We will be out of town for a few days. I expect to start posting again no later than November 12. Please contact me if you would like to be notified when I return.

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October 31, 2006

A Country Ruled by Faith
By Garry Wills

The right wing in America likes to think that the United States government was, at its inception, highly religious, specifically highly Christian, and even more specifically highly biblical. That was not true of that government or any later government¸until 2000, when the fiction of the past became the reality of the present. George W. Bush was not only born-again, like Jimmy Carter. His religious conversion came late, and took place in the political setting of Billy Graham's ministry to the powerful. He was converted during a stroll with Graham on his father's Kennebunkport compound. It is true that Dwight Eisenhower was guided to baptism by Graham. But Eisenhower was a famous and formed man, the principal military figure of World War II, the leader of NATO, the president of Columbia University¸his change in religious orientation was just an addition to many prior achievements. Bush's conversion at a comparatively young stage in his life was a wrenching away from mainly wasted years. He joined a Bible study culture in Texas that was unlike anything Eisenhower bought into.

Bush was a saved alcoholic¸and here, too, he had no predecessor in the White House. Ulysses Grant conquered the bottle, but not with the help of Jesus. Other presidents were evangelicals. Three of them belonged to the Disciples of Christ¸James Garfield, Lyndon Johnson, and Ronald Reagan. But none of the three¸ nor any of the other forty-two presidents preceding Bush (including his father)¸would have answered a campaign debate question as he did. Asked who was his favorite philosopher, he said "Jesus Christ." And why? "Because he changed my heart." Over and over, when he said anything good about someone else¸including Vladimir Putin¸he said it was because "he has a good heart," which is evangelical-speak (as in "condoms cannot change your heart"). Bush talks evangelical talk as no other president has, including Jimmy Carter, who also talked the language of the secular Enlightenment culture that evangelists despise. Bush told various evangelical groups that he felt God had called him to run for president in 2000: "I know it won't be easy on me or my family, but God wants me to do it."

Bush promised his evangelical followers faith-based social services, which he called "compassionate conservatism." He went beyond that to give them a faith-based war, faith-based law enforcement, faith-based education, faith-based medicine, and faith-based science. He could deliver on his promises because he stocked the agencies handling all these problems, in large degree, with born-again Christians of his own variety. The evangelicals had complained for years that they were not able to affect policy because liberals left over from previous administrations were in all the health and education and social service bureaus, at the operational level. They had specific people they objected to, and they had specific people with whom to replace them, and Karl Rove helped them do just that. more...

October 30, 2006

Debra Bowen for Secretary of State

Ever since she was first elected to the State Legislature in 1992, Debra Bowen has been a pioneer in government reform, consumer protection and privacy rights, environmental conservation, and open government. She also is a leading women's advocate, fighting for equality in the workplace and in government, child care, health care and civil rights.

Bowen - as a woman with an incredibly strong record of accomplishment and independence who has been victorious in tough electoral battles in swing districts - is an excellent candidate to be the next California Secretary of State. There isn't even one female constitutional officeholder representing California - and Bowen, based on her record, is a perfect fit for this office. MORE...

*****NEW ARTICLE*****

Bush Moves Toward Martial Law
Frank Morales

In a stealth maneuver, President Bush has signed into law a provision which, according to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), will actually encourage the President to declare federal martial law (1). It does so by revising the Insurrection Act, a set of laws that limits the President's ability to deploy troops within the United States. The Insurrection Act (10 U.S.C.331 -335) has historically, along with the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C.1385), helped to enforce strict prohibitions on military involvement in domestic law enforcement. With one cloaked swipe of his pen, Bush is seeking to undo those prohibitions.

Public Law 109-364, or the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007" (H.R.5122) (2), which was signed by the commander in chief on October 17th, 2006, in a private Oval Office ceremony, allows the President to declare a "public emergency" and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to "suppress public disorder."

President Bush seized this unprecedented power on the very same day that he signed the equally odious Military Commissions Act of 2006. In a sense, the two laws complement one another. One allows for torture and detention abroad, while the other seeks to enforce acquiescence at home, preparing to order the military onto the streets of America. Remember, the term for putting an area under military law enforcement control is precise; the term is "martial law." more...

October 29, 2006

Bill Moyers For President
By Ralph Nader ╩

How does "Bill Moyers for President" sound to you? The long time Democrat and special assistant to President Lyndon B. Johnson would surely widen the political debate inside the Democratic Party and its primaries in 2008.

For over a year, since leaving Public Television and his luminous Friday night program /NOW/, Moyers has been completing a book about President Johnson. His periodic lectures on the politics of progressive populism and the dangers of corporate power and abuses have thrilled large civic audiences and circulated widely on the Internet.

A few months ago, columnists Molly Ivins and John Nichols wrote about the desirability of Moyers' tossing his hat into the ring. In his private conversations with friends, I am told, he has not ruled out a run. On the contrary he showed some interest in an exchange with an old Texan friend.

Moyers brings impressive credentials beyond his knowledge of the White House-Congressional complexes. He puts people first. Possessed of a deep sense of history relating to the great economic struggles in American history between workers and large companies and industries, Moyers today is a leading spokesman on the need to deconcentrate the manifold concentrations of political and economic power by global corporations. He is especially keen on doing something about media concentration about which he knows from recurrent personal experience as a television commentator, investigator, anchor and newspaper editor. more...
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