From TPM Reader RF ...I'd have to agree with the first responder. Sestak is my representative as well. I donated money and worked hard for him in 2006. In 2008 I did neither because on some issues important to me (the war and whether anyone in the white[...]
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I have had my knickers in a twist for several years over evangelizing chaplains - and that was just when they were pressuring their own subordinates to come to Baby Jebus and be washed in the blood of the lamb. It is high time to court martial some of these fucking bible-bleater chaplains who are encouraging American soldiers to violate Army regulations and break Afghan laws by proselytizing and passing out Christian bibles in the deeply conservative Islamic nation.
The last decade and a half has seen a doubling in the number of ultra-conservative Evangelical Christians in the Chaplain ranks. This coincides with a sharp drop in the number of Chaplains representing Liturgical, moderate, and liberal denominations. Case in point: Currently the United States Air Force has less than 100 Catholic priests to serve an Air Force of 280,000 individuals (and their families in many cases) 60,000 of which are Roman Catholic.
Military Chaplains are just that. They are Officers first, Chaplains, or spiritual advisers second, and they are priests, rabbis, and preachers third. They are (supposed to be) benevolent, tolerant, and most importantly, ecumenical. Every Chaplain of every denomination needs to be reminded first and foremost that no matter what creed they espouse, they are ultimately in a minority position. No one denomination makes up over 50% of the Air Force, or any branch of service for that matter.
Go back and re-read that. Mull the words and say them out loud. See a light? If not it was already on. Either that, or you are one of the people I fear.
It is the job of the Chaplain to provide spiritual guidance and comfort to all who ask, not to proselytize, or even evangelize, to those who come to them for counsel. It is their job to comfort and aid all, not render judgments about the faith of the person coming to them for assistance. Chaplains need to be especially cognizant and tolerant of other belief systems. The people who come to them for help are in pain and distress. They come for help because they need it. It is not helpful to be judged negatively on the basis of your beliefs by a person of authority. (All Chaplains are officers, and therefore in positions of authority above all enlisted personnel.) Bottom line: Persons seeking out the Chaplain are vulnerable.
It is the job of the Chaplain, no matter what creed he or she follows, when a comrade-at-arms is lost, to offer words of comfort to all, not only those of the Chaplains belief system. Judgments about the fate of the dead because he or she was the "wrong" faith are most certainly inappropriate. For a military Chaplain to stand before a diverse assembly of troops, most likely including Catholics and Jews, and possibly a few Buddhists, Hindus and a couple of people with traditional beliefs, and offer a memorial service that implies that all who have not been "born again" and "washed in the blood of the lamb" are doomed to face the wrath of God and burn in hell forever. This is especially inappropriate when the person being memorialized is of a liturgical or a non-christian faith. This is an affront to the dead and an insult to the living. Any Chaplain who does not see that does not deserve to be the spiritual adviser of one, let alone many.
Not to drag out a tired clich?, but religious bigotry is a slippery slope. It drives a wedge between the ranks, and that ultimately undermines the honor code. I want troops who feel a call to service, not a call to arms in a holy war. I don't want Evangelical jihadi's in American khaki running around the Afghan countryside handing out bibles in Dari or Pashtu, and putting his spiritual charges at cross-purposes with the overall mission.
That is not merely unacceptable, it is a violation of the UCMJ. Period. Full Stop. A Chaplain in Afghanistan telling American soldiers to "hunt people for Jesus" is committing a crime and should be busted out, lose his retirement, and do some serious time in the DB at Leavenworth. Which would dovetail nicely with the little-brained god-fearers and the inate victim-complex they wear on their sleeves.
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Fox News has reason to rejoice as President Obama marks the media-manufactured milestone of his first 100 days in office. The conservative cable network’s ratings are sky high under the new Democratic president. Yes, it looks like it couldn’t be happier serving as “the voice of [Obama's] opposition,” to paraphrase Fox News senior vice president [...]
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On Saturday, Republican Party leaders Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Jeb Bush, and Mitt Romney participated in a pizza parlor town hall in Arlington, VA to launch the National Council for a New America. The Council, an effort to rebrand and revive the GOP, was established by Cantor to “duel with the Obama administration in policy areas” where Republicans have a “track record.”
After almost 40 minutes of speeches, including several reminders that Republicans should not be “nostalgic about the past,” the speakers opened up to questions from the audience. Ed McKee, the owner of the pizza parlor, asked what Republicans would do to reform health care, citing his own business’ struggle to deal with “health insurance rates,” which recently “went up 34%.” Watch it:
Responding to McKee’s question concerning the dramatic health care cost hike, Cantor said “that should be a sure sign we ought to be promoting anything that can try to bring health care costs down.” But rather than offering any ideas or policy plans for addressing health care costs, Cantor launched into a set of attacks on the health systems in the UK and Canada, saying any reform should not reflect a “government takeover.” The National Council’s policy paper on health care is similarly vague and lacks a single policy plan.
Cantor is not offering any of the promised “new policy ideas.” Instead, he is rehashing tired straw man arguments against the single-payer systems of Canada and the UK. The Obama administration has consistently opposed a single-payer program. However, the administration has signaled it will support a public option, a program to give Americans the choice of either retaining their private insurance plan or the ability to enter a government plan. A study from the Commonwealth Fund estimates that a public plan option would cost 20-30% less than premiums from traditional private insurers.
I have an interview up with The Economist magazine, which might still be the first periodical I'll pick up at an airport newsstand. Here's my favorite question-and-answer:
DIA: I've heard you say that baseball analysts put too much emphasis on what just happened. Is the same true of political analysts?The rest of the interview is here.
Mr Silver: For sure. And in baseball, at least, they're playing every year, whereas you only have a presidential election once every four years. The McCain campaign operated under the assumption that the political world hadn't changed since 2004?that Mr Obama couldn't turn out black voters or young voters, that swift-boating would work, that Mr Obama couldn't possibly win states like North Carolina and Indiana?and they paid a price for it. On the other hand, I think some Democrats might be a little bit complacent right now. There are a lot of things that can go wrong?both known unknowns and unknown unknowns. What if Afghanistan turns into the next Iraq? What if swine flu winds up killing several hundred thousand Americans? What if there's a nuclear exchange in Kashmir? What if there's a significant, unpredicted increase in the crime rate? Some of those things might hurt the Democrats and others might not, but there's a pretty decent chance that the core issues in 2012 will be things that we haven't even thought about yet.
Congress has asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for a 2005 memo written by a top State Department lawyer, which is said to have taken an alternative view on the legality of torture to that famously offered by DOJ lawyers.
In a letter to Clinton, Reps John Conyers and Howard Berman, who chair, respectively, the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees wrote that the memo "may shed important light on the process by which these interrogation practices were evaluated, approved, ad implemented by the former Administration." Reps Jerry Nadler and Bill Delahunt, who chair subcommittees of Judiciary and Foreign Affairs, respectively, also signed on.
As we've written about, Philip Zelikow, who was a top State Department lawyer under Condoleezza Rice, last month revealed the existence of the memo -- as well as the fact that the Bushies not only didn't act on it, but even "attempted to collect and destroy all copies" of it.
In their letter to Clinton, Conyers et al call this response, with some understatement, "troubling."
The lawmakers have also written to the National Archives to request a copy of the memo.
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This is quite interesting, not the least for the reason that the administration kept it under wraps. Guess they're anticipating the howls of pain from those high-rollers anticipating their tax increases!
WASHINGTON ? President Obama presented a far-reaching set of proposals on Monday that are aimed at the tax benefits enjoyed by companies and wealthy individuals harboring cash in offshore accounts.
These steps, he said, would be the first in a much broader effort to fix a ?broken tax system.?
Mr. Obama made the announcement in the Grand Foyer of the White House, standing alongside Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and the Internal Revenue Service commissioner, Douglas Shulman. His remarks echoed the sentiment he voiced again and again during the presidential campaign, when he pledged to crack down on "illegal overseas tax evasion."
The proposed tax overhaul, which will be fully unveiled later this week when the administration presents a more detailed budget, could help raise $210 billion in revenues over 10 years, the administration estimates.
... The president thus set up an unusually frontal clash with big business over the tax advantages enjoyed by companies with extensive overseas operations.
Large multinational companies like Microsoft, General Electric and Cisco have been bracing for such an initiative from the Obama administration. Critics of the approach say that it could lead not to the administration?s hoped-for repatriation of jobs but rather to job losses or higher prices as companies try to compensate for a greater tax burden.
The sweep of the administration's plan took some tax experts by surprise, and foreshadows potential fights with big businesses later this year over some of their most cherished breaks, particularly as Congress looks for revenue to pay for new initiatives.
Dave N.: It will be interesting to watch Republicans figure out a way to oppose this measure without looking too blatantly in the pocket of the wealthy. No doubt we'll be hearing more cries of "fascism" or "socialism" or maybe "satanism" in the process.
Jim DeMint (R-SC)
Even to me it's starting to look over the top. The Republicans really have nothing better to do than just sit around sniping at Obama, while he goes about trying to get his job done-- much of it cleaning up the catastrophic mess they left in their wake. And by catastrophic mess, I don't just mean the recession or depression. Bush and his congressional rubber stamps also left the state of foreign affairs in turmoil. You've probably heard Cheney snarling and growling on TV about how Obama is making the country less safe. And Obama's push against corporate tax cheats today-- the financial foundation of the Republican Party-- has set them all off on the warpath again, and in every direction. Gingrich was bellowing that Obama is endangering Israel, while the Republicans plot strategies to derail whomever Obama nominates for the Supreme Court, and congressional Republicans continue to obstruct every single initiative Obama takes. On Friday, for example, every senior GOP leader-- Boehner, Cantor, Sensenbrenner, Dreier, Bachus, Ryan-- voted against the Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights Act, even though more than half the Republican backbenchers crossed the aisle and voted with the Democrats, more frightened-- for a change-- of their own constituents than of their bankster paymasters.
But the right-wing extremists aren't going to go down without a fight, even if it means turning off every voter who doesn't live in a backward district of the Old Confederacy or every voter who doesn't get all his opinions directly from Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly or Ann Coulter. And they have a leader: South Carolina obstructionist Jim DeMint, one of 25 Republican senators proud to be zeroes. They're referred to as "the zeroes" because that's the number of times each of them has voted for any of Obama's important initiatives. Of course they include die-hard radical rightists like Jim Bunning (R-KY), Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Richard Burr (R-NC), each of whom is likely to lose his seat to a Democrat next year, but also included are the frightened and cowardly little pissants like Robert Bennett (R-UT) and John McCain (R-AZ) who are voting the obstructionist line because they are more scared about losing primaries to teabagger Know Nothings.
Meanwhile, though, DeMint is demanding absolute right-wing purity. It was his support for neo-fascist Pat Toomey against Arlen Specter that pushed Specter to leave the GOP and start making believe he's a Democrat. DeMint said he was happy to be rid of Specter-- who could blame him?-- and that he'd "rather have 30 Republicans in the Senate who really believe in principles of limited government, free markets, free people, than to have 60 that don?t have a set of beliefs.? DeMint's definitions of these things, of course, would lead directly back to an aristocracy based on slavery. They screamed that FDR was a socialist when he introduced Social Security-- which every single Republican in the House opposed and voted against-- and today when Obama is trying to level the playing field for ordinary working families, DeMint and his fanatic followers are calling him a socialist.
DeMint, who is completing his first term in the Senate after serving in the House from 1999 to 2005, pushed back against the idea that demanding more adherence to conservative principles would hurt the party. ?I?ve been criticized for saying I?d rather have 30 Republicans that believe in something than 60 who don?t believe in anything,? DeMint said. ?My point is, the only way we?ll get a majority is to have Republicans who are here stand up for something.?
As a House member in 2004, DeMint backed Toomey in his first primary bid against Specter, who narrowly won. DeMint said he had promised in March to back Toomey again in 2010.
On April 14, the day after Toomey left his job at the Club for Growth to pursue a campaign, the club endorsed the 2010 re-election bid of DeMint, who received a 100 percent rating last year from the group. The club also endorsed Toomey.
DeMint?s tactics drew a muted response from colleagues.
Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the Senate Republican Conference chairman, said he likes President Ronald Reagan?s so-called 11th commandment: ?Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.?
?It?s still a good commandment,? Alexander said. But he stopped short of criticizing DeMint. ?I?m not going to make rules for other Republicans,? he said.
DeMint defended his break with Senate tradition: ?These are desperate times. The party . . . needs for senators to stand up for principles and speak out.?
But the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, John Cornyn of Texas, had vowed not to follow DeMint?s lead in backing primary challengers to sitting Republicans.
Felix Salmon wonders "who would be so foolish as to leak these things?" But this seems an inevitable result of Treasury's decision to delay the results so banks can argue "for a more lenient approach." (The fact that we know this is a pretty staggering[...]
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Did Jim DeMint help nudge Arlen Specter out of the GOP?[...]
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