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Photos and text, unless otherwise noted, Copyright 2003,2004,2005,2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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"It is better to be drunk with loss and to beat the ground, than to let the deeper things gradually escape."

- I. Compton-Burnett, letter to Francis King (1969)

"Cynical realism – it is the intelligent man’s best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation."

- Aldous Huxley, "Time Must Have a Stop"

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Sunday, 3 April 2005

Topic: God and US

Sunday Matters: Things Sometimes Overlooked

Juan Cole, writing in SALON.COM, here tells us of what one tends to forget.

This is interesting -
In February 2002, the president and Laura Bush visited a Shinto shrine in Japan, to which they showed respect with a bow. They were immediately denounced by evangelical organizations for having "worshipped the idol." To listen to the anguished cries of disbelief from Bush's Christian base, you would have thought he had met the same fate as Harrison Ford in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," where Indie was hypnotized by the evil rajah into worshipping the pernicious Hindu idol of the thugees.

The reason for the evangelicals' frenzy is the first two commandments of the Decalogue (the Ten Commandments), said to have been given to Moses on Mount Sinai by God. The first says, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." The second says, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God..." George and Laura's respectful nod to the spirits in the Meiji Shrine violated those precepts in the eyes of true believers.
Most curious.

Some of us, had we paid attention to these dual bows in a Shinto shire, wouldn’t have paid attention at all. The Bush two were being polite, and, oddly enough, diplomatic.

But I guess some were offended. How many? Hard to say.

But are we not the most religious of Western nations? Are not most Americans born-again Christian zealots willing to rip the world apart to hasten the Rapture and usher Jesus back to Iowa or whatever? Cole doesn’t think so -
Both the reelection of George Bush and the Schiavo travesty have heightened the sense that the religious right in the United States is all-powerful. Reading the press, you get the impression that almost all Americans are devout Christians, people who believe in a literal heaven and hell and spend their idle moments devouring the "Left Behind" novels about the end of the world. This isn't true -- and it's getting less true all the time. While evangelical Christians are a significant political force, they are probably only a fifth of the country, and not all of them are politically conservative: Only 14 percent of voters in an exit poll for the presidential elections in 2000 characterized themselves as part of the "Christian right." In fact, polls show that the United States is becoming less religious. Only about 60 percent of Americans say religion is important in their lives. The United States is still a predominantly Christian country, but it is no longer an overwhelmingly Christian one. And more and more Americans are either non-religious, unchurched or subscribe to non-Christian religions.

Cole reviews what wasn’t covered on the news – how other religions weighed in on the recent arguments before the Supreme Court regarding the display of the Ten Commandments in official, state buildings. And this is curious -
Although American Muslims agree with the precepts enshrined in the Ten Commandments, they are fully aware that the move to post it in public buildings is designed to bolster the Christian right in an exclusivist way, and so they have largely made common cause with American Hindus against it.

The friend-of-the-court brief filed by the Hindus and others notes, "To members of non-Judeo-Christian religions, the Ten Commandments do not merely recite non-controversial ethical maxims; several Commandments (e.g., the first, second and third) address the forms and objects of religious worship." Underlining that there are nearly a million Hindus in the United States, and some 700 Hindu temples, the brief says, "Nor can Hindus accept the First Commandment's prohibition against 'graven images.' The use of murtis (sacred representations of God in any of God's various forms) is central to the practice of the religion for virtually all Hindus." The government-sponsored posting of the Ten Commandments implies a U.S. government preference for a theology that Hindus cannot accept. As for the country's 3 million Buddhists, the brief is even more blunt: "The conception of God, or the notion of worshipping creator gods, is considered an obstacle to the enlightenment sought by Buddhists."
Yeah, but are they real AMERICANS? Given this it seems some would argue they are not.

And Cole then reminds of a treaty often cited, but that bears mention once again.
The founding fathers signed into law a 1797 treaty with Tripoli (now Libya), which declares that "...the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion" and adds that "it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [Muslims]." The idea of the United States government as religiously neutral was linked in this treaty with the notion of peace among nations. The treaty adds, "it is declared ... that no pretext arising from religious opinion shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries..."
Yeah, that’s for real.

Cole’s conclusion?
More than 200 years later, all the progress achieved in the realm of religious tolerance by the first generation of Americans is in danger of being wiped out by ignorant fanatics who are not good enough to shine their shoes. That danger arises even as the number of non-Christians has risen to record highs. The irony is that the true iconoclasts throughout Christian history would have recognized Judge Moore's two-ton behemoth for what it is: a graven idol.
Ah well, there’s no satisfying the righteous. In fact, that’s why it’s so hard to deal with the al Qaeda guys, as they are as righteous as any Methodist president from Texas, or that former Orkin exterminator Tom DeLay.

Ah, let the Godly fight it out. The rest of us can go on with our lives, not worried about such things.

Posted by Alan at 17:36 PST | Post Comment | Permalink

Topic: Couldn't be so...

The Revolution Continues Apace

In the April 3rd issue of Just Above Sunset Tom Delay is quoted suggesting something has to be done about judges who don’t rule the way they should. "The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior." Yes, that’s a threat and discussed here: Holy War - The Tiger-by-the-Tail Problem.

Needless to say, what Delay said is getting a lot of press, or whatever you call commentary in the web logs. Not everyone is pleased – even some Republicans, as the item delineated.

Digby over at Hullabaloo notes a shift in the zeitgeist -
Something happened during the Schiavo circus, I think, and it was something significant. But it wasn't that the nation saw that politicians were all a bunch of craven opportunists. They already knew that. It was that the Republican professional class, the libertarians and some common sense types saw FOX News and talk radio as being full of shit for the first time. I have nothing but a handful of anecdotes to back that up, but I think Schiavo may turn out to be the first big tear in the right wing matrix.

For instance, a conservative doctor of my acquaintance was stunned by the Schiavo matter. This man watches nothing but Fox news and could not believe the anti-intellectual religiosity of their coverage. This is a matter that he knows intimately and he could see clearly that the coverage wasn't "fair and balanced." Indeed, it wasn't true. It's as if a veil fell from his eyes.

My conservative Rush loving neighbor was heard complaining that his hero didn't know what he was talking about on the Schiavo case. That is a first. This guy is a true believer --- who also has a very sick wife.

My nurse sister-in-law (also a born again Christian and avid FOX watcher) insisted that all the news be turned off in the house because she couldn't stand the exploitation of the patient or the sideshow outside that hospice. She's very depressed about all this.
But that’s all anecdotal. Can you generalize from it?

Try this (my emphases) -
See, the right isn't like us. They think that the so called liberal media is irretrievably biased but believe what they see, read and hear on their own media. We on the left, on the other hand, have no faith in any mainstream media, really, or any alternative media either for that matter. We have developed the habit of culling from various sources and analyzing the information ourselves as best we can. Even then we are very skeptical. Nothing that the media could do would particularly shock or disappoint us. Not so with the other side. A fair number of them are actually hurt and bewildered by what they saw in the Schiavo matter.

I suppose it's possible that this will fade and that nobody will remember the bizarre spectacle of these urbane, cosmopolitan news celebrities on television spouting lines from Elmer Gantry or Rush clumsily sputtering about the culture of life, but once people have been shocked like this they don't fully trust again. I think there may be quite a few Republicans who were surprised by the complete abdication of responsible coverage by their own trusted Wurlitzer.

It's one thing to get behind jingoistic nationalism and shut your eyes and ears to anything that disturbs that vision of your government. Most wingnuts have a bizarre belief that the government must know best when it comes to national security, despite all evidence to the contrary. But, to see your trusted media blow it so hugely on a personal issue about which most of us have very definite opinions and are pretty well informed, must be quite jarring.
No doubt. But one suspects Fox and the rest will be forgiven.

Where is this all heading?
Apparently, we are entering a new phase in the culture war that should be startling to even those who didn't see that partisan witch hunts, bogus impeachments and stolen elections indicated a certain, shall we say, imaginative interpretation of our constitution and a willingness to radically exceed any previous limits on partisan power.

… Now that these nutcases have political power it becomes clear that their beef with the judiciary has actually always been that it operates more or less independently of the political process and that means they cannot completely control it, which is the real problem. When you are running a strongarm operation, ("the time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior") partisanship or ideology really doesn't matter anymore. It's a pure power game….
Maybe so.

What to do?
I say let the games begin. This has been brewing for quite some time. This undemocratic streak in the GOP waxes and wanes but it has been dramatically on the upswing for the last decade or so. But this time the radical Republicans are piping their revolution straight into homes and cars and offices all over this country and it's starting to freak out the normal people.

I've been shouting myself hoarse about this for more than ten years. These self-proclaimed revolutionaries are exactly what they say they are and they do not respect the spirit of democracy, the rule of law or our constitution. That they are supported by so-called conservatives just makes the irony that much richer.
And we all love irony.

And the widely-read Atrios says this -
… I guess I always sort of believed that the attacks on the judiciary by wingnuttia was simply a ploy to intimidate liberal judges until they could finish stacking the courts with their own. But, lately it seems that either this isn't true or that many of them have forgotten that this was the plan. It seems that they actually want to undermine the judicial branch completely, which I find rather weird.
Well, duh!

Welcome to the real world.

Posted by Alan at 17:34 PST | Post Comment | Permalink

Saturday, 2 April 2005

Topic: Photos

No entries today…

The sun is coming up and we’re off to Carlsbad – a few miles north of San Diego on the coast. Three family birthdays and one big party. Back tomorrow - and tomorrow, late in the afternoon, watch for the new issue of Just Above Sunset, the weekly parent site of this web log.

Posted by Alan at 08:06 PST | Post Comment | Permalink

Friday, 1 April 2005

Topic: God and US

Vatican Matters: Who Would Say Something Bad About The Late Pope?

Christopher Hitchens, the hard-drinking acerbic defender of the war(s) and reluctant apologist for George Bush (we need to show that middle-easterners a thing or two and Bush is just the right guy to do that) ? who used to be of the left ? here takes on the Pope!

Oh my.

Papal Power
What no one else will say about John Paul II.
Christopher Hitchens - April 1, 2005, at 2:51 PM PT SLATE.COM

Well, the opening is just nasty ? as his problem is the pope and the Church stood by Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston ? and that?s hard to forgive.
The papacy is not, in theory, a man-made office at all. Its holder is chosen for life, by God himself, to hold the keys of Peter and to be the vicar of Christ on earth. This is yet another of the self-imposed tortures that faith inflicts upon itself. It means that you have to believe that the pope before last, who held on to the job for a matter of weeks before dying (or, according to some, before being murdered) was either unchosen by God in some fit of celestial pique, or left unprotected by heaven against his assassins. And it means that you have to believe that the public agony and humiliation endured by the pontiff was also part of some divine design. In the case of a presidency, or even a monarchy, provision can be made for abdication and succession when physical and mental deliquescence occur. But there could obviously not have been any graceful retirement in the case of John Paul II. The next vicar of Christ could hardly be expected to perform his sacred duties knowing that there was a still-living vicar of Christ, however decrepit, on the scene. Thus, and as with the Schiavo case, every last morsel of misery has been compulsorily extracted from the business of death. For the people who credit the idea, apparently, heaven can wait. Odd.

I leave it to the faith-based to wrestle with all this. Or rather, I would be happy to do so if they would stay out of my life. But there is one detail that sticks with me. A few years ago, it seemed quite probable that Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston would have to face trial for his appalling collusion in the child-rape racket that his diocese had been running. The man had knowingly reassigned dangerous and sadistic criminals to positions where they would be able to exploit the defenseless. He had withheld evidence and made himself an accomplice, before and after the fact, in the one offense that people of all faiths and of none have most united in condemning. (Since I have more than once criticized Maureen Dowd in this space, I should say now that I think she put it best of all. A church that has allowed no latitude in its teachings on masturbation, premarital sex, birth control, and divorce suddenly asks for understanding and "wiggle room" for the most revolting crime on the books.)
What Hitchens doesn't like?

Law fled the jurisdiction and has a sinecure at the Vatican. His job is to ?supervise priestly discipline? of all things. And he is part of the discussion about whether the Church really has to follow local law ? like our laws about molesting children.

The problem?
? it has been conclusively established that the Vatican itself?including his holiness?was a part of the coverup and obstruction of justice that allowed the child-rape scandal to continue for so long.

Yet everybody continues to pretend that this is no problem. We have all?haven't we??outgrown the anti-Catholic paranoia that used to manifest itself in the Know-Nothing Party. We all agree?don't we??that the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960 was a landmark event for tolerance and inclusiveness and all that. Only a bigot would suggest that the church puts its believers into a quandary of dual loyalty.
Oh heck, count me in. Sheltering this man is unacceptable.

But I?m not Catholic. So I have no say.

In the rest Hitchens argues the Church is actually working ?to thwart or bend the law in a secular democracy.?

It?s an interesting read. Check it out.

Posted by Alan at 19:00 PST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Friday, 1 April 2005 19:01 PST home

Topic: Bush

The Report: Newsmen Don?t Throw Curveballs

Rick, The News Guy in Atlanta, who often comments in the pages, says he thinks somebody should find some way to connect in print this week?s spy report, that showed Bush was getting "lies" and exciting "headlines" in his daily briefings on Iraq, and his statements at the time that the reason he doesn't read newspapers or watch television news because he'd rather get his news from the "objective" folks who put together his daily briefings.

Well, we do have a mess. The presidential commission investigating the intelligence fiasco that preceded the Iraq invasion reported this week that the damage done to US credibility would "take years to undo.? The general idea in the report was that American intelligence was in chaos, often paralyzed by the rivalry of fifteen different agencies and affected by unchallenged assumptions about Baghdad's supposed weapons of mass destruction.

In fact, the 601-page document is a comprehensive assessment of our intelligence failures and identifies breakdowns in dozens of cases involving multiple countries and terrorist organizations.

The conclusion? "The commission found no evidence of political pressure to influence the intelligence community's prewar assessments of Iraq's weapons programs."

George is off the hook. But it does mention that there are the dangers of intelligence leaders becoming too close to the president and risking the loss of objectivity.

Any news there? No.

Was this a whitewash? Some see it that way.

To anyone who says it was a whitewash there is this sarcastic comment here -
I'm shocked, shocked to think that anyone would interpret Dick Cheney's visits to the CIA, W's immediate assignment of blame to Iraq after 9/11 and Don Rumsfeld's, Colin Powell's and Condi Rice's flagrant disregard for facts, evidence and integrity in the run up to war as somehow proving much of the blame lies with senior cabinet members. Next you'll be asserting that the man who preaches personal responsibility and honesty should take a "buck stops here" approach and accept accountability for a war that never should have been fought. Oh and I'm sure you'll want to dredge up the ever changing "101 Best Reasons We Went to War" aided by the MSM [mainstream media] and how facts were interpreted at the White House in the worst possible light in order to justify an unjustifiable attack. Well if you're going to be a spoilsport, we'll just have to empanel another commission--this one to prove there never was a second Iraq war and that this has all been misinformation fed to us by that liberal media. That'll show you.

But who does the president trust for knowing what?s up? Here?s Michael Kinsley from October 16, 2003 explaining it all -
To President Bush, the news is like a cigarette. You can get it filtered or unfiltered. And which way does he prefer it? Well, that depends on the circumstances. When he is trying to send a message to the public, Bush prefers to have it go out unfiltered. He feels, for example, that the "good news about Iraq" is getting filtered out by the national media. "Somehow you just got to go over the heads of the filter and speak directly to the American people," he said the other day. So, lately he has been talking to local and regional media, whom he trusts to filter less.

But when he is on the receiving end, Bush prefers his news heavily filtered. "I glance at the headlines, just to get kind of a flavor," he told Brit Hume of Fox News last month. But, "I rarely read the stories" because "a lot of times there's opinions mixed in with news." Instead, "I get briefed by [White House Chief of Staff] Andy Card and Condi [Rice, the national security adviser] in the morning."

The president concluded, "The best way to get the news is from objective sources. And the most objective sources I have are people on my staff who tell me what's happening in the world."
Drat, it SO hard to find good servants these days!

But think about this -
? And where does the Rice-Card News Service obtain its uncontaminated information? Bush conceded his shocking suspicion that Rice and Card "probably read the news themselves." They do? Whatever is next? The president apparently is willing to tolerate the reading of newspapers by his staff members in the privacy of their own homes, as long as they don't flaunt this unseemly habit by bringing the wretched things into the White House or referring to them at staff meetings.

The president noted, though, that Rice and Card also get "news directly from participants on the world stage." ("Hi, Achmed?it's Condi. What's going on there in Baghdad? What's the weather like? And how's traffic? Thanks, I'll go tell the president and call you again in 15 minutes.") The notion that these world-stagers are sources of objective opinion while newspaper reporters are burdened by insuppressible opinions and hidden agendas is another odd one.
Well, you have to assume a functioning, inquisitive press, digging into things ? they call it investigating ? to go with Kinsley here. Does our press still do that?

But assume they had done that ? looking into things and asking probing questions and challenging the official word of the administration. Of course that is hard to imagine, given everyone what deathly afraid of being seen as unpatriotic and on ?the other side? with the bad guys - but try.

Ah, Bush would still have dismissed whatever was uncovered ? as he?d rather listen to the "actual participants on the world stage."

A fat lot of good that did him.

All these participant on the world stage were listening to Curveball.

Who? That would be a fellow who claimed to be an Iraqi chemical engineer who defected to the side of the good guys. That would be us. Unfortunately he was a liar and a drunk. The local paper here, the Los Angeles Times, broke the story on him in March of 2004 ? but he?s key now.

The Times follows up on that on, appropriately enough, April Fools Day.

Intelligence Analysts Whiffed on a 'Curveball'
Greg Miller and Bob Drogin, Friday, April 01, 2005

Cute headline, isn?t it?

Anyway, the details are depressing.

Like this -
Prewar claims by the United States that Iraq was producing biological weapons were based almost entirely on accounts from a defector who was described as "crazy" by his intelligence handlers and a "congenital liar" by his friends.

The defector, code-named "Curveball," spoke with alarming specificity about Iraq's alleged biological weapons programs and fleet of mobile labs. But postwar investigations showed that he wasn't even in the country at times when he claimed to have taken part in illicit weapons work.

Despite persistent doubts about his credibility, Curveball's claims were included in the Bush administration's case for war without so much as a caveat. And when CIA analysts argued after the war that the agency needed to admit it had been duped, they were forced out of their jobs.

The disclosures about Curveball and the extensive role he played in corrupting U.S. intelligence estimates on Iraq were included in a devastating report released Thursday by a commission established by President Bush to evaluate U.S. intelligence on weapons of mass destruction.

? U.S. intelligence agencies' reliance on Curveball and their failure to scrutinize his claims are described in the report as the "primary reason" that the CIA and other spy agencies "fundamentally misjudged the status of Iraq's [biological weapons] programs." No other episode is explored in as much detail, or recounted with as much evident dismay.

"Worse than having no human sources," the commission said, "is being seduced by a human source who is telling lies."
Well, at least Curveball wasn?t an investigative newspaper reporter.

The Times also notes that the CIA never even had access to Curveball. He was controlled by Germany's intelligence service, and they passed along the information they collected to our guys through the Defense Intelligence Agency - and that?s the Pentagon agency that at the time handled information from Iraqi defectors. So, false information, and secondhand too. And it seems the Defense Intelligence Agency used his stuff in a hundred reports or so. And according to the report, the Defense Intelligence Agency "did not even attempt to determine Curveball's veracity."

Oops. Really should have checked.

Oh yeah, that October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate claiming Iraq "has" biological weapons was "based almost exclusively on information obtained" from Curveball.

Not good. That?s what Colin Powell took to the UN.

But this is just classic -
? there were problems with Curveball's claims at an early stage. Some CIA officials noted that Curveball's memory showed significant "improvement" as he pursued a European immigration deal and deteriorated when it was granted.

In May 2000, a Defense Department official assigned to the CIA was allowed to meet with Curveball, apparently to examine the source physically to see whether he bore signs of having survived a biological weapons accident or had been vaccinated for exposure to such agents.

The evaluation was "inconclusive," according to the commission. But the official expressed concern that Curveball had a "hangover" during their meeting and "might be an alcoholic." Further, the official was surprised that Curveball spoke excellent English because the Germans had said he didn't speak the language.

By early 2001, the CIA was getting messages from German intelligence that Curveball was "out of control" and could not be located. Some of Curveball's information was contradicted by other intelligence. His description of a depot for the weapons labs didn't match surveillance images, which showed a wall where Curveball said vehicles were entering and exiting.

As war approached, new problems surfaced. Before Powell's presentation, the CIA pressed for permission to speak directly with Curveball. The head of one of the agency's divisions arranged a lunch with a German intelligence official.

The German official discouraged the idea, saying, "You don't want to see him because he's crazy," according to the commission report. The German went on to suggest that Curveball had suffered a nervous breakdown, that speaking with him would be "a waste of time," and that he might be a "fabricator."
Well, at least Curveball wasn?t a reporter.

Other stuff?
The commission report revealed details about problems with other prominent prewar claims. The CIA asserted that Iraq was importing aluminum tubes to be used as centrifuges in a nuclear weapons program, although authorities have since concluded they were for conventional rockets.

An allegation that Iraq was seeking to acquire uranium from Niger was based on "transparently forged documents" purporting to show a contract between the countries, the commission concluded. There were "flaws in the letterhead, forged signatures, misspelled words, incorrect titles for individuals and government entities," the report said.

The contract document also referred to an alleged meeting "that took place on 'Wednesday, July 7, 2000,' even though July 7, 2000, was a Friday," the report said.
Oh well, we wanted that stuff to be true.

Well, how to explain this all? Bush tried in a news conference this week (transcript here) that was pretty bizarre, as he had to speak of the death of that woman in Florida too.

What he said?
? the work intelligence men and women do is, by nature, secret, which is why the American people never hear about many of their successes. I'm proud of the efforts of our intelligence workers. I am proud of their commitment to the security of our country. And the American people should be proud too.

And that's why this report is important. It'll enable these fine men and women to do their jobs in better fashion, to be able to more likely accomplish their mission, which is to protect the American people. And that's why I'm grateful to the commission for this hard work.
Again, whatever.

But Juan Cole, that University of Michigan professor ? the expert in the Middle East ? was having no part of it, as he says here -
Bush's bizarre press conference on Thursday was according to the Washington Post "on Terri Schiavo and Weapons of Mass Destruction." That US newspapers report this bewildering juxtaposition without so much as a "Huh?" tells you to what estate political discourse in this country has fallen.

It should be obvious that Bush was cynically using the Schiavo tragedy to draw attention away from his massive intelligence failures with regard to alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Just as the Right employed the deaths of innocent Americans on 9/11 as a cover to pursue an unrelated war in Iraq, so Bush is using the death of an innocent woman to direct attention away from a supremely embarrassing report on US intelligence. Back when people used to put gold fillings in their teeth, it gave burglars an incentive occasionally to rob graves. This news conference was a sort of Public Relations grave robbery, and among the blackest moments in the history of the presidency.
Oh my! But Bush did say nice things about our intelligence folks, didn?t he?

That only made Cole angrier -
That is supposed to make it all right that we sent a high-tech army into a poor, weak country and turned it into a failed state, killing 40,000 innocent Iraqis and suffering over 1500 coalition troops dead and over 10,000 US troops wounded, many maimed for life, and spending $300 billion on it? For no reason? When the poor weak state did not in fact have the weapons of mass destruction that Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz insisted it had? When they bullied anyone who questioned their evidence for all this, and got their billionaire buddies who own the media to have their anchors and editorialists also bully any dissidents?

Because intelligence work is hard and secret?

How does Bush square all the violence he has unleashed in the world with his praise of "life?" What is the link between war-mongering and being "pro-life?"
Well, yeah, if your read the transcript you?ll find Bush talking about protecting life, as in the Florida pull-the-plug controversy, and alluding to opposing abortion as also protecting life, and to the intelligence report. Are this connected?

Cole thinks so -
It turns out that anti-abortionism is not about life at all. It is about social control. It helps establish a hierarchical society in which men are at the pinnacle and women kept barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. Likewise, the Schiavo case was in part about the religious Right dictating to Michael Schiavo how he must lead his private life.

This campaign is not really about life at all, as the examples of the raped woman or the woman whose pregnancy puts her life in danger demonstrate. It is about control, and the imposition of a minority's values on others.

And that is why the Iraq war is the perfect symbol for the anti-abortionists. Colonial conquest is always a kind of rape, but now the conquered country must bear the fetus of Bush-imposed "liberty" to term. The hierarchy is thus established. Washington is superior to Baghdad, and Iraq is feminized and deprived of certain kinds of choices.

And that is also how the Schiavo case makes sense in the end, because the religious Right feminized Michael Schiavo, made him into the pregnant woman seeking an "abortion," and wished to therefore deprive him of choice in the matter. If hierarchy is gendered, then the persons over which control is sought are always in some sense imagined as powerless women. Powerful non-fundamentalist men and uppity Third World countries that won't do as they are told are ultimately no different from feminist women seeking an abortion. All must be subdued, in the view of the Christian Right.

It is about hierarchy, power and control. It is not about life.
Perhaps you should read the whole Cole item at the link. You?ll see his point.

But Rick, The News Guy in Atlanta, only wanted someone to point out that the man who doesn?t trust those whose job it is to dig up what comes the closest to the truth in any matter would rather trust the secondhand news from Curveball that his staffers tell him about.

Well, there more to it. It?s a matter of hierarchy, power and control. The news guys are too uppity and they must be ridiculed and ignored. Heck, they?re kind of girly-men.

Posted by Alan at 17:14 PST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Friday, 1 April 2005 17:17 PST home

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