree with the Bible.

For more, check out this audio clip of Hotze from back in 1990. Over the years, Hotze has achieved some prominence for his anti-abortion and anti-gay activism. Also, the good doctor appears to be a total quack.

Meanwhile, Novak reports that among the members of the fundraiser’s host committee was Baptist minister Rick Scarborough. The founder of Vision America and a self-described “Christocrat,” Scarborough made news earlier this year when he argued that the HPV vaccine improperly interferes with God’s punishment of sexual license.

Just when you thought the Huckabee campaign couldn’t get any creepier….

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Theoconic Hypocrisy

I don't know what Kos is thinking with this description of the Christianist wing of the Republican Party:


This is the Christian Coalition/Moral Majority crowd, desperate for the wedding of state and religion, desperate to prevent the wedding of same sex couples. Unafraid to spend tax dollars on "faith-based" initiatives, while seeing immigrants as a replenishing source of new converts and religious foot soldiers.

Government spending: Pro

Aggressive foreign policy: Against
Immigration: Pro
Traditional values: Pro
Notables: Mike Huckabee, Pat Robertson, James Dobson

My own description of the Theocons would be:

Government Spending: Against
Agressive Foreign Policy: Pro
Immigration: Against
Traditional Values: Pro

Maybe Kos is only looking at Huckabee and his gubernatorial record, along with some of his campaign statements, relative to the most anti-government spending, pro foreign policy agression, and anti-immigrant Republican in Congress. But I wouldn't depict the Theocons as a base of the party as having the perspectives Kos assigns them.

That in fact also seems to be the observation of this already much referenced op-ed from Harold Meyerson in today's Wash Post:

But it's on their policies concerning immigrants where Republicans -- candidates and voters alike -- really run afoul of biblical writ. Not on immigration as such but on the treatment of immigrants who are already here. Consider: Christmas, after all, celebrates not just Jesus's birth but his family's flight from Herod's wrath into Egypt, a journey obviously undertaken without benefit of legal documentation. The Bible isn't big on immigrant documentation. "Thou shalt neither vex a stranger nor oppress him," Exodus says the Lord told Moses on Mount Sinai, "for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt."

Yet the distinctive cry coming from the Republican base this year isn't simply to control the flow of immigrants across our borders but to punish the undocumented immigrants already here, children and parents alike.

So Romney attacks Huckabee for holding immigrant children blameless when their parents brought them here without papers, and Huckabee defends himself by parading the endorsement of the Minuteman Project's Jim Gilchrist, whose group harasses day laborers far from the border. The demand for a more regulated immigration policy comes from virtually all points on our political spectrum, but the push to persecute the immigrants already among us comes distinctly, though by no means entirely, from the same Republican right that protests its Christian faith at every turn.

We've seen this kind of Christianity before in America. It's more tribal than religious, and it surges at those times when our country is growing more diverse and economic opportunity is not abounding. At its height in the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan was chiefly the political expression of nativist Protestants upset by the growing ranks of Catholics in their midst.

It's difficult today to imagine KKKers thinking of their mission as Christian, but millions of them did.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Democratic Chairman of Senate Committee Endorses Republican for President

While I'm not surprised by this announcement, it's worth highlighting the fact that Lieberman is not just a Senate "Independent" Democrat, but he's a Senate "Independent" Democrat who happens to chair (by virtue of the Democratic majority in the Senate which Lieberman's caucusing with the Democrats helps create) an important (in the age of Bush) Senate committee (Governmental Affairs), which has done virtually nothing in the year it and Lieberman have been given.

To revoke Lieberman's chairmanship would probably drive Joe over the edge to caucus with the GOP, thus switching control of the chamber. Leaving Lieberman in his chair would (a) provide a continuous source of embarassment; (b) continue to ensure that the Committee he heads will do nothing and (c) maintain nominal Democratic control of the chamber to allow it to...what?