Happy Secular Thanksgiving with a Side of Fakeness – Fake Taliban, Fake Leader, Fake Elections, Fake Deadline = Real Trouble & More Tastey Treats

An Atheist’s Thanksgiving Dinner Grace:

Let us take a moment to think about where the food we are about to enjoy has come from and to acknowledge those who worked to bring us this food. Let us appreciate the earth, the sun, the air, and the water needed to nourish the plants and animals. Let us thank the farmer who cared for the plants and animals and the migrant worker who toiled to harvest the crops. Let us thank the laborer who processed the food, the truck driver who brought the food, and the grocery store workers who displayed it. Finally, let us thank our friends who prepared this meal and have provided us with the opportunity to be together and share each other’s company.

SOURCE: An Atheist’s Thanksgiving Dinner Grace

Secular Coalition for America president Herb Silverman offers an example of a secular grace that you can use during dinner tonight

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John Corvino.  He was a good catholic boy and wanted to join the priesthood.  However, he realized he was gay and then an atheist.  He talked about the harm of religion and how it harms gay people. Here is a sample of his presentation: SOURCE

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“Private Sector” Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan accused of pocketing millions: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is facing a wave of lawsuits across the state accusing the insurance giant of pocketing millions of dollars in hidden fees from local governments and others to administer their health care plans. The state court suits — which already have cost the Blues several million dollars in verdicts and settlements — are independent of an antitrust lawsuit filed last month in federal court by the U.S. Justice Department.

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Obama’s two different Americas – On Guantánamo, Obama Hits Rock Bottom: On national security issues, there are now two Americas. In the first, which existed from January to May 2009, the rule of law flickered briefly back to life after eight years of the Bush administration. In this first America, President Obama swept into office issuing executive orders promising to close Guantánamo and to uphold the absolute ban on torture, and also suspended the much-criticized system of trials by Military Commission used by the Bush administration to secure just three contentious convictions in seven years. In addition, in April 2009 he complied with a court order to release four “torture memos” issued in 2002 and 2005 by lawyers in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which purported to redefine torture so that it could be used by the CIA (in 2002), or broadly upheld that decision (in 2005). As well as confirming the role of the courts in upholding the law, these documents contained important information for those hoping to hold senior Bush administration officials and lawyers accountable for their actions in the “War on Terror.”

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The Religious Right and the GOP: Joined at the Hip, but Who’s Calling the Shots? Republicans and the Religious Right need each other.  Neither group has much political or social power without the other’s support.  The corporatist agenda of the GOP would not win elections itself; Republicans’ success at the polls depends on them portraying themselves as the party of the socially-conservative, religious worldview.  The Religious Right can only advance their social agenda by demanding influence in Republican policy-making in return for support at the polls.  Without this relationship, Republicans would be a fringe party of big business leaders and a few wealthy individuals, while religious fundamentalists wouldn’t have a channel into the political arena for their worldview.  Which partner is the dominant one in this relationship in 2010?

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America’s Failed War of Attrition in Afghanistan: At the end of the NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal this weekend, the leadership of the Afghan Taliban issued a statement characterizing the alliance’s adoption of a loose timeline for a 2014 end to combat operations as “good news” for Afghans and “a sign of failure for the American government.” At the summit, President Barack Obama said that 2011 will begin “a transition to full Afghan lead” in security operations, while the Taliban declared: “In the past nine years, the invaders could not establish any system of governance in Kabul and they will never be able to do so in future.”

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A Conservative Christians View about the Government’s “Alien Agenda” exposed as demonic deception: When “that Wicked” is revealed he will come “after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.” He will come with all “deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish.” Who will perish? Those who “received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”  (2 Thess. 9,10)

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Fake Taliban Leader, Fake Elections, Fake Deadline, Real Trouble: Dennis Kucinich: “The war in Afghanistan is taking place in a netherworld where facts and common sense have no place. Elections are fake. Our deadline to withdraw is a fake. Now, we learn that a fake Taliban leader has been leading us to believe that NATO was facilitating high-level talks between Taliban leadership and the corrupt Afghan central government we’re propping up. It was truly amazing that our government said we were negotiating with high-level Taliban leadership while at the same time we were stepping up air strikes to wipe them out.”

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Anatomy of a journalistic smear job:One long-standing — and justifiable — progressive grievance is that whenever ordinary Americans allow their personal plight to enter the public sphere in a way that advances a liberal political goal, they are gratuitously probed and personally smeared by the Right.  The most illustrative example is the Frost family, who allowed their 12-year-old son Graeme to deliver a moving radio address explaining the benefits he received from the CHIP program when he was in a serious car accident, only to be promptly stalked and smeared by Michelle Malkin, among others.  Today, The Nation — a magazine which generally offers very good journalism — subjects John Tyner to similar treatment, with such a shoddy, fact-free, and reckless hit piece (by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine) that I’m genuinely surprised its editors published it.  Beyond the inherent benefit of correcting the record, this particular article is suffused with all sorts of toxic though common premises that make it worth examining in detail.

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Religious do not have monopoly on virtue, Queen tells synod – Believers and atheists equally able to contribute to country’s prosperity, says monarch: People of faith do not have a monopoly on virtue as British society was now “more diverse and secular”, the Queen told the Church of England today in an address to its governing body. Speaking at Church House, central London, she told members of General Synod that believers and atheists were equally able to contribute to the prosperity and wellbeing of the country. The Queen, who is supreme governor of the Church of England, said: “In our more diverse and secular society, the place of religion has come to be a matter of lively discussion. It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue and that the wellbeing and prosperity of the nation depend on the contribution of individuals and groups of all faiths and none.”

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No child left behind, Venezuelan version:As the ruling-class assault on public education continues in the U.S., the Venezuelan government has begun distributing 350,000 laptop computers to public school children. The program, known as the Canaima Plan, is part of President Hugo Chávez’s commitment to provide all children with portable computers, school uniforms and books. At a ceremony in Caracas on Nov. 16, Minister of Education Jennifer Gil told those gathered that the Canaima Plan “allows us to keep deepening our integral and massive education system that does not involve just students, but the entire family, environment, parents, representatives, and teachers.” (Venezuelaanalysis.com) “Only in socialism is it possible to make real the rights of children,” added Gil.

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Former House Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay was found guilty by a Texas jury Wednesday of money laundering and conspiracy related to campaign contributions in 2002: A jury of six men and six women delibertated for 19 hours before returning a guilty verdict. DeLay faces a sentence of 2 to 20 years for money laundering and a 5 to 99 year sentence for conspiracy to commit money laundering. The Houston Chronicle reported that neither DeLay nor his family showed signs of emotion when the verdict was read. However, after court was dismissed “DeLay received a hug and a kiss from his wife” and “his adult daughter, Dani, buried her face into DeLay’s shoulder and began sobbing. DeLay’s face turned red as he fought back tears.”

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Palin’s New Book Cites Debunked George Washington Myth As Fact: Ah, Thanksgiving! – What better time to promote American history revisionism? Enter Sarah Palin. Did George Washington, pledging his oath as the first president of the United States, swear upon a Bible the words “so help me God”? You betcha, claims Palin in her new book “America By Heart: Reflections On Faith, Family and Flag.” Bunk, say historians.

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Will Congress Let Jobless Benefits Expire Four Weeks Before Christmas? Voters clearly want lawmakers to ease the nation’s unemployment pain, but a sharply divided Congress is still balking at extending jobless benefits for those out of work a long time. Unless Congress acts by Nov. 30, an estimated 2 million people slated to receive extended benefits will not get them on time, if ever. And Congress is taking this week (Nov. 22-26) off for a Thanksgiving recess. Congress reconvenes on Nov. 29.

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Roll Back the Reagan Tax Cuts

by: Thom Hartmann, Berrett-Koehler Publishers | Book Excerpt – This is the third installment of Tom Hartmann’s groundbreaking book, “Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country.”

You must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessings.

- Andrew Jackson

When I was in Denmark in 2008 doing my radio show for a week from the Danish Radio studios and interviewing many of that nation’s leading politicians, economists, energy experts, and newspaper publishers, one of my guests made a comment that dropped the scales from my eyes.

We’d been discussing taxes on the air and the fact that Denmark has an average 52 percent income-tax rate. I asked him why people didn’t revolt at such high taxes, and he smiled and pointed out to me that the average Dane is very well paid, with a minimum wage that equals roughly $18 per hour. Moreover, what Danes get for their taxes (that we don’t) is a free college education and free health care, not to mention four weeks of paid vacation each year and notoriety as the happiest nation on earth, according to a major study done by the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom.

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