Saturday, November 04, 2006

Will the Media Demand the Resignation of White House Spokesman Tony Fratto? 

Jeff Sharlet reported in Harper's in May of 2005 that Ted Haggard "talks to President George W. Bush or his advisers every Monday."

Time magazine has corroborated this. CNN:

Haggard was one of a group of religious leaders who regularly participated in conference calls with White House aides, Time magazine reported.

On Friday, the White House sought to downplay Haggard's influence within the administration.

Spokesman Tony Fratto told reporters Friday that it was inaccurate to portray him as being close to the White House, insisting Haggard was only an occasional participant in weekly conference calls between West Wing staff and leading evangelicals.

"He has been on a couple of calls," Fratto said. "He's been to the White House one or two times."

That's not spin; it's not distortion; it's not evasion. It's an unambiguous lie. Does President Bush allow liars to speak for him? Will the media accept Fratto's lie?

Also, from the New Life Church press release:

In addition, the Overseers will continue to explore the depth of Pastor Haggard's offense so that a plan of healing and restoration can begin.


Also: the Democrats are going to lose the election on Tuesday, because for the next 72 hours the media will report on nothing but how Bush's Iraq policy has successfully resulted in the immanent execution of Saddam Hussein. Saddam heads on pikes. Does [insert Democratic candidate] disagree that the world is better off without Saddam Hussein?

Friday, November 03, 2006

What Was That About John Kerry? 

Exactly what I was saying about why Harper's is so good. For those of you not familiar with Pastor Ted Haggard--who, it was claimed yesterday, likes to have sex with male hookers in Denver and smoke crystal meth--let's take a look back at an article from last year by Jeff Sharlet, my favorite journalist in the universe. It seems as though Harper's reposted the article on Thursday, surmising correctly that a whole lot of people would all of a sudden be interested to learn some information about Pastor Ted. So I assume Harper's--and Jeff--won't be too pissed if I lift a few informative excerpts:

Pastor Ted, who talks to President George W. Bush or his advisers every Monday, is a handsome forty-eight-year-old Indianan, most comfortable in denim. He likes to say that his only disagreement with the President is automotive; Bush drives a Ford pickup, whereas Pastor Ted loves his Chevy. In addition to New Life, Pastor Ted presides over the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), whose 45,000 churches and 30 million believers make up the nation's most powerful religious lobbying group, and also over a smaller network of his own creation, the Association of Life-Giving Churches, 300 or so congregations modeled on New Life's “free market” approach to the divine.

Pastor Ted will serve as NAE president for as long as the movement is pleased with him, and as long as Pastor Ted is its president the NAE will make its headquarters in Colorado Springs.
* * *
He was always on the lookout for spies. At the time, Colorado Springs was a small city split between the Air Force and the New Age, and the latter, Pastor Ted believed, worked for the devil. Pastor Ted soon began upsetting the devil's plans. He staked out gay bars, inviting men to come to his church; his whole congregation pitched itself into invisible battles with demonic forces, sometimes in front of public buildings. One day, while he was working in his garage, a woman who said she'd been sent by a witches' coven tried to stab Pastor Ted with a five-inch knife she pulled from a leg sheath; Pastor Ted wrestled the blade out of her hand. He let that story get around. He called the evil forces that dominated Colorado Springs—and every other metropolitan area in the country—“Control.”

Sometimes, he says, Control would call him late on Saturday night, threatening to kill him. “Any more impertinence out of you, Ted Haggard,” he claims Control once told him, “and there will be unrelenting pandemonium in this city.” No kidding! Pastor Ted hadn't come to Colorado Springs for his health; he had come to wage “spiritual war.”

He moved the church to a strip mall. There was a bar, a liquor store, New Life Church, a massage parlor. His congregation spilled out and blocked the other businesses. He set up chairs in the alley. He strung up a banner: SIEGE THIS CITY FOR ME, signed JESUS. He assigned everyone in the church names from the phone book they were to pray for. He sent teams to pray in front of the homes of supposed witches—in one month, ten out of fifteen of his targets put their houses on the market. His congregation “prayer-walked” nearly every street of the city.

Population boomed, crime dipped; Pastor Ted believes to this day that New Life helped chase the bad out of town. He thinks like that, a piston: less bad means more good. Church is good, and his church grew, so fast there were times when no one knew how many members to claim. So they stopped talking about “members.” There was just New Life. “Are you New Life?” a person might ask. New Life moved into some corporate office space. Soon they bought the land that had been prophesied, thirty-five acres, and began to build what Pastor Ted promised would be a new Jerusalem.
* * *
When parents finally pull into a space amidst the thousands of cars packed into a gray ocean of lot, their kids tumble out and dash toward the five silver pillars of the entrance to New Life, eager to slide across the expanse of tiled floor, to run circles around “The Defender,” a massive bronze of a glowering angel, its muscular wings in full flex, arms at the zenith of what will undoubtedly be a smiting blow of his broad sword; to run laps around the new sanctuary, built in the round; and to bound up the stairs to “Fort Victory,” whose rooms are designed to look like an Old West cavalry outpost, the kind they used to fight real live Indians, back when Colorado still had Indians to conquer and convert.
* * *
The band stood. A skinny, chinless man with a big, tenor voice, Ross Parsley, directed the musicians and the crowd, leading us and them and the choir as the guitarists kicked on the fuzz and the drummer pounded the music toward arena-rock frenzy. Two fog machines on each side of the stage filled the sanctuary with white clouds. Pod-shaped projectors cast a light show across the ceiling, giant spinning white snowflakes and cartwheeling yellow flowers and a shimmering blue water-effect. “Prepare the way!” shouted Worship Pastor Ross. “Prepare the way! The King is coming!” Across the stage teens began leaping straight up, a dance that swept across the arena: kids hopped, old men hopped, middle-aged women hopped. Spinners wheeled out from the ranks and danced like dervishes around the stage. The light pods dilated and blasted the sanctuary with red. Worship Pastor Ross roared: “Let the King of Glory enter in!” Ushers rushed through the crowds throwing out rainbow glow strings.

Watching the screens, we moved in slow motion through prairie grass. A voiceover announced, “The heart of God, beating in our hearts.” Then the music and video quickened as the camera rose to meet the new sanctuary. Images spliced and jumped over one another: thousands of New Lifers holding candles, and dozens skydiving, and Pastor Ted, Bible in hand, blond head thrust forward above the Good Book, smiling, finger-shaking, singing, more smiling. (His nose is snubby and his brow overhung, lending him an impishness crucial to the smile's success; without that edge he would look not happy but stoned.)
* * *
After church, I walked across the parking lot to the World Prayer Center, where I watched prayers scroll over two giant flat-screen televisions while a young man played piano. The Prayer Center—a joint effort of several fundamentalist organizations but located at and presided over by New Life—houses a bookstore that when I visited was called the Arsenal (its name has since been changed to Solomon's Porch), as well as “corporate” prayer rooms, personal “prayer closets,” hotel rooms, and the headquarters of Global Harvest, a ministry dedicated to “spiritual warfare.” (The Prayer Center's nickname in the fundamentalist world is “spiritual NORAD.”) The atrium is a soaring foyer adorned with the flags of the nations and guarded by another bronze warrior angel, a scowling, bearded type with massive biceps and, again, a sword. The angel's pedestal stands at the center of a great, eight-pointed compass laid out in muted red, white, and blue-black stone. Each point directs the eye to a contemporary painting, most depicting gorgeous, muscular men—one is a blacksmith, another is bound, fetish-style, in chains—in various states of undress. My favorite is The Vessel, by Thomas Blackshear, a major figure in the evangelical-art world.[2] Here in the World Prayer Center is a print of The Vessel, a tall, vertical panel of two nude, ample-breasted, white female angels team-pouring an urn of honey onto the shaved head of a naked, olive-skinned man below. The honey drips down over his slab-like pecs and his six-pack abs into the eponymous vessel, which he holds in front of his crotch. But the vessel can't handle that much honey, so the sweetness oozes over the edges and spills down yet another level, presumably onto our heads, drenching us in golden, godly love. Part of what makes Blackshear's work so compelling is precisely its unabashed eroticism; it aims to turn you on, and then to turn that passion toward Jesus.
* * *
The Prayer Team screen, whether viewed at the center or on a monitor at home, is split between “Individual Focus Requests,” such as the above, and “Worldwide Focus” requests, which are composed by the staff of the World Prayer Center. Sometimes these are domestic—USA: Pray for the Arlington Group, pastors working with Whitehouse to renew Marriage Amendm. Pray for appts. of new justices. Pray for Pastor meetings with Amb. of Israel, and President Bush. Lord, let them speak only your words, represent YOU! Bless! But more often they are international— N. KOREA: Pray God will crush demonic stronghold and communist regime of Kim Jung Il.
* * *
Another prayer request puts numbers to that news—900,000 Bibles in the Arabic language distributed by Christians in Iraq . . . And one explicitly aligns the quest for democracy in Iraq with the quest for more Christians in Iraq: May the people stand for their rights, and open to the idea of making choices, such as studying the Bible . . .
* * *
In Pastor Ted's book Dog Training, Fly Fishing, & Sharing Christ in the 21st Century, he describes the church he thinks good Christians want. “I want my finances in order, my kids trained, and my wife to love life. I want good friends who are a delight and who provide protection for my family and me should life become difficult someday . . . I don't want surprises, scandals, or secrets . . . I want stability and, at the same time, steady, forward movement. I want the church to help me live life well, not exhaust me with endless ‘worthwhile’ projects.” By “worthwhile projects” Ted means building funds and soup kitchens alike. It's not that he opposes these; it's just that he is sick of hearing about them and believes that other Christians are, too. He knows that for Christianity to prosper in the free market, it needs more than “moral values”—it needs customer value.

New Lifers, Pastor Ted writes with evident pride, “like the benefits, risks, and maybe above all, the excitement of a free-market society.” They like the stimulation of a new brand. “Have you ever switched your toothpaste brand, just for the fun of it?” Pastor Ted asks. Admit it, he insists. All the way home, you felt a “secret little thrill,” as excited questions ran through your mind: “Will it make my teeth whiter? My breath fresher?” This is the sensation Ted wants pastors to bring to the Christian experience. He believes it is time “to harness the forces of free-market capitalism in our ministry.” Once a pastor does that, his flock can start organizing itself according to each member's abilities and tastes.
* * *
One of Pastor Ted's favorite books is Thomas Friedman's The Lexus and the Olive Tree, which is now required reading for the hundreds of pastors under Ted's spiritual authority across the country. From Friedman, Pastor Ted says he learned that everything, including spirituality, can be understood as a commodity. And unregulated trade, he concluded, was the key to achieving worldly freedom.
* * *
“My fear,” he says, “is that my children will grow up in an Islamic state.”

And that is why he believes spiritual war requires a virile, worldly counterpart. “I teach a strong ideology of the use of power,” he says, “of military might, as a public service.” He is for preemptive war, because he believes the Bible's exhortations against sin set for us a preemptive paradigm, and he is for ferocious war, because “the Bible's bloody. There's a lot about blood.”

I know that was an unacceptably long excerpt, but it is truly just the tip of an iceberg of good reading. My selections haven't even touched on, for instance, Commander Tom Parker, Junior Commander T.J., the Royal Rangers, or the Frontier Christian Fellowship, "in which boys and men regress to pioneer life in pursuit of ultimate Christian manhood":

Father and son are still Frontiersmen, which is the lowest level, but they dream of becoming Buckskin Men. “The problem,” said T.J., “is that it takes time and money. Because you have to make an outfit. And it has to be out of leather.”


Update: I assumed it went without saying--but evidently, as a quick glance at the absence of this story from EVERY FRONT PAGE (as of now) shows, it doesn't--that Ted Haggard is about a million times more powerful, influential, significant (NEWSWORTHY?) than the piece of shit page-fucker from Florida.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Kerry "Story" Over 

Tom Cruise on CNN homepage.

And also this:

Letters to God found dumped off New Jersey coast

A news story 

From Texas.

Early voting for the November election started Monday, and during this first week of it, Jefferson County has experienced high turnout. By the end of Saturday, which was the sixth day of early voting, the Jefferson County Clerk's office was reporting that 7,416 had cast ballots. When you add the number of absentee ballots mailed in, turnout stands at 7,774 voters.

Rogers Park (2,200 voters) and the Nederland Recreation Center (1,673 voters) have seen the most voters of all the nine early voting sites in the county. Early voting runs through Friday, November 3rd.

KFDM continues to get complaints from Jefferson County voters who say the electronic voting machines are not registering their votes correctly. Friday night, KFDM reported about people who had cast straight Democratic ticket ballots, but the touch-screen machines indicated they had voted a straight Republican ticket. Some of those voters including Lamar University professor, Dr. Bruce Drury, believe the problem is a programming error.

Saturday, KFDM spoke to another voter who says it's not just happening with straight ticket voting, he says it's happening on individual races as well, Jerry Stopher told us when he voted for a Democrat, the Republican's name was highlighted.

Stopher said, "There's something in these machines, in this equipment, that's showing Republican votes when you vote for Democrats, and I know Ms. Guidry's a nice lady, and she's working hard, but her theory that my fingernail was somehow over the Republican button is just unrealistic, my fingernail was not. The equipment is not working properly as far as I can tell."

Jefferson county clerk Carolyn Guidry says her office has checked the calibration of the machines and found no problems. She says the electronic system is very sensitive. She told KFDM that's a concern she has expressed since county commissioners chose the machines.

Guidry advises voters to carefully review their choices, and make any changes before pressing the vote button. Another reminder for voters is that just because you press the straight party button, doesn't mean you can't got to individual races and vote for a candidate of another party.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Does Kerry Not Remember 9-11? 

Did anyone see the Daily Show, featuring the clip of Bush's speech denouncing Kerry? After the crowd finishes booing Bush's mention of Kerry's name, and then his quotation of Kerry's "joke," Bush makes a rather odd pivot from Kerry to Iraq/"The War on Terror."

He says (I'm quoting from memory) "We weren't in Iraq on September the 11th when nearly 3,000 Americans lost their lives on American soil."


That's who Bush and his "supporters" are. Not just--like most of the country and all politicians and all of the news media--worshippers at the 9-11 Death Cult, but people who OPENLY and DIRECTLY cheer mass death.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

What to make of today's Kerry flap? 

Kerry, while campaigning in California for Phil Angelides: “You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

Inevitable Bush response: “The men and women who serve in our all-volunteer armed forces are plenty smart and are serving because they are patriots — and Senator Kerry owes them an apology.”

John McCain, Tony Snow pile on…

And Kerry comes back, saying his original remarks were part of a “botched joke” that had been distorted by “assorted right-wing nut jobs and right-wing talk show hosts," and adding: "I’m not going to be lectured by a stuffed-suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq…. It disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have.”


Aren't coffins usually draped in flags? 

Paul R. Nelson is a Republican running a hapless campaign in Wisconsin's 3rd Congressional district against Democrat incumbent Ron Kind.

Nelson is best known of late for creating one of the more outlandishly stupid/offensive negative ads of the season. (According to Nelson’s campaign emails, Fox News fuckface John Gibson has deemed it "the greatest political ad of all time.") In the ad, Nelson accuses Kind of voting for the funding of studies on a variety of pervy things, such as "the masturbation habits of old men." (The reality, as it happens, is that Kind voted with 200 other members of the House to oppose an effort to stop the National Institutes of Health from conducting a range of studies.)

Even though you shouldn't, you can watch the video here. It's worth it probably only for the very end, when Nelson himself "approves this message" in what might be (if you'll pardon the expression) the faggiest-sounding voice you'll ever hear.

But what's even better about Paul R. Nelson is the image on the header of his email bulletins.

And a little tighter?

Fright and Terror: A Reprise 


After charging that Gov. Bill Clinton can win the presidential election only by using Halloween-style scare tactics, President Bush employed the same strategy yesterday, warning voters about the frightening prospect of his Democrat opponent becoming president and trying to deal with a nuclear war.

"You want to go the Clinton route, every day will seem like Halloween," Bush told a rally here during a 280-mile train trip across Wisconsin. "Fright and terror; witches and devils everywhere."

He also asked voters to consider the prospect of the Arkansas governor becoming president and having to face "some terrorist getting a hold of a nuclear weapon."


President Bush said terrorists will win if Democrats win and impose their policies on Iraq, as he and Vice President Cheney escalated their rhetoric Monday in an effort to turn out Republican voters in next week's midterm elections.

"However they put it, the Democrat approach in Iraq comes down to this: The terrorists win and America loses."

I don't know what Bush (the cringing infant goblin, not the brittle WASP fascist) is talking about: the terrorists clearly won 14 years ago.

And it's funny, it seems as though a lot of folks in Iraq will be going up to their attics and breaking out the packed-away creates of party favors they used 14 years ago:


At a rally last night in Chippewa Falls, the last stop on his tour, Bush said he had just read a story reporting that a rally of 500,000 people would be held in Baghdad if he lost. "They can put that rally on hold, because I'm not going to lose the election," Bush said.


Cheney, meanwhile, said in an interview with Fox News that he thinks insurgents in Iraq are timing their attacks to influence the U.S. elections.

"It's my belief that they're very sensitive of the fact that we've got an election scheduled," he said. Cheney said the insurgents believe "they can break the will of the American people," and "that's what they're trying to do."

The American Fascist 

...is my title for the New Yorker magazine.

The Angry Arab is rightly enraged by the American Fasicst's "review" of the play about Rachel Corrie. The Angry Arab may be a bit, well, angry here, but all his points stand, especially the last. Imagine how a young American female victim of al-Qaeda or Hamas would be treated in the American press. The American Fascist instead gives us this repulsive sexist condescension--"why would a smart hot bitch go to the Gaza Strip when she could be sucking off cocks?"

[And, yes, the young man who killed her with a bulldozer is a murderer, if such a term is useful anymore (which, I concede, it may not be). In any case, he and his bosses are as much murderers as are Hamas and Hezbollah.]

The prison-camp guard referred to is the "reporter" Jeffrey Goldberg, who volunteered for IDF service; who wrote an absolutely crucial piece of pro-Iraq War propaganda (the article that suggested that the famed Ansar al-Islam Sunni terror group in Iraq was not only sympathetic to Osama, but also--impossibly--an ally of Saddam); and who, in a series of "reports," has insisted that Hezbollah--which is the legitimate representative of the Shi'ite population of South Lebanon, and which has not performed an act of international terror since 1995, and did not target civilians post-1995 until it responded to the summary destruction by the IDF of all Lebanon--is planning to launch al-Qaeda style terror attacks in the United States.

David Remnick is a neo-fascist propagandist, a Republican flack, an apparatchik.

Here's the Angry Arab's take:

"The New Yorker, a magazine that has a literary reputation that it does not deserve, a magazine that under David Remnik has become a replica of Newsweek and People magazine but with longer articles, a magazine that has neither insights nor wit, a magazine that has made great efforts to increase the fear and hatred toward things Muslim in the US and which has made great contributions to Bush's war efforts, a magazine that published articles on the Middle East by a former prison guard in Israeli torture camps (who brags about his service in his new book) who claims that Islamic terrorists are under every bed and every table in the west, has decided in order to serve Zionist propaganda in the US to assign a certain John Lahr to review the Rachel Corrie play. In American Zionist publications, there are no limits and no boundaries to how far one goes in order to serve the interests of Zionist occupation. This John Lahr, who has the writing skills of contributors to People magazine, has decided that mocking and ridiculing a dead young woman is quite appropriate. Notice that he does not even review the play as a play; he forgot about his original task in order to bash the dead young woman and mock her. Like a typical sexist writer, he invokes the word "hysteric" to describe her. That sums her entire life for this guy. Imagine if she was a victim of an Arab army tractor: imagine how this Lahr and his editor at that lousy magazine would have lionized her. No Lahr and no Remnick and no Zionist in the US can tarnish the image of Rachel Corrie. No matter how hard they try, and no matter how vulgar they are.

Monday, October 30, 2006

"Medical Experiments" 

From TPM:

Several TPM readers in Maryland have reported robocalls from Michael Steele's Senate campaign with a "poll" question along the lines of "do you believe that medical research should be allowed on unborn babies?"

There's more.

and in Virginia:

A TPM reader in Virginia says that the George Allen campaign is using a a similar question in its push-poll calls: "Do you favor carrying out medical experiments on a dead fetus?"

I personally believe medical research should be performed on unborn babies, born babies, dead fetuses, and living fetuses. I think the proper place for a dead fetus is in the laboratory, not Rick Santorum's bed.


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