Category: America & The international Community


SYNDICATED
by makeprofilelink(“Pam Spaulding”); Pam Spaulding · 8/24/2007 02:00:00 PM ETmyCount

I watched the third part of CNN’s documentary with Christiane Amanpour, “God’s Warriors” and it will have the fundies hopping mad. Parts one and two dealt with extremist movements in Judaism and Islam. Last night’s installment took a look at religious fundamentalists in the U.S., the “Christian” right wing. The transcript is here.

Amanpour conducted the last TV interview with Rev. Tinkywinky at Liberty University the week before Falwell died. He again recanted the apology he made for saying “the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians” were responsible for 9/11. He calls his young Liberty University scholars “pit bulls for Christ;” his goal is to graduate as many fundie lawyers as possible, to infiltrate and influence the judicial system in favor of God’s law.

Michael Jensen has a great piece up at AfterElton about this part of the doc series. A snippet:

It would be hard to imagine a documentary examining the impact of Christian fundamentalists on American culture that didn’t include a look at the part played by gay issues. Fortunately, God’s Christian Warriors doesn’t disappoint and the result is a fascinating and often frightening look at the religious right that any progressive — but especially any gay progressive — would be well advised to watch.

…While watching Amanpour interview some of these fundamentalists, I hoped she would ask just what would happen to gay people should they get their way: stoning to death, as suggested in Leviticus? After all, fundamentalists claim the Bible should be the foundation upon which America is built and that would be the logical conclusion.

…If looked at through the prism of understanding what the religious right wants for America, however, then the documentary can be considered a success if even only a few Americans — especially gay ones — wake up to what these Christian fundamentalists aspire to. And for anyone paying attention for the last twenty years, no explanation is needed as to what it is the religious fundamentalists want for America.

As God’s Christian Warriors makes amply clear, their goal is an America that is governed by biblical principles; principles that leave no room for gay people to co-exist in any meaningful way except by going deeply back in to the closet.

CNN has done a fine job on this series; I am curious how the documentary is being received by fundamentalists, considering it is quite harsh (but accurate) about the violent history of the religious right regarding abortion activity, showing the shootings of doctors and bombings of clinics — acts Falwell condemned when the topic was raised by Amanpour. I’d venture a guess that being lumped in with extremist factions of Islam and Judaism is going to cause a massive uproar in the fundie press shortly.

Oh wait…take a look at the drivel already up at WingNutDaily.

What are your thoughts on CNN’s documentary series, ‘God’s Warriors’?

And the headline of the related story, which has all of the expected hysteria:
CNN airs ‘one of the most distorted programs’ ever
Documentary compares Jews, Christians to Muslim terrorists

CNN will proabably re-air all three parts over the weekend. Check listings.

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April 10, 2007

CARLSBAD, Calif. — On a marquee outside and on a banner inside, Pilgrim United Church of Christ proclaims, “All are welcome.” Sustained by the belief that embracing all comers is a living example of Christ’s love, Pilgrim now faces a profound test of faith.

In late January, Mark Pliska, 53, told the congregation here that he had been in prison for molesting children but that he sought a place to worship and liked the atmosphere at Pilgrim.

Mr. Pliska’s request has plunged the close-knit congregation into a painful discussion about applying faith in a difficult real-world situation. Congregants now wonder, are all truly welcome? If they are, how do you ensure the safety of children and the healing of adult survivors of sexual abuse? Can an offender who accepts Christ truly change? Continue reading

 

Time reports on ‘America’s broken-down Army’

RAW STORY
Published: Thursday April 5, 2007
 


 

President Bush’s rush to send thousands of additional troops into combat in Iraq has pushed the US Army to the point of crisis, according to an article by Mark Thompson in Time.

As a result of the increased pressure to add more troops on the ground in Iraq, soldiers are receiving inadequate training, leaving them less equipped to handle combat. Time writes of one soldier, Matthew Ziemer, who was killed just two hours after taking up his combat post in Iraq, having been in Iraq only a week. Prior to deployment, Zeimer received nine weeks of basic training but was forced to miss the standard 4 weeks of pre-Iraq training that troops deployed previously received.

“Instead, Zeimer and about 140 other members of the 4,000-strong brigade got a cut-rate, 10-day course on weapon use, first aid and Iraqi culture,” writes Thompson. “That’s the same length as the course that teaches soldiers assigned to generals’ household staffs the finer points of table service.”

According to Thompson, that lack of training may have contributed to Zeimer’s death. “Zeimer’s mother was unaware of the gap in her son’s training until TIME told her about it on April 2,” he writes. “Two days later the Army disclosed that Zeimer may have been killed by friendly fire.”

The Army has been stretched thin in other critical areas as well. “Disintegrating” equipment, lack of armor, and more frequent deployments with shorter breaks have led retired Army general and former Secretary of State Colin Powell to declare the active Army “broken.”

Gear and equipment is now left in the war zone for use by newly arriving troops, which “grinds the equipment into scrap up to 10 times as fast as in peacetime,” Thompson writes. “The lack of guns and armor back home has a boomerang effect: many of the troops training in the U.S. are not familiar with what they’ll have to depend on once they arrive in Iraq.”

Extended deployments with shorter breaks are leading to a decrease in morale and an increase in cases of suicide, desertion, and post traumatic stress disorder.

“Ever since the war started, they’d be saying all they wanted to do was to get back to their buddies in Iraq to keep on fighting,” one retired general said of wounded soldiers he visited at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. “Now it’s more about getting out and wondering about civilian jobs. There’s very little chatter about rejoining the unit.”

Excerpts from the article follow…

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A volunteer Army reflects the most central and sacred vow that citizens make to one another: soldiers protect and defend the country; in return, the country promises to give them the tools they need to complete their mission and honor their service, whatever the outcome. It was Bush, on the eve of the 2000 election, who promised “to all of our men and women in uniform and to their parents and to their families, help is on the way.” Besides putting Powell at State, the President reinforced his Administration with two former Defense Secretaries: Vice President Dick Cheney and, in the job for a second time, Donald Rumsfeld.

So it is no small irony that today’s U.S. Army finds itself under the greatest strain in a generation. The Pentagon made that clear April 2 when it announced that two Army units will soon return to Iraq without even a year at home, compared with the two years units have traditionally enjoyed. One is headed back after 47 days short of a year, the other 81. “This is the first time we’ve had a voluntary Army on an extended deployment,” says Andrew Krepinevich, a retired Army officer who advises his old service. “A lot of canaries are dropping dead in the mine.”

The main consequences of a tightly stretched Army is that men and women are being sent into combat with less training, shorter breaks and disintegrating equipment. When those stories get out, they make it harder to retain soldiers and recruit them in the first place. “For us, it’s just another series of never-ending deployments, and for many, including me, there is only one answer to that—show me the door out,” wrote an officer in a private e-mail to Congressman Steve Rothman of New Jersey.

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LINK TO FULL TIME ARTICLE

 Halliburton Charged with Selling Nuclear Technologies to Iran

Source:

Global Research.ca, August 5, 2005

Title: “Halliburton Secretly Doing Business With Key Member of Iran’s Nuclear Team”

Author: Jason Leopold

Faculty Evaluator: Catherine Nelson

Student Researchers: Kristine Medeiros and Pla Herr

 

According to journalist Jason Leopold, sources at former Cheney company Halliburton allege that, as recently as January of 2005, Halliburton sold key components for a nuclear reactor to an Iranian oil development company. Leopold says his Halliburton sources have intimate knowledge of the business dealings of both Halliburton and Oriental Oil Kish, one of Iran’s largest private oil companies.

 

Additionally, throughout 2004 and 2005, Halliburton worked closely with Cyrus Nasseri, the vice chairman of the board of directors of Iran-based Oriental Oil Kish, to develop oil projects in Iran. Nasseri is also a key member of Iran’s nuclear development team. Nasseri was interrogated by Iranian authorities in late July 2005 for allegedly providing Halliburton with Iran’s nuclear secrets. Iranian government officials charged Nasseri with accepting as much as $1 million in bribes from Halliburton for this information.

Continue reading

by Noam Chomsky
February 23, 2004

 

It is a virtual reflex for governments to plead security concerns when they undertake any controversial action, often as a pretext for something else. Careful scrutiny is always in order. Israel’s so-called security fence, which is the subject of hearings starting today at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, is a case in point.

Few would question Israel’s right to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks like the one yesterday, even to build a security wall if that were an appropriate means. It is also clear where such a wall would be built if security were the guiding concern: inside Israel, within the internationally recognized border, the Green Line established after the 1948-49 war. The wall could then be as forbidding as the authorities chose: patrolled by the army on both sides, heavily mined, impenetrable. Such a wall would maximize security, and there would be no international protest or violation of international law.

This observation is well understood. While Britain supports America’s opposition to The Hague hearings, its foreign minister, Jack Straw, has written that the wall is “unlawful.” Another ministry official, who inspected the “security fence,” said it should be on the Green Line or “indeed on the Israeli side of the line.” A British parliamentary investigative commission also called for the wall to be built on Israeli land, condemning the barrier as part of a “deliberate” Israeli “strategy of bringing the population to heel.” Continue reading

Iran’s Saudi Counterweight

Iran’s Saudi CounterweightDespite a recent summit meeting, tensions are brewing between the two regional powers. (AP/Saudi Press Agency)

March 15, 2007

Prepared by:

Lionel Beehner

Iran is not the only ascendant power in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, its regional rival, has also seen its fortunes rise. Thanks to high oil prices, the country’s gross domestic product has doubled to $350 billion over the past four years. Saudi leaders also face easing pressures from Washington on democracy promotion, due to the Bush administration’s troubles democratizing Iraq, not to mention elections in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories that brought Islamist parties to power. Emboldened, the House of Saud has taken “on the long-abandoned mantle of Arab leadership,” argues the Economist, particularly on issues like the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Sunni Arab fears of a rising Shiite Iran have only strengthened Saudi Arabia’s position. It has also helped lessen the tension Saudis feel toward Israel. With Iran now the “evil empire,” writes Simon Henderson of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, “Israel almost stops being an enemy and perhaps becomes an ally.” On Lebanon, the Saudis have angled for position to ensure that Iranian-backed Hezbollah does not oust Fouad Siniora’s government in Beirut. And on the Palestinian issue, Riyadh has spearheaded a new power sharing arrangement that draws new borders (to reflect pre-1967 realities) and addresses the Palestinian refugee situation. The peace proposal will get hashed out at the Arab League summit, hosted by Saudi Arabia, on March 28. Continue reading