Monthly Archives: December, 2010

Air Force Academy Heterosexual Sex Assaults Up 150%, While Air Force Academy Alumni Group Cancels Event To Honor Gay Soldiers & 2011 Looks Even Worse For Muslim Americans

America in Decline: Why Germans Think We’re Insane 12-27-10 A look at our empire in decline through the eyes of the European media.

Even as it acknowledged the US naval prison camp is a rallying cry for Islamic extremists, no end soon for Guantanamo says the  White House The White House admitted Sunday it would be unable to shut Guantanamo Bay in the near future. 12-27-10

A Teacher Bribes a Student with Jesus 12-26-10

Republican Shamelessly Tries to Rewrite History of Financial Crash, Pushes “Austerity Measures” 12-26-10

Congress Should Defund Planned Parenthood Because of High Unemployment 12-26-10

2010: Another Hard Year For American Muslims 12-26-10 Across America, right wing radio hosts and preachers of many stripes have been cranking up their virulent rhetoric spreading hatred of Muslims. ….

Lobbyist In Charge Of ‘Trying To Kill’ Financial Reform Hired By GOP Chair To Oversee Financial Regulations 12-26-10

Faiths and fears collide over the Constitution 12-26-10 Free people fear a world in which the tyranny of a Taliban-type regime — which makes no distinction between church and state — seems more and more possible in the cities and states of this nation.

ACT! for America has, both locally and nationwide, found common ground with tea party members and extreme conservatives who helped Republicans retake the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2010 midterm elections. 12-26-10 One of its key allies, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., announced plans this month for hearings on Muslim-Americans and terrorism when he assumes the chairmanship of the House Homeland Security Committee.

Christmas is Still a Religious Holiday for Majority in U.S. 12-26-10

Malaysian Homosexual Now Faces Death Threats from Muslims 12-25-10

PULPIT: Gay commitment ceremony happening at Springs synagogue 12-25-10 We are all created in God’s image, so it doesn’t matter if someone is heterosexual or homosexual….

Communism vs. Sharia… “Evil” American Leaders Sold to Uneducated Americanss 12-25-10 See no Sharia, see no evil “Mindslaughter,” historian Robert Conquest’s term for delusive Western apologetics regarding the ideology of Communism, is an apt term for today’s Western sharia apologists.

More Conservative Christians Infiltrate Congress 12-24-10 New Minnesota Judge Pick Represented Conservative Christian Groups

What God Cannot Do – Part 12-24-10

Teacher Loses Challenge To School’s Demand She Apologize For Her Class On Evolution 12-23-10 North Carolina federal district court dismissed free speech, equal protection and religious discrimination claims by an 8th grade science teacher who refused to apologize to parents over her method of teaching evolution and dealing with religious objections to evolutionary theory.

15 Dirty Big Pharma Tricks That Rip You Off and Risk Your Health for Profit 12-22-10 Even during a recession, pharma is still the nation’s third most profitable sector. 12-22-10 Here are some of the dirty tricks it employs to stay on top.

The 10 Greediest People of the Year They came, they saw, they took it all. 12-20-10 Welcome to the world where thieves have no honor, and those who hone their talents hammering the rest of us are lavishly rewarded.

Fox Slammed by L.A. Times — ‘Shouldn’t Call Itself a News Organization’ 12-20-10 After several revelations of Fox’s blatant bias, the rest of the corporate media may finally be catching on.

“Jihad” and other words from Religion, Science, and Government, intersecting.

3 Reasons Right-Wing Lies About Joblessness Stick 12-17-2010 Why do people keep insisting that unemployment has nothing to do with structural economic forces or rigged public policies and everything to do with individual motivation?

Air Force Academy Sex Assaults Up 150%, Most Among Service Academies Since 2008 12-15-10 DENVER — Sexual assault reports at the three U.S. military academies rose 64 percent in the 2009-10 academic year, but many more victims probably didn’t…

Family’s Fight Against Air Force Academy Intensifies Over “Baa Baa Sisterhood … 12-15-10

A Holiday Letter from the Family of an Air Force Academy Graduate 11-24-10 Last week, on the heels of the release of the alarming statistics on religious harassment at the U.S. Air Force Academy, the Academy held a religious respect conference. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation wasn’t invited.

Air Force Academy Cites Progress In Tackling Religious Intolerance 11-2-10 By Whitney Jones Religion News Service WASHINGTON (RNS) A recent survey on the religious climate of the U.S. Air Force Academy showed that 41 percent…

41% Of Non-Christian Air Force Cadets Cite Proselytizing 10-29-10 AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — The Air Force Academy reversed course on Friday and released the results of a survey that showed mixed results on…

Christianity in the Military: Are Chaplains Becoming Increasingly Fundamentalist? 10-2-10 More than two thirds of the military’s 2,900 active-duty chaplains today are affiliated with evangelical or Pentecostal denominations. Captain MeLinda Morton thinks even that figure is an underrepresentation.

USAFA: Cadets for Christ 9-30-10 “Underground” Group of Cadets Say Air Force Academy Controlled by Evangelicals

Civil Rights and Religious Groups Demand That Air Force Academy ‘Climate Survey’ Be Made Public 9-29-10 This letter demands that an immediate investigation be launched into the activities of the Christian ministries operating on the Air Force Academy campus, due to reports of cult-like tactics to recruit cadets.

Air Force Academy Alumni Group Cancels Event To Honor Gay Soldiers 9-9-10 WASHINGTON — With the ban on gays serving openly in the military inching closer to repeal, gay soldiers and their advocates scheduled a dinner this…

Air Force Academy Defends Decision Not To Release Detailed Survey Results 8-18-10 The Air Force Academy this week is defending its decision to keep large portions of its annual survey of cadets and faculty private. The Academy..

No Dominion: The Dangerous Fight Against Christian Supremacists in the Armed Forces 7-13-10 The United States military cannot favor one religious sect over another, staying true to the Constitution’s establishment clause that service members pledge to defend.

Keep Religion out of Military 3-6-09 Sadly, powerful military leaders are behaving more like missionaries than soldiers entrusted with fulfilling military missions.

A woman, of course, is destined by God to be a good wife and mother and serve her shepherd, not be an Air Force pilot and serve her country

Cadets For Christ: Women, Evangelicals, and the Air Force Academy

By Chris Rodda, Senior Research Director, Military Religious Freedom Foundation; Author, Liars For Jesus

This is the most recent development in an outrageous story that has been developing over the better part of this year, so, for those who need to be brought up to speed, here’s what’s going on in as small of a nutshell as I can put it:

There’s a fundamentalist ministry operating at the Air Force Academy called Cadets For Christ. This ministry is part of the “shepherding” movement, using cult-like tactics by which the cadets recruited by ministry leaders Don and Anna Warrick are separated from their families and anything else that might interfere with their brainwashing. In the shepherding movement, the female is the “sheep” and the male is the “shepherd,” and a woman’s sole purpose in life is to be a good wife and mother, subordinating herself to her male shepherd.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) has been contacted by a number of parents of Academy cadets who have fallen prey to the Warricks’ ministry, and one of these families has been brave enough to go public with their story.

Peter and Jean Baas, the parents of 2010 Academy graduate Lauren Baas, are now completely estranged from their daughter. Why? Because the Baas family is Catholic, and therefore, according to the Warricks, unsaved. While at the Academy, Lauren Baas, who entered the Academy with dreams of becoming an Air Force pilot, was prepared for what can only be described as an arranged marriage by the Warricks, and is now engaged to her shepherd. A woman, of course, is destined by God to be a good wife and mother and serve her shepherd, not be an Air Force pilot and serve her country.

Lest anyone think that the “sheep and shepherd” terminology might be an exaggeration, just take a look at Lauren Baas’s “Baa Baa Sisterhood” cookbook.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS…..Read-up for “family” discussions on Christmas

“The right to liberty is one of the foundation rights of a free people. The idea that any US President can bypass Congress and bypass the Courts by issuing an Executive Order setting up a new legal system for indefinite detention of people should rightfully scare the hell out of the American people.” ~Nathaniel St. Clair

  • Why Indefinite Detention By Executive Order Should Scare the Hell Out of People – Obama’s Liberty Problem “The right to liberty is one of the foundation rights of a free people.  The idea  that any US President can bypass Congress and bypass the Courts by issuing an  Executive Order setting up a new legal system for indefinite detention of people  should rightfully scare the hell out of the American people. Advisors in the Obama administration have floated the idea of creating a special  new legal system to indefinitely detain people by Executive Order. Why?  To do  something with the people wrongfully imprisoned in Guantanamo. Why not follow  the law and try them?  The government knows it will not be able to win  prosecutions against them because they were tortured by the US.” MORE
  • The PATRIOT Act, Bradley Manning and Julian Assange – Predicting Torture “Eight-and-a-half years ago, I wrote a six-part series titled Repeal the PATRIOT Act.” In Part III, I talked about how the PATRIOT Act opened the door for torture. I cited to an Amnesty International report that noted “cruel treatment includ[ing] prolonged solitary confinement; heavy shackling of detainees during visits . . . and lack of adequate exercise” among detainees held under the Act. Since that writing, a number of high profile suspected, so-called “unlawful enemy combatants” have been held in indefinite detention for years without due process of any kind, without a habeas corpus hearing to justify their detention, without any hearing on the merits, without charges, without trial, without a conviction. While solitary confinement itself is considered torture by many experts, the enemy combatants were also subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques” involving prolonged isolation, painful stress positions, exposure to extreme temperature, sleep deprivation, extreme sensory deprivation, and threats of violence and death.” MORE


  • The Senator Who Owned Christmas: The bills he passed in the lame-duck session were unprecedented. And yet, he somehow gets almost no credit. Which is fine by him.
  • Shoot BP: The Amazon to Arctic Investigation : “At Tatitlek Village, Alaska Native Henry Makarka told me, “If I had a machine gun I’d shoot every one of them white sons of bitches.” Makarka was talking about the executives who came to him and his tribe 40 years ago to purchase their land at Valdez.  They were from the companies now known as Exxon and BP.”

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Create a Stress-Free Christmas Dinner

Christmas dinner should be fun for everyone, but especially for the cook.

From Jen Hubley, your About Today Editor

The holidays are stressful for many reasons, but the cooking is definitely one of the big ones. Most of us just don’t prepare three-course meals every night of the year. (And if you do, let me know. I’ll be by for dessert, and I promise I’ll be less picky than your cranky aunt.)

$385 Million TSA Program Fails to Detect Terrorists … Another WikiLeaks Cable From the Bush Administration … $250 million to keep Cheney out of jail & More

$385 Million TSA Program Fails to Detect Terrorists: “Even though the TSA failed to carry out scientific testing of Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT), the TSA has allotted nearly $383 million to SPOT since 2007, rolling it out at 161 of 457 TSA-regulated airports. Despite this considerable investment, the agency didn’t even perform a cost-benefit analysis on the pilot tests that began in 2003, according to the GAO…. Maybe the most damning evidence that SPOT doesn’t work is that it has never identified a terrorist at an airport where the program has been implemented.” Read the Article

Free Trade Won’t Cure Unemployment: “Now that there seems to be no hope of using reasonable fiscal policy to fix the United States’s economy, I’ve been hearing a different idea lately: that trade can be a driver of economic recovery. Namely, the suggestion that the trade proposal South Korea and the United States recently agreed on can serve as a form of macroeconomic policy. Um, no. The problem in the United States is insufficient spending on American-produced goods and services – that is, a lack of demand.” Read the Article

Another WikiLeaks Cable From the Bush Administration: “Twice within four days, my name has popped up in the Bush-era secret cables uncovered by WikiLeaks. Lucky me. Though nowhere near as earth-shattering as the uncovering of American misdeeds in Iraq and Afghanistan, these classified cables provide a stunning and bizarre peek into the paranoid minds of the Bush White House when it came to the subject of one Michael Francis Moore. And considering how WikiLeaks has released only 1,826 cables of its planned drop of 251,287 – and I’ve already played a starring role twice – I can only say I await with bemused anticipation how the moi-storyline will play itself out.” Read the Article

Bush Sr., James Baker Instrumental in Getting Nigeria to Drop Bribery Charges Against Cheney: “Former President George H.W. Bush and ex-Secretary of State James Baker were part of a negotiating team that convinced Nigerian government officials to drop bribery charges against Dick Cheney and Halliburton, the oil services firm he led prior to becoming vice president.Read the Article

Pope Blames Sexual Abuse of Children by Priests on Secular World: “When priests have sexually abused children for decades. It’s hard for even a Pope to try A Hail Mary pass like, “It’s all the secular world’s fault!” And really expect it to fly.” Read the Article

Obama to the Corporate Powers: I Feel Your Pain: “Guess who’s whining the loudest these days, wailing that they’re getting a raw deal from Barack Obama. Not the unemployed and barely employed – even though the White House has blithely ignored their critical need for a national jobs program. Not the poor, even though their ranks are swelling as millions of Americans fall out of the middle class.” Read the Article

Social Security’s Future at Risk With New Tax Deal “Under the radar screen, the new tax deal is threatening the livelihood of America’s present and future seniors – to line the pockets of millionaires. If made permanent, a new Social Security ‘payroll tax holiday,’ reducing the ‘match’ employers pay from 6 percent to 4 percent of salary, will drop the solvency of the program 14 years, from 2037 to 2023, according to the Congressional Budget Office. At the same time, Congress agreed to increase high-end loopholes in the estate tax, exempting 39,000 estates worth as much as $5 million.” Read the Article

Afghan Youth Supply Their Answer to US’s December Review: “Two days after the Obama administration released its December review of the war in Afghanistan to a public made increasingly skeptical by the war’s rising human and economic costs, a coalition of young Afghan peace activists issued their own review. The Global Day of Listening to Afghans brought together listeners from around the world, who joined sessions of a day-long conference call that offered a grassroots alternative to the official report, which has been criticized for its lack of hard facts or specifics on withdrawal.”  Read the Article

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We are witnessing a comeback of Scapegoatism

The Specter of Neo-Fascism

The recent rise of Islamophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe poses the greatest threat to our democracy since the rise of fascism in the 1930s. It is time for us to take to the streets and reclaim the ideals of tolerance, freedom and respect.

By Jerome E. Roos

A specter is haunting Europe – the specter of neo-fascism. From Denmark to Austria, and from Switzerland to Belgium, Islamophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment are rapidly on the rise. With xenophobic parties making spectacular gains in recent elections in Sweden and the Netherlands, traditionally more centrist governments in Germany and France can be seen taking a desperate dash to the right. In the process, European democracy is being thrown into its deepest crisis since the rise of fascism in the 1930s. The very freedom that triumphed in World War II is today at stake.

In a move hauntingly reminiscent of Hindenburg’s fateful 1933 decision, Christian Democrats and free-market Liberals in the Netherlands earlier this month decided to form a minority government dependent on backbench support from Geert Wilders’s Freedom Party. Over the past couple of years, Wilders has successfully profiled himself as the most outspoken critic of Islam on the continent. Among his favorite slogans are the call for a complete halt on immigration from Islamic countries, the repatriation of non-working immigrants, the banning of the Quran and a tax on headscarves.

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“Obviously the Muslim population is a religious minority, not an ethic minority. The point, however, remains: we are witnessing a comeback of scapegoatism. The exact shape that the scapegoat ends up taking is rather irrelevant, whether it is an “ethnic” minority, like the Gypsies, a “religious” minority, like the Muslims, or even a “sexual” minority, like the gay community — the point is that people’s hatred of the system is being projected onto the weak, just as it happened in the 1930s.”

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How Wall Street and Washington Corrupted U.S. Democracy

(NOTE: Conservative Christianity and Conservative political ideology work so well together because of the “profits before people” ideology and the “us against them” mind-set. Both of these are un-American, un-Constitutional and Treasonous. Unfortunately, the death penalty is no longer punishment for treasonous acts in the USA.)

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Forget about U.S. democracy — it’s a myth. By the standards of both Mussolini and Roosevelt, Wall Street’s capture of Washington turned the United States into a fascist republic a long time ago.

By Jerome E. Roos

Last week, Spencer Bachus, the incoming chairman of the Banking Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives — soon to be the no. 1 most powerful figure in Washington’s efforts to regulate Wall Street and prevent the next great capitalist crisis – made a startling statement.

Bachus urged Congress and federal regulators to play a “subservient role” with banks, telling the Birmingham News in clear and transparent language that:

In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks.”

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The 10 Worst States for Retirees

by Robert Powell, MarketWatch
Sunday, December 19, 2010

Plenty of folks are aware of the best states for retirees. But what are the 10 worst states in which to spend your golden years?

People of Illinois, California, New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Ohio, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Nevada — you probably already know the answer.

The list, with Illinois leading the pack, comes from website TopRetirements.com. According to John Brady, president of TopRetirements.com, the 10 states earn this dubious distinction largely because of three factors: fiscal health, taxation, climate.

As for fiscal health, six of the 10 worst states for retirees on TopRetirements.com’s list were among those just identified by a Pew Center for States report as being in “fiscal peril.”

The report, “Beyond California: States in Fiscal Peril,” showed that “some of the same pressures that have pushed California toward economic disaster are wreaking havoc in a number of other states, with potentially damaging consequences for the entire country.”

Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wisconsin joined California as the 10 most troubled states, according to Pew’s analysis.

Of note, TopRetirements.com’s Brady suggested that retirees and would-be retirees might want to avoid states in fiscal peril because these locales might be expected to face decreasing services and increasing taxation.

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One of the hallmarks of an authoritarian government is its fixation on hiding everything it does behind a wall of secrecy while simultaneously monitoring, invading and collecting files on everything its citizenry does.

The government’s one-way mirror

Glenn Greenwald, 12-20-2010

One of the hallmarks of an authoritarian government is its fixation on hiding everything it does behind a wall of secrecy while simultaneously monitoring, invading and collecting files on everything its citizenry does.  Based on the Francis Bacon aphorism that “knowledge is power,” this is the extreme imbalance that renders the ruling class omnipotent and citizens powerless.

In The Washington Post today, Dana Priest and William Arkin continue their “Top Secret America” series by describing how America’s vast and growing Surveillance State now encompasses state and local law enforcement agencies, collecting and storing always-growing amounts of information about even the most innocuous activities undertaken by citizens suspected of no wrongdoing.  As was true of the first several installments of their “Top Secret America,” there aren’t any particularly new revelations for those paying attention to such matters, but the picture it paints — and the fact that it is presented in an establishment organ such as The Washington Post — is nonetheless valuable.

Today, the Post reporters document how surveillance and enforcement methods pioneered in America’s foreign wars and occupations are being rapidly imported into domestic surveillance (wireless fingerprint scanners, military-grade infrared cameras, biometric face scanners, drones on the border).  In sum:

 

The special operations units deployed overseas to kill the al-Qaeda leadership drove technological advances that are now expanding in use across the United States. On the front lines, those advances allowed the rapid fusing of biometric identification, captured computer records and cellphone numbers so troops could launch the next surprise raid. Here at home, it’s the DHS that is enamored with collecting photos, video images and other personal information about U.S. residents in the hopes of teasing out terrorists.

Meanwhile, the Obama Department of Homeland Security has rapidly expanded the scope and invasiveness of domestic surveillance programs — justified, needless to say, in the name of Terrorism:

 

[DHS Secretary Janet] Napolitano has taken her “See Something, Say Something” campaign far beyond the traffic signs that ask drivers coming into the nation’s capital for “Terror Tips” and to “Report Suspicious Activity.”

She recently enlisted the help of Wal-Mart, Amtrak, major sports leagues, hotel chains and metro riders. In her speeches, she compares the undertaking to the Cold War fight against communists.

“This represents a shift for our country,” she told New York City police officers and firefighters on the eve of the 9/11 anniversary this fall. “In a sense, this harkens back to when we drew on the tradition of civil defense and preparedness that predated today’s concerns.”

The results are predictable.  Huge amounts of post/9-11 anti-Terrorism money flooded state and local agencies that confront virtually no Terrorism threats, and they thus use these funds to purchase technologies — bought from the private-sector industry that controls and operates government surveillance programs — for vastly increased monitoring and file-keeping on ordinary citizens suspected of no wrongdoing.

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