Doing unto others —

As I posted those few items last night, I marveled at the full complement of sociopathologies they demonstrated: in one single news day we saw the Bush White House lying, cheating, manipulating, exploiting and undermining, all for the benefit of a wealthy, powerful few. So I was primed to read Molly Ivins today:

Folks, this is what the Bush administration is really about. While we’re all distracted with 9-11 and the war on terrorism, it is steadily making this country less fair and making life harder for most citizens. How long are you going to put any credence at all into what they tell you?

How to get valuable intelligence from an Iraqi prisoner —

“More than a third of the prisoners who died in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan were shot, strangled or beaten by U.S. personnel before they died, according to death certificates and a high-ranking U.S. military official.”

I’ll take JFK’s version (either one) —

Hendrik Hertzberg has an interesting piece in the current New Yorker exploring differences in the ways Kerry and Bush express their religiosity, in which he notes:

The salient division in American political life where religion is concerned is no longer between Catholics and Protestants, if it ever was, or even between believers and nonbelievers. It is between traditional supporters of a secular state (many of whom are themselves religiously observant), on the one hand, and, on the other hand—well, theocrats might be too strong a term. Suffice it to say that there are those who believe in a sturdy wall between church and state and those who believe that the wall should be remodelled into a white picket fence dotted with open gates, some of them wide enough to drive a tractor-trailer full of federal cash through.

President Bush is the leader of the latter persuasion, and his remodelling project has been under way for more than three years. This project goes beyond the frequent use of evangelical code words in the President’s speeches; beyond the shocking and impious suggestion, more than once voiced in the President’s approving presence, that he was chosen for his position by God himself; beyond the insistence on appointing judges of extreme Christian-right views to the federal bench; beyond the religiously motivated push to chip away wherever possible at the reproductive freedom of women. It also includes money, in the millions and billions. The money is both withheld and disbursed: withheld from international family-planning efforts, from domestic contraceptive education, and from scientific research deemed inconsistent with religious fundamentalism; disbursed to “abstinence-based” sex-education programs, to church-run “marriage initiatives,” and, via vouchers, to drug-treatment and other social-service programs based on religion. Though Congress has declined to enact the bulk of the President’s “faith-based initiatives,” the Administration has found a way, via executive orders and through bureaucratic novelties like the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Compassion Capital Fund. “The federal government now allows faith-based groups to compete for billions of dollars in social-service funding, without being forced to change their identity and their mission,” the President boasted a couple of weeks ago, in a commencement address at a Lutheran college in Mequon, Wisconsin. He did not mention that “their identity and their mission”—their principal purpose, their raison d’être—is often religious proselytization.

He closes with these great words from the other JFK:

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute—where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be a Catholic) how to act and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote—where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference…I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end—where all men and all churches are treated as equal—where every man has the same right to attend or not to attend the church of his choice—where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind—and where Catholics, Protestants and Jews, at both the lay and the pastoral levels, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood.

Hey, people are reading this thing! —

I want to acknowledge the few comments that were made on entries in recent days! I was getting so used to seeing “0” on the comment tally that I almost missed them. I originally sent this blog address to just a handful of people, so I’m delighted to see that others are reading it from time to time. Keep checking in!

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