Showing posts with label anti-Semitism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label anti-Semitism. Show all posts

Feb 15, 2014

Scott Walker Took Money from "Kristallnacht" Billionaire

Scott Walker took money to fund his campaign from the vile Tom Perkins who compared taxing billionaires to the beginning of the NAZI genocide on European Jewry.

Root River Siren has the repulsive story, that the GOP has for now blocked from Facebook.

The question is:  Will Scott Walker give this money back?

Jun 13, 2013

NRA: Scary Black Man and Jew Gonna Take Your Guns

Concerned? You should be.
Racist NRA Appeal Meets Heavy Criticism

The National Rifle Association is targeting Sen Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) for daring to vote to consider the most minimal of expanded background checks for guns with a new ad that is a naked racist, anti-Semitic appeal to rightwingers across the nation.

Manchin remains defiant of the NRA, daring the NRA to bring it on.

This morning Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, both obviously appalled at the new NRA ad, showed the spot which features a darkened depiction of President Obama next to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, with the voiceover of the ad's narrator warning, "Manchin is working with President Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Concerned? You should be. Tell Sen. Manchin to honor his commitment to the Second Amendment and reject the Obama-Bloomberg gun control agenda."

Scarborough and Brzezinski then showed the darkened Obama-Bloomberg-Manchin ad image for a full 12 seconds (reader says more like some 45 seconds) as a static screen shot this morning after their segment, before cutting away to a commercial.

Manchin is not up for reelection until 2018, having been elected to a full term in 2012 with over 60 percent of the vote. The ad is a warning to GOP senators saying in effect: Look what we're doing to Manchin, you're next if you go against the NRA.

The NRA's appeal to the most vile political forces in America is made right as the families of victims in the Newtown school massacre returned to the Capitol yesterday, and some nine GOP senators are said to be unable to offer "an explanation on the merits of why they couldn't vote for the background check," Vice President Joe Biden told Democratic donors Tuesday. (Michael A. Memoli. LA Times)

The Scarborough and Brzezinski segment is below:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Hadas Gold reports this morning:

In a statement to POLITICO, Manchin defends the bill and said he is still ”the same proud gun owner and NRA member that I have always been.”

“The Washington NRA could spend one hundred million dollars on ads against me; it still won’t make what they say true. If they were honest with their members they would see that my bill not only protects 2nd Amendment rights, it enhances and strengthens them. Unfortunately, the NRA leadership in Washington has lost its way and is more concerned about political power than gun rights and gun safety,” Manchin continued. “I believe that criminal and mental background checks are a commonsense approach to protect our neighbors and children without infringing on our 2nd Amendment rights. I think most NRA members agree with me.”

Manchin has become a champion for gun control legislation, co-sponsoring a failed gun control bill that aimed to expand background checks for gun purchases.

Apr 19, 2013

Oklahoma GOP Majority Leader Says Customers "Jew Down the Price" of Products

Rep Dennis Johnson (R-Oklahoma City)
Just Another Republican Bigot
Oklahoma Rep Dennis Johnson (R-Oklahoma City) is just another Republican—bigoted and repulsive.

Jonathan Turley has the story:
Oklahoma State and Republican Majority Leader Dennis Johnson took to the floor this week to share his experience as a small business man and discussed how some people will try to 'Jew down the price' of goods. In the background, legislators are seen laughing but there are clearly some who object because Johnson then adds 'I apologize to the Jews. Their (sic) good small businessmen as well.'
Johnson's biographical information is absent from his website.

Wonder if Johnson's bio info has been scrubbed.

Check out the other Oklahoma House members and their websites are full of biographical info, as most any elected official has on their webpages.

Turley notes in Johnson's campaign "Johnson proclaims that 'as a successful husband, father, businessman, civic leader and church leader, Dennis (Johnson) has brought and will continue to bring integrity and common sense to the House of Representatives.'

Wonder what church that is.

His religion is listed as "Baptist" by the religious group, Kentucky Council of Churches.

Johnson "serves as the Music Director at Unity Missionary Baptist Church in Duncan (OK) [Facebook] and as a member of the local gospel singing group, Unity," according to the Vote OK's bio of Johnson.

Johnson endorsed Rick Santorum in the 2012 race for GOP nominee for the presidency.

Feb 2, 2013

National Review Defends Nazism - NOT Hyperbole

Have a four-hour gig tommorow morning and then I was going to go into Super Bowl mode.

But I just came across Chris Liebenthal's Why Does the National Review Defend Nazism?

Please read and follow-up with a phone call.

Dec 31, 2011

Ron Paul in Shot with KKK Grand Wizard, NAZI, Stormfront Goes Viral

Ron Paul with former American Nazi, Current KKK Grand Wizard
and webmaster - Shot at the at the Values Voter Presidential debate
in Fort Lauderdale on September 17, 2007.

As "Ron Paul tries to scare the crap out of Iowans about the UN takeover and riots in the streets over the emerging dictatorship in America" (TPM), comes this charming shot (to the right) from the Values Voter Presidential debate in Fort Lauderdale on September 17, 2007.

The keynote speaker to the 50th anniversary of the Appleton-based John Birch Society? (Steven Walters in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) Nice.

Publisher of the racist, and pathetically bigoted newsletters in which Ron Paul made $millions and tried to defend, and later attested he never read or approved, first reported by James Kirchick almost four years ago. Really nice.

Now, comes a shot (above) of Ron Paul pictured with former American Nazi Party member and the current KKK Grand Wizard and webmaster, Don Black that is going viral.

Just maybe our neighbors to the Southwest have the wrong idea about Ron Paul. So Iowa, wise up.

And hey Paul, to win the GOP nomination or even the Iowa caucuses, you need to be subtly racist, not overtly racist.

Dec 22, 2011

Ron Paul's Racist Newsletters Costing Him—Again, with Assist from Wisconsin

Ron Paul - White and proud of it

In 2008 James Kirchick at The New Republic broke a disturbing expose about the anti-war, self-proclaimed libertarian candidate for president, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Lake Jackson, Texas; 14th District), now for the first time leading polls for the GOP nomination for president in Iowa, and who has a plausible path to the 2012 GOP nomination, to the utter panic of many Republicans.

Kirchick, whom many regard as a neocon writer, took a lot of grief from the many, loyal pro-Ron Paul fans. [So did I for merely applauding Kirchick in a piece that drew a lot of hits at the site, Uppity Wisconsin.]

By Michael Leon

Some of the political commentariat point out that Paul received a lot of support from veterans in 2008, though Ron Paul 2012 does not list Veterans Benefits as an issue in his webpage, and his anti-government benefits ideology makes this writer dismiss him as a veterans' advocates.

What's ironic is that a fairly rightwing writer, James Kirchick, may be dooming Ron Paul again and some believe throwing away the GOP's last, best hope to defeat President Obama in a GOP field dominated by lightweights and to be candid: Whacks.

Paul, who has a distinguished record as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force, also has a political past where he was the publisher of several racist, anti-Semitic newsletters uncovered by Kirchick who concludes, "Ron Paul is not the plain-speaking antiwar activist his supporters believe they are backing -- but rather a member in good standing of some of the oldest and ugliest traditions in American politics."

Ron Paul is a radical, a politician who in the words of Gary Weiss "is a true friend of the 1 percent" engaging in a campaign of phony populism. In fact, just months after Kirchick's 2008 blockbuster, Paul traveled to Wisconsin (Steven Walters in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) where it was reported the "(f)ormer Republican presidential candidate ... will keynote Saturday's session of the 50th anniversary of the Appleton-based John Birch Society." The John Birch Society, dating back to the 1950s, is infamous for its conspiracy-minded, anti-Semitic, and Joe McCarthy-supporting radicals.

From Jonathan Chait:

"As early as December 1989, a section of his Investment Letter, titled 'What To Expect for the 1990s,' predicted that 'Racial Violence Will Fill Our Cities' because 'mostly black welfare recipients will feel justified in stealing from mostly white ‘haves.’' Two months later, a newsletter warned of 'The Coming Race War,' and, in November 1990, an item advised readers, 'If you live in a major city, and can leave, do so. If not, but you can have a rural retreat, for investment and refuge, buy it.' In June 1991, an entry on racial disturbances in Washington, DC’s Adams Morgan neighborhood was titled, 'Animals Take Over the D.C. Zoo.' 'This is only the first skirmish in the race war of the 1990s,' the newsletter predicted."

Below is a video from C-SPAN in which Paul discusses his newsletters [starting at the 1:40 mark] in which Paul, speaking in the first-person, ["I"], describes his racist nonsense as a business-investment, political-type of investment-monetary newsletter.

How panicked is the GOP? Here's some recent pieces indicating why even a nomination of Newt might bring Karl Rove and the Koch brothers better news than a potential Ron Paul nomination:
What did Kirchick expose in 2008 and for how long did this ugliness have Paul's assent?

Kirchick writes (Jan. 8, 2008):
Paul’s newsletters have carried different titles over the years--Ron Paul’s Freedom Report, Ron Paul Political Report, The Ron Paul Survival Report--but they generally seem to have been published on a monthly basis since at least 1978. ... What they reveal are decades worth of obsession with conspiracies, sympathy for the right-wing militia movement, and deeply held bigotry against blacks, Jews, and gays. ...
[In a] special issue of the Ron Paul Political Report, Kirchick cites:
According to the newsletter, the looting (1992 LA riot) was a natural byproduct of government indulging the black community with 'civil rights,’ quotas, mandated hiring preferences, set-asides for government contracts, gerrymandered voting districts, black bureaucracies, black mayors, black curricula in schools, black tv shows, black tv anchors, hate crime laws, and public humiliation for anyone who dares question the black agenda.' It also denounced 'the media' for believing that 'America’s number one need is an unlimited white checking account for underclass blacks.'
And these beauties, noted by Kirchick:
  • [L]iberals who “want to keep white America from taking action against black crime and welfare,” adding, “Jury verdicts, basketball games, and even music are enough to set off black rage, it seems.”
  • One newsletter ridiculed black activists who wanted to rename New York City after King, suggesting that “Welfaria,” “Zooville,” “Rapetown,” “Dirtburg,” and “Lazyopolis” were better alternatives.
  • While bashing King, the newsletters had kind words for the former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke. In a passage titled “The Duke’s Victory,” a newsletter celebrated Duke’s 44 percent showing in the 1990 Louisiana Senate primary. “Duke lost the election,” it said, “but he scared the blazes out of the Establishment.”
  • In an item titled, “The Pink House?” the author of a newsletter--again, presumably Paul--complained about President George H.W. Bush’s decision to sign a hate crimes bill and invite “the heads of homosexual lobbying groups to the White House for the ceremony,” adding, “I miss the closet.”
  • “The ACT-UP slogan, on stickers plastered all over Manhattan, is ‘Silence = Death.’ But shouldn’t it be ‘Sodomy = Death’?”
  • His adversaries are often described in harsh terms: Barbara Jordan is called “Barbara Morondon,” Eleanor Holmes Norton is a “black pinko,” Donna Shalala is a “short lesbian,” Ron Brown is a “racial victimologist,” and Roberta Achtenberg, the first openly gay public official confirmed by the United States Senate, is a “far-left, normal-hating lesbian activist.” Maybe such outbursts mean Ron Paul really is a straight-talker. Or maybe they just mean he is a man filled with hate.
Kirchick must have had to research long hours to dig up these Ron Paul newsletters housed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's State Historical Society [a state agency in itself), which maintains a very broad and deep collection of political material dedicated to preserving American history for the benefit of people of all states.

The Wisconsin State Historical Society has been collecting political newsletters and other material since 1849, the year after Wisconsin became a state.

At the very top of Rep. Paul's Congressional site, Paul quotes Frederic Bastiat, "Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all."

Right about now, Ron Paul likely wishes that preserving his racist tripe were not done at all.

Ron Paul explicit race-baiting

Sep 27, 2011

On Mikey Weinstein

Clause 3, Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution
Mikey Weinstein, founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), keeps up the fight for religious freedom.

Latest note of Christian love is below from an e-mail. It's a step up from death threats.

Memo affirms religious neutrality of U.S. military
Mikey Wineshit you defile our neighborhood with your little road sign? the filth of your Christ hating horde of leftist jew-cowards and Christian pretenders is sad for America
The good Christian refers to a MRFF billboard depicting the memo of General Norton Schwartz, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

Quoting from Gen Schwartz' watershed edict on “Maintaining Government Neutrality Regarding Religion,” the billboard was sited in Colorado Springs where the controversial U.S. Air Force Academy is located.

The Academy has a history of anti-Semitism and official embracing of Christian Dominionism, which led Mikey Weinstein, a former cadet, to found the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF).

USAF Academy Superintendent Michael Gould has slow-walked the dissemination of the memo in keeping with his history of defending what Gould apparentally regards as encroachments onto his Christian territory.

MRFF took this "extraordinary action in direct reaction to USAF Academy Superintendent Michael Gould’s astonishing refusal to distribute Gen. Schwartz’s directive to all Academy personnel under his command."

Apr 26, 2011

Franklin Graham Continues Bigotry and Exclusion, Aimed at Pres. Obama

The despicable Franklin Graham was properly skewered on the Lawrence O'Donnell show last night for spouting Birther nonsense, continuing the long Graham tradition of bigotry and ignorance.

Now, Graham is rolling out the true nature of the Other occupying the oval office as the GOP searches for its candidate with the right combination of racism and dedication to dismantlement of anything not corporate or fundamentalist.

In a well-publicized rebuke last year [thanks to the work of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and Mikey Weinstein], Graham—a dedicated anti-Semitic Dominionist Christian—was disinvited to the National Day of Prayer ceremony at the Pentagon.

But Graham needs no incentive from President Obama or those Christ-killing Jews to inflame his flock of bigots afraid of the scary black man looking like a lock for four more years.

Muslims, Jews, and assorted disbelievers of Graham's brand of mythology are all destined to be judged and not very well, Graham assures us, as he raves on in his old-fashioned xenophobic vein of hatred to save America as a Christian nation.

All the unbelievers can go to hell.

Thank you Lawrence O'Donnell. Graham stands exposed for all to see.

Just wish everybody were watching. O'Donnell has really found his voice as he pounds the ignorance that is a prerequisite for the 2012 GOP presidential nominee.

Dec 19, 2010

"Impotent little mouse of a Jew"

Seems that many self-professed Christians are less than thrilled with the efforts of Mikey Weinstein, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and its allies working to ensure that the U.S. Military functions as a secular force welcoming to all Americans of all faiths.MAL Contendshas often featured the work of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) and its executive director Mikey Weinstein, the constitutional conscience of the American military, to present the danger of the war-all-the-time fundamentalist sects of the Christian religion who would deny First Amendment rights to the wrong kind of Christian, Wiccans, Muslims and various other religions out of favor with Christian Dominionists.

Following is an e-mail from some anti-Semitic nut, followed by a rebuttal by MRFF's Rick Baker and Air Force veteran David Horn.
Subject: RE: MRFF Featured by The Huffington Post - Christian Air Force Officer Vows to Violate Military Regulations if DADT is Repealed

You know, Mickey, I've been rethinking your request for me to keep your family out of this. Because of my ethical standards, I at first acquiesced. However, after reading article after article after article where you are quoted using your son, your wife, your daughter-in-law, you son's estranged father-in-law as pawns and tools in your selfish, paranoid obsession-I have changed my mind. Why should I respect them when you don't? Nope-not gonna comply with your whining and begging. And you know what?- it is because you've already brought them into it- proactively and voluntarily. If you cared so much about them you yourself would have kept them out of it, but no-as long as it helps to enforce your psychotic, self-centered delusions and satiate your evil compulsions you would do ANYTHING, even sacrifice your parents-no, already have! YOU HAVE NO DECENCY, NO HUMILITY OR REMORSE- NO AWARENESS OF SELF.

Bite me you bald-headed, short, impotent little mouse of a Jew. squeak squeak

BTW-what size shoe do you wear-8, 9...10? let's see if you have enough courage to answer the question honestly. I'll bet you don't.
(name and location withheld)

Response by Rick Baker

If possible please forward this to the gentleman who wrote about your family.

Mr. Name and location withheld,

My name is Rick Baker. I am a former Air Force Officer and a Vietnam Veteran with two tours of duty as a rescue pilot. I am also a regional coordinator for MRFF.

I was a Christian until I read your recent E-mail to Mr. Weinstein. Based on your barbaric treatment of Mr. Weinstein and his family and the growing militancy and Nazification of our beloved Christian principals by those of your ilk, I have decided to rethink my committment to Christianity. It seems Christianity of the sort you espouse has become the death knell of the kind, caring and concerned Christianity with which I grew up.

Your hateful rhetoric has turned a loving Jesus into a sneering, hateful and dangerous wild beast that far more resembles the tyrants of history than the savior He has been made out to be.

Your vile and medieval letter was an insult to all intelligent human beings. The depth of your ignorance is at once disturbing and pitiful.

For a person of your patently dismal character to opine so carelessly on a family that has served our great democracy for generations in the military is a grave misconception and reflects badly on your judgement and humanity.

Your racism is well defined by your statements and your limited intellect is clearly demonstrated by your inability to communicate without the use of vituperation. In short, you are a mindless Christian, racist sycophant with nothing to offer civilization. You are certainly no better than those concentration camp guards who stuffed women and children into gas chambers and burned their trembling bodies during the Holocaust.

You contribute nothing to this world. Therefore you are a non-entity. You need not have mentioned your faith because it was all too clear.

No one will meet you at the gates of Heaven for you will not reach them. There is nothing for you in this world or the next.

I condemn and vilify you sir. And as far as Mikey Weinstein goes, there is impotence of the genitals and impotence of the mind. Mr. Weinstein has sired children, you have not seemed to father any genuine thought.

Beware the Jewish Mouse that roars!

Response by Dave Horn

From the perspective of another former Air Force officer, one who has been working for years with Mikey to undo the bigoted work of Air Force leadership who did not like that I wrote about my non-religious perspective outside work, I, of course agree with Mr. Baker. When I joined the military hoping to serve my country I would never have dreamed that the cowardly and un-American views of Mr. “withheld”, were so common within the Air Force.

With 21 in a row Qual-1 or better evaluations and no disciplinary or other issues of any kind I was grounded, fired from my civil service job and forced to retire from the military as the direct result of my legal expression, outside work that was approved by military legal counsel. My expression in the local paper that airmen should not be forced to pray “in Jesus name” was met with an immediate campaign to remove me from the Air Force by my supervisors. My complaints and evidence that the charges were lies fell on deaf ears as it was easier for all members of the chain to rubber stamp the decisions of those below them. Attending the extremely religious change of command ceremonies of some of these leaders suggested a second reason for their failure to do their duty.

In addition to forcing all of its members to pray, in many cases to someone else’s god, my unit showed religious videos and even PRODUCED videos that called non-religious people like me “idiots” and “fools”. So after having earned a civilian Gold Seal Flight Instructor license and all civil licenses including the Airline Transport Pilot license; after having flown more than 30 different types of aircraft including fighters such as the F-16, after graduating from Euro-NATO joint Jet Pilot Training and passing every evaluation after becoming mission ready and multiple lauded combat tours, I, a combat tested asset with an outstanding record and the support of my peers and many superiors, was forced out, during wartime, after exposing myself as a non-Christian away from work.

I was raised with traditional Christian values. My father was my Sunday School teacher and I sang in my mother’s choir. I don’t see these values reflected in Mr. “withheld’s” letter. I didn’t see them in the misguided religious leadership in my Wing either. From what I’ve read of Mikey’s struggle, this perverse pseudo-Christianity is being taught at the Academy which explains very well how it polluted my chain with principles not worthy of our United States.

I have nothing but thanks and unending respect for Mikey in his tireless struggle to correct a very real problem within our military that threatens the core values of the United States of America. Mikey is a hero. The words of Mr. “withheld” reflect the thoughts of many who wrap themselves in the American flag while acting like Nazi fools. They are everywhere, even in positions of authority in our military. Their words only inspire men like Mikey and more than 20,000 of us who he is directly helping with his foundation to continue our duty to defend the United States of America from all aggressors, both foreign and domestic.

Sep 10, 2010

Neumann's WELS Church on Jews: Accept Christ or No Heaven for You!

In a March 9, 1997 address to the Madison Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) church [preaches no abortion even in cases of rape, women need to submit to men and gays are to spend eternity in hell], Neumann said his political advisers warned him not to mention his religion in his 1998 run for the Senate against Sen. Russ Feingold.

“When I first ran I had all kinds of consultants telling me not to mention religion. They told me to tone down any discussion we might have. … they did ask me to tone down the concept of religion or values that are taught in our churches and synagogues as being a part of what we were,” said Neumann.

Nice of him to mention synagogues.
From Mark Neumann' WELS Church: Did and do Jews go to heaven?

During Old Testament times, did believing Jews go to heaven? How about since our Savior Jesus Christ completed his work of redemption?


Salvation, including heavenly citizenship, was always part of the Messianic faith. Believers of all ethnic, cultural, and linguistic groups went to heaven in Old Testament times. This included Jewish believers. The testimony of prominent Jewish believers affirm that they knew about and believed this: David in Psalm 16:11, Asaph in Psalm 73:23-26, Isaiah in Isaiah 26:19, and Daniel in Daniel 12:1-3 are good examples.

The same is equally true during the New Testament era and will be so until the Last Day, at Christ's Second, Final Coming. Believing Jews are citizens of heaven just as believing Gentiles are. The original disciples and apostles were Jewish believers. The New Testament Letter to the Hebrews was addressed to Jewish believers, and
Hebrews 12:22-24 affirms that heaven is their eternal home.

If your question is about unbelieving Jews (or unbelievers from any other ethnic group) or followers of Judaism who have rejected Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Savior of mankind, then we must sadly answer that they did not and do not go to heaven.
Acts 4:12 affirms that Christ alone is the Savior of mankind. The grief of all believers regarding the loss of unbelieving Jews (Israel) is well expressed by Paul in Romans 9:30-33 and Romans 10:1-13.

Sep 9, 2010

On the Pope as the "Anti-Christ" and the "the Jews and Their Lies"

Mark Neumann's rightwing ideology and intolerance is pervasive in his politics, and his rigid religion drives him, so says Neumann, to his credit.

Go to the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) and use Roman Catholic as a search term (upper-right search engine), or gay or Jew.

Some examples from Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS):

- "Our confessional writings from that period, still the official position of our church body today, address the papacy with unmistakable clarity and vigor. Perhaps the dearest statement is in Luther's Smalcald Articles: 'The pope is the real anti-Christ who has raised himself over and set himself against Christ.' "

- We recognize the Pope as the Anti-Christ by his false teachings and by his matching the traits of the Anti-Christ as revealed in Scripture, not by the alleged symbolism of something he wears or carries.

- (Luther) had hoped that the Reformation with its clear preaching of the pure gospel would convert the Jews. Luther himself provides examples from the Talmud in 'On the Jews and Their Lies' (Luther's Works 47:226-228): 'Their Talmud and their rabbis record that it is no sin for a Jew to kill a Gentile, but it is only a sin for him to kill a brother Israelite. Nor is it a sin for a Jew to to break his oath to a Gentile. ... '

- Christians must take care during their lifetimes not to regularly associate with any group or organization that would take their focus off Christ alone as their salvation.

- We must warn the impenitent that homosexuality, like all sins, excludes people from eternal life (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). The church, therefore, must not, bless same-sex marriages or unions, since these are contrary to the will of God. The church must not place into nor retain in the public ministry of the Word people who defend, condone, or persist in words or actions that are contrary to God’s law.

Sep 8, 2010

The Reason Why Progressives Want Mark Neumann; It's Not the "Lord's Will," as Neumann Says

- It's Mark Neumann's extremism that comes from Neumann's church, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) instructing its members in explicitly anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, anti-choice and anti-gay teachings; hate that does not play well in Wisconsin no matter that Neumann calls his hate "morals," "ethics" and "values". Hate will make Neumann a weak candidate in the general election. -

Neumann's political decision-making process—that in Neumann's own words is directly guided by his religion—micromanages its members' lives in a manner that is exclusionary, bigoted and hateful.

Heartland Hollar had a piece out last May, Neumann's the One, linking to an interview with Christian Life Resources, a religious organization that "subjects itself to the doctrine and practice of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod."

And as the Christian Life Resources interview and another interview, Faith in the Political Arena, make clear, it is Neumann who makes his religion the public basis upon which he seeks public office, specifically citing scripture text as interpreted by his church. So we're supposed to ignore it?

We expose the hate, and come next Tuesday wish for Mark Neumann, a gifted man in many respects, to be the GOP gubernatorial nominee. Wisconsin will not vote hate, progressives believe: Call it "faith."
Christian Life Resources Interview
- Clearly Caring Magazine, Sept/Oct 2008, Vol. 28, No. 5

Will you run for office again?

The words of James 4:13-17 are useful tools in planning my life. If it is the Lord's will I would consider it a privilege to run for office again and serve the people if elected.

Was there any portion of God's Word that you leaned on while serving in public office?

The most worn page of my Bible referenced Matthew 6:25-34 where Jesus tells us not to worry. James 1:2-7 also reminded me that trials lead to maturity and that wisdom will be provided to those who do not doubt.

WELS Interview

Asked how he made his decisions in Congress in an interview with the WELS Communication Services Director, Neumann replied, "What we did in our office, and Sue (wife) helped me a lot with this, we established a checklist, so to speak, on any bill that would come before us. And we'd ask ourselves first, 'Is there a moral or ethical reason to a cast a vote in any particular way.' And if there was, it didn't' matter what anybody else said to me, we were going with the morals and ethics first."

[This an edited version of a previously published piece.]

See also:

Mark Neumann in His Own Words
Mark Neumann: The Mean Machine
Mark Neumann for Gov. - Please Jesus, Yes!
Mark Neumann's Church: An Unfair Topic?
Mark Neumann Is Ready, Wisconsin Is Not

Jun 9, 2010

Clemons: 'Did I Read This Right? Brookings Scholar References Israel Attack on USS Liberty?'

Chomsky, Finkelstein, Ellsberg, Greenwald, Sullivan, [me too], Levy, Cook, Danger, Duff, Cockburn, Whitney, on and on, the list is growing of accredited anti-Semites demonstrated per force by their objection to Israeli militarism and human rights violations.

Now, Steve Clemons appears poised to join the gang. And he seems like such an intelligent, genuinely nice guy. [Ingenious cover by Clemons often employed by those who secretly hate all Jews (except for the self-hating Jews—they're okay)].

By Steve Clemons

A friend of mine wrote to me about the piece below, released yesterday by Brookings, wondering when Brookings Energy Security Initiative Director Charles Ebinger will be spending time with Helen Thomas.

We hope Ebinger stays gainfully busy at Brookings -- but wow.

This came from Brookings!? Very interesting, and an important sign of the times.

It's a powerful, blunt piece that reaches back to Israel's attack on the USS Liberty, as he writes "the only maritime incident in U.S. history where our military forces were killed that was never investigated by Congress."

Here is the Brookings piece, "The Attack on the USS Liberty: Lessons for U.S. National Security":

The Attack on the USS Liberty: Lessons for U.S. National SecurityCharles K. Ebinger, Director, Energy Security Initiative

The Brookings Institution -- June 08, 2010

It is ironic that the Israeli Defense forces attacked a flotilla of relief ships bound from Europe to Gaza in international waters in a manner all too similar to its assault against the USS Liberty also in international waters on June 8 forty-three years ago. It is even more tragic and a national disgrace that in the immediate aftermath of Memorial Day there is scant remembrance of the 34 crew members comprising naval officers, seamen, two marines and a civilian who were killed in the attack along with the 171 crew members who were wounded. While the official inquiries by both nations found the attack to be a case of mistaken identity of the Liberty, to this day there is a long record of distinguished officers and journalists who take strong exception to this view believing that the attack was deliberate. Indeed the attack on the Liberty is the only maritime incident in U.S. history where our military forces were killed that was never investigated by the Congress.

While few would dispute that the United States and Israel share vital strategic interests, all too often it has been Israeli intransigent policies rather than U.S. interests which have dominated our bilateral relationships. As a global superpower, the U.S. has strategic interests in the Middle East that go far beyond our bilateral relations with Israel--regional political stability, access to oil, control of sea lanes, etc. However so lopsided have our bilateral relations become that even after scandals such as the Pollard spying case in the 1980s came to light, high level officials and lobbyists in both Washington and Israel went out of their way to downplay the significance of the information Pollard passed to both Israeli and Russian intelligence (in order to keep Jewish immigration to Israel alive), despite testimony by four retired admirals who had served as Directors of National Intelligence that Pollard's revelations had been devastating to U.S. national security and that any premature release would be "irresponsible."

Again in 1973, it was the decision by the United States to resupply Israel's military following the outbreak of war that led to the OAPEC oil embargo transforming the Geopolitics of Oil as the world's economy was sent reeling owing to the spike in the price of oil. The 1973-1974 war by changing the geographical contours of the Middle East set the stage for the growing radicalization of the Middle East as increasingly young men and women grew resentful of their leaders' inability to change the political and social status quo both in their own countries and in their nations' relations with Israel. The second oil shock in 1979 and 1980, following the overthrow of the Shah and the coming to power of Ayatollah Khomeini, led to a further radicalization of the region which further inflamed relations among Iran/Iraq, Shites/Sunnis, Christains/Druze/Palestinians in Lebanon and Iran and Iraq in their bilateral relations with various governments throughout the region. At the same time, accelerated settlements by Jewish immigrants in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem created a growing crescendo of radicalism. Then in 1982 the ill-conceived invasion of Lebanon in response to provocations by Palestinians and other radical forces led to the massacres of Palestinian and allied groups men, women and children at Sabra and Shatila by the Christian Phalanges while the IDF stood on the sidelines losing all pretense of a higher moral ground.

Since that time there have been provocations by both the Israelis and the Palestinians and their affiliated allies throughout the Middle East. There have been lost diplomatic opportunities, ill tempered rhetoric by leaders on both sides and a tragic loss of life. Indeed there is plenty of blame to go around on both sides and reasons for each side to be wary of any overture by the other. However, what has been lost during these decades throughout the Islamic world is the view of the man and woman on the street and children in the madrasahs that United States is an honest broker for peace. Having worked throughout the Islamic world for over 35 years, it is a tragedy that this has occurred, but when successive Presidents and other high ranking officials ask Israel not to expand settlements yet hardly voice a "public squeak" of opprobrium let alone some real expression of disapproval (such as a curtailment of military assistance, rescinding favorable trade provisions, etc.) when Israel continues to do so, what is the Islamic World to think about the even handedness of U.S. policy?

Nowhere was the failure of the U.S. to take strong action more visibly demonstrated than during Vice President's Biden's visit to Israel when Israel gave the green light for 1,600 new homes for Jewish settlers in annexed East Jerusalem in flagrant violation of international law. In response, both the Vice President and Secretary of State Clinton labeled the action "insulting" to the United States and destructive to the peace process while at the same time doing nothing visible to make Israel pay a price for such actions against the second highest official of our nation.

America, it is time to wake up and listen to the very few of our leaders such as General Petraeus, who even before the Vice President's visit warned that the stalled Middle East peace process is a direct threat to U.S. interests and prestige in the region and that the lack of progress in Palestine foments anti-Americanism, undermines Arab regimes, limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships, increases the influence of Iran, projects an image of U.S. weakness and serves as a potent recruiting tool for Al Qaeda. General Petraeus and his briefing team went on to say that the ongoing Israeli/Palestinian peace stalemate undermines the prospects for success in Afghanistan.

As we approach the anniversary of the attack on the Liberty, let us take a few minutes to reflect soberly on whether the time has not come to once again be a honest broker, to call our Israeli friends to account when necessary with sanctions that hurt and to make clear to one and all that acts such as the attack on the flotilla of humanitarian ships bound to alleviate the suffering of the men, women and children of Gaza will not occur with impunity.

I'm in agreement with Ebinger that the failure to move forward on Israel-Palestine peace is undermining American national security interests in a way far more consequential than whatever actually transpires between Palestinians and Israelis. It is becoming an increasingly tense fault line in geostrategic affairs.

I myself would not go back to the USS Liberty as a driver in this debate, but I understand that Ebinger is trying to illustrate that there are fundamental differences in strategy and objectives between Israel and the US that can't be papered over by speeches and rhetoric that "there is no daylight" between the countries. Of course, there is daylight between them -- and has been always.

Good luck to Ebinger in holding back the storm that no doubt will hit him inside Brookings and out.

Apr 11, 2010

Catholic Columnist Dowd Has Had Enough

With the seeming regularity of rain in April [at least in Wisconsin], each day bring a new Pope-protected-a-child-molester story.

One Catholic columnist, the New York Times' Maureen Dowd, has had enough. She wants children and adult victims protected. And she wants sexism in the church eliminated.

Dowd, with her Menckenesque acid keyboard, has devoted her last five Times columns to excoriating the Pope. And rightly so.

The Pope is an criminal accessory to child rape, and should be spending his days trying to make these victims and their families whole, and not dismissing child molestation as "petty gossip" spread by Jews in New York.

[By the way the journal Politics Daily, and the victims group SNAP, the Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests, deserve acclaim for their humanism, eloquence and compassion in the face of continuing stonewalling from the Vatican.]

The Catholic Church remains a bigoted institution dedicated to the oppression of women, gays and child sexual abuse victims.

Writes Dowd:
How could such spirited women, smart and successful on every other level, acquiesce in their own subordination [in Saudi Arabia]? I was puzzling over that one when it hit me: As a Catholic woman, I was doing the same thing.

I, too, belonged to an inbred and wealthy men’s club cloistered behind walls and disdaining modernity.

I, too, remained part of an autocratic society that repressed women and ignored their progress in the secular world.

I, too, rationalized as men in dresses allowed our religious kingdom to decay and to cling to outdated misogynistic rituals, blind to the benefits of welcoming women’s brains, talents and hearts into their ancient fraternity.

To circumscribe women, Saudi Arabia took Islam’s moral codes and orthodoxy to extremes not outlined by Muhammad; the Catholic Church took its moral codes and orthodoxy to extremes not outlined by Jesus. In the New Testament, Jesus is surrounded by strong women and never advocates that any woman — whether she’s his mother or a prostitute — be treated as a second-class citizen.

Negating women is at the heart of the church’s hideous — and criminal — indifference to the welfare of boys and girls in its priests’ care. Lisa Miller writes in Newsweek’s cover story about the danger of continuing to marginalize women in a disgraced church that has Mary at the center of its founding story:

‘In the Roman Catholic corporation, the senior executives live and work, as they have for a thousand years, eschewing not just marriage, but intimacy with women ... not to mention any chance to familiarize themselves with the earthy, primal messiness of families and children.’ No wonder that, having closed themselves off from women and everything maternal, they treated children as collateral damage, a necessary sacrifice to save face for Mother Church.

And the sins of the fathers just keep coming. On Friday, The Associated Press broke the latest story pointing the finger of blame directly at Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, quoting from a letter written in Latin in which he resisted pleas to defrock a California priest who had sexually molested children.

As the longtime Vatican enforcer, the archconservative Ratzinger — now Pope Benedict XVI — moved avidly to persecute dissenters. But with molesters, he was plodding and even merciful.

Mar 3, 2010

Racism in the Fox Valley

A police officer from Fond du Lac told me last year those distributing racist fliers are "cowards" who never show their faces because they are afraid to stand behind their anonymous words.

Two Wisconsin colleges in the Fox Valley are looking for the idiots who distributed racist fliers on their campuses yesterday. They can check the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) Hate Map that shows eight racist groups operating in Wisconsin, likely some of the same white supremacist groups operating in the Fox Valley that hit UW-Oshkosh and St. Norbert College (De Pere).

And likely they're the same geniuses who left anti-Obama, racist fliers around Fond du Lac in 2008, and dropped white pride lit on car windows at a Latino pride gathering at the Fond du Lac Public Library last January.

Quit hiding, show your faces.

Feb 1, 2010

Obama Address to Shadowy Christian Group Draws Notice

Update: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) urges President Obama to skip rightwing religious fete; group runs infamous C Street House.

"[T]oo bad Muslims, too bad, Jews -- this event is not for you," writer Jeff Sharlet said. It's a private gathering attended by every American president since Dwight D. Eisenhower.

President Obama’s address to the annual National Prayer Breakfast Thursday for the first time in this rite’s history is drawing widespread condemnation in the wake of revelations over the last two years that aggressive political programs by the religious right have targeted the liberties of the American people and entire religions that refuse to be affiliated with religious right groups such as Focus on the Family, the American Family Association and the super-secret The Family.

Though the religious right is scandal-plagued of late, it’s been a long time since the late Sen. Barry Goldwater, Republican nominee for president in 1964, said of Jerry Falwell, "Every good Christian should line up and kick Jerry Falwell's ass." That was in 1981.

No major GOP figure today feels empowered to offer a similar criticism of religious right figures, no matter the depths of inanity to which a Pat Robertson or James Dobson, for example, regularly sink.

Recent groundbreaking works by Jeff Sharlet (The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power); Max Blumenthal (Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party); Tom Krattenmaker (Onward Christain Athletes); and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation have shed light on the scope of the contemporary religious right that exercises veto power over major policy spheres of the Republican Party, seeks to control foreign policy and the American military, and in all seriousness wants to transform American society into an only-through-Christ country under their God. The movement is known as Christian Dominionism.

So the questions remain: What is Pres. Obama doing at this exclusive, private gathering this Thursday? And will he challenge these anti-Semitic, bigoted whacks?

Adele M. Stan reports:

At National Prayer Breakfast, Obama to Address Shadowy Christian Group Tied to Uganda's 'Kill the Gays' Bill

The National Prayer Breakfast, an annual Washington exercise attended by politicians of all stripes who wish to demonstrate their piety, is one of those must-go events for the U.S. president, or so the conventional wisdom has it. Every president since Dwight D. Eisenhower has attended.

But the prayer breakfast, however benign it may seem on the surface, is really a display of power for an underground religious group that often shapes U.S. foreign policy in ways not easy to see, and sometimes at odds the policy goals of the government itself. This Thursday, President Barack Obama is expected to address the gathering, as he did last year. But if there was ever a year for the president to back out, to have a sudden scheduling conflict, it's this one.

The breakfast draws leaders from all sectors of society, including a hefty contingent from the military. It's a coveted invitation.The event is usually the only public sighting of its sponsor,.the shadowy right-wing religious network known as the Family. Around the periphery of the event, the Family does what it does best: bringing together leaders from developing countries of special concern to U.S. business interests with members of Congress and people in government who hold the keys to the foreign aid kingdom.

'This is the bullying tactics of banality,' said Jeff Sharlet, author of the definitive book, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, in an interview with AlterNet. 'This is not about a banality of evil, but the evil of banality. The breakfast itself is a very bland event, but it's surrounded by this week-long lobbying festival which isn't visible.'

Introductions are made and meetings arranged for foreign dignitaries through the auspices of a the Family, led for the past 40 years by Washington insider Doug Coe and comprising powerful men from all over the world, including a number of prominent members of Congress.

That group of powerful men also includes two behind a controversial anti-gay law in Uganda, proposed by two politicians with strong ties to the Family. The law carries the death penalty for something called 'aggravated homosexuality.'

The Prayer Breakfast is closed to the media, except for those in the press corps that travels with the president. 'It's a private event,' explained Joe Mitchell of the National Prayer Breakfast Committee via a voice mail left in response to AlterNet's request for access. Invitations to the Prayer Breakfast go out on congressional letterhead, Sharlet said, even though the stated purpose of the gathering is distinctly Christian and not ecumenical -- a violation of the spirit of the First Amendment. 'So, too bad Muslims, too bad, Jews -- this event is not for you,' Sharlet said.

So why does the president feel he must give his props to a group that often works against the national interest, and whose most prominent congressional members -- Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.; Sen. James Inhofe, R Okla., and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., to name a few -- have acted as his nemeses? Power. It's all about the group's perceived power in the very structure of the U.S. government. 'You don't want to alienate them,' one religious right leader explained to Sharlet.

Obama will seek to keep his own participation in the event low-key, Sharlet told AlterNet when he sat down with us in December. 'He'll give a bland, kind of useless address,' Sharlet predicted. Yet a spate of recent scandals and exposes of the group's coddling of anti-democratic heads of state makes this the perfect time for a U.S. president to step off the Familiy's bandwagon. Indeed, his very presence lends legitimacy to a group that enacts its goals through informal lobbying and back-room deals, all knitted together through 'prayer cells' of people with the power to effect the Family's right-wing, free-market agenda.

In his State of the Union speech, Obama decried the outsized roll of lobbyists in U.S. policy. But while the Family lobbies and lobbies hard, it does so without a license, so to speak. Because its influence is conducted through an underground network of people who hold positions of power in the government, its 'lobbyists' never have to register as such. They're just 'followers of Jesus,' in the group's own parlance, who have big jobs.

'I hope there will be defections at the edges,' Sharlet said -- at least in the private dinner parties and prayer meetings arranged with Congress members for the Family's key men.

Tough Year: Sex Scandals and Uganda's 'Kill the Gays' Bill

It's been a tough year for the Family (also known as the Fellowship). First, there were the very public sex scandals of powerful lawmakers involved in the Family -- South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, Sen. John Ensign of Nevada and Rep. Chip Pickering of Mississippi, all of whom lived, at one time or another, in the Family's infamous C Street house in Washington, DC.

Just as the noise about the sex scandals began to die down came word of Uganda's proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009, a proposal introduced in the Ugandan parliament that would criminalize the advocacy of LGBT rights and punish certain acts by gays with death. The foremost advocates for the bill, which is still under consideration, are two politicians that Family members refer to as 'key men.' A key man is believed to occupy a position of worldly power because he was anointed by God to actualize the Family's socially conservative, pro business theology, which hangs on the notion of a supply-side Jesus. It doesn't matter if he's a murderous dictator or known adulterer: what matters is his power.

In the U.S., Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 has become known as the 'Kill the Gays' bill. Thanks to the persistence of bloggers like Sarah Posner of Religion Dispatches, Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin and Christian psychologist Warren Throckmorton, and the platform given the issue by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, leaders of the Family have been forced to distance themselves, at least publicly, from the two Ugandan key men behind the bill: MP David Bahati and James Nsaba Buturo, minister of state for ethics and integrity.

When Bahati told a Ugandan newspaper that he would attend and speak at the U.S. National Prayer Breakfast, the Family's Bob Hunter issued a statement saying that Bahati was not invited to the breakfast, and that he had declined an earlier invitation, issued before he introduced the bill, to attend as a volunteer. In response to a query from AlterNet, Hunter said Buturo 'has never been on any list and has no invitation.' However, Hunter could not confirm whether or not Buturo planned to be in the U.S. for the Family's lobbying fest during the week of the prayer breakfast, saying he'd had no communication with the Ugandan official and had never met him.

'I think if the Family could make that bill go away, they would. It's too extreme,' said Jeff Sharlet, who sat down with AlterNet last month to discuss where the shadowy network, now the focus of more attention than its leaders ever wished it to have, finds itself in the age of Obama.

Indeed, the unwanted light the Uganda bill has cast on the Family has forced the group to respond in the open; Bob Hunter has become a de facto spokesperson for the group on the issue, even appearing on 'TheRachel Maddow Show' (in an appearance Sharlet helped to arrange) to distance the Family from what Sharlet calls 'this genocidal bill.'

In essence, Sharlet explained, the situation with Uganda and the anti-gay bill is a case of the Family's own power getting away from it. Uganda has long been a special project of the group, which conducts its own ad hoc foreign policy through the influence of its members.

Uganda's present dictator, Yoweri Museveni, is another of the Family's key men, Sharlet said. Museveni introduced the Family to the formerSomalian dictator Siad Barre, winning him American aid and arms, which he used, according to Sharlet, to 'lay his country to waste.'

'And recently now, I've noticed that Museveni's becoming sort of an American proxy for dealing with Somalia, which is a big problem for us,' Sharlet said. 'Somalia is a haven for al Qaeda; it's a lawless state.'

The Family's presence in Uganda likely helped pave the way for other U.S. conservative Christian evangelical groups, such as Pastor Rick Warren's 'Purpose-Driven' group, and the anti-gay ministries of Scott Lively, Caleb Lee Brundidge and Don Schmierer, whose anti-gay rhetoric at a Ugandan seminar influenced the authors of the 'Kill the Gays' bill.

'I think the Family opened the doors to Uganda for what they consider [to be] an evangelical revival, and the result was to make this country sort of a guinea pig for experiments in the American culture war,' Sharlet said. 'This is a way foreign policy often works; political experiments happen at the fringes and policies that can't be implemented here at home are tried out there.'

The outrage over Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality bill is affecting official U.S. foreign policy.The State Department issued a statement decrying the bill, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (who, during her Senate term, participated in the Family's Senate prayer group) expressed her concern during a 45-minute telephone call with Ugandan President Museveni, after which he directed parliament to suspend action on the bill -- stopping short of killing it. President Obama has also condemned the legislation.

The Uganda bill, Sharlet said, is just one example of how the Family's off-the-shelf foreign policy impacts the U.S. national interest. 'From what my inside sources tell me, they drive the State Department crazy. This is a constant pain in the neck for the State Department -- you know, you've got a senator just sort of dropping in on a foreign leader without clearing it.'

The Family and the Tea Party Movement

Though the Family itself is non-partisan, its ideology appeals most strongly to conservative Republicans, a handful of whom have emerged as favorites of the Tea Party crowd: Senators Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Tom Coburn and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, and Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, to name a few of the Family's better-known congressional members. (Democrats in the news associated with the Family include Rep. Bart Stupak of Ohio and Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida; for more on the Family's influence on the health care debate, see AlterNet's October report here.)

'That's an interesting overlap. That's an interesting convergence of social movements,' Sharlet told AlterNet. 'The Family represents, as they have put it in the past, the avant-garde of American fundamentalism. They're an elite -- Tea Parties [as in Tea Party protests] are not their style. Doug Coe probably finds this the tackiest, most galling -- you know, just, oh, terrible.' Nonetheless, Sharlet said, 'You've got to look at the way these two movements work together. And when I say work together, I don't mean that they're getting together in a back room and coming up with a plan; I'm talking about a social movement. The left doesn't want to admit that over on the right they have social movements, too.'

Successful social movements find their strength in the 'convergence' of various streams of activism, Sharlet said. 'And those moments of convergence are where you see social movements sometimes making great strides. You go back to the 1960s, civil rights, you have a convergence between radicals, between people who have been in the trenches of civil rights forever, and white, middle-class liberals.' The right-wing elites of the Family, Sharlet explained, 'are going for that convergence.'

As evidence, Sharlet cited the Manhattan Declaration, a sort of right-wing Christian manifesto whose signers range from Roman Catholic bishops and cardinals to such populist Protestant evangelical figures as Harry Jackson, the right's point man on opposing same-sex marriage, and convicted Watergate felon Chuck Colson, founder and leader of Prison Fellowship Ministries.

Transparency -- Not Conspiracy -- Is the issue

While it's tempting to view the Family as a conspiracy of master manipulators who direct the every move of those affiliated with the group, Sharlet strongly cautions against taking this view. 'I get so frustrated with people on the left who want to look at the right as one great big Borg. Basically they think Shell Oil is sitting in their back room pulling all the strings, and that it's all related to one scheme. It's not.'

The Family's influence simply doesn't work that way, he said. And there are times when the Family's intervention may actually prevent bad things from happening to people in the nations led by the Family's key men. The real problem is the organization's lack of transparency.

'I think this really goes to the sore spot or the touchy nerve, which is the utilitarianism of American political thought, so that someone like Senator Coburn or Senator Inhofe -- they feel if they're over in Africa or the Middle East and trying to help these people, that one, they should be given tremendous credit for their good intentions,' Sharlet explained. 'And, two, if they do manage to avert a conflict through this kind of backroom dealing and rogue foreign policy, then the ends justify the means.

'Frankly, that's an idea that's seductive to a lot of people in the United States -- and not just on the right,' he continued. 'And we sort of forget about the whole conversation about democracy. We forget, as theFamily goes and works behind the scenes and works through its 'God-chosen elites' and 'anointed leaders' -- every time they do that, they are breaking down the democratic process.

'What if they're not the puppet masters?' he asked. 'What if their intentions really are good? And in fact, they have accomplished, here and there, some good things. They have averted a conflict. Do we then just drop our questions? Or do we say, you know what, good intentions are not enough, democratic process is what we need. And do we dig into the export of American political and economic religion? Because that's what it is. Free-market gospel. And say, look, what are the costs and consequences of that? Those are harder questions for us to deal with -- the more important questions.'

Embodied in the First Amendment are several complementary but competitive concepts: freedom of religion, freedom from government involvement in religion, and freedom of expression. The Family has every right to have its members express their religious views, and to act within the law as their faith informs them to do. But its insidious existence, at a cellular level, in the very muscle of American might infects U.S. policy with a theology shared by only a very few citizens. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, the cliche goes. Until the Family chooses to wield its power in the light of day, no president should grant it the glow of legitimacy.

Adele M. Stan is AlterNet's Washington bureau chief.

Jan 20, 2010

Rightwing Christians Free to Leave America

Update: No More Jesus Rifles - After ABC News Report, Trijicon Announces Plan to Remove Bible Codes from Gun Sights Provided to U.S. Military

Dominionist, evangelical Christians regaling in only-through-christ craziness, fighting against liberty in secular America, are always free to leave and form their own Christian colony where they can wage war and try to convert the unbelievers.

We know the religions right has veto power in today's Republican party, bringing us the intellectual heft of Sarah Palin and the Bush-Cheney stewardship of the U.S. Constitution.

We know the GOP religious operative James Dobson's charming Focus on the Family ('hey, beat your children, parents!') and rightwingers' escalation of misogynistic rhetoric in the sporting world, as documented in Tom Krattenmaker's Onward Christan Athletes (Rowman & Littlefield).

But most disturbing and dangerous is control in the U.S. military by the evangelical Christians. We're not there yet, but too goddamn close for comfort. Mikey Weinstein and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) and millions of Americans certainly object. [I told Weinstein in an aside recently that religious whacks genuinely "frighten me." Weinstein's curt, somewhat scolding response: "Scare 'em back. Make them frightened."]

Weinstein and MRFF just broke a major story that the military contractor, Trijicon, inscribed with secret Bible references 1,000s of gun sights used by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Brilliant move, that will assure Islam of American commitment to pluralism and democracy, no crusades here.

As ABC News reported Monday, the sights are used by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the training of Iraqi and Afghan soldiers. The maker of the sights, Trijicon, has a $660 million multi-year contract to provide up to 800,000 sights to the Marine Corps, and additional contracts to provide sights to the U.S. Army.

As rightwing groups like the Family and myriad theocrats in the armed forces continue their quest for a Christian U.S. military, these stories take on a heightened significance.

Ed Brayton explains why:

Here's a letter that was sent to Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation by an active duty American soldier about those Bible verses on rifle scopes that demonstrates why the issue matters -- and how far the pentagon has to go to rid the military of this scourge of officers who view themselves as soldiers for (the Christian) God rather than as representatives of the United States.

To: Mikey Wienstein and MRFF:

I am a U.S. Army infantry soldier with the rank of (rank withheld). I am married with children. I am stationed at Fort (installation name withheld). I have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times. I have been awarded medals for direct combat engagement as well as for injuries and wounds received in hand-to-hand combat. I am a Muslim American. My family converted when I was very young. I am caucasian and have a last name that does not sound ethnic.

Therefore, few of my fellow soldiers know that I am a Muslim. My wife comes from a Christian tradition but rarely practices or attends church. I have witnessed terrible religious persecution in the my (number withheld) years in the Army. Most of it comes from ‘angry’ conservative Christians in my unit chains of command and occasionally from my fellow infantry soldiers. I am very familiar with the Trijicon ACOG gunsights and have often had them as part of my personal weapons; both my M-4 and my M-16.

In my first 2 deployments I saw and experienced no incidents regarding the New Testament bible quotes that are written on the metal casing of the gun sights. Many soldiers know of them and are very confused as to why they are there and what it is supposed to mean. Everyone is worried that if they were captured in combat that the enemy would use the bible quotes against them in captivity or some other form of propaganda. As an American soldier I am ashamed that those bible quotes are on our primary weapons. As a Muslim American I am horrified. As one who swore his oath to the Constitution, I am driven to fight this Christian insanity but I know if I try to do so in a visible way that I will suffer at the hands of my military superiors.

I am of low enlisted rank and can be crushed easily. I am prepared to suffer, but I am not prepared for my wife and children to suffer. So I have reached out to MRFF because there is nowhere else safe to go to try to fight this thing of disgrace. There are many other soldiers who feel as I do. Many are Protestant and Catholic and they fear reprisal just as much as I do for trying to stand up to the Christian bullies in uniform who outrank us. But if you try to fight back, you are not ‘asking’ for trouble, YOU ARE IN TROUBLE from the start. And if you are a Muslim American, the hatred is always just below the surface and ready to explode at a moment's notice. After the Fort Hood shootings, it was so bad, even for a low profile Muslim like me, that I had to ask MRFF for help.

Nothing in my first 2 deployments prepared me for what happened with the Trijicon ACOG gun sights during my 3rd deployment to Afghanistan. I will never forget the day it occurred. It was morning and there was a mandatory formation of several companies. A very senior NCO was yelling at us which is not that unusual. He asked a private what it was that he (the private) was holding in his hand and the private said it was his ‘weapon’ several times to which the senior NCO replied ‘and what ELSE is it’?

Finally, the senior NCO said that the private's rifle was also something else; that because of the biblical quote on the ACOG gunsight it had been ‘spiritually transformed into the Fire Arm of Jesus Christ’ and that we would be expected to kill every ‘haji’ we could find with it. He said that if we were to run out of ammo, then the rifle would become the ‘spiritually transformed club of Jesus Christ’ and that we should ‘bust open the head of every haji we find with it.’ He said that Uncle Sam had seen fit not to give us a ‘pussy 'Jewzzi' (combination of the word 'Jew' and Israeli made weapon 'Uzi') but the ‘fire arm of Jesus Christ’ and made specific mention of the biblical quotes on our gun sights. He said that the enemy no doubt had quotes from the Koran on their guns but that ‘our Lord is bigger than theirs because theirs is a fraud and an idol’.

As a Muslim and an American soldier I was fit to be tied but I kept it in. There were many Afghans, both civilian and military, on base within earshot of what was being yelled at us and I can only wonder in shock what they must have thought. This senior NCO was apparently also the head person of a conservative, crazy Christian group called the ‘Christian Military Fellowship’ and made a big deal about the importance of joining to everyone. He told us all that we MUST read a book called ‘Under Orders’ in order to make it through this combat deployment and said he had many copies for everyone. Some of my friends went and got their copies. I refused. Finally, this senior NCO ended his yelling by warning us that if we did not ‘get right with Jesus’ then our rifles would not provide spiritual strength despite the bible quotes on our ACOG gunsights and that we would be considered ‘spiritual cripples’ to our fellow units and soldiers. He didn't say it in so many words, but the message was clear; if anything bad happened in a combat situation, it would be the fault of anyone who had not accepted Jesus Chris in the ‘right way’. I have never felt so ashamed and scared in my life.

I have never hated myself so much for not speaking out. So I thought of my wife and children and endured. Every time I looked at my rifle with that Trijicon ACOG gunsight/scope with the biblical quote from the book of John (8:12), it would make me sick. If I had tried to protest, it would have made me dead. And if I'm dead I'm of no use to my wife and children.

Sep 30, 2009

Madison Free Thought Org Hits Anti-Semitism in Air Force

The Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation is among a group of notable signatories to a September letter demanding a new "investigation into charges of religious coercion and proselytizing at the United States Air Force Academy."

Foundation co-presidents Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker join notables signing the letter, including Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, and Bobby Muller, Nobel Peace Prize winner.

The demand stems from Mikey Weinstein, president and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and range of other activists objecting to what is typical conduct at the Colorado Springs-based Air Force Academy that includes Holocaust jokes and coercion of cadets to practice Christianity and display signs of fidelity to the Christian faith, "practices that discriminate against non-Christians in the military."

Incredibly, one Colonel Donald P. Higgins, Jr. (USAF ret), (recounted and documented by Weinstein) the "key, on-scene Inspector General investigator for the Department of Defence/United States Air Force" into the conduct at the Air Force Academy, transmitted "several outrageously denigrating and anti-Semitic emails" to Weinstein himself in an apparent attempt to harass and intimidate Weinstein. These emails can be found at the bottom of the page of this link: Letter Attachments - Electronic Version.

Who is this Higgins? And who is responsible for letting this guy operate in the capacity of an investigator for the DoD's Inspector General?

Weinstein has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Higgins and is considering legal action.

Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker should be proud to be the John Hancocks, the first signatories, of the demand letter calling for a serious investigation of this continuing outrage.