SMYRNA, Tenn. -- Members of a church say God is punishing American soldiers for defending a country that harbors gays, and they brought their anti-gay message to the funerals Saturday of two Tennessee soldiers killed in Iraq.
The church members were met with scorn from local residents. They chased the church members cars' down a highway, waving flags and screaming "God bless America."
"My husband is over there, so I'm here to show my support," 41-year-old Connie Ditmore said as she waved and American flag and as tears came to her eyes. "To do this at a funeral is disrespectful of a family, no matter what your beliefs are."
The Rev. Fred Phelps, founder of Westboro Baptist in Kansas, contends that American soldiers are being killed in Iraq as vengeance from God for protecting a country that harbors gays. The church, which is not affiliated with a larger denomination, is made up mostly of Phelps' children, grandchildren and in-laws.
The church members carried signs and shouted things such as "God hates fags" and "God hates you."
About 10 church members protested near Smyrna United Methodist Church and nearly 20 stood outside the National Guard Armory in Ashland City. Members have demonstrated at other soldier funerals across the nation.
The funerals were for Staff Sgt. Asbury Fred Hawn II, 35, in Smyrna and Spc. Gary Reese Jr., 22, in Ashland City. Both were members of the Tennessee National Guard.
Critics of medical marijuana say that it's unnecessary because patients can obtain the benefits of its active ingredient, THC, through a drug that's already available, Marinol. But many patients say it doesn't work as well. They point to the case of the writer Peter McWilliams, who said smoking marijuana was the only way to control the nausea brought on by the mix of drugs he took for AIDS and cancer.
He was forced to switch to Marinol after a D.E.A. investigation led to his conviction for violating federal laws against marijuana. In 2000, several weeks before he was to be sentenced, he was found dead in his bathroom. He had choked on his own vomit.
1. A movement that separates itself from society, either geographically or socially;
2. Adherents who become increasingly dependent on the movement for their view on reality;
3. Important decisions in the lives of the adherents are made by others;
4. Making sharp distinctions between us and them, divine and satanic, good and evil, etc. that are not open for discussion;
5. Leader who claim divine authority for their deeds and for their orders to their followers;
6. Leader and movements who are unequivocally focused on achieving a certain goal.
Supporters of the war can argue that the public is mistaken, overly influenced by biased news reporting. Yes, yes. But mistaken public opinion is just as powerful as sound public opinion.
Again, supporters of the war can do our bit to try to change minds. But the biggest megaphone in the country belongs to President Bush - and much depends on whether he uses it well or badly.
He is using it very badly indeed...Again and again during the Bush presidency - and yesterday most recently - the president will agree to give what is advertised in advance as a major speech. An important venue will be chosen. A crowd of thousands will be gathered. The networks will all be invited. And after these elaborate preparations, the president says ... nothing that he has not said a hundred times before.
If a president continues to do that, he is himself teaching the public and the media to ignore him - especially when the words seem (as his speech yesterday to the VFW seemed) utterly to ignore the past three months of real-world events.
The article details conversations involving Karl Rove, “Scooter” Libby, Matt Cooper and Robert Novak. But near its conclusion it raises an emerging issue, promoted by Michael Wolff of Vanity Fair, among others: If Time magazine had gone public about Rove’s conversations with Cooper it might have had some impact on the Bush-Kerry race for the White House last year.My advice? First of all, boycott Time and all connected with them. Well, if it was possibe to do that without living under a rock nowadays. They're liars, bastards and aiders and abettors of fascism. They are to the press what a cuckoo is to a bird's nest.
Not until this summer did Cooper ask Rove for a waiver to talk to the grand jury, and ultimately the public, about their conversation. The L.A. Times article today notes that he did not do this before “because his lawyer advised against it.” But the reporters add that in addition “Time editors were concerned about becoming part of such an explosive story in an election year.”
The story concludes: "The result was that Cooper's testimony was delayed nearly a year, well after Bush's reelection.”
Several partisan Web sites reported that the anti-antiwar group Move America Forward was not quite as grassrootsy a response to Sheehan as it first seemed, that it had, in fact, been launched by a Sacramento public relations firm with strong connections to the Republican Party.
Those Web sites are right. While the online evidence has been scrubbed that the PR firm Russo, Marsh, and Rogers actually put up the Move America Forward Web site, Move America Forward still lists as its chief strategist and one of its board members Sal Russo of the PR firm Russo, Marsh, and Rogers.
And the Move America Forward fax number in that area code is 441-6057, while the Russo, Marsh, and Rogers fax number in that area code is 441-6057.
Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson apologized Wednesday for calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, only hours after he denied saying Chavez should be killed.
"Is it right to call for assassination?" Robertson said. "No, and I apologize for that statement. I spoke in frustration that we should accommodate the man who thinks the U.S. is out to kill him."
MC: You wrote in an e-mail: "The techniques are a clear departure from what soldiers are taught and understand, the techniques that were directed by the highest level of this Administration." By that, you mean all the way up to the Oval Office?
JK: I mean all the way up to Cheney. I don't know the workings of how it gets up there. But I would think that, very similar to any other big corporation or the military, that if you have a deputy - or a Vice President, in this case - and he is making decisions or approvals, then maybe by default you will say, "If I didn't know, I should have known," or "I did know." Because he's your Vice President. Or he is the Vice President. Or he is the Secretary of Defense. I don't know what they are telling the President. And I don't care. He's the President, and he's supposed to know what's going on in this Administration, and honestly, sometimes it doesn't seem like he does.
Conservative televangelist Pat Robertson, whose remarks on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez earlier in the week sparked a media maelstrom, insisted that what appeared to be a call to assassinate the Latin American leader was misinterpreted.
"I said our special forces should, quote, 'take him out,' and 'take him out' can be a number of things, including kidnapping," Robertson, 75, said Wednesday on his television show, "The 700 Club," broadcast from his headquarters in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
"There are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power besides killing him," he said, insisting his remarks had been "misinterpreted."
Pat Robertson today
"I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.Now how can that be misinterpreted? Well, for one thing, if you take that as suggesting anything besides assassination--that would be a misinterpretation, as he specifically called for it. On TV, in front of...well, thousands or less, I guess.
Pat Robertson two days ago
Nadia and Robert McCaffrey, whose son Patrick was killed in Iraq in June 2004, said "Operation Iraqi Freedom" ended up on his government-supplied headstone in Oceanside, Calif., without family approval.
"I was a little taken aback," Robert McCaffrey said, describing his reaction when he first saw the operation name on Patrick's tombstone. "They certainly didn't ask my wife; they didn't ask me." He said Patrick's widow told him she had not been asked either.
"In one way, I feel it's taking advantage to a small degree," McCaffrey said. "Patrick did not want to be there, that is a definite fact."
The owner of the company that has been making gravestones for Arlington and other national cemeteries for nearly two decades is uncomfortable, too.
"It just seems a little brazen that that's put on stones," said Jeff Martell, owner of Granite Industries of Vermont. "It seems like it might be connected to politics."
"President Bush probably breathed a sigh of relief when he landed in Idaho last night," the Washington Post quotes Laura McCarthy, whose son Gavin is serving in Iraq, as saying at a protest in Boise this week. "But no matter where he goes, he's going to find a Cindy Sheehan in every community across the United States. The name is going to be different, but the message is going to be the same."
US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld denied that the has considered assassinating Chavez. "Our department doesn't do that type of thing," Rumsfeld said.
|Bush job approval||Approve||Disapprove||Undecided|
In a front page story, the Los Angeles Times reports that evangelical programs on Capitol Hill attempt "to mold a new generation of leaders who will answer not to voters, but to God."
"Nearly every Monday for six months, as many as a dozen congressional aides -- many of them aspiring politicians -- have gathered over takeout dinners to mine the Bible for ancient wisdom on modern policy debates about tax rates, foreign aid, education, cloning and the Central American Free Trade Agreement."
In the seminars, the students "learn that serving country means first and always serving Christ. They learn to view every vote as a religious duty, and to consider compromise a sin."
"I'm weary of even having to express sympathy... we all lose things.”
Rush Limbaugh on Cindy Sheehan
"You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it," Robertson said. "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war ... and I don't think any oil shipments will stop."You read that right. A preacher is openly advising the government to murder the legitimately elected president of Venezuela. But then, he's been openly asking God to kill Supreme Court justices, so his fixation on murder may just be a symptom of a broader pathology.
Robertson has made controversial statements in the past. In October 2003, he suggested that the State Department be blown up with a nuclear device. He has also said that feminism encourages women to "kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."Now imagine if anyone not on the right had ever suggested blowing up the State department. They'd be getting raped in Gitmo with a broom handle right now.
A former top aide to Colin Powell says his involvement in the former secretary of state's presentation to the United Nations on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was "the lowest point" in his life.
"I wish I had not been involved in it," says Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, a longtime Powell adviser who served as his chief of staff from 2002 through 2005. "I look back on it, and I still say it was the lowest point in my life."
Wilkerson is one of several insiders interviewed for the CNN Presents documentary "Dead Wrong -- Inside an Intelligence Meltdown." The program, which airs Sunday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET, pieces together the events leading up to the mistaken WMD intelligence that was presented to the public. A presidential commission that investigated the pre-war WMD intelligence found much of it to be "dead wrong."
Powell's speech, delivered on February 5, 2003, made the case for the war by presenting U.S. intelligence that purported to prove that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Wilkerson says the information in Powell's presentation initially came from a document he described as "sort of a Chinese menu" that was provided by the White House.
"(Powell) came through the door ... and he had in his hands a sheaf of papers, and he said, 'This is what I've got to present at the United Nations according to the White House, and you need to look at it,'" Wilkerson says in the program. "It was anything but an intelligence document. It was, as some people characterized it later, sort of a Chinese menu from which you could pick and choose."
From the August 15 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: I mean, Cindy Sheehan is just Bill Burkett. Her story is nothing more than forged documents. There's nothing about it that's real, including the mainstream media's glomming onto it. It's not real. It's nothing more than an attempt. It's the latest effort made by the coordinated left.
I distrust anyone who claims to speak for the fallen, and I distrust even more the hysterical noncombatants who exploit the grief of those who have to bury them.Then shut the fuck up, Hitchens.
The other thing that's starting to break through is the president's cluelessness and callousness, his tin ear when it comes to the war and to Cindy Sheehan's appeal. Bush is such a polarizing force in American politics that it's hard to objectively describe either his personal political assets or his flaws. Most of his opponents can't even imagine his appeal to his supporters – the regular Texan, the man's man, the guy you'd prefer to have a beer with over John Kerry -- and of course his admirers can't see what enrages his detractors, the smirking shiftless bully behind the regular-guy veneer.
Maybe it's just wishful thinking, but it felt to me as if with Bush's latest remarks about Sheehan over the weekend, the clownish lightweight his critics know and despise was beginning to shine through for all to see. If you haven't already, take a moment to ponder what he told Cox News about why he could find time for a bike ride on Saturday but not to meet with Sheehan:
"I think it's important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say. But I think it's also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life ... I think the people want the president to be in a position to make good, crisp decisions and to stay healthy. And part of my being is to be outside exercising. So I'm mindful of what goes on around me. On the other hand, I'm also mindful that I've got a life to live and will do so."
You don't have to be Cindy Sheehan to think that yammering on about "staying healthy" and living a "balanced life" while so many are suffering and dying in Iraq is unthinkably cruel, as well as unbelievably politically tone deaf. When I read Bush's quote -- I read it over and over -- I found myself wondering not just about his character but his fundamental emotional health. It's as if he's confessing he couldn't stay "balanced" if he had to confront Sheehan's grief, and even worse, her questions about why her son died.
"There's somebody who has got something to say to the president, that's part of the job. And I think it's important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say.
"But I think it's also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life ... I think the people want the president to be in a position to make good, crisp decisions and to stay healthy. And part of my being is to be outside exercising. So I'm mindful of what goes on around me. On the other hand, I'm also mindful that I've got a life to live and will do so.''
Unlike a whole lot of soldiers since the war began, of course, not to mention Iraqis, not to mention people who worked in the WTC.
This goes a long way toward explaining why he ignored that briefing that was labelled "Bin Laden determined to strike in the U.S." So if you're planning a major terrorist attack, it's good to know August is a prime month, isn't it? The president's off the clock.
As Jon Stewart said, "I gotta run for president. I need the rest."
When Bush's black sport utility vehicle carried him past the site to a Republican fund-raiser, the protest leader, Cindy Sheehan, whose son was one of the nearly 1,850 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, held up a sign that said: "Why do you make time for donors and not for me?"
I didn’t know Casey knew Michelle Malkin…I’m Casey’s mother and I knew him better than anybody else in the world…I can’t bring Casey back, but I wonder how often Michelle Malkin sobbed on his grave. Did she go to his funeral? Did she sit up with him when he was sick when he was a baby?
"The O'Reilly Factor":
Sheehan: "He wouldn't look at the pictures of [my son] Casey. He didn't even know Casey's name. He came in the room and the very first thing he said is, 'So who are we honoring here?' He didn't even know Casey's name. He didn't want to hear it. He didn't want to hear anything about Casey. He wouldn't even call him 'him' or 'he.' He called him 'your loved one.' Every time we tried to talk about Casey and how much we missed him, he would change the subject. And he acted like it was a party."...
Kesterson: So actually, you know, it did come about. They put me into a cubicle by myself, took everything away from me. I also came prepared with a letter to give to the president about how I felt about the war and, you know, the loss of my son, my only child for a cause that I thought, you know, was not worthwhile at that point in time.
And so president Bush came marching in, to make a long story short, came marching in to the room, got right in my face, eyeball-to-eyeball, nose-to-nose this close, toe-to-toe and he said, "I'm George Bush, President of the United States, and I understand you have something to say to me privately." And I said, 'Yes, I do respect the office of the presidency of the United States, but I want to tell you how it feels to lose your only child in a cause that you don't believe in, in an unnecessary war. And, you know, we talked about it from there just like you and I are talking about.
O'Reilly: Was he respectful to you?
Kesterson: Yes, yes was. But he did, you know, come at me a few times with trotting out, 'Delores, do you realize we've been attacked on 9/11?' Who doesn't [realize that]?
O'Reilly: He hugged you at the end, did he not?
Kesterson: Well, yes, he asked if he could hug me and I said, 'Well, that's a human thing, you know, I'm human.' And I agreed to it. But my personal feeling is that he really doesn't have a conscience about all this death and destruction. That was the essence I took away after looking him in the eyes and meeting with him—there's just no conscience there.
Just last year, the [Valerie Plame] investigation was a laughing matter for Novak. He appeared onstage at the annual dinner at the Gridiron Club, the exclusive inner circle of the Washington press corps, of which he is a long-standing member. As a gag, Novak was attired as former diplomat Wilson, wearing top hat and cutaway coat, singing to the tune of "Once I Had a Secret Love": "Novak had a secret source who lived within the great White House ... so he outed a girl spy the way princes of darkness do ... Now John Ashcroft asks Bob who and how, could be headed to the old hoosegow." He belted out his last line with panache: "Cross the right wing you may try, Bob Novak's coming after you." The press corps hooted and clapped. They loved that Bob.
I hear that MSNBC staffers in the Secaucus newsroom-studio watched in horror Monday night as the volatile Kaplan, the president of the cable outlet, publicly laced into the eccentric Olbermann, anchor of the 8 p.m. show "Countdown," after the latter eulogized lung-cancer victim Peter Jennings with a graphic rant about his own cancer scare.This wouldn't be the first time Olbermann has run afoul of his bosses; quite notoriously his straightforwardness got him bounced from Fox ages ago. (And I'm convinced the disguised voice of a former Fox staffer that you hear a number of times in Outfoxed is him--it's hard to disguise his tones) But it's Olbermann caring about his viewers that's angering his bosses, who'd rather shove more Michael Jackson(the oh-so-very important topic of Cosby's premiere) in our faces than take one evening to remember Jennings.
Olbermann - a former pipe and cigar smoker - is said to have looked stunned as Kaplan raced onto the set and shouted at him after he signed off.
Olbermann had urged viewers to quit smoking and repeatedly mentioned "spitting blood" and "spitting globs of myself into a garbage can" while discussing his bout with a benign tumor in in his mouth.
I'm told that Kaplan erupted angrily and at length, calling Olbermann "out of control" and "not to be trusted," and accusing him of driving away viewers from the 9 p.m. debut of Kaplan hire Rita Cosby's show, "Live and Direct.
For its own part, MSNBC, which lacks much defining character except that it's not Fox, is apparently trying to erase that distinction, judging by its schedule. What with Cosby and Scarborough back to back and Chris Matthews trending more rightward all the time, Olbermann must seem quite a sore thumb to Kaplan. I really hope this doesn't develop the way it looks it will.But it does underscore just what died with Jennings, doesn't it?
Less than half of Americans now say they think President Bush is honest, according to an AP-Ipsos poll...
The percentage of people who say they consider Bush honest has dropped slightly from the start of the year. In January, 53 percent described him that way in the AP-Ipsos poll, while 45 percent said they did not believe he was honest. Now, people are just about evenly split — 48 percent saying he's honest and 50 percent saying he's not.
"Whether you agree or disagree with him, the president has taken a pounding on perceptions of his honesty," said Karlyn Bowman, a public opinion analyst at the American Enterprise Institute. She cited as one example the administration's claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, but none have been found.
Act of 1878SEC. 15. From and after the passage of this act it shall not be lawful to employ any part of the Army of the United States, as a posse comitatus, or otherwise, for the purpose of executing the laws, except in such cases and under such circumstances as such employment of said force may be expressly authorized by the Constitution or by act of Congress; and no money appropriated by this act shall be used to pay any of the expenses incurred in the employment of any troops in violation of this section And any person willfully violating the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction thereof shall be punished by fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or imprisonment not exceeding two years or by both such fine and imprisonment.
Pentagon plans response for homeland attacks
The U.S. military has developed war plans to counter terrorist attacks in the United States in shift from the Pentagon's reluctance to engage in domestic operations, The Washington Post reported on Monday. The documents lay out plans for handling 15 potential crisis scenarios and anticipate simultaneous strikes in different parts of the country, the newspaper said, citing officers who drafted the plans. Quick-reaction forces of as many as 3,000 ground troops per attack would be deployed initially to respond and their numbers could grow, depending on the extent of the damage, the newspaper said. The Post said the possible scenarios envisioned range from low end, such as crowd control, to high end, disaster management after catastrophic attacks. The war plans represent a historic shift for the Pentagon, which is restricted by law from using troops in domestic law enforcement, according to the Post.
It happened at Floyd County flea market on Thursday, when two friends, who were firearms vendors there, drew guns after quarreling about the war. Douglas Moore, 65, of Martin, who supports the war, shot and killed Harold Wayne Smith, 56, of Manchester, who opposed it, according to investigators.
Moore was released without being charged after he convinced police he had acted in self-defense. Commonwealth's Attorney Brent Turner said the episode might mark the first death in the U.S. due to a dispute over the war. One witness, Sam Hamman of Prestonsburg, told a newspaper, "Harold was talking about the 14 people that were killed in Iraq the other day and Doug said that just as many people were killed on the highways here.
This quickly escalated into an argument, then to a scuffle, and finally both men drew pistols outside a snack shed.
"We mourn the loss of every life and Americans deeply appreciate those who have made the supreme sacrifice. The way to honor that sacrifice is to complete the mission so that their lives were not lost in vain."They were lost in vain. Don't think that by placing troops in harm's way for no reason you have therefore justified furthering the mistake. The war was for nothing, not even oil. Iraq is not democratic--it's in a civil war that we caused and are strengthening. Thousands of civilians and soldiers have died just holding on to the place. We are far more despised in the world because of it than at any other time in history, which will, for a very long time, only make things harder for us, and to prove how committed we are to our stupidity, we then send a John Bolton to the U.N. Our president dared the Iraqis to murder our troops, and they have. Bush has only made everything worse for everyone, and mortally wounded the morale--and numbers--of the armed forces when we really do need them for other, more important, and most of all necessary endeavors. What good has any of this done? Then you think prolonging what cannot be viewed as other than a mistake is a matter of honor?