Air Force Academy should drop ‘Lord’s army’ speaker for prayer luncheon, religious freedom advocate demands

Consider this a follow up story to the one about the right wing religious cabal in the military involving The Knights of Malta and Opus Dei.

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/air-force-academy-should-drop-lords-army-speaker-for-prayer-luncheon-religious-freedom-advocates-demands/

By Nathan Diebenow
Friday, January 21st, 2011

The US Air Force Academy should withdraw its invitation for a former Marine to address the Academy’s National Prayer Luncheon next month, according to a religious freedom advocacy group.

“Egregiously sectarian statements like [those] from former Lt. McClary blatantly exclude not only non-Christians, but also the many Christians who do not subscribe to a particularly fundamentalist view of Christianity,” Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, president and founder of Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), said.

Lt. Clebe McClary is a wounded Vietnam veteran who has since become known as an evangelical Christian motivational speaker.

The MRFF in a letter [PDF] to U.S. Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michael C. Gould demands that the Air Force Academy instead select a speaker with an inclusive message for the attendees.

Former Lt. McClary, who has been endorsed by conservative Christians such as the late Jerry Falwell and Billy Graham, says on his website that “U.C.M.C. will always mean a U. S. Marine for Christ.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/air-force-academy-should-drop-lords-army-speaker-for-prayer-luncheon-religious-freedom-advocates-demands/

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High-ranking members of US military part of ‘Knights of Malta,’ ‘Opus Dei,’ reporter claims

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/highranking-members-military-part-knights-malta-opus-dei-reporter-claims/

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, January 21st, 2011

Veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh has broken some massive stories in his day, but uncovering secret societies within the highest echelons of America’s military would probably be the biggest of his career.

Well, get ready for the media storm, because that’s essentially what Hersh told an audience in Doha, Qatar recently, according to a report published earlier this week by Foreign Policy.

Speaking at a campus operated by Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, Hersh said he was working on a new book that details “how eight or nine neoconservative, radicals if you will, overthrew the American government.”

<snip>

He further claimed that Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Vice Admiral William McRaven and others in the JSOC were members of the “Knights of Malta” and “Opus Dei,” two little known Catholic orders.

“They do see what they’re doing — and this is not an atypical attitude among some military — it’s a crusade, literally,” Hersh reportedly continued. “They see themselves as the protectors of the Christians. They’re protecting them from the Muslims [as in] the 13th century. And this is their function.”

He added that members of these societies have developed a secret set of insignias that represent “the whole notion that this is a culture war” between religions.

Complete article at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/highranking-members-military-part-knights-malta-opus-dei-reporter-claims/

Friday Night Fun And Culture

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USDA admits role in large bird kill

From Yahoo News: http://tinyurl.com/4vd3aa9

By Brett Michael Dykes

January 21, 2011

When birds began mysteriously falling from the sky a couple of weeks ago, some conspiratorial minds were convinced that the government was involved. One line of speculation held that the Pentagon was conducting a secret weapons experiment that killed the birds. Another theorized that the feds were covering up the air-befouling practices of a major player in agribusiness or the energy industry.

Now we know that the government did have a hand in at least one of the kills, though this revelation doesn’t seem to involve sinister intrigue.

Yes, the Agriculture Department said Thursday, it did have a hand in the recent mass killing of starlings in South Dakota. According to the USDA, the birds were poisoned in Nebraska to help farmers who had complained about starling flocks defecating into livestock feed troughs. The birds dropped dead en masse after migrating north.

Continue reading at:  http://tinyurl.com/4vd3aa9

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Who was Karen Sullivan? Minnesota activists remember the undercover government agent

The use of paid informers to infiltrate any and all progressive organizations, no matter how innocuous, has a long and infamous history in the US.  It has long been a standing joke that you can always spot the informer as they are often the only one with enough money to always pay their membership dues.

They rat out union organizers to the bosses.  They smoked our dope and had sex with us convincing us they were our comrades and even lovers in the peace movement in the 1960s.

They are the American Stasi and they never seem to investigate the right wing.

From stories I have been following in the Guardian UK it seems they have the same sort of secret police.

From City Pages:  http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2011/01/who_was_karen_sullivan_undercover_fbi.php

By Nick Pinto,

Thu., Jan. 20 2011

Prosecutors investigating more than a dozen Minnesota anti-war activists recently confirmed that the charges rely on an undercover agent who spent two and a half years infiltrating their organization.

This is how the woman who called herself Karen Sullivan insinuated herself into the lives of local protesters, and how she mysteriously vanished just before FBI agents raided their homes.

In early 2008, the members of Minneapolis’s Anti-War Committee were starting to plan their licensed protests against the upcoming Republican National Convention. There were a lot of new faces getting involved at the time, and the Committee was holding meetings for new members.

Sometime in winter or early spring, Karen Sullivan came to her first meeting.

“She came with her girlfriend, whose name was Joy,” recalls Meredith Aby, one of the founders of the Anti-War Committee. “We never saw Joy again. I don’t know what happened to her.”

But Sullivan came back, to meeting after meeting. A woman in her early 40s with short, sandy hair and a Boston accent, Sullivan was quiet, and kept to herself for the most part. But she volunteered when tasks were handed out at the meetings, and always followed through.

“We were pretty excited that here was this person who seemed pretty reliable,” Aby says.

Continue reading at:  http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2011/01/who_was_karen_sullivan_undercover_fbi.php

Abortion Rights in Jeopardy as Roe v. Wade Reaches 38th Anniversary

NOW Press Release
Statement of NOW President Terry O’Neill

January 21, 2011

Tomorrow is the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision recognizing a woman’s constitutional right to legal abortion care. As we honor this milestone, we thank those whose courage and determination made Roe possible, and we pause to remember the many women who died from illegal abortions and all those who have been killed or injured in the course of providing the full range of reproductive health care to women.

This anniversary takes place at a critical time for the women of this country. Since last November’s election, the radical right has paraded itself in new clothes. After a campaign season with promises to put the economy first, the new speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-Ohio), just yesterday clarified that further abortion funding restrictions are of “highest” priority for Republicans, and a jobs package will come later.

With that statement, Republicans in the House introduced the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 3). This dangerous bill goes far beyond making permanent the deeply unjust Hyde Amendment, which currently bars federal funding for abortion care. It would drastically reduce access to medically necessary emergency abortions at state and local public hospitals; impose tax penalties on individuals and businesses using private health care plans; and further whittle exemptions for rape, incest and health.

The late Henry Hyde, author of the infamous Hyde Amendment, admitted that he wanted to prevent all women from obtaining abortions, but the only ones he had real power over were poor women, so that’s who he went after. Can you believe John Boehner has called this man a hero?

Legislators from the radical right are eager to make this moment a turning point in their crusade to outlaw abortion care. We cannot let them. We cannot let them because abortion is a constitutional right. And we cannot let them because they won’t stop there. I promise that if we let them overturn Roe, they will come for contraception next.

But we outnumber them, and if this anniversary tells us anything, it’s that women can, must and will retain control over their bodies and their lives. Abortion is neither tragic nor trivial. Each woman’s story is different, and politicians do not have a right to make unilateral decisions for all women on the basis of their own religious beliefs.

Safe, legal and accessible abortion is a necessary condition for achieving women’s full equality. That is why we work together and why we refuse to give up.

Violent Rhetoric Has Consequences—Just Ask Abortion Providers

From The Women’s Media Center: http://womensmediacenter.com/blog/2011/01/exclusive-violent-rhetoric-has-consequences%E2%80%94just-ask-abortion-providers/

By Vicki Saporta

With the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that affirms women’s right to choose abortion, approaching tomorrow, National Abortion Federation President Vicki Saporta calls civil dialogue a national responsibility.

I was saddened and disturbed on January 8th when I heard the news about the shooting in Tucson that left six people dead and 14 others injured, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. As the coverage began to focus on possible political motivations for the attack and the influence of violent rhetoric, I couldn’t help but think about the parallels between this tragic event in Arizona and the senseless murders of eight abortion providers and clinic staff, including my friend Dr. George Tiller.

Both Congresswoman Giffords and Dr. Tiller were gunned down in public. Congresswoman Giffords was interacting with her constituents at a “Congress on Your Corner” event and Dr. Tiller was ushering at the church where he and his wife had been active members for more than 20 years. Both of them were shot in the head at point-blank range, and both incidents caused our nation to examine the prevalence and effect of violent political and ideological rhetoric.

Unfortunately, this discussion is not new to the abortion provider community. Since 1993, there have been eight murders and 17 attempted murders of physicians and clinic staff.

Abortion opponents have a long history of using violent rhetoric to attempt to justify their crimes and incite others to violence. They regularly refer to abortion providers as “murderers” in interviews and articles and utilize imagery associated with murder such as “wanted” posters and “hit lists” in their campaigns to end legal abortion. Unfortunately, instead of marginalizing these extremists, other opponents of abortion have picked up on this dangerous rhetoric to advance their political agenda.

Continue reading at: http://womensmediacenter.com/blog/2011/01/exclusive-violent-rhetoric-has-consequences%E2%80%94just-ask-abortion-providers/

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Why I Oppose a Grand Jury Investigation of Anti-War Activists

From Debra Sweet of World Can’t Wait: http://debra.worldcantwait.net/2011/01/why-i-oppose-a-grand-jury-investigation-of-anti-war-activists/

A contradiction to ponder:

  1. A three-year investigation by the Department of Justice into the CIA operatives who carried out waterboarding, filmed the acts on 2 men, and then destroyed the tapes, ended this past November – with the government deciding not to prosecute anyone. Jason Leopold, in Special Prosecutor Declines to File Criminal Charges Over Destruction of CIA Torture Tapes wrote:It is widely believed that the videotapes were destroyed to cover up torture. It is also believed that the tapes were destroyed because Democratic members of Congress who were briefed about the tapes began asking questions about whether the interrogations were illegal, according to Jane Mayer, author of the book, “The Dark Side” and a reporter for The New Yorker magazine.
  2. A two-year secret federal investigation of the U.S. anti-war movement has been conducted by the Obama administration, apparently with a federal grand jury in Chicago hearing evidence from Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, looking into “possible links between U.S. anti-war groups and foreign terrorist organizations,” according to the Chicago Tribune.  Fitzgerald issued subpoenas beginning in September 2010, delivered via FBI raids to their homes, for activists to appear before the grand jury.  With all the records sealed by court order, it is impossible to know about the scope and intent of the probe.

But knowing what we know about how the “war on terror” has been conducted, one can be suspicious that the aim of the first investigation was to find no crimes, while the aim of the second is to manufacture crimes.

23 anti-war activists have now been targeted by the FBI, many through September raids that confiscated a wide range of personal material. In FBI Raids Anti-War Activists Homes in Midwest, Revolution newspaper reported after the initial raids:

Continue reading at:  http://debra.worldcantwait.net/2011/01/why-i-oppose-a-grand-jury-investigation-of-anti-war-activists/

Is America Too Corrupt To Keep Up?

From In These Times: http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/6877/is_america_too_corrupt_to_keep_up/

By David Sirota

January 21, 2011

A sovereign nation investing its wealth in its domestic economy seems like a no-brainer, especially during a global recession. But in this crazy age of American politics, even that has become a controversial notion.

This is the subtext of a dispute that simmered beneath the pomp and circumstance of this week’s U.S.-China summit. As The New York Times previously reported, the Obama administration is calling on the World Trade Organization to use its power to halt the Chinese government’s wind-energy fund specifically because the money is “contingent on … manufacturers using parts made in China rather than foreign-made components.” The program, along with the Chinese regime’s broader domestic procurement requirements for wind farms, have helped the Chinese wind industry capture almost half of the global market for turbines.

Setting aside the bilateral wrangling over WTO arcana, China’s industrial policy success carries a basic lesson: When a nation couples public spending with incentives that encourage domestic corporate investment, an economy tends to grow its own wealth-building industries. That’s simple enough to understand, right?

Evidently, not within our own government. As “Buy China” policies now economically supercharge the world’s most populous nation, the White House and congressional Republicans have opposed many of the very “Buy America” proposals that might help us keep up—and that obstruction has come at a steep price.

Remember, Businessweek in 2008 warned that in an America with few domestic purchasing mandates, any economic stimulus—whether spending or tax cuts—would likely “leak” abroad, thus “reducing its impact on jobs here.” When congressional Democrats responded in 2009 by trying to expand the meager “Buy America” regulations still on the books from the Great Depression, President Obama opposed the effort. He argued that targeting stimulus dollars at domestic investment would “send a protectionist message.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/6877/is_america_too_corrupt_to_keep_up/

Poll Finds Wariness About Cutting Entitlements, Think Military budget Should Be Cut Instead

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/21/us/politics/21poll.html?_r=2&ref=politics

By JACKIE CALMES and DALIA SUSSMAN
Published: January 20, 2011

As President Obama and Congress brace to battle over how to reduce chronic annual budget deficits, Americans overwhelmingly say that in general they prefer cutting government spending to paying higher taxes, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Yet their preference for spending cuts, even in programs that benefit them, dissolves when they are presented with specific options related to Medicare and Social Security, the programs that directly touch the most people and also are the biggest drivers of the government’s projected long-term debt.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans choose higher payroll taxes for Medicare and Social Security over reduced benefits in either program. And asked to choose among cuts to Medicare, Social Security or the nation’s third-largest spending program — the military — a majority by a large margin said cut the Pentagon.

While Americans are near-unanimous in calling deficits a problem — a “very serious” problem, say 7 out of 10 — a majority believes it should not be necessary for them to pay higher taxes to bridge the shortfall between what the government spends and what it takes in. But given a choice of often-discussed revenue options, they preferred a national sales tax or a limit in the deduction for mortgage interest to a higher gasoline tax or taxing employer-provided health benefits.

Americans’ sometimes contradictory impulses on spending and taxes suggest the political crosscurrents facing both parties as they gird for debate over how to address the fiscal woes of a nation with an aging population, a complex tax system and an accumulated debt that is starting to weigh on the economy.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/21/us/politics/21poll.html?_r=2&ref=politics

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Gibbs: Obama will ‘work to make progress’ on ENDA

From The Washington Blade:  http://www.washingtonblade.com/2011/01/20/gibbs-obama-will-work-to-make-progress-on-enda/

Chris Johnson

January 20, 2011

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday the Obama administration would “work to make progress” on advancing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the current Congress despite Republican control of the U.S. House.

Asked by the Washington Blade whether the president expects passage of the legislation in U.S. Senate, where Democrats still hold a majority, Gibbs identified ENDA as among “a whole host things that the president has made part of his campaign.”

“We talked about DOMA a few days ago, ENDA, and other things that are important to build off the progress of repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” Gibbs said. “I think those continue to be priorities of the president’s and we will certainly work to make progress on those fronts in obviously a much more challenging Congress over the course of the next two years.”

As it was introduced in the 111th Congress, ENDA would prohibit job discrimination against LGBT people in most situations in the public and private workforce. In 2007, a version of ENDA passed the U.S. House that contained protections only on the basis of sexual orientation.

Even with Republicans in control of the House, where movement of the legislation is unlikely, Gibbs acknowledged that passage in the Senate would have value as a way to build momentum to complete legislative action at a later time.

Continue reading at:  http://www.washingtonblade.com/2011/01/20/gibbs-obama-will-work-to-make-progress-on-enda/

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Next up for Obama: Marriage equality for Gay and Lesbian Americans

The original headline read “Next up for Obama: Marriage equality for gay Americans”  Over thirty years since Lesbians fought erasure by Gay and people in the press still erase women.  Of course the idea of two men marrying inflames the right wing more than two women.

But more importantly calling it “Gay Marriage” or even “Same-sex Marriage” and adding the equality after erases the reality that it is simply a matter of marriage equality.  That’s what gets me when post-SRS folks want those other post-SRS sisters and brothers to support their heterosexual marriages but won’t support our rights to have equal access to the same rights.

That is heterosexism.  But more over why should I support heterosexuals having more rights than I have?

From The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/20/AR2011012005148.html

By Kerry Eleveld
Friday, January 21, 2011

Less than a month after President Obama repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell,” his Justice Department filed its latest brief defending the so-called Defense of Marriage Act – the law that makes gay Americans second-class citizens by outlawing federal recognition of their legal marriages.

This action underscores the point that the battle over gay rights is just beginning.

As Obama was preparing to sign the repeal legislation late last month, I was granted the first ever one-on-one interview with him as president by a journalist from a news outlet for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

While I felt it important to give the president the opportunity to elaborate on this singular achievement – one that would help restore his relationship with LGBT Americans and with his broader progressive base – I also wanted to discuss marriage equality. Nearly every country in the world that has legalized same-sex marriage began first by allowing gays to serve openly in the military.

Given that openly gay men and women would soon be fighting and, in some cases, dying for their country, I wondered whether the president thought it was time that those women and men be entitled to full marriage rights.

Continue reading at:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/20/AR2011012005148.html

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Mississippi Then, Mississippi Now

Haley Barbour pretends not to remember Mississippi in the 1960s.

Here’s a little reminder of what it was like.  But you know listening to the late Phil Ochs I get the feeling Mississippi now isn’t much better. It is still a state run by racists and ignorant bigots like Barbour.

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