Obama Plays Golf With Donor Whose Bank Is Being Probed For Role In Illegal Tax Shelters
THOUGHT OF THE DAY 8-25-09
I have learned SOOO much from my animal companions; how selfish I can be and how selfless I can be, two of the most important lessons a human need to acquire to live happily and peacefully in society and at the same time, the very same two important aspects culture (work, school, family, friends, lovers, media) does not teach us on a regular basis, leaving us in the mess we are in now, and have been in over the history of mankind.
Past Thoughts of the Day: http://www.coreymondello.com/Thoughts.html
Conservative slams ‘The American Patriot’s Bible’: its distortions and fabrication of a USA being a Christian Nation.
A Conservative slams ‘The American Patriot’s Bible’ for its persistent distortions of history, its glorification of American empire, and its fabrication of an idyllic Christian era that never existed.
Source: ‘Truth Wins Out’ Facebook Group: http://www.facebook.com/truthwinsout?v=wall&viewas=700611017&ref=nf
“Jesus himself instructed his followers to separate the things of God from the things of Caesar..”
The American Conservative — God’s Country
The American Patriot’s Bible: The Word of God and the Shaping of America, Richard G. Lee, ed., Thomas Nelson, 1824 pages
By Richard Gamble
Richard Gamble is author of ‘The War for Righteousness’ and is at work on a book about how America became the “city on a hill.”
Does Christianity make a good civil religion? First-century Rome certainly didn’t think so. And Jesus himself instructed his followers to separate the things of God from the things of Caesar, a distinction no pagan Roman was ever forced to make. In some sense, Jesus created the problem of church and state, and Christians for two millennia have had to live with the consequences.
But not everyone has been content to live with the tension inherent and inescapable in the dual citizenship St. Augustine wrote about in ‘The City of God’. For a time, the early church hoped the Emperors Constantine or Theodosius would bring Christ’s kingdom to earth through their godly political rule. Centuries later, modern political theorists developed their own ways of reconciling the earthly and heavenly kingdoms.
In the 18th century, Jean-Jacques Rousseau longed to recover the unity of state and cult known in antiquity. The Genevan philosopher wrote in ‘The Social Contract’ that every state required a religion at its base. But, he charged, “the Christian law is at bottom more injurious than serviceable to a robust constitution of the state.” He singled out Catholicism for “giving men two legislative orders, two rulers, two homelands.” In Rousseau’s judgment, this dual citizenship contemptibly “destroy[ed] social unity.”
The modern unitary state required a more instrumental Christianity, a “religion of humanity” that focused man’s attention more on his homeland in this world than on the life to come. To this benign faith Rousseau allied a “civil religion” whose dogmas affirmed belief in a providential God, assurance of reward and punishment in the afterlife, and a spirit of tolerance.
Modern American evangelicalism has its own way of reconciling church and state. It imagines an ideal American founding on Christian principles, blames the nation’s decline on secularists, and mobilizes politically active believers to “reclaim” America as God’s chosen land. It sees no inherent conflict between America and the gospel. Christianity is safe for America’s political and economic order. In fact, a return to the Bible’s wisdom and morality would automatically heal the nation and secure its bright future. No one need choose between allegiance to Christ and allegiance to America.
Guided by these assumptions, ’The American Patriot’s Bible’ attempts with breathtaking audacity to synthesize Americanism and Christianity. Into the complete text of Scripture itself this new edition of the Bible inserts quotations from famous American statesmen, soldiers, preachers, and scientists testifying to their high regard for God and His Word. Not content to leave it at that, this Bible also draws parallels between the sacred narrative of Scripture and the American experience. Every book of the Old and New Testament opens with an inspiring reflection on the alleged similarities between God’s people of old and America today. Some of the parallels, such as Washington as the national Moses, have been commonplace in pulpit and political rhetoric for over 200 years.
Others, such as Franklin Roosevelt as America’s Nehemiah, will come as a shock, especially for anyone who expects this Bible to have a narrowly right-wing political agenda. Indeed, the book goes out of its way to be nonpartisan, ecumenical, and racially inclusive. Its message is more populist and nationalist than conservative. Its heroes range from Lincoln to Kennedy to Reagan.
The editor, Richard G. Lee, serves as founding pastor of First Redeemer Church, a Southern Baptist megachurch in metro Atlanta. In the summer of 2009, his church hosted a “Restoring America Conference” featuring Oliver North and David Limbaugh among other Republican activists. Reverend Lee’s Bible seeks, in his words, to show “the ‘strong cord’ of the Bible’s influence that runs through the colorful fabric of our nation’s past and present.” No one can reasonably deny that the Bible profoundly shaped America’s colonization and national development. The evidence is everywhere. But Lee and his research staff have chosen that evidence with a template in hand that led them to find exactly the useable past they needed and nothing else. And they searched Scripture in the same way, finding a Christianity of power, moralism, and worldly success, not one of persecution, cross-bearing, and division.
The story that emerges from Lee’s editorial notes is straightforward and reinforces the familiar Christian-America framework. This whole project would collapse without that framework. America was founded on a “Judeo-Christian ethic” drawn from the Bible. Until relatively recently, principles taken from that ethic dominated America’s schools, politics, and culture. Under assault by secularists who have obscured the role of religion in American history and misappropriated the myth of separation of church and state, the nation has declined morally. The Bible must therefore be returned to its central place of authority in American life in order to restore the nation’s moral fabric and reclaim its special calling from God to defend freedom at home and abroad. The phrase “one nation under God” best sums up what America once was and what it will be again if enough concerned Christians rally to the call for political action.
The publisher’s marketing strategy makes the message plain. Its advertising campaign is slick and aggressive. The Bible’s website (www.americanpatriotsbible.com) features a short promotional video that has to be seen to be believed. No satire is possible. To the accompaniment of stirring music, three pairs of pictures fade slowly in and out of view. The first set shows Adam and Eve and then George and Martha Washington followed by the caption, “First Families.” The second shows Moses and then Abraham Lincoln followed by the caption, “Freedom Fighters.” (In a delightful faux pas, the producers picked an engraving of Moses about to shatter the two tablets of the law.) The third outdoes the first two by showing Jesus with his disciples at the Last Supper and then the delegates of the Continental Congress followed by the caption, “Founding Fathers.” Just in case anyone has missed the point, the video ends with the words, “Sometimes history repeats itself.”
How the history of redemption and the history of the United States supposedly come together is the whole point of ‘The American Patriot’s Bible’ . It combines the two seamlessly. But its account of the American past is highly selective. It has no room for inconvenient facts. To be sure, the editor and his staff report truths about American history. But they don’t tell the whole truth. To their credit, they avoid the many spurious quotations often ascribed to the Founders by less than scrupulous partisans of “Christian America.” Famous Americans really did say these things about the Bible, Jesus, and Christianity. But they said much more.
Just a few examples show the misleading results that come from this Bible’s method of “proof-texting” its way through American history. By including profiles of both Samuel F. B. Morse and Pope John Paul II, ‘The Patriot’s Bible’ suggests a harmony in American Christianity that never existed. Morse helps illustrate Numbers 23:23, the source for his famous exclamation “What hath God wrought!” during the first successful telegraph transmission. But the editor remains utterly silent about Morse’s career in the 1830s as the author of bestselling exposés of papal plots against American liberty. Naturally, the historical Morse would muddy the waters. It just wouldn’t do to include a box quoting his alarm about swarms of Jesuit-inspired immigrants: “Americans, you are marked for their prey, not by foreign bayonets, but by weapons surer of effecting the conquest of liberty than all the munitions of physical combat in the military or naval storehouses of Europe.” Such divisiveness ruins civil religion.
Likewise, the full-page account of the Pledge of Allegiance inserted into the Old Testament book of Ruth explains how it came to be written in the 1890s and that the phrase “under God” was added during the Cold War with President Eisenhower’s blessing. This is all true. Nowhere, however, does it mention the inconvenient fact that the Pledge’s author, Francis Bellamy, was a socialist and a rabid nativist who wanted to limit immigration to certain “pure” races.
Yes, Alexis de Tocqueville really did say, “there is no country in the whole world in which the Christian religion retains greater influence over the souls of men than in America.” But he also said, immediately before that quotation, “in the United States the sovereign authority is religious, and consequently hypocrisy must be common.”
Tom Paine did indeed quote from the Bible in his Revolutionary War tract Common Sense. But the freethinking Paine also wrote ‘The Age of Reason’, a book meant “to show, from the Bible itself, that there is abundant matter to suspect it is not the Word of God…” In 1797, he summed up his debunking of the first chapters of Genesis by saying, “If this then is the strange condition the beginning of the Bible is in it leads to a just suspicion that the other parts are no better, and consequently it becomes every man’s duty to examine the case. I have done it for myself, and am satisfied that the Bible is fabulous”—that is, built of fables.
And yes, Thomas Jefferson did in fact more than once praise Jesus’ “moral precepts” for their “purity.”
But he also edited an infamous version of the gospels that removed all references to Jesus’ miracles and ended not with the resurrection but simply with his death and burial in the tomb. It is true that Jefferson valued the social utility of Jesus’ ethical teachings, but he compared the effort to uncover them in the gospel accounts to finding “diamonds in a dunghill.” He also denied Christ’s divinity and called Paul “the first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus.” The editor’s introduction to the book of Romans quotes Woodrow Wilson instead.
These quotations do not prove the opposite of the thesis embedded in ’The American Patriot’s Bible’. They do not prove that America was invariably bigoted, racist, hypocritical, and anti-Christian. Instead, they show that the full record simply cannot give the editor the kind of America he so earnestly wants. There is no golden age of Christian America waiting to be rediscovered and reclaimed.
The logic of ’The American Patriot’s Bible’ relies on more than a selective memory. It also depends on a particular kind of exegesis and application of Scripture. To make this story work, somehow we have to get from ancient Israel to modern America. The New Testament writers began the practice of applying biblical Israel’s calling to the church. Peter, for example, in his first epistle calls the church God’s “chosen people” and “holy nation.” It has been common, therefore, for the church throughout its history to read Old Testament passages about God’s “people” in light of its own identity as the realization of God’s true Israel. This appropriation of Old Testament language still offends devout Jews, who object to what they see as the wholesale theft of their identity by Christians. That offense is unavoidable, but the proponents of Christian America take the next step and apply God’s covenant promises to the United States, a leap that offends more Christians than one might expect.
Why this confusion of the church and America matters becomes clear in how The Patriot’s Bible uses promises like the one found in II Chronicles 7:14: “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” The Patriot’s Bible reads these words as addressed to America as a once Christian but now backslidden nation. Applying “My people” loosely to America means that God’s people can claim the promises made to Israel just as surely as if they were made to the United States. Repentance will bring healing to the nation. The Patriot’s Bible claims that the book of Second Chronicles offers nothing less than “a model of national spiritual renewal.”
Publication of ’The American Patriot’s Bible’ ought to provoke a much needed debate in the United States about the church’s right relationship to civil society. This Bible may become a landmark in that debate, clarifying the issues as never before, forcing people to recognize the degree to which Americanism has penetrated Christianity. An Augustinian perspective may help frame that conversation. In Book XIX of ‘The City of God’, the Bishop of Hippo explained in which areas there can be peace and in which there must be conflict between the earthly and the heavenly cities.
Christian and non-Christian have a common interest in earthly peace, good order, and the “necessaries of life.” But in matters of worship, Augustine wrote, the Christian was forced to “dissent” from the earthly city. The limits of the common life had been reached. The Christian was forced “to become obnoxious to those who think differently, and to stand the brunt of their anger and hatred and persecutions…” Praising piety and faith in general alongside remnants of the historic Christian faith, ’The American Patriot’s Bible’ combines the things of God and the things of Caesar at the very point where they most vigilantly need to be kept apart. When the City of Man sets up Americanism as its faith, the Christian is forced to dissent.
There is another problem here. Why nationalize the Bible? A nationalized Bible would seem in effect to reverse the story of redemption. At the core of Christianity is a message that the gospel of salvation is flung wide open to all peoples regardless of nationality, race, or language. The day of Pentacost made that truth clear. While Christianity has inevitably taken on national accents as it has encountered culture after culture over the past 2,000 years, it is a universal faith. Why, then, take that transnational faith and fuse it with an earthly Caesar and empire by setting it side by side in pages of Holy Writ with a particular nation’s history and identity, as if Christianity belonged to Americans in a special and intimate way not true of other people? This Bible by its very existence distorts the gospel.
As Augustine says in ‘The City of God,’ the “heavenly city, while it sojourns on earth, calls citizens out of all nations, and gathers together a society of pilgrims of all languages…”
Beyond what the editor and the publisher intended, ’The American Patriot’s Bible’ is deeply American. It takes to a new level the remaking of Scripture into a marketable consumer good, a trend underway in the United States since at least the invention of the modern steam press in the early 19th century. (See R. Lawrence Moore’s ‘Selling God.’) It also exemplifies the irony of American Protestants, who adhere to the sufficiency of Scripture for faith and life yet find the unadorned text of that Word not so sufficient after all. And finally, it provides further evidence of how theologically ill-equipped one dominant strand of American Christianity has been over the past few hundred years to know how to sojourn in America, how to conceive of the United States as part of the City of Man and of the church as a stranger in a strange land.
Rousseau’s name appears nowhere in ’The American Patriot’s Bible’, but thanks to this publishing venture his tame Christianity and unifying civil religion have now found their way into the pages of Scripture itself. Hopefully the publishers have misjudged the taste of their target audience. If not, then perhaps robust sales will provoke American Christians to reacquaint themselves with Jesus’ problem of church and state.
President Sean Hannity? It’s Up to God
(Well thank god for that….now it is settled, he can be added to the other wackos in America who believe a “god” picked them out of billions of people, to whisper sweet nothings in their ears. Mental Illness runs rampant apparently..)
FIXED Noise’s whore-loving, Aryan Nation-defending Sean Hannity is waiting for God to tell him to run for president. Hannity told radio colleague Bill Cunningham he would consider entering the front lines of the political fray if God directs him.
When was the last “just war”?
To discern the truth about any conflict requires examination of the whole matter not merely the picture one’s government paints for them.
(links on webpage)
I oppose the use of force in violation of another’s rights.
However, I am not a pacifist. Whether on an individual or national level, I support self-defense. The use of force to stop an aggressor who is violating another’s rights is justified.
Thus, I’ve read with interest the concept of a “just war,” which dates back to Cicero, including the Just War Theory or Doctrine found in my own faith of Catholicism. It delineates, from a moral perspective, the reasons and means in which war can be fought in order to be considered just in the eyes of the Church, including as a prerequisite that all other viable alternatives have been attempted first, and that if war ensues that humane treatment of prisoners of war and others involved is maintained. Essentially it condones self-defense, and puts a trust in the government of a nation to declare war.
To discern the truth about any conflict requires examination of the whole matter not merely the picture one’s government paints for them.
Everyone likes to think that the U.S. government has always been “just” and righteous in its use of force, but obviously it has violated such principles, terrorizing and killing civilian populations, as well as engaging in torture. Regardless of what an “enemy” has done, such evil is never justified. The U.S. government is one of the worst offenders in its arrogant use of its might worldwide. “Might” does not make “right,” but our government has misused its power for decades.
The result of waging unjust wars is never favorable. For the goal of regime change (to a more favorable government toward U.S. agendas) many people die, hostility toward the U.S. heightens, and civil liberties in America are trampled.
So, again, I consider the question what wars this government was involved in adhered to the principles of The Just War Doctrine, or were most conflicts avoidable?
As I consider the use of our military, I am unable to identify an instance offhand where 1. Other means besides warfare were really attempted. 2. It was declared with proper authority (in our case, by Congress) 2. Loss of civilian life and property were respected, with civilians not being indiscriminately harmed or killed. 3. There was (what I consider the only legitimate reason) a violent aggressor threatening the United States who had to be stopped.
Former President Jimmy Carter addressed such issues in regards to the idea of a war against Iraq in his March 9, 2003 piece, “Just War — or a Just War?” in the New York Times.
The instances this government has engaged in war (at least in recent history I recall) have all been fought with all manner of “good causes” being cited often with loads of rhetoric about “defending our freedom” or “spreading democracy.” But which military actions defended our freedom? And as for “spreading democracy,” that is not a valid reason for war whether one considers the “just war” theory or the U.S. Constitution. On the contrary, we could have been a nation at peace if peace had been our goal. Most of our conflicts have not been declared by Congress nor were they presidential responses to a “sudden attack.”
Peace has never been the goal of the U.S. government, and thus warfare continues. Real motives are concealed and cloaked with a facade of all the “reasons” force must be used, and like obedient children, the American people have often passively accepted whatever is told them.
But what about WWII and the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor? Though Americans were predominately against entering the war, Pearl Harbor of course changed that immediately. Surely, most argue, our involvement in WWII was justified morally. This prevalent belief comes with deep emotions due to the horrendous evil Hitler’s regime perpetrated, but one must also recall until Pearl Harbor, Americans did not want to be involved. So, were we the innocent bystanders, uninvolved, until we were attacked on December 7, 1941?
The U.S. government had been involved in economic warfare against the Japanese for some time, with the end result of provoking them to attack us. Void of such assaults and involvement militarily with the British against Germany, Japan would likely have not attacked nor Germany declared war. Roosevelt’s policies drew the United States into war. Americans at the time wanted no part in it, preferring non-interventionism to jumping into a European and Asian imperialistic conflict with the empire of Britain.
One of the best articles examining this is by Robert Higgs and published in the May 2006 issue of The Freeman magazine, “How U.S. Economic Warfare Provoked Japan’s Attack on Pearl Harbor.“ I recommend everyone read that informative piece, and for further research any number of books and discussions at the Independent Institutes’s Pearl Harbor Archive.
As Jacob G. Hornberger wrote of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his Dec. 1991 article, “December 7, 1941: The Infamy of FDR,” “Nevertheless, the man who did everything he could in the 1930s to destroy America’s legacy of economic liberty proceeded on a fateful — and illegal — course of action: waging undeclared war on Germany and Japan in an attempt to maneuver them into “Firing the first shot” — thereby justifying America’s formal entry into the war.” Hornberger’s article is a must read to clarify and illumine any American who still believes the myths about our entry into WWII that most of us have been taught.
Regardless of how Americans might “feel,” about any number of the military conflicts, if such conflicts violate our very Constitution they cannot be justified. An excellent examination of this point, also by Hornberger, can be found in his April 2002 piece, “Declaring and Waging War: The U.S. Constitution.”
To attack and invade nations who have not attacked or are even capable of threatening us allies is unjust. As Major General Smedley D. Butler wrote in his War is a Racket piece, “A third step in this business of smashing the war racket is to make certain that our military forces are truly forces for defense only.”
The question then arises of our allies. Just as an individual will protect his family and friends, it is natural to think a nation do the same. The “just war” theory provides for this, but our Constitution necessitates Congress declaring it (and they should, I think, make American security/defense the criteria – the protection of our rights)…not a president deciding unilaterally to take action. But only Congress should be able to commit our troops (troops who have agreed to defend our nation, not necessarily agreeing to defend other nations). Otherwise, neutrality should be observed as a nation. If the American people empathize with those suffering under tyranny and persecution elsewhere, they always have the prerogative of supporting them with their money and their lives. Humanitarian efforts must always be voluntary, willing, actions from private citizenry not the government. (The U.S. government has never waged a war on behalf of concern for the “rights” of others anyway, consider their utter disregard, as only one example, for the lives of Jews escaping Nazi tyranny when they turned away refugees on what is now referred to as ‘The Voyage of the Damned.’ Humanitarian claims are simply a good cover for empire building.). Since WWII is still the most oft-cited example by those legitimately concerned with the fight against evil and its oppression in this world, I also recommend another article by Robert Higgs, “Truncating the Antecedents – How Americans Have Been Misled about World War II.”
What wars in recent history can be justified morally and constitutionally? What of our on-going occupations and numerous bases worldwide? When, if ever, have we been fighting truly in self-defense of the United States, opposing a force that seeks to dominate us, rather than being the instigator for agendas which are far from the principles we were founded upon? Getting government out of the business of war is the prerequisite to liberty, security, peace and prosperity.
This area is an example where one’s conscience should do the choosing between right and wrong, even if in defiance of popular sentiment from one’s society, nation or Church.
City builds on man’s property and steals his bulldozer.
City builds a well house on man’s private property and then after he bulldozes the structure they steal the bulldozer and arrest him.
Read Full Story: http://savannahnow.com/node/770286
What could these men have in common? Hmm
Black people still seven times more likely to be stopped and searched
“Wall Street profits from trades with Fed”
There is currently a proposal that would require Congress to audit the Federal Reserve. The bill has 282 co-sponsors, which means it would easily pass the House. Yet someone in the House has buried the bill. The Fed, of course, does not want audited. Although the Fed gave hundreds-of-billions of money directly to Wall Street, the Fed has actually transfered trillions (nine trillion, by conservative estimates) through many subterfuges.
“Vaccine Nation” – Trailer.
Or Just Watch here:
In his documentary film Vaccine Nation, award-winning investigative film director Dr. Gary Null challenges the basic health claims by government health agencies and pharmaceutical firms that vaccines are perfectly safe. This is one of the most critical questions facing today’s children and future generations to come. If inoculation with a large regimen of vaccines is safe, what can account for the rapid increase in autism and other mental disabilities that are now at epidemic proportions? And why isn’t the sudden onset of neurological illnesses in children being treated as an urgent crisis by our government and medical industries?
Weaving together interviews with many of the nations most expert medical researchers, private physicians specializing in autism, parents of children victimized by immunization, congressmen, vaccination activists, legal authorities and more, Vaccine Nation will awaken viewers to one of the continual perils to the health and future of children.
All the President’s Zombies - Paul Krugman
Ben Bernanke’s testimony over the past two days gives us our best clue yet about where the administration and the Fed are going with bank rescue. And the answer seems to be … nowhere.
Simon Johnson and James Kwak read it the same way I do:
“This is another sign of the serious brainpower that has been expended on finding ways to avoid or minimise government ownership of banks, and to avoid the slightest possibility of offending shareholders – shareholders whose shares have positive value primarily because of the expectation of a further government bail-out.” (1)
And The Economist’s Free Exchange puts it bluntly:
“At this stage, I joked, I’d be just as happy with them just saying, “We have a strategy, we will continue to inject capital to prop up zombie banks indefinitely. That’s pretty much the whole plan and we’re counting on it bringing the financial sector back to life someday, somehow”. Is it just me or is that pretty much what Ben Bernanke said yesterday?” (2)
No, it’s not just you.
I’d add a political-economy point. Here’s Noam Scheiber, in the new TNR economics blog:
“Yesterday afternoon I spoke to a senior Democratic aide in the Senate who repeatedly emphasized that, the way things stand now, it would be almost impossible to get another cent for the banks. Congress has “bailout fatigue,” the aide said.” (3)
Indeed. As long as capital injections are seen as a way to bail out the people who got us into this mess (which they are as long as the banks haven’t been put into receivership), the political system won’t, repeat, won’t be willing to come up with enough money to make the system healthy again. At most we’ll get a slow intravenous drip that’s enough to keep the banks shambling along.
More and more, it looks as if we’re headed for the decade of the living dead.