Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Holy Jeebus

Sometimes others just hit the nail on the head ... so what's the point in trying to improve on what Harold Myerson has written in the Washington Post. Here is his opinion piece titled Hard Liners for Jesus (I have italicized some parts I especially agree with).

by Harold Myerson
December 19, 2007

As Christians across the world prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, it's a fitting moment to contemplate the mountain of moral, and mortal, hypocrisy that is our Christianized Republican Party.

There's nothing new, of course, about the Christianization of the GOP. Seven years ago, when debating Al Gore, then-candidate George W. Bush was asked to identify his favorite philosopher and answered "Jesus." This year, however, the Christianization of the party reached new heights with Mitt Romney's declaration that he believed in Jesus as his savior, in an effort to stanch the flow of "values voters" to Mike Huckabee.

My concern isn't the rift that has opened between Republican political practice and the vision of the nation's Founders, who made very clear in the Constitution that there would be no religious test for officeholders in their enlightened new republic. Rather, it's the gap between the teachings of the Gospels and the preachings of the Gospel's Own Party that has widened past the point of absurdity, even as the ostensible Christianization of the party proceeds apace.

The policies of the president, for instance, can be defended in greater or (more frequently) lesser degree within a framework of worldly standards. But if Bush can conform his advocacy of preemptive war with Jesus's Sermon on the Mount admonition to turn the other cheek, he's a more creative theologian than we have given him credit for. Likewise his support of torture, which he highlighted again this month when he threatened to veto House-passed legislation that would explicitly ban waterboarding.

It's not just Bush whose catechism is a merry mix of torture and piety. Virtually the entire Republican House delegation opposed the ban on waterboarding. Among the Republican presidential candidates, only Huckabee and the not-very-religious John McCain have come out against torture, while only libertarian Ron Paul has questioned the doctrine of preemptive war.

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.

Today's Republican values voters don't really conflate their rage with their faith. Lou Dobbs is a purely secular figure. But nativist bigotry is strongest in the Old Time Religion precincts of the Republican Party, and woe betide the Republican candidate who doesn't embrace it, as John McCain, to his credit and his political misfortune, can attest.

The most depressing thing about the Republican presidential race is that the party's rank and file require their candidates to grow meaner with each passing week. And now, inconveniently, inconsiderately, comes Christmas, a holiday that couldn't be better calibrated to expose the Republicans' rank, fetid hypocrisy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Thought This was Funny

The mosquito has landed on a bottle of herbal mosquito repellant.

Sounds like a line from a Monty Python episode. The naughty bits of an ant. The mosquito has landed. Oh well, my humor is a little whacked.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Another Offering from that King of Comedic Writing, John

Our friend John, the right-wing commenter strikes again with more humor, grammatical errors and unrelenting rant over at Rick Esenberg's Shark and Shepherd.

Rick and our very own hero, the unpatriotic, LIBERAL, lose at all costs villain, Jay Bullock (folkbum's rambles and rants) are engaged in a fine discussion on waterboarding (is it torture or a fun summer activity) and whether or not waterboarding (the tortuous kind) was really effective in getting Abu Zubadayh to confess to vicious plots against American citizens, or to the location of his favorite hot dog stands on the east coast.

John decided to take matters into his own hands and he came up with this gem ... nay, masterpiece (note the exquisite use of the sticky caps lock key).

Rick, whether waterboarding has been effective "enough", is specious and unrelated to the question of whether it is TORTURE or not.

To wit, Jay et al, will NEVER acknowledge a rough technique as being "effective", as long as Jay, et al, are "invested" in discrediting President Bush, and as such are "invested" in our countries "discredit or failure" in terms of political discourse.

It's far beyond obvious. Jay Bullock, will NEVER, accept any victories by our Country, so long as HIS, party/friends, are not responsible for said victories.

That is pretty much the emblematic definition of being a traitor,(yes I am questioning Jay's patiotism or lack thereof).

Rick, I'm confident that you agree, but as usual, I recognize that you are above most of this rancor.I'll end with this.

Jay Bullock sais the following:

((No one has been able to demonstrate that a single life has been saved or a single attack prevented through the use of the technique}}

Rick, if you do not recognize how far Jay Bullock and his like, will go to deny what is obvious, then you too are nuts.
John's confidence that Rick will agree with him may or may not be founded in fact. I'd bet the house John's confidence is misplaced, however, it does beg another question. Most of us would agree that a large percentage of conservative writers are well-meaning and thoughtful (stop laughing back there, it's the season for generosity). Truly though, most do not stoop to John's level. The question being begged is when does Rick, and even Jessica McBride (whose blog John frequents) who has famously decried anonymous commenters though John has no blog and anyone could set up with the name John to make comments, say something about this clown?

I see all the time where liberal voices will disagree with each other and even call out someone for something said. Heck, in one of my more sleepy moments I once wrote something untrue about James Wigderson as a comment at Jay's blog. James caught it and wrote a gracious denial, even suspecting that I had to have been tired. Jay jumped on it and told me quite frankly it wasn't true.

I offered my apologies to James, which he accepted. We all make mistakes, but Jay stood up for a - gasp – conservative. Frankly, other than James who is always fair (and perhaps Dean Mundy, though I read his blog less often, to my shame) I have never seen another do the same.

It's really not that big of a deal. John's comments do provide comic relief and fodder for more Whallah posts, but it would be nice to see it happen just occasionally.

Dan Fogelberg

I was a fan of Dan Fogelberg back in the 70s and early 80s and then lost track of him. I see over at James' place that he has passed away at the age of 56. Of course, the passing of most anyone is a sad affair, and I'm 51 and everytime someone who is a contemporary of mine passes away I feel the cold hand of mortality ever so briefly. Shiver.

Anyway, though I've not listened to Fogelberg for years, this song's title popped into my head immediately upon reading of his death. For my two or three readers, here's Fogelberg's "Leader of the Band."