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I Didn't Write That!
31 March 2005
  South Park: Damn, They're Fast

An article by Andrew Leonard describing last night's brilliant South Park better than I could.

And how they got something about the Schiavo fiasco on the air so quickly--amazing.

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Some Fallout

Sidney Blumenthal on the possible repercussions for the GOP of what they just put the nation through, and whether making the theofascists happy was worth alienating everyone else.

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Terri Schiavo's Body R.I.P.

Our long national night mare is over. Terri Schiavo's body has finally been allowed to join her mind in death.

Now begin the recriminations and charges that liberals killed her. Randall Terry's gotta have some hobby to keep him busy. Otherwise he'll go back to biting the heads off chickens in the circus, or worse, a spot on the Surreal Life.

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30 March 2005
 
What You And Caligula May Have In Common

If you have a tattoo, that is. Seems that there's a chance you may have lead poisoning to look forward to:

A preliminary study of the most popular inks found dangerously high levels of toxic heavy metals. Researchers say this could lead to nerve disorders, blood poisoning and even memory problems and have called for an investigation.

There are no regulations covering inks used in British and American tattoo parlours.

In the latest research, Leslie Wagner of Northern Arizona University analysed 17 tattoo inks, many of which are used in Britain. She found a number of different metals, such as nickel and copper. Some inks contained lithium and some had high levels of lead.
Removal may not fix it, either, as by that time the heavy metals have already made their way into your subcutaneous fat. On MSNBC about 30 minutes ago, they interviewed said researcher, who is tattooed herself and who began this research because she became curious as to just what was being injected into her skin.


All I can say is I'm damn glad I never felt any need to have one. A shame many I've known well didn't think the same.

Have a pleasant evening!

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  What's Good For The Goose...

...is good for the gerrymanderer.


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  Beautiful Thoughts from John Bolton

The new U.S. Ambassador nominee to the U.N. expressing his heartfelt delight over his new position.

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  "We must free citizens everywhere from the threat of financial dependence on the government."

Bush launches his courageous pre-emptive strike on Social Security.

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29 March 2005
 
Our Favorite Vegetable

Ted Rall's sharp take on the GOP's purpose in
attaching themselves to the Terri Schiavo fiasco:



As Not Dead Yet(who you may remember recently calling Clint Eastwood a Nazi over Million Dollar Baby) and Jesse Jackson find themselves on the same side as Tom DeLay and Randall Terry, the issue has become more hopelessly confused than anyone could ever have seen coming. One wonders what will happen when she dies, and as she was reported last night to be beyond the point of no return(Randall Terry denies this, without any medical expertise whatsoever except in the inciting of the murder of doctors), it is now pretty much assured that she will.

The Abrams Report on MSNBC last night said that, since the weekend, the crowds around the hospice in Florida have become larger and more belligerent, more the sort who are glad to have been given an excuse to fuck shit up if needed than those who genuinely care about the well-being of Terri Schiavo--assuming any of them did to begin with.

So belligerent, in fact, have the crowds gotten that Terri Schiavo's brother has asked them unsuccessfully, to go home. This is the brother who has not been shy about saying anything and everything before the cameras(and who, between last Friday and Saturday, found time between interviews to get a haircut), even the preposterous claim that all of a sudden she's been saying "I want to live" with a skull mostly filled now with cranial fluid rather than what you or I would call "brain." He's been giving Randall Terry and Father Mahoney most of their material, and those two are definitely trying to incite something. Mahoney, for his own part, went through with his travel to Washington but nothing seems to have come of it, turnout being a bit piffly.

I will be happy to see--but also surprised to see--no violence come out of this. I also dread that the situation is far too ripe for same.

As I write this, it has been reported on NPR that Johnnie Cochran is dead from a brain tumor. The nineties really are dead.

The Schiavos(and Randall Terry) have also sold to a conservative direct-marketing firm a list of the names & addresses of all those who have sent them donations. I guess that's their way of saying thank you for the help. How touching.

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28 March 2005
  Even GOP Wants DeLay Gone

Perhaps this is why he's trying to consolidate the Religious Right behind himself. Because DeLay's ass seems to need a lot of covering; the GOP is starting to view him as an embarrassment.

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That Lunatic Offering A Reward

...for the death of Michael Schiavo turns out to live just down the road from my mother. Small world.

Incidentally, he's in jail. And a damn good thing too.

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  Meanwhile, Real Life or Death Issues

At least 290 might be dead in the massive quake that hit Indonesia today.

Funny the things we are comfortable enough to rip our nation apart over...

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Tightie Righties

Hey, time for some bullshit to amuse you. Apparently over 61%(as high as 80% depending on the poll, but you know, I'm trying to be "conservative" here because these days someone's got to) of America disagrees with the cons over Schiavo because we love death, you know, like they and the Chicken Lady love life.

I love how they always assume we're as "zealous" about our cause as they are. Reminds me of how all non-smokers think that smokers think of smoking as a hobby. Uh, no, you're the ones out to achieve perfection. We have lives. You're the ones who never think of anything but the afterlife.

When looking at their condemnations of liberals, always take the approach they describe and attribute to liberals and see how well--sans particular views--it actually works for them.

Projection. It's the ultimate key to understanding the right wing nutcase.

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Sex Offenders for Schiavo!

Is there anything not morally compromised about moral crusaders? I suppose when you're thoroughly damned, you become that much more zealous.

The fellow mentioned, incidentally, is an Operation Rescue vet. Quite a few of them, as I recall, turned out to be child molesters(or terrorists).

Now we know why they want the babies alive.

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The Wall Street Journal Condemns DeLay

By way of Daily Kos. And indeed, as he says, this doesn't happen every day...

Mr. DeLay, who rode to power in 1994 on a wave of revulsion at the everyday ways of big government, has become the living exemplar of some of its worst habits. Mr. DeLay's ties to Mr. Abramoff might be innocent, in a strictly legal sense, but it strains credulity to believe that Mr. DeLay found nothing strange with being included in Mr. Abramoff's lavish junkets.

Nor does it seem very plausible that Mr. DeLay never considered the possibility that the mega-lucrative careers his former staffers Michael Scanlon and Mr. Buckham achieved after leaving his office had something to do with their perceived proximity to him. These people became rich as influence-peddlers in a government in which legislators like Mr. DeLay could make or break fortunes by tinkering with obscure rules and dispensing scads of money to this or that constituency. Rather than buck this system as he promised to do while in the minority, Mr. DeLay has become its undisputed and unapologetic master as Majority Leader.

Whether Mr. DeLay violated the small print of House Ethics or campaign-finance rules is thus largely beside the point. His real fault lies in betraying the broader set of principles that brought him into office, and which, if he continues as before, sooner or later will sweep him out.

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  You May Be Wondering...

Given all this big-government and nanny-state activity on the part of a supposedly conservative president, you may well wonder, "Gee, shouldn't Grover Norquist be out with torches and villagers at the ready?" Given that Grover Norquist once bragged that he wanted government "small enough to drown in the tub," and Bush--whose father he destroyed in 1992 by withholding his supporters over Bush 41 having lied about not raising taxes, Norquist's obsession--has presided over the biggest expansion of government in, well forever.

Bull Moose reports that he indeed does have some buyer's remorse:

"Advocates of using federal power to keep this woman alive need to seriously study the polling data that's come out on this," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, who has been talking to both social and economic conservatives about the fallout. "I think that a lot of conservative leaders assumed there was broader support for saying that they wanted to have the federal government save this woman's life."
Well, Grover could always withhold support in the next...oh wait, Dubya already got his second term. Ah well.

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History Repeats the Old Conceits

Looks like the Tories are steering the Brits into the same trap the Republicans set here.

But then, what do you expect when Tony Blair annihilates all differences between himself and the Tories? Or between himself and Bush's pet?

It would be nice if there was opposition to the right wing that didn't make the right wing's job easier.

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  Compare & Contrast

Tom DeLay and Jesus Christ.

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Normally Hitchens Is A Tool

But he has some excellent points about the Schiavo fiasco in this essay.

I hope and believe that we shall say, as politely and compassionately as we can, that we do not intend to pass our remaining days listening to any hysteria from the morbid and the superstitious. It is an abuse of our courts and our Constitution to have judges and congressmen and governors bullied by those who believe in resurrection but not in physical death. Which post-terminal patient could not now be employed, regardless of his or her expressed wish, to convene a midnight court or assemble a hasty nocturnal presidency? Not content with telling us that we once used to share the earth with dinosaurs and that we should grimly instruct our children in this falsehood, religious fanatics now present their cult of death as if it were a joyous celebration of the only life we have. They have gone too far, and they should be made to regret it most bitterly.


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Congratulations, George, Bill and Tom

You seem to be creating more Democrats, according to a USA Today poll that also finds the president's job approval rating remaining very, very low in the wake of the Schiavo fiasco, which thankfully is nearly over(and no sign of Randall Terry's promised march on Washington).

The new poll found the largest drop for Bush came among men, self-described conservatives and churchgoers.

The poll also found an increased number of Democrats. In this survey, 37% said they were Democrats and 32% said they were Republicans. Last week, 32% said they were Democrats and 35% said they were Republicans.

Bush's handling of the economy also appears to have contributed to the poll's findings.

Bush's economic ratings:

• 59% said economic conditions are getting worse, Bush's highest negative number on the economy in two years.

• 32% rated economic conditions good or excellent, the lowest rating in over a year.

• A Gallup Poll taken in the same period found rising concern about gas costs. Fuel and oil prices tied with unemployment, jobs and wages for top economic concerns.

Guys, you're doing a better job reminding folks where their actual interests lie than the DNC did throughout the whole 2000 and 2004 campaigns combined, just in the past couple of weeks.

Keep it up! At this rate you'll definitely lose the midterms next year, and just imagine what could happen if a Democratic majority takes either house of Congress. I mean, considering how you've gone about the presidency from day one as though you were never, ever going to have to reap any consequences of your very radical and unprecedented activity, or indeed face any meaningful backlash of public opinion.

Assuming the Democrats finally grow some balls as well, of course. One can hope...

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27 March 2005
  Jesus Was Not A Republican

Interesting liberal Christian blog I noticed.

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Never Thought I'd Be Saying This..

...but it appears the ban on "Saving Private Ryan" due to language (and, I suspect, its deeply unglamourous depiction of combat) is still being enforced by many stations. To protest this ridiculous censorship and to find out more, click here.

Jesus, it must be getting bad if I'm defending a Spielberg film. Politics makes strange bedfellows indeed.

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Tom DeLay: Do As I Say, Not As I Do

So where do we stand?

Well, according to the evil Fox News--which, in order to track where the right wing is going with this has been my TV source on the Schiavo fiasco(for real news I've been relying as usual on a variety of internet and print sources; I never use TV for facts, just reading where the current is being forced)-- they tried to give her communion(which, if she'd been able to swallow the few drops of communion wine they put on her lips, would have killed her no matter whose blood it was) and are alternately telling protesters to go home and to stay there.

Noted zealot and 80s nostalgia figure Randall Terry has invoked the kind of talk one associates withn armed insurrection of government, incredibly inappropriately quoting Jeffersonian rhetoric about the right of people to abolish a form of government they don't like. He was followed by a priest who, in the most rabid tones you can imagine, implored(and, like Terry, threatened) Jeb Bush to intervene and announced that tomorrow he and many others will go to Congress to protest on the last day of that disingenuous subpoena--and even want to drag Terri Schiavo with them, also calling on Congress to.

Nice to see how much respect they have for Terri. I imagine they think of it as "look what horrible things you're making us do to Terri on Terri's presumed behalf!" Well, maybe not in those words.

No doubt getting the crowd to storm the hospice and take her out so that they can drag her there is something Terry hopes and prays for. This is certainly quite a bizarre comeback for him, and I think that the adrenaline is making him think darkly big now. They seem to be trying to incite a riot or revolution, or at least to prepare the emotional ground for one. And Fox, whose coverage seems to be exactly the same no matter when I randomly tune them in, is doing its best to badmouth Michael Schiavo and emphasize the vegetative Terri's supposed suffering. A lot of their guests have even overtly refused to take their bait and re-emphasized that this is a personal tragedy and not something to whip into a frenzy. Fox for its part is its usual irresponsible self. They remind me of Rwandan talk radio, which as you might recall was quite effective in its own way in mobilizing people.

And all this over what should be a personal family matter.

And the man who has attempted to make enormous political hay out of this, and whose grandstanding in Congress may have been exactly what turned this into the overheated situation it's become, Tom DeLay? As usual, what a scummy little hypocrite. The L. A. Times reported today what DeLay did in this very situation once. Sixteen years ago, his father was in a "freak accident" and in a coma. His father had no living will.

What did Tom, then a junior congressman, do? Did he say, "I don't care if he'll be a vegetable! I don't know what he wanted, so I will err on the side of life!"

Actually, no:

DeLay is among the strongest advocates of keeping the woman, who doctors say has been in a persistent vegetative state for 15 years, connected to her feeding tube. DeLay has denounced Schiavo's husband, as well as judges, for committing what he calls "an act of barbarism" in removing the tube.

In 1988, however, there was no such fiery rhetoric as the congressman quietly joined the sad family consensus to let his father die.

"There was no point to even really talking about it," Maxine DeLay, the congressman's 81-year-old widowed mother, recalled in an interview last week. "There was no way [Charles] wanted to live like that. Tom knew — we all knew — his father wouldn't have wanted to live that way."

Doctors advised that he would "basically be a vegetable," said the congressman's aunt, JoAnne DeLay.

When his father's kidneys failed, the DeLay family decided against connecting him to a dialysis machine. "Extraordinary measures to prolong life were not initiated," said his medical report, citing "agreement with the family's wishes." His bedside chart carried the instruction: "Do not resuscitate."

On Dec. 14, 1988, the DeLay patriarch "expired with his family in attendance."

"The situation faced by the congressman's family was entirely different than Terri Schiavo's," said a spokesman for the majority leader, who declined requests for an interview.

"The only thing keeping her alive is the food and water we all need to survive. His father was on a ventilator and other machines to sustain him," said Dan Allen, DeLay's press aide.

There were also these similarities: Both stricken patients were severely brain-damaged. Both were incapable of surviving without medical assistance. Both were said to have expressed a desire to be spared from being kept alive by artificial means. And neither of them had a living will.


Well, now. At least his hypocrisy is consistent.

What a clusterfuck of corruption, lies and madness this nation is. What idiotic things we choose to motivate us.

I really hope it doesn't blow up in our faces soon. Unfortunately, our history of discretion in such matters is not good.

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26 March 2005
  A Conservative Apologizes...

...to Terry Schiavo.

Nice to see. I like conservatives who don't let their ideology overwhelm their humanity. It's those quasi-fascist, relentless, and stupid ones I hate. Otherwise, despite what the likes of Ann Coulter say, I like an America with peacefully held but widely varying political views. I even respect those on the other side of this sad case who come from genuine beliefs that Terry Schiavo should not die, though I disagree.

The politics I despise are the politics of those who only want the rest who disagree to shut up, because they know they're wrong and want to kill anyone who reminds them. The politics too in this case of opportunism on the back of a brain-dead woman who only wanted not to suffer.

Like Randall Terry, who can go to hell for his part in whipping this up. The man has no conscience and I've never seen anyone more opportunistic. Except perhaps DeLay and Frist.

Jeb Bush is to be commended for remaining within the law and being strong (and sensible) enough to ignore the numerous incitements to break it and "rescue" Schiavo. It's nice to see at least one instance of ethical behavior in the Bush cabal.

Meanwhile, so much has been unleashed in this that can't just be put back in the box. Like some lunatic offering a reward for the murder of Michael Schiavo. Fucking cretins.

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  Today

"Ideas should be neutral.
But man animates them with his passions and folly.
Impure and turned into beliefs, they take on the appearance of reality.
The passage from logic is consummated.
Thus are born ideologies, doctrines, and bloody farce."

Emile Cioran,
A Short History of Decay, 1949

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25 March 2005
  Nader On Same Side As Randall Terry?

Hey, those of you on the left who have been arguing with me for years about your misguided support for Ralph Nader, whose only function 2000 onward ever has been to split and weaken the Democratic vote; who accepts support from the very side--the GOP--that is supposedly against everything Nader supposedly stands for?

If all that you've seen with your own eyes hasn't been enough, guess which side he supports in the Schiavo case. In the sense that he's actually in Florida giving his physical support, when Democrats have probably done the right thing in withdrawing and letting only GOP fingerprints be left on this lunacy.

The same as the guy who used to be famous for having called for the bombing of abortion clinics. The same as the very sinister and unpleasant former bugman who is now Speaker of the House. The same as the doctor who thinks he can do diagnoses soley by video clip, who has said that tears and sweat can transmit HIV, who is Senate Majority leader.

It was really cute to waste your votes on Nader, wasn't it? Rather than get a president who you had disagreements with, instead you passively help the one who despises and ignores you and drills in ANWR. Boy, that really showed Al Gore! You must be proud, very proud.

But if you're going to spend your lives helping the right wing, stop being such a bunch of pussies and stop hiding behind the word "progressive" or "left."

You're Radical Right, morons, no matter how many Burning Mans you go to. You are used and laughed at by the GOP. At least admit you're lickspittles and be done with it.

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  As I Thought...

The protest I encountered today--which I haven't specifically seen reported anywhere else, which I find odd, both because of its size and the extremity of their rhetoric--was part of a planned nationwide vigil outside courthouses. As Daley Center isn't that far from Federal Plaza, I imagine that's where they must have been headed, as last time I saw them they were tending north.

I'd like to know if anyone else encountered one of these today(except Florida--we already know well what's happening there)--I encourage you to comment below if so.

And incidentally, as of this writing the Schindlers lost another appeal and look like they're about to lose another. Earlier I put on my gas mask and turned on Hannity & Colmes. As you might imagine, in relation to those on the Schindlers' side, Hannity was good cop and Colmes, always presented as an irritating scold, was the bad. Colmes is how Fox can make facts look unattractive, much like Lisa Simpson--you know she's right but she's such a buzzkill you don't care.

Terri Schiavo's sister and brother claimed that Terri shouted out the Hollywood-ready statement "I want to live!" Why then was this never mentioned in any of the papers filined in this entire judicial process? Colmes asked this and they looked flustered and had trouble making up much else. Then a friend of Terri Schiavo came on and referred to Michael Schiavo as a "sniveling wimp" and said that Terri and Michael had fought the day before.

She had the look, like the siblings, of talking shit that she'd been coached on. (Lies always look so obvious on Fox, but they're clumsy; brutal and relentless but clumsy) But--Even if so, so what? What difference does that make? He didn't destroy her goddamn brain--a heart attack brought on by a potassium deficiency did. Their defamation and vilification of this man has already put his life at risk. I doubt they'll stop until some lunatic--like the fellow from Rockford arrested today--kills him. Because that's how seriously these good, good Christians value life as they usher in the Republic of Gilead.

What business was any of this of ours? EVER?

What are we doing at this pass? And what is this gearing up to, now that we're headed into warm and testier weather?

I suspect it won't be a pleasant summer to be in America and not be a fundamentalist..

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  Psyche!

And in the midst of all this, the sneaky Dan Lundgren of California reintroduces the anti-gay marriage amendment.

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  Oh, We'll Rebuild Your Land, But Not Just Yet

A major land grab on the backs of the poor in the wake of the tsunami.

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  It Gets Worse

Oh boy.

So I go to Federal Plaza here in Chicago to mail off a package and what should I encounter but the Schiavo controversy right in my face.

Hundreds of Christian protesters assembled for a mass march in the streets in favor of "the glorious day when we have a Christian utopia in America." They are quite vehemently protesting in favor of theocracy, and forcing same.

I can't imagine this is the only place this is happening either. But if this pernicious meme has reached all the way up here...Not a good sign at all.

Just what have the Republicans let loose and whipped into a frenzy?

Get ready for all sorts of previously-inconceivable things to start being done by lunatics if Terri Schiavo expires tonight, which just coincidentally is Good Friday.

For me right now, who never even saw this kind of thing growing up in South Carolina---not particularly "good," no.

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Why One Drops Discussions With Radical Righties Quickly

Because they're the ones with the guns, and right now over Terri Schiavo, they seem quite ready to use them. Because, you know, crybabies get pissed when they don't get what they want. Here's one that, sadly, is from my state:

Man Tries to Steal Gun to 'Rescue Schiavo'

A man was arrested after trying to steal a weapon from a gun shop so he could "take some action and rescue Terri Schiavo," authorities said.

Michael W. Mitchell, of Rockford, Ill., entered Randall's Firearms Inc. in Seminole just before 6 p.m. Thursday with a box cutter and tried to steal a gun, said Marianne Pasha, a spokeswoman for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Mitchell, 50, told deputies he wanted to "take some action and rescue Terri Schiavo" after he visited the Pinellas Park hospice where she lives, Pasha said.

And here's the guy. (Does he look 50 to you?) There will probably be many more.
I wonder if the GOP and the cable news networks like what they've unleashed and now probably couldn't control if they wanted.

I wonder if Bush, DeLay and Frist will be called to account should anyone besides Terri Schiavo die over this.

I wonder if pigs can fly.

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  DeLay, But Only For So Long

Looks like no matter how he tries, Tom DeLay's ethical transgressions just keep biting him on the ass. And boy does it make him all bitchy.

"Actions have consequences."--Rush Limbaugh, 1993

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Dropping Like Hanged Men

Bush's approval ratings that is, according to Gallup, both over the Schiavo case and the crappy economic climate that we've lived with...well, pretty much since he took office. Which he's still done absolutely nothing about.



Maybe he should try doing his job for a change. Nahhh...

A few interesting details about that CBS News poll cons are trying so hard--fruitlessly--to disprove that said 82% of Americans think that Congress was wrong for interfering. Apparently not all evangelicals have lost their principles:

76 percent of all Conservatives thought what the government did over the weekend was inappropriate. 72 percent of all Republicans. And even 68 percent— of all white, evangelical Christians.
But an even more interesting point (at the same place) raised by a guest on Keith Olbermann's Countdown (one of my favorite news shows, The Daily Show being the other) was--who the hell is paying for the Schindler's innumerable appeals?

...if there were 30,000 persistent vegetative state patients around the country, how is it that this one case attracted so much attention and so much litigation?

And what we found is that on both sides of the aisle on this set of legal actions, there's been an enormous amount of money. Some of it's actually been money to support lawyers but most of it has been gifts from large law firms and lobbyists to enable multitasking firms, the kind of
thing we saw in the O.J. trial, on behalf, mostly, of the Schindlers.

OLBERMANN: Do you know where that money came from? Do you know how much it amounted to?

MCGEE: Well, we don't know exactly how much it amounted to. Because as I said most of is it what you would call in kind contribution by lawyers who, in essence, agree with the cause.

So for example, among the representatives of Michael Schiavo's side, the American Civil Liberties Union most recently, and a number of different lawyers who work for firms that specialize in this sort of thing.

But more interesting, the Schindlers have enlisted legal assistance that's amounted to millions of dollars at this point, mostly from national right to life associated groups.

OLBERMANN: Millions of dollars.

MCGEE: At least $20,000 for each filing. And on top of that, there's procedural funding and funding for each and every action that moves up through the system.

You have to remember, Keith, when a case gets to the 11th District Court, it's moved through at least 25 different judges. And appellate lawyers have examined constitutionality questions in teams of 20 and 30. Many of these lawyers billing as much as $500 or $600 an hour.

Well, there is some inkling arising out there of who's funfding this, and it appears it's the usual suspects you recall from past theofascist spectacles such as the Paula Jones case and Clinton's impeachment. Like Richard Mellon Scaife. Courtesy of Libertypost.org:

...many of the attorneys, activists and organizations working to keep Schiavo on life support all these years have been funded by members of the Philanthropy Roundtable.

The Philanthropy Roundtable is a collection of foundations that have funded conservative causes ranging from abolition of Social Security to anti-tax crusades and United Nations conspiracy theories. The Roundtable members' founders include scions of America's wealthiest families, including Richard Mellon Scaife (heir to the Mellon industrial, oil and banking fortune), Harry Bradley (electronics), Joseph Coors (beer), and the Smith Richardson family (pharmaceutical products).

I found a Web site called mediatransparency.com which tracks funding for these foundations. Using just that Web site and the Schindlers' own site, terrisfight.org, I learned of a network of funding connections between some of the Philanthropy Roundtable's members and various organizations behind the Schindlers, their lawyers and supporters, and the lawyers who represented Gov. Bush in Bush v. Schiavo.

Here are a few examples:

Schindler lawyer Pat Anderson "was paid directly" by the anti-abortion Life Legal Defense Foundation, which "has already spent over $300,000 on this case," according to the foundation's Web site. Much of the support for Life Legal Defense Foundation, in turn, comes from the Alliance Defense Fund, an anti-gay rights group which collected more than $15 million in private donations in 2002 and admits to having spent money on the Schiavo case "in the six figures," according to a recent article in the Palm Beach Post. Mediatransparency.org states that between 1994 and 2002, the Alliance Defense Fund received $142,000 from Philanthropy Roundtable members that include the Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation and the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation.

Wesley Smith and Rita Marker also work for organizations that get funding from Roundtable members. Smith is a paid senior fellow with the Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based think tank that advocates the teaching of creationist "intelligent design" theory in public schools. Between 1993 and 1997, the Discovery Institute received $175,000 from the Bradley Foundation. Marker is executive director of the International Task Force on Euthanasia, which lobbies against physician-assisted suicide. In 2001, Marker's organization received $110,390 from the Randolph Foundation, an affiliate of the Smith Richardson family.

Roundtable members also played a role in financing the Bush v. Schiavo litigation.

The Family Research Council, which uses its annual $10 million budget to lobby for prayer in public schools and against gay marriage, filed an amicus curiae brief in Bush v. Schiavo supporting Gov. Bush, at the same time its former president, attorney Kenneth Connor, was representing the governor in that litigation. Between 1992 and 2000, the council received $215,000 from the Bradley Foundation.

Another amicus brief backing Bush was filed by a coalition of disability rights organizations that included the National Organization on Disability and the World Institute on Disability. The former received $810,000 between 1991 and 2002 from the Scaife Family Foundations, the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, and the JM Foundation; the latter received $20,000 in 1997 from the JM Foundation.

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"Frist has embarrassed and brought shame
upon the medical profession."

The words of one of very many disgusted doctors.

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24 March 2005
 
Just When I Think Fox Can't Go Any Lower...

Ah, but do they ever disappoint? Every now and then I have a look at Fox News for, oh, about ten minutes at a time at most before the convulsions start and I change it before I can't anymore, and I realize this is naive of me (but remember, I'm old)--but how obvious can they be?

But to their audience, what I and other sane people call "being obvious" is "being assertive." Anything said with enough force can make certain people submit to it--they wouldn't be so forceful if they didn't believe it was true, right?

Eh.

Here we are, at the end of the week's Wall Street business, the economy--apart from the freefalling dollar--starting to perk up just a tad--and after the last few years, if that were starting to occur, you'd be nervous at the suggestion of anything that might screw with it, correct? For all the talk of the rationality of the markets, they too are a faith-based institution, and one's own belief is not so important as what one fears others may believe. The "clean" version of The Passion of the Christ was just put out on DVD. We're going into the Easter weekend--and isn't that timing, considering Terri Schiavo may expire over said weekend, interesting? Almost like some folks wanted the elements and ground to all be assembled and in place to create the most deeply symbolic spectacle that could be timed.

Almost...almost...like it was planned that...naw, Tom DeLay and Randall Terry would never be that tasteless. Considering that some signs the protesters are carrying, like one I saw on Olbermann's Countdown saying, "Forgive them father, they know not what they do" punctuated with what I hope isn't someone's blood, seem to, er, strongly imply they're trying to set her up as some female equivalent to Christ.

And there are strong similarities, sure. For instance, Jesus said that he wanted release from his torment too. And there was the Roman centurion who stuck a spear in his side and ended his suffering.

But by far the crassest aspect of this I just saw on Neil Cavuto's financial show, Your World. The spin now is that (a) this is a takeover of the government by...the Judiciary branch

...I'm sorry, I had to leave the room and vomit blood. Anyway.

...and (b) Schiavo's death is hurting the markets.

So let me see--you're saying then that, in something akin to tribal magic, Terri Schiavo's being kept alive would somehow keep the stock market stable? So as long as she remains alive the economy will as well? Will the dollar rise if her feeding tube is stuck back into her gut? Shall she be tied to the earth to suffer for us all forever so that we can prosper? Is that then what we should do, fucking asshole that is called Neil Cavuto?

No shame. They have no fucking shame. There's no nice or clever way to say it. I have a hard time believing this are truly religious people, because if they believed in Hell, they'd never sleep.

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  They Aren't "Push Polls", Stupid

Mystery Pollster shutting up those trying to dispute those catastrophic poll results against the Schiavo Fiasco.

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  Gore Vidal: We's Fucked

A rather depressing but perhaps true assessment of the republic by Gore Vidal.

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  Kerry: Right About Bin Laden, Confirms Pentagon

"Now my opponent is throwing out the wild claim that he knows where bin Laden was in the fall of 2001 -- and that our military had a chance to get him in Tora Bora. This is an unjustified and harsh criticism of our military commanders in the field. This is the worst kind of Monday-morning quarterbacking."
George W. Bush, October 2004, Greely, CO


WASHINGTON -- A terror suspect held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, helped the al-Qaida leader escape his mountain hide-out at Tora Bora in 2001, according to a U.S. government document.

The document, provided in response to a Freedom of Information request, says the unidentified detainee ''assisted in the escape of Osama bin Laden from Tora Bora.'' It is the first definitive statement from the Pentagon that bin Laden was at Tora Bora and evaded U.S. pursuers.
Robert Burns, AP, Today


Wouldn't it have been nice to have a president who knows what he's talking about? Ah well.

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  Matt Bors on Terry Schiavo

Nice one.

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  Bush 43

That's his approval rating, according to a CBS news poll, in the wake of the Terri Schiavo case, which mercifully seems to have ended with the Supreme Court's fifth and final refusal to hear the case.

Congress is even lower--34 percent. These are beyond deadly ratings--virtually impeachment level. When you think of the GOP's memo that illustrated how much this was about shoring up support in the elections next year, you wonder why some people can't leave well enough alone--particularly when it meant sacrificing being on-message about the social security matter(which is dead now, as if it ever had a chance of succeeding).


So it appears they did in fact waste their much-boasted-about political capital, and maybe they should have paid more attention to polls before the supposed representatives of the collective will went off on this ridiculous and macabre crusade of theirs, because across the board Americans have sided with the removal of the feeding tube by a majority of not less than 61 and as high as 80 percent or more, despite a few pathetic attempts to spin it as biased. (the 61% figure is from Fox News itself)

Americans do believe in moral values, it appears, it's true. Moral values like the government not interfering in our personal business, or our families, or when we go to meet our maker. As Bill Maher often says, "Why are those who believe in God the most reluctant to meet Him in person?"

The penny has dropped. We now know--well, we already knew, but now Bush's supporters do too--that all the conservative rhetoric about limited government is and always was a load of shit. Well, not if you add the word "democratic" between "limited" and "government." The truth is that power is and always was their only goal, their one true love, and abusing it to them is, well, just what you do with power.

I will be very interested to see if anyone remembers in a week what the man behind the curtain looked like, or if they go back to fearing the great and powerful Oz.

My prediction: Tom DeLay will have to step down sometime soon, both because he has now lost, embarrassed the party, and has so very many corruption cases waiting to eat him which the GOP would not want to be associated with. I'm sure there are many who'd love to replace him in his current position and it's well-known that he is feared but not liked.

So my bet's on him first. And I can't wait to see him kicking and screaming on his way out.

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Supreme Court: We Told You Four Times Already

And that, as they say, is that.

I feel very sorry for the Schindlers, who I am sure think they have been doing what's best for their daughter. And I loathe the right-wing opportunist vultures like Bush, DeLay, Frist, and the sickening and hateful Randall Terry(whom we can only hope will crawl back under whatever rock he lives under these days), who used them so cynically in this matter knowing how it'd turn out, and I hope that, for the latter, there will be hell to pay. I hope that they think the sacrifice of whatever political capital they had was worth it.

Because it's yet another example of their promising something to the religious right that could not be delivered. I wonder if the religious right will wise up and, for instance, not go to the polls at all next year. You know, like 1992...

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23 March 2005
  Seems To Be A Bit Of A Trend

...Florida's senate joins the ranks of the sane as well.

Do you smell that? It's blood in the water and it belongs to an elephant.

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  It's Dead, George

And just when the news are getting bored with Terri Schiavo, Bush suffers his first major defeat: his Social Security plan is, apparently, officially toast. And it's being reported.

So much for weapons of mass distraction.

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  We Told You Twice

...and Terri Schiavo's parents apparently aren't getting the hint.

Sad that the Radical Right had to use them as pawns this way and then let them get their hopes up. Rather cruel of DeLay and Frist, wouldn't you say?

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  Bush Twins Gone Wild!

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The shocking governmental homicide of Terri Schiavo has many dimensions, twists, and turns--all of which, upon analysis, converge on one inescapable reality: The life of Terri Schiavo is solely in the hands of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Any delegating of executive authority to the other branches will not only fail to save Terri, it appears--because the courts pretend to reign supreme, at the expense of true equilibrium between the branches--but it amounts to passing the authoritative buck.

The result will be not only the unconscionable death of an innocent woman whose execution cannot be justified on the basis of the facts, let alone on moral grounds, but the executive power will be shown to be what it has willfully become: impotent.

Not only that, but if Terri dies, the executive authority in Florida will be directly complicit.

No other entity in the state has authority to kill Terri. The courts can't do it. Nor can the legislature do anything directly about it. Only the executive can actually put people to death, under constitution-based law.

Gov. Bush, put a stop to this travesty right now, for the sake of all that our nation stands for, in the interest of meriting God's merciful protection of our country in the years ahead.

If you "allow" Terri to die, you will indeed be her chief executioner.

(Thanks to World o'Crap)

By the way, this is the same Alan Keyes who recently abandoned his daughter to the wolves because she's gay, as part of the GOP "Starve 'Em Till They're Straight" plan. Love is all around, no need to waste it...

The narrative now is: If she dies, it's Jeb's fault. This is because, as mentioned earlier, the Democrats refused to take the bait. There go Jeb's presidential chances.


All good by me. Watch the party unravel before your very eyes.

And if Dubya has a choice between siding with the religious right and his brother, which will he betray, and how will Jeb pay him back if it's him? This is just lovely.

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  The Great Bluff

Frist may not have the votes to override possible Democratic filibusters against Bush's judicial nominees. And this Schiavo situation may be squandering whatever credibility he might have had to fix it.

Not good to max out your credit. Didn't Congress send us that very signal last week?

And worse, his own party may finally be splitting apart, given that not all of them want to be thought of as a bunch of fanatical freaks who really have no idea what the hell they're doing. The Democrats, having refused to even get involved with this, have left the Republicans to take the entire fall for this. And the Jesus freaks are starting to turn on Jeb Bush himself, the reinsertion not happening fast enough for their liking. After all, like most Americans, they want what they want now. And like most, after getting so worked up, they don't like having to deal with blueballs. Bush was right--a dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier. But awww, you don't have that yet, and maybe now you never will...so close too...

Oh, this wasn't very smart, was it? The Great Vomit may soon begin. Be sure to wear a raincoat; five years' worth of repressed national disgust can't be pretty when it finally comes back up.

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You Can't Always Get What You Want

So Tom DeLay gets furious at this intransigent judge who refuses to rubber-stamp what DeLay and the religious right want, and then late last night the appeal fails too because, well, there's literally no federal case here. DeLay, as you know, hates it when he doesn't get his way and others actually dare question the vast wisdom of the bribeable Bug-man's judgment, and has in the past gone to some interesting extremes over such things(grandstanding and abuse of power to him are as normal as, say, walking is for you or me) , including trying to destroy not just Democrats or our Constitution, but even dissenting members of his own party.

I would imagine he's having a bout of apoplexy over this--if I didn't realize that Terri Schiavo's death would be even better for his true purposes. I mean, you don't really think he cares personally whether Shiavo lives or dies, do you? The fact that her feeding tube is out only increases the suspense. If Shiavo lives, they've won and their base can feel powerful, and even better for them, it's not that long a stretch from defending the rights of a vegetable to defending the rights of a fetus, and anyone who thinks setting another ratcheting precedent toward destroying Roe v. Wade is desperately naive and stupid. But as Thomas Frank has argued, winning as such--at least on these comparatively small boutique issues--is not what they necessarily really want. Because losing increases the Religious Right's sense of victimization by the imagined National Elitist Liberal Conspiracy and therefore makes certain that, when it really counts, when they are called upon to vote, they will be motivated to do so. Winning might only make them lazy.

This is all about their base, the folks who will vote against their own economic interests over "moral values" issues that are meaningless in their day-to-day lives, and quelling the rumbling that has begun from that side that they were simply used by the Republicans in 2004 for their votes and that the Republicans only really care about helping big business and not truly important matters like, say, stopping them goldurned gay queer boys from kissin' on each other next to Janet Jackson's tit on their teevee. These people are needed for next year's elections; otherwise a few Democrats might actually remain in Congress! So the GOP needs an irrational, emotional issue to get them worked up, and this is not unlike, for example, the Elian Gonzales issue in that respect, which was all about embarrassing the Clinton administration, motivating the base, and getting a lot of Latinos to vote Republican.

It would in the end be better for the GOP if Schiavo dies. They can then say they fought for her life but those damn liberals, particularly those "activist judges," killed her. This would make Schiavo completely a symbol with all inconvenient "facts" or "humanity" shunted away, and the Christian Right certainly loves that sort of thing. They can claim Schiavo is a martyr in the right-to-life cause. Never mind the somewhat messier grey facts surrounding this, not least of which that it was Schiavo's personal behavior, specifically an eating disorder that led to an extreme potassium deficiency that put her into her permanent vegetative state, that led to where she's been the past 15 years. Normally Republicans would probably say such a person deserves what they get. But to them right now, she's just a large fetus.

Can't you just see next year's attack ads? The low creepy Biography Channel serial-killer musical tones, the wash of grainy black & white pictures, the deep doomy voice, intoning, "Terri was happy. Terri loved her parents. Life." Shot of her parents passing that balloon past her impassive face. "Her balloon." The balloon falls to the floor. "But the Democrats and their activist judges killed her." Perhaps a shot of Teddy Kennedy and two or three judges(Not Scalia, obviously, although in true point of fact that would be typecasting) dancing in slow motion on Schiavo's grave, then having a group hug with Barney Frank.

That's what they want you to see, every commercial break, all autumn next year. So this is a win-win for them. Why do you think they've gone to so much trouble and DeLay has called this God's gift to their cause?

Except that it, of course, completes the GOP's transformation from a party that pretends to believe in the freedom and privacy of the individual and keeping government small and out of your life to a fascist nanny-state religious totalitarian party. And some conservatives are starting to get a little sick at the sight of this. Then there's little embarrassing things like the previously-mentioned Texas "Death With Dignity" law, used just the other day to rid a hospital of the expense of a little baby, as well as the fact that Senate Majority leader Bill Frist, a heart surgeon that nevertheless--on the basis of two video clips--feels qualified to judge whether Schiavo is in a vegetative state(she's not, says he--this is, you recall, the same universal medical expert that told us AIDS can be transmitted by tears or sweat, and gosh, don't you want a genius like that as your doctor?), has in fact pulled the plug on many patients routinely.

Oh, but this is different. It always is, except when it's not. Stop asking so many fool questions! It makes they's haids hurt.

Surely the Republican party doesn't want to come off as government as though it were run by that guy who pumps your gas and rants about Janet Reno. But that's what they're becoming. They waste taxpayer time--and money--on stuff like this that helps no one in America. They'll jump to help big business anytime, of course. But do you think they'd go to this much trouble to assure most Americans have proper health care before they're brain-dead?

People are noticing. It's possible here that the political capital Bush was boasting his intentions to spend not too long ago has now been squandered, especially since we now see that while a security briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US" is not enough to stir him from his vacation, this idiotic matter was.

Question: Can you go over what went on last night, in terms of the President signing the bill and how it went down?

McClellan: Sure. I guess the bill -- the House passed it shortly after midnight, and then the President signed it at 1:11 a.m., in the morning. The Staff Secretary, Brett Kavanaugh, walked the legislation over to the residence for the President to sign. He came outside his bedroom and signed it in the residence.

Question: Had he been asleep?

McClellan: Yes, he was woken up after it was passed, when it was ready to be signed.

Question: I heard you describe it earlier, he came out of his bedroom and literally signed it standing up in the hall; is that how it went?

McClellan: That's correct, yes. He was just standing in the hall in the residence and signed the legislation then.

Question: Was he wearing . . . is it safe to assume he wasn't wearing a suit and tie at the time? (Laughter.)

McClellan: I'm not going into that much detail. Yes, he cleaned up, put on his suit -- (laughter).

Question: Was it just one signature, or was it the standard, lots of pens?

McClellan: I will double-check for you. I didn't check in that level of detail. I think it's just a signature. If something changes, I'll let you know, but I think it was just one signature.



It's possible that the hubris I have always seen the GOP get drunk upon whenever they have any sort of power is starting to be retched up.

And why is it always Florida that's the center of this? Possibly because if anyone else were governor of the state besides Bush's brother, Dubya might face some resistance in his constant use of the state as a test-case lab to whittle away at state's rights, once ostensibly beloved by Republicans until they took over the Federal government. I wonder how the citizens of Florida feel to find their state laws are the doormat of the Radical Right?

I wonder how the citizens of the United States feel about being that doormat themselves in general.

Oh, and a special treat: courtesy of Raw Story, the memo circulating to the GOP faithful.


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22 March 2005
  Speaking of Distractions...

One might consider why the GOP would suddenly, as though suffering a combination of bipolar disorder and ADD, shift so hard to this issue when Bush is supposedly trying so hard to sell us on his idiotic Social Security proposals.

Because he's about to go down to defeat for the first time, on that issue, and the last thing he'd want is for us to notice, so they're hiding behind the nearest tree. Or vegetable.

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Timing Is Everything

What a wretched madness our nation has been seized by. This must look like psychosis outside America. Hell, it already looks like it to me here in the Midwest.

While a federal judge has refused to order Terry Schiavo's feeding tube reinserted and the right-wing pressure machine goes into overdrive to subvert the separation of powers, it might be worth considering something pointed out in Salon's
War Room today: that if not for this shoving everything off the news (the Michael Jackson case having lost the necessary steam to be an effective distraction anymore, as it was in the buildup to the war with Iraq), two other things might be prominent that are embarrassing for the Republicans--the second year anniversary of the beginning of the now rather pointless Iraq war, and yet another investigation of the crooked, evil Tom DeLay. Apparently DeLay even thinks that this case--in that exact way--was a blessing from God on the Radical Right:

As the New York Times reports this morning, Tom DeLay told a conference organized by the ultra-conservative Family Research Council Friday that God himself handed Republicans the Terry Schiavo issue in order to help further their conservative political agenda -- and to save DeLay from accusations about his own ethical lapses.

"One thing that God has brought to us is Terri Schiavo, to help elevate the visibility of what is going on in America," DeLay says on a tape provided to the Times by Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "This is exactly the issue that is going on in America, of attacks against the conservative movement, against me and against many others."

According to the Times, DeLay said that the "other side" has finally learned how to "defeat the conservative movement" by engaging in personal attacks and persuading the media to report on them. DeLay said the "whole syndicate" -- and by that, we assume he means the reality-based community -- is involved in a "huge nationwide effort to destroy everything we believe in."

With Terri Schiavo, the man once known as "Hot Tub Tom" believes that the religious right finally has a way to turn the fight around. In the morality play that is Washington, we thought that Schiavo was the victim and DeLay was playing her savior. It turns out that we had it exactly wrong.


Is there no blasphemy too low for these bastards to commit? Yes, God saved you from being accountable for your actions. That's what He does. God decided to give you momentary and sleazy political advantage. He does that too. God decided to help you subvert every principle our government is founded upon and to lie and steal and cheat and get away with it.

Wait a second: that doesn't sound too much like God. That sounds more like the other guy. But then, that would make sense. In your experience, has the average right-wing fundamentalist had God, or someone else, on their mind most of the time?

Would a real Christian do whatever he could to aid the rich and screw the poor? Would a real Christian feel the need to hide behind the skirts of his savior to justify his every action? Would a real Christian defend corruption--all the way up to and including fucking little boys, for Christ's sake--among priests and call the revelation of the truth about same "liberal propaganda?" Would a real Christian be so fixated upon an idol of the Ten Commandments, which itself demands no graven images representing God? Would a real Christian do everything he could to destroy the sense of fact, to divide people from one another, to cause mass deaths, to lead this country into a hideous pit as these have done, and not accidentally either?

That whiff you recall from Salem, from Loudon, from McCarthy and Torquemada and Coughlin: that sulferous whiff of something doing everything it can to destroy the truly righteous and hold the mediocre and evil up higher and higher, to create confusion and twist the truth, to allow cruelty to win--do you smell it here? Could it be that the Radical Right are of Satan's party and don't know it?

Or worse, do you think they do?

The Devil's best trick of all was not convincing the world he didn't exist. It was putting on a cross.

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